I am Excited About Adobe’s Creative Cloud and You Should be Too!

I have recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles for the Adobe MAX conference and am excited to tell you about Adobe’s biggest announcement from MAX, Creative Cloud. Now keep in mind that we were only given a glimpse of what’s in store, so don’t take everything I say as exactly how it will be. We were promised more details in November so be sure to keep up with that.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud will consist of a few pieces conjoined into one service. It will all be included in a subscription with a supposedly “attractive” price. My biggest concern with the service is just that. The pricing of the Creative Suite is far from attractive to me, but pricing will be announced in November. I know that great software and services will come at a cost, but not many people can afford software priced as high as Adobe has charged in the past. I am hopeful, though, that between saving money by a solely digital distribution method in future versions and also the fact that cheaper prices will greatly increase the user base, that it will be beneficial for us and Adobe to have Creative Cloud come with reasonable pricing.

Pricing aside, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the Creative Cloud. The service will come with 20GB of cloud storage for whatever you may need and it does sound like there will be options to upgrade the size of this storage (20GB is a lot for, but for you video editing types you will likely need a lot more). It seems like this cloud storage will be incorporated into every application included in Creative Cloud. This will make working between different devices extremely easy, since you can save your work into the clouds. Your cloud storage will be automatically synced between all devices you are using the cloud service on and your files are accesible and shareable through not only your Adobe applications, but directly through the browser as well. Now this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Next up is the publishing end of things. Your Creative Cloud will have publishing options in 3 realms. If you didn’t already assume, Creative Cloud comes with a social networking aspect. You create you cloud profile, can share your work and connect with other creatives. The browser based part of the cloud is very well done. You can not only categorize and add meta data to your various files all through the browser, or any application accessing your cloud for that matter, but you are given great detail on your files. So much detail that you can even view and turn off layers in your Photoshop files while you are spooling through your files in the browser. Pretty nifty. For web developers, business catalyst is part of your cloud service allowing you to post your sites to the web and there is also the CMS aspect of business catalyst of which you can take advantage. The third part here is the Digital Publishing Suite for InDesign. This allows you to take your creations in InDesign and publish them to all devices as an epub file. This will be a great tool to create magazines, comics, and whatever else you can think of and publish them. This service will cost money for the actual publishing, but you can also charge your audience to download the works. In this digital age, you can still do your print projects but have them completely digital. This doesn’t only make it easy to publish your work, but you can add all sorts of interactive elements that you would not be able to do in a physical print.

Now for the finale. It seems your subscription includes the Creative Suite, I was given the impression that it is the suite in its entirety, but I want that in writing. Come early 2012, it appears as though everything Adobe will be lumped into a single, subscription based service that is Creative Cloud. Better yet, there is a suite of Mobile applications (for the most part actually created using the Flash platform) thrown into the mix and again its my understanding that all of these are included in your subscription. I will go over these applications briefly.

Photoshop Touch – A touch version of Photoshop, obviously. It retains a majority of the functionality from the Desktop application.

Proto – Quickly make a mock up website that includes much of the functionality and linking created through the touch app. Also creates HTML code to turn your mockup into a fully functional site.

Ideas – This one is already available. Create vector graphics and image all with a simple touch interface.

Debut – An app to make stunning presentations.

Collage – A re-imagining of  the “drawing board”. A quick and easy way to throw pictures, color schemes, and notes on a virtual white board. Portray an idea in only a few moments that can then be passed along to designers to create a finished product.

Kuler – Create and share color palettes.

So that is the gist of it. The touch apps provide great ways to kick start a project, or even the tools to complete a project. Again, pricing will be announced in November and the service itself will be released early 2012. So, I would recommend staying tuned for further information.

Tech Tip for the Web Designer

For those of you that are new to web design or would like to get started in the field, or if you are like me and just too lazy to code your CSS, I have a great tool for you! I recently stumbled on this web app CSS3 Generator which allows you to style a box to your liking using a simple graphical interface. Once you have the box styled, press the “Get the Code” button and you have the CSS code necessary to style any object on a site you are working exactly like you have styled the box. This works great with Dreamweaver and using HTML5.

The Creative Suite Conference Sneak Peek, November 4th

Ascend Training has teamed up with Mogo Media for this year’s InDesign Conference November 2nd-4th. We are both excited to bring participants the opportunity to get a sneak peek into next fall’s Creative Suite Conference. The last day of the InDesign Conference, we will be offering a Sneak Peek Track where attendees will gain exposure to a variety of topics: Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, and HTML 5 to name a few. Those not signed up can still participate and purchase a 1-day pass for $99. For more information, please click on the link below!

The InDesign Conference Comes to Chicago!

Ascend training and Mogo Media are proud to announce the internationally acclaimed “The InDesign Conference” is coming to Chicago November 2-4th, 2010. All 3 day attendees receive a $400 credit towards hands-on training at Ascend Training. Learn about our Adobe InDesign training.

Getting a New Computer Without That Hefty Price Tag

As much as I love the applications included in the Adobe Creative Suite I sometimes wonder if my computer is going to make it through my next Flash project or if it will even be able to open the flier I am editing with InDesign. So, seeing as the computers I own are getting on in years, I’ve been thinking it is about time for an upgrade. Now I have always been a Mac guy myself, but their prices are getting more and more outrageous. To get the power I want in a desktop without breaking the bank, I am in the process of choosing parts for a computer I intend to build myself. Now this may sound completely beyond your knowledge and skills, but surprisingly enough its no more complicated than my Lego Death Star I built in the 4th grade. All you need is proper manuals, here is a useful site that will tell you the necessary components and how to choose the correct ones. There are many more tutorials to be found by simple Google searches. Buying your own components and building your own computer will give you about twice as much bang for your buck. Yeah, the jig is up Dell and HP.

That being said, I have a few tips to save you even more cash. When it comes to computer hardware, take your time, you don’t want to get something that’s outdated but also don’t want to be spending too much on a piece of hardware that you could find on sale or cheaper elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with Gizmodo, this site is your best friend when it comes to tech deals. Each day, Gizmodo will post an article called Dealzmodo that lists the best deals of the day for primarily tech items. There are always hardware deals on Gizmodo. Newegg is one of the best sources in general for hardware, everything you need will be on Newegg at reasonable prices. For in depth reviews of hardware, tomshardware.com is the place to go. One last thing, and this should go with out saying, avoid ebay. As appealing as some of those prices are, this is fragile technology and I, for one, would not trust ebayers with this stuff.

lego death star

On second thought, building a computer may be less complicated than the old Lego Death Star. I must’ve had a lot more patience back then.

Thats all for today,

By Popular Demand…HTML Email Marketing

Wow! Ascend Training would like to thank everyone that attended last night’s HTML Email Marketing Event. Because of you it was a roaring success! Not only will we be repeating this event in Deerfield (date to be determined), but we have also added a new class to our offerings.

Description of class:

This 2 day class is aimed at those with little or no HTML experience who want to create effective email marketing campaigns. The class will cover how to use HTML to create email layouts and forms, import graphics, and generate cascading style sheets (CSS). Most importantly, the class will cover how to avoid being tagged as a “spammer”. Students leave with the comprehensive skill-set they need to return to the office and start their own e-marketing campaigns.

Creating HTML Emails: Building and Broadcasting Successful Email Campaigns, will be offered for a limited time at a special promotional rate. Regularly $895, you can register for this exciting new class for $635 (offer expires September 10, 2010).

For class details and dates, please visit our website.

Building and Broadcasting Successful Email Campaigns

The End is Near for CS4 Classes

Sadly, it is time for Ascend to say goodbye to CS4 classes on our regular schedule. It’s time to make room for our exciting new CS5 classes! As a final homage to CS4, we are offering $100 off of every CS4 class. For your convenience, here is a list of classes and dates. Please contact us directly for pricing and a custom code. All of our class pricing includes 8 months of free retakes (including the ability to retake the class in the CS5 version) and a guarantee of 10 students or less. CS4 classes will be scheduled by request for groups of 3 or more after these dates.

Classroom, Hands-On

After Effects CS4 Level 1, Chicago, Nov 1 -3
After Effects CS4 Level 2, Chicago, Aug 4 – 6 and Sep 20 – 22
Dreamweaver CS4 Level 1, Chicago, Aug 30 – Sep 1, Deerfield, Oct 11 – 13
Flash CS4 Level 1, Chicago, Aug 23 – 25 and Oct 4 – 6, Deerfield, Sep 8 – 10
Flash CS4 Level 2, Chicago, Aug 30 – Sep 1
Illustrator CS4 Level 2, Deerfield, Aug 26 – 27

Online, Live, Instructor Led

InDesign CS4 Level 1, Online, Aug 30 – 31
InDesign CS4 Level 2, Online, Nov 11 – 12
Photoshop CS4 Level 1, Online, Sep 20 – 21

Smarter Saves with Adobe Bridge Collections

If you find yourself using files that are in two differen folders or even hard drives, Collections is for you! On the lower left side of the Bridge window you will notice 3 tabs reading Filter, Collections and Export. When you click on Collections you have 2 choices: A straight Collection, or a Smart Collection.

Smart Collections are fantastic because let’s say you buy images from istockphoto.com. The good thing is that the word “istock” is in the name of each image, and if you set up a Smart Collection with Filename Contains istock, Bridge will set up and save that search as a Collection.

Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Repoussé for Text

Many of us remember a great little application called Adobe Dimensions. It created an easy way to create 3D from vector images. The 3D pieces of Dimensions has been incorporated in Illustrator for quite some time, but now we have the same features in Photoshop CS5 with Reproussé!

  • Create a blank image using the preset for web at 1152 px by 864 px.
  • Choose 3D > Repoussé > Text Layer.
  • Set your Depth to 3, and Scale to .3.
  • Choose the 3D Rotate tool  and  either drag straght downwards, or on the Control Bar type in 44 for Orentation X.
  • Click OK and choose Window > 3D.
  • At the top of the 3D window, choose Filter by: Materials.
  • In the top part of the 3D window, choose Ascend Extrusion Material.
  • If you click on the Material Picker  in the bottom half of the window, you can choose existing materials to apply to your text.
  • Diffuse: The color you are applying to the 3D object.
  • Opacity: How opaque or transparent the material is.
  • Bump: Creates a deeper 3D affect by increasing the contrast of raised areas. In Photoshop Extended, you can paint your own. Basically Bump increases depth.
  • In the bottom part of the 3D window you will see a color that is being applied to the text. Next to that is a PICT image that allows you to choose an image.
  • Click on the Edit Diffuse Texture icon  and choose the texture you want to use.

  • If you click on Edit Properties, you can edit the way the texture is displayed.
  • Target Determines whether settings apply to a specific layer or the composite image.
  • U and V Scale resize the new mapped textures. To repeat your pattern, decrease the values.
  • U and V Offset repositions the new mapped textures.

The new 3D features in Photoshop CS5 offer a whole new realm of options to users. 3D is covered in Ascend Training’s Photoshop CS5 Level 2 class at our Chicago and Deerfield training facilities, and online. All Adobe Photoshop Class Offerings. Our Photoshop classes at our facilities feature small class sizes of 10 students or less with individualized attention.

Upcoming Adobe Photoshop Training Classes:

Photoshop CS5 Level 2

Chicago Dates

Sep 13 – 14
Oct 21 – 22
Dec 13 – 14

Deerfield Dates

Aug 12 – 13
Nov 18 – 19

Photoshop CS5 Layer Comps

Layer Comps in Adobe Photoshop are a great alternative to Snapshots to save the way your image looks at a particular place in time. You can choose to save the Visibility, Position and Styles. Once you have everything the way you want it, click on the New Comp icon at the bottom of the Layer Comps Panel.

When you have mutiple comps, you can use the arrows to scroll through them. You also can make a change, and click on the Update button for a particular comp.

In addition, you can choose File > Scripts > Save Comps to Files to create separate images of your comps. The real power of Layer Comps comes when you export to InDesign.

When you import any layered Photoshop file to InDesign, either checking the Show Import Options button when you import, or selecting the file and choosing Object > Object Layer Options not only gives you access to the Photoshop Layers, but to the Layer Comps.