January 2008

Introduction to the photoshop layout is a video tutorial that is ideal for beginners to Photoshop introducing the user interface to those who are new to the program.

Stephanie of Obsidian Dawn has released some lovely Texture brushes hat can be used in Photoshop. They are created to be used as brushes ie actually painted into an image so the assumption is that you enjoy drawing. Its not quite the same a squishing paint about or getting mucky with pastels but almost as much fun! If you are a heavy user of Photoshop’s base texture brushes you will enjoy these.

Ladyvictoire has creates some Script brushes for Photoshop for Brusheezy
Diane Miller has written a tutorial on Changing Colors Selectively in Adobe Photoshop CS3

Flickr Commons aims at being a secondary point of access to some of the out-of-Copyright historical photo collections held in the US Library of Congress. The Library has a photo collection of over a million photos and they have chosen about 1,500 photos to show on Flickr.

When institutions place images on sites such as Flickr it not only allows them to reach a broader audience but also that audience can help classify and tag a collection. That is what this Flickr Commons experiment is also about. You can read about this project on the flickr blog.

Allowing people to classify reference material as they need to, rather than have a classification system imposed on them holds some very interesting implications that are not just the obvious shift in the way we classify information.  Traditionally classification systems also imply power as inherent in the activity is the structures that influence  how informatin is accessed, shared, used, and understood.

Cultural artifacts, such as photographs, can be items that the viewer either identifies with. For instance as an Aussie a photograph of the Sydney Opera House would hold a different meaning for me  than say a photograph of Big Ben. Photographs of vegemite or a hills hoist clothes line would hold different meanings again. I would recognise these things and they would trigger in part personal memories. They would not only be part of a larger story but also be part of my story. In other words as images, I would relate to, recognise their shared cultural and identify with such images in some manner.

Classifying images, also creates shared meanings. When people as well as experts classify images the process can shift the value of the image, not only in the viewers mind but in the society that uses, shares, and creates meanings around that image.

I am rambling this morning but it is an interesting project!

The web is constantly evolving and the W3C blog drew my attention to the fact that the W3C has released the first public draft of the HTML5 specs

If you can’t face reading the whole thing, this list of differences between HTML4 and HTML5 covers the key points.

It’s interesting to note that frame, frameset and noframes are gone and applet has been obsoleted in favor of object.

Some of the elements no longer to be used because their effect is purely presentational include basefont, big, center, and strike

HTML 5 introduces new elements that make it easier to structure pages:

“section represents a generic document or application section. It can be used together with h1-h6 to indicate the document structure.

article represents an independent piece of content of a document, such as a blog entry or newspaper article.

aside represents a piece of content that is only slightly related to the rest of the page.

header represents the header of a section.

footer represents a footer for a section and can contain information about the author, copyright information, et cetera.

nav represents a section of the document intended for navigation. ”

Since it has been a decade since HTML4 was released this is exciting.

I sometimes get questions about the font size on screens and one tip many people do not know is that on a PC
hold down the control (Ctrl) key and press + (plus) to increase the font size on your screen
Ctrl – decreases font size
Ctrl 0 returns font size to normal

On a Mac you use the Command key to do the same thing. The command key is the key with the small apple icon on it
Command + increases font size
Command – decreases font size
Command 0 returns font size to normal

Key Board shortcuts not only increase your productivity as they save you time but they also save your hands from problems caused  by over use of one set of muscles. Why do I say this? Any work practice that involves less mouse clicks is better from an occupational health point of view, because when you switch between key board and mouse you are using your hands in a different way.

These Power Shortcuts For Working With Layers in Photoshop mean you are moving your hands from clicking a mouse constantly to using the key board. It’s just a little thing but if you use a graphics program for hours on end it is these small work practices that can lead to either having a problem or not.

Of course I should add that the best thing you can do to protect your hands is take regular hourly breaks!

Design galleries are great if you are feeling stale and in need of a dash of inspiration. I am great believer in feeding the eyes in order to stimulate creative activity. Design galleries are also great way to promote your work.

This Great Web Design Gallery Roundup includes the main collections on the web and provides a handy table so you can see at a glance if they have thumbs, are dated, rated allow comments, have annoying advertising, accept submissions, is searchable, is browsable, allows other content or has an RSS feed.

Communicating ideas about technology often results in confusion. It is often difficult to make the topic interesting yet it is a topic that people need to understand. DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media is an example of communicating a key idea well.

The topic – data portability is likely to make someones eyes glaze over. SmashCut Media decided apply their skills to explaining why data portability is useful to everyone. This video explains it clearly and even if you are not a geek you quickly understand why the development of this technology is interesting and relevant to your life online.

The first section of DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media, points out many of the frustrating issues around social networks on the web and then tells us that they are working on it … but the issue is explained very clearly!

Found with thanks via Commoncraft

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