Archive for October 2016

Creating Fonts, also with Photoshop?

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Over the recent years there has been a growing interest in typography and the development of new fonts among artists and crafters. Luckily, this interest was recognized by industry manufacturers and software creators. In honor of this expanding art, let’s take a look at some of the top three tips for anyone that wants to begin creating their own fonts, regardless of their knowledge and expertise level.

1. Start with a Brief

Creating a typeface from scratch can be a drawn out and time consuming process so be sure to pack a bit of patience. It is best to begin the process only when you feel that you have developed a strong and clear vision of the final product that you are looking to achieve in response to a brief. In order to develop the brief, you will need to invest some time into research, as well as, some self-reflection. Take into consideration how you intend to use the font, whether it be just for your own personal use or for a project that will be used or seen by others. Just like with anything that you create, it is important to remember to consider your audience and base your design off of what will appeal to their tastes. Also consider what you are trying to achieve with the development of the new font. Is it strictly for personal expression or is it going to be used to alter the formatting of an important document? The sky is the limit in terms of options so it is important to make sure that your direction is firmly set when necessary.

2. Get Hands-on

Once you have decided on a clear and focused direction for the development for your typeface, it is often suggested that you go back to the basics and begin to draw or sketch it out with pen and paper. This is a good idea because there are no limitations when it comes to free-form handwriting, whereas many computer software programs can make the initial design more time consuming and frankly, awkward. It is also recommended that you use a good quality paper and writing utensil to help everything flow together more smoothly. Once you have everything you need, begin by sketching out a few characters of your typeface, being sure to outline the defining features that will be carried throughout the other characters of the font face. Once those have been clearly defined, it will be easier for you to develop and design the remainder of the characters on a digital platform.

3. Selecting your Software Program

Now that you have designed at least the first few characters of your typeface, and you are ready to get them into the computer to continue with your design, you will need to select a software program. It is a good idea to do your research on a few different programs and be sure to pick one that will work best for you based on your comfort level and the complexity of the program itself. The majority of illustrators will likely select Adobe. However, if you are not comfortable using a program like that there are other options out there like Lyphs, Robofont, and FontLab Studio. Most programs will be available on both MAC and Windows operating systems. Keep in mind that the majority of the software programs out there are pretty expensive but if you are just getting started out, you may be able to find smaller versions or trial versions of the programs available for free or smaller fee than the full version online. Again, be sure to do your research ahead of time to save yourself a great deal of time, money, and frustration down the line.

This process is meant to be one of self-expression, creativity, and fun. Do not let yourself get bogged down in the gritty details that could transform the enjoyable craft of developing a new font into a chore. Do you research, develop your focus and goal clearly, and enjoy the ride? For those that get good at it, there may even be an opportunity to sell the fonts to others for their own use and projects. Just like with any artistic skill or craft, typography is something that will take time to develop and get good at. The more that you practice and play with your characters, the further you will develop your skill and expand your creativity. Before you know it you will find yourself developing special characters and new font faces without even thinking about it.

Adobe XD for UX design

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The new Adobe XD for UX design is being praised everywhere for its user-friendly design and for the fact that is so easy to use. In the past, software additions and updates to major software programs like Photoshop have taken even advanced computer geeks a long time to recover from because of their steep learning curve. This simply is not the case with the new UX design. In fact, some are even praising Adobe for making it so user-friendly that it actually works more like a mobile app than a desktop addition in terms of experience.

The software has been organized into two separate tabs to make it easier to use. Tab one is Design and tab two is Prototype.

Design – Under the Design tab is where you will be able to actually build your layouts. You can simply click and drag to make or change many shapes and expand upon your page. One of the great features of the program is that Adobe will highlight which corners are aligned with other elements to assist you in spacing each one of your elements. Of course that is fairly standard but still useful all the same. The “repeat grid” tool will now allow you to be able to perfectly duplicate or repeat all of your wireframes across the entire page. If you want to try to round off the corners of a box all you have to do is select a certain anchor point and then just point and pull. Say that you find that you need a custom button like a marker for a map. Of course you could go back to your Illustrator in order to build it. Or, with the new XD feature, you can utilize the shape design tool to build one.

Prototype – Under the Prototype tab you will be able to do some pretty exciting things, such as add interactivity to your images or build a button-linked workflow for your entire website or mobile app. This portion of the software is particularly impressive and shockingly easy to use. For this all you need to do is select any object, like an icon, and wait for a small arrow to appear beside it. Now drag that arrow onto the screen of your choosing and that is it. It’s linked. Pretty neat huh? Another thing you can do is install some basic animated transitions to occur in sequence. That way you will be able to get a feel for the way that the user interface will actually appear and fell when it Is in motion. Once you feel that you have achieved your final product and are happy with the design, just hit the record button and you will be able to go through your app to export the final results and even share your demo.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most user-friendly and valuable additions ever to be released by Adobe. The company is famous for creating amazing software that is often too difficult for the average computer user, but that is simply not the case with the new UX design. Anyone with a basic understanding of the existing program will be thrilled with the new addition in terms of its shallow learning curve and awesome intuitive features.

Kyle’s Brushes for Photoshop

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An Unexpected Commodity

Illustrator Kyle Webster is making waves with his creation of a set of digital paintbrushes that are all for use in Adobe Photoshop. According to Wired, Kyle has managed to collect an esteemed list of clients that include The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal. However, he says that he is actually making the majority of his income through the sales of his virtual paint brushes which allow illustrators like him to create the appearance of s scratchy technical pen, a dusty pastel, or dreamy watercolor paint.

These digital paintbrushes are being used by budding artists and college students, as well as, major players like the artists that work for Grand Theft Auto, Nike, and Game of Thrones. Amazingly, the preloaded paintbrushes have turned into a six-figure income for the business savvy artist. This is yet another example of a lucrative happy accident in the art and entrepreneur sector. Webster says that due to his eclectic collection of clients, he constantly had to change his style in order to meet their needs. Thant’s when he came up with the idea for the invention of virtual paintbrushes that would allow him to seamlessly transition from one style to the next or combine them to appeal to customers.

Of course with most fine things, the brushes didn’t happen overnight. It took Kyle more than a decade of playing with them to get the final result. Once they were finished, he began showing them to friends and that’s when they started asking for the tools for themselves. It was then that Kyle realized he had something to sell and had found a market with a need. Webster told Wired “Creating brushes, in my spare time, that emulated different kinds of natural media, allowed me to experiment more and then eventually work those experiments into paying work.”

What the Professionals Are Saying About the Brushes?

As stated previously, Kyle boasts a pretty impressive clientele list among the illustration profession. Of course, like with any product, these artists had some pretty strong opinions in terms of the brushes and their abilities to affect their work and results. Sophie Diao, credited with being the one to change the occasional and interesting changes to Google logo that appear from time to time had this to say about the brushes “I especially enjoy that some of his brushes have an unpredictability to them, in terms of how pen pressure and pen tilt affect them.” Here is what a few other major artists and illustrators had to say:

“Kyle’s brushes mimic the ‘happy accidents’ that make painting so magical, and allow them to occur in digital work.” – Samantha Kallis, Disney.

“So many brushes online act more like rubber stamps than true paint brushes. Kyle’s brushes look totally natural, and one brush can give a variety of results.” – Chris Turnham, worked on Laika’s Coraline.

“His brushes really get me excited about drawing again.” – Paolo Rivera, a comics artist whose work includes Wolverine and Daredevil.

Of course the positive reviews have been well received by Kyle. He says that despite the development and sales of the brushes cutting into his time for drawing, they have added a lot of value for him. They have also enabled him to be able to accept only the gigs that he wants to work on because money is no longer an issue. “Most of the work I am making now for clients is work I am proud to show in my portfolio, as opposed to a mix of jobs that pay the bills and keep me busy,” says Webster. That is essentially the dream of every starving young artist that enters the field with hopes of one day being recognized for the impact of their work.

New Big Photoshop CC Update – What’s new?

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There is big news in the graphic design world: Photoshop has finally released the highly anticipated CC update and it is said that additional digital imaging product features will be coming soon. Just about every graphic designer and artist in the world relies on the world-changing software that has enabled artists to create stunning digital images never before thought possible. Therefore, it is no surprise that this major update has been a highly anticipated one in the art community.

New Features

This new expansion of the software features a long list of different features that will allow designers to take their work to the next level in an exciting way. Changes to fonts, creative cloud libraries, artboards, and exportation abilities are just a few of the additions that all you Photoshop geeks can get excited about. For example, here is a list of the updates that have been made to fonts according to the Adobe website:

Search and Organize Fonts Quickly

  • View fonts by family (new this release): A more hierarchical font menu shows font families and lets you toggle to see fonts within that family, rather than seeing all fonts in a giant list.
  • Performance improvements in font menu (new this release): Font menu is faster because of improvements to showing samples for each font.
  • Favorites: Star fonts that you use frequently and then filter to only show those fonts.
  • Recently used: Photoshop will display your most recently used fonts at the top of the font list.
  • Search for fonts: Start to type the name of the font to find a font, rather than browsing with a scrollbar.

Go deeper into a given font

  • Glyph Panel: Use the Glyphs panel to insert punctuation, superscript and subscript characters, currency symbols, numbers, specialized characters, as well as glyphs from other languages into text.
  • On-canvas Glyph (new this release): On-canvas menu allows you to view and select alternate glyphs for the currently selected character.

Expand beyond your commonly used fonts

  • Typekit: Thousands of free fonts for Creative Cloud members to use; integrated into Photoshop’s font menu, missing font check workflow, similarity search and Match Font feature.
  • Match Font (new this release): Start with a raster image of a Latin font and Photoshop will tell you which fonts on your local machine or in your Typekit library are close matches.
  • Filter by Classification: Narrow the fonts in your font list by classification, like serif or sans serif.
  • Filter by visual similarity: Narrow the fonts in your font list based on similarity to your selected font.

Perhaps one of the best parts of this new update is that it is available in a mobile format as well. If you have not tried it, you can go to the iTunes store or the Google Play store and download the free Capture CC mobile app and get started. There are a ton of cool effects and features to keep you busy for hours.