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5 Ways To Boost Your Resume With Adobe Illustrator

Let’s face it- today’s job market is tough. The credentials that would fetch a top-tier position a decade ago are now only delivering an entry-level one. Unemployment and unpaid internships abound, and there is a distinct trend that is emerging from this new market milieu.

Those with the most well rounded resumes are the ones getting hired and promoted. The ambitious and creative few who take the time to flesh out their skill set and tack on certifications are the ones who bring the most usability to the job market. Utilitarianism has taken over, and employers are looking to stretch their new hires over several different professional fields. In this new minimalist market, if you can offer the skills and expertise of three people rolled into one, you’re miles ahead of the pack.

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Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign: A beginners guide to choosing the right Adobe graphic software

The Adobe Creative Suite offers an array of industry-leading software products for graphic design, web design, professional photography, video editing, and much more.  For any aspiring designer looking at the Adobe software choices, there is a lot of overlap between the graphic design products (and for good reason!).

If you are confused as to which product is right for you when you decide to tackle that new, creative project, it is helpful to know the key differences between the three major graphic design programs in the Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

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3 Reasons to Get Certified in Graphic Design

There are several great reasons to get your professional graphic design certification- here are three of them.

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Fun with Adobe Creative Suite Panels

The possibilities with Adobe Creative Suite are endless. For this reason and more, Adobe CS has become the industry standard for graphic design, video production and many other creative professions. Programs such as Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign have revolutionized several industries and are now more accessible to the average consumer than ever before. At the Digital Workshop Center, we consistently see students who have been forced into these complex programs by their employers in the hopes they’ll be able to bring design work in-house. However, Adobe CS is designed for personal computers and, therefore, has a ton of options centered around customizing the program to best work for you. Whenever I open any of my Adobe programs, I first open and arrange the panels to best suit my needs. Adobe panels are common in almost all CS programs — they’re the small, moveable pieces within the greater Adobe puzzle. Each panel is focused on one group of commands. For example, in Adobe InDesign you have the Pages panel, which gives you all the choices you need to create, arrange and manage your pages. While you could also use the text-based menus at the top of the program, the panels are typically easier to understand. Each panel also includes a menu is in its top-right corner. The panel menu provides additional commands or options to help you fine-tune exactly what you need. Another feature of the Adobe panel system is that you can easily group or dock panels. By default there’s a dock section on the right side of most Adobe programs. This section usually has a dark-gray background separated from the design area of the program. You can fit all of your desired panels into the dock or drag and drop panels in any order you want. In addition, you can re-size the dock or collapse it to save you space. The size and resolution of your monitor is a huge factor in how you will arrange your dock, but don’t be afraid to play around with different arrangements. The more you use an Adobe CS program, you’ll learn which panels you need for your work. When you have all the panels opened and arranged the way you like, I highly recommend saving that as a workspace, which takes a snapshot of your program’s environment so you can easily return to that arrangement as you see fit. There’s no limit to the number of panel workspaces you can create and it works well to create different layouts for different types of projects. For example, you can create one workspace for your graphic design projects, another for web projects and maybe one for advanced typography. Through the window menu in any Adobe CS program, you can easily manage future workspaces. When a new student opens Adobe for the first time, I think there’s always a brief feeling of anxiety, maybe due to the amount of commands on the screen. However, if you embrace the panel system and get used to the similarities across all Adobe Creative Suite programs, you will see the logic behind panels and start to enjoy it. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or stu@fcdigitalworkshop.com. [Originally posted in the Coloradoan on...

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Getting Picky with It: Photoshop’s Pen and Magic Wand Tools

Out of everything Adobe Photoshop enables you to do, selecting objects in an image will probably be one of the most commonly used functions. It’s one of the fundamentals of photo editing, after all. By cutting, copying, pasting and deleting selections, you can pick and choose what parts of an image you want to isolate or remove. The Ellipse and Rectangle Select tools might be handy, but they limit you from selecting complex objects. That’s where Photoshop’s Magic Wand and Pen tools swoop in to save the day.   Magic Wand First, we’ll show you how to use the Magic Wand to make selections. The Magic Wand automatically creates selected areas based on defined shapes and areas with the same hue. It defines borders based on contrasting colors. As long as an object doesn’t have heavy shading or complex colors, this tool is a one-stop shop to making quick selections. To get started, open an image in Photoshop by using File > Open or by click-dragging an image into Photoshop. We went with a Spider-Man logo. The blue background and red icon offer a pretty decent contrast, which helps the Magic Wand create a more defined selection. After, select the wand tool from the Tool Panel.   With the Magic Wand, all you need to do is click within an object to create a selection. In our example, however, we don’t get perfect results because the Spidey logo actually contains a few red hues. But, that’s alright, we’ll show you a few tricks. Here’s what our original selection with the wand looks like:   As you can see, the dotted lines representing our selection aren’t quite right. The edges don’t fully envelope the legs or spider body, and the selection excludes a chunk of the central body. Instead of being satisfied with this lackluster selection, we’re going to use a function called Inverse. By going to Select > Inverse, our selection chooses the borders outside the icon rather than color values within. The good part is that we have a better selection of the Spider-Man icon. The bad part is that we also selected our blue background.   Fortunately, we can exclude the blue background from our selection by going to Select > Deselect and clicking on the blue background. Now, we just go to Edit > Copy and our red bug icon can be pasted into a new document.     The Pen is Mightier No disrespect to the wand, but the Pen tool is a stronger, more versatile tool to create selections. The Pen does much, much more than creating selections, but creating selections is undoubtedly one of its handier uses. For this example, we’re using a Spider-Man illustration where his pose and color rendering make the Magic Wand useless. Take a look at how the wand selects Spidey: Not so great, and even the wand tricks I showed you won’t help much. This is a job for the Pen tool. In the Tool Panel, the Pen tool looks like an old fountain pen. With it selected, you want to click around your object’s contours. Each click creates an anchor point represented by a tiny block. It’s best to zoom in on your object to set tighter anchor points around your object. You can never have too many anchor points, but don’t go overboard. Take advantage of smooth contours and space out anchor points when you can to save you time and tedium.   If you don’t have the steady hands of a surgeon, you will probably set a few anchor points way off the mark. Just use...

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Trading Places: Dropping Photoshop Files Into InDesign

If you’re trying to use multiple Adobe Creative Suite programs together, one of the first things you should become familiar with is the Place tool. Place functions similar to the Open tool. The biggest difference however, is that the Open tool lets you open a document as a new file, while Place lets you stick an image, text file or other materials into an existing document as a new layer. InDesign is a robust layout tool for fliers, ads, magazines, etc. Photoshop lets you edit images to add effects, combine multiple images together, perfect a photograph, etc. Illustrator offers many tools to create designs from scratch. If you need to learn more about these three Adobe CS programs, check out our blog post “The ABCs of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.” When you use all of these Adobe programs together, you’re really firing on all cylinders. Adobe CS programs are highly compatible with each other, so you can mix-and-match any number of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign files across the programs. As a basic exercise, we created a document in InDesign, and we will be using the Place tool to import an image from Photoshop. Frame Your Layout To get things started, we created some basic text to work with in our document. We did this by selecting the Text tool and creating a text box to write in. You can play with the text to stylize it and add effect if you wish. Now that we have some text, it’s time to get our image from Photoshop. Prepare to Place For our image, we picked something simple: an image of Spider-Man with a white background. Tip: When selecting an image to place in InDesign, keep in mind that the background color of your Photoshop image will carry over to the InDesign document. To save yourself grief, you should give any files you will place in InDesign a transparent background. If you have a specific idea for what you want the background of your final design to look like, you can create that background as a separate file (in Photoshop or another CS program) and use the Place tool for that as well.   When you’ve finished touching up your image in Photoshop, simply save the file (we recommend saving it to a location that can be found easily, such as your Desktop). If you need help getting started on enhancing your Photoshop image, read our “Cooking Up Basic Photoshop Designs” Trading Places Now that you have a basic layer with text in InDesign and a Photoshop image ready, it’s time to “drop” the Photoshop file into InDesign. (If you need help with layers, read our Introduction to Layers blog). Create a new layer in the Layers panel. Click on File from the main toolbar and find the Place tool. After opening Place, select your Photoshop file. Now, a miniature version of your Photoshop image will appear where your mouse was. This happens so you can customize the placement and size of your image. Put your mouse in a good starting point for where you want the image to rest and click-drag until your image is the appropriate size. The proportions of your image will stay intact, so don’t worry about stretching or shrinking your image. Now that your image is in a decent spot, you can tweak its placement. A translucent “eye” or circle will appear in the middle of your newly placed image. (If you don’t see the eye, select the move tool from the Tool Palette and click on the image.)   By clicking on the eye...

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