Posts tagged "indic"

Embracing Indian creative workflow

Any kind of digital creative content – whether it is a simple newspaper advert, or a large hoarding, or laying out a complicated magazine or a newspaper – comprises of handling text. Creating such a content for regional audience with software not supporting Indian scripts is like driving a left-hand-drive car in India – not comfortable at all.

How does a customer-oriented company like Adobe approach these users in the Indian subcontinent? Internal research shows that users in India are comfortable using English interface for software – what’s really needed is the ability to compose and handle text in Indic scripts, more so in text publication workflows.

While the publishing workflow is largely based on Adobe InDesign and we started supporting 10 of the most popular languages in Adobe InDesign CS6, there was a need to bridge the gap with other publication workflows utilizing Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Adobe did so with the latest release of Creative Cloud products by introducing Indic script support in Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. Users can now compose their text in 10 regional languages, generate world class print output, and still be within their beloved Adobe environment.

The Creative Workflow

Common workflows in creation of digital content involve extensive flow of content  cross InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Photographs are clicked with the digital cameras and are beautified in Photoshop. These are brought into Illustrator and converted to vector images and are further used as a part of an art work. Small sections of these images (even raster forms) could as well be converted to form a brush stroke in Illustrator CC. A complex artwork including raster images and vector art is finally rendered to print through an InDesign document, which blends this graphic with text stories to give a phenomenal impact to readers.

Such meshed workflows often use text at various places, and the users ought to be able to work with that text whenever needed in the workflow. They don’t want to wait until the artwork is placed into InDesign for them to be able to insert text in regional languages.

Covering the entire flow

As a creative professional, one always wonders if they could do some raster handling in Illustrator, or some type handling in Photoshop, or some vector handling in InDesign. All of these are possible with Adobe software today, and that makes using these three in our publication workflows so very seamless. Not only that, we also want to create that beautiful type effect in Illustrator using Indic characters in our regional language. We want to give titles to our Photoshop banners in our own language. And much more…

With the latest CC release, joining the excitement of the amazing features, Photoshop and Illustrator also provide support for Indic scripts as in InDesign.

What’s more? The overall experience with Indic scripts has been made far richer with a number of bug fixes.

Adobe Fonts:

In addition to extending Indic script support to Photoshop and Illustrator, we appreciate the need for Adobe fonts in languages other than Hindi. Well-designed Unicode fonts that support Indian scripts can enhance productivity and cross-compatibility of content created by creative users, including the content creators, the designers, and the editors. We thus took this initiative of providing this beautiful set of fonts, starting with Adobe Devanagri.

  1. Adobe Devanagri was introduced in CS6 timeframe, and has now been extended to include the Marathi script as well.
  2. A completely new font, Adobe Gurmukhi has also been introduced. This will come pre-installed for users to start creating content in Punjabi. Also, fonts for more Indian languages are on their way!

To read about the Indic support in InDesign CS6, please read this article.

InDesign CS6…. Welcome to India!

This article talks about the overall objective of Localization in a new market or in business terms an “Emerging Market”. You might wonder, “why that specific word Emerging?” Because of the business opportunity it presents by taking a product to a new market where the demand exists, but somehow the product was not made available.

In the publishing domain, India is still one of the few countries where Print has seen a steady growth. Excerpts from one of the famous research site below:

“Contrary to most other markets in the world that continue to witness an erosion of the print media industry, in India, the sector witnessed a growth of ten percent in 2010 and is expected to continue to grow at a similar pace over the next five years. Rising literacy levels and low print media penetration offer significant headroom for growth, says a FICCI-KPMG report, recently released at FICCI FRAMES 2011 event…………”[Source All About Newspaper, publish date March`2011]

Does this present an opportunity for Adobe to expand in the Print Media space leveraging its one of the most popular Desktop publishing software InDesign®. Yes, but at what cost? Let’s weigh in the cost and benefits.

  1. Over the course of last few years, Adobe India sales force has been meeting Indian customers to understand how InDesign can be made ‘India ready’.
  2. In India, English is quite close to as being the second most spoken language just behind Hindi, giving a leeway to probably still hit the market with an English user interface (UI).
  3. The most talked about area in the frequent customer meetings was the support of Indic scripts in Print and Desktop Publishing Adobe applications. The current World-Ready composers for middle-eastern text included partial support for several Indic scripts. However, a number of bug fixes and product support requirements were needed for Adobe to officially certify and launch the product in India.

The specifics listed above did carve a path for InDesign to see support for Indic scripts in CS6 release. Based on input from the Product Management, the following 10 Indic scripts ranked highest on the priority list to support:

Each of the locales above have a good percentage of Print Media in the Indian market ranging from Newspaper, Magazines, Journals, etc. To support these locales was a tough road ahead since most of these locales use complex character combination, glyphs, hyphenation rules, dictionary support.

Phase 1 of this project included adding dictionary support in InDesign for these locales. We integrated the locale-specific open source dictionaries, evaluated them against competing products (with similar support) spanning a series of script specific test data hand-picked by linguists. The test criteria being:

  • Test maturity and quality of the dictionaries embedded
  • Misspell words intentionally and compare the corrected words
  • Ensure the words in InDesign when copied maintain their sanctity
  • Validating a few language rules, as applicable, such as hyphenation, matras, spellings, etc

Dictionary evaluation did show quite impressive results, allowing us to move to second phase of this endeavor of analyzing InDesign for Indic scripts.  After a significant number of complex workflows, a few engineering tweaks along the way, we were able to achieve what we set our eyes at initially.

  • Added dictionaries and spell checkers for the 10 scripts
  • Added Hyphenation for the 10 scripts
  • Bundled 1 Indic font family: Adobe Devanagari
  • Included a script that users can run to set relevant defaults and correctly handle imports from Word docs etc.

Even though we started off this effort as a seed project, codenamed as InDesign Indic 1.0, we were able to achieve more than we shot for. InDesign proved not just compatible for the majority of the locales listed above but offered notable support for even the most complex glyphs.

Switch to the World-Ready Composer, an alternate composition engine, with a single click of indicPreferences.js in Window > Utilities > Scripts panel to explore the Indic world in InDesign. By virtue of basic Indic script support in InDesign CS6, you can now type in these languages and characters would shape and render correctly. And yes, there will be more refinements to the Indic Script support in future releases to come.

Let us know what you think and how you plan to use these features.  Please visit here for the complete list of Language support in InDesign CS6.

Contributed by Harpreet Singh (Adobe India)