Wallpaper Wednesday: Midnight Taxi by Simon Abrams

On the way home late one night after working on presentation materials for a pitch. (I don't remember who we were pitching, or if we won.)

The city becomes serene and peaceful, and there's something about observing it through the scratched, streaked glass of a taxi windows that is romantic, mysterious, ethereal. Or maybe I've just watched too many movies.

Desktop iPhone iPad

Wallpaper Wednesday: Orbs by Simon Abrams


Today's wallpaper is an abstract image I shot several years ago, taking advantage of my 50 f/1.4mm lens' pretty bokeh and shallow depth of field.

Sorry it's a little late - I think Squarespace was having some back-end issues.

Dowload desktop, iPad and iPhone versions via the links below, and as always, don't be a jerk. If you redistribute, I'd appreciate a link back here.

Desktop iPhone iPad

Gateway to Brooklyn by Simon Abrams

The arch at Grand Army Plaza

The arch at Grand Army Plaza

I'm currently using this as my desktop wallpaper, and I thought I'd share. It's a close crop of the inside of the arch at Grand Army Plaza, shot at dusk one evening earlier this year.

Download from the links below. Usage rights are as follows: don't be a jerk. Share, remix, attribute with a link back here. No commercial use please.

Photoshop Quick Tips: Isolation Mode by Simon Abrams

Right-click on the canvas to view selected layers in Isolation Mode

One of the new features in Photoshop CC that might have slipped by you is a little gem that can help make your life easier when working on complex .psd files with tons of layers. Isolation Mode unclutters your Layers panel by only displaying the layers you're currently working on, and temporarily hiding everything else.

To enter Isolation Mode, with the Move tool active (press the V key on the keyboard), select the layer or layers you want to focus on, either by shift- or cmd-clicking on them in the Layers Panel, or by command-dragging (ctrl-drag, if you're on Windows) a selection around them on the canvas. With your cursor over the canvas, right-click and choose Isolation Mode from the resulting contextual menu.

Alternately, with your layers selected, you can click on the Filter menu at the very top of the Layers panel and choose Selected as the filter type.

Another way to enter Isolation Mode is to use the Layers Panel's Filter pull-down menu to only show selected layers

Right-click in the Layers panel to release a layer from Isolation Mode.

To remove a layer from the isolated set, right-click it in the Layers panel and choose Release from Isolation (if you don't see that option in your contextual menu, make sure your Move tool is active).

To add another layer to the isolated set, hover over it on the canvas, right-click, and select the layer.

Finally, to exit Isolation Mode entirely, you can always clear the Layers Panel's filters by clicking on the Filtering On/Off switch (it's the little guy at the top-right of the panel that turns red when filtering is on).

This is one of those great features that you probably didn't realize you needed, but now that it's here, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it. 

Photoshop CC Favorite Features: Editable Rounded Rectangles by Simon Abrams

Editable Rounded Rectangles in Photoshop CC

This is the first in a series of posts I'm going to be doing about my favorite new features in Photoshop CC. For the uninitiated, CC, or Creative Cloud, is the new designation that Adobe is giving their suite of applications as they move away from the "boxed" retail model of the Creative Suite to delivering their software via digital download.

Today, I'm focusing on a new feature that I, and many, many others, have been begging for for ages: editable rounded rectangles.

It might sound like a small thing, but it really is a big time-saver. In previous versions of Photoshop, you'd create a rounded rectangle Shape layer and whatever settings you used when you created the shape were immediately baked in the second you released the mouse. If you had to replicate that shape elsewhere (either in CSS or maybe as a vector shape in Flash), there was no easy way to figure out what the radius of that shape was without a whole bunch of trial and error, especially if you weren't the original designer that worked on the file. Now in Photoshop CC, you can simply click on the rounded rectangle vector shape and you'll notice that the Properties panel is now populated with all the editable properties of that shape (or Live Shape, as it's labeled in the panel).

The Live Shape Properties Panel in Photoshop CC

Not only do the radii of the rounded rectangle remain editable (or live) after the fact, you can independently edit the radius of each corner, allowing you to create irregular shapes like the ones shown in the screenshot above, without having to edit the shape's vector paths using the pen tool, or by combining shapes with boolean operations, as you would have had to do in previous editions of Photoshop.

I'm thrilled with this new feature - it definitely goes a long way towards solving at least one of the issues that interface and icon designers have had with creating and resizing HiDPI (aka Retina) graphics, and is a big part of Adobe's continuing enhancement of Photoshop's vector graphics capabilities.

Stay tuned for more posts highlighting additional new features in Photoshop CC.

Layer Tags by Simon Abrams

Design superstar Marc Edwards of Bjango (makers of fine apps including iStat Menus) has a great post over on the Bjango blog about taking advantage of a fantastic new feature of Photoshop CS6: layer search. His tip includes tagging layers with information that makes it easy to filter and update multiple layers at a time. It's one of those things that seems obvious when you see it in action - in fact I feel kind of silly for not having thought of it myself. Anyway, I definitely intend to incorporate Marc's tip into my workflow, and you should too.

PS Quick Tips: Spring-Loaded Tools, Bird's Eye View and More by Simon Abrams

Photoshop Tips: Spring-loaded Tools, Bird’s Eye View and Interactive Brush Sizing from Simon Abrams on Vimeo.

It’s been forever, but I finally decided to demo and upload some more Photoshop tips. In this video, I cover Spring-Loaded tools, Bird’s Eye View, and a couple of other quick tips that were introduced back in Photoshop CS4, but that may have slipped under the radar.

Iron Man 2 Text Effect in Photoshop CS5 by Simon Abrams

Corey Barker has an awesome tutorial over on that demonstrates how to recreate the Iron Man 2 logo the new Repoussé feature in Photoshop CS5. The tutorial does a great job of showcasing Photoshop’s growing 3D toolset, and reinforces that there are more and more things you can do without needing to rely on a dedicated high-end 3D software package like Maya.