The New Adobe Photoshop Logo: It's A P


It only makes sense. After all, it’s been almost 10 months since the last rebranding. It’s about time. Right out of the blue (heh heh): it’s the new logo for the Photoshop “family” of applications.

Let’s put on our scrutinizing academic design goggles for a second and look at the significance of this design.

  • It’s a P. As in Photoshop.
  • The previous logo (which I assume was the icon-design for the CS3 package) was Ps. There’s definately some simplification going on here. P. Say that out loud. It’s something we all need (to) once in a while.

  • It’s got a hole in it.
  • Insert joke here.

  • It could be a single quotation mark.
  • Meaning “we started the sentence, you finish it”?

  • It’s a speech bubble!
  • Cue “hello Adobe, Apple iChat called, they want their logo back” joke. Also these.

  • If you tilt your head sideways to the left, it’s a silhuette of a man yelling out loud.
  • I can hear it now: “FUCK! IT CRASHED!”

  • It’s glassy and in 3D.

Meaning “this was made with Photoshop filters”. Where’s the lensflare?

More details on the logo on John Nacks blog. Your interpretations?

Creating Smoke In Photoshop From Scratch


Using Photoshop and a specific technique, it’s rather easy to create something that looks like smoke or fog—from scratch. It’s not as good as actual smoke photographed on a black background, but it’s much easier to come by. Here’s the trick…



Draw a doodle. Preferrably keep the doodle in its own layer with a black background beneath.



Use the Liquify tool to distort the doodle. Liquify resides in the Filter > Liquify... menu. Using the various “forward warp”, “twirl” and “pucker” tools residing in the menu to the left, you distort the doodle as if you were fingerpainting.


Once you’ve applied the liquify transformation, select Edit > Fade Liquify.... In the dialog box that appears, set the opacity to 50% and apply.


Now repeat the process until you’re satisfied:

  1. Liquify
  2. Fade Liquify to 50%






smoke09 smoke10

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you might also enjoy my Creating Microworlds in Photoshop tutorial.

Single Illustration Deconstruction


Inspired by a gorgeous Factory Girl movie poster deconstruction, I decided to try my own luck.

The above illustration shows the construction, layer by layer, of picture #5 from my recent Finale installment. There are also a wallpaper for this image.

Basically the structure is this: Clouds > Twirly clouds > More clouds > Background trees > Bottommost meadow > Color > Contrast > Trees > More trees > Glows > More glows.

Adobe CS3 Icons


Adobe has released a color wheel showing the new Adobe CS3 icons. But wait, a color wheel? Yep. As it turns out, the new brand includes icons that are simply colored squares with periodic-table-of-the-elements like names; Ai for Illustrator, Ps for Photoshop, Fl for Flash.

Sure, I recognize a … ahem … whole palette of applications now they bought Macromedia. I get that by naming their icons similarly to the base elements, they communicate “base necessities” for graphic designers. Even so, this seems a bit over-designed to me. Fortunately, I don’t care much, unlike Ms. Pieters & Mr. Santa Maria.

On a sidenote, one could assume apps with icons means apps that live on in the post-Macromedia-merger period. Worthy of notice: Fireworks remains, Freehand remains, GoLive remains. ImageReady, on the other hand, seems nowhere to be found. There’s a named Flickr upload if you need more details. Dave Shea has more.

Photoshop Book

Winter last year, I participated in the new Sybex book “Photoshop Secrets of the Pros: 20 Top Artists and Designers Face Off”. The book is out now.

I was fortunate enough to be teamed up with the immensely talented Audrey Mantey (, and given the theme of “Pollution”. The result is a Photoshop Battle consisting of 10 volleys, 5 of mine, 5 of Audrey’s. As a superb treat and a great turn of events, our chapter was selected as the freely downloadable sample chapter.

The battle was great fun, and soo exhausting. While it took as long as a usual Noscope update takes, it was different. First of all because it was a book, and one aims to please :). Secondly, due to the nature of Photoshop battles, the image changes, sometimes radically from volley to volley, and while the theme may be the same, the “language of communication” and thus style changes. I think the end result is very good, I’m particularly pleased with the my last 2 volleys.

Photoshop Secrets of the Pros

“Photoshop Secrets of the Pros: 20 Top Artists and Designers Face Off”

By Mark Clarksson

Mark invited me to participate in this new book about “Photoshop Tennis”.

Photoshop Tennis is the act in which two fellow designers, develop a piece of graphic design together, through the exchange of their Photoshop .PSD files. Basically, one designer starts out on a blank sheet, does an illustration, and sends it to the other designer. This designer interprets and elaborates. This process goes back and forth til the piece is finished.

A free PDF sample chapter is available, and by a stroke of luck, it is the chapter with my match, with Audrey!

  • Download free sample chapter here.
    I was scheduled to face the profusely talented Audrey Mantey in a match themed around “Pollution”. We decided to make it a cooperative match, and I’m very proud of the end result.
  • The book contains 10 matches between 20 designers.
  • Each match consists of 10 volleys, 5 by each designer.
  • Source files from all designers (layered .PSD’s, .AI’s, etc.)
  • Text and (in some cases) audio commentary for each volley.
  • Every match was played in “real-time”, that is, all 10 volleys had to be made within 24hours. To see the end result with this in mind, is certainly interesting, and brutally honest.
  • The book is written for, and all source files work on, Mac & PC.

The book is priced at 44.99 US$, 32.99 GB?, 99.95 AU$, or 67.95 Can$.

The book can be purchased online via Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Official website of the book, with more samples.