Smarter Grids With Sass And Susy

Michelle Barker shows how to create fast, responsive, fully customizable grids in CSS without touching your markup with Susy, a Sass-based grid framework.

If you’re a designer, you’ll know that grids are your friends. More often than not, they’re the vital architecture that holds a beautiful design together; they create rhythm, structure your page, lead the eye, and prevent the whole thing collapsing in a sloppy mess.

I’m a firm advocate for designing with the browser: prototyping with HTML and CSS has many clear advantages over static Photoshop comps, which have less value for the responsive web. Unfortunately, HTML, CSS and grids aren’t natural bedfellows: the progression of web standards over the years has been lacking in this area, meaning we have to grapple with floats (which were never designed to be used this way) and clearfixes — not ideal when you want to spend less time debugging layout and more time crafting experiences.

The relatively new implementation of the flexbox and CSS grid layout modules are on course to free us from the constraints of floats and allow us to create some pretty interesting layouts — which I’m excited about — but they’re not a magic bullet. Even with those, coding up a layout can still be a lengthy process for a designer, and require you to remember a bunch of not very intuitive properties.

Happily, lots of tools currently exist to enable you to quickly design grids for the web, from CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, to sites like Responsive Grid System. However, frameworks have their drawbacks, such as requiring you to add a large number of classes to your markup, and delivering a bloated codebase that can be bad for performance.

Luckily for us, solutions exist to the problem of creating fast, responsive, fully customizable grids: Susy is a Sass-based grid framework. It’s very lightweight and enables you to create entirely custom grids in CSS without touching your markup.

Susy was developed by Eric M. Suzanne, with support from Chris Eppstein — creator of Compass and co-creator of Sass — so it’s very well supported in the Sass community and it’s rapidly gaining in popularity.

Framework Or Not? Link

I tend to refer to Susy as a framework, but it may be more accurate to call it a grid system. Unlike more traditional frameworks, Susy doesn’t require you to add classes to your HTML elements. Susy is written entirely in your SCSS file by adding mixins and functions, using media queries to customize your layout at your own specified breakpoints. It enables you to keep content and style entirely separate — not essential all the time, but widely viewed as best practice.

Before we continue, I should point out that Susy isn’t the only solution: Zen Grids by John Albin and Jeet by Cory Simmons are two others. Singularity is also a pretty interesting framework, which works in a similar way to Susy, using Sass mixins rather than adding classes to your HTML. However, Susy has a growing community and helpful documentation, making it a good choice to get started with.

Advantages Link

Why might you want to use Susy in your next project? There are several advantages:

  1. (Relatively) Easy to Learn
    If you’ve used other frameworks (like Bootstrap or Foundation), and if you’re familiar with Sass at all, Susy shouldn’t be too difficult for you to pick up. Even if you’re fairly new to Sass, Susy doesn’t require in-depth knowledge and is a great way to start! The examples in this article assume a working knowledge of Sass, so it’s worth reading up a little if you’re not familiar.
  2. Speed Up Your Workflow
    Unlike many other frameworks, Susy doesn’t come with a bunch of default styling that you need to overwrite. In fact, Susy has no styling: it’s purely a grid layout system. Its purpose is to do the maths for you — anything else is for you to add. Once you’re familiar with a few of Susy’s mixins, you’ll find it’ll save you time and free you up to concentrate on design.
  3. Use as Much or as Little as You Like
    As with Sass, you can pick and choose what works for you. We’ll focus on a few fairly simple examples here, but you can use Susy to do some pretty complex things if you’re so inclined!

I should also point out that while Susy currently relies on traditional floats to position your grid, the documentation indicates that flexbox and CSS grid layout could well be forthcoming, which will make it even more powerful!

Getting Started Link

Susy was designed to work with Compass, so if you already have Compass installed then setting up Susy is straightforward. You don’t actually need to use Compass in order to use Susy — Susy is compatible with just about any Sass workflow — but for the purpose of getting started I’ll be using Compass as a primary example.

To install Susy, simply run the following in the command line:

$ gem install susy

(If you get an error, you may need to prefix this command with sudo.)

Then set up your new project. If you’re using Compass, in your config.rb you need to add require 'susy'. Then, in your main SCSS file (in this case screen.scss) add @import "susy"; to import Susy into your project.

Alternatively, CodeKit is an excellent app for getting up and running with everything you need and allows you to add Susy to your project quickly and easily.

Finally, we need to create an index.html file in our project folder to house our markup, and link it to our style sheet.

Building Our First Susy Grid Link

Assuming you’ve gone through the necessary steps to run Susy in your project, we’re ready to create our first layout. First of all, we need to define some parameters for our grid in a map at the beginning of our main SCSS file. If you’ve come across Sass maps, you’ll be familiar with the syntax:

$susy: (
  columns: 12,
  container: 1200px,
  gutters: 1/4,
  global-box-sizing: border-box,
  debug: (image: show)
);

In this map you can define pretty much any of the global settings for your grid, from the number of columns to gutter width, all of which are listed in the Susy documentation. If you don’t enter a setting in your map, Susy will simply use its default settings. There are a few things we’ll need to define to create our grid:

  • The number of columns we’ll use.
  • The maximum width of the container. If you don’t specify a width, your container will be 100% of the width of the viewport, like any block element. You might want this in some cases but, especially while we’re learning, setting a maximum width allows us to see more clearly what’s going on.
  • Gutters. By default Susy includes gutters as right-hand margins on your columns and at one quarter (1/4) of the column width. You can change the gutter ratio here, or use gutter-position to decide how you want gutters to behave.
  • Box-sizing. I always prefer to set this to border-box. (Susy’s default is content-box.)
  • The debug image. Setting this to show displays a background image showing your column grids, useful for making sure everything is aligned correctly and your elements behave as they should.

Creating A Basic Layout Link

We’re going to start by creating this simple layout using Susy:

We’ll start with some markup containing a header, a main content area with article and sidebar, and a footer.

<main class="wrapper">
  <header></header>
  <article></article>
  <aside></aside>
  <footer></footer>
</main>

As I previously mentioned, Susy depends entirely on CSS and Sass to customize your grid, so you don’t need to add anything else to your HTML. The most important feature for creating grids in Susy is the span mixin. Use @include to include the mixin in your Sass. As you can see from the image, we want our header and footer to take up 100% of the container width, so we don’t need to do anything here. But we need our<article> and <aside> elements to take up eight columns and four columns respectively in our twelve-column grid. In order to achieve this we need to use thespan mixin:

/* SCSS */

article {
  @include span(8 of 12);
  /* More styles here */
}

aside {
  @include span(4 of 12 last);
  /* More styles here */
}

There are a couple of things to note here:

  1. Susy depends on context: we could easily write @include span(8) for the<article> element, which would produce the same result because we already defined our layout as four columns in the map. However, if we wanted to override the map for this particular element (say, subdivide this area of our layout into a greater number of columns), we need to specify the context — in this case, twelve columns.
  2. We want the <aside> to be the last item in the row, so we’ve added the wordlast to the mixin. This tells Susy to remove the right-hand margin on that element so that it fits on the row.

If we take a look at our CSS file, we’ll see the above Sass compiles to:

article {
  width: 66.10169%;
  float: left;
  margin-right: 1.69492%;
}

aside {
  width: 32.20339%;
  float: right;
  margin-right: 0;
}

You can see that Susy has calculated our column widths and gutters based on the settings we specified in our map.

In the Codepen example I’ve included some dummy content, as well as a little padding and a background color on our elements. Without these our grid would simply be invisible, as Susy has no default styling.

As we’re floating elements, we also need to remember to clear our footer:

    
header {
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #FF4CA5; /* Of course, you can define your colours as variables if you prefer! */
}

article {
  @include span(8);
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #ff007f;
}

aside {
  @include span(4 last);
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #CC0066;
}

footer {
  clear: both;
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #7F2653;
}

Finally, we’ll include the container mixin in our main element to give our content a maximum width and position it in the center of the page by setting the left and right margins to auto:

main.wrapper {
  @include container;
}

With these additions, we get this result:

Refining Our Grid Link

We could do with separating the elements to make our layout more pleasing. Let’s add a bottom margin to our <header>, <article> and <aside> elements. What would make an even more appealing layout would be to make our bottom margins the same width as our column gutters. With Susy, we can do this using the gutter function (as opposed to the mixin):

header, article, aside {
  margin-bottom: gutter();
}

As we haven’t specified a value in the gutter function, Susy will use our map settings; that is, 1/4 column-width in a twelve-column layout. But if, for instance, the section we were working on was only eight columns wide, we may want to specify gutter(8) to create the same effect.

Our SCSS file now looks like this:

main {
  @include container;
}

header, article, aside {
  margin-bottom: gutter();
}

header {
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #FF4CA5;
}

article {
  @include span(8);
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #ff007f;
}

aside {
  @include span(4 last);
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #CC0066;
}

footer {
  clear: both;
  padding: 2em;
  background-color: #7F2653;
}

Now our layout looks like this:

Mixins Vs. Functions Link

We just used gutter as a function, as opposed to including it in a mixin. It’s worth noting that span, gutter and container can all be used as both mixins and functions. The Susy documentation outlines use cases for each, but our next example should help give you an understanding of the circumstances in which a function might be useful.

There’s one more thing that will no doubt be extremely handy to you as a designer: thegallery mixin. As the Susy documentation succinctly puts it, “Gallery is a shortcut for creating gallery-style layouts, where a large number of elements are layed [sic] out on a consistent grid.” It’s great for unordered lists, for example, if you want to create a portfolio page.

We’ll use the following markup for a gallery of twelve items — again, I’ve added some placeholder content in the Codepen example:

<main>
  <header></header>
  <article>
    <ul class="gallery">
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
      <li></li>
    </ul>
  </article>
  <aside></aside>
  <footer></footer>
<main>

We’ll keep the same SCSS from the previous example, with the addition of the following:

ul.gallery {
  padding: span(1 of 8);
  list-style: none;
}
    
.gallery li {
  @include gallery(2 of 6);
  margin-bottom: gutter(6);
  
  &:nth-last-child(-n + 3) {
    margin-bottom: 0;
  }
}

There are a few things going on here:

  1. First, we’re using span as a function to add one column-width of padding all the way around our gallery. As the element is eight columns wide, taking up one column-width on either side leaves us with the remaining six columns for our gallery items.
  2. Using the gallery mixin on our <li> element (@include gallery(2 of 6)), we’re telling Susy that each item should take up two columns in our six-column width. That means that each row will hold three gallery items.
  3. Using the gutter function (margin-bottom: gutter(6)) we’re adding a bottom margin the equivalent of one gutter-width in our six-column context to each item in our gallery. I’m using the :nth-child pseudo-class to remove the bottom margin from our last row, giving us a perfectly even amount of spacing around our gallery.
  4. As we’re floating elements, we’ll also need a clearfix on the parent element (in this case the ul element). In the example, I’m using Compass’s clearfix, but you could create your own mixin, or write it longhand.
    ul.gallery {
      @include clearfix;
    }

Result:

Susy For Responsive Web Design Link

Although the examples we’ve walked through so far are based on fluid grids (Susy’s default), they aren’t responsive — yet. At the beginning of this article I mentioned that Susy is a great tool for designing responsively. Let’s look at one more example to see how we can use Susy to create a layout that adapts to different viewport sizes.

In this demo we’ll use use media queries in our Sass, along with Susy’s layout mixin to customize our grid for different breakpoints.

You’ll recall that at the beginning of our SCSS file we created a map with our global settings. In fact, we can create any number of maps and summon them at will into our layout with this mixin. This is useful if at a certain breakpoint you want to switch from, for instance, a twelve-column to a 16-column layout with no gutters. Our second map may look something like this:

$map-large: (
  columns: 16,
  container: auto,
  gutters: 0,
  global-box-sizing: border-box
);

For this example I’ve created a simple gallery webpage displaying a collection of photos of found typography. Taking a mobile-first approach, our first step is to create a single-column view, where our main elements take up the full width of the page. However, in our gallery section, we want our images to display in rows of two once our viewport gets wider than, say, 400px and in rows of three after 700px. We’re using atwelve-column grid in our global settings, so all we need to do is instruct Susy to set our gallery items at six columns out of twelve, and four columns out of twelve respectively, in min-width media queries:

li {
  @media (min-width: 480px) {
    @include gallery(6);
    margin-bottom: gutter();
  }
  @media (min-width: 700px) {
    @include gallery(4);
    margin-bottom: gutter();
  }
}

At widths above 700px, this is what our webpage looks like:

At desktop sizes we’re going to make our layout a little more complex. Here we want our header to display as a bar on the left-hand side and our gallery items to display in rows of four on the right of the screen, with no gutters. To achieve this we’re going to switch to a 16-column layout, as defined in the new map we created a moment ago.

We’re going to use the layout mixin as follows:

@media (min-width: 1100px) {
  @include layout($map-large);
  
  header {
    @include span(4);
  }
  
  main {
    @include span(12 last);
  }
  
  li {
    @include gallery(3 of 12);
    margin-bottom: 0;
  }
}

The layout mixin sets a new layout for our grid. Any code following this mixin will be affected by the 16-column layout we specified. (Note: if you want to revert back to a different layout, you’ll need to use this mixin again to call a different map, as your code will be affected by this mixin until you specify otherwise!)

In this instance, the <header> element will span 4 colomns out of 16 and the main content area will span the remaining 12 out of 16 columns. Because our gallery items are nested within this 12-column section, we should specify that they take up 3 columns out of 12 (rather than 16).

The above code gives us this layout at desktop sizes:

Dealing With Sub-Pixel Rounding Link

If you’re working with percentage-based grids you’re going to come up against sub-pixel rounding issues. These occur when percentages result in column widths that subdivide a pixel, so the browser rounds your column width up or down by a pixel to compensate. This may mean your layouts don’t always behave as you might expect. For a full explanation of sub-pixel rounding, read “Responsive Design’s Dirty Little Secret” by John Albin Wilkins.

Susy provides a workaround for dealing with sub-pixel rounding via its isolatetechnique, and it’s a handy port of call when your layouts aren’t playing nice.

Conclusion Link

I hope this article has helped you get started with Susy and provided a small taste of what is possible. Once you spend a little time getting the hang of it, you’ll see how easy and fast it is to create simple or complex layouts without a huge amount of code; and it really will save you time in the long run.

Here are some useful links and resources to help you get started with Susy:

(ds, ml, og)

Fonte: Smarter Grids With Sass And Susy

Lightbox2 – Visualização de imagens com estilo no teu site

Lightbox2 – Visualização de imagens com estilo no teu site

Criado por Pedro Pinto em 27 de Abril de 2011 | 27 comentários

Agora com suporte para o IE9!

Em 2008  (uffff ja passaram 3 anos), apresentamos aqui o Lightbox que permite dar um toque profissional e moderno ao nosso site, disponibilizando um efeito especial para apresentação de imagens. Esse efeito é bastante usado aqui no pplware e podem confirmar carregando na imagem de introdução deste artigo. Recentemente foi disponibilizado o Lightbox v2.05.

Vamos aprender como colocar em funcionamento o Lightbox no vosso site.

light_00

Como usar o Lightbox2 no nosso site?

Para colocarem o lightbox2 a funcionar no vosso site, devem seguir os seguintes passos:

Passo 1 – Download do script aqui (lightbox2.05.zip)

Passo 2 Descompactar e colocar na raiz do vosso site

Passo 3 –  Editar a página que permitirá visualizar as imagens e colocar a seguir a <header> o seguinte código:

http://js/prototype.js
http://js/scriptaculous.js?load=effects,builder
http://js/lightbox.js

Passo 4 – (Imagem única) Criem um “thumbnail” da imagem original e coloquem um link na imagem do tipo:

<a href=”images/imagem1.jpg” rel=”lightbox” title=”Minha foto”>Carregue Aqui</a>

onde:

  • imagem1.jpg é o nome da imagem (em tamanho original). A imagem está dentro da pasta imagens.
  • title – Um título para a imagem

light_01

Passo 5(Grupo de imagens) Quem pretender disponibilizar um grupo de imagens, e incluir um menu de navegação devem usar o código seguinte em substituição do anterior:

<a href="images/image-1.jpg" rel="lightbox[roadtrip]">image #1</a>
<a href="images/image-2.jpg" rel="lightbox[roadtrip]">image #2</a>
<a href="images/image-3.jpg" rel="lightbox[roadtrip]">image #3</a>

light_02

E está feito. Agora basta abrir a página que acabaram de desenvolver para observar se as imagens são apresentadas com estilo. Alguma duvida ou questão que tenham, podem colocar em comentário para vos podermos ajudar.

Alguém conhece outros scripts do género?

Artigos relacionados

Homepage: LightBox2

30+ Water Inspired Websites

30+ Water-Inspired Websites: BAD 2010

Rafael Soto on Oct 15th 2010 with 25 comments

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This year, Nettuts+ is taking part in Blog Action Day to raise awareness about clean water and water conservation. To tie that in with the web development world, we’ve compiled 30+ examples of websites, which make use of a water motif.

Startling Fact: Two million children under the age of five die from unsafe drinking water every single year. While many members of the Nettuts+ community (including myself) are in a constant state of saving for Adobe CSX, or any other expensive gadget, it can become alarmingly easy to forget that as many as a billion people on the planet don’t have access to something as simple as clean drinking water.

However, these scary statistics are not beyond our control. Did you know that even a $20 donation to sites like “Charity: Water” can provide one person with clean drinking water for twenty years? Money that we so often frivolously waste — on junk we don’t need — could be put to much better use.

Sometimes, it’s easy to do nothing — if only because you feel that you must give a lot in order for it to count. On the contrary, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you only donated your lunch money for a day or two…that would absolutely make a difference. I’m in; are you?
-Jeffrey


30+ Water-Inspired Websites

1. Pusula Web

Name of site


2. Surf In Paradise

Name of site


3. Dizzain

Name of site


4. 4 Internet

Name of site


5. icebrrg

Name of site


6. iceberg

Name of site


7. dgerelo.net

Name of site


8. Tropical Sky Scuba Diving

Name of site


9. Alex Swanson

Name of site


10. Feed stitch

Name of site


11. Flossed Today

Name of site


12. Marketing Informatico

Name of site


13. Squared Eye

Name of site


14. Nirmal

Name of site


15. Viget Inspire

Name of site


16. Agami Creative

Name of site


17. happy cog

Name of site


18. Matt Dempsey

Name of site


19. bcandullo.com

Name of site


20. ali felski

Name of site


21. Biola

Name of site


22. Football made in Africa

Name of site


23. vSplash

Name of site


24. Sunrise Design

Name of site


25. Toggle

Name of site


26. Le Bloe

Name of site


27. Circa

Name of site


28. Siete de Febrero

Name of site


29. jumpstart

Name of site


30. Boompa

Name of site


31. Charity Water

Charity Water


About Blog Action Day

“Blog Action Day (originally created by Envato) is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action.”

 


Why Water?

“Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.

Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.”

50 Powerful Time Savers for Designers

There are tools that make our lives much easier. However, finding those obscure time-savers which would save time in every single project isn’t easy and requires a lot of time. At Smashing Magazine, we are regularly looking for such useful tools, gather them, review them and eventually prepare for a truly smashing round-up. Such posts are quite lengthy and extensive, but they are always worth checking out.

In this post, you’ll find an overview of useful and handy tools that can help you increase your productivity and improve your workflow. Some tools are more general, the others are more technical, yet we hope that this round-up has something to offer to every one of our readers. Please feel free to leave your comments and share with us which one of the tools you’ve found most useful and interesting.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that there is a Smashing eBook Series? Book #2 is Successful Freelancing for Web Designers, 260 pages for just $9,90.]

Useful Time-Savers For Web Designers

House of Buttons
A growing collection of various buttons spotted in the wild by Jason Long. Very nice and useful collection, and submissions are welcome.

Useful-278 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Historious
Historious makes bookmarking work the way you want it. Bookmark sites with a single click, then come back to Historious and find sites by entering a few keywords!

Useful-236 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Browser UI
The Browser UI is an action that creates a browser window around any size Photoshop document you can throw at it. The Browser UI is easily installed and helps you get around with your Photoshop documents. A quick screencast is available on the site for a quick understanding of how Browser UI works.

Useful-243 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

A/B Split Testing Calculator
A/B Test Calculator shows you a comparison of several versions of a particular web page. In order to discover which one is most effective for your audience, you have to enter ‘statistically significant’ numbers.

Useful-121 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

What deux yeux have teux deux teuxday?
TeuxDeux is a simple, design to-do app that can be used for your iPhone. If you like making to-do lists, you will love TeuxDeux. This free browser-based app can be used everywhere; this way you have your to-dos ready to hand all the time. Check out the various TeuxDeux features included in this iPhone App shown in the left column.

Useful-231 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Fillerati – Faux Latin is a Dead Language
‘Fillerati’ instead of ‘Lorem ipsum’… something different for a change. Modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera are recommended.

Useful-252 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Inline Code Finder
Inline Code Finder is a tool to traverse through all elements in a web page, and when it finds a HTML element with any of these, it will highlight them. It finds inline JavaScript events, inline CSS coding andjavascript:-links.

Useful-283 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Share your ideas – Mark (them) Up!
MarkUp works in any browser without the need of being downloaded nor installed. Simply add the MarkUp icon to your bookmarks bar and share your ideas and thoughts swiftly!

Useful-229 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Placehold.it
Format, Text, Color and Size – Quick and simple image placeholders. You may want to check Dynamic Dummy Image Generator, too.

Useful-253 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

ResizeMyBrowser
This site helps you adjust your browser automatically, starting with a simple iPhone-sized browser (320×480) to a MacBook Pro (1440×900).
Note: This web application requires JavaScript. Please check your browser’s settings and make sure JavaScript is enabled.

Useful-132 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

XRefresh for web developers
A browser plug-in which refreshes the current web page due to file change in selected folders and communicates with browser extension using TCP/IP. This makes it possible to do live page editing with your favorite HTML/CSS editor, especially when working with two monitors at the same time.

Useful-168 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Kodingen
The so-called ‘Cloud Development Environment’ which lets you connect to your own FTPs. Web-based access to file-system & svn integration. Also includes an Online Code Editor and Cloud Hosting.

Useful-246 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

LiberKey
LiberKey is a large collection of portable applications that can be run without installation on your local PC nor from any portable media. You may want to check Portable Apps as well.

Useful-277 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Notes for Later
This bookmarklet is a web service for remembering websites. It creates a unique bookmarklet for your personal browser in which you can simply receive the content you need via email. If you select nothing, you still get the current page’s URL and a time stamp. Registration is quick and painless. No login is required – just an email address.

Useful-237 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Timy
An easy-to-use desktop application to fill out your Basecamp timesheet and save a lot of time completeing your own personal timesheet.

Useful-181 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Slammer – Designer’s Geometry Box
Overlays any grid you want, anywhere you want. A variety of themes and overlays are presented: Typographic Grids, Golden Sections, Fibonacci series, Rule of Thirds and more! Slammer also includes Rulers, Crosshair, Magnifier, Measurements and Screenshots; watching the movie on the Slammer main page will help you learn more. However, Snow Leopard is required.

Useful-196 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

URList
By dragging the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmark bar, you will instantly save time in browsing the web and have a preview of the collected links that have been grouped previously. By clicking on the bookmarklet, you can always add a link. URlist not only enables you to create and save link lists easily, but also lets you access those links from anywhere. And creating lists is dead easy. Try it!

Useful-275 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Licorizer
A new bookmarking service which allows you to mark relevant content without losing focus. Using a bookmarklet such as this one, enables you to add web pages and clippings to Licorize without leaving nor interrupting the web page you are currently focusing on.

Useful-270 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Readability – An Arc90 Lab Experiment
Readability™ is developed to make reading on the Web more enjoyable and remove any clutter around what you’re reading at the moment. A preview of a given text is available to give you an idea of how the style, size and margin can be adjusted. Installing Readability™ into your Web browser is quite easy…and makes it easier on your eyes!

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Joli: Print to PDF in Google Reader
Joliprint bookmark provides you an easy and quick way to print a Google Reader post as a PDF. First, you have to create a bookmarklet onto your browser’s bookmark bar, then select a post in Google reader and finally, click on the Joliprint bookmarklet to convert the activated post into a PDF document. Ta-dah! You can check Clipr Bookmarklet as well.

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Spoon
Spoon lets you run desktop applications with no installs, conflicts or dependencies such as .NET, Java nor AIR. By virtualizing your existing apps, you can turn them in standalone EXEs, MSIs or flash drives. This tool is also very useful for cross-browser testing right within your browser and is provided in two versions: Spoon for Business or for Developers.

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Web Development Project Estimator
A simple tool for web designers and site developers to quickly and thoroughly estimate the time and materials required for a proposed web project. A personal task list can be created, leaving you to decide which ones to include or even exclude. Most importantly, hours and rates of the particular project allow you to calculate the estimated final fee.

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Golden Ratio Calculator
This online tool helps you calculate the width of your containers to achieve the golden ratio. You can have a column with a certain width (perhaps to achieve a nice word:line ratio) and you wish to find a matching column. Type in the width and use the left side, which gives you both a smaller and larger column. Or if you have a container and wish to divide it in two, type in the container width and use the right side measurements.

Useful-271 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

My DebugBar
Companion.JS is a Javascript debugger for IE. The current version is 0.5.5 and contains features such as JavaScript error reporting as well as a console feature which helps inspect JavaScript objects at runtime. Please note that CJS requires a Microsoft script debugger.

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Entitifier
Cleaning up text for the Web can be very time-consuming and prone to error. In case your client ever ends up delivering content in Microsoft Word or a similar format, cleaning it up is definitely a necessary task to do — if you don’t want to end up with characters that don’t display properly online. By entering a HTML or simple text into the given text box and clicking on the ‘entitify’ button, you instantly have discovered a new tool which helps you escape any nasty characters that should be entities!

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Every Time Zone
This tool shows an interactive chart of time in various cities across the globe. It also includes a slider to see the time in a particular city at any time of the day.

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Instapaper
This is a simple tool that helps you save web pages for reading later, when you have time — for instance on mobile devices, iPad or Kindle.

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Redmark: the easiest way to mark up a design and track revisions
Communication is very important and helps designers and their clients come to clear terms with each other. This site offers visual communication in just three simple steps between designers and clients. It is also possible for a client to find a particular designer they need to match their business. A Demo Project is portrayed for a quick view about how the site actually works.

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Awesome Fontstacks
Fonts have always carried an important meaning to web typography. As we all know, a lot of work is required to match and adjust a satisfactory web font for a website. This site helps you create a font stack bundle and also gives you a preview into CSS coding inclusive.

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Framebox: a wireframing tool
With Framebox, you can sketch your wirframes or just visualize your ideas using UI units such as boxes, headers, buttons, inputs, links, text, text links etc. You can then save it and get a link to created frame, and then send a link to your colleagues.

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Droplr
Drag, drop, share! Droplr is the best way to share files from your Mac OS X on the internet, aiming for simplicity, ease of use and flexibility. This application is also completely free to use with ad supported content. Once the selected file is uploaded, Droplr returns a URL in which a user can share with anyone.

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Mockingbird: Website wireframes
Mockingbird is an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.

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CodeBurner: Reference Tool for Web Developers
CodeBurner is a suite of tools for web developers that provides reference material for HTML and CSS, integrated with a range of popular development environments.

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HTML Soft Hyphenation Generator
Configurable generator for automatic soft hyphenation in static HTML text without a script.

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SelfControl
Is email a distraction? SelfControl is an OS X application which blocks access to incoming and/or outgoing mail servers and websites for a predetermined period of time. For example, you could block access to your e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter for 90 minutes, but still have access to the rest of the Web. Once started, it can not be undone by the application, by deleting the application, or by restarting the computer — you must wait for the timer to run out.

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MinutesPlease.com – Manage your web time
This is an extraordinary website that you can have to help you control the time you spend on a particular site. Just type in the URL and the time you are willing to spend on this site – you will notice how fast time flies by!

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Clue
A fun and easy way to create memory tests and see how much and what exactly people remember on your website.

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Neuskool.com
Neuskool is a personal start page for all your browsing needs with a collection of useful search services, all on one page.

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Check My Colours: analyze the color contrast of your web pages
This tool checks foreground and background color combinations of all DOM elements and determine if they provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits. All the tests are based on the algorithms suggested by the W3C.

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COPASO: Color Palette tool
COPASO is an advanced color palette tool that helps you create the perfect color palette.

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Useful Firefox Extensions

Pixel Perfect Firefox Extension
This extension allows you to overlay a web composition on top of the developed HTML. Letting the developer visually see how many pixels they are off in development.

SenSEO Firefox Extension – Official Website
SenSEO analyzes web pages and tells you how good they fulfill on-page Search Engine Optimization criteria. SenSEO is a Firefox add-on integrated with the popular Firebug web development tool. The code is based on the YSlow extension.

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Firefinder
Firefinder is an extension to Firebug (in Firefox) and offers the functionality to, in a quick way, find HTML elements matching chosen CSS selector(s) or XPath expression. It allows you to instantly test your CSS selectors in the page while seeing the content at the same time, and matching elements will be highlighted.

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Firediff
Firediff is a Firebug extension that tracks changes to a page’s DOM and CSS and implements a change monitor that records all of the changes made by Firebug and the application itself to CSS and the DOM.

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Useful References

SEO Checklist
When it comes to SEO, there are certain elements that need to be in place for any newly-designed or updated website. Have 301 redirects been put into place? Is the robots.txt file authored to allow adequate crawling? This infographic depicts a handy checklist that will help get you through any new site launch or transition.

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Typographic Sins
Typographic Sins (also available as PDF) by James Godfrey and Patrick Wilkey covers 35 mistakes commonly made by novice designers. The website puts them in a neat orderly list, but the PDF showcases them visually. It’s a great reference guide and learning tool if you want to learn better typography design.

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Entity Code: a Clear and Quick Reference to HTML Entities Codes
A website that eliminates the frustration and the wasted time caused by constant need to add those hard to remember HTML entity codes, such as the copyright symbol © or em-dash —, every time you’re developing a new website or writing a new article.

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Thirty Conversations on Design
The site creators asked 30 of the world’s most creative professionals two questions: “What single example of design inspires you most?” and “What problem should design solve next?” Their answers might surprise you. And, hopefully they’ll inspire you.

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Essential Interaction Design Essays and Articles
A list of essays and articles that could be important touchstones and reference points for interaction designers.

Further Useful Tools

Min.us
You can drag your data which you wish to share online onto the min.us page. Very convenient.

Mr. Data Converter
Mr. Data Converter will convert your Excel data into one of several web-friendly formats, including HTML, JSON and XML.

PDF Split and Merge
PDFsam is a free open source tool (GPL License) designed to split and merge PDF documents. Whether it be only extracting sections into a single document or changing the order of the pages. The basic version can be downloaded and simply used on every platform with a Java support.

Last Click

Unsuck It
What terrible business jargon do you need unsucked? Unsuck It translates management speak to normal language, making your day to day on- and offline slogs through corporate jargon a little easier to bear. You can even tweet your results as they often turn out to be quite funny.

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Temperature Conversion, Weight Conversion and Length Conversion
This simple online tool doesn’t do much, but it’s truly beautiful and it’s a pleasure to use. The tools lets you convert length values, temperature values and weight values.

Useful-258 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

Coffee Drinks Illustrated
With the vast number of ordering options and new words with accented characters to pronounce the coffee shop ordering experience can be intimidating. Lokesh Dhakar created a few small illustrations to help himself and others wrap their head around some of the small differences.

Useful-290 in 50 Powerful Time-Savers For Web Designers

50 new useful CSS techniques

These are great times for front-end developers. After months of exaggerated excitement about HTML5 and CSS3, the web design community now starts coming up with CSS techniques that actually put newly available technologies to practical use instead of abusing them for pure aesthetic purposes. We see fewer “pure CSS images” and more advanced, clever CSS techniques that can actually improve the Web browsing experience of users. And that’s a good thing!

In this post we present recently released CSS techniques, tutorials and tools for you to use and enhance your workflow, thus improving your skills. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this post and let us know how exactly you are using them in your workflow. However, please avoid link dropping, but share your insights and your experience instead. Also, notice that some techniques are not only CSS-based, but use JavaScript, or JavaScript-libraries as well.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that there is a Smashing eBook Series? Book #2 is Successful Freelancing for Web Designers, 260 pages for just $9,90.]

CSS Techniques

Now Playing: transitions and animations with CSS
Tim Van Damme showcases a fairly simple CSS design that uses transitions, animations and subtle hover-effects to produce an engaging user experience. Also, notice the use of favicons as background-images for attribute selectors. Unfortunately, the demo works best in Webkit-browsers, but it degrades gracefully in other modern browsers. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the documentation of the technique.

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CSS3 range slider, checkbox + radio button
A demo of HTML input elements made with CSS3. They include realistic range sliders, checkboxes and radio buttons. The designer used minimal markup, no JavaScript and no images. Downside: there is a ton of messy CSS3 code, and Safari renders the page best. Chrome is close, but the 3D perspective doesn’t quite work.

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CSS3 Media Queries
CSS2 allows you to specify stylesheet for specific media type such as screen or print. Now CSS3 makes it even more efficient by adding media queries. You can add expressions to media type to check for certain conditions and apply different stylesheets. For example, you can have one stylesheet for large displays and a different stylesheet specifically for mobile devices. It is quite powerful because it allows you to tailor to different resolutions and devices without changing the content. Continue on this post to read the tutorial and see some websites that make good use of media queries.

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Proportional leading with CSS3 Media Queries
A fluid layout should be responsive to the width of the columns of text. This problem, of proportional leading, is what holds many designers back from adopting fluid layouts. In this article, Andy Clarke explains how you can achieve proportional leading for your typography using CSS3 Media Queries.

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Responsive Web Design
This article by Ethan Marcotte explains how to use fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries to create elegant user experiences with responsive web design. Check out the demo — of course, don’t forget to resize the browser window.

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Popout Details on Hover with CSS
This tutorial describes a technique that presents details of a content item on hover. The solution is quite simple and uses position: relative and z-index to achieve the effect.

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CSS3 Border-Radius and Rounded Avatars
Trent Walton came up with a clever technique to create rounded images (in this case, rounded avatars) with the border-radius property. The solution is simple: create a frame class for your image, and give it a border. Then, round both the frame and image with the border-radius property, and you’re done: a simple technique with no additional images or scripts — just an extra line of code. You may want to checkTim Van Damme’s similar CSS technique, too.

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CSS3 Rounded Image With jQuery
“The other day I was trying to style CSS3 border-radius to image element and I realized that Firefox doesn’t display border-radius on images. Then I figured a way to work around it — wrap a span tag around with the original image as a background-image.”

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The Simpler CSS Grid
Why restrict your layout so that it can fit into this 960gs? A grid is supposed to help you in design, not to limit your creativity. The 978 grid is not just about increasing the page width, but to loosen the gutter space, so users can read it more comfortably.

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Correcting Orphans with CSS Overflow
When typesetting, designers try to avoid leaving just one or a few words hanging on a line at the end of a paragraph. Doing so is considered poor typography because it leaves too much white space between paragraphs and interrupts the reader’s eye movement (see the example below). A simple typographic solution is to rework the line by adding indented paragraph endings. But the problem is particularly annoying when aligning a paragraph next to an image that exceeds the paragraph’s height. Soh Tanaka has come up with a simple and quick solution to this problem with CSS.

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Apple-like Retina Effect With jQuery
This tutorial explain how you can recreate the effect displayed on the image below, using jQuery and CSS.

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How to create a kick-ass CSS3 progress bar
New features introduced in CSS3 allows developers to create stunning visual effects: this post exaplains how you can create a fancy progress bar using CSS3 and jQuery, without Flash or images.

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CSS pseudo-element Solar System using semantic HTML
This is a complete reworking of another author’s basic reproduction of the classic model of our solar system using CSS. By using pseudo-elements (again) I wanted to reproduce as much as possible without presentational HTML and JavaScript. In addition, by hooking into HTML microdata I’ve put together a rough scale model of the solar system that demonstrates some further uses of CSS generated content.

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Advanced Columns using the :nth-child(N)
Imagine this task: you have to display product listings as columns laid out in a zig zag pattern. The first instinct is to split each section into its own list, but if the site is running on a CMS, all products had to be spit out in one giant list. Given this scenario, you can use pseudo-selectors :nth-child(N) and a bit of jQuery to help with IE support.

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Lost World’s Fairs
Trent Walton explains the workflow and design techniques used to create the Lost World’s Fairs website to celebrate the launch of Internet Explorer 9. The result is truly remarkable.

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New Twitter Design with CSS and JQuery.
This post explains the techniques used by Twitter’s new web interface and re-creates its interactivity using CSS and jQuery.

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Europe, CSS & jQuery clickable map
CSS converts a simple list of countries into the fully clickable map. Works with disabled style sheets and JavaScript, as well as on mobile devices. A simple code does not require Flash Player or other plug-ins!

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Simple Tooltip w/ jQuery & CSS
There are a lot of tooltip plugins out there, but not many of them explain what exactly goes on in the logic of a tooltip. I would like to share how I’ve created mine today, and am also open to any critiques and suggestions for those jQuery ninjas out there. Lets take a look.

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Super Cool CSS Flip Effect with Webkit Animation
Webkit support some fancy transform and animation effects that can really spice up the web experiences for users with Safari or Chrome browsers. Here’s a quick look at how the rotateY property can produce a flip effect, and how it can be used to create a Transformers themed top trumps design.

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CSS3 Border Images for Beautiful, Flexible Boxes
The CSS3 buzz is in full swing, and many of CSS3′s most useful properties are receiving a fair bit of attention. Properties like border-radius, text-shadow, custom gradients, and even CSS3 transitions have been shown to be quite practical, resolving real-world design issues with minimal markup and maintainable code.

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Animated wicked CSS3 3D bar chart
Create a beautiful 3D bar chart. But instead of creating a “stacked” one, several bars are placed under each other. When hovering, the animation shows and the bar grows to the appropriate size.

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CSS Border Tricks
Since I released my new redesigned blog, a lot of people have asked me how I styled the pressed effect on my category navigation. I would like to share some simple border style tricks to get various effects for your next project.

Beveled in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

The Background Trick With CSS
This page provides links to a couple of examples for the trick used on Design Made In Germany 5 where a couple of layers are used and the middle layer has a fixed background, while other layers have absolute positioning. The visual effect is unique and interesting. Unfortunately, the explanations are in German, but the demos are self-explanatory.

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Footnotes With CSS
in their simplest implementation — using sup tags and linking within the page — footnotes aren’t very user-friendly. They interrupt the experience, requiring the user to click the link, read the information and then return to the page with the browser’s “Back” button.” Lukas Mathis has come up with an elegant solution to improve this user experience: his jQuery script shows the content of footnotes as soon as the user indicates that they are interested in it — i.e. when they move the cursor over the footnote symbol.

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Why and how to create Microsoft Office Minibar with jQuery and CSS3
Although many will argue that Microsoft products are an example of a good design, Minibar was one of design refreshments that came out with the Office 2007. It is a variation of a toolbar that exposes context-related functionality. In case of MS Word, context is a text selection. Since Minibar always pops up near the mouse pointer it enables users to quickly perform actions related to a selection.

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CSS image replacement with pseudo-elements (NIR)
An accessible image replacement method using pseudo-elements and generated-content. This method works with images and/or CSS off; works with semi-transparent images; doesn’t hide text from screen-readers or search engines; and provides fallback for IE6 and IE7.

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Diagonal CSS Sprites – Aaron Barker
So you’ve got your sprite created, and it’s working great. 30+ icons in one image, and major HTTP connections saved. You have made your little corner of the interwebs a little happier and faster. Steve Souders would be proud.

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Sneak — Fixing the background ‘bleed’
I recently came up with an issue in Safari where the background colour of an element seemed to “bleed’ through the edge of the corners when applying both borders and a border-radius (see the image above). I then found a solution, and it came in the form of the -webkit-background-clip property.

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Zebra-striping rows and columns
Zebra-striping tables is certainly not a new thing; it has been done and discussed for years. They (allegedly) aid usability in reading tabular data by offering the user a coloured means of separating and differentiating rows from one another. We can create zebra-stripes using the nth-of-type selector — but we can apply it not only to rows but also columns.

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Feature Table Design
“I ran into the feature table design and I was inspired to try and replicate it. First in Photoshop, then in HTML/CSS. Recreating cool stuff you find on the web is definitely an excise I recommend (a few days after, I read this – couldn’t agree more). As these exercises typically do, it lead me down some interesting paths.”

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ShineTime – A jQuery & CSS3 Gallery With Animated Shine Effects
This article shows how you can create an animated Shine Effect with jQuery & CSS3 and then use it to create your very own Shiny Gallery ‘ShineTime’. This effect is useful in making your user interface elements look like they’re a real polaroid photo (or made of glass) and the best part is, it’s not that difficult to achieve.

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The Mac-style Skype Application Menu with CSS3 and jQuery
This tutorial re-creates the Skype application menu in the web browser. The final design mimics not the full layout — only the menu where all your friends are listed. For the nifty layout CSS3 is used and jQuery is used for the extra functionality.

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Further Interesting Techniques

Object-oriented CSS
All the resources you need to get started are linked from the left navigation. Start by downloading the base files. Exercises one and two can be completed in Firebug if you are comfortable with it. Then you can download the finished file at the beginning of Exercise 3.

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clearfix Reloaded +
clearfix and overflow:hidden may be the two most popular techniques to clear floats without structural markup. This short article is about enhancing the first method and shedding some light on the real meaning of the second.

CSS3 text-shadow and box-shadow trick
All browsers that support the CSS text-shadow and box-shadow properties also support the new CSS3 RGBa syntax. Which means you can safely combine them today. That’s handy, because it means no worrying about matching a precise hex colour shadow to a specific hex colour background. Instead just let the browser blend.

Data theft with CSS
Mozilla has released security updates to Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 that include defenses for an old, little-known, but serious security hole: cross-site data theft using CSS. These defenses have a small but significant chance of breaking websites that rely on “quirks mode” rendering and use a server in another DNS domain (e.g. a CDN) for their style sheets.

Show Markup in CSS Comments
“Let’s say you are creating a CSS file for a modular bit of a webpage. Perhaps you are the type that separates your CSS files into bits like header.css, sidebar.css, footer.css, etc. I just ran across an idea I thought was rather clever where you include the basic markup you will be styling as a comment at the top of your CSS file.”

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How to Micro-Optimize Your CSS
Minification shrinks file size significantly, by as much as 30% or more (depending on input code). This size-reduction is the net result of numerous micro-optimization techniques applied to your stylesheet. By learning these techniques and integrating them into your coding practice, you’ll create better-optimized CSS during the development process. Sharper skills, cleaner code, faster downloads — it’s a “win-win” for everyone.

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Transparent Borders with background-clip
Have you ever seen an element on a page with transparent borders? I think Facebook originally popularized it giving birth to lightbox plugins like Facebox. I don’t think Facebook sports the look anymore, but it’s still rather neat.

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Showing and hiding content with CSS 3
One very common feature is the expanding/collapsing or shown/hidden box, whether this is a tabbed interface, a content “tray” on the side that can be slid out and then put away again, or a complex tree menu with expanding/collapsing sub-menus. Generally, these features are implemented via JavaScript, however using CSS3 it is possible to create such content using only HTML and CSS — no JavaScript required.

CSS for Blockin’ Stuff
If you want to use user stylesheets, ad blockers, flash blockers, or whatever else, more power to you. Here are some CSS projects intended for blockin’ stuff.

CSS Tools and Services

ProCSSor: Advanced CSS Prettifier
This online tool allows you to submit your CSS (either copy and paste the code, upload the file or point to a URL) and choose your formatting options. You can save options and reuse them every time you run code through ProCSSor. You can separate properties and selectors across multiple lines, indent up to four levels with either the space bar or tab key and even sort properties. The tool also has a “Columnize” mode, which groups elements into columns, making for a more elegant style sheet; you need to deactivate “Fail-safe mode” to use it.

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Selectivizr – CSS3 selectors for IE 6-8
selectivizr is a JavaScript utility that emulates CSS3 pseudo-classes and attribute selectors in Internet Explorer 6-8. Simply include the script in your pages and selectivizr will do the rest. Selectivizr adds support for 19 CSS3 pseudo-classes, 2 pseudo-elements and every attribute selector to older versions of IE. It can also fix a few of the browsers native selector implementations.

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CSS Desk
CSSDesk is an online HTML/CSS sandbox. The tool allows you too experiment with CSS online, see the results live, and share your code with others. You may want to check Rendera , too.

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The Square Grid
A quite simple CSS framework that is based on 35 equal-width columns. It aims to cut down on development time and help you create well-structured websites. The total width of the grid is 994 pixels – which the majority of modern monitors support. You can use the grid in a variety of columns: 18, 12, 9, 6, 4, 3 and 2. The pack contains sketch sheets for printing (PDF), design layout templates for Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator and source code files with explanations.

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Instant Blueprint
Instant Blueprint allows you to quickly create a web project framework with valid HTML/XHTML and CSS in only a matter of seconds, allowing you to get your project up and running faster. You may want to checkProject Deploy, too.

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HTML5 Boilerplate
HTML5 Boilerplate is the professional base HTML/CSS/JS template for a fast, robust and future-proof site. You get the best of the best practices baked in: cross-browser normalization, performance optimizations, even optional features like cross-domain ajax and flash. A starter apache .htaccess config file hooks you the eff up with caching rules and preps your site to serve HTML5 video, use @font-face, and get your gzip zipple on. You may want to check HTML5 Reset, too.

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HTML5 Starter Pack
A a very basic HTML5 starter pack with a clean and ordered directory structure that will fit for most projects. The pack contains the most common files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), as well as a basic Photoshop web design template, again with a group’s structure that would fit for most projects.

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PrimerCSS
Primer undercoats your CSS by pulling out all of your classes and id’s and placing them into a starter stylesheet. Paste your HTML in to get started.

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Hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries
These hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries are empty placeholders for targeting the devices and attributes that you may be interested in making responsive designs for. The stylesheet covers smartphones in portrait and landscape modes, iPads, iPhone and large screens.

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Grid Generator
This tool allows you treate your own custom CSS grids. You can select base unit, number of columns, column width, gutter width and margins and download PNG as well as a CSS source code.

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Baseline framework
Baseline makes it easy to develop a website with a pleasing grid and good typography. Baseline starts with several files to reset the browser’s default behavior, build a basic typographic layout — including style for HTML forms and new HTML 5 elements — and build a simple grid system.

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Gridulator
Gridulator is a quick and easy grid calculator for web designers and developers. You can choose the overall width and number of columns, select the column width and gutter width and download the PNG of the grid.

Css-technique-309 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Dust-Me Selectors
Dust-Me Selectors is a Firefox extension (for v1.5 or later) that finds unused CSS selectors. It extracts all the selectors from all the stylesheets on the page you’re viewing, then analyzes that page to see which of those selectors are not used. The data is then stored so that when testing subsequent pages, selectors can be crossed off the list as they’re encountered.

Css-technique-330 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

zen-coding – Project Hosting on Google Code
Zen Coding is an editor plugin for high-speed HTML, XML, XSL (or any other structured code format) coding and editing. The core of this plugin is a powerful abbreviation engine which allows you to expand expressions — similar to CSS selectors — into HTML code.

Css-technique-356 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Turbine
Turbine is a collection of PHP-powered tools that are designed to decrease CSS development time. It includes packing, gzipping and automatic minification of multiple style files, “CSS variables”, selector aliases as well as nested css selectors and OOP-like inheritance, extensions and templating features.

Css-technique-338 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

CSS Usage
CSS Coverage is an extension for Firebug which allows you to scan multiple pages of your site to see which CSS rules are actually used in your site.

Css-technique-331 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

CSS Reloader
CSS Reloader is a browser extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, that allows you to reload all the CSS of any site without you have to reload the page itself. The goal for this browser extension is to enable developers to become more productive.

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CSS Frame Generator
This tool returns corresponding CSS in a line-by-line way indented with spaces to reflect XHTML structure — each selector and all of its properties and values in one line. This may be a bit strange for you at the beginning, but if you get used to it you’ll find it much better. It’s essential to use a predefined properties order, such as this one:

Css-technique-327 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Switch CSS
Switch is a full featured, production ready CSS preprocessor. It runs under Apache with mod_python, or as an environment-agnostic command line tool.

Css-technique-317 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

CSS Tools: Diagnostic CSS
Validation is great, but it won’t catch everything. For example, if you have a link where you forgot to add a URL value to the href attribute, the validator won’t complain. The syntax is valid, even if it’s a broken experience. Similarly, the validator will be happy to let through empty class and id values.

Css-technique-301 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

IE Print Protector – ieCSS
IE Print Protector is a piece of javascript that allows you to print HTML5 pages in Internet Explorer. IE Print Protector helps IE render HTML5 elements correctly, both on screen and in print.

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CSS reset, CSS framework, Toucan CSS reset
It is a reset stylesheet. Unlike Meyer’s or YUI’s, it not only removes the default styling of HTML elements, but also rebuilds the new generic rules for the typography, headings, paragraphs, lists, forms, tables etc. It’s light-weight, flexible and browser-friendly.

Css-technique-359 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

PHP CSS Browser Selector
CSS Browser Selector is a very small javascript with just one line php function which empower CSS selectors. It gives you the ability to write specific CSS code for each operating system and each browser.

Css-technique-362 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

CSS3Machine for iPad
CSS3Machine makes the most advanced CSS3 styles simple. Easily create stunning gradients, drop-shadows, and 3D transforms. CSS3Machine also builds, edits, and exports WebKit animations.

Css-technique-391 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

minify
Minify is a PHP5 app that helps you follow several of Yahoo!’s Rules for High Performance Web Sites. It combines multiple CSS or Javascript files, removes unnecessary whitespace and comments, and serves them with gzip encoding and optimal client-side cache headers.

Css-186 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Modernizr
Modernizr adds classes to the element which allow you to target specific browser functionality in your stylesheet. You don’t actually need to write any Javascript to use it.

Css-149 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Spritebaker: Easy Base64 encoding for designers
This free tool parses your CSS and returns a copy with all external media “baked” right into it as Base64 encoded datasets. The number of time consuming http-requests on your website is decreased significantly, resulting in a massive speed-boost (server-side gzip-compression must be enabled).

Css-technique-427 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

My DebugBar
IETester is a free application that allows you to have the rendering and JavaScript engines of IE9 preview, IE8, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE at the same time.

Css-technique-311 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Less Framework 2
This framework is a CSS framework for cross-device layouts. The framework has a minimal set of features, and does away with things like predefined classes. All it really contains are a set of media-queries, typography presets aligned to a 24 px baseline grid and a grid, with its column sizes noted down within CSS comments. You can select what features you want to have in your framework files, and the tool will provide you with a zipped archive right away. Note that this framework isn’t related with LESS CSS, another framework that extends CSS with variables, mixins, operations and nested rules.

Css-technique-428 in 50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

Last Click

Never Mind the Bullets
HTML5 is coming to modern browsers, and developers are already pushing its limits. To this end, Microsoft has created an online comic to show off HTML5/CSS3’s features (SVG background, JavaScript acceleration, etc.) as they function on IE9. It’s a fully interactive experience, complete with animations and other features that were until now possibly only with JavaScript or Flash.

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The comic is a Western in a fairly traditional comic-book style, but with a lot of extras. It’s viewable in other browsers, but not as fully as with all of the features built into IE9. There’s also a feature that lets you create your own comic strip using the same characters. We never thought we’d say these words, but the website is actually best viewed in Internet Explorer 9.

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IE9 Platform Preview

Os rumores sobre o IE9 são cada vez mais audíveis e era de esperar uma amostra do que esta nova versão poderia trazer de novo à cerrada frente competitiva. A espera ainda não terminou, mas a Microsoft “abriu o livro” e disponibiliza algumas linhas mestras do caminho a seguir no desenvolvimento do que será o mais avançado browser de sempre.

Foi apresentada hoje na MIX, uma antevisão do futuro browser da Microsoft. É ainda e só uma versão de testes mas que mostra de forma clara todas as melhorias e novidades que estão para chegar. O Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview é apenas uma versão de testes. Ainda só temos acesso ao motor de renderização. Nenhuma da interface futura ou passada está presente.

De qualquer forma temos já acesso ao que serão as capacidades do IE9. E pelo que pudemos ver as melhorias são grandes e muitas novidades estão presentes.

Performance

O IE 9 introduz um novo motor de scripting, conhecido como ‘Chakra’, que consegue ganhos significativos em termos de performance e melhor integração com todos os subsistemas. De facto, e de acordo com teste de benchamark SunSpider da Webkit.org, o IE9 Platform Preview consegue ser mais rápido que a versão 3.6 do Firefox.

Finalmente a abertura da Microsoft para introdução dos novos standards ajudou também a melhorar a performance global,permitindo aos programadores aceder de forma mais rápida ao DOM (Document Object Model), a utilização de CSS e a outras funcionalidades, o que vai significar que o AJAX e outras aplicações WEB vão correr de forma mais rápida.

Progressos na Interoperabilidade

A equipa do Internet Explorer tem-se focado em fornecer capacidades de interoperabilidade para quem desenvolve páginas e plataformas Web. Não é desejável ter de estar a altera-las vezes sem conta. Por esta razão têm preocupado em tornar os seus browsers o mais fieis aos standards Web.

HTML5

As novidades do HTML5 foram introduzidas inicialmente no IE8 com o suporte para DOM Store, cross-document messaging, navegação AJAX navigation entre outras.

Novidades HTML 5 no IE9

  • Suporte para parsing de XHTML
  • API de selecção de texto
  • Outras funcionalidades tais como as tags <audio> e <video>.
CSS3

O IE9 Platform Preview adiciona as seguintes funcionalidades CSS3:

  • Rounded corners através da propriedade border-radius
  • Suporte para as propriedades opacity e RGBA color model
  • Selectors API para permitir aos programadores a utilização de padrões de pesquisa para detecção de elementos e aplicar CSS especifico a esses elementos
  • No teste CSS3 Selectors, da CSS3.info, o IE9 Platform Preview obteve um resultado de 100% (578/578). Valor bem mais elevado que os 60% do IE8 (349/578)
Resultados Acid3

Os resultados dos testes Acid3 desta nova versão do IE eram muito baixos, tendo obtido 32 em 100. No entanto com a continuação dos trabalhos de desenvolvimento e através da incorporação de novos standards e de melhorias o IE 9 atinge já um resultado de 55 em 100.

Naturalmente que a Microsoft irá continuar a trabalhar no sentido de melhorar este resultado ao mesmo tempo que tratará de satisfazer as necessidades de todos os que desenvolvem aplicações para a Web.

Novas funcionalidades SVG

A Microsoft introduziu no IE9 o suporte para Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). O SVG é uma uma linguagem XML para descrever de forma vetorial desenhos e gráficos bidimensionais. O IE9 Platform Preview suporta já as seguintes funcionalidades SVG:

  • Estrutura do documento, incluindo metadata e funcionalidade de expansão
  • Formas básicas (rectângulos, círculos, elipses, linhas e poligonos)
  • Sistema de coordenadas, transformações e unidades
  • Caminhos, incluindo capacidades totais para o caminho do elemento e atributo ‘d’
Melhorias Document Object Model (DOM)
  • Novo suporte para DOM Level 2 Core namespaces, ranges e views
  • Suporte para eventos DOM Level 3 Events
  • Melhorado o suporte para DOM Level 2 Style e características HTML
Melhorias para programadores

O separador Network irá permitir aos programadores capturar, mostrar e gravar os pedidos web. Isto irá permitir a quem desenvolve páginas web ver e compreender de forma mais clara o que está a acontecer sem terem de instalar ferramentas complexas. Tal como o resto das ferramentas vem incorporado de origem no browser.

HTML5 GPU

A ideia base do HTML5 assenta na possibilidade de construirmos aplicações web ricas em grafismos com capacidades acrescidas. O GPU-powered HTML5 vem permitir que utilizemos as capacidades presentes nos GPU’s (Graphics Processing Units) para fazer o processamento gráfico que os browsers necessitam, libertando assim oCPU. No IE9 esta funcionalidade vai estar presente. Podemos assim fazer uso das placas mais modernas e muito mais capacitadas, libertando recursos nos nossos PC’s.

  • O GPU-powered HTML5 consegue desenhar e manipular de forma melhor imagens SVG ou BMP.
  • Assim teremos mapas com scroll mais suave, fontes com maior detalhe e gráficos 3D mais ricos sem termos de recorrer ao CPU.
  • O IE9 Platform Preview necessita de suporte Direct2D, uma funcionalidade introduzida com o Windows 7 e que pode ser conseguida com uma actualização nos sistemas operativos menos recentes.

Agora que já foram apresentadas todas as novidades que podem encontrar no Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview só nos resta aconselhar-vos a descarregarem a ferramenta e a testarem-na. Encarem-na como uma montra do que será o IE9. Ainda não está completo, mas o que o fará um bom browser já está lá.

Download: IE 9 Platform Preview [14.26MB]
Homepage: IE9 Test Drive

Photo Transfer Edge Effect | Photo Effects | PSHERO

 

Step 1

Welcome back my naughty little monkeys! I was up most of the night with this nasty flu that’s been going around, it’s not even noon and already I’m on my third can of Dragon, so if my writing’s a little off kilter, you’ll understand why. Did I just use the word kilter?

Lets get this party started with a visit to iStockPhoto where I found a cool looking stock image of an old medium format film border. There are tons of these available for free as well if you’re willing to put in the time to search. Incase you want to replicate this exact effect you can enter the product id (1249016) into the iStockPhoto search field. The nature of my contract with iStockPhoto doesn’t allow me to give away the original but if you know where to look, I may have “accidentally” left the associated Alpha Channel in the download at the end of the lesson.

Here’s the image I got from iStockPhoto. Did I mention I got it at iStockPhoto?

Step 2

Since I ultimately want to use this image as a mask, lets go ahead and invert the tones by choosing Image>Adjustment>Invert from the main menu, or by simply pressing Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I).

Step 3

What I really want from this image is a true black to transparent mask, but what we’re currently working with is a black and white composite. It’ll take a few steps to do it, but trust me, the result will be worth it. Follow along closely, most of this will be keyboard shortcuts that won’t have any visual reference. Don’t worry, I’ll explain it as we go.

Press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to Select All, then press Command-X (PC: Ctrl-X) to cut the entire image onto the clipboard (Yes, everything will disappear and you’ll be left with a white canvas… it’s ok, that’s what’s supposed to happen).

Now click over to the Channels tab in the Layers palette (*note: If your layers palette isn’t open choose Window>Layers from the main menu). Click the Create New Channel icon at the bottom of the Channels palette to add a new Alpha Channel to the bottom of the list of channels. Click on the new channel to select it and press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) to paste the image we cut from the stage into the channel.

Step 4

The advantage of having the black and white image in an alpha channel is that it allows us to load the highlights as a selection where a standard layer will not. Lets do that now by holding down the Command (PC: Ctrl) key and clicking on the layer thumbnail of our new Alpha Channel. Although the selection looks rather random and doesn’t seem to encompass all the white areas of the image, it actually does.

Step 5

With our selection made, lets click up on the RGB channel at the top of the Channels palette to make it active (*note: this will hide the channel we were just working on and make only the selection visible.

Click back to the Layers tab and add a new layer by clicking the Add New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette then double click on the layer’s name to rename it Frame.

Step 6

Since our alpha channel allowed us to select only the highlights but what we really want are the shadows, lets go ahead and invert the selection by choosing Select>Inverse from the main menu or by using the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-I (PC: Ctrl-Shift-I).

Press the D key to reset your foreground color to black and then fill the selection by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace). We’re now done with the selection, so you can press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to deselect.

Step 7

HERO! You might be saying, this looks just like the image we started with! … and of course that would be true, but things aren’t always as they seem. If I change my background color to red (you don’t need to do this, I’m just illustrating my point). You can see that the black has indeed been separated from the white background and is now isolated for use.

Step 8

Ok, we’ve done all the preparation, now lets get to work on the rest of the effect.

Grab the Polygonal Lasso tool from the Lasso tool fly out menu and clicking from point to point create a nice square selection inside the photo area. This selection doesn’t have to be exact or even, in fact, the less perfect the better. When you get back to your starting point the selection will close itself.

Step 9

Now that the selection is made, lets soften the edges just a touch by choosing Select>Modify>Feather from the main menu (*note: In some older versions of PS the path to the Feather option is Select>Feather.) This is a low resolution example, so I’m going to use a small 2pixel Feather, but if you’re working at a larger resolution you’ll want to adjust accordingly.

Now lets duplicate the selected portion of the layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J). This will put the selection onto it’s own layer above the original. Lets call this layer Photo Holder. In order to see what we’re working with lets also turn off the Frame layer by clicking the eye icon to the right of the layer thumbnail in the Layers palette.

Step 10

The edges of this layer are far too hard for this effect to be convincing, so lets press the E key to invoke the Eraser tool, and then by choosing different brushes from the brush picker we’ll delete small areas around the edge of the photo area. I used a variety of grunge edge brushes to distress my edges and I’m including those Photoshop Brush sets in the download at the end of the lesson. Yes, you’re right, that is very cool of me!

Here’s my Photo Holder layer after all the distressing. Remember that you can rotate the brush tips in the Brushes palette like I taught you in the Rotating Brushes tutorial to make the brushes work for every edge.

Step 11

Lets take a break from this file for a moment and open the photo we will use for the effect. Mrs. Hero took this shot of me on a motorcycle trip to Telluride, Colorado last year. Yes, I look cool, I know.

For this effect I wanted to use a grayscale image (though you don’t have to). Because this tutorial isn’t about black and white conversion I just chose Image>AdjustmentS>Desaturate from the main menu to make it easy. If you want to get into black and white conversion in detail, I’d suggest picking up Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Channels Book and reading Chapter 4 in particular which covers using Calculations for B&W conversion (though the whole book is fantastic).

Step 12

With your photo open, press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to Select All, then Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to copy the photo to the clipboard. You can now close your photo if you want by pressing Command-W (PC: Ctrl-W). How’s that for a bunch of keyboard shortcuts mashed into a few lines?

Now that we’ve got the photo copied to the clipboard (no, there’s no actual clipboard, it’s just an expression to let us know that the photo is copied into Photoshops virtual memory), lets return to our working file and more specifically to the Photo Holder layer which should still be selected as the active layer in the Layers palette. And just like we did when we were in the Channels palette, lets go ahead and Command-Click (PC: Ctrl-Click) on the Photo Holder layer icon to load it as a selection.

From the main menu (and this is the cool part) choose Edit>Paste Into. This will take the image we just copied to the “clipboard” and paste it into the selection, creating a new layer and using the selection as a layer mask! How awesome is that?

Step 13

Ok, lets turn on the Frame layer again by clicking in the empty box to the left of the layer thumbnail (the eye icon will reappear long with the layer’s contents). Now technically we don’t need the Photo Holder layer anymore, but I’m going to leave it incase I want to modify it later. I’m also going to name the new layer with the photo on it Photo.

Step 14

With the photo thumbnail selected on the Photo layer I now used the Dodge and Burn tools (found in the Tools bar / keyboard shortcut O) and using a soft edged medium sized round brush with the Range set to Highlights and the Exposure set to around 20% I’m going to darken around the edges and corners (Burn tool) and lighten around the subject (Dodge tool). This effect mimics the old darkroom techniques of dodging and burning an image to get this style of look. Perhaps the subject of a future tutorial, but I won’t be going into any further detail about the technique in this tutorial.

(*note: Dodging and Burning aren’t necessary steps here, and I’ll use a layer style in the next step to mimic the edge burning anyway.)

Step 15

If you don’t feel comfortable using the Burn and Dodge tools too much yet, that’s ok, lets use a layer style to mimic the edge burn effect by double clicking to the right of the layer name in the Layers palette, or by Control-Clicking (PC: Right Click) on the layer and choosing Blending Options to bring up the Layer Styles dialog. Choose Inner Glow from the list on the left (Click on the text, not the checkbox) and add the following settings.

Step 16

Here’s what my image looks like so far.

Step 17

I want the photo to look a little more aged so I’m going to use a fantastic brush (which is included in the download at the end of the lesson) called Scratch Heavy to do a little more distressing.

Create a new layer called Scratches, switch to the Brush tool by pressing the B key, load and select the Scratch Heavy brush and press the D key to reset the foreground color to black. I used the bracket keys [ and ] to size my brush to it was just a little larger than my image, then clicked once on the canvas.

Step 18

Obviously we don’t want the scratches to extend beyond the borders of the photo, so Control-Click (PC: Right-Click) on the Scratches layer and choose Create Clipping Mask from the menu. This will clip the Scratches layer to the Photo layer and the clipping will be indicated by an indentation of the Scratches layer and a small arrow between the two layers. The scratches are a little harsh though, so lets lower the Fill opacity of the Scratches layer to around 30%.

Step 19

The last thing I want to do is add a little sepia tone to the image just to make it feel a little older. Click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, choose Photo Filter and choose Sepia from the Filter drop down menu, leave the other settings alone and click OK. Now just Create a Clipping Mask with this layer as well just like we did in Step 18 and you’re done!

Step 20

And that’s it folks, a cool aged photo effect with a nifty edge detail. I hope you learned a little something along the way. I’m off to take a nap.