Monday, June 7, 2010

Recap/Notes: AIGA Pgh Adobe CS5 Workshop

Recapping the CS5 Workshop been on my list for a while. Originally, I had big dreams of making this a multi-post series and finding video tutorials to tie to each of the suite feature. Since it's been almost a month now, I figured it would be better just to get the notes out there.

The workshop was a jaw-dropping frenzy (not unlike past workshops) and Chris Converse did a fantastic job presenting again for the 4th consecutive year of this AIGA/Adobe speaking partnership. He has a way of making the clear connection between feature and application in everyday life -- making you wonder how you ever survived before this newest version and/or kicking yourself for the hours wasted in the past making a work-around for yourself to achieve the same result that now often one click provides.

A few of the AIGA folks took Chris out to dinner the evening before the workshop. It was my first time to Round Corner Cantina (amazing tacos) and it was the perfect atmosphere to chat it up about past/current events (work, life, interests and industry news) and hypothesizing what the future holds. Chris is very cool, talented and intelligent yet down-to-earth and approachable personally as well as professionally. To further give Chris Converse props:
So, as I mentioned, the workshop was one 'what the what?' moment of awe after another. I've broken my notes down by program and truncated them to their essence with the intent that if you're interested in learning more, you at least have the correct tool/technique name to google for your research.

Below is the first post outlining Illustrator and Photoshop miracles. Subsequent posts will cover the other suite programs. Without further ado... enjoy, my fellow design nerds:)

Illustrator CS5
  • Perspective Grid: used to align multiple objects in space and make them relationally correct.
    (working the registration/check, I missed most of this part of the presentation. It looks amazing and it's a reminder for myself to go back out there and investigate further)

  • Width tool: a completely new way to build shapes w/simple and easy modifications; an alternative to using pathfinder to combine multiple shapes together; change the width of a stroke along node points; apply to anything you work on; hold Option and you can change the width on only one side of any object.

  • Multiple Artboards (from CS4, some updates): align artboards (side by side); particularly important for Flash Catalyst workflow; artwork in AI will be translated into Catalyst.

  • Bristle Brush: a new way to paint on sceen... brushes behave like media files, but in vector (still editable); ‘painting’ in illustrator, then apply effects; uses the same idea as the width tool and if using stylis will pick up on thicknesses associated with pressure applied; similar feature/tool inside Photoshop (using pixels).
  • Brush pallet: preset brushes with modifiable settings (opacity, sizes, textures, application of stroke).

  • Stroke Enhancements: (amazing and finally?!) ability to align/distrubute dashed lines to correspond with corner points... star for example; provides a consistent/predictable pattern all around object.

  • Arrowhead Improvements: align w/end point and direction of node (effects on top of vector shapes). Flexibility to do the old way as well when needed to stay at very specific lengths. (Options, hip-hip hooray!)
  • Varying Strokes: apply new line styles to one line from beginning to end points; increase decrease stroke = increase in proportion; can create your own caligraphy type; can save your own new settings/alternations as a preset = proportionally apply transformation to any new object/line (fun new happy accidents will abound).

Photoshop CS5
  • Scrubby Zoom (guesture keypad)

  • Selection Improvements: intent is to make transformations as fast as possible; quickly mask/select; before Option-selecting a mask caused rough edges which caused you to attempt to fake it; now, Refined Edge Window will allow you to add precision, set parameters and allow photoshop to do the work for you.

    • Edge Detection - smart radius adjustments
    • Show the Radius - shows you what photoshop changed for you
    • Decontaminate Colors - sample colors around area to ‘heal’ the area (adjust transparency based on background colors). Ex. fills in natural color highlight on people based on new background color you place it on?!

  • Quick Selection Tool (from CS3): click and drag to expland; Option + drag = subtract from selection. Refine edge: work with selection as live or as channel or path (very cool and very fast; captures hair strands?!)

  • Content Aware Fill (Chris calls it “Pure Voodoo”): make a selection; photoshop goes in and samples, retouchs and smartly applies new content to fill in selection; works better when you select beyond/outside what you want to edit-out.
    • Edit > Fill (Content Aware Fill, pull-down); click OK
    • Photoshop will remove the ‘man’ from the pic.
    • My response (after picking up jaw): “I hope Photoshop never becomes self-aware!”

  • Mixer Brush Tool (Bristle-Brush concept from AI): manipulate pixels as if you were working on canvas w/paint; adjust presets (wet, load, mix, flow); creates the effect that you are ‘pushing’ paint around/smear around... looks like smudge/posterization combo.
    • Pixel push to create watercolor painting... started from a photo.
    • Create a custom look on each piece -- apply to multiple photos; pressure sensative as well w/stylus.

  • Puppet Tool (came out of After Effects CS3): manipulate transparencies/layers
    • Edit > Puppet Warp
    • Gradient mess applied to object on layer or layer mask only; cursor icon becomes push pin; click to add pushpins to add a rotation point, movement or any manipulation. Ex: elephant trunk can easily be moved from being straight to rolled up to its mouth (flawlessly); photoshop uses healing capability to adjust for the new artwork edges. 
    • My reaction: Ridiculously quick photo manipulation... like the way that non-designers naively think that photoshop magically works; now it does possess the magic.

  • Repouss√© (3D Menu)
    • History: CS3 - 3D Capabilities; google sketch up file manip; CS4 - Manipulate camera and record info in animation panel = 3D Animation
    • CS5 - Create your own 3D object from anything in PS
      • Dialogue Box (Presets in center; Tools on left; Materials on right; Extrusion Info; Inflate; Scene Settings; Internal Constraints)
      • Click and drag object on canvas in 3D space in real time w/dialog box open. Then go into dialog box to refine/modify the effect.
      • Me: “3D softwear capabilities that we would use as GD are now at our disposal and simple to use (as opposed to full 3D software challenges).
    • Can save anything you do as a new preset for multiple applications; didn’t actually change the object, just the effect; PS canvas is not 3D aware, so you can make multiple objects w/diff 3D axis/effects; move/control the camera or object (xyz axis)
    • Live 3D Object - modify any of the textures/features at any time after you click okay; manipulate object or camera on the canvas with Tool pallet (move object, move camera)
    • Animation Timeline: manipulate repousse across time; manipulate video (frame-by-frame) in PS (since CS3); now you can puppet warp and repouss√© in real time across time; edit (position, opacity, style, 3D obj pos; 3D cam pos; 3D render set; 3D cross section).

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