Author Archive

Creating Water Drops on a Surface in Photoshop

Published by | Friday, April 18th, 2014

Water Droplet 44

In this week’s installment of Pixel Playground, Bert shows us his process for creating water drops on a surface in Photoshop.

Create realistic reflections and shadows with Photoshop

Published by | Friday, April 11th, 2014

Creating realistic reflections and shadows

This week Bert walks us through creating reflections and shadows cast by the neon tube lights in this store sign.

3 Ways to Get Your Novel Ideas Approved (AUDIO)

Published by | Monday, March 31st, 2014

3 ways to get your novel ideas approved

What do we do when we present a great novel idea to our higher–ups and they don’t approve it? We often start generating less novel ideas—and that benefits no one. Listen to creativity expert Stefan Mumaw as he explains how to sell your novel ideas to stakeholders so they see their value, and put them into action.

Know what’s important to your audience and then sell it through that lens.

Essential tips for a brilliant brainstorming session (AUDIO)

Published by | Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Stefan Mumaw on Creativity and Brainstorming

Explore this course at lynda.com.


Creativity is not an external force or a rare skill; it’s a habit that anyone can learn. All you need are the tools to unlock it and you’ll be able to generate better ideas faster. Brainstorming is a fantastic tool to help unleash your creativity and uncover a wealth of unique and relevant ideas—but if approached incorrectly it can also be a wheel-spinning bust. Listen to these great tips from Stefan Mumaw so your next brainstorming session is a creative success!

Find no more than five to seven people to include, and make sure you’re choosing a diverse group of people. Find folks from outside of your department, even outside of your company. Outsiders bring fresh perspectives and while they may not be able to solve the problem as acutely as people who are more familiar with the problem, they may take you down roads you may not have considered.

Why spot colors are necessary

Published by | Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Why spot colors are necessary

Explore this course at lynda.com.

Why do we need spot colors? It’s because humans can see a wide range of colors—some say 10 million shades—but there’s a limit to what we can print in CMYK, the industry-standard combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. This is where spot colors – absolute colors generated by a specific ink – come in to fill the gaps.

CMYK has its limits
The diagram below represents the range of colors humans can see. You’ll notice that what we can see on a monitor, and what the CMYK offset printing process is capable of reproducing, is less than what spot colors (the “PANTONE gamut” in the diagram below) can achieve. Bright oranges and navy blues can be especially challenging.

Creating a great design: No image, no problem!

Published by | Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
No image? No problem!

Explore this course at lynda.com.

What do you do when you’re faced with creating a great design—but have no images to bring variation and interest to the piece? John McWade’s answer to this common challenge is to use more white space, also known as negative space. This is the portion of a page left unmarked, such as margins, gutters, and space between columns, lines of type, and graphics. It may sound like a simplistic solution, but it’s a great way to make your design more dynamic, and attract your viewer’s attention.

Save time and money by managing project “scope creep”

Published by | Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Everyone dreads “scope creep.” That’s when a project keeps expanding, either due to endless revisions or the addition of new work that wasn’t part of the original plan. To avoid it, be up front with clients about the number of changes covered in the fees that you’ve agreed upon. Additional work and/or revisions can certainly be accommodated, but you’ll need to amend the original agreement so that you’re fairly compensated for it.

What qualifies as a revision? What’s the difference between minor changes and substantial ones? You’ll have to define the line between the two, and make it clear to your client before you begin work; add this definition into the Terms & Conditions section of your agreement.