10 New Photoshop Freebies

One of the greatest things about the field of graphic design is that so many talented professionals are willing to share their work with one another. This is especially true for Photoshop, arguably the most popular graphic design software on the planet. Photoshop freebies make it easy to improve your efficiency and productivity as a designer, thereby helping you make more money in less time. Here are 10 new Photoshop freebies you should add to your stable today.

1. Flaticon.com Photoshop Plugin

I think you’ll come to regard this as one of the best Photoshop plugins you ever install. The Flaticon.com Photoshop plugin gives you access to more than 14,000 free icons, searchable from right within Photoshop!


2. Retinize It

Retinize It is a Photoshop plugin that slices your designs to make them Retina-ready. Take advantage of the most advanced screen display technology by ensuring your websites and iOS apps are Retina-ready with this free plugin.


3. Camouflage Patterns for Photoshop

Go full camo with this set of 10 free camouflage patterns for Photoshop, created by user Tijo and posted on Brusheezy.


4. Vanilla Cream UI Kit PSD

One of the most aesthetically pleasing UI kits on the web is available as a free PSD download! This UI kit includes elements for blogs, forms, filters, buttons and more.


5. Color Swap and Monochrome Photoshop Actions

Michelle Kane continues to offer outstanding, premium-quality Photoshop freebies on her website. The color swap action lets you instantly and effortlessly change background colors, while the monochrome action gives your grayscales a professional finish.  Other Photoshop freebies are also available

michelle kane

6. Instagram Vintage Pro Photoshop Action

Give your images the vintage look Instagram users love with this action by DeviantArt user Friabrisa.

vintage pro

7. HDR Photoshop Action

This Photoshop freebie is a sample from the commercial Faux HDR Actions suite, and will give your photos a premium HDR photography appeal out-of-the-box.

free HDR

8. Fall Foliage Photoshop Brushes

From the Creature Comforts blog comes this set of 23 high-quality fall foliage Photoshop brushes that look absolutely beautiful when finished with a watercolor effect.

fall brushes

9. Photoshop Skin Smoothing Action

Fundy presents this free Photoshop skin smoothing action, available for instant download from their website. Soften your portrait subjects for beautiful glamor shots and more.

skin smoother

10. High-resolution Photoshop Watercolor Brushes

Digitally paint watercolor masterpieces with this set of 38 free watercolor brushes by Brusheezy contributor Sandy.

watercolor brushes

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.

10 Steps on the Path to be a Graphic Designer

design is …

The Internet has undoubtedly changed our world and has become a solid source for research, instant information, and a virtually endless stream of new ideas and thoughts. However, while most people have a basic understanding of how to use the Web as a search tool and to perform basic tasks and many can set up basic websites or blogs, the people who create the means for getting the information to you, provide the graphics, define the search engine protocols, and all the other activities that go on beyond the screen are not as numerous as many may think.

Thus anyone looking for Internet career opportunities that go beyond basic web knowledge has many options available to them. There are a variety of opportunities people can pursue, skills they can learn, and ideas they can explore to become more involved in making today’s Internet even more dynamic.

1. Past Accomplishments—Don’t reinvent the wheel: There are a lot of good ideas for using the web. Some have been implemented, some have not. Take time to learn about trusting instincts, determining what needs to be on the web, and what impact the wealth of information on the web will have on the education process.

2. Graphic Design—Remember a picture can equal a thousand words: The old adage about pictures being worth a thousand words has been somewhat misleading. A picture or a good graphic can convey a considerable amount of information. However, both elements are required in a good design.

3. Design Courses—Teach yourself or earn a degree: Like most professions there are differing opinions over whether a person who is self-taught can provide the same quality of work as those designers who have degrees. Regardless of which view you share, there are a number of free or low-investment graphic design courses online that can enhance design skills. By taking these courses you can bolster up your professional portfolio, whether you’ve obtained a degree or not.

4. Typography—The real foundation: Despite any advanced techniques you may learn, please do not overlook learning the basics. Decisions about typography can make or destroy any design, no matter how good or bad it may be. A free course on typography that was developed by MIT is available on About.Com.

5. Designing Logos—Making it great: An inexpensive course is a great investment. With this course you can explore logo artwork that will help you create unique logos for clients and brand images.

6. Photoshop Basics—Learning the secrets: Photoshop is an outstanding program with countless features, however you don’t need all of them. As a part of the PSD Tuts Plus “Sessions” Series, this course will help you improve your designer skills.

7. Talking Type—Logos influence emotion: A $20 course by Skillshare will explore the role that typography plays in designing logos. The course helps to explain how the designer can learn to select the best logo typography for a particular project.

8. Design School—A MFA alternate: The curriculum of the Graphic Design School covers most aspects of graphic and web design. The fees are higher than the other non-degree options—about $2,000. However, such a fee would be less than the cost of earning a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree.

9. Other Options—Picking and choosing: There are other options that are available that may provide the additional training you need to make your current skills more marketable and make you a better designer. It is important to check out these courses and make certain they will provide training that will be useful to you.

10. Other Courses—Quick overview: There are numerous other courses that can help any person improve their design skills, from basics to mastering such programs as Illustrator and Dreamweaver. The important thing to remember is that you have to find the courses. They are on the Internet, but it is up to you to find and select the courses that will best serve your needs as you move from being just another graphics designer, who does a little design work along with his other work, to a master designer, who creates the concepts that other people will remember.

In other words, you have to design the path you want to take to be a top designer.

Guest Author Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.


Top 10 Online Graphic Design Courses

You can teach a classically-trained graphic designer new tricks

While the graphic design community debates whether it is necessary to obtain a graphic design degree or whether self-taught graphic designers can craft quality designs on par with those of degree-holding designers, you can quietly bolster your graphic design skills and become a better – and more marketable – graphic designer by taking the following 10 free and low-investment online graphic design courses.

Teach Yourself Graphic Design

This PSD Tuts Plus self-study online course teaches the basics of graphic design. Following a standardized curriculum, you’ll learn graphic design theory and the best practices you need to build a strong foundation in design.

Graphic Design Theory?

Published on design authority AIGA’s website, Helen Armstrong’s outstanding article lends perspective into graphic design theory. Once you’ve learned the basics in the PSD Tuts Plus course, you’ll benefit from this alternative viewpoint that delves into what graphic design theory really means, as well as its impact on how you work as a graphic designer.

Digital Typography

If you want to establish yourself as a stellar graphic designer, don’t skimp on learning typography. Your choice of typography can make or break any design, no matter how good or bad it already is. This free course, complete with materials, was developed by MIT and published on About.com.

How to Design a Logo

What goes into a great logo design? Find out the answer to that question as you explore great logo artwork so you can craft your own unique logos and outstanding brand images. This course is $45; an investment that pales in comparison to a single credit hour.

Photoshop Basix

Part of the PSD Tuts Plus “Sessions” series, this course reveals the secrets to mastering Photoshop. The result? You’ll be a more talented designer capable of quick, accurate work; thus, far more marketable.

Logo Design: Let The Type Do The Talking

This $20 Skillshare course explores the role typography plays in logo design, and how you can select the right logo typography to influence emotion.

The Graphic Design School

This complete course curriculum covers nearly every aspect of graphic and web design. Find myriad classes and certificates to achieve, and be instructed by knowledgeable instructors. The fees are higher than other options listed here – around $2,000 – but still far cheaper and quicker than earning an MFA.

Illustrator Training Course

Vector Diary’s four-week Adobe Illustrator course is the perfect way to quickly learn and master the nuances of one of the most popular vector design programs in the world.

HOW Design University

The experts at HOW Design have created a comprehensive graphic design learning program that covers far more than the basics of design. From advanced typography to design business management, you can take online courses designed to make you a more successful designer for around $200 each.

The Complete Guide to Starting a Graphic and Web Design Business From Home

Colorburned’s Gino Orlandi takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a successful design business from home. This course represents an excellent overview of the world of self-employed graphic designers and helps you make important decisions up-front, such as determining what your niche will be so you can market to targeted customers.

What self-study online graphic design courses do you recommend?

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Useful links: web education, srcset, design errors

Is Web Design Education Under Appreciated and Dying on the Vine? An important discussion started by Bill Cullifer at WebProfessionals.org.

Improved support for high-resolution displays with the srcset image attribute explains Webkits support for srcset.

5 Signs You’re Falling Short in You Web Redesign Project. What to lookout for.

Changes at Flickr

For all the people who don’t trust Yahoo to take on Tumblr without screwing it up, may I suggest you take a look at what happened to Flickr yesterday? I find that a huge improvement in appearance, however there may be ads now, although the announcement of the changes doesn’t mention this.

Your Flickr Account

Going beyond the announcement to search through the FAQ, you find that the $25 Pro account (which I have had for years) is no longer available. People with the Pro account still get ad-free browsing and sharing and unlimited uploading, but the account type and $25 price point are fading away. Flickr promises, “Recurring Pro members currently have the ability to continue renewing at the same price.”

Notice that word currently.

Going forward, there will be 3 account types.

  • Free, with 1 Terabyte of photo and video storage, but sporting ads
  • Ad-free, for $49.99 per year which is similar to the free account, but with no ads
  • Doublr, with 2 Terabytes of photo and video space for $499.99 per year

To Make Sure Your Pro Membership Continues

The FAQ page also explains how to make sure your Pro membership is renewed. You can go to your account information to see if you are set up with a renewing subscription already. If not, you may want to sign up for automatic renewals.

Here are Flickr’s instructions, which are less helpful than going straight to your account settings.

  • Anyone who was Pro at 12:00 am (midnight) GMT on May 20, 2013, may be eligible to sign up for recurring Pro in order to extend their Pro membership beyond its expiration date.
  • This applies to:
    • those whose one-time or gift Pro memberships expired after 12:00 am GMT.
    • those who are on a gifted Pro account.
    • those who have purchased one-off Pro and are set to expire in the future.
  • To keep your Pro status by signing up for a recurring Pro subscription, visit the account order page.

Is it Yahoo VS. Google now?

Yahoo is making big moves with the purchase of Tumblr and the changes at Flickr. Does this mean Yahoo is back in the running as competition for Google? Since Google seems to be taking over the world, I think a little competition may be a good thing.

Useful links: Forms, Creativity, Acorn

Accessible Forms 1: Labels and Identification is an important post at Web Usability. I’ll bet there’s some info in this report that you don’t know, but can use.

Q&A with Adobe MAX Speaker Denise Jacobs who talks about creativity and the importance of storytelling on web sites.

Acorn 4 is out. Do you recommend this inexpensive image editor to students who can’t afford Photoshop?

Useful links: Africa in infographics, Digital Classroom, Pycon item

Here’s a whole series of infographics about technology in Africa that detail how mobile technology is helping prevent the spread of HIV, growing corn, and many other intresting ideas.

Wylie Publishing announced a new venture called Digital Classroom. It’s a plethora of videos and tutorials for learning web design topics. As with the books they publish, the videos and tutorials cover all sorts of web education topics including Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I didn’t go through any of the courses to see how different they are from those offered by lynda.com, but you may want to check them out to see if what they are doing will help you learn the next thing on your list.

Regarding Forking and Dongle Jokes Don’t Belong at Tech Conferences. Two things:

  1. GO ADRIA! You rock!
  2. Good guys in tech award to the Pycon organizers