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Archive for the 'Illustrator' Category

IT Training Certificate Series–Updated

Illustration of certificate ribbon.

Earning a certificate from IT Training is a great way to enhance your skills in areas like Microsoft Office, web development, and creating graphics.   Office 2016 is here, so we’ve updated some of the series workshops (note major changes to the Access series). The process is the same. You take a series of related IT Training workshops designed to build your skills in applications or topics in a comprehensive way! After you’ve attended all of the workshops in a series (within a one-year period), you’ll earn your certificate.

We offer certificates in five different areas, so you’re bound to find something to meet your needs.

Office 2016 Productivity (6 workshops)

We’ll introduce you to a variety of Microsoft Office applications and demonstrate ways make them work together. You’ll learn the basic skills for day-to-day office activities from creating a spreadsheet in Excel to creating a PowerPoint presentation. The required workshops are:

1. Outlook 2016: Managing Your Email
2. Outlook 2016: Calendar Essentials
3. Word 2016: The Basics
4. PowerPoint 2016: The Basics
5. Excel 2016: The Basics
6. Access 2016: The Basics

Read the rest of “IT Training Certificate Series–Updated” »

Use Twitter as a Learning Tool

Twitter logo

Depending on how you use it, Twitter can be an incredible time-waster or a useful resource.  Because you’re reading this blog, I assume you’re interested in learning about technology. Why not use Twitter as a tool to further your learning?

In this post, you’ll find a curated list of Twitter accounts that regularly share links to technology news, tips, tricks, and tutorials. Once you’ve chosen some accounts to follow, it’s a good idea to create Twitter lists so you can easily find the type of information that you need. Here are a few tweeters organized by category.  Read the rest of “Use Twitter as a Learning Tool” »

Creating Research Posters

A research poster about cats playing video games, with the text Creating Research Posters superimposed over the bottom of the image.Have you ever had to make a research poster, but weren’t sure where to start?  Ever wondered how to put together a poster in a specific design program so it prints nicely?  This video series is for you!  Creating Research Posters is a Canvas course that’s open to everyone to view, and will be especially helpful if you need to make a research poster for an academic class, conference presentation, or any other reason.  If you’ve never made a research poster before, this course will help you learn design principles used in making an effective poster.  You’ll also learn how to set up a file for optimal poster making in the design program of your choice, and how to make sure it prints correctly on a plotter!  We’ve also collected some resources for effective poster design, as well as examples of good and bad poster designs, to help inspire you as you design.  Watch the whole series for your chosen design program, or just watch the part you need!

Check out the Creating Research Posters course here!

Avoid the Mess: Paint Digitally

If you’ve been looking for a creative outlet, and you’re into technology, why not try your hand at digital art?  In this post, I’ll share some resources to help you get started in a subset of digital art – digital painting.  With digital painting, you can express yourself without making a mess!

Here are two examples (both in the Public Domain) of digital paintings. Just like traditional paintings, they can be realistic, abstract, or somewhere in-between.

Digital paintings. CC0 Public Domain

For further examples, take a look at these 54 Mind-Blowing Digital Paintings. For more, check out some Amazing Digital Painting Landscapes, and these 30 Examples of Highly Creative Abstract Digital Art.

Now that you’re inspired to create, you’ll want to explore these resources for budding digital artists.

Read the rest of “Avoid the Mess: Paint Digitally” »

Adobe CC 2015: Exploring New Features

Adobe CC 2015: Exploring New Features

Curious about what new features were added in the newest release of Adobe Creative Cloud?  Take a look at this webinar that I did along with IT Training staff members Denise Brown and Jen Oakes that focuses on features included in the newest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.  We touch on dynamic symbols in Illustrator, artboards in Photoshop, publishing online with InDesign, and using Extract in Dreamweaver – and much more!

View/Listen to Webinar/Podcast recording. View the webinar recording for “Adobe CC 2015: Exploring New Features”. 

Covered in this session:

  • New interface features in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Dreamweaver
  • Introduction to the CC Libraries panel in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver
  • New features of Illustrator, including the Shaper tool, Dynamic Shapes, and Dynamic Symbols
  • New features of Photoshop, including artboards and the ability to customize toolbars
  • New features of InDesign, including the Color Theme tool, Paragraph Shading, and Publish Online
  • New features of Dreamweaver, including Extract, media queries, and Device Preview

Working with Symbols in Illustrator

Working with Symbols in Illustrator

If you’ve ever created art in Illustrator, you might find yourself using a specific collection of shapes or a small piece of art numerous times.  Whether copying and pasting your artwork, or recreating it from scratch whenever you need it, reusing art can sometimes be time consuming.  Symbols can help you save some time as you make artwork in Illustrator!

What are symbols?

Symbols, in Illustrator, are pieces of art that you can save and easily reuse as many times as needed.  Some examples of symbols that you might encounter include logos, button shapes, and small graphics that may be repeated a number of times in an Illustrator file.  Each time you add a symbol to your Illustrator document, that’s referred to as an instance of that symbol.

In Illustrator CC 2015, Adobe introduced Dynamic Symbols, which allow you to have one master shape saved as a symbol, but you can make changes to the specific instances of the symbol without changing every instance.  Plus, if you need to make changes to every instance of your symbol, you can edit the master symbol and all the changes will be made to each instance of the symbol.  You’ll still retain all the changes you made to any individual instances, which can be incredibly useful as you work.

How can they help me in Illustrator?

Symbols can help you save time, especially if you’re using a graphic a number of times in a specific document – eliminating the need to copy and paste numerous times.  Dynamic Symbols can also come in handy if you have similar graphics that need to be created, but one or two things might be different – for example, one shape may need to be different colors in different locations in your document, and this can be achieved with dynamic symbols.

Read the rest of “Working with Symbols in Illustrator” »

Want to Travel to Australia, Kenya, Chile? Here’s Your Chance!

“Adobe is working with Passion Passport to give six students from around the world the chance to travel to one of three of the world’s most protected natural environments.

On location, students will use Adobe Creative Cloud to capture and interpret the environment’s sights, sounds, and sensations.

Each student’s creative output will be showcased through an immersive, multimedia installation that recreates their expression of the protected landscape in an urban environment.”

**Students who are currently enrolled in a college or university, from all majors and backgrounds, are eligible. You must be 18 years of age, or older. Application deadlines are 2/23/16

Click on this link for more information:


Our Adobe representative sent this information to me yesterday, and since it is such an exciting opportunity, I wanted to share it with you. If I was a student, I would be posting my most creative videos and photos in Instagram and tagging them with #MadeThis and #PassportToCreativity right now!

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 Interface Overview

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 is available on IUware, IUanyWare, and also in the STC labs at IU!  However, with a new version of software often comes new interface features – and Adobe Creative Cloud is no different.  Don’t despair, though – I’ve recorded an introduction to the interfaces of the most commonly used Adobe Creative Cloud programs and brought them all together in the Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 Interface Overview.  Come take a look at familiar programs like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver, and see how they look in the newest version of Creative Cloud!

Please note: For the best viewing experience, please use Firefox or Chrome.

Even More Fun With Icons

even more fun with icons

This is the follow up to a post from several weeks ago on using a site called to incorporate snazzy icons in your design work. After all, we do seem to almost be moving back to a time of hieroglyphs (icons and emojis). Be prepared to speak this visual language using appropriate, meaningful icons. This usually means creating custom iconography to suit your communication.

In today’s post, I’ll show you how to use the built-in symbols in Illustrator to create custom icons. (Note: I’m using CS6 but this should translate to the latest CC pretty smoothly, also.)

In Illustrator, when you activate the default Web workspace in the upper right of the control panel,

web workspace

this workspace will give you the Symbols panel on the right side of the interface. Read the rest of “Even More Fun With Icons” »

Fun With Icons on

fun with icons graphic

We’re all trained by now to think in icons. Triangle means play. Speech bubble means chat. Plus sign means add. Icons are great way to sum up instructions or ideas in visual ways. This simplified visual representation allows us to process the information quickly and minimizes lengthy text explanations. logoThat’s why when I’m creating web graphics, I rely heavily on using icons. If time allows or if the idea is pretty complex or unique to the situation, I will create a custom icon. But I’ve found a great site for when time is short or you don’t want to reinvent the wheel:

On the homepage, you can search for the type of icon you need, or you can scroll down to preview a few different sets available.

What I especially love about the site are the straightforward license agreement details that are included. That way, I know if I can use it with no strings attached, if I need to link back to the designer’s site, or if I need to credit the designer somehow in the graphic itself.

Most of the time I’m looking for free/no strings attached icons, like this set:

screenshot of icon set

Click image to enlarge.

But depending on the project, I might want to use a specific kind of icon design and I can credit the designer. Like this one:

example icon set - sympletts

Click image to enlarge.

Yet, if I do want to customize an icon, and I often do, I can download the native .ai file and modify away (depending on licensing restrictions).

Select Adobe illustrator

I also really appreciate the ability to very easily download the icons in different sizes or file formats, without having to do those steps myself in Illustrator.
more options

For example, the following is an excerpt from an earlier blog post of mine, in which I downloaded the .ai file for the book icon, recolored it in Illustrator, and used it in the blog post with the image itself linked back to the appropriate site:

example from other blog post using book icon

Excerpt above from:

Be sure that when using icons on web pages, you’re using good alt tags and image descriptions to keep your site up to standards with accessibility.

Also, note that if you download a few icons from, they’ll prompt you to create an account with them. This is a simple login process and is free.

And remember, many social media icons are already available at different sizes in IU colors from in if you’re working on IU-related projects. View the logos downloads page and scroll down to the Icons files.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post on using the symbols in Illustrator for your iconography.

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