Free For All: No Payment Necessary
Import/Export Photoshop Workspaces
One of the pains of upgrading critical tools like Photoshop is that you have to rebuild your workspace—your panel arrangement—from scratch. For example, when you upgrade from Photoshop CS4, Photoshop CS5 doesn't import your CS4 workspaces. You have to open all the panels you want open; choose which show their options and which hide them; arrange the panels by docking, tabbing, and/or stacking; and then save your new workspace. If you have multiple, task-specific workspaces, you’ll likely spend half a day recreating workspaces just so you’re ready to begin using the new version of Photoshop.
Flame and Smoke Painting
What is it about fire and smoke that fascinates us? Photoshop and Illustrator brushes that mimic flames and smoke are always popular downloads here on Free for All. Now I’ve found an online application that lets you paint in fire or smoke, with a plethora of color, opacity, density, and style controls. Give Flame a try for serious artwork or just absent-minded doodling while on a free conference call (see below). If you create something you’d like to use offline, click the Save button in the bottom right of Flame’s interface to have your digital conflagration rendered to high-resolution 1680 x 1050 pixel JPEG file.
Free Font Website
If you’ve read even a few previous editions of "Free for All," you know that I love finding free fonts. This time, I’ll point you to a website that boasts just shy of 10,000 free fonts: FontCubes.com. The fonts on the site vary in quality, but there are some worthwhile typefaces that are perfect for the occasional off-beat project.
Mini, RSS-Button-Style Web Badge/Label Creator
Back around 2003 it was all the rage to sprinkle dozens of 80x15 pixel button graphics on websites and blogs. These "button," "label," "sticker," or "tag" graphics started out as buttons for RSS feeds and proclamations that a given site’s code had passed HTML, CSS, and accessibility validators. The idea caught on and evolved into miniature advertisements bearing URLs (e.g. "www.CreativePro.com"), by proclaiming affinity for one thing or another (e.g. "I Love Flash"), and as miniature social status indicators ("40YOVIRGIN"). The fad of these buttons has long since died away, but now it might be time for a tasteful, more reserved renaissance. In anticipation of such I present to you the highly customizable, 80x15 pixel button generator, the RSS Button Maker:
Free Conference Calling
Not everyone rides the crest of technological innovation. Just last week I had to fax a contract to someone. Fax! As in a feed the paper in, dial a phone, send paper as bits, facsimile machine. I had to drive for 10 minutes and pay to use the one at FedEx Kinkos. I haven’t owned a fax machine myself since I went Office Space on mine in 2002. Telephony is another area in which some of us race ahead of others.
I haven’t owned a landline telephone in nearly 10 years. My cell is my only phone—business and personal. Many other creative professionals, particularly freelancers and small studios, have also forsaken hardwire telephones in favor of the one-number mobility of a cellular telephone. There are many advantages to that arrangement, but there’s also one drawback: cell phones don’t plug into Polycomm or other conference speaker phones. When you need to hold a conference call with more than the two lines available on the average cell phone (and using an online meeting service like Acrobat.com’s Connect or GoToMeeting.com is out), what do you do? Check out FreeConferenceCall.com.
It is what it says: a free conference call service. The service lets you and up to 95 other people talk for up to 6 hours free of charge—except for long distance; FreeConferenceCall.com does not offer toll-free numbers, so all participants bear any long-distance calling costs. Still, in today’s world where unlimited long distance is an option for any mobile or landline phone, that’s no longer such a big issue. You can even record your conference call, and the recording remains available online until you replace it with another recording. If you need more recordings, toll-free phone numbers, or other additional features, FreeConferenceCall.com offers those for a fee.
Tooting My Own Horn: Free Weekly Webinars for Creative Professionals
If you have an hour to spare on Tuesdays and Fridays, check out these free weekly webinars. The first, which inspired the second, is with Mr. Illustrator himself, Mordy Golding. It’s titled "Fridays with Mordy" and usually focuses on Adobe Illustrator, although Mordy has also tackled Photoshop and Flash Catalyst. The second, hosted by me, is "Tuesdays with Pariah, a Designers’ Discourse." Each Tuesday I present one or more topics of interest to creative professionals: sometimes it's software tutorials, sometimes it’s about the business of design, typography, or learning to migrate print design skills to the Web or mobile devices. Both sessions happen 11am-12pm PT (2pm-3pm ET). Mordy’s is every Friday, mine is every Tuesday. Come hang out!
What can I find free for you? Want more free fonts? More Photoshop brushes? How about more online applications that do this or that for free? Tell me in the comments what you’d like to see in future installments of Free for All, and I’ll do my best bloodhound impression to track it down for you.
Please note: Free for All will often link to resources hosted on external Web sites outside of the control of CreativePro.com. At any time those Web sites may close down, change their site or permalink structures, remove content, or take other actions that may render one or more of the above links invalid. As such neither Pariah S. Burke nor CreativePro.com can guarantee the availability of the third-party resources linked to in Free for All.