Letter Press Effect in photoshop – video tutorial

You gotta see this amazing tutorial from TutCandy. Here you will learn how to use Photoshop to create a letterpress effect with your text. This is a really popular style in web and graphic design today. Enjoy 🙂


12 Photoshop Tutorials: Awesome Light Effects

Companies are really utilizing Adobe to add interesting bursts of color, rays of light and other photo effects to make their ads surreal and beautiful. I am partial to Illustrator, but maybe it’s because I never learned how to make these beautiful swooshes myself. I sifted through tons of lighting tutorials and found these which seemed to be not too cheesy, and not too difficult! I hope these can help you give your work another dimension. I’m excited to test them out.

Magic Lighting Effects

Photoshop Explosion Effect

The O Series

Creating a Stunning Digital Smoke Effect

Advanced Glow Effects

Lines Tutorial

Hightech Swirling Aurora

Amazing Photoshop Light Effect

Creating Energy Spheres

Space Lighting Effects

Luminescent Lines

Dusky Lighting Effect

There are a lot of designers that use these effects but I stumbled on a few today. Very Impressive!

See the portfolio of Craig Shields

See the portfolio of Chuck Anderson


Creating Halftone Effects in Illustrator

Every time I see a halftone used in a design I beg Mel to write a blog on how to create those halftones. I have finally found a clear, descriptive tutorial that is super easy from Vectips called “Creating Halftone Effects in Illustrator.” I never knew how easy this could be. Thanks Ryan for the great tutorials!

What is a halftone?

According to Ryan from Vectips, halftones simulate continuous tones with equally spaced dots of varying size. The eye blends these tiny dots into smooth tones. So anything that has a continuous tone can be simulated by a halftone.

Getting started

1. Create a shape with a gradient, blend or gradient mesh.

2. Go to Effects>Pixelate>Color Halftone. Change the Max Radius to 20 and keep the rest of the settings the same. If the dots in the halftones are too small or too big change the Max Radius by double clicking the Color Halftone effect in the Appearance Panel.

3. Expand the image. Object>Expand Appearance. With the image selected, the Control Panel defaults to the Live Trace option (very cool thing I never knew about). Click the Arrow Button beside the Live Trace button and select Tracing Options.

Mode: Color (select if your object contains color, hopefully you are using black and white)

Max Colors: Dependent on how many colors you used, if any.

Path Fitting: 1 px

Minimum Area: 1px

Corner Angle: 1

Ignore White: Check this box.

I saved these settings as a preset in the Tracing Options so I can easily go back and repeat the previous steps.

4. Expand. Press the Expand button on the Control Panel and now your image is vector.


Halftone from Photos

I knew how to apply a halftone to a photo in Photoshop but I never knew you could apply a halftone in Illustrator! This is great.

1. Place and Embed your image in Illustrator.

2. Click Edit>Edit Colors>Convert to Grayscale.

3. Apply the same settings as before (if you don’t like the size of your dots you can change the Max Radius)

4. Change colors accordingly.


I think I prefer doing my halftones in photoshop (you have a little more control of the dot size and contrast, but it’s great to know I can create them in both programs)

Halftone Swatcheshalftonestock

There are some stock halftone options in illustrator. They’re not as versitile as the techniques above but are worth checking out.  To open the swatches, click on the pop-up menu in the Swatch Panel. Then go to Open Swatch Library>Patterns>Basic Graphics>Basic Graphics Dots. The last 5 swatches are the halftone swatches. To read the full article read here.

Healing & Patch Tool Tutorial

I have always been a huge fan of the clone tool in photoshop and recently I was told that the healing brush in photoshop is far superior. I needed to investigate this and found a few blogs that were quite helpful on the subject.

The Healing Brush lets you correct imperfections in your picture in a similar way to the Clone Stamp Tool. Like the Clone Stamp Tool, you paint with sampled pixels from your image which you can switch the ‘Alt’ button. The Healing Brush Tool does an excellent job of matching together all of the relevant shades and textures, which results in a seamless finish. Read more about the spot healing brush here.

I found another good post on a photoshop blog that gives step by step instructions to fix wrinkles, bags under the eyes and skin tone with the patch and healing brush tool. For their step by step instructions click here. Below is my version of following this tutorial.

1. Select an image that needs enhancement.


2.First take the red eye out with the red eye tool that lives in the same tool bar as the healing and patch tool.


Select the Healing Brush tool (the little bandaid) in your side tool bar. Adjust the brush size to suit the area you will work on. Pick a sampling point by clicking Alt+click the area you want to use as a source and then click and drag the brush over the part you want ‘healed’. First I’m going to start with the lines in the forehead. You can always ctrl+z and retry for desired effects.


Make sure you create a snapshot of your work at this state. (This is something I never knew you could do in photoshop and a really helpful step). To create a snapshot go into the History palette and click on the icon to the left of the “trash can.”

3. Lets fix those bags! The Patch Tool is my weapon of choice. To get rid of dark puffy areas below the eyes use the patch tool to draw a selection. Then drag the selection to another similar part of the face to replace colors and tones and release the mouse button. Repeat step 3 for the other eye.meesh6

4. Keep it real. After everything is blended the face can look kind of fake (and alien-like!). To make it more natural use the History Brush tool to paint some of the old details below the eyes. This is why we created a snapshot in Step 2. Now create another snapshot.


5. Select the History Brush tool. Then go to the History palette and check the box to the left of your first snapshot. Select the appropriate brush. (you may want to lower the opacity to make it look more natural when you back back in some details). Now start painting back some of the detail and waa-lah, you are now a professional with the Healing and Patch tools.


Thanks Tai for turning me on to the healing and patch tools. They are super easy to use and give quick results.

How To: prep images for screen printing

Great for anyone interested in the screen-printing business and especially our Collar Free designers.

1. Always use your original photograph or artwork (it’s not cool to steal other people’s work)
2. Don’t place rasterized images in your illustrator files; work in photoshop or illustrator
3. If using images, please make sure they are at least 300 dpi.

Lets start with photoshop:

Option 1: Posterize

We took a picture of Mel in color and changed the setting to grayscale (image>mode>grayscale)

Then we put a halftone filter on it (filter>sketch>halftone pattern)

This is NOT a printable image

Color separation on a halftone image is a difficult and long process, but we can limit the number of colors using the posterize effect. (image>adjustments>posterize).

This is a printable image

This is also another way to posterize:

(image>adjustments>channel mixer: to adjust the color) then (image>adjustment>posterize) no more than 4 levels

Option 2: Threshold

Threshold is an easy and fun way to make your images print ready (image>adjustments>threshold). You can easily change and select color by using the color range tool (select>color range). Once you are in that mode use the eyedropper to select the desired color and fill in with a brush, paintbucket or cut and copy to new layer.

Option 3: Livetrace (Illustrator)

Import the photo into Illustrator. (object>live trace>tracing options).

These are the levels used here. Don’t use more than 6 colors. Play, experiment and surprise us with your design.

Please Note:

Try and separate your colors into separate layers. Use the color range tool (select>color range). It’s amazing! Use the eyedropper to make your selection by color. Cut (ctrl x) and paste (ctrl v) each color into a new layer. This process is not required but we want to inform you about the prep work we do before we send the art out for production. These techniques will give you a better understanding of the screen-printing industry and makes our job more efficient.

We know everyone is not familiar working with screen-printing and we will be posting more about this industry next week. If this helped and you would like to see more tutorials in the future give us a holla or comment back.  If you have specific questions email us at: mel@collarfree.com or michelle@collarfree.com We’re here to help 🙂

-mel & michelle