Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Notice the refresh icon is greyed out!
Help! Kuler won’t sync with Illustrator!
Unfortunately when Adobe changed how Kuler works with Illustrator CC they broke a great tool. Instead of being able to search for color schemes from inside Illustrator you now have to do this on the web and favorite a color scheme if you want it to appear in Illustrator. At least that’s the theory – in practice Kuler is very slow to update in Illustrator making it nearly impossible to use it in a meaningful way – unless you know how to force it to update.
While you should be able to click the Refresh button at the foot of the Kuler panel most of the time this is greyed out – so you can’t force a refresh. The only solution that reliably works for me is to sign out of your Creative Cloud account inside Illustrator then sign in again.
So, to force the update, go to Help and click to sign out – in practical terms you are deregistering your Adobe account on this computer for now. Now close Illustrator and restart it – when prompted to do so, log in to your Adobe account and voila! Kuler will update.
Seriously Adobe really should be more proactive in fixing this stuff when it breaks like this. It shouldn’t be too hard to do – just make the Refresh button do what it is supposed to do!
For what it is worth, the problems with Kuler occur with both the Windows and Mac version of Illustrator.
Labels: Adobe, color schemes online, creative cloud, Illustrator, kuler, kuler update, osx, windows
Friday, September 19th, 2014
Image Credit: © 2014 freeimages.com, anitab0000
Help! How to center a layer’s contents in Photoshop
Whether you’re making a simple document, newsletter or editing a photo a necessity is being able to center your layers. This task took me by surprise as to how challenging it was but in a few steps it can easily be done.
First press Control and click the layer thumbnail for the layer you want to center in your Layers panel.
Click Select > All (Control/Command + A). This makes all of your layers selected. You can tell this is done by the marching ants around your full image.
Click Layer >Align Layers to Selection > Horizontal Centers.
Notice that your layer is now centered.
Press Control/Command + D to deselect your layers.
Now your layer content is deselected and aligned horizontally and you’re free to continue editing.
Labels: alignment, center layer, Center text, Layers, Photoshop
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Need to check what you didn’t pick in Lightroom – here’s how!
My workflow for choosing the best of my photos in Lightroom is to go through the photos in a folder and either click the Pick flag, the Reject flag or simply move past the photo onto the next one. Now sometimes I’d like to review the photos that I haven’t picked – they aren’t the best but they aren’t rejects. I will do this just in case there are some good images I have overlooked.
So, how do you display only the unflagged photos? Luckily it’s dead easy to do this.
These icons across the top of the filmstrip are, from right to left: Show Flagged Photos (ie Pick Flag is on), Show Unflagged photos (no flag present) and Show Rejected photos (Reject flag on).
So, click the middle flag to see only those photos that don’t have either the Pick or Reject flags enabled.
Now, if you add a Pick (or Reject) flag to one of the images it will immediately disappear from view – that’s because this filter is a live filter – it only shows the unflagged photos and as soon as a photo has a flag it no longer matches the filter so it is removed from view.
Of course, when you are done, make sure to select Filters Off from the Filters: list (or click the same flag a second time) to return to viewing all your photos.
Labels: clear filter, filter, flagged, Lightroom, rejected, show unflagged photos, unflagged
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Love Canva? Here are some keyboard shortcuts to speed up your designs
Control (or Command) + A Select everything in the design
Click on an area which is not selected – Deselect current selection
Control (or Command) + ] or Control (or Command) + Down Arrow – Move the selection down one layer
Control (or Command) + [ or Control (or Command) + Up Arrow – Move the selection up one layer
Control (or Command) + ; Show/Hide the layout grid
Alt (or Option) + Shift + B – Add a border around the text
Alt (or Option) + Shift + + (the plus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad) to make the border wider
Alt (or Option) + Shift + – (the minus symbol above the main keyboard – not the one on the numbers pad) to make the border thinner
Control (or Command) + Shift + K – selected text to uppercase/lowercase (toggle) (this may not be visible if you are using an all caps font)
Control (or Command) + Click on an already selected object to select the object directly below it (Canva suggests this works, it doesn’t for me but YMMD)
Up arrow / Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow – Nudge a selected shape in the direction of the arrow
Shift + Up arrow (or Down arrow / Left Arrow / Right arrow) – Move the selected shape a larger amount in the direction of the arrow
To rotate an object to 45 or 90 degrees (or multiples of these), rotate it slowly when you are near a 45 degree increment and you will see it snap into position
Canva provides a fun tutorial to help you practice some of these shortcut keys which you will find here: https://support.canva.com/hc/en-us/articles/202777824-How-do-I-use-keyboard-shortcuts-
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
Harness the power of scripts to automate tasks in Illustrator
Where Photoshop has Actions, Illustrator has Scripts that help you automate complex and tedious tasks. You don’t need to know how to write code – just how to copy and paste it to harness the power of scripts to automate your workflow in Illustrator.
From scripts which make a rectangle the size of the artboard, which make metaball shapes and divide text frames you’ll find lots of practical use for scripts every day. I’ll show you how to find scripts online that you can use. I’ll show you how to find free scripts for Illustrator, how to download scripts and install them. I’ll even show you how to make a script file if you can find the code but it’s not in a downloadable format.
So you will learn to make use of .js and .jsx scripts and how to copy and paste script code from a web page and save it correctly so you can install it into Illustrator. I’ll also show you how to run the scripts you download.
Some of the scripts discussed include join reasonably which joins paths better than Illustrator does and a range of other handy scripts.
Labels: best scripts for illustrator, download scripts, free download, free scripts for illustrator, Illustrator, illustrator scripting, illustrator scripts, install scripts, scripts, use scripts in ilustrator, video
Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
More complex than it looks, here’s how to make a Wave Pattern in Illustrator
Learn how to create a wave pattern in Illustrator. You will see how to draw the starting shape and how to fill it. You will learn how you can test it to see how it will look and then adjust it if necessary before continuing.
You will use the Shape Builder tool to build the actual pattern starting piece and the new Pattern feature in Illustrator CS6 & Illustrator CC to make the repeating pattern swatch.
Labels: curly, Illustrator, ocean, pattern make, pattern swatch, pen tool, repeating pattern, shape builder, vector pattern, wave, wave pattern
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Recently I made a post giving thanks to the wonderful font creators who distribute their work for free. Today I’d like to thank the image and texture artists who are doing the same and making my life in Photoshop so much easier. If you are looking for texture resources then I cannot give any higher recommendations than these. The links provided will take you to specific textures, but each author’s entire portfolio is worth exploring.
Skeletal Mess - A brilliant independent image and texture author.
FreeImages.com - A massive archive of free images and textures.
TextureKing.com – Another great texture resource.
Mayang.com – Many useful day to day surface textures.
Labels: backgrounds, creative commons, credit, free, images, textures, thank you
Monday, July 28th, 2014
Create a multi-dimensional Illustrator shape from a simple star
Learn to create this multidimensional shape in Illustrator starting with a simple 20 point star.
You will learn how to make the points of the star round, how to fill it with a color and a pattern then how to create the outside and inside strokes.
The entire effect (minus the background and text) is one single resizable fully adjustable vector shape.
Labels: appearance panel, dimensional, fill, Illustrator, layered shape, multiple strokes, star, strokes, vector shape
Sunday, July 27th, 2014
Learn the secrets of how to Rotate Text in all versions of Word – 2003, 2007, 2010 & 2013
One of my most popular blog posts deals with the problem of rotating text in Microsoft Word. The issue is that in prior versions putting text in a shape and then rotating it just rotated the shape – not the text – sucks huh?
While the newer versions of Word work more reliably – not all of them do! Here’s the video version of that blog post – you will see how to rotate text in any version of Word from 2003 onwards and also see what doesn’t work so you don’t waste time trying!
I’ll show you how to rotate text through 90 degrees, 180 degrees and any other rotation you need and we’ll use Text Boxes, Word Art, Tables and Shapes to do it.
Labels: Microsoft Word, rotated text, vedio
Saturday, July 26th, 2014
Find Free Brushes Online to use in Photoshop
Learn how to find and download free and for fee brushes for Photoshop. See how to install these brushes into Photoshop and use them in your work.
This video covers all the steps in downloading and installing the brushes so you can ensure they are always available to you.
Labels: brush settings, brushes, download, free brushes, install, Photoshop, Photoshop brushes
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Create Cartoon Style Illustrations in Illustrator
Learn to create cartoon style illustrations in Illustrator.
You will see how to make shapes using the line tool and ellipse tool in Illustrator then how to fill the shapes using the Live Paint tool.The process is simple to do and fun.
Because it uses simple shapes and does not require extensive use of the pen tool it is a great way to learn more about using Illustrator without needing to be able to draw or use complex tools.
Labels: cartoon, cartooning, Illustrator, illustrator tools, vector art, vector shapes, video
Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Curly Bracket Style Frames in Illustrator
Learn how to create curly frames in Illustrator – the sort that resemble curly brackets that you use in your word processor.
You will see how to take a bracket or brace character from a font, add it to an Illustrator file and turn it to Outline type so you can work with it. You will then break it apart to get the curly shape, copy it, rotate, reflect and join it to make a curly bracket frame shape.
You can then do with it anything that you can do with a regular shape in Illustrator.
This technique is handy for scrapbookers and graphic designers and it looks great on invitations including wedding invitations. It is a fun and easy to create effect.
Labels: curly frame, curly shapes, frames, illustrator tools, illustrator training, step by step, vector shape, video
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Tricks for Using the Appearance Panel in Illustrator
Learn tips and tricks for using the Appearance Panel in Illustrator.
You will see how to add multiple fills, how to add extra shapes to a single shape, how to move and resize a shape.
You will also see how to make part of a shape transparent using a transparency mask effect created inside the Appearance panel.
This video is ideal for intermediate level Illustrator users and will expand your knowledge of Illustrator tools.
Labels: appearance panel, fill, Illustrator, illustrator technique, stroke, techniques, tips and tricks, tricks, vector shape, video
Saturday, July 12th, 2014
If you already use Photoshop you’re well on your way to using Illustrator
Designed specifically for people who already use Photoshop, this video is part 1 of a series on learning Illustrator. What makes this video different from most is that it uses what you already know about Illustrator from using Photoshop as a starting point.
The similarities and differences between Illustrator and Photoshop are explained and the video introduces you to the basic tools in Illustrator that you need to know to create designs.
Labels: Expand, Expand Appearance, fill, Illustrator, illustrator techniques, illustrator tools, learn illustrator, Photoshop, stroke, vector basics