Archive for March, 2013

Deke’s Techniques: Developing a dramatic castle in Camera Raw

Published by | Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

This week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques reveals how to develop a dramatic photograph inside of Camera Raw—in particular, an already enchanting photo of the Dunguaire Castle in County Clare, Ireland, that Deke shot on his Canon 5D Mark III. Deke applies a series of discrete selective nondestructive modifications in Adobe Camera Raw to achieve even more of a dramatic effect. Let’s see exactly how it works!

To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.

How to approach migrating from AutoCAD to Revit

Published by | Friday, March 8th, 2013

When I’m teaching Autodesk Revit to new users, I frequently get asked: “Why isn’t <fill in the blank feature> more like AutoCAD if both products are by the same company?” It’s a perfectly logical line of reasoning. Autodesk is the maker of both AutoCAD and Revit. But to understand why your favorite feature in AutoCAD isn’t in Revit, or is included but works differently, it’s helpful to understand the history and focus of these two products.

The history part is easy. AutoCAD is an original Autodesk product, developed and sold by Autodesk. A small start-up company created Revit and Autodesk acquired the software over a decade ago. Autodesk has since enhanced Revit in many significant ways, and along the way has even incorporated some features from AutoCAD when and where appropriate. However, there are vast differences between the functions and tools of AutoCAD.

InDesign Secrets: Converting a clipping path to a frame

Published by | Thursday, March 7th, 2013

What happens when you want to print a spot varnish or apply an effect over a small area of your document like a logo or an image? In this week’s free InDesign Secrets video, David Blatner shows you how to convert a vector clipping path into a frame that can be filled with a spot color or effect of your choice.

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

Deke’s Techniques: Optical art experiment 2a: Undulating pattern

Published by | Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

This week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques returns to optical art territory. Deke McClelland starts off with some very basic path outlines in Adobe Illustrator, and then converts them into a seamlessly repeating tile pattern. Let’s see exactly how it works!

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 version.

How to hook your reader from the very first page

Published by | Monday, March 4th, 2013

Think stories are just for entertainment? They’re not. Stories are simulations that allow us to vicariously experience problems we might someday face. Think of them as the world’s first virtual reality—minus the geeky visor. Story was more crucial to our evolution than opposable thumbs. All opposable thumbs did was let us hang on. Story told us what to hang on to.

The great feeling of enjoyment we get when a story grabs us is nature’s way of making sure we pay attention to the story. It’s a survival mechanism. Do you know what that feeling is? A rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It’s your brain’s way of rewarding you for following your curiosity and finding out how the story’s problem is solved.

That’s why, when it comes to writing, the most important thing to master is the craft of story. Because it turns out that the brain is far less picky about beautiful writing than writers have been taught to believe.

Yes, writing well is a good thing—only a fool would deny that. But what matters most is that the story hooks the reader from the first sentence. How? By igniting the brain’s hardwired desire to find out what happens next. That’s what gives all those beautiful words all their power in the first place.

Lisa Cron explains how story captivates the brain.

So, how do you ignite the reader’s curiosity on that crucial first page? There are three things readers innately hunt for as a story begins.

Tips for searching

Published by | Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Sometimes you want to watch an entire course to learn a new skill, and other times you need the answer to a specific question. But when your search terms apply to multiple content areas, you may end up with search results that are of little help.

Recent improvements to our website now allow you to easily refine your search results to quickly find what you need. I will walk you through two examples.

What is the difference between Office 365 and Office 2013?

Published by | Friday, March 1st, 2013

Microsoft recently launched the new Office 365 as well as Office 2013. You are not alone if the various products have created confusion for you.

To clarify, Office 365 refers to the subscription models for Office, not a specific version, and it delivers the Office programs as part of your subscription. With online storage, sharing and syncing with the Microsoft cloud, Office 365 has features to make it easier for teams to collaborate and communicate with familiar applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

If you subscribe to Office 365 and are running Office on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine, you will see Office 2013 as your user interface. This means if you are a subscriber to Office 365, the courses titled with version 2013 will be relevant and helpful for you. Microsoft is expected to push out updates to Office 365 on a quarterly basis, so over time we expect greater differences between these offerings. Rest assured, we are working to address the anticipated divergence between Office 365 and Office 2013 in our future training courses.

Suggested courses to watch next:

• Office 2013 New Features
• Up and Running with Office Web Apps
• Excel 2013 Essential Training