In this week’s free InDesign Secrets movie, Anne-Marie Concepcion takes you from making the simplest InDesign drop cap, to creating more sophisticated options using character styles, anchored objects, and text wraps. She starts by showing you how to create the simplest three-line drop cap, similar to this example:
Next, she shows you how to apply a character style to make your first letter stand out in a different font or color.
During the movie, she also shows you some options for changing the size and position of your first letter so that it aligns just the way you want, yet remains fully editable and in flow with your document. Finally, Anne-Marie concludes by showing you a trick to wrap your text around the drop cap using an anchored object. It’s still a bit of a workaround, but it’s something Anne-Marie’s fans are frequently asking her about. Here, I’ve used it to make my text sidle up to my fancy W drop cap:
InDesign makes adding this bit of typographic interest fairly routine, and you can see it all in action from Anne-Marie in this week’s free tutorial:
It’s time to upgrade your Photoshop weather machine with this week’s free technique from Deke. Back in November, Deke showed you how to create a synthetic rainbow entirely out of Photoshop magic. In this week’s free tutorial, Deke shows you how to intensify your dark and stormy scenes by adding a 100-percent artificial, but no less striking bolt of Photoshop-based lightning.
Start by simply painting in a black lightning-shaped brush stroke. Then, by ingeniously selecting parts of your bolt, you’ll apply the Difference Clouds filter to randomize the edges, and an unusual Levels command setting to convert that blobby line into a tendril of light. Then, with some carefully applied Blend modes, some Gradient masks, and a hint of brushed-in contact spots for eerie glow, you’ll finish up your truly believable lightning effect.
The entire procedure takes some concentration and diligence, but in the end you’ll be rewarded with a flash of creative control, and ready to illuminate any scene with this high-impact effect.
And if that doesn’t satisfy your desire to control the elements, Deke’s got an exclusive members-only movie this week called Creating a driving rain effect in Photoshop, in which he, you guessed it, shows you how to create driving rain.
Photoshop weather at your fingertips, all courtesy of your benevolent meteorologist Deke.
See you back next week with another free technique from Deke!
I love using Adobe BrowserLab. It’s a great way to check how your sites look on different browser platforms. But I’m even more excited about Adobe Shadow, a new Adobe Lab that allows you to test your web sites on mobile devices by creating a dynamically-updating connection between your devices. In layman’s terms, this means that you can visit a web site on your desktop browser and simultaneously preview it on multiple phones and tablets. So, as you browse through different pages on your desktop, the mobile devices also update their screens.
Adobe Shadow in action working on multiple interfaces.
Getting everything to work takes a few steps. First, you’ll need to download the Shadow desktop application from Adobe Labs. On a Windows machine, you’ll also need to install Bonjour which allows for auto discovery of devices. The Bonjour installer is included with the Shadow download and it’s already a part of Mac OS, so no need to install it there.
After downloading and installing the Shadow desktop application, you’ll need to download and install the Google Chrome extension for Adobe Shadow. You can download the extension from the Google Chrome Web Store.
Finally, you’ll need to download the Adobe Shadow app for each mobile device you want to use (it’s free!). You can do that from either the Apple App Store or Google Play, but it’s probably easier to just go to your respective device’s store.
Connecting to devices
Once you’ve got everything installed, make sure the following is true:
Your Shadow desktop application is running.
Bonjour is installed and running on your machine (automatic on Mac, but an additional install on a PC).
You’re using the Chrome browser and have installed the Adobe Shadow extension.
Your mobile devices and your desktops are in the same network and the network has Internet access.
You are running the Shadow apps in every device you want to test with.
When you first run the Shadow apps on your phones, you’ll see your desktop appear as a device to pair with. At this point, you have to type into your desktop a series of numbers supplied from the Adobe Shadow app.
Once your devices are hooked up, any website you browse on your desktop will show up on all of your synced mobile devices. The cool thing about this is that if the site you’re browsing uses media queries to target different devices, your mobile devices will automatically display the correct version on each device.
You can interact with each device as if it were running its own browser, which, essentially, is exactly what’s happening. As soon as you go to a new tab or a page on your desktop, all mobile devices will automatically update. I tested this on a Galaxy IIs, an iPhone, a Galaxy Tab, and an iPad, and it works flawlessly. This is not like the static version of the page you see with BrowserLabs—Adobe Shadow offers a dynamic page you can interact with in real time.
Shadow does create a persistent connection to your device and uses a wireless radio to continuously try to reconnect to your device so Adobe suggests that you use Shadow with a device that is plugged into a charger. Make sure you close or hide the app when you’re not actively using it.
To accomplish some of its magic, Shadow is also using a Phonegap tool called weinre (WEb INspector REmote) that allows you to set up a server for doing some of what the Shadow Lab is doing on a local server. For this reason, inspecting the DOM requires an active Internet connection, and the process can be a bit slower than just browsing through pages because Adobe is temporarily running a copy of weinre on its servers.
In this week’s free video, I shed a little light on drawing starbursts and sun rays directly in InDesign. You can draw these fun shapes quickly and precisely by starting with a very simple shape like a triangle.
In this case, the triangle represents a single ray of sun light in one-point perspective. To make the rest of the rays, you simply duplicate the original shape, rotate it, and then use the Transform Again command to create all the copies you want.
In the video, I show you how to add a little scaling, and a little masking via of the Paste Into command, to end up with a sunrise over fields of green.
When it comes to starbursts, you can easily create simple ones with InDesign’s Polygon tool. But if you’re willing to invest a small amount of extra time to use the Rotate + Transform Again method, you give yourself many more options, including, the ability to create multi-colored starbursts. You can also use more complex starter shapes, and rotate multiple shapes at once to create interesting patterns within the starburst.
For lynda.com members, I also have another new video this week in the lynda.com Online Training Library® called Scaling effects. In Scaling effects I discuss how to scale objects that have Bevel and Emboss applied to them so that the Bevel and Emboss effects scale with the object itself.
I also discuss those other times when you might want to scale just the object and not the Bevel or Emboss effects, and I show you how you can have it either way.
See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!
Blending modes in Photoshop and After Effects are often taken for granted, but neither application started out with these features. When blend modes were introduced into After Effects around Version 3, they literally blew my mind. The idea that you could mix still images together had been long established in Photoshop, and the thought of being able to do that with animation and video was incredible.
Flash forward to the present and blend modes are incredibly well documented, but even with all this documentation, I’m often asked “what can I do with them?” In this week’s edition of Design in Motion, I’ll show you some of my favorite blend modes and how you can use them for type effects and color correction.
After watching this, if you’re ready to learn a lot more, After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control from Chris and Trish Meyer is filled with tips and ideas on how to get the most out of blend modes in After Effects.
At first glance, it seems like this week’s free technique is just about chasing down a recent Internet meme, the Ninja Turtle nose. For a while, way back at the end of 2011, this fun little trick of turning celebrity noses into ninja turtle characters was quite the rage. So Deke decided, rather than risk offending any of his friends, he’d set out to apply this technique to his own proboscis in Photoshop. (Turns out Deke’s nose is perfect for this effect. Destiny!)
But, as mentioned, this technique isn’t just about learning how to create a specific effect that’s undoubtedly soon to be replaced by something that has something to do with cats. Deke’s technique for making this effect will take you way beyond the next great Internet amusement. By picking a color from his portrait to colorize the turtle outline, using some layer effects to “bleed” the outline into his skin, and then applying the appropriate adjustments and blend modes to the color fill, Deke actually reveals some key concepts that could be used for any digital tattoo effect. He also walks you through the simple but vitally useful step of adding to your polygonal lasso selections on the fly. And, of course, you get to learn all of this while listening to Deke—with all gravity, expertise, and sincerity—draw a cartoon turtle on his own nose. A lovely combination of the useful and the ridiculous.
And for meme-loving members of lynda.com, Deke’s got a couple of exclusive videos, one called Putting a tongue on a duck, and another called Mapping a dog face onto a duck that plays with an effect you’ll never be able to un-see once someone has pointed it out to you—the fact that ducks wear dog masks:
So meme your creative memes this week, and Deke will be back next week with another free technique.
This week we celebrated the release of a new series entitled Branden Hall: Interactive Architect and Digital Maker. The series features an in-depth interview that lynda.com co-founder Lynda Weinman conducted with Branden last year, along with a tour of some of Branden’s most interesting work.
So who is Branden Hall, and why did we think it was important to talk with him?
• Branden has been associated with lynda.com for a long time, having been a featured speaker at many of the early Flash Forward conferences. This photo is from the 2004 conference in San Francisco. Notice the exciting technological advance that Branden was describing: the transition from ActionScript 1 to ActionScript 2!
• Branden has long been a thought leader in the use of digital technologies, including, and perhaps especially, Flash. Along with some other young developers and designers, he was responsible for exploring what Flash was able to do in its early years, beyond even what Macromedia originally envisioned.
• Along with Joshua Davis, he was one of the guys who gave IBM’s Watson the animated “face” that “he” uses to celebrate “his” defeat of human Jeopardy! opponents. When Watson’s face moves and changes, it’s because of the team of programmers and designers who made it do that.
• As the web has evolved, Branden’s work has evolved with it. His Endless Mural project shows how combining the web with new technologies like HTML5 can create crowd-sourced art collections that are available to all.
Over the years, Branden has led the way in showing how technologies like Flash and HTML5 can be used in innovative and exciting ways. In this mini-documentary, Branden gets to tell us a bit about how he comes to his ideas and how they’re realized. I could go on and tell you more, but this video series lets Branden tell you about it himself. We hope you enjoy it.
Animating characters in Maya can be a lot of fun. Fighting with a difficult character rig, however, can sap the joy out of animating. Character Rigging in Maya is a course designed to help you create character rigs that are both robust and easy to animate.
A deeper, more technical update to the Maya 8.5 Character Rigging course, Character Rigging in Maya covers the basics of Maya’s rigging tools, then goes deep into how these tools are used to create a complete character rig, including skeletons, forward and inverse kinematics switches, and the skinning of characters to skeletons.
Some of the more technical topics covered include expressions and scripts that help automate the rig and make it easier to animate, and the process of creating an advanced facial rig that shows a variety of ways to create sophisticated controls to manage complex facial expressions (which I find particularly useful.)
If you’ve seen the Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya course on lynda.com, you may notice Character Rigging in Maya creates its rig with the same character used in the animation course. It’s not the same old character, though—we’ve have thrown in a few updates to the rig to make the character rigging techniques even more interesting.
We’re very committed to character animation here at lynda.com, so if you’re into animation, stay tuned for more character courses in the coming months.