Category: Adobe Apps

Turn off multiple InDesign document layers with a single click

InDesign CS5If you have several layers in your InDesign document, and wish to work with no visual distraction on only one layer, you can turn all the others off quickly by holding down the Option key and clicking the eye icon of the layer you wish to keep visible in the Layers panel. I’ve used this same tip in Photoshop for quite a while, and finally realized it worked in InDesign as well. If you make use of layers, it’s quite handy!

Save space and never open the InDesign Swatches panel again

InDesign Swatches panel via Control panelOne unfortunate fact of using Adobe InDesign is the plethora of panels that most designers have to keep open and accessible at all times in order to be productive. It doesn’t leave a lot of space to view your document.

Fortunately, InDesign CS5‘s Control panel includes a full version of the color Swatches panel, so you can save yourself some screen real estate by using it instead of keeping the Swatches panel open on the screen at all times. The bonus of using the Swatches panel this way is that it scoots out of the way automatically when you’re done applying a color swatch to a fill or stroke to your object or text. You also have access to the Swatches panel fly-out menu.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 to bring new interface, upgrade policy

Photoshop beta

Adobe Photoshop's new appearance

While in early beta stages, Adobe appears to be working on a new, darker interface for the next version of Photoshop that resembles Pixelmator. In addition to the new appearance (which in beta stage at least, offers an option to revert to the existing platinum appearance), Photoshop will feature new 3D tools, healing brush and red-eye reduction enhancements, and a perspective cropping tool. AppleInsider has more details and screenshots here. (more…)

Adjust your InDesign Pages panel view for a clearer picture

InDesign Pages panel optionsBy default, Adobe InDesign’s Pages panel displays Master Pages and Document Pages in a top-down vertical view. This is fine for a single page document, but for a document with dozens of pages and multiple Master Pages, it get pretty annoying scrolling up and down in the Pages Panel.

By visiting the flyout menu in the upper right of the Pages panel, and selecting Panel Options… at the bottom of the list, you can adjust your Master Pages and Document Pages to display horizontally by unchecking the Show Vertically check boxes. Setting the Sizes drop-downs to Small also helps in displaying more pages in a small space – perfect for users working on a laptop with smaller screens.

As you can see in the bottom half of the image, you’ll get a better view of your document pages in the Pages panel doing this than you would by default in the top half of the image.

Blow Up 3 makes stunning image enlargements effortless

The situation is all-too familiar, and frequent. You’re working on a large poster and your client sends you a 3×5 photo to work with. Using Photoshop’s image sizing tools are of no help, and other 3rd-party options are overly slow and complex. This situation is where Alien Skin Software’s Blow Up 3 shines.

Blow Up 3

Blow Up 3's simple interface offers a very Mac-like simplicity

Blow Up 3 focuses on simplicity, as evidenced by a quick look at the interface of the Photoshop plug-in. A large preview window, and an input area with just a few controls are all that is necessary to enlarge your images with stunning results (see image later in this article). (more…)

Selecting cells with the keyboard in your InDesign table

Selecting InDesign Table Cells

Selecting individual InDesign Table cells, and the content in them, is easy with the keyboard

If you use Tables in your InDesign document, selecting individual cells with the mouse can make your fingers sore. Instead, use the Tab and/or Arrow keys to move between them. Maybe you already knew that. But did you know that you can click the cell you wish to work with and hit the ESC key to select the entire cell (perhaps to fill the cell with a color) and hit ESC a second time to select the content inside the cell (to change the font, for example).

Give your InDesign text a “highlighted” appearance

Ever want to give your text in Adobe InDesign a highlighted appearance but not want to bother with creating a separate piece of artwork to overlay? It’s a simple effect to create, with the added benefit that it sticks with the text when it gets reflowed.

Highlight effect in your InDesign text

Adding a highlight effect in your InDesign document text doesn't require separate artwork

To create the effect, take note of the point size of your text (you’ll need to know that later). Now select the word(s) you want to highlight, click the fly-out menu of the Character Panel and choose Underline Options…. In the dialog box that pops-up, click the Underline On and Preview check boxes so you can view the effect in your document as you make adjustments.

To customize your highlight choose the line type from the drop-down menu, most likely you’ll want a solid line. Now choose a color (any color in your Color Panel) is available to use. You’ll want to do these steps first so you can see the results as you customize further.

Now adjust the Weight of the underline to be a few points thicker than the point size of your text – in the case of the sample image above, my text was 12pts, so I made the underline 14pts. Now adjust your Offset amount by a few negative points so that it overlaps your text – in my sample, -3 was just the right amount. Finally, click the Overprint check box to give it a more realistic effect (overprint will really show if your text is a lighter color). Now just hit OK button to apply the effect.

Highlighted text sampleYou could stop here, but you’ll notice that the highlight begins and ends exactly at the edges of the first and last letter of your highlighted word(s) – as you see in the top of the image at the right. While this isn’t that big of a deal, it’s not quite as realistic as it could be. To extend the highlight effect to just a tiny bit before and after the text as you see in the bottom half of the image, add a space before and after the word and reduce the Tracking amount of each space. I used -140 for the sample image to show how this adjustment affects the highlighting, but you may want to reduce the space even further to avoid unsightly gaps.

If you want to apply this effect to more text in your document, you may want to save the effect as a Character Style.

Where to find Adobe Photoshop custom Workspaces on your hard drive

PhotoshopIf you’re like me, you set up custom Workspaces in Adobe Photoshop. I like having certain panels located in certain places, some fully open, and some reduced to icon-only state. Saving those panel locations makes it easy to return Photoshop to your preferred setup quickly and easily if you move Panels around during a work session. It also allows you to have different configurations for different tasks, such as one setup for general Photoshop work, and another for color correction.

Recently I did a clean install on my MacPro, and wanted to pull my custom Workspaces from a backup so I wouldn’t have to re-configure them – a time-consuming task. But where does Adobe Photoshop store these custom Workspaces?

They’re found where you would probably most expect them to be:
Users/[your user name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CS5Settings/WorkSpaces

Make a backup copy of this file for easy recovery if you decide to reformat you drive at a later date – it’ll be easier to get up and running again when the time comes.

And if you’re interested in finding where other custom files and preferences are stored, you can visit this knowledge base article on Adobe’s website.

Turn your image into a beautiful work of art with Snap Art

Alien Skin Software released Snap Art 3 a while back, and I’ve been playing with it for a while now and found it to be yet another excellent Photoshop add-on from my favorite plug-in maker.

Snap Art 3 is definitely made for photographers, but designers can make use of it as well. It’s easy to use, highly flexible, and at $199 it’s affordable for what it does. Not only do the multitude of effects work on photos, but you can apply Snap Art filters to videos imported into Adobe Photoshop Extended as well.

Snap Art sample

Snap Art turns your images into works of art

I won’t bother to go into all the filters and features, you can check them out on the Snap Art examples page. But know that Snap Art now offers a Detail Mask feature that allows you to adjust the details in specific areas of your images. Very slick! All of Snap Art’s oil paint, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, comic art, and dozens of other filters, offer non-destructive editing. And experimenting is easy with the large preview window.

Snap Art 3 works with Photoshop CS4 or later, Lightroom 2 or later, and Photoshop Elements 8 or later, on a Mac running OS X 10.5 or newer, including in 64-bit mode. A downloadable demo of Snap Art 3 is available.

Pixel perfect art when rotating layers in Photoshop

When you’re working on your pixel-perfect artwork in Photoshop, some common functions like moving, rotating and pasting can undo your hard work, resulting in a blurry mess. In fact, if you’re not careful, rotating layers in Photoshop can damage them in a very noticeable, pixel-mashing way – as illustrated below. But with some small changes to your workflow, you should be able to maintain the highest-quality artwork from the start to the end of the project.
Pixel-perfect rotation
Marc Edwards at Smashing Magazine has a great pixel perfection tutorial outlining a few methods that most designers are unaware of that avoids the problem.

One of the easiest solutions that I’ve used for years is to simply change the rotation orientation to the top left axis when rotating objects.