Adobe Acrobat: Stevo’s Last Workshop

31/03/2014 § Leave a comment

Today was the last workshop we will have with Steve, which is a shame as he is a really good teacher!

We’re looking at Adobe Acrobat and the importance of it. Adobe states that “Acrobat is the most important program of the Adobe suite“. If you’re looking to be a certified print specialist, you need to pass an Acrobat exam, and another in either one of Illustrator, Photoshop, or Illustrator.

  • Go to Lynda.com and watch the Acrobat 10 Essential video series – all 502 minutes of it! – and by the end of it, you should have a full working knowledge on the software.

The Workshop

Open Acrobat Pro, click on the ‘Tools’ menu. The most important tab is missing, Print Production, and Acrobat hides it by default. To view it, click the top right drop down and tick ‘Print Production’. Acrobat distiller (completely different to Acrobat Pro) will convert a postscript file (a very cut down version of a PDF – a PDF is more advanced).

  • We were advised to get into the habit of saving our documents as PDFs and printing from Acrobat instead of Photoshop etc. This means that if we have any trouble with colouring during the printing process, it can be altered directly from Acrobat.

Acrobat allows us to troubleshoot separations (of colour like CMYK) amongst other problems.
Output preview’ > make sure that the (colour) separations we choose for our documents are colours we wish to use, i.e make sure we don’t have any spot colours selected that we don’t want, as this can become very costly. To convert any back from the pantone spot colours un-tick the box. Also remember to make sure we’re printing in the correct output such as CMYK or RGB, making sure that all the colours are either or – not a mixture.

  • A PDF is a soft proof – something on the screen and a hard proof is the physical copy.

Object Inspector’ preview by default is blank but by clicking on objects on the file with the crosshair cursor it will tell you if it’s protected or if there’s a problem, like a missing typeface for example. This tool also gives the resolution, pixels, size, colour space etc.

Simulation Profile’ is what the print material will be; use the U.S Standard Web Offset Press if I don’t know what the print profile is.

Preflight

This is the most important dialogue box! Clicking the drop down ‘Show all’ will display other options to filter results:
Online publishing’ will optimise the print for online publishing.
With this option, we want to fix the accidental spot problem > select the ‘PDF fixups’ tag, which will drop down > select ‘Convert to CMYK only (swop)’, converting the spot colour to a process colour > click on this option and press ‘Analyze and fix’ at the bottom right > saving it as a new file. When looking at the ‘Output preview’ now, the spot colour should no longer be present.
The ‘Flatten transparency’ fix option is important. Blending modes can cause a lot of problems, with little bounding boxes present, so run this fix up option to fix it. Any errors with my document, always go on Acrobat and check on ‘Output preview’ & ’Preflight’ to rectify any issues.

Convert Colours

Clients may need to drop the price for various reasons, usually happening at the awkward stage of printing, meaning you’d usually have to go back and alter the file(s) to comply with the new budget. However, there are other ways such as ‘pre-print’. To set up criteria that converts all images to greyscale > under matching criteria > Colour type dropbox ‘Image’ >
Under ‘Conversion attributes’ Convert to profile > conversion profile drop down ‘Grey Gamma 1.8′ (1.8 being a lighter and white, and 2.2 being darker)

Add Printer Marks

Basically self explanatory.

Fix Hairlines

Hairlines are straight lines in documents, such as borders. These hairline strokes can be a problem with print, with inconsistency of these lines being present. This can occur when you scale things up or down, you increase/decrease the scale AND the stroke.

  • If anything foes wrong, PDF my document and run Acrobat.
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Cinema 4D – Keyframes

26/03/2014 § Leave a comment

Today in Jays Cinema 4D workshop we looked at using keyframes with shapes. We created 3 basic 3D shapes (cube, cone and sphere) and coloured them accordingly – we learnt this in a previous tutorial. After these had been made we positioned them so that they weren’t too close and could be easily animated.

The next step was using keyframes. I know quite a lot about keyframes within AfterEffects after using it religiously in a previous project. With understanding how they work already, it was quite easy to follow and understand the process in C4D. The first step was to move the cube – we were to make it rise and fall beneath the visible surface. Within the toolbar to our right were the co-ordinate boxes for each shape and to make it move a particular direction, you simply adjusted the figures OR you can click on the shape itself and use the easy to use arrows provided. Creating the keyframes was straight forward too.

Using my timeline (ours was set to 100 frames) I positioned my timeline cursor at 0 and pressed the correct axis in the right menu (where the co-ordinates are) whilst holding CMD on my keyboard – this should have made the circle RED and made a keyframe on your timeline. After you’ve moved your timeline cursor to where you would like the animation to stop and adjusted your shape into the last position you want it in, hold CMD and press the axis button again – this time it will be outlined in ORANGE indicating the shape has moved and will have created a second keyframe. Now if you play your animation your shape will move from the first keyframe to the second keyframe. Continue with your other 2 shapes to finish off your animation. 

(I’m yet to finish the workshop video therefor don’t yet have screenshots of my progress)

 

InDesign: Preparing A Book For Printing

26/03/2014 § Leave a comment

This tutorial informed us on how to set up an InDesign document for different printing methods, which can be useful if you plan to impress a design agency with professional looking print based materials.

We opened up an A4 InDesign document. We selected 4 random images off the internet and laid them out in the document one below the other. If you were professionally getting this printed, you would use an offset litho printer where each process requires a metal plate (for each different colour, CYMK process). After going into Window > Output > Separator, we created a new layer above images called ‘text’. We typed out “100% Yellow”, “100% Magenta” etc for each colour in the CYMK process. We turned on swatches and looked at the default swatches.With these, we recoloured the text to the exact colours.

If you are wanting to print in metallic, you would look through the pantone books and look up the code (as a Graphic Designer you would never do it based on screen). I created a new colour swatch and changed the process spot – these spot colours are pre-mixed. We looked up the pantone metallic coat under “Colour Mode”, press okay and then a swatch appears and you will have 5 separations, now including the metallic colour.

Spot UV on Business Cards

This is the same process for embossing, debossing or die cutting (punching text out of paper), but you need to ask the printer just to make sure you are doing it right. To do this we created a new layer and called it ‘varnish’. This can be any spot colour (because it’s clear) as long as it’s a specified spot colour. We chose an image we wanted to stand out and created a rectangle which is a varnish colour – as long as printer knows the image is there, the colour will not print.

To create an instruction layer, take off the print layer and it appears metallic in the layers palette – then as soon as you turn the separations on, it will disappear because it is not classed as a proper layer. To export, go to File > Print > Postscript File and set the colour mode t0 CYMK. A post script file is like a very basic pdf file. If you give that to a printer, you will save a lot of money – they can transfer it directly to the printing plates. Ask them how they want to get the submitted separations before committing to a print job.

Cinema 4D – Materials & Lights

20/03/2014 § Leave a comment

screen-shot-2014-03-31-at-14-34-09

The first step was to click on the ‘Enviornent‘ button on the top bar and then click on the floor. The environmental flooring is rendered to go on to infinity.

  1. The first step was to create an environment to place the object in.
  2. Using the ‘Environmental Objects‘ button on the top bar of the viewpoint.
  3. Add a floor and background.
  4. Go to the materials bar at the bottom and drag the material onto both.
  5. We added a device to the floor options by selecting: floor, tags, cinema 4d tags, compositing and then turning on the compositing background to allow light to travel through the floor and see the background.
  6. By turning on this setting it allows the floor to act transparent so once an object is placed into the environment you are able to capture the shadows.

screen-shot-2014-03-31-at-14-34-33

screen-shot-2014-03-31-at-14-34-56

Finally, change the density of the shadow if needed to make it less harsh and change the colour of the shadow.

InDesign Workshop: Interactive PDF

15/03/2014 § Leave a comment

This week George took us through the basics of setting up and using an interactive PDF through InDesign CS6. We created 4 A4 landscape pages on InDesign and using the A-Master page tool we set them up with an image of Spiderman and a corresponding background. Going back to the first page (off of A-Master) we then inserted buttons to link the pages together – you can do this by changing your document settings to ‘Interactive for PDF‘. The tools for changing colour and settings of the buttons are all found under the ‘button’ tool bar option (which can be found in the Window drop down bar at the top if it’s not already visible) This is something i’ve done before so this workshop mainly acted as a recap for me.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 18.12.39

 

On the rest of the 3 pages we inserted 3 more images and 3 chunks of text (sample text), save it and then export as a PDF. It’s really as simple as that!

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 18.17.43

Adobe Dreamweaver: Week Three

28/02/2014 § Leave a comment

Today was the final session on the basic site layout we’ve been working on.

We covered how to create a sidebar and change the colours of the links, as well as entering text into the container, changing the font of our text and styling our header. We also learnt how to make text bold and italic which i’ve used before so this was quite easy.

These Dreamweaver tutorials have been extremely helpful in developing my skills. I had never opened the software before and had always been a little confused by all the writing and coding. In fact, i’d go as far as saying it scared me! Now, after 3 sessions I feel a little more comfortable with the software, I have a little more knowledge of how to work my way around the software and now understand how much hard work and time goes into such a basic website layout.

Cinema 4D: Objects & Splines

17/02/2014 § Leave a comment

Today in Jay’s class we didn’t actually have to produce anything however, I thought it would be best if I posted what I learnt from his tutorial video. As we covered some basic steps last week and not all of us grasped the concept, he recapped a little but then continued taking it further.

Objects

  1. We first created a 3D square to work with – arrows appear to help you move and manipulate your shape but it is also possible to adjust these manually from the right hand side panel.
  2. To make it easier on ourselves we made the segments visible. This helps as we can see how the object is changing and where things might need altering.
  3. He then shows us how to fillet an object. Filleting means replacing the sharp shape edges with soft round ones – it helps reflect the light and make it appear more dimensional.
  4. Next we created a sphere next to the square and learnt that the more segments the circle has, the smoother the sphere appears.

Splines

  1. Shapes – you can create shapes on different planes and adjust the properties easily.
  2. Text Objects – the font can be adjusted just like it can in Photoshop: the kerning, tracking, height, width etc.
  3. Freehand Splines – create a bezier line but be careful when adjusting it’s properties in just one view pane.

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