Here’s a freebie for all my loyal readers: a free Photoshop action I created myself to eliminate repetitive tasks I (used to) go through each time I scanned in a new sketch for further work in Photoshop. Boost your productivity with this free Photoshop download.
My custom Sketch Prep action — as you can see from the screenshot — simply resets your color swatches back to the default black/white, does a Select All on the background layer, cuts the image to a new layer (leaving you with a flat white background layer) and then bumps the opacity of the newly-created layer down to 20%. It then adds a fresh new blank layer for you to start drawing in.
Here are a few handy keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for those of you out there like me who spend an inordinate amount of time in the Creative Suite primarily using Illustrator. These are not keyboard shortcuts that you can use in Illustrator, but rather are keyboard shortcuts providing methods of doing things in Photoshop that you are used to doing in Illustrator that at first it might seem isn’t possible, like click directly on an object to select it, drag to a new layer, etc.
The pen tool is one of those obscure graphics programs tools that everyone tries once, and then gets so confused by that they never get any further with it. And understandably. It looks like a fountain pen, but it doesn’t act like one. Click and “draw”, you get weird “handles” sprouting out from a dot. Ignore that, and some annoying rubber band line gets stuck to your pen tip, all distorted out of — not even a straight line! Right there most Illustrator users think to themselves “this program sucks”.
The control system is very intuitive, requring no knowledge of how to manipulate vector paths. While simplistic, it gives one a high level of control over exploring interesting symmetrical objects. I did find that there seemed to be a bit of a genre of shapes that were the calling card for this tool, but maybe I just didn’t play with it enough.
Symmetries does not generate tiled patterns, but rather single vector objects, which then can be pasted into the vector software of your choosing for futher editing. The demo mode doesn’t allow this, so I couldn’t test it.
Just a quick tip for the freelancing and self-employed — that pain you feel paying all your taxes at once because you’re too lazy or forgetful to dole out your quarterly tax payments to Uncle Sam? It’s over. If you’re like me, and 99% of your banking and bill-paying is done online, there’s a tax payment solution for you.
If you are like me and you are wondering why in the world Adobe decided to eliminate the previous functionality of the Paint Bucket tool in Illustrator CS3 with the introduction of the new ‘Live Paint Bucket’ tool, fear not — a solution is at hand. Continue reading →
A plugin that I always forget to tout, since the functionality it provides seems so intrinsic to Illustrator once it’s installed, I forget it’s a third-party enhancement.
Select Menu for Adobe Illustrator (Mac and Windows, free) from Graffix Software is available for every version of Illustrator from 8 on up to CS3. It adds additional selectable items under the Select -> Objects menu.
This plugin really comes in handy at the production stage of prepping your art, allowing you to find all sorts of items that you need to preflight. It especially comes in handy after flattening transparency, such as when you export art to an older version of Illustrator. I find lots of klunky and open paths all over the place after flattening transparency, and I couldn’t imagine how much of a pain in the neck it would be to clean up art without Select Menu.