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!

What would YOU put in a Moleskine?



Ever heard of a Moleskine? No—it’s not made from a mole. It’s a pocket-sized notebook that artists, writers, and other creative travelers used to use to make sketches, take notes, or jot down ideas. The books went out of production many years ago but a small Italian publisher began to produce them again in 1998. At this point you are probably asking yourself why a designer from Adobe Systems would be writing about a blank paper book (instead of something digital) in her blog. Two reasons:

1. Inspiration! The Moleskine folks have put on an exhibition of notebooks by 70 different artists, photographers, designers, and architects. Of the ones I looked at, I particularly liked the books by author and artist Dave Eggers, photographers Douglas Kirkland, and Mary-Ellen Mark, graphic designer Paula Scher, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, illustrator Paul Davis, and icon designer Egon Låstad.

2. To remind myself (and other creatives) that we need to keep sketching and writing—it helps keep our creative juices flowing! It also exercises our creative fingers, eyes, and brains. Drawing what you see forces you to really look at things in different ways. This is always a good thing for creative professionals.

P.S. If you have some really great artwork that you’d like to show in our Gallery on Adobe Design Center, let us know about it here.

Don’t miss this photography event


From Sept. 17-23, 2007, photographers all across America will be submitting their photos to the latest project from the “A Day in the Life…” folks. The project is called America at Home, a Closeup of How We Live. Each day you get a different shooting assignment. The idea is to document the home lives and environments of Americans all over the country for the next 7 days. (Actually it’s only 6 now because I missed the first day—sorry.)

Before you upload your images on their easy-to-use website, don’t forget to fine tune them with Lightroom and/or Photoshop. The before and after image shown above was cropped and color-corrected in Lightroom. For some great tutorials on how to adjust your raw images, see Katrin Eismann’s video on Editing Multiple Images with Camera Raw, or George Jardine’s video on Finding your best photos using Compare and Quick Develop in Lightroom.

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?