Archive for May, 2010

InDesignSecretsLive print and epublishing conference recap

Published by | Friday, May 28th, 2010

The first InDesignSecretsLive Conference was last week in Seattle, Washington. Now that authors Anne-Marie Concepcion and David Blatner are back from the conference and have had a day or two to unpack, I wanted to find out how the conference went for them.

With over 200 attendees from six different continents, seven authors speaking, and lots of Adobe engineers, this Print and ePublishing conference was considered a success for David and Anne Marie, who joked on their podcast that since this was their first conference, they were only expecting about 15 attendees at one point.

David shared this inspired moment from the conference.

“Having one of the Adobe engineers who has been working on InDesign for many years give an impromptu lesson to some of us on behind-the-scenes features InDesign was eye-opening and exciting,” says David. “It led to another interaction with a third-party developer who quickly wrote a plug-in that solved a problem that had been bothering me. We’ll be writing that up in a blog post soon. That kind of real-life, real-time interaction was very exciting.”

View from the audience. Photo by John Cornicello.

One of the satisfying a-ha moments that Anne-Marie shared with me was regarding the Discussion Lounge at the conference.

“This was a smaller room with tables and chairs arranged for group conversations,” Anne-Marie explained. “It was a place to network, and for attendees to have more private one-on-one conversations with the speakers. I remember on Friday afternoon, I looked around the room and thought, It’s working! It’s working! because there were several discussion groups, each with one or two speakers and a few attendees engaged in very interesting conversations.”

To read through the Twitter comments on the conference activity, check out these #pepcon tagged posts. For more information, discounts, and upcoming events, there is a free InDesignSecrets newsletter available. Great job David and Anne-Marie!

Learn Camera Raw 6 with author, teacher, photographer Chris Orwig

Published by | Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

In Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6, Chris Orwig provides in-depth training on the CS5 component that enables photographers to open and manipulate images in non-destructive and now even more efficient ways. This course covers the benefits of raw processing, which makes it possible to more precisely control an image’s appearance—exposure, shadow and highlight detail, color balance, sharpness, and more—including new workflow procedures and technical concepts and issues. Learn the entire Camera Raw 6 workflow, from opening and resizing, toning and cropping, to sharpening and saving.

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on Excel

Published by | Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 has been rolling out training on Office 2010, which launched to business customers earlier this month. I’ve been talking to our Office 2010 authors about their experiences with the latest version of Microsoft Office. Today’s Q&A features Bob Flisser, author of Excel 2010 New Features.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the most interesting new feature in Excel 2010?

A: Since Excel was already a mature application, I couldn’t imagine how Microsoft could improve it for 2010. Now that I’ve been using it for a while, I’d have to say the most interesting–which to me means fun–new feature is Sparklines. (Yes, I said a spreadsheet program is fun.)

Let’s say each row on your worksheet lists a product you sell, and each column shows the amount of a different month’s sales. With a couple of clicks, you can insert a tiny trend line or bar graph contained inside a cell at the end of each row, showing how sales of the product rose or fell over the months. If there are 20 rows, there are 20 miniature charts. With a couple more clicks, you can apply formatting that brings out exactly the information you need. presents: AIGA

Published by | Monday, May 24th, 2010

Last fall, we pulled out our tuxedos and followed Lynda to New York City for AIGA’s Design Legends Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. Before the big event, we donned our running shoes and cameras to tag along with Lynda as she explored the organization, its mission, and some of its most influential members.

Our trek took us from AIGA’s National Design Center on Fifth Avenue, over to the School of Visual Arts and on to Sterling Brands, located in the Empire State Building, home to AIGA President Debbie Millman.

Lynda also had the opportunity to meet with all three of this year’s recipients of the AIGA Medal: Pablo Ferro, Carin Goldberg and Doyald Young. I found it pretty amazing being in the room with these legends—and our cameras were there. The result is our latest documentary, presents: AIGA. Let us know what you think.

How to take screen shots on your Mac or PC

Published by | Friday, May 21st, 2010

There are often times, especially when I’m trying to convey a technical issue I’m having with my computer, when it’s much easier to show the problem than to spend paragraphs trying to explain it. Both Macs and PCs have had the ability to take screen shots (or screen captures) since time immemorial, and it’s a simple and useful task for capturing a problem visually. Screen shots are also useful for creating how-to documentation or to complement a review or other article about a piece of software, for example. Here’s a primer on how to take screen shots on your computer in case you have to capture what’s on your screen at a given time.


  • To capture the entire screen: Shift+Command+3
  • To capture a selected portion of the screen: Shift+Command+4 turns your mouse cursor into a cross hair. Drag a rectangle around the portion of the screen you want to capture.
  • To capture a window: Shift+Command+4 again turns your mouse cursor into a crosshair. Then press the spacebar, which turns your cursor into a camera icon. Place the camera icon over the window you wish to capture (the selected window will highlight in blue) and then click. Even if the window you’re capturing is partially obscured by another window on top of it, your screen capture will be of the entire unobscured window.

In each case, you’ll hear a camera shutter sound to let you know the screen capture worked. The images you capture will be saved to your Mac’s desktop. On Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, the file is saved as a PNG and named as “Screen shot” followed by the date and time you took the shot. Earlier versions of Mac OS X name screenshots as Picture 1, Picture 2, etc., and save them as either PNGs or PDFs.


  • To capture the entire screen: press the Print Screen button (possibly labeled PrtScn or something similar, depending on your keyboard). This copies the entire screen onto your computer’s clipboard.
  • To capture the active (frontmost) window: press Alt+Print Screen. Again, this copies the selected window to your computer’s clipboard.

Unlike the Mac, there is no audible feedback when you perform a screen capture on Windows, and instead of saving the screen capture as a file, Windows only copies the image to your clipboard. You’ll then have to open an image editing program, such as Microsoft Paint, and click the Paste button to paste your screen capture into the document, where you can then edit it before you save it, if you like.

Mac OS X also includes an application called Grab, located in your Applications > Utilities folder, which gives you slightly better controls over the portion of the screen you’re capturing. It also offers a “Timed Screen” option which gives you 10 seconds to get your screen ready before it takes the shot. This can be useful if you need to capture something in action and don’t have your hands free to manually perform the screen capture.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 both include an application called Snipping Tool, located in All Programs > Accessories, and it, too, gives you more and better options for creating screen captures, including the ability to grab irregular shapes and specific portions of the screen.

So if you’ve never taken screen shots before, take some time and play around with the different controls and options. You may be surprised at how often screen captures come in handy.

See the accompanying video for additional screen shot controls.

Exploring the new feature set in Maya 2011

Published by | Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

In Maya 2011 New Features, author and content manager for 3D, animation, and video George Maestri explores the significant and robust features in Maya 2011 that add functionality to its 3D workflows. This course covers the addition of Bezier curves for NURBS modelers, the Connect Component and Spin Edge tools in the polygonal modeling mode, and rigging tools for character animation. George also covers enhancements to rendering and special effects, adjusting skin weights with color feedback with Paint Skin Weights, making object-level soft selections, using the camera sequencer, and much more.

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on SharePoint

Published by | Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Recently Microsoft released Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to business customers, and began to roll out training on the Office 2010 applications. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking to some of our authors about their experiences with Office 2010 and what this latest version can do for businesses.

SharePoint is at the heart of Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration efforts. Today’s Q&A features staff author Simon Allardice, who is developing a rich line of courses to help businesses understand how to get the most out of SharePoint. Look for his SharePoint 2010 New Features course, just released today in the Online Training Library®.

Inverse kinematics animations in Flash Pro CS5

Published by | Friday, May 14th, 2010

Flash CS5 Essential Training is the latest training course from Todd Perkins. One of the cool features in Flash Professional CS5 is the use of IK animation, or inverse kinematics. IK gives animations a better range of motion making illustrated robots, machines, animals, and so on, more life-like. In the clip below, Todd gives an overview of what IK animations in Flash Pro CS5 are capable of.

To keep up with more Flash tips and tricks from Todd, you can follow @askTodd on Twitter, and check out his Flash and ActionScript Blog.