The “Love Design” iPhone Wallpaper

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will teach you how to make a cool “Love Design” wallpaper for you iPhone, obviously not everyone has an iPhone so if you wanted you could use the techniques and scale it up to a wallpaper for you desktop for instance, the main idea is to teach you how to get cool effects.

This is what we will be making:


Step 1 - New Document

First of all we need to create a new docurment, with the sizes 320 x 480 (W x H) in pixels, this is size needed for it to fit on the iPhone screen and leave all other settings as default.

Step 2 - Gradient Background

Next we need to create a gradient on the background layer, to do this select the gradient tool in the left hand toolbar and use the below colours:

Gradient Settings

And make sure that the radial gradient is selected, when this is done click in the middle and drag to any corner of the canvas and let go to get your gradient like below:


Step 3 - Draw First Rectangle

When this is done, make sure the primary colour is set to #931D1D and draw a rectangle across the canvas as shown below:

First Rectangle

Step 4 - Shadowing

Now we need to create some shadowing to do this set the primary colour to #D5C38A and draw a rectangle in the same way you did with the first one but draw it a lot thinner and at the top of the first one as below:

Small Rectangle

When this is done press (CTRL +J) to make a direct copy of the selected layer and move it to the same place but at the bottom of the first rectangle as below:

Small Rectangle 2

With this done, select the first small rectangle you drew and go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to 3, and then do this process again with the second small rectangle and you should have something like this when done:

Small Rectangle blur

Step 5 - Adding The “Love Heart”

Next we need to get the heart, I did a quick Google search for “love heart” and found a suitable one so I put it into the document and resized it to fit where I wanted it to go, after this use these settings below using the blending options to get the right colour and effects:

Inner Shadow

Heart Shadow

Color Overlay

Heart Color

When these are done you should be left with something like this:

Heart Done

Step 6 - Creating A Square

Next we need to create the box that goes behind the heart this is simple, choose the rectangle tool again and set the primary colour to #690F0F and hold shift and click and drag a box around your heart so that the heart fits nicely inside the box as below:

Heart Box

Once you are happy with the size put the below settings on the layer using the blending options:

Drop Shadow

Heart Box Shadow

Once these are done you should be left with the below:

Heart Box Done

Step 7 - Add The “Design” Text

Next we need to add the design text, this is simple pick the text tool on the sidebar and select the Arial font and make sure it is bold, next to where you have placed your heart click and write the word “Design” when this is done use the settings below (again using the blending options) to get the right effect:

Text Shadow

When this is done you will have something like this:

Text Done

Step 8 - More Shadowing

The penultimate step is to create some darker patches at the top and the bottom of the original rectangle this is again to give the idea of shading, to do this do the same as the other two small rectangles (Step 4) but use the colour # 801B1B and place them just inside the top and bottom of the original rectangle:

Shadowing 2

When this is done again apply a Gaussian blur of 2 with this done you will have this:

Shadowing 2 Blur

Step 9 - Adding Texture

The final step is what makes this wallpaper comes and alive, as we all know textures make things jump out and give things depth, so what we are going to do is add a texture I again found THIS cool texture, of paint on a canvas, copy this and paste it onto the canvas and place around this area (with the top left of the image in the top left of the canvas)


With this in place make sure the texture layer is selected and go to Image > Adjustments > Black & White and then set the layer mode to Color Burn this will give you the finished wallpaper as shown below:


iPhone Test

Also below is what the wallpaper will look like on the iPhone:

Wallpaper Test

If you want to know how to make the iPhone itself, leave a comment on this tutorial and if enough people want to see how it’s done then I will make it for the next tutorial.

It would be cool to see what you come up with so feel free to upload them to the Photoshop Tutorials Flickr Group and leave me a comment to say when you have uploaded one so people can comment on them,

And as always if you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or head over to the Online-Photoshop Tutorials Forums and post in the Tutorials Problems section and I and others will be able to help you.


Defining The Photoshop File Types

by Steve Tolley

This post is going to give the definitions for each file type that you can save as in Photoshop CS3 (as this is the one I use) Most of the below file types you won’t need but I thought it would be useful for you all to know and understand what each of them are for just in case.

Lets start with the most used file type:

Photoshop File (*.PSD*.PDD)

What is it?
Photoshop format (PSD) is the default file format and the only format, besides the Large Document Format (PSB), that supports most Photoshop features. Because of the tight integration between Adobe products, other Adobe applications, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe GoLive, can directly import PSD files and preserve many Photoshop features.

The .PDD (PhotoDeluxe Document) format is a version of .PSD that only supports the features found in the discontinued PhotoDeluxe software.


What is it?
The BMP file format, sometimes called bitmap or DIB file format (for device-independent bitmap), is an image file format used to store bitmap digital images, especially on Microsoft Windows and OS/2 operating systems. Many graphical user interfaces use bitmaps in their built-in graphics subsystems.

File Size/Compression?
While most BMP files have a relatively large file size due to lack of any compression, many BMP files can be considerably compressed with lossless data compression algorithms such as ZIP (up to 0.1% of original size) because they contain redundant data.

CompuServe GIF (*.GIF) - Lossless

I found this awesome GIF image that represents this file type perfectly:


What is it?
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability.

The format supports up to 8 bits per pixel, allowing a single image to reference a palette of up to 256 distinct colors chosen from the 24-bit RGB color space. It also supports animations and allows a separate palette of 256 colors for each frame. The color limitation makes the GIF format unsuitable for reproducing color photographs and other images with continuous color, but it is well-suited for simpler images such as graphics or logos with solid areas of color.

File Size/Compression?
GIF images are compressed using the Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW) lossless data compression technique to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality.

Dicom (*.DCM*.DC3*.DIC)

What is it?
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is the most common standard for receiving medical scans. Photoshop Extended allows you to open and work with DICOM (.DC3, .DCM .DIC, or no extension) files. DICOM files can contain multiple “slices” or frames, which represent different layers of a scan.
Photoshop reads all frames from a DICOM file and converts them to Photoshop layers. Photoshop can read 8 , 10 , 12 , or 16 bit DICOM files. (Photoshop converts 10 and 12 bit files to 16 bit files.)

Photoshop EPS (*.EPS)

What is it?
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) language file format can contain both vector and bitmap graphics and is supported by virtually all graphics, illustration, and page-layout programs. EPS format is used to transfer PostScript artwork between applications. When you open an EPS file containing vector graphics, Photoshop rasterizes the image, converting the vector graphics to pixels.
EPS format supports Lab, CMYK, RGB, Indexed Color, Duotone, Grayscale, and Bitmap color modes, and does not support alpha channels. EPS does support clipping paths. Desktop Color Separations (DCS) format, a version of the standard EPS format, lets you save color separations of CMYK images.

Photoshop DCS 1.0 (*.EPS) / Photoshop DCS 2.0 (*.EPS)

What is it?
Desktop Color Separations (DCS) format is a version of the standard EPS format that lets you save color separations of CMYK images. You can use DCS 2.0 format to export images containing spot channels. To print DCS files, you must use a PostScript printer.

JPEG (*.JPG*.JPEG*.JPE) - Lossy

An image that represents the lossiness of a JPEG image:


What is it?
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format is commonly used to display photographs and other continuous-tone images in HTML documents over the Internet and other online services. JPEG format supports CMYK, RGB, and Grayscale color modes, and does not support alpha channels. Unlike GIF format, JPEG retains all color information in an RGB image but compresses file size by selectively discarding data.

File Size/Compression?
A JPEG image is automatically decompressed when opened. A higher level of compression results in lower image quality, and a lower level of compression results in better image quality. In most cases, the Maximum quality option produces a result indistinguishable from the original.

Large Document Format (*.PSB)

What is it?
The Large Document Format (PSB) supports documents up to 300,000 pixels in any dimension. All Photoshop features, such as layers, effects, and filters, are supported. You can save high dynamic range, 32 bits-per-channel images as PSB files. Currently, if you save a document in PSB format, it can be opened only in Photoshop CS or later. Other applications and earlier versions of Photoshop cannot open documents saved in PSB format.


What is it?
PCX format is commonly used by IBM PC compatible computers. Most PC software supports version 5 of PCX format. A standard VGA color palette is used with version 3 files, which do not support custom color palettes. PCX format supports Bitmap, Grayscale, Indexed Color, and RGB color modes, and does not support alpha channels.

File Size/Compression?
PCX supports the RLE compression method. Images can have a bit depth of 1, 4, 8, or 24.

Photoshop PDF (*.PDF*.PDP)

What is it?
Self explanatory, this file format saves the Photoshop file you are working on as a PDF file to be opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Photoshop RAW (*.RAW)

What is it?
If you’ve saved the file in raw mode (when using a digital camera) when it is subsequently loaded into a raw conversion program and then saved to a TIFF or .PSD format file it can be exported in 16 bit mode. The 12 or 14 bits recorded by the camera are then spread over the full 16 bit workspace. If you’ve saved the file in-camera as a JPG then it is converted by the camera’s software to 8 bit mode and you will only ever have 256 brightness levels to work with.

File Size/Compression?
Files sizes are usually quite large as the name suggests the photo is in a RAW state therefore no compression has been done to it.


What is it?
Image file saved in the Macintosh PICT format; may contain both vector and bitmap data and can use thousands of colors; also supports RLE (Run-length encoding) and JPEG compression to reduce the file size.

File Size/Compression?
File sizes are relatively small as it uses the same compression method as JPEG

Pixar (*.PXR)

What is it?
The Pixar format is designed specifically for high-end graphics applications, such as those used for rendering three-dimensional images and animation. Pixar format supports RGB and grayscale images with a single alpha channel.

PNG (*.PNG) - Lossless

This image represents how transparency is achieved in Photoshop:


What is it?
Portable Network Graphics (PNG) is a bitmapped image format that employs lossless data compression. PNG was created to improve upon and replace GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) as an image-file format not requiring a patent license, PNG also offers a variety of transparency options available.

Portable Bit Map (*.PBM*.PGM*.PPM*.PNM*.PFM*.PAM)

What is it?
The Portable Bit Map (PBM) file format, also known as Portable Bitmap Library and Portable Binary Map, supports monochrome bitmaps (1 bit per pixel). The format can be used for lossless data transfer because many applications support this format. You can even edit or create such files within a simple text editor.
While the PBM file format stores monochrome bitmaps, PGM additionally stores grayscale bitmaps, and PPM can also store color bitmaps. PNM is not a different file format in itself, but a PNM file can hold PBM, PGM, or PPN files. PFM is a floating-point image format that can be used for 32 bits-per-channel HDR files.

Scitex CT (*.SCT)

What is it?
Scitex Continuous Tone (CT) format is used for high-end image processing on Scitex computers. Contact Creo to obtain utilities for transferring files saved in Scitex CT format to a Scitex system. Scitex CT format supports CMYK, RGB, and grayscale images and does not support alpha channels.

File Size/Compression?
CMYK images saved in Scitex CT format often have extremely large file sizes. These files are generated for input using a Scitex scanner. It is often demanded in professional color work—for example, ads in magazines.

Targa (*.TGA*.VDA*.ICB*.VST)

What is it?
The Targa® (TGA) format is designed for systems using the Truevision® video board and is commonly supported by MS DOS color applications. Targa format supports 16 bit RGB images (5 bits x 3 color channels, plus one unused bit), 24 bit RGB images (8 bits x 3 color channels), and 32 bit RGB images (8 bits x 3 color channels plus a single 8 bit alpha channel). Targa format also supports indexed-color and grayscale images without alpha channels.

File Size/Compression?
When saving an RGB image in this format, you can choose a pixel depth and select RLE encoding to compress the image.

TIFF (*.TIF*.TIFF) - Lossless

What is it?
Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF, TIF) is used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms. TIFF is a flexible bitmap image format supported by virtually all paint, image-editing, and page-layout applications. Also, virtually all desktop scanners can produce TIFF images. TIFF documents have a maximum file size of 4 GB. Photoshop CS and later supports large documents saved in TIFF format. However, most other applications and older versions of Photoshop do not support documents with file sizes greater than 2 GB.

TIFF format supports CMYK, RGB, Lab, Indexed Color, and Grayscale images with alpha channels and Bitmap mode images without alpha channels. Photoshop can save layers in a TIFF file; however, if you open the file in another application, only the flattened image is visible. Photoshop can also save annotations, transparency, and multiresolution pyramid data in TIFF format. In Photoshop, TIFF image files have a bit depth of 8, 16, or 32 bits per channel. You can save high dynamic range images as 32 bits-per-channel TIFF files.


As you can see some of the file types are redundant unless you have specific software/hardware and most of you wont ever need to use them, but now you know what they are and what they do, so if you ever need to know what file type to use for a project check back here and you can find out which is best!

If there is any information here that you feel to be incorrect or would like me to add then leave a comment on the bottom and I will moderate what I think needs adding/deleting.

Helvetica - Why is it SO Popular?

by Steve Tolley

The other day I was thinking about what font to use for a some Photoshop work I was doing, and whilst searching through the many different fonts I had, the one that jumped out at me was Helvetica I don’t quite know what it was about the font that stood out so much to me, was it the simplicity, the beauty or something else, this got me thinking and so I did some research…

First let’s look at some of Helvetica’s history,

Who Developed It?

Helvetica was developed in 1957 by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in Münchenstein, Switzerland.

The font was originally called Neue Haas Grotesk based on a typeface called Schelter-Grotesk, the main aim of Helvetica as a typeface was to create something that was quite neutral and could be used on a wide variety of signage.

The Name was changed to Helvetica in 1960 which was derived from Confoederatio Helvetica which is the Latin name for Switzerland, this was an idea to make it more marketable internationally.


Neue Helvetica is a re-working of the original font done in 1983, this style of Helvetica offered more structurally unified set of heights and widths, this was developed at D. Stempel AG which was the daughter company of Linotype, there are also other redesigns which include improved legibility, heavier punctuation marks and increased spacing in numbers.

Where Is It Being Used?

To put it simply… Everywhere!

It is a widely used typeface which has been designed for the following alphabets/scripts Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Khmer and Vietnamese.

It is being used in big companies such as AT&T, Microsoft, Panasonic and NASA also use the typeface on the side of their space shuttles!

When you’re walking down the street next, stop and look around to see how many places are using Helvetica as a typeface for their company, or simply try and spot some Helvetica near you, I bet it won’t be long until you can see some!

So Why Is It So Popular?

There are many reasons why Helvetica could be classed as popular, because it is simple yet it still manages to keep the beauty and keeps design looking good, and it never seems to get old, after 51 years it is still as loved as ever.

Below I asked some fellow designers to tell me there reasons why they think Helvetica has been so popular and why they like using it in their design work:

Andrew Taylor (Additive Designs)


Andrew explains why he thinks it is popular and the reasons he fell in love with the typeface:

It’s a good type face. It’s generic and fits well with everything, but at the same time has those beautiful little nuances that stand out; I’m specifically thinking of the lowercase a and the uppercase R.

My personal obsession with Helvetica started with seeing the movie; it was fantastic! I was already heavily drawn to typography so it was natural that I would fall in love with that movie and it’s type face. For awhile I used Heltetica exclusively, haha. I was already enamored with Josef Mueller-Brockman and David Carson; I was torn between the idea that everything had it’s place and that you can create something beautiful from anything (kind of like the Punk ideal of how even ugly can be beautiful). I used Helvetica for clean, modular layouts and then I have pieces on my wall from a very David Carson inspired piece set entirely in Helvetica.

I think designers love the flexibility of Helvetica. I’m well aware it isn’t the only type face like that and I actually haven’t used Helvetica in months; I’ve been hand lettering everything, but the neutraility of the type face makes it very appealing. The neutrality and the repition; I belive many people use it simply because it’s all around us so it must be a safe choice. It’s minimalist, it’s corporate, it’s cold, but at the same time it can be so powerful, emotional and moving when used just right.

Adelle Charles



Adelle simply put:

I think it’s popular in the design community because it’s been around for over 50 years & it meshes well into projects. There are so many typefaces out there that are so popular, but the signature of the designer is in all of the work.

She also left this quote by a famous designer:

“Helvetica leaves you with just the shapes. Other typefaces give you that but with other characteristics, whereas Helvetica is reduced down to just letters,” says Saville

Selene M. Bowlby



Selene went into detail about why she thinks it’s as popular as it is:

Helvetica is just one of those fonts - it’s clean, it’s simple, it’s versatile… It’s a font that can work well in many different applications.

With so many variations on the font, it can be used in many ways - each version capable of giving a completely different look and feel to a design.

I’m personally fond of clean / simple designs, often going for a “less is more” approach with many of my own creations. I especially like the thinner versions of Helvetica Neue, and use it on my own website, as well as on a few of my client web sites.

Although simple, Helvetica is still a stylish and highly readable font… simply put, it’s a classic that I don’t think will go away any time soon!

So there you some great responses as to why top designers today still think the font is popular within the design community even after 51 years!

In my opinion I think it is beautiful yet so simple and effective that it can bring any design to life and still give it the WOW factor that so many people crave when designing, and I can’t see it going anywhere just yet…

Here are some examples of Helvetica being used in everyday life and in design itself,

The Movie

Yes thats right a movie about a typeface, sounds weird doesn’t it? But actually it is a great movie, where top designers explain where Helvetica fits into their design life, here is an explanation of the film from the website:

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which recently celebrated its 50th birthday) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. Helvetica is currently screening at film festivals, museums, design conferences, and cinemas worldwide

The film which was originally released last year (to celebrate Helveticas 50th Birthday) was a massive hit and being very popular within the design community, to read more about the film and to buy the DVD etc…visit the official Helvetica Film website HERE

Below is an example of some of the designers you can expect to see in the movie:

Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, and Lars Müller.

Some Helvetica Inspiration

So to finish off this post on Helvetica I will show you some Helvetica pieces to inspire you…Enjoy!

To Conclude

I think using Helvetica brings a piece of design to life just because it is so simple and yet it means so much to so many people! I know one thing is for sure, I LOVE IT!

What do you think?
Do You Love it or Hate it?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

17 of the Most Visually Beautiful HDR Images

by Steve Tolley

After a break for a little while, and concentrating on my University Assignments I am back with another collection of inspirational and stunning images, this time its a collection on beautiful HDR images,

What is HDR?

High Dynamic Range. An HDR image aims to store pixel values that span the whole tonal range of real-world scenes. In order to create such an image several low dynamic range (ie ordinary digital photos) taken at differing exposure values are combined.

This process then gives amazing images that have a full range of tones and colours, which look truly amazing as can be seen in the collection below, I hope you enjoy them:


HDR at Le Louvre


Brooklyn Bridge

The Magic of Disney

The Airy Doom of the Duomo

Autumn Stream

The Seoul of a Sunset

Farewell Kuala Lumpur

The Veins of Bangkok

Modern Day Loneliness

The Powerful Sea

Treasure Island / The Island

Abandoned Matera

Swallowing The Ruins


Bench Lighting

Other HDR Collections:

User Link Feed

by Steve Tolley

Hello! Welcome to the User Link Feed. Anyone can submit links with a short description which will then appear in the sidebar. Links must be approved before appearing and we filter out links that aren’t relevant to the audience. We generally want:

  • Links to Useful Resources and Downloads
  • Links to Tutorials
  • Links to Inspirational Work (*really good* work only please)
  • Links to Articles

You can submit your links below using the form. They are generally approved within 24 hours.

The ‘Colour’ Wallpaper Tutorial

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial is an addition to the previous wallpaper tutorial I did, as that got such a good response I thought I would make another wallpaper this time using different methods to achieve quite a unique look.

What We Are Going To Achieve

Step 1 - New Document

With this being a wallpaper tutorial you will need to make the canvas size the resolution of your screen, so therefore I am using the size 1440 x 900 but make sure you match it to your screen size and just go ahead and create a new document with these sizes.

Step 2 - Gradient Background

Now you need to fill in the background with a Radial Gradient, so pick the gradient tool off the sidebar and make sure that radial gradient is selected:

Now select the colours and set them to #243430 -> #000000 so that the greeney colour is on the left hand handle in the colour selection menu.

Step 3 - Texturing Background

Now that we have the colour set we are going to add a slight texture to the background to make it stand out some more, so double click the Background layer in the layers tab which will then make it an editable layer, when this is done again double click the now called ‘Layer 0′ in the layers tab to bring up the blending options and use the settings below:

To get the below texture click the little arrow next to the preview and load the “Patterns” set of textures and choose the one shown below:

And finally add a satin effect to the background to darken it abit:

After applying all of these settings above you should now be left with something similar to below:

Click To Enlarge:

As you can see the texture really gives some depth and life to the image!

Step 4 - Adding The First Line

The main part of this image are the multiple lines that go diagonally across the image, this is simply one line with some blending options added which has then been repeated and manipulated to bring the sense of ‘colour’ to the image, to make this line we need to grab the rectangular marquee tool and draw a rectangle from one side of the image to the other:

Now we need to style it by adding the blending options:


For the gradient try to match the colours as best you can, or you can use your own set of colours to match your style:

Bevel And Emboss:

And now a simple bevel and emboss, but we are going to remove the shadow from the option by taking the opacity down to 0% this is so that we get a nice highlight at the top:

Also add a simple drop shadow with all of the default settings to give some depth to the line

With these three blending options applied you will have a line across your image that looks like this:

Step 5 - Multiplying The Line Across The Page

The best thing to do here would be to press CTRL + J to duplicate the layer and then hide the original one by pressing the eye in the layers tab next to the original line layer, this is so that you have one there you can come back to if you mess up further on.

With the duplicated line you need to rotate it to a 45 Degree angle, to do this press CTRL + T to enter Free Transform mode and hold down shift whilst rotating the layer until it is at a 45 Degree angle, with this done place in the bottom right hand corner as shown below:

Now all there is to do, is duplicate the layer (CTRL + J) and reposition it above the one before it, and repeat this process until you have something similar to the image below:

TIP: Move the lines around a bit so that you get a different array of the colours rather than the same colour all the way through.

To create the lines on the other side of the image simply group together all of the previous lines layers and put them in a group:

When the layers are in a group, the little folder icon appears with your group name, right click on this group and choose “Duplicate Group” which will make an exact copy of the group and call it something relevant e.g. “Lines Left”

Now with the duplicated group selected in the layers tab go Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal which will flip all of the layers inside that group over, now choose the move tool and move to the left hand side of the screen and position in reference to below:

So they want to look like a mirror image of each other basically

Next we need to cut off the bottom of the lines, to do this we need to highlight the top line on the right set (shown below) when we have this layer selected in the layer tab CTRL + CLICK in the box next to the layer name to get the crawling ants around it:

With the crawling ants around the line press CTRL + SHIFT + I to invert your selection, and the from the sidebar menu grab the magic want tool (making sure you still have the line selected in the layer tab) and then ALT + CLICK anywhere in the top left section of the image, this deselects this part and should leave the bottom right part of the image the only bits with crawling ants around.

With the bottom right selected select the group of the lines on the left and go through each of them pressing Delete to delete the part of the lines that are crossing over and you SHOULD be left with something similar to below:

(Note: The group of lines on the left need to be placed under the group of lines on the right in the layers tab so that they don’t appear on the top of the lines on the right)

That is the lines finished with although you can mix and match the colours if you wanted to

Step 6 - The Text

This part involves writing out the text and adding the drips to it which is basically drawing drip like shapes below the text using the pen tool,

I chose the word “Colour” because I think it is what best describes this wallpaper so I proceeded to grab the text tool from the side toolbar and wrote the text in the middle at the top of the image, I used the font Jesaya for my text and then wrote the word colour, all in lowercase

(Note: As I am english I am spelling it the english way but you can spell it however you want to)

Now you should have something like below, note also that it doesn’t matter about the colour of the text at the minute as we will be adding a gradient to it later:

Now grab the pen tool and draw a drip like shape coming from the bottom of the letter “C”

(Note: Not all drips will be the same so play around and experiment with your own shapes and drips)

With this done I had something similar to below:

Now proceed to do the same with the other letters and remember to be creative with your drips and you can even miss letters out if you wanted it’s entirely up to you, when you are done playing you will have something similar to what is shown below:

(Note: I also added some drips below the text to give the effect that it was falling off the text drips above)

Now select the text layer and all of the drip layers and right click and choose “Rasterize Layers” this will make them all into pixels (if they are not already) now right click again and choose “Merge Layers” this will make them all one layer.

To add the same effects to the text as you have on the lines then find the original line that you made in the layers tab and right click and choose “Copy Layer Style” and then go back to the now merged text layer and right click and choose “Paste Layer Style”

With this done you will have something similar to below:

Now simply add a nice, relevant motto to the top right hand side of the text, I chose “It’s All Around Us” as the motto as I believe that it best describes colour at the minute as everywhere you look there is always some colour that stands out at you.

With all of the above steps completed you will have an image like the one shown below, and now only one more step to go and then we are done:

Step 7 - Adding An Overlaying Texture

To finish we are going to add a texture over the top of all of the layers so that it gives it some more depth and brings it more to life, the texture we are going to use is located HERE you may recognise this layer from a previous tutorial that I did on a retro grunge poster that has turned out to be very popular, with this in mind I thought I would use it in this tutorial, as also I think this particular texture definitely adds alot of depth to the image.

So once you have grabbed hold of the texture then open it up in Photoshop and drag and drop it into the wallpaper canvas, and resize and rotate if necessary so that you are happy with it and then with it selected change the layer style to “Soft Light”

With this done you should be left with the finished wallpaper as shown below:

It would be cool to see what you come up with so feel free to upload them to the Photoshop Tutorials Flickr Group and leave me a comment to say when you have uploaded one so people can comment on them,

And as always if you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can…

Making a Compact Disc Icon

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial will show you the steps and techniques used when creating a CD icon which can be used on websites etc… Very useful as the same techniques can be applied when making other icons/images

What We Are Going To Achieve

As you can see it looks realistic and it is also vector style so can be scaled easily

Step 1 - Create A New Document

The best thing to do when making an icon is to make a large canvas when designing it as this helps add detail and allows for the image to be scaled later without the worry of pixelating it, bearing this in mind I started out with a canvas of 500×500 so therefore I can scale it down later.

Step 2 - Creating The Basic Shapes

The first thing you need to do is create the basic shapes for the CD and then we will add the stylings later

The first shape is a simple circle in the middle of the Canvas, to start with give it a neutral colour and then we can also change this later use the image below as reference:

First Shape:

The next shapes are also simple circles so just use the images below as reference on where to put them and what sizes they all need to be:

Second Shape:

Third Shape:

Fourth Shape:

The next few shapes are different to make as they involve using the perspective tool and rectangles:

First of all grab the rectangle tool and draw a rectangle like below:

Next press CTRL + T on your keyboard to enter transformation mode, this then allows you to play around with the shape, simply right click on one of the anchors and choose “Perspective”

When you are in perspective mode then click on one of the right hand side anchor points and drag either up or down (depending on which anchor point you chose) the idea is to make one side larger than the other:

Now you need to move this rectangle to the desired position, to do this simply rotate the rectangle and place in the position you want, also if needed resize and change perspective:

Now we need to make it fit to the outer shape to do this right click the rectangle layer in the layers tab and choose rasterize layer which allows the shape to be edited further, with this done CTRL and CLICK on the preview image of the Fourth Shape in the layers tab, like below:

This will give you the crawling ants around the biggest circle which indicated that it is selected, now press CTRL + SHIFT + I to invert the selection and make sure that the rectangle layer is selected in the layers panel and then press delete to get rid of the excess part of the rectangle to leave you with something like below:

Now press CTRL + J to duplicate it then simply rotate it and place it on the other side of the circle so that you have something like below:

Using the same principles as the above 2 rectangles we need to make 4 more, but they dont need to have the perspective added to them, so repeat the last few steps without the perspective steps so that you have something like this:

Step 3 - Adding The Blending Options

Now that we have the basic shapes in place we can start to add the blending options and effects which will then start to give this CD some life,

We will start with the first circle shape and work up from there, on this we need to set the colour to white and add a drop inner shadow using the settings below (to access the blending options menu simply double click the desired layer in the layers tab) :

Color Overlay:

Inner Shadow:

When these blending options have been applied your first shape will look something like this:

Now to move onto the second shape, on this shape we need to add a colour overlay again using the colour #CFCFCF and the add a stroke which is just plain white (#FFFFFF) and has a size of 3px:

When the color and stroke have been applied you will have something like below:

Now for the third shape we need to add a simple drop shadow, this effect is faint but will add to the final effect:

For the biggest circle we need to add the main gradient and a white stroke, for the gradient use the settings below:

And for the stroke you need the settings below:

When these settings have been applied then all of the main basic shapes are done, and you will have something like the image shown below:

Step 4 - Adding Details

To give the overall CD shape a border the best thing to do is to duplicate the biggest circle shape and add a larger stroke to it, this will show the CD to have a grey coloured border, to duplicate just press CTRL + J when the fourth shape (biggest circle) is selected in the layers tab and it will create another exactly the same, then go into the blending options and add a stroke with a size of 6px and colour #B7B7B7, this will give you the image below:

To finish off this CD we need to add some colour to the extra rectangles that we have created, using the image below as a colour reference simply add a colour overlay to each of them with the colours specified, or a gradient overlay if there are 2 colours shown:

And there you go we are finished! once you have all of the colours and gradients added then you will have a finished CD icon which can be used for many different things, below is the fullsize finished image.

It would be cool to see what you come up with so feel free to upload them to the Photoshop Tutorials Flickr Group and leave me a comment to say when you have uploaded one so people can comment on them,

And as always if you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can…

Also if you want, this CD will be in an icon pack that I will be releasing soon just leave me a comment and if I get enough people wanting the pack then I will release it when it is completed and I once I have done some more icons.

Monthly Roundup - September 08

by Steve Tolley

September has been a crazy month for me, getting prepared for university, trying to maintain this website, starting university and getting stuck in as well as releasing a second website it has all really kept me on my toes, hence the reason for the lack of posts/tutorials over the past week or two, hopefully things are settling down now and I can resume normal posting, roll on october…

But for now this is a round up of the best of the month just gone:


Lets start off with some of the best tutorials from this month, in no particular order:

Screen Shot Magic - MagnusFX

A great tutorial explaining how to spruce up dull screenshots by introducing some Photoshop magic

The RoboHorse - Tutzor

A very unique tutorial explaining how to turn a normal picture of a horse into a cool looking RoboHorse

Create a Shiny 3D Box - PSVibes

A very cool tutorial on how to make a 3D box icon that can be applied to many different designs/websites

Business Card on a Wooden Texture Table - NaldzGraphics

A nice tutorial showing how to realistically present your business card designs

Vibrant Photo Manipulation - PSDLearning

A fantastic tutorial explaining how to manipulate a photo to give a great colouful end result

Create An Amazing Ad In Photoshop - Abduzeedo

Possibly my favourite tutorial this month not just because of the amazing end result but the simplicity of the techniques used to get such a great effect


Now for some of the best design based articles, this was tough as there was so many to choose from but I just picked a few:

What Not To Do When Designing A Logo - Brian Yerkes

A great article explaining what not to do when designing a logo, informative and interesting, well worth a read

Web Design Inspiration: Brown - Design Shard

A nice inspirational article for web designers looking at brown coloured sites for inspiration, also Design Shard has just undergone a facelift and looks great check it out…

Talking Typography Part 1 - Arbent

A cool article looking at what different types of typography are used and how they are implemented


And finally some resources for you all to look at and use,

Out of Focus: 30 Free Bokeh Textures - Lost And Taken

A collection of great textures in the Bokeh style really useful and very nice

20 Free Handwritten Fonts - Fuel Your Creativity

A great collection of handwritten fonts useful for the more personal, scrapbook style look to a design

New Design Websites:

Just a quick shout out about a couple of new design related websites that have popped up this month:

The Creativity Wall

My latest website, that I officially released this month, a showcase for design related articles that will double up as a design database if you are ever looking for a design article or for a particular tutorial then this is the place to go, alternatively if you want to showcase your work here then simply submit it to me and I will upload it as soon as I can, gradually getting more subscribers and visitors per day, so get submitting to increase the amount of articles available…

A great new website from Roger who also owns this website however is like a digg style site for designers and creatives, new links everyday and ever growing, well worth submitting your links to to attract fellow designers.

Thats it for September I hope you enjoyed this roundup and lets hope October is as good for the design community and keep the great articles and tutorials coming, I will surely try my best to create some good tutorials in the following month.

Text Quickie - WireFrame 3D Text

by Steve Tolley

This is a quick text effect tutorial on how to make a 3D wireframe effect, I will show you the basic principle of how to get the effect and will then leave you to experiment with the other letters,

What We Are Going To Achieve

Step 1 - New Document

As always create a new document any size thats suitable for you, and fill with a colour that you want (White works better for this effect)

Step 2 - Writing The Letter

First of all pick the text tool and make sure that your foreground/text colour is the same as your background so it is basically invisible, so dont worry that you dont see the letter but make sure that is in the layers tab,

Step 3 - Adding The Stroke (Blending Options)

We need to add a stroke to the letter so there is an outline to the letter, so we need to open up the blending options menu (double click the layer in the layers tab) and add the following stroke option:

Now you need to make the letter invisible but keep the outline so in the layers tab set the fill to 0% this means that the inner part of the letter is made invisible but the stroke it kept as it is:

When these 2 settings have been applied then you will have an outcome like below:

Step 4 - Create the 3D Effect

Now to make the 3D effect you need to make sure that you have the text layer selected and then press CTRL + J to duplicate the layer with the duplicated layer selected then press the down arrow and the right arrow a few times (down, right, down, right etc…) until you have something similar to below:

Now that we have this done we need to move onto the final step of the first letter:

Step 5 - Connecting The Two Layers

In order to make the text look 3D we need to connect all of the corners together, to do this we use the pen tool and make sure the top toolbar looks like this:

And also make sure that you foreground colour is the same as the stroke colour (#DDDDDD) and then create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) and then draw a line like below:

Top Left:

And then right click and choose “Stroke Path” this will make the path into a straight line:

Press CTRL + SHIFT + H to hide the path so that you have the same as above, now do the same on all of the other corners, you can do it all on one layer all you can make a seperate layer for each new path line so that they can be moved easier after, when you are done connecting all of the lines then you will have something similar to below:

So using these basic principles you can apply them to other letters and create cool words and a abit of difference to your text, using these steps I made the below:

It would be cool to see what you come up with so feel free to upload them to the Photoshop Tutorials Flickr Group and leave me a comment to say when you have uploaded one so people can comment on them,

And as always if you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can…

Best of The Week - 15th To 21st September

by Steve Tolley

As of this week every sunday I am going to produce a ‘Best of The Week’ Selection where I will look through the weeks top Tutorials, Articles and Resources and produce a list of the best ones found, This being my first some feedback in the comments would be appreciated to say whether or not you like the idea,


Awesome Billiard Balls

Unique 3D Text - Xara 3D + Photoshop

Banging Woofer Embedded In Wood

Pencil It In

Make an Inspiring Artistic Poster


Your Rights As A Photographer

40+ Creative, Courageous and Campy Buttons

18 Truly Awesome Cool Custom Designer T-Shirts


Hand Drawn Fonts Collection

10 Beautiful Icon Sets For Web Developers and Designers

35 Tutorials For Mastering Photoshop Brushes

I hope that you have enjoyed this collection from this week and that it helps you along the way, if you want to see a ‘Best of’ every Sunday then leave a comment below saying how much you have enjoyed this one and I will keep on doing them.

The ‘Creativity’ Wallpaper

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial is possibly one of my favourites as I love the outcome, we are going to create a desktop wallpaper with a bit of a difference, we will use a range of techniques and most importantly we are going to use our imagination and creativity skills,

What We Are Going To Achieve

Step 1 - New Document

Create a new document that corresponds to the size of your desktop, mine being 1440 x 900, you can check yours by right clicking on your desktop and choosing Properties from the pop up list.

Step 2 - Radial Gradient Background

To start we are going to add a radial background to the canvas, to do this pick the gradient tool and make sure it is set to radial gradient (Top toolbar option) and then set your colours to the below:

With the gradient colours set then drag the cursor from the middle of the document to one of the outer corners in order to get a evenly distributed gradient like below:

Step 3 - Write The Text

To get the effect so that the “Y” has fallen over you need to write the text seperate, so first of all write the word “Creativit” I have used the font MUSEO which can be found with a quick search in Google and then set the font spacing to “-50″ the font menu can be opened by going to Window > Character on the top toolbar then you can use the settings below:

When you have applied these settings then your text will look like that shown below:

When you have this, then you can write in the Y in a seperate layer, then simply choose the move tool and rotate the Y so that it looks similar to below:

Now that you have the basic layout, you can add some very simple blending options, to do this simply double click the desired text layer and make sure that the drop shadow is ticked and press OK, now do the same for the letter Y and you will have an outcome similar to below:

To add to the effect you can add a simple shadow as shown in the Realistic Shadows tutorial which makes it look as if it is sitting on a floor.

Step 4 - Adding The Spill

To add the spill make sure your foreground colour is set to a bright colour (I chose RED as that is the colour I wanted the final spill but you can use any colour) and then with the PEN tool selected draw a shape the same as below:

Now move this layer below the letter Y layer in the Layers tab so that it looks as if it is actually spilling out of the letter itself, now we can add the seperate splatters which are simply little shapes drawn with the pen tool, any shape can be drawn and any amount can be drawn it is up to you, also you can use the below image as a reference:

You can also add a gradient to the main spill and the little splatters to get a better effect and add more depth so you can add the Gradient below through the blending options menu:

To finish off the spill you can some highlights as shown below, these are made with the pen tool when the foreground colour is set to a lighter version of the original colour used:

When you have applied these highlights then you will have the finished spill like below:

Step 5 - Adding Broken Cables

There must be a reason why the letter “Y” has fallen over and spilt the liquid inside…? Well there is the cables that hold it up have snapped, so in this step we are going to make those cables, first of all grab the pen tool and draw a simple path on the end of the horizontal bar on the letter “T” (shown below) once this has been done create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) and then right click the path you have just made and choose “Stroke Path” and then press OK this will make the path a line created by your brush, now do the same on the top of the letter “Y” and you will have something similar to below:

Apply a simple Drop Shadow through the Blending Options menu and also make sure the cables are white, so if they are not already white, then add a Colour Overlay also through the Blending Options menu and set the colour to white.

Once the cables are done then we need to make them look as if they are frayed at the ends, so they actually look like they have broken apart, to do this zoom into the end and then choose the Smudge tool from the toolbar (shown below) and simply drag away at the edges so you have something similar to below:

Now do the same to the other part of the cable, once you have done this you will have something similar to below:

Step 6 - Adding The Hat

This step is simple as it is just a case of getting the hat image and inserting it into the document and then positioning it in the right place,

So grab the HAT picture located HERE!

And open it up in Photoshop, when this is done drag it onto your wallpaper document and position on the top left of the letter “C” that is pretty much it as I have already rotated it to the correct angle, but it can be resized/rotated accordingly, when the hat is in place you will have the same as below:

Step 7 - Adding The Liquid In The “V”

This step is very similar to Step 4 where we adding some liquid/paint to the inside of the letter “V” to do this set your foreground colour to any desired colour that you want and using the Pen Tool again draw a shape like below:

Now drag this layer below your text layer in the layers tab so it looks as though it is inside the letter, and then double click the layer and apply the below gradient (Change the colours if you want to):

With this gradient applied create some liquid drops so it looks as though something has just fallen in it and splashed it everywhere, use the below image as a reference, once done apply the same gradient to all of these drops:

Now you can add the highlights again using the same methods as in Step 4, grab the pen tool and make a shape but make sure the foreground colour is set to a slightly lighter colour than what is on the drop itself, when this is done you will have something similar to below:

When this is done we will have something similar to below and will be left with one final step:

Step 8 - Adding A Slogan/Motto

To finish we are going to add a simple slogan/motto to the bottom right of the word “Creativity” so make sure your foreground colour is set to white and type the text “It’s Amazing What You Can Do…” or something similar and then open up the blending options menu and add a simple drop shadow you are then left with the below:

With this done we are finished, feel free to add more things to it, and experiment with different shapes and words and see what you come up with, if you create something then why not upload it to the “Photoshop Tutorials Flickr Group” so others can see what you have achieved

So now we are finished you should have something that looks like the below:

And as always if you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can…

Top Designers and THEIR Inspiration

by Steve Tolley

In the 2nd part of my design inspiration article series I asked 2 TOP Designers/Photoshoppers to let me know what inspires THEM in order to see how they come up with their ideas and what artists, websites, sources etc…they use, here are the answers that I got,

David Leggett - Tutorial 9

Tutorial 9 is a fantastic website offering top quality Photoshop Tutorials and resources, and home to the famous Photoshop School which will teach the beginner how to progress in Photoshop with exams at the end of each grade.

My work is mostly web based, so I do a lot of web design, interface design, etc. My goal as a designer is to balance compelling media with a usable interface. When it comes to inspiring myself, I like to browse through online galleries like,,, and see what friends are doing on Flickr.




A lot of my inspiration comes from outside the web though. For example, I greatly admire the folks who design magazines like WIRED - who really use unique grids in their work to create page layouts that are really creative and out of the ordinary. Along with magazines, I like collecting album art, cool package/product designs, and flyers/business cards.

I’ve got a bunch of really artistic friends that are fun to watch as well. Whether I’m bouncing ideas off them, or if they ask for my opinion on their work, I find myself being inspired all the same.

Last, but not least, scenery is a great tool for me. Not just nature, but taking in an entire scene of just about anything, and observing how things fit together or stand apart from each other. Skylines, Offices, the Outdoors, anything really.

Adelle Charles - Fuel Your Creativity

Fuel Your Creativity is a website dedicated to design and web resources, offering great links to cool websites, Adelle describes her site as being: “An open forum where everyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to exchange ideas and tips. It’s not just for designers either. Writers, photographers, graffitists…come one, come all.”


This site is such a great resource for all types of design. Everything is broken down into categories or sets to quickly find the type of inspiration you’re looking for. When I’m working on website comps, I usually visit the “articles” & “layout” category and when gathering research for posts, I head over to the “typography” section.


Amazing articles on web design to get your creative juices flowing. The site itself is inspiration! Great site to visit daily for design trends, ideas and tuts.


Great place to look at Logo designs, Business Card Designs & Flash Websites which are all user submitted. Another great inspirational site made by the folks over at Envato. I primarily use faveup to check out logos & business cards.


One of the best showcases around to draw inspiration quickly. They have some of the best looking sites listed and my favorite part about the site (or most useful) is the rollover (very fast) screenshot view. In most cases if I don’t like the quick view - I keep on going.


Tasty sites focused on typography. What can I say; sometimes those are the best looking sites! Great inspiration and go to when you’re stuck on layouts.


Believe it or not - I gain inspiration from the people I follow on twitter. No it’s not a gallery, but if you utilize twitter in the right way, you can get a lot of opinions on things fast and check out what other people just like you are doing, reading, surfing & talking about. This has been one of the best tools for me & inspiration on blogging or even what to blog about.

Design Inspiration from Other Top Designers

Both of the above have done posts on what inspires them and how to best utilize the web in order to get the most out of the inspiration available to use, so just click on either of the above links to find even more inspiration sources etc…

Useful Designers to Follow on Twitter

Some of the most useful and influential people to follow on twitter are listed below, this is because they offer good feedback on work and generally tweet about interesting articles around the web, which offer more inspiration and some general fun along the way,

And then there is always me, I try my best to help my fellow twitterers, so head over to MY TWITTER PAGE and click the little follow button,

Thats all I have for this article, hope you enjoyed it and that it has helped you find that much needed inspiration, when I was making this article I enjoyed looking at the websites that these designers use and have bookmarked my favourites to help me when I need inspiring.