Category: Adobe Apps

InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

Adobe CC 2018 and macOS High Sierra

Adobe CreativeCloud 2018
Adobe released the latest major updates to their CreativeCloud apps this past week, and I’m happy to report that they’re running smooth as silk on macOS High Sierra—both the standard release version as well as the beta version.

The major bugs present in the CC2017 versions of Illustrator and InDesign running on High Sierra have been worked out between a macOS update and the latest CC apps, and I’ve noticed fairly significant speed gains in both those apps. As for Photoshop, I’ve not noticed much of an increase in speed, but no decrease either.

Some of the cool features include the ability to add rules around paragraphs in InDesign without having to resort to crude workarounds is a God-send! And I’m happy to see Adobe add the ability to keep text in CC Libraries and have them available in both InDesign and Illustrator. Type fanatics can now use InDesign’s Character panel to search for fonts based on visual similarity, a nice feature that you would normally need Suitcase Fusion for—though Suitcase still works better because it will find fonts that aren’t activated. Read about InDesign CC2018’s new features here.

Illustrator users will love the speed increase the most, but the variable font feature is really, really cool. The new Properties Panel is fantastic for those with a smaller screen or people like me who just hate having a bunch of panels open all the time. It’s a contextually aware panel that changes based on what you’re doing. Draw out a text frame and the panel displays text-related features like font, size, kerning, etc. Draw a shape and you get stroke and fill settings. Select multiple shapes and you’ll get the Pathfinder features. You get the idea. It’s only taken me a few days of using the new Illustrator to get used to using the Properties Panel vs. having a bunch of panels open all the time. Read about Illustrator CC2018’s new features here.

You might also want to take a look at the new Adobe Dimension app. Adding 3D objects to your 2D image just got a whole lot easier. It’s ultra-slick!

Adding noise/grain effect to text and images right inside your InDesign document

InDesign - add noise
Adding noise to a gradient image background is something I do often in photoshop. It helps avoid color banding when printing. It can also be a nice little effect when used correctly.

While I’ve used InDesign’s ability to add noise to my drop shadows and glows using the Effects panel, I never consider the ease with which I could avoid doing it all in Photoshop… that is, until I came across this Tip of the Week from Mike Rankin over at InDesignSecrets.

Add Grain Effects to Photos and Type shows you how easy it is. And for those that do use the Add Noise feature in Photoshop, you know how much storage space this is going to save you!

Which Photoshop content-aware feature should you use?

In Photoshop, content-aware features make automatic edits such as seamlessly blending the edges of retouched image areas. Using technology that recognizes different types of image content, content-aware features help you retouch images faster, and open up new possibilities for changing the composition of an image.
Content-Aware Fill
But how do you know which of the many content-aware features might help you right now?

Conrad Chavez has a brief explanation of each of the features in his article at CreativePro.

Resizing the Photoshop canvas when your text or artwork goes off the edge

Photoshop's Trim commandIf you’ve ever designed with type in Photoshop, you’ve probably encountered a situation where changing the size or font caused the text to not fit on the canvas any more. Or maybe you’ve placed a large logo file that didn’t fit on the canvas to begin with.

Mike Rankin has the easy alternative to the tedious norm of resizing the canvas size manually using the Reveal All and Trim commands.

Top 10 Photoshop tips the experts don’t want you to know!

A comedic look at some great Photoshop tips and advice.

The majority of Photoshop training available on the internet is part of a huge conspiracy to keep people from learning the REAL techniques of how to use this program. Why? So you don’t ever actually figure it out and have to keep coming back to them for more!

Whatever you do… don’t ever, ever EVER name your layers!

How to make Photoshop’s 100% View actually be 100%

Ever notice that when you view a Photoshop file at 100%, it’s not actually 100%. It’s almost always larger, depending on your Mac. That’s because when Adobe coded 100% view, it was based on all screens being 72 dpi. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case in many years. Try it out. Create an 8.5 x 11 inch document in Photoshop, set the view to 100% and hold up a Letter size piece of paper and you’ll notice the difference.

The problem is that modern computers/screens are much higher resolution than 72 dpi. The key to seeing things actual size in Photoshop is to make Photoshop and your screen the same resolution. It’s a simple process.

Determining your actual screen DPI:

  1. First, go to your System Preference and click the Displays icon. Make note of your monitor’s resolution (you may have to click the Scaled radio button on modern Macs). My iMac is set to the maximum resolution of 2560×1440.
  2. PXCALC

  3. Next, visit PXCALC and enter that screen size resolution from the step above if it doesn’t automatically populate this info for you, and in the Diagonal Size box enter the physical dimensions of your screen and hit enter. In my case it’s 27 inches. (see image above)
  4. On the little screen info area to the right, you’ll see stats about your screen, the first of which is the actual dpi of your screen. In the case of my iMac it’s 108.79. (see image above)

Setting Photoshop’s screen DPI

  1. Open Photoshop’s Preferences (Command + K) and click the Rulers & Units item from the list on the left. In the dialog window, you’ll see New Document Preset Resolutions in the top right corner.
  2. Photoshop screen resolution settings

  3. In the Screen Resolution box (just below the Print Resolution box) enter the DPI you got from step 3 above. Leave the Print Resolution setting at 300, as that is the typical resolution for commercial printing. (see image above)
  4. Hit OK in the dialog box and you should be good to go.

Now when you view your Photoshop document at 100%, it should actually be an accurate 100%. Try the Letter sized paper test I mentioned at the start to see if it worked for you.

There’s one caveat though. This is for SCREEN RESOLUTION ONLY. If you want to view your 300 dpi print resolution images at actual size, you don’t set your view settings at 100%. Instead, under the View menu choose Print Size instead of 100%.

Quickly hide objects in Adobe InDesign

InDesign CC 2017I’ve seen all manner of ways for people to “hide” things when working on their InDesign files so they can grab what’s underneath, or just edit something with no distraction. Some people Copy/Paste the object (not realizing that you lose the layering you may have done), some people Lock/Unlock (not very effective if you ask me), still others will place things on a separate layer and turn that layer off (that’s a lot of work), and some people simply move objects off to the side (requiring them to be moved back into their precise previous position).

The easier solution is to have your object(s) selected and just hit Command+3 to hide them. Command+Option+3 will bring the hidden object(s) back into view.

Free distressed halftone pattern vectors

Distressed halftone vector patterns

This free set of distressed halftone patterns for Adobe Illustrator contains 10 seamless vector swatches that can be applied as fills to add retro comic book style print effects to your illustrations. There’s a range of dot pattern densities so you can effectively shade your designs by using the different pattern fills across your artwork. Unlike your typical halftone pattern with clean, perfectly formed circles, these patterns have a distressed style to give your designs that grungy rock poster vibe.

Thanks to SpoonGraphics for providing these awesome distressed halftone vector patterns.