Tagged: Adobe

Extensis Suitcase Fusion 8: The best font manager, reborn

Suitcase Fusion 8 main window
I’ve been a huge fan of Extensis since long before Mac OS X. In particular, their font manager, Suitcase Fusion, has been one of only two tools I consider mission critical beyond the essential Adobe apps I use.

The recently released Suitcase Fusion 8 doesn’t turn font management on its ear like version 5, 6 and 7 did—but it does greatly improve the experience for designers in lots of little ways.

What’s new:

Extensis completely revamped the user interface of Suitcase Fusion. It’s much more consistent and looks right at home in macOS High Sierra. Gone is the third sidebar that cramped the main window. To replace some of the features found in that sidebar, Extensis added a more contextual pop-up right at the font location in the window. The pop-up allows you to view info about the font, a preview of the font, available glyphs and QuickMatch info (which searches your entire library of fonts for similar looking fonts). (more…)

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!

Adobe nostalgia: What a tangled Web we weave

GoLive Cyberstudio
Adobe has a habit of buying and killing-off great products. There are so many that I can’t even remember the names of some of them.

I came across a few of these product CDs the other day as I was cleaning out some old storage bins. And it got me thinking…

Adobe’s tangled web:

  • 1995 – Adobe acquires Seneca Inc and its primary app – PageMill
  • 1996 – GoLive Inc releases the first commercial-grade WYSIWYG HTML page builder – GoLive
  • 1996 – Macromedia begins selling Flash
  • 1997 – GoLive Inc releases CyberStudio – the 3rd upgrade to the original GoLive app
  • 1997 – In response to CyberStudio, Macromedia releases Dreamweaver
  • 1998 – In response to Flash, Adobe begins selling ImageStyler
  • 1999 – Adobe acquires GoLive Inc and re-brands CyberStudio as Adobe GoLive
  • 2000 – Adobe kills off ImageStyler and replaces it with LiveMotion
  • 2000 – Adobe kills off PageMill and SiteMill
  • 2003 – Adobe kills off LiveMotion
  • 2005 – Adobe acquires Macromedia and its popular Dreamweaver & Flash apps
  • 2007 – Adobe replaces GoLive with Dreamweaver in Creative Suite 3
  • 2008 – Adobe kills off GoLive completely

PageMill was the first consumer-oriented WYSIWYG HTML page builder. I loved it. Even though it couldn’t create tables, it was simple to use and produced excellent code with little fuss.

Adobe GoLive was a product that Adobe acquired when they purchased a German company named GoLive who made a spectacular application called CyberStudio. I loved this app even more than PageMill. It was truly a professional app that produced much cleaner code than the first version of Dreamweaver—and it was far easier to use.

Adobe LiveMotion
Adobe LiveMotion was basically Flash for designers. Flash was a code-heavy mess even in the early days—usable only by developers for the most part. LiveMotion was a breath of fresh-air. I created several websites for clients back in the day using LiveMotion and nobody knew the difference. It was awesome software.

Macromedia was the originator of not only Dreamweaver, but Flash and Freehand (Illustrator’s only competitor). Many people, including myself, believe that all of the Macromedia products went downhill after being acquired by Adobe, with Freehand being outright discontinued. And many people, including myself, believe that all of Adobe’s competing products were far superior to their Macromedia counterparts. Unfortunately, Macromedia had the numbers.

In summary, Adobe acquired three companies, the only three that produced serious software to create websites in the early days of the web. In hindsight, they killed the easier-to-use software in favor of more complex software, which is why we have the complete mess that we have today.

Incidentally, most of the applications Adobe has acquired over the years came from companies that acquired the apps from someone else as well (Flash, Director, Freehand, HomeSite, ColdFusion and more). It seems nobody ever really wanted to hang on to anything in Silicon Valley.

Don’t even get me started on PressReady, ImageReady, TypeManager, Streamline and Dimensions. All of those apps live-on to this day—rolled into other apps or the OS itself—but none of them offer the simplicity and superior results of their stand-alone predecessors.

How to make your Adobe Illustrator documents much smaller

If you’ve used Adobe Illustrator for any amount of time, you’ve probably created a complicated piece of artwork. Those files can be fairly large, making file transfer and storage cumbersome. Thankfully there’s a simple way to drastically reduce your file sizes.

When saving your files, choose the native AI format. This offers you the most flexibility, and the ability to reduce the files. You’ll also want to tick the Create PDF Compatible File box. This allows Illustrator to recover the file should the program crash.

Illustrator Options
In the Illustrator Options dialog box that pops up, tick the Use Compression box. That’s it! Instant smaller files.

Now you may have guessed that ticking that PDF Compatible File box also adds some overhead to the file, so if you’re looking for the smallest file size possible, go ahead and uncheck the box.

Illustrator file sizes
As you can see in the image above, the original Illustrator file weighs-in at 101.2 MB. Saving the file with PDF Compatibility and Compression reduces the file to 63.7 MB. Unchecking the PDF Compatibility box reduces the file even further to 25.4 MB in size.

That’s a big savings!

Ever wonder what new features were added to every version of InDesign?

InDesign New Feature Guide
I was fortunate enough back in 1997 to be part of a team of Adobe beta testers for an app called K2, which would later become InDesign 1.0. Even having come from Pagemaker, then years of Quark use, and a buggy as hell K2 beta, I could see even then that InDesign was going to thoroughly destroy the competition and take over the industry in short order. It ended up doing just that—despite its lack of features in version 1.0.

James Wamser, an Adobe Certified Instructor, has put together a list of features Adobe has added to InDesign since… well, since ever. I’m not sure how useful his PDF will be to you, but it’s possible that you read through and find out about a feature you weren’t even aware of that’s been there for years.

Download the InDesign New Feature Guide, a 1.5MB PDF, for free.

The evil Adobe empire

Evil Adobe Empire

I came across this article the other day and paused for a few moments to think about the Adobe empire. The discussion in the article is all-too-familiar, and becoming a real trend. Even I have a difficult time defending Adobe.

I’ve spent years defending Adobe’s business model and applications. I still feel they’re the best tools on the market for content creators. And I don’t feel like $50 per month is the outrageous amount people make it out to be.

But I’m done defending Adobe. Because I can’t anymore.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, the logos and images for the last three freelance jobs I’ve worked on, and the graphics for this site’s last several posts were edited with an app not named Photoshop or Illustrator.

I guess what I’m saying is, the little things I mentioned a few days ago are piling up. And there are finally real options out there. By the end of this year, they’ll be a competitive alternative to Adobe’s print-related suite of apps. All of them. And I’m going to give them a serious consideration.

Adobe’s unwelcome Welcome screen

Adobe welcome screen

Hey Adobe, see that button down there in the lower right corner of your highly-annoying Welcome screen that pops up every time I launch InDesign CC 2015—the one that says “Don’t Show Welcome Screen Again?” How about you fix whatever bug that tells the app to ignore the fact that I clicked that button the last time I launched the app, EVERY TIME I LAUNCH THE APP!!!

When you do manage to fix the bug, please share your findings with the Illustrator team, because it happens every time I launch that app as well.

To be fair, this only happens on two out of the three Macs I use on a regular basis. But all three Macs have exactly the same software installed, and are running the same OS versions.

Are you using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries?

Creative Cloud Libraries

Adobe Creative Cloud’s Libraries feature allows you to access, organize and share assets between your desktop and mobile apps, as well as other Creative Cloud users.

Libraries allows you to collect Character Styles, Color Swatches, Brushes, Graphics, Text, and other objects in one or multiple libraries (see the Illustrator Libraries panel in the image above). The Panel is accessed under the Window menu in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. The assets you collect are synced via the cloud, and made available not only to your other apps, but you can share them with other members of your creative team, or make them publicly available via a link.

That alone would be really handy, but Adobe went a step further by offering the option of placing graphics in your Library as a linked file. That means when you update the original graphic, it gets updated in your Library, as well as any document you’ve placed the graphic in via the Libraries panel.

For the most part, you simply drag items into and out of the Libraries panel. Some icons across the bottom of the panel also allow you to add items.

Using the Libraries feature can save you a lot of time, especially if you use the same graphics, text styles and colors in most of your design work. In particular, publication designers will find Libraries to be a real game changer, especially if you share the design duties with other graphic artists on the staff.