All posts by LSA Recas + Creative Outlet

Creating Realistic Clouds in Adobe® Photoshop®

Step 1

You can create clouds in Photoshop using only one tool! Begin by creating a blank canvas and fill it with blue to simulate the sky. Now click on the Brush tool in the upper left-hand corner of the menu. Select a brush with a large diameter and no hardness. This will create a very “soft” and “fuzzy” brush. Set the opacity of the brush to around 45%. You want to keep it very subtle. The goal is to use a layering technique and build up the shapes of the cloud with the single brush.

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Creating Flat Color Texture in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

Interesting, detailed compositions can be created quickly using repetitive geometric shapes in Illustrator. In this example, you will use some very basic shapes to create a texture-rich flat color illustration: a primitive globe (just a circle and two rough-drawn continents), a small blue circle, two different rectangular shapes and a primitive tree shape (made from triangles).

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Is your design full of C.R.A.P.?

Don’t be mistaken. In the design world, C.R.A.P is a pretty well-known acronym for four very basic, yet highly important guidelines in graphic design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. These four principals can help you simplify, improve and control your design for a more pleasing aesthetic for your viewer.


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Create a Spring Flower in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

There may be times when you need a graphic but don’t want to spend the time creating it from scratch. One method to speed up the process is to use a pre-made shape as a starting point. Letters or characters work perfectly for this. In this example, you can create a quick flower using an exclamation point as the basis for the shape. First, find a font that will work for the petals of the flower. Times New Roman has a rounded tapered shape that will work well for the petals.


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Create a Fast Abstract Graphic in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

This is a very quick and simple technique for creating abstract graphics. Begin by creating a simple shape. The shape can be a circle, square or a freeform shape. Adjust the color of the shape until you are happy with it. In this workshop, two graphics will be created—one using the square and a second one using the circle.

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Create Type Reflection in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

A word or phrase in Adobe Illustrator can be embellished quickly and easily with a reflection. This simple technique will add dimensionality to your type and make it stand out in your designs.

Begin by typing a word. In this example, the word “Reflection” is used. Change the color to blue and outline the text by going to Type > Create Outlines.

Step 2

Duplicate the word so that you have two versions of it. Select the copy and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. In the dialog box, select horizontal. Your two words should look like example A.

Now, position the upside-down copy directly underneath the original word, leaving a very small amount of space between it and the original word. See example B.

Step 3

The next step is to squish the “reflected” version of the word. Select the bottom (upside-down) word and double-click on the Scale tool in the Tool palette. In the dialog box, select Non-Uniform and set the vertical percentage to a low setting, such as 50%. Click OK. The resulting copy should look squished or slightly flattened.

Step 4

To complete the effect, adjust the color by assigning the bottom word a gradient. The gradient should be a smooth transition from white to light gray. You can also put a light blue to dark blue gradient on the original word as shown here.

The result should be a clean and crisp-looking type effect that stands out in your design.

Create Unique Frames in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

Time and efficiency are important when it comes to design. One method of maximizing your time is to take advantage of the Distort Effects in Adobe Illustrator. One quick and useful effect is called Pucker & Bloat. This effect can be used to create two unique looks by adjusting a slider.

To begin, create the basic shape of the frame. Using the Rectangle tool, make a square box. Hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions and create a perfectly symmetrical square box.

Step 2

Next, you need to create a smaller box inside the first box. To do this, select the box and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a negative number in the dialog box to make a smaller box.

At this point, you should have two boxes. Select the inside smaller box, cut and paste in front, then change the color to white.

The two boxes will be comprised of four points—one point in each corner. To maximize the effect, you may add points to the boxes. To do this, select both boxes and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Repeat this process one more time.

Step 3

At this stage, you should have the two boxes with many points around the edges of the boxes. To create a unique frame, select the boxes and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat.

In the dialog box, adjust the slider to the right to “bloat” the boxes or to the left to “pucker” the boxes. Be sure to have Preview clicked so you can view the effect before applying it.

Step 4

When you’re happy with the result, click OK to apply the effect. The result will be a unique and fun burst or frame to use in your designs.

To adjust the frame further, try rotating it 45 degrees or experiment with the Scaling tool to achieve a different look.

Advertising Ideas for February: Dental Health

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and National Pet Dental Health Month. February 1 is also Give Kids a Smile Day. Needless to say, let’s see some ads about dental health this February.

Ad Ideas:
* Sponsored coloring page or other kid activities with a dental health theme
* Signature page listing kid-friendly dentists
* Sponsored series of tips to help parents
* Advertising section featuring reader submitted tips
* Focus on what to do in a dental emergency such as a broken or knocked out tooth, toothache, etc.
* Feature teeth healthy foods and kid-friendly recipes
* Create a photo contest for healthy smiles (kids or pets)
Businesses to Contact:
* Dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists
* Doctors, pediatricians and hospitals
* Organizations focused on kid’s health
* Stores catering to kids
* Stores that sell toothbrushes, paste and floss
* Dieticians and nutritionists
* Zoos, museums, etc.
* Libraries
* Veterinarians
* Animal hospitals
* Stores catering to pets