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Archive for the ‘InDesign’ Category

Creative Suite (5.5) (6) (Enter version number here)

Posted on: March 26th, 2011 by alemieux

So recently Adobe announced at the end of their 1st quarter, that the next version of the Creative Suite will be rolled out in April (April 11) ref: InDesing Secrets. Of course, they are being tight-lipped about it and no one’s certain if this will be a minimal upgrade or something more substantial, since it doesn’t fall into line with their normal production cycle (ref: InDesign Secrets).

CS?

CS What?

PC magazine recently ran an article about it in January talking about:

…a new tool, dubbed Helium, that will enable designers to create content using HTML5 and CSS3

– emphasis added.

Seems odd that they would have to add a tool for HTML5 and CSS3 when Dreamweaver already does all of that. I’m sure that’s not what they are talking about though. Since HTML5 came out, there really isn’t a good toolset out there for working with the Canvas object or to create CSS3-based animations with a tool, other than just hand coding it (correct me if I’m wrong).

I’m pretty happy with CS5, but it’s still buggy and I do experience limited, yet frustrating, crashes and odd behaviors. At the most, we can hope for more bug fixes mixed in with some extra web trickery in all of the applications. I’m personally hoping for better font performance in Flash. Since Adobe prides itself on it’s own font technologies and has a good footing with them in Illustrator and InDesign, it’s so different in Flash. The inclusion of TLF (Text Layout Framework) in CS5 was supposed to be the answer to so many issues, but it falls short when it comes to actually using it with Actionscript.

I’d also love to see improvements in the 3D filter in Illustrator. There’s so much potential to really boost that part of the application to develop rich product renderings and such, but the interface is pretty limited. Live Trace, while a good tool for refined images, really needs an overhaul too.

I’m sure on the InDesign side, we’ll see more of the features that Quark has been rolling into it’s latest release, with advanced ways to publish to portable devices of various kinds.

Of course, we’ll probably have to shell out a few hundred dollars more and it will probably come in different packages, but it’s something to look forward to. What are you hoping for?

InDesign CS5 > InDesign CS4

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by alemieux

In an earlier post, I mentioned ways in which you could save an InDesign CS4 file down to CS3. There is no option to save down to CS4 from CS5, but you can Export your file to the IDML format.

An IDML file is an XML format (InDesign Markup Language) and the files in it describe the InDesign file it came from. You can use it to make your InDesign CS5 files backward compatible. This is what happens when you export to the IDML format:

When you export a document as IDML, InDesign creates a Zip archive containing multiple XML files.

The InDesign document is split into separate files representing different aspects of an InDesign document so that you can more easily identify and perform operations on the objects and properties you need. Document resources, spreads (page geometries), and stories are stored in different XML files within the zipped package.

INX, the previous backward compatibility solution, still exists and can be used in older versions of InDesign, but IDML is what you should use moving forward.

By the way, is anyone still using InDesign CS2 out there?

Working with PSD files in Quark/InDesign

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by alemieux

Both Quark and InDesign can import native PSD files. But which one is better at supporting PSD features? Find out at usingindesign.blogspot.com.

Working with PSD files in Quark/InDesign

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by alemieux

Quark heralds their PSD Import options as

“the best integration with Photoshop’s PSD file format of any layout tool available today.”

Yes, you read that right. This appears in a free PDF on their website, QuarkXPress 8, Xperience Design. So, I thought I’d test the waters and it turns out that the statement is pretty accurate.

There are limitations to what Quark’s PSD import feature can handle so in the help files, there’s a section on preparing PSD files. The key thing is, don’t use any layer styles. If you do, you’ll get the following warning:

Quark will effectively flatten the file and you won’t have access to the layers if you include any effects. You can get around this by converting your effects into layers. Quark also recommends converting Shape layers to Smart Objects for maximum compatibility.

So what can you do with PSD files, once they are imported into Quark? You can turn layer visibility on and off and change the blending mode and opacity.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the order of the layers, add layer masks, or effects to them. However, you can view and work with Channels and Paths that are saved in the PSD file. For example, you might have a Spot Color channel in a file. Let’s say that you decide you want to change the spot color. You don’t have to go back to Photoshop to do that, just double click on the Spot Color channel and choose another color in the palette.

Any changes you make to the PSD file outside of Quark will be indicated by a Red circle in the lower right-hand corner of the PSD Import palette. You won’t need to go to the Usage dialog to update the file, just double click on the red circle.

InDesign has a feature called Object Layer Options for placed PSD files. There’s two things you can do with this, turn layer visibility on and off and choose a Layer Comp, if they are in the file. Here, again, you can’t change the order of the layers but more so, you can’t change the opacity or blending modes on the fly. You can’t get to the Channels or Paths, but InDesign does handle them. In the case of that Spot Channel, the color is added to the Swatches panel and Paths can be used in the Text Wrap panel.

So, as you can see, Quark does have a little bit of a leg up here on the PSD thing, with potentially less trips back to Photoshop for edits. Is it a tighter integration than InDesign? Hmmm. What are your thoughts?

The End of the Road for Quark?

Posted on: June 17th, 2009 by alemieux

Strange things are going on in the Quark camp. Find out what’s happening.

The End of the Road for Quark

Posted on: June 17th, 2009 by alemieux

The desktop publishing software wars have been going on for about two decades now and there still isn’t a clear winner. In fact, there are more tools to use now than ever before to get a project printed, including Apple’s Pages, and Corel’s CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. With the addition of multiple artboards, Adobe Illustrator CS4 can now be used the way everyone wanted to use it – for page layout and print jobs.

But the two giants in this category are QuarkXPress and InDesign. Quark had a long hold on the industry with little competition for the longest time. So long, in fact, that they didn’t really do a major upgrade from Quark 4 (1997) to 5 (2002) for a period of 6 years. At that time, Apple was transitioning their operating system to the Unix-based OSX and Quark refused to recode their application until Quark 6 came out in 2003.

It was during that long stretch that Adobe, who had limited success with PageMaker, decided to scrap the application they bought from Aldus and start all over, inventing the “Quark Killer”, as it was then Called, InDesign. With a list of features that every designer was pining for – transparency, effects, creative suite integration, InDesign 1.0 (1999) came out like a lion with rave reviews. Technical glitches and bugs in the program hampered the experience for some and Pre-press providers and printers couldn’t output all those glorious transparencies accurately.

Adobe quickly regrouped and came out with subsequent versions, InDesign 1.5 in 2001 and InDesign 2.0 in 2002 (Still not integrated into any Suites yet), gently massaging out all of the product bugs. Adobe also did a good job in listening to its core user base in adding features that drew the attention of long-time Quark users, such as Nested Styles, and true PDF output, somehting Quark still has difficulty with.

Finally, in 2003, Adobe introduced the first version of the Creative Suite, updating all of its core programs (after the purchase and migration of Macromedia) into a powerful suite of application programs that are tightly integrated. The end result, clearly a better workflow solution for any designer. Instead of moving back and forth between Photoshop and Quark, InDesign users could actually place native Photoshop files into InDesign, make edits to the original Photoshop file, and then simply update the link. Quark users would have to make extra trips to Photoshop, save out static versions of their files as TIFF or EPS and replace their content.

Like the other InDesign releases, InDesign 3.0 offered more and more features that drew more users away from Quark. Now Adobe was gaining momentum. Adobe InDesign User Groups started forming all around the country and industry professionals also began migrating to Quark.

Other factors that kept Quark at bay for many users was its price point. InDesign – integrated with at least five other applications in the Creative Suite, was selling for a price that was still less than Quark. Quark 8’s current cost is $799. InDesign is $699, by itself. Educational prices are better for both, but the clear winner in the price category is InDesign.

So what’s keeping Quark afloat? A deep user base and a lot of investment on the part of those organizations who bought the app and are not willing to let it go. Call it loyalty or a desire not to lose out on an investment, but Quark was deeply rooted in the publishing industry for so long. Pariah S. Burke tells it best on his site Quark Vs. InDesign:

“Quark is dying, fast. The thing that’s keeping it alive at this point is the inherent nature of the relevant markets: Switching such an integral tool within a fast-paced, tight-margined production workflow is costly in terms of licenses, training, and lost productivity for learning. In this arena InDesign has the upshot of being very similar in user interface to already established tools like Photoshop and (especially) Illustrator. While that fact doesn’t do much for layout-only artists, it does help significantly with migration expenses and issues with artists who use multiple products.”

QuarkXTensions also may have a play in whether it stays or goes. XTensions are like InDesign plug-ins that extend the functionality of Quark in terms of what its capabilities are. A lot of pre-press vendors and printers have invested heavily in these extensions, which perform tasks like pagination, output procedures, preflighting, and conversions. It’s another part of their original investment which is hard to part with.

Recent rumors and announcements have suggested that Quark will move away from making its desktop software and go to an enterprise server-side solution. Enterprise software isn’t cheap and this product won’t be for the masses. It’s a serious paradigm shift for Quark, one that can only indicate imminent defeat.

I spoke with a print vendor recently to get his thoughts on Quark’s demise. Carl Feren of Feren and Co. has been in the printing industry for over twenty years. As Feren points out:

“In the past three – four years I have only had ONE client who used Quark. My other clients use either Corel, Illustrator or InDesign. I can’t think of anyone who prefers Quark over InDesign. The one person who does use it simply does not want to invest in additional software.”

Even with the release of Quark 8, the reviews have been a little lackluster. MacWorld Magazine sees it as a dilemma for any Quark owner to actually upgrade to this version:

“QuarkXPress 8 poses somewhat of a dilemma. Because it offers very few new functions—and none that have broad utility—it’s hard to make the economic case to upgrade from the previous version. The most significant new capabilities—those derived from Quark Interactive Designer and the free XPert Tools—can be had for just $49 if you stick with XPress 7.3.”

This in comparison with InDesign CS4, which – comparitively – has a slew of new features like Cross-References, SWF export, Page Transitions, Spread Rotation, etc.

Personally, I see Quark winding down as indicated here. I haven’t used it outside of the classroom for any major projects and can’t see why I would ever switch to Quark for a number of reasons. This battle though, kind of reminds of Freehand vs. Illustrator. Depending on which program you used first, you became fiercely attached to it and the separate camps fought openly about feature sets and capabilities. In the end, Adobe killed off Freehand and they’ll probably be able to do the same with Quark.