Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make a Simple Animated GIF

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1. Using Photoshop, make a new document: 800 x 400 pixels RGB

2. With your Type tool selected, type “How To”. Click the Move Tool and then Command J to duplicate text layer. Position your duplicated text under “How To” so you can see it

3. Type “Make An” using the duplicate text layer you just made from Step 2.

4. Click the Move Tool and hit Command J again to create a third text layer. Position your text under “Make An” so you can see it.

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How to Make a Flyer in Photoshop Using Your Own Photos

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If you are feeling uninspired and aren’t finding the perfect image or background, use your own photos to create a flyer for your event or to promote your offerings & services. Everyday we are taking photos and posting it to our social media accounts; there’s lots of things to take photos of – the sky for example, you can take a picture of a flower, the grass, the road, a wall, a piece of wood and use that as background texture. Remember, inspiration and beauty is everywhere!

A perfect photo to use has a lot of space for text, so try not to use an overly busy photo. For this tutorial, I am using a photo that I took of the sunset when hiking at Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, CA around dusk.

I am using Adobe Photoshop CC on a Mac. Beginners can follow along.

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Tip: always duplicate your photo, and use that duplicate for your project. You never want to overwrite or use the original – then you would’ve lost your awesome photo forever. Sadface.

Step 1: Open up the photo you are going to use and go to File menu > Save As…

This saves your photo as a Photoshop document also known as PSD. PSD is the raw version of your file where you can edit, create your text and layers, etc.

It’s always important to Save (Command S, Windows/Start Key on PC). People tend to overlook this most basic step, especially when you’re in the zone. So always remember to save often if you don’t want to redo all the work that you did.

Tip: if the photo you want to use is on your phone, email the photo to yourself from another email address. From there you can check your email from your computer and download the photo.

Step 2: Resize your file.

You want to resize your file if you’re going to use this for internet / social media use. You don’t want your final file to be too big. Go ahead and go to Image menu > Image Size…

Type 600 as your Width and hit OK.

Step 3: Add some text. Play with the sizes.

Make sure you turn your Background layer in your Layers panel into a layer by double-clicking on it. Now you can add text.

The font I am using is OPTI Cashew Bold, it’s one of my favorite fonts to use.

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Step 4: Add more text.

You can stick with one font as long as it’s easy to read. If you need to add a lot of information, then it would probably be a good idea to change the font. Helvetica is always a good choice. In this tutorial, I am sticking to using one font.

So for the most part, we’re actually done here. If you’re satisfied go ahead and go to File menu > Save for Web > use JPEG, High, Quality: 60 for your settings. Make sure you have ‘Optimized’ checked on. You now have a flyer that you can post on Instagram, Facebook, etc.

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Step 5 (Bonus): Add a shape behind the text

Maybe the information isn’t standing out enough. Let’s add a shape behind the text ‘WHERE, WHEN & WHAT TO BRING?’…then make the text white.

Reversing the color of things always helps when all the text looks the same.

Click and hold the Custom Shape Tool (Star-looking icon on your toolbar) and click Custom Shape Tool. On your top bar where it says Shape (might be located on your far right), click and hold the little arrow; Photoshop comes with custom shapes that are ready to use for your project. Pick the one called Banner 4 (when you hover your mouse over the shapes, a label for the shape will pop up) and make your shape over the text ‘WHERE’.

Hit Command J to duplicate the shapes and place them over ‘WHEN’ and ‘WHAT TO BRING’. Resize the shape over ‘WHAT TO BRING’ since that one has longer text.

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Step 6: Move shapes under your text and make them white or any color you choose.

At this point, your shapes are on top of your text. In your Layers panel, move the shapes under your text and change the color of your text.

Don’t forget to hit Save.

Step 7: Play around and have fun with it!

I did more tweaks to mine, like change the colons to question marks. Added an exclamation mark to ‘City!’ This didn’t take long at all, probably less than 30 minutes…an hour for me because I was creating the flyer AND typing this tutorial up.

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You can download the PSD and font I used for this tutorial.

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How to Create Your Own Background in Photoshop

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Perhaps you need to make a flyer and can’t seem to find that perfect background. Why not make your own? I notice that the time it takes for me to search for a background, could’ve been used as time spent making one. It really doesn’t take that long, if anything you will end up spending more time creating your background because it’s a lot of fun and you will literally get lost in the creating process.

This Photoshop tutorial is aimed towards intermediate users (those who aren’t new to Photoshop and use it regularly), but I think semi-beginners can do this as well. I am on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.

Step 1: Create your file.

Mine is 800×800 pixels, 72 resolution, RGB mode. Perfect to use for Instagram.

Step 2: Change the color of your background.

I picked a gray color (#666666) and hit Option (Alt for PC) and the Delete key. This fills your current white background with the gray or whatever color you choose.

Step 3: Pick another color and make a shape.

Click the U key on your keyboard or go to your Toolbar to click and hold the icon with the circle – a dropdown menu appears to give you other shape options. I am going to keep it simple and do an elipse…a magenta elipse.

I am now going to call it a circle instead of an elipse because it’s just easier to say.

Step 4: Pick another color, duplicate your circle, and change the color.

With your circle layer still selected, hit Command (Windows/Start on a PC) Key and J and now you have another circle. Option + Delete Key to fill it with a new color and move it around. I picked a darker magenta.

Step 5: Duplicate your 2 circles and play with the color modes.

This is the fun part, the part where you can get lost and play for a bit because it’s endless. Select both circles in your Layers panel (Shift + Click to select more than one item) and hit Command J again. You should now have 2 other sets of circles, 4 total). Move them around, make them smaller or bigger if you want; deselect and then select one of them and choose Color Dodge in the Blending Modes dropdown menu right above your Layers. The circle “blends” in and now you can see the other circles underneath.

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Step 6: Group your circles into a folder

Select your circles by Shift + Clicking on each one until you have all of them selected, then hit Command G to group them. Doing this creates a folder for your circles.

Step 7: Duplicate your folder

Hit Command J again to duplicate that folder you just created. Now you have a 2nd folder full of circles and you can move the entire folder around, maybe even rotate it to create an interesting composition. Play around with this until you are satisfied.

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Step 8: You can repeat step 7 or add an Adjustment Layer.

So let’s say you’re satisfied with what you made, but the image you created is still too bright to add text over it. You can add a Levels layer to make it darker or brighter depending on your needs.

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In addition to the Levels (which made mine darker), what I also did is create a new layer, and made a gradient over this, hit G on your Toolbar. Hold and drag your mouse over this new layer and it should create a gradient with the 2 colors you have as Foreground & Background. I gave it a Multiply Blending Mode to make it darker. It adds depth to your background and now you can put light colored text over it.

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Step 9: Add text

Go ahead and add some text to this image.

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Here is the PSD that I used for this tutorial that you can download for reference. The font I used for the main headline is a Google font called Ultra.

Usually when I find that something in Photoshop isn’t working, it’s probably because you didn’t select your layer in the Layers panel, and then you also have to target your image.

So always remember: in order to change something, you must select it first – the layer itself and then click to the image area.

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How to Add a Custom Background to Your Drawings in Photoshop

This is a new marker drawing that I made today. Most of my artwork is usually feminine in nature so I wanted to channel in some masculine energy. I also promised to type up a tutorial so here goes!

Here’s a simple technique that I like to use for my drawings. Beginners new to Photoshop can follow along 🙂

I am using Adobe Photoshop 2015 by the way and the key commands I use are for Mac. Control key is the equivalent of the Command key on a PC.

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1. I scan the drawing at 300dpi and it gives me this large TIFF file. You can take a pic with your phone, email it to yourself and download it from there but I find that the resolution isn’t high enough. I could be wrong though, feel free to try it.

2. My scanner software (Image Capture) is kinda janky so when it scans, it gives me a washed out scan. To fix this, I usually hit Command Shift L or Auto Levels in Photoshop. Or I adjust the Levels and Curves until I’m happy with it. In Adobe Photoshop CC 2015, it’s now called Auto Tone in the Image menu.

3. I want to add a cosmic background to the blacked out area of the drawing. It would be good to find a background that’s about the same size of your scanned image. In your layers panel, double click to turn your locked background image to a layer so that it can be edited. It’s going to become Layer 0.

4. Hit W on your keyboard to select the Quick Selection Wand tool, third tool on your toolbar.

5. With your Layer 0 still selected, on your image click the area you want to select and see how much it covers. You will see a selection (some people call it marching ants). If you need to select more additional areas, hold down the Shift key and click another area. The more solid the area is, the better your selection will come out.

6. Now that you have a selection, hit Command Shift I or go to Select menu > Inverse. This changes your selection. You won’t see it until you put a mask on it.

7. With your selection still active and your layer 0 still selected, at the bottom of your layers panel, click the Add Layer Mask tool, third one from the left. This masks or hides the area that you selected.

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8. Now you can bring in your cosmic background by dragging the file right into your Photoshop document from wherever it’s located. It will place the file right smack in the front so once you’ve adjusted it to your liking (size and position), hit enter or return; now you can move that cosmic background layer to the bottom of your layer stack.

9. Make sure to hit Command S to save your work! Save often if you’re doing a lot of edits.

10. I like to play with the blending modes in the Layers panel, the tab that says Normal but has a dropdown menu. I added another layer and played with gradients and changed the blending modes on there too.

Endless fun!

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If you want to practice with the files I used, you can download them here.

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