Monday, February 21, 2011

Site review -

I've recently discovered a new site, or new to me site, I should say judging from the whois registration information. (Why I am I just finding this site 5 years later?) I originally found the site as a great photoshop wallpaper tutorial site; that is, a great reference site for creating wallpapers using Adobe Photoshop. However, after a pretty thorough search of the website I see it as pretty much a one-stop shopping site of tutorials for any adobe product, including any of the acquired Macromedia design products such as those included in the Studio MX and MX2004 suites.

Judging by some of the comments in some of the tutorials I read, I would say it is most likely not a site for a newb, but it may be a site for a novice, especially if you are already somewhat acquainted with any of Adobe's design products. In the photoshop and flash tutorials (as in most of the tutorials in the site) there are pictures/screen captures that walk you through each step of the processes; however it will definitely be of help and a great time saver if you are well familiar with the tool palettes in the particular program/application that you are doing the tutorial on. I'm also a firm believer in twice reading a tutorial. One time through without the program being open reading through what you are going to be doing. This gives you somewhat of an idea of how tricky the techniques are going to be and allows you to plan idea and gather any extra materials or plugins that you will need. And then read it through a second time with the program/application being open following along with it, once you have determined you are able to follow along and have gathered the appropriate materials you will need.

At a first glance, the site is a confusing mess of ads, articles, tutorials, and banners. I recommend either typing in a keyword of a tutorial you would like to search for, or scrolling down to the very bottom of the page to find their navigation. There you will find a categorized menu of links breaking the site down into: Acrobat Family, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Technologies (which includes PDFs, JDFs, Metadata, Xara, PostScript, and printer drivers), Creative Suite Family, Design Software (which include Swish, CoffeeCup, Xara Xtreme, and font maker reviews), Digital Imaging, Digital Photography Software (reviews and firmware updates), Freebies, Macromedia Products, Photoshop Plugins (only one review in there at the moment - Alien Skin's Exposure), Print and Web Publishing, and Video & Audio (including some pointers in Premiere Pro). You can also subscribe via RSS, email updates, or follow them on Twitter.

When you are using the tutorials, you will definitely have to turn a blind eye to the advertisements or they will drive you bonky. Although I do have to admit I have not found any of the annoying and seizure-inducing blinky banners like on some sites. But, you will definitely have to know what to click on, what to read, and what is just purely advertisement, or you may end up getting very lost. I suppose this is what you will have to tolerate though for a reference site that is free without having any logins and hosted by Host Gator.

I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0.5 came out over 12 years ago, and although I am confident in my skills in photoshop, I would consider myself an amateur hobbyist at best in the program. I have three different versions ranging from CS to CS5 on my various computers, but I'm always happy to learn more about one of my favorite programs. I've been a fan of such photoshop sites as: Planet Photoshop, and Photoshop Cafe. And now I am definitely adding this site, Adobe Tutorials (with a Z!) to my list of Adobe reference sites.

Incidentally, the search that led me to this site initially, was "romantic valentine backgrounds" in a Google image search. I not only found a romantic Valentine background, I also found out how to make it and created my own. :)

I had this on my desktop at home on Valentine's Day while I was at school. My boyfriend loved it! He loved it even more when he learned that I made it.

Here is another one I did using a combination of a couple of tutorials I found in that site:

I must admit I have yet to find the fireworks brush set that I was shown in one of the tutorials, but I did find others, and I like the way mine turned out. In case you are looking, I could not find a tutorial for a wallpaper about Presidents' Day, but I did a search for "patriotic" and found a grunging background I liked, then did a search for "fireworks" and found another tutorial that worked for me.

What are your thoughts on Have you used this site before? Do you subscribe to the site? What way do you use this site?


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