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Free Files From FlashDen & Others

7.02.2009 | 0 Comments

The Envato marketplaces, including FlashDen, ThemeForest, GraphicRiver, AudioJungle, and VideoHive,  just started a Free File of the month program. The files they’re giving away are built by pros and reviewed by pros just like everything they sell at Envato. Unlike most “free” things, there are no strings attached. You don’t even need to sign up if you don’t want to. All the files are great, but the FlashDen and VideoHive files are truely amazing. These will be great to have just in case the right project pops up.

Thanks Envato and thanks to all the hard working authors who are giving their files away for free!

The free files include:

FlashDen – Simple and elegant Flash image gallery with source and instructions included. Download
ThemeForest – Clean business template built in HTML. Download
GraphicRiver – Button and dropdown graphics. Download
AudioJungle – Audio logo pack. Download
VideoHive – I don’t know how to describe it. You just need to check it out and download it.

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Designers, don’t stop learning!

4.13.2009 | 3 Comments

I just found a fantastic post by Scott Wills on FlashDen’s blog talking about the reasons why a person buys stock. The article talks specifically about Flash, but it applies to all stock.  He says “Perhaps a customer is a Flash-savvy Web designer who knows very little about coding at all, or perhaps there’s a customer who is simply tight on time and would rather invest a little money into an existing file on FlashDen in order to save time and avoid re-inventing the wheel.” Regardless of your specific reasoning for buying stock, you’re more than likely a design professional.

As professionals, you need to stay on top of your game. You need to be the best of the best and know how to use the latest and greatest technology. Scott wrote specifically about the hesitation most Flash developers are having about switching from as2 to as3. They’ll give a lot of reasons, but in short it’s because it’s hard to learn new things. I hate to be harsh, but if you don’t get on the train, you’re going to miss it. This applies to all of you designers! Those of you who are already on the train, don’t think this is the end of your journey.

So, you know you have to learn, but where do you start? I’ve seen a thousand tutorials and there aren’t too many I’d suggest you use. Just because it shows you how to  make something work doesn’t mean you should do it that way. I would really suggest using sites that are considered authorities on the subject. If you’re willing to spend some money, I’d suggest lynda.com for just about any design related subject. Their books and video tutorials are, in my opinion, some of the best out there.  AdobeTV isn’t the easiest site in the word to navigate, but there are some fantastic tutorials over there. Another excellent option is the TutsPlus series of sites that includes FlashTuts, AETuts, PSDTuts, and several others. Here are some really great tutorials for each subject:

Flash
Flash “Decals”

Learning as3 Part 1
Learning as3 Part 2
Learning as3 Part 3
Learning as3 Part 4

Vector
Characters with character

PSD
Creating stains
Creating dark, surreal illustrations

After Effects
Light painting effect

Web
Javascript preloader

A better login system
5 ways to write better css

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More Freebies From iStock

3.31.2009 | 0 Comments

Every week iStockPhoto gives away a free image. Don’t worry if you accidentally forget and miss one week, they also let you download the previous two free images. These aren’t tiny images only useful on the web. You can download full-size, high-res images that you can use in commercial designs. The only thing you can’t use for free is the extended license. In addition to the free weekly image, they give away one vector and one video each month. Thanks iStock! Here is this weeks free image:

Read more…

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Using Stock Sites for Design Ideas

3.02.2009 | 0 Comments

Most clients seem to have a pretty clear idea of what they want you to design. Other clients come to you with nothing more than a business name and high expectations. Coming up with a design idea can be the most difficult step in the process, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the client’s industry. I recently had a forex trader ask me to build him a website. He didn’t have any input, he just wanted “something cool.”

A very common mistake among designers is being more concerned with making the website itself cool rather than making the website fit the product. Emmanuel Rouzic’s photography portfolio is a great example of what should be done. The subject is photography and 99% of the interface is photography. They made the content the interface and did a good enough job of it to win an fwa award (another great source of inspiration by the way)! Your design must fit your content. Read more…

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Stock for Real Estate

2.25.2009 | 0 Comments

Less than two years ago the real estate market was booming. With all the money Realtors were bringing in, dropping a couple thousand dollars on a custom website made sense. With the change in the market, all that is over. Whether you’re a Realtor yourself or designing for a Realtor, your budget is probably tight.

Rich or broke, Realtors need a logo, business card, fliers, and a website. Using stock files is a fantastic way to get professional -looking design done inexpensively. Even with stock, a designer may still be necessary, but it will always be cheaper than custom work. Many real estate offices employ an in-house designer, who may be the perfect person to turn a couple pieces of stock into a quality design for little to no cost. Read more…

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GraphicRiver Launched

2.24.2009 | 0 Comments

About a month ago I wrote a post about the imminent launch of GraphicRiver, Envato’s stock illustration and PSD site. Well, the time has finally come. The site is finally out of beta and there are already some fantastic files. I’ve compiled a short list of some of my favorites. Enjoy!

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More free iStock Photos

2.22.2009 | 0 Comments

Every week iStockPhoto gives away a free image. Don’t worry if you accidentally forget and miss one week, they also let you download the previous two free images. These aren’t tiny images only useful on the web. You can download full-size, high-res images that you can use in commercial designs. The only thing you can’t use for free is the extended license. In addition to the free weekly image, they give away one vector and one video each month. Thanks iStock! Here is this weeks free image:

Read more…

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Stock Celebrity Images

2.17.2009 | 0 Comments

Chances are that if you are on a normal stock photography website and you search “Paris Hilton”, all you are going to find is a hotel in France. Most stock photo and video websites don’t sell images of celebrities, athletes, politicians, or anyone else famous.

Be Careful
When you buy an image from most stock websites, you can use the image pretty much however you want. This is not the case when buying a photo of a famous person! Let’s say you run a blog all about the latest and greatest sports news and you want to do an article on former UFC champ Chuck Liddell. You can’t just search Google, find your favorite picture of him and slap it on your site. If you do, it is highly likely the license owner of that image will come after you. If you think the consequences for using a famous person’s image on your website is bad, you should see what happens to people who use unauthorized images of celebs in fliers promoting their products. This is a dangerous road that you shouldn’t walk down. Each license is different so read them very carefully before you buy. Read more…

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Another Free iStock Photo!

2.11.2009 | 0 Comments

Every week iStockPhoto gives away a free image. Don’t worry if you accidentally forget and miss one week, they also let you download the previous two free images. These aren’t tiny images only useful on the web. You can download full-size, high-res images that you can use in commercial designs. The only thing you can’t use for free is the extended license. In addition to the free weekly image, they give away one vector and one video each month. Thanks iStock!

This week’s free iStock image:

Read more…

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10 Killer WordPress Themes

2.07.2009 | 3 Comments

When you think WordPress, you probably think blog. Yes, WP was build as a blog, but it is also a great CMS (content management system). WordPress is one of the simplest CMS’s out there and perfect a small business owner who needs a great website they can update themselves. WordPress is free, but to make it look professional, you need to buy a template for it. Here are some of the best stock WordPress themes I could find:

Read more…

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