Category: Adobe Apps

InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

Photoshop CC to add Content Aware Crop

By now you may have heard that Adobe plans to add a Content Aware Crop tool feature to Photoshop CC with the next update. You may be thinking that they already have that feature available, and you would be somewhat correct. You can already do what the video above shows manually, but the new tool will simplify the process.

Adobe Illustrator’s hidden gem: Width Tool

Illustrator's Width Tool
Illustrator's Width Tool iconAdobe Illustrator has an awesome tool that I’m willing to bet most designers have never used. The Width Tool (pictured at right) allows you to adjust the width of paths—not just the entire path as a whole, but the parts of the path between handles independently (see the image above for examples normal paths, and the same path adjusted with the Width Tool). Adjustments can be made to any path, including outlined fonts.

For the full scoop check out Getting a Handle on Illustrator’s Width Tool over at Creative Pro

Quickly preview your color images in grayscale without leaving InDesign

Grayscale image preview in Adobe InDesign

When you’re working in a full color document in Adobe InDesign, you may occasionally want to see how the image looks in grayscale rather than full color. Normally this would require you to convert the image to grayscale in your favorite image editor. But you can quickly get an idea of how it will look without even leaving InDesign. Here’s how you do it: (more…)

Should you outline your fonts before output?

InDesign Outline Fonts
InDesign offers the ability to outline your fonts before output, much the same way as Illustrator. Outlining the fonts (sometimes known as converting to paths) prevents the potential for missing font errors and a host of other issues. But it’s not without a catch. There was a time when service bureaus and printers wouldn’t accept your files unless the fonts were outlined, but for the most part, that time has long since passed.

InDesignSecrets has the definitive guide to outlining fonts that offers a new way to outline your fonts in Acrobat DC, preventing that gotcha when you do it in InDesign.

New Google logo & icons in vector format

Google logo & icons

EpicPxls has provided the new Google logo, and icons for Google, Google+, Maps, News, Business and Translate in vector format. They look great. At first glance, anyway.

The bad news is that EpicPxls chose the most convoluted and sloppy way to provide the icons to you. The file you will download is a single tiny PSD file. Each icon is saved in a Layer Group in the layers panel that contains various Shape layers for each color in the icon. So technically they are vector art. They’re just not the easiest to work with.

If you choose to select the appropriate shapes and paste them into Adobe Illustrator to save them as individual proper logo files (as I have), you’ll also notice that you may need to do some cleanup work on the paths.

Still, this is much easier than trying to find the official vector files on Google’s own Developer site.

How to customize Photoshop’s toolbar

Photoshop Edit Toolbar iconThe single greatest feature of the latest Creative Cloud 2015 version of Adobe Photoshop is something I’ve longed for since… well, almost since I started using Photoshop.

Photoshop is for designers. Wait, uh… no it’s for Photographers. The fact is, Photoshop is a useful tool for an awful lot of people. In the past that’s meant that you had to have your toolbar contain the balance of tools that Adobe thought you would need–including the ones you never use. That day has now gone, and your Photoshop toolbar can finally be YOUR Photoshop toolbar.

Simply click that 3 dot icon at the bottom of the default toolbar in Photoshop. This brings up the Customize Toolbar dialog box.
Photoshop Edit Toolbar
Now you can begin dragging items out of the toolbar (the column on the left), and rearranging them in the order you want. Don’t worry, dragging them into the column on the right doesn’t delete the tool, it just hides it from view.

You’ll notice that some of the tools are grouped. That’s what makes the sub-tools where you hold the mouse down on the tool to reveal similar/alternate tools—such as the Selection and Shape tools. You can create your own sub-tool list if you wish, or simply remove a tool from a sub group to give it its own spot on the toolbar. For instance, you could move the circular selection tool out from under the rectangular selection tool if you wish.

The best thing is that Photoshop allows you to save your new toolbar as a preset. So you could create different toolbars for different tasks and call them up quickly when you need to switch.

Why the heck Adobe hasn’t made this an option in InDesign and Illustrator, at the very least, is beyond me.

Create a grid of InDesign frames from a single existing frame

Adobe InDesign has a built-in way to create a user-definable grid of frames from a single existing frame in your document. Why you might want to do this, you ask? Think of what a pain it would be to place the same image in a grid of frames to make it look like a single large image. Or, maybe you just need a grid of text frames made in the exact space that an existing graphic frame resides in.

InDesign frame grid

Open the Scripts Panel from the menubar under Window/Utilities. In the panel, navigate to Application>Javascript and double-click MakeGrid.jsx. The dialog box that pops up is self-explanatory. You choose how many columns and rows you want to transform the frame into, and how much space to place between them. Finally, you have the option of automatically placing the original image into the frames and adjusting their coordinates to look like it’s one large image. You can see the image above for the results.

How to switch from a CMYK to RGB workflow

RGB Color Workflow

The days of having to convert color images to CMYK are gone, yet most designers still cling to the idea that you MUST convert your images to CMYK to avoid all manner of disaster when printing a project.

The reality is that you really don’t have to deal with the CMYK color space any more, and haven’t for years.

David Blatner has a fantastic RGB Workflow walk-through about the subject over at CreativePro. It covers everything from the initial Photoshop file work, to importing into InDesign for layout, all the way to the end when you export the final PDF to send to the printer.

Manipulate 3D images right inside Photoshop with free plugin


The short video above should tell you all you need to know about what PixelSquid does. Manipulating images as 3D objects right inside Photoshop without the hassle of knowing how to use 3D tools is a concept I’m surprised more companies haven’t tried to tackle.

PixelSquid offers quite a decent-sized collection of 3D images, including a few nice collections like the Apple Collection—which features over 50 Apple objets from yesterday and today. I also liked the Money collection.

The plugin is free, though you do have to sign-up for the service.