Monday, September 8, 2008

Photoshop a quick swimming pool effect

As you can read in my profile I work closely with Rudi who also has a blog on design tips, but in Dutch. Not only is he an ACE (Adobe Certified Expert) and a brilliant teacher, his blog is really good too, but … in Dutch.
We decided that I will translate certain articles which are not specific to the Dutch market, so as not to deprive the non Dutch readers, (which are a lot of you), of his tips and tricks.
For those interested he also teaches in English. See … in Dutch, but there is an email address and phone number for info in English.

This is one of Rudi's
A quick swimming pool effect

During the summer vacation, while lying by the pool I remembered a quick and easy Photoshop effect of water. This is not mine but Peter Kentie's who wrote monthly tips in MacWorld. So the honours go to him. If I am not mistaken, he is now manager marketing and media for PSV in Eindhoven and has a blog about WiFi.

Here's how you do it.

Open a New Photoshop document, max. 150 ppi (It doesn't seem to work at a higher ppi, so won't do for offset printing).

Choose the Gradient Tool.

Click on the gradient preview to open up the Gradient Editor window.

Make your pool water, a gradient of lighter blue to a darker one.

Fill your document with this gradient.

Add a new layer and draw various white crosses with a soft paintbrush.

Go to the Filter menu to Distort, Ripple. Set the Size to large and the Amount high (900%). Click OK.

The squiggly lines will now have to be rotated to get the effect you want. (Command/Control T).

The effect is very simple and easy to apply your own variations.

Monday, September 1, 2008


In InDesign CS3 we now have the Agate, new to many especially Europeans.
For us designers who have been around a while, remember the Schaedler precision rule with inches, millimetres, picas and that odd one Agate lines? The others we could place but Agates? There were numerous discussions about the use of the Agate line measurement. We knew it was used for newspapers, at least in the USA (and still is today), but for those new to the Agate here's the story.
1 Agate is 1.814mm, 5.5pt and there are 14 Agates in an inch. According to wikipedia an Agate is the smallest point size that remains readable on newsprint. It is used for statistics and legal documents (also known as the "fineprint" when it comes to contracts.)

In I came across the following:

"Definition: Still used as a unit of measure in advertising space in some newsletters, an agate line is one column wide by one agate in depth. An agate is 5 1/2 points or 1/14 of an inch. 14 agate lines equal one linear column inch. Because the column width can vary, the overall size of an agate line is not absolute."

In 2001 The Wall Street Journal hired Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones to design a typeface for their financial tables the result was Retina.

"DISTORTED WHEN MAGNIFIED, The Wall Street Journal’s Retina typeface was designed to keep ink from blurring the tiny agate type of stock tables."

Click on the following link for the full story.
The Atlantic

I just remember that when the subject of the Agate came up in the Studio, that Mark and Bill's contribution was that the average length of a man's member is 84 Agates.
Looking for that old ruler?

By the way Hoefler and Frere-Jones have a very good site about typography.