4.04.2011

design: using photoshop plugins for website backgrounds and effects


geek.folk goes elegant ;-). This is to show you how to use photoshop plugins and filters to achieve effects on your background and header.

I didn't change much from the previous layout and even the glass buttons are still here, except that I applied a dark layer style to them this time.

On the background I used a plugin named Sinedots II, freely downloadable, courtesy of a very generous gentleman named Philipp Spoeth, who has been making this wonder available (PC only - ouch!) right here >>> for a very long time. Just place it in your plugins folder and the rest is fairly self-explanatory, although there are a few tutorials on it available on the download page as well. In this case I just applied the plugin onto the full canvas and then used a layer mask to delete the top and the bottom. Moved it up to where I wanted it to be, and that was that. In any case, this is such a beautiful filter that it would be kind of hard to go wrong with it no matter how you use it...

On the header, where I switched the font to Bauer Bodoni this time, I used the standard photoshop lens flare filter which is under Filters > Render. Now, here is the trick with that: It is actually quite difficult to get this to sit exactly where you want it to sit. What I do is, I create two layers in the same color, and then put the lens flare dead center in the middle of the top layer. Apply a gradient on a layer mask from all 4 sides  (Tip:  make sure you have the gradient colors going from solid black to transparent white, otherwise you will keep painting over what you are doing  )  then move, rotate, resize the flare to exactly where you would like it to be - which in my case is behind the header text so that I get a nice highlight there to offset the dark typography.

(Note: If I were to actually make such a site, I would place the flare on the background, together with the sinedots effect, so that the content slides over it as the viewer scrolls downward).

And you can see everything that I did in the photoshop file which you can download from here >>>.

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