Archive for August, 2011

Use Your Imagination and Win $10,000!

Adobe has launched Adobe & Imagination Challenge, a new contest for students 15 years of age and older, encouraging them to show off their creative abilities with Adobe Creative Suite® 5.5 software products. Individual students who submit their creative pieces will have a chance to win $10,000. First prize winners in each of the four weekly judging sessions, and the grand prize winner, receive a $10,000 prize and will have their work showcased on Adobe.com!

Work must be submitted online, where it will be featured for fellow students to vote on. The pieces will also be reviewed by a panel of professionals — including DeadMau5, Jake & Amir, Rivers Cuomo, and Scott Dadich — who will select the top 10 finalists for each of the weekly judging periods. Students in North America can submit entries from August 21 to October 15, 2011, for weekly judging.

Let your students know about this rewarding opportunity to express themselves and show off their talents with CS5.5 tools.

Fireworks Mobile Design Tip: Batch Processing app icons in Fireworks

In the previous post, I talked about using Fireworks to create multiple application icons for an Android device, and then how to export those multiple icons as individual flat files.

In this post, we’ll look at how to batch process those larger images into three different sizes, and how to automate that process for future work. The original icons were created quite large – 244 pixels square, to be exact. This made it easy to be very detailed when creating the look of the icons. And while this is useful from and editing and creative perspective, the project requires three sets of smaller dimension icons for an Android application.  Well, Fireworks excels at this type of workflow and produces very small files to boot. Continue reading…

Build a 3D Planet in Photoshop

Imagine a satellite traveling thousands of miles into space, flying around distant planets, snapping pictures of their surfaces, and returning the images to Earth.  Well, it has been done, and the images are amazing (Thanks NASA).

What is even more amazing is that you can find the images using a simple Internet search (keywords:  Jupiter, surface, map) and wrap them around  3D objects created in Photoshop!

This makes for a great student project.

Here is how…http://youtu.be/uqQ9TTALw7U 

In my next tutorial I will show you how to export the 3D layer to an Acrobat PDF file.  This will allow mom, dad, or another student to view and manipulate the 3D object using the (free) Acrobat Reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireworks Mobile Design Tip: Exporting Layers to Files

In July of 2011, I presented a Fireworks session at D2WC called Wireframing and Prototyping for Mobile using Adobe Fireworks. I was so pleased to see a very full room of attendees. Even happier to note that many were not current Fireworks users.

Yes, I did say happy. The reason is simple. I want people to know what they’re missing out on. :-)  As you might be noticing, I’m a big Fireworks fan. Huge, even.

My original goal with this session was to focus on some sample prototypes and wireframes, but based on the crowd and many of the questions fired at me, I changed the slant slightly and talked more about how many of the Fireworks built-in features are designed to save you time, without sacrificing quality. Time is money as they say. Projects are quoted on estimated number of hours, so the sooner you can complete a wireframe or a prototype, the sooner you can move forward to actually wiring up the actual application, and the happier everyone is.

The sooner students can learn how to achieve optimum results in less time, the more employable they are.

As usual, I had way more content than I needed or had time to use, so I’ve posted the files (including brief slide deck, a couple tutorials and LOTS of assets) on my web site.

Aside from using Fireworks pages to mock up wireframes and prototypes, FW also has many other built-in features that can really help with any kind of prototyping, especially mobile.

A couple things I really wanted to get to in my session but ran out of time were:

  1. Exporting layers to files
  2. Batch processing for mobile

In this tutorial we’ll look at exporting layers to files.  I’ll also be releasing a new tutorial that will cover batch processing the new files created from this tutorial. Continue reading…

Adobe Education Exchange Announces The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards

Just as Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences, educators are changing the world through innovative teaching. From creating inspiring curricula to bringing dynamic, media-rich content into courses and assignments, educators go above and beyond to prepare students for today’s global workforce. But creating those amazing learning experiences for their students is not an easy task. To encourage educators to share their successful teaching materials and help each other get ready for the new school year, the Adobe Education Exchange launched the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards. Starting this week, educators can win great prizes by simply submitting their best projects, lesson plans, curricula, and tutorials. Prepare to be inspired!

The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards will recognize and reward Adobe Education Exchange members who submit the most innovative teaching and learning materials. The community will choose the winners of the awards by rating and voting for one another’s entries. Educators can submit entries in four categories including:

 Higher Education Digital Arts and Media

Primary/Secondary Digital Arts and Media

Higher Education Cross-Curricular

Primary/Secondary Cross-Curricular

Grand prize and runner-up winners will go home with prizes like laptop computers, tablets, digital cameras, and the new Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 to help them continue to create innovative learning experiences for their students.

For more information on the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards or to enter, visit: http://www.adobe.com/go/AdobeEDUAwards. For inspiration and examples, join or sign in to browse the resources on the Adobe Education Exchange. Also, be sure to follow @AdobeEDU and #AdobeEDUAwards for the latest updates about the awards. Get your creative juices flowing, submit your great teaching materials and win big!

Underserved Youth + World + Media = Adobe Youth Voices!

As an educator you are most likely aware of many of Adobe’s great products, our super teacher resources like Adobe TV for professional development and the explosive growth of the Adobe Education Exchange. But what about those students of yours, especially students in underserved communities from around the world who could be empowered with some help from Adobe? Adobe Youth Voices (part of the Adobe Foundation Philanthropy Program) aims to help youth and educators who teach to them in these underserved communities from all over the world.

I recently had the honor of attending the 2011 Adobe Youth Voices summit in San Jose, CA where eighty educators chaperoned two youth from their schools and programs spending five days with them learning about Adobe products, technologies and teaching methodologies. But for me (who was on hand at the Summit doing some training) the high point was seeing what the educators along with their students created; outstanding short five minute movies covering subject like: Human Rights, Relationships, Communication, the Environment and other important topics.  Using basic video & sound capturing hardware gear and primarily Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements to edit their videos the attendees broke into several teams and over the course of five sleepless days and nights produced amazing videos in record time.

Check out examples of some of the great Adobe Youth Voices videos in the Youth Media Gallery link here as well as more general  information about the program here.

 

Updated Adobe Acrobat X PDF Portfolio Layout

In Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro we introduced PDF portfolios with which you were able to create a welcome screen as well as a banner at the top of the navigation screen for a portfolio title, contact information, head shot, etc. With Adobe Acrobat X Pro we made changes to the layout options which removed these features. Well the good news is that Joel Geraci, Adobe Acrobat technical evangelist, has created an Adobe Acrobat X billboard layout adding these features back in. Check out Joel’s blog and download the file!

Adobe FormsCentral – Skip Logic

The smart gang over at Adobe FormsCentral recently added a great new feature to the forms service. You can now direct users to different pages based on their previous answers.

Check out this video for more on Adobe FormsCentral’s latest feature…”Skip Logic.”

Abracadabra! The Green Screen Magic of Premiere Elements 9

Adobe Education Leaders (AELs) in front of a portable green screen

Adobe Education Leaders (AELs) in front of a portable green screen

If you’ve ever been to famed Las Vegas, Nevada you may have had the pleasure of seeing one of the many fantastic Illusionists preforming their incredible magic there. Several years ago I had the fun opportunity to see world famous illusionist David Copperfield in action at Cesar’s Palace along with my wife. During one of David’s sold out performances I was one of twelve lucky audience members who was picked by him to come up on stage to take part in one of his tricks. After entering a strange transparent on all sides box like contraption with the other volunteers the contraption exploded with a bang into flames, fireworks and flashing lights! I suddenly “disappeared” along with the eleven other audience members to the simultaneous loud gasp from hundreds of people watching the trick from their theater seats. To my amazement along with the other eleven people who disappeared with me we all had a big laugh together when we realized how David actually made us disappear – it was incredibly simple how he did, but from the perspective of the people watching the trick out in the theater it was astonishing.

Before we were made to reappear in the magic box and be reunited with our friends and loved ones David appeared in person back stage with all of us! David quickly told us he would give each of us a personalized autographed photo of himself in exchange for our life-long swearing of total secrecy of how he did the trick. All twelve of us happily agreed and promised David we would never ever tell anyone how he did this trick; to this day fifteen years later I never have – even to my wife or kids who have begged me repeatedly to divulge all. So what does this have to do with Premiere Elements? – read on.

What’s interesting is some of the earliest silent film makers were previously stage magicians before they hand cranked a film camera. In fact one the earliest projection apparatus even before film cameras and film projectors were invented was called a “Magic Lantern,” a tin lamp-like device with a concave mirror, lens and an oil lamp or candle inside of it which was used as the light source to project a still image on to a screen or wall.

We’ve come a long, long way since the eras of the early stage magicians and first film makers who magically made things disappear and reappear on their limelight lit stages or in their early hand cranked films shown in picture palaces. In the case of the silent film makers to make say an actor magically disappear or appear in a scene it simply came down to scratching the actor’s image out of the nitrate film with a sharp blade.

In this digital age we are all a part of right now we are stunned by the digital CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) magic of the likes of James Cameron’s award winning film “Avatar,” or a flim like I saw last night; Rise of the Planet of the Apes and other amazing movies and television series that use state-of-the-art 3D techniques, or compositing tricks to create the illusion that different elements are all parts of the same scene to make things magically disappear or reappear in scenes.

Now you might be thinking to create this same kind of CGI magic for your own movie projects is not only super expensive, but most likely really hard to do – not at all. In fact with Premiere Elements it is as simple as shooting two clips of video, dragging & dropping them into Premiere Elements timeline and then clicking the mouse just once to achieve the same kind of CGI compositing magic of a James Cameron or making things appear or disappearing like David Copperfield on a live stage. Note in Premiere elements we call this cool trick “Video Merge,” but it also goes by a few other names like: Blue or Green Screen, Chroma Key and Compositing.

I’ve created two short Adobe Captivate screen capture demonstrations of how to do a basic Video Merge effect with Premiere Elements as well as a bit more advanced features and posted the demos to YouTube. Check out Part 1 or Part 2 (links below) to learn how you too can become a CGI magician in just a few mouse clicks using Premiere Elements Video Merge!

Part 1: Movie Magic with Adobe Premiere Elements Video Merge

Part 2: Creating Video Merge effects with Adobe Premiere Elements