Designing for smartphones 5 must-have Photoshop plugins

photoshop plugginsThese days the mobile web has become increasingly important as more and more people are accessing the internet through smartphones (and tablets).  Here are 5 Photoshop plugins which will help to ensure that your mobile web design is as impressive as it can possibly be.

1. Focalblade

Smartphones and tablets have much smaller screens than regular computers (even netbooks), so to be effective, images need to be super-sharp.  Focalblade both reduces noise and sharpens pictures.  It can add effects such as blur and it adds them well enough that they look realistic rather than just looking like badly-taken pictures.

2. Blow Up

Blow up 2 produces pixel-perfect enlargements.  In fact, they are vastly superior to anything Photoshop can produce by itself.  Ironically one of its most popular uses is cleaning up low-quality images, which have been shot at low resolutions because they were “only for the web”.  Enlarging photographs well is a crucial issue for any sort of design work and it is particularly important when designing for smartphones, again, due to their smaller screen size.

3. Perfect Resize

As its name suggests, this is another plugin for resizing images.  It is a direct competitor to Blow Up 2 for the title of best plugin for image enlargement.  As well as being a useful tool when designing for smartphones, Perfect Resize has plenty of useful features for those who need to design for paper as well.  For example it can resize images to fit numerous paper formats.  It is also excellent at enlarging images taken by smartphone cameras.

4. Texture Anarchy

Humans have five senses and while sight and hearing are well catered-for on the web and smell and taste are, as yet, outside the capabilities of internet technology, touch is often overlooked.  Obviously, its not actually possible (yet) to allow touchable items to be pulled from the net, but the sense of touch can be evoked through the creative use of texture.  This can be achieved through careful choice of images; however it can also be achieved through adding textures to backgrounds and images.  This has to be performed with some degree of skill and discretion, otherwise it can look tacky.  Texture Anarchy is the perfect plugin for invoking the sense of touch in a tasteful way.  It can create a huge variety of textures, ranging from the photorealistic to the stylized.

5. DiskFonts

Sometimes its the simplest tools which can make the biggest difference.  While high-quality images are an excellent way of capturing a viewers attention, they can also be an active irritation to smartphone users.  One of the realities of designing for smartphones is that they tend to be used in two distinct ways on the go and at rest.  In other words, smartphone users may use their phones to find information quickly, when they have a little spare time but cant get to a regular computer, or they may use them when they are effectively at leisure, for example having a coffee in a café.  Depending on their circumstances, their battery and whether or not they have access to Wifi, they may or may not want to look at the top-quality images which have been professionally-taken and improved with Photoshop.  They will, however, invariably need to look at written content.  DiskFonts will let users manage fonts from within Photoshop.  In other words, users can look for and install the fonts they need without having to leave Photoshop.  Its a simple tool at an affordable price, however it can be a great time-saver, when it comes to making sure that crucial written content is presented in an effective way.

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is a marketing executive at Acuity Training. Acuity offer instructor led, hands-on Photoshop training, InDesign courses and much more from their state-of-the-art facilities in Surrey.

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