Archive for April, 2012

lynda.com author Diana Weynand to speak at Apple Store, SoHo, April 28, 2012

Published by | Friday, April 27th, 2012

On Saturday April 28, 2012 lynda.com author Diana Weynand will be appearing at the Apple Store, SoHo, to offer her insights on the art of using Final Cut Pro X to tell stories. Weynand’s discussion is part of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 20-28 and features a variety of free events and workshops focused on helping aspiring and vetern filmmakers improve their skills, and expand their promotional power.

To learn more about Diane Weynand and her thoughts on storytelling with Final Cut Pro, check out her full course, Effective Storytelling with Final Cut Pro X on lynda.com. For more information about the Apple Store, SoHo, Tribeca Film Festival activities, including a complete calendar of workshops, visit www.apple.com/retail/tribeca.

InDesign Secrets: Page numbering with numbered lists for greater flexibility

Published by | Thursday, April 26th, 2012

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets movie, David Blatner demonstrates how using InDesign’s ability to automatically number paragraphs can help you get around some of the limitations of the automatic page numbering feature. In David’s example, he shows you how to get right and left pages in each spread to have different page numbering schemes, with the addition of auto-updating sequential numbers, and an added A on the left page and a B on the right page, like this:

Spreads that show auto-updating sequential numbers in InDesign.

Unfortunately, InDesign’s page numbering feature doesn’t allow you to do this, but auto-numbered paragraphs can.

David starts by creating a page-number element on the master page, then he uses the Numbered List dialog box to set up the letter feature and indicate his preferences for the left (A) and right (B) page numbers. The video is scattered with mini-secrets along the way, including document navigation tips, a trick for stealthily opening the Numbered List dialog box, and a discussion on the intricacies of creating a numbered list that spans across unthreaded text frames.

Meanwhile, in the lynda.com library, David’s partner in InDesign secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepcion has an exclusive movie for members on how to use the InDesign CS5.5 Articles panel to set your story order, and why you would want to do it. Just look for movie number 036, Setting story order with the Articles panel, on the InDesign Secrets table of contents page.

Bonus secret of the week: Monday Adobe announced the release of Creative Suite 6, and members can check out Anne-Marie’s new course on InDesign CS6 New Features to get early insight into the latest program updates.

 

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign Secrets bi-weekly series
• Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion on lynda.com
• All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS6 New Features
• InDesign Styles in Depth

Creating distressed metallic type in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Controlling how your objects look in 3D really boils down to asking yourself one important question: What is my object made of? How you answer that question becomes your guide for how you will create the materials that you apply to your objects in 3D. The Material editor in CINEMA 4D has an array of buttons that can be confusing until you start thinking of them as answers to that one most important question.

In this video I dig into the Material editor and show you how to add texture and color to your object using the Color channel, and Specular highlight. To add the distressed look, I show you how to use a Bump channel (found in the Basic tab of the Materials editor) to add in gritty noise, Diffusion to simulate light reflection, and Displacement to add physical surface indentations and deformations. Together, these properties can be manipulated to create a great looking metal material that can be applied to standard type.

When your distressed metal type is done and you’re ready to learn more about materials in CINEMA 4D, my CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training, and CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo courses have chapters that will help you understand how to create and control your materials better.

 

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion weekly series on lynda.com
• All video courses on lynda.com
• Courses by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects

Deke’s Techniques: Rendering type in brushed metal with Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This week’s free Deke’s Techniques falls into my favorite category of effects—those that create something from nothing. In this case, the ‘something’ is elegant, weighty letters that appear to be made of brushed stainless steel. The ‘nothing’ it takes to create this brushed metal effect starts with a window full of black pixels, and adds a couple of basic Photoshop filters, a few text and shape layers, some layer effects, and a couple of very important blend mode settings.

After transforming his window full of black pixels into a Smart Object, Deke starts by showing you how to create a pattern with noise and blur filters, and how to define your application of those filters as a pattern to be used later in the working document. Next, it’s a matter of applying a series of layer effects including variations on Drop Shadow, Gradient Overlay, Bevel & Emboss, and Pattern Overlay to your text and shapes that you would like to appear as brushed metal. Once you get these effects applied to one layer, you can Alt-drag (or Option-drag on a Mac) your effects to other layers to duplicate them, then tweak to taste.

Inspired by Sunday’s Adobe CS6 release, I decided to try this technique on my own:

Brushed metal text effect made in Photoshop.

Using the Photoshop CS6 public beta for my experiment, during the process I subconsciously stumbled upon one of the quietly awesome new features in CS6—the ability to apply styles to an entire layer group. Because it is the sixth Adobe Creative Suite, I decided to make six hexagonal shapes to serve as bolts in my composition. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted them to go, so I left them each on separate layers and grouped the layers together. When it came time to apply the brushed metal effect, without thinking I just Option-dragged the layer effects onto the entire group, expecting it to apply to each layer. As you can see here in this view of the Layers panel, it was a success!

Applying styles to an entire layer group in the Photoshop CS6 Layers panel.

As I was doing this, it suddenly dawned on me that this kind of process used to be way more tedious. Adobe refers to updates like this improvement as Just Do Its, or, JDIs—I refer to them as ‘so convenient it always should have worked this way’ updates.

Meanwhile, if a brushed stainless steel effect isn’t to your taste, Deke also has an exclusive movie for members of lynda.com that discusses how to add a a brushed copper effect to your objects or shapes.

 

See you back next week with another free technique!

 

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com
• Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com
• All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
• Photoshop for Designers: Layer Effects
 Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview

Foundations of Audio: Tips for creating groove-based, rhythmic echoes

Published by | Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Well-timed long delays (echoes) are an excellent way to fill in part of a song’s rhythm track. Examples of echo effects can be heard in current electronic music, classic rock, reggae, and many other genres. Where would U2 be without the sound of The Edge’s delay pedals? Where would Steel Pulse be without their delayed snare hits?

The reason echo effects work so well is their ability to stay in-time (locked to the tempo of the song) and their ability to create interesting rhythms that add dimension to the overall sound of a song.

When creating delay effects with long echoes, you can define specifically when echoes are heard in rhythm with the entire song. For instance, you can set echoes to repeat every quarter note or every eighth note. Or, you can get more complicated and create a unique rhythmic pattern by placing the echoes on multiple subdivisions within the groove of the song.

This week’s Featured Five (plus one): New features in Adobe’s Creative Suite 6

Published by | Monday, April 23rd, 2012

In honor of yesterday’s announcement of Adobe’s Creative Suite 6, and the six newly released CS6 New Features courses on lynda.com, I thought this week’s Featured Five collection should expand to showcase six free movies from the lynda.com library. All of our new CS6 New Features courses (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks, plus Premiere Pro and After Effects CS6 which were released on April 12, 2012) are designed to help you discover the latest software updates, and how the new features may fit well with your workflow needs. With the introduction of the new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription model, which allows you to pay a flat fee to access all of the Suite applications, finding out what’s new across the Suite may now be more important than ever as you’ll be faced with new decisions during the upgrading process. To give you an idea of what our CS6 New Features courses have to offer, here are six free-to-everyone movies that discuss some of the interesting new abilities of the CS6 flagship applications. After you’ve checked out the featured six, make sure to let us know in the comments section which CS6 features have you the most intrigued.

1. Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New Features
You may have explored the Photoshop version of CS6 already, given that a public beta has been available for a few weeks. In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New Features, Chris Orwig reviews the key features that are going to make a difference specifically for photographers. Some of the new features in Photoshop are pretty significant (not to mention extremely cool), but the one that might actually affect the most Photoshop users is the revamped Crop tool. In this free movie Chris demonstrates how the new Crop tool works in a much less destructive way than Crop tools of the past:

 

2. Illustrator CS6 New Features
Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, Illustrator is a fairly mature product in the software world. Despite it’s industry years, there is no lack of interesting upgrades to the vector graphic program this year. For one thing, you’ll notice that like Photoshop, Illustrator has gone to a dark interface, which gives it quite a modern look despite its advanced age. There are also a few cool new ways to tackle old tricks, including a vastly updated pattern creator. Here’s a free movie from Justin Seeley‘s Illustrator CS6 New Features course that shows how the new Pattern Options panel works:

 

3. InDesign CS6 New Features
When I asked the author of this course, Anne-Marie Concepcion, what her favorite feature from InDesign CS6 was, she said, “I think my favorite feature would be the Auto-Size text frames option. It’s not exciting like the neat-o Liquid Layout, but Auto-Size is something I can use right now and something I will be using every day.” It’s always those features that you use every day and can’t remember living without that make a software upgrade significant, even if they’re not the sexiest new technology options. In this video from the InDesign CS6 New Features course, Anne-Marie talks about the new Auto-Size text frames option and why it makes her life easier:

 

4. Dreamweaver CS6 New Features
Dreamweaver CS6 has a bunch of new features, including interface, optimization, and FTP support enhancements, but it’s the CSS capabilities that have author James Williamson intrigued. By employing the CSS Transitions feature housed in a convenient new Dreamweaver panel, you can easily add and manage your transitions. You don’t need to take my word for it, though, you can hear the enthusiasm for Dreamweaver CS6′s support of CSS transitions in James’ voice in this free movie from the Dreamweaver CS6 New Features course:

 

5. Fireworks CS6 New Features
Fireworks is the Creative Suite app that helps you produce optimized web graphics for any device. In this excerpt from Fireworks CS6 New Features, Ray Villalobos shows off his favorite new Fireworks feature, which is support for creating and exporting CSS Sprites. In the video, Ray demonstrates how you can now use Fireworks to simultaneously help with graphics and the hover state of graphics:

 

6. Flash Professional CS6 New Features
The CS6 version of Flash Professional has new support for 3D, and a new framework for exporting HTML. In this free movie from Flash CS6 New Features, Anastasia McCune focuses on the new Captive AIR runtime option for creating Android, OSX, or Windows apps. You can now decide if you want your Flash apps to run with Captive AIR embedded or if you want to require that users download the AIR runtime. In this video, Anastasia considers why you might want to choose one option or the other:

If you’d like to see more free CS6 tutorials, we’ll have a lot more coming to lynda.com in the next few weeks. While you’re checking out the new CS6 Suite, also keep in mind that 10 percent of all lynda.com content is free to try. Just click on any of the blue links on any course table of contents page in our library to watch unlocked videos.

Free Movies

I’ll be back next week with five more free selections—but in the meantime, I’ll be checking out what CS6 has to offer. Which CS6 features do you have your eye on?

 

Suggested courses to watch next:
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers New Features
Illustrator CS6 New Features
InDesign CS6 New Features
Dreamweaver CS6 New Features
Fireworks CS6 New Features
Flash CS6 New Features

Easy ways to add photo and video galleries to your site

Published by | Saturday, April 21st, 2012

An easy media strategy for your company

In a previous job designing web sites for a newspaper, I discovered the value of media. When I started to learn about traffic patterns on web sites using an analytics product, I realized that photos, videos, galleries, and slideshows can significantly increase the amount of time people will spend engaging on your site. On any given day, our most popular article would give us around 20,000 page views, but publishing a slideshow could easily produce four to six times that amount of traffic, and it took less time to put together.

Think about it—when you go to Facebook, what are you more likely to interact with, a status message or a gallery? Facebook knows galleries get more interaction and ranks posts to appear more prominently on the timeline if they contain any sort of media. That’s why it’s better to include a photo or a video in your posts. (For more on this, check out Anne Marie Concepcion’s Social Media Marketing With Facebook and Twitter course.)

While photos can be quite easy to take, creating a gallery system can be more challenging. This week on View Source, I will show you an easy way to create photo galleries for your web site using a jQuery plug-in called Galleria.

 

What about videos?

Videos are another great option that can help you make your site stickier and more engaging, but they can also be harder to host and display on your site. If you’re looking to have a collection of videos on your web site, one good option is to have YouTube host your videos. YouTube has the infrastructure to serve four billion videos per day and has 800 million unique users in a month, and YouTube videos are easy to include in Twitter, Facebook, or WordPress posts since each upload has its own easy to embed, pre-written code housed under the Share button.

In addition to embedding videos, the best way to improve the visibility of your videos is through a YouTube channel. A YouTube channel gives you a presence on YouTube that will be indexed by Google, so uploading your videos has the added advantage of making them more easily found by YouTube’s huge audience, as well as Google’s. You can add descriptions (with links back to your sites), tags, and people can subscribe to your channels to keep up with your latest videos.

What about my web site?

If you’re a web developer and you’d rather not use the YouTube embed link to post your videos to your site, take a look at this episode of View Source, where I show you how to read a YouTube-provided XML file that lets you add a YouTube channel playlist directly to your site. The task of converting information from one data format to another more usable format is called Parsing and it is a key skill that all developers need to master.

If you’re into WordPress, or want a cut and paste solution, take a look at this JavaScript snippet for placing a YouTube Feed on a site. Simply paste the code in WordPress as a Widget on a sidebar. There’s a bit of customization required, so be sure to read the notes on how to modify it for your YouTube channel.

If you use any of the above solutions, when you upload to YouTube, your embeds, sidebars, and on-site playlists will also automatically update and reflect your changes right on your site. That alone simplifies the production process quite a bit.

Ultimate automation

One feature that you might not be aware of is the ability to upload directly to your YouTube channel through most smartphones. Smartphones, like iPhones and Android devices, have excellent built-in video editors that will quickly let you crop out and adjust your video before sending it directly to your YouTube channel. Using tools like this is a great way to cover special events, and a quick way to post to your site remotely without having to import, edit, and upload your video through a traditional desktop application.

Editing, enhancing, and posting to youtube is easy on most smartphones

There’s a lot more you can do with YouTube, like create a special channel for users to post videos to directly. In one of my previous jobs, we created a channel for a contest where people submitted videos of themselves dancing to win tickets to a concert. The videos submitted are aggregated, but not posted live until approved. You can also annotate messages into your videos, and alter your movies with YouTube’s built-in editor. It’s definitely worth a second look when creating your workflow strategy.

Conclusion

A photo online is truly worth a thousand words, but the power of video is not to be underestimated. Having a good strategy and utilizing tools like Galleria and YouTube will expand your brand’s reach, make your life easier, and make your sites more engaging in the process.

 

Interested in more?
• The full View Source weekly series on lynda.com
• All web + interactive courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Ray Villalobos on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Create an Interactive Video Gallery with jQuery
 Create an Online Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver
Create an Interactive Map with jQuery and Dreamweaver
jQuery Essential Training

When does lynda.com plan to launch a new Adobe Edge course?

Published by | Friday, April 20th, 2012

The web industry is changing quickly. To keep up with this change companies that create tools for web designers and developers also need to change quickly. Adobe, Microsoft, and Google are releasing new tools and technologies at a fast pace, and updates to these even faster.

Although we work hard to get courses covering the latest materials live on lynda.com as quickly as possible, before we start production on a beta course, we sometimes have to pause to consider what plan of action will, in the long run, ultimately deliver the best learning experience for our members. A number of the lynda.com content managers have been product managers or engineers at software companies, and we understand a software company’s struggle to define, clarify, and deliver the right features to their users, and that changes can happen to software late in the game. When it comes to our courses, with releases going live nearly every week, we think it’s important to balance the time it takes to create the training you need, with a larger picture that keeps our member’s overall best interests in mind.

With the latest version of Adobe Edge, Preview 5, we were forced to strongly consider this delicate balance. As a result, we decided to skip the Preview 5 release and focus on the upcoming next release. We love Adobe Edge, we want to make sure you are successful with it, and we want to reassure you that there will continue to be new Adobe Edge content on lynda.com in the future.

 

Thanks for your support, and happy learning.

Doug Winnie, Senior Content Manager for Web and Interactive
Mordy Golding, Author, Edge First Look and Director of Content