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Photoshop Web Template Web Site Design Tutorial
We'll create a banner and place it in a table that will contain 5 rows and 1 column. The banner will be placed in the top row. The next row will contain the text for your site and any photos you may wish to include. Row 3 will hold a separator, row 4 will be for your text links and a copyright notice, and row 5 will hold a second separator.
Let's Get Going
I'm going to name this site Designer Girlz Network. The next step is to find a graphic for the banner. You might find a good image at one of the free stock photo sites (I've listed some below), but I was looking for something a little more professional, so I tried the iStockPhoto galleries and found an illustration by Vinaya Prashanth that cost only $3. Sweet. That's a reduced version of it on the right.
Choose A Website Color Scheme
The colors of the banner and the website will be taken from the various pinks used in the image. There are 3 pinks I want to use a dark pink, a middle pink, and a lighter pink that I made myself from a shade of the darker pink.
I find that by using the opacity slider on a sampled color you can create a nice variation. Open a new document and copy and paste the main graphic you've chosen into it. Now from the toolbox select the eyedropper tool and sample a color by clicking on it in your graphic. This will change the foreground color square in your toolbox.
Now open another new document and in the Background Contents select White. Click OK. With this document open, create a new layer by going Layer> New> Layer. Then go Edit> Fill and select Contents, Use: Foreground Color. This will fill your document with the color you just sampled. The trick here is to lower the opacity using the slider and to keep playing around with it until you find a nice shade. When you settle on one, flatten the image by going Layer> Flatten Image. Use the eyedropper tool again, this time to change the foreground color square in your toolbox so it is the same as your newly created color. Now click on the color square and the color picker will come up, and you can write down the numbers of your new color.
Choose A Font
I went through my fonts and settled on Onyx regular. When you find a font that works for you, try playing with the tracking, the leading, and the scale or a combination. It makes it more personal and unique when you include some tweaks.
To select a font in Photoshop go Window> Character. In the palette you'll see a list of your installed fonts. To tweak the settings you'll need to bring up the Paragraph palette. You can do this by going Window> Paragraph.
Looking for new fonts? At the end of this tutorial you'll find a list to some free font resources.
Designing A Website Banner
Create a new document that is 600 x 300 pixels. You can change this size to suit your own design when you pick your own stock photo and plan the layout accordingly.
Now I'll create a new layer, Layer> New Layer and I'll call it Designer Girl. I'll place the illustration on this layer and shrink it to fit. You shrink your graphic by choosing Edit> Transform> Scale. The bounding box will have handles. Use the Shift Key to constrain proportions, and shrink your image by selecting the top left handle and pulling towards the bottom right. To move the graphic, drag inside the bounding box. Click enter when you're happy with the results.
Next we want a tinted background. I'm going to go with the light pink.
Adding A Background Color
I select the background layer, Layer 1, and I fill it with the light pink by going Select> All, then Edit> Fill, and in the dialog box in Contents, I select Use: Color and in the Color Picker I enter FBE0EC.
The result is a 600 x 300 banner with a gentle background color and with the art placed on the left. We're getting there.
Apply A Thick Stroke To Create A Border
I decided to apply a thick stroke to the background layer to make the design more interesting. First make sure the background layer, Layer 1, is active, and create a copy by going Layer> New> Layer Via Copy. Next double-click next to the layer name. This will bring up the Blending Options in the Layers Style dialog box.
Select and then click on the word Stroke in the Styles options on the left side. I changed the settings to Size: 7px, Position: Inside, Blend Mode: Normal, Opacity: 100%, Fill Type: Color, and I clicked the color swatch and entered D04E8C in the color picker. Click OK.
The border is just to balance out the design, so by all means make changes and get creative with your own ideas.
Website Name & Section Titles
We're going to put the names of the major sections right on the banner. These will be the links. Since it will be just one single graphic we will be using image maps.
Create a new layer for your words. Use the type tool to create the section names and then use the move tool to position them exactly to where you want on the banner. Remember to pick a color for your text that is darker than your background color to avoid finding yourself screaming obscenities and suffering major hair loss! Do this by going Window> Character. In the Character palette you'll find a color square. Click on it to change colors.
You'll need an HTML editor like GoLive or Dreamweaver to automate this process. It's really very simple. You make little "maps" over each word and then enter the link destination. If you don't have an HTML editor you'll need to do a Google search on image maps to find a tutorial, or buy a book like Elizabeth Castro's HTML Quickstart Guide to help you out.
You don't have an HTML editor, you don't want to search for a tutorial, and you don't want to buy Elizabeth Castro's book? That's ok. We'll go to Plan B - using regular text links right inside the web page itself. That means we have some empty space on the banner now, right below the website name. Use this space to add a descriptive phrase about what the user will find on your site.
Create a new document. The width should be 600 pixels, and the height should be about 12 pixels. Fill this with your background color. Then, using the text tool and a dark color, type some periods, like this:........... and place them in the file, centering them. Change the size and the spacing until it looks perfect. Now save this as a GIF file.
Build A Simple Table
In your HTML editor of choice build a simple table that contains 5 rows and 1 column. If you're going to use text link navigation below the banner instead of image maps on the banner, create an extra row so you end up with 6 rows in your table. Now place your elements into the individual rows of the table and you're done.
The Final Result
It's time to have a look! Here is the final website page design.
Plan B Let Someone Else Do It - Site Grinder Web Design Tool
There often seems to be a strict division of labor within the world of web design and development. Creative professionals tend to stick to the Photoshop domain, while those well-versed in scripting are left to the task of implementing their work. Indeed, the two realms are quite different from each other, to which any of us even vaguely familiar with either can easily attest.
Essentially, Photoshop is a no-holds-barred design studio, offering the artist a seemingly endless array of creative options. On the other hand, HTML, CSS, Java and the like follow strict rules of engagement, requiring the developer to take any number of esoteric concerns into consideration in order to ensure that designs are properly displayed on the web.
SiteGrinder seeks to bridge this gap between design and development. Basically, SiteGrinder turns Photoshop into an easy-to-use and fully functional web design tool. With SiteGrinder, designers will now have the freedom to totally let their creativity loose and then, without skipping a beat, transfer their designs to the web. Bringing esthetic concerns together with more practical considerations, SiteGrinder is an amazingly powerful tool that would make a fantastic addition to any web designer's bag of tricks. Mac OS X and Windows versions of the SiteGrinder unlockable demo are available now via download.
Designers can now create PSD to WordPress Themes in Photoshop with Media Lab's NEW SG3xpress for Wordpress Photoshop plug-in. In addition, Media Lab has released the SG3xpress Add-on for its SiteGrinder 3 for users who wish to add advanced blog and WordPress Theme-building to the already powerful SiteGrinder 3 website creation software.
If you know Photoshop then you already know enough to start creating WordPress themes and blogs for yourself and your clients. Creating a blog or a WordPress site in Photoshop is easy with SG3xpress. Now you can go directly to WordPress with your design saving even more time and money for yourself and your clients.
If you are on deadline and can't cope with learning any more Photoshop techniques or HTML, here's another solution. You can buy a ready-made template from Template Monster that you can use as a base to create web pages in Photoshop.
On the front page of Template Monster you'll find a pulldown menu where you can select options and then carry out a search for a template. The templates are reasonably priced and pretty easy to manage in GoLive or Dreamweaver. In the past I've purchased a template solely for the color scheme and the images. On certain projects I found this was less expensive than buying stock photos. Visit Template Monster to see the wide variety of website templates that they offer.
Below are some free website design resources that can help you out. Whatever you do have fun with it. And good luck with your web pages!
Free Website Design Resources
DaFont.com You'll find a huge collection of great free fonts here.
04 This site also has a nice collection of free fonts.
Wanted Fonts Lots of free fonts. On left side navigation you'll see categories.
HighFonts.com Another nice assortment of fonts you can download for free.
For a full list of websites that offer free fonts visit our Free Fonts page.
Stock.XCHNG A great source of quality photos that are free of charge.
Pixel Perfect Offers a growing collection of free stock photos and illustrations.
StockVault.net This stock photo resource offers free images.
For a full list of websites that offer free photos visit our Free Stock Photos page.
CitrusMoon offers a wide assortment of pretty tiles and backgrounds.
SquidFingers has a big selection of beautiful patterns.
For more free patterns and textures visit our Free Backgrounds page.
FREE COLOR SCHEMES
WellStyled.com offers a very easy to use color scheme generator.
ColorMatch 5k is a utility that will help you select a matching 6-color palette for your blog. Define a single color that you like. Matching colors will be calculated.
ColorBlender is a free online tool for color matching and palette design.
How To Create A Favicon In Photoshop
A Favicon is a little custom icon that appears next to a website's URL in the address bar of a web browser. And when I say little, I mean 16 pixels by 16 pixels. So if you like a good design challenge try your hand at this one.
Pixel Fonts To The Rescue How To Use Them & Where To Get Them
Graphic designers working on web projects often complain that when typefaces designed for print are set to lower sizes that they become harder to read and unattractive to the eye. Even using anti-aliasing (the smooth option in the Character Palette) is not enough to help these fonts look better on screen. The solution when this happens is to abandon the printer fonts altogether and to try using a Pixel font, which will produce a crisp, clean image at very small sizes.
Blog Templates & Blog Design Tips
This Photoshop tutorial offers tips on how to improve blog templates by adding your own design elements. Includes a list of free blog resources, and a martini recipe.
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