What will Adobe Help and learning be like in the future?

Come to the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles next week and sign up for my session with Jaydeep Dutta. We’ll be showing our vision for the future of help and learning for Adobe products. Here’s the info:

Social Studies: Connecting Content and Community in the Cloud
Come see how a few simple UX design patterns can facilitate a shared, social learning experience that blurs the boundaries between inspiration and instruction, as well as between content and community. Three trends are currently sweeping digital media: Tablets are moving from content consumption to creation, social features are increasingly pervasive, and everything is shifting to the cloud. Join us to explore how this trifecta creates exciting opportunities for designers and developers, and to examine our own promising effort at taking advantage of these trends.

When: Wednesday, 10/5, at 2:30 pm
Where: Room 511A
Speakers: Jaydeep Dutta, Luanne Seymour

Getting started with digital imaging?

If you want to understand some of the basic concepts behind digital photography and editing digital images, you should check out these Key Concepts pages. Each one is a very quick read. I highly recommend taking a peek before you dive into learning how to use any of these programs. Here is the list of Key Concepts for Photoshop and Lightroom:

Special effects

Transformations

Here is the list of Key Concepts for Photoshop Elements 9:

Special effects

Transformations

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.

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!

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.

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!