As a developer and designer, unnecessary repetition is the bane of my existence. When going through the application development process, there are always the same handful of issues that I constantly run into: figuring out interesting ways to present the mockups to clients, cutting out assets from the mockups for use in the actual app, and getting icons for your standard menu items. Thankfully, I’ve found some tools that can take care of these problems for me that I thought others might find useful:
PlaceIt by Breezi is a tool that allows you to put your mockups into stock photos of people using their mobile devices. This tool is great because it provides a more natural way of presenting the mockups, since it shows what it will look like when someone is actually using the app on their device. All you need to do is provide the image of your screen with the appropriate dimensions, and PlaceIt will do the rest, leaving you with a realistic look at what your app will look like when in use.
Slicy is a Photoshop macro which “automagically” cuts out your UI elements; all you have to do is make sure you end your layer names with “.png” or “.jpeg”. But its most time saving feature is automatic auto-sizing. By adding “@2x” to the title of an image (“Background@2x.png”, for example), Slicy will automatically create a Retina and non-Retina version of that image. By saving your designers from having to do that process manually, the app essentially pays for itself. If you’re using vector images in your designs, Slicy can also scale those up to Retina size, saving your designers even more time.
Need an icon but not interested in creating it yourself? Use Glyphish, a popular and well-maintained set of stock icons that cover a variety of needs. There are over 1,000 icons available in both rasterized and vector form, ranging from shopping to sports to OS functionality. Additionally, if you need iOS 7 style icons quickly, Glyphish has you covered.
Try these tools for yourself and stave off the mindless repetition. Have any tools or tricks that you use to help save time? Feel free to share them in the comments!