The Apple Watch Effect

The InDesign Apple Watch Effect

Over at InDesignSecrets, I wrote a little post on creating an Apple Watch in InDesign. Silly, I know. But sometimes we learn by doing silly things. And silly things never feel the need to justify their existence. If you want to grab the file and play with it, see how it was constructed, or just put your own image on the face of an Apple Watch in InDesign, you can download the IDML file here (works with CS4 and later). It’s pretty well organized with layers so you can see how the pieces fit together. Enjoy.

The InDesign Apple Watch Effect

How to Take Screenshots With Tool Tips

This one’s for anyone who has to create software documentation on the Mac and wants to include screenshots with tool tips. Or is it “screen shots with tooltips”? I can never decide where the spaces go in these words. Anyway…

The challenge is that tool tips are shy. Or maybe they’re just very polite and want to get out of your way as soon as possible. Whether you’re using the Mac’s native shortcuts for screen shots or a third-party utility, tool tips will disappear soon as you press any key. D’oh!

The solution might be obvious, but it eluded me for a while, so I thought it was worth sharing. Instead of getting the tool tip on screen and then pressing the keyboard shortcut, do this: press and hold all the modifier keys you need (could be Command, Shift, Option, and/or Ctrl depending on how you’re taking the screenshot), then move your cursor to the spot where you want the tool tip to appear. When the tool tip is onscreen, press the final key to take the screen shot. Voilà, screen shot avec tool tip.

For example if I wanted a shot of InDesign’s Tools panel with a tool tip showing the name and shortcut for a tool, I’d press and hold Command+Shift. Then mouse over the Tools panel to the right spot. Wait for the tip to appear, then press 4 and drag the marquee to define the area of the shot.

screenshot with tool tip

Pretty simple once you know the trick.

New Course: Adapting a Print Layout for Digital Publishing course Adapting a Print Layout for Digital Publishing

I’m thrilled to announce a brand new course of mine in the library, Adapting a Print Layout for Digital Publishing! course Adapting a Print Layout for Digital Publishing

This course is for people with print production backgrounds, skills, and content who need to convert legacy print projects to digital (reflowable or fixed-layout EPUB, interactive PDF, HTML, or Adobe DPS). The purpose of the course is to give a clear roadmap to go from print to digital while expending the least amount of time, money, and effort—and getting great results.

I was so glad to have the chance to do this course because I know that so many publishers have great content tucked away in their archives that could be made into great new digital products. But you need a good plan to make that conversion a success. So the course focuses on answering the following questions:

  • What are the choices for digital publishing formats and how can you pick the one that’s right for you?
  • How do you go about converting old files, whether they are PDFs, InDesign, or Quark XPress?
  • What if all you have is a printed book to start with?
  • How do you apply the necessary structure and formatting for a digital product?
  • Can you preserve complex layouts?
  • Will colors shift?
  • Can you use the same fonts that were in the print product?
  • What about rights and permissions?
  • How can you enrich old assets with new media and interactivity?
  • How can you deal with all of these issues in an efficient, cost-effective manner?

Check it out now: Adapting a Print Layout for Digital Publishing

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Up and Running With Astute Graphics for Illustrator

Up and Running With Astute Graphics for Illustrator

Plain and simple: if you use Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis, you must try the Astute Graphics plug-ins! If you’re like me, once you’ve used them you’ll never want to go back to using Illustrator alone.

I know I’m thought of as an InDesign guy, but long before InDesign ever existed, I made my living drawing stuff with Adobe Illustrator. And in my opinion, Astute Graphics offers the most impressive and useful plug-ins for any Adobe software that I’ve ever seen.

In my course Up and Running With Astute Graphics for Illustrator, I demonstrate many of the awesome features of these plug-ins, such as:

  • Completely new (and better) ways of drawing and editing vector objects with VectorScribe, SubScribe, and InkScribe.
  • Creating precise arrangements of objects quickly and easily with ColliderScribe
  • Drawing with perfect symmetry and create amazing patterns with MirrorMe
  • Creating cool vector halftone effects with Phantasm
  • Natural and fun drawing on a graphics tablet with Dynamic Sketch
  • Using an intuitive set of controls to instantly apply and edit Live Effects with Stylism
  • Crash recovery with Autosaviour (a free plug-in!)

Yes, I know that all sounds like a sales pitch—it’s not. I don’t have any financial interest in helping to sell the plug-ins. But I know if you’re an everyday Illustrator user, you’ll quickly see the amazing levels of control and creative freedom you gain. These plug-ins are smartly-designed, and offer a ton of options and shortcuts to suit the way you work.

So check out the plug-ins and the course: Up and Running With Astute Graphics for Illustrator.

InDesign FX: Blue Ribbon

To mark the release of InDesign CC 2014, I recorded four new InDesign FX movies for One of them shows how to create this blue ribbon effect.

InDesign FX blue ribbon

In the video, I show how to use three scripts that come with InDesign to precisely place guides, distort path shapes, and add points to create a perfect set of ribbon curls. Transparency effects like Satin, Bevel and Emboss, and Drop Shadow are also used to give the ribbon some realistic shading. And I demonstrate the new and improved way that InDesign CC 2014 handles the scaling of effects.