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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 ‘Movies’ Category

    Making the Pitch

    Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

    Stop Stupid PDF Syndrome Now

    Thursday, September 4th, 2008

    InDesign: Dynamic Spelling

    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

    Admit it…you’ve had an embarrassing typo in a project that sneaked through the proofers.
    Well, there’s no automatic way to keep you from writing about the pubic library, but there is a nice way to double-check your spell check.
    InDesign now offers Dynamic Spelling, which will let you check and correct your type as you type your type…hmmmm.
    Click Here to Watch the Video (more…)

    Stop complaining about Text Wrap, will ya?

    Monday, April 23rd, 2007

    I can almost finally quit complaining about the way InDesign handles Text Wrap. Over the years I’ve gotten used to it and learned the workarounds of what I thought was a poorly designed tool from the get go. But now Adobe has revamped the Text Wrap Pane (palette) so that I only have one complaint left…and I’ll get to that in a bit.
    But for now, let’s celebrate InDesign CS3’s new Text Wrap functions, like the ability to sync all four sides of a bounding box when setting the wrap distance. Remember how you used to have to enter p9…tab…p9…tab…p9…tab…etc. Unless, of course, you are paid by the hour, in which case it’s p9…grab mouse and highlight next box…p9…grab mouse and highlight next box…p9…etc.
    Some of you probably just selected the Wrap Around Object button and set the one value to go on all four sides. This trick was faster, but the corners were rounded and didn’t always give the desired results.
    Well, now it’s fixed.
    Watch the video to see it in action.
    The bigger new feature for me is the ability to have the text flow along only one side of the object it’s wrapping, just like Quark XPress does. But in Adobe’s typical style, they one-upped them by allowing you to select which side the text flows.
    That’s right, you can tell InDesign to flow the text on the right or left side of the object, or to flow where there is the Largest area.
    And for those of you who might do books, you have the nifty choice of having the text flow toward or away from the Spine. This is only offered if you are using the Facing Pages option when building your book.
    You won’t know you can control this unless you look for it, because the default setting is to flow text on Both Right and Left Sides, which is how it has behaved since the beginning. Look for the menu on the Text Wrap Pane.
    There is more subtle fix that many may not feel. This is for the Master Page users in the room.
    Have you ever built a Master Page with an object on the page you want to have force a wrap on the document page. But then when you flowed text onto the corresponding document page it ignored the Text Wrap. Yep. And it wouldn’t recognize the object on the Master Page unless you did an Override on the document page? Frustrating.
    Well, it’s frustrating, no more. Nowadays, with CS3, you can put an object on the Master Page and apply the Text Wrap to it and it will work on the document page automatically. And in case there are a few sick people out there who actually liked the way it behaved for the past seven years, you can change it back in the Text Wrap flyout menu. Just select the object on the Master Page you want to have behave the old way and select Apply to Master Page Only.
    So what is it I still have to complain about? No keyboard shortcut for Ignore Text Wrap. You know what I’m talking about…you want to put a text box over a graphic that has Text Wrap applied to it but the text keeps disappearing. You have to go to Object> Text Frame Options and click on Ignore Text Wrap. It might be a little quicker to hit Cmmd + B (Ctrl + B Windows), but not much. I want a short cut to toggle the Ignore Text Wrap on or off.
    Until Adobe fixes this feature, we have to thank brilliant InDesign mind Dave Saunders for coming up with a script for us that does it. Here it is for you. Just drop this into your scripts folder and assign a shortcut to it and it will do the job.
    If you want it, just go to and either Ctrl + click (Macs) or Right Click (Windows) on the file named ToggleTextWrap.jsx and selectDownload Linked File.
    Well, time to wrap up this article…haaaaaaaa…get it…wrap up this article…Text Wrap…wrap it up…get it…oh, my, that’s funny…wrap it up…sometimes I slay myself…okay…that’s enough.

    Why the new Agates in InDesign CS3 are so important

    Friday, April 13th, 2007

    If you’ve never heard of an Agate, or you didn’t know people were still using them, then this new feature of CS3 probably doesn’t mean much and you may want to stop reading right now.
    Watch the video about Agates here
    I don’t use agates…never did. So why am I writing about agates? Because it proves, once again, that Adobe is listening to us.
    I remember the time I was training at a newspaper in Canada on InDesign CS2 and someone asked “How do I set InDesign for agates instead of picas.”
    “Under Preferences> Units and Increments,” I quickly replied, not knowing if InDesign offered agates, but if it did, that’s were they would be. I knew they had ciceros, and I thought if they had ciceros, they HAD to have agates.
    “It’s not here,” they quickly pointed out, with great disbelief that InDesign wouldn’t offer such an oft-used system of measurment.
    Well, every day of that Canadian training tour was met with the same question: “Does InDesign have agates.” At which point I could confidently reply, with as much sympathy as I could muster, “No…with deep regret, I have to inform you that it does not.”
    Honestly, I didn’t think anyone still used agates until that trip.
    In fact, I was so upset with myself for not having my thumb on the pulse of the industry’s need for agates, that the next week I was doing a seminar in Boston to about 100 newspaper people and I had to ask: “How many of you are using agates?” Not one hand was raised. Someone asked “What’s an agate?” and someone else shouted out “They still have those?”
    So you know, an agate is the equivalent of 5 1/2 point type and was used as a common measure of column length in newspapers.
    So back to my real point…if Adobe cares enough to put agates in the new InDesign because of a select group of users (and I’m not saying that only Canadians use agates, I’m sure they are used in Albania and Liechtenstein, as well) then they are really trying to create a piece of software that meets our needs….all our needs. And if you need agates, we’re going to give it to you.
    You want to be able to place multiple files at once? Okay, we can give you that. You want a better Text Wrap, okay, we’ll get on that.
    You may say “Yea, but I’ve been asking for a better Text Wrap since InDesign came out in 1999,” and I’d agree. But they did it…and a lot more in that time.
    So if Adobe is listening to us, the question then is, are you talking? There has been functionality changed in Adobe products in the past that I didn’t like, and I’m convinced it’s because the wrong people were talking. If you want this software to behave the way you want, you need to let them know about it.
    An example is the renaming of the Black Channel in a grayscale image. It’s not gray…it’s black! Why? Because it’s going to print in black and look gray due to the dots.
    Ignore me…I’m venting.
    Adobe has set up forums for us, the average users to go for information and idea exchange. Have a look at and you’ll notice there are forums for all the applications as well as the Creative Suite as a whole. Follow the rules and know that this is a great opportunity to be heard.
    And heard you will be. I was amazed during the beta testing at how quickly someone from Adobe replied to my bug reports. They wanted more info, or sample files, etc., but I knew there were people on the payroll reading my forum submissions. And they will read yours, too.
    So when the next version of Creative Suite comes out and you don’t like something about it, don’t go around with a bumber sticker that reads “Don’t blame me, I didn’t report my complaints and suggestions to the Adobe forums.” You’ll just have to live with it.
    And as a “thank you” to Adobe for listening to us, from now on I’m going to use agates. Not for my InDesign documents, because I use inches and picas too much. No, I’m going to start using agates in all other parts of my life. When my kids ask me “how much longer” when we’re on a trip, I’m going to say “Oh, about 37.2 billion agates…or so.”
    When asked how tall I am next time I’m arrested, I’ll kindly tell the officer “991 agates.”
    You try it…just know that there are 14 agates in an inch, 36 inches in a yard and 1760 yards in a mile.
    The rest is simple math.

    InDesign CS3: Multi-file Place and InDesignInDaInDesign

    Thursday, April 5th, 2007

    What’s the big feature in InDesign CS3?
    You know the one I’m talking about. Everytime Adobe releases new software there’s that one new thing that, when demonstrated, makes everyone in the room sound like their at a fireworks display… “ooh…aaahh!”
    For me it’s a combination of the Multi-file placement feature and the ability to place InDesign documents inside other InDesign documents.
    Big stuff.
    First, the Multi-file plac-a-lizer.
    Watch the video
    So here’s the scenario: You’re at your desk, you just finished putting frames on an 11” x 17” spread for a product brochure you’re doing and just as you’re done, the photos and text come in. “Finally,” you mumble under your breath.
    All you have to do to finish this bad boy up and hit the road is drop in 20 photos, a couple of text files and a few logos…and thanks to InDesign CS3, you can go File> Place and select the whole shootin’ match and you’ll see a thumbnail of each graphic, text, etc. so you know where to drop ‘em. Click, click, click and a bunch more clicks later you’re on your bike heading home to catch the game, or movie or whatever you do after work.
    And just like any new feature release, it only takes 15 minutes before someone says “Yea, but will it do this?”
    Thus is the case with Jeremiah Shimshak with the Winona Post in Winona, MN, who writes:

    “I do alot of Real Estate ads which of course have many graphic frames that I have to place photos of houses into. I’ve got the photos saved by the MLS number, such as (2921234_55 E 2nd St.psd). Now, using CS3 I can select all the photos to place at once, and see a preview of the photo next to the cursor. But that really doesn’t help me. What I really need is to be able to see the Filename instead of the preview, so that I can make sure I get the correct photo with the corresponding description in the ad. Is that possible at all?”

    Uhhh…No…not that I’ve found, but I’ll bet it will be in the next version. Great suggestion, thanks.
    As for putting an InDesign document inside another InDesign document, is this a dream come true?
    Watch the video
    Now you can keep ads or parts of a design you want to use in multiple projects editable all the way through the project. No more making a PDF, placing it on a page, seeing a typo, finding the original file, editing it, re-PDFing it, hoping you rename it correctly so it overwrites the old one, etc.
    Wow…good stuff.
    There is a dark side, however, and one we should all be aware of. You can’t embed fonts into an InDesign document. So if you are working alone or in a controlled environment like an agency, you should be fine. But if you start sending InDesign documents in lieu of PDFs outside of your four walls, you may have some problems.
    And even though you can embed graphics in an InDesign doc, I only recommend it for specific instances…and I’m not sure, yet, if this is one of them.
    Until I get a little more live production time with it, I see this feature as a huge collaboration tool with people on the same network, with access to the same fonts, graphics, etc.
    Designer A works on a part of a design that is going to drop into many different magazines his company produces. By placing an InDesign document instead of PDF or other format, designer A still has the ability to edit up until the page or pages are going to be output or packaged for press. In theory, designer B could drop the InDesign document on the page while it’s nothing more than a blank space, and as A works on it and saves, B will get a Modified File notice in his links palette. When B updates, he can see the current state of A’s work. In fact, since A’s work is placed in many different magazine, when the document is updated, it will be changed automatically for designers C, D, E, F & G, as well.
    For a lot of what I do, Snippets and Libraries are still the answer. Why, you ask? Because you can’t edit the InDesign doc inside the other InDesign doc. Not a big deal as you can opt/alt + double-click on it to open it in InDesign and edit it, but it’s a different way of working.
    This is yet another example of where the new tool is really nifty and powerful, but it won’t replace all the old ones. There will still be value in Libraries, Snippets and PDF. This is just one more new tool to tackle a different need.
    Together, the Multi-file place and InDesign in InDesign, or perhaps InDesignInDaInDesign feature, are a powerful new way to get to deadline quicker.

    Photoshop CS3: Black & White Adjustment

    Monday, April 2nd, 2007

    If part of your daily routine is converting RGB or CMYK images to black and white, you’re going to love a new adjustment tool in Photoshop CS3…called the…um…Black & White adjustment tool.
    Watch the video to see it in action.
    There are tips-a-plenty all over the internet on how to convert to grayscale. Most customers I watch work just use the standard Image> Mode> Grayscaleand get it out the door. Others will often create an action to convert an image to LAB mode, select the Luminosity Channel, then Image> Mode> Grayscale and discard the A and B channels. Others do all sorts of other nasties to get the job done.
    The big challenge is that certain colors that look different in RGB become the same shade of gray in grayscale.
    This new tool gives you total control over the different colors and how they translate to grays. For example, if you have a red shirt on a blue background, it could easily become nothing but a continuous gray. With the new tool you can have the red become dark and the blue become light…with the simple movement of a slider.
    Look at the rainbow graphic, Figure 1.

    Photoshop Black and White 1

    If you simply convert to grayscale, you get Figure B, which loses definition between some of the colors, like the cyan and green and megenta and red.

    Photoshop Black and White 2

    Instead, if I go to Image> Adjustments> Black & White, you’ll see that with no adjustments the colors have more definition, Figure 3,

    Photoshop Black and White 3

    but if you play for a bit moving the individual sliders, you can really create some contrast, Figure IV.

    Photoshop Black and White 4

    I can’t imagine ever converting to grayscale again without it. And if you are tinting photos, you not only get to apply the color cast you want, but you can still control the colors to create the contrast necessary, as well. This is far more useful than the Hue/Saturation techniques to create a CMYK duotone effect. How many of you used to create a true duotone, then convert back to RGB or CMYK? And, of course, there is the Color Overlay of Photoshop’s Layer Effects, but this beats ‘em all.

    Avoid output surprises…use the Separations Preview palette

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    I remember the days when we would output a file as separated to the laser printer to see if anything was going to show up on an extra plate if the job was CMYK. While the job spooled, we would watch the progress bar and if it mentioned a fifth (or often more) color, we would either stop the printing or let it continue and look at the printout to see where the extra color was.
    We would also use this trick to check for CMYK blacks like type that had been colored as “register” instead of black, etc. or grayscale images that were really RGB or CMYK.
    A lot of innocent trees gave their lives for the pursuit of perfect film output.
    We no longer need to rely on luck or laser printers for precise output. Using InDesign’s Separations Palette will give you a good headstart in resolving output issues, like the ones listed above or others, like proper overprinting and knockouts.
    Keep in mind that some of the overprint issues may be resolved based on your RIP (Raster Image Processor) settings, but it never hurts to see what’s going on in a file before letting it go, either as a PDF or native file.
    Let’s give it a go…
    Open up a document in InDesign and go to Window> Output> Separations Preview (CS2) or Window> Output Preview> Separations (CS1). I wanted to be clear on the two versions since they are SOOO different, and I don’t want you confused.
    After this palette launches, select Separations from the drop down menu and you will see a list of all colors used in the document.
    To the left of the colors is an eyeball, which you can toggle off and on again to see where that color is…or isn’t.
    I often toggle off the Black to make sure that what’s black disappears. If it doesn’t, I know there is an unexpected CMYK black. In which case I go to that image or text and change it to meet my output requirements. Simple.
    I also toggle off and on varnish plates to make sure they are overprinting as they should. This also works with foil, opaque inks, spot UV or any other special application that is to overprint the image below.
    Just remember that the Separations Preview activates the Overprint Preview mode which hides your guides and frame edges. If after you’re done using it you wonder where all your guides have gone, just go to View> Overprint Preview and you’ll be back where you started.
    If you want to watch a video that gives you an overview of the Separations Preview Palette, we’ve created one and aptly named it Separations Preview Palette.

    The Woes of Overprint Problems

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    I had a customer one time who had a magazine cover go bad because they wanted a spot UV over an arrow, but didn’t set the art to overprint. When a bigillion of the magazines came off press and there was just a big white arrow on the cover instead of the photo with a shiny arrow over it, she threw up right there on the floor.
    Don’t let this happen to you. Take control of your files with an understanding of how to make things overprint, or not, depending on what you are wanting.
    Watch the video OVERPRINTING for a quick overview of InDesign’s default and customizable settings.
    One of the main things you want to know is that InDesign will overprint ALL blacks if you leave the default setting alone. If you go to preferences and turn it off, it will knockout ALL blacks. Those are your choices…on or off. Hmmmm…
    I always check with the printer or service bureau outputting my file to see if their RIP is set up to knockout and trap overprints if they are in the PDF file. I suggest you ask the same question.
    The reason that’s important is that you can knockout and trap overprinted black if it’s in the file, but you can’t overprint knocked out black later if you decide you need it.
    Should you decide you want black to overprint sometimes and knockout others, and you want to control this manually, here’s a little trick. Create a swatch called Knockout Black and make it 99.9 percent black. You can then use Black for all objects and type you want to overprint and use Knockout Black for all objects and type you want knocked out. The 99.9 percent black will plug up to solid on press.
    It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the Attributes Palette, where you can manually set overprinting on fills and strokes of type and objects. Just remember that for type you need to have the type highlighted with the Type Tool, not just selected with the Selection Tool.
    When checking your work, depend on your Separations Preview Palette, a video of which is available called…uh…Separations Preview Palette.

    Hangin’ Around the Kuler

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

    Have you ever gone to the paint store to select colors for a project. You know the nifty kiosks they have where you choose the main color then it will give you some great ideas for accent colors?
    Me either, but it’s a great idea.
    Such a great idea, that there are some online resources just like it, except they are created for designers, not painters.
    The newest of which, is Not perfect, but a great start at a very useful color creation environment which actually integrates with Creative Suite 2. That’s right…after you use Kuler to create your palette of five colors or less, you can download it as an Adobe Swatch Exchange file which can be loaded into Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for consistent color in your document creation.
    Kuler is a public beta site bestowed upon us by the Adobe gods, driven by Flash technology. Make sure you’re using Flash Player 9 in your browsers. If you don’t have it you can download it free from
    Not only can you create your colors, but you can tap into the brilliance of others in the design community, because you can also publish your swatches to the site for others to view, customize and use.
    There is a whole slew of swatch collections there, already…1167 to be exact when I checked earlier today. By now that number has grown, I’m sure.
    You can view the most popular, most recent and highest rated collections for inspiration, as well. You can also search for tags that might fit your project, like Orange, Fall, Snow, Phlegm, etc. Keep in mind you are at the mercy of the people who publish the colors to give it information that makes sense as searchable. On one of mine I used the color name Asphalt instead of gray. I doubt anyone will be searching for Asphalt any time soon, and if they search for grey they won’t see my collection called Road Hazard.
    If you type in Green as search criteria you might find another of mine called Forest for the Trees.
    So check it out, but make sure you have some extra time before venturing over there…it can be quite mesmerizing (To quote Adobe brain, Colin Fleming).
    If you are having trouble figuring it out, watch this video for a quick overview: