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Differences Between Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

What are the differences between Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign?

Firstly, let me say that all three programs are in fact owned and developed by the same company, Adobe Systems, the World leader in Web development, graphic design and E-learning software. All three programs are also bundled together into Adobe’s Creative Suite, which is a great and affordable way to purchase this software.

I think part of the confusion, is that certain tasks can be done in more than one of these programs. For example you can find vector-drawing tools available inside Photoshop and InDesign, even though Illustrator is the predominant vector drawing program. The key to getting the most out of these three programs is to understand what their key functions are and how they can be used together.

Okay so lets look at each program separately. We’ll start with Adobe Photoshop, which is probably the best known out of the three. Photoshop is a professional image editing software primarily used for editing bitmap images and image manipulation. Bitmap images are images, which are defined by their pixel structure. In other words digital bitmaps can be broken down into millions of tiny pixels and each pixel has its own attributes. Bitmap images are sometimes also referred to as raster images.

The most common type of bitmap image is a photographic image. Whether shot on film and scanned into the computer or whether digitally shot, photos are made up of millions of tiny pixels. So simply put Photoshop is a tool used to edit photographic images. It also has the ability to do lots of other things but the core function of Photoshop is to edit Photographic images.

If you go down to your local newsagent and pick up any magazine, chances are very good that the images in that magazine would have been edited or altered using Photoshop. Sometimes the adjustments can be minor such as subtle lighting or sharpening adjustments, and other times they could be major like applying a filter or special effect. Photoshop is used for retouching – ever wonder why the models and movie stars never have any cellulite or a double chin – the answer is Photoshop. Often an image can comprise of a few different images with have been merged together to form a montage. This effect can also be created in Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator on the other hand is a vector-drawing program. Vector images are the other main type of digital image. Unlike bitmaps, vectors are made up of a series of lines and shapes, which are defined as mathematical formulae. Vectors are very good for creating images, which contain large sections of the same color. So for example a navigation button on your web site, your company logo, or any non-photographic image would be better off created as a vector. Illustrator is the World’s premiere vector drawing tool, so if you were tasked with creating any kind of ‘flat’ art, such as a corporate profile, including logos, sign work, letterheads etc, chances are you would use Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe InDesign is the newest out of the three programs and is a page layout or publishing program. InDesign is used for putting together stuff like corporate brochures, documents, magazines, newsletters or advertisements. InDesign’s specialty is working with documents that contain a large amount of type or text.

Often designers will use all three programs on the same project. For example we recently created some new course outlines so we used Illustrator to create our logo and a few other vector graphics, we used Photoshop to apply a special shadow effect to some bitmap images, and finally we imported all those elements from Illustrator and Photoshop into InDesign where we added the copy and defined the layout.

Quality graphic design can make or break any company’s image. Adobe Creative Suite which includes Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign plus a little training can give you the vital edge to succeeding in a very competitive world.

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6 Ways You Can Grow Your Creativity Using Technology

Ever pondered on whether you can grow your creativity using Technology? Can you relate? Read on to find out.

Here are a few eye-provoking ways:

1) Music Composition

Do you have a yearning for music? You can download tabs, lyrics and compose music with voice using suitable software and play it in a concert while you go live as well. It will help you keep in track and any mistakes can be covered up. That way you are bound to be a success. People will love your show and you will be in demand.

2) Online Art Exhibition

Everything can be digitized now. Get those paint, water colors and drawing board and create some beautiful art. With Adobe Photoshop you can give further shades and change colors according to your taste and give a finishing touch to the art. Then sell it in an online art exhibition.

3) Creative Writing

Anyone can start writing creatively provided they read and write enough. Plot a story – take one or two days and then start writing. Everything will work out fine so long you plan everything about when you are going to finish your great piece of work, when you are going to sell and publicize it. Don’t give up – keep hanging on. As for the selling part and publicizing, Amazon would be a great place.

4) Photography

Photography is a great creative hobby for anyone. You learn to take photographs in enough light or with your camera’s flash light at night. Once you have the photographs computerized, you can further refine face shapes and colors, body shapes and colors and background colors using Adobe Photoshop. And finally print them out if you like.

5) Making handicrafts

Handicrafts can be made out of wood, bamboo, jute and cotton. They can be of various types depending on your taste for instance, smaller versions of real life objects such as, toy dolls, toy rickshaws and others such as, a handbag, money wallet, a picture with a village scene, boutique T-shirts etc. You can sell these in an appropriate online shop.

6) Making Blended Tea

Get different blends of tea leaves and try one day two blends, another day another two different blends and the third day three blends. And actually boil them in a tea pan. After boiling is done and tea leaves are removed, add sufficient milk and sugar and find out which day’s blended tea you liked the best. Have that more often and feel great. You can make a video of blended tea made by you creatively and embed it in YouTube.

You can tap your creative side in the above ways and technology can help you to grow in ways I have mentioned. Without technology in this modern day, life is meaningless. It has reached every sector of the world. So you need to keep yourself updated in your niche as well as the technology niche.

With both combined and the power of the two, money will keep rolling in. First attempt tried and tested methods of the combination and then when you have sufficient income, you can go experimenting by trial and error. Do not take too many risks or too little either. Do it slow. Take my word for granted – you will soar.

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7 Must Have Graphic Design Skills For Today’s Market

Today’s graphic market is more competitive than ever. The need is great to be on top of the pack with adequate skills and information that is up to date. There are skills that are an absolute requirement for the serious graphic design artist, whether creating design for their own projects or for others. There are some basic tools and skills that are needed to have what it takes to produce graphic design that will meet this ever-changing world’s insatiable desire for more and more graphics.

Here is a list of the basic skills needed to meet those needs.

1. Adobe Photoshop: In the industry of graphic design, even the experts are constantly learning. They are on top of the latest and greatest and experimenting with what can be done. They learn through tutorials, seminars, and books. Adobe Photoshop, a pixel based photo manipulation product, is considered the foundation of graphic design. To become proficient, it is imperative that you spend a pre-determined amount of time each week to learn new techniques.

The selection tool offers some complex photo manipulation and design. This product will teach you the technique of layering and adjusting layers, masks and channels. These powerful tools allow for photo repairs such as correcting the colours, scratches, and blemishes.

2. Adobe Illustrator: This program provides graphic design through vector-based graphics. For logo graphics or any other design where crisp, clean artwork is essential, this is the tool of choice. This detail graphic illustrator gives the designer the ability to create poster work and any design print ready.

This program offers such skills as bezier curves, converting a bitmap to a vector image, multi-step gradients, and converting graphic images with text. Like any powerful program, it will take some time to gain proficiency. However, the time spent learning these skills is worth every minute. Invest the time and you will reap great benefits.

3. Quark Express or Adobe InDesign: These programs are what is referred to as page layout programs. No matter what your final product will become, your work area is the page. So, it needs a layout. No matter what type of graphics or text are needed, or if the product will be a book, sales copy, brochures or a magazine, this type of high-end layout program is essential.

To become proficient in these products your skill level must be at the level of creating Master Pages. When this level of skill is attained you will be able to create a 32-page catalogue. This is achieved by understanding how to control text with and around images. This would include setting up the document for the text to flow around and sometimes in the images.

This program will also assist you in setting up pre-press copy and offset printing. If these concepts are foreign to you, go to your local print shop and ask them for a tour. Be sure to test drive this program before you do so you can be ready with a list of questions as you see the process through the eyes of the local print shop. This can be very valuable.

4. Typography: This is one of the most important skills that will determine if you will be a good or an excellent graphic designer. This skill is about the type, the clarity and appropriateness of the type that must accompany the text. It is essential that you have a font management system on your computer system. You must know the difference between True Type, PostScript and OpenType fonts. Be sure to get a font reference guide and resource book. This will increase your typography skills to the expert level.

5. Idea Generation: The resource of ideas is essential for any professional. However, in the design world it is imperative. Graphic designers are paid the most and are in the most demand, not just because of their Flash ability, or PhotoShop skills, but also because of their ability to provide innovative ideas. As an Idea Generator you need a plan, and a method. You will need to be around other innovative thinkers. Be sure to read, read, read. This will assist your creative side and allow your creative side to open up and flow. Remember it is the idea generators that generate serious income. Have a plan and work your plan.

6. Network Building: This is perhaps an essential skill that is too often overlooked. The networking is especially essential when you are a designer who works alone in their studio. For some people networking is difficult. This network will be your support group for those times when you need input, encouragement and direction. Even if you feel that you will never need this, prepare the resource so you will be ready.

To build a strong network, attending networking events is a good idea. Attend events and seminars where you can meet and mingle with others of similar interests. Be sure to take contract information. In this day in age, people are more willing to share their email address. Be sure to keep that contact information available for you to seek out their professional assistance.

7. Business Skills: This is a very important skill. There are some basic office skills that are needed for graphic design artists. You do not have to be an accounting genius, however there is a need to know business skills like sales, marketing, tax strategies and database management. The real heart of any business; whether you are starting your own graphic design company or if you are contracting your work out to customers, you NEED business skills. Without the business skills your graphic design talent will not be utilized to the full potential possible.

These are some of the essential skills needed to be a graphic design artist, who is reaping the benefits of positive cash flow. Some of these skills are specific to the graphics and the design capabilities, and some are specific to the business side. We encourage you to take a good look at where you are on the skill level. Do a realistic assessment, and make a plan to gain the skills needed.

The real key is to do something after you read this. Statistically most people, yes, even those who have paid good money for valuable advice, do not take the next step. The next step is action. Simply put it is, Plan and then Act.

Word design written on top of colorful geometric 3d shapes.
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How to Flatten and Unflatten an Image in Photoshop

To flatten an image, first of all create a new Photoshop document by pressing Ctrl+N, or go to File → New. Open the image you want to flatten, then go to the above menu and press Layer → Flatten image. Once you press this command, all of your layers will be merged. Even if you had 10 or 20 layers, by merging they will all become one single layer, one image. Now you can use the “arrow” move tool and move the whole image.

If you look on the right of your screen to the layers column, you will see just one layer listed. Flattening the image merges all layers into one. Just like when you first open the document, because it has only one layer it will be labeled Background, and have a little lock icon. You can unlock the icon by double-clicking on the lock icon. The image will still be flattened even after you unlock the layer, and you will not be able to modify the image or edit text if you added one.

This doesn’t mean that from now on you can’t modify it, just that you have to un-flatten the image first. To undo the flattening, either go to Edit → Undo or press Ctrl+Z. This command will simply undo your last action. Your previous layers will appear again, just as they were before the flattening merged them.

Note that even if the command for “undo” is the same, Photoshop will not allow you to do multiple undo’s like Microsoft Word. If you keep pressing Ctrl+Z will not undo your actions one by one. For this, Photoshop has a different command, called Step Backwards. So if you want to undo several steps, press Alt + Ctrl + Z.

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Does Photoshop change reality?

Interesting article from the Washington post on how Photoshop has changed our perception of reality:

How 25 years of Photoshop changed the way we see reality

Fake a vacation with pictures you can send your friends and family like this lady:

What is reality?’: A Q&A with the artist who used social media and Photoshop to fake an epic trip even her parents fell for 🙂