Archive for August, 2007

August 30, 2007

Adobe Education September eSeminars

Adobe® Acrobat® 8 Professional: Beyond the PDF file
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
10:00 A.M. PDT
Learn how Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional software can be used for so much more than creating PDF files. In this 30-minute session, see how Acrobat can help you streamline the review process, enhance research and curriculum development, speed up archiving and retrieval of information, and more.
Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional: Creating forms
Thursday, September 13, 2007
10:00 A.M. PDT
This 30-minute session will show you how Acrobat 8 Professional—and its included LiveCycle® Designer software—can be used to design dynamic, interactive forms that will let you collect and manage information for research, proposals, administrative tasks, registration, and more via the web and e-mail.

Adobe Digital School Collection Spotlight

Friday, October 5, 2007
9:00 A.M. PDT
Join Adobe Education Leader Linda Dickenson for a one-hour session that will explore exciting ways in which educators can use the Adobe Digital School Collection to inspire and engage students. Learn about tools for digital storytelling, multimedia projects, and effective communication and collaboration.
Registration>

1:03 PM Permalink
August 22, 2007

Photoshop – Bracket Key Bliss

The brackets tool works equally well in Photoshop Elements 5.0 – what a great tool. My students will be impressed that even Elements has these features.

6:09 PM Permalink

Tricks for Type – Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

Easily select text and quickly choose or resize fonts with these tricks. Teachers tell me that the first trick here has been terrific for students who were struggling to select type…especially younger students. Any ways we can make writing in a creative environment easier for students are worth a try!
Double-click on Type Layer Selects Type
Having trouble selecting text with the Type Tool? Just double-click on the Type Layer Indicator (the box with the T in it) to select the text on the layer. Never again will students accidently create new type layers by clicking too far outside of the text to make a selection!
Find the Perfect Font
Ever spend way too much time trying to decide on a font? It can take a lot of time to choose a font from the menu, look at the results, decide you don’t like it, choose another, look at it, decide you don’t like it…and on and on. To scan through many fonts quickly, select the text, then highlight the font name in the options bar. With the font name selected (highlighted), just use the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll quickly through the font list and look at each one. The scroll wheel on the mouse also works! This little trick works in all Adobe software.
Resize Selected Text from the Keyboard
Hold down CONTROL (COMMAND – Mac) with the SHIFT key, then press to make type larger or smaller. The type changes in 2 point increments.
Now that Photoshop Elements can do paragraph text (starting in version 4.0), it is much easier for students do creative writing projects with illustrations. Happy writing!

2:33 PM Permalink
August 21, 2007

Adobe Bridge Short Cut

I have a confession to make…I love bracket key short cuts!
I was dabbling with Adobe Bridge yesterday and wanted to see if there were any time saving short cuts that make use of the bracket keys. To my delight, I found that each time I hit Ctrl + left or right bracket keys (CMD + left or right bracket keys on Mac) the selected image would rotate 90 degrees. Sweet!
You can also rotate multiple images at the same time by selecting the images (Ctrl + Click) and use the Ctrl + Bracket keys short cut to spin all the images at once.
Warning…A totally worthless time waster follows!
Need a break? Open the Preview window and the Content window, select multiple images in the Content window, play your favorite music track (while not my favorite, I find that Elton John’s Crocodile Rock works well) and use the Ctrl + bracket keys to choreograph an Adobe Bridge image spinning Fantasia (of sorts).
snag31.jpg

7:59 AM Permalink
August 20, 2007

Kuler is cool

At the recent Adobe Ed. Leaders camp I was introduced, via a colleague, to a wonderful application put out by Adobe called Kuler, http://kuler.adobe.com/.
Not being a graphic artist by any stretch of the term artistic I was mildly curious but not whole-heartedly ready to add the Kuler application to my repertoire of technology related tools and software. I made a note of the application in my “things that might interest me” notebook where I have dozens of useful tech tools and tips that I have collected but not adopted as a tool of my own.
Recently I spent some time with the Kuler application, reading the tutorials and the many useful web links Adobe has provided on color theory. Well I must say, after reading these web links, that I understand the importance and need for thinking about color. And Kuler makes it so easy. Select any of the rules of color such as analogous, complimentary or triad and then use these principles to easily select five colors that you could use in a website, print publication or DVD without worrying about color coordination or appearance. You could copy the hex values from the Kuler app or use your Adobe ID to login, save your color combinations as a palette and download them to Adobe programs. I teach technology to middle school students and will now insist that all students use Kuler before beginning any multimedia project. Along my excursion I discovered two other interesting sites. One site http://www.mariaclaudiacortes.com/colors/Colors.html contains a movie about communicating with color and the message colors transmit. The second site http://www.colourlovers.com/ contains collections of color combinations uploaded by color enthusiasts, similar to Adobe’s Kuler, that can be downloaded to Adobe products as color palettes.
I give Kuler two thumbs up.

2:29 PM Permalink
August 17, 2007

Prewriting Activity with Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0

I taught five years of math and science so I feel a bit out of my comfort zone writing this post. I was dabbling around with the Photoshop Elements 5.0 project creation tools when I stumbled on a neat interactive Flash photo gallery. The wizard allows for the easy creation of a “digital photo book.” The author can add photos, titles, and captions with a few clicks of a mouse; the reader can interact with the digital book by flipping the pages.
After a few strenuous minutes of deep thought (some people are marathon thinkers…I think more in short sprints), I figured the interactive book would make a great how-to writing activity. If I remember correctly, the how-to paper was an essential skill taught in my elementary and middle school days. It usually involved the following steps:
• Prewriting
• Drafting
• Revision
• Edit
• Publish
• Presentation
The interactive flip book would make a great prewriting activity for how-to papers. Students would create a digital photo gallery that would double as an outline for their how-to paper! After completing the “outline” (actually photo captions) they could add photographs using digital cameras. Finally, they could publish their projects to the web.
My finished example
See how it is done

1:32 PM Permalink
August 10, 2007

Acrobat 8 Professional & MS Word Mail Merge

Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional’s ability to use Microsoft Word’s mail merge functionality for PDF creation and email is both powerful and extremely useful.
Educators frequently send notes home that end up vanishing (usually found in a wad at the bottom of a backpack) before they find their way into the hands of parents. Why not distribute the notes via email and by hand? Acrobat 8 Professional makes it easy to email and print personalized correspondence using Microsoft Word mail merge technology.
At the beginning of each school year a teacher can spend a short amount of time creating an Excel database containing his students contact information. This small amount of work can yield high-dividends, as the teacher will be able to use (and reuse) the database to quickly create a letter in MS Word, personalize the letter with mail merge, and print and email the letter using Acrobat.
I often have teachers ask how I am able to “so quickly” distribute letters that include personalized student information. I smile and reply, “Work smart, not hard….let the computer do the work.”
Acrobat 8 Pro has the ability to use a Microsoft mail merge to generate and email PDF files to parents. Now parents have the option of receiving a letter via email or by hand (or both) with little extra energy from the teacher!
Check out this video tutorial to learn more about the process.
Acrobat_box.jpg

11:08 AM Permalink
August 2, 2007

Photoshop – Bracket Key Bliss

I have a friend who is an art director for a design company and Photoshop is a BIG part of his daily work flow. This guy has been using Photoshop for a long time, pre-layers palette long! On a recent fishing trip we started to talk shop. The conversation center on Photoshop and eventually we found ourselves comparing our favorite Photoshop shortcuts. I mentioned the left and right bracket keys [ ] and he raised an eyebrow, smiled, and told me he didn’t know that one.
A week later I received a phone call. My fishing buddy exclaimed that his new favorite Photoshop shortcuts were now the left and right bracket keys; in fact, he didn’t know how he had gotten by without this little gem.
What do the bracket keys do? They change the size of just about every tool on the tools palette. The right bracket key makes the tool larger and the left bracket key makes the tool smaller. The bracket keys change, on the fly, the diameter of the tool by 10 pixels per click. Hold the bracket keys down and watch as the diameter quickly expands or contracts.
I know the keys work on the following tools:
• Paint brush
• Eraser
• Clone Stamp tool
• Blur, Sharpen, and Smudge Tools
• Healing Brush Tool
Although the bracket keys will not change the diameter of the Custom Shape tool they will sift through the shape library. Activate the Custom Shape tool (grouped with the Rectangle Tool) and click the bracket keys. Take a gander at the options bar (near the top of the Photoshop interface) as you click… the bracket keys shuffle through the shape library. Cool!
keyboard.jpg
What are your favorite shortcuts?

9:33 PM Permalink

Adobe Education eSeminars

The education team at Adobe is offering a series of free eSeminars than can be attended via the web from home or school. Below is the list of eSeminars for August 2007.
Acrobat® Series: Digital Workflow in the Classroom (K-12)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM US/Pacific
Acrobat Series: Digital Workflow Across Campus (Higher Education)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific
Introducing Adobe Creative Suite® 3 Production Premium
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM US/Pacific
Adobe Digital School Collection
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific
Registration>

3:21 PM Permalink