Tag Archives: Adobe

Did Quark Quack Its Last Quirk?

In 2002, I started working in the industry as an assistant prepress technician. Back then, we were on working Power Macintosh computers in the advanced operating system of “Classic Mac”—we couldn’t possibly trust the new OS X! We prepared files in QuarkXPress 5 and sent them to a film marker to eventually make plates and begin the printing process. Adobe was just starting to filter into prepress departments with InDesign 2, but like OS X, it was also not to be trusted.

At this time in the industry, the only software that could successfully communicate with plate setters and filmmakers was Quark. Yes, it had its quirks, but it always got the job done. Designing something in InDesign and trying to get it successfully onto a printing plate could spell disaster for my keyboard—InDesign was always the whipping boy for me!

Fast-forward to 2013, and you can clearly see that the tables have turned.  Adobe has totally taken over with CS 6, and those who refuse to make the switch only use Quark. I cringe when I get files in Quark. Just recently I received a magazine file in Quark, prepared perfectly and packaged appropriately. After doing our due diligence of loading the customer-supplied fonts and then opening the document and relinking any missing images, all seemed to be well. Our esteemed prepress technicians made print- and screen-ready PDFs, and we distributed them to the client for review.

This is the shocker: All the caption fonts were incorrect, and there was an entire image missing on one of the pages. After receiving this news from the client, I questioned our prepress technician. Much to my surprise, the response was, “I’m not surprised”—this is a known occurrence with Quark these days! Upon further investigation, we determined the fonts were there (we had to manually switch it), and so was the image. But the image was hidden—not behind something, just blank, gone! It came to our attention that a new feature called “content aware” text wrapping was used to wrap text around the image without placing a proper clipping path in Photoshop. So, the question is, why is Quark releasing features that are not totally fleshed out?

The moral to this story is: Quark, you quacked your last quirk for me! If a software provider who was a leader in the industry allows itself to be overtaken in a market it once dominated, it should cease to exist. You can’t take back market share when you are releasing versions that have so many “quirks” that it doesn’t make sense to use. So, today the only useful feature of Quark is the hidden Easter egg—the little alien that marches onto the screen to delete your object. When you get frustrated with Adobe products, open up Quark and hit this key command—it will make you feel better, and then you can quit Quark and go back to Adobe!

Tell me—do you use Quark and have a full keyboard of keys, or does it look like mine?

Author: John Mehl



AdForum’s Top 5 Commercials for This Week

Take a look below at AdForum’s top five commercials for this week. It was a refreshing group of spots that, for the most part, made me smile.

It’s clear that “Summer Hater” really doesn’t apply to the northern hemisphere this time of year, but nonetheless, it’s an effective ad whose tone is sure to keep your attention.

Owens Corning continues to do a great job marketing itself. Its social media alone is inspiring! The “Easy” ad was AdForum’s publisher’s pick, but isn’t Utterly Orange’s. No, our hat is tipped to Goodby Silverstein & Partners’ “Robot” ad. It hits all the right notes: concept, tone, relevance, and appeal—in this case, through humor.

Honorable mention certainly goes to Coca-Cola, who in our opinion plays on the world’s holiday heartstrings like no other brand in existence.

Have a favorite? Take a look at these five and let us know what you think!

1. BGH – “Summer Hater” – Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi

2. Adobe Marketing Cloud – “Robot” – Goodby Silverstein & Partners

3. Coca-Cola – “Christmas Family” – McCann Erickson Madrid

4. TriNet – “Raise Denied” – TDA Advertising & Design

Publisher’s Pick: Owens Corning – “Easy” – Campbell Ewald

Author: Eric Swenson

Cartoon Yourself – Easy Steps to Transform Your Photos into Cartoons

In all my life, I’ve never found the value in getting a caricature or sketch of myself drawn. And at certain points in my life, it certainly wasn’t a lack of vanity holding me back. Maybe it just boiled down to wanting to ride the Viper at Six Flags instead of getting my mug airbrushed. Whatever it was, I sort of regret missing out on the experience. That is, until I found out recently that I could do it myself.

Wing-Ki Lo, a fellow Vanguardian and friend of mine, recently gave a presentation that demonstrated how simple it is to cartoonify oneself using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. In 20 minutes, she took an adorable photo of her son and transformed it into a cute, lovable cartoon—the perfect recipe for a one-year-old’s first birthday invitation.

Over the years, “Kiki” has drawn many special-occasion cards for employees here at the shop. From retirement cards to baby showers, she’s become our in-house designer for all of the fun events that make our company and its culture unique.

Take a look at some of her samples, along with a step-by-step video that shows how, with a few pen tools and layers, one can transform photos into comic book caricatures.

Your author, Eric Swenson

Transitioning from Print to Digital Publishing Design

If you are currently making a living as a print designer, I can almost guarantee that you have thought about what it would take to design for digital publishing. And by digital publishing, I mean publishing to tablets and smartphones. For many designers, this issue has caused a great deal of stress. Well, I am happy to report that Adobe is making designing for digital publishing much easier with its new release of Creative Suite 6.

Creative Suite 6 boasts a whole plethora of new features that will help designers and the like perform their daily job functions more efficiently. What makes this release better than its predecessor is how you can take a print layout in InDesign and transition it over to any tablet or smartphone––landscape or portrait! With previous versions of Adobe’s digital publishing suite, you had to design two separate files for portrait and landscape orientations. This led to a lot of duplicate work for designers and never allowed fluid translations to different devices.

Take a sneak peak at CS6 and some more interesting features!


Author: John Mehl

Adobe News

Adobe announced yesterday that it will be restructuring in the upcoming months and shifting its focus “to better align resources around Digital Media and Digital Marketing.” The company will be laying off 750 people in North America and Europe, and will stop development of its Flash Player for mobile devices. Moving forward, the company will be shifting money toward HTML5-based products like Dreamweaver, Edge and PhoneGap—an open-source mobile development framework that was acquired by Adobe last month. Flash will continue to be developed for the PC experience, including video and gaming. Adobe will also be focusing on its Digital Publishing Suite, which allows publishers to format their content for multiple devices. Adobe is not the only one to prognosticate the death of browser-based plug-ins for rich media on mobile devices; rumors are that Silverlight, Microsoft’s Flash competitor, will be dropped in late November.

Do you think Steve Jobs was right back in April 2010, when he declared Flash an obsolete, doomed system? Is Flash dead?

Author: Susan Hallinan

Adobe Photoshop Trick of the Day: Adjusting Color Using a Mask

For most designers out there, you probably know the site Lynda.com. Well, I came across a neat little section called “Deke’s Techniques.” I haven’t gone through all of them, but I believe most are tutorials from Deke McClelland, a guy who surely knows his design tricks.

This week he discusses a stronger way to use Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation command in conjunction with a mask. Here’s an excerpt from Lynda.com:

Whether you’re aiming for realism or an exaggerated effect that grabs attention, it’s often handy to be able to change the color of one object in a photo without affecting the rest of the image. Most people will tell you to use Adobe Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation command to do this, but if the object you’re changing has hue variations—not just one flat shade of red, for example—this relative adjustment won’t work.

Instead, you need to make an absolute adjustment. And to limit the change to a single object, you also need a mask. “A mask”? you gripe. “They take forever!”

Au contraire. You simply create a new Adjustment layer, select a color range inside the image with a click and a drag, and Photoshop will auto-generate your mask. Then you choose the Hue/Saturation command and make your color adjustments.

Watch the entire video here:

Author: Eric Swenson