Archive for category Tutorial

Cosmic Fantasy Lawn Tutorial

This is the process I used to create the ‘Backyard with a View ‘ design.

01.)  Open the ‘Hills’ Image in Photoshop and unlock the base layer by double clicking it. Copy the layer to keep the original as a backup (ctrl+J). Re-lock and hide the original layer.

02.) Go to the ‘paths’ palette and use the pen tool to create the blocks of ground you’ll be removing from the hills. Name the paths as you make them, this will save the paths and keep them organized.

03.) ctrl/cmmd+click the first path to select it. Shift+ctrl/cmmd+click all other paths and, while selected, go to the layers palette and, on the base image layer, hit delete. This will remove the unwanted areas but you can still go back to the locked backup layer to make corrections if need be.

04.) Create a path that selects the entire sky and delete it from the picture the same way as you did the holes in the previous step.

05.) File – place the clouds file and move the layer to the very back of your work. Just above the locked base layer.

06.)  Block in the base supports for the grass with a brown brush. File – place the rust texture of your choice into the document. Here I used the above mentioned rust texture. Mask it to the blocked in dirt layer by alt+clicking between the two layers and set it to overlay.

The texture I used is from

08.) Open the tree document in Photoshop and remove it from the background. You don’t need to be to terribly careful unless you place the tree into the foreground, in which case, you can either select it with a variety of selection methods or cut it out manually with the pen tool. Copy it over into the comp document and place it where you intend to ‘plant’ it.

Use a small hard brush to rough in some background roots in a dark brown, lighten the brown and repeat the process for some roots in front of the others, and finally, increase the brush size and block in the large supporting roots.

09 .) Take a 1px-100% opacity-100 hardness brush and on the ‘Grass’ mask layer brush little scruffs around the edges of the holes to reveal the underlying grass layer to make the grass go to the edge more naturally. This removes the hard, defined, clean cut sides from the holes.

On the outer edges of the grass use a bigger soft brush with a lower opacity to blur the sides into a softer transition. The distance decreases the definition so keep that in mind and make the edges that are closest to the field of view sharper than the more distant ones.

10 dirt edges
11.) To create the moon use the ellipse tool on a new layer to make a perfect circle by holding down shift while dragging out the shape. Fill the ellipse with white and double click the layer to open the layer styles panel. Reduce the fill opacity to between 0-10. I used a blend mode of normal, an outer glow with 17% opacity, an angle of 153, global light on, a distance of 28, choke of 0, and a size of 5px. Outer glow= blend mode, Screen, Opacity of 12%, color of white, spread of 6, and size of 70. Inner glow= opacity 22%, size of 117. Leave the other settings at their defaults.

11.) Hide all but the sky layers. Take a 1-3px hard brush and lay out some stars where you see fit. You may want to turn the other layers on and off to see how they work together with the stars. Change the size of the brush and vary the hardness to create star clusters and constellations. I’ve also added a low opacity vignette for extra contrast.


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Internet Desing Resources You’ll Come Back To

When I started as a designer, I spent almost all day on the internet looking for tutorials, photos, fonts and all other kinds of resources you can think of. These days, I still spend most of my time on the computer, but now I know where to go to find the best of what I need to fulfill any given challenges’ requirements. These are sites I go back to over and over again. They have been tested over time and have consistently come through for me. Some I use more than others. Some I refer back to so often I have to leave them pulled up while I work. All of them have made me wish I knew about them a long time ago.

Colour Lovers

I LOVE this site. It has so many options to help you find just the right colors or patterns to fit your need. You can search the colors for any hues that fit a keyword or browse for pallets that have been created by other color ‘Lovers’. You can also make your own pallets and keep them organized and accessible from any computer.








This is a collection of sites specific to different design programs. They have great tutorials and inspiration highlights as well as video lectures by designers across the world. Each site goes in depth into the field of it’s focus. They also have articles just for beginners to teach something from the ground up for those who are just starting out or who need more work in some area.






Web Treats etc.

This site has the most amazing tileable patterns I have ever seen in one place. They come individually or in collections and are just beautiful. The site is part of a group of sites which I would also recommend, iconsEtc. and backgroundsetc. WebTreats also has premium files for sale,  all of which have an impeccable attention to detail and very high quality.





Brush King

This is a source of hi-res photoshop brushes in a multitude of styles and purposes. The selection is very good and varying. Some of the brushes require you to credit them when used so make sure you check the terms of use.







Stock Exchange

Totally free images covering the spectrum and often just what you need. It’s not quite as posh as some of the leading sources on the internet but it is free so it has that over them.






Search Free Fonts

Here you can find so many fonts that are completely free of restriction it makes the designing process easier.






Love Textures

A great source to find just the right texture. They’re kinda new so they’re still ‘adding to the library’ as it were, but the selection is already great and nicely organized.








When you’re looking for inspiration, critiques or the opinions of others in the field this is the place to go. It is a worldwide forum for sharing ideas and getting input on your designs.






Design Contest Forums

When you’re ready to try out those smashing new skills, go enter your work in a competition tailored to fit a paying client. Challenge yourself to make the best design that works for them and GET PAID!








The most comprehensive overview of coding. With many different tutorial sets on a wide variety of scripts and languages.

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