*** From the Archives ***

This article is from October 15, 2012, and is no longer current.

Free For All: Vector Art, Photoshop Styles, and More


Free Vector Art

Get this while you can! Creative Market, a new design element marketplace from the owners of ColourLovers.com, is offering its current inventory of 33 premium products free. You will have to sign up for a free account, but that’s easy—it won’t even ask for a credit card, just username, e-mail, and password. Armed with a free account the prices of all Creative Market inventory get slashed and the Download buttons activate. All items are royalty-free for commercial and personal use and run the gamut from background textures to vector clip art, complete user interface kits to PSD Web templates, icons to Photoshop brushes, and lots more.

Photoshop Layer Styles for Text

Have some fun with these Photoshop layer styles ready to jazz up your text.



Slife is a time-tracker that functions by recording the amount of time you spend working in applications. If you don’t see the value in that, there are three distinct uses creative professionals might have for a system that reports exactly how much time they work in each computer program.

The first application would be client billing for freelancers. If you spend your entire day working on a project for a particular client, and Slife informs you that, out of that eight (hah!) hours you spent 2 hours 19 minutes on non-billable tasks like e-mail, Facebook, etc., then you know exactly how much time is billable. With Slife’s paid accounts it can even track time per document, allowing you to build billable hours easily even when jumping around between projects.

Client billing for teams is the second usage that springs immediately to mind. With the Slife client tracking activity on all your designers’ systems, compiling a report of who did what and for how long makes time-based billing a breeze.

In a similar vein, the ability to record exactly how much time an individual spends in each program is crucial information for managers beyond client billing concerns.

Slife offers two paid accounts: Plus is $5 per month and will track your usage of applications, documents, and Websites, as well as allow you to divide your activities in up to five categories—for example, to separate activities for five different clients. The Premium account, which will run you $10 per month, allows unlimited categorization and segmentation of activities.

Slife offers a third, free option, the Basic plan, but it’s very easily overlooked. Down on the bottom of the Join page (here is the link to the Basic plan. Click it for instant, painless setup of your account. The free Basic plan affords only a single categorization of activity.

All three accounts offer the ability to send your time data to FreshBooks to further streamline billing.

Export Illustrator Layers and Artboards as Separate Files

In Photoshop, one of the features I use most is one few people know about—the ability to automatically export all or all visible layers to individual PNG, TIFF, or even PSD documents. As you might expect, this feature is invaluable to me in creating Web graphics and even more so in my article and book writing where I take copious screenshots, paste them into a single PSD. That feature, which has been part of Photoshop (standard and Extended) from as far back as I can remember, is available on the File menu under Scripts > Export Layers to Files.

Now, thanks to brilliant scripter Matthew Ericson, we can now do the same in Illustrator.

Like many designers, I use Adobe Illustrator more often than Photoshop for Web graphics creation. Having to slice the design or manually turn layers on and off for image export is a hassle—particularly in multi-image illustration or Web ad layouts where I’ll have reworked the artwork into several different sizes and shapes that all need to be exported to JPEG or PNG. Matthew’s MultiExporter script lets me—and you—do just that. And MultiExporter lets us choose what to export (artboards, layers, or both), as well as choose the file format (PNG or JPEG), and the scaling of the exported images (standard display or Retina resolution). It also allows you to add a prefix and/or suffix to file names.

To install MultiExporter, download it, unzip it, and place it into the Presets/Scripts folder under your Illustrator application folder. Upon launching Illustrator CS3–CS6 you’ll find MultiExporter in the File > Scripts menu.

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.

Pariah S. Burke is the author of many books and articles that empower, inform, and connect creative professionals.
  • Anonymous says:

    It’s CHEAP at four bucks but it isn’t free – you’re directed to another website for downloading and you get to pony up the dough first..

  • Anonymous says:

    “Armed with a free account the prices of all Creative Market inventory get slashed and the Download buttons activate. “

    Is it possible that you were sent a press account that allowed you to download items for free so you could review the quality?

  • Anonymous says:

    I joined Creative Market, but don’t see anything for free. Everything has a price tag . . . any suggestions?

  • Anonymous says:

    There didn’t appear to be any language in your article about a time limit, but even though these are priced right, they are not free.

  • Anonymous says:

    The article clearly says TODAY and was posted on 10/15/12 – so of course when I went “today” on 10/21/12 nothing was free… But yes, things are still nicely priced.

  • Pariah Burke says:

    I’m sorry those resources were no longer free at the time you read the Free for All. At the time I wrote it, they were indeed free. Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over when or how prices are charged by these third-party sites; all we can do is link to them and hope their wares remain free for a long time afterward.

    Pariah S. Burke

  • timruah says:

    Creatie Market looks great, but I don’t see anything free.

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