Category: General

Adobe releases Creative Suite 4

Adobe officially released Creative Suite 4 today. Adobe Creative Suite 4 delivers tightly integrated software and services that measurably improve productivity and enable you to produce richly expressive work in print, web, interactive, video, audio, and mobile.

Creative Suite 4 pricing is as follows:

Design Premium InDesign, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat, Bridge, Device Central, Version Cue

  • $1,799 full
  • $599 upgrade

Design Standard InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Bridge, Device Central, Version Cue

  • $1,399 full
  • $499 upgrade

Web Premium Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat, Soundbooth, Contribute, Bridge, Device Central, Version Cue

  • $1,699 full
  • $599 upgrade

Web Standard Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, Bridge, Device Central, Version Cue

  • $999 full
  • $399 upgrade

Production Premium After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop Extended, Flash, Illustrator, Soundbooth, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge, Device Central, Dynamic Link

  • $1,699 full
  • $599 upgrade

Master Collection InDesign, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere, Soundbooth, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge, Device Central, Dynamic Link, Version Cue

  • $2,499 full
  • $899 upgrade

Full Creative Suites, as well as individual applications can be purchased directly from Adobe’s Web store, or through authorized Adobe dealers. Downloadable demo versions of Creative Suite software will be available soon.

Finding the perfect color combo

Looking for color combinations for your next Web project? There are plenty of these Web-based color combo sites out there, with my personal favorite being Adobe’s Kuler. Kuler is great in that it allows you to work with CMYK values, and upon completion, download an Adobe Swatch Exchange document you can import into all your Adobe Creative Suite applications. All the Creative Suite 4 applications have integrated Kuler into the program, so this option will most likely be the default for designers using Adobe products. Perhaps the king of color combo sites is Colourlovers, where there are countless color palettes already built, or you can create your own. You can also click a link next to each color to find photos using that color from iStockphoto. ColorBlender is a fairly straight-forward color combo site which allows you to create and share color palettes, and download files containing your colors for use with other design applications. A unique feature to ColorBlender (though I couldn’t get it to work) is the ability to match the color you create on screen to the closest Pantone color match. ColorCombos has yet another Web-based color combo exploration tool. Simply add a Hex color value into an input box and select the complimentary colors option. Simple! Virtually all color combo sites allow you to create and share your custom color palettes, so whichever one you choose, you probably can’t go wrong.

Extensis Universal Type Server: font management for large groups

Dealing with lots of fonts is no small task. This is especially true in ad agency, design firm and pre-press environments. Not only does everyone need to have the same fonts, but companies tend to want to make sure all the fonts are of high-quality, and legally owned. This is where font server management applications come into play. Where desktop font managers control fonts on an individual user’s machine, a server-based font manager handles it for many users over the network. Extensis Universal Type Server (UTS) is just the tool for the job. UTS picks-up where Suitcase Fusion leaves off, by managing large collections of fonts from a server, and quickly deploying them to users as needed. (more…)

12 realities of pricing design services

I’ve posted articles in the past that point freelancers in the right direction on how much to charge for design services. Today, I have yet another helpful link to help you along the way. For most designers pricing services is not something that is the highlight of the job. Still, it is something that you’ll have to deal with if you’re freelancing or working for a small firm. Vandaley Design lists 12 realities of pricing design services:

  1. There’s no exact formula.
  2. Both hourly pricing and project-based pricing have pros and cons.
  3. Pricing is a necessary part of freelancing.
  4. Mistakes are a part of the process.
  5. Your prices will affect your own outlook on your services and it will also impact your client’s opinion of your services.
  6. Uncertainty is Common.
  7. The variety of prices is as wide as the variety of talent levels.
  8. Losing a job isn’t always a bad thing.
  9. Pricing can be a good way to weed out the tire kickers.
  10. Some potential clients will think your prices are high no matter what you charge.
  11. Charging more than you quoted may be necessary.
  12. Starting out you’ll probably have to charge less than you’d like.

The articles goes in-depth on each topic, and is well worth the read. If you’re in the process of deciding how much to charge, you definitely want to check this article out.

Rant: Definition of beta, and other software development terms

There was a time, “back then,” when a piece of software that was in Beta meant that the application was feature complete, and the developer was simply releasing the software to a small group of users in order to fix any remaining bugs before releasing the app to the general public. Google changed all that a few years ago when it released GMail to the general public as a beta. To this day, it’s still a beta – even though there are millions of users. That being said, I thought it would be nice to take a look at the definition of some typical software development terms, and what they meant “back then,” and what they really mean “now.” Read on for the definitions. (more…)

Understanding camera lens terminology on your digital camera

If you’re not heavily into photography, the controls on your digital camera are probably a mystery to you, and the terms used in photography are likely a foreign language. One such confusing term is aperture. Here’s a helpful tip on what aperture settings mean, and how it affects your photos. Note: This assumes that you have a DSLR camera, not a fixed-lens point & shoot camera. The aperture of a lens refers to the amount of light a lens lets in when you take a photo. The aperture size is commonly referred to as the F-Stop or F-#. Confusingly enough, a smaller F-# means a larger aperture size, which allows more light in, and creates a narrower depth of field. This means that when taking a portrait photo, the subject will be in focus, and the background will remain out of focus, or blurry. A higher F-# will keep the entire frame in focus.

F-# Aperture Size Shutter Speed Depth of Field
Higher # Smaller Slower Wider
Lower # Larger Faster Narrower

Lens aperture settings are displayed as 1:X or f/X.X. So a lens with the largest aperture would be 1:1.0 or f/1.0. Because these larger aperture lenses are so desirable, they typically cost much more than a lens with a smaller aperture. Why are they desirable? Because they let more light in! That means if you typically do a lot of indoor photography and rely on your flash, these lenses will produce a much more evenly-lit image, rather than your subject being brightly lit and the background nearly blacked-out completely. For more information about camera lenses, I recommend taking a look at this excellent article at Cambridgeincolour.

12 times when you should say no to a client and run for the door!

Yesterday’s video post titled When is it time to dump a client brought some thoughts from (TGM reader) RhymingDesigner on when to just say no to a client. Saying no to a potential client is difficult to do, especially when you’re first starting out, or the economy has brought the stream of new business to a halt. But saying no can actually improve your situation in some cases, by freeing up time, creativity and not putting yourself in a difficult situation later. Here is his list of 12 times you should say no to a client:

  1. They expect you to drop what you’re doing and meet with them today
  2. They ask for a discount right away
  3. They balk at paying a deposit to get the work started
  4. They balk at signing a contract
  5. They want to change several terms of your tried-and-true contract
  6. They can’t give you a clear idea of what they want (“Just start!”)
  7. They want to pay next to nothing, with the promise of some big jobs in the future (the oldest trick in the book?)
  8. There is no point person (so they will be reviewing the work by committee)
  9. They have no offices or at least appearance of stability
  10. They have a track record of going through designers like crazy (and the old designers were always at fault)
  11. There doesn’t seem to be much respect for your expertise
  12. Your gut reaction is that something’s just not right (trust your instinct and bolt for the door)

In my experience, #6 is the most deadly. You accept a job and everything appears on the up-and-up. The client is looking for something completely fresh, so has no restrictions or thoughts on what the piece of work should look like. You end up spending countless hours coming up with multiple concepts only to find out that they had something very specific in mind, and quite frankly, it sucks!