Posts in Category "Tutorials"

September 19, 2009

How do I prepare my students for the Adobe Certified Associate Exam?

My students, their parents and our business advisory board are all very excited about earning the Adobe Certified Associate credentials. Of course I want all my students to be successful so I have been searching for resources that will provide my students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Here is a list of what I have found.
Study Guides
Did you know that Adobe has posted detailed study guides for each exam at: These are .pdf files with both written tutorials and the sample files for the lessons all wrapped up in one Adobe Acrobat file!
Adobe Curriculum
Adobe has worked closely with classroom teachers like myself to develop curriculum that is aligned with the ISTE standards and teacher tested.
Visual Design is a yearlong, project-based curriculum that develops career and communication skills in print production and graphic design, using Adobe tools.
Digital Design is a yearlong, project-based curriculum that develops IT career skills in web design and production, using Adobe tools.
Adobe TV
It is time that instructors learned about this incredible resource. Adobe has developed hours of fantastic instructional video resources and offers it free through the Adobe Media Player. Check out all that they have to offer at:
Learn by Video
This is the first resource that I have found that is specifically design to prepare students for the ACA exam. It has a easy to use interface, tutorials that you download to your iPod and well delivered content that will help your students prepare for the exam. I have really appreciated the book that accompanies this because it helps to explain the non-software specific topics covered on the exam. I also appreciate the test at the end of each unit both monitoring my students progress and helping them prepare for the type of exam questions they will face in the real ACA exam.
Classroom in a Book
Of course these books have been around for year providing a great resource for students and teachers. They provide great instruction on the application but you will need to supplement the lessons to fully prepare your students for the exam.
Online Software Training
If you or your students are looking for high quality online training on Adobe software then I strongly recommend the following resources:
Total Training:
Atomic Learning:
Of course my own software workshops (free):
Professional Development
Faculty workshops through Knowledge Network Solutions
Master education consultants from Knowledge Network Solutions come to your school to run workshops for faculty on how to use Adobe tools and effectively integrate them into their courses. Workshops are available to higher ed and K-12 institutions.
For more information about the Adobe Certified Associate Exam go to:

3:00 PM Permalink
September 18, 2009

Adding Buttons to an Adobe InDesign Document

Adobe InDesign makes it extremely easy to add action buttons to your document. This is great if you intend on publishing your InDesign project to a digital format and want to “spice it up a bit” with some interaction. This tutorial will demonstrate how to add buttons to an InDesign project and publish the project as a Flash (.swf) file.
View Tutorial

8:13 AM Permalink
August 21, 2009

Integrate with Stop Motion

Stop motion animation is one of the best ways to build digital communication skills and team work into any curriculum. You don’t need fancy equipment or temperamental actors, just some craft materials and the digital cameras from your friendly librarian.
The really great thing about stop motion animation is that it can be used effectively with any subject and at most age levels. I have worked with students that successfully animated subjects from science (life cycle of a butterfly), social studies (scenes from Lewis and Clark), math (slope), and of course language arts with any dramatic or comedic narrative. Check out some examples at:
Pre-Production (planning)
Stop motion is a great way to integrate writing and decision making into your curriculum. Planning is a critical step in the process of creating any story. I start my students out with a simple treatment that helps them focus their story by making some simple decisions about the target audience, objectives and other basic parameters of the project. ( Then we plan each scene out with a storyboard, but first we talk about shot variety and do a quick exercise with our digital cameras. ( Storyboarding is an communication skill that is useful in most disciplines so the time spent creating and reviewing storyboards is very valuable. ( ) I keep a handful of three ring binders in my room so each group can keep all this planning materials together and the group will always have it even if a member is absent.
Team work
One of my favorite things about stop motion animation is that it brings students together in such a natural way that you will see amazing results. Throughout the process there are multiple jobs that take different skills and abilities. During the planning process you will have those that prefer to write the script while others prefer to draw the storyboards. Next, some of the students will naturally gravitate to building the sets and creating the characters while others prefer to set up the cameras, lights and computer. During the actual animation process we usually have one student run the computer, one on the camera, one handling the lighting, and two animating the characters. Then once we have shot all the scenes and move into the post production process we usually have a couple students work on editing the rough cut while the rest work on sound and graphic design. No other activities I do brings students closer together than stop motion animation.
Digital storytelling
Stop motion animation is a powerful communication tool that students can control better than any other digital medium. They can use a either a digital still camera or digital video to express their stories through unique camera angle and composition. I prefer to hook up a cheap digital video camera to a computer and use Adobe Premiere Elements to capture our images. The reason I like this method is that the software provides us with a couple invaluable tools:
• Onion skinning – this is the ability to see a ghost images of the last couple moves you make when shooting your scene. This makes your shots smoother and easier to shoot.
• Preview and delete – this is the ability to watch a sequence of shots as a video clip to judge the pacing and smoothness of your shots. If you accidentally got your hand in one of the shots you can easily delete just that one frame.
• Save as video clip – this is the ability to save a sequence of shots as a video clip that you can then apply effects and adjust the speed to easily.
• Editing environment – once you finish shooting you have a powerful video editing environment that allows you to work with up to 99 video tracks and 99 audio tracks!
I just have one twelve foot firewire cable for each pod of four computers in my room. This gives the students enough room to setup their camera and set, but is close enough to work with the computer operator easily.
One of the cool things about stop motion animation is that your students have complete control over the small world they will be shooting within and it will cost you very little! We usually use three sides of an old card board box as our set and either legos, clay or pipe cleaners for our characters. For lights we simple purchased the 8 inch clamp light for around $10. This really makes your colors and images pop and allows the students some creativity with shadows.
Post Production
This is where those digital communication skills come into play. I usually break up the group into three parts. One group is the editor(s) that will put the scenes into the right order, adjust the speed of some clips and usually adds titles. Another group is the sound designer(s) that will create the voice overs, sound effects and find copyright free music or create their own if it is called for. The final group is the graphic designers that will create the movie posters, DVD labels/covers or invitations to the movie premiere.
Once you and your students have made your stop motion animation master pieces make sure to share them with your community. Ask your local theater if they will have a special showing, make DVD’s for the families of your students or post them online at web sites like School Tube. Last year a few of my students earned an award of excellence at the Northwest High School Film Festival for their stop motion film “Kichinjo”. Enjoy.
Getting Started
Now it is your turn to get out there and have some fun with stop motion animation. I have posted a bunch of video tutorials that will walk you and your students through the process at:

9:59 PM Permalink
April 30, 2009

Summer 2009 Workshops for Adobe Visual Communicator

Learn how to create green screen student TV newscasts, classroom video projects and more this summer as Adobe Education Leader Rob Zdrojewski teaches the basic and advanced features of Adobe Visual Communicator 3. New this summer are workshops for existing users, where we will examine features like live flash web streaming and sharing your productions online.
Summer 2009 Workshop offerings:
-School TV Made Easy with Adobe Visual Communicator 3 (Beginners)
-Perfecting Your Adobe Visual Communicator Shows (Advanced Users)
-Using SchoolTube to Safely Share Videos Online
-Create Teacher Websites
Join us as hundreds of teachers, media specialists, and administrators have for an exciting look at using Adobe Visual Communicator for green screened school TV newscasts and more!
Learn more here:

9:57 AM Permalink
December 12, 2008

Create a Photoshop Turducken

Happy Holidays!
I was browsing my neighborhood grocery store looking for a turkey to fry when I glanced down and discovered a Turducken! Now, I had always thought a turducken was something conjured up in fables and fairytales; but there it sat, like some sort of monster from a Mary Shelley novel, all packaged up and ready for holiday consumption.
The first thought that crossed my mind was “YUCK”, the second thought was, “This would make one heck of a Photoshop project!”
Watch the tutorial. (You may need to resize your browser window to adjust the size of the video)
Source Image Links > Make sure to read the Creative Commons Usage Rights – duck – turkey – hen
Scott Trudeau

1:59 PM Permalink
December 10, 2008

Ask Mr. Z Video Blog for Adobe Visual Communicator

The all new Ask Mr. Z Blog on is intended for educational users of Adobe Visual Communicator. Hosted by Adobe Education Leader & Community Expert Rob Zdrojewski, the video episodes and blog articles are based on user questions about creating school TV newscasts and class video projects across the curriculum. New episodes are released each month. Take a look and see if you have a question to Ask Mr. Z!
Episode 4- Preparing The Morning Newscast
Have a question or show suggestion? Ask Mr. Z HERE

9:53 AM Permalink
November 17, 2008

Adobe Acrobat – Basic Form Calculations Made Easy!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to sign up for a FREE account I suggest you do so in the near future.  You get a handful of some really fantastic tools which include Buzzword,  Adobe Connect Now, a PDF tool, and some online storage space.  Buzzword is the perfect application for laying out a document that will eventually be turned into a PDF interactive form in Acrobat 9.

Acrobat 9 is Adobe’s newest PDF publication tool and the Adobe “wizards” have made it easier than ever to turn a simple document into an interactive PDF.  In this tutorial I’ll demonstrate how to:

  • layout a form using Adobe’s free Buzzword service (really cool)
  • export the file to PDF
  • convert the PDF to a digital form using Acrobat 9’s “Form Field Wizard”
  • configure the fields to calculate form data

Scott Trudeau

12:06 PM Permalink
May 30, 2008

Don’t Get Caught with Your Digital Pants Down – Add a Watermark in Acrobat

Nobody wants to get caught with their “digital pants” down. Unfortunately there may be times when you accidently send out a document to the “big cheeses” while it is still in draft form. Stamping “Draft” on every page of a document can help save you the embarrassment of sending the wrong file…and possibly your job!
If you choose to use the stamp tool you will have to tediously visit each page of the document. Imagine having a 50 page document that needs a “Draft” stamp on each page…not much fun. However, adding a “Draft” watermark to the document would be far more efficient method of adding the document’s review status.
1. Open the document in Adobe Acrobat
2. click Document > Watermark> Add
3. Type “Draft” in the text area
4. Adjust the opacity of the text using the Opacity slider
5. Add a bit of Rotation using the Rotation radio buttons
6. Click OK
To remove the watermark click Document > Watermark>Remove

10:31 AM Permalink
May 22, 2008

Create an Acrobat Print Button

I have to admit, for a long time I thought that Acrobat was a boring (but useful) application. Acrobat sat on my computer like an obedient dog and, on my command, turned my Word and Excel documents into PDFs. Boring…but useful.
As I started to learn more about Acrobat I realized that it contained a slew of “hidden gems” under the hood. I also learned that you can make a button in Acrobat that can do just about anything.
– Submit a form via email
– Print button
– Open a file
– hyperlink to a web site
– Play, Pause, and stop a movie
– and more…
To get you started here is a simple tutorial for creating a print button:
1. Open or create a PDF document
2. Click Tools > Forms > Show Forms Tool Bar
3. Click the button tool (the “OK” button)
4. Drag out a button onto your document, the Button Properties dialogue will open
5. (General tab)Name the button – this is not the label that will appear on the button
6. Click on the appearance tab and select desired colors
7. Click on the Options tab and add a label – this is the text that will appear on the button
8. Click on the Actions tab. Make sure the “Select Trigger” dropdown displays the “Mouse Up” value
9. Make sure the “Select Action” dropdown displays the “Execute a menu item” value
10. Click the Add button and choose File>Print
11. Click the OK button and click the Close button.
12. DONE! Test the button by clicking on the Hand Tool (it looks like a white glove)
13. When the end user clicks the button the print dialogue should open, just as if they clicked File>Print

8:25 AM Permalink
May 5, 2008

Extracting Non-Sequential Pages from PDF’s

I often find it necessary to single out various pages from a PDF document and combine them into another. For example, I may need to combine pages 3, 5, and 10 from a fifty page document into a new PDF.
Acrobat provides an “extract pages” option that allows you to extract a range of pages, but this option does not allow for the combination of discontinuous pages. However, you do have a couple of options.
Option 1 – Use the “drag and drop” method as described by the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog.
Option 2 – Use the “Create PDF from Multiple Files” option using the directions below (my preferred method)
Directions for Option 2
1. Open Adobe Acrobat 8
2. Click on the Create PDF button
3. Select the “From Multiple Files” option
4. The Combine Files dialogue box will open. Click the Add Files button
5. Find the PDF file with the pages you wish to extract and click the Add Files button
6. The PDF will appear in the Combine Files Dialogue, now to select the specific pages.
7. Click the Choose Pages button
8. The Preview and Select Page Range dialogue box will open. This will allow you to type in both a range of pages and non discontinuous pages. For example, if you wished to include pages 1 through 5 and pages 10, 11, and 15 you would simply select the Pages radio button and type 1-5,10,11,15. Cool!
9. Acrobat also provides a Preview tool to help select the correct pages.
10. Click the OK button.
11. The Combine Files dialogue will open and provide an overview of the pages that you selected.
12. From here, decide if you want to combine pages from another document or proceed forward by clicking the Next button.
13. Make sure the Merge files into a single PDF button is selected and click the Create button.
14. Sit back and watch Adobe Acrobat works its magic!

11:26 AM Permalink