Category: Adobe Apps

Building the ultimate contact sheet using InDesign

InDesign contact sheet

There are lots of ways to build a contact sheet of a folder full of images. Despite what many people think, you can still use Adobe Bridge, but it requires downloading and installing an older add-on. Instead, you can use Adobe InDesign’s built-in ImageCatalog script to build thumbnails of a folder full of images, including the file name, image dimensions, and more.

InDesignSecrets has a great walk-through showing you how to build the ultimate contact sheet. I’ve always used Bridge, which you can still do after downloading and installing the old Output Module. But when I came across this old post detailing how to do it using InDesign, I immediately fell in love with the method because it offers a little more flexibility, and the ability to edit it after the fact.

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!

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.

Advice: Building the best graphic design toolbox

There is no perfect set of tools for graphic designers. We’re all unique, we all work in different ways, and budgets always come in to play. I’ve put together a breakdown of major factors when building the best graphic design hardware and software toolbox based on my experience. Consider the following as a guide, rather than a set of absolute rules.
Design Toolbox

Keep it simple

I’ve been a graphic designer for 30 years, using the Macintosh the entire time to produce work for some great clients. I’ve worked for ad agencies large and small, a design firm, printing companies, and I’ve freelanced full and part time. Over the years I’ve learned a few short rules as it pertains to building my design toolbox and getting things done—and it has held true everywhere I’ve worked. Those rules are: keep it simple no matter the cost, don’t get caught up in software trends and gimmicks, buy a little more than you think you need, because you will grow into it. The following is more specific advice for building your design toolbox. (more…)

Save/Save As now recorded in Photoshop CC’s History panel

Save History StatePhotoshop’s History panel allows you to revert to previous states of your work simply by clicking back through history in the list. But one thing it has never done in the past is record the fact that you performed a Save or Save As on the document.

With the release of Photoshop CC 2014, Adobe has finally added this feature to the History Panel functionality.

Now if you have a complicated document, you’re probably saving quite a bit. Since the History Panel only saves a specific amount of history states (which you can configure in the Preferences>Performance>History States panel), you’ll likely want to at least have all the Save states saved. To do this, you can have Photoshop automatically save a new Snapshot of the document each time you save by clicking the flyout menu in the History Panel and select History Options. Tick the Automatically Create New Snapshot When Saving checkbox.

Setting InDesign default fonts and colors

InDesign default colorsSetting default fonts and colors seems trivial, but can be a considerable time-savings if you work for an in-house design department where you’re always using the same corporate font and colors for virtually everything you do.

The ability to set default fonts and colors in new Adobe InDesign documents has been covered before, but I still see people asking about it, so I thought it worth mentioning here again.

To set the default colors:

  1. Open InDesign, but do NOT create or open a document
  2. Delete any colors from the Swatches panel you don’t want
  3. Create any amount of new colors in the Swatches panel

Any NEW documents you create will automatically have the new default font and colors already set. Unfortunately, existing documents will still use whatever default font and colors that were set when the document was created.

To set the default font:

  1. Open InDesign, but do NOT create or open a document
  2. Select the Text tool
  3. In the Control Bar across the top, select the Font drop-down menu and choose your default font. You could also use the Character panel if you choose.

Has the Adobe Illustrator “killer” finally arrived?

Tomorrow marks an important day for long-time Windows developer, Serif. They’re launching Affinity Designer, their first foray into Mac software. And they’ve set their sites on one of the largest and most important Mac developers in the world: Adobe.

Affinity Designer is a vector art design tool rivaling Adobe Illustrator in the same way that Pixelmator is an alternative app to Adobe’s Photoshop. Which is to say, it’s the real deal.

Affinity Designer
I’ve been using Affinity Designer on and off for the last month or so and I must say that I’m extremely impressed. With a price tag of only $40 (special price until October 9th), and a most-impressive feature set, I’m betting that it will find a home on quite a few Macs.

Affinity Designer can import AI, PSD, PDF, and SVG files, and save/export as EPS, TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD, and PDF. It also offers both RGB and CMYK color modes, including 16-bit color support.

All the tools you would expect can be found, and are easy to use. And the app fully supports Apple’s iCloud, Spaces and Full Screen mode. Some pretty cool features include the ability to use pixel-tools to your vector art and have it remain editable. And the best part, Affinity Designer is fast. Really fast.

If you’ve used Pixelmator, you’ve no doubt come to believe that there actually IS a true replacement for Photoshop. I’m here to tell you that as of tomorrow, there will be a real replacement for Adobe’s Illustrator as well. And rumor has it, they’re working on a page-layout app to compete with InDesign.

Now I’m not a fool. I don’t expect designers everywhere to suddenly dump their investment in Adobe software. But true professional-grade alternatives are out there. Watch out Adobe… you’ve been king of the hill for a long time, but the competition is heating up.