Archive for July, 2011

Deke’s Techniques: Creating custom starbursts in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

You don’t have to settle for the ordinary, even when it comes to creating a starburst in Illustrator. In fact, this week Deke shows you two techniques for giving your stellar compositions a customized effect in this single movie. In the first example, you’ll start with a simple star shape path, then use such unintuitively named features as Roughen and Pucker, in order to create a celestial body to contend with. And even better, these are dynamic effects you can assess and adjust to your own taste:

In the second example, Deke shows a less adjustable—but no less effective—means of customizing the star shape he used in last week’s technique. By using a much more intuitively named feature, the Crystallize tool, you can make iterations of your original path, adjust the opacity, and end up with this effect:

Either way, you’ll end up with a couple of techniques in your bag of star-based tricks that allow you to take your celestial creations to new heights.

Every week, there’s a new free technique from Deke. And members can see the entire collection of Deke’s Techniques (along with some exclusive members-only videos) here. Meanwhile, Deke will be back next week with a new Photoshop technique that’s out of this world in a completely different way.

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


Photography at profiled at The Online Photographer

Published by | Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Mike Johnson talks about his personal experience with, and his feelings on our growing collection of photography courses that focus on techniques rather than software. Read the full story at The Online Photographer.

From the unemployment line to self-employed

Published by | Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Andy Brown posts an inspirational story of self-reinvention after being laid off from his job as an IT manager. We first saw this story via Twitter, where Andy wrote “From the unemployment line to self employed thanks to hard work and @lyndadotcom.” So naturally, we had to check it out. And while we’re pleased to get the mention, it truly is an inspiring story of reinvention. Get the whole story from Andy’s post, ‘Reinventing Yourself.’

Free screening of Stefan G. Bucher Creative Inspirations documentary

Published by | Thursday, July 21st, 2011

On Thursday, July 28, join and Art Center College of Design as we present a screening of the new film from the Creative Inspirations series, Stefan G. Bucher, Designer, Illustrator, and Writer. Follow Stefan from his first illustrations, through Art Center College of Design, Portland agency Wieden+Kennedy, Madonna’s Maverick Records, and finally his own company, 344 Design. If you’re in the Pasadena, CA area, it’s a great opportunity to check out our latest documentary on the big screen, meet other members, and attend a Q&A with Stefan Bucher.

Admission is free, as space permits.

Event details:

Stefan G. Bucher, Designer, Illustrator, and Writer
Art Center College of Design, Hillside Campus, Pasadena
Ahmanson Auditorium

Thursday, July 28

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Screening
8:00 – 8:30 p.m. Q&A with Stefan

RSVP to by July 25.

We hope to see you there!


Deke’s Techniques: Creating a shooting star in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

We’re reaching for the stars this week with Deke. Well, we’re actually making one beautiful glowing star that spreads its luminance across a dark sky. In this week’s free movie, you’ll see how simple paths and the deft application of blending in Illustrator can create an absolutely stellar effect. And you don’t need the latest and greatest Illustrator to play with this feature in your own projects. Although Deke is using Illustrator CS5 in the video, the tools involved have been a part of the application since 1988!

Deke starts with some simple paths, isolates them systematically, then applies blending and some careful pen tool machinations to make them dance to your will. You’ll even see how Illustrator blends from completely opaque to completely transparent, and along the way, you’ll find out how Deke creates this striking star trail:

Want to see more Illustrator illusion? Members of the Online Training Library® can catch this week’s exclusive video here, in which Deke shows you how to automatically create the repeating effects of his gargoyle’s wings, the sarcophagus it protects, and the fence around the cryptic tomb.

Frankly, sometimes I find Illustrator a little mysterious, but Deke’s Techniques will give you stellar powers in under eight minutes. And if you want to explore Adobe’s vector-drawing powerhouse, you can check out the first course in Deke’s Illustrator One-on-One series. Meanwhile, seasoned Illustrator explorers shouldn’t miss our deep-dive series—Illustrator Insider Training—with Illustrator commander extraordinaire, Mordy Golding. (Start with Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials, for a look at what you might have missed if you started with Illustrator before warp speed was introduced.)

And next week, Deke continues the galactic travels in Illustrator with a custom starburst. Every week, a free technique from Captain Deke!

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


Helping Final Cut Pro 7 users migrate to Media Composer 5

Published by | Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Migrating from Final Cut Pro 7 to Media Composer 5.5 is the second Final Cut Pro course that we’ve released this week. The course is a deep comparison of the interfaces, concepts, tools, and workflow behind each of these two programs. Author Steve Holyhead covers the key differences Final Cut editors need to know to master Media Composer.

Avid’s Media Composer is used heavily in many areas of production, particularly in high-end television and feature films. Originally, this course was designed for people who learned video editing on Final Cut Pro and wanted to broaden their professional skills so they could work in more types of production environments.

With the release of Final Cut Pro X, this course suddenly has a second purpose. While the controversy has settled down a bit, some Final Cut Pro users are indicating that they may want to switch platforms. This course can be used not only to facilitate that switch, but also can be used as a comparison between the two platforms for those who are simply considering the possibilities.

This course covers the basics of editing in Media Composer, including sequence creation, project organization and navigation, importing and linking media, timeline editing techniques, and how to work with audio and add transitions and effects. This should be everything Final Cut users need to know in order to understand Media Composer. We also have Avid Media Composer 5 Essential Training for those who want dive even deeper.

Of course, we have more Final Cut Pro X titles in the works, so stay tuned.

Adding stereoscopic 3D text and shapes

Published by | Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

If you tuned in to Deke’s Techniques last week, you probably still have your red/cyan cardboard sunglasses at hand. Good thing, because this week, Deke shows you how to take your stereoscopic image and move solid objects (in this case text) behind and in front of the perceived screen plane. Words and pictures coming at you courtesy of Deke and! And despite its intricate effect, this technique primarily consists of systemtatically turning channels on and off and moving layers right and left. In fact, Deke gives you a cool, non-3D (take those silly glasses off for a second) graphic that shows you how to move your anaglyphic objects to and fro for the desired effect:

By the end of this free video, you’ll have your text dancing in and out of the screen. And in this week’s member-exclusive video, Deke shows you how to apply a tilt effect to that text for an amazingly sophisticated effect that you’ll be hard pressed to find documented anywhere else. Put your silly glasses back on for this one, kids.

And we’ll see you back next week for another Deke’s Technique (Illustrator-style!)

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

Changes to the Digital Publishing Suite since the InDesign CS5.5 release

Published by | Monday, July 11th, 2011

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

Back in May of this year, Adobe released a CS5.5 version of InDesign that included some features (in the form of a plug-in) that were expressly designed to create content for Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. At the time, we released a course by James Fritz, InDesign CS5.5 New Features, which explored all the new features of Adobe’s layout program, including those DPS tools.

Then in June, the DPS group at Adobe went live with their product and made some changes to the way things worked. We decided to remove some videos and make some edits to James’s InDesign course so as not to give our members confusing or no-longer-accurate information. We also went to work developing a DPS-specific course that will be released soon.

Meanwhile, James has written up an informative account of the changes to DPS as well as the challenges of creating courses that rely on beta software in order to be ready to roll when products release. It reveals some of the ways that bringing our members the most timely content also means having to gracefully ride shifting seas of software development.

Here’s James Fritz’s story:

In Spring of 2010 Adobe and Wired released the first interactive magazine for the iPad. Shortly after this release, a beta program began at Adobe for publishers and designers to start testing and provide feedback on this new system. Over the course of the next year there was a lot of change, which is not uncommon for a beta product. Despite the changes, the workflow for publishing on the iPad remained fairly consistent.

In the beginning, a designer would design the magazine and begin to add some basic interactivity. Eventually, when it came time to add new functions like panoramas or scrolling frames, you would use an Adobe AIR application to embed these features. Over time this separate application was turned into the overlay creator panel and became a part of InDesign.

After adding all of the interactivity the next step was to create it into a format that would be readable on the iPad. This format was called a folio. In order to create a folio file, you needed to take all of your InDesign documents with interactivity and use another Adobe AIR app called the Content Bundler. This app would combine everything into a folio that could be viewed on the desktop or your iPad.

In order to view the folio file on an iPad, you had to go through a process called side-loading. This involved connecting your iPad to iTunes and selecting the folio that you wanted to copy over for testing. This technique is commonly used by other applications to manage files like PDFs or EPUBs.

During the pre-release, most of the testers assumed that this workflow would continue in the shipping product. In fact, we thought that a folio file would be similar to a PDF since it is just an interactive version of an InDesign document for a tablet.

However, once InDesign CS5.5 shipped we learned that the process had changed. The content bundler app was removed and replaced with a panel inside InDesign called the Folio Builder. While the concept behind the panel was the same as the content bundler, the execution was very different. Side-loading was no longer an option to transfer a folio. The new Folio Builder panel would automatically upload the entire folio to the website and send it to various tablets for testing.

Using did make it much easier to share your folio with other people since you didn’t have to psychically connect it to your computer. However, it was no longer possible to distribute the folio files by themselves.

When I recorded the videos for InDesign CS5.5 New Features, we had no idea that these changes were going to be taking place. In fact, we recorded videos about how to use the content bundler and folio files for each lesson. In the end, we believed it was better to pull some of the videos and the lesson files from the course to make the training content match the shipping workflow. However, many members have written in asking for the files, so we have restored the chapter 5 assets and created a FAQ explaining how you can use them with the shipping version of InDesign CS5.5. While the videos may not exactly match your screen, the directions provided will give you everything you need to follow along.

We hope you find this additional information useful and helpful to your efforts of learning how to publish from InDesign to the iPad. Meanwhile, you can see the Adobe DPS in its most up-to-date state in the upcoming course from, to be published later this month.