Updates from Adobe – a Fun New Adobe App

Adobe released a number of new apps and features today at the MAX convention. There are some new features in Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and Premiere Pro CC. But the ones I found most interesting were the changes to Muse CC, Dreamweaver CC, and the new free Apps for iOS.

Muse CC

Muse finally has secure FTP support which I find very important. In fact some of the servers I work on don’t allow any connection other than secure FTP – which meant until now I couldn’t use Muse for them.
It also now has Find and Replace. This is a critical feature for web editors as when you’re working on a large site it can be difficult to know you’ve found all the instances you need to change if you have to do it by hand. For one site I worked on, we had to provide discounts to customers because one page listed the price from the previous year, and we didn’t catch it when we updated the site with the new price.
Another great new feature of Muse CC is the SVG import. Now you can create your images as vector graphics and import them directly into your web page. This is great for doing prototyping in Illustrator and then moving directly to the website. SVG images give you so many options beyond the standard web images.

Dreamweaver CC

Dreamweaver CC doesn’t have a lot of updates this time, but there are a few that are interesting. It has 64-bit support, plus they updated Live View. You can now edit while in Live View – which is a huge improvement. I hardly ever leave Live View now. I love that you can drag and drop images into Live View—so much easier to do! There are also a bunch of new starter templates you can use to create different kinds of pages including Responsive Web Designs.

Mobile Apps

But beyond Dreamweaver and Muse, Adobe now offers a bunch of mobile apps that all connect with your Creative Cloud account to allow you access to your creations from any device. There are three new apps in this release:

  • Adobe Premiere Clip
  • Brush CC
  • Shape CC

The one I’m most interested in is Brush CC.

Brush CC

Brush is a new app that will help you create your own custom brushes right on your iPad or iPhone. You start by creating a line or shape or whatever you want as a brush. Then you can modify it so that it displays exactly as you want it to. You can adjust things like:

  • display as a ribbon, or just a scattering of marks
  • color or black and white
  • have it repeat linearly, mirrored, or stretch to fit the space
  • crop it to make it a seamless brush or your own dotted line
  • add transparency
  • have the ends fade in and out or taper

My first simple brushThere are endless ways to create your brushes.

Then, once you’ve created your brush, you can save it to your Creative Cloud library and use it in Photoshop CC and other connected applications. I can see myself spending a lot of time in this app.

Download Brush CC from iTunes

Shape CC

my brushes and shapesThis is another new app that looks like it could be a lot of fun. However in my first attempt at using it, I found it fairly difficult. There is no image stabilization, so I found it difficult to focus on just the item I wanted. It also took me a while to figure out how to edit my shapes, and when the vectors were too connected, it was difficult to get just the lines I wanted and none that I didn’t. However, I then imported my shape into Illustrator without an issue.

There are no pre-defined shapes in Shape CC but it is reasonably easy to use other than the above concerns, I created two new shapes very quickly.

Download Shape CC from iTunes

Type on Screen – Book Review

Buy Now:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

My Review

When I was offered the boo Type on Screen (edited by Ellen Lupton) to review I jumped at the chance. This is a follow-up to the book Thinking with Type (Buy on Amazon) which is an excellent primer on using type visually. So when I saw that she was editing a book on type for the screen, I was really excited. And this book does not disappoint.

The first chapter is by Christopher Clark. He provides a quick overview of web fonts and how they have changed over the years. But this chapter is more than a history of type online. In fact if that’s all it were I would have skimmed it or ignored it. No, this chapter teaches you how screens render type, details of type taxonomy and anatomy, and best of all, it gives you a survey of 14 of the best fonts for online use: five sans-serif, four serif, and five slab serif fonts. You will see all these fonts rated by legibility, readability, flexibility, showmanship, classiness, and amphibiousness (how well does it work on screen as well as print and on PCs as well as Macs).

And that’s just part of the first chapter!

Chapter two (by Young Sun Compton) starts looking at what you can do with the fonts you’ve chosen to use. This is not a chapter on how to use web fonts. You can learn about the mechanics to do that in chapter 11 (Hour 11: Fonts and Typography in HTML5) of my HTML5 book (Buy on Amazon). Instead, in this chapter you will learn about the design and layout of your screens so that you can place your type in ways that are most readable and legible for your customers. This chapter covers: grid systems, responsive typography, columns, leading, and even how to define a visual hierarchy using text. It even has details on specific HTML tags for type along with special characters you can use to keep your type effective.

Chapter three (also by Young Sun Compton) is where it gets interesting. This chapter acknowledges the fact that many web designers want to forget—type online is more than just web pages. There are now ebooks that read and display HTML as well as other devices. In many ways the digital landscape now is as wide open with possibilities as it was when I started writing about HTML and web design in 1997. And it’s great to see a book take that into account. One thing that I really like about this chapter is the reminder that not only do people consume digital content, but software programs and digital devices do too. And if those devices can’t read your type, then you’re missing out on an audience.

Chapter four, by Javier Lopez and Alice Hom, is all about type and interface. This chapter seemed dry at first, but as I dove deeper I realized how exciting it really is. It goes into wireframes, interaction elements, and even type as navigation. I love that it acknowledges that the vocabulary surrounding type is expanding as we use new and different devices and approaches to visual design and interactivity. There are also discussions of fun things in this chapter like drop shadows, gradients, and making your text disappear and reappear. One part I really like are the examples for visualizing data. Infographics are really fun to make and read these days and often they are primarily type, so knowing how to display that data well visually with your type is critical.

Chapters five and six go into the same amount of detail around type used in logos and icons and in animation and code. What I especially like about these chapters are the case studies that show you exactly what they mean and make it easy to visualize what you should do with your own logos, icons, and animations.

The Book Isn’t Perfect

Because this book is an edited collection of articles, sometimes the flow was a bit choppy between sections. It might have felt more cohesive if only one person had written it, but I think ultimately having the multiple authors helped the book. It made it more authoritative because it is difficult for one person to know everything there is to know about some of these complicated subjects.

My other issue was that while the title is Type on Screen there was very little discussion of how type on screen is different from type on the printed page. Most of us can make out the differences, but for design purposes it helps to know so that you don’t do something on a screen that works better in print and vice versa.

Finally, there is not a lot of actual code in the book. As I mentioned, chapter two discusses web fonts, but there is no explanation of how to do it using HTML or CSS. Since this book is a guide for design, not a how-to instruction manual, this didn’t bother me. But if you’re looking for the nuts and bolts of how to use and manipulate typography on screens, this is not the book for you.