A moment in time at Bondi

Eugene Tan has a routine of getting up everyday around dawn and taking shots down at Bondi Beach. Every so often mother nature summons something amazing and Eugene’s routine meant he was in the right place for an incredible image. Also see an SMH news report here.

The little things

Without a doubt people will be wowed by the highlight CS5 features such as content aware fill. There are in fact 250+ new features of Creative Suite 5. Some times it is the little things that will make a huge difference to the way you create with CS5.

I thought it would be opportune to point out a couple of personal favourites of the little things.

When I was producing documents such as Annual Reports for a living, one thing that was always difficult was to balance columns of type. The process required trial and error, changing the depth of text frames and of course the author would then change the copy, necessitating a repeat of the process. Now with InDesign CS5 this is a checkbox.

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Another little surprise can be found in InDesign CS5′s Step and Repeat. You can now step and repeat an object in both rows and columns. I shudder to think how much time this would have saved me doing such things as business cards, labels etc.

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To crop and straighten an image in Photoshop I used to use the crop tool lining up a horizon, rotating the crop then expanding to the edges of my intended image. Now in Photoshop CS5 one of the new JDI’s uses the ruler tool, see how here.

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Capturing the Moment

The winner of the Australian National Photographic Portrait Prize demonstrates the benefit of always having a camera handy, as well no doubt, the skill to recognise and shoot a powerful image.

The picture of Zareth Long by Scott Bycroft was apparently a chance shot that has been enhanced by beautiful contrasting black and white, stunning.

Extra Bits

Many questions come our way here in the Adobe offices of Australia and New Zealand and rumour has it thequestionroom.com could be somehow connected to us. Personally I have no idea.

One question that recently was asked of me was where has the clip art gone in Illustrator? This does open up a number of different avenues for discussion. The varying benefits for using clip art may be up for debate, however finding the clip art is a path to using Illustrator to its full potential.

There are number of sample files that can be found in the Illustrator Application folder, but this is not our questioner was after – what they wanted is available in the symbols panel.

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As you can see there is a huge volume of images available as symbols. Why are they symbols? Why not have a series of documents with the images in Illustrator documents? Answering this also solves problems people face when creating complex illustrations.

Often when people are creating patterns they will copy and paste complex artwork over and over. The net effect is incredibly complex artwork that is slow to work with and to print. Using symbols helps enormously. A repeated symbol references the original artwork for printing and display. A test file I recreated from a customers original artwork went from being 19mb to 2.8mb just by using symbols.

How do you create symbols? All you need to do is draw your original artwork, then drag the image into the symbols panel, easy!

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You can also go to town creatively using the symbol tools which help to randomise, colourise repeating symbols while still referencing the original artwork. The best thing is that you change one instance of the symbol and you can change them all.

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Steve.

Using all the Tools in the Toolkit

Sometimes we forget just how useful Acrobat can be. I was recently asked about a problem somebody was having pulling data out of PDF’s. They were copying and pasting text from a PDF and getting some “interesting” results. My suggestion was to export the data rather than copy and paste. There are many options for text export from Acrobat including Word, RTF, plain text, amongst many.

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This problem brought to mind an issue I was asked to sort out many years ago. An organisation wanted a text version of their annual report. It had been laid out in a (non Adobe) page layout application. At the time this application did not have efficient table creation and the layout artist had painstakingly generated 160+ pages of tables in this report by matching columns of type. The end result looked ok but was a complete nightmare to pull back together as a Word document. Again the answer was exporting from Acrobat. Acrobat did a tremendous job of taking a PDF of the layout and generating tables which required only a little reworking in Word.

Another useful function of Acrobat is the ability to export all images from a PDF, in combination with the text retrieval very handy for those times when major changes need to be applied to a PDF where the original artwork is not available.

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