dekeBlog

New Course: Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

Deke's latest course at lynda.com is a quick (for Deke) celebration of the new improved ways of drawing in Illustrator CC. In just four short chapters and under 2 hours, Deke runs through the new features that will make you better, (stronger), and faster at drawing with Illustrator. Here's what's covered (along with some links to free unlocked videos so you can check them out yourself).

New Cours: Draw Better and Faster in Illustrator

 

Chapter 1: The Now-Useful Pencil Tool
Until CC, the Pencil tool in Illustrator never quite worked as a free-form drawing tool in the way you (or I, or anyone) might wish. But with new improvements, being able to drawing of smooth, fluid lines is no longer exclusive to Pen tool. In this chapter, Deke demonstrates what happens when you add a Wacom tablet and the ability to trace a good drawing to the mix. Look at those smooth curves from that single line in the center image below. 

Draw a seahorse with Illustrator's improved Pencil tool

Click here to watch a free unlocked movie from the chapter in which Deke draws a classic heart-shape to demonstrate the difference between the CS6 Pencil and the vastly improved tool in Illustrator CC. Read more » 

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New Course: Introducing Photoshop, the Photographer's Edition

The massive power of Photoshop can be intimidating if you're just starting out. Sometimes relationships (like yours with Photoshop) can be helped by an introduction from a trusted friend. For those of you who'd like to see what a little Photoshop knowhow can do for your Photography, Deke's got a new course---Introducing Photoshop: Photography---over at lynda.com (and the Introduction and first four movies of it are unlocked so you can try it out free).

Introducing Photoshop: Photography

This particular course is designed to take you from square one---as in, never having used Photoshop before---to practical knowledge of Photoshop's everyday tools for organizing, developing, and refining photographs. Don't take my word for it, hear Deke's introduction by clicking on the image below. 

Watch the first five movies of Introducing Photoshop free

Then, you can click on "next" at the top of the player window to move through the next four movies of the course at lynda.com. If you're tempted by Deke's focused instruction, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke in order to finish the course.

And since this course is short and to the point, you'll probably have time leftover to move on to some of the more advanced material. My suggestion for the photographically focused is Photoshop CC One-on-One: Advanced, but there's a world of great photography courses in the lynda.com libraryRead more » 

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Updates Update: New Camera Raw 8.4 Includes Before/After View

Yet more Update: I want to thank deke.com members Rbarba23 and Jjohnny for pointing out an oversight I made in this post originally: the new previews in Camera Raw 8.4 do not work for Photoshop CS6, only in the Creative Cloud version. (Camera profile updates are still available for CS6.)

To get some clarity on why Adobe made this choice, we consulted our trusty friend (Adobe's Chief Customer Advocate and solid human being Jeff Tranberry) who explained that they can't ship new features to an already launched product without deferring revenue back to the quarter the product (in this case CS6) launched. If you're like me, reading about revenue recognition policies makes you want to take a nap. It's especially frustrating when the news affects me adversely.

I think Jeff understood this when he alternately pointed me to this concise statement from ACR/Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty  (written back in May of 2013):

Today’s Photoshop CC announcement requires a modest change in our camera raw support policy. Because Adobe is still selling Photoshop CS6, those customers will continue to receive updated camera raw file format compatibility via Adobe Camera Raw 8. When we update ACR8 with new camera support, Photoshop CS6 customers can work with the new version of the Camera Raw plug-in. No new features or functionality will be available in ACR to Photoshop CS6 customers as part of those updates. (No Upright, advanced healing brush or radial filter, etc.) I don’t have a timeline for how long this camera raw support will continue for Photoshop CS6 but I want to be consistent with our past policy of providing raw support for currently shipping products.

So while the news is disappointing for CS6 users, at least I've been able to edit the post below accordingly, and again I want to thank J and R for bringing this to my attention. 

Here'e the original, but revised, post: 

For those of you who use Camera Raw (and last week's Deke's Techniques on its Exposure power would be one good reason to do so), you're used to the "update announcement" that basically consists of a whole bunch of new camera and lens profiles.

But Adobe has made a release candidate version of Camera Raw 8.4 for Photoshop , available via Adobe Labs, that has a feature that might make it worth downloading the "almost ready" version before it comes out via the regular CC update. Yes, my dekePhoto friends, Camera Raw now has a Before/After view. 

Where once you had to toggle the Preview checkbox on and off, now you can see where you started your digital developing and where you've arrived in one view. There's a side-by-side view, an above-below view and my favorite for visual impact if not precise comparison, the split. 

Before and After views in Camera Raw 8.4

Now, my guess would be that purists would correctly point out that the split doesn't really give you a before/after of the same pixels, but how visually satisfying is this? It looks like Camera Raw is lifting a layer of cloudy film off the image. 

If you'd like to try the new Camera Raw for yourself, you can download the CC version here. (As noted above and below, you can download the CS6 version here, but it doesn't include the new features). Follow the installation instructions and be sure to let Adobe know how it's working for you.  Read more » 

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Russell Brown's Adobe Master Class (ADIM) Returns to Boulder, and Deke returns to ADIM

Fans of Deke. Fans of Boulder. Fans of Russell Brown. Fans of something akin to "art camp" for Adobe-weilding grown ups. ADIM (a madcap themed masterclass hosted by Russell) is returning to our beautiful Boulder again this year. You should come. 

This years theme is "Japan by Design" and the project (which attendees get to work on over the course of three days holed up in the beautiful St. Julien Hotel in Boulder) is a wood and rice paper lantern. Here's one example:

Deke will be specifically doing sessions on Illustrator and Photoshop, designed to give participants advice on how to get their ideas onto the rice paper panels of this lantern project. Because ADIM traditionally involves full participation (from donning costumes, to performing songs, to actually making something) I have written haikus to describe Deke's sessions: 

Your very fine fish
Requires most succulent sauce
Master Deke supplies

and

Though paper is soft
The warrior must be sharp
Deke hones your weapon

"What the hell do those mean, Colleen?" Well, find out by reading the real descriptions at the ADIM website.

Or extrapolate from this example of a "chop" or Chinese seal that Deke made at Russell's request. 

Deke creates a "chop" style seal in Illustrator and Photoshop

(Note: If you can't make it to Boulder,  your consolation prize is that this project will be featured in an upcoming Deke's Techniques episode, or four.)

But you should come! Hang out with us. Hang out with the luminaries that Russell has put together to educate and entertain you. It's the most informative fun you can ever convince your boss, spouse, partner, or children is officially a "work conference." Hope to see you there (here!).  Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Hassle-free Hyperlinks in the Latest InDesign Update

There's this catch-all term for documents that exploit the fact that they are made out of pixels rather paper: interactive. This may refer to a document that contains video, or audio, or some kind of click-to-win quiz. But seriously, one of the most natural and accurate ways for a document to be inter-actable is to have hyperlinks. 

Up until last week, adding hyperlinks to your InDesign documents was a fairly burdensome process, which involved deciphering fussy icons, panels, and dialog boxes. With the latest CC update, the icons aren't necessary, the panels are more straightforward, and the dialog box...well, it's mostly the same, but it makes some good decisions so that you don't have to. Here's how the process works:

1. Right-click to make a hyperlink. This is probably the best part. All you have to do is select text in your InDesign layout, right-click it, and choose Hyperlink > New Hyperlink from the contextual menu.

*Actually, if the text in your document resembles a URL, I say take your chances and try Hyperlink > New Hyperlink from URL, and you're done. Don't worry, there's a way to see if this works noted below. 

2. Fill out the New Hyperlink dialog box. Anyway, if you take the New Hyperlink route, you get the aptly named New Hyperlink dialog box where InDesign defaults to assuming you want to link to a URL and takes a stab at the URL you seek.  

The InDesign hyperlink dialog box opens from the contextual menu.

You'll not above, it also automatically sets the Character Style of your selected text to "Hyperlink." If you didn't happen to have a Hyperlink style available, InDesign goes ahead and creates one for you. As it's done for me in the example below...with questionable results. The default Hyperlink style can be a little odd.

3. Adjust the Hyperlink style, if desired. Note, for the most part, InDesign creates a default Hyperlink that is some familiar shade of blue. Not quite ubiquitous Internet default hyperlink blue, but a nice tasteful blue. Unfortunately, in my case, the existing paragraph styles seem to have thrown InDesign off and it's also created a strange highlight-esque effect as you can see above. 

*I say, "highlight-esque" because you can't really highlight text in InDesign, rather you create a negatively offset, transparent, underline that goes above the line instead of under. 

No matter, like any style, you can edit it from the Character Styles panel. Double-click the hyperlink entry (or right-click the entry and choose Edit Style) to open the Character Style Options dialog box. 

Knowing my "highlight" problem was probably an underline problem in disguise, I clicked on Underline Options in the left-hand pane of the dialog box, then turned off the Underline On checkbox. 

You can change the default Hyperlink style according to your taste

Voila. Ugly underline-disguised-as-highlight is gone. 

4. Make sure it works. Meanwhile, to check that I have, in fact, linked to a valid URL, a quick glance at the improved Hyperlinks panel shows a green-for-go indicator next to my link entry. This is useful, because you still can't click on the link itself to launch a browser and verify it's what you meant to do. You can, however, click said green button, click it, and launch your browser (and hopefully load your intended URL). 

Fixed hyperlink style and a happy working link

InDesign CC, helping you exercise your fundamental right to easily create hyperlinks!

Have a delightfully interactive weekend, dekeInteractors! Read more » 

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