CS5 getting started tutorials

Here are links to tutorials and learning resources that will help you get started with Creative Suite 5. These are for both beginners and experienced users.


Tutorial list for Adobe products

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of Adobe tutorials that you could scan through quickly? Wish you didn’t have to wade through search results full of irrelevant content? What you need is a comprehensive tutorial list! Adobe has created just the list for you. They’ve got lists of all the tutorials (both video and text) that live on Adobe.com for 11 different products. The lists contain tutorials for multiple versions of the products, with the most recent tutorials on the top. You can sign up for an RSS feed to find out when new tutorials are added to the list.

Check out these lists for some really great tutorials (including CS5):

Creating arrows and arrowheads in Illustrator

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There is more than one way to create an arrow using Illustrator. First, you can always draw your own arrow with the pen tool. Or, you might want to use a pre-designed arrow by using the Add Arrowheads filter or a brush or symbol. And finally, you can use an arrow design that is part of a font. To learn how to make an arrow, here are some good resources for you. If you want arrow and arrowhead instructions for Illustrator CS6, see this blog post: Creating arrows and arrowheads in Illustrator CS6.

To create arrows:

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These are the arrows you can use with the Symbol Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Symbols to display the Symbols palette. Then from the Symbols palette pop up menu, choose Open Symbol Library > Arrows.

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These are some of the arrows you can use with the Brush Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Brushes to display the Brushes palette. Then from the Brushes palette pop up menu, choose Open Brush Library > Arrows and choose one of the three libraries of arrow brushes.

  • Use a font that contains arrow characters

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To see if a font contains arrow characters, choose Window > Type > Glyphs. Select the font at the bottom of the palette and then scroll through the glyphs (characters) to search for arrows.

Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Bridge tutorials

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Just signing off for the year. I wanted to tell you that my posts will be less frequent from now on. I will still be posting occasionally when I find a really good topic with great tutorials to tell you about. For now, I highly recommend that you look to the following links for really great content that is being updated regularly:

Photoshop Help and Support

Bridge Help and Support

Lightroom Help and Support

Illustrator Help and Support

If you have great tutorials, try using the comment feature at the bottom of the Help pages to submit your content. If the writers like your work, they might include it in the documentation and give you credit!

Have a great holiday season. See you in 2009. Happy New Year!

Luanne Seymour
Sr Instructional Designer, Digital Imaging
Adobe Systems Inc.

Illustrator CS4 Help is live in several more languages

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Adobe posted Illustrator CS4 Help on the Web in English a few weeks ago. (Here’s a link to the “What’s New in Illustrator CS4” section.)

Now, the localized (i.e., translated) versions of online Help are available in German, French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, and Korean.

German: Verwenden von Adobe Illustrator CS4

French: Utilisation d’Adobe Illustrator CS4

Italian: Utilizzo di Adobe Illustrator CS4

Spanish: Uso de Adobe Illustrator CS4

Dutch: Adobe Illustrator CS4 gebruiken

Chinese simplified: 使用 Adobe Illustrator CS4

Chinese Traditional: 使用 Adobe Illustrator CS4

Korean: Adobe Illustrator CS4 사용

Danish: Bruge Adobe Illustrator CS4

Swedish: Använda Adobe Illustrator CS4

Illustrator CS4 and InDesign CS4 online Help is live

Adobe has just posted Illustrator CS4 Help on the web and InDesign CS4 Help on the web. Take a look!

Illustrator CS4 has some cool new features such as a new Illustrator workspace, multiple artboards, and the Blob Brush tool. Click here to see an overview of the new Illustrator features, with links to detailed topics on each feature.

InDesign CS4 has great new features like live preflight, smart guides, and page transitions. Click here to see an overview of all the new InDesign features, with links to detailed topics on each feature.

Because this is beta Help, some features of Help are not yet active, such as links to video tutorials and other Help documents. When CS4 ships, all features of Help will work properly. The quality of search results will improve as these new pages are crawled by Google – so click lots of links!

Here is more info about the new Adobe Community Help system—one of the best new features of CS4!

Creative Lines with the Pen Tool for Photoshop & Illustrator

Once you’ve mastered the pen tool in Illustrator or Photoshop, you’re going to want a variety of lines to use for different types of illustrations. Here is a good selection of tutorials to get you started. For borders and maps, you may want to learn how to create dashed and layered lines. If so, there’s a good video tutorial called Dashed Lines by Dave Cross. For neon lines, see the tutorial by Meghan Murphy called Night Lights: Creating a glowing effect in Illustrator. Learn how to create thick and thin lines with Todd Ferris’ video called Adding Personality to Cartoon Lines. The Spoon Graphics blog has a nice tutorial on Creating Road Maps in Illustrator.

Using the pen tool in Photoshop is similar but not exactly the same as Illustrator. Here’s a tutorial on creating line art in Photoshop by acaraluv. Sometimes you need to illustrate lots of hair. Here’s a Hair Tutorial with the pen tool. Veerle shows us how to create thick and thin lines with Creating simple art brushes in Illustrator.

Are you new to the pen tool? Whether you use Photoshop or Illustrator, most of the basics are the same. Learn how to start using it with Matthew Richmond’s video Using the Pen Tool. Once you’ve seen that, try practicing with Veerle’s Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises. Remember, practice makes perfect! Be patient and persevere—you’ll master the pen tool before you know it!

Preview options and selecting objects in Illustrator

My brother-in-law sent me an Illustrator file the other day with a plea to help him delete an object that he couldn’t figure out how to get rid of. It was visible, but he could not select it because it was stacked beneath other objects in the file. Every time he would click on it, the uppermost object would highlight. There are a couple of ways he could have gotten rid of the unwanted object.

First, look in the Layers palette. If you see the object there, you can select it by clicking the blank area to the right of the target circles. Clicking there selects all objects on that layer. This is a good way to select objects that are “buried” under other objects. Think of Illustrator files like piles of painted acetate or clear film. If you stack them on top of each other, even though you can see through parts of them, you may still have trouble grabbing the one on the bottom. Using the Layers palette can help with this problem. But if you have too many layers or objects, and you still cannot select that object, try my second method.

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Clicking the Selection area in the Layers palette selects all objects on that layer.

The second method for selecting layered objects is to change the preview mode. Once you are viewing your image in Outline mode, you should be able to select that object. For a good explanation of the different previewing options, see this post on the DesignGeek E-Zine by Anne-Marie Concepcion. As I read her article, I was wishing it had illustrations, so I made some to accompany the text. The illustrations below go with the three different situations she describes. Enjoy!

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Choose Window > New Window and display both side by side. Then choose View > Outline to view one window in Outline mode next to the one in Preview mode.

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Choose Window > Navigator to display the Navigator palette. Enlarge the view in the palette by expanding the window size from the bottom right corner. Note that the red rectangle in the Navigator palette corresponds to the section of the illustration visible in the main window. Choose View > Outline to view the illustration in outline mode.

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Display the Layers palette and Command-click (Mac OS) or Ctrl-click (Windows) the eye icon for the layer to toggle between Preview and Outline modes.

Taming the Spiral tool

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Illustrator users, if you haven’t looked at Veerle’s blog, do it now. Veerle has loads of good instructional content for you to peruse. Her tutorials are quite good, and she includes plenty of excellent illustrations. I looked at one today that might be very handy for you, “Swirly Curls in Adobe Illustrator.”

In step 1, you don’t really need to copy, paste in front, and then rotate the copy. I used the rotate tool with the original spiral selected. I first clicked on the middle end point of the spiral with the rotate tool. Then I released the mouse button and moved my cursor to the outer end point of the spiral. Press the Option/Alt key, then click and drag down to rotate a copy of the spiral. Release the mouse button first and then the Option/Alt key to leave a copy behind.

I messed up step 2 at first because I assumed you needed to hold the Shift key when you scale the 2nd spiral. I was wrong. You actually get a different effect when you do that. If you want the thick and thin to change as you go around the curve of the spiral, try holding the Shift key when you scale. It’s a similar effect to using a flat sided pen nib when you draw. If not, follow Veerle’s instructions. You do have to futz around with the scaling a bit to make it look right.

Veerle adds a nice little hidden shortcut about using the spacebar if you want to move the spiral around as you draw it. You can also increase and decrease the number of wind segments in the spiral as you drag by holding the up and down arrow keys. To change the decay rate as you draw, press Command/Ctrl as you drag. If you want to dive deeper into the way the spiral tool works, check out “Spiral Tool Mysteries—Solved!” by Jeff Witchel.

An illustration technique that takes skill

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I just stumbled upon a very nice illustration technique called, “Imitating A Scanner Darkly”. Be forewarned though—it’s not for amateurs! Unlike so many Photoshop and Illustrator techniques these days, this technique contains no filters or fancy plug-ins that do the creative work for you. You actually need to know how to draw to make this one work. So, artists and illustrators, step up! This is a fabulous effect and very well done. Kudos to author/illustrator Aaron Sacco.
If you really want a shortcut for this technique, you could use Photoshop to adjust the original photo in step one. Depending on the photograph, you could bring the image into Photoshop, create a Posterize adjustment layer, and then create a Black & White adjustment layer. Then fiddle around with the settings (or the stacking order) on both layers to get more simplified shapes in your photo. Then save the file and start with his step 1. Either way, you still need to draw all those shapes with the pen tool.

Digital tools certainly speed things up in many ways. But they cannot speed up the time it takes to draw something from scratch like this. No matter, it is well worth the time spent because the quality of the drawing is what makes or breaks the illustration, right?