Archive for August, 2013

Back to School with Adobe Illustrator and Infographics

Both of my daughters are excited about the upcoming school year  (high school and junior high).  They are busy school shopping, selecting classes, and attending athletic two-a-days.  Meanwhile, their teachers are busy winding down their much-earned summer of relaxation and are writing curriculum, creating lesson plans, and planning “cool” projects.  Yep, it’s that time of the year – back to school time!

This year, why not consider incorporating infographic design into your curriculum?  Infographics provide an interesting way to visualize information, knowledge and data.  Infographic design is also a great way for students to learn Adobe Illustrator while solving problems in a creative way.

I recommend starting with a topic that interest the students – themselves!  For example, why not have the students create an infographic outlining what they did over the summer?

This is a great beginning-of-the-year project, as it allows the students to share about their summer while learning Adobe Illustrator.  Because infographics typically consist of a combination of graphs, charts, data, and simple graphics, the instructor can kick-start the course by teaching basic Illustrator skills such as:

  • Combining shapes using the Shape Builder Tool
  • Pattern Building (Background)
  • Typography
  • Building Simple Shapes (rectangle, rounded rectangle, star, ellipse, etc.)
  • Strokes and Lines
  • Color Selection

For example, the following infographic visually represents my “summer in review”.  I selected 4 summer-time events that I wanted to display in a simple, yet effective manner.

summer_infographic2

 

The Illustrator tools/skills I incorporated are:

  • Shape Builder Tool – The  people icons and the sunscreen bottle
  • Shape Tool – The sun was made from an ellipse and a star (obviously there are many examples of rectangles)
  • Typography
  • Strokes and Lines – I used the Spiral tool for the surfing wave and the line tool to create the vertical divider as well as the swimming pool water.
  • Pattern Panel – I created a horizontal striped pattern and applied it to the background.
  • Alignment Panel – for aligning the text
  • Kuler – to find my color palette

As you can see, these are very basic  skills and a great way to introduce your new digital graphics students, communications students, and career and tech students to Adobe Illustrator.  Not to mention, it will also get them thinking about how to communicate ideas in a creative way.

Infographic Resources –

 

Have a great and creative 2013-2014 school year!

Scott Trudeau
www.scotttrudeau.com 
Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc. 

Follow me on Twitter!
https://twitter.com/scott_trudeau

 

 

 

 

Easy feedback with FormsCentral

FC1

I constantly hear feedback from people needing an easy way to make and collect forms. The funny thing is, all these people have Acrobat XI, which allows them to use FormsCentral, an essential tool for collecting data and distributing surveys.

FormsCentral is kind of the hidden gem associated with Acrobat XI. It allows you to easily create forms by just clicking and designing, dragging and dropping, and using basic menus you know from any word processing program. Let me tell you a few key things in FormsCentral that you could use in your classroom, office, or department and make your life easier. No more collecting paper and tallying them up.

1. Easy to build. You simply can start with a template. You can easily add your own header image. You click a plus (+) sign to add a new field. You check a box if you want it required. How much easier could it get? There is no code involved.

2. Advanced options. Sending email notifications and customize that. You need to collect payments? FC works with PayPal. FormsCentral can also redirect after you submit the form. Or even closed messages can be fully customized. “Advanced” really doesn’t apply to this as far as difficulty though. It’s all for efficiency.

3. Save as PDF form. Need to send to someone in a PDF and not in a web browser? Just click File–>Save as PDF and FormsCentral will build an Acrobat form for you. FormsCentral can automatically collect responses from PDFs as well!

4. Spreadsheet results / Reports. (figures 1/2) This is the heart of FormsCentral. The ability to see results in a very familiar-looking spreadsheet and being able to save to PDF or Excel is huge for the ability to take the results and the data outside of FormsCentral. You can even customize a summary report and show off the charts in a fun way or even export each chart as a file. (see screenshots below)

If you haven’t hopped in the driver seat and given FormsCentral a test drive, now is the time to try it. As educators, we could all use this to learn more about our departments, classes, and students. It’s a little tool with a lot of power for education and could save tons of time and give you an insight into your institution.

Continue reading…

AEL Summer Institute – Inspiring teachers globally

For the fifth year in a row, I was privileged to recently attend and participate in a truly awesome Adobe-sponsored education event; The AEL Summer Institute.

What is an AEL, you ask?

Well here’s a bit of info (admittedly not in my own words):

The Adobe Education Leaders Program highlights the contributions of innovative educators in higher ed and K–12 who are effectively using Adobe tools and applications to promote excellence in the classroom.

Adobe Education Leaders are dedicated to enhancing creativity and collaboration and improving the teaching and learning experience. They share their expertise through workshops and conferences and help develop standards-based curriculums that are used worldwide.

As Adobe updates it products and develops new ones, Education Leaders provide valuable input through beta programs and focus groups. They are among the first to use new technologies in the classroom and establish learning objectives around them.

Through the Education Leaders Program, a network of outstanding educators inspire each other, share ideas, and collaborate. The program provides the leadership and professional development to help administrators and faculty think in new and creative ways.

Now, having been an AEL for several years before joining Adobe,  I can say this: This group of teachers is passionate, innovative, and dedicated to educating both their students and their peers. They thrive on learning as much as teaching and are incredibly talented at what they do. They are inspiring, because they inspire and energize each other. And they are just plain wonderful people. Continue reading…

Adobe Creative Cloud for Education Deployment Resources

Adobe Creative Cloud for Education Deployment Resources

Adobe Family of Deployment Tools for Enterprise

Adobe Family of Deployment Tools for Enterprise

The enterprise deployment tools

Since the release of the Adobe Creative Cloud for Enterprise (CCE) and the Creative Cloud Packager for Enterprise (CCP) this past June, many institutions are preparing their images and applications for fall semester deployment. These tools are free and are used when deploying applications in the Enterprise. Information about these tools and links to these applications can be found at the URLs below and also on your Adobe Licensing Portal (LWS)In this post we will review the role of CCP and it associated tools. To make things easier, a list of resources follows at the end of this post.

Background

Beginning with CS6 was released, Adobe has been hard at work in providing a more enterprise-friendly environment for packaging and provisioning the applications for deployment across the campus. The individual application installers are being standardized so that they can be packaged into either a .MSI file for Windows or a .PKG file for Mac. These common installer file types can distributed by any means that support them.

Changes to packaging process when deploying CCE

Unlike CS6, CCE packages must be packaged thorough the CCP dashboard. This is an application downloaded from the Adobe Licensing Portal (LWS). CCP will then pull the applications from the Adobe Cloud Server to the local IT admin machine where they can be serialized and packaged for distribution to the machines across campus. The advantage of this packaging is that the software will be pre-activated so that once placed on the destination machine, there will be no need to “phone home” periodically (as it does for named user installations like CC for individuals and Teams). This type of packaging and deployment is known as Anonymous (or machine-based deployment). Note: unlike  CS6, there is no ability to enter serial numbers to the individual applications when used in the enterprise. They must be entered via the CCP tool or the Adobe Application Provisioning Tool (AAPT).

Distributing packages

Some common methods for distribution include:

  • Cloning image masters for replication on client machines using such tools as Casper, Ghost, and Apple Remote Desktop to name a few.
  • Pushing these packages though Microsoft SCCM, Altiris, or ARD, for example
  • When network access to the client machine is not practical. placing the package file on the computer desktop and double-clicking will extract it. You must then delete the package file. 

Application exceptions when packaging with CCP

While most of the applications for CCE can be packaged with the CCP dashboard, there are still a few that have not bee standardized to run in the common packaging environment. Adobe is working on getting these applications into the CCP family, but until then these applications need to be installed differently.

As of this post, the exceptions are:

  • Windows – LightRoom 5, Acrobat XI, Muse, and the Edge family of applications still under developer preview in Adobe Labs.
  • Macintosh – Muse, and the Edge family of applications still under developer preview in Adobe Labs.

Working with Exceptions

Since there are still a few applications that fall outside of the CCP environment, these applications each have a slightly different procedure and requirement for proper deployment. The steps and requirements are available at http://tinyurl.com/ccpackager.

If you do not follow these steps, the apps under exception will not install properly. This includes installing as a trial, or not installing at all so please be sure to review the instructions and test prior to full deployment. The Community Forum is a good place to get more info and answers to specific problems. The Link for the CCE forum can be found here 

http://forums.adobe.com/community/download_install_setup/creative_suite_enterprise_deployment

Deploying Acrobat

In Enterprise environments where you are deploying many Acrobat XI installs, you may want to consider packaging Acrobat with the Acrobat Customization Wizard available as part of the Acrobat Enterprise Toolkit at http://tinyurl.com/acroetk. To use this tool, you will enter a separate Acrobat SN in LWS, not the SN supplied with the CC apps. Once the Packages are created they can be deployed as part of your normal distribution process.

Additional Resource Links
•    CREATIVE CLOUD PACKAGER DOCUMENTATION

http://tinyurl.com/ccpackager

•    CREATIVE CLOUD TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

http://tinyurl.com/cctechnical

•    ENTERPRISE TOOLKIT FOR ACROBAT

http://tinyurl.com/acroetk

•    WHAT’S NEW IN CREATIVE CLOUD
http://tinyurl.com/ccnewfeatures
•    ENTERPRISE DEPLOYMENT WEBSITE

http://tinyurl.com/csdeploy

•    LICENSING AND INSTALLATION BLOG

http://blogs.adobe.com/oobe