Archive for August, 2012

Unity 3D 3.5 Essential Training is now available

Published by | Friday, August 10th, 2012

We just released Unity 3D 3.5 Essential Training, our first 3D game engine course. Unity 3D is one of the top 3D gaming engines on the market, and is used for desktop, online, and mobile games. It’s a strong authoring and development environment for new users interested in creating 3D games.

Author Sue Blackman details how to use the major features in Unity to create engaging 3D gaming content, such as adding lights, texture, multiple views, fire and smoke effects, and employing reusable assets. She also covers interactivity, controllers, the basics of scripting, and some game and level design theory. The end result is a sample game with a lush environment, fully animated characters, and some basic interactive gameplay.

We’re very committed to games. Look for more gaming courses from us in the future.


Interested in more?
• All Unity 3D courses on
• All 3D + animation courses on
• All courses by Sue Blackman on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max
• Flash Professional CS5: Creating a Simple Game for iOS Devices
• Flash Professional CS5: Creating a Simple Game for Android Devices
• Game Character Creation in Maya 

InDesign FX: Making a design pop with 3D arrows

Published by | Thursday, August 9th, 2012

In the context of design, “pop” is a sought-after quality that makes page elements come alive, infuses them with energy and freshness, and grabs attention

So how do you make a design pop?

One way is to take a simple element used to direct the viewer’s gaze and give it a three-dimensional look. We’re using the example of an arrow because we often use an arrow to direct someone toward something in graphics such as an advertisement or signage.

In this case, instead of having a flat arrow sitting on top of other objects, we’re making the arrow look like it is wrapping around those objects, and in doing so, giving the whole design a feeling of depth.

Example of a straight InDesign arrow and an InDesign arrow that wraps around an object.

To make 3D arrows in Adobe InDesign, you don’t need any special drawing skills. All you need are the Pathfinder commands to combine simple shapes like ellipses, rectangles, and triangles to make 3D arrows in just about any size, shape, and direction.

InDesign 3D arrow wrapped over the top of an object.
InDesign 3D arrow wrapped around an object.

InDesign arrows wrapping towards the center of a circle.

As I show in the video, the basic idea is to start with an ellipse centered on the edge of an object where you want the arrow to wrap around. Then use the Pathfinder tools to combine the curve from the ellipse with a rectangle to form the line of the arrow. The arrow’s tip is made from a triangle, and you can tweak the position of points to make the tip as barbed as you like.

How to make an arrow that wraps around an object with shapes in InDesign.

One of the best things about this InDesign technique is that most people find they can do it quickly once they get the hang of it. So you can easily experiment with different looks by rotating the arrow, shearing it, or adding gradient fills, drop shadows, or bevels—you name it.

I also have another member-exclusive video in the library this week called Creating Personal Buttons. In this new video, I show how to use blending modes and effects to create the look of a metal button you can “pin” anywhere on your design to give it more personality.

Example of a button pin effect created in InDesign.

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on
• All courses by Mike Rankin on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign Secrets
• InDesign CS6 Essential Training 
• InDesign CS6 New Features 
 Deke’s Techniques

Deke’s Techniques: Simulating a screen print in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In this week’s Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows you how to use Photoshop to create purposeful color spillovers like those you see when colors are slightly mis-registered during screen printing. (For those of you unfamiliar with the old-school physical screen-printing process, you apply each color separately, so sometimes the colors don’t quite line up in each pass.) In this video, Deke will show you how to create this effect to give your image a handcrafted look, while using Photoshop to control the simulated chaos.

Deke begins with the hand-colored image he showed you in last week’s technique. Then, with some simple selections and layer acrobatics, he separates out the colors from the outlines so they can be moved slightly askew.

The nice thing about creating chaos in Photoshop is if you don’t like one part of the simulated flaw, you can avoid it. In this case, for aesthetic reasons, Deke wanted to make sure the sky didn’t move—only the other colored objects and the white clouds—so during the process he demonstrates how he kept the sky in place while the other colors move.

The result is this charming ‘print,’ with all its delightful imperfections courtesy of Photoshop:

Colored line art created in Photoshop with offset screen-printing-style color color registration.

Deke will be back with another technique next week!

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

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Photoshop CS6: New Features
 Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals

InDesign Secrets: Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork

Published by | Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

It’s no secret that InDesign doesn’t have a Save for Web command—and yet, if you’ve carefully crafted a print document to your personal design specifications, you may have images created in InDesign that you want to use in your web content. In this week’s free InDesign Secrets episode, Anne-Marie Concepción reveals how to get around that lack of Save for Web command that designers have come to rely on in InDesign’s sister applications, Photoshop and Illustrator.

The first workaround option is simply to take a screenshot, open your screenshot in Photoshop, and use Photoshop’s Save for Web command. In the InDesign Secrets video above, you’ll see Anne-Marie’s advice for how to set proper resolution for just such an activity. Before you take your screenshot, make sure you’re in Preview mode and get rid of any extraneous information like non-printing characters. I used her advice for the graphic you see below, and on a bi-weekly basis, this is exactly the method I use to create the graphics we use in our InDesign Secrets posts.

Pink web graphic button used as an example of a web graphic saved for import into Photoshop.

A second option is to select an objects and use the Export command to save it as a JPEG, which allows you to set the color space and resolution. Even better, the third option, if you’re using InDesign CS5.5 or later, is to use the Object Export command to get the same options along with the ability to choose your own file format. Whichever way you choose, with these tricks you’ll no longer need to wait on Adobe to create a Save for Web command inside InDesign.

Meanwhile, Anne-Marie’s partner in InDesign secrecy, David Blatner, has an exclusive movie for members this month called Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes, in which he reveals another ingenious workaround: how to use “No Language” in the Advanced Character Formats pane of the New Character Style dialog box to suppress unwanted automatic updates.

Anne-Marie and David will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets!

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

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS6 New Features
 InDesign CS6 Essential Training
 InDesign FX