Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 announcement

Want to experience Adobe’s big product announcement on September 23rd? At 9:00 AM PDT click this link and enjoy the show! To sign up for the web cast, click here.

Photoshop shortcuts and PDF advice

Photoshop Shortcuts
Did you know that there are more than 100 keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop? I’m not sure what the exact count is but it is an overwhelming amount. This fact has inspired my friend Deke McClelland to produce a short video called, “101 Photoshop Tips in 5 minutes.” He plays fast and loose with the math—he shows more than 101 shortcuts and the video is actually 8:33 minutes long—but who cares? It’s fun and funny, even if the music is truly awful (sorry Deke). I’ll bet you learn at least one new keyboard shortcut when you watch this.

Stupid PDFs
For more learning fun from some other funny guys, check out, “Stop Stupid PDF Syndrome.” Tim Cole and Rufus Deuchler, both InDesign experts and evangelists at Adobe, have created a “public service announcement” style video to teach people how NOT to create pdfs. It’s an excellent and entertaining way to teach people how to avoid creating pdf files that are device-dependent. These files result in lower quality output and can create serious color management problems. For more InDesign insight and tips, check out Tim’s InDesign blog.

XML – I was afraid but now I get it


I’m at the CS3 Conference in Chicago right now and I just had to write about the session I attended this morning. It was a basic introduction to using XML and InDesign by James Maivald. It was excellent! I had to force myself to go to this session because there is something about acronyms like XML, HTML, and CSS that makes me go cross-eyed and running for the comfort of my sketchbook and pencils. The nice thing is that James is a designer and he presented the material from a designer’s point of view. He has just written a book about how to use XML and InDesign together. He’s also got a nice little website called Cooking with XML which has some good simple overviews and explanations. It also has a nifty definitions page for those of us who can’t keep our acronyms straight. His book looks to be an invaluable training resource for designers called, “A Designer’s Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML.” It looks like it will be published in just a few weeks by Peachpit Press.

Can’t wait for the book to be published for your XML info? Try watching this video on using XML with Dreamweaver. Or check out the tutorials and other XML information on the Adobe Design Center. Anne-Marie Concepción has an XML tutorial worth trying out even though it was written for InDesign CS2. Be not afraid designers, XML may be just the ticket for your workflow productivity!

InDesign vs. Photoshop? No kidding.

Photoshop Contact Sheet


InDesign Contact Sheet


Somebody actually had the idea to pit InDesign’s image editing features against those in Photoshop. Go figure. I guess it makes sense because it really is easier to stay in one application—especially if you need to do something fairly simple. That somebody is one Mike McHugh, and the title of his article is InDesign vs. Photoshop Smackdown: Who Will Be the Winner? It’s on the Peachpit website.

If you haven’t explored that site yet, you should. They have loads of free tutorials and videos. A good place to start is the Reference Guides page. There you’ll find a guide for Photoshop, Flash, Web Design, and Macintosh. These guides are loaded with great instructional materials—videos, articles, and text tutorials. Some of them are for older versions of the software, but that isn’t so bad. Some things don’t change from version to version, and not everybody upgrades right away. I wonder why they don’t have one for Design, Illustration, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat—maybe those are in the works?

Okay, so what did I learn from the InDesign vs. Photoshop Smackdown? I learned that InDesign gives you a much better contact sheet than Photoshop. Mike’s instructions on page 6 of his article have you create your contact sheets starting in Bridge. You can do this for both InDesign and Photoshop. Look for yourself at my results above. The InDesign result is neat, orderly, and legible. Photoshop results are fine but not as nice as InDesign. I started with really long file names which got truncated in Photoshop. InDesign did not cut them off. Also, I can change fonts and layouts in InDesign much easier. I’d say that InDesign definitely wins Round 6!

Table design workflow with InDesign and Acrobat

In Ted Padova’s Acrobat Community Blog entry called, “Working with tables”, Ted details an effective workflow for those designers who create forms for their clients. Starting in Excel, he moves you to InDesign CS3 and then into Acrobat 8. He discusses how to use some of the great new features in InDesign CS3 to create and modify forms and tables. One of my favorite InDesign features for designing tables is the ability to modify the Excel file data from within InDesign. Just double-click on the xls file in the Links palette and you can edit the data. Once you save the file, it will update in your InDesign table. Very cool! Anne Marie Concepcion has a couple of really nice videos on how to use the table creation features in CS3. Start with “Creating and formatting tables”, then look at “Adding headers and footers to tables”, and “Placing images in tables” and “Using table styles.”

Overriding master pages in InDesign

My friend Mordy Golding has created a very informative video tutorial about Master Pages. You can find it on the InDesign Conference Podcast site. I like the way he describes how a master page works by comparing it to a sheet of glass with graphic elements underneath. You can see the elements but they are protected from editing. Sometimes you do want to edit those master pages and this video shows you how.

Sign up for InDesign classes at the Creative Suite Conference

If you missed the InDesign conference in June, look at the schedule for the Creative Suite Conference coming up in Chicago this fall. There are loads of InDesign sessions with such luminaries as Anne-Marie Concepcion, David Blatner, Sandee Cohen, and Michael Ninness. These people are fabulous instructors. I plan on going to their sessions to learn more about all the new CS3 applications. Yep, even though I work for Adobe, it’s hard to be an expert in so many different programs! I learn a lot when I go to these conferences. For more information, check out the conference site. It’s all happening the week of October 15-20, 2007 in Chicago. Hope I’ll see you there.

Here’ a new feature I will try to keep up for each post on this blog. It’s called, “Image of the day”. I’ll be showing some of the things I’m working on that week. This week I did an experiment with split-toning in Lightroom. I’m not sure it’s an improvement on the color version. What do you think?