Articles tagged as ‘Design’

20 Amazing Free Fonts for Headlines

Fonts and typography are critical aspects of graphic design, and most designers can never have too many quality fonts in their arsenal. Using the right font for a headline can also help to make it stand out and grab the readers attention. In this article we’ll showcase a collection of 20 fonts that are excellent options for use in headlines, and they are also free to download.

Next time you need to design a bold headline that will capture the interest of readers, consider using one of these free fonts.

Code Bold

Code Bold

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Keep an Inspiration Notebook to Retain Offline Design Inspiration

Finding inspiration is important to designers of all kinds. For web designers there is plenty of design inspiration available online through gallery sites and design blogs that compile posts for inspiration. This abundance of potential inspiration makes it quick and easy to browse through these sources, but unfortunately it also tends to make many of us forget that there are limitless sources of inspiration all around us in every day life that don’t involve the internet…

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35 Excellent Adobe Fireworks Tutorials

Adobe Fireworks often gets overshadowed by Photoshop, but it too can be an excellent tool for designers. If you’re not experienced with Fireworks you may want to browse through some online tutorials to get a feel for the program. In this post we’ll feature 35 of the best tutorials for Fireworks…

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Analyzing Your Conversion Funnel

So you’re a great designer, right? You create amazing sites that your clients fall in love with. But let me ask you something…what’s the conversion rate of the last website you created? I’m sure not many designers would be able to answer that question.

“We’re designers. That’s not a part of our job,” some of you might be thinking. Okay. But you do understand that people do not make websites just for the heck of it. Right? I mean, except for the reputation management clients who care no more than aesthetic appeal of the site, almost every website has a purpose. They want profits.

This purpose or conversion goal of the website can be anything from lead generation through form-filling, free-trial signups, and download brochure to direct sales from a website, like in the case of eCommerce websites.

The point is – if your design is in any way not doing a good job of helping people accomplish this conversion goal, no matter how beautifully designed your website might be, its value to your client decreases.

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33 Tutorials to Design Your Own Business Cards

Business cards are an important marketing tool for many designers, and a lot of web designers also design business cards for their clients. If you’re interested in learning more about business card design take a look at the tutorials presented here. Some of the tutorials cover the process of designing the card in Photoshop and others use Illustrator.

For some examples of excellent business card designs please see:

Creating a Colorful Vibrant Business Card

Creating a Colorful Vibrant Business Card

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35 Fresh Photoshop Actions to Download

Photoshop actions can be invaluable tools for designers and photographers. Quality actions will allow you to create photo effects in seconds with a simple click on the mouse. In the past we’ve featured a lot of different Photoshop actions and action sets, and the good news is that there are always other actions being released. In this post we’ll take a look at 35 actions that have been released recently. Hopefully you’ll find at least a few that will help you to create great effects with your own photos.

Faux HDR Photoshop Action

Faux HDR Photoshop Action

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25 Outstanding Google Fonts for Web Design

In recent years we’ve seen a number of developments and advancements, such as responsive design, that have had a major impact on the web design industry. One of the most significant advancements has been improved options for using a greater variety of fonts in your web design projects. Google Web Fonts is one of the leading options, although there are others like Adone’s Typekit.

Google Web Fonts is free, easy to implement, and their are an increasing number of font families available. With currently more than 600 font families to choose from, finding the fight font available from Google Web Fonts can be a challenge. In this post we’re showcasing 25 that are worth a look. Browse through the fonts here and you’ll probably find at least one that could be a good fit for that project that you are currently working on.

Varela Round

Varela Round

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5 Great Tools for Finding Color Inspiration

There are so many great resources available to designers that help inspire and improve efficiency, but often, color inspiration and color search abilities are overlooked in web design resources. After all, it’s often just important to find an image, gradient, or palette as it is to find one with the right subject.

What’s more, color can be one of the elements that designers forget to focus on, in favor of the typography, layout, or imagery. And yet a gorgeous color palette can make the difference between a bland and a strikingly original design.

So if you find yourself in need of a color inspiration boost, not only will this roundup of great sites provide you with all the palettes and images you could ever wish to see, they’re also great resources for manipulating, creating, and sharing color.

Find the right palette, pattern, or gradient

5 Great Tools for Finding Color Inspiration

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Optimizing Your Ecommerce Site: Visual Merchandising

Unless you’re reading this from 1995, you’re probably aware that most websites have a large visual element. Amazon, Play.com, eBay, Apple Store… open any of their homepages and you’ll instantly be bombarded with tasteful product shots designed to lure you in. Clearly, photography is a big part of online product marketing – and why shouldn’t it be?

For decades, creative photography has been used to sell us everything from watches to waffle irons. So how do you make your small-business website stand out against a horde of well-funded competitors? While no-one can guarantee instant success, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re at least headed in the right direction. Here are 5 of them:

Quality Photos

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many websites still hawk out goods beneath photos that seem to have been copied and pasted from an old Geocities website. No matter whether you’re a small business operating out the back of your bedroom, or a high-street juggernaut eyeing up new avenues for expansion, the golden rule of product selling is to make the product look desirable. And the first part of that is to use a sharp, clear image that screams quality. That means, high-res, professional images shot by a bona-fide photographer. For a good example check Apple.com, a business model founded on making products look sleek and desirable.

Apple

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33 Amazing Gig Poster/Flyer Templates

Posters and flyers are an integral part of promoting concerts and music festivals. A well-designed gig poster can help any band to look more professional and can help to generate interest for upcoming events and shows. Getting a quality gig poster doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t have to involve hiring a designer for a custom design. There are a lot of great-looking templates available that can be purchased and used to create your own gig poster for an affordable price.

If you’re a designer, using one of these templates as a starting point for client work can also help to reduce the amount of time that you have to spend on the project, which can also allow you to reduce the cost.

Here we’ll take a look at 35 gig poster/flyer templates that are available for less than $10.

Alternative Flyer Concert Template – $6

Alternative Flyer Concert Template

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14 Useful Android Apps for Photo Editing and Design

Graphic design and photo editing are increasing in popularity, in part because of the tools and apps that are readily available. It seems like just about every other person has a semi-professional camera hung around their neck with which they take pictures throughout the day, but even if you are not one of these people you probably take photos with your smartphone. With the photography and photo editing apps that are available you don’t need expensive equipment.

We took the liberty of cooking up a list of color palettes applications and photo editors available to Android users from the Google Play Store. With the applications are provided their original descriptions for your convenience. Check out this list of fifteen photo-editing tools for your mobile.

Color Palette Apps:

Image Color Picker

“Use your Android to detect a color that inspires you. It’s easy to take color inspiration from a photo in your library. Just touch a point and you can get color information.”

Image Color Picker

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5 Keys of Successful Logo Design

The best logos make an impact. They are memorable and they instantly evoke images of the brand with which they are associated. Think of the Golden Arches in the McDonald’s logo or the classic script in the Coca-Cola logo. Think of the peacock feathers in the NBC logo or the swoosh in the Nike logo.

On the other hand, bad logos are forgettable. They look unprofessional and they don’t tell you anything about the brand.

Creating a successful logo can influence the overall success of your brand. Whether you are a logo designer yourself or if you are looking to hire a designer to create your logo, it is important to understand the qualities of a great logo so you can get one that encourages the success of your business. Here are 5 keys to successful logo design:

Simplicity

One of the most important aspects of successful logo design is simplicity. There should be clean lines and few details like shading or other artistic touches. Colors should be limited to a few choices. Text should be limited to the brand name. Some great examples include the Nike swoosh, the Google logo, the Target bull’s eye, and the Twitter “T.” In logo design, less is more.

Target

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The Synergy Between Web Design and SEO

Synergy is defined as the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. In other words, it’s two or more things working together to bring about awesome results. Like Batman and Robin, chocolate and peanut butter, and most definitely like great web design and SEO.

Two Peas in a Digital Pod

SEO and effective web design go hand in hand. Without one, the other simply can’t perform as well.

Good web design is about creating a site that fully engages the reader and gets them to take action of a certain kind. But if the website does not follow current SEO best practices, its rankings will suffer which will in turn lessen the number of visitors that actually engage with it.

Conversely, if the focus has been on SEO and pleasing the search engine spiders, the site may rank highly and get lots of search engine traffic, but once that traffic lands what will they see? Will they be engaged? Will they take action? Not if the design is poor.

In order to be successful in today’s digital landscape, equal focus must be given to design and search engine optimization.

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10 Apps for Working Remotely

Teamwork is about sharing ideas, finding better solutions, and having more productive work. Collaboration tools for designers are essential to improve their work with other team members and clients. The apps listed below will let you share your ideas and designs, so that you can communicate easily with clients or other co-workers.

FileSquare

Impress your clients with prototypes and simple feedback. With FileSquare you can share your work with developers and others designers, show it to clients and collect feedback with clear annotations in real time. This application could also perform usability tests with mobile interactive mockups. FileSquare is a tool for web agencies, software houses, freelance developers and designers.

FileSquare

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Using the Cloud in Web Design

Cloud computing is revolutionizing the way web designers do their work, from designing to storing and sharing files. Instead of having to rely on one local computer or server to access software and projects, designers now have the ability to access these elements anywhere, and on any device. This technology has made collaboration easier than ever, with the ability to quickly share and discuss ideas, mockups and finalized designs quickly and easily with very little time spent arranging the logistics.

Below outlines more about the cloud and how it can benefit you as a designer.

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50 Awesome Business Card Templates

Having a great business card doesn’t require a huge expense or a custom design. Although a custom design is always an option, quality business card templates are available for purchase at very affordable prices (generally less than $10). With a large selection of templates available, it’s usually possible to find one that will fit your needs.

Additionally, if you are working with a client that needs a business card design, you may be able to find a quality template that would fit their needs and save a lot of time for you, as opposed to doing the custom design work yourself.

In this article we’ll showcase 50 excellent business card templates. Most of them come from a few different sources that are the best places to find quality, affordable business card templates:

Stylish Retro Business Card Template ($6)

Stylish Retro Business Card Template

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5 Light and Free Image Editors

While Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator may be the most feature-rich and popular options for web and graphic designers, sometimes there may be situations where a lighter option would be preferred. Opening Photoshop for very simple image edits isn’t always the most efficient option. I have searched and reviewed these 5 image editors that are easily available for download. These software are light, fast, really easy to use, and have all the necessary image editing tools required for simple jobs.

Now I do not disagree that Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks are the life blood of the  industry. But having said that, all these software are also complicated for some users, strains the CPU, have really large sizes, and most importantly carry a price tag. So if you are a small time user who wants to perform relatively simple edits to images, you would certainly hesitate in shelling out for such software. And that’s quite understandable.

After all, why would someone pay hundreds of dollars for Photoshop if he/she just has to change the color contrasts or lighting of an image?

Also the number of available free image editing software is also quite large. So large that it may confuse you beyond measure. In an effort to work around this confusion we present yo 5 free image editing software that are light, fast, easy to use, and gets the job done.

1. FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone

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35 Tutorials and Guides for Working With Wacom Tablets

Wacom tablets are preferred tools for many graphic designers because they can be much easier than working with a mouse for some types of design. Learning to work effectively with a tablet can be a little tricky, but fortunately there are a number of tutorials that can help. In this post we’ll feature a selection of tutorials that will help with learning how to design specific things, and some that will help you understand the Wacom tablet and to get the most out of it.

Draw a Windy Sunset Illustration

Draw a Windy Sunset Illustration

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Recent and Useful Tools for Web Development

Looking for new ideas for your next project? you stepped into the right place. This post talks about brand new web tools that convert good ideas in excellent pieces of web development. Slowly but constantly, web tools are replacing desktop programs and It is very likely that in the future there will be no need of hard drives since everything will be in the cloud. The greatest developers for desktop applications will need to adapt to this or disappear. We bring you some tools that show the future now. So that you start adapting to it.

We Love Icon Fonts

We Love Icon Fonts

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The Characteristics of a Successful Ecommerce Website

As one of the most complicated and interactive types of sites, a web store can be a daunting task for the uninitiated. Even if you’ve been working in web design for years, you might not know where to start. So once you’ve made decisions on the large-scale aspects, like a solid wireframe and clear conversion tunnel, take note of these necessary concepts that can help your site to greater success:

Choose a Niche that Suits You

You can find anything and everything on the web, so what’s to stop someone from shopping exclusively on big-box retail sites, and instead come to you? It’s important to provide a user experience that makes your customers respect your expertise. If you project a knowledgeable and dependable impression, customers will fell that it’s worth the extra effort they make to shop with you. Identify what makes your ecommerce site stand out, and highlight those attributes in your design.

Kiki and Bree

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Top Wireframing Tools Every Designer Needs to Consider

As an ardent designer, I am sure you might have experienced the tedious task of gathering feedback on page layout and navigation. Web design requires proper planning and communication for completing the project fruitfully. To assist you throughout and to make your web designing process uncomplicated, you need a wireframing tool.

Using a wireframing tool is indeed a fast and easy technique to plan the layout and to easily communicate your ideas with the clients. This part of design supports the entire web design process starting from its preliminary stage. Its unique ability to detect any errors at the early stage has made wireframing a valuable practice for web designers worldwide. While there are numerous wireframing tools available over the internet, locating the most prominent ones can be a daunting task. With that in mind, here I am going to give you a sneak peek into the top tools every designer should consider.

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a rapid wireframing tool that allows the users to create sketch-like mockup designs for websites and applications. With 75 pre-built controls to select from, this amazing tool helps you to design anything from a super-simple dialog box to a full-fledged application ranging from a simple website to a rich internet application.

Balsamiq

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Best Of – Photoshop Actions

Photoshop actions can be a great help to designers and photographers who want to be able to quickly achieve different effects with photos. There are a wide variety of action sets available for photo editing and touch ups, some are free and some must be purchased. In the past we’ve showcased number of different Photoshop actions and sets in our blog posts, and today we’d like to present this post that includes links to more than 50 of the best action sets that you’ll find anywhere. The post is separated into two sections, premium actions and free actions.

If you’re looking for some quality actions for editing your own photos, take a look at the sets showcased here and I think you’ll find some great options.

Premium Photoshop Actions:

Faux HDR Actions

Faux HDR Actions

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Color Palette Tools for Designers

Choosing a color scheme can seem like a simple decision, but this isn’t always the case. Color decisions should be made carefully as the impacts are significant and far reaching. For web designers, the color scheme will impact the entire web design. Fortunately, there are a number of helpful tools and resources that can be used in situations where you’re struggling to find the right palette.

In this article we’ll look at 19 different resources that are outstanding to have on hand. Each one is a little bit different. Some will allow you to browse color schemes and palettes created by other users, some will help you to create your own palette with help, some will allow you to see what colors appear in a photograph, and others will do different things.

Kuler

Kuler, from Adobe, is an excellent resource for browsing a huge selection of color palettes. You can also create your own palettes, or use Kuler directly from Adobe software like Photoshop and Illustrator.

Kuler

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A Comprehensive Showcase of Fresh-Cooked Resources and Freebies for Hungry Designers

Today’s web professionals have to be always up-to-date about new tools, freebies and resources that may be handy for their daily work. This technological (geek) world changes every day, so it’s not a good idea to be using 90’s tools for 2012 projects. That’s the reason we created this huge list of fresh resources, hoping all you guys can save it in your favs and use its contents in your next winning project. Remember to share it with your friends!

Termsfeed: Terms of Service and Privacy Policy creator

Rev8_thumb

Every website needs Terms of service and privacy policy, these terms and policies allow the page’s owner outline what users can and can’t do in the page and also outlines how the sensible information are managed. This site let site administrators create these terms and policies for free, after creating the term or policy administrator can copy the generated term or policy to their sites.
More Details | Demo.

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Are Great Designers Born or Made?

Is the ability to design a talent you must be born with or is it a skill you can learn? Successful designers have shown that the answer to this question may not be so black and white.

Famed designers like David Carson have changed traditional design by experimenting with typography and images. His story and others like it support the argument for innate design – the ability to innovate on such a level must come from an internal creativity.

Design by David Carson

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How to Create a Scratches Photoshop Brush

Grunge effects like textures and scratches can be used create backgrounds, to distress text, or just to add a subtle texture to an element in a design. One of the easiest ways to add texture and scratches is through the use of Photoshop brushes. In this tutorial we’ll show how you can create a custom scratched surface brush that will be highly useful in your own design work.

This is the same technique that was used to create our set or Scratched Surface Brushes that are available at Vandelay Premier.

How to Create a Scratches Photoshop Brush

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10 Tips for Creating Effective Digital Displays

Have you heard about digital signage?

Maybe you’ve heard people in the design industry discuss digital displays. If you’re new to the topic it’s alright. There are many folks in the industry that are just learning about the opportunity digital signage offers for companies with physical locations.

As a designer, digital signage offers a unique opportunity to expand your offering. If you have clients with physical locations you can sell them more services to increase your revenue.

It’s a win-win situation for you and your client.

Here is a general overview of what digital signage is and where it’s used.

What are Digital Display and Digital Signage?

You would probably recognize digital signage if someone told you what it was when you were looking at it. Digital signage is typically displayed on a monitor in a restaurant, university, or any other location where people visit.

Digital Displays

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A Guide to the Most Loved and Hated Fonts

The type used to communicate a message is every bit as important as the language used to do it. Different typefaces, or, in this digital age, fonts, signify different levels of sincerity, whimsy, or authority. Some fonts automatically feel more official, while others cannot help but feel like fun. Some are easier to read while others are more of a struggle for the eye. Is there a computer-using, high school or college student who hasn’t played with different fonts and font sizes to try and extend a paper that is running a bit short of a required page length? Ultimately some fonts wind up being consistently more popular across discipline, user population, and purpose. The following is a guide to the top five best-loved fonts and top five most hated.

Most Loved Fonts

Helvetica

Helvetica was created in the late 1950’s by two Swiss designers looking to create a sans-serif typeface. Sans-serif is a design term, which indicates the lack of the projecting flourishes at the termination points of letters. To many readers this gives Helvetica and other san-serif fonts a cleaner, more modern look that is easier to read. Sans-serif texts are commonly used for online reading because they are easier for the eye to trace in a slightly flickering, digital interface. Since its creation, Helvetica has become the most commonly used font in the world, especially for official printing like municipal signs and notices. It may also be the only font to boast its own Documentary, a 2007 film called, what else, Helvetica.

Helvetica

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You Only Have 8 Seconds

It’s important to realize that web design is not just about making a site look good. Just focusing on the visual appeal will not enable your site or business to achieve the goals that you have set.

Do you know that an average website visitor takes just 6-8 secs to decide whether to stay on your site? Most of the visitors are not ready to grant you more time. So, what can you do in these 6-8 seconds to convey your real message, when you already know that other websites are just a click away? If you don’t really understand how they think, behave, what influences them, how to persuade them and how they finally make their decision then you have a problem. We will take a quick tour of few important things that matter in the very first seconds.

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Improving the Usability of Your Website

The term “Usability” scares me. It’s a small word with a very large meaning. In context of websites, an entire industry has formed – called User Experience (UX) – around the idea of improving how visitors to your site can interact and consume the content. If you can make it easy to find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to hang around and continue reading/watching/interacting. Such a huge impact for such an ordinary word.

In light of the big implications of usability, this article discusses some of the higher level concepts around UX, and in doing so gives you some practical steps to improve the usability of your site today.

Check on Several Versions of Browsers

Improving the Usability of Your Website

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Time to Ditch the Bad Stock Photo Habits

Stock photos can be a great way to make a website pop. They’re easy to find, relatively cheap, of a high quality and are available in a wide range of subjects and genres. The problem is, many web designers don’t take advantage of this breadth, sticking instead to a few tried and true photos and looks that do little to separate a site or business from the pack. It doesn’t have to be that way, just as long as web designers think creatively about choosing, applying and editing stock photos in unique ways.

Avoid Cliches

While no formal study has yet to be completed on the exact number of times the image of sanitized-looking business people shaking hands has appeared on the front page of a business website, we’re betting it’s formidable. Using clichéd photos like this says to consumers, “We’re neither innovative nor up to date on the latest trends, and we don’t care what this says about us.” Stay away from tired imagery, including anyone laughing into a salad or struggling to drink water, families laughing together in fields, and a woman at a call center smiling into the camera.

Modernize your imagery to create more powerful response on a much cleaner design. Compare your website to real world architecture and recognize trends. Feel free to get a little bit riskier in your design, and react appropriately. You cannot A/B test enough.

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40 Excellent Fonts to Use Through Google Web Fonts

In recent years the possibilities for using a wide variety of fonts and typefaces in web design has come a long way. There are now several different options for approaches that you can take when you want to use a font other than the basic, standard web safe fonts. Google Web Fonts has quickly become one of the leading options.

With Google Web Fonts it is quick and easy to implement a wide variety of fonts into the websites that you design and code. There are currently more than 500 fonts that are available through Google Web Fonts, and many of them are of sufficient quality to use in professional designs. In this post we’ll feature 40 fonts that you can start using today.

Droid Sans

Droid Sans

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25 Outstanding Photoshop Photo Manipulation Tutorials

Photo manipulation can be one of the most fun things to do in Photoshop, and it also provides for an excellent creative outlet. The process of creating a detailed photo manipulation can be intimidating if you are new to the process or if you aren’t very familiar with Photoshop’s tools, but fortunately there are plenty of good tutorials that teach you how to create a sample photo manipulation.

One of the great things about photo manipulation tutorials is that you can follow along with the sample creation, but you’ll also learn techniques that can be used on your own original photo manipulations as you are experimenting.

In this post we’ve collected 25 tutorials that will lead you through the process of photo manipulation in Photoshop

Lonely – Manipulation Tutorial

Lonely - Manipulation Tutorial

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