25 Amazing Nature Themed Desktop Wallpapers

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If you are a designer, I am sure you definitely like it when people see your desktop and tell you that they really like the wallpaper. Too bad that when you want to find a good selection of hot wallpapers, you have to comb through hundreds of crappy desktops just to find the goods.

So when I see a hot wallpaper I download it and save it, and today I have put together the first selection of our series of posts about stunning hand picked wallpapers.

Here are 25 Amazing Beautiful nature themed desktop wallpapers. Enjoy.

  1. Paragonia

    This one is a collaboration between Pet Harrison and Marius Bauer. Its available up to 2560×1600.
  2. A Dreamy Island

    Available in 1600×1200.
  3. Serene Waterfall

    What nature wallpaper would be complete without a waterfall wallpaper? None. Available up to 1920×1200.
  4. Cliffside Beach

    Available up to 1600×1200.
  5. Another Dreamy World Wallpaper

    This is another great wallpaper which is a part of the “A Dreamy World” collection. Available in 1600×1200.
  6. Splash

    Available up to 2560×1600.
  7. Read the rest of this post »

The Top 15 Most Influential Web 2.0 Sites

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Web 2.0 is a term coined in recent years that describes the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aim to enhance creativity, information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and social indexes.

Web 2.0 websites are typically known for the use of CSS, Folksonomies (social tagging, classification, and indexing), Microformats, REST/XML/JSON-based APIs, rich internet applications such as Ajax, Flex, or Flash, semantically valid XHTML and HTML, RSS/Atom syndication and aggregation, weblog-publishing tools, wiki or forum software, and the extended use of internet privacy and content management. Below is a list of the top 15 websites that have been influential in establishing these methods of functionality on the web.

1. iGoogle
Google has been a rising star for the past decade now, and is officially the largest American corporation not a part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The original site started out as a simple search engine, eventually becoming a wide network of sites and services that include Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Desktop, AdWords, Analytics, Picasa, and Google Earth, among others. As a testament to the company’s popularity, the word “Google” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a verb in 2006, meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the internet.” Google’s “iGoogle” variant site has shown to be a comparable staple on the 2.0 scene.

2. Flickr
With the advent of modern Web 2.0 content, one of the first forms of media to become the cornerstone of user-generated communities was photos. With the popularity of blogging, people began to not only want to share their experiences in text form, but in photo form as well. Hence, this form of visual expression became a popular aspect of the internet. Flickr introduced the ability to upload and share your photos with the world and receive feedback.

3. Facebook
In the natural order of technological evolution, there is always a “new” website that debuts as an advancement over an existing one. For MySpace, that natural evolution was Facebook. In recent years MySpace has become a breeding ground for social abuse, including stalking, child predation, sexuality, and other forms of depravity, including the overuse of cutesy sparkling animated GIFs. What Facebook offered was a straight-forward, minimalistic, accessible social network that cleaned up where MySpace had made a mess. With it’s heightened privacy protocols and lack of profile clutter, Facebook quickly became a popular utility for social networking.

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25 Online Generators for Your Quick Design Fix

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In today’s tech age, the modern blogosphere is becoming a much more populous region of the world wide web. Bloggers from all over the world are creating, managing, and maintaining their own websites, most often using freeware templates or creating their own from scratch.

As a designer, I recognize how difficult it can be to compose and style your own website or blog, especially if you don’t have any design skills or are just starting out. I was a beginner once, and it was definitely a learning experience to style and develop my own blogs.

One of the most valuable aspects of the internet is the instant availability of all kinds of helpful tools and information. Among these resources are the golden nuggets known as online  generators. If you need to create a quick and easy element for your website or template, these utilities offer automated functions for creating just what you’re looking for.

Be it images, text, layouts, or CSS, these generators have just the fix you need.

Web 2.0 Design

    1. Web 2.0 Badge Generator
    Badges are fun little accents to add to a Web 2.0 oriented site. Quite often, they are used to denote a “Beta” mode, but they can be used for much more. This generator allows you to select a badge style and customize the color, text, and size.

    2. Web 2.0 Buttons
    In just four steps, this generator offers you a variety of options for specifying the shape, color, text, and inclusive icons for a custom Web 2.0 button. It offers more than 50 fonts and a hefty variety of icons (or the option to upload your own).

    3. Stripe Generator
    As Web 2.0 has evolved into its own style of design, there are many elements that have emerged to represent it. Reflections, cutesy icons… and stripes. This utility offers up a variety of settings for creating and customizing a striped pattern that is just right for you.

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19 CSS Menu Tutorials to Spice Up Your Web Designs

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Anyone that knows what’s what about web design knows what CSS is, and how invaluable it can be to styling the navigation of a website.

The thing about CSS is that it is capable of much more than just stylistic design. It has a degree of utile functionality as well, and I’m going to point out some tutorials that make use of some of the more practical applications of CSS when designing your site’s menus.

1. Mac Style Dock Menu Navigation Bar in CSS
For those of you Mac fanatics out there who love the smooth, animated functionality of the OSX Dock, then this is the menu for you! This tutorial makes use of a quick and easy jquery script to beautify the effect.

2. Hoverbox Menu
Similarly to the fisheye expansion effect of the Mac Dock, this menu creates an onHover blowup of the image link.

3. Position Property CSS Menu
This menu makes use of the CSS position property in order to create a rollover effect. Rather than replacing the image, it simply changes the position of the existing image, which has the rollover built in.

4. Flickr-like Horizontal Menu
Like the look and feel of the Flickr navigation menu? Well, so do we! This tutorial augments the CSS with a bit of Javascript to emulate the Flickr functionality.

5. Apple Style Rollover Menu
Here’s another one for the Mac fanatics. Like the look of the menu on the Apple website? Well, this tutorial shows you how to recreate it.

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Random, But Interesting: This is What $120,000,000 Cash Looks Like

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In part one of my series of random but interesting tidbits from around the web, I present to you an extreme case of inflation. If you look at the picture closely, you will notice that this kid is holding nothing but 200,000 dollar bills from Zimbabwe. Read the rest of this post »

50 Powerful Plugins and Filters to Supercharge Your Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to editing images. Photoshop comes with a variety of powerful tools to help you when editing. Photoshop also allows users to expand that tool set using filters and plug-ins to make it even more powerful.

Below are 50 sets of filters and plug-ins that can be added to Photoshop for absolutely free!
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The Evolution of Adobe Photoshop: From 1.0 to 10.0 (CS3)

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As a designer I see the Photoshop startup screen several times a day. I can easily recall what each one looks like, from 5.0 to CS3. This got me wondering: What did the startup screen look like before I ever used Photoshop?

After some research I was able to find the Photoshop startup screen from the very first retail version all the way until CS3. Take a walk down memory lane and see how many of these you remember and discover the humble beginnings of the world’s most powerful image editor.

  • Photoshop 1.0.7

    The very first retail edition of Photoshop, and the eye that would appear for many startups.
  • Photoshop 2.0.1

    The next version introduced color to the splash. Notice the eye in the lens.
  • Photoshop 2.5

    Version 2.5 had an identical splash, although you no longer had to click anything to continue on. This was also the first version to be ported over to Microsoft Windows.
  • Photoshop 3.0

    Photoshop 3.0 continued with the paint palette. The eye has now moved on to film strip. This version of Photoshop introduced layers, something that every designer on Earth uses. Tabbed palettes also joined the club, allowing more tools in the same amount of space.
  • Photoshop 4.0

    The palette and film are now gone, and the eye has become the centerpiece. Photoshop 4.0 brought about adjustment layers and actions. Actions are a life saver for anyone who has done repetitive tasks.
  • Photoshop 5.0

    Photoshop 5.0 brings back a camera lens. 5.0 also introduced the history palette, allowing multiple undos. Type also remained editable, previously it was rasterized as soon as you left the type tool. Read the rest of this post »

Download A Better Browser and Help Set A World Record

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If you are a designer and you haven’t heard of Firefox, I want to know where you’ve been. Seriously. No need to panic, because today is the official download day for the new Firefox 3.

Firefox offers a faster, safer browsing experience. To get the details, check out this page where you’ll find out more about what makes Firefox a better browser.

Today is the day that the Firefox community, and the Firefox users who love this browser are coming together to set a Guinness World Record. To help Firefox 3 earn the title of the most software downloads in 24 hours, simply participate by downloading it for yourself.

18 Excellent Sources for Free Photoshop Patterns

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Now that fixed width layouts are all the craze, what are we to do with all that blank background space? You could go the tried-and-true route with a gradient, but it doesn’t always add much to the background. Why not add some beauty and texture by having a pattern take up some space?

Using this collection of links you should be able to find the perfect background to fill the void in your design!

  1. Squidfingers – Patterns
    158 free patterns from Squidfingers.
  2. Brusheezy – Patterns
    Lots of patterns available for download. The site even includes a rating system to see what others thought of them.
  3. Photoshop Patterns @ deviantART
    A TON of free patterns by Deviant Art users.
  4. BioRUST.com :: Adobe Photoshop Patterns
    Free photoshop patterns from Biorust.
  5. TipClique Photoshop Patterns – Set 001
    5 high resolution Photoshop patterns. Be sure to check the site for collections 2 and 3.

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20 Sources for Outstanding Photoshop Brushes

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Having a wide variety of brushes gives designers a larger toolset when creating images. Grunge brushes can be used to create a textured site design, floral brushes can help fill empty voids and even more brushes can be used to create nice little touches. Below is a collection of resources for expanding your Adobe Photoshop brush palette:

  1. Free Brushes at Brusheezy!
    This site has a very large collection of high quality brushes.
  2. PS Brushes.net – Photoshop Brushes
    This site currently has 511 quality brushes of all varieties.
  3. Getbrushes.com – 150+ High Quality Brushes
    Like the name implies, get all your photoshop brushes here.
  4. Designfruit » Photosho Brushes
    Amazing photoshop brushes made by Design Fruit. All the brushes are also available for purchase as vectors.
  5. Photoshop Support – Photoshop Brushes
    A mix of swirling and stylish brushes.
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