Archive for April, 2012

Why Illustrator is more relevant than ever

 Illustrator CS6 is here, and I’m excited! I’m no designer; I pretend to be one sometimes, but I’m really not. What I can sometimes call myself, though, is a technologist; and what I see in Illustrator CS6 excites the technologist in me. Let me tell you why, I think, Illustrator is important, and why, in this time and age it is more relevant than ever.

Size does matter


John Warnock

Dr. John Warnock

Let’s start from the beginning, a good place to start. 25 years ago, John Warnock created Illustrator. In the years that followed, print was the dominant medium and size was important. You wanted your artwork on a postcard as well as a billboard on Times Square. Vector graphics were the way to go; Illustrator was the tool of choice. Of course, it helped that Adobe also pioneered PostScript®—used together, they provided a pretty exciting package that helped designers push boundaries.

The infant web

Flash forward to the infant web: Illustrator lost some of its sheen and appeal. It became a niche tool for designers and illustrators. The early internet was mostly raster.

Raster vs Vector

Folks consumed most content within the browser. GIF/JPEG ruled the roost for a long time, mainly because that’s what worked really well on those slow and unreliable dial-up connections. Internet was like the wild-wild-west, and the pioneers were happy with what they got. Then bandwidth exploded, Moore’s law and economies of scale made powerful computers available to more and more people, a better image format was needed. PNG emerged the winner: raster was, and in most cases still is, good enough.

Adobe SVG

Adobe’s SVG format was, I think, a little ahead of its time. Average folks didn’t really care about vector graphics and graphic fidelity just yet. Why would they? They were still used to crummy text. The web didn’t even have proper typography! If you saw bad typography everywhere, would you complain about pixelated graphics?

Size does matter. Again.

In the era ushered in by the Apple iPhone, HTML5 and then by the iPad and a plethora of Android devices, we’re now completing a circle. Size is relevant again. Just like you wanted to scale your design from a postcard to billboard, now you want the content to scale from an iPhone to a giant 104” HDTV, and everything else in between. (plus that postcard and that billboard.) Needless to say, the consumers now expect fidelity.
Infant tablets were happy with raster images. PNGs worked fine, just like GIFs had for the infant web. The early tablet and smartphone processors, were able to display images just fine, but didn’t pack enough punch to draw vector graphics. To give consumers the illusion of speed, technologists probably decided that PNGs are just fine.

Image Courtesy: Adobe Canada blog

As we found out recently, after the retina display was launched, we also need to account for platform and device fragmentation. For example, PNGs that worked well on the iPad 2 started looking really crummy on the retina display. Higher resolution PNGs break compatibility with older hardware, and require significantly higher bandwidth. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but to remain relevant, we’ll surely need infinite resolution pretty soon. (If you didn’t already, now you know the Illustrator team’s blog is


Don’t predict the future, unless you know. But it’s safe to hazard an educated guess.

Manufacturers are adding multiple cores, and faster RAM. You have more processing power in your pocket than NASA had in 1969#1; we can aim higher than the moon! We need to ensure pristine content on any class of device: phones, tablets, computers, TVs, or the emerging content-consumption devices such as smart-watches, smart-glasses, and whatever inventors will dream up next. Who knows, how soon you’ll be reading the morning news on your coffee cup?

To be successful, the content will have to be scalable. Which output format will finally prevail is open for discussion. We’ll need to wait a while to find out.


Whether content will be HTML5, SVG, PDF, Flash, or something else entirely, I don’t know. But it will be created in Illustrator, that I’m sure.
Illustrator has evolved immensely in the last 25 years. And today, it is poised to transform the world’s content, yet again: one path at a time.


 It's probably true, but I can't be sure; Apollo 11 had a 2.048 MHz CPU.


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InDesign CS6 and PDF Forms

Buttons and Forms Panel (Window > Interactive > Buttons and Forms)

Buttons and Forms Panel (Window > Interactive > Buttons and Forms)

Sample Buttons and forms

Sample Buttons and forms

The PDF Forms Song

At last year’s Pepcon
Tony Harmer did say:
Adobe, add PDF forms
to my InDesign tray.

Lo and behold!
Rejoice now hey!
Upgrade to CS6
PDF Forms at play.

Lay out your form,
add form fields and mix
from the Button and Forms library
in InDesign Cee Ess Six.

Customize the form,
as much you will,
font sizes for input fields
or a custom stroke or fill.

If default appearances please you not,
and you think they’re rather plain,
using different appearances ought
to jazz up your game.

Predefined actions for Buttons,
How well does this bode?
Clear Form, Submit, Reset:
All without writing code.

User friendly forms,
Are pretty hard to make,
Add Tool tips and Tab orders
Or the workflow just might break

Export to PDF,
And create a tagged one,
Test in Acrobat, distribute to users,
And you’re all done!

Upgrade to Cee Ess Six,
Forms and more await,
Or get a Creative Cloud subscription,
And be always up-to-date.

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Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 is here

Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite CS6 are here. Welcome the excitement, let’s get started.

What is the Creative cloud?

Adobe® Creative Cloud™ is the digital hub that lets you download and install every Adobe Creative Suite® 6 application; access online services for file sharing, collaboration, and publishing; and benefit from new apps and features as soon as they’re released — giving you the freedom to create anything you can imagine.


Read all about it.

Adobe InDesign CS6

In its newest avatar,  Adobe® InDesign® CS6 software,gives you pixel-perfect control over design and typography. Create elegant and engaging pages for print, tablets, and other screens. Use Adaptive Design Tools to easily repurpose layouts to look great on a variety of pages sizes, orientations, or devices. InDesign comes with several new features, all aimed to make you more productive. InDesign CS6 will do the heavy lifting, so that you can spend more time doing what you do best: design!

Here are the Top 4, according to me:

Alternate Layouts

Design for multiple screen-sizes, orientations, and aspect ratios. And keep all your designes within a single InDesign file. So if you’re planning a publication for the iPad, you can design for both the horizontal and vertical layouts in the same file. Want to add support for the Galaxy Tab: add another alternate layout. InDesign will also do the heavy lifting for you and create the basic layouts based on the source layouts. All you need to do is tweak and you’re ready.

Linked content

Link content within or across InDesign documents so that changes (including interactivity) made to the parent text or object are applied to all linked children objects.Content Collector tools

Content Collector tools

Grab text and objects from an existing layout using the Content Collector. In a new layout, use the Content Placer to add items in the order you want them to appear. You can even create links to the original when you place content, so that it gets updated when you update the original. Copy-paste on steroids

PDF Forms

Create form fields directly within InDesign before you export to PDF. You can also assign the tab order in InDesign using the Articles panel.

Read the complete list  here and let me know what your top 4 features are.


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Content Collector Tools in InDesign CS6

Grab text and objects from an existing layout using the Content Collector.Use the Content Placer to add items in the order you want them to appear, on a different spread or another InDesign document. Terry White shows you how.

Copy-paste on steroids!

Have you tried InDesign CS6 ? Download a trial. Incase you need it, see the instructions to install a trial.

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Ask a CS Pro | DPS and iPad3


You’ve probably heard about the new iPad. That amazing Retina Display with double the resolution of previous iPads.

It’s gorgeous. But how are you going to author your Digital Publishing Suite content so that it looks good on both this device and the earlier versions of the iPad? Join Colin Fleming, Adobe Digital Publishing Evangelist, for an Ask a CS Pro session on Friday, April 6th to learn how to efficiently design and author for both types of iPad. There are a couple things to keep in mind, and some pretty nifty solutions so your content looks great.

Adobe has just updated their guidance on authoring Digital Publishing Suite for the new iPad, and Colin will demonstrate many of these techniques in this session.
He will cover:

o Layout design for flexible publishing
o Handling interactive content for two resolutions
o Building folios for “renditions”


Friday, 6th April, 2012

Register now!


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