7 06, 2016

Top Layer Transforming Tips in Adobe Photoshop

By |June 7th, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe CC, Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop and Illustrator, Photoshop tutorial|0 Comments

Transforming Layers in PhotoshopTransforming Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Transforming allows you to scale, rotate, skew or warp a Photoshop image. Transformations may be applied to entire layers, layer masks, and paths. The Edit > Transform window allows you to transform pixels, while the Select > Transform Selection allows you to transform a selection.

Transforming pixels does alter the quality, but transforming a path or a Shape layer is non-destructive. You may also flip vertically or horizontally.

You may transform Layers with the Command (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + T keyboard shortcut. But you may also transform a selection by choosing Edit > Transform Selection or Right + Clicking on any selection.

Transforming Tips

  • Drag one of any of the handles to make the layer, shape layer, or path larger or smaller.
  • Drag corner handles with the Shift key down to keep it in proportion.
  • To rotate: While in Free Transform, move your mouse outside the bounding box until you see a rounded arrow icon. This enables you to rotate the layer or path.

Rotating Photoshop Layers

To Transform using Edit > Transform

Choose Edit > Transform and choose the transformation you need, such as Rotate. Note that holding down the Shift key in any transformation will constrain your proportions.

You may either manually move the reference point (the point of rotation) or choose it from the upper left side of the Options Bar.When you are happy with your transformation, either hit the Enter (Win) or Return (Mac) key. You may also double-click within the bounding box as long as you are not clicking on the Reference point.

Edit > Free Transform, Or Command (Mac) CTRL (PC) + T enables you to use all the transform functions with a key command.

To Transform using Command or CTRL + T

After you press Command or CTRL + T, you can scale or rotate your layer right away. If you want to access other options, such as Flip Horizontal, right-click your mouse to see more options.

Transforming Tips when in Free Transform:

  • Hold down Command (Mac) or CTRL (PC) and grab a corner point and you can switch to Distort.
  • Clicking outside of the image and dragging the mouse will rotate. Clicking inside of the image and dragging will move the whole image around.
  • Holding option while dragging a corner point will scale from the center point of the image.

Distort and Skew in Photoshop


So if you want to rotate, scale, skew, distort, apply perspective, or warp a layer, the Transform options in Photoshop enable endless capabilities.

Photoshop Level 1 Class Outline in Chicago or Online

Photoshop Level 2 Class Outline in Chicago or Online

Photoshop Motion & Animation in Chicago or Online

18 05, 2016

Adobe InDesign Digital Apps & Publications: ePUB, PDF, DPS and HTML

By |May 18th, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe InDesign, Future Computer Technologies, Graphic Design Trends, HTML 5, InDesign Digital|0 Comments

Adobe InDesign TutorialInDesign Digital Files: Differences Between ePUB, PDF, DPS and HTML

Digital publishing is a constantly shifting landscape. Your digital decision starts with one basic question: What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to share a document, or create an interactive experience? Is your goal to push information, or share a document that doesn’t change?

InDesign appsApps Versus Publications

The first question you want to ask is are you creating an App or a Publication?

Apps are specialized programs designed for a specific use that meets the criteria of the App store. Apps push information to those that requested it with continuous access.

An App is something people sign up for, expecting current, targeted information. Think The Weather Channel. Weather is constantly shifting, and the App is different every time you access it.

Publications are one-offs that provide information. They replace written material to be accessed through computers, phones and tablets. Examples: Catalogs, magazines, newsletters. If you publish a magazine for National Geographic users expect to view the magazines, but you don’t expect the issue from last year to be updated.

So you Want to Create an App with InDesign!

Great! InDesign has extensive features to add interactivity, hyperlinks, and rich media. Getting into the Apple Store or Google Play isn’t easy. Often “apps” are denied because they are actually “publications.” To your App to market, you must follow by their very submission guidelines. And you may have multiple issues that Apple or Google have, but when you are rejected, you only are told of one. Many people are creating Web Apps for distribution

According to Apple: We have over a million Apps in the App Store. If your App doesn’t do something useful, unique or provide some form of lasting entertainment, or if your app is plain creepy, it may not be accepted.

So once I create my App, how do I get into the stores?

Adobe Experience Manager

If you want to be in the App stores, one option is Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). Adobe had morphed Adobe DPS and Adobe CQ into this one platform. Adobe Experience Manager is a great solution, if your budget affords it. Adobe doesn’t list prices, their website states you have to fill out a form or call them to find out more. Word on the street is that it starts at $50,000 per year, so unless you work for Coca Cola or a large conglomerate, it can be cost prohibitive. AEM enables you to create InDesign apps, but at a cost.

Tutorial InDesign AppThird-Party Resources like Twixl Publisher

Third party options like Twixl enable small to medium businesses, in addition to enterprise to publish to App stores. Twill supports multiple types of interactive content such as audio, video, HTML5, slide shows and more. Cost is between $850 per year and $5,000 per year for unlimited publishing.

Web Apps with in5

in5 Is another resource to create “Web Apps” to bypass the Apple Store and Google Play. You can convert your InDesign file to HTML5 and create an experience very similar to apps downloaded from the stores.

So you Want to Create a Digital Publication with InDesign!

Exporting from Adobe InDesign to ePUB

Adobe InDesign ePUB Tutorial

ePUB files are exported from InDesign with the intent to be read on eReaders.

There are 2 flavors of ePub: Reflowable, like a Kindle or Nook book and Fixed Layout ePub which includes animation, hyperlinks, video, audio and interactivity. The ePub file can be distributed to any user, but there are limitations on what tablets, programs or readers are able to read and display files. Also, publishing to Kindle has a few more hurdles rather than just a “straight save to ePUB.”

in5 and Adobe’s Publish Online

Convert Adobe InDesign files to HTML5 with in5in5 Is a third party InDesign plug-in that converts InDesign documents to interactive HTML5 files. Files can be added to your website or saved as a Web App.

Adobe’s also offers “Publish Online” but is proprietary and is hosted only on Adobe’s servers, with an Adobe branded web address. Users can download a PDF, share and print the file. If you need to add an InDesign file to your own website, in5 gives you that capability, Publish Online does not. in5 is a great bridge to creating InDesign apps, magazines, or documents.

Exporting from Adobe InDesign to PDF

Adobe Acrobat TrainingCreating PDF’s from InDesign are quick, easy and free. So why can PDF’s be problematic? First, they still rely on Flash which is only viewable on desktop computers, not many mobile devices. Second, users must update their Acrobat Reader to open them. Third, unlike HTML, there also are no analytics to see readership. Fourth, Unlike ePUB, PDF’s are a static size and don’t reflow according to the tablet size.

PDF’s are very easy, but in addition to the above issues, once you send them out, you have no way to trace who opened them. There are not analytics that you would be able to follow if you exported to an HTML5 file and it were hosted on your website.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

InDesign DPS PDF ePUB Tutorial

Learn to create Web Apps, PDF’s and ePUBS.


27 04, 2016

Top 5 Things they don’t teach in Design School

By |April 27th, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe CC, Graphic Design Trends, Photoshop and Illustrator, Training|0 Comments

Design School

1. So you’re ready to launch into the design market…Graphic design is an ever changing medium.

There is no other industry that changes as often as graphic design–trends are very important. Our industry can often be like working on a Tilt-A-Whirl. It’s imperative designers keep abreast of new design trends by watching what color experts such as Pantone showcase as Color of the Year or their Color Report. Design can also be affected by current events. For example, in years we have the Olympics, you will see more vibrant colors, especially red, white and blue.

While it’s not practical to keep racing back to college, taking a shorter design class from time to time helps keep your skills current. Make sure you’re consistency taking the pulse of the design industry.

2. Your portfolio is more than just adding images to your website.

Potential employers want to see more than just the finished product. Today’s designer is all about UX (the User Experience). They want to not only see the poster you designed, but understand the journey. How did you come up with the idea? What was your process with the client? Here’s a great example of a great portfolio site from Alexander Pierce where he not only shows great finished design projects, but explains how and why he designed it. Here is another great example from  Sean Halpin.  both showcasing his work, and telling the story: http://seanhalpin.io/work.


3. MORE is NOT better!

Even the most seasoned designers make this mistake. Putting everything but the kitchen sink isn’t going to get you the job. ONLY show your best work. More is not better…it’s just more. Too many samples of your work not only increase load times, but gives the visitor too many options, and can be overwhelming. Keep it simple, you only get a short time for people to look at your work.

4. You think you know how to use Photoshop? Maybe…Maybe not.

Everyone THINKS they know Photoshop.

The problem is that most users have “tunnel vision” and use specific parts of Photoshop. Once you work in a collaborative workplace with other designers, if you’re not using Photoshop non-destructively, your team will be out for blood. If you don’t have best practices and good Photoshop workflow techniques, you won’t last long.

Taking a Photoshop class taught by real world users instead of a professor (no offense dear educators!) is a great idea to keep current with the latest changes and workflows in Adobe Photoshop.

5. Real-world projects.

Even if you are still in school, it’s incredibly helpful to have projects for a real client. How do I get real clients you ask? Easy: Find a family friend that owns a business, local restaurant, dry cleaners, charity. Tell them you would be happy to do design something for them for free whether it’s a website, a menu, or business cards.

That said…doing free design work is a great way to get your portfolio going. BUT doing free work CAN’T be an ongoing thing. Graphic design is the only industry that clients want to negotiate the price. If you call a plumber, they give you a quote, do the work, then you pay the bill–because that’s what it costs. Don’t get in the habit of doing too many freebies, because as designers, we’re already at a disadvantage because many don’t understand that your work is valuable and something they need to pay for.

The moral to the “Real World Projects” dilemma is that doing free projects is a great way to get off the ground. Once you rise off the ground, freebies aren’t necessary.

So Now What: How do I keep up with Graphic Design Trends?

Whether you’re formally trained or just talented, the biggest roadblock we face is that design is an ever-changing landscape. It’s easy for our work to become stale with the same techniques that have worked for years.

Designers often feel like a hamster on a wheel, but stopping to brush up on Photoshop or InDesign, or trends in graphic design are imperative to staying current.

Adobe Photoshop Training

Graphic Design Training

19 04, 2016

Mastering Photoshop CC Layers

By |April 19th, 2016|Adobe Photoshop CC, Training|0 Comments

Photoshop Layers

Photoshop Layers allows us to have multiple images existing together on separate layers.This enables you to keep all your elements independent of each other. These layers are non intersecting planes in where images and elements are separate. Each image that was scanned or shot by a digital camera comes with a Background layer. This layer is like the glue on the back of a stamp in that you cannot move it above any other layer, and it cannot contain transparent pixels.

The Layers Panel Dissected

  • The lock icon indicates that the layer is protected:
  • Lock All: The layer is completely locked,no direct editing allowed at all.
  • Lock Position: Layer can’t be moved
  • Lock Image pixels: You cannot paint or alter pixels.
  • Lock transparent: You can paint on this layer on non-transparent areas.
  • The eye icon indicates that the layer is visible. Clicking on the eye icon hides that layer.
  • Opacity: 0= transparant 100 = fully opaque.
  • Blend Modes alter how the selected layer blends with the layers beneath it.
  • Layer Effects (Styles) : Apply different non-destructive styles such as Drop Shadow on Photoshop layers.

Photoshop CC LayersViewing Layers

You can customize how you view your layers from the Panel Options flyout menu. If you have a smaller monitor, or are visually challenged, this can be a great help!
  • Thumbnail Size: You can increase the size of the thumbnail to better see what’s on your Photoshop layer.
  • Thumbnail Contents: Choose between View Layer Bounds or Entire Document.
  • Layer Bounds previews your Layer Icon to fit the entire width, so the icon is larger.
  • Entire Document previews the layer smaller at it’s location in the document. So if you have the same image in multiple places on your document, this is helpful because you can see the location.

Photoshop Layer Bounds

Layers are an essential part of using Photoshop. They enable us to keep elements separate, and edit non-destructively. Ascend offers classes both in Chicago and online for all levels of Photoshop users wanting to explore Photoshop layers further.

Explore Photoshop Classes at Ascend

11 04, 2016

The Adobe Photoshop CC Toolbar

By |April 11th, 2016|Adobe CC, Adobe Photoshop CC|0 Comments

Adobe Photoshop Training ClassEndless Possibilities with the Adobe Photoshop CC Toolbar

The Photoshop tools appear in the vertical toolbox to the left of your screen. Each tool on the Adobe Photoshop CC toolbar that has a small triangle at the lower right contain hidden tools with a fly-out menu. Access these additional tools by holding down your mouse while on a tool with a triangle. Each tool also has a letter associated with it that appears in a yellow box when your mouse hovers over the tool.

The Control Panel changes with each tool you choose. For example, when on the Text Tool, you will see alignment, spacing and kerning. When, you are on the Crop Tool you see image size and resolution.

Here is a handy diagram of all the endless tools in Adobe Photoshop CC! Want to learn more about our Adobe Photoshop training? See all our Photoshop class offerings.

Photoshop CC Toolbar

4 04, 2016

Adobe Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesign: Which do I use?

By |April 4th, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop|0 Comments

It can be frustrating as a designer when we receive files put together in the wrong application. While pros intuitively know which software to use, those new to Adobe apps might not understand which is best. Just like a dentist knows which dental tool to use, designers need to know which application is best for the task at hand: Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.

Adobe Photoshop Training ClassAdobe Photoshop

Photoshop is primarily for editing photos and creating images that need special effects. In addition, you can layout webpage designs, create animated GIF files, and banner ads. With Photoshop, it’s probably more important to know what NOT to use it for:

  • Don’t use Photoshop to create logos.
  • Don’t use Photoshop for small type.

Since Photoshop is a bitmap program, you can’t easily resize things to make them larger. For example, if you create a logo in Photoshop and need it on the side of a truck, you are in trouble. Photoshop will not deliver text that is as crisp as Illustrator or InDesign – which are vector based –  so small text is a bad idea.

Adobe Illustrator Training ClassAdobe Illustrator

Illustrator is perfect for creating logos, infographics, and mocking up websites. Vectors are great because they are small and resizable. They are very crisp, and don’t rely on pixels for clarity. You can import stylized Photoshop images into Illustrator for a poster so you get the bells & whistles of Photoshop, but the clear text of Illustrator.

You can create things like logos or realistic artwork and import them into Photoshop or InDesign. Illustrator is also object-oriented, so you can change colors very easily. Illustrator does not have automatic page numbering or Master pages like InDesign.

Adobe InDesign LogoAdobe InDesign

InDesign is designed to create multi-page documents for print or digital. This includes catalogs, books, brochures, and digital apps. InDesign imports graphics from Photoshop or Illustrator and puts them in one place where text can be anchored and wrap around them. If your project is very text-heavy with lots of different styles and sizes, InDesign is the right tool.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Tutorial Photoshop Illustrator InDesign

When should I use Photoshop over Illustrator and InDesign?


2 04, 2016

Photoshop CC Keyboard Shortcuts for 2016

By |April 2nd, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe Photoshop CC|0 Comments

Favorite List of Photoshop CC Keyboard Shortcuts

Adobe Photoshop has thousands of hidden shortcuts to quickly complete a task, so here are some Photoshop CC keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier! Many shortcuts use a modifier key like CMD (The Command key on the Mac) or CTRL (The CTRL or Control key on the PC). Keyboard shortcuts can speed up your workflow, or even enable you to access tools that otherwise wouldn’t be available to you.

The chart below features some of the most used shortcuts that you will use often. Enjoy!

Adobe Photoshop Shortcuts


Download a printable PDF of these Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts.

Save PDF Icon

Ascend Training Adobe Photoshop Classes

We offer hands-on Photoshop classes both in Chicago and online. Learn to use Photoshop like a pro from our Adobe Authorized Instructors.

Adobe Photoshop Level 1

Adobe Photoshop Level 2

Responsive Design for Designers with Photoshop

27 03, 2016

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator JPG & PNG Cheat Sheet

By |March 27th, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Photoshop and Illustrator|0 Comments

JPG & PNG Files

Choosing a file format for the web can be daunting, so here is a cheat sheet for how to save Photoshop & Illustrator files as JPG & PNG’s.

The most common formats for the web are JPG, PNG & GIF files. JPG Files are most commonly used for photos, or images with lots of continuous tone. The big benefit of JPG files is they can be compressed, and are smaller than PNG Files. One drawback of a JPG over a PNG is that JPG’s do  not allow for transparency–so all JPG files are square, where you can put a PNG up on the web and have areas be transparent. JPG files have a “Lossy” compression that decreases quality each time you save it unlike PNG files.

JPG Files have a “Lossy” compression so each time they are saved, they lose quality.

GIF Files

GIF Files have been around for years, but PNG files are now preferred since they a) Allow for 255 levels of transparency instead of only 1 and b) They are smaller than GIF files. The only negative is that if your audience has older browsers, PNG files may have difficulty previewing. The remaining benefit of GIF files is you can create animations. A new APNG format seems to be gaining traction for 2017, so keep your eyes out!

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Tutorial JPG to PNG

JPG or PNG for web, which is better?

Need to learn Photoshop or Illustrator? Our hands-on classes offered both online and in Chicago. Ascend is an Adobe Authorized Training Center and all students receive an official certificate of completion from Adobe.


Adobe Photoshop Classes Adobe Illustrator Classes
Photoshop Level 1

Adobe Illustrator Level 1: Icons, Infographics and Logos

Responsive Web and Mobile Design for Graphic Designers Adobe Illustrator Level 2
All classes on our published calendar have a free 8 month retake policy. Classes are live, instructor-led either in Chicago or online.


Ascend Training, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 433, Chicago, IL 60605, (312) 334-2140[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

24 03, 2016

Color Trends in 2016 for Graphic Designers

By |March 24th, 2016|Graphic Design Trends|0 Comments

Graphic designers are not only tasked with the job of visual storytelling, but we must be up to date with the latest trends that seem to change faster than a tilt-a-whirl! The evolving trends are shaping up to transcend both cultural and gender norms. We are seeing very bold color statements that are neither male or female, reflecting landscapes that are both fun and hopeful.

Graphic Design Color Trends

When choosing colors, we must start by evaluating what emotion we are hoping to evoke. Red is the color of fire and blood, and very emotionally intense while yellow evokes happiness and joy. Orange combines the energy of red, and the happiness of yellow. We think of green as a symbol of nature, but darker green can also symbolize money. While purple can appear regal, it also can be very appealing to children. Blue is strong and stable (think IBM) while black evokes elegance, power or even death.

Color Trends in Graphic Design

Designers are coming up with new color combinations that even a few years ago would not have been considered. We are in a new era of design, and a great place to find ideas is Adobe Color. With an Adobe Creative Cloud account (the account is free) we can save color combinations on your desktop, phone or tablet. We also can look at the newest color combinations from CC members to get ideas and inspiration.

Adobe Color Combinations

Pantone is also a great place to find inspiration. Each year they come up with top colors for the coming year. This year they have shown us that bright vibrant colors, taking inspiration from the Olympics in Rio, are dominating our design landscape. The closer we get to summer, the more we will see vivid, bright colors.

As designers, we understand that color will always ebb and flow with the trends. In 2016 we are still seeing trends of vivid, punchy colors infiltrating even the most stoic of industries.

Today’s projects for both digital and print in 2016 continue to be playful, energetic and hopeful.

Happy Designing!


21 03, 2016

Photoshop CC Crop Tool: Crop NON-DESTRUCTIVELY!

By |March 21st, 2016|Adobe Authorized Training, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop CC|0 Comments

How many times have you cropped an image only to come back later and realize you cropped too much? Photoshop CC has the option to use the Crop Tool nondestructively, so you have the ability to revert back to your original size. When you select The Crop Tool in Photoshop, the first thing you see are handles on each corner and side of the cropped area. Drag these in any direction to choose the visible area after the crop. When you move your mouse outside the handles, you can rotate your crop.

De-check “Delete Cropped Pixels” and you will crop non-destructively!

The important thing about cropping non-destructively is the Control Bar. By default, the Delete Cropped Pixels option is checked. Once you un-check this box, after you crop your image, you will be able to go back and revert to the original image.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Photoshop Crop

Use the Crop Tool in Adobe Photoshop to crop images non-destructively.

Un-checking Delete Cropped Pixels enables you to choose Image > Reveal All to undo the crop. The beauty is once you un-check this box, it’s “sticky” and will stay un-checked from document to document. The only way this would revert would be if you reset your settings, or re-install Photoshop.

Working in Photoshop non-destructively is always the best idea. Happy cropping!