Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photoshop CS4 and Photo CD

A client who recently upgraded discovered that she can no longer open Kodak Photo CD scans in Photoshop CS4. She asked if there was any way to make this work.

Quick summary of the situation:

Kodak has stopped supporting Photo CD and the related plug-ins so Adobe stopped including the plug-ins with Photoshop CS4.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Photoshop CS3 installation DVD, you can retrieve the CS3 plug-in from there and install it in Photoshop CS4. This will work with Windows XP and Vista, and on non-Intel Macs.

If you have an Intel Mac, you need to run Photoshop under Rosetta to use the plug-in.

Other conversion possibilities:

The latest version of GraphicConverter, a low-cost Macintosh shareware program, will convert Photo CD images into other standard formats such as JPEG or TIFF.

Apparently some versions of iPhoto will open PhotoCD images (iPhoto '08 doesn't on my Intel Mac).

Pcdtojpeg is a Macintosh and Windows command-line conversion program for converting Photo CD images to JPEG format.

Other helpful links:

Brian Lawler's excellent article on Photo CD workarounds

Adobe Help: How to open a Photo CD file in Photoshop CS3

Adobe TechNote on opening Photo CD files in Photoshop CS3 and running CS3 under Rosetta

Ted Felix's Photo CD site

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Great digital photography resource

My neighbor and extremely talented architectural photographer Paul Crosby alerted me to the "" web site.

This amazing resource, developed by ASMP and funded by the Library of Congress, contains in-depth content about all things related to digital photography, with an emphasis on best practices and recommended workflows. If you're a photographer who wants to know more about how to shoot, organize, process and archive large volumes of images, you need to check this out.

Even if you aren't a photographer, you should check out the sections on color, data storage, an excellent section on metadata, backup, and the comprehensive glossary.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A couple of neat color tools

Here are a couple of interesting tools for color inspiration:

Think Ink is an iPhone app from Neenah Paper that will generate an RGB or CMYK color palette from an iPhone photo. You just shoot a photo or choose one from your photo library, choose a base color in the image, and the application does the rest. You can generate color palettes from photos, a base color you create, from Neenah paper colors, or using Dewey Attributes.

You no doubt are familiar with Kuler, Adobe's color inspiration Web application. (I've written previously about Kuler here). Here's an interesting twist: Daily Duluth is a blog run by a woman who lives and works in the city of Duluth, MN on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior. Each day, she takes a photograph of the ever-changing lake, builds a color palette, and uploads the palette to Kuler. You can view (and download) each of the palettes she's created here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Twin Cities InDesign User Group meeting

I've just finalized the details for the next meeting of the Twin Cities InDesign User Group. The next meeting will be January 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in auditorium 150 at MCAD.

This will be a great meeting. There will be two presentations: one by James Fritz on long document design and production, and the other by yours truly on using the obscure "Balance Ragged Lines" feature correctly. In addition, cake will be served in honor of the 10th birthday of InDesign. A full agenda for the meeting can be found here.

As always, the InDesign User Group meetings are FREE and open to the public, thanks to generous support from MCAD and Central Coast Solutions, but registration is required.

I hope to see you there!

Blatner Tools InDesign Plug-in released

David Blatner, in partnership with DTP Tools, has released Blatner Tools, a suite of 12 InDesign plug-ins that adds over 100 new features to InDesign CS3 and CS4. I haven't had time to try these yet, but they look really useful. Features that appeal to me include the ability to apply keyboard shortcuts to color swatches and layers, a "text controls" panel, and some serious automation for creating and using paragraph and character styles.

Monday, December 07, 2009

InDesign script for Balance Ragged Lines

In a recent podcast, David Blatner and Anne Marie Concepcion, proprietors of the excellent InDesignSecrets blog, talked about how InDesign's "Balance Ragged Lines" feature works. They discussed how the feature tends to favor a longer first line and a shorter second line, but that "under the hood" InDesign has the code to balance the lines differently.

I've whipped up a script that "exposes" this functionality in InDesign CS3/CS4. With this script you can tell InDesign to favor a shorter first line and a longer second line, or to try to make all lines the same length. See the documentation and example files that are packaged with the script for more detailed information.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Find and extract text from InDesign and Quark Files

Markzware, creators of the popular Q2ID, ID2Q and PUB2ID file conversion plug-ins, has just released PageZephyr, a Macintosh-only program that will index your Quark 6 (or newer) and InDesign CS (or newer) files, and then allow you to search and view the text content in the files, and extract the found content to RTF or TXT files.

Potential uses include: quickly locating layout files based on content on a large storage volume, quick text extraction for repurposing or archiving content, or sifting through large volumes of Quark and InDesign content for legal discovery purposes.

I'll be evaluating PageZephyr in the near future, and will provide a more detailed post soon.

* Full disclosure: I'm a Markzware affiliate. This means that if you visit their site from here, and eventually buy something, I might make a few bucks. Thanks.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The magazine of the future?

TechCrunch has a couple of nice writeups about Time Inc's new digital magazine concept, showing a copy of Sports Illustrated running as a touchscreen application. Such an application could go nicely with the upcoming rumored color tablet computers from Apple and others.

According to the articles, the technology used to run the application is Adobe AIR.

Read this post, and then this one. Be sure to watch the included videos for powerful insight into what the brain trust at Time Inc. thinks magazines of the not-too-distant-future might look like.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

An InDesign GREP tutorial

Steve (who attended my "Power through your work with InDesign Styles" seminar in September) wrote:

"I am trying to find an InDesign GREP style that would find select every character (paragraphs included) between any amount of tabs and the next instance of a bullet. Any Ideas?"

The GREP string that I came up with to do what Steve asks is this:


I'll take this apart and try to help you understand it piece by piece.


The \t means to look for a tab character. The (?<=) is called a "positive lookbehind," which tells InDesign to not include the thing it finds in the search result. So (?<=\t) means to "look back" for a tab character, but don't include the tab character in the search result.


The square brackets create what is called a "character class," which means to "match any of the things in these brackets". In this case, in the brackets we have a ~8 which is a bullet, and a \t which is a tab character. So [~8\t] would mean to match any character that is a bullet or tab. But if you look closely, we have a ^ before the bullet in the character class. This means "not". So [^~8\t] means to match any character that is NOT a bullet or tab.

Finally, you'll notice a + after the character class. This means to match the character class "one or more times". So [^~8\t]+ means to match "one or more characters that are not bullet or tab characters".


As we saw above, the ~8 is a bullet character. The (?=) is a "positive lookahead," which, like a "positive lookbehind" tells InDesign to not include the thing it finds in the search result. So (?=~8) means to "look ahead" for a bullet character, but don't include the bullet character in the search results.

Putting it all together, we have (?<=\t)[^~8\t]+(?=~8) which means to:

Look for one or more characters that are not bullets or tabs, that are preceded by a tab character and followed by a bullet, (but don't include the tab or bullet in the search results).

The (?<=\t)[^~8\t]+(?=~8) string can be used in InDesign in two different places:

1. The GREP tab of the Find/Change dialog box, to do a search based on the GREP expression, or

2. The GREP Style tab of the Paragraph Style Options dialog box, which allows you to have InDesign assign a character style automatically any time that the GREP expression is matched.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Create interactive maps with Illustrator

See this post from John Nack about using an Illustrator plug-in called MAPublisher to create interactive Flash maps like this one.

I know that many of you have been looking for ways to easily produce maps such as this, so thought I'd point it out.

Related items:

ESRI offers a free beta Make a Map service for creating an interactive Flash map like the one below, based on your location, desired map size and demographic data set.

There is lots of good Mapping/Illustrator/Flash info at Kelso's Corner.