Friday, April 30, 2010

Adobe Creative Suite 5 now shipping

Adobe announced last night that CS5, announced on April 12, is now shipping. Also, for the first time, you can download a free trial of the entire CS5 Master Collection (18 programs!) as a single 5+ gigabyte download.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spotlight sees PSD layer names, Adobe Bridge doesn't

Did you know that the Mac OS X Spotlight feature has the ability to "see" the layer names in Photoshop .psd files? If you have a layer named "timbuktu" in a Photoshop .psd image, and you do a spotlight search for "timbuktu" that image will be found. This could be useful if you misplace a file and for some strange reason you can't recall the filename but you do remember the name of one of the layers. Or, if you need to display all the files in a particular folder to which you've applied a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

You can also quickly view the layer names in a .psd file by selecting the file in the Macintosh Finder and choosing File > Get Info.

As an alternative to Spotlight, check out EasyFind. I use this free utility frequently and love it.

Alas, Adobe Bridge, with all of its metadata wonderfulness, can't search for or display Photoshop layer names.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Typography on the iPad

Stephen Coles wrote a great piece on the FontFeed blog about typography (or lack thereof) on Apple's new iPad, and also covers some points about the iPhone and Mac OS X.

Justified type without hyphenation in iBooks?

iBooks don't recognize embedded fonts?

No widow-orphan control?


See also Liz Castro's great posts about the iPad, the ePub standard, and InDesign.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Add new capabilities to InDesign & InCopy

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. I usually start a writing project in Word or NeoOffice, so that I can use an outliner to quickly organize and rearrange my thoughts. I also rely on the thesaurus in those programs.

But sometimes for various reasons I do my writing in InDesign. But InDesign doesn't have a Thesaurus, and I miss that. But thanks to Mac OS X "Services", I can access a thesaurus from within InDesign. Just select a word, and choose InDesign > Services > Look Up in Dictionary. The Apple Dictionary application will be launched, and the selected word will be looked up in the dictionary. From there, I can click on Thesaurus to explore alternate words, or Wikipedia to learn more about the word.

Other services that I've sometimes used in InDesign or InCopy include Show Address in Google Maps, Search With Google and Open URL.

These options in the Services section of theInDesign menu (aka the Application menu) are provided by OS X, and work in many Macintosh applications (but not Illustrator, Photoshop or Flash unfortunately). So this is a Macintosh-only feature. I don't know of a similar technology available on Windows.

In OS X 10.6, you may need to choose InDesign > Services > Services Preferences to turn on some of the services mentioned above. Only services that have a check mark next to them will show up in your Services menu.

I've also installed WordService and CalcService from DEVONtechnologies. These free downloads add a bunch of text and number processing features to the Services menu. Particularly handy is the ability to quickly insert the current date and time into your text, and the ability to do math in InDesign.

If you frequently need to shorten URLs in your text, check out this solution for, This is really slick. You just select a long URL in InDesign, choose InDesign > Services > Shorten URL with, and is contacted, the URL is shortened, and your long URL is replaced with the short URL. Click here for solutions for TinyURL and various other URL shorteners.

Warning, I encountered one serious bug while messing around with this. If I have a cell or any other portion of a table selected, and I choose InDesign > Services, InDesign crashes immediately. I'm running InDesign CS4 6.0.4 on Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Check out InDesignSecrets!

My friends David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion over at the popular InDesignSecrets blog and podcast have asked me to become a regular contributor to their blog...and I've agreed. I'm certainly not going to curtail, or even reduce, my postings here. Writing for InDesignSecrets will be in addition to what I do here. A couple of weeks ago I put up a post about a cool Styles panel trick, and today I put up a post about importing spreadsheets into InDesign.

If you're not familiar with David and Anne-Marie, you need to give the InDesignSecrets podcast a listen. Somehow, they make listening to a dialog about the Separations Preview panel or find/change minutae fun and entertaining. A great way to pick up InDesign tips while you're running, walking, driving or whatever else you can do while listening to audio.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Creative Suite 5 announced

Finally, the cat's out of the bag. Adobe announced Creative Suite 5 today. I'm really impressed with this release. For designers, there's something for everyone. But you might have to dig beyond Adobe's marketing messaging to discover the features and improvements that will affect you.

Begin by watching the 35 minute launch video. This will give you a general idea of where Adobe thinks the design market is headed in the future. Don't expect to see a lot of coverage of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. In fact, at least the first 5 and last 5 minutes are devoted to Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Omniture, Flash Media Server, Scene7 and Business Catalyst. These are all products that don't directly impact the lives of most But don't despair! There are HUGE improvements for designers using InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver in CS5.

Much will be written about the many new features both here and elsewhere in the upcoming weeks and months. But right now, one way to get a sense of what's new is to view AdobeTV and visit the "What's New" page on for each product. Here are some links directly to that content.

InDesign [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Photoshop [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Illustrator [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Flash Professional [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Dreamweaver [AdobeTV] [What's New]

My friends over at InDesignSecrets have compiled a detailed writeup of many of the new features of InDesign. A must-read if you use InDesign.

Flash Catalyst is a brand-new application that's bundled with Creative Suite Design Premium, Web Premium and Master Collection. I'm really excited about this application. I've been using it a lot and will be writing more about it here in the future. Flash Catalyst allows designers to create interactive content without writing code, using Illustrator and Photoshop as a starting point. Learn more about it here, or see it on AdobeTV.

Besides the big shiny new features for each product, the InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop development teams all spent a lot of time smoothing off rough edges, polishing existing features, and adding "little things" that customers have been requesting. The Photoshop team called this process JDI (Just Do It). One could argue that for some users, these little things equal the big shiny features in importance for day-to-day productivity.

If it seems hard to keep up, consider this. Adobe has released 5 versions of the Suite in less than 7 years! The first verson of Creative Suite was released in October 2003. Whew!

Adobe expects to ship English language versions of Creative Suite 5 by mid-May 2010.

Monday, April 05, 2010

iPad and Adobe

Apple is reporting today that they've sold over 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight April 3, and that these early users have already downloaded over one million apps and over 250,000 eBooks. With all the frenzy around the release of Apple's iPad, it's interesting to note that Adobe has also jumped on the bandwagon with a free sketching app for the iPad called Adobe Ideas.

I don't have an iPad . . . yet. I'm really interested to see where this all goes. Will it change the way creatives work? Will it change the way we consume information? Will it be a great entertainment device? Time will tell. This is an exciting time to be involved in the creative, publishing or entertainment industries!

How to create a clean Illustrator file

Have you noticed that every document you create in Illustrator contains a bunch of default swatches, graphic styles, brushes and symbols? These can make it difficult to locate and use the specific swatches, brushes etc. that you create for the project at hand. In addition, they make your AI and EPS files larger than they need to be. You can fix this. Here's how to do it in Illustrator CS3 and CS4.

1. Search your computer for a folder named New Document Profiles.

On my Macintosh with Illustrator CS3, it's found in:
My_home_folder > Library > Application Supoort > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS3

On my Macintosh with Illustrator CS4, it's found in:
My_home_folder > Library > Application Supoort > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS4 > en_US

On my Windows Vista computer with Illustrator CS3, it's found in:
My_user_folder > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings

On my Windows Vista computer with Illustrator CS4, it's found in:
My_user_folder > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings > en_US

The location of your folder may vary depending on your configuration. Make a note of the location where you found the folder. You will need this later.

2. Run Illustrator, and choose File > New.

3. In the New Document dialog box, choose Print (or Web) for the New Document Profile, then click the OK button.

4. Choose Window > Actions to display the Actions panel, and play the Delete Unused Panel Items action. This will delete the extra swatches, brushes, graphic styles and symbols from the blank document you have open.

5. Examine the Swatches panel. You may see a few stray swatches or Color Groups still there. Delete any of these that you don't want. If you have certain colors that you DO always want to appear in your Swatches panel, add them now.

6. Choose File > Save, and name the file something like "Print-clean" (or "Web-clean" if you started with the Web profile in step 3). Save the file into the location you made note of in step 1.

7. Choose File > Close.

That's're finished! To start a new file with the "cleaned" settings, choose File > New, and choose Print-clean or Web-clean for the New Document Profile, and a new document with nice empty swatches, brushes, graphic styles and symbols panels will appear, ready for you to create your own swatches, brushes, etc.