Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to convert an image sequence to an animated GIF

Image sequences are an excellent way to create animation for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. But an image sequence will not work in content exported to fixed layout EPUB from InDesign, or content exported using the new Publish Online functionality in InDesign CC 2015. So you might need to convert an image sequence to an animated GIF, which does work in fixed layout EPUB and Publish Online. Here’s how to do it.

1. Launch Photoshop (these instruction are written using Photoshop CC 2015, but the process is similar in several recent versions)

2. Choose File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack

3. Click Browse to select all the PNG or JPEG files in the image sequence, then click the OK button. If you have a lot of files making up the sequence, this step may take a few minutes.

Screen Shot 2015 06 24 at 11 53 24 AM

4. When it is finished, you’ll see that a single file has been created, with each image loaded into a separate layer. Choose Window > Timeline to display the Timeline panel.

5. Click the Create Frame Animation button in the Timeline panel. This will create a single frame in the Timeline panel.

6. In the Timeline panel menu, choose Make Frames From Layers

7. Choose File > Export > Save For Web

8. Choose one of the GIF Presets, choose the desired Looping option, and then click the Save button.

Screen Shot 2015 06 24 at 12 02 01 PM

Friday, May 22, 2015

A fix for the disappearing File Info dialog in InDesign

I’ve had a recurring problem for awhile where occasionally the File > File Info dialog box in InDesign CC gets “stuck” somewhere outside the bounds of my monitor. In other words, I’ll choose File > File Info, and the dialog box will apparently launch, because all my menu items get grayed out and I can’t do anything, but the box isn’t visible on the screen. But, since hitting the Esc key cancels any dialog box, I’m able to hit Esc and continue working.

But I need the File Info box for my work.

I discovered today that there is a file named “DVADialogPrefs.xml” located in the User Library folder in Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version 10.0/en_US/DVADialogPrefs. (Hold down the Option key and choose Go > Library in the Finder to display the Library folder). Quitting InDesign, deleting the “DVADialogPrefs.xml” file, and restarting InDesign fixes the problem, and allows the File Info dialog box to display properly.

I suspect that InDesign gets confused about how many monitors I have, and where they are located, because I’m constantly plugging into different projection systems as I travel to do training and seminars. Hopefully this won’t happen to you, but if it does, at least you know how to fix it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creative Cloud, OS X, iMacs, and more

Today’s post is courtesy of my friend Ed Klemz at Central Coast Solutions. It contains useful, actionable information about Creative Cloud, OS X, the iMac, and more. I highly recommend Ed and his team for your Macintosh and networking support needs. - Keith

A lot has happened recently on the Apple and Adobe front, so here’s the latest:

Many of you have likely received the notice that all future releases of Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) will only be supported on OS X 10.9.5 and newer, so if you have 10.8 or older now, updating is no longer an option but a requirement. All Macs aren’t 10.9 or 10.10 ready though, and we should review to make to sure the RAM is at 16GB or more and the hard drive is either a Solid State Disc (SSD) or “Fusion” hybrid standard/SSD device. Upgrading OS on a Mac lacking those items will tend to make it quite slow, and may cause stability issues. We can do these upgrades for you at a fraction of the price of buying a new machine, and the upgrades make it nearly as fast.

As for “Yosemite” OS X 10.10, the 10.10.2 release was pretty good, and I was just about to let people know it was OK to do, then they came out with 10.10.3. After heavy prompting my Apple contacts tell me there are memory issues still “under the hood” and older software issues (Adobe CS6 & CC, Office 2011, Firefox and Chrome browsers, etc), security software issues, Library and Finder issues… Lets just say they are still working on it, and at this time I can’t recommend it as the “go to” OS X version yet - but 10.10.4 is on the way. If you are running, we can certainly optimize it for you.

My .02 today is if you are at 10.8.5, let get you to 10.9.5, as much RAM as your machine will hold and install a SSD drive. 10.9 isn’t available to buy any longer, but of course we have it, and can do the hardware and software upgrades for you, and extend the life of your existing Mac by years - far less than buying new hardware. Lets build an upgrade plan for 2015 that meets your needs and budget.

Apple today released the long-awaited updates to the iMac line, and removed some of the “mid-level” options we once had - so you can only get the performance-based i7 Processor in the top-end 21 or 27-inch machines. Of course all these models will only run OS X 10.10 so that should be considered when looking at your existing software. Many older apps won’t run on it, or will be crashy nightmares to use, so we need to plan ahead before blindly updating hardware or OS version. None of the iMacs come with built-in DVD drives either - only external - so remember that if you need the ability to read or burn media.

TECH BIT: What is “mach_kernel”? Here’s a “fix” for a common request we get from clients running OS X 10.7, 8 and 9 when they open the main directory of their hard drive and see a document named “mach_kernel”. Don’t delete it! This important normally hidden system file appears after an Apple Security Update is run, and its not supposed to be visible. (Thanks for messing that up, Apple!)

To hide this, go to /Applications/Utilities and launch the Terminal application (scary, but you can do it!) You will get some text saying you are logged in and it will leave you at “%" prompt. Copy and paste in the following command into Terminal:

sudo chflags hidden /mach_kernel

Then press return (enter). It will give you a warning about using the sudo command and then it will ask you to type your user password. Type it in, but note that the cursor won't move as you're typing (so that people can't see your password if they're looking over your shoulder.) Press enter after typing your password and the “mach_kernel” file will be hidden again as it should. Easy!

Hmmm, I wonder if I wanted to hide a file or folder from view if I could use the “sudo chflags hidden" command to hide it, and “nohidden" to make it visible again...

If you’d rather not dive too deep into stuff like this, or we haven’t seen you recently, we should get a system maintenance/update day planned and we can take care of it for you.

As always, we are here to help. Let us know what’s next for your business and we’ll help you get there.

Best,

Ed Klemz and your team at:

Central Coast Solutions, Inc.
10303 Bittersweet Street NW
Minneapolis, MN 55433
763-422-3922 Office
www.centralcoastweb.com

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Upcoming speaking engagements

It’s that time of year…conference season. I’m excited to be speaking at these upcoming events in the next couple of months:

May 14: AAF-CM InDesign seminar (St. Cloud, MN)

The American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota runs a seminar series, and on May 14 I’ll be doing a half-day session on InDesign Tips and Tricks.

May 15: MMPA Summit & Expo (Minneapolis, MN)

I’ll be presenting 4 sessions at the annual Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association annual Summit & Expo. My sessions are titled Creative Cloud paradise!Troubleshooting - what to do when things go wrongA Colorful CloudInDesign in Workgroups-sharing and syncing.

June 1-4: PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference (Philadelphia, PA)

PePcon is my absolute favorite conference every year. It is a total “love-fest” for designers creating digital OR print work. Conference hosts David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion work hard to foster a sense of community at this event, and the results are spectacular. It is so much fun to talk with attendees and other speakers between sessions and over meals. I’m presenting 3 sessions at PePcon: A Jargon-Free Guide to Compressing and Editing Video, Must-Know Interactive Effects for Tablet Apps (with Bob Levine), and Publishing Interactive Apps for Tablets. I can’t recommend PePcon enough. Use code SPK73W when registering for a $50 discount on your registration.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Creative Cloud Mac OS X requirements

If you are a Macintosh Adobe Creative Cloud user, you need to know this: Adobe has been trying to get the word out that the “next major release” of Creative Cloud will require Max OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or higher. As of this writing, the latest version of OS X is 10.10 (Yosemite). 

Mac OS X updates are free, so for some people this is no big deal. But for users with old computers, or who are prevented from updating their operating system for other reasons, this could present difficulty.

This does not mean that if you don’t upgrade you won’t be able to use Creative Cloud. Users running older versions of OS X will still be able to install and run the versions of Creative Cloud applications they are using today, and the Creative Cloud Desktop app will still be compatible with OS X 10.7 and above. If you don’t upgrade to OS X 10.9 or newer, you just won’t be able to install the next versions of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. when they are released.

Like it or not, I think this is the new reality. Now that Apple has been offering OS X upgrades free, and development cycles are being shortened, we will all need to keep our operating systems more up-to-date than we perhaps have in the past.