Archive for September, 2010

iPad art: Monkey Sports Car by co-founder Bruce Heavin

Published by | Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Long before he was our cofounder and Chief Creative Officer, Bruce Heavin was an acclaimed painter and illustrator. With his busy schedule, he’s found the iPad to be an ideal companion to be able to conveniently create on the fly, using his finger to paint in his trademark style. Thanks to the Brushes Viewer application, we’re able to share both the end result and show recordings of Bruce’s progress so that you watch how he put each together. Here’s the first, Monkey Sports Car.

Monkey Sports Car - Bruce Heavin  All Rights Reserved

Monkey Sports Car – © Bruce Heavin 2010 All Rights Reserved

If you’re new to the iPad as a creative tool, check out iPad Tips and Tricks with Christopher Breen to learn the basics of using the iPad, including using gestures and syncing and moving documents. Brushes Viewer is a free Mac OS X application used to record each of your brush strokes for replaying and exporting paintings as QuickTime movies. If you have videos posted showing your creations, please share the link with us in comments, below.

The benefits of Illustrator CS5 for web and interactive designers

Published by | Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

When it comes to creating graphics for the many different screen sizes in use today, designers and developers have a variety of choices at their fingertips, including Photoshop and Fireworks. More and more however, designers are looking to Illustrator, as well. With the Illustrator CS5 release, Adobe added finer control over antialiasing, which results in great-looking pixel-perfect artwork. With its vector-based editing environment and ability to integrate with virtually any other Adobe application, Illustrator offers a wide range of benefits for web and interactive designers.

In the past, the titles I recorded covering the use of Illustrator for web design were filled with workarounds to address the shortcomings of using Illustrator for that kind of work. With the new features that Adobe added to Illustrator CS5 however, I was able to refocus the majority of my latest course—Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design—on workflow. The course covers how to best use the creative toolset and powerful production tools in Illustrator to crank out high-quality pixel- and vector-based web content quickly and efficiently. For example, the title has dedicated chapters focused on using Illustrator hand-in-hand with other applications including Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, and Flash Catalyst.

With the public interest in mobile apps, many designers are tasked with creating content for all kinds of screen sizes, and also for generating the numerous icon sizes. Through the generosity of the fabulous visual designer Jon Hicks, I’ve included his template for designing icons for Apple’s iOS in the course.

If you’re a web designer or even a developer who likes to dabble in the world of design, you’ll find a tremendous amount of relevant information in Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design. If you’re a relatively new user of Illustrator in general, I’d recommend the Illustrator CS5 Essential Training course.

A bright future for Illustrator in web design

Adobe recently released extended functionality for Illustrator via the HTML5 Pack for Illustrator CS5 technology preview (you can download it on Adobe Labs). This pack adds the following six capabilities to Illustrator CS5:

• Designate certain attributes (i.e., fill, stroke, opacity) as variables right from the Appearance panel in Illustrator. When saved as SVG, developers can easily change the variable definition to “reskin” or modify the art. You can even create global variables.

• Create multiple artboards in Illustrator at various sizes, for example to design art for different screen sizes. You might do this to create different designs for mobile, tablet, and desktop versions of a design for example. You can then save your file as SVG and include all the different artboards. Illustrator creates an HTML file and a CSS file, along with separate SVG files for each artboard. The CSS uses media queries to detect the screen size and automatically serves up the correct SVG image.

• Select an object on the Illustrator artboard and then choose Object > HTML5 Canvas > Make. These elements are rasterized and included as canvas elements when saved as SVG, giving developers the ability to control the elements via JavaScript.

• Define character styles in your Illustrator document, and then export those character styles as a valid CSS file. You can do this directly from the Character Styles panel.

• Select an object in Illustrator and export valid CSS directly from the Appearance panel. Of course, if you mockup an entire page in Illustrator, you can simply select all of it and export it to a single CSS file. IDs are picked up from the Layers panel (so you want to name artwork carefully), and Illustrator can export Fill, Stroke, Opacity, and Absolute Position, and Dimensions.

• Select styles from the Graphic Styles panel and choose to have them exported when you save your file as SVG. What’s really cool is that you can include styles even if they aren’t applied to your artwork. This would allow you to deliver multiple styles to a developer within a single SVG, and even programmatically swap styles.

With the current trends in the world of web and interactive design, it’s obvious that Illustrator is going to play a large role in future web workflows. Adobe added powerful SVG support to Illustrator nearly 10 years ago, and today’s renewed interest is driving the product even further with support for the HTML5 Canvas tag and CSS3.

In the coming weeks, I will be recording an additional chapter of videos covering the new features included in the HTML5 Pack for Illustrator CS5. These videos will then be added to Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design course. Stay tuned for information on when that will be available.

Optimize, validate, convert, analyze with Google Website Optimizer

Published by | Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

In Google Website Optimizer Essential Training, David Booth shows how to use Website Optimizer, Google’s free tool for conversion optimization. Conversion optimization, or landing page testing, is the process of experimenting with content and design alternatives, displaying them to visitors, and comparing the results, with the goal of improving site performance in regard to marketing, sales, or other conversion metrics. The course covers theory and best practices, as well as a real-world implementation of A/B and multivariate testing. Practical techniques for identifying areas for improvement, estimating sample size, choosing an experiment type, designing, launching, and validating an experiment, and analyzing Website Optimizer reports are included.

Adding dynamic data to a PHP-enabled web site in Dreamweaver CS5

Published by | Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Join David Gassner in Dreamweaver CS5 with PHP and MySQL as he explains how to add dynamic data to a PHP-enabled web site in Dreamweaver CS5. This course shows how to plan and create a MySQL database, define a PHP-enabled site in Dreamweaver CS5, connect the site to the database, and manage and present dynamic data. Dreamweaver CS5 features are demonstrated throughout the video series, including PHP custom class introspection and site-specific code hinting.

Manage tasks, people, and time with Project 2010

Published by | Monday, September 20th, 2010

In Project 2010 Essential Training, project management expert Bonnie Biafore shows how individuals and teams can use Microsoft Project to manage any level of project. The course demonstrates setting up projects, adding tasks, assigning resources, fixing scheduling issues, dealing with resource conflicts, and tracking project progress. It also covers the new Project interface, featuring the new Ribbon and Backstage view, and explains how to use new features like user-controlled scheduling, the Timeline, and Team Planner.

Create dynamic animations in Flash Professional CS5

Published by | Thursday, September 16th, 2010

In Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects, Paul Trani shows how to create dynamic and visually rich animations in Flash Professional CS5. This course demonstrates how to create and import assets, and then take those assets and bring them to life with dynamic motion. It also shows how to create more unique and natural movement by adding special effects, 3D, masks, and even bones to animate characters.

Get it together: Compositing images in Photoshop CS5

Published by | Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

In Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing, Chris Orwig demonstrates how to take photographs to the next creative level by combining images in Photoshop. This course covers multiple compositing scenarios, including portraits and architecture photos, from selecting the images, to blending photos with layer masks and blend modes, and resizing and sharpening the results. Chris also covers tips and tricks design to inspire and increase the drama and interest of photographs. ranked among fastest growing private companies

Published by | Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

We knew we were growing, and now everyone else does, too: has been ranked as one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. in 2010, according to Inc. magazine’s 500|5000 company listing.

Inc. 5000Ranked as number 899 out of 5,000, is also distinguished by its rank as number 12 in the Inc. 5000 Top Education Companies category. Like all companies included in the Inc. 500|5000 listing,’s position was based on the percentage growth of annual revenue over a three-year period. is among the 5,000 companies individually profiled by Inc. in this year’s roundup of entrepreneurial leaders.

We’re really proud that this award distinguishes among both educators and entrepreneurs. Our continued growth is really based on how well we have continually adapted to our member’s needs by creating the highest quality training that we can. We strive to develop compelling content that all of you can count on as software and the market changes, and we do our best to give you even more than you expect.

Want to be a part of Check out our current career opportunities.