Graphic Design Vocabulary – Knowing Your software 2

graphic design software



A couple of weeks ago we started talking about terms, vocabulary or jargon on the various graphic design software. Today we are going to learn a little bit about another Adobe software, Adobe Illustrator.


Adobe Illustrator is a great program for drawing vector-based graphics. You can create illustrations, diagrams, and other forms of artwork.

  • first developed for Apple Macintosh in December 1986
  • Primary used for vector drawing

Lets now learn some vocabulary words for Adobe Illustrator.

Anchor point – a point on a path that indicates a change of direction.

Art board – printable portion of the work area, where illustrations can be finalized.

Bezier Curve – A mathematically generated curve that has two endpoints and control points to specify curve direction.

Bounding box – a temporary frame around a selected object that shows the object’s outer dimensions.

Brush— A selected brush determines the appearance of a path’s stroke. Brushes are stored in the Brushes palette, and sets of brushes can be loaded and saved.

Closed path – Vector paths that are continuous and have no ends; the beginning and end points are the same.

Constrain – to force and object to take a certain form.

Corner pointe – an anchor point where a path changes direction in an angle rather than smoothly.

Dock – A location in the application window where a panel or panels are secured so they do not float.

Fill – characteristics of the inner area of an object, such as the color, pattern, style inside and object.

Marquee – Rectangle drawn around an object with a tool to select an area.

Open path – Vector paths that have two ends; the beginning and end points are not the same.

Panel – A group of related commands and options.

Path – The line that forms the shape of an object.

Point of origin – The point on which an object rotates or transforms. The point of origin may be within the object or outside it.

Shear – To slant or skew an object from its original orientation.

Smooth Point – an anchor point that connects path segments in a smooth curve.

Stroke – Characteristics of the outline of an object, such as its weight, color, style.

Are any of these words new for you? Next week we will see and learn a little bit more about Adobe Illustrator.

What’s new in Adobe Photoshop CS 6?

Many graphic designers had been wondering what’s new in the recently launched Photoshop CS6.  In this post we will see some cool features of this software.

New Effects

  • Field Blur
  • Iris Blur
  • Tilt T Shift
  • Broken Effects
  • Image Deblurring

Layer Search – Search for layers by layer type, name, effect, blending mode, color or by large range of attributes. Want to find all layers that have a pattern overlay layer style? Just search for effect and overlay. CS6’s improved searching should make traversing 1000+ layer documents a whole lot easier.

Create shapes – If you know the exact size you’d like your shape to be, select the corresponding shape tool and click anywhere on the canvas, then type in the dimensions you’re after.

Layer Styles on Groups – Layer styles can now be applied to groups in the same way they can be applied to bitmap, vector and type layers. There’s many reasons why this is an awesome feature, but my main use for it will probably be to apply more layer styles to objects — you can now have two or more drop shadows by nesting layers inside groups and applying layer styles to the groups. In my opinion, this is a far better technique than using Smart Objects for the same purpose, because this will allow documents to scale and maintain quality.

On canvas dimensions – Moving and transforming now shows a small box on the canvas with related values, as you perform the adjustment. Far easier than watching the info panel out of the corner of your eye while you work. There’s some options to control how this works under the Interface tab in Preferences.

Group Clipping Mask – Layers can now be clipped to groups, allowing for some pretty wild masking possibilities. Use in abundance and in combination with group layer styles to impress.

User interface brightness – Photoshop CS6 ships with four different interface brightness options. The default is dark grey with white icons, giving CS6 a vastly different look.

Pasting from Illustrator Fixed – Pasting vector shapes from Illustrator now always aligns to the pixel boundary.

Copy and Paste Shape Attributes – Right clicking on a vector layer in the layers panel presents these two new functions. Copying the Shape Attributes puts the fill (be it solid or gradient) and stroke into a clipboard so you can apply it quickly to one or more layers.

Paragraph and Character Styles – These behave like Paragraph Styles and Character Styles in InDesign and many other design apps, letting you store a text style and apply it quickly to text throughout your document. You can even edit the master styles and have all instances update. Very handy for larger, text filled documents.

Strokes on Paths – Just like it says on. Handy, because you can use the vector strokes in combination with the stroke layer style for stroke on stroke action. There’s also some associated options, including dashed stroke editing that’s similar to Illustrator.

These are some of the changes and new features of the new version for this software. What other features have you notice in this great program?



Graphic Design Vocabulary – Knowing your software


Today we are revealing one of my favorite segment of graphic design; knowing our software. Graphic Design had turn into conjugation between old and new; hand and computer…ideas and software. Digital design is a world on its own, the major tools for this world are the softwares.

Different brands, companies, platforms and more. We will start with one of my favorites software, Photoshop! Wikipedia describes Photoshop as a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. Lets see in a glance what Photoshop is and some basic vocabulary that all graphic designer should know.

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Have you used Photoshop? What is your favorite function of this software?

Designing for the holidays – Snowflakes in Illustrator

You can feel it in the air, in the music and, of course, in the mall; Christmas is here!

For graphic designers christmas can be a dreaded season or a very exciting one. In my case is an opportunity to recreate old traditions, sparkle creativity and foresee what will be coming next year. During the next couple weeks we will be talking about ideas for the season, color trends and much more.

To start our Christmas Season we will work on the basics for a greeting card, wallpaper or common christmas or winter design; a snowflake. After learning the basics in Illustrator, you can add your personal touch to create your own snowflake design.

In Illustrator open a new document, then;

Draw a vertical line

Select the Line tool and draw a vertical line by holding down the Shift key. Give the line a black Stroke color for the time being and a thickness of 5 pixels, but you might choose a value depending on the dimensions you are working in. Just try to use more or less the proportions as shown in the image below.

Draw a 2nd line at a 45° angle

With the Line tool still selected, draw a second line at an angle of 45°, starting from the vertical line, dragging diagonally, holding down the Shift key.

Flip and duplicate the 45° line

Select the 45° angled line and select the Reflect tool from the toolbox (this tool might be hidden under the Rotate tool). Hold down the Option/Alt key and click on the vertical line as this is the axis. In the window that appears, chooseVertical as Axis and click the Copy button.

Rotate and duplicate

Now select the entire object and select the Rotate tool from the toolbox. Hold down the Alt/Option key and click at the bottom center of the object as this is the spot we want this object to rotate around. In the window that appears choose72°, as we want a snowflake that exists of 5 parts (360/5=72). You could also choose 60° in case you want a snowflakes that contains 6 parts. Now click the Copy button so we keep our original object.

Transform again

To repeat this action, hit Cmd/Ctrl + d 3 times in a row to have it rotated and duplicated 3x in a row. In case you’ve used 60°, you need to do this 4 times in row. Now isn’t that *simply* awesome? We have our simple snowflake completed 🙂

Convert stroke objects to fills

Maybe you want to play with some gradient fill so it might be more interesting to end up with fills instead of strokes. Select the complete snowflake and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Now all strokes are turned into fills.

Unite all fill objects

Maybe it’s nice to end up with 1 nice shape instead of these overlapping ones. We could use the new Shapebuilder toolfor this, which is an awesome new tool in CS5 for everything you are used to do with the Pathfinder options. Though, this time I choose the Pathfinder to do the job as I only have to click once on the Unite option to merge all shapes into 1 object.

Add color

Add some color, maybe a gradient. I have chosen to keep mine flat white, but you can choose whatever suits nicely in your design.

Create Symbol

One idea is to create a Symbol by dragging the object into the Symbols palette (and call it snowflake).

Create a symbol

Spray snowflake symbols

The fun thing is that you can spray symbols using the Symbol Sprayer tool and then create some randomness using the other Symbol tools that are located under the Symbol Sprayer tool.

Experiment and try out other combinations

I can’t say this enough, but by experimenting you often end up surprising yourself. So why not go a bit more wild and try to combine all sorts of shapes that fit into a snowflake? Like you could add in a few circles, or start with a 6 pointed star (using the Star tool, click on the canvas and enter 6 points). A 6 pointed star makes it easier to work with than 5 as you have a few straight lines you can work with for the rotation of your elements. Meaning, you can choose from a horizontal or vertical axis. Below are 3 examples that I deconstructed for you so you can see how they are created.

Think about all the different options here and make sure you try out all sorts of combinations. Just rotate at 60°, make sure to hit copy and then hit Cmd/Ctrl +d to duplicate the action 4 times in a row.

Merry Christmas!

Hope this tutorial triggered your inspiration for the creation of some cool creative snowflakes. Show us your creations and let us know how did you make it.


Done with the brushes in Illustrator

After a bunch of weeks working with the Brushes Panel in Illustrator, I will close this series with some simple a basic tips that you should never forget when working with brushes.

Saving Brushes

Now that you have create a bunch of new brushes, you might want to save them so you can access them from any new document you create. To save the brushes, click the Brush Libraries Menu and select Save Bushes. Name the brushes, and next you need them Click the Brush Libraries Menu, then choose your brushes under the User Defined section.

Best Practices and Tips

  • Use Scatter Brushes to quickly fill a page with random looking art.
  • If you need to edit on instance of a brush, use the Stoke Options button from the Brush Panel. You can make changes to a certain brush stroke without affecting the other strokes.
  • You cannot use gradients in brushes, but you can use blends. You can create a blend that looks like a gradient and create a brush out of it.

I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did. What did you learned from this series and what other tips you can advise to our readers?