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DesignGeek #46

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October 19, 2005 - 1:00am

Global Gradients and Patterns in Illustrator

One of the most common questions I hear from designers when I'm teaching Adobe Illustrator is, "What's the "Global" checkbox for in Swatch Options?" (Swatch Options is the dialog box that opens when you double-click a color in the Swatches palette so you can modify the color mix, or when you choose New Swatch from the Swatches palette menu.)

When you tick the Global checkbox in Swatch Options, you turn that swatch into a "linked" or "smart" swatch. From then on, filling or stroking an object with that swatch links the object's color to the swatch's definition, equivalent to applying a paragraph or character style to text. Modify the swatch's color mix via Swatch Options and you'll see all the swatch-colored objects in your illustration update their color to reflect that change.

In other words, global swatches act just like ones in InDesign's Swatches palette or QuarkXPress's Colors palette.more >

Speed Up Photoshop CS2 with Bigger Tiles

When you open an image in Photoshop (or transform or resize or basically do anything that causes Photoshop to process the image), the program processes it in small, rectangular sections — called tiles — one-by-one. The less RAM you have, the smaller the tiles it can work with (filesize-wise), meaning more tiles have to run through the processor to complete processing the entire image.

By default, Photoshop bites off tiles in chunks of 132K worth of image data at a time, at the most, regardless of how much RAM you have. If you have lots of RAM, you can get Photoshop to increase its tile size so that images are processed faster — processing four tiles would be faster than processing sixteen.

Start by opening Photoshop's Preferences dialog box and going to the Memory & Image Cache panel. Assign more RAM to the program by specifying a percentage of installed RAM it can use for image processing. If you can end up with 1GB or more of RAM devoted to Photoshop, all the better.more >

Design-y Podcasts for DesignGeeks

It's funny how in some circles I inhabit, "podcasts" and their offshoots are talked about incessantly, and in other circles, people are like, "What is this 'podcast' you speak of incessantly."

If you're in the latter group, don't be embarrassed, you're in the majority. I'll preface this story with a quick orientation to the whole thing. (If you're in the former group of podcast freaks, you can skip down to "Podcasts to Check Out.")

A podcast (iPod + broadcast) is a self-published audio file, like a mini-radio show. It's saved as an MP3 file, put on a web server and wrapped in simple web code so that people can "subscribe" to it with free software that automatically downloads new editions to their computer and their MP3 player, such as an iPod.more >

Ole Kvern at the AppleScript Pro Sessions

A couple issues ago I mentioned that Shane Stanley and Ray Robertson's "unique training event," the AppleScript Pro Sessions, are coming to Chicago for the first time on Oct. 31 to Nov. 4. Any designer, publisher or pre-press professional who uses Macs would do well to attend for at least a few days; since a big focus of the ASPro training is automating tedious publishing, design and pre-press tasks with AppleScript.

Ray and Shane e-mailed out an update last week announcing that Olav Martin ("Ole") Kvern is joining them to teach two sessions on scripting Adobe InDesign and XML. (This is in addition to the full day plus that Ray and Shane devote to scripting InDesign.)

Ole is the co-author (with David Blatner) of Real World InDesign (and other books), as well as the author of the massive "InDesign CS2 Scripting Guide.pdf" that's found on the InDesign installation CD. more >