Sunday, February 9, 2014

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design an Animated GIF in Photoshop and After Effects

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design an Animated GIF in Photoshop and After Effects

Sometimes you may need to incorporate a simple animation in your website or presentation without using a QuickTime or AVI movie, then your choice will be to create a GIF animated picture. GIF pictures are much more small in size than video files and you can create them following the very same steps you do while designing any other type of animation, the only difference will be at the final stage when you render the animation into a GIF animated image, as we will see now.
In this tutorial I will make a simple GIF image using my two favorite adobe application (Photoshop and After Effects). Some designers prefer to create the animation directly in Photoshop, but I prefer tm make use of the different rotation and manipulation possibilities available in After Effects; in another tutorial I will teach you how to make animation in Photoshop.
Photoshop Still Image Design
First, let's create a brand new Photoshop file, dimensions will be 7 inches for both width and height, 72 for resolution.
For the still image layers, I created here four layers, two of them will not be animated and the other ones will be animated in After Effects.
The still layers I designed here are a simple red nice heart I designed using the pen tool (Press "P" to get it), I actually designed only the right half of the heart, duplicated the layer (to duplicate layer drag it and drop it over the "new layer" icon) and merged them finally in one layer (to merge layers Shift+ click them and then press "Ctrl+ E") to be able to add layer effects. The second still layer is the background, I used a shiny orange gradient to make it, and also I incorporated some artistic brushes to make it dynamic.
For the animated layers, I created two identical layers containing sparks, I used here a simple spark brush and separated them into two different layers while changing the layer size to have two sparks, a small one on the upper left corner of the heart, and a bigger spark on the lower right corner of the hear. Now we have a complete Photoshop image, let's make it animated in After Effects.
After Effects Animated Image Steps
Now let's import this Photoshop file in After Effects and begin the animation work; open After Effects application, in the "project" tab double click to open the import dialog box, find your Photoshop file and select it (do not double click it) from the "import as" menu in the left lower corner of the dialog box select "Composition- cropped layers".
Now you will find a new folder available on the "project" tab, double click it and drag the four layers on your timeline tab; here the application will ask you if you want to create a 4 seconds animation (or according to your application setting), click OK, and begin rearrange your layers so they are arranged according to your Photoshop file.
Of course we will do nothing with the still two layers; our animation will be applied only to the two sparks layers. The animation effects will be applied to: Scale, Rotation, and Opacity. To begin manipulate the three effects open the arrow on the left side of the layer, and then open the arrow on the left side of "transform". Now, we need to begin our manipulation and to make it recorded you must click the small "clock" icon on the left side of each transformation effect. Now begin to change the numbers of each effect according to the following image, of course you must change the "time indicator" to make changes during the whole animation.

Do the same for the second Spark layer; try to change the numbers of (scale, opacity, and size) according to what you see, after making your changes press "Play" in the time controls tab.
Now we have a short simple animation of two sparks dancing on the surface of a nice red heart, let's render this into a GIF image, from the "Composition" menu, click on "Add to render queue".
A new tab will appear, it is the render tab, at the lower left corner of the tab, you will se a link called "lossless", select it and choose "Animated GIF" from the "format" menu, open the "format options" and make sure your settings are similar to the settings shown in the following image. Now Press OK to save your settings.

Another link shows the output location of your image, select it to identify where you wish to save you GIF image on your PC.
Now the settings are saved, press the "Render" button. Open the location where you saved your GIF image and you will find an animated gif image with the same animations exactly as you saw when you pressed the "play" button in the "time controls" tab.

Free Tutorial Photoshop: How to Remove a Solid or Gradient Background from Photos in Photoshop

Free Tutorial Photoshop: How to Remove a Solid or Gradient Background from Photos in Photoshop
An advertiser needs always to have several items to be incorporated in his ad; it can be a piece of furniture, a logo, a model or ay similar items than are relevant to his/her ad in order to give it a more relevant sense.
In designing sales ads for clothing stores, an advertiser, or graphic designer, must perform a brainstorming exercise first to define what are the objects he/she may need to use her, may need to highlight to have an expressive story telling advertisement, perhaps we need to use a simple cartoon of a group of ladies making purchases with buying bags in their hands, or a nice lady (or man of course if he is making a menswear ad), but what if the advertiser found the suitable photo for his ad but it is not available in a single transparent background? The answer will be to remove whatever background behind it, copy the model and past it!! I know that this is the answer actually, but what is needed to be performed to incorporate this photo in the advertisement while having a realistic effect, not just a cropped silly model photo that definitely gives the feel that she is pasted on the ad and completely separated from it. Now let's have some quick tips and tricks to remove a background from a photo while giving it a nice look to be incorporated within an advertisement.
Layer Mask: First rule first, never cut, only mask! When you are about to remove a background from a photo the first thing you need to put in mind is that you will not literally remove or erase the background, of course not, you will only create a layer mask to make in temporarily invisible, perhaps sometime in the future you need to use the whole image or maybe remove some parts only from the background for whatever reasons, so put it in your mind, no erasing, only MASKING.
Pen Tool: The best tool you can ever use for masking and making a very accurate selection of the object you wish to separate is the "Pen" tool, (press "P" to get it) all what you need is to zoom in the Photoshop file and begin using the Pen tool to create a path all around your object; for curves you can press and drag until you get the exact curvature, and you can return to sharp path by pressing "Alt" while clicking on the curved point. At the end of your path when you are approached to the first point you created you can see a small circle referring to closing your mask; close your mask then, right click the path and click on "make selection", set the feather to (0) to have sharp crispy edges, now you have a selection of your object, all what you need is to click on the "add mask" button to get rid of the background.
Quick Selection Tool: Press "W" to get it; I prefer to use this tool when I have a large background with little details, this tool can be useful with simple gradient backgrounds.
Color Selection: For solid background the best selection tool will be by using color selection, it is the most easy way to create a selection out of a solid color background, from the select menu click on "color range" and use the color picker to select the background, click ok, now you have the selection of the solid color of the background, but of course we need to make a selection of the object and hide the background, to perform this, from the selection menu click on "Inverse", now you can click on the mask icon. Remember this selection method works only with solid colors.
Refine Edges: A good tool you can use to adjust your selection is the "Refine Edge" tool, you will find it in the select menu; this tool can help you adjust (radius-contrast-smooth-feather-contract/expand) according to your preferences, try to manipulate every slider until you get the best results you wish to have.
Blurring Effect: Now you have a crisp defined object, but when you incorporate it into an advertisement it can have a cliché look, blurring effect can solve this problem, but what will be blurred will be the borders of the object only, not the whole object; now press Ctrl and click on your layer, from the selection menu click on "Modify" and choose "Contract", put a small number like 2 or 3, now from the same selection menu click on "Inverse", and now you can apply the blur effect from the filter menu (blur-Gaussian blur). Now you will have a very smooth edge for your object ready to be used in any advertisement.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design a medical Book Cover in Photoshop

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design a medical Book Cover in Photoshop

This tutorial will teach you how to design a medical book cover in Photoshop.
First, we need to create a brand new Photoshop file, the standard dimensions for a medical book or pamphlet cover will be 17 inches for "width", and 11 inches for "height", I prefer to set the "resolution" to 72 so the file size will not be quite big.
For those who prefer to watch the video tutorial they can watch it directly on YouTube from here
Before you begin your design, you need to show the "grid" as it will help you divide the cover background easily; to show the grid, go to "view" menu, click on "show" (submenu) and then click on "grid".
Now, let's organize our work into groups of layers, but we need to learn first What Are the Layers Needed in Our Design??
We will have (5) groups of layer:
1.     Backgrounds
2.     Header and Footer
3.     Shapes
4.     Logo
5.     Typing
(1)  Backgrounds
The basic cover background must have a light gradient effect. It does not need to be vivid or distinguished, here we can use light grays gradients. We can fill the background on a single layer or divide it into two separate layers according to printing preferences; in my case I divided it into two front and back layers (left and right).
As this is a medical cover, we can use a light image on the front side of the cover, such as sunshine, sky or green land, this layer needs to be a bit transparent and blurred to keep it low profile.
(2)  Header & Footer
This layer group will contain two identical layers, for both header and footer; here it is the time to use vivid gradient styles, perhaps orange or blue gradients (of course not together). Use the rectangle selection tool to make the header, fill it with gradient, and cerate a copy of it for the footer. Drag the footer and header to their appropriate positions.
(3)  Shape Layers
 It can be used to highlight the company slogan(s), I used in this file two circles filled with different gradient styles, the style here will reflect the target behind the slogan sentence, for instance, it can be a light or vivid gradient if the sentence refers to better results, such as "Simpler", and vice versa; for other words such as "Complex" we need to use dull grays.

(4)  LOGO
Logo will appear twice:
·        Big logo will appear on the front upper side of the cover
·        Small logo will appear on the back lower side of the cover
Both layers need to have shadow and glow effects to be distinguishable from other typing layers.

(5)  Typing Layers
There will be four separate typing layers:
1.     Slogan layers (must be adjusted to the shape layers)
2.     Brief description of the company services, it needs to be written in a simple font with small letters
3.     Address- Phone- Fax- Online website; this layer will appear on the back side, written with large letters.
4.     Phone number and company website must be rewritten in a separate layer with bold letters. This layer will appear on the lower back side of the cover.
Now the tutorial is done, I hope you can design your own cover after reading my step by step tutorial or by watching the video tutorial.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design a 2D Diamond in Photoshop

Free Tutorial and Project file: How to Design a 2D Diamond in Photoshop

To design a logo for a jewelry store, crystal plant or any similar business, you need to incorporate a Diamond in your logo, the diamond shape should be as simple as possible while, at the same time, give the 3D impression.
In this tutorial I will teach you how to design a Diamond in Photoshop, of course you can download the original file From Here in order to compare your work with the original file.

1.     Create a brand new Photoshop file, set the dimensions to "1000" for width, "600" for height, resolution to "72"; of course you can change the dimensions according to your printing preferences.
2.   Draw a simple Diamond on a paper and picture it using any available camera you have, for me I use my mobile camera, or simply you can download a diamond blueprint from any free images website such as, I made a simple blueprint which you will find in the project file.
3.   The diamond pieces will depend on using two colors gradients with different directions, the directions will depend on the light reflection on the diamond surface in reality.
4.   To adjust the gradient direction, click and drag from north to south or south to north to get the gradient going from dark to light or from light to dark, your dragging length will affect the colors distribution, you can try it several times until you get the effect you wish to see.
5.    The gradient space must be restricted to each diamond piece, this implies to make each piece or group of pieces in a separate layer.
6.   To create a selection for each piece, use the pen tool (press "P" to get it) and use the blueprint as a guide for each piece border, go with your pen around the piece border until you finish your path, right click the path and choose (make selection), create a new layer and use the gradient tool to make necessary effect. Repeat this step with each piece until you complete the diamond shape.
7.    Now we have created our own diamond, we need now to get rid of the blueprint, on its layer, press the "eye" icon in order to make this layer invisible, you will no more see the eye neither the blueprint image, or you can make it a little bit gray by manipulate its opacity.
8.   We need perhaps to create a nice background for our logo, (of course this background will be use for illustration purpose only, when you print the logo it must not be visible), create a new layer and drag it beneath all other layers, use the gradient tool again, but this time pick very light grays for the tow colors with slight color variation, using gradient tool, click and drag the layer to get a simple nice background.
9.   Of course you can adjust your diamond shadowing properties according to your preferences, to do this you will need to have all pieces in one layer, select all the layers we used before to create the Diamond pieces and press (Ctrl + E) to merge them. I prefer usually to have a copy of these layers, put them in a group and make it invisible for further modification purposes.
10.                      Now you have your diamond logo, use any suitable font to put your company name and slogan and save your file.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Photoshop: Cable logo. Free tutorial and project file

Photoshop: How to Design a logo for a cable / entertainment company. Free tutorial and project file

To design a logo for cable companies or TV channel you will need to make it colorful, funny, and make it possible to be animated later by the company motion graphers.
In this tutorial I will go with you step by step to teach you how I designed this cable logo.
Fist step: create a brand new Photoshop file and set the dimensions quite high, make it 1200 by 1000 for instance.

Second step: from the "layer" menu create a new layer, using the rectangle marquee tool create a rectangle; pick a vivid color for it, in my case I picked loud red.

Third step: double click the layer to get its properties and adjust the shadow and bevel tabs according to the following figures.

Fourth step: select this layer and press the left mouse button then drop it on the new layer icon on the left corner to double it, repeat this act until you get six layer copies.

Fifth step: rearrange the six rectangles so you have three on the back and other three on the front. Using the move tool (press "V" to get it) to rotate each layer to have a random look for the three front rectangles.

Sixth step: double click each of the three front layers and change the "color overlay" and "inner shadow" tabs according to the next figures.

Seventh step: use the type tool (press "T" to get it) and write the first letters of the company you are making the logo for, of course you can increase or decrease the number of letters and rectangles according to your company name. pick a fun looking font for the letters; in my case I picked "Showcard Gothic", I prefer to write every letter in a separate layer to be able to rotate it in the opposite direction or maybe randomly.

Eighth step: use the same settings for inner shadow, drop shadow as the rotated rectangles front layers, you can use stroke if you wish.
Ninth step: in another separate layer type "slogan", company" or "group" and use a warm color for it. Create another layer and make a simple line using the rectangle marquee tool, fill it in any light color. Drop shadow for this layer as well. Here we are, you've created your colorful cool logo.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Photoshop: Tourism Company Logo, free tutorial and project file

Photoshop: Tourism Company Logo

To design a logo you need first to specify the company market in order to decide the symbols you will make use of in your logo.
In this tutorial I will teach you how to design a logo for a tourism company.
The fist step will imply performing a brainstorm exercise to collect the possible relevant words or object to tourism sector, such as ship, water, birds, sun, aircraft, suitcase, and so forth.
The second step will be to make a simple drawing to put these symbols (of course not all of them) together to get an appropriate logo design. You will need to picture your drawing, maybe with your mobile camera, and send it to your PC and import to Photoshop to begin your 2D render.

The third step will be to convert this drawing into a 2D logo using the pen tool in Photoshop (press "p" to get it).Then you will try to draw a similar drawing for each piece of your drawing, convert it to selection.

Each piece of your drawing needs to be rendered in its own layer to make it easier for you to use different colors for each piece.
The fourth step will be color picking, in tourism filed it will be better to use vivid colors such as yellow, orange, red and blue, in my case I decided to use color gradients.

The fifth step will be to pick the appropriate fonts for your company name or slogan, some clients tell the designer to use specific fonts according to their preferences.

Finally, the last render will be to have a very simple background that will be used only for presentation purposes and must not appear in your printed logo. Printed logos are usually saved as EPS file or PDF according to printing settings.

You can download original logo PSD file from here