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People recognize and react to faces on Web pages faster than anything else on the page. In this chapter from her book, Susan Weinschenk explains how understanding this concept can help you design better web pages. From the intro:

Imagine that you're walking down a busy street in a large city when you suddenly see the face of a family member. Even if you were not expecting to see this person, and even if there are dozens, or even hundreds, of people in your visual field, you will immediately recognize him or her as your relative. You'll also have an accompanying emotional response, b
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e it love, hate, fear, or otherwise.

Although the visual cortex is huge and takes up significant brain resources, there is a special part of the brain outside the visual cortex whose sole purpose is to recognize faces. Identified by Nancy Kanwisher (1997), the fusiform face area (FFA) allows faces to bypass the brain's usual interpretive channels and helps us identify them more quickly than objects. The FFA is also near the amygdala, the brain's emotional center.

Read the full article, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People: There's a Special Part of the Brain Just for Recognizing Faces.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play. Learn to increase the effectiveness, conversion rates, and usability of your own design projects by finding the answers to questions such as:

What grabs and holds attention on a page or screen?
What makes memories stick?
What is more important, peripheral or central vision?
How can you predict the types of errors that people will make?
What is the limit to someone’s social circle?
How do you motivate people to continue on to (the next step?
What line length for text is best?
Are some fonts better than others?

These are just a few of the questions that 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People answers in its deep-dive exploration of what makes people tick.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Nik Software today introduced Snapseed, its new photo experience for iPad. Snapseed is an entirely new photo application designed specifically for iPad and leverages the company’s advanced photographic technologies to deliver a fast, fun, and high quality photo experience for everyone.

Snapseed enables anyone to create amazing photos with a wide variety of innovative filters and tools. Snapseed includes filters like Grunge, Vintage and Drama that can make any photo look extraordinary. Snapseed for iPad introduces the company’s revolutionary U Point technology in touch devices, bring
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ing precise selective adjustments to change lighting, color, and more by simply touching and swiping the screen.

Swiping side-to-side enhances the Brightness, Contrast, or Saturation of only the object selected, blending the effect naturally throughout the image. Snapseed for iPad is the first application in a new generation of photography software that brings the power of the desktop to mobile devices. With Snapseed, users can enhance, edit, and share their photos via social networks, email and even print via Apple’s AirPrint Wi-Fi printing standard. Key Features include:

• Grunge — Explore styles and textures without limits and give photos a totally unique look
• Selective Adjust — Using nothing more than a finger, make precise selections and enhancements in seconds with Nik Software’s revolutionary U Point technology
• Drama — Add custom effects to a photo which range from subtle enhancements of textures to wildly creative and artistic effects
• Vintage Films — Nine unique nostalgic films, plus controls like saturation, textures and vignettes make any photo look like a vintage color film photo from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s
• Tune Image — Correct photos shot in difficult lighting situations, create depth and vibrancy with Ambience, or adjust White Balance, Saturation, Contrast and more with a few quick swipes
• Organic Frames — Add unique borders to photos by choosing styles and textures
• Black and White — Give photos a classic look with this darkroom-inspired filter. Select styles, grain, vignettes, and more for a perfectly nostalgic look
• Sharing — Show off photos via email, print them, or share on Facebook, Flickr, and more

Snapseed for iPad is available in English language exclusively on the Apple App Store. To learn more about Snapseed visit

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Video training provider Infinite Skills Inc has released a new iPad app designed to let users learn Photoshop skills from anywhere they want. According to the company, the app's extended lesson plan and special features set it apart from other Photoshop-related apps on the iTunes Store.

"Most other Photoshop apps are either a scaled down version of an online course or at best contain only a couple hours of training, barely even covering the basics," said sales director Colin Boyd. "At eleven hours, this app is a full fledged tutorial series, and the first to offer AirPlay broadcasts
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to HDTVs and enabled devices."

All of the videos included in the app are high-definition and specifically tailored for the iPad's large screen, not rescaled iPhone-sized content. The high video resolution also makes AirPlay a feasible option for users who want to stream the lessons to large screen televisions.

While it includes access to 230 Photoshop tutorials in high definition, the app uses 3G and WiFi streaming to keep the app size below 5MB. Other tutorial apps require customers to download media, Boyd said, making the new Infinite Skills app the best choice for users wanting to prioritize storage space.

The new app is a mobile optimized version of the company's top-selling Adobe Photoshop CS5 Training Video, which is sold from the Infinite Skills website on both cross-platform compatible DVD-ROMs and as direct downloads at a substantially higher cost. The company chose to include the entire course in its app, while altering only video size and playback controls to provide an iPad-native user experience.

The tutorial itself is a complete beginner-friendly introduction to Photoshop CS5, starting with the basics of the interface and essential tools and moving up to more advanced adjustments and graphics techniques. Some of the specific topics include Adobe Bridge workflow management, straightening and enhancing scans, layer blending modes, HDR editing, Photoshop filters, advanced color correction and more. Even new CS5 features such as content aware fills and the mixer brush are covered.

"Our goal is to put high quality training in the hands of users," Boyd said. "Expanding to mobile devices has been difficult in the past because of the compromise on screen size, but the iPad offers an ideal solution for high quality video on the go."

Learn Photoshop CS5 Quickly And Easily 1.0 is $9.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available exclusively through the App Store in the Business category.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Have you ever wanted to capture a pristine photo of a famous location that was unmarred by the presence of other people or random objects? Imagine the Golden Gate Bridge with no cars or the Piazza San Marco with no tourists. This week’s Deke’s Techniques shows you how to simulate that kind of exclusive access using the image stacking capabilities of Photoshop CS5 Extended. In this free video, Deke McClelland shows you how he removed a pesky tourist from his shots of a famous theater by aligning multiple shots, turning all those layers into a single smart object, and then applying a median calc
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ulation to remove his fellow traveler (not to mention an inexplicable floating orangutan head) from the scene.

In Deke’s case, this pesky woman was walking across the railing at the Theatro Olympico in Vincenza, Italy while Deke was trying to capture Palladio’s amazing forced-perspective set. (Here he actually used a variation technique to show you all four of her positions at once!)

And without having to rely on a single mask, he managed to remove her by simply asking Photoshop to do the math, and ended up with this result: During the course of the video, you’ll also learn some of the other calcuations that Photoshop Extended offers up (download a 30-day free trial). You’ll also see how to troubleshoot remnant artifacts if your calculations don’t do the job satisfactorily. (And as a bonus, you’ll get a beautiful view of this gorgeous, 16th-century forced-perspective theatre designed by the famous architect, Palladio.)

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Perfect Layers is now available for pre-orders at a special introductory price for the month of June of $99.95 (the regular price will be $129.95). You also can download a free preview of Perfect Layers, but this is only a test build that contains some bugs that onOne will fix for the final release. The purpose of the free download is to gather user feedback and fine tune the initial version 1 release, which is scheduled for mid to late June.

Perfect Layers 1.0 is free to owners of the Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 (aka Plug-In Suite 5.5). Perfect Layers will appear as a software update
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when it becomes available. If you'd like to purchase the Perfect Photo Suite, enter our discount coupon code - PSSPPT06 - during the checkout process at onOne Software for an instant 15% discount.

OnOne has been making excellent plugins for years and continues to lead the pack with their innovative and friendly user interfaces. Plugins are meant to reduce the work load, and Perfect Layers is going to be a huge time-saver for professional photographers who need the extra power of layers to edit quickly and efficiently, as they are often under severe deadlines. And Perfect Layers will also open up the door to more creative endeavors — including stunning visual effects and complex photo montages.

Photoshop really became a major player when the ability to work with layers was introduced to the mix back in 1994 when version 3.0 was released. It’s ironic that so many years later Adobe would be following in the same footsteps with Lightroom — by creating an amazingly powerful photo editing app, but leaving out something as vital as layers to the workflow. Thanks to onOne, that all important missing ingredient is now available. Photoshop trainer and guru Scott Kelby, who was involved in the design of the plugin, has stated that the impact Perfect Layers is going to have on photographers using Lightroom makes it “a game changer.” We whole-heartily agree.

Perfect Layers allows you to create layered files from within Photoshop Lightroom or Aperture and to create and edit multi-layered Photoshop files directly from Lightroom and Aperture. So what is the main advantage? Most photographers would agree that having the ability to take two exposures of the same scene and then merging them into one file after correcting the overall exposure would be a huge plus. And it is. Perfect Layers makes this effortless work, and the files that Perfect Layers creates are non-destructive and can be opened and edited by Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

The other main attraction is that Perfect Layers brings the power of blending modes into Lightroom. By blending layers together you can control the brightness, contrast and color of an image, which can result in dramatic improvements.

Perfect Layers lets you control how much of a layer is visible by using the same MaskingBrush and MaskingBug tool found in PhotoTools 2.6. You simply paint with the MaskingBrush to reveal or hide the areas of a layer, and you can create gradient masks with the MaskingBug. The tools work together and are non-destructive, and when you use Perfect Layers with a Wacom tablet, you can control the brush size or opacity by how much pressure you apply while painting.

Another fantastic time-saver is that Perfect Layers comes with presets already built in for color correction and black and white conversions. And you can use the built-in masking tools in Perfect Layers to selectively place and control the intensity of your color fill effects. All in all, this Perfect Layers is a great plugin to have in your toolbox.

onOne Perfect Layers Requirements
Operating System — Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Optional Host Application — Adobe Lightroom 2 or 3, Apple Aperture 2.1 or 3.
Processor — 2 GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent.
Display — OpenGL 2.0 Capable video card with 256 MB of dedicated VRAM at 1280x800 and millions of colors or higher.

Perfect Layers Online Video Tutorials
You can fnd a collection of online video tutorials for Perfect Layers at the onOne site. Topics include: Getting Started, Supported Files, Perfect Layers and Lightroom, Perfect Layers and Aperture, Blending Duplicate Images, Exposure Blending, Swapping Heads, Changing Skies, Texture Blending, Blending to Control Color and Contrast, Using Color Fill Layers, Combining Multiple Lights, Focus Stacking, Creative Composites.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
You can get some free cloud textures at Bittbox. Here's the story: It was a bright sunny day here in OKC today, and I got lucky enough to get some good shots of some photogenic cloud formations. I’m not the best photographer in the world, but they are really big, so even though they might not be the clearest images, they can still be used nicely under the right conditions. (You can click on the images and get the full size ones from Flickr).

How To Download The High Res Versions
Some people have asked how to get the high res versions. Go to Bittbox, click on one of the images y
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ou like, and you'll be sent to Flickr. Once there, click again on the image you want. Now you'll be taken to a new page that will have a button that says "Actions" floating above the top left of the photo. Click on that and select "View all sizes". Again you'll be taken to a new page, and this time there will be a download option for all sizes, including the largest, full size version.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Here is another set of Photoshop brushes from Obsidian Dawn: This set of brushes is made up of various foliage that has been painted by hand, on a canvas. So, you’ve got that nice canvas texture, some paint texture, etc. Included within are various stems, grass, and leaves – some single, so that you can put them together however you like, and others already arranged in bunches. This set was made to accompany my Painted Flowers Photoshop and GIMP Brushes set. That one is made up of various flowers, all with the same pretty canvas texture. These are all very high resolution images, with the aver
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age brush size being about 2000 pixels.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Head over to pixlr-o-matic and you apply some interesting filters to your photos, then save them. It works well and is a great tool to have online when you need to get an effect on a photo and you need to do it on the run and fast. Here are some key points about the service, from their FAQ page:

What is Pixlr?
Pixlr is the creator of online cloud-based image tools and utilities. Today we have three applications in our suite: Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-matic. They are built in Flash and you need to have the Flash plug-in (get flash) to get it to work, however, 98% o
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f all computers have flash so you are probably set. We also provide screengrabbing tools Pixlr Grabber and one click photo sharing
Who needs online tools?
The pixlr services is built for both non-professionals and professional users with editing needs such as editing web images to be posted on social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, or image sites like Flickr, Fotolog, Photobucket etc. It's also widely used by professionals for fixing images for news sites and blogs etc.
Why Flash and not HTML5?
We are very pragmatic when it comes to development and use the tool best suited for the product we build. Flash still gives us big advantages compared to HTML5, like the 98% penetration of flash, open/save files local and a bunch of other stuff.
How about privacy?
From Flash 10 and later, images are opened direct and local in your browser (i.e we don't see them in any way and they don't leave your computer). Files that are posted to us via the API or our add-ons are automatically deleted from our servers after 5 minutes.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Here are some new Photoshop brushes from Obsidian Dawn: This set of free Photoshop and GIMP brushes is made up of various flowers that have been painted by hand, on a canvas. So, you’ve got that nice canvas texture, some paint texture, etc. These flowers are not very detailed, just some basic flowery shapes. Some fun embellishments to add just about anywhere.

This set also includes a few brushes that are made to either add or remove the center from a flower, in a semi-circular shape. For example, if a flower that you like doesn’t have a center “dot” and you’d like it to, you can use
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one of those “center circle” brushes to create it. And the same applies to the opposite – if you want to remove the center area of a flower, use one of these as an eraser to get rid of the flower center. They have the same canvas texture to them.

Keep your eyes open over the next few days – I have a “Painted Foliage” set to release along with this one, for the stems, flowers, grasses, leaves, etc. All with the same pretty canvas texture. These are all very high resolution images, with the average brush size being about 2000 pixels.

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
Receive a savings of 10% on an order of US$350 or greater purchased through the Adobe Store. The Adobe NA Education Order value must be US$350 or greater excluding taxes and shipping for the 10% savings to be applied. When purchasing through the online Adobe Store or Adobe Education Store, you must enter offer code Adobe10 in the shopping cart prior to checking out when prompted to do so.

Orders must be placed between May 26, 2011 (9pm Pacific time) and June 3, 2011 (11:59pm Pacific time). This offer is valid only to customers with shipping addresses in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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. Offer is limited to one discount per customer. Offer is not valid for Subscription products, licensing, or OEM bundles. Applicable local sales taxes and shipping charges may apply. Void where prohibited.

$260 USD off Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection Full Version with offer code Adobe10. Only at ends June 3.

Dreamweaver CS5.5 Full Version only $360 USD with offer code Adobe10. Only at through June 3.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium Upgrade only $360 USD in the Adobe Commercial Store. Offer code Adobe10. Ends June 3.

Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium Student and Teacher Edition only $404 with offer code Adobe10. Ends June 3!

(posted by Jennifer Apple for
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