This is arguably the biggest update to Muse since the product’s initial release. The big new features this time around include Parallax Scrolling, In-Browser Editing, and something near and dear to my heart: a Layers panel. As always, there are a bunch of smaller updates and enhancements, too.
Parallax Scrolling helps you create animated effects that involve two (or more) “layers of content” that move in the browser at different speeds. It is a web design technique that enables you to set the speed of each element. Using this technology, you can apply these animated effects to individual objects on your page to create visually compelling designs. Check out a great example of a site using built with Muse using parallax scrolling.
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.
As the new content manager for Design, I would like to say hello to all of our members!
I began my relationship with lynda.com many years ago as a member. With an appreciation for learning as much as possible, my lynda.com membership helped me gain the skills that I needed to succeed in my career as a designer. Over time I became an Adobe Certified Instructor, and eventually an author at lynda.com. If you are interested in learning more about me, please check out my lynda.com courses, or you can follow me @jamesfritz on Twitter where I post design-related tips, news, and inspiration.
Here at lynda.com my job is to help envision future course development for the design segment, and work with authors to produce the best content that we can for you, the members. While we have lots of great things planned for 2012, I would love to hear what you would like to learn next.
In the comments below, please let me know if there are any techniques, technologies, or concepts related to design that you would like to see at lynda.com.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing your suggestions.
Interested in more?
• Courses by James Fritz on lynda.com
• All Design courses on lynda.com
Back in May of this year, Adobe released a CS5.5 version of InDesign that included some features (in the form of a plug-in) that were expressly designed to create content for Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. At the time, we released a course by James Fritz, InDesign CS5.5 New Features, which explored all the new features of Adobe’s layout program, including those DPS tools.
Then in June, the DPS group at Adobe went live with their product and made some changes to the way things worked. We decided to remove some videos and make some edits to James’s InDesign course so as not to give our members confusing or no-longer-accurate information. We also went to work developing a DPS-specific course that will be released soon.
Meanwhile, James has written up an informative account of the changes to DPS as well as the challenges of creating courses that rely on beta software in order to be ready to roll when products release. It reveals some of the ways that bringing our members the most timely content also means having to gracefully ride shifting seas of software development.
Here’s James Fritz’s story:
In Spring of 2010 Adobe and Wired released the first interactive magazine for the iPad. Shortly after this release, a beta program began at Adobe for publishers and designers to start testing and provide feedback on this new system. Over the course of the next year there was a lot of change, which is not uncommon for a beta product. Despite the changes, the workflow for publishing on the iPad remained fairly consistent.
In the beginning, a designer would design the magazine and begin to add some basic interactivity. Eventually, when it came time to add new functions like panoramas or scrolling frames, you would use an Adobe AIR application to embed these features. Over time this separate application was turned into the overlay creator panel and became a part of InDesign.
After adding all of the interactivity the next step was to create it into a format that would be readable on the iPad. This format was called a folio. In order to create a folio file, you needed to take all of your InDesign documents with interactivity and use another Adobe AIR app called the Content Bundler. This app would combine everything into a folio that could be viewed on the desktop or your iPad.
In order to view the folio file on an iPad, you had to go through a process called side-loading. This involved connecting your iPad to iTunes and selecting the folio that you wanted to copy over for testing. This technique is commonly used by other applications to manage files like PDFs or EPUBs.
During the pre-release, most of the testers assumed that this workflow would continue in the shipping product. In fact, we thought that a folio file would be similar to a PDF since it is just an interactive version of an InDesign document for a tablet.
However, once InDesign CS5.5 shipped we learned that the process had changed. The content bundler app was removed and replaced with a panel inside InDesign called the Folio Builder. While the concept behind the panel was the same as the content bundler, the execution was very different. Side-loading was no longer an option to transfer a folio. The new Folio Builder panel would automatically upload the entire folio to the Acrobat.com website and send it to various tablets for testing.
Using Acrobat.com did make it much easier to share your folio with other people since you didn’t have to psychically connect it to your computer. However, it was no longer possible to distribute the folio files by themselves.
When I recorded the videos for InDesign CS5.5 New Features, we had no idea that these changes were going to be taking place. In fact, we recorded videos about how to use the content bundler and folio files for each lesson. In the end, we believed it was better to pull some of the videos and the lesson files from the course to make the training content match the shipping workflow. However, many members have written in asking for the files, so we have restored the chapter 5 assets and created a FAQ explaining how you can use them with the shipping version of InDesign CS5.5. While the videos may not exactly match your screen, the directions provided will give you everything you need to follow along.
We hope you find this additional information useful and helpful to your efforts of learning how to publish from InDesign to the iPad. Meanwhile, you can see the Adobe DPS in its most up-to-date state in the upcoming course from lynda.com, to be published later this month.
To celebrate the new year and my new position as content manager of the design segment at lynda.com, I decided to quiz some of our lynda.com authors about what kind of advice, warnings, or personal goals they might have for 2011. Here are some of the useful tips, gentle admonitions, and personal goals they shared:
David Blatner suggests that we take a little time now to make styles, master pages, learn keyboard shortcuts, set up workspaces, or other time-saving shortcut skills, in order to save a lot more time downstream. I so agree with David on this one. And while I’m really good (obsessive, really) about creating styles in InDesign, I’m a horrible procrastinator when it comes to learning shortcuts. Which is silly. A few seconds of concentration on learning how to navigate the Layers panel in Photoshop with the keyboard would probably pay off before I even get around to breaking the rest of my resolutions.
Deke McClelland thinks you should stop adding those heavy-handed precious-memory vignettes to your portraits no matter how easy they are to create in Photoshop/ACR these days. Let’s face it, vignettes are the drop shadows of the new millennium. Unless you are shooting actions shots of dinosaurs, of course, then vignette away (check out the Adding grain and vignetting effects from Deke’s Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced course for why this last bit makes any sense whatsoever).
Mordy Golding thinks learning to exploit Illustrator’s Appearance panel is definitely worth your 2011 attention. In fact, Mordy once claimed that “…the Appearance panel was the source of all things about modern Illustrator usage. The path to Illustrator righteousness. If you aren’t using it yet, you need to get with the program.” (Illustrator that is). You can get Mordy’s rundown on Using the Appearance panel from his Illustrator CS5 Essential Training course.
All good ideas, I think. Any bad design production habits you want to replace with better ones this year? Any good habits you hope your friends and colleagues adopt? What about things you want to learn—and how can we keep our resolution to help you with that?