Archive for February, 2013

InDesign FX: How to create interesting text effects in InDesign

Published by | Thursday, February 28th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to create a variety of interesting text effects using paragraph rules within Adobe InDesign.

Now you can share playlists!

Published by | Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

We hope you have had a chance to organize courses you want to watch into playlists. We’ve expanded this feature, and now you can share your playlists too (and create an unlimited number of playlists!). Give your playlist a name and description, and then email a link to your friends and colleagues or post it to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Share playlists to help others follow the same path, recommend a list, or to show what you’ve accomplished.

Creating a playlist

Get started by creating a new playlist. Make sure you’re logged in to your account, and then add courses to a new or existing playlist from the flyout menu on the + button. Create new playlists on the spot when you select add to a new playlist… from the flyout menu or select go to playlists to view and manage all of your playlists.

Sharing a playlist

Go to your playlists page by selecting playlists from my courses in the black bar at the top of any page. Choose which playlist you want to share, and then click edit near the playlist name to add an optional description for the people you’re sharing it with.

Check the box next to share and we’ll generate a unique public URL for your playlist.

Decide to share your playlist and generate a unique URL for it

Deke’s Techniques: Creating a pattern of unique inset circles

Published by | Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

In this week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows you how to create a pattern of morphing, color-changing inset circles inside Adobe Illustrator. We’ll do this by blending multiple groups of circles. Then we’ll blend and re-blend those groups to get a couple of different iterations of the effect. To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.

If you’re a premium member, you can use the exercise files Deke provides with the course, or simply use the instructions he gives in the first part of the video to create your own exercise file.

New Adobe Muse features for Q1 2013

Published by | Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

It seems like just yesterday when new features were added to Muse, but surprisingly it has been a few months. Unlike last quarter’s update, which featured major new features, this quarter is more about refining existing features to help you better work with Muse. In my opinion, the two most important changes to Muse this time around are the addition of a spell-checker and the ability to base master pages off of each other.

There are also other minor enhancements and additions you can read about below.

Congratulations to the Documentary team

Published by | Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Most people know for our immense training library of over 80,000 video tutorials. But we also have an in-house documentary team that’s producing some very compelling documentaries with the same high quality as our individual training titles.

Recently the Santa Barbara International Film Festival screened our latest full-length documentary Jerry & Maggie: This is not photography. The film takes us inside the home and workspace of husband-and-wife artists Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, who push the boundaries of photography with their haunting, layered dreamscapes.

“It was a great screening with Bruce and Lynda in attendance. Full house, great Q&A session,” said David Niles White, documentary producer at “It was everything we could hope for as filmmakers.”

Members of can watch Jerry & Maggie: This is not photography in its entirety in our library. If you have already seen it, be sure to watch the recently released bonus footage featuring more of Jerry’s darkroom techniques and Maggie’s Adobe Photoshop process, as well as a new video about Jerry and Ansel Adams in Yosemite.

Congratulations to the entire documentary team on a wonderful movie!

The Documentary Team

Pictured left to right: Nick Passick (editor); Aron Ives (cinematographer); David Niles White (producer); Mia Shimabuku (cinematographer/editor); Scott Erickson (director); and Tracy Clarke (editor). Photo by Candace Schermerhorn.

InDesign Secrets: The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change

Published by | Thursday, February 21st, 2013

It’s time to get excited about an oft-neglected dialog box in Adobe InDesign, which can actually save you a lot of time when you’re proofing your documents. In this week’s free InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you how to use the Find/Change dialog box to find and fix mistakes in a busy layout, whether it’s reducing stroke width, adding drop shadows, or modifying any other object attributes.

Watch the video and use the companion text below to help with each step.

1. Press Cmd+F (Mac) or Ctrl+F (Windows) to open the Find/Change dialog box. Choose the Object tab.

2. Change the Search dropdown to Document to make sure you’re searching the entire layout. However, to narrow down your results, change the Type. For example, if you’re looking to format text, you would choose Text Frames.

Adobe InDesign Find/Change Dialog

3. Click the icon next to the Find Object Format pane to define some search criteria. When the dialog box appears, make your selections from the Basic Attributes, Effects, Stroke, and Gap Color menus. In this example, we’re looking for a Stroke with a Weight of 1 pt.

Adobe InDesign Find Object Format Options

4. Back in the Find/Change dialog, perform the same steps for Change Object Format, entering the new values you want.

5. Now click Change All if you’re sure you want to commit your edits. Sometimes it’s easier to click the Find button and commit your changes frame by frame.

The Find/Change dialog box also presents an excellent opportunity to apply styles to graphic frames without affecting any of their other properties, such as text wrapping behavior. Simply create an object style and disable all the other attributes except for the one you want to change, such as a 1 pt stroke for image frames. Then select the style from the Style Options in the Change Object Format Options dialog.

Adobe InDesign Find Change Object Options

And voilà! An easy way to make small, consistent changes to objects throughout a document.

Looking for more InDesign insights? Join David Blatner in a member-exclusive video called Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks.

And as always, David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

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

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

Deke’s Techniques: Assembling multiple variations into a single comp

Published by | Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Welcome back to Deke’s Techniques! This week, Deke shows you how to assemble a single Adobe Photoshop composition, or comp, from the six Warhol–like image treatments we created with the last two techniques. Learn how to precisely align each image so that not a single pixel is clipped or singed. To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step. Use the portraits you’ve assembled over the last two tutorials (here and here), use your own images, or work with the exercise files included with the course.

Use Adobe Bridge to load multiple images as layers into Photoshop

1. Start in Adobe Bridge by Shift-click-selecting all of your images. Choose Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers.

This method flattens each of the files and assigns it to an independent layer in Photoshop.

Increase the Canvas Size to give yourself some additional room to work.

2. To give yourself more room to work, choose Image > Canvas Size. Deselect the Relative check box. Since there are six images and the plan is to place three of them in each row, you need to enlarge the image by 300 percent horizontally and 200 percent vertically. If you’re using a different number of images, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Also make sure to click in the upper-left corner of the Anchor Matrix to expand the canvas in the correct direction.

3. Select the second image layer and choose the Move tool (V). This enables the Align menu in the panel options bar.

4. Click Align Bottom and then Align Horizontal.

Alight the image layers by selecting Align horizontal centers from the Options Bar

5. Select the next image layer. Alternatively, press the Alt+ (Windows) or Option+ (Mac) shortcut to move down the layer stack. Use the Align horizontal centers for this layer.

6. Select both of the last two images and choose Align Right Edges from the options bar.

7. Press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Cmd+D (Mac) to deselect all layers and save your work.

The final collage!

This technique is good for combining any number of images, as long as they are the exact same size. Just remember to scale your canvas size by the number of photos you want to place vertically and horizontally.

Tune in at the same time next week when Deke reveals an Illustrator technique for creating a repeating pattern of circles of various sizes and colors, the perfect decorative element for page backgrounds, print assets, or even, as Deke says, “your next shower curtain.” And as always, members of can view the entire Deke’s Techniques collection in our library.

Suggested courses to watch next:

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate
• Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate

Getting to know Office 2013 and Office 365

Published by | Monday, February 18th, 2013

Now that Microsoft has officially launched Office 365, we’d like to introduce you to our lineup of new Office training content.

You can use our new playlist feature to create your own personalized Office learning path. First determine which version of Office you’ll be using: Will you be starting with the cloud-based subscription Office 365? Or will you be taking the more traditional route with Office 2013? Note: if you are running Office 365 on a Windows 7 or 8, your version of Office will have the new features of Office 2013.

If you’re unfamiliar with the new Microsoft subscription model, I would suggest adding both David Rivers’s Up and Running with Office 365 and Curt Frye’s Up and Running with Office Web Apps to your playlist. David’s course introduces the Office 365 subscription model and how it works. Curt’s course takes you into the individual applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

The best course to start with to get an overall view of the latest Office features is David Rivers’s Office 2013 New Features. David walks you through the major applications in the suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, and Outlook. Get a peek at integrating Office with the cloud. David covers the changes to the user interface, key new features, and product enhancements.

Figure 1 David Rivers shows you the suite.

David Rivers shows you the suite.

Figure 2 David Rivers takes you through the changes in Office 2013.

David Rivers takes you through the changes in Office 2013.

Figure 3 David Rivers shows you how to use SkyDrive with Office 2013.

David Rivers shows you how to use SkyDrive with Office 2013.

Once you’ve watched Office 2013 New Features, you’ll probably be ready to dive into your favorite Office application. We have more coming over the next few weeks, but to start you off we have Essential Training courses ready for SharePoint, Excel, Word, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint.

If you use SharePoint, start off with Gini Courter’s SharePoint Foundation 2013 Essential Training. The Essential Training covers all the basics and features. You’ll also get a deeper look at how SharePoint integrates with all the Office applications.

Excel 2010 Essential Training has been one of our most highly viewed courses. Dennis Taylor takes you through all the basics from organizing your data to working with formulas, worksheets, pivot tables, and charts in Excel 2013 Essential Training.

Next up is David Rivers’s Word 2013 Essential Training. Learn the basics of creating and editing documents, using templates and building blocks, sharing and collaborating in documents, and working with tables.

If Access is more your thing, then take a look at Adam Wilbert’s course on Access 2013 Essential Training. Adam demonstrates how to create and work with tables, forms, reports, and macros and how to use that data in other Office applications such as Excel and Word.

Our newest staff author and productivity guru, Jess Stratton, has two Essential Training courses for you: PowerPoint 2013 Essential Training and Outlook 2013 Essential Training. In PowerPoint 2013 Essential Training, Jess shows you the basics of creating, editing, working with, and sharing presentations. In Outlook 2013 Essential Training, Jess gives you a tour of the interface and teaches you how to create, send, organize, and read mail; use contacts; leverage productivity with tasks and notes; and manage your day with Outlook.

Keep an eye on our new release list for more.

Interested in more?

• All Office courses
• All Business courses