Design

Hot Tips for the Coolest Applications

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS4

BY PETER BAUER

PRINTING PANTONE
You want to use a specific Pantone color in your artwork, but you’ll be outputting to an inkjet printer, so you can’t actually print that spot color. What to do? Click on your Foreground color swatch to open the Color Picker, then click on the Color Libraries button, select your spot color, and click OK. Photoshop automatically selects the nearest RGB (or CMYK or Lab) equivalent of that Pantone color, and you can paint, fill, or stroke using the new Foreground color. Already have a spot channel? Click on it in the Channels panel and then select Merge Spot Channel from the Channels panel’s flyout menu.

CUSTOMIZED GRADIENT MAP
Image>Adjustments>Gradient Map is a great way to create interesting images. The color to the left is mapped to the image’s shadows and the one to the right is mapped to the highlights. But wait, there’s more! Click on the sample gradient to open the Gradient Editor and add additional color stops that will be mapped to tonal ranges between the shadows and highlights. You could even use a black-to-white gradient with a series of gray color stops to fine-tune a grayscale representation of your image.

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR CS4

BY DAVID CREAMER

ARTBOARD RULERS
If you show the standard rulers in a multiple artboard document, you’ll notice that the rulers extend over all the artboards, making them fairly useless on a per-artboard basis. Also, the standard rulers always measure from the lower-left corner of the first artboard. By selecting View>Show Artboard Rulers, each artboard can have its own ruler, starting in the upper-left corner of the artboard. Unfortunately, the X/Y coordinates reflect the global artboard ruler, not the individual artboard rulers.

WORKING WITH TEXT BOXES

If you have paragraph-based text, you can Place (rather than copy-and-paste) Microsoft Word files, which gives you the option of including the Word formatting and styles. After you place it, you can color the background of the text box by carefully selecting the text box path with the Direct Selection tool (the white arrow). Finally, you can use Type>Area Type Options to inset the text from the edges of the text box. Note: this doesn’t work with point type.

ADOBE INDESIGN CS4

BY DAVID CREAMER

WRAP IT UP
If you use clipping paths to knock out backgrounds and then turn on text wrap in InDesign, the text automatically wraps around the image using the clipping path; however, sometimes the text wraps into areas of the image you don’t want. If you want more control over the text wrap, in Photoshop create a selection from the path in the Paths panel, save the selection (Select>Save Selection), deselect, make Alpha 1 channel visible then active in the Channels panel, use the Brush/Eraser tool to modify the channel, and save the file. When in InDesign, you can change the text wrap to use the Alpha Channel (your saved selection) in the Type drop-down menu in the Contour Options section of the Text Wrap panel.

BUTTON IT UP
If you’re creating an interactive PDF or SWF file, be sure to check out the Sample Buttons library, available from the Buttons panel menu (Window>Interactive>Buttons, then click on the menu icon at top right and choose Sample Buttons). If you have buttons that you want on every page, such as Next Page or Previous Page, put them on a master page. If you put them on the topmost layer, the buttons will remain on top of all other objects.

ADOBE ACROBAT 9 PRO

BY DAVID CREAMER

LARGER COMMENTS
If the comments are looking a little smaller since your last birthday, you can increase their size in Preferences (Acrobat [PC: Edit]>Preferences). Click on Commenting (the first Category in the list) and you’ll see the first drop-down menu: Font Size. The only choices in the menu are Small, Medium, and Large, and if Large doesn’t cut it, you might have to get a bigger monitor!

DELETE THE FIRST CHARACTER LAST
I recently had the “good fortune” to take a PDF form in English and create five PDFs in different languages. Now if you’ve ever had to edit an entire line of type, you might notice that the type will sometimes wrap up to the line above. This problem depends on how the PDF was created, but it’s a fairly frequent problem. The easiest solution is to select all of the text except for the first character, type your new text, then go back and delete the first character.

REPLACE PAGES
If you like to use the thumbnail-drag technique to replace old pages with new ones, you may have noticed in Acrobat 9 that clicking-and-draging from one document’s Pages navigation panel to the other document’s Pages navigation panel doesn’t work any more. Now, you’ll need to hold down the Command-Option (PC: Ctrl-Alt) keys to replace pages.

ADOBE DREAMWEAVER CS4

BY RAFAEL “RC” CONCEPCION

ELIMINATE “CLASSITIS”
When you start working with CSS on a website, your first impulse will be to create classes for every single element that needs to be styled on a page, creating a condition commonly known as “classitis.” Instead, use the Compound type under the Selector Type drop-down menu in the New CSS Rule dialog to create grouped selectors. By grouping selectors that will share the same styles, you’ll dramatically reduce the amount of CSS code you have to keep up with, making editing much simpler.

USE TAB INDEX
When creating a form with multiple fields, keep in mind that many people will fill out this form using the keyboard alone—filling in one of the fields and immediately hitting the Tab key to move to the following field. By giving the fields a specific Tab Index number, you can control which form fields you start with and where the Tab key will guide the user, creating a more efficient data-entry experience. When entering numbers, simply start with number 1, and assign numbers to the fields as you want them to appear in the list.

ADOBE FLASH CS4 PROFESSIONAL

BY CYNDY CASHMAN, PH.D.

PREVIEW FRAME CONTENT
Have you ever wanted to see the content of several frames in the Timeline at the same time? Then simply choose Preview from the Timeline menu (click on the icon at the top right of the Timeline to open the menu). Now you can view thumbnail previews of each keyframe’s content.

SPRAY DOTS
Why not use the Spray Brush tool to spray patterns of dots? Select the Spray Brush tool (it’s under the Brush tool in the Toolbar). In the Property inspector, make sure that the Default Shape box is checked, and check Random Scaling if you want to spray different-sized dots. Click the arrow next to Brush to expand the panel (if it’s not already) and enter a pixel value in the Width and Height fields to set the diameter of the brush. Then, just click-and-drag the Brush on the Stage to spray a pattern of dots.

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