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Best of the Web - May 2009

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This month really got back to the basics of Photoshop. A lot of the tutorials featured this month used some of the most basic tools in Photoshop to create stunning designs for all levels of designers.

This was also a special month for our freebies because there is an
extremely detailed and high quality icon pack that everyone should check out. Finally this month features articles that are informative for every type of designer, whether you are into logo design, or webpage design, this month has you covered. Check it out!

Tutorial Wrap

  • Last month tutorial 9 gave us an awesome lighting bolt icon that we could use on our desktop; and they follow this month up with another very detailed looking icon tutorial. This tutorial shows you how to make an envelope from scratch and add detail to it using simple things like gradients and filters. After it is created the author shows you how to add it to your desktop as an icon. So check this one out.

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  • Abstract Typographic Art

    Our second tutorial of the month is a great in-depth typographic experiment where you will learn how to merge Illustrator and Photoshop to create interesting abstract typography. You will learn how to lay down the basic lettering in Illustrator and then export to Photoshop where you will add the color along with all the texture. This is a very
    informative tutorial because it not only gives you a ton of good Photoshop techniques but it also gives you some Illustrator knowledge, so definitely check this one out.

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  • Warp Tool and Texture Experiment

    The warp tool is very powerful if used correctly, and in this tutorial you will learn how to take a simple image and turn it into something abstract and original with the warp tool. There is also a lot more to this tutorial than that one tool, filters can be just as
    powerful and a lot of simple filters like the Lens Flare are used in this tutorial to make a great background full of color that
    doesn't overpower the focal point of the illustration. So this is another advanced tutorial where you will learn a few things.

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  • Awesome Milk Typography

    Our next tutorial is a fairly simple typographic illustration that merges a simple self made font with a splashing milk stock. There is not much to this tutorial but the final result does look appealing and the techniques learned here can be applied to branding and mixing a certain product with a font. So for those who are just getting into typography and photo manipulation, this is a great tutorial for you. If you are more advanced then you can skip this one and look for something a bit more complicated.

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  • Using Blends to Create Depth

    This is another tutorial that offers you techniques from both worlds - Illustrator and Photoshop. The tutorial deals with using simple blends, like Gradients and Masks to bring a great deal of depth to simple vectored shapes created in illustrator. In my opinion, everyone should read through this tutorial because it shows you how to create harmonious art with the two programs, the result might not be attractive to all, but the techniques are valuable.

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  • CS4 Content Aware Scaling

    Now this is a rather interesting video tutorial focusing on a new feature in Photoshop CS4. If you were to use the transform tool in Photoshop CS3 for example and size down an image, every pixel in that image would either expand or contract. But with this new feature you can add a mask to a certain part of an image so that when you try to transform it, it will stay exactly the same. This is useful if you need one part of an image to stay the same and another to change.

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  • Creating a Car Template

    Creating a website template can be a difficult task because of all the information you have to fit on one page, and not only that you have to make it look appealing to the eye. But with the help of this tutorial you can create a nice looking template for a car club. This is more on the
    beginner side and not too advanced, so if you are starting out and need some help on templates, then check this tutorial out.

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  • Photorealistic Material Rendering

    This is a great tutorial for those who need to create realistic looking materials. You will learn how using certain brushes you can get very realistic effects of Metal, Stone, Glass, Fabric, and more. So if you are a painter and need a lesson on creating realistic textures, then make sure to check this tutorial out, as you will learn a lot.

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  • Creating a realistic website layout

    Like I stated before, creating templates is a difficult task; And creating realistic looking templates is an even harder task to tackle. Once you have mastered creating regular templates this is a good next step. Realistic layouts can bring great visual depth to your website and this tutorial will focus on mastering the realism element. You will learn how to properly use stocks and manipulate them all to mesh
    together and give you that realistic scene.

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(FREE!) Download Picks

  • Swine Flu Wallpaper

    This is an amusing freebie that gives off a comedic message as well as a clean and professional visual. This is a great parody on the current swine flu outbreak that we are all likely familiar with. We are given the wallpaper in 7 different resolutions including one for all our iPhone users. So download the wallpaper and add some giggles to your desktop.

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  • 26 Must Have Free Fonts

    The name says it all, these fonts are visually very stylish and the possibilities are endless with them. My suggestion is download them and try using them with one of the typographic tutorials mentioned earlier. You are given a very wide range of fonts, from very sleek to block like. So pick out your favorites and and download them.

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  • Grunge Music Texture

    Bittbox's Texture Tuesday always makes it onto our roundups because of their unique textures that most other websites overlook. For example this week's submission was grunge sheet music. You get 5 different textures each with its own rugged color to it.

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  • 40 High Quality Icon Sets

    This is probably one of the nicest icon sets featured in our roundups. The title they gave this post does not lie at all. These are all very high quality icons featuring movie characters like Kung-Fu Panda, and Star Trek, as well as some extremely detailed house icons. This is a must download for everybody since these icons are some of the best I've seen in a while.

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  • 10 Retro Toy Icons

    I'll say from the start this icon pack isn't as great as the last one, but they are a very original and unique set that can bring up a nostalgic feeling. A set of 10 toy icons that we probably all played with as children, if this won't fit your desktop it might be useful for future projects so check it out.

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  • Vector Pack Sampler

    GoMediaZine is notorious for their stunning vector packs, and here we are lucky enough to get a free sample of their newest pack #15. So download this sampler, check out what they give you, and if you feel you want more then go ahead and buy their full pack.

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  • 10 Free Handwritten Fonts

    Now if you want to add a sense of realism to your art these fonts will definitely serve useful to you. This is a pack of 10 very realistic handwritten fonts. What I suggest you do is use some of them on that realistic web layout because that would just be a great combination. So download them and try them out in your art.

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Article Wrap

  • 10 Benefits to Being a Graphic Designer

    If you need some motivation, or you just want to know the benefits of being a designer, then check out this article. Every designer should read this because it gives you positives about your profession that you might have not even realized. The 10 benefits range from financial advantages to personal ones.

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  • Hardest Part of Being a Graphic Designer

    Since our last article focused on the positives of being a designer, I figured it would only be right to focus on the negatives of being one. This article is just as informative as the last, but this one focuses on the negative side of things. This is also a very interesting article because you get the answer from several designers, each giving their two cents about the topic.

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  • Web Design Polishing

    This article focuses on turning bland websites into something more vivid and attractive to the perspective customer. The author breaks down the article into 10 different things you need to focus on, and he even gives links to informative websites that focus on perfecting web design. So for the web designers out there, this one is a must read for you.

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  • Do You want Fries with that Logo?

    This is another unique and interesting article, this one focuses on the similarities between the fast food industry and the logo design. In a fast food
    restaurant there is a demand for food that needs to be made in a certain
    amount of time, and there are instances where a client will ask you to make a quick logo for their company. This is a very good read for everyone because it focuses on a serious issue and adds a comedic twist to it which makes it enjoyable to read.

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  • Advice for Graphic Design Students

    I'm sure a good number of our readers are attending and if not are planning to attend graphic design school. If you fall into that
    category then check this article out. It gives you some very sound advice on how to
    excel in school and be more than just "mediocre."

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  • Why Should I Work Away From Home?

    This article shows you that working away from home can sometimes be a positive for a designer. Things like creative block, and distractions can be eradicated just by simply changing your work venue. There are a lot more benefits to it, so check this article out and see what happens with your work.

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  • Logo Design Tips

    This is for all the logo designers who read this roundup. This article is an interview with professional logo designer Type08. He answers some of the big questions that pertain to logo designing. This is a great read for everyone who is interested in this specific area of designing.

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  • 9 Tips for Brand Building

    Our last article of the month focuses on the importance of having a brand or identity for your website or product. It offers 9 very simple yet detailed examples of what a good brand has to have. For example some of the tips include Color, Character, Emotion, and more. Each tip is followed by a great example and a detailed explanation of what is to be expected.

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