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Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

Optimizing transparent graphics


From:

Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

with Justin Seeley

Video: Optimizing transparent graphics

One of the great things about Photoshop's Save for Web is the fact that we have the ability to save out objects that include transparent or semi-transparent portions in them. In this movie, I am going to be walking you through my personal workflow for exporting out something that contains transparency, and explain to you exactly what that means and why I am optimizing it the way I do. So as you can see here, I've got a small web banner that I need to export out which has a slight drop shadow around the outside of it. So what I want to do is I want to be able to showcase this on any background.
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  1. 1m 9s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 25m 50s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 8s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring the PSD-to-HTML workflow
      2m 25s
    4. Setting up Photoshop for web work
      5m 29s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      2m 36s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      4m 24s
    7. Setting up a responsive web layout
      3m 31s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      3m 8s
  3. 20m 39s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      4m 13s
    2. Understanding web color
      4m 0s
    3. Creating a color palette
      4m 56s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      3m 34s
    5. Applying color to shapes and graphics
      3m 56s
  4. 20m 36s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 9s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 19s
    3. Searching and filtering layers
      3m 11s
    4. Using layer comps effectively
      3m 4s
    5. Using automatic layer selection
      2m 53s
  5. 29m 2s
    1. Using vector shapes vs. pixel shapes
      3m 31s
    2. Creating vector shapes
      5m 2s
    3. Working with fills and strokes
      4m 36s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      7m 47s
    5. Importing images
      3m 57s
    6. Cropping and resizing images
      4m 9s
  6. 28m 48s
    1. Planning your project
      3m 13s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      6m 40s
    3. Using a grid system
      8m 28s
    4. Developing a layout with shape layers
      4m 4s
    5. Making pixel-perfect adjustments
      6m 23s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Using point text vs. paragraph text
      2m 10s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      2m 41s
    4. Inserting placeholder text
      4m 2s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      2m 37s
    6. Creating and using paragraph styles
      6m 11s
    7. Creating editable 3D text
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 54s
    1. Understanding layer styles
      7m 0s
    2. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 23s
    3. Creating better bevels
      6m 9s
    4. Simulating metallic textures
      5m 8s
    5. Saving and applying layer styles
      2m 48s
    6. Turning layer styles into independent layers
      2m 26s
  9. 50m 23s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      54s
    2. Organizing page structure
      2m 29s
    3. Adding master elements
      5m 37s
    4. Creating navigation
      4m 36s
    5. Working with photographs
      4m 0s
    6. Working with text
      8m 31s
    7. Creating media placeholders
      7m 22s
    8. Creating buttons
      7m 15s
    9. Creating form fields
      7m 54s
    10. Simulating pages with layer comps
      1m 45s
  10. 33m 38s
    1. Understanding slicing
      2m 4s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      4m 15s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      5m 3s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 17s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 56s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      5m 34s
    8. Using the Image Generator (NEW)
      3m 26s
  11. 10m 40s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      1m 25s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      2m 54s
    3. Assembling a sprite
      4m 51s
    4. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 30s
  12. 18m 6s
    1. Creating a basic action
      5m 28s
    2. Exploring batch processing
      2m 55s
    3. Creating droplets
      3m 20s
    4. Using the Fit Image command
      4m 5s
    5. Using the Image Processor
      2m 18s
  13. 6m 56s
    1. Integrating PSD files with Dreamweaver
      3m 22s
    2. Integrating PSD files with Fireworks
      1m 59s
    3. Integrating PSD files with Muse
      1m 35s
  14. 50s
    1. Goodbye
      50s

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Photoshop CS6 for Web Design
4h 56m Appropriate for all Jul 17, 2012 Updated Oct 04, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join Justin Seeley as he reveals how designers can create vibrant web graphics, wireframes, and complete web site mockups in Adobe Photoshop. The course covers creating a custom web workspace for maximum efficiency; drawing, coloring, and optimizing web graphics; creating vector shapes and text that scale seamlessly; mastering transparency; building navigation bars and buttons; and speeding up these tasks with the Photoshop automation tools.

Topics include:
  • Customizing a web workspace
  • Decoding the mysteries behind screen size and resolution
  • Coloring web graphics
  • Using layers and layer comps effectively
  • Working with transparency
  • Creating wireframes on a grid
  • Styling text
  • Creating image sprites
  • Optimizing images as JPEG, GIF, or PNG files
  • Integrating with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite
Subjects:
Web Web Graphics Web Design Web Foundations
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Justin Seeley

Optimizing transparent graphics

One of the great things about Photoshop's Save for Web is the fact that we have the ability to save out objects that include transparent or semi-transparent portions in them. In this movie, I am going to be walking you through my personal workflow for exporting out something that contains transparency, and explain to you exactly what that means and why I am optimizing it the way I do. So as you can see here, I've got a small web banner that I need to export out which has a slight drop shadow around the outside of it. So what I want to do is I want to be able to showcase this on any background.

Maybe I'm going to be using this for multiple projects where it's going on a light background, a dark background, et cetera. I don't want to have to optimize this multiple times with multiple different background colors. I want to be able to save it out as a semi-transparent object with this blurry drop shadow that can then be applied to any type of background that I want. In order to do that, I need to make sure that I optimize it for transparency by using both the right file format and also cropping it the right way here inside of Photoshop. So in order to get rid of all of the area that I don't need here inside this document, there is actually a really cool little trick that allows you to do this.

The first thing that I am going to do I am simply going to delete the Background layer. Anytime you want to create something with transparency, the easiest thing to do is to throw that background layer away. So I am just going to drag it down to the trashcan and throw it away, just like that. Now as soon as you see the checkerboard, that means that you have transparency behind whatever it is you're working on. Now it's very hard for me to see how far that drop shadow reaches out around the edges of this thing. So if I were to grab the Crop tool and try to make an adjustment to this, it would be very hard unless I zoomed in really, really far to get exactly the amount of pixels that I needed.

So what I am going to do is I am going to hit Escape to get out of that and switch back to the Move tool instead. With the Move tool selected, I'm going to go up to the Image menu, I'm going to choose Trim, and inside of the Trim dialog box, this option right here at the top where I base it on a certain criteria, I am going to base it on transparent pixels. So I am going to say okay, find the transparent pixels in my image and just trip them away. Once I do that, watch what happens to my image. It automatically trims everything that is completely transparent.

Anything that has even the slightest bit of pixel data in it is going to remain uncropped. This makes sure that my drop shadow looks perfect. I maintain the transparency, but I shrink the image down as much as I can. So now, once I had that image trimmed, I can go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web and actually get it out of here. So let's go to File > Save for Web. Once I am inside the Save for Web dialog box, it's going to pop up and it's probably going to recommend the last setting I used, which happens to be a JPEG on a medium setting.

Now this is a great example of why JPEGs are bad, both for transparency and for flat-color objects. You'll notice here that I get this white border around the drop shadow area. That's bad. Also, if I zoom in, see all these little artifacts that are around the text and around the image in this flat color areas? JPEGs don't handle that well. So let me zoom back out. Watch what happens when I switch from JPEG to PNG. You are going to notice two things: my transparency comes back and if I zoom a little bit, all of those artifacts in the flat areas have gone away. So, PNG, awesome for this type of graphic. It's also the best when supporting transparency.

Now if you want turn the transparency off in this, which I don't know why you would, but if you do, you can click this box here and it goes away. You'll notice that when I turn Transparency off the file size shrinks just a little bit. Turning it back on adds a couple of K. I'm okay with that. That's no big deal to me. Now once I do that, I can change the size of it. Right now it's 260 x 260. I can change it if I want to. I don't have to. And when I'm ready, I hit Save. Once I hit Save, this dialog box pops up.

I am just going to save it to my desktop, and I'll call it transparent_bot.png and I will hit Save. Once I do that, I can then open it up by hitting Command+O or Ctrl+O. Once I open it up, you can see it's just one single layer inside of here. layer 0, and if I create a new document--I will just do 1024 x 768; that's fine-- I can fill this with any color I want. So I will fill it with a really wacky color like pink and then I'll drag this over and drop it in.

You can see that it looks like it's just floating there. And it doesn't matter if I select the background and change the background color. I can change this to whatever color I want. And because I saved this out as a transparent PNG, the drop shadow looks perfect every time; the edges are nice, clean, and crisp; and I have no artifacts in the middle of those flat-color areas. So, the next time you go to optimize out a transparent graphic, whether it would be a button, an ad banner, or even a logo, try using the PNG file format and making sure that you use that Image Trim command so that you get a nice tight fit around it while still maintaining all of your transparency areas.

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