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Crate a glamour portrait in 30 seconds

The following trick will make your portraits skin look just like the glamour shots you see in fashion magazines. In fact a similar technique is used by the retouch skin by professionals at Penthouse. In this trick the objective is to retain the character of the model as much as possible. There are many ways to improve your portraits, including color correction, retouching and others, but the most important thing to do is to smoothen out the skin of your model. Frontal flash is probably the worst thing you can do to your model, it brings out all the imperfections of the skin.

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Useful font sites

If you need to identify a specific font, scan it and upload it to WhatTheFont. If you are looking for a certain style to complement your design, try browsing at dafont or myfonts. You can find many free to download fonts at 1001fonts or a1fonts.

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If you need to open for printing or just viewing a huge .psd file and you don't need the layers, open the file in Window/File browser while pressing Shift-Alt. This way you can open only a flattened version of the file.

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Brushed aluminum

You can quickly reproduce the texture of your PowerBook in four easy steps.

Fill up (Alt-Backspace) your canvas with a medium grey and select Filter/Noise/Add Noise.

Next, select Filter/Blur/Motion Blur.

Now, make a selection with the polygonal lasso. This selection will give you the highlights on your sheet of metal. Add a Feather to make the selection smooth.

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About the desktop picture

I've seen many graphic designers and operators using highly vivid desktop pictures. The colors around your work highly influence your judgment of the color schemes in your design.

For example, if you have a warm desktop, you might overdo cool colors to compensate, but once you print your artwork and take it out of the context of your screen, you will feel that you overdid the cool colors.

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Add reality to your objects

I see many times artworks where a placed object just doesn't look real and it's alien to its environment. One trick to make it belong is to add shadows and colored lights taken from the environment to your object.

In this example we are going to put a shadow on the grass and add green and blue highlights on the ball to make it look more realistic.

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File security

Several people asked me about FileVault, which was a new feature in Panther OS X 10.3.

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Leave your Mac on overnight

OS X has a built in function to run so called cron scripts that fix your file system and hard disk in general. It's scheduled to run automatically during the night if the computer is idle. Some essential operations run every night, others only once every week or every month. So if you want your Mac to be healthy the most important thing you can do is to leave it running overnight, especially if you have worked on it all day and moved around big files.

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Change your brush dynamically

I've seen many advanced artists with big experience to open the drop down menu of the brush to change the size and softness of it when using the Brush, Clone stamp or Eraser tools. It's precise, but very time consuming and clumsy. There is a key shortcut which can help you almost simulate the dynamism of a tablet but using the regular mouse and keyboard.

To decrease or increase the brush size press "[" or "]". To change the softness of the brush press Shift+"[" or Shift+"]".

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Fix your horizons

It's a common task to rotate images that are tilted and the horizon is on an angle. Most of the time you can't guess for sure how much you have to rotate the image to get it fixed. With this little trick you can precisely rotate your image to make the horizon perfectly horizontal.

Select the measure tool (or just press "I"). Drag the ruler over the horizon.


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