November 3, 2009

Create an Interactive PDF/Flash Gallery with Adobe InDesign

The goal of this tutorial is to create an interactive Flash gallery using the tools available in Adobe InDesign CS4. What? InDesign? Isn't InDesign for print layout? Well, hmm... no, not only, not any more. What you'll be doing here is to create a Flash image gallery in InDesign to be deployed on a web page. Although this whole procedure also works for creating very cool interactive PDFs (see my example here: ID_PDF_Gallery.pdf [657KB]). Imagine that technique used in a book, or magazine layout!
This idea came to me when I saw the "Show/Hide Buttons" action in the Buttons Panel... Why on earth would you want to hide your buttons? Well, what if the buttons were in fact not buttons?
Very often designers (or their Clients) have more images than will fit into a layout. So here's a quick way to publish them all to an interactive PDF or SWF.

Continue reading "Create an Interactive PDF/Flash Gallery with Adobe InDesign" »

October 22, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Adobe Bridge CS4

In this tenth episode of CSInsider|Design, I will show you how to use Bridge as a content management system to help organize and deploy your files.

I always call Adobe Bridge "the control center for all of my assets"; and this is truly it. There I can preview all sorts of files, add metadata, watch movie clips, control image quality and create order out of chaos. Another thing I love about Bridge, is that you can create collections of files in a tidy folder, no matter where the files are on your hard drive. But, there is more, and I just realized I did not talk about it in this episode of CSInsider...

Continue reading "CSInsider | Design - Adobe Bridge CS4" »

September 14, 2009

Creative Suite Live! in Mexico City


On September 28 and 29, Greg Rewis and myself will be talking at the Creative Suite Live! conference in Mexico City. This is the first time for me in Mexico, so I am really excited!

Creative Suite Live! is the most complete conference for designers using and wanting to master the Adobe Creative Suite. Covering sessions from Illustrator to InDesign, Photoshop, Bridge and Acrobat Professional, all the way to Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks. Further information in English.

Creative Suite Live! es la conferencia más completa para diseñadores que utilizan y quieren dominar las aplicaciones de Adobe Creative Suite. Con sesiones que cubren desde Illustrator a InDesign, Photoshop, Bridge y Acrobat Professional. Más información en español.

One Time CS4 Event in Zürich

As part of the Adobe Masters Tour 2009 throughout Germany and Austria, together with Greg Rewis and Jason Levine, there will also be a one time special event in Zürich: Adobe Cracks @ Publicis - Friday, September 18 2009 from 11am to 6pm at Theater Stadelhofen.
During three 90 minute sessions we'll be showing how to best leverage the new features of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection, and how to create content that will be published to various media such as print, web, and video.
Register for the event on Facebook!

Adobe CS4 Tour 2009 (Nordics)

nordics_oct_2009.jpgThis is going to be so cool! Touring the Nordics with my buddies Jason Levine and Paul Burnett. One of the features of this tour is that, when registering for any of the events, you can vote for the content you'd like to learn about (the image on the right represents the percentages that have been voted for each theme).Here are the final dates and locations:

  • 12/10/09 - Oslo (Klingenberg)
  • 13/10/09 - Göteborg (Bergakungen)
  • 14/10/09 - Malmö (Royal)
  • 15/10/09 - Stockholm (Skandia)
  • 20/10/09 - Helsinki (Tennispalatsii)
  • 21/10/09 - Århus (CinemaXx)
  • 22/10/09 - Kopenhagen (CinemaXx)

Read on for more detailed information in Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish.

Continue reading "Adobe CS4 Tour 2009 (Nordics)" »

September 3, 2009

Adobe Masters Tour 2009 (Germany/Austria)

Ah well, it is this time of year again. Mid September I'll be touring Germany and Austria together with my colleagues Greg Rewis and Jason Levine. In almost 6 hours, we'll be showing what's new in Adobe Creative Suite 4 and how to best organize cross-application and cross-media workflows. Thanks to Cancom and Adobe Germany for organizing this free series of events.
Greg and I will most likely be speaking German, and I am sure Jason will be using is "bestest" English.


  • 16/09/09 - Munich (CinemaxX Isartor)
  • 17/09/09 - Hamburg (CinemaxX Dammtor)
  • 22/09/09 - Düsseldorf (UCI Kinowelt Medienhafen)
  • 23/09/09 - Berlin (CineStar CUBIX am Alexanderplatz)
  • 24/09/09 - Wien (Village W3 Cinema Vienna Mitte)
For further information and to register for an event in your city go here.

September 1, 2009

CSInsider | Design - The Designer to Developer Workflow with XFL

In this ninth episode of CSInsider|Design, I will show how you can leverage your knowledge of InDesign to create designs that will be forwarded to Flash developers for adding advanced interactivity, and animation. Paul Burnett from Flash Downunder will be joining me to show what a developer would then do with the content I was able to export as XFL from InDesign.

This is all very interesting because it allows for creating true Designer to Developer workflows. In the past Designers would design, and print their publications, then developers have to start from scratch and place graphics and text, to approximate the designer's intent.


August 30, 2009

10 Years of InDesign

indesign1.jpgWell, who would have guessed? It's been ten years now, since InDesign 1.0 shipped (read the original press release). InDesign 1 included many groundbreaking features unmatched in page-layout products that were available at the time. Such as:

  • Multi-line Text Composer
  • Optical Margin Alignment
  • Hierarchical Master Pages
  • Extensive Multi-lingual support
  • Optical Kerning
  • High-resolution EPS and PDF display
  • Multiple Redo & Undo
  • Zooming from 5% to 4000%
I remember being very excited at that announcement, and could not wait to investigate it. The tag line was: "Page layout and design for the future of professional publishing", now how accurate and forward looking was that?
Sadly, version 1.0 did not answer the immediate needs of my fast paced production environment, so I let it go, and went back back to my usual workflow (and we can all guess what that was).
Just over two years later, on September 24, 2001, Adobe announced InDesign 2.0 (Press Realease), and I got all excited again. So when Adobe Italy started touring the country showcasing it's features in 2002, I took a day off my daily routine to attend one of their events; and this time they had me 100% convinced.
Come on! I mean stuff like:
  • Transparency (drop shadows, feathering, and opacity settings to objects)
  • Support of native files and transparency (transparent Photoshop, Illustrator and PDF files)
  • Table creation features
  • Long document support
  • Etc...
I got myself InDesign 2.0, worked on a rather complex project of 300 pages involving maps, transparencies, multiple languages on layers, and so on... I then took it to the printer, and it did print like a charm. A few weeks later, I sold my licenses of Brand X, got Certified (ACE), and never looked back.
Thank you InDesign, and Happy Birthday, or would one call this an Anniversary? How much you have grown, and how much my life has changed thanks to you.

Feel free to share your experiences of InDesign here.

July 31, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Conditional Text and Smart Text Reflow in InDesign CS4

In this Eighth episode of CSInsider|Design, I will show how you can leverage the power of Conditional Text and Smart Text Reflow in InDesign CS4 to create modular layouts. For example what if I need text to change in certain situations, like prices for different currencies? What if my document needs to be flexible enough to adapt to more or less pages? Well, all of this is possible with these two very cool features.


July 29, 2009

3D in Flash CS4 Professional, a breeze!

I have just come across a new extension for Flash CS4 that allows to import of 3D files to be animated (3DS or FL3D). It literally took minutes to understand, and before I knew it, I was able to animate a 3D object and create a SWF. Remember that I am a designer, and don't know the last thing about code. Simply by using the new Motion Tween feature, or the provided behaviors you can interact directly with the object itself.
Another awesome point is that the guys at Revolver have created an AIR application that allows to convert and import a 3DS file (3D Studio Max) directly into the Library Panel in Flash. Oh joy!

This extension, called FreeSpin3D for Adobe Flash CS4, is a leap forward for interactive designers, eliminating lengthy development processes by enabling the display and management of 3D objects within the Adobe Flash workspace as Flash Movie Clip objects. The result is a superior workflow, minimal learning curve, low file sizes and extremely fast creation of interactive 3D elements. FreeSpin3D is an Adobe Flash Extension that is installed in seconds using the Adobe Flash Extension Manager.

Features of FreeSpin3D for Adobe Flash CS4 include:

  • Native 3D geometric shape modeling and texturing from the Control Panel.
  • Predefined and customizable interactive 3D behavior/physics libraries.
  • Improved usability and updated user interface.
  • Simplified 3D animation using Adobe Flash CS4's Motion Tween functionality.
  • New 3D optimization presets in the model conversion engine.
  • Direct 3D model import through the FreeSpin3D control panel.
  • Vastly improved performance with a higher polygon count.

Revolver offers a 15-day free trial of the CS3 and CS4 versions of FreeSpin3D at Make sure to give it a try!

July 24, 2009

Cross-Hatch Drawing with Adobe Illustrator

I just stumbled across Saurabh's great tutorial on "How to Convert a Photograph into Abstract Line Art" over at VectorTuts. Quite a nice effect there, but it got me thinking about the fact that there must be an easier way rather than duplicating paths and manually resizing each line to match the underlying image. Here I will show you how you can transform any image into a cross-hatch drawing in minutes.


Step 1
Create a new document and place the image you want to transform into a cross-hatch drawing (File>Place, or drag and drop from Adobe Bridge).

Continue reading "Cross-Hatch Drawing with Adobe Illustrator" »

July 20, 2009

Adobe MAX 2009 in Los Angeles - October 4-7 2009

Here are sessions I will be doing at MAX this year, but there are many more for you to check out. Historically MAX has always been an event for developers, but in the past few years we've started adding content for designers as well, going into the depth of our creative solutions (read Adobe Master Collection) adding content around designing for Print, Web, Interactivity, and Video. Well then, in a reality where Designers and Developers increasingly collaborate (or should be), it is necessary, if not critical, to mix and match both worlds and discover what each can do to accelerate business through alliance.

InDesign CS4 In Depth
Leave my hands-on lab with the power to harness InDesign for both print and digital publishing projects. Whether you're a novice or an intermediate InDesign user, this lab will walk you through creating and publishing a document from start to finish. Learn how to set up a new document, import text and graphics, create styled tables, keep track of links, apply creative effects to your design, preflight using custom profiles, and ultimately publish your document for print or the web. This comprehensive session will include tips and tricks to help you deliver documents in less time, with fewer clicks. [Skill: General Audience; When: Monday, October 5th at 5pm, and Tuesday, October 6th at 8:30am]

Continue reading "Adobe MAX 2009 in Los Angeles - October 4-7 2009" »

CSInsider | Design - The improved Links Panel in InDesign CS4

In this seventh episode of CSInsider|Design, I go through the improvements of the Links panel in InDesign CS4. Working with InDesign has much to do with linking to external files (Illustrator files, Photoshop files, etc...) that are being placed into the document itself. In this new version it has become easier to view your links and see important information about them; information such as the color space, effective and original PPI, scaling ratio, where they are located, and so much more. One feature I particularly like is that when a file is linked to more than once in my layout, these links get grouped together in the Links panel so as not to clutter it visually, also, each link has a hyperlink that lets you navigate to where the link is being used in your file. So much easier!


June 24, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Live Preflight in InDesign CS4

In this sixth episode of CSInsider|Design, I show the new Live Preflight feature in Adobe InDesign CS4. The term Preflight originates from the pre-flight checklists used by pilots prior to take off. In a publishing workflow, preflight is the process of checking a document for integrity and completeness, before it can move on in the workflow. In the past we would preflight our InDesign documents before packaging them for hand off; or we would preflight PDFs before they would go to press, to make sure that all fonts are there, that images are the correct resolution, etc...
In InDesign CS4, preflight has become an integral part of document creation. Awesomeness!


June 11, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Placing multiple images in InDesign CS4

In this fifth episode of CSInsider|Design, I show how easy it has become to place multiple images in an InDesign document by using the place gun and the new Smart Guides. One of the cool "hidden" features is that you can also use the place gun to lay out multiple images in a grid in a single operation. Furthermore, you can then leverage the metadata (the data about the data, such as a description) added in Adobe Bridge to automatically create styled captions for the placed images.


June 3, 2009

Welcome to Adobe BrowserLab

It was just a week ago when I blogged about Presentations, an online service for creating presentations. And today, I am here to introduce a new online service named Adobe BrowserLab, which truly is a designer’s dream come true. At the various MAX 2008 events there was a lot of buzz about a project code named Meer Meer (article published last November), and here it is.

Adobe BrowserLab

Adobe BrowserLab is an online hosted service that lets you test the pages of your web site across a variety of web browsers and operating systems. The service works by taking screen shots of your web pages in different browsers, and then displaying them in the BrowserLab application window. This is awesome, because this means that you don’t have to create the various set-ups locally to test your pages!

You can use BrowserLab as a standalone service, or integrated with Dreamweaver CS4. The standalone service lets you test pages that you've posted to a server within the context of a web browser. If you use BrowserLab as an integrated service with Dreamweaver, you can test your pages from within Dreamweaver without publishing your pages to a server.

Note: as I am writing this, Scott Fegette (Adobe Product Manager) wrote on his Twitter stream that "Wow- the response to BrowserLab has been incredible! We've reached our initial capacity limit already- amazing", and "Apologies if you didn't get into BrowserLab in this first round of the limited free preview- we'll be adding more folks soon, keep posted!" - Which basically means that if you cannot access the service now, be patient, as we are adding resources.

Continue reading "Welcome to Adobe BrowserLab" »

About Hyperlinks in SWFs exported from InDesign

This post is basically about the combination of two new features in Adobe InDesign CS4, and something of which I was not aware of:

Redesigned Hyperlinks panel – You can now use the redesigned Hyperlinks panel to create hyperlinks that navigate to external URLs, link to specific files, launch an e-mail client, or jump to a page or section of a page within the same or even a different document. Users can now also verify hyperlinks directly in InDesign CS4 with no need to export the document to a PDF or SWF file for testing.

Export to Flash (SWF) – You can create dynamic content without having to work in the authoring environment of Adobe Flash by simply exporting SWF files directly from within InDesign, complete with page transitions, interactive buttons, rollovers, and hyperlinks.

I have been exporting SWFs from InDesign, complete with all those cool features mentioned above, including hyperlinks since CS4 came out. But, guess what, I had never actually clicked on one of those hyperlinks I created, until Gerard told me that they had to think of a workaround, because those hyperlinks, according to him, did not work in the exported SWF file. So I checked, and guess what, my hyperlinks did not work either. So I had to agree with Gerard that this must have been a bug and that we’d patiently have to wait for a fix.

I was so wrong… And thanks to Michael Ninness (Adobe InDesign Product Manager) for clearing this up.

Continue reading "About Hyperlinks in SWFs exported from InDesign" »

May 25, 2009

Early registration for MAX 2009 is now open

Join us at Adobe MAX 2009, October 4-7, 2009, in Los Angeles.

Adobe MAX is an experience unlike any other. It’s a great opportunity to connect with thousands of Adobe users —including design professionals from across industries— and to learn from Adobe and industry experts.

Early registration is now open, so take advantage of Early Bird pricing and the best opportunity to secure a seat in popular preconference labs (limited to 50 attendees).

As the schedule evolves, you'll see that I will be doing many sessions on Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator.

Continue reading "Early registration for MAX 2009 is now open" »

CSInsider | Design - Working with Gradients in Adobe Illustrator CS4

In this fourth episode of CSInsider|Design, I cover the new Gradient Tool and Gradient Panel in Adobe Illustrator CS4. I just love how you can specify gradient stops, choose colors, and apply transparency to gradients with the Gradient Widget, right there, on top of the artwork itself.


May 11, 2009

CSInsider | Design - The Blob Brush Tool in Adobe Illustrator CS4

In this the third episode of CSInsider|Design, I cover the new Blob Brush Tool in Adobe Illustrator CS4, and show you many of the cool things you can do with this new tool and the other brush tools. This easy to use tool opens up many new creative possibilities.


April 30, 2009

Meet Adobe Illustrator 88 (1987) - History lessons

I finally got my hands on the video of which I talk so much about in my presentations: John Warnock in person, presenting Adobe Illustrator 88 back in 1987 [thanks to Terry Hemphill for sending it to me]. For our "younger" users, John Warnock, together with Chuck Geschke, was one of the founders of Adobe Systems.

The concept behind Illustrator 88 was so new that it needed a video tape to explain what it did and how to use it. For example, how would you have known how to use the Pen Tool, had you never seen one before? How would you have known about direction lines and anchor points? The Pen Tool is now available in most graphics applications, and we almost take it for granted.
Check out the computer he is using, and how he talks about a "scanner hooked to the Macintosh"; it's a real treat and a lot of memories for me. This was the beginning people! John Warnock wanted a way to draw PostScript, and Illustrator was his answer. And look at where we are now as far as vector graphics are concerned.
The "Tutorial" part of the video is extremely interesting as John Warnock takes us through operations such as opening the application itself, and shows all of the available tools and how they work.

This is the full 34 minute version of it (divided into five parts). You can find the whole series on my YouTube Channel, or click on the links below to access individual parts directly.

Meet Adobe Illustrator 88

  • Part 1/5 - Introduction and Demo on how to create art using a scanned drawing as a template. [00:06:20]
  • Part 2/5 - Demo on how to create a drawing from scratch without scanned template. [00:07:27]
  • Part 3/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial. John Warnock starts with: "Now is the time for you to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator". [00:07:25]
  • Part 4/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial (continued). [00:05:47]
  • Part 5/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial (continued). [00:06:36]
Note: I have corrected the audio with Adobe Soundbooth CS4, to remove the hiss and make it slightly louder.

If you want to know more about the history of Adobe Systems, the book "Inside the Publishing Revolution: The Adobe Story" by Pamela Pfiffner is a great read. When I got it back in 2003, I read it all in one go. Go figure...

Enjoy and make sure to comment. Anyone among those who actually watched the original tape?

April 24, 2009

CSInsider | Design - The Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

In this the second episode of CSInsider|Design, I cover the new Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator CS4, and how it can dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of your workflow. As I always say, the thing that bugs me most, is that the Appearance panel, along with Effects, Graphic Styles, and a many other features first appeared in Illustrator version 9, nine! That was back in 2000... Nine years ago. 'Nuff said! It's time to start using it, would you not say?

Also be sure to check out Terry Hemphill's entry on "Keeping up Appearances" on the Inside Adobe Illustrator Blog, and this article [Why the Appearance Panel Rocks] by Patrick Devine, over at Creative Pro.


April 22, 2009

Adobe TV - Brand New Season of CS4 Shows

A few weeks back, I blogged about a brand new episode of my show CSInsider|Design. However, there is something for everyone on Adobe TV, whether you are into print, web, or video. Please do check out this free resource and let us know what you think about.

Feel social today? Well then, engage with us:
Follow AdobeTV on Twitter: @AdobeTV.
Join the I Love Adobe TV group on Facebook.


April 10, 2009

Use ICE to ease the pain of Clients needing "urgent" updates to their Web sites.

Adobe InContext Editing (ICE)Oh I remember it so vividly… Back in the days when I had my own media agency, I did many websites for various Clients. And, the activity, which was probably most time consuming, was to correct or add content to their sites on a very regular basis. And these changes were also of the type which had to be done “right now”. Some of my Clients decided to get equipped with their own copy of GoLive, or Dreamweaver, but that meant additional software and training. This also meant that Clients had control over the design (and we all know how much Clients love large text, blinking GIFs, or have a weird and very personal color taste).
Well, InContext Editing (ICE) is a new online service that makes web content maintenance easy for both web designers, and content editors. We can now create editable pages very quickly with Dreamweaver CS4, and preserve their design integrity by controlling the areas that can be edited. Content editors can easily update their web pages, with no software installation or training required.

InContext Editing is ideal for:

  • Freelance Web Designers
  • Web Designers who work in small design shops
  • Clients in small businesses or organizations
I am saying that because, larger web sites tend to be database driven, and allow their users to modify or add content in a variety of different ways. So basically, ICE is great for those of us who do not have the possibility, or the necessity, do work with more complex systems.

Continue reading "Use ICE to ease the pain of Clients needing "urgent" updates to their Web sites." »

April 7, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #6 with CS4 Design Premium

This short clip is about the new user interface in Adobe Creative Suite 4 - Design Premium. The new interface (with the Application frame and the Tabbed Document Panels) in CS4 Design Premium lets you streamline your workflow and get your projects done faster than ever. Let me show you some time saving features that come with this new way of viewing multiple open documents.

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

This clip is the last of a series created to illustrate the time saving features of Adobe Creative Suite 4. The other 5 clips can be found here:

And here are the links to other short clips showcasing time saving features in CS4 on Adobe TV:

For data about time saving features in Adobe Creative Suite 4, see "And now the hard facts: the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Benchmark Project".

Continue reading "Everyday Time Saver #6 with CS4 Design Premium" »

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Sample Art - Wow!

Many of us, and that includes me (mea maxima culpa...), never really look into the Application folders of our Creative Suite Applications... That is unfortunate because there are some really beautiful illustrations there. Check out what's in Adobe Illustrator CS4 > Cool Extras; you'll find a wealth of Sample Art, Charting and Graph Designs, and a bunch of Templates for your inspiration needs

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Sample Art

Click on the following links to view larger images:

  1. In the Cradle of the Deep by Jory Dayne [FollowTwitter].
  2. Living on a Heart Grunge by Dhanank Pambayun
  3. Local Fare by Nick Zegel [Follow on Twitter].
  4. Loyal Order of Wormwood by Von Glitschka (Glitschka Studios) [Follow on Twitter].
  5. Magic Paintbrush by William Chua Tiong Keng.
  6. Shell City by Matt Huynh.

Furthermore, for each of these illustrations, there is a PDF in which these top designers explain how they created the artwork (in the "How Did They Do That!" folder). Enjoy!

April 2, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Now premiering on Adobe TV

A few weeks ago I was in San Francisco to record 12 episodes of CSInsider for Adobe TV. This is the first episode of the series in which I go over Multiple Artboards and the use of Symbols in Adobe Illustrator CS4.

Let me know what you think. Don't hold back your comments!

March 31, 2009

Adobe and Facebook teaming up? Time to get social!

Facebook Server IconOr: How you can use Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fireworks CS4 to design the next killer app with Facebook integration.
Just as a reminder, the Adobe Flash Platform and the Facebook Platform provide the ultimate solution for building rich, social experiences on the web. Remember that Flash is available on more than 98% of Internet-connected PCs, so people can immediately access the applications, content, and video that enable social interactions. Also, the Facebook Platform is used by millions of people everyday to connect and share with the people in their lives. Together, both platforms allow you to:

  • Share: Create rich interactions for users to share with friends.
  • Have fun: Make games social; let users compete against their friends.
  • Connect: Let users connect to your Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) with Facebook Connect.
  • Solve problems: Build RIAs that harness the power of community.
  • Reach people: Reach millions of Facebook users through social distribution.

What does that mean for us designers? This is not just about code. If you check out these pages (Adobe Developer Connection), you'll see that there are infinite possibilities! Integration, games, desktop AIR applications.
The cool thing is that you, as a designer, can participate in first person...

Continue reading "Adobe and Facebook teaming up? Time to get social!" »

March 30, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #5 with CS4 Design Premium

From withing the applications that are part of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium, you can now share what you are doing on your screen with your Clients, co-workers, or friends! This nifty feature allows you to get immediate feedback while you are working on a project. The free service allows you to share what you are doing in real time with up to three people at one time, and even to give momentary control of your screen to your viewers! In InDesign, for example, all you need to do is choose File > Share My Screen, a few clicks and your Adobe ID (free), you are ready to go. Make sure to give it a whirl, and let me know what you think.

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

Continue reading "Everyday Time Saver #5 with CS4 Design Premium" »

March 24, 2009

And now the hard facts: the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Benchmark Project

Many of you have seen my Shortcut to Savings videos, either on AdobeTV or on my YouTube Channel, and I thank you for that. Now, some of you may have asked yourselves "what is Rufus talking about? How much faster did he say it was? Where did he get his figures?". Well, here are your answers. Enjoy speed!

Today Adobe announced benchmarking results from an independent research study conducted by Pfeiffer Consulting and commissioned by Adobe. According to the report, features in Adobe Creative Suite 4 can dramatically increase productivity, efficiency and return on investment. Research shows that every unnecessary click has the ability to slow down users’ productivity. Routine operations across Adobe Creative Suite 4 can be accomplished more quickly now than with previous versions, dramatically improving the user experience and saving hours every month. Users can now dedicate more time to the creative side of the project with this latest version of the Creative Suite product line. More than 100 benchmark tests focusing on design, print, digital imaging, Web and interactive design, and video production were conducted. Tests covered workflow-related productivity measures as well as market-specific design and publishing activities.

Learn more about the Creative Suite 4 ROI Study.

Key Findings for Design Professionals

  • Users can identify and eliminate production-level errors more than twice as fast in CS4 than in previous versions by activating the Live Preflight feature in InDesign software.

  • Multiple artboards in Illustrator CS4 can help users save almost one-third the time previously needed to make changes to common parameters, like fonts and color, in projects composed of numerous design pieces.

  • New Smart Guides provide positioning hints including alignment with borders, spacing and angle rotation when one is creating or modifying objects on a page. Creation of a new object and aligning it with two other objects now takes less than half the time it took with CS3.

Continue reading "And now the hard facts: the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Benchmark Project" »

March 11, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #4 with CS4 Design Premium

Let me give you a quick tour of the new Links Panel in Adobe InDesign CS4, which saves you time by letting you find and manage your links faster and easier. I mean, everything that is vital to your workflow at your fingertips, what else can you ask for? In combination of the new Live Preflight feature (and here in the Everyday Time Saver #2) you really have access to all the information you need to sleep at night and be sure that your InDesign document won't generate problems down the production line.

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

Continue reading "Everyday Time Saver #4 with CS4 Design Premium" »

March 10, 2009

Three interesting Adobe InDesign links

Thought it would be useful to post these three links which I have just been reading.

1. Scripting InDesign CS4 Preflight.
Yup that's right, you can script almost anything in Adobe InDesign, and that includes the new Live Preflight feature. So if you think that the 200% productivity gain is still not enough, get your scritong gloves on, and automate it even more. This post demonstrates how to interact with the preflight system using JavaScript. [Via Heath Lynn, InDesign SDK Blog].

2. New Quark to Adobe InDesign CS4 Conversion Guide.
Although we are now at the 6th version of InDesign (InDesign CS4) I still hear of a lot of users needing help understanding InDesign as they migrate from QuarkXPress, and enter a new world of integration with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash. InDesign has become a real cross-media power horse, and we created a guide that will help new users make the move that will change their lives and workflows. Welcome to the Creative Suite! [Download, PDF 6.6MB]. And here's the web page on dedicated to making your switch easier, with top reasons to switch to InDesign, in depth information, resources, and links.

3. Woodwing Smart Styles now available for InDesign CS4.
Why use a plug-in if InDesign's styling features are so powerful right out of the box, you may be asking yourself. Well it's not like we can do everything, so we rely on partners such as Woodwing to rise the bar even higher. Smart Styles enables you, among many other things, to make complex formatting even easier, insert formulas into tables and sort rows, reduce boring or repetitive tasks. Check it out here (you can download a fully functional 30-day trial version of Smart Styles).

March 3, 2009

Everyday Time Saver #3 with CS4 Design Premium

Edit Artwork Twice as Fast in Adobe Illustrator CS4.
Let me be your guide as I show you how to manage edits across multiple designs in a single project with the new multiple artboards feature in Illustrator CS4. This was actually one of the top pain points for Freehand users in the past, now it is possible to have more than one artboard. But please don't call them "pages", the last thing I would want to see you doing is creating layouts for multiple page documents such as brochures or even magazines... I am sure you know what I mean (that's what InDesign is for).

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

Continue reading "Everyday Time Saver #3 with CS4 Design Premium" »

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.

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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

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 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.

Continue reading "Everyday Time Saver #1 with CS4 Design Premium" »

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.

Continue reading "Developing Design Ideas using Creative Suite 4" »

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!

Continue reading "Harness the Power of Live Preflight in InDesign CS4" »

January 20, 2009

Caffè Fibonacci Links and a Fan Club!

Here are the links to all the Caffè Fibonacci episodes ever produced together with my good friend and colleague Tim Cole.

But before I start I'd like to officially thank our Fan Club from the Santa Rosa Junior College; your support is truly appreciated! Thank you from both Tim and I.


Episode 1: Enjoy a buffet table of miscellaneous productivity enhancing tips and tricks using tight integration between basic ingredients such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

Episode 2: Cook with Metadata and get productive with layered Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files in InDesign; find out how this can help you find ingredients faster and automate many tedious concoctions.

Episode 3: Learn about Tim's own favorite recipes using nested styles in Adobe InDesign, a truly life changing productivity ingredient that will transform the way you cook together layouts forever.

Continue reading "Caffè Fibonacci Links and a Fan Club!" »

January 14, 2009

InDesign Disappearing Act on Leopard: Resolved

The issue where InDesign CS3/CS4 can either not be hidden or cannot be unhidden using the Cmd-H keyboard shortcut on Leopard has finally been resolved!
The Apple OS X 10.5.6 update (released in December) fixes this issue.
For more information about what this is all about, you can look at this TechNote: InDesign fails to respond to show or hide commands or disappears while its process continues (Mac OS X 10.5-10.5.5).
If you haven't already done so, run your "Software Updater"; it's a hefty 377MB download, but hey, it also improves the performance and reliability of Chess. ;-)

November 25, 2008

It's all about the Appearance!

Okay, now that I caught your attention, it's all about the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator. Believe it or not, whenever I ask my audience "who from the depth of your heart and looking me straight into the eyes, can tell me that they use the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator?", I get the same answer all over the world: a mere 3 to 5% of AI users in the room. Well, that would be fine if the Appearance Panel was a new feature (I mean there needs to be time to learn, no?); the trouble is that this feature was introduced in Adobe Illustrator 9, yes version nine, and that happened in the year 2000 (remember when we were all freaking out about the Millennium Bug?). So, basically, it is an old feature that very few of you have had a chance to discover. That is one of the reasons why we exposed it even more in Adobe Illustrator CS4; we exposed it so much, and made it so much more intuitive that it will be hard not to come across it.
As far as I am concerned, the Appearance Panel is one of the most powerful tools in Illustrator. It allows you to rapidly add fills and/or strokes to any vector graphic, text, or entire layers, apply effects and transparencies selectively, and duplicate the same attributes to other elements by simply creating Graphic Styles.
If you want to know about this old feature, read on.

Continue reading "It's all about the Appearance!" »

GREPaches with InDesign? Here's a palliative.

In InDesign CS3 we introduced a feature that allows you to perform searches for Regular Expressions. A while back, Anne-Marie "Her Geekness" Concepcion, over at, posted a link to a very useful document for those of us who want to tame the power of GREP. In InDesign CS4, using GREP has become even more useful because we can now use Regular Expressions to format text automatically, as Bob Levine describes in his post about GREP Styles.
I just came across a very nifty little AIR application called RegExr. It is a tool for editing and testing Regular Expressions which provides a simple interface to enter regular expressions, and visualizes matches in real-time editable source text. It also provides a handy snippet sidebar with descriptions and usage examples to make it easier to learn Regular Expressions through trial and error. View image.
Here's a link to the online version.
Thanks to Grant Skinner for this.
GREP on!

September 23, 2008

Welcome to Adobe Creative Suite 4 - Adobe CS4

I am currently in Cologne at the Photokina where we did the CS4 announcement this morning. It was truly great: the whole Adobe booth was covered by a black curtain that fell at precisely 10:45AM. I had been walking around the structure prior to the "opening" and was kind of surprised about the few people around, and then decided to get in and wait there... When the curtain dropped, literally hundreds of our users rushed into the booth and occupied all the available seat (many had to stand in the back). What a scene! What a surprise! What anticipation!
And yes, CS4 is now officially announced; and we can finally talk freely about all the new features. What a relief. I spent 9 hours doing theatre demonstrations and presiding the Creative Suite CS4 Design Premium pod answering all the questions that came my way. Life at the trade show.
The new features are just so many, so overwhelmingly many, that I decided to not even make a list of them but simply link to to page on where you can see them all [here]. Enjoy, and keep tuned as I will write about my favorite ones in the months to come.
Yours, truly.

September 19, 2008

"Thank you Adobe!"

It took me some time, but then I decided to make a special post on the subject at hand. During the recent Swiss Publishing Week, I did a few presentations on Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop that ended with a Q&A session with the audience. This was a great opportunity for me to gather feedback and feature requests directly from our users. As a matter of fact, one of my presentations was about how and where InDesign gets produced; from customer feedback to product management, from the writing of specifications to coding. Nothing detailed, clearly, but enough for our users to understand that each new release is an elaborate sequence of events, and the hard work of many people.
Now here is what I wasn't expecting, in times where it's so much easier to only complain: users coming up to me, and telling me "Thank you Adobe" for making their life as creative professionals easier, for creating the tools they need, for making each version better than the previous one... And, believe it or not, this happens all over the world.

Continue reading ""Thank you Adobe!"" »

September 3, 2008

Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) to be announced September 23

Those of you who have checked the website today will have noted that the CS4 announce date has been set. Now, you could be asking yourselves, why is it necessary to announce the announce date... well, here's your answer: the event will be broadcast, and you need to register to view it. Cool! So make sure to be there and get the scoop on what's in store.
From the Adobe website: "Are you ready for something brilliant? Be one of the first to see Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 in a special web broadcast on 23rd of September, 2008".

June 28, 2008

Adobe kuler just got cooler!

A new version of kuler desktop is now available and it allows users to import kuler themes directly into three CS3 applications: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop (instead of having to save a Swatch Exchange to the desktop first).

Just as a reminder, kuler is a web-hosted application for exploring, creating and sharing color harmonies. And, as I always say in my seminars, it's great source for downloading color themes. But what is even more interesting is that you can upload your own! And maybe, one day, your color scheme will be top of the list. Go create!

This version is also a great example of the integration that is possible between Adobe AIR and the Adobe Creative Suite, using SwitchBoard. For the more nerdy among us, SwitchBoard, which is available on Adobe Labs, allows AIR applications to communicate with CS applications via an ActionScript API (application program interface). Using the API you can send ExtendScript commands directly to the Creative Suite applications that support the ExtendScript Library. Cool stuff! The possibilities for developers are infinite.

May 22, 2008

Your help needed to cure the "Stupid PDF Syndrome"

Tim Cole and I felt an urgent need to do this Public Service Announcement at Caffè Fibonacci on Adobe TV. The "Stupid PDF Syndrome" is an affliction that affects millions of PDF files each and every day. Here's how you can help.


View the movie on Adobe TV by following this link.

Continue reading "Your help needed to cure the "Stupid PDF Syndrome"" »

April 17, 2008

Touring Scandinavia like Vikings on their longships

The InDesign Longship Greg and yours truly will be touring Scandinavia in May to show you how to best use Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Design Premium in your creative workflows and production. We will be focusing on InDesign as a hub for putting together your assets, but we'll also touch Photoshop Extended, and Illustrator. During the three hours of our presentation, we’ll be looking at the possibilities these applications can offer and demonstrate their tight integration. We'll be going over each application and also explore some workflow integration with Adobe InCopy. With Greg, we'll also show how to best prepare your documents for XHTML export, and then rapidly edit the CSS in Dreamweaver to publish content on the web.

Continue reading "Touring Scandinavia like Vikings on their longships" »

April 9, 2008

Caffè Fibonacci now open on Adobe TV

Today is a very good day! Both the Adobe Media Player and Adobe TV have been launched.
In January, Tim Cole and yours truly went on a secret mission somewhere in Texas. We could not talk about it then, but now I can say that we have been recording our initial episodes there. We chose to call our show Caffè Fibonacci for several reasons: mainly it's a pretty cool and exotic name, and second you can actually use the Fibonacci numbers to build some amazing grids for your layouts. The kitchen backdrop is a tribute to Tim's love for cooking (hence the kitchen), and the Tuscan countryside was put in to not make me feel too far from home.
The description of our show is: "Welcome to Caffè Fibonacci, where Tim Cole and Rufus Deuchler share their favorite recipes and productivity enhancing tips and tricks for cooking creatively with Adobe Creative Suite". [Watch it here]

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April 7, 2008

CS3 Tour in Italy. Mamma mia!

For the end of April, beginning of May, Adobe Italy has organized a tour to show what it truly means to work within the Adobe Creative Workflow. We'll be touching Turin*, Arese*, Verona, Florence*, Venice, and Rome (I will personally present at the shows marked with *).
And, since these events will be in italian I will continue the description in the language of Dante.

Adobe Italia sta organizzando un tour per mostrarvi che cosa significa lavorare nel flusso di lavoro Adobe. Il tour passa da Torino (22/4)*, Arese (23/4)*, Verona (29/4), Firenze (6/5)*, Venezia (10/5), e Roma (14/5). Sarò personalmente presente nelle città indicate da un asterisco.

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February 24, 2008

Font instalation in Adobe Creative Suite - Your feedback needed

Adobe needs your feedback on different options for font installation behavior in the Creative Suite and many of its component applications. Thomas Phinney's (Adobe's Product Manager for Fonts & Global Typography) blog post with background info is here, and the survey (which literally takes 2 minutes to complete) is here.
I personally completed the survey and it asked some very important questions as far as font installation and how conflicts with already installed fonts is concerned. If you are a type geek like me and enjoy having total control of your typographic assets, then tell Thomas how you feel about it.
Yours truly.