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Muse has only been around for a little over 2 years. In that time it has turned into a nice tool for designers that want to quickly and easily put together websites, using an interface that is familiar to anbody that has used programs like InDesign.
Muse isn’t designed for people who want a powerful shopping cart systems, or extensive content management capabilities, or those looking to build the next eBay or Amazon. It is perfect though for designers who want to apply their design skills to building relatively simple websites without having to learn code, allowing you to include features like drop down menus, social media integration, contact forms, google maps integration and more.
The Muse CC 2014 release brings with it some nice new features, and makes this easy to use package more useful than ever. We thought it would be useful to give a list of features added to Muse since the initial CC release.Muse CC (2014) – July 2014
Rebuilt with 64-bit support
Ok this first one isn’t a new features as such, but it does make Muse faster and more performant than before. One of the few problems I have encountered with Muse was some months back when Adobe had an outage on the Creative Cloud login system. Most of the other apps like Photoshop or InDesign just opened fine and carried on working, however Muse wouldn’t even open and it appeared the old version needed to connect to the login server just to be able to launch. I understand the rebuild fixes this problem, as well as making the program more performant. This rebuild also means you can take advantage of the latest web browser and operating system updates such as Mavericks OS X, as well as new hardware like high-resolution Retina displays.
In-Browser Editing updates
The new release of Muse CC 2014 allows site owners to make minor updates to their live site in a web browser, not only when it is hosted by Adobe but also when it is hosted with another ISP. You can then sync these updates with your original Adobe Muse files ensuring they aren’t overwritten next time you update the site.
The In-Browser editing currently has some limitations. It allow users to edit text and change images, however it doesn’t support more complex changes such as editing master page content, editing images set as background fills, changing form buttons, or altering rasterized page items such as images with rounded corners or rotated text frames.
Despite the limitations this is a useful features and hopefully one Adobe will build on in the future, enabling support for other features within Muse.
Creative Cloud Add-ons
The new version allows you to download Muse starter files and other design elements such as navigation menus and buttons. These can be saved in your Library panel to use in your designs, and as the range of available assetts grows this could become a useful resource.
Adjustable User Interface
Now you can set the brightness of your workspace, just like in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, allow you to select from one of four themes from light to dark. When you choose the darker themes the Adobe Muse canvas remains white allowing you to focus on your design, instead of the interface.
Bringing Muse in line with the rest of Creative Cloud you can now customise your workspace the way you want. You can undock and re-arrange your panels, as well as view different layouts side by side, allowing you to work on a desktop and mobile version of your site all at once.
Control slideshow height
In the 2014 release you can now control the height of a full-width slideshow. Images display fully to the right and left edges of the browser window, and can now be set at a fixed height, whether you’re viewing on a desktop or mobile device.
Other new features
There are also a number of smaller, but still useful, updates made in the 2014 release. A 100% Width Toggle button for turning on and off elastic 100% browser width behavior; the ability to cut, copy, paste, or replace background image fills from the right+click context menu; a Replace Image menu option in Design view; and quite a bit more.
The Library panel was added
The addition of the library panel allows you to collect design elements like icons, stylized buttons, widgets and typographic elements. The Library panel then lets you reuse these in other projects, and share them with other designers.
Introduction of Social Media widgets
This is a great addition to Muse, allowing you to drag and drop a range of different social media widgets onto your pages. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest buttons, interactive Google maps, Vimeo and YouTube videos and more. Social Media integration is a must these days for even smaller sites and this functionality is not only a great addition to Muse, but very easy to use.
Improved Scroll Effects
With the updated Scroll Effects panel you can now choose from even more scroll effects options, these include the ability to apply opacity and fading to scroll elements; and add scroll effects to Adobe Edge animations and slideshows.
Slideshows can be Full-screen
You can now set a full-screen slideshow that adjusts to the width of the screen, whether viewing on a desktop or mobile device.
Addition of the Scroll Effects panel
The new Scroll Effects panel now lets you work with scroll effects more efficiently. Additionally Scroll effects will now work more smoothly on tablets and smartphones, including iPhones and iPads, and you can set menu items to highlight when scrolling past matching content, making long pages easier to navigate.
The addition of the layers panel lets you get finer, more precise control when designing with multiple elements on a page.
Vertical text support
Vertical test support lets you create top-to-bottom and right-to-left text, this is especially useful for Japanese and Middle Eastern language sites.
Other features include additional user interface languages, the ability to assign metadata to master pages, the ability to expand and collapse child pages in Plan view, and more.Muse CC (v4 and earlier)
You can now Check Spelling and confirm words are spelled correctly throughout your web site.
Enhanced: Master pages
You can define hierarchical master pages (masters based on masters, like in InDesign) , as well as control the positioning of master page elements such as headers, footers, logos, and navigation on individual pages.
Enhanced: Slide shows
Increased control over slide transition speeds, as well as the ability to choose whether to turn off swipe touch support for slideshows viewed on mobile devices.
Enhanced: Tabbed and accordion panels
Just like in DreamWeaver you can create tabbed and accordian panels (without having to write any code), these are useful for organizing lengthy information in visually appealing, bite-size chunks.
Enhanced: Preview your designs
The enhanced preview lets you see how your designs will look on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet before publishing. What’s more you can preview portrait and landscape orientations for mobile devices.
Allows you to take advantage of mobile viewing by hyperlinking phone numbers to automatically dial when tapped or email addresses to open emails with the “To” address already filled in. This is particularly nice for visitors on tablet or mobile devices.
Muse widgets that are used in your tablet and mobile designs have enhanced usability with touch gestures, such as finger scrolling or page swiping, automatically converted for use in such devices.
If you are looking to take you site a bit further you can now create HTML5 animations using Adobe Edge Animate, and Simply place the file on the canvas within Muse, and preview the action in the Preview mode.
For a product that is only two years old, Muse is becoming very mature with an increasingly wide range of features and options.
Since I have been delivering Muse courses I have come across a wide range of people using it and two scenarios seem to come up more often than others:
The first is people looking to create nicely designed websites that don’t require more advanced functionality like shopping cart sites or database driven capabilities.
The second is designers who are using Muse to mockup / prototype new sites. Where this was previously done in something like Photoshop, it can now be done just as quickly in Muse, but with the added benefit of working menus, social media widgets, slideshows etc..
Either way Muse is a capable solution. Will it remove the need for web developers, content management systems etc.. No.
Does it offer existing designers a nice use friendly way to create clean, functional, easy to use websites with nice functionality and without having to get involved in code. Absolutely.
Generally I prefer to write all the code from scratch, but when you start getting into levels, physics, collisions, etc – there just is not the time. So I went searching for a game engine to work with. These are the main ones I found…
(n.b I have not personally tried all of these engines, as time available meant I had to rule some out based on their features, but try them out yourself and see which ones you like).
Criteria for choosing: 2d, good documentation, easy to use, and good examples.
Excellent application for creating html5 games. You do not see the code, it is all done for you, so for me personally not the one, but it does allow you to create great games graphically.
Powerful & popular, but you have to purchase this [$99].
Nice looking lightweight engine.
Interesting engine, but I personally found it a bit difficult to get started with this, the documentation is a bit light.
Interesting, simple, game framework.
Desktop and mobile game framework. Lots of examples and good documentation. This is the engine I eventually went with myself.
Interesting engine, for creating 3D voxel games like minecraft.
Not a game engine as such, more useful for data processing, but interesting none the less.
Interesting isometric engine, but you have to purchase a license [£89 for a personal license].
A nice isometric engine. Easy to pick up, and nice examples and documentation.
Very popular physics engine. Difficult to pick up though as it is written in a non-standard manner. But very powerful. Also the documentation is difficult and there are many versions written in many languages.
Interesting physics library.
Excellent 3D engine. Thoroughly recommend this. Lots of examples and documentation available. This is the one I tend to use for 3D on the web.
Online 3D game creation tool – looks very nice.
Another online 3D game creation tool. Also looks great.
An html5, open source puzzle game engine.
If any of you know of any others I have missed, please let me know as I am always interested in what engines people use and why.
For years software developers have hidden easter eggs within their programs as a way of having a bit of fun. These can be anything from a hidden message or joke through to a full
blown game hidden inside the program. It provides a bit of extra entertainment for people using the software, and to be honest when you find an easter egg it’s kind of nice knowing you are “in on the secret”.
Adobe are no different and the latest CC 2014 releases of Adobe’s products have a number of easter eggs hidden in them. I was reminded of this recently when a delegate on one of my courses pointed out one that I hadn’t seen before, and I thought it might be nice to do an up-to-date list of easter eggs that I have come across.
I am pretty sure there are probably others out there, and there are some (like the Photoshop Butterflys) that no longer work in CC hence i haven’t listed them. If you know of any not included here though please add them in the comments below.Make Coffee and Toast in Photoshop
- Simply go down to the Preferences option in the Edit menu and select Interface.
- Now hold down Shift + Alt and click on one of the small colour theme icons near the top of the dialog box and it changes to toast.
- If you would rather have coffee, simply hold Control together with Shift and Alt and click again a couple of times to switch between coffee and toast.
Surely it’s only a matter of time until Photoshop can make a cup of coffee, and print it off on a 3d printer for us to drink …..The Photoshop Cat
- Just hold down the control key on the keyboard
- Select About Photoshop from the Help menu.
You get a slightly different about screen to the normal one.Some extra Photoshop credits
Lets say you want to see a few extra messages the developers left though.
- Select About Photoshop.
- Before it starts scrolling click just above the first line of the credits (if you click in the wrong place the About window just closes).
- Once it starts scrolling hold Shift and Alt to skip to the end.
- Watch as it starts playing the credits a second time with some extra messages at the top.
- From the File menu in InDesign select Print Presets and click Define.
- Create a new Print Preset and call it “Friendly Alien” without the quotes (the actual preset settings are irrelevant).
- Save it.
- Now open a blank document and go to file and print, change the print preset at the top of the dialog box to Friendly Alien
- Just click the large P in the print preview window in the dialog box. You should now get a visit from the alien.
- In the InDesign Window menu open the stroke panel
- From the panel menu (top right of the panel) select stroke styles.
- Here you can enable some hidden stroke styles, for example with type set to dash you can create stroke styles called Feet, Happy, Lights or Woof. You don’t need to change any settings just give them those names spelt correctly and click create.
- Alternatively set the type to stripe and create Rainbow or Rasta
These can be appled to as a stroke or for example as a strikethrough or underline when you customise these.Meet the DreamWeaver developers
- Create a basic html page in DreamWeaver and add an image to it.
- Open your properties pallette and select the image
- Hold down the Control key and double-click the preview picture on the properties pallette
The Preview image should now show a picture of one of the developers. Continue double clicking while holding down control to see more of them.
Illustrator – Unfortunately I can’t find any easter eggs that still work in Illustrator CC, and all the old ones I tested seem to have been disabled now. If you have found any though feel free to mention them in the comments below.
With Adobe’s latest round of updates yesterday there are some nice new features added to InDesign CC. Below we have put together a reminder of some of the new features introduced into InDesign since the original InDesign CC release early last year.InDesign CC (2014) – June 2014 Simplified tables
The latest update to InDesign allows you to move rows and columns around within tables by simply selecting, dragging and dropping them. This will be useful for anybody regularly working with tables in InDesign.Fixed Layout EPUB
InDesign CC now lets you make interactive EPUB books with live text — such as children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, and textbooks — that are rich with illustrations, photos, audio, video, or animations. Layout and design remain fixed no matter the size of screen they’re being viewed on thanks to support for the latest EPUB 3 standards.Seamless update
Your presets and preferences, including shortcuts and workspaces, stay with you when you update to a new version of InDesign.Color groups
Similar to Paragraph Style folders, you can now manage and organize your color swatches to quickly find what you need. Whilst it’s not an earth shattering change, these type of improvements can quickly add up and save you a lot of time.Scaling of effects
You can now scale any effects you have applied. For example drop shadows or gradient feathers, will automatically scale as you change the scale of an object or text.Enhanced search
InDesign’s search capabilities have now been enhanced and when searching for text, glyphs, or GREP, you can now search backward with “find previous” in addition to being able to search forward with “find next.”HiDPI
In addition to support for HiDPI Mac Retina Displays, InDesign is now also optimized for HiDPI Windows machines as well.Enhanced Footnotes
Changes to InDesign footnotes mean they will now support text wrap from the containing text frame and external page items.Enhanced QR Code Creator
You no longer have to manually create a unique QR code when you’re doing a data merge. With this new feature, they’ll be created automatically. This could be a huge time saver for anybody that is using QR codes in a big way and using data merge to handle hundreds or thousands of products / items.Improved Packaging
In addition to INDD, linked files, and fonts, you can now include PDFs and IDML files when you’re creating a package from InDesign. This ensures that your document can be opened and viewed by people on different versions. I have often come across people on CC sending their files to somebody on CS6 or CS5 who then can’t open it. IDML files are a useful way to avoid this problem, and packaging them up can be a useful timesaver.PDF Passthrough Printer
Print your documents directly to PDF Print Engine devices without having to convert your file to a PDF.InDesign CC (9.2) – January 2014 Simplified Hyperlinks
InDesign is increasingly used to create digital documents, and creating and managing hyperlinks in these is now simpler, faster, and more intuitive. You can use right-click commands to create and test hyperlinks, and you can manage hyperlinks and edit their names in an improved panel. Automatic styling also helps you quickly spot every hyperlink in your layout, and can be easily adjusted in the character styles panel.Desktop fonts from Typekit
Typekit offers a nice collection of several hundred professional font families, this release allowed you to access Typekit’s rich library of desktop fonts directly from the InDesign font menu. To reduce the headache of documents with missing fonts, InDesign can now identify matching fonts from the Typekit library and sync them with a single click. You can also filter to see only Typekit fonts or favourite fonts in the fonts menu which is useful.EPUB interactivity
Enhance your digital books with elegantly formatted footnotes that pop up in context on the page being read with a simple tap. Give readers the additional information they need without interrupting their focus or reading flow. You can also benefit from smarter text handling on export, with more accurate presentation of text color, tables, and nested styles. You can even map object styles to tags for export and more easily edit CSS. These and other improvements give you greater control and fidelity for EPUB export.Improved handling of native ID objects on EPUB export
Transforms applied on objects, such as rotation on an object containing a graphic, are now mapped to CSS. InDesign maps the transforms to the generated CSS for graphic, audio and video object content, and groups.InDesign CC (9.1 & 9.0) – August 2013 and before Sync Settings
With Creative Cloud allowing you to work on two devices you can now synchronize your workspace settings to Creative Cloud — including keyboard shortcuts, presets, and workspaces — so they go where you go.Faster performance
Under-the-hood improvements throughout InDesign keep you working quickly and smoothly. Harness all of your system’s RAM with native 64-bit support. See the greatest improvements in speed and stability when printing and when exporting PDF and INX files.Modern UI
InDesign has a new look. The updated user interface is consistent with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, so it’s easier to work across your Adobe applications. And now you control the brightness of the UI so you can see your layouts more clearly.Font search and filter
Find the perfect font, fast. Type any portion of a font name, such as “bold,” “semicondensed,” or “italic,” or any part of a font family name, and see only the fonts that match your criteria.Instant font preview
Quickly see how different fonts look in your layout. Use the arrow keys to browse through fonts and see each one applied to your selected text. When you find the best fit for your design, just click its name or press Enter to make your choice.QR Code Creator
Create crisp, clear QR codes right within InDesign. Because InDesign creates vector codes, you can resize them without compromising quality and copy them into applications like Illustrator. At any point, you can edit the QR code directly within InDesign.Sharing with Creative Cloud
With the Save to Cloud command, your files (including layers) are accessible on any device. Share them with team members or clients. Changes are tracked, so you can always access previous versions.EPUB enhancements
New features made it easier to produce high-quality EPUB files from InDesign. You have greater control over the table of contents and CSS export, and CSS editing is simpler. You can also map object styles to tags so they export appropriately.
Again there are other smaller improvements to features but this highlights some of the more prominent features within InDesign since the CC release.
If you would like to learn more about InDesign, then please consider our training courses which are available on InDesign CC and CS6.
Yesterday Adobe launched the latest version of Photoshop CC, which is known as Photoshop CC 2014. There have been various updates since Photoshop CC first came out, but the June 2014 release is probably one of the largest so far. With this in mind I thought it might be good to take a look at the new features added since Photoshop CC was first released over a year ago.
Some of the features are small intuitive changes which make life a little easier, others are more major and allow you to make complex changes to your work.New in Photoshop CC 2014 – June 2014 release Smart Object improvements
When you hand over a file to somebody else you can now maintain the links to external files by automatically packaging them into a single directory. Additionally you can also convert your existing embedded Smart Objects to linked Smart Objects.
We have had packaging technology in InDesign for a while, but this is a new one for Photoshop, and useful as people increasingly place linked files.Layer Comps have been improved
You can now change the visibility, position, or appearance of one layer in a Layer Comp and then sync that change to all the others. Additionally you can easily see the attributes of each Layer Comp, and toggle a Layer Comp within a Smart Object.Blur Gallery motion effects
A new Blur gallery with motion effects include Path Blur which allows you to add blur along any path and Spin Blur which alows you to create circular or elliptical blurs.Select Focus Area
Let Photoshop help you start a mask or selection by automatically selecting the in-focus areas of your image. This works great with potraits and other images that have shallow depth of field.Improvements to Content-Aware technology
New technology in Content-Aware Fill, Move, and Patch smoothly blends areas containing gradients, like skies, so you can create seamless, realistic results like never before. This makes the content aware technology even more powerful, creating even more stunning results.Smarter Smart Guides
Forget trying to align multiple shapes or objects at exact distances from one another on canvas. Now you can quickly see the distance in pixels between objects so you can lay out content with precision.Desktop fonts from Typekit
TypeKit fonts have been accessible in InDesign for a little while now, but this latest release allows you to acccess them from Photoshop. Simply choose the fonts you need from the Typekit library, sync them to your desktop, and get immediate access to them in your Photoshop font menu. Photoshop will even automatically replace missing fonts in your documents.Font Search
Search for fonts by name, and see instant previews of each font to zero in on the perfect one.Expanded 3D printing capabilities
With 3D printing a growing area, Adobe are continuing to enhance the 3D capabilities in Photoshop. Now you can see exactly where and how Photoshop repaired your 3D meshes so it’s easy to refine your designs in third-party 3D modeling apps. Get more accurate renderings of your models prior to printing thanks to WYSIWYG previews. And get support for more 3D printers and service providers.Adobe Generator enhancements
Simplify the process of naming Generator assets and get greater flexibility in organizing the output from Generator by setting document-wide defaults, and by specifying subfolders for exported assets. Generator also offers new APIs so developers can create even more powerful plug-ins that leverage Generators capabilities.Adobe Camera Raw 8 enhancements
New enhancements in Adobe Camera Raw 8 let you heal images, fix perspective distortions, and create vignettes with greater precision. You can also access an interactive histogram, before/after previews, and more.Improved Windows 8.1 stylus support
Get to work quickly and comfortably with your stylus on Windows 8.1 devices, and enjoy smoother brush strokes thanks to higher-frequency sampling.Expanded Mercury Graphics Engine support
Upsample images up to 15 times faster (depending on file size and video card configuration) now that the Mercury Graphics Engine delivers an OpenCL performance boost. The engine powers new Blur Gallery motion effects and the Focus Mask feature, too.Experimental features
A new preference setting allows you to test drive and help shape new Photoshop features before they’re officially released.Photoshop CC (14.2) – New features added back in Jan 2014 Perspective Warp
This is a great tool for adjusting the perspective of a specific part of your image without affecting the surrounding area. Change the viewpoint from which an object is seen. For example, turn a telephoto shot into a wide-angle shot, or vice versa. And seamlessly composite images with different vanishing points or camera positions to ensure they align properly.Linked Smart Objects
Linked smart objects were added back in January which gave you the choice to link to a placed file or alternatively embed it (this probably sounds familar to the InDesign users out there). The benefit of this is smaller files and you get to save hard-disk space.3D printing
Adobe added support for 3D printing back in January. This allows you to easily create, refine, and preview your design, and then print models directly to a locally connected 3D printer or online service.Faster performance
The Adobe Mercury Graphics engine has seen significant improvements in each of the last two releases, meaning key tools like Smart Sharpen, Liquify, and Puppet Warp are all quicker and more responsive.Enhanced Scripted Patterns and Fills
Preview your Scripted Pattern fills and refine them with new controls. Fill along a path; and generate customizable frames, borders, and nearly two dozen unique tree graphics for new creative options.Photoshop CC (14 and 14.1) – Sept 2013 and before Adobe Generator
Adobe Generator technology gives developers deeper access to Photoshop files, paving the way for intelligent tools that automate time-consuming tasks and provide easier workflows. Using generator you can output all your layers to seperate image files, handy if you are creating a website mockup for example.Camera Shake Reduction
Save shots you thought were lost due to camera motion. Whether your blur was caused by slow shutter speed or a long focal length, Camera Shake Reduction analyzes its trajectory and helps restore sharpness.Smart Sharpen
Rich textures, crisp edges, and distinct details. All-new Smart Sharpen is the most advanced sharpening technology available today. It analyzes images to maximize clarity and minimize noise and halos, and it lets you fine-tune for high-quality, natural-looking results. Great for sharpening up images without having to think too hard.Image resizing improvements
The Image Size command now includes a method to Preserve Details and provide better sharpness while enlarging images. In addition, the Image Size dialog box has been updated for ease of use.Editable rounded rectangles
Resize shapes, edit them, and re-edit them — before or after they’re created. Even edit individual corner radiuses in rounded rectangles.Multi-shape and path selection
Select multiple paths, shapes, and vector masks at once. Even in multilayered documents with lots of paths, you can easily target the path (and any layer) you want right on canvas using a new filter mode.Adobe Edge Reflow CC integration
With just a click, bring the assets from your Photoshop mockup into Edge Reflow CC to quickly adjust your layouts to fit all your desired devices. It’s responsive web design made easier by Adobe Generator.System anti-aliasing for type
Get a realistic preview of how your type will look on the web with an option that closely matches the anti-aliasing of your Mac or Windows system.Sync settings
Synchronize your workspace settings — including preferences, brushes, and actions — across multiple computers. Remember your CC licence lets you install the software on two machines, so when you get home just sync up and all your preferences, brushes etc.. are ready to use.Expanded Smart Object support
Apply Blur Gallery and Liquify effects nondestructively thanks to Smart Object support. Your original file stays intact as you add blur effects or push, pull, pucker, or bloat the image or video. Edit or remove the effects at any time — even after saving your file.Improved 3D painting
Live previews are now up to 100x faster and more responsive when you paint on 3D objects and texture maps. With the powerful Photoshop painting engine, you can make any 3D model look terrific.Improved type styles
You spend hours getting text to look just right. Type styles let you save your formatting as a preset that you can then apply with just a click. You can even define type styles to use across all your Photoshop documents.Enhanced CSS support
Import color swatches directly from HTML, CSS, or SVG to easily match existing web schemes. Generate CSS code for colors and other design elements, like rounded corners, and then copy and paste the code into your web editor to get the exact results you want.
A whole range of other features were added to the CC version of Photoshop as well such as Conditional Actions, Improved 3D Scene panel, Minimum/Maximum filter enhancements, Workflow timesavers, Support for Indic languages, HiDPI preview support for retina display; new controls to modify the range and fuzziness for Shadows, Highlights, and Midtones; and more.
One really cool new feature that Adobe CC have introduced, only in Illustrator at the moment unfortunately, is a customisable Toolbar.
Go to Window > Tools > New Tools Panel
This dialogue box will appear in which you can give your new toolbar a name.
This small toolbar will now appear onto which you can drag your most used / favourite tools. If you decide you don’t want something on there, you can drag it off and add any others at any time.
If you click the 2 small arrows at the top right of the toolbar it will display it in double column format.
Window > Tools > Manage Tools Panel is where you can delete your toolbars as well as create new ones. It’s a slightly more long-winded way of doing it, as you would then have to go back to the Window > Tools and click the name of your new toolbar (it will then have a tick by it) and will appear in the main window of the document.
It’s that simple! Really great tool that I know I’ll be using all the time!