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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.
Before we get started mocking anything up, we need to first make sure that Photoshop is set up properly for our web design workflow. This of course will be different for you because everyone has their own way of working, but for me there are some things that I need quick access to during my web design process that Photoshop simply doesn't give me right off the bat. The first thing I'm going to do is open up the Type panels. I use a lot of text in my designs and I'm constantly tweaking it, so I need access to both the Character and Paragraph panels in order to make those changes quickly. In order to open those up, we'll go up to the Window menu, and I am simply going to come down and choose Character.
By choosing Character, it automatically opens up both the Character and Paragraph panels. I will collapse those by clicking this arrow so that they stay right here in my dock. Next, I want to bring up the Character and Paragraph Styles panel. These are new to Photoshop CS6, but they have already become a necessity for my workflow. Basically these panels allow you to create styles the same way you do in InDesign and then apply those styles to various text objects throughout your design. It's a really handy feature and it's really become one of my favorites.
Let's go ahead and open that up now. I'll go back up to the Window menu and I'll go down and I'll choose Character Styles. Again, choosing Character Styles automatically opens up Paragraph Styles as well, so now I have access to both of them. I will collapse those and they remain in my dock. Next up, I'm going to open the Web Color Spectrum in the Swatches panel. I do this for two reasons: one, it gives me a wide variety of web-safe colors to choose from, and two, when I hover over the swatches, it doesn't give me a generic name like Lime Green or Plum Purple.
It actually gives me the hex code value of the swatch that I'm hovering over, which for those of us who write CSS, is a very valuable tool. Let's go ahead and open those up now. I will go over to the Swatches panel. Inside the Swatches I am going to choose the Swatches panel dropdown menu. I will go down to the bottom and look for Web Spectrum. Once I find Web Spectrum, I am going to choose either Append or OK. Hitting Append means you are adding the web spectrum to the already existing colors inside of your Swatches panel.
If you hit OK, it will replace the current swatches there with the ones you are choosing. In this case I want to replace all of them so I'll hit OK. Once I have hit OK, all of the web spectrum colors show up here inside of the Swatches panel, and if I expand this down, you can see just how extensive this library is. Anytime I put my eyedropper over a color-- like, let's say, this lime-green color-- notice it doesn't say lime green. The pop-up actually says the Hex Code value that's associated with that swatch. Anytime I need this to hand out to a developer or to write in CSS, I just simply come over, hover over the color, and it will give me automatically the hex code value.
Now let's go ahead and shrink this back up because I don't need this to be displayed quite as large. And so the final thing that I want to make sure that I have are the layers and Paths panel prominently displayed somewhere in my workspace. If you're lucky enough to have two monitors, I would suggest throwing these panels over to your second screen so they get the full real estate that they deserve; otherwise you can use the built -in sizing handles to ensure that they are big enough for you to easily navigate and read. When you are working with web site and application mockups, you are going to deal with a ton of layers and a lot of paths as well.
You'll want easy access to these panels at all times. So what I am going to do here is I am going to come right here where it says Adjustments and Styles and I'm simply going to double-click on the word Adjustments. When I do that, the Layers panel automatically shifts up to give me more room. I can also adjust the height of this panel if I need to see more swatches or if I want to see less swatches, I will just drag it back up. I want to make sure that this is large and prominent so I can easily get to multiple layers at a time or multiple paths at a time. I'm also going to take the Paths panel and click and drag it to the left so that it's right next to layers.
I want to be able to easily switch between the two, especially when I am creating vector shapes. Now that I have my workspace all set up, I'm going to save this workspace by going up to the workspace jump menu. That's located right here. When I click on that, you'll notice that there are several workspaces already available to me. However, none of them are web-design-specific. So in this case, I'm going to create a new workspace and I am just going to call it Web Design. Underneath, in the Capture section, it will tell me here that panel locations will be saved in this workspace, but I can also include keyboard shortcuts and menus as well.
If I had customized either one of these, I would check the boxes. I haven't customized either one of those though, so I will go ahead and just hit Save. Once I have saved it, you will notice that Web Design now shows up inside of the jump menu up here at the top, so anytime that I was in a different workspace, like let's say I was doing something for Photography and I jumped into the photography workspace, I could easily get back to the Web Design workspace by just clicking and choosing Web Design. This is just my personal setup. Yours will inevitably be different, and that's okay.
When working in software applications like this, there is no right or wrong way; there's only your way. Right now you might not know what your way is, and that's okay. As we continue to go through this course, you'll find things out about yourself and about your workflow that will help you determine exactly what you're going to need at any given time, and hopefully now you know how to implement those changes going forward.
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