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Two Useful Design Articles

posted by Matt Ward on Jul 29, 2009.

This article links to two design-related articles that I found very useful – from BittBox and Blog.Spoon Graphics – about Photoshop Brushes and creating vector-based seamless patterns. Both articles discuss fairly simple concepts, but they are invaluable tools for any designer.

Recently, I’ve come across two extremely useful articles from two blogs that I read quite frequently. Both articles are related to design, and since they offer great tips, I thought I would share them here.

The first is from BittBox and explains one method to create seamless patterns in Illustrator. I found this article when I was doing some research for the development of my first freebie pattern, entitled Imperial Leaf. The article basically explains how to use a number of Illustrator’s alignment and transform tools in order to create a seamless pattern.

How to Make a Perfect Seamless Vector Pattern - BittBox

How to Make a Perfect Seamless Vector Pattern - BittBox

The pattern that is created here is extremely simple – just a repeated collection of dots – but the premise was like a revelation, and really helped with the creation of my own pattern. I did things a little differently though, and in the near future, I will be writing a tutorial about how I went about creating Imperial Leaf.

The second article is from Blog.Spoon Graphics, and explains an extremely simple but often unknown or overlooked trick for using Photoshop brushes. You actually use the Brushes palette to rotate any of your brushes. It’s certainly not a very long article – rotating a brush doesn’t take much – but the implications are tremendous.

Rotate Brush Between Use - Blog.Spoon Graphics

Rotate Brush Between Use - Blog.Spoon Graphics

There are many possible uses for this, but the one that struck me the most as soon as I read the article had to do with grunge brushes. Many of the grunge backs that I use have brushes designed specifically for grunging up the corners of a design. These brushes are great, but I was always frustrated by the fact that I could only ever seem to use them on one corner – the top left for example. However, by rotating the brush by 90, 180, 270 degrees I can use the same brush for any corner.

There are bound to be other uses, too. Rotating and changing the size of a brush can certainly change its dynamic. Regardless, this is just another little bit of Photoshop which, though certainly not hidden, is not necessarily obvious either.

Anyhow, I found both of these articles extremely useful. I hope you do too.

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About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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Jan 19, 2011

Su Hall says:

Judging by the responses to Chris Spooner on his blog for the brush tip, not many folks knew about the rotation. So, awesome! I don’t know anything about Illustrator, so, no matter. Great piece! Thank you for a great read!

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