General Creative


If you're an Adobe Illustrator users and you aren't familiar with designer, Von Glitschka, you're in for a real treat. George Coghill has an excellent interview with this talented designer and Illustrator user. Von Glitschka shares some insight on the techniques used in his vector creations.

You can read the interview at GoMediaZine.

Understanding ink limits in Photoshop


Ink Limit is the amount of Ink of each color you put on the paper when printing. If your color in a document is 100% Cyan, 100% Magenta, 100% Yellow and 100% Black - you have a 400% ink limit (sometimes called density). Understanding and adjusting your ink limits can improve the quality of your printed piece.

MOST commercial printers like to have between 280%-300% ink limit. That means that if you want a nice deep black, you can run something like 60% cyan, 60% magenta, 40% yellow and 100% black - which is a 260% ink limit (or density). Using a higher ink limit, such as a CMYK setting of 100% of all four colors, will generally result in a muddy image, or wrinkled paper. At the very least, you may experience ink offset and extended dry times on your print job. Read on for more on ink limits.

Printing: Black vs. Rich Black

If you've worked in the print design business for any amount of time, you've no doubt heard the term "rich black" more than once. If you're not quite sure when or why to use it, read on for a brief explanation.


Because large areas of black ink tend to appear a muddy brown or charcoal gray color lacking richness and depth, printers recommend using a rich black (a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink percentages) in large solid areas where black ink is desired.

Is Snow Leopard ready for heavy-duty design work?

gen_Sl_CS4-header.jpgWhenever Apple releases a new operating system, the first thing creatives consider before updating is whether or not the new OS will play nicely with their existing investments in hardware and software. For most designers and artists, that means Adobe Creative Suite, font managers, and Web browsers, not to mention their existing Macs.

In my latest article at Macworld, I share a brief overview of Snow Leopard, and how it might affect designers using the Adobe Creative Suite 4 applications.

To make a long story short, the answer is yes, go ahead and upgrade. While the speed increases are nominal at this point; future upgrades to individual applications will boost speed in the not-so-distant future - as shown by Safari, Mail and iCal. I experienced no issues running Adobe CS4, Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 or any other applications I use on a daily basis.

Adobe drops PPC support for CS5

Adobe announced today that future versions of the applications in their Creative Suites will no longer support PowerPC (PPC) Macs. With Apple's recent announcement that the next version of OSX (Snow Leopard) will not support the PowerPC chip set, there was really no reason to continue with future development for the pre-Intel platform.

Adobe Creative Suite

So if you depend on Adobe Creative Suite software for a living but have not upgraded from the G5 or earlier Macs, you might want to consider doing so sometime early next year if you plan to take advantage of all the new features that Adobe Creative Suite 5 will bring.

Free icons: HeadsUp - Apple

HeadsUp Apple icons

I'm a huge fan of Adobe's CreativeSuite icons. I like their simplicity, they just stand out in the dock. I've customized a few of my icons to take on a similar look, which I call HeadsUp.

So here's the HeadsUp - Apple icon set, containing 7 color variations (plus a Graphic Mac logo version). The icons are 512 pixels and should scale well for virtually any resolution screen. Free of charge, don't steal, blah, blah, blah...

Candybar users can download the iContainer version here.
– Or –
You can grab the standard OSX folder version here.

40 Free icon sets for Web designers


Hongkiat has showcased 40 free GUI icon sets, perfect for Web designers wishing to add a little color to their site design. The sets range in size and file formats, but all are suitable for Web use.

Anti-Glare Film for Glossy DisplaysIf you're not a fan of the glossy LCD screens Apple puts on all new laptops, iMacs and the 24" LCD display, this product is for you!

RADTech offers ClearCal, an anti-glare film for glossy displays, that significantly reduces glare, is easy to apply, and can be removed and washed a number of times.

I have a glossy-screen MacBook Pro. While I've not really had a problem with the glossy displays, save for a few working hours in bright sunlight, I can see how a product like ClearCal can be a life-saver for photographers and designers who work outdoors, or in an office with a large window or bright light source behind them.

ClearCal costs $20 for laptops, and $25 for the iMac 24" and 24" Cinema Display.

Getting feedback on concepts

ConceptFeedback is a new Web site that offers designers a place to get feedback and exchange ideas on design concepts from other designers across the Web.

Design concept feedback

Sites like this are particularly valuable for freelance designers who don't have the benefit of an office full of "extra sets of eyes" to look over a concept, catch mistakes, point out obvious omissions, etc.

The service is free, and quite easy to use; using a Digg-like voting process and the ability to leave comments on submitted work.

30" LCD Showdown: Apple vs. Dell

gen_apple_vs_dell-boxing.jpgIn my quest to upgrade an aging dual-monitor setup (a 20” main screen with a 17” screen off to the side to house application palettes, iTunes, etc.), the first decision to make was choosing between another dual-monitor setup, or going large with a 30" display. I chose to go the single-monitor route.

With only a single monitor, I wanted the largest I could get, a 30" LCD. After quite a bit of research online, and real-world use of the Apple 30” Cinema Display and a Dell 30” UltraSharp Widescreen, I was prepared to make a decision based on several factors.

Rather than give a run-down of tech specs you can get on your own, I decided to give you a side-by-side comparison from a typical user’s perspective.