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The How Of Design.


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#1 Fofo

Fofo

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 10:30 AM

On popular(*cough*) demand, I'm going to explain what designs are made up of, how you do all the neat effects you see around the web. Don't expect a stepbystep tutorial on the techniques, instead a way to realise virtually anything what your mind can imagine.

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I want to start off by saying I've only been doing photoshop for little over a year, and haven't had any proper education on advertising techniques/multimedia whatsoever and am far from being a professional. I'm only starting to slowly learn what makes up good typography/placement. Yet I can realise most things in design I want to. Which means being able to recreate almost any site by breaking it down into different parts of design. (You shouldn't litterly recreate other sites, just for showing your only limitation should be imagination, not technique).
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A lot of beginners seem to think (I know I did) that the more effects you read up to, the better a designer you will be. This is not true. While tutorials are indeed the core of learning the Photoshop techniques, it's not about the effect you've created at the end of the tutorial (The base-effect you create is crap most of the times anyway), it's about these little things good tutorialwriters put in there : Shortcuts, use of tools, settings, ..

Once a good tutorial is completed succesfully, you could have learned a lot of new shortcuts, how a certain photoshop tool is used,.. and start experimenting with what you've actually learned. This all goes on the condition that you've carefully read and understood what you're doing, which is basically the essence of what I'm trying to tell people with this small 'article' : Don't rush to the effect when taking a tutorial, read all the writer has to say(when he makes sidenotes : read them). People will be a lot more impressed when you create something on your own with the techniques you've learned, showing you actually understand what you're doing, than when you litterly show them the exact same tutorial effect that's been done 1001 times.

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So if you're serious about designing, stop depending on filter effects to get work done for you and start learning the tools (Dodge/burn tool, selection tools, pen tool, gradient tool,.. they're all very important), get a proper understanding of the Blend Modes (Normal, screen, overlay,.. they all have a different influence on underlying pixels), learn to use Layer masks, adjustment layers, the color adjustments, brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, curves, levels, channels, ... And even the different photoshop Filters (They're very easily misused, so stick to the basic ones at first. If you're using more than 2 filters in a row to realise something, you're probably heading the wrong way).

When just about every option in the menu, every tool in photoshop is familar to you, and you know what it does : then you're able to break down any design in different pieces, and all gates are open.
And no reason to panic, this seems much, but after each thing mastered there are loads of things to do with it. And it's especially fun when you can later on combine that technique with newly mastered techniques. As long as you haven't got money on your mind, it should be a really fun learning experience.

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Some closing tips:
-Get the tools and techniques under your belt.
-Study templates by professionals, see what makes them good.
-Broaden your view, going into something totally different from website design for a while doesn't hurt.
-Take constructive criticism, if someone else who knows what he's doing gives you comments, learn from them.
-Have fun, when you're really getting tired of all the designing, just take a break from it. Be it a few hours, or even a few months.


--

As a closer, here are some photoshop tutorials :
http://forum.yaxay.c...s=&threadid=260
(»Large list of photoshop tutorials troughout the thread, some are good, some are bad. Avoid the ones that sound like UBER PLASMA EFFECT, or anything like that.)
http://gallery.artof...star_field.html
http://gallery.artof...g_a_planet.html
(»These two tutorials are especially good because they confront you with a variety of photoshop tools, blend modes and techniques, and on top of that all give you an awesome end result to go home with. May not be suited for the absolute photoshop beginner)

I hope this has given some beginning designers a different view on design and that it will help them to get on the right track a lot faster. I also hope that fellowdesigners will agree on my point of view, at least for me if I had realised this earlier, I would've learned a lot of things a lot faster.

Thanks for reading this far and good luck ;)


ps : if you need help on something in particular, just let us know, I'm sure me or any other designer around here will explain it in detail or write a small tutorial on it.
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#2 Fofo

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 10:38 AM

And if anyone can find the tutorial that explains the black/white-pixel inset, let me know. That was such a revolution to realise those 2 small things created a "gap" ;D
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#3 z0rr0

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 12:31 PM

thanks for cool tips
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#4 kfreak

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 01:15 AM

Originally posted by Fofo@Nov 9 2003, 10:38 AM
And if anyone can find the tutorial that explains the black/white-pixel inset, let me know. That was such a revolution to realise those 2 small things created a "gap" ;D

When I started with the Win32 API in C++ I was astonished to realise that everything on the screen was just lines...still kinda cool if you think about it.
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#5 karl472001

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 08:34 PM

Very nice. Sure it will help many. =)




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