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Beth Nolen's Archive

Image Trace in Illustrator: turn photos into vector graphics with a few clicks!

Title Image. A bunny under a table sketched using image trace.

One of my favorite features of Illustrator, dating all the way back to Illustrator CS2 (when it was previously called Live Trace), is Image Trace.  Image Trace allows you to take a raster graphic (or bitmap graphic, if you’re more familiar with that term) and turn it into a fully editable vector graphic with just a few clicks.  It’s especially fun to use on photographs that you can then tweak as you like to create interesting works of art or incorporate into other vector graphics like logos.

Read the rest of “Image Trace in Illustrator: turn photos into vector graphics with a few clicks!” »

Creating Research Posters: Importing the Modules Into Your Canvas Course

Note: This blog article was written by IT Training’s newest professional staff member, Peter Ermey!

For many undergraduate and graduate students involved in research projects, finding ways to present their work clearly and professionally is a high priority. Since opportunities to present at academic conferences or in classrooms are often limited, many students create research posters that summarize their key findings in a succinct and visually appealing way.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create a research poster, IT Training has created the Creating Research Posters video series explaining the entire process from the initial set up of the file, to adding content such as text and images, to printing. The series also provides helpful design tips and best practices for working with fonts, graphics, and the layout. Additionally, because many users have a specific program they prefer to work in, the Creating Research Poster series is available for three different applications: PowerPoint, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Accessing the Creating Research Poster series is easy. You can import the entire video series for each application by importing the Module you want from the Canvas Commons into one of your Canvas sites or downloading it straight to your desktop.

  1. Enter the Canvas site you wish to import the module into.
  2. From the “Home” page of the site, click on the “Import from Commons” button on the top right side of the screen. This will take you to the Canvas Commons homepage.Screenshot of the Canvas interface, with the Import from Commons button outlined with a red rectangle.
  3. Search for “Creating Research Posters in Powerpoint”, “Creating Research Posters in Illustrator”, or “Creating Research Posters in InDesign”.
  4. Click on the icon for the module you wish to import.
    The Commons search results, showing the Creating Research Posters in PowerPoint module.
  5. In the “Import to Canvas” box on the right side of the screen, click the checkbox for the course(s) you want to import the Module into. Then, click on the green “Import into Course” button.
    The Import Into Canvas option.
  6. The Module will be imported into your Canvas site, though the process may take several minutes or longer. When the Module appears, it will be available in the Modules tool in your Canvas course.

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!

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” »

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.

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.

Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Does your department make use of forms that people need to fill out and return to you?  If so, one way to reduce the amount of paper used by printing out all those forms is to create a PDF form in Adobe Acrobat.  Not only does it help reduce the amount of paper your office uses, but there are also other benefits to making use of PDF Forms.  In this article, I’ll show you how to create a simple PDF form using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat XI.

Read the rest of “Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat” »

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