Upload to SmugMug Easier with SnugUp

I recently worked on a project where I needed to upload many folders of images to SmugMug. Rather than manually create each folder and wait for the several hundred imaged to upload I tried out SnugUp. It is extremely easy to use and will sync any folder you target to the SmugMug folder you specify. I was able to easily upload the several thousand images in the proper folders in one shot. Great tool.


Images in Outlook are Blurry After Sending

I recently had an issue when I would embed an image in Outlook and it would look great. However, after sending the email the image became noticibly blurry and pixelated. I tried using the image as both .jpg and .png and neither worked.

I then came across this article http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/unsharpimages.htm which solved the issue. The short answer is that the image needs to be created at 96 dpi because Outlook will reformat it to 96 dpi anyway. If it is not already at 96 dpi then it will become distorted. Check out the more detailed explanation below.

This issue usually happens when you are using a picture other than 96dpi.

When inserting a picture, Outlook will rescale the image as if it was a 96dpi image. This means that if you have a picture of 150dpi with a height of 88px, it will be displayed as an image of 56px high;
88px/150dpi * 96dpi = 56px

It even gets worse; upon sending, Outlook will convert and compress (re-render) the images to 96dpi with the new dimensions permanently! This means that all the “detailed” picture information is lost and you’ll be sending an image of 96dpi which is 56px high. This is of course a severe and very visible quality loss.

If your picture is less than 96dpi, then the opposite happens. A picture of 88px high with a dpi of 32 would then result in a 96dpi image of 264px high. So the result will be a very large image (but this time you can resize it back without the image becoming blurry).

This is a long outstanding issue/function/design choice which goes back all the way to Word 6.0 from 1993.

While this issue might not be a real issue when inserting pictures (which are usually too big anyway), it will become an issue when you have a carefully designed graphic to be used in a newsletter or signature; quality loss and unexpected changes in graphic sizes is not what you want then.

Where to find amazing free photos


This is something I only discovered myself recently. It’s so good I had to share it.

Content via

Stock photos. They ain’t cheap! Especially if you have an already limited marketing budget. But thanks to this post by Medium writer Dustin Senos, I discovered a new world of high quality, free photos that can be used any way you want.

In his post, Dustin provides a list of links to 15 or so free stock photo sites. To make it even easier for you to find great images, I’ve picked my favourite six sites from Dustin’s list and have written a bit about each one.

Full list

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Graphic Design Links 2014

I am a huge fan of bookmarks but instead of keeping all these great linked stashed away in my bookmarks list, I’ve decided to make a curated list of the helpful graphic design sites I use and update it once a year. While on the topic, I highly recommend you check out xmarks (http://www.xmarks.com/) bookmark sync service to help you manage your bookmarks as well. On with the list, and let me know about any additional sources you like in the comments.


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Easy Vignette in Photoshop

Here are two ways to do an easy vignette in Photoshop

Method 1 via http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/vignette/

  1. Create a fill layer with the vignette color
  2. Select the layer mask thumbnail (in the layers panel)
  3. Use the elliptical selection tool to make a rough selection of the cutout
  4. Fill the selection with Black (right click > Fill > Contents: Black)
  5. Filter a Gaussian Blur to fade the edges
  6. Free transform to modify as needed

Method 2 via http://dmad.com/photoshop-vignette

  1. Go to Filter » Lens Correction…
  2. Click on the Custom Tab
  3. Under the Vignette section, move the amount slider to the left towards “darken” and adjust the midpoint slider to suit your needs.

Matching Pantone Colors in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

I have been having an issue in Adobe Creative Suite where colors are not matching even when using the same Pantone color. For instance, you can see below I have the same two colors (Pantone 202 C and 431 C) from both Photoshop, Illustrator, and the Pantone Website…and they don’t match!


Come on Adobe, it’s shouldn’t be this hard. What is the point of making standards? I still don’t even understand the official explanation from Adobe, something about CMYK color representations (it’s a long tough read).

I am happy that I FINALLY found out how to fix it. Basically, the Photoshop representation is most accurate (as you see from the diagram above) and here is how to match Illustrator and InDesign to Photoshop.

Illustrator – the default Spot Color display is “Use CMYK values from manufacturer’s process books.” (here is the problem. To fix it, In the Swatches panel flyout menu, select “Spot Colors” and change this to “Use LAB values specified by manufacturer.” The color appearance on screen will be noticeably different, but will give you a much better match.

InDesign – the fix is similar, but in a different place: From the Swatches panel flyout, select “Ink Manager” and turn on the “Use Standard Lab Values for Spots” checkbox.

Boom. Roasted. I hate you Adobe.