dekeBlog

Page navigation shortcuts in any version of InDesign

Hey gang,

I'm working on a new video course, Introducing InDesign, for lynda.com. Its purpose is to introduce everyone who doesn't already know about it to the best page-layout program the world has ever known. The challenge for me: InDesign is wildly powerful and, perhaps as a result, wildly complicated. How to make it understandable to a first-time user?

One solution is the everyday average table. For example, let's consider the page-navigation keyboard shortcuts. They save you time, as witnessed below:

Navigating pages in InDesign

But these shortcuts are a bit weird when transcribed to smaller keyboards, such as the one built into the otherwise supremely powerful MacBook Pro. At which point, they look like this:

Navigating pages in InDesign on a MacBook Pro

By way of an aside, I recently purchased a Surface 3 Pro. Microsoft gave out a ton of these at Adobe MAX, but few attendees have commented on them. I didn't attend MAX but, unrelated, I purchased a Surface 3 Pro a few months back. Like any rational designer, I'm not a huge Microsoft fan. But I believe the Surface has promise. So far, it's a paper-thin full-blown computer. Running an awkward OS.

My course will offer lots more: Keyboard diagrams, why guides matter, ways to automate, how to fall in love with page layout, and so forth. As usual, my plan is to help the new user emerge--with nothing more than a few hours of my online assistance--better equipped to make things happen than a potential competitor who's been working in InDesign for many several years.

I love the old school. Hello new school.
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The Ring Tutorial to End All Ring Tutorials (Part 2: Engraving Your Elvish Message)

I know. Things don't always go as planned in Middle Earth. Or here on Regular Earth, where I promised a weekish ago that I'd write out the step-by-step story of how to inscribe the 3D Ring to Rule Them All. So presuming you've either used the Deke's Techniques video version or Part 1 of this tutorial to make your virtual 3D ring, here's how to add the mysterious inscription to fully flesh out the effect. 

Engrave your 3D Illustrator ring

(Note, it doesn't have to be about "The Ring." There are some tips here that will help you inscribe any 3D object in Illustrator.) 

1. Darken the ring.
In order for our inscription to look suitably daunting, it will help if the ring provides a darker, more ominous backdrop.  Change the color of the ring by Shift-clicking on the Fill swatch in the Control Panel and dialing in the following color: R 50, G 20, B 10.

(If you've taken a break between making the ring and inscribing it, i.e. you've closed the file in between---maybe because it took me a week to get Part 2 finished---make sure your banana-shaped ring shape is selected by clicking it with the black arrow tool.)

Change the color in the control panel. Read more » 

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The Ring Tutorial to End All Ring Tutorials (Part 1)

So you know how the cinematic interpretations of JRR Tolkien's Hobbit-based works are about eight bazillion times longer than their literary sources? Yeah, this is the opposite.

This is a longish, literary-ish (well, you know, to the best of my ability), interpretation of Deke's ten-minute video tutorial on how to create the famous artifact at the center of Tolkien's work. For those of you who like a bit more detail in your literary-fantasy-virtual-artifact-creation tutorials, here are the step-by-step instructions I promised from this week's Deke's Techniques episode.

Final 3D Ring

(Tomorrow, I'll detail how to totally geek out on the elvish inscription, but you'll have to wait for Part 2. After I got about halfway translating this technique into words, I pulled a Peter Jackson and decided it was better to serve up as two parts.) 

1. Create a new document in Illustrator.
Begin at the beginning. In Illustrator, choose File > New and set your dimensions to 1080 x 825 points. For good measure, set the Bleed to 18 pts all the way around. Then click OK.

Create a new Illustrator document

 

2. Add a suitable background by placing a fiery photo.
First you'll need some flames. Deke used this one from Fotolia artist халлва. (By the way, you can download 25 free images by signing up for a free month's subscription at fotolia.com/deke.) 

Choose File > Place, then navigate to the image you want to use as a background in the Place dialog box. When you find it, click it to select it, then click Place.

(In truth, you don't really need any background for this, but having a darker canvas to work on will definitely help with the next few steps.)

3. Name your backdrop layer.
Practice good layer maintenance by double-clicking the name of the layer and calling it something useful like "backdrop." I've also done the same for the specific image layer (i.e. I renamed it "fiery"). Also, click the lock icon next to the layer in order to lock it down, so that it doesn't slide around when you least want it to.

Tip: If you want your Layers panel thumbnails to be nice and big, like Deke's, click the icon in the upper right of the panel (1) and choose Panel Options (2) from the panel flyout menu. In the Layers Panel Options dialog box that appears (3), set the Row Size to 70 pixels and click OK.

Increasing the thumbnail size in the Illustrator Layers panel Read more » 

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Do the Impossible: Create and Animate an Optical Illusion

My dear dekeItarians. Check out the welcome movie to Deke's new course. It will bend your brain.

In this latest Designs dekeConstructed course from lynda.com---Designs dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion---Deke shows you how to not only create a Penrose triangle (think of the works of M.C. Esher or a 3D mobius-like strip with three corners) but then animate a golden ball rolling around its impossible never-ending sides. What, my words are too mundane and limited for this impossible mind-bending effect created using everyday tools like Photoshop and Illustrator? Here's what I'm talking about: 

Ball travels around impossible triangle created in Photoshop and Illustrator.

I know! And people use animated GIFs to make bananas dance. (OK, that one's kind of awesome.)

You can learn, in patented step-by-step Deke-style, how to construct this dekeDesign in the new course. If you're not a member of lynda.com, but can't pass up this eyeball enchanting opportunity, you can get a free week's trial membership by signing up at lynda.com/deke

Once there you can also use the rest of your free week to explore the rest of Deke's House of Illusions---i.e. his awesome catalog of courses----or check out works from the rest of the lyndaLibrary. Amazing! Read more » 

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A Hero In No Time: Time Lapse of Deke's Latest Retro Superhero Project

Deke's latest project turns an ordinary mild-mannered gym rat into a classic, if totally made up, Silver Age comic book superhero. Watch the extraordinary video above---created by the editing heroes at lynda.com and featuring the song "Massive" by Poppy Brothers---to see this Photoshop and Illustrator-empowered metamorphosis happen in just over three exciting minutes. Yes, it's an epic saga of heroic transformation.

Turn an ordinary photo into a classic comic superhero.

If you're ready for a challenge like this, be sure to check out Deke's new course, Designs dekeConstructed: Retro Superhero, to see how each step in this Jack Kirby-inspired creation came about. You'll see how to use Illustrator blends to create the Blue Barbeque's signature human grill marks. You'll see how Deke incorporated photographic elements (the flames and smoke) in Photoshop to emulate the comic books of his youth. And you'll even see how Deke went about creating a custom font (used for the words "Fire Up," below) specially for this project. 

If you're not a member of lynda.com and would like to check out this course, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke. Then you can fire up your design superpowers and set off on your own creative adventure.

But remember: Once you're a superhero, there's no going back. Read more » 

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