Incorporating photoshop into your website design is something that will greatly enhance the final result of your website. Not only will you be able to see the direction you want to go in before you end up with the finished site, but the sheer ability of the tools that offer will allow you to create stunning designs in a matter of minutes. However, it’sn’t always an easy task therefore I’ll go over the fundamentals of making a beautiful, clean image in Photoshop.

1) You must have a solid canvas to begin with. The height will differ based on how much example content you’re planning to include on your site. I typically aim for about 900-1000 pixels so that I’ve always got space for more content should I need to. It’s width that most people struggle with. If you’re not creating an unusually-shaped website ensure that you have a width of about 996 pixels. It is almost always the 960 grid for my site, and so about there is a good starting point. Plus, you will hardly ever encounter a client who is using a resolution of lower than 1024×768, so it’s safe to use that type of size.

2.) Okay – the text that you’ll use in your mock-up. It is mobile payment essential that in all areas of the site in which live text will be displayed, you use the font that is compatible with browsers. There’s no point using an amazing font and then impressing the client with your photoshop files but if you’re not able to and convert that into CSS or XHTML code but without replacing the font with pictures. Remember that search engines won’t be in a position to read text from images, therefore avoid using images other than the logoas it’s wasted in SEO.

3) Keep it tidy. Use folders and layers to categorize the different elements on your page, and label all your layers. It may be boring, but trust me, your time is well spent. If you submit it to be approved and the customer doesn’t respond for two weeks in the process of slicing it up you’ll have no clue what layer it is in the event that you didn’t sort it all out prior to making the original cut.

4.) Use clear anti-aliasing for all of your text. Do you know the dropdown in the toolbar? It’s closest to how the browser will eventually render it, so it’s a good idea to take it on. Strong is too thick, and if you don’t apply any of the options, it’s just ugly.

5) When sending your design off to the customer, don’t save it at rubbish quality. Always use jpg at full quality. It will be a slightly larger file, but it will appear significantly better from a customer’s point of view.

6) In the event that the client has not specified a specific text that you’d like to display on the page (I’m assuming they haven’t at this point) Use the lorem ipsum passage to complete any paragraphs on your page so that you don’t have to spend time creating fake content to go over the gaps. But, be sure to inform your client that it’s exactly what it is, and that you’re not expecting to put that on his site!

7.) Utilize blending options in your favor! They can be so helpful to create amazing effects on various components of your site, so long as you don’t use the default settings and don’t over-use them. There is only so numerous drop shadows in a page before it gets boring to view. But, you should definitely play with them as they are an simple method to create stunning effects to your site.

8) Add nice effects to your images. Plain images can look boring on a webpage So, add the drop shadow, outer glow, inner glow or similar for your images to brighten them up a bit.

9) When you need to cut up your photos, you can use the ‘Save for Web’ feature. This way, the image will be optimized for web use, avoiding excessive loading times and keeping the size of the image to a minimum without losing too much quality. Be aware that only gifs and pngs support transparency (with PNGs being the only ones with partial transparency) So if you are using an image that overlays the other content on the page or needs to have the content behind it, be sure to save it in the right format.

10) Finally, always plan ahead. Check that what you’re designing with Photoshop can be coded up later on. It’s more awkward having to explain to a client why you’re unable to make what you’ve already shown them than it is not with a great original concept. Be aware of your limitations, and don’t try to make it harder for yourself! You’ll only have to do this once.

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