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PatterNodes – A Unique Pattern Design Generator

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 22, 2015

The process of creating a seamless tileable background is never easy. If you’re not familiar with PatterNodes it certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise – the program is tremendously useful but doesn’t have the same cult following as other design suites due mainly to the fact that it is a brand new product. PatterNodes is a Mac OS X tool for generating vector-quality patterns based on manual input from the designer. It offers controls based on pattern size, spacing, colors, and of course imagery located within the design.

patternodes software logo design preview

The following post covers an overview of the software and what can be accomplished using the product. The full version normally costs $19USD but if you leave a comment on this post you have a chance to win a completely free license for life! It doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

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The Basics of Photoshop Quick Masking

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 19, 2015

Selecting and rendering objects from their background can be a difficult skill to master. Nobody is inherently born with an understanding of Photoshop – it takes years of practice and lots of screw-ups to become even remotely good. Yet it seems that rendering and selecting an object always remains one of the most difficult tasks to incorporate into regular workflow.

photoshop featured quick mask preview

In the past I covered a method of selecting objects using the Photoshop pen tool. Although it’s always an option, the pen tool is traditionally considered to be the most complicated method. Excellent for advanced users but not perfect in every situation.

For this post I’ll cover how to get into quick masking with Photoshop by creating selections around objects. Much like the pen tool, quick masking will feel a little wonky at first. But stick with it and soon you’ll be rendering out images like it’s nobody’s business.

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Best Hosting Companies for WordPress Sites

by iulian
on

Need Hosting for your WordPress Site? There are many options and your specific situation will determine your hosting. Many users running there site on WordPress want something specifically tailored to that CMS. We have compiled the top ten hosting companies for your WordPress site. Depending on your visit you could spend anywhere from $1/month to hundreds or thousands . Review our list here and make your decisions.

Normally, you only know whether you’ve chosen the best web host when your website has a continuous online presence. What if you could ascertain that beforehand? I’ve compiled an up-to-date list with 10 of the best web hosting companies, which might help you come to the right decision.

KnownHost

1. KnownHost

To my mind, KnownHost may we be the only web hosting provider that is incapable of error. Indeed, it must be the most reliable web host that I’ve ever had the fortune to come across. All 250 servers come with 99.9% Network Uptime Guarantee, and that’s a rock-solid promise, because the guarantee is tied to a Service Level Agreement credit response, which kicks in as soon as that almost perfect value goes through a minor fluctuation. And just to illustrate the infrequency of website downtime, the offline percentage never bounced past 0.9% for any client. If ever an episode of website discontinuity occurs, users need only submit a ticket to the KnownHost helpdesk within 5 days of it happening, and they are automatically granted a credit which reflects that shortcoming.

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38 Online Store Websites Running on Shopify

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 16, 2015

Web designers around the world have been captivated by Shopify. It’s an online e-commerce CMS which is self-hosted and managed by the Shopify team. Webmasters can purchase their own domain name and launch a store just like any regular website – but without deep concerns over server management.

For anyone looking into Shopify it is truly a magnificent platform. I specifically love their open-ended theming system which allows for any style of template to be fitted into the e-commerce engine. I’ve catalogued a series of unique Shopify websites for creative design inspiration. Take a look at what other designers have built to generate your own ideas for new shops and storefronts.

Lunet Eyewear

lunet eyewear shopify website homepage

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35 Stunning Hi-Res “Public Domain” Astronomy Images

by Jay Hilgert
on January 14, 2015

In the wake of Shepard Fairey’s debacle with the AP over the rights to the image he used as reference/inspiration for his wildy popular Obama poster, I wanted to share a list of Public Domain Licensed images, in this case, astronomy. Fairey’s situation should hit home with all pixel junkies out there and remind us that we have to pay close attention to the licenses associated with the images we use in our design work. I’ve compiled a list of beautiful, inspiring astronomy images that all have a Public Domain License.

35 Stunning Hi-Res

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37 Intriguing 404 Error Page Designs

by Jake Rocheleau
on January 5, 2015

Words cannot describe the vehement frustration felt when reaching a 404 page. Sometimes the website just has a broken link and other times the user is at fault. But regardless of fault the 404 error page is unbecoming to even the most well-designed sites. The best way to spruce this up is by adding a lighthearted effect into the design.

For this post I’ve organized a collection of unique 404 error page designs. Many of them utilize humor as a good-hearted gesture for comedic relief. Other designs are more pragmatic offering related links and possible solutions for finding the missing page. Your choice of 404 style really depends on the type of website. Just keep in mind that frustration is best handled with a cool & collected mentality. The best 404 pages try to solve the problem by offering solutions instead of a dead-end street.

GitHub

github code repo 404 page

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How to set the default program to open a certain type of file in Mac OS X

by Jay Hilgert
on

You can easily set the default program to open certain file types from any “Get Info” window, from any file in Mac OS X.

It can get annoying when you double click on a jpeg from your desktop and it tries to open in Photoshop. Not only is it annoying, it can be a time waster as you close the default application and drag the file to an application on the dock.

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Build a Custom Photoshop Swatch from an Image

by Jake Rocheleau
on December 29, 2014

Sampling from a photo is an excellent way to pull colors for painting, digital design, or any creative project. However manually sampling each color is time-intensive and only useful when you really need a precise color match. Otherwise it’s a whole lot easier to build new swatches dynamically through Photoshop.

featured image - custom swatch palette in photoshop

I’ll be showing you how to open an image in Photoshop and pull a large sample of colors into a new swatch. The process is relatively automatic and just requires flicking through a couple menus. Once you’ve built a new swatch you can use that as a baseboard for creating a digital interface, icon, logo, or anything else you might need. Color swatches are very useful once you learn how to control them and put together a solid color scheme library.

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Convert Photoshop Layer Effects into Separate Layers

by Jake Rocheleau
on December 22, 2014

Most users of Photoshop should already know about layer effects. These are the extra little tidbits added onto layers via the small “fx” icon in the lower-left corner of the layers palette. Using these effects you can build a number of extra features like shadows, gradients, bevels, and a whole lot more.

layer effects custom layers fx

For this brief tutorial I’d like to explain how to convert a collection of layer effects into their own layers. Most effects are customizable and stack together when adding layer effects(or layer styles) onto a shape. But if you ever need to edit the effects individually you’ll need to create new layers out of each effect. The process is quite simple but also tricky if you’ve never done it before.

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Photoshop 101: True Black (CMYK)

by Jay Hilgert
on December 20, 2014

I’ve got a quick Photoshop 101 tip for print media. This can also apply to Illustrator, but I just filed it under Photoshop. We should all know by now that RGB documents are meant for screens, and CMYK documents are meant for printing. Therefore, when you print a CMYK document and you need a really rich black it’s important to remember one little teeny tiny thing: 100% K isn’t the blackest black you can get. More after the jump.

Photoshop 101: True Black

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