This week, Deke’s free technique shows you how to use a secret Asian-language text setting (revealed to Deke by our own Mordy Golding) to create authentic-looking movie credits in Illustrator. The trick is exploiting the Warichu feature which is designed for stacking characters within a single line of type. In this technique, Deke reveals how the feature allows you to gracefully stack two words one on top of another, adjust the size, create a character style that saves those settings, and then apply your character-style down the line to all the people who helped make your imaginary movie possible.
Any designer or budding movie promoter who’s obsessed with typesetting (and doesn’t that include most of you?) knows that the standard movie credits in a promotional poster stack the two-word job title before the linear presentation of each contributor’s name. So text that initially looks like this…
…ends up looking like this:
If you were inspired by Deke’s Designing an Indiana Jones-style logo technique from December 2011, then this technique will allow you to create some credits at the bottom of your poster that will convince your audience that you know how to properly hype your latest entirely theoretical but professionally promoted cinematic endeavor. And if you’d like specific instruction on putting the two techniques together, check out the Two ways to place a pixel-based image movie from the Illustrator and Photoshop chapter (chapter 21) of Deke’sIllustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced course.
See you back next week with another free technique from Deke!
Most of the tools and languages we use online are constantly changing. HTML itself is in constant flux, a new version of Firefox releases every six weeks, and who knows what’s going to happen next with video formats. It’s enough to drive you crazy. Suffice it to say that the web design and development industry demands people who are learners by definition.
Sometimes the hardest part about any new learning commitment is getting started. If your pile of work is not getting any smaller, and you’ve only got a few minutes to learn something new, then View Source may be the series for you.
View Source, which is named after the view source browser-function that allows you to see a web page’s underlying code, is a new lynda.com series that offers 10-minute intermediate and advanced web design projects. Each movie in the course is self-contained and shows how to accomplish an interesting effect and/or technique.
At its core, View Source is about being curious and developing an attitude for learning with limited time.
Another thing Google recommends in its SEO Starter Guide is generating more meaningful URLs that are rich with keywords. By default, your WordPress links probably look something like:
Since this is not very descriptive, it would be better to have a category and the name of the article in the URL. Maybe something like this:
In my second View Source installment, Creating a custom URL in WordPress, I show you how to easily modify the look of your URLs by changing your Permalinks settings, which can be found in the admin section of WordPress under the Settings menu. The default options WordPress gives you emphasize organizing things by date, but I also show you how to apply Custom Structure options in my tutorial. More information about how to further modify your WordPress permalinks is also available in the Using Permalinks WordPress documentation.
In this week’s free InDesign FX video, I show you how to combine Bevel and Emboss with Inner Shadow to create the illusion of cutting into a surface. (You can often achieve the best results by combining two or more of InDesign’s effects in a strategic manner.)
I start with a simple example, applying both Bevel and Emboss to some text. The bevel simulates the visible edges of the material being cut. The depth of the bevel becomes the thickness of the material. The inner shadow adds to the effect by creating darkened corners inside the letter shapes.
Once you get the hang of carving and chiseling, you can take it a step further by overlapping multiple copies of an object to blend different fill colors and effects. In the video I show how you can simulate carving into stained wood by using two copies of an object, both set to the Hard Light blending mode. One copy is filled with gray and has effects applied to it. The other copy has a fill color that simulates unstained wood.
When they’re overlapped you get a nice carved effect.
I also show how you can add a third ingredient, Directional Feather, to simulate a weathered-stone chiseling effect. By varying the opacity and feathering, you can change the age of your chiseling from recent to ancient with just a few clicks.
For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® that discusses a key concept for mastering blending modes and effects, Understanding transparency blend space:
See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.
A lot of folks get started in motion graphics creating 3D logos and logo animations. It’s how I got started all those years ago. When I look back on that animation now, I cringe. The clients loved it, but the lighting was terrible. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since then, and in this week’s Design in Motion, I’ll share some key logo-lighting tips with you.
First and foremost is the idea of lighting through the camera. The 3D world is based entirely on the idea of perspective, and the only valid perspective is the angle that your artwork will be viewed from. That view is your render camera. Positioning your lights from the angle of the render camera ensures that you are only adding information that your viewers will actually see. This will take all the guesswork out of the process, and make it faster and more efficient.
The second step is to create an environment for your reflective logos to help give them a textured, dynamic look that can make them feel like they’re moving even when they’re not. Remember, the standard 3D space that surrounds your logo is just black, so even if you turn the reflection up past 100 percent, if there isn’t anything there to reflect, your logos will look dull and lifeless. Use the Material Manager and the Luminance channel to start creating an environment sphere for your logo, then you can apply and edit gradients to tweak your environment to your liking. Once you have your environment surrounding your object and texturing your logo just how you want it, it’s important to remember to apply a Compositing tag, which allows you to show only the transparency, reflection, and refraction of your environment sphere to the render camera—not the environment sphere itself.
Lastly, the color of your reflections has a big impact on the look and feel of your surfaces. The default color values for reflections in CINEMA 4D are white, and that’s just fine if you’re creating something like white enamel or tiles. But, if you’re making a gold surface, then a white reflection will make your logo feel washed out. By coloring your reflections to match your surface color, your logos will have a richness and saturation that really makes them pop off the screen.
You’ve probably been there. You’re working with a high-contrast photo or composition, with lots of lights and darks, and it’s your job to lay text over it. Readable text. So, do you choose dark text or light? Either one risks becoming unreadable when it hits an object behind it that doesn’t provide enough contrast. And please, whatever you do, don’t compromise with that medium gray text that’s completely unsatisfying no matter where it lands.
Enter this week’s free technique from Deke that shows you how to conveniently set up your type so that it automatically inverts everything behind it. By setting up your text this way, you no longer have to make the compromised choice to leave the text in some state of questionable readability, or the tedious choice to stop and manually reset text color as you move it around. By using a blend mode and a couple of well-placed adjustment layers to mathematically tell Photoshop what you want it to do when, you’ll create automatically reversing yet entirely editable text.
And for members of the lynda.com Online Training Library®, Deke has an exclusive movie this week, Creating auto-inverting line art, in which he shows you how to do the same inverse effect with line art (in this case a signature). The steps in this technique are similar to those discussed in Deke’s free tutorial, but require you to additionally separate and invert the lines that make up the image.
We’ll be back next week with another free technique from Deke.
The audio channel at lynda.com is making a lot of noise at the NAMM show this year. NAMM (short for National Association of Music Merchants) is a massive conference and convention for all music-related products and services. In other words, it’s a giant toy store for musicians!
From January 19-22 lynda.com will be on-site at NAMM unveiling our expanded audio course offerings, meeting new audio folks, connecting with industry leaders, and checking out all the new gear.
If you’re at the show, please come by our booth (#4711) to say hi. If you can’t make it, check out this short demo of what the lynda.com audio team has been up to:
After the NAMM show, we’ll also be doing several twitterviews (interviews on twitter) with two of our audio authors, Brian Lee White and Bobby Owsinski. We’ll discuss key trends, the coolest news from NAMM 2012, and we’ll answer any questions you might have about NAMM, music technology, or the business in general.
Follow us on twitter @lyndadotcom, and join in on the conversation at these times:
January 24 from 12:30-1:30 PST: Brian Lee White @brianleewhite January 25 from 12:30-1:30 PST: Bobby Owsinski @bobbyowsinski
Simply tweet your questions or comments to @brianleewhite, @bobbyowsinski, or @lyndadotcom with the hash tag #NAMMchat on 1/24 and 1/25.
*Editor’s Note: On January 11th and January 20th the lynda.com blog mistakenly reported the #NAMMchat dates as January 23 and January 24. The dates of the #NAMMchat will be January 24 and January 25, both at 12:30pm PST as mentioned above. Associates will be standing by to assist any audio lovers who may tune in on January 23rd. Please pardon our error!
This week’s free InDesign secret features Anne-Marie Concepcion showing you how to manipulate the animation paths that control your moving objects in InDesign CS5 (and later). If you’ve tried setting motion paths in InDesign before, you know there are some pre-fabricated paths provided for you. Anne-Marie starts by demonstrating how you can easily change those paths with the standard path manipulation tools, namely the Pen tool and Direct Selection tool (aka the “white arrow” tool). Drag out lines to cover more area, add curves and swoops, express yourself in path format, then watch as your designated object dances to life across the screen.
Anne-Marie also discusses how to import a vector-based Bézier curve from another program, like Illustrator, and how to draw your own path from scratch using InDesign’s Pen tool. For InDesigners who are used to creating designs across a static page, learning how to use the Animation panel can be very liberating.
Meanwhile, Anne-Marie’s partner in InDesign secrecy, David Blatner, has a member-exclusive video in the Online Training Library® this week that conveniently shows you how to share objects safely and sanely between Illustrator and InDesign.
It scares me to say this, but I’ve just celebrated a big anniversary: I’ve been a software developer for 25 years. My first programming language was something called PAL. It stood for Paradox Application Language, and was a part of Paradox, a popular DOS-based database application that was in many ways the Microsoft Access of its time. Over the ensuing years, I’ve learned and forgotten many languages as I moved into different areas of the software development world. But I found that each language was progressively easier to learn. Once I understood the fundamentals, I was able to apply lessons learned so far to the new challenges facing me.
No one was around in the beginning to tell me that programming was difficult. I had some work I needed to do, and with the help of sample code and tutorials, I figured out how to do it. It was only later that I learned how intimidating programming sounds to some folks. But it doesn’t have to be painful at all, and I believe that by finding and using the right learning resources, and moving forward in small incremental steps, anyone can learn to code.
We’ve been hearing from our members for the last few years that programming has become more important to you, and so in 2011 we responded by publishing a series of courses on some of the world’s most popular programming languages. In this post, I’m going to describe what you need to know to get started as a programmer and how to select a first programming language to learn.
The next step is to choose your first language. Which language you choose will depend largely on what you want to accomplish. You might use one language for building web pages, another for creating applications designed for cell phones and tablets, and so on.
If you want to build native apps for mobile devices, you might choose Objective-C to build apps for iPhone and iPad. Objective-C Essential Training will help you get started, and then you can move on to our other courses on building apps for the iOS operating system. Java Essential Training with David Gassner (yes, that’s me) teaches the language that’s used to build native apps for Android and BlackBerry devices, and C# Essential Training with Joe Marini will help you get started with building Silverlight and XNA apps for Windows Phone 7. And once you learn either Java or C#, you’ll be able to build not just mobile apps, but also applications for the web (client- and server-side) and much more.
In addition to the courses we added in 2011, the Online Training Library® offers lessons on other languages that you can use for a variety of tasks. These include tutorials on Perl and Python with Bill Weinman, PHP and Ruby with Kevin Skoglund, and one of my own personal favorites, ColdFusion Markup Language with David Gassner (me again).
So regardless of which language you want to learn, you should be able to find some valuable tools in the Online Training Library® to help you get started. I really believe that if you have something you want to accomplish that requires a bit of programming, you can learn it. That’s lynda.com’s new motto, and it absolutely applies to the world of software development.