Archive for March, 2013

InDesign FX: Creating a Theater Marquee

Published by | Thursday, March 28th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, we’re headed to the movies as I show how to create lettering that resembles a theater marquee.


This effect highlights one of the ideas I keep coming back to in the InDesign FX series: in order to make a realistic-looking effect, you have to start with a real-life reference. So before I did anything in Adobe InDesign, I searched the web for photos of theater signs. I found many examples with thick translucent red plastic letters, hung from two rails stretching across the signs horizontally.

Deke’s Techniques: Drawing an Angry Birds-like character

Published by | Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Are you a fan of a particularly popular game featuring a group of agitated birds and noisy green pigs? Well, in this week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland shows you how to create your very own “grumpy bird” with Adobe Illustrator. Let’s get started.


Follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.

Monday Productivity Pointers: Using Google+ Hangouts

Published by | Monday, March 25th, 2013

Welcome to our new series Monday Productivity Pointers. Each week I’ll take a look at a different productivity tool and release two videos on the topic. These pointers can be a great way to test-drive tools and see if they’re right for you. But even if you’ve used them before, you’re likely to discover at least one feature that you probably didn’t know about!

I’ll share tools that I personally use all the time. They’ve helped me become more organized, professional, and mobile, and my hope is that they’ll do the same for you. From managing your finances with to monitoring your online influence with Klout to creating presentations directly on the iPad with Keynote, check weekly to see what topic I’m covering and how it can help make you a more productive version of yourself. Do you have a tool you’d like me to cover? What’s your favorite online productivity tool? Let me know in the comments section below.

This week’s Monday Productivity Pointers is all about Google+ Hangouts.

Staying motivated when business is slow

Published by | Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Most freelancers live a feast-or-famine existence. We’re either pushing hard to finish a client’s urgent project—and aren’t they all urgent?—or we’re wiling away the time, wondering what to do with ourselves.

When there’s a feast of work, clients define your activities and goals. But during famines, you’re on your own. You want to use the time well, but don’t have an external authority guiding you. Uncertainty can freeze even the most intrepid freelancer into inactivity.

Don’t let that happen to you! Here are five things to do to keep your business moving forward when you have downtime.

Responsive design for all screens

Published by | Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Responsive design has long been on the minds of web designers and developers, and over the last couple of years, it has become a focal topic among industry insiders and clients alike. Is the site responsive? Should it be responsive? Is responsive web design a good idea, or are we focusing on it as an exclusive solution to a much broader set of problems? Going to web design conferences these days you hear as many takes on the topic as there are people, and a common theme among them is that responsive design is profoundly confusing and complicated.

But does it have to be?

InDesign Secrets: Creating a custom cross-reference format

Published by | Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Adobe InDesign includes a Cross-References feature that allows you to link to other paragraphs and headings in your document and automatically update page numbering as your document grows.

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shares her tips for getting the most from cross-references. For example, you can perform text formatting at the same time you create a cross-reference, which makes cross-references doubly useful.

For more tips on getting the most out of cross-references, watch the video and follow along with the tips outlined below.

Deke’s Techniques: Creating an antique photo effect in Camera Raw

Published by | Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The final black and white conversion in Camera Raw

Welcome back to Deke’s Techniques. This week learn how to transform the Dunguaire Castle image from last week’s technique into a weathered black-and-white print with Adobe Photoshop and Camera Raw. We’ll balance the luminance levels to create the sepia tone, and we’ll add some film grain and vignetting. Let’s see how it works.

InDesign FX: How to create a puzzle with InDesign

Published by | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

How to create a puzzle effect using InDesign

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to use Adobe InDesign to divide an image into several pieces that fit together like a puzzle. This would be a pretty tedious chore to manually create all these separate frames and then position the images correctly inside them.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to create this effect.