Illustrating Animals With 13 Circles

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd:- If you can make a bird out of circles, then you can probably make all sorts of animals. I wanted to add something more design-based to my portfolio, so I made that my personal challenge. The idea was to draw animals from exactly 13 circles, and I decided to match that number by making 13 animals. This makes for a nicer title for the project, and it helps to get others to share it around the web, too. Knowing what you want to create early on helps, because then all you have to do is figure out ways to make it happen.

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Getting Started: Sketching I prefer to sketch things on paper first, but you can do so digitally as well. First, I chose some animals that I didn’t think would be extremely difficult to draw. Then, I chose prominent features of those animals to focus on. I also Googled logos, designs and illustrations of the animals to see what features other people emphasize. When limited to 13 circles, you can’t fit everything! For example, with the monkey, all I could fit were the ears, the long tail and the outline around the eyes, leaving me with few circles to play with, but that’s OK.

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While sketching, I kept track of the number of circles I was using, counting one for every curve. If I had too many circles, I would examine them to see if two curves could somehow come from one circle. For example, in the part of the giraffe below, the orange circle serves as both the top of the left horn and the bottom of the ear:

Illustrator Link

After I had a sketch I was happy with, I photographed it or scanned it to my computer.Before I began, I decided on a size for the project. This is important for consistency and to keep things moving quickly in Photoshop and After Effects. I chose 8 × 10 inches at 300 DPI (or PPI), just in case I decided to print them after, because that’s a common print size. I also felt the ratio would be good to turn them into animated GIFs later.

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Here are the first steps to take in Illustrator:

  1. Open your sketch, or drag or paste it into your sized document. Select the sketch, and click Ctrl + 2 to lock it in place.
  2. Draw circles using the Ellipse tool (L); to make perfect circles, hold Shift while dragging. You can find the ellipses by holding or right-clicking the Rectangle tool. Select your circle(s), and set the fill to none, and choose a small stroke to work with. Hide the sketch layer once you’ve finished by clicking the eye.
  3. Select all of your circles by enabling the Selection tool (V) and dragging from one corner over the entire screen. Resize them to the size you want the animal to be in the document. This is important if you want to save time later.
  4. With the circles still selected, we’re going to make a backup by clicking Ctrl + C, then clicking “New Layer,” then clicking Ctrl + F. This pastes in the exact same location. Hide the backup layer.
  5. Click the Shape Builder tool (Shift + M), choose a fill color (removing the stroke), and click in the parts of the circles that you want to fill in.
  6. Once you’re happy with the shape, isolate all the filled shapes from the circles by clicking on one and then going to menu “Select” → “Same” → “Fill Color”. Once they’re selected, you can simply copy them, select & delete everything in the document (we backed up the circles), and press Ctrl + F to bring back just the filled shapes.

Instead of the Shape Builder tool in step 4, you could also use the Live Paint Bucket tool (K), which allows you to move the circles safely while keeping your area filled in, and then you would expand at the very end.

Sometimes the curves I sketched didn’t perfectly form a circle, so I’d have to go back and move a few curves around or change their sizes. If you merely want to suggest some shapes in your animal (rather than being explicit), you may have to add more circles. For example, sometimes I would want an area to be cut out, such as the inside of the fox tail. Other times, I would want an area to be a different color from the rest of the shape, such as the toucan’s beak. There are many ways to create separation.

At this point, I had the animal (still in pieces), a hidden layer with the circles, and a hidden layer with the sketch.


Sometimes, at this point, I would turn the animal into one solid shape. To do this, select the animal, open the Pathfinder panel (in the menu, “Window” → Pathfinder, or Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + F9) and click the “Unite” option. The paths might have small flaws, but you can usually fix those using the Direct Selection tool (A), which allows you to click individual anchors and paths to easily move, modify or delete them.

Often, however, rather than turning an animal into a solid shape, I would add a bit of shading using gradients. I would often add these to one section of the animal, and I would use the same method as above to select a couple of pieces of an animal and merge those pieces into one (often, my animals would be in two or three pieces by the end).

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In this example, you can see that I used different shading methods on different parts of the monkey. Above the monkey’s eyes, I used the Mesh tool (U) to get a gradient that follows the curves. A fast way to add a mesh is to click an object and go to “Object” → “Create Gradient Mesh.” I’m not an expert with this tool yet, so my attempt is more of an experiment.

Underneath the monkey’s face, I simply used a regular gradient. A fast way to apply a gradient to an object is to click the object and press the period key (.). Then, in the menu, go to “Window” → “Gradient” to open the Gradient panel and change the settings of that gradient.

Because I knew I would be bringing the animals into Photoshop after, I simply shaded them with shades of gray. This way, if I wanted to use different blending modes with colors and textures, the hues that I chose would be retained.

Photoshop Link

Create a document in Photoshop of the exact size as your Illustrator document (this is to make things easy and is not a requirement). I also stayed with the RGB color space because my focus is the web, but I can always convert to CMYK later if I want to print. Before bringing in the animals, I would create the background first.

I started with the colors. There are many ways to create gradients. I started with a white background and then simply stacked a few transparent layers of lightly brushed colors. Sometimes I would further tweak the colors using an Adjustment Layer such as “Curves” (experiment to find what works best for you).

Once you’ve got the color gradients down, it’s time to add some texture! I experimented with many different textures that I downloaded online — you can find many by searching for terms like “free paper texture.” There are also some nice textures on Subtle Patterns, but they’re usually small image tiles meant to be repeated, and I personally don’t like repeating ones.

I often used a subtle paper texture as a base and then used other textures to bring out more light and dark speckles. It’s easy to bring out speckles from a texture using Curves or Levels. All of my textures are overlaid using different blending modes, as well as by experimenting with opacity.

Below are the noise layer and the texture image that I used for the background above:

And below are the layers for the background, along with my settings for each Curves layer. The really crazy curves were the ones I used to bring out different parts of the textures, such as the speckles.

As I said, experiment with Photoshop’s functionality until you’re happy. Here are the layers for this background, starting from the bottom:

  1. a blank white background;
  2. lightly painted colors at a small opacity using the brush;
  3. noise (“Filter” → “Noise” → “Add Noise”) at a 41% “Overlay” blending mode, sometimes enlarged or blurred;
  4. a texture layer with “Color Burn”;
  5. a Curves adjustment layer clipped to the texture layer, to create a high contrast for the speckles in the texture;
  6. a texture layer again, rotated to a different position and a “Color Burn” of 40%;
  7. a Curves layer clipped to the texture, this time bringing out the textures in a different way;
  8. a blue layer set to “Divide” at 37%;
  9. an overall Curves layer to brighten the entire image (including the monkey).

Once my background was ready, I brought in the animal as a smart object. Use smart objects whenever possible. I simply copied and pasted the animal from Illustrator. Because the documents are the same size, the animal should be pasted into Photoshop at the same size. I didn’t resize the animal in Photoshop, so that I could easily align the circles in a further step.

Here are the layers I used for the monkey:

  1. a monkey smart object;
  2. a stamp of only the background (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E), clipped to the monkey, at “Multiply”;
  3. another stamp of background, clipped to monkey, with a “Hard Light” of 34%;
  4. another stamp of background, clipped to the monkey, with “Multiply” set to 34%;
  5. a Curves layer, clipped to the monkey, to brighten it up;
  6. a “Hue/Saturation” layer, clipped to the monkey, to make the hue a more blueish-purple.

Here are a few points in the evolution of the monkey:

Illustrator Again Link

It’s almost time to animate! I animated in After Effects, although many programs will do it (Photoshop has some basic animation capability, too).

Use “File” → “Place” (Shift + Ctrl + P) to place the Photoshop file in Illustrator as a linked object; this way, if you need to make any changes in the Photoshop file, it will automatically update in Illustrator. Placing the file in the top-left corner anchor works best, from what I’ve seen. Next, bring back your circles by unhiding the backup layer we created. You may have to drag and change the order of the layers to stack the circles on top, and you might have to realign them to your animal if it has moved.

In case you need to slightly resize the circles, select them and use the width (“W”) and height (“H”) boxes on top to change the size in small increments. Make sure the chain in the middle is activated, to maintain the proportions.

I had to put each circle on a separate layer so that I could animate them in After Effects. I simply created 13 new layers, then dragged a circle into each one. Your file will look like this:

After Effects Link

First, download and install Ease & Wizz, which will make the movement of our circles a bit more interesting — moving in slow, speeding up quickly, and ending slow again. This is a “name your price” script, so you could technically download it for $0.


Start a new project, go to “Import” → “File” (Ctrl + I), and select your Illustrator file. But make sure where it says “Import as Footage,” you change it to “Composition — Retain layer sizes.”

If the composition doesn’t open up right away, double-click it in the “Project” tab. If you’re planning to resize the composition, make sure to click the little gear icon to the right of it.

It might also be a good idea to choose an animation frame rate before starting (“Composition” → “Composition Settings”). I chose 20 frames per second because I knew my animation would be quite short and would loop. If you’re working with a longer animation, you should lower it, because animated GIFs with a high number of frames can end up being too big in size.

Select all of the layers except for the layer with the background; right-click and choose “Create shapes from vector layer.” These are the shapes we’ll be animating. The original Illustrator layers should still be there, but their visibility should now be off.

Choose a shape layer, and click its contents; to the right of it, where it says “Add,” select “Trim Paths.” First, I set “End” to 0%. Clicking the stopwatch near “Start” or “End” will activate the keyframes for that action and turn blue. A keyframe will be created at that point, depending on where your indicator is placed. It’ll be a small diamond.

Depending on which direction you want the path to disappear (clockwise versus counterclockwise), you might have to start with “Start” or “End.” Below is an example of what I did to make the circle be invisible at first for a moment, appear into the frame, pause, and then disappear in the direction that it appeared. The timing isn’t what I used for my project — it’s just an example.


Then, I added the Ease & Wizz effect. Open the plugin by going to “Window” → “Ease and Wizz” (.jsx). Then, highlight and select all of the keyframes, and click “Apply” (I used the plugin’s default settings). The percentage text should now be in red. You could also drag the plugin window into your toolbar, so that it’s not floating around.



I also gained some knowledge while working on this:

  • I’ve never really drawn so many animals before. I realized with this project that you’re not really drawing the animal — you’re mainly just drawing its features! That takes a lot of the pressure off.
  • I also realized that experimenting with textures can be extremely difficult and sometimes hit or miss. Start building your texture collection folder early on! I wish I had started years ago.
  • I discovered the color table trick only after getting extremely annoyed when some of the GIFs would suddenly look horrible when I’d change their size by a slight amount (for example, 50 pixels in width). Always be open to discovering tricks, even in the applications most familiar to you!
  • This was probably my third time making something in After Effects, so there was a lot of tedious trial and error here, as well as some help from a friend. It helps having friends who share your passion.

I did many things that could probably have been done more quickly or easily. This was a learning experience. If you have any tips for making these types of animations faster, better or easier, feel free to share in the comments!

Hope you enjoyed the animations!

Full Preview Of All 13 Illustrated Animals Link

Owl made from circles


Rabbit made from circles

Monkey made from circles

Elephant made from circles

Toucan made from circles

Giraffe made from circles

Mouse made from circles

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Dog made from circles

Owl made from circles

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Fox made from circles

Whale made from circles

Frog made from circles

Walrus made from circles

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Responsive Web Apps

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd  :- Here is a few numerous reasons why not to serve sensitive web applications within iframes. If you are beginning a project with this type of iframe constraint, please take this advice from somebody that has taken the incorrect advice numerous times and misdiagnosed the issues. Seriously though – your application is going to have some important problems if you aren’t careful. The scroll bar handle does not appear to move whenever you scroll. The only alternative is for each event resize event, send a note from the kid to the parent frame asking to get a window resize to the peak of the content.

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A reprocussion of this is the fact that no scroll event are fired on the child page, therefore avoid relying upon scroll events all together. This can be where the customer sends a resize request, the parent resizes, then due to the additional scrollbar the customer’s width changes and some content wraps, therefore the customer sends another resize request, the parent scrollbar vanishes, then the whole thing is replicated. You’re essentially going to need some additional logic in the resize request code to make sure you will not be sending a resize request that is going to cause this iteration.

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If you are struggling with this, get in touch. It isn’t pretty. Mobile Safari iframe resize by default, and you cannot override it! Mobile Safari may resize the iframe to the peak of the content, aside from any styles or characteristics declared on the iframe. The answer is to wrap the iframe in a div with overflow: auto, however this might get some reprocussions for other mobile browsers.

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Because of the mobile safari fix, it is exactly the same scenario, fixed position components will never seem to be fixed, they will simply scroll away with the content. Mobile Safari applies the rubber band off effect to the x axis as well. That is due to the application being a page inside an iframe. This isn’t apparent when the application is served outside the iframe.

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Navigation Designs

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :-Web designs are created to attract people and keep them in the website so long as possible. It is essential that the church website home page has brief text content to prevent the people from becoming bored and from leaving the website early. Other details about various facets may be put on individual pages that visitors may access by utilizing the website navigation system. The navigation links or buttons must be placed on the main page of your website so visitors can see them right away. A home page with a brief content and simple-to use navigation format will be entice and motivate visitors to search distinct areas of your website.

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The navigation project must be consistent and has got the same routines through the entire site. This may make the searching process easier and faster for your visitors. They need to also link people directly to their desired info. For church web sites, you can place a link to history, location, time of providers, beliefs and doctrines page, church government, and gallery. You may select from several various kinds of navigation designs that you would like to use for the website. They’re generally blue underlined words which will take visitors directly to a particular area of your website. Even visitors who’re new to the Worldwide Web know how text links work.

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The design of your text links can vary in font size as well as format dependant upon your individual taste. It is essential that the links could be readily differentiated from the rest of the website content. If you do decide to use the colour blue for your links, it’d be best if you’ll not use that colour for the rest of the contents. If you think using text links for navigation is dull, you may use graphic pictures as your navigation buttons. These images could give unique character to your church website. They might also then add life and colour to your site.

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These pictures might attract more individuals into your web site due to their attractive appearance. You simply need to make certain you’ll only choose graphic images and colours which are appropriate for a church website. For a church web site, if your church has several divisions in various portions of the country or the globe, you might simply put the word position on the navigation button located at the website main page. Then you may use the drop down menu to choose the state or country to assist visitors go directly to their desired region and find your nearest church to them location.

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WYSIWYG Web Design

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :- These programs allow you build web sites without complication, including the utilization of pictures and graphics to make it visually attractive.

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You can build your web site on-line or by buying software to load on your Personal Computer by disc. Make certain there are areas where you may add page titles and explanations There’s opportunity to cross browser test your web site Your images may be ALT tagged who’ll be hosting the web site one major problem with lots of WYSIWYG programmes is the content written on the site isn’t view able by internet search engine spiders since the correct HTML code is missing.

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A good WYSIWYG application will transfer your text into HTML code allowing it to be seen, this helps your site to rank and get found by search engines. If you may ALT tag your pictures this will even help internet search engine spiders to comprehend what’s on your web site because ALT tagging provides your pictures a name.

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Users who will visit your website will not always utilize the same browser as you especially with the launch of new EU guidelines on internet explorer.

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Which implies that testing in these various browsers is very important since what appears good in Internet Explorer may look awful in Safari.

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User Experience in Smartphones

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :- With lots of mobile phones hitting the marketplace, hat provides one smartphone a leading edge over the other? We might think that it’s the brand name, the way the telephone looks or the price. What a layman fails to realize that it’s about the user experience. As all of us have seen, majority of the mobile cellphones used nowadays are touch allows thus the more essential becomes the way the touch responds.

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The phone actually becomes a hit if it earns a great user experience. There’s confusion between UI and user experience. The UI can be defined as the way wherein a user interacts with the item while user experience is how a user feels while they’re utilizing the gadget.

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So one can tell that though both of these are very distinct things, nevertheless they must both be in sync so the user feels good about the item. The user encounter weighs over the UI because if the user expertise is not up to the mark, then the time devoted to making the UI is a complete waste. Responsive web site design helps increase user interactivity.

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In the end, it is about the consumer response and feedback one should make sure that they design the UI in a manner that the users find the gadget easy to use and easy to preserve.

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In case the UI or the UX was created in an elaborate manner, then the user may find himself caught in a hopeless or a difficult scenario, obviously, users wouldn’t like to pay for all those products that might make their life difficult. The consumer needs should be taken into account all of the time. Important to consider several points for effective user experience.

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UI and user experience planning may run into as the same task, but there are specific things which make them completely different in one another. At times, the newcomers who could have just began with their design career might find almost impossible to comprehend the difference, but the following points may show to be useful in knowledge the distinction and also implement them well.

Research is necessary- while one might think that the user may adjust to the modifications made in gadgets, but the underlying facts are that research about the user styles and selections are very important.

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Corporate Branding

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :- With the rising costs of R&D and development necessary to create products that really do offer something exclusive and different, just one expensive, ineffective branding or marketing campaign can mean death. There’s a way for businesses to stack the deck in their favour have a quite strong corporate brand. Strong corporate branding may authorize any product that company puts out with instant reputation and value that differentiates it in ways that simply cannot be reproduced with a product focused advertising campaign. Just like a family tries to create and protect a good reputation, every conscientious company should create and protect a favourable corporate brand.

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The tools for doing this are the same as those utilized in product branding, however the work transcends the corporate hierarchy into the boardroom where issues like relations with shareholders, media, competitors, government and several others become part of the strategy. Unsurprisingly, an efficient corporate branding strategy requires significant efforts from the Chief executive officer and senior management. Be advised that corporate branding and corporate identity are two different things. Corporate identity is just the glossy marketing fade. A strong corporate branding program ensures a consistent brand image and experience through an organization. Successful corporate branding involves the creation of long-term prospects for the company, carving out pronounced niches in the market and boosting the reach and recognition of the company and its leaders on a global scale.

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Some companies with outstanding corporate brands include Microsoft, Intel, Singapore Airlines, Disney, CNN, Samsung and Mercedes Benz. Whenever your company has a brand, as these mergers and acquisitions are also smoother as was the case with financial powerhouses HSBC and Citibank’s vast number of acquisitions in latest years.

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Finally, the brand equities of the banks both of these behemoths took over were completely absorbed by HSBC and Citibank. This kind of brand strength takes a very long time to build and a lot of research and monitoring to see through to maturity, but it is not as hard as it sounds. Today, branding research tools are very sophisticated, but very easy to use. A strong corporate brand not only gives character and value to a company’s products. Effective corporate branding may also empower and direct the further development of an already large brand portfolio.

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Functional web design

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :- It isn’t a secret that web site design trends never remain the same. The ideas, which were popular a year ago, are considered out-of-date and not really that thrilling any more. This is why, it is sensible to enquire about current web site design ideas, if you’re going to develop a functional and intriguing site which will attract the attention of your prospective customers. Let’s have a closer look at fresh web site design ideas, which could make your web site look unique. Animations are now used more frequently as when when compared to the previous years. Needless to say that they add interactive features to the web site and make it more intriguing for users of all ages.

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Animated pictures help focus the attention of individuals on those aspects of an internet site the owner considers more important. Such web sites look more entertaining, however this doesn’t mean that they can’t be utilized to promote businesses. Everything depends on the animations you’ll choose and the way you’ll implement them in a context of your website. There are a few points you should think about when picking animations. To start with, they should never be selected randomly. Each animation should add to the meaning of your content, driving user’s attention to those aspects you consider the most important. Second of all, you ought to know that animations fall into two basic groups, namely large scale and small scale items.

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Large scale animations are utilized as major interactive tools, which carry out the only function – to make a notable impact upon people, who’ll visit the site. Those elements are essential, if you aim at making users stay at the web site for so long as possible. Small scale animated objects, in their turn, are manifested as hover tools, spinners along with other minor elements, which could make the web site design look complete and finished. Among the most famous animations web site designers make use of nowadays one can mention loading animations, non-scrolling and hover animations, slideshows and galleries, scrolling and motion animated elements as well as background videos and images.

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While some experts point out that web sites created with the implementation of responsive web site design techniques look very comparable and not distinctive, other specialists believe that this isn’t so. They point out quite the opposite thing, saying that responsive web sites are created for individuals, who give preference to functional and user friendly sites. It’s no wonder, because many people don’t need complicated solutions. What they really need is easy-to navigate web sites, which could make their on-line browsing experience more convenient and quick.

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User Interface design for Web

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd :-Wizard of Oz prototyping is a usability process in which a user interacts with a non working interface model being controlled by a wizard sitting in a back room. The wizard detects and responds on the user’s activities and models the system’s results to the user’s activities. Wizard of Oz prototyping is generally conducted whenever you don’t have a working model or where the findings from the Wizard of Oz prototyping test are basis for designing the system itself. And on the flip side, digital prototyping is the technically sophisticated model of Wizard of Oz prototyping, where a lot of the reactions from the user’s behaviour are executed by the image itself.

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Meaning: you already have a digital prototype which – to the user – seems to work like the finished website\/interface, but instead just delivering screen content without any logic in the back end. Wizard of Oz prototyping needs to be applied whenever you need to learn particular user behaviour to develop the apparatus you’re examining itself. Here is an example: whenever you would like to develop a voice control module for an application, you need the syntax individuals use to interact with the apparatus. Faced with that issue, you can barely develop a working model to discover how folks use your program.

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When faced just with cursor interactions in an interface, you may apply digital prototyping to get the desired findings. Develop a clickable wireframe that models the interaction procedures – but without any logic in the background. Where Wizard of Oz prototyping and digital prototyping are linked is, whenever you find problems where all test users stumble in your digital image, you can immediately alter the model to meet user behaviour and improve usability on the fly. Having a non working interface model, the wizard needs to see what the user does, since he’s to respond on user behaviour and produce proper output signal.

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Consequently the wizard will normally watch video feeds pointing to the test users control and display. Now finding an activity, the wizard is now able to model the results of the observed interactions. To improve the reality of the test scenario, the test users are most often unaware that they were socializing with a Mechanical Turk. This, naturally, needs a quick reaction and lots of knowledge about the system on side of the wizard.

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30 Photoshop secrets to improve your skills

Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd Power up your skills as we reveal 30 Photoshop secrets that will increase your productivity overnight.

If you’ve decided to give your best pencils a little rest and jump into digital art, you’ll more than likely need some photo editing software. Photoshop is an amazing piece of software and a popular choice, being used by thousands of designers worldwide on a daily basis. It’s such a flexible bit of kit that you could spend a week learning new features, doing Photoshop tutorials and experimenting with Photoshop brushes and still have only scratched the surface of what’s possible. Veridic Technologies Pvt Ltd Reviews.

Once you’ve overcome the beginners’ learning curve, however, there are some real gems hidden inside Photoshop that can help you speed up your work and get more out for less effort. Here we’ve rounded up 30 of the best Photoshop secrets to help sharpen your skills and improve your productivity.

01. Control your panels


Did you know about this hidden menu?

In the top right hand corner of every panel is a little icon that reveals a fly-out menu, giving additional options that you might not have seen before. You can use this menu to set your layer panel thumbnails to be larger, crop to artwork and much more – experiment!

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02. Paste in Place

Paste in Place is one of those functions that you’ll use all the time if you know about it, but if you don’t it will come as a revelation! After you’ve made a selection either in your current document, or in a second document if you’re combining artwork, copy as usual by choosing Edit>Copy, or by using the shortcut keys Ctrl+C (Windows) or Cmd+C (Mac).

Once you’re viewing the document you want to paste into, use the shortcut keys Ctrl+Shift+V (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+V (Mac).

03. Bird’s Eye View

If yo’’re doing detailed work such as cloning or edge refinement, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Equally, if you’re working at a high zoom level, navigating around the document can become tiresome when you need to get back to your high-level zoom.

With the Bird’s Eye View feature, when zoomed in you can press and hold the H key on your keyboard, and click and drag with your mouse to temporarily zoom out to a bird’s eye view. When you let go, you’ll zoom back in to the level you were working at.

04. Interactively set styles


Move the shadow around by clicking and dragging on the canvas

When you’re adding a drop-shadow layer style, move the dialogue box to one side. By clicking and dragging on the canvas you can use your mouse to interactively move the shadow around relative to the layer casting the shadow.

05. Repeat Transformations

Once you’ve made a transformation to a layer or object using Edit>Transform, you can very quickly repeat that same transformation on another layer or object. Simply press Cmd+Shift+T on a Mac, or Ctrl+Shift+T on Windows, and Photoshop will repeat the same transformation on the currently active layer.

06. Solo your layer


Here’s how to preview a single layer

If you’d like to preview a single layer, you can quickly get a look at it on its own by Alt+clicking on the layer’s eye icon in the layers panel. Alt+clicking on the eye icon again will return you to the previous layer visibility state. Note that if you accidentally click on another layer’s eye icon you’ll lose the ability to revert back to the previous state.

07. Enable visibility history


Enable the history state for layer visibility

If you want to avoid the problem of losing layer visibility settings while previewing individual layers, you can tick a setting in the History Panel options dialogue box that will enable history state for layer visibility. Once checked, you can use Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+Z to step backwards through your history as you always have, but you’ll find changes to the visibility of layers is now included within that history.

08. Merge vector shapes


Merge two vector shapes together and keep the result as an editable vector

If you’re lucky enough to have Photoshop CS6 at your disposal, you can merge two vector shapes together and keep the result as an editable vector. Simply select the two shape layers and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E on your keyboard to merge them together. In previous versions this would have resulted in a rasterized layer, but Adobe updated the functionality for CS6.

09. Quickly finish editing text


Press Cmd+Return on your keyboard to finish editing text and move focus outside the text field

When you’re working with text boxes in Photoshop it can be frustrating to move between tools as your shortcut keys won’t work. A great little secret tip is that you can press Cmd+Return on your keyboard to finish editing text and move focus outside the text field. This allows you to quickly select other tools using their shortcut keys as appropriate (e.g. V for the move tool).

10. Organise your files properly

It’s easy to become sloppy with the way you name and organise files. But if you have to hand over your work to others, this can rebound on you, giving you a bad rep as people struggle to work out what’s going on. Follow our advice on how to organise your files properly here.

11. Draw dotted lines with the brush


Drawing straight dotted lines with the brush tool is a neat trick

A common Photoshop technique is to use the brush tool to draw straight lines. With the brush tool selected click to place a point, then hold down Shift+click at a second point to draw a straight line between the two points. You may not know that you can open the brush panel and set the brush spacing to 150%+ to draw a dotted line instead of a solid one!

12. Change brush size and hardness

It’s quite well known that you can use the square bracket keys [ and ] to change the size of your brush inside Photoshop. What you may not know is that if you hold down the Shift key while tapping these same keys, you can also affect the hardness of the brush without having to visit the the brush panel!

13. Reset dialogue boxes

When you’re using a dialogue box with a pair of buttons that read OK/Apply and Cancel, it can be frustrating to undo changes you’ve made. Often you’ll want to hit Cancel and then re-open the dialogue. Many of these modal pop-ups allow you to hold down the Alt/Opt key on your keyboard to change the Cancel button to a Reset button, returning the settings to how they were when you opened the dialogue.

14. Scrub values

One of the best time-saving features in Photoshop is the ability to scrub your mouse over input values. If you want to change the opacity of a layer, for example, rather than click into the opacity field of the layers panel, click and drag on the value for opacity. A scrub to the left reduces the opacity, a scrub to the right increases it.

15. Copy layer styles quickly


As well as copying a layer to a new layer, you can do the same with layer styles

If you’ve been using Photoshop for a while you’ll know you can copy a layer to a new layer by holding down Alt/Opt and dragging a copy of the artwork across the canvas. You can use this same trick for layer styles: simply hold down the Alt/Opt key and drag the FX icon in the layers panel from the layer with the styles to the target layer – the styles will be copied right over!

16. Open a document quickly

Rather than navigate to File>Open to open a document, double-click on the pasteboard inside Photoshop (the bit outside the main canvas) to automatically bring up the Open dialog box. Inside recent versions, this trick only works when you don’t have another document open.

17. Close documents quickly

You can also close your documents quickly. You’re probably familiar with the shortcut combination Ctrl+F4 (Windows) or Cmd+W (Mac). This closes the current document, but if you add a second modifier key you can automatically close every document.

Hold down Shift+Ctrl+F4 on a PC, or Alt+Cmd+W on a Mac to close all open documents. If you have multiple documents with changes you’d like to discard, check the Apply to All box when choosing Don’t Save to avoid having to confirm each document.

18. Share with friends and colleagues


Share your screen with colleagues or friends easily in Photoshop

One of the nicer features that arrived recently in Photoshop is the ability to share your screen with other users. Choose File > Share My Screen and log in with your username/password. Your web browser will open and a new online meeting will be set up automatically to which you can invite friends and colleagues.

You’ll be able to chat, share webcam footage and your screen to make for productive collaboration – even if you’re the opposite side of the globe to your friends.

19. Quickly change measuring units

When you open a new document in Photoshop you can set the measuring units to match your needs, but sometimes you’ll need to switch between different units. The normal way to change is to select the options Photoshop>Preferences>Units & Rulers (or, on a PC, Edit>Preferences>Units & Rulers). But there is a quicker way! Just right-click on a ruler (Cmd+R/Ctrl+R will show your rulers if they’re not already visible) and choose the new measuring unit you need.

20. Fill with scripted patterns


Pattern fill includes handy Scripted Pattern option

Photoshop CS6 introduced a new pattern fill option based on a script. First isolate an object on a transparent background and define it as a pattern (Edit>Define Pattern). Next, access the fill command as you normally would (Edit>Fill or Shift+F5). Choose Pattern as the fill type, then select your isolated object from the patterns drop-down.

Finally, tick the Scripted Patterns checkbox and choose one of the options from the predefined scripts. All bar spiral will add a colour and brightness shift randomly to your object as part of the fill operation. You can also write your own scripts to use in this dialogue!

21. Insert Lorem Ipsum


Use placeholder text to help utilise text boxes

A small new feature that will help save time when you’re producing mockups inside Photoshop is the handy new Lorem Ipsum function. Select the type tool and draw an area type box by clicking and dragging out a selection. Now choose Type > Paste Lorem Ipsum to automatically fill your type area with faux Latin text.

22. Use space to move selections

Once you’ve made a selection inside Photoshop using any of the standard tools, such as the marquee tools, you can easily move it around on your canvas. Simply hold down the space bar and use the selection tool you’ve got active to move the selection around.

23. History Snapshots


Snapshots ensure you can return to any point in the history of your work

If you’re accustomed to using the history feature in Photoshop when you’ve made a mistake or want to back-track a few steps, this tip will allow you to take complete control of your artwork. Open the history panel, and click on the camera icon each time you reach a milestone in your artwork. This will create a history snapshot that you can return to at any point. Snapshots can also be used as the source for the history art brush!

24. Style text easily

Photoshop CS6 introduced a great feature that makes it simple to achieve consistent text styling. The latest version of Photoshop introduces paragraph and character styles. Choose Window>Paragraph Styles to open the panel, then click on the new style icon to create a new style. Double-click on the style to set font, colour, leading, kerning, open type features and hyphenation options. To apply to text, simply highlight the text and click on the desired style.

25. Apply blending modes simultaneously

If you’re rocking CS6, a new feature that can save a bit of time is the ability to set blending modes for multiple layers simultaneously. You could always do this with opacity, but it’s only with CS6 and above you can select more than one layer (by holding down the Cmd/Ctrl key and clicking on each layer in turn inside the layers panel) and change the blending mode for all selected layers at the same time.

26. Crop non-destructively


Your cropped areas need not vanish into the ether with CS6

Another nice addition to CS6 is the ability to crop without throwing away the bits of image outside your crop area. Choose the crop tool and uncheck the new Delete cropped pixels checkbox. Now when you apply your crop, the areas of image outside the crop will simply be hidden for later retrieval. To get access to the area outside your crop, simply choose the crop tool again and change your crop accordingly.

27. Hide other layers quickly

You can quickly get a preview of the current layer by turning off all other layers without losing track of which layers were visible and which were hidden. To do so, hold down the Alt/Opt key and click once on the eyeball icon in the layers panel for the layer you want to isolate. When you Alt/Opt and click again, the other layers will switch back on again, remembering which you had hidden.

28. Quickly create 3D extrusions


3D extrusions can now be easily added using CS6’s new tool

You can now add punch to your titles using 3D extrusions in Photoshop CS6. The 3D interface has been overhauled to make it more friendly to non-3D modellers, and it’s now really easy to create high-quality, textured 3D type by simply creating a type layer and choosing 3D>New 3D Extrusion from selected layer. Shadows and reflections are easier to control too, making it a great way to create engaging display type in a hurry.

29. Use actions for common tasks

One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is its ability to record macros of common tasks, allowing you to automate mundane manipulation work. Open the actions panel to see a list of pre-defined actions that can be run. Click the New button at the bottom of the panel to record your own action!

30. Add selective focus


Blur gallery in Photoshop CS6 has made adding focus easier

With the new blur gallery in CS6 you can selectively blur and, by extension, add focus to your image. Individual focus points can be added to your image, with the amount of blur, fall off and iris size all edited directly on the canvas using the HUD. You can also add special effects such as lens bokeh with ease, making it simple to draw attention to the parts of an image you’re interested in.

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