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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

    Interview with Rufus Deuchler

    Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

    We’re lucky here at to have training videos by Adobe Guru Rufus Deuchler. You may have read his articles in InDesign Magazine or on You may have seen him train live at a seminar somewhere, including the InDesign Conference. The man gets around. Now you have a chance to learn more about this great mind in the first ever Yabbin’ Interview.

    RV: What is your real name, unless, of course, you’re in the witness protection program?

    RD: Is that your first question?

    Yes…and a good one…so answer.

    smart RufusWell, my real name is Rufus Alexander Florens…that is why I live in Florence.

    It’s a good thing your last name isn’t Sheboygan.

    Rufus means red in latin, Alexander is just a great man and Florens means I flourish.

    So where does the Deuchler come in…is that a stage name?

    Hmmm… yes. That is the one no one can pronounce exactly
    and no one can spell correctly. I believe you yourself had a bit of a problem with it.

    Tell us briefly what you do besides make training videos for

    Well…I am a graphic designer to start with and that is my “real” profession. I also am Adobe Guru for cross media publishing here in Italy. I blog and take care of the Italian InDesign User Group. I teach graphic design to US college students, write technical papers and guides for Adobe and drink a Guinness now and then…

    How has living in Italy given you an advantage over, say, someone living in Liechtenstein?

    thinking RufusItaly has taught me many things; such as patience which was new to my everything right now attitude I had before coming here. Now I can take a “maybe” tomorrow.

    When was your first exposure to anything Adobe and what was it?

    It was in the early nineties at the Art Center College of Design. I was working on a competition for Hasselblad with Photoshop (no layers). I remember waking around with my 15 Syquest disks to store my versions.

    44s or 88s?


    How do you think your years of working with, and teaching, Adobe products has helped you become a better lover?

    scratching RufusYou know being a better lover is all about being relaxed…so how can you have good sex when you don’t know whether your stuff is going to print the day after???? I am very relaxed now, hence…

    So, you’re saying, more predictable output leads to a better sex life?

    That is my point exactly!

    What impact do you think electricity has had on computer design as we know it today?

    Well…no electricity, no computers.

    Aaaaahhh…I see your point. Do you think that Adobe will ever develop tools in the Creative Suite to bring new life to the lead type technology?

    You know, I have been testing the new 3D filter in photoshop on a cube mapping the latter A backwards and then exported it to After Effects and you know what? You can turn and twist it but I haven’t figured out how to put it in the wooden frame.

    When making a starburst in InDesign or Illustrator, what is your favorite inset percentage?

    I’d say 20%…not too aggressive is it?

    And how many points would you go with, as a rule?
    excited Rufus Mmm…that really depends on how aggressive I want to make the star. One thing is for sure: I use rounded corners so no one gets hurt.

    Wow, you are a good designer. When did you first use InDesign on a real project and what was it?

    It was when InDesign 2 came out. Early 2001 I believe…I went to one of those Adobe presentations and thought to myself… well, if all of that really works…it would change my life. I used it immediately on a 300 page guide to Tuscany and I did it all: Transparency, Shadows (a lot), OpenType, Layers for multiple languages, tables… It took me less than a week and went right through the RIP. One week later I sold both my Quark licenses to my printer. Two weeks later I got certified in InDesign. And five years later, it is me doing the presentations.

    What was THE feature that made you most excited about InDesign 2.0?

    It wasn’t one in particular. It was the new approach that got me all excited, and finally a real alternative to QXP. But mainly the three Ts: Transparency, Type, Tables

    And Tunlimited Tundos?

    surprised RufusI forgot about that one, of course. You see how you get used to things too fast?

    What is your favorite feature in the new InDesign CS3?


    TGREP or just GREP?


    I thought all your favorite features began with a T, so I was just checking to see if we were moving in a new direction or not.

    It is so full of new features… many get advertised. But, there are also many that one discovers as one goes along. Yesterday I found out, for example, that the transparency flattener in CS3 has been changed.


    They changed the way layers are drawn and the white box effect on spot colors is history.

    So what is your favorite feature of all the programs in the Creative Suite 3 Design Collection?

    pointing RufusI’d say Live Color. It’s a real help for designers. It’s like going back to color theory class. I love it!

    Are you concerned that people will get confused between Live Color and the old Wayans Brothers comedy In Living Color, with Jim Carrey?

    Or Living Color the band…rock on!

    I worry a lot about these things…

    Me too, but we’ve got to get some sense of the eighties and nineties into the brains of these new generations of designers (those who take multiple undo for granted); any excuse is good.

    What is one thing they didn’t change in CS3 that you wish Adobe had…or feature they didn’t add.

    In my line of work, I would have liked to see some improvements to footnotes in InDesign, more control. And, I believe the Transparency palette has disappeared from ID!!! Where do you change opacity???



    Take a look…I’ll wait. Doing nothing…while you waste everyone’s time checking. Go ahead. Let me know when you’re ready

    dumbfounded RufusOOOOOOOOOOOOOh! Argh! So that is where it is!!!

    Can we continue or do you need a minute to yourself?

    We can proceed… sorry for interrupting your train of thoughts…

    It is obvious one of Adobe’s goals with the Creative Suite is enhancing workflow. Would you agree?

    Absolutely! Integration. There are a couple of thoughts on that:

    I didn’t ask for your thoughts, yet, only if you agree.

    We (the old school) needed to learn… forgetting about taboos about EPS, TIFF, DCS, etc… My students (in their early twenties) open InDesign for the first time, drag and drop from Bridge, move back to Illustrator, change something in Photoshop. LIKE IT’S ALL NORMAL!!!

    And yet he keeps going with his thoughts…I’ve lost total control of this interview.

    This aggravates me because WE had to suffer.

    So can you give me a couple of thoughts on that?

    frustrated RufusBLANK

    You hurt me.


    If you had a G4 Powerbook Pro with Creative Suite 3, and could go back in time to any point, when would it be and what would you do?

    Do you mean a MacBook Pro?

    Sorry, I’m so 90s.

    I’d go back to the Hasselblad competition and use layers in a unique file and email my work to be printed. Instead of carrying around my Syquest disks and drive

    It’s all about you…I give you a tool to make a difference in the world by possibly changing history and you’re still worried about your Syquest Drives.


    Last question: Let’s say I’m a diehard QuarkXPress user. You have one sentence to convince me to convert to InDesign…GO!

    You are so 90s. …BTW that was my answer…

    Any last comments before we close?

    statue RufusI don’t want you to close… I got a little Stockholm Syndrome going here… please don’t close.

    Okay, let me think of anything else. Mac or Windows…and why?

    I was kidding. And I have no good reasons for one against the other. I’d say Mac to avoid the hassle of viruses

    Piss off, then. This interview is over.

    Yes master!