Color themes in Creative Cloud

Years ago, Adobe introduced Kuler, a tool for selecting colors and groups of colors. I always enjoyed playing with it, although I rarely exported the palette I created and imported it into an Adobe app.

Kuler is now Color CC and is still available as an online tool. But Color CC is incorporated throughout Creative Cloud as Adobe Color Themes:

  • InDesign: Create themes with InDesign with the Adobe Color Theme palette.
  • Photoshop: Open the palette by going to Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Theme.
  • Illustrator: You can't create new palettes, but you can access color palettes that you've saved to your cloud account. There is a link to the online tool from the Adobe Color Theme palette.
  • Capture CC: A mobile app that let's you create color palettes on the go and share them with your other CC apps. Building a color palette from a picture is actually really cool. 

Integrating Color CC throughout the ecosystem is just another way Adobe is merging their online tools, applications and cloud experiences. They are slowly adding more and more value to the subscription.

Every Wednesday, I post a quick tip on an Adobe app.

The Color Theme palette in Indesign CC 2015

The Color Theme palette in Indesign CC 2015

* The Capture CC app replaces the older Color CC app and includes more than just color features. But we'll save that for another tip.

Checking out the library

Adobe added a new* library feature across all of Creative Cloud. It’s easy to use and I think it will become a really integral part of design workflow in the Adobe world.

A library of random Sketchbook B assets.

A library of random Sketchbook B assets.

At first, the library appears to be just another palette in the vast forest of palettes. But it's easy to add images, color palettes, style sheets and more to the new library via drag and drop or by clicking the icons at the bottom of the palette.

Library assets are then accessible from most Adobe desktop and mobile apps.** Drag a logo into your library in Illustrator... place it in InDesign or Photoshop.

It's also an integral part of Adobe's vision for how mobile devices fit into the design environment – an easy way to share assets between different types of devices. For example, Adobe Comp CC, a mobile layout app, uses your library to pull appropriate graphics, stylesheets and color palettes, on your phone or tablet. Even if those graphics were created in InDesign or Illustrator.

Try it out. You might find that it's a useful feature to have if you have a client library that you need to share between apps or designers.

Every Wednesday, I publish a quick tip for an Adobe app.

* I remember a similar feature in Quark Xpress years ago. But the benefit of the new library is how you can access it from any Adobe app.

** It looks like other, non-Adobe apps can access the library, too. But I don't think anyone supports it yet.

Fixing punctuation in Illustrator

For whatever reason, I occasionally end up with punctuation issues in Adobe Illustrator. Thankfully, there is a quick – and powerful – way to correct common typographic issues across an entire document in Illustrator. Simply go to Type > Smart Punctuation...

Choose the issues you need to fix and zap all those annoying dumb quotes, double spaces after a period and awkward dashes with a single click.

Every Wednesday, I post a tip for an Adobe app.

Selective Select

I've been working on a project this week that has a bunch of layered objects.  And it reminded me of today's tip, which I do instinctively, but that not everyone knows.

In InDesign and Illustrator, hold down the command key when you select objects that are stacked. Each time you click, it will cycle through the objects underneath that click point. 

For example, you have a stack of three objects. You command-click on the stack. The first click selects the top object. The second click selects the middle object. The third click selects the bottom object. The fourth object selects the top object again and the cycle continues. (Bonus tip: If you command-option-click, it reverses the cycle order.)

It's really helpful when you have a complicated document.

Every Wednesday, I post a quick tip for an Adobe app.

Reshape a path quickly in Illustrator

Here is my first Wednesday Quick Tip for Adobe Illustrator. Using the pencil tool, you can quickly reshape any path. Select the object that you want to edit. Then using the pencil tool, draw a new shape for the path. You MUST start drawing on (or very close to) the original path AND finish on the path.

Below is an example. I took a normal square and using the pencil tool, reshaped it into some half-blob thing.

Using the pencil tool, reshape an existing path.

Using the pencil tool, reshape an existing path.

If you are having issues with this tip, make sure that your path was selected before you started to redraw the path and make sure that you start and finish redrawing on or very close to the path.

While the example is somewhat extreme, it's a very handy tip for polishing shapes or cleaning up rough edges.

Every Wednesday I post a quick tip for an Adobe app. You can see them all on my Quick Tips page.

Why would anyone use the "Touch Type Tool?"

A screenshot of the new "Touch Type Tool" in action. I made the letter T bigger and changed it's horizontal scale.

A screenshot of the new "Touch Type Tool" in action. I made the letter T bigger and changed it's horizontal scale.

I was playing around in Adobe Illustrator CC and came across a giant button labeled "Touch Type Tool" at the top of the character palette.

Using this tool you can easily select a character from a line of text and change it's size, horizontal and vertical scale and location in relation to the rest of the text. And you can make different changes to every single letter. I suppose the benefit is that you can still edit the text, but I'm having a very hard time figuring out when you should use it. Maybe someone needs to make fancy drop caps that are stretched and skewed. I'm guessing this is one of those features that looks good in a demo, but will be poorly used by inexperienced designers everywhere.

It's also very poorly named. To me, "touch typing" is what I was taught in keyboarding class in high school. At least you can hide the giant button with the "Show Touch Type Tool" option in the flyout menu. 

In general, I really like Creative Cloud and there are some genuinely useful new features. I'll try to pull together a more detailed post with some of my favorite new features. But don't expect to see "Touch Type Tool" on that list.


New Flare Preset: Overcast

I still love the Iconfactory’s Flare app for the Mac. I’ve actually gotten to use it on some print projects lately with great results. Sure, with a little effort, I could probably replicate the effect in Photoshop, but Flare’s a lot more fun and pretty much effortless.

I’ve posted a new preset: Overcast. It will make a photo look dramatically overcast by desaturating it and adding a vignette and rough-edged border.

My new favorite technique with Flare is to apply it to art created in Illustrator. Adds a whole bunch of texture and character. The design below is a sample of my new Raceday font. On the left, the JPG exported from Illustrator. On the right, processed by Flare with my Overcast setting. Big difference.