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Photoshop tips and Photoshop tutorials by Jennifer AppleThe Photoshop Blog offers the latest Photoshop news and software updates, Photoshop tips and tutorials, and random thoughts from graphic artist and Photoshop expert Jennifer Apple.


Good-Tutorials Is Photoshop Goodness Personified

Whenever I go to Good-Tutorials I always get a kick out of seeing the big number on the top of the page, which is the exact amount of Photoshop tutorials the site currently has available for your viewing pleasure. This morning that number was at 9,121. Ok, so how is anyone ever going to get through all of that?

Happily site owner and coder extraordinaire Zach Holman has implemented some amazingly powerful search tools over the last few months which has made it super easy to find exactly what you're looking for — including tutorials by yours truly (blush).

Good-Tutorials Is Photoshop Goodness Personified - Zach HolmanSo if you need a tutorial on web layout, or how to make snow, or how to replace one face with another, just type it into the magic box and the site will reward you with a list of the most relevant tutorials available. Display options include showing 10, 25, or 50 results per page, as well as displaying the newest, oldest, most popular, or least popular tutorials first.

Now here's a guilty pleasure of mine — I like to look up the most popular tutorials of the month, and of all time, secretly hoping that I'll be in that list one day. But it isn't going to be easy. To join the ranks of the tutorial gods you need numbers like 150,000 views. Right now the all-time most viewed tutorial is Extreme Layout Part 1, submitted by on July 09, 2003, with a total of 187,858 clicks to date.

If you're new to this game consider yourself lucky that this center exists, because when you connect with Zach's crowd you'll see some serious traffic coming to read your Photoshop lessons, which is a very gratifying moment for a blossoming tutorial writer.

We sent Zach some questions the other day and this is what he had to say...

Good-Tutorials Is Photoshop Goodness Personified - Zach HolmanCan you give us a short history of Good-Tutorials...
I started a form of Good-Tutorials in August of 2002 — it didn't actually reside on the Good-Tutorials domain until early 2003. By then I had started to make daily updates to the site, which led to a growth in traffic. Things pretty much took off from there. The summer of 2005 brought the biggest change yet — I recoded the whole site and gave it a redesign.

When you launched, was it because there were no good Photoshop tutorial sites? What was your original vision?
Well, I can definitely say that I didn't have an original vision. I started it when I was seventeen. The real reason behind its creation was that I was learning a bit about PHP and MySQL during the summer and I felt I just needed some sort of concrete project to focus on and help me learn more. I believe at the time there was one or two other tutorial indexing sites, but there wasn't really something that was easy to use and not too clunky, so I thought that was one area which might be fun to dabble in. Believe me, if someone had said to me back then that the site would get as big as it has I would have been the first to laugh it off. :)

What's the average number of visitors and the average amount of tutorials viewed each day at the site?
On average Good-Tutorials gets something like 40,000 people a day to it. Tutorial-wise there are about 150,000 clicks on tutorials per day.

One has to wonder how you deal with the volume of material that comes your way. How many tutorials do you review every day and how long does it take you?
I think I get about 30-50 tutorials submitted a day, though it's not usual for that number to be as low as 15 and as high as 75. For about three years now I've reviewed and added tutorials to the site by myself. I've been updating the site day in and day out, missing only I think one or two weeks in 2003 and a few days or so in 2005. Just took a peek — I'm up to my 24,137th submitted tutorial right now. Obviously I haven't added every single tutorial that's been submitted, but it still means that I've looked at (and reviewed) nearly 25,000 tutorials over the years. Kind of nuts when you think about it. But doing this thing every single day for years does have its perks — as I noted on my blog a few weeks ago, I've gotten very proficient at it. Updating the site for each day might take me 5-15 minutes each night (except on Monday nights, when I have to get 24 ready for Tutorial Tuesdays).

Good-Tutorials Is Photoshop Goodness Personified - Zach HolmanWhat's your all time "I never want to see another one of those again" tutorials?
Ha, I'm not really sure I have one. I mean, some topics are just done ad nauseam but there's still a chance that a tutorial in that topic might be written extremely well, so I'll still take a look at it. By far the most tutorials I get fall into the "signature" category; it's not that I have a problem with signatures per se, but I do get a little sick when all of them revolve around the same sort of effects and techniques.

Which tutorials do you enjoy the most?
I really like the ones that teach more than anything else. Sometimes you are just looking for a tutorial to "get the job done", so to speak — say you want to know how to make a metallic button *right now*, then go ahead for those tutorials. But I think you get the most benefit out of those that teach the process, not just the result. The theory, the technique, and so on. That type of knowledge might be harder to learn initially, but it'll pay off down the road.

How do you rate the other tutorial sites, and is there one you particularly like?
In regards to those that pen tutorials for Good-Tutorials, yes, there are a handful (10-20 or so) that I really do enjoy. Many times I try and throw them in the first 1-5 tutorials listed on the front page that day — I try and reward those that put a lot of thought, consideration, and personality into their writing.

Do you have any plans on launching any other websites?
I have had a few ideas in the past, but haven't really thrown myself into anything major. I think I'm mostly just waiting for the right idea — something tells me it's out there, but I just haven't stumbled on it yet. :) Besides, the wall behind my computer and my desk is stacked with ideas I have yet to implement for Good-Tutorials — I consider that to be the biggest priority right now.

Ok, here's the $64,000 question - what advice would you give an aspiring tutorial writer that would help them get posted to your site?
If anyone's interested in donating that $64,000 to Good-Tutorials, I think I could ensure that your tutorials get on the site. ;) In all honesty, though, there are a number of things to do to help get your tutorials listed. As I briefly mentioned in the question before last — there are a number of authors on my site that write some great tutorials, and I think a good starting point is to take note of whose tutorials I list in the first few spots that day, see what they're like, how they're written, what subject matter they're on, that type of thing. Obviously don't copy them, but it's a good place to start. Also, make sure you check out the tutorial guidelines before you submit. Additionally, I made a post a few weeks ago on my blog where I elaborated on all of this at length. It might help you see into my mind regarding what type of things I look for, and so on. Most of all, be original, be yourself, and feel free to have fun with your tutorial — in the end, all I care about is whether it will help my visitors learn Photoshop, and you don't have to write in a dry, humorless style all the time to do that. :)

Thanks Zach, and continued success for you and Good-Tutorials.

NOTE: Good-Tutorials offers 2 RSS feeds. One feed displays the newest tutorials added to the site, and the other displays the newest postings to the Good-Tutorials blog. Visit their RSS Feed Page for more details.

Visit Good-Tutorials.

posted by Jennifer Apple | permalink | send comments
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Photoshop Tip: Use The Extract Command To Create Border Effects

Adobe Photoshop Blog - Photoshop TipTo create an unusual border effect, open the Extract command (Filter> Extract) and use the Edge Highlighter tool (B) to paint some edges. To get straight lines, click once, hold down the Shift key and then click a second time. Try using different brush sizes for the highlight and/or overlap several lines. Fill the newly enclosed space with the Fill tool (G), then click OK. (Keep in mind that the Extract command creates a transparent layer, so you may want to work on a duplicate of your Background layer.)

reprinted by permission and sponsored by the NAPP
posted by Jennifer Apple | permalink | send comments
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