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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:
http://blogs.adobe.com/education/2016/01/20/passport-to-creativity-with-adobe-students

 

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 iconfinder.com 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 Iconfinder.com

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.

iconfinder.com 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: iconfinder.com

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: https://www.iconfinder.com/iconsets/48-bubbles

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: https://www.iconfinder.com/iconsets/sympletts-free-sampler

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: http://ittrainingtips.iu.edu/business-productivity/simplify-your-tech-life-tip-1-pilot/03/2015

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 iconfinder.com, 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 brand.iu.edu 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.

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 is Here!

The Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 What's New website. Click to go!

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived!

 

Yesterday, Adobe started rolling out their updated version of Creative Cloud, Adobe CC 2015. This update brings with it many enhancements for the core Adobe applications. If you’re already using Creative Cloud, simply launch the Creative Cloud application (from the system tray on Windows or the notifications area on Mac) and you should be able to update any or all of the applications.

Some of my favorite updates include:

  • Artboards in Photoshop
  • Auto-save in Illustrator
  • Bootstrap and Emmet integration in Dreamweaver
  • Faster zooming and scrolling in InDesign

You can read more about the update by visiting the following resources on Adobe’s website:

If you’d rather watch a video, you can watch Lynda.com videos from the following playlist:

Over the next several months, IT Training staff will be busy updating our in person and online workshop materials to teach the Adobe CC 2015 applications. Check back in the fall semester to sign up for our course offerings!

Creating a Pattern Fill in Illustrator

Image of a star with a cat and heart pattern fill, with the text Creating a Pattern Fill in Illustrator

One of the awesome things Illustrator can do is let us turn our art into a repeating pattern that we can use for the fill or stroke of our art objects (and even text)!  Figuring out how to do it, though, can be a little tricky.  In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process of creating a pattern. Read the rest of “Creating a Pattern Fill in Illustrator” »

Creating a Research Poster: A Learning Path

Learning paths road sign.I need to assemble a research poster – how do I get started, and what programs can I use to make a poster?  And how do I make graphs to display my data?

With programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Microsoft Publisher, with a little help from Microsoft Excel, you can create an eye-catching poster to showcase your research project.  Illustrator and Excel can be used to create attractive graphs to display any data you wish to share, and you can pull everything together in InDesign or Publisher and lay out the contents of your poster.  Before you start building your poster, there are a few steps you can take to help get things rolling.

Photograph of a pad of paper, with a rough design for a poster sketched out on it.Having a general idea of how your poster will look will help you get started – think about how things will be laid out on the page, what colors you’ll be using, and what fonts you’ll be using for your poster.  A rough sketch of what you want your poster to look like when it’s finished may be helpful, and you can use that as a road map of where things should end up on your poster.  Make notes about the colors you might want to use, and fonts you might want to use for headings and body text – when you start building your poster, you’ll have everything you need planned out already and can focus on laying things out.  You’ll also want to make sure to collect any images you want to include, the data you want to present, and the text of your poster in one location before you start working.  Once you have those items together, the following learning paths will help you create your poster.

Read the rest of “Creating a Research Poster: A Learning Path” »

Adobe CS6 Interface Overview

If you’re new to the Adobe Creative Suite, trying to figure out what the different parts of the programs do can be a daunting task.  This video helps take some of the mystery out of Adobe CS6, however, and introduces you to the interfaces for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver.

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

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