Archive for May, 2011

Author James Williamson discusses his new HTML5 course on structure, syntax, and semantics

Published by | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

We’re very excited to be releasing a series of courses on HTML5 this week. Senior staff author James Williamson kicks off the content with a new course releasing today, HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics. This course is designed as the starting point; other courses will teach how to use HTML5 web forms, local storage, rich media, and graphics with the HTML5 <canvas> tag. Let us know what else you’re interested in learning about HTML5 by leaving us a comment with this post.

I had a chance to ask James about his experiences preparing for this course.

Q: What got you interested in HTML5?
A: When it seemed that the implementation of XHTML 2 just wasn’t going to happen. I remember hearing about the founding of WHATWG and how they planned to keep working on HTML. At the time I viewed it as a pleasant curiosity, but as we can see, they were on the right track.

Q: What are some of the most surprising uses of HTML5 you’ve seen?
A: I have to be really careful here, because there are a lot of demos and examples floating around out there that, while amazing executions of HTML and JavaScript, aren’t technically HTML5. Overall, I’d have to say I’m most surprised at how quickly Canvas is maturing. Although the Canvas API is in its own spec in the W3C, the canvas element is native to HTML5. Check out Hakim El Hattab’s demo page and you’ll see how far some people are pushing the envelope.

Deke’s Techniques: Removing people from photos with image stacks

Published by | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Have you ever wanted to capture a pristine photo of a famous location that was unmarred by the presence of other people or random objects? Imagine the Golden Gate Bridge with no cars or the Piazza San Marco with no tourists. This week’s Deke’s Techniques shows you how to simulate that kind of exclusive access using the image stacking capabilities of Photoshop CS5 Extended. In this free video, Deke McClelland shows you how he removed a pesky tourist from his shots of a famous theater by aligning multiple shots, turning all those layers into a single smart object, and then applying a median calculation to remove his fellow traveler (not to mention an inexplicable floating orangutan head) from the scene.

In Deke’s case, this pesky woman was walking across the railing at the Theatro Olympico in Vincenza, Italy while Deke was trying to capture Palladio’s amazing forced-perspective set. (Here he actually used a variation technique to show you all four of her positions at once!)

And without having to rely on a single mask, he managed to remove her by simply asking Photoshop to do the math, and ended up with this result:

During the course of the video, you’ll also learn some of the other calcuations that Photoshop Extended offers up. You’ll also see how to troubleshoot remnant artifacts if your calculations don’t do the job satisfactorily. (And as a bonus, you’ll get a beautiful view of this gorgeous, 16th-century forced-perspective theatre designed by the famous architect, Palladio.)

Every week, Deke offers up another handy free technique for you to use in your own projects. And members can also access exclusive videos from Deke as well. In fact, this week, he’ll show you how he turned the crowd in Piazza San Marco into a compelling set of ghostlike figures. Try it out and see what kind of serious power it gives you over your photographic surroundings!

And join us next week for another free technique from Deke. Ciao, fellow Photoshop travelers!

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

Live with Lynda webinar on Thursday, May 26

Published by | Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The next installment of the Live with Lynda webinar series takes place today at noon, PDT. Presented in collaboration with the New Media Consortium, this edition will feature co-founder Lynda Weinman interviewing journalism teacher Esther Wojcicki. Wojcicki, along with several of her students, will be discussing her innovative methods for teaching journalism at Palo Alto High School.

Topics to be covered include (from the web site):

  • Motivation to teach
  • Her unique program at Palo Alto High School
  • The value of project-based teaching
  • Relinquishment of power and control by teachers
  • Creating a relationship of trust with students
  • The difficulties of teaching in a bureaucratic system – overcoming the odds

For more info on Wojcikci (who apparently goes by ‘the WOJ’) and the webinar, check out the Connect@NMC/Live with Lynda page.

Live with Lynda webinar
The Adaptive Classroom: A Conversation with Esther Wojcicki
Thursday, May 26 2011
12:00 pm PDT

Access the webinar in the NMC Connect Adobe Seminar Room


Deke’s Techniques: Creating a flawless panorama

Published by | Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

This week, Deke broadens your horizons with his helpful tips for creating a seamless panorama. Although the Photomerge process in Photoshop is not particularly difficult to use, shooting good images to go into the merged panorama takes some thought. Working carefully will give you the best results, despite the automatic nature of the processing. For instance, worry less about locking down your settings or using a tripod, and more about your feet and framing the shot all the way through. Deke also has some tips for using Photomerge as well. Ultimately, Deke shows you how to seamlessly stitch together photos shot from the Accademia Bridge in Venice that will make you feel like you’re gliding down the Grand Canal.

And what do you think of Deke’s observation about the current trend against photo stitching— lining up the individual photos that would normally go into a panorama, but leaving them in separate frames? For instance, do you prefer modern tetraptych (yes, I had to look that word up) in the upper image below, or the classic panorama in the lower image? I may be a helpless romantic when it comes to Venezia, but for me, it’s the image below that evokes my nostalgia for standing on the Ponte dell’Accademia in one of the most magical cities in the world. And isn’t that what a panorama is supposed to inspire?

Join us again next week for another free video technique. As usual, members can check out the entire collection in the Online Training Library® (which includes some exclusive members-only video). See you next week!

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

How would you like to improve your meetings?

Published by | Monday, May 23rd, 2011

We are developing a course on making meetings more effective, and we’d like to get your input on a couple of questions that will help to shape the course:

  1. What is the one thing you wish would improve about the meetings you attend or lead?
  2. What is the biggest mistake you think others make when it comes to participating in a meeting?

Please post your answers in the comments. Thank you for your insights!

How can you get the most out of LinkedIn?

Published by | Thursday, May 19th, 2011

LinkedIn’s IPO is making waves in financial circles, but there’s a number being bandied about that should resonate with job seekers as well: 41 percent of its revenue comes from hiring solutions, which signifies the extent to which employers and recruiters are using LinkedIn to find job candidates. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for any job seeker, whether you’re a college student entering the job market or a seasoned professional looking to advance your career.


Richard Colback, author of LinkedIn Essential Training, shares his top tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn:

Complete your profile and keep it up to date. LinkedIn is a live platform with millions of people referring to the profiles it contains on a daily basis. By creating and maintaining a full profile, you will feature more prominently in the results shown to this huge network of people.

Add connections. The value of a network is exponentially greater than your profile on its own. By adding business, educational, and professional contacts to your network, you open up opportunities not only for yourself, but also for others in your network who can help each other via a shared link to you.

Get involved. There are many ways that you can get involved on LinkedIn. These vary from sharing information that will benefit the LinkedIn communities you are part of, to joining groups and providing people with another way to contact you and share their interests and insights with you. Active users of LinkedIn are finding jobs, creating business partnerships, and helping others to advance every minute of the day. It’s incredibly powerful, and simple to get started.

Richard’s course offers in-depth tutorials in setting up a profile and making the most of LinkedIn’s networking and job search features. (We also have a course on creating an effective resume if you need some help with that piece.) Take some time to develop a presence on the site, and see what happens when you open yourself up to a network of millions of employers, recruiters, and colleagues who use LinkedIn to help their businesses—and each other—be more successful.

Deke’s Techniques #20: Creating a ‘talk show’ curtain from thin (Photoshop) air

Published by | Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

One of my favorite flavors of Deke’s Techniques is the project that you can make yourself from nothing but Photoshop. This week, Deke shows you how to create a ‘talk-show’ curtain from pure pixels and a combination of Photoshop filters. This curtain may look familiar, having provided a visually textured background for the 3D pie chart that Deke made during last week’s Techniques episode. This week, Deke shows how he made it, starting with a completely new document, applying the Render > Fiber filter, adding a little blur and some layer effects, and ending up with a set of gently parted curtains that can serve as a background in your own artwork.

In fact, with a few adjustments, I made my own set of graphical curtains using Deke’s technique, minus the layer mask, with a few color and gradient overlay changes, and the addition of a drop shadow.

Each week, in just about ten minutes, Deke shares a new technique designed to get you thinking about how to work in Photoshop or Illustrator. As always, members can access the whole collection here, including some exclusive members-only techniques from Deke. What might you do with this week’s curtain of pixels? What sorts of things would you like to see Deke do in Photoshop or Illustrator techniques in the future?

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

Not-quite Photoshop CS5.5: Free course on Photoshop Touch iPad applications

Published by | Friday, May 13th, 2011

With the release of Adobe’s Creative Suite 5.5, there was some confusion over the state of Photoshop. By now, you’ve probably assimilated the fact that there is no such thing as Photoshop CS5.5. The free update to Photoshop CS5 (a.k.a. Photoshop 12.0.4) is the same thing as the version that ships with CS5.5 (a.k.a. Photoshop 12.1), with the exception of the latter’s support for Adobe’s new subscription model. Nonetheless, what both versions of the program possess is the Photoshop SDK that provides the internal plumbing needed to create iOS, Android, or Air apps that talk to, play with, and— in some cases— might even help you work in Photoshop.

In fact, this week Adobe released three such creations for the iPad into the App Store, and we’ve got a free mini-course from Deke McClelland to show them to you. Each app ‘speaks’ to Photoshop from the iPad over a wireless network, no cables necessary. Color Lava ($2.99) allows you to mix custom colors (with your fingertips of course) and set them as the foreground color in Photoshop. Eazel ($4.99) lets you make watercolor-esque paintings, controlling all aspects with a ‘hands-up’ display that you can’t see until you ask for it. And finally, Adobe Nav ($1.99) allows you to offload and customize the toolbox in Photoshop, as well as turn your iPad into an open (untethered) document viewer. Yes, these Adobe apps cost extra, but Deke’s overview, Photoshop Touch First Look, is completely free on Here’s an excerpt in which Deke shows how you connect the apps to Photoshop:

View this entire course and more in the Online Training Library®.

Have you downloaded any of these apps yet? What do you think so far? My opinion is that one is silly, one is fun but of questionable value, and one might actually help you walk down the hall (say, at a certain headquarters in San Jose) and show someone what you’re working on without having to unplug or upload. I’m curious to see what apps you might envision expanding your Photoshop universe.

Related links:
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®