Most web designers favor using Photoshop when creating their designs for web projects. They call this application a never-ending feature set. But despite all the claims, it is still not a perfect environment to design all your web sites in. In fact, there is nothing called an ideal application or platform for all your web design work and until we do find one that can it is worth finding out methods and ways of optimizing the workflow. So in the meantime, when you don’t have any ideal design platforms, relying on the option of Photoshop can be called as a good option for optimizing your design workflow.
Reasons for Using Photoshop
Relying on the option of Photoshop and Illustrator may sound surprising to many, but these applications are still called the best for web designing purposes. Designers often feel comfortable while working on these applications and embark with creative designs with the help of these programs. Yet, there are people who prefer Fireworks for their web design projects, but this application still lacks a couple of things which you can easily find out in Photoshop or Illustrator. Hence trying these two applications is certainly a good deal for optimizing your design workflow.
Setting up a Grid
When you work a lot with shape layers, trying things like Grid with a blend of snap is pretty helpful. In this way, your vector based work can be pixel sharp and you do not end up getting blurry borders. For this, you need to set up your grid by checking it over the preferences and things like Guides, Slices and Grids. For effective setting you can use Gridline for every 10 pixels and use subdivision as 10. You can move on and off with shortcut keys like Cmd or Ctrl +.
The other vital tip to get shape layer boxes and other shapes in perfect alignment to the pixel grid is to enable the snap to pixels. This can be carried out over the application bar in the Geometry options dropdown menu wherein you have to select shape tools from the toolbox.
Use Shape Layers
Using shape layers are good for flexible design when you see these things scalable.
These are perfect option for designing for iPhone platforms for buttons, icons, illustrative graphics, backgrounds etc. You can use either the Smart Objects from the illustrator or simply from Shape Layers.
Using Smart Objects
These great features are found in Photoshop which can help you in working with any image’s source content along with its original features like performing nondestructive editing on layers. This is a perfect choice of creating flexible designs. Further, these can be used whenever you see repeating elements. You can also turn images into Smart Objects before resizing them; this gives you better flexibility factor. By having things, you can resize the image at any stage with greater flexibility.
You can always think of using Smart Object over the main sections of any webpage where you need a couple of things on a repetitive basis for different pages of a website. Hence this can prove you handy while you work with things like header, footer and sidebar along with bigger projects which keeps on evolving at various junctures and where you need to add pages working in Photoshop.
Using Layer Comps
At times relying on Layer Comps too can prove handy, especially when the design has a number of states. For instance, it can be a perfect choice while working with any hidden and shows state of specific content.
These are handy options especially when you have to save different JPEG versions of each to share the design to your client rather than showing him the eye icons in the layers palette to on or off the visibility of layer.
Creating a Set of Custom styles
You can depend on this option for saving your styles which you apply in Styles palette and then save it in different styles file in your project folder for website design. During this process, when you have to add styles, better re-save it as it saves time. Every time when you work on your project, you simply have to load the style palette of that specific project.
Using Scratch File
By relying on this option, you can certainly think of saving time especially while working with big size projects. This means that you have a file already having all elements in it which you can reuse several times in your general design work. For instance, things like buttons and icons you often require for every web page design or any screen design work. This can prove handy for your web design work for all the platforms including iPad or iPhone environment.
Using the Slice Tool
If you depend on this tool for your design work, you give every slice with proper filename; for this you simply do not have to worry about the updates carried out over the slice or for any image.
Photoshop would understand the way the image of that particular slice is being named that has been saved for the web export settings. You can also think of exporting a number of slices at the same time or can export the ones which you require for using save selected slices.
With these tips and ideas of optimizing your design workflow, you can certainly think of having an edge over your designing skills using the platform of Photoshop. So right from the scratch to the end result, you can certainly think of relying on these tips for effective web designing.