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Working with Type Tool in Photoshop

Type Tool is the tool that lets you add text in your work area. When you are starting to create a design in most of the cases you’ll find yourself working with it. In this article I’ll discuss about the 3 main, powerful elements that you must use in order to avoid design mistakes.

Window > Character

This is the window that will pop-up when you’ll activate it.window character

Size

You probably already know what the size does. It has impact on leading like this: if the size increases the leading must increase too so the text is not overlaying, so it is a proportional thing.35-500x373

Leading

Leading is the distance between two or more rows of text. It is the paragraph size in Microsoft Word that starts with 1.0, 1.5, 2 etc.

Tracking & Kerning

Tracking is the space between characters. It is also confused with Kerning, but that is another thing and we’ll see how. Unlike Leading, Tracking is constant, you don’t need to keep a proportion with the size. Of course, the tracking remains the same as the size increases it still must be changed for the text to fit in a certain area, but you will never have overlaying of characters.tracking-500x373

Tracking is for increasing the space between two or more characters. You can of course select two characters, like I did and tried to increase the space, but you can see that it affects nearby letters too. This means that tracking should be used for words and kerning is for characters. For tracking you must select at least two characters and for kerning you must place the cursor between two characters.kerning-500x373

Baseline Shift

Baseline Shift does what the name tells. It shifts the selected text up or down (minus or plus values).shift-500x373

Vertical / Horizontal Scale

I don’t think I need to explain this. It distorts the text vertically or horizontally, simple as that.

Ok, now that we wen through the Character Window, is time to analyze the second element.

Window > Paragraph

The paragraph window can be used only when the text is in a shape or path. If the paragraph is inactive even when you selected the text it means that you just typed something there or copy pasted.

Going to Rectangle Tool and drawing a Rectangular Path or any shape that you want to put the text in will let you use the paragraph window.paragraph window

The values that you seeing there are for left&right margins space, first line space and the top and bottom space between multiple paragraphs.

Smart Guides

Apart from the Type Tool, Smart Guides are something you should always use when creating a design. They will always help you know where is the middle of the page, the margins of a certain row, etc.

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Direct Technology – Flyer Tutorial

Direct Technology will be a tutorial based on a corporate, modern, fun looking flyer. We’ll use brushes and work with paths, textures and images. Also we’ll keep a color scheme provided by Adobe Kuler. You may feel free to use other shapes in some cases as long as the design remains the same, or you can go ahead and experiment with it. It really doesn’t matter as long as you achieve the effect you wish.

Before starting the tutorial, if you are planning to print this, you may want to check out the post that covers everything about CMYK colors and Trim, Bleed, Safe lines – Photoshop New File Print Settings.

Files you will need:

  • Building Image -> Download | Source
  • Paper Texture -> Download
  • Font -> Download
  • Brush Pack 1 -> Download
  • Brush Pack 2 -> Download

Step1

Create a New File.

Step2

As you noticed, this will be a narrow tall flyer. The size of it is one part of a tri-fold A4 brochure. We’ll start with opening our texture paper and placing it over. Either minimize Photoshop and drag&drop the texture icon on the workspace and after that right click on layer and select Rasterize Image, either you can choose to open the image, undock, drag&drop and resize it. Whatever you do, after you opened and placed the image over your workspace, hit CTRL+SHIFT+U to Desaturate.

Hit CTRL+T and drag the corners if you need to resize the image and fit it.

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Step3

Set the Foreground Color to  #4D73FF and the Background Color to #233978. Create a New Layer, position it above the texture one and go to Filter > Render > Clouds. After this go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Blur to 25px.

Step4

Select the Pen Tool and check the Shape Layers button. You will draw a shape, not a path. You can find the button at the top left corner, under “File, Edit”. Click the points as the image below. To achieve the curve, when you click the second point, hold down the mouse button and slowly drag to right while pressing Shift. After this release Shift and start adding again the next points. In the end, you must have something like this:

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Step4

Duplicate this layer by pressing CTRL+J. After this, snudge it a bit to top and position the duplicated layer below the original one. Set the duplicated layer to #4D73FF color. Repeat the process and position the third duplicate below the other two. Set the third duplicate layer to #233978.

Select the shape layers and group them. To select multiple layers hold down CTRL and click. To group them, press CTRL+G after you selected.

Step5

Create a New Layer beneath the group. Load the Flow brushes. Paint the top with any shape you desire. I used the 2150 one and rotated it to fit in. Don’t forget to set a white color.

Step6

Create a New Layer on top of the others. Select the Oval Shape tool and draw an oval path like in the below image. Remember to set it as Path and not a Shape. You will need only lines. After you drew the shape, press CTRL+T to enter transform mode and rotate it a bit.

Step7

Select the Brush Tool. Choose the indicated brush.92

Step8

Select the Pen Tool. Right click on the drawn shape and choose Stroke Path. Select “Brush” and check the “Simulate Pressure” box. Set the Foreground Color to #CC7C29 before stroking the shape. Press CTRL+J to duplicate the layer. Press CTRL+T and make the duplicated shape a little bit bigger. Remember to hold down Alt+Shift to maintain the aspect. Go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 180.

Step9

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a shape like in the image below. Set the color of the shape to #233978. Draw another shape on the bottom and set the color to #4c68b0.

Step10

Select the Type Tool and type “Direct Technology” with the provided font like in the image below. Set the Layer Style according to images.

“Direct” word is 70 size and “Technology” 37.122

Step11

Open the Building Image and position it like in the image below.

Step12

Add a Mask Layer and paint with black and a soft big brush the edges until you achieve the below result.

Step13

Load the Arrow Shape brushes and start adding some random shapes on the bottom until you have something like this. Make sure to create a separate layer for each shape because you will need to change to color separately by adding a Color Overlay. You can go freestyle here. This is the “fun” part of the flyer.directtechnology

This is the final work. As you noticed I added some simple text, some shapes, played with opacity and colors and here it is. I hope you liked it !

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Photoshop New File Print Settings

There are some things that you want to be aware of when you start creating an artwork that will be printed. Because most of the Photoshop Tutorials on web are not going through a printing process, these details are omitted and in this way the user is getting used to develop over many years without considering some important details. He is reaching the point when, as a graphic designer, his work will be printed and chances to become a total fail will be huge.

To avoid mistakes in the long run we must learn some basic things about printing.

What you see on the screen is different than what you print and this happens because most of the printers (even the high-end ones that cost a lot) can’t perform like a screen.colors

Printcolors

Your monitor is using RGB colors while a printer is performing with CMYK (K is black color). It often happened to me to use RGB instead of CMYK and when I printed the work  a light blue was a dark blue, a yellow to green color was complete green etc. Apart from these, black happened to be a dark blue sometimes and result was catastrophic. It is important to keep in mind when you are creating something that will be printed that CMYK is the best way to go. When you create a New File, just make sure that CMYK is selected.

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You started with CMYK and you begin working. Unlike the rest of colors, black has a different approach.

Now you may say ” Hey, but isn’t that black a blue ? “. Well, it is, but is good for print. I personally tested on my CanonMP160 and I had a black with a little bit of blue to be honest, but was black. Don’t think now that a printing company has a compact printer. To be clear on things, go and talk to the company that you will print, otherwise keep it like in the image above.

When it comes to layouts, you must be aware of some guidelines. These guidelines are called Bleed, Trim and Safe. Often you can see them as areas or zones. Let’s look at the image below.cmyk

Trimbleedsafe

Bleed area is the portion of your artwork that is bleeding or stretching if you want. To prevent white borders when a business card is trimmed, for example, bleed comes in and is completing the color. This means that your bleed area is not always something that will disappear.

Some use trim areas, some don’t. Often the bleed area from above is called Full Bleed and the Trim Area – Bleed Area.

Trim line is where the material is cut. Maybe now you’ll have a better understanding of bleed. If the trimming is made a little bit more to the left and you lack of bleed area, white borders are appearing. This is why it is important to always keep these guidelines in mind and apply them.

Safe line is the line of the police. No more text and images beyond this point, sir ! You should keep your title, text paragraphs, logos, everything in this zone because only the background can pass. Always make sure that important elements of background are not passing this line. Suppose that you have a man stretching his hands with a blue towel in his back. You may extend the towel until bleed, but don’t let his fingertips pass the safe line.

Now you may ask yourself “Ok, so what do I have to do ? Create these lines everytime ? What are their sizes ?”. Most of the times, the bleed area is a 0,25in, same for trim area, but sometimes other companies that will print your work have their own sizes so, if you can, ask them for a template. If you always go with 0,25in is perfect because these are standard, although when I used to work at a local printing company they had different sizes for bleed.

Anyway, keep it 0,25 or to make it more easier for you, download templates from companies like Uprinting.com. They have all kind of templates, from tri-fold, bi-fold brochures to business cards. Just register and start downloading templates whenever you need them.
These templates already have the resolution and DPI set, bleed/trim lines are drawn. You only have to start working on your project.

DPI comes from dots per inch and is a measurement tool for pixels if I can say that. For materials like brochures/flyers/book covers 300DPI is enough and very good. If you consider an artwork for a billboard, a mega poster or something bigger, you have to raise to 450 and even 600 sometimes. Be aware that increasing the resolution or dpi also makes your file bigger so prepare for Photoshop to start using more of your processor.

What I told you here are only some basics that you have to keep in mind. Further information is always welcome so I recommend you to take time and take a look at this article “A Guide to Preparing Files for Print“.

Now that everything is clear, you will have a plus when you’ll start another tutorial. Good luck !