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February 26, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #2 with CS4 Design Premium

Find and Fix Production Errors in InDesign CS4
Join me as I show how the new Live Preflight feature in Adobe InDesign CS4 alerts you to potential problems in real time so you can quickly navigate to the error, and keep working.

You can also find this, and more, on Adobe TV, or on my YouTube Channel.

Hi! This is Rufus Deuchler, Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems. In the next few minutes I will be showing you how you can save yourself a lot of time by using Adobe Creative Suite 4.
In this clip, I will be showing you how you can avoid painful headaches with Live Preflight in Adobe InDesign CS4.
Live Preflight is a brand new feature that scans your document for potential errors as work, thus totally eliminating the time needed to correct files after your printer calls you on a Friday evening to ask you for a new and better PDF.
An independent research shows that finding and fixing an error in a 2-page InDesign CS4 layout with Live Preflight is 200% faster than finding and fixing errors using the Preflight options in InDesign CS3.
Live Preflight is turned on by default for all new documents, and it uses a profile called Basic, which simply checks for missing or modified links, missing fonts, and overset text frames. If any of these conditions exist, the total number of errors in the document appears to the right of a red circle in the document window’s status bar.
Other important checks can be activated in the Preflight Panel to make your work even safer. Errors such as the number of colors that can be used, a minimum PPI for your raster images, and much more.
The other time saving attribute of Live Preflight is that you can share the profiles you create with your coworkers, so that everyone respects the same quality standards and provides files that will work the way you want them to work.
By working with Adobe InDesign CS4 and using Live Preflight you will tremendously speed up your workflows, eliminate costly errors, and make you feel safer as you create.
And, if time is money, as they say, this has never been more important than in a design workflow, where every minute of production has a fixed cost.
This is Rufus Deuchler, Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems.
See you soon, and make good use of your time with Adobe Creative Suite 4!

February 25, 2009

Photoshop CS4 (11.0.1) Update (and Plug-in) Available

Adobe has released an update for Photoshop CS4 [via John Nack]. Some of the issues that have been addressed include:

  • A number of issues that could cause slow performance have been addressed.

  • Pen barrel rotation with Wacom tablets now works correctly.

  • Photoshop now correctly recognizes 3D textures edited by a plug-in.

  • The quality of the results of Auto-Blend Layers (Stack Images) has been improved.

  • A problem that could result in a crash when pasting formatted text has been fixed.

  • A crash that could result from a corrupt font no longer occurs.

So either run your Adobe Update Managers (AUM) from the Help Menu of your CS4 Applications, or download the updates from here: Mac / Win.

Disable Canvas Rotation Via Trackpad plug-in
On MacBook Air and recent MacBook Pro systems, Adobe Photoshop CS4 can use a multitouch gesture to enable rotation of the document canvas. You may have found that the canvas gets rotated accidentally through inadvertent use of the gesture on the trackpad. This plug-in disables the multitouch gesture for canvas rotation, as well as the gestures for zooming and flick panning. Canvas rotation remains available through the Rotate View tool, and Photoshop is otherwise unaffected by the plug-in. [Download the plug-in]

February 24, 2009

Upcoming events: Moscow, San Francisco, and São Paulo

[Edited Feb 25, adding São Paulo]

Just a quick heads up for two events I will be presenting at in the near future:

Creative Future, Moscow, March 13, 2009

  • Friday, March 13: Creative Future in Moscow. Paul Burnett and Karl Soulé will be joining me there for a full cross media demonstration of Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4).

  • Wednesday, March 18: San Francisco Adobe Illustrator User Group chapter meeting. This is a great opportunity for me to meet with Illustrator Users in the Bay Area since I will be in the area to record new episodes for my AdobeTV show (CSInsider|Design).

  • March 23-25: São Paulo, Photoshop Conference 2009. I will be doing the keynote there, and this will also be a great way to get to know our users in Brazil.

I hope to meet some of you there.

InDesign CS4 (6.0.1) Update Available

This update provides important fixes in the areas of Scripting, Master Pages, Digital Editions, Import/Export Graphics, as well as other miscellaneous issues.

Here are a few specific bug fixes included in the dot release. See here for the full list.

  • Master Page Items from a placed InDesign document are dropped when previewed in High Quality Display or when exporting to PDF.

  • InDesign CS3 documents converted to InDesign CS4 reflow unexpectedly due to hyphenation limits.

  • When exporting a document to .SWF, “mailto:” hyperlinks have “http://” appended to them, making them inoperable.

  • Page turns are incorrect for right-to-left bound documents exported to SWF.

So either run your Adobe Update Managers (AUM) from the Help Menu, or download the updates from here: Mac / Win.

February 20, 2009

Evangelists are just 140 characters (or less) away, on Twitter!

Rufus Deuchler - TwitterOur colleague from the Platform Evangelism Team, Serge Jespers, has created quite a hype when he published a comprehensive list of Adobe employees who have a Twitter account (click here for the complete list). Thanks for spreading the word Serge!
I myself have a Twitter account, and you are free to follow me for news on Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium, to engage with me, or just read random thoughts from my travels around the world.
What I love about Twitter, is that you have 140 characters (or less) to answer one simple question: What are you doing? But you will soon find out that users also post interesting information, links to cool stuff they find online, and so much more; all you need to do to make sense of the thousands of messages that are sent out, is to filter the stream for the things that interest you. At present I use TweetDeck on my desktop (it’s a cross-platform Adobe AIR application) to view tweets from my friends, read replies to my posts, and filter keywords such as “CS4” or “InDesign”, so that I can see what people are saying about the applications they are using, and sometimes even reach out to answer a question or solve someone’s problem. Another powerful feature of Twitter is that, when a post is important, users tend to repost it and the news virally flows through the stream.
When I am on the road I use Tweetie on my iPhone to stay in touch with followers, and write about “what I am doing”.
Here are the Twitter accounts of my four Creative Solutions Evangelism buddies:

*As Serge rightly points out: Please note that these are Twitter accounts. Just like everyone else on Twitter, the people posted here may Tweet about a variety of things and not just the product they are working on.

February 17, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #1 with CS4 Design Premium

Edit Quicker and Faster in Illustrator CS4
Join me as I show how you can save a lot of time when applying and editing fills, strokes, affects and more with the new Appearance Panel in Illustrator CS4.

You can also find this on Adobe TV, or on my YouTube Channel.

Hi! This is Rufus Deuchler, Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems. In the next few minutes I will be showing you how you can save yourself a lot of time by using Adobe Creative Suite 4.
In this clip, I will be showing you the new In Panel Appearance Editing in Adobe Illustrator CS4.
The Appearance Panel lets you create complex graphics simply by adding any number of fills and strokes, and even apply effects to a selected item on your Artboard. Basically it works just like layers, only that you are applying attributes to a graphic element.
What we did in Illustrator CS4 is to make it much easier and faster to use. For example those hyperlinks let you change attributes on the fly, change the opacity of fills and strokes right there, or you can now even apply any number of effects directly from within the panel itself.
Using the Appearance Panel has never been easier and faster than in this brand new version Adobe Illustrator.
This bullet hole on the posters is nothing more that a circle with some fills and effects applied to it.
All those characteristics can then be saved as a Graphic Style and be applied very quickly and easily to other element on you Artboard.
Working with the new Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator CS4 will speed up the way you build complex appearances and apply them to other graphics.
And, if time is money, as they say, this has never been more important than in a design workflow, where every minute of production has a fixed cost.
This is Rufus Deuchler, Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems.
See you soon, and make good use of your time with Adobe Creative Suite 4!

Everyday Timesavers premiering on Adobe TV

Let me introduce a series of short video snippets that my colleagues Greg Rewis, Jason Levine, Paul Burnett, Karl Soulé, Julieanne Kost, and yours truly have prepared to show you the time saving benefits of using Adobe Creative Suite 4. There will be a new episode on Adobe TV each week for the next six weeks.
In my case I'll be showing the benefits around CS4 Design Premium; and, as they will become available, I will also publish the transcripts of each episode as they become available. Enjoy!

The first episodes of the Everyday Timesavers video series are now live on Adobe TV:

  • Everyday Timesavers: Design, Rufus Deuchler.

  • Everyday Timesavers: Web, Greg Rewis and Paul Burnett.

  • Everyday Timesavers: Video, Jason Levine and Karl Soulé.

  • Everyday Timesavers: Photography, Julieanne Kost.

February 13, 2009

Developing Design Ideas using Creative Suite 4

Recently I came across this interesting article on Industry trends in prototyping by Dave Cronin from Cooper; the article focuses on Adobe Fireworks, but is an interesting read for any type of prototyping. This made me go down memory lane, and think about how, I, as a designer and teacher, have been approaching conceptualization.

Having been a Graphic Design teacher to college students since 1995, I have gone through multiple and turbulent eras of software development and hardware upgrades. For many years, I was the type of "evil" teacher that would insist on numerous thumbnail sketches, hand-drawn comps, and idea boards; I insisted on those because I could not bear to see my students slowly drag their mice around the desk, staring at their computer with an empty look, and wait for a good idea to miraculously appear on screen... My take was that you'd go to the computer only once your idea with fixed on paper, and then you'd produce it.
I was brought to change my mind around 2002 when Adobe came out with InDesign 2.0 and introduced the ability to import native files into the page layout and initiated the integration process between various applications. At the same time, we had machines that would finally allow us to have all of our creative applications open at one time. With integration, also came the beginning of common user interface, which meant that my students had no problems learning the basics of InDesign or Illustrator, just because the interface was so similar to Photoshop (which they had been using practically since they were born). The other factor that influenced me in this decision was that students were increasingly computer and web literate, and were able to use their computers creatively and also find useful information and inspiration online. That changed the rules of the ball game.

During the ideation phase, seeing is believing, and WYSIWG is really the only way we can start believing. Here are just a few features that help me believing and allow me to boil it down to a great design in no time:

  • Color Settings are Suite wide and give me the confidence that the color I'll see in Illustrator will be the same I see in InDesign, and on PDF, for example. No more guessing.

  • The fact that I can rapidly comp CMYK and RGB images (independently of their file type) together in InDesign, without having to go to Photoshop to normalize them, makes it so much faster to preview a layout idea.

  • The Adjustment panel in Photoshop allows for rapid creation of a variety of adjustments in a non destructive way by automatically adding Adjustment Layers, which I can then turn on and off in my InDesign layout by modifying the Object Layer Options.

  • Support for 3D objects allows for rapid positioning of realistic objects in any image. And the possibility to apply 2D graphics on any kind of 3D object allows for prototyping on any object (eg. bottles, boxes, spheres).

  • Live Trace in Illustrator, allows me to quickly transform raster images to vectors in Illustrator and start working on them and modifying them.

  • Live Color in Illustrator and menu access to the Kuler database (now also available in the other Creative Suite 4 applications) helps me get inspired chromatically and share my favorite colors with the world.

  • Illustrator files can be built in such a way that they are easily reused in Flash. Press F8 in Illustrator, and you'll create a Symbol that Flash will understand. This allows for ideation in Illustrator (for Designers) and a viable hand-off to Flash Developers.

  • Multiple Artboards in Illustrator let me quickly create iterations and variations of vector graphics in a single document, and then I can choose which one to use during placement in InDesign.

  • The new prototyping workflow that is now possible between InDesign and Flash, through the XFL interchange format, gives a whole new meaning to the designer to developer workflow.

  • I increasingly use Fireworks to create both rough and comprehensive comps for web pages or interactive designs. It's ability to create interactive PDFs and clickable Web pages, so that they can be viewed, and "experienced" by the recipients, is just such a time saver. And once I am done there, I can export the whole thing as CSS based HTML to be fine tuned in Dreamweaver

  • And so on...

Once you're done prototyping and when it comes to sharing your ideas and gather feedback on them, Adobe offers various online tools for collaboration in Acrobat (sharing or collaborating), in the Creative Suite 4 applications (Share My Screen), or on Acrobat.com (Share, Buzzword, My Files, etc...). These tools are incredibly useful for both the ideation phase and for delivering the finished product.

As a side note, Adobe Flash Catalyst is a new professional interaction design tool for rapidly creating application interfaces and interactive content without writing a single line of code, and therefore ideal for designers. These can range from interactive Ads, product guides and design portfolios to user interfaces for applications. Designers can start from static compositions created in Adobe Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4, or Adobe Fireworks CS4 and convert the artwork into applications and interactive content. The designer does this by visually defining events, transitions and motion. Flash Catalyst can output a finished Flash SWF or AIR application that’s ready to publish on the web. In addition designers can provide the project file to developers who can use Adobe Flex Builder to add additional functionality such as connection to back-end systems.

With Adobe Creative Suite 4 also came a lot of speed: GPU access from Photoshop, Smart Guides in InDesign, the Blob Brush Tool in Illustrator (which lets you effectively sketch vectors), just to name a few... Now, more than ever I truly believe that we can effectively brainstorm in front of a screen, because visual feedback has become instant.

I am terribly sorry for all of my students who had to suffer through long hours of sketching, but times have definitely changed. I am not saying that I will never use a pencil again, actually, I frequently do to jot down ideas on my notepad (paper version), but when it comes to showing someone else, I rely on vectors and pixels now.

Open discussion; your comments are welcome.

February 10, 2009

CSInsider|Design coming soon to Adobe.tv!

CSInsider | Design coming soon to Adobe.tv!
In a few weeks, I will begin shooting a new Adobe.tv show, called CSInsider|Design. Why Design? You may be asking yourselves, well because I have been a designer for over 20 years and this is where my experience is. Second, as a Worldwide Evangelist for Adobe Systems, I specialize in our Design tools (aka CS4 Design Premium). Having said that, I would like to make this show your show, and answer your specific needs.
The publishing ecosystem has changed dramatically in the past years, and is due to change even more in the future. Adobe offers tools that enable you to publish to virtually any media, and we've been working hard on making your workflows easier to to set up and manage, making you work faster and more efficiently. With that I mean the integration between applications, and how files move from one activity to the other, and how you bring them to print, Web, and video. Take the InDesign to Flash export, for example, this new feature enables a completely new Designer / Developer collaboration; and, in turn, this involves a completely new way of thinking about, structuring and designing your documents, doesn't it?
The way I'd like to structure the show is to start from nothing to get something using the tools that are part of Creative Suite 4 Design Premium. Bear in mind that, for each episode, I have about 20 minutes to cover the subject. Feel free to communicate with me by commenting this blog entry, via Twitter, or look me up on Facebook.
I shall then carefully review your responses, no matter where they comes from, and see how your suggestions can fit into the format of my new show.
Thoughts? Let's begin the discussion...

[If you are into Video make sure to check Karl Soulé's blog, he's asking for similar input for his show Short & Suite which he co-hosts with Jason Levine.]

February 6, 2009

Harness the Power of Live Preflight in InDesign CS4

I had an interesting question about Live Preflight in Adobe InDesign CS4 from one of my Facebook friends today (an InDesign user from Italy).

But before I start, did you know that, according to an independent study, finding and fixing an error in an InDesign CS4 layout is 200% faster than finding and fixing the same errors using the Preflight options in InDesign CS3? The cool thing about Live Preflight in CS4 is that it alerts you of potential production problems in real time so you can quickly navigate to the problem itself and fix it. Like I always say, this totally beats the nasty phone call from your printer on a Friday evenening, just as you are leaving the office: "oh er hello Mr. Rufus, could you send that PDF again? There are some images in low resolution, and you are using more spot colors than you were quoted you for... Oh, and we need it now". No more!

LivePreflight in Adobe InDesign CS4 is your Guardian Angel

Now you have a Guardian Angel looking over your shoulder, as you are working and being creative, whether you are laying out a document for print, flash, or the web.

Live Preflight is turned on by default for all new documents, and it uses a profile called Basic, which simply checks for missing or modified links, missing fonts, and overset text frames. If any of these conditions exist, the total number of errors in the document appears to the right of a red circle in the document window’s status bar [see image above]. Just open the Preflight Panel, look at the list of culprits, follow the hyperlink to the error itself, and correct it; it's as easy as that.

I've been a graphic designer for 20 years now, and this new feature truly rock the house!

What is incredibly useful about the profiles you create is that you can share them with your colleagues, so that everyone in your workflow respects a standard you have defined. You can also choose to embed the profile in the document itself, so that it travels with it as it moves from one layout artist to the other. Live Preflight is really a foolproof system for keeping your prepress sanity.

The Live Preflight Panel in InDesign CS4

These are the potential errors that you can set Live Preflight to alert you about:

If you are going to share your profile with others, or just want to perform good house keeping, it is really meaningful to give the profile a short description.

• Missing or modified links
• OPI Links (at this point, I am curious to know how many of you still depend on OPI workflows, and why)

• If the required transparency blending space (CMYK or RGB) is not being applied
• If Cyan, Magenta or Yellow Plates are not allowed, and are present; for when you want to be sure that you are effectively producing a 1 color black (or a document with only spot colors)
• If color spaces and modes such as RGB, CMYK, Gray, Lab, Spot Color are not allowed, and are present
• Check the spot color setup of the document: a) limit the maximum number spot colors that are allowed, b) or if the predefined spot color must use Lab values or CMYK equivalents
• Alert of overprinting applied in InDesign
• Alert of overprinting applied to White or [Paper] color
• Alert if color [Registration] has been applied

Images and Objects
• Image resolution (Color image minimum/maximum resolution; Grayscale image minimum/maximum resolution; 1-bit image minimum/maximum resolution)
• If non-proportional scaling has been applied to a placed object (now this rocks!)
• Objects that use transparency
• Alert if ICC profile setting may cause CMYK conversion, or if there are any profile override (with the possibility to exclude images with no embedded profile)
• Layer visibility overrides
• Minimum stroke weight (with the option to also limit the check to strokes with multiple inks or white)
• Interactive elements
• Bleed and trim hazards (with the option to check for objects near the spine)

• Overset text
• Paragraph style and Character Style overrides (with the option to ignore font style overrides / kerning and tracking overrides / language overrides / color overrides)
• Missing fonts
• Missing Glyphs
• Errors detected by Dynamic Spelling
• Font Types that are not allowed (Protected fonts / Bitmap / OpenType CFF / OpenType CFF CID / OpenType TT / TrueType / Type 1 Multiple Master / Type 1 / Type 1 CID / ATC [Adobe Type Composer])
• Non-proportional type scaling (this should always be checked, don't you know that you should never, ever scale type?)
• Minimum Type Size (with the option to limit the check to text with multiple inks or white)
• Out of date cross-references or cross-references that are unresolved (another great new feature in InDesign CS4 are Cross-References)
• Conditional text indicators that will print (yet another great feature in InDesign CS4)

• If page size and orientation settings are not met (with the option to ignore the orientation)
• If the required number of pages is not met
• If there are blank pages in the document (with the option to consider pages empty if they only contain master page items, or if they contain only non printing items)
• If the bleed and slug setup settings are not met in the document (with the options to set maximum/minimum bleed and slug sizes)

Wow! Now that is a whole lot of checks that will make it so much safer and faster to lay out your documents. Anything else you think that should be included in Live Preflight?

The question that initiated this blog post was: "how can I change the default profile for all new documents?". Well, basically, all you need to do, is create and save your profile, then, in the Preflight Panel, choose Preflight Options from the fly out menu and choose your Working Profile; if you want this profile to be applied to all new documents, it is important that you make that change to the Preflight Options with no document open, so that this will become the default every time you create a new InDesign CS4 document.

Breathe in, relax, and once every so often, glance down to the bottom left of your application window and check the color of that circle... You'll be just fine.

February 3, 2009

Adobe Digital Editions updated

Adobe Digital Editions software enables you to view and manage your eBooks and other digital publications. You can use it to download (and purchase) digital content, which can be read both online and offline, transfer copy-protected eBooks from your PC to other computers or devices, and organize your eBooks into a custom library and annotate pages.
Digital Editions also supports industry-standard eBook formats, including PDF/A and EPUB. You can find a choice of free eBooks in the sample library. Check it out.

Did you know that you can create EPUB files directly from within Adobe InDesign? It's as simple as: File > Export for Digital Editions...

Digital Editions 1.7 is now available in many languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional. This update also allows IT professionals to deploy, maintain, and support Digital Editions across your organization.

Enjoy your eReading!