Archive for September, 2011

InDesign FX: Exploring Bevel and Emboss settings

Published by | Thursday, September 15th, 2011

If I were faced with a scenario where I could choose only one of InDesign’s effects to use for the rest of my career, I’d definitely choose Bevel and Emboss. All the other effects certainly have their uses, but in my opinion, Bevel and Emboss is the most indispensable of InDesign FX because of its versatility. With it, you can not only create 3D effects, but also simulate textures. Many of the coolest techniques shown in the InDesign FX video series have one thing in common: the use of Bevel and Emboss.

It’s probably just a coincidence, but I think it’s perfect that Bevel and Emboss is located smack in the middle of InDesign’s Effects menus, because it is the central component of so many cool effects.

In this week’s free video, I go through each of the controls in the Bevel and Emboss dialog box. I show each of the effect’s four styles: Inner Bevel, Outer Bevel, Emboss, and Pillow Emboss.

Because these styles are just starting points, I also show how to customize them by adjusting settings like Technique, Direction, Soften, Depth, Angle, and Altitude.

A key concept I highlight in the video is the fact that you can set the Shadow and Highlight of the effect to use any blending mode and color. This flexibility is incredibly useful for simulating materials. For example, to simulate something like gold, you can change the Highlight settings from the defaults Screen and [Paper] to Multiply and [Black], so instead of creating a highlight, you create a second shadow.

On the other hand, you could do the opposite: set the Shadow to use Screen and [Paper] and create two highlights with the effect to make something super glossy.

For members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® on exploring Inner Glow Settings.

And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?
InDesign FX
 complete course
• Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Deke’s Techniques: Automatically collapsing a selection

Published by | Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

This week, Deke gives us a quick, practical tip on how to move, transform, and recolor items effectively—even if all you have to work with is a flat image. Imagine that you were presented with the graphic below, completely flattened, and thus any impulse you had to rearrange or change the colors of the elements inside the image was thouroughly thwarted. Well, some simple tricks from Deke show you how to use a combination of the standard Marquee tool and (believe it or not) the much maligned Magic Wand to regain your designer’s power.

First off, Deke will show you how to simply move the words ‘for Design’ to a more interesting location, without threatening the descenders in the word ‘Photoshop’. Next, he’ll demonstrate a similar technique with the addition of the New > Layer via Cut command, the Transform command, and the Eyedropper tool, in order to not only move, but also resize and change the color of the brushstroke flourish at the bottom. The result is this simple but effective transformation:

Yes, sometimes Deke tries to encourage your wilder notions and sometimes he just knows you have to get everyday important work done. Either way, there’s a technique that’s free to all every week. And for members this week, an exlcusive members-only video in the Online Training Library® will give you a little creative bump by showing you how to add a magnifying glass that actually magnifies. Here’s a preview:

And remember to check back next week for another new free technique from Deke.

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
• courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

Creative Inspirations bonus feature: Richard Koci Hernandez

Published by | Friday, September 9th, 2011

This spring, had a special screening of Richard Koci Hernandez: Multimedia Journalist at the Pacific Film Archive Theatre on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Since we filmed this documentary, Koci has been granted a full time teaching position in the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. After the screening, Koci was interviewed by Jeremy Rue, a colleague in the graduate school, to talk about the film, his career, and to answer questions that have been posed to us since the film’s release. Many photographers had asked about the need to secure releases from his subjects when shooting his unique style of street photography. This answer and an update on Koci’s current projects are here as part of the Creative Inspirations bonus features.

InDesign Secrets: the Quick Apply feature

Published by | Thursday, September 8th, 2011

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets movie, David Blatner reveals the often overlooked but indisputably indispensable Quick Apply feature. Quick Apply allows you to access styles, menu commands, and even scripts by employing two simple keystrokes (Cmd+Return on a Mac or Ctrl+Enter on a Windows machine), and then typing a few letters of your desired feature to immediately find and apply it. This means your fingers don’t have to leave the keyboard and your brain doesn’t have to remember where to find things in menus or panels.

For members this week, Anne-Marie has an exclusive members-only video that demonstrates ways to customize the Links panel. The Links panel got much more informative starting with InDesign CS4, but sometimes the copious amounts of information presented is inconveniently stashed in the Link Info section of the panel. Anne-Marie shows you how to move the key information  you want about your linked files to make it conveniently accessible.

And Anne-Marie and David will be back in two weeks to reveal more secrets of InDesign.

Interested in more?
• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion the Online Training Library®
• Courses by David Blatner the Online Training Library®
• Courses on InDesign the Online Training Library®

Bonus features: Mexopolis, Animation Studio

Published by | Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

MAD magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones and Jorge Gutirrez.

During the filming of the Creative Inspirations:Mexopolis, Animation Studio, artist Jorge Gutierrez told us a compelling story about one of his most important influences as a child, MAD magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones. Not being able to speak English, Jorge fell in love with Sergio’s wordless cartoons and told his father that this is what he wanted to do when he grew up.

As fate would have it, Jorge’s father went to architecture school with Sergio. His father drove him from Tijuana to ComicCon in San Diego to have Sergio explain to the young Jorge the importance of attending college. And there the story begins.

Twenty-three years had elapsed since they had seen each other, but we were able to arrange an emotional reunion at a quiet spot near the studios. Join us in this latest bonus feature as Sergio reflects on some of the life experiences that have made him one of the most beloved cartoonists of our time.

Deke’s Techniques: Designing an updating pattern in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, September 6th, 2011


In this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows you how to set up a repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator that can be updated  quickly and efficiently. He starts by creating the repeating pattern grid with the Transform effect, applying it multiple times to fill the document with a single element.

Why would you do this rather than use a tiled pattern? Well, by using the Transform effect to create your pattern grid, any changes you make to the source graphic are dynamically updated in all its ‘clones.’ Change the color, the shape, or even add another dynamic effect to your master graphic, and it will disseminate throughout your grid of replicants. The result is a pattern that can change with your needs and whims.

Illustrator magic this week on Deke’s Techniques. See you next week for another free technique from Deke.

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

InDesign FX: Making shiny effects

Published by | Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Shiny graphics are everywhere nowadays. Pick up a magazine, walk down a store aisle, surf the Web, or turn on the TV, and it won’t be long till something shiny appears before your eyes. I think shiny graphics have become so incredibly popular for two main reasons. First, they make design elements seem bright, clean, polished, and new. These are often very desirable attributes to attach to your message. Second, shiny graphics are often very simple to create.

This week’s free video shows you just how quickly you can make a design shine. All you need to do to make something seem shiny is to add an area of reflectivity. By simply overlaying an object with a white frame set to low opacity, you can create a simple shine.

Before/After Shine

For a more detailed effect, you can apply a gradient feather to the white object, as in the case of this shiny sphere.

Shiny ball

Or you can go for the ultimate example of reflectivity—a mirrored surface—by creating a copy of an object, also with lowered opacity.

shiny surface

After you get the hang of it, you can combine different shiny effects in one design:

Billiard balls

For members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® on creating a gooey slime effect (just the opposite of the clean and shiny).

And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another free InDesign effect.

Interested in more?
InDesign FX
 complete course
• Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®