Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Quickly Add Placeholder Text to a Newsletter Mock up in Photoshop

Placeholder text 4 e1416276667999 Quickly Add Placeholder Text to a Newsletter Mock up in Photoshop

Automatically put placeholder text in a newsletter mock up in Photoshop

If you are creating a mock up of a newsletter in Photoshop I suggest you use “Lorem Ipsum..” as your sample text instead of real text. One thing the human eye is always looking for is readable text, but when you use “Lorem Ipsum” because it makes no sense at all your reader’s eye will go to your design instead of tying to read the placeholder text. 

To create a text box and fill it automatically with “Lorem Ipsum”, select the Type tool on your tool bar and click and drag where you wish your text box to go.

Select the font face, font size, and font color on the tool options menu.

Placeholder text 2 e1416276587289 Quickly Add Placeholder Text to a Newsletter Mock up in Photoshop

To fill the text box with your placeholder text, click Type on your main menu then click Paste Lorem Ipsum on the drop down menu.

Placeholder text 3 Quickly Add Placeholder Text to a Newsletter Mock up in Photoshop

This fills your text box with the placeholder type.

Only make and fill one text box at a time, if you need more text then click in the text box and reselect Type>Paste Lorem Ipsum to refill it.

Placeholder text 4 e1416276667999 Quickly Add Placeholder Text to a Newsletter Mock up in Photoshop

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

What to do when Kuler won’t update in Illustrator

update kuler in illustrator 1 What to do when Kuler wont update in Illustrator
Notice the refresh icon is greyed out!

Help! Kuler won’t sync with Illustrator!

Unfortunately when Adobe changed how Kuler works with Illustrator CC they broke a great tool. Instead of being able to search for color schemes from inside Illustrator you now have to do this on the web and favorite a color scheme if you want it to appear in Illustrator. At least that’s the theory – in practice Kuler is very slow to update in Illustrator making it nearly impossible to use it in a meaningful way – unless you know how to force it to update.

While you should be able to click the Refresh button at the foot of the Kuler panel most of the time this is greyed out – so you can’t force a refresh. The only solution that reliably works for me is to sign out of your Creative Cloud account inside Illustrator then sign in again.

So, to force the update, go to Help and click to sign out – in practical terms you are deregistering your Adobe account on this computer for now. Now close Illustrator and restart it – when prompted to do so, log in to your Adobe account and voila! Kuler will update.


update kuler in illustrator 21 What to do when Kuler wont update in Illustrator

Seriously Adobe really should be more proactive in fixing this stuff when it breaks like this. It shouldn’t be too hard to do – just make the Refresh button do what it is supposed to do!

For what it is worth, the problems with Kuler occur with both the Windows and Mac version of Illustrator.


Friday, September 19th, 2014

How to center a layer in a Photoshop document

centering a photo in Photoshop opener1 How to center a layer in a Photoshop document
Image Credit: © 2014 freeimages.com, anitab0000

Help! How to center a layer’s contents in Photoshop

Whether you’re making  a simple document,  newsletter or editing a photo a necessity is being able to center your layers. This task took me by surprise as to how challenging it was but in a few steps it can easily be done.

First press Control and click  the layer  thumbnail for the layer you want to center in your Layers panel.

first step for centering a photo on Photoshop How to center a layer in a Photoshop document

Click Select  > All (Control/Command + A). This makes all of your layers selected. You can tell this is done by the marching ants around your full image.

centering a photo in Photoshop 21 How to center a layer in a Photoshop document

Click Layer >Align Layers to Selection > Horizontal Centers.

centering a photo in Photoshop 3 How to center a layer in a Photoshop document

Notice that your layer is now centered.

centering a photo in Photoshop 4 How to center a layer in a Photoshop document

Press Control/Command + D to deselect your layers.

Now your layer content is deselected and aligned  horizontally and you’re free to continue editing.

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Activate Photoshop’s Full List of Filters

header Activate Photoshops Full List of Filters

Despite their existence in earlier versions of Photoshop some categories of filters are mysteriously missing from the menus in Photoshop CS6, Photoshop CC and Photoshop CC 2014. This is the default behavior so you won’t find the Artistic, Brush Strokes, Sketch, Stylize or Texture category of filters in the Filters menu. This is a problem if you use these filters so luckily you can bring the filters back when you know how.

It turns out that an option in the Preferences menu acts as gatekeeper for displaying the missing filter categories. To re-enable them, select Edit > Preferences > Plug-Ins…. Then check the box that reads Show all Filter Gallery groups and names. Click OK and restart Photoshop. This will put the filter categories back in the Filters menu.

1 Activate Photoshops Full List of Filters

Now you could have accessed the missing filters from the Filter Gallery but the way the filters are named in the Layers palette is different if you access them from the Filter Gallery rather than from the menu itself. So, if you use Convert for Smart Filters to create a smart object before applying the filters and if you start a filter from the menu then the filter name appears below the layer so you can tell the name of the filter you are applying. This image shows this situation:

missing filters in photoshop cc cs6 cc2014 1 Activate Photoshops Full List of Filters

If, on the other hand, you start your filter from the Filter Gallery the Layers palette simply shows Filter Gallery – with no indication of which filter you applied. This is what the Layers palette looks like – not very helpful at all.

missing filters in photoshop cc cs6 cc2014 2 Activate Photoshops Full List of Filters

In short, having the filters back on the menu and selecting them from there is the better option.

Be aware too that the Oil Paint filter was removed from Photoshop CC 2014 so it is gone for good.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Select Unflagged Photos in Lightroom

lightroom select unflagged photos 1 Select Unflagged Photos in Lightroom

Need to check what you didn’t pick in Lightroom – here’s how!

My workflow for choosing the best of my photos in Lightroom is to go through the photos in a folder and either click the Pick flag, the Reject flag or simply move past the photo onto the next one. Now sometimes I’d like to review the photos that I  haven’t picked – they aren’t the best but they aren’t rejects. I will do this just in case there are some good images I have overlooked.

So, how do you display only the unflagged photos? Luckily it’s dead easy to do this.

These icons across the top of the filmstrip are, from right to left: Show Flagged Photos (ie Pick Flag is on), Show Unflagged photos (no flag present) and Show Rejected photos (Reject flag on).

lightroom select unflagged photos 2 Select Unflagged Photos in Lightroom

So, click the middle flag to see only those photos that don’t have either the Pick or Reject flags enabled.

Now, if you add a Pick (or Reject) flag to one of the images it will immediately disappear from view – that’s because this filter is a live filter – it only shows the unflagged photos and as soon as a photo has a flag it no longer matches the filter so it is removed from view.

Of course, when you are done, make sure to select Filters Off from the Filters: list (or click the same flag a second time) to return to viewing all your photos.

lightroom select unflagged photos 3 Select Unflagged Photos in Lightroom



Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Canva Keyboard Shortcuts

1 Canva Keyboard Shortcuts

Love Canva? Here are some keyboard shortcuts to speed up your designs

Control (or Command) + A  Select everything in the design

Click on an area which is not selected – Deselect current selection

Control (or Command) + ] or Control (or Command) +  Down Arrow – Move the selection down one layer

Control (or Command) + [ or Control (or Command) + Up Arrow – Move the selection up one layer

Control (or Command) + ;  Show/Hide the layout grid

Alt (or Option) + Shift + B – Add a border around the text

Alt (or Option) + Shift + + (the plus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad) to make the border wider

Alt (or Option) + Shift + – (the minus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad)  to make the border thinner

Control (or Command) + Shift + K – selected text to uppercase/lowercase (toggle) (this may not be visible if you are using an all caps font)

Control (or Command) + Click  on an already selected object to select the object directly below it (Canva suggests this works, it doesn’t for me but YMMD)

Up arrow / Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow – Nudge a selected shape in the direction of the arrow

Shift + Up arrow (or Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow) – Move the selected shape a larger amount in the direction of the arrow

To rotate an object to 45 or 90 degrees (or multiples of these), rotate it slowly when you are near a 45 degree increment and you will see it snap into position

Canva provides a fun tutorial to help you practice some of these shortcut keys which you will find here: https://support.canva.com/hc/en-us/articles/202777824-How-do-I-use-keyboard-shortcuts-

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Illustrator – Find, Download, Install and Use Scripts

Harness the power of scripts to automate tasks in Illustrator

Where Photoshop has Actions, Illustrator has Scripts that help you automate complex and tedious tasks. You don’t need to know how to write code – just how to copy and paste it to harness the power of scripts to automate your workflow in Illustrator.

From scripts which make a rectangle the size of the artboard, which make metaball shapes and divide text frames you’ll find lots of practical use for scripts every day. I’ll show you how to find  scripts online that you can use. I’ll show you how to find free scripts for Illustrator, how to download scripts and install them. I’ll even show you how to make a script file if you can find the code but it’s not in a downloadable format.

So you will  learn to make use of .js and .jsx scripts and how to copy and paste script code from a web page and save it correctly so you can install it into Illustrator. I’ll also show you how to run the scripts you download.

Some of the scripts discussed include join reasonably which joins paths better than Illustrator does and a range of other handy scripts.

Helen Bradley


Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Illustrator – Create a Wave Repeating Pattern

More complex than it looks, here’s how to make a Wave Pattern in Illustrator


Learn how to create a wave pattern in Illustrator. You will see how to draw the starting shape and how to fill it. You will learn how you can test it to see how it will look and then adjust it if necessary before continuing.

You will use the Shape Builder tool to build the actual pattern starting piece and the new Pattern feature in Illustrator CS6 & Illustrator CC to make the repeating pattern swatch.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Thank You Texture Creators!

Recently I made a post giving thanks to the wonderful font creators who distribute their work for free. Today I’d like to thank the image and texture artists who are doing the same and making my life in Photoshop so much easier. If you are looking for texture resources then I cannot give any higher recommendations than these. The links provided will take you to specific textures, but each author’s entire portfolio is worth exploring.


Skeletal Mess - A brilliant independent image and texture author.

3375160261 9b5d24f4f3 q Thank You Texture Creators!


FreeImages.com - A massive archive of free images and textures.
cardboard 1 676674 m Thank You Texture Creators!beach house 725863 m Thank You Texture Creators!


TextureKing.com – Another great texture resource.

DSC 4405 Thank You Texture Creators!










Mayang.com – Many useful day to day surface textures.

relief painted gravel wall 9243324 Thank You Texture Creators!












Monday, July 28th, 2014

Illustrator – single shape with multiple strokes and fills

Create a multi-dimensional Illustrator shape from a simple star


Learn to create this multidimensional shape in Illustrator starting with a simple 20 point star.

You will learn how to make the points of the star round, how to fill it with a color and a pattern then how to create the outside and inside strokes.

The entire effect (minus the background and text) is one single resizable fully adjustable vector shape.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Microsoft Word – Rotate Text

Learn the secrets of how to Rotate Text in all versions of Word – 2003, 2007, 2010 & 2013

One of my most popular blog posts deals with the problem of rotating text in Microsoft Word. The issue is that in prior versions putting text in a shape and then rotating it just rotated the shape – not the text – sucks huh? 

While the newer versions of Word work more reliably – not all of them do! Here’s the video version of that blog post – you will see how to rotate text in any version of Word from 2003 onwards and also see what doesn’t work so you don’t waste time trying!

I’ll show you how to rotate text through 90 degrees, 180 degrees and any other rotation you need and we’ll use Text Boxes, Word Art, Tables and Shapes to do it.
Helen Bradley

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

How to Find, Install and Use Free Photoshop Brushes

Find Free Brushes Online to use in Photoshop

Learn how to find and download free and for fee brushes for Photoshop. See how to install these brushes into Photoshop and use them in your work.

This video covers all the steps in downloading and installing the brushes so you can ensure they are  always available to you.


 Helen Bradley

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Illustrator – Cartoon Style Illustrations

Create Cartoon Style Illustrations in Illustrator

Learn to create cartoon style illustrations in Illustrator.

You will see how to make shapes using the line tool and ellipse tool in Illustrator then how to fill the shapes using the Live Paint tool.The process is simple to do and fun.

Because it uses simple shapes and does not require extensive use of the pen tool it is a great way to learn more about using Illustrator without needing to be able to draw or use complex tools.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Illustrator – Create Curly Shapes

Curly Bracket Style Frames in Illustrator

Learn how to create curly frames in Illustrator – the sort that resemble curly brackets that you use in your word processor.

You will see how to take a bracket or brace character from a font, add it to an Illustrator file and turn it to Outline type so you can work with it. You will then break it apart to get the curly shape, copy it, rotate, reflect and join it to make a curly bracket frame shape.

You can then do with it anything that you can do with a regular shape in Illustrator.

This technique is handy for scrapbookers and graphic designers and it looks great on invitations including wedding invitations. It is a fun and easy to create effect.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Illustrator – Tricks of the Appearance Panel

Tricks for Using the Appearance Panel in Illustrator

Learn tips and tricks for using the Appearance Panel in Illustrator.

You will see how to add multiple fills, how to add extra shapes to a single shape, how to move and resize a shape.

You will also see how to make part of a shape transparent using a transparency mask effect created inside the Appearance panel.

This video is ideal for intermediate level Illustrator users and will expand your knowledge of Illustrator tools.

Helen Bradley

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