Adobe brought transparency to the Illustrator world back with version 9. One of the many complaints about the poor-selling AI9 (and believe me, if you used it, you could see why nobody liked it after only 5 minutes of use!) was the inability of linked spot color EPS photos to interact with all the transparency features.
It never fails to bring a tear to my eye when I see a designer or graphic artist making color corrections & adjustments directly to an image. When you use the levels, curves, brightness and other filters on an image, you are destroying pixels - and there's no way to get them back once you save and close the file. These are called "Destructive" filters for a reason, they physically add, change or remove pixels!
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Photoshop Actions are a designer's secret weapon. Actions can make your life much easier. Actions are your friend!
This isn't a tip, a trick or a hint. I'm not going to go into how to create your own actions - something that would take far too much space on this page. Instead, I'll simply point you to a site that has several INCREDIBLE actions pre-built and ready for you to use.
One of the things that many designers always seem to miss (mostly because we never read the manuals!) is the difference between Opacity and Fill. The difference can be subtle or extreme, depending on the effect you're looking for.
Create a layer and put an object or some text on it. Now apply a layer effect such as Outer Glow. (See image below)
If one of your applications is misbehaving there is a big chance that it's caused by its corrupted preferences file. You should quit the application locate the specific file and trash it. It's under yourusername /Library /Preferences/...
Be aware that when you trash a preferences file, you will obviously loose your user specific settings for that application, so you will need to set them up again. However, it's worth the effort if it helps you fix the erratic behavior.