Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photoshop Desk Reference Episode 2: Dynamic Brush Adjustment

Hey guys! Hope you're having a great day!  In Episode 2 of our Desk Reference Series we take a look at another technique specifically designed to speed up your workflow.  In this video we will learn how to quickly and dynamically change the size, hardness, and opacity of our paint brush by using shortcuts and keybinds instead of slogging through secondary panels.

Have an idea for an episode of the Desk Reference Series?  Shoot me an email.  Or better yet, like us on Facebook and post on our wall.

Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Desk Reference Series Episode 1: HUD Color Picker

Hey guys!  Hope you're having a great week so far.  In this tutorial, we introduce the first episode of our Photoshop Desk Reference Series.  The Desk Reference Series will focus primarily on becoming familiar with the Photoshop user interface instead of projects like we usually cover.  We will explore workflow techniques that can save you both time and effort.  If you're a professional user, that means a potentially better profit margin on your projects.

In Episode 1, we discuss the HUD color picker, which is a streamlined version of the traditional color picker.  The difference is that the HUD picker can be summoned and dismissed quickly with a simple shortcut combo vs. having to pull up a separate window, which is usually how it's managed.

I hope you enjoy this first episode of the Desk Reference Series.  Thanks for watching!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pen Tool E-Book Progress

Hey guys!  I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I just wanted to share a little update with you concerning the progress of the pen tool e-book tutorial.

The documentation is nearly complete, and we're almost ready to begin adding picture assets.  Progress is coming along nicely and we'll be able to publish soon.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nvidia Normal Map Plug in for Mac Issue

It's been brought to my attention that the Nvidia normal map filter plug in for Photoshop apparently does not work for Mac at this time.  Since I do not use Mac, I was previously unaware of the issue.  My apologies.

I still don't have a permanent solution for the problem as a whole, however, I do have a (sort of) fix for a more specific instance; the Captain America Shield.

If you are a Mac user who has done the tutorial and gotten stuck at the normal map, I have created a bump map that does a pretty decent job of picking up the slack.  I went ahead and created the bump map for you, since this issue sort of slipped up and caught me by surprise, but since a bump map is a simple gray-scale image, it's one that you can create yourself without a plug in.

Click the "captAmericaShieldTutorialBump.jpg" to open in the image gallery.
Right click on the image and choose "save as" to save it to your hard drive.
Activate the 3D layer and in the 3D panel, activate the "Layer 1 Front Inflation Material" layer.
If you have a texture installed in the normal map, remove it by clicking the icon next to "Normal" and choosing "Remove Texture."
Click the icon next to the "Bump" field and choose "Replace Texture".
Navigate to the folder on your hard drive where you saved the "captAmericaShieldTutorialBump.jpg" and select it.
Change the bump amount to approximately 16%.
  • If the bump mapping fits improperly, click the icon next to "Bump" and choose "Edit Texture".
  • Click the "Image" menu and select  "Image Size".
  • Verify that the image size is 1024 px by 1024 px.  If not, resize to make it so.
  Render to check effect.

Please note, I have not done a full render with the alternative bump map yet, so you may have to adjust the bump amount to get the desired results.

Captain America Shield Tutorial Alternative Bump for Mac

Here is the normal map I created for the original project so that you can see the results for yourself.  Install it using the same method as above except you will want to install it next to the area labelled "Normal" in the properties panel.
Captain America Shield Tutorial Normal Map

I realize this is a temporary fix to the overall issue, and again, I apologize for not having the information needed to predict the problem.  If anyone finds a solution, by all means, feel free to share it with us.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hubble Deep Field

Wikipedia: Hubble Deep Field

One of the coolest things ... ever.

Short caption if you're too busy to read the wiki:  Once the Hubble Telescope was finally up and running properly, its operators (out of boredom, i guess) pointed it at the darkest, emptiest, most devoid section of space they could find.  In other word, for all intents and purposes, they aimed the lens at the cold, black, nothingness of infinite space.

They exposed the image for 11 days, to capture the greatest amount of light possible, and with no nearby starlight to contaminate the expose, they ended up with this.  All of those 10,000 little specks, every single one of them, are a separate galaxy, previously undetected by humanity.  If you didn't feel utterly insignificant in the universe before ...

Like I said ... cool.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vector Tools Tutorial "Book Cover"

Hey folks!  The last tutorial I did required a little bit of pen tool use.  After it was finished, I thought to myself "Self, maybe it's time you did a pen tool tutorial."  So I started working on the script for the video, intending to make a relatively light weight tutorial just to expose users to the idea of the pen tool.

That "quick" tutorial soon evolved into a 20 page document. (Wow!)  So again, I thought to myself "Self, this is way too big for a video tutorial!"  So that left me with two choices.  I could heavily edit the document and remove a lot of the information, or since it's already a pretty comprehensive instructional document, I could just take it all the way and create a complete PDF/E-book type thing showcasing all the coolness of the pen tool and Photoshop's vector capabilities in general.

I chose the latter.  The PDF will include everything you ever wanted to know about the pen tool and vector shapes (well, at least everything I know about them).  This will be Saberune Design's first comprehensive instructional guide.  We're all pretty excited about it and we can't wait to share it with you!  Stay tuned as we update you on our progress.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3D Photorealistic crayon Tutorial for Photoshop cs 6 Extended

Hey, folks, here's a new tutorial.  I know it's a lot longer than usual, but there's a lot of stuff going on here and I felt like I wouldn't be doing it justice if I shortened it any more than it already is.

Things covered in this tutorial:
Custom keyboard shortcut creation
Pen tool usage and work path creation
converting vector shapes into 3D objects
Using maps to manipulate lighting, reflection, gloss, and specularity.

Resources provided:
Image-Based Light
Bump Map

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

People Aquarium

I was sitting out on the back deck, enjoying the weather and relaxing for a few minutes after class today and noticed this ...

Two of our cats were sitting in front of the door, watching everything going on inside the house.  Their heads even moved in sync a few times.  It reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw a large aquarium "Holy cow! Look at those crazy things!"

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crayon Tutorial Preview

Hey folks!  Here's a little preview of an upcoming tutorial.  We'll be playing with diffuse maps, specular maps, reflection maps, bump maps ... all kinds of craziness.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Facebook Timeline Template and Tutorial

Hey, guys.  It's been a long summer.  Classes have been interfering with my tutorial duties, but the summer semester is over and it's time to get down to business.  Here's a quick Adobe® Photoshop® tutorial showing how to use a template I threw together to help you customize your Facebook timeline page.

Follow the link of your choice, then click FILE > DOWNLOAD to save the PSD to your hard drive.

While we're on the subject, remember to LIKE us on Facebook.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dirty Zoe

So we have overcast skies today, giving us a welcome break from the heat, and my daughter says to me "Daddy, can I go outside to play?" I told her sure thing. A little later she says, "Daddy, can I play with my cars in the dirt?" I told her no problem. I see now I may have misunderstood what she meant by "in the dirt".  She was making roads for her hot wheels, which I thought was harmless enough, but turns out she may have been driving them with her nose.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rendered Hourglass

Here's the hourglass after being allowed to render for a little while (also some sand added)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Out of Time Hourglass

Preliminary render of my day-off project.  Rendering glass and shadows always takes quite a bit of time, so I didn't let it finish.  As a result, you can still see some grainy areas.  Those will go away after a full render.  I just wanted to share what I'd been working on today.

I don't have the sand in this one yet, so we call it Out of Time.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Facebook Fan Page

Are you a facebook junkie?  Then good news, everyone!  Here's one more "Like!" button for you to click.  So go ahead ... you know you want to.  Just give it a little click, just one ... little ... click.  It will feel soooo good.  It's right over there, conveniently close to the Twitter button.  (Maybe you should click that, too?)  It's looks like this ...


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Smart Objects part 4: Non-destructive Editing With Smart Filters

As promised, here is the smart filter tutorial mentioned yesterday.  In this tutorial, we cover how to use smart filters in Photoshop to conduct non-destructive editing.  Learning to edit your projects non-destructively could arguably be one of the most vital skills for any designer.  Having the ability to go back at any point in your project, modify an edit, and have it update automatically could be worth its weight in gold.

I hope you enjoy this one and as always, if you have questions, comments, or feedback we'd love to hear it.  Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Smart Objects Part 4: Smart Filters

Hey guys!  How's it going?  Here's a little preview of tomorrow's tutorial.  In this lesson, we'll generate a random design pattern, using the non-destructive editing power of smart objects, this time with smart filters.  We'll cover how to first apply smart filters, then go back to make changes to the filters after the fact, all without a single undo.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Photoshop 3D Lightbulb: Sneak Peak

Here's a little preview of my latest work-in-progress.  I'm attempting to create a close-to-photo-realistic light bulb from scratch using no outside resources.  There's still a few kinks to work out, but once I'm done, do you guys think this is interesting enough for a tutorial?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Smart Object Tutorial #3: Stacking layer styles non-destructively

Hey, guys!  I hope Saturday is treating you well!

Last weekend, I declared it reader's choice weekend and invited my readers to submit a topic for my next tutorial.

In this tutorial, we learn how to apply multiple layer styles on top of each other additively using smart object to avoid destructive editing.

Here are two other tutorials showing other tips for using smart objects.
Using Smart Objects as a Multi-reference Tool
Using Smart Objects to Apply Multiple Strokes Nondestructively


1000 Page Views!

It's official!  We've broken 1000 page views!  Now I know in the big big world of the internet, that doesn't seem like much, but for us peasants down here on the ground, that's a big milestone.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us thus far.  Stick around.  It can only get better.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New tutorial ideas-Reader's choice weekend

It looks like a dry well for tutorial ideas this weekend.  Anything you guys would like to see?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Captain America's Shield Tutorial

In today's tutorial, we will learn how to make a near photo-realistic reproduction of Captain America's iconic shield using a couple of tricks that aren't usually thought of when you're working in Photoshop.

This is one of the longest and most complete tutorials I've done, and it has tons of stuff packed in here.  It uses bump mapping, normal mapping, 3D material imports, image-based lighting ... the list goes on.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Photoshop 3D - lightsaber

I've been doing my part stress testing the Photoshop CS 6 beta.  I've spent quite a bit of time on the 3D aspects of PS 6, trying to do increasingly complex projects.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Super Moon

Ok, this post is a little outside the scope of this blog.  I don't really do photography posts (mainly because I'm the exact opposite of a good photographer), but we were outside looking at the moon through my crappy 80 dollar telescope and I thought to myself "Self, what if you took your equally crappy 130 dollar wal-mart camera, held the aperture up to the eyepiece of the telescope and snapped a photo?"  Yea, I thought it was a silly idea, too, but guess what, it worked out averagely well.

Since I'm not a photographer and this is probably as close as I'll ever get to a telephoto lens shot, I was relatively pleased with the results and decided to share it with all of you.  Enjoy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Displacement Map Creation and Application

Hey guys. Here's a new tutorial for you using Photoshop® CS 6 Extended.  In this tutorial, we will cover how to first make your own displacement map, then using it to apply distortion to an image using the displacement filter.

If you haven't picked up your own copy of CS 6 yet, no problem.  All the tools we are using today are available in CS 5.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Captain America's Shield

Been crazy busy with the end of the semester fast approaching, but I decided to take a little "me" time today and hop on the Avengers bandwagon. What's more iconic than Captain America's shield? Enjoy

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Displacement Map Tutorial Preview

Hey, guys.  Here's a little preview of our next tutorial.  We'll learn how to first create a displacement map, then we'll use it on a boring, flat image, like the one on the top, and turn into something a little more interesting, complete with depth, shadows, and highlights.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3D Keyboard Key Icon Using Photoshop CS 5 Extended

Hey guys.  Here's a new tutorial for you using Photoshop® CS 5 Extended.  In this video, we cover how to quickly create a 3D keyboard key using the 3D capabilities of CS5 Extended.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Installing 3D Material Presets Using the Extension Manager

Hey folks, here's a quick tutorial showing you how to download and install free material sets available from for you to use in your 3D projects in Photoshop CS 5 Extended.  Once installed, these materials will permanently be available for use in your projects.

Stay tuned.  An upcoming tutorial will be using some of these new materials.  Thanks for watching.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

3D Rainbow Twisted Ring

Hey guys. I have a new Adobe® Photoshop® CS 5 Extended tutorial for you. While browsing the internet, I stumbled across an interesting design, and through some experimentation, was able to create my own version of it using a completely different technique.

Thanks for watching!

You can view the tutorial that inspired this video here ...

Share Your Work With Us

Hey folks, I realize I don't have a ton of tutorials up, yet, but if you've done anything using the techniques in my tutorials, I'd love to see your work!

It's always inspiring to throw something out there and see what amazing and creative pieces other people come up with when they combine your techniques with their own ideas.  So if you have used something you learned here in your own designs, please comment to this post and share a link with the world.


Polished Metal/Chrome Text Effect

Hey guys.  Sorry it's been so long since my last post.  It's been crazy busy around here the last couple of weeks.  I do have a new Photoshop® tutorial for you today, though.

In today's tutorial, we explore a quick and simple, yet effective technique to achieve a polished metal effect on font.  Give it a go and let me know what you think!

As always, thanks for watching my tutorials.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Using Smart Objects as a Multi-reference Tool

Hey, folks. I have another Adobe® Photoshop® tutorial for you, showcasing yet another capability of Smart Objects. This time, I show you how to set up multiple layers to reference a single object so that a single change can be populated many times throughout your document.

As always, thanks for watching.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Render created using 3D inside Photoshop along with previous tutorial material

Hey guys, no tutorial today, but I thought you might be interested in seeing a project I slapped together.  I had an hour to kill, so I played with .... Photoshop.  Imagine that.

I was messing around with the 3D in cs5 extended and I thought to myself "this would look pretty good with a little tread plate".  So, using the technique from one of the earlier tutorials, I generated a pattern and from that, created a normal map to tuck snugly in behind the diffuse.

Just an aside, this was done 100% inside Photoshop.  No outside modeling software was used.  Maybe that will be in an upcoming tutorial?

Anyway, here's the pic, showing that there are some practical applications to all these crazy tutorials I throw up on the blog.  Enjoy.

Using smart objects to apply multiple strokes nondestructively

In this tutorial, we'll be using smart objects in Photoshop® to apply the same layer style multiple times to a single layer, which would otherwise would be a convoluted process to do in a non-destructive way.

Thanks for watching.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fast grid lines by using Define Pattern and Pattern Fill

Hey folks.  Here's another quick tutorial using Photoshop®.  In this video, we use the Define Pattern tool and a Pattern Fill layer to quickly and easily create a symmetrical square pattern grid.

I hope you enjoy the video and thanks for watching.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

fast tread plate pattern

Hey guys, here's a new tutorial showing how to create a fast metal tread plate texture pattern using a a fill layer that's already built in to Photoshop.  In only a couple of minutes, you'll be able to roll out a pattern that can be used as the foundation for your normal map, specular map, and even the starting point for your diffuse.

As always, all questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.  Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Easy image resizing for uploading to the web

Hey folks.  We have another quick tutorial for you.  Today, we're covering one of the most basic (and probably most common) tasks in Photoshop ... simple cropping and resizing.  We'll also talk about the "Save for web & devices" option, to ensure that your photos will fit within a host's file size limitation.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

quick and easy glossy animated button tutorial part two

Hey guys,

Here's part two of the glossy button tutorial.

Quick and easy glossy animated button tutorial

Hey, guys.  Will here.  As promised, here's the first tutorial.  In this tutorial, we'll be building a glossy button with animation that you can use in your own applications such as games, flash content, user interfaces, or on a website.

This is part one of two, so stay tuned for the second half.  It will be uploaded shortly.  As always, user comments and questions are welcome.



Hey guys.  I just created a new blog so that I can share some of the Photoshop knowledge I've gained over the years.  Coming soon (I already have two tutorial videos cut and waiting for upload)  I'll be providing online tutorials, primarily to help local designers and artists learn some of the finer points of Photoshop, but of course since this is a blog, they'll be available to the world.

A lot of online tutorials that are out there today, while brilliant, oftentimes assume that the user has at least a little knowledge about Photoshop, it's user interface, and design in general.  They sometimes don't go into enough detail during certain steps in the process or worst case, outright omit vital portions, leaving the user in a fog.  Another thing that happens quite often is you'll stumble across a really interesting design, only to discover that the project is basically finished, and all that's left is to tie a bow on it.  This is great for showing off your talent, but downright sinful when you're calling it a tutorial.  That's why it's called a tutorial and not a resume'.

The main thing I hope to do is to avoid both of these tutorial pitfalls.  My goal is to teach the techniques that I've learned in such a way that even someone who's barely (or never) used Photoshop should be able to follow along and complete the project.  Not only will you be able to complete the project, but (hopefully) you'll come away with a little understanding as to why things work out the way they do.

I promise to always do my best to make tutorials that are deliberate and in-depth, giving extra explanations where required.  And if I come up a little short on this goal, I will always make myself available to answer any questions you might have.

Well, that's probably good enough for an introductory post.  Stay tuned for the tutorials.  They're coming soon!