1-Minute Workshop: Simulated Depth

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Creating Simulated Depth in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1

Simulated depth, or imitation 3D, can be created in Illustrator in a few quick steps. This method is best when you’re working with playful, stylistic cartoons. To start, draw a jack-o-lantern and duplicate its shape.

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Step 2

Select the duplicated shape and go to Effect>Pathfinder>Unite. This will merge all the paths within the pumpkin into one path. Adjust the color of the second pumpkin to a darker orange with a brownish tone.

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Step 3

The next step is to position the darker colored shape behind the original. The farther away from the original, the deeper the depth will be.

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Step 4

Now, all you need to do is add a few points to create the effect. Using the pen tool, click on the path to add a point. Once a point is added, it can be dragged or moved. Simply move the points on the bottom pumpkin so they align with the points on the top pumpkin.

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Step 5

The final effect should look like the example on the right. To complete the effect, you may apply a gradient for contrast to the bottom layer.


Enhancing Your Design with Textures

Textured images are popular in design because they integrate depth, interest and dimension to a print or digital project. The subtle utilization of a texture takes a design from being flat to fun and alive. Here are four different ways you can enhance your design with textures:

1. Textures as Backgrounds

Using a texture as a background in an image can really liven up the photo. But don’t over-use the texture because it might distract from the main content. Always keep the texture to scale with the rest of the image.


2. Textures as an Overlay

Sometimes textures can be used as an overlay to give an image a vintage look.


3. Textures in Text

Textures can also be placed inside text. If there is a texture or background that relates to the word or phrase, use that for added emphasis of the word or phrase.


4. Textures in Illustrations

Vector illustrations are always very clean and crisp, and can be part of their charm. But there are times when you want to add a little texture to them to create a printed or worn look.


Did You Know That My Library & Notes Enhance Team Productivity?

Did you know that Creative Outlet’s My Library and Notes features are invaluable tools that enhance team productivity? Users comment that My Library and Notes help them stay organized and prevent them from reusing the same image for different clients and/or reusing the same image twice in a short period of time. But My Library and Notes won’t do any good unless you know how to use them.

As many of you know, My Library allows you to save and organize a collection of your favorite photos. But you might not be aware that it has an additional feature made specifically for companies with multiple users. Every company with a Creative Outlet subscription has one parent account and multiple child accounts. Employees have their own child account where they can save and organize files privately, but they can also share files or entire folders with one or more people in a company using their default folder titled, “Shared.” Additionally, the Shared folder can house subfolders, which is helpful when organizing images specific to a project or a team. You are not restricted to saving Creative Outlet photos, as you can also save personal photos to your My Library.

The Notes feature proves vital to all users, whether you have an independent account or a child account that is part of a company, because detailed notes can be added to any image. You can view when it was used, what it was used for and other pertinent details. If you are short on time and do not want to open every image to see if there are notes, look for a colored indicator at the top left corner of each image. The indicator confirms right away that the image has notes on it or was recently downloaded. This way, you can quickly see if you want to use an image that has recently been used by yourself or another person. The indicators are in three colors: red, which means the notes were added in 30 days or less; yellow, which means the notes were added between 30-60 days; green, which means the notes were added over 60 days ago.

Here’s a quick run-down of how to use the My Library and Notes features:

1. First, log in to your account on Creative Outlet. If you don’t have any images in your My Library, search for an image and add it to My Library by clicking on the icon that looks like a file-box next to the image sizes.

My LIbrary 2a

2. Click on the My Library icon at the top of the homepage on Creative Outlet.

My Library Image 1

3. My Library shows what images you’ve saved, a default folder labeled “Shared” and any other subfolders you’ve created.

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4. To create a new folder, simply click the “New Folder” icon at the top right of your My Library page. Then type your folder name and select “Shared” if you intend to share it with others in your company.

new folder red line


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5. Notice that your Shared Folder displays how many folders and images are in it with a number next to the folder and page icon at the bottom left side. In the example below, the Shared folder contains two folders and eight assets.

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6. To save an image to your Shared folder or a subfolder that you’ve created, click the arrow at the top right of the image. This gives you options to download, add a note, move or copy, or delete. Click “Move or Copy.” The next window will allow you to choose what folder you’d like to put the image in. Select “Shared” or whichever subfolder you’d like. A third window will show what folder you’ve selected. Make sure it’s the folder you want and then select “Move.”

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7.  As previously mentioned, you can view whether or not an image has notes attached to it without opening the image by simply recognizing if there is a colored indicator at the top left corner of an image. In the example below, two images have a red corner which lets you know that notes were added 30 days or less from today’s date. If you open the image and view the notes, you’ll notice that the person who downloaded it, day and time are included in the notes section. As a reminder, the indicators are in three colors: red, which means the notes were added in 30 days or less; yellow, which means the notes were added between 30-60 days; green, which means the notes were added over 60 days ago.

Screenshot 2014-09-08 11.05.37 view notes iconadd note icon

1 Minute Workshop- Colorful Textures

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Create flat, colorful textures in Adobe Illustrator with this 1-Minute Workshop.

Step 1

Flat, colorful textures can be applied to shapes in Adobe Illustrator to add interest and depth without having to work with gradients. The only tool needed is the Transparency effect. Begin with a basic shape, like a simple leaf. This will serve as the background for the effect.

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Step 2

Select a shape in the tool palette. For this example, a circle is used. You can use basically any pre-made shape or create your own unique shape using the Pen tool. Place the circle over part of the leaf and assign it an orange color. Now go to Window > Transparency. In the dialog box, change the mode from “Normal” to “Multiply.” This will mix the foreground color with the background color.

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Step 3

Now, create additional shapes filled with various colors and position them around your background shape until you are happy with the look. Select each shape and set the mode to “multiply” or experiment with other modes, such as “overlay” and “soft light.” Once you have all the shapes in the right position and the color is to your liking, select all the shapes and go to Effect > Pathfinder > Divide.

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Step 4

The shapes should now be separated into individual shapes everywhere they intersect one another. With the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), click on the shapes outside the original shape of the leaf and delete them (Example A). When you’re finished, the final effect will look like the leaf on the far right. This is a quick and simple technique for creating a flat, colorful effect within an illustration.

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Learn How to Avoid Losing Big from Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement can COST YOU BIG MONEY and unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to do if you’re not careful. Take a few minutes to read this blog entry so you can avoid being sued for hundreds upon thousands or even millions of dollars!

In early August 2014, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple nearly $120 million for copyright infringement, as seen in the Huffington Post. Do you have $120 million to throw away? We sure don’t!

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of copyright infringement happened with a photo of President Obama. A freelance photographer for the Associated Press named Mannie Garcia had a photo published in the New York Times of Obama in 2006. Just a couple years later, a famous street artist by the name of Shepard Fairey used that same photograph to create a design of the image with the word “hope” under it. The design was not affiliated with the campaign but was approved by it for use. Even though the campaign approved it, the party who owned the rights to the original image, the Associated Press, did not. In January 2011, the parties came to a private settlement. It is safe to assume that Fairey probably did not anticipate this legal drama and would have liked to avoid it. To learn more about this case, click here and keep reading to learn how to avoid losing big from copyright infringement.

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At left, photo of Barack Obama by Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia at the National Press Club in Washington. At right, poster of Barack Obama by Shepard Fairey. Photo seen on

There’s only one way to ensure you don’t violate copyright law and that’s purchasing by images from a stock photography business like Creative Outlet or obtaining photos from an image-hosting domain like Kwikee. When you use images from those sources, you are assured they are free from royalties and you are working with the company who either owns the image license or has the ability to redistribute the image legally to you. However, there are times when you need to use an image that can’t be found in an image library — much like the Obama images described earlier. In those instances, you’ll need to know the basics of copyright infringement:

Copyrighted work must be an original work of authorship. For example, an image, painting, sculpture, logo, article, book, song, movie, computer program or other work that is a tangible medium of expression can be copyrighted. After 1989, copyrighted works no longer need a copyright symbol ©, the word “copyright,” author’s name or year of publication to be copyrighted. It is now expected that everyone know the copyright law and take the appropriate steps to follow it.

How do I know when copyright infringement occurs?

  1. The copyright holder has a valid copyright.
  2. The person who is allegedly infringing must have access to the copyrighted work.
  3. The duplication of the copyrighted work must be outside the exceptions. If any of the exceptions rules (fair use, face-to-face instruction, virtual instruction) apply, then you can use the work.

What are the legal penalties for copyright infringement?

  1. Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits as determined in a court of law. The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
  2. Infringer pays for all attorney fees and court costs.
  3. The court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
  4. The court can impound the illegal works.
  5. The infringer can go to jail.

What can’t be copyrighted?

  1. Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes.
  2. Titles, names, phrases, slogans.
  3. Facts, news, research.
  4. Works in the public domain, such as work that is created as a result of what someone was hired to do. Mannie Garcia was hired by the Associated Press; therefore, she does not have the copyright even though she took the photo.
  5. Works that are not fixed in a tangible medium. For example, a speech that is not written down or recorded.

How do I cite an image that I found online?

  1. Be sure to cite the image from the original source. If you find an image by conducting a Google search, you must trace where the image was originally created.
  2. Do not use the URL of an enlarged image. Use the URL of where the image was originally displayed.
  3. Include the image creator’s first and last name. If that’s not accessible, use the page author’s name.
  4. Describe what the work is. For example, photo, painting, map, etc.
  5. Include the website title in italics.
  6. Include the website publication date.
  7. Include the date image was viewed.
  8. Include the web address in angle brackets, followed by a period.

Here’s an example of a proper image citation:

Garcia, Mannie. “Barack Obama.” Photo. 5 Feb. 2009. 26 Aug. 2014


Another acceptable way to cite image sources in your blog or news article:

Include the original source’s name in the text, a link to where you found it and a caption under the image. Your caption might read “At left, photo of Barack Obama by Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia at the National Press Club in Washington. At right, poster of Barack Obama by Shepard Fairey.”

Did You Know about the Enlarged Thumbnail Options?

Did you know about all the options you have when you view an enlarged thumbnail?

Creative Outlet makes it easy for you to view a larger version of the photo you like by simply clicking the picture. The enlarged thumbnail window includes options such as add notes, save to My Library, print, view related content and view artist portfolio. Let’s take a quick tour of an enlarged thumbnail and its options…

1. First, search for a picture you’re interested in. It might not be “the one,” but it could be among several that would work for your project. For example, if you are designing a Halloween flyer and want to find pictures with people wearing Halloween costumes, you might search “Halloween costumes” and see several images that you’d want to preview.

Halloween Costumes Search


2. Click on the picture you’re interested in so you can see an enlarged thumbnail.

Enlarged thumbnail picture

3. Notice the “add notes” icon next to the image description. Click on the icon, type your image notes (as shown below), and hit “Add.” The notes, who wrote the notes, the day and time will save to that picture. This is helpful when designers at the same newspaper need to know if a particular image was recently used. For example, a designer may have published an veterinary advertisement using a picture of a dog and two weeks later, another designer might be interested in using the same picture for a pet store advertisement. The notes option helps creative teams avoid using the same picture more than once.

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4. The “view related” icon, next to the “add notes” icon, is useful when you want to view other content that contains the image. This is helpful to show you how the picture could be used.

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5. The “print” icon, next to the “view related” icon, is an easy and quick way for you to print the image instantly from your preview. Simply click the icon, select your desired settings and hit print.

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6. Notice to the right of the image thumbnail, you have the option to download various file sizes. Choose CMYK if you plan to print the image and RGB if you plan to publish it online or in presentations. Some sizes might be too big or too small, depending on the medium of your project. Therefore, these file size options are helpful so that you don’t waste time resizing images using other programs. The icon to the far right that looks like a file box, makes it easy for you to save the image of a particular size to your My Library.

File sizes

7. Towards the bottom right corner of the image thumbnail window, there is a list of keywords. These are all the keywords associated with the image. Under this list, is a “View Artist Portfolio” icon. Click the icon to view all content submitted by the artist of your image thumbnail.

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BoysMummiesHC1410 by Rekha Garton


artist portfolio images

All images submitted by Rekha Garton