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After Effects Can Help Build Better Business Graphics

As our visual culture continues to grow and video content becomes more important to your business’ sales and marketing efforts, you should become familiar with software tools to help your business grow. Adobe Creative Suite has become well known for its photo editing and vector graphic applications over the past decade or so, including Photoshop and Illustrator. Today, Adobe After Effects has emerged as an industry leader for creating motion graphics. And for good reason. According to Adobe.com, After Effects allows you to “deliver cinematic visual effects and sophisticated motion graphics using the industry standard for animation and compositing that offers you complete creative control while delivering unparalleled performance.” In other words, you can now create the same sleek, modern video designs that you often see in professional commercials at your home or office computer. As with any software program, there are some preferred practices when using After Effects that can help you be more successful. First, you should always remember that After Effects is intended for short video sequences and animated text graphics. Typically, this means less than five minutes of video. After Effects helps you create the visual 2D and 3D graphics, but be sure to use the proper tool to put your whole video together. Once you have all of your pieces ready, from After Effects and video clips, I would suggest that you use a video editing software such as Premiere Pro to put your whole project together. In addition, while you could incorporate audio into your video sequence within After Effects, you might want to look for an audio tool such as Audacity to do a better job and allow you more control. In After Effects, there are more than 200 presets and effects you’ll want to dive in to. The more experience and knowledge you can gain on the built-in features, the better you will be able to create professional sequences. Learning After Effects can be difficult to start, but I promise that you’ll enjoy the results of a little bit of hard work. As the visual culture continues to grow and more video content becomes necessary for your business, you should consider After Effects as a good tool to keep you ahead of competitors. [Originally posted in the Coloradoan on...

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The ABCs of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

Adobe’s Creative Suite (CS) products have been around a long time – the first commercial CS program, Illustrator 88 (logo above), launched in 1986. Technology has come a long way since rat-tails, cassette tapes, and New Kids on the Block were in style. Like the New Kids, Adobe CS has grown with the times. Today, there are over 15 CS programs, offering tools for digital media, print, video, multimedia and more to create anything from basic graphic designs to the avant-garde. Most people use two or three CS programs, and amongst all of the programs, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are the most popular. Because CS software is used by graphic designers, artists, photographers and other creative professionals, some may be intimidated or hesitate to take a crack at using CS software. But, have no fear. While Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign have deep functionalities that could take months, years or a lifetime to learn (not joking), even the basic functions of these programs can yield amazing results. Before embarking on your Adobe CS voyage, it is important to know what Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are built for and the differences between the three programs. Taking a moment to read through the information below could save you from drowning in an ocean of random information floating around the web. If you have a question after reading this, please feel free to leave a note for us in the comment box at the end of this post. Photoshop In the simplest of terms, Adobe Photoshop is all about manipulating digital images however a user wants to. Users can enhance a singular image or integrate multiple images into a single document to create a variety of media ranging from artwork to photo albums to web media to video. If you have seen something that looks too cool to be real, you can probably thank Photoshop for it. As you can imagine, there are several versions of Photoshop to suit the needs of a massive, diverse user base. Let’s meet the Photoshop family: The most basic software of the bunch, Photoshop Elements is a slimmed-down version of Photoshop best suited for organizing and editing photographs on a basic, casual level. This software has automated tools that instantly add effects to your materials and tools for manual enhancements. Photoshop Premiere Elements brings video into the fold, and also adds additional effects for photographs. User friendly and relatively inexpensive compared to other Adobe products, Elements is great for those who want a Photoshop-lite experience. At the heart of it all is the self-titled Photoshop software. Photoshop is all about enhancing and combining digital materials (photos, graphics, etc) to make one stunning design. It is not suited for creating designs from scratch, but Photoshop tools can technically be used for this as well. Photoshop can be used for a wide variety of media, including web graphics, animation, illustrations, photographs, print design, typography, illustration, video and general image editing. For 3D compositions, Photoshop Extended is your best bet. Because of its wide range of functionality, it is likely that this software would be the best starting point for aspiring graphic designers. Photoshop Lightroom offers a complex toolkit ideal for editing digital photographs. Even though Lightroom contains advanced functions, this software is recommended for professional and amateur photographers alike. When your images are ready, Lightroom’s photo book options allows you to package images in creative ways, giving your work another coat of polish. Photoshop is an amazing tool, but there are limitations. For instance, Photoshop should be used mainly for content that won’t be resized. This is because...

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