Author: James

Reality Reborn: Turning inspiration into art with Adobe Illustrator CC

Reality RebornIn 2006, Don and Ryan Clark formed Invisible Creature, a highly successful creative firm. The firm’s client list includes Target, Nike, Hasbro, Google, Nordstrom, The New York Times, and dozens of others.

Adobe asked Don to create an illustration, giving him the words fearless, modern, and reborn as the only direction. In Turning Inspiration Into Art with Adobe Illustrator CC, Don explains first-hand his process and the Adobe Illustrator CC features he used to create “Reality Reborn”, including patterns, the Touch Type tool, multiple-file place, and file packaging.

I particularly enjoyed him touching on his use of textures and shading. This is a great read!

Why you shouldn’t install MacKeeper

MacKeeper

But the real problems with MacKeeper that I can see is that it provides questionable value to most users, can destabilize an otherwise stable Mac, and embeds itself so thoroughly into the operating system that removing it is an uncomfortable and weird process.

iMore’s Peter Cohen wrote a great article about MacKeeper, a highly-suspect disk utility for the Mac that’s been floating around for quite a long time. He makes a great argument for not installing it.

I’ll go one step further than Peter and say that running ANY disk utility is largely placebo, and quite often causes more problems than it solves. I haven’t run a disk utility program since the pre-Mac OS X days and have zero problems.

If you want to feel like you’re doing all you can to keep your Mac running smooth, try this:

  • Let your Mac stay on all night for six days, then shut it down on the seventh before you go to bed. Mac OS X runs maintenance scripts overnight.
  • Run Onyx once a month to empty caches.
  • Limit the amount of apps you install that run in the background. Generally these are apps whos icon lives in your menubar.
  • If something does go wrong or your Mac is running abnormally slow, have an experienced friend take a look at it, or take it to an Apple Authorized repair shop.

Download this free Digital Asset Management Best Practices Guide

Free DAM Guide

Interested in Digital Asset Management (DAM), but not sure where to start? Help find your path into the world of DAM with this free guide from Extensis.

It covers:

  • Workflow definition & mapping
  • Asset naming conventions
  • DAM solution selection criteria
  • System evaluation tips
  • Cloud-hosted vs on-premise evaluations
  • Real-world samples
  • ROI & Metadata planning tools

Download the free DAM Guide here.

Two of my favorite Adobe apps from the past

Adobe Streamline & Dimensions
Both apps were rolled in to Adobe Illustrator years ago—but the features still don’t work nearly as well as they did back in the Mac OS 9 days when they were stand-alone apps.

Of course, if we’re talking about great apps that Adobe killed off:
Adobe Type Manager
GoLive
LiveMotion
PressReady
ImageReady

There is more, but those are some of the ones I used almost daily back in the day.

The ‘Genius’ inside your computer

EtreCheck

EtreCheck is a simple little app to display the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It was designed by an Apple engineer, and is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to help people help you with your Mac.

It’s a nifty little utility that will list every daemon, launch agent, kernel extension and plugin running on your system, as well as some other insightful information. It’s like having a Apple Genius living inside your Mac. The app really does nothing you can’t do with the Terminal, but it makes it much easier to read and decipher.

Exclusive: Free Cloud Computing Icons

Cloud Computing Icons

Brusheezy has made this set of 36 cloud computing icons available for free, exclusively for Graphic Mac readers. Not only are these icons provided in PNG and PSD format, but fully editable vector format.

Brusheezy offers a host of design resources, focusing primarily on Photoshop brushes, patterns and textures. Lately, they’ve added PSDs to the mix. If the site looks familiar, it’s because I’ve shared artwork in the past from their companion site Vecteezy.

This free icon pack from Brusheezy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Dealing with a client’s “sticker shock”

And there are not forty $100 hours in my work week. Ever.

No matter what you charge, client’s will always think you charge too much. Way too much. Tom Meyer offers a fantastic response when questioned about his “job-killer” photography rate.

As a graphic designer, you should prepare yourself to have the “why I charge so much” conversation with a potential client. You will have the conversation one day, so it’s best to be prepared.

Beauty and the Beast: Marissa Mayer & Yahoo

Yahoo!

On one hand, the world still thinks rockstar CEOs can pull off a “Steve Jobs” turnaround. The reality is that they can’t because that was a once in a lifetime thing. The board and investors at Yahoo! need to ground themselves in reality and stop expecting huge growth or profits at every quarterly announcement.

On the other hand, a CEO needs to at least show investors and consumers a direction/clear path that they’re going to take to bring a company around to profitability.

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is fairly easy on the eyes, but her report card as a CEO doesn’t look nearly as good. Since taking over Yahoo!, I’ve seen Marissa look beautiful in that red dress in Glamour magazine, and I’ve seen her spend lots of money on seemingly pointless acquisitions like Tumblr. I’ve seen little to nothing else.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope Mayer can pull off a “Steve Jobs” at Yahoo! fairly soon. I think she’s a brilliant tech mind, and Yahoo! has the ability to make big waves. But I suspect her time is running out.