Studio Artist: Varying Strokes over Time
AUGUST 7As one reader pointed out to me last
week, it's been a little too long since our last look at Synthetik
Studio Artist. I had promised I'd show you a post-processing technique
that allows you to vary strokes over time. Let it never be said
that Dave fails to follow through on his promises, even if such
fulfillment does take some time. Now, this is not the same as
making strokes longer or shorter over time. I'll cover that one
in a future installment (just as soon as another reader reminds
me that I'm lagging). Instead, this technique allows you to change
the actual number of strokes that appear in your video.
InDesign: Well Rounded Rectangles
JULY 17Experienced users of other desktop publishing
applications may be surprised to note InDesign's lack of a tool
for drawing rounded rectangles. Don't worryit's not an oversight!
In this clip from Total InDesign, Deke McClelland demonstrates
InDesign's powerful Corner Effects command. With Corner Effects,
you can choose between five different corner styles for your rectangle.
Correction: Curves or Levels?
JULY 10For anyone using Photoshop to correct
the highlights and shadows in an image, that is the question.
In this lesson from "Total Photoshop 6," Deke McClelland
first attempts to bring out shadowy details using the Levels command.
For this particular image, however, Levels won't do the trick.
This looks like a job for Curves!
Dreamweaver and ImageReady Get Along?
JULY 3It seems more and more users in the forums
here are trying to get Adobe ImageReady and Macromedia Dreamweaver
to work together. ImageReady, of course, is geared toward use
with Adobe's own GoLive, while Dreamweaver prefers files imported
from Macromedia's own Fireworks. But can ImageReady and Dreamweaver
play well together?
To Screen Back Images in QuarkXPress
JUNE 28The first step to screening back an area
of an image, is to create a mask of the area we wish to screen
back. In this example, we will draw a simple rectangular text
box around our text as illustrated.
Processing in Studio Artist
JUNE 19When you think of rotoscoping, you probably
think of labor-intensive techniques used to remove wires from
movie scenes or to clean up mattes or to perform some other technical
clean-up job. Or maybe you think of Max Fleischer and his original
rotoscope device, wherein an "artist" would trace over
the individual frames of a live-action sequence to produce cartoons
like Gulliver's Travels or Popeye the Sailor or
with Style in Adobe Photoshop 6
JUNE 13This weekend I was working on a project
in Photoshop and trying to figure out a way to apply a multi-directional
motion blur onto a path. So I was busy experimenting with a bunch
of filters and brushes, when all of a sudden I decided to play
around with the styles palette. What I stumbled upon was a feature
whose application was so obvious that I can't believe I haven't
seen this discussed anywhere. It has nothing to do with motion
blurs (at least not yet), but it's still pretty slick.
JUNE 12There are several things designers need
to be aware of when it comes to creating spot color jobs. First,
the name of the color is critical. For some reason that only programmers
know for sure, different programs use different naming conventions
for the same color. Quark Express may call PMS 124 coated "PMS
124CV," while Photoshop will call it "PMS 124CVC"
and Illustrator will call it "PMS124C."
Duplexed Booklets from Adobe InDesign
JUNE 5InDesign documents are in a format called
reader spreads. Meaning, the front cover is the first page with
the back cover being the last page. At times a format called Printers
Spreads, where the first page is output with the last page, is
required for final output. This is also useful when trying to
build a composite with your laser printer.
MAY 30As you probably well know, it's virtually
impossible to synch audio in a Flash file that's distributed on
the Web. Even if you can get it to synch up in your own browser
consistently, chances are very few people in your audience can.
This is one of the reasons so many Flash designers resort to audio
loops as accompaniment to their presentations. I don't like loops.
Pro: Modeling the Human Eye
MAY 23This will be our first foray into character
modeling in Amorphium Pro from Electric Image. We're going to
take it in small pieces. I want to give you a thorough understanding
of how the tools in Amorphium work so that, when it comes time
for doing something like the face, it will be more a matter of
technique than remedial work.
The Ligature Trick
MAY 22In this clip from Total InDesign, Deke
McClelland demonstrates InDesign's prowess at using ligatures.
When the character "f" is followed by an "i"
or an "l," the results can be less than pleasing to
the eye. Ligatures solve this problem by replacing these combinations
with a single attractive character.
MAY 16This week we have a bonus tutorial supplied
to us by the good folks at A
Lowly Apprentice Productions (ALAP). ALAP is a software developer
that makes plugins for both QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. We
hope to feature more of their know-how in the coming months. This
week we're presenting a tutorial for QuarkXPress, since most of
our previous tutorials have been fairly heavily geared toward
InDesign. Our tutorial involves ALAP's product ImagePort and Adobe
Photoshop. ImagePort is an XTension for QuarkXPress that provides
additional functionality for native Photoshop files within Quark,
including the ability to preserve Photoshop layers. Look for future
installments covering important tips for print production using
Screen Mode Secrets
MAY 15In this lesson from Total Photoshop 6,
Deke McClelland gives a tour of Photoshop's various screen modes.
In addition to demonstrating the three basic modes available in
the Toolbox, Deke shows how you can create your own perfect working
environment by customizing these screen modes. Get rid of that
distracting document window! Make the menu bar appear and disappear
at your whim! Get those palettes out of the way with the tap of
a key! See what your image will look like on the printed page,
in a field of black, or framed in any color you wish! Deke concludes
with a special "hidden" Photoshop screen mode feature
available only for Windows users.
MAY 8Foresight isn't necessarily a quality you'd
expect to find in a desktop publishing application, but Adobe
InDesign is full of surprises! In this clip from Total InDesign,
Deke McClelland introduces the Adobe Multi-Line Composer, which
has an unprecedented ability to "look ahead" when composing
text. Rather than just looking at the next line when setting justification,
letter spacing and hyphenation, the Multi-Line Composer can look
up to thirty lines ahead, creating much more consistent text layout.
Watch this clip, and see Deke give a clear demonstration of this
The Secret of Good Gamma
MAY 1Cross-platform computer users have probably
noticed how different the same image can look when viewed on a
Mac or PC screen. This lesson from Total Photoshop 6 is of especial
interest to Macintosh web designers; instructor Deke McClelland
shows how to use the Levels controls to approximate-and correct
for-the gamma differences inherent in the two platforms. Let Deke
help you to see your onscreen images the way "the rest of
the world" sees them!
Artist: Working with Source Images
APRIL 25For the visitors of this page who are
already familiar with Studio Artist, this tutorial may be a bit
too simplistic. However, for those who come to this fabulous application
for the first time, I hope the tutorial will help them enter an
Mysteries of the Magic Wand
APRIL 24The principle behind Photoshop's Magic
Wand tool is simple: You click in an image, you make a selection.
But did you know there's a "hidden" influence on the
Magic Wand, nowhere to be found in the Magic Wand Options palette,
that can give you widely varying results? In this clip from Total
Photoshop, Deke McClelland demonstrates this little-known factor
and shows how you can use it to your advantage.
Apple's Aqua Gel Effect with Xara X
APRIL 17Brendon Carr is responsible for this
month's tutorial that has touched off a one-upspersonship contest
in the Xara X Conference, one of dozens of graphics-related forums
found at TalkGraphics.com. It all began innocently enough when
Brendon visited a tutorial posted on a web site called Wardspring.com.
The tutorial attempted to recreate the secret process used by
the Apple design team to create the gel-like buttons featured
in the new Macintosh OS X Aqua interface. Brendon posed the question
how to replicate this effect in Xara X, not Photoshop, to the
visitors to the Xara X Conference.
APRIL 10This week we're back to Synthetik Studio
Artist to take a look at another one of those features that makes
this program unique, namely the ability to use media that interact
with one another like liquids. Those of you with natural media
backgrounds, particularly life drawing, are familiar enough with
washes and the great ways they can interact with dry media like
charcoal or Conté. I can remember in my art school using
everything from watered-down Dr. Martin inks applied with a rag
to transmission fluid applied with a very expensive sable brush.
(In retrospect, maybe I should have done things the other way
in Amorphium Pro
MARCH 27Last week I reviewed Amorphium Pro 1.1
from Electric Image. Amorphium Pro is a 3D modeling and animation
package targeted toward designers, with a particular bent toward
Flash designers. Its features have been implemented in a way that
2D artists can understand very easily, and these features are
quite robust. So I thought we'd take a more in depth look at one
of these todaynamely maskingand see how it fits into
the overall workflow of Amorphium Pro.
Studio Artist: Paint Fill, Path Application and Brush Types
MARCH 20It's been quite a while since we last
took a look at Studio Artist, the painting and rotoscoping tool
Software. This week we're going to explore some of Studio
Artist's functions to help you create the effect of a charcoal
or bronze rubbing, an effect similar to that of placing a quarter
under a piece of paper and scratching a pencil over it. This is
also used with grave stones, typically with the person placing
a large sheet of paper over the relief and rubbing a stick of
soft metal across it. For this tutorial, we'll be using a stained-glass
window and creating the effect of taking a rubbing with a piece
Popup Menus in Fireworks
MARCH 14One of the great new features in Macromedia
Fireworks 4 is the ability to create interactive menus practically
on the fly. When I reviewed Fireworks a couple of weeks ago, I
touted this feature as one of the best reasons to upgrade from
version 3 to version 4. I might have jumped the gun there. It
seems there are some problems with the interactive menu feature
in Fireworks 4. So let's take a look.
3: How To Make Your Own Photoshop Filters
MARCH 6It's been a few weeks since we last worked
in the Photoshop Filter Factory. If you haven't read the first
two parts of this series, it would probably be advisable for you
to do so. In Part 1, we look at the basics of Filter Factory,
along with a few examples of how to get some basic effects working
by manipulating color channels. In Part 2, we used ResEdit to
customize the interfaces of the Filter we created. Now we're going
to go a little deeper into what Filter Factory can do to help
you create your own Photoshop filters.
Started in Amapi 3D
FEB. 22This week we're going to be taking a
look at Amapi 3D and learning some of its basic workings. We're
presenting the Windows interface for this tutorial, but all of
these tips apply to the Macintosh version as well. (On the Mac,
substitute COMMAND for CONTROL and OPTION for ALT. If you want
to right-click on the Mac, just hold down the CONTROL key while
clicking.) Future installments will mix Macintosh and Windows
Special Effects Mask in Adobe Photoshop
FEB. 20In this lesson from Total Photoshop 6,
Deke McClelland demonstrates how to turn a photograph into a delicate
"line drawing." He starts by creating an edge mask using
the Find Edges command, and follows that up with one of his favorite
combinations of filters: Maximum, Median, and Gaussian Blur. After
applying an appropriate Blend Mode, the end result is a lovely
Conté crayon "drawing," created from the original
photographic image of a girl's face. You'll find this technique
to be an easy way to give a beautiful "hand-made" touch
to your digital images.
2: How To Make Your Own Photoshop Filters
13Last week we took a tour of the Filter Factory for Adobe
Photoshop and learned how to create some basic effects with some
pretty simple mathematical formulas. We also learned how to save
these filters as Photoshop plugins for your repeated use or distribution
to other Photoshop users. Now, before we get into some more complex
functions in Filter Factory, I thought it would be a good idea
to teach you how to make your own custom interfaces for the filters
you create. After all, the basic interface of a Filter Factory
filter is a bit Spartan, and you're a designer, so....
1: How To Make Your Own Photoshop Filters
6So you want to write your own Photoshop filters, huh? Understandable.
After all, there's a special little place inside all of us that
yearns to be a programmer. Unfortunately, this special little
place is inhabited by a twisted little gnome named Avery who hates
programming code and does everything in his power to prevent the
knowledge of such code from entering this special little place.
Sure, it'll let in a little HTML every now and again. But C++?
Forget about it. Avery don't cotton to no C++. (In case you're
wondering, yes, there are ways to break down Avery's defenses
and turn yourself into a real programmer, but the methods for
doing so can be quite taxing on the user. These methods include
living exclusively off Tina's bean & cheese burritos
during college, driving a Gremlin and giggling at FORTRAN jokes.
Seems a pretty high price to pay just to write code for other
people to enjoy.)
Tutorial: To Trap or Not To Trap?
30In this clip from Total InDesign, Deke McClelland explores
the concept of trapping. Trapping can help mask slight registration
problems in printing; you probably see examples of misregistration
every Sunday in your local paper's comics section, where the individual
color plates seem to be a little bit "off" from each other. Deke
presents four clear-cut examples of when and when not to trap
and also shows an easy technique for trapping via overprinting.
Watch this clip, and let Deke show you how to keep from getting
caught in a trapping dilemma!
Tutorial: Dodge & Burn in Adobe Photoshop
23If Photoshop's Toolbox were a "real" tool box, there are two tools that
would probably be buried at the bottom of the box for many users: the Dodge and
Burn tools. In this lesson from Total Photoshop 6, Deke McClelland gives a striking
demonstration of these often neglected tools. Starting with an image of an approaching
tornado, Deke uses Dodge and Burn to bring out details in dark areas of the image,
and to heighten the dramatic effect of the overall scene. After watching this
clip, we suspect these two tools will be promoted to the top of your toolbox!
Tutorial: Saturation in Adobe Photoshop 6
14In this lesson from Total Photoshop 6, Deke McClelland
starts with a digital photo that he snapped of his minivan. The
color saturation in the photo is so low that the image almost
appears to be grayscale. Simply increasing the saturation introduces
ugly JPEG artifacts into the image. Deke shows you just the right
combination of filters and techniques to raise the saturation
and defeat the JPEG artifacts, resulting in a bright, colorful
image with no loss of detail or sharpness. A minivan never looked
Synthetik Studio Artist, Part 1: Brush Interaction Through Paint
5This week we're kicking off a series on Synthetik Studio
Artist 1.5. If you haven't taken a look at this program yet, do.
It's probably the best paint programfor lack of a better
phraseon the market right now. And, what's more, it's only
available on the Mac, which is great for those of us who like
to rub it in the noses of the peecee users.
Demos from Seybold SF
5Our diligent camera crews travel the world capturing demos
of the latest and greatest tools. If you click the link above,
it'll lead you to a demo of Photoshop 6 recorded prior to the
application's release, with examples of vector tools and integration
with GoLive, Illustrator and Acrobat.
Tutorial: Measure Not for Measure
28In this clip from Total Photoshop, instructor Deke McClelland
demonstrates how to correct the rotation of crooked images. He
uses a digital photo he took of the Eiffel Tower, which, in this
case, bears a passing resemblance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Tutorial: Text on Path in Adobe InDesign
NOVEMBER 21In part one of this look at InDesign's new "Text
on a Path" feature, instructor Deke McClelland starts with the
very first step: drawing a path. This clip from Total
InDesign fully covers such issues as scaling the text, flipping
it so that it appears on the other side of the path, and determining
exactly where on the path the text originates. Deke also shows
how to Force Justify the text so that it fills the entire length
of the path. As Deke demonstrates, you don't need to be an expert
with Bezier tools to use this exciting new InDesign feature!
Tutorial: Layer Options in Adobe Photoshop
21This week's tutorial on Adobe Photoshop from our friends
Training covers layer options. The goal of this tutorial is
to create interaction between two layers without using masking.
been covering so much Mac stuff lately, this one is shown with
a Windows interface. (Mac users out there should remember that
the Alt key in Windows is equivalent to the Option key in Mac,
and this tutorial applies to Photoshop running under either platform.)
Tutorial: Optical Kerning in Adobe InDesign
21This week's tutorial on Adobe InDesign from our friends
Training covers kerning. The goal of this tutorial is to look
at various ways of kerning characters to achieve optimal results
with minimal effort. One way to do this is to use metrics. But
the way InDesign does it is through optical kerning, a different
and sometimes better way to handle kerning pairs. Sit back and
Tutorial: Layers and Effects in Adobe Photoshop 6
21This week we have a wonderful tutorial on Adobe Photoshop
6 from the good folks of Total
Training. This week's tutorial is hosted by noted Photoshop
expert Deke McClelland, who, among many other credits, is the
author of the Photoshop Bible from IDG Books and host of the Total
Photoshop series from Total
Training. (If you think you know everything about Photoshop,
you've either memorized Deke's book and series or you've never
seen either one.) In this tutorial, Deke walks us through Photoshop
6's layer grouping, layer styles and gradients to achieve a custom
chrome effect on text. But even if you could care less about chrome,
you can still learn a lot from this one.