Jan 262015

Some time back I was training an advanced InDesign course, and one of trainees had come across a problem and asked me for advice. The problem she had come across was, whenever she imported Excel documents into InDesign, the dates switched formats.

What was happening was that the date was formatted within Excel as an english date format (say 1/12/14) but after importing into InDesign it swapped into an American date format (12/1/14). And she could not figure out why.

After a few minutes of investigation I finally figured out why. Here is a screenshot of a simple Excel table. Just a column of dates, formatted (you might think) in the English date format.

 Posted by on January 26, 2015
Jan 202015

I come across some entertaining stuff while I am browsing various photography and design related sites, and one that I always find quite amusing is forced perspective photography.

If you haven’t come across this before it is a photography technique that involves using optical illusions to make objects appear nearer or farther away than they actually are.  Of course you could do this stuff in Photoshop fairly easily, but here are a few examples just done with a camera and some clever positioning.  I guess you could call it Photoshop without any Photoshop.

nice example of forced perspective photography

Image courtesy of Brandon Cripps at Flickr.com

Jan 122015

If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand unbalanced text, you might recall the days when it took a fair bit of manual adjustment to make text columns line up evenly.

Screenshot of unbalanced text columns in InDesign

Unbalanced text columns

Fortunately InDesign CC 2014 (actually it’s been in here since CS5) has a nice balance columns checkbox which is found in the Text Frame Options dialogue box.

The feature works on multi-column text frames, and to use it you just need to select the frame in question and either go to Object> Text Frame Options, hit the shortcut which is Ctrl/Cmd+B or alternatively just right click on it and select Text Frame Options.

Jan 082015

Here are some of the must know tips for any regular Photoshop user. Once you have turned some of these into habit, you will be amazed at how quickly you can do stuff in Photoshop. These Tips and Tricks almost all work the same in previous versions of Photoshop.

Photoshop Shortcuts that make your life easier

1) Hide the panels or toolbars

Many people known that Tab will hide the panels and toolbar (if you didn’t that’s a bonus tip) but what is less well know is that Shift + Tab pressed together will hide only the panels. This is really useful on smaller screens where space is in short supply.

Jan 062015

Many people do the same task again and again in InDesign, but are wary of using InDesign’s automated scripting functions to make the job easier. Some may be simply unaware of the scripting capabilities within InDesign, while for others scripts are daunting and technical. In reality scripting can be very easy, especially if you don’t have to write the scripts yourself!

By default InDesign has a number of free scripts which ship with the product and you can find these in the Scripts Panel under the Window menu. You can also download free and commercial scripts from Adobe Exchange and you can write your own in any of Javascript, AppleScript or Visualbasic.

 Posted by on January 6, 2015  Tagged with:
Dec 162014

Using Photoshop generally means using a brush at some point, and not just for painting. Several tools within Photoshop  also use a brush – Eraser, Dodge, Burn, etc. Here are some useful shortcuts when using a tool that uses brushes…

Constraining Brushes

Click, let go and shift – click elsewhere in your document and you will get a straight line

Click and hold with your mouse button, then hold the shift key, and then move your mouse – you will be constrained to horizontal/vertical lines.

Dec 152014

Masters within InDesign are very useful – they provide a common background for whichever page(s) you are working with. But here are some not so well known/used tips regarding masters and pages.

A master can have a master

Say you want a master for Chapter 1 – usually a header and footer. But the footer may be fairly general, just Page X say. This would be the same for Chapter 2, 3 etc.

If you setup a master with just that footer, the next time you create a master (Pages panel > options in the top right-hand corner > New master) notice that you have the option of basing the new master on one already created.

Aug 222014

As I do more and more work in Blender I find myself being asked what is the difference between the internal render engine (Blender Internal, or BI) and Cycles. Is one better than the other? So I thought I would do a post about the differences to let people know.

In effect, there are three rendering engines within Blender…

Blender Internal, the Game Engine, and Cycles.

blender engines

In this post I will only be talking about Cycles and Blender Internal. You can, of course, have your scenes rendered externally as well. However, before we start, I would like to make some points…

Jul 232014

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.

Jul 182014

Having created and run all of our HTML5 courses for the last four years, and having added our latest course – HTML 5 Games – to our stable, I thought it would be a good idea to run through some of the engines that I came across as regards HTML5 gaming engines, apps, and javascript libraries. And also to explain why I chose the libraries that I did to use in our courses.