Author Archive: Scott Trudeau

Adobe Illustrator’s Pattern Tool

Adobe Illustrator’s Pattern Tool can  quickly add spice to the background of your project.  In this case, I used it to create the horizontal stripes making up the background of this infographic.


Check out this YouTube video for a short tutorial on how to use the Pattern Tool.


Scott Trudeau 
Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc.

Follow me on Twitter!

Use Adobe Illustrator’s Blend Tool to Help Build Infographics

You can use Adobe Illustrator’s Blend Tool to quickly build columns and rows of icons.  This is great for creating infographics.

Check out this quick tutorial!

Illustrator's Blend Tool

…and another quick tutorial that provides  additional tips for blending colors and duplicating columns.

blend tool

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.



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 
Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc. 

Follow me on Twitter!





Adobe EchoSign Can Save Your Organization Huge Time and Money

EchoSign Testimonial

Early in the year I received an unsolicited email from a customer that works for a large Texas independent school district touting the benefits of their EchoSign purchase.

 “Today I did a MegaSign of about 1,000 Letters of Reasonable Assurance to our at-will, non-contract employees who don’t work during the summer (we send about 3,000 total).  A process that used to take a team of people months to complete (printing letters, stuffing envelopes, mailing, tracking, receiving, logging, scanning…)

with EchoSign, I was able to do this myself.  I had about 40% back before I left work (with an average processing time of 21 minutes).  Incredible!”


Mike went on to explain that receiving signed Letters of Reasonable Assurance is extremely important in that it protects schools from paying unemployment during the summer break.  Without the letter, he explained,  districts would “pay enormous sums in unemployment.”

 So…what is EchoSign?

Adobe EchoSign provides an extremely easy-to-use electronic signature solution.

EchoSign can work with all kinds of documents.  The most common document formats used with EchoSign are:

  • PDFs
  • Word Documents
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Common image formats

With EchoSign there is no need for your customers (or students, faculty, and parents) to download or signup for anything. They can use their mouse, stylus, or finger to sign the document (heck, they can even type their name into a field and have EchoSign create a signature for them), and you don’t have to worry about what device or browser is supported.  EchoSign works on all browsers, across all devices.

How can teachers use EchoSign?

As a parent, I would love for my child’s school to offer a digital signature option.  For example, say my daughter’s teacher is charged with collecting fieldtrip permission slips from the entire 7th grade.  The teacher can use EchoSign to easily complete and manage this task. The teacher would simply upload the form into EchoSign, add a signature field (drag and drop simple), and send the digital permission slip out to the parents.

I would receive an email on my mobile device, open the email, click a link and sign my daughter’s permission slip (with my finger – touch devices are amazing)!   For those parents that do not have a touch device they can use their mouse or a stylus.  I submit the permission slip and receive a signed copy within seconds.  The teacher also receives a signed copy (everyone is happy).

For those that don’t immediately sign, the teacher can setup reminder emails that reoccur on a set schedule.  The teacher no longer has to deal with last minute phone calls with parents scrambling to find and return important school documents.

What about security?

“But how do I know that it truly was the parent that signed the permission slip?”

That is a great question!  If you think about it, e-signatures provide more security than the paper-based permission slips that the students are returning. The teacher has no idea that the paper-based document truly reflects the parent’s signature or a forgery.  However, with an e-signed document, the parent must log into their email account (presumably using a password) to view the document. An email-based delivery mechanism provides a layer of security that the student’s backpack does not.

More on EchoSign security…

How about complex signature routing?

No worries! EchoSign has you covered.

I’ve also viewed more than a few documents that require complex signature routing.  For example, a change-of-course form may require a signature from the student, professor, student advisor, and the dean of the college.  If each person takes a day it can easily take a document almost a week to process.  EchoSign can handle that kind of complex routing as well, and greatly reduce the time it take to process multi-signature documents.

Below are examples of common documents that require a signature.

  • Contracts
  • HR Documents
  • Permission Slips
  • Parent/Teacher/Administrator documents
  • Progress Reports
  • University change-of-course forms
  • Student Parking Forms
  • Student Housing Forms

…and the list goes on!

Fantastic!  How can I get it?

Hold your horses pardner!  You may want to speak with your Adobe Account Manager.

Ways to purchase EchoSign…

  • Signup for EchoSign electronic signature software online (great for individuals or small teams)
  • Speak to your Adobe Account manager (best for larger departmental and institutional purchases).  For larger purchases, I highly recommend speaking to your Adobe account manager, as they can make recommendations based on your organization’s needs and also provide you with the best pricing options.  

When you think of your organization’s document workflow think of the headaches you experience when trying to get paperwork signed and returned on a TIMELY basis.

Bottom-line… EchoSign has huge potential to save your institution time and money (while saving you from a huge document-induced migraine)!


Scott Trudeau
Senior Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc.

For more Adobe Tips, Tricks, and Information Follow me on Twitter @scott_trudeau

Adobe Digital Publishing Suite as a College Recruitment Tool?

My daughter exclaimed, “Hey Dad, I want to play soccer for the University of Alabama!”

I work with the Adobe education team, and my iPad is filled with examples of applications created with Adobe InDesign and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.   A University of Alabama DPS “app” that I had installed a few days prior was responsible for my daughter’s surprising exclamation.

The exclamation was surprising because:

  • both my wife and I graduated from the Texas A&M system
  • we live in Texas and have never been to Alabama (although I hear it is a great state)
  • I was cheering for LSU during the BCS championship game

Curiously, I glared at my daughter and replied “You want to play soccer for Alabama? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!”

Kelsey, with a sparkle in her eyes, replied, “Hold on a minute Dad, I’ll show yah.”

My daughter, after disappearing for a few seconds, returned holding my iPad.  She plopped down next to me and exclaimed, “Dad, Alabama has a cool app!” and proceeded to show me all the “cool stuff” that makes up Alabama’s female soccer program.

Some quotes lifted from the lips of my daughter:

  • “Check out this amazing video!”
  • “…wait Dad, swipe the image to see more pics.”
  • “scroll up and down to view stats about the players”
  • “Keep flipping to the right to watch some more videos.”

I’ll have to admit, the Alabama “Fan Guide” app is pretty darn slick.  The rich-multimedia experience captivates the audience and makes good use of video integration, photo slideshows, and interactivity. The app really makes the Alabama athletics program look great.

My daughter, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, looked up at me and said, “So what do you think Dad, can I play soccer for the University of Alabama?  Before I had time to answer, she blurted “click the home button, they also have one for Volleyball!”

As I walked away shaking my head and mumbling something about out-of-state tuition, Kelsey’s younger sister ran up and asked to view the app as well.  For forty-five minutes both girls sat around the living room zooming, swiping, playing videos, and learning all about Alabama’s athletic programs.  My girls had been “hooked!”

I’m not sure if Alabama intended on using their “Fan Guide” app as a recruitment tool, but this A&M family may just have crimson in their future.


Publications that are part of the Alabama DPS “Fan Guide” app:

  • 2012 Rowing
  • 2012 Softball
  • Gymnastics Fan Guide
  • Women’s Basketball Fan Guide
  • 2011 Volleyball
  • Note: The Soccer publication is no longer available (perhaps they are updating for the new season?) 

You may also want to check out the Alabama “Game Day” App.

Learn more about Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS)


Cronkite Students Create Award-Winning Multimedia Project

“State of Change” is an award-winning multimedia project created by Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate students.  The students used various Adobe products to create a website that offers a “rich look at Arizona history”.

The students were part of a graduate “boot camp” where they learned how to integrate journalistic storytelling and technology.  A few of the students had not previously had any experience with Adobe solutions, but the project introduced them to software applications like Flash and Dreamweaver.

“State of Change” won two national awards from the Broadcast Education Association, including the “Best of Festival” award, which honors the best work of the competition.

To learn more about the project visit:

“State of Change” Project

The Cronkite Journal  (2011 – 2012 journal, page 52)

Play LevelUp – Learn Photoshop by Playing a Game of Missions


Do you enjoy a bit of friendly competition?  Do you need to polish-up on your Photoshop skills?  You can do both by downloading and playing LevelUp for Photoshop!  LevelUp for Photoshop is a “game of missions” that will allow you to earn points – the more points you earn the better chance at winning prizes like Amazon gift cards and a chance to win a one-year membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud!  Heck, you also get the added benefit of learning more about Photoshop!

But you better hurry…because you must finish the game by midnight Pacific time on June 30, 2012, to be eligible for the Creative Cloud drawing.

Go check it out… 


Create a Swirl Pattern Using Illustrator CS6

The new pattern tools in Illustrator CS6 are simply amazing.  The new tools will greatly reduce the time it takes to create web patterns, textile patterns, fabric patterns, etc.   Now you can spend less time learning tools, and more time on your designs!

And heck…I’ve found that creating patterns is somewhat therapeutic!

I’ve included a quick tutorial on how to create a “swirl” pattern.  Enjoy.

View the Tutorial (YouTube)

Student Documentary Competition – $50,000 in Student and Teacher Prizes

Middle School and High School students can win some nice prize money while learning about the U.S. Constitution.  So kids, get out your cameras and start-up your copies of Premiere Elements and/or Premiere Pro and start editing your videos!

C-SPAN’s StudentCam is an annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think about issues that affect our communities and our nation. Students are asked to create a short (5-8 minute) video documentary related to the following topic: “The Constitution and You: Select any provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating why it’s important to you.”





Amazing Photoshop Touch Technique

Russell Brown thought up a great Photoshop Touch hack that is just too darn cool! Check out this short video on how to use Photoshop Touch and a flashlight to create some AMAZING lighting effects.