How to tell a Digital Story

The key to successful Digital Storytelling is to keep it simple. The COFFEE tutorial is an excellent example of how photography and Adobe Voice can work together to deliver a seamless digital experience.

Moreover, perhaps it is time for Weekend Coffee. Put the kettle on and enjoy.

1. Setting the Digital Storytelling Scene

Begin by creating your scene. Envision where you what your stage to be. Use your camera and lighting to run test shots for possible scenes. Keep it simple.

For the COFFEE tutoring video – I used a kitchen table to place my items. Think of the things as your actors, and position them where they can deliver your message best. It is important to have your story ready and to do a few practice rounds before committing.

With COFFEE the positioning of the items – begins with the coffee jar and moves right to the sugar, milk, and water.

Photography by Gary Crossey IrishGuy - How to make Coffee

2. Start your Digital Storytelling Experience

What are the things in your digital story? I used Adobe Photoshop to add ID text. Consider your viewer when adding labels to photos. In my case, most people know what a cup and spoon are. Even with the most annoying names – find a way to be useful.

Boiling Water – having the instruction in use boiling water is more user-friendly than the label Kettle.

Photography by IrishGuy Gary Crossey - Asheville

3. Tell Your Digital Story

One step (or a teaspoon at a time). Consider how the instruction and the objects in the scene interact with each other. For the instruction to add one teaspoon of coffee – the coffee jar is positioned in full view, with the lid (open) and in center view. The hand reaches from the right. During the storytelling, the length of the arm decrease – helping to carry the viewer’s eye from left to right.


4. The steps to Digital Storytelling success

Establish the pace. The sugar jar seizes the position of the coffee. The sugar jar lid resumes the location and position that the coffee jar lid – creating a learning expectation. The end user can focus on the essential element of the lesson by not having to consider the less valuable items.  By positioning the lid from each jar in the same location, the viewer does not have to second question what the item is.

Photography by IrishGuy Gary Crossey Add sugar to coffee cup

5. Maintain the Pace

Maintaining the pace for a Digital Story is hard. When teaching a step-by-step process, the user focus does best when the other items on the stage do not upstage the frame message.

Positioning the jar of Coffee and Sugar – back in their place – is created by the pattern established in the first four frames. Always look for opportunities in your storytelling to provide objects in your scene “their place”.

Add Milk to Coffee - Photography by Gary Crossey for IrishGuy Asheville

6. Enhance you Message

Enhance your Digital Story Lesson with visual effects. Reducing the exposure rate of the camera created a time-lapse. The motion of the hand is reinforced by the prior frames – with the hand is also shot in stillness. The hand motion was set up by leaving shooting the image with a long exposure.

Look for moments to enhance your message with special effects. However, be careful not to let the special effect overshadow your message.

Visual Effects are powerful tools that overpower a weak story.  

Stir Coffee

7. One Step at a Time

The second to last frame – this is where everything can go wrong. The end user has already figured out that the water is next. All other items have had their turn and have returned to their spot.

When creating this second to the last frame – maintain. Yes, manage and deliver the frame as expected.

Try not to break your visual pattern by moving items around, or altering the camera focus.  By planning the stage layout before beginning to photograph the frames – you can imagine the position of objects. Grouping the Coffee, Sugar, and Milk together allows the viewer to capture the three prior elements quickly and calculate that that process involved four steps.

The learning process in this frame would less if the jars had not resumed their original position, with the caps restored.


8. Show the Result

What have we achieved? Was the lesson plan a success?

The successful reader of the Digital Story Lesson has a new or refined skill or piece of knowledge.

The Show The Result frame finalizes the lesson.  There is no more ground work, no more questions, no more information to share. The viewer has this last frame to grasp the importance, and leave with a deeper understanding.


9. Provide that Something Extra

Include something extra. Wrap up the experience with a helpful piece of information – that some of the users can use. The Digital Storytelling Lesson taught the user how to make a cup of coffee. The frame provides the user with the information they can add liquor to the drink – with the disclaimer that adding this step is limited to weekend use.


10. Recap the Essentials

Recap the overall process. When teaching a class – this is a perfect final slide that can be left on the screen for students to capture the information they need. Don’t treat this Digital Storytelling Lessons like a cooking show – that would end highlighting the final product. With a Digital Storytelling Lesson, it is best to recap the main points in the final frame (which may often be a repeat of the first frame).

Adobe 2016 – What 2 Expect?

The 2015 Max conference attracted over 7000 attendees. All excited to hear about the new and future apps and workflows presented by Adobe. While this year did see advancements with the Creative Suite. The real benefit right now is that Adobe software works. The day of work-arounds is long past. Adobe has taken hold of the creative workflow and bought organization to project assets.

So while the new improved tools are impressive – it be more about the freedom to work whenever and wherever that makes Adobe 2016 an exciting year for the creative community.

Adobe Creative Suite Mobile Invasion

Yes, everything now connects. Files can move from one application to another seamlessly – and back again. Adobe says that “creativity has moved away from the desktop. With mobile device creativity can happen wherever and whenever we are inspired.”

Creative Cloud is Connectivity

  • Libraries are now the best method for sharing project assets.
  • Libraries can be share across all apps and with other people.

Mobile Adobe Apps

It is difficult to know if 2016 will be the game changer for the Adobe mobile app market. Adobe have been mining the mobile apps platform for a quite a few years. The Adobe apps are general good – if not well intended.

As a longtime Adobe user – the app development is a very different user experience than the development of Adobe software. The years of watching Photoshop grow into the software that it is today was quite a user experience. What was different back then was that Adobe was loyal to it brand.

The apps development experience as a user is very different. The brand loyalty is gone. The user now downloads an app, becomes experienced with the app, loves the apps – then the apps is discontinued or merged into a new app.

Saying that, I love the array of Adobe Mobile apps – even with all the repackaging and rebranding of the Adobe Mobile Apps there are some really great gems and new approaches to the creative workflow.

Perhaps that’s why Adobe has taken a more flexible approach to launch mobile apps. The hub now is not about the tools – but about user adoption rate. While the mobile devices and new Adobe design apps provide us the user with all the means to leave our desktop and go “anywhere to be creative” for the most of us – that anywhere is generally still in front of our desktop.

Adobe Comp

Adobe Comp is one of the most impressive changes to our workflow for 2016. While earlier versions of Adobe Comp has been quite successful is generating basic design concepts. The new and improved Adobe Comp benefits from shared libraries, advanced hand gestures, and font modifiability.

Improved Adobe Comp features

  • Shared Libraries – this feature has improved right across the Creative Suite.
  • Live font libraries – that now include character styles.

Adobe Comp Hand Gestures

  • Box with Period = Headline.
  • Box with Lines = Filled Body Copy.
  • Box shape = Filled shape.
  • Cross shape = Image Placeholder.

Adobe Capture

Adobe has combined five prior mobile apps into one easy to access app. Adobe Capture now includes:

  1. Color – capture color palette.
  2. Shape – capture vector shapes.
  3. Hue – video coloring.
  4. Brush – create custom brushes.
  5. Pattern – create seamless patterns.

Photoshop Mix

Fun app for combining images.

  • Combine images.
  • Supports multiple layers.
  • Support image color temperatures.  
  • Loads project files into Photoshop.

Photoshop Fix

Photoshop Fix is quite a big deal. Yes, you can now retouch images on your handheld device. Photoshop Fix can even open and handle very large format files.

Photoshop Fix Features 

  • Spot Heal.
  • Patch Tool.
  • Stamp Tool.
  • Lighten / Darken.
  • Vanette
  • Skin Smoothing – knows the difference between skin & eyes.
  • Tooth whitening.
  • Color eyes.

Face Modeling 

The face modeling feature is something once only found in professional photography software. Now, it here to use on your device. Apply pins to face and with liquify tool – everything moves while blending.

  • Face Button
    • Drops pins and make changes to face.  

Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile now includes the Dehaze tool. Ideal for removing clouds and fog from a photograph. The dehaze feature is located in the adjustment panel.

Photoshop Sketch

New brushes have been included into the Photoshop brush library.

  • New Watercolor Brush.
  • SeamLine to Adobe Comp or the Creative Suite.

Photoshop Software

By the end of 2015 Photoshop has seen many new improvements.

  • Creative Cloud Libraries
  • Add content from document > Add to library.
  • Assets are stored in centralized place.
  • Artboards
  • Multiple iterations of designs in a single document.
  • Special Layer Type.
    • Drag out to cavus.
    • Document guides move.
    • Artboard guides do not move.
    • Duplicate Artboards.
  • Filter Layers panel
    • Select the artboard filter – only showing the layers for active artboard.
  • Handles SVG files directly.
  • Export features  
  • Export layers with scales (new).

Adobe InDesign

Publish your content directly online. Adobe InDesign is jam pack of design tools. Many of those tools happen to be cool animation and interactive tools for creating complying interactive content. However, the design market have been slow to adapt to interactive content. So as a method to hopefully get the design community on board with interactive design – Adobe are now offering a unique URL to publish and promote our online content.

Project Comet

“New tool that is laser focused on everything you need to go from design to prototype in one end to end system. It built from the ground up, so it has breakthrough performance that really changes the way that you work. And it combines design and interactivity for the first time. in one tool that can create an interactive prototype”.

Sign up today to be part of the 2016 launch.

Adobe Fuse CC

Work with 3D Characters. Similar to Poser – Adobe have bought use character development. What is not good about this software? You have characters, clothes, adjustments, lighting, textures, and full integration with Photoshop. Meaning, design changes can be made with 3D model within Photoshop, from position, orientation, lighting, and adjustments. 

The preview version of Adobe Fuse is available for download. I creative table is limitless with Adobe Fuse – I can’t wait to see how this new product line of 3D solutions will develop.

ADOBE IPAD APPS – Improve Your Creativity

Class Outline

Access Class Outline via the Adobe Education Exchange: Adobe iPad Apps – Improve your Creativity

Adobe iPad Project Samples

Here are samples of projects that were created using Adobe iPad Apps. You may share these samples with your class.

Adobe Voice

Slideshow Voice Over App. Very easy to use and share stories.
The Icon library is a awesome design resource – simply enter a search term and select an icon.
Limit your use of photos – playback is more reliable with icons.

Here are two Adobe Voice Samples.

The Journey of Creativity

How I became the IrishGuy

APP: Adobe Draw

Adobe Draw is an easy to use paint program. With a select of different brushes, layers, and color picker.

Adobe Draw – Interface Prototype

Adobe Draw is a great tool for creating design mockups. This events website prototype was created with Adobe Draw.

Digital Drawing creating using Adobe Draw.


APP: Adobe Shape

Capture and convert your line drawing into digital art. For best results draw on plain paper to reduce visual artifacts. Using Adobe Shape camera photography your sketch – and let Adobe Shape do the tracing and converting. High Contrast images have the best results.

Adobe Shape Examples

artwork_created_by_gary_crossey design_by_gary_crossey faces_created_by_gary_crossey

Or use Adobe Shape to capture layout plans or brainstorming sketches.


APP: Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is a quick and easy way to enhance your photography. With an array of visual effects.


APP: Adobe Photoshop Touch

Adobe Photoshop Touch is a BIG APP. Full of special effects for photography and paint. It all you would expect from a iPad version of Photoshop – but with some really awesome new ways of thinking and working with digital media.

Created by Gary Crossey

Adobe Photoshop Touch is also a great way to capture old documents without using a scanner.


APP: Adobe Ideas

Adobe Ideas bring the power of layers to the iPad. Making if easy to control complex sketches. The automatic sync to Creative Cloud has been permanently disabled. However, you can still load files to the Creative Cloud, Share the artwork, or email as an attachment.

Here are two examples of digital sketches created using Adobe Ideas.

Both images were created during part of the brainstorming process. The Indian figure uses layers for foreground, midpoint, and background. The figure was sketch out in black outline on one layer. The colors were painted in – almost like paint by number – the black outline created an instant crisp mask. Textures and clothing details were drawn on a third layer. Shadows were draw on the final layer.

The second figure were quick sketches. I found that drawing on the iPad provides precise control. I liked how easy it was to create too different styles to express an expression. In both examples the hands are rendered differently.

Artwork by Gary Crossey - Created with Adobe Ideas

Session Closing

For my Professional Development Session Closing I always recap the class objective. I also include an instant Google Feedback Review. By using Google Forms – I have everyone complete an instant feedback form. Here is the Feedback form that I use for this class. The results of the form are shared with everyone in the class. Any unsolved problems or misunderstandings can normally be handled here. Or, it can simply be a strong visual way of recapping the elements of the class outline. For me, I use the group results to guide me though the closing statement – it’s my cheat sheet!

Some information about Feedback Forms

People love to fill in feedback forms! As much as most people love doing their taxes. 

Make them fun and engaging. If you want real results from your Feedback Forms you need to connect with your participants. Use a variety of quick fire questions. Share the results with all the class. Any questions or problem areas can be reinforced at this time.




TUTORIAL: Use Adobe Draw to Create App Prototypes

IMG_0885Adobe Draw is one of Adobe’s latest mobile app. Adobe Draw is designed for the creative community to get away from having to draw with a mouse. I for one love sketching my visual ideas on my iPad.

Here are the steps I used to create quick app prototypes using Adobe Draw.

STEP 1. Capture template files

The first step for creating our app prototypes will begin online.

IMG_0878Use the browser of your choice and go to




2. Locate the template your need

Scroll to the template that you wish to use. Here four examples – there are many choices.

3. Capture the Template

Many of the templates have links to PDF documents. Position your template to fill as much of the screen as possible. When viewing PDF documents on a iPad – all of the PDF controls will be present on the screen while you navigate the PDF document. However, if you remove your hands and pause – all the PDF controls will disappear – making for an cleaner template.

TO CAPTURE: One the iPad. Press the HOME Key and the Side Button at the same time. The screen will do a quick flip. The screen shot is saved directly to the iPad camera roll.

4. Launch Adobe Draw


Launch Adobe Illustrator Draw. For the best results use a stylist of your choice to draw directly on your iPad to create quick app prototypes.

IMG_08875. Create a New Project

To create a new project simply click the + sign on the sidebar.


6. Work in Full Screen mode

Tap one time on the project window. The project will go to full screen. Three items that are worth noting.

  • Drawing Tool Bar.
  • Top left Menu Bar
  • Top right Close command.

IMG_0889Drawing Tool Bar.

The Adobe Drawing Tool Bar is pretty simple – with five options.

  1. Brush Selection.
  2. Brush Size.
  3. Opacity of Color.
  4. Color Selection.
  5. Layers.

Top left Menu Bar

The top left menu has a few tools that are very different from one another.

  1. Export Button – access to a wide range of sharing apps.
  2. Shapes – Add free clip art.
  3. Lines Tool – Draw precise lines.
  4. Full Screen button to hide menus.

Top right Close command.

Press the close button to return back to the Adobe Draw projects.

  1. Close Button.

7. Add Device Template

To add the Device Template that were captured during step 3.

  • Click the Layers Icon.

IMG_08918. Choice the source for your photo

Images can be imported into Adobe Draw from many different sources. For our project – the screen shots that were captured automatically save to Images On my iPad. 

  • Click On my iPad 

9. Select

Navigate to the Camera Roll to locate the captured screen shoots.



10. Locate Device Template Image

Locate the Device Template image of your choice.




The template image will load into place. You will notice that the template screen capture includes the iPad frame. This can be trimmed off prior to importing into Adobe Draw. I don’t mind the frame being there and am happy to save myself the step of editing the screen captures. IMG_0894

11. Select a Drawing Layer

To begin drawing be sure that you have the drawing layer selected.

  • Clip the layer icon.
  • Click on the upper layer to select.


12. Select your Brush Style

On the right sidebar – click the brush icon to open the brush palette.

Experiment with the different brush styles to find a look that you like.

IMG_0896 (1)

13. Choice Your Brush Color

Yes Adobe Draw has a vast color palette. Simple click on the color button.


14. Zoom around your work space

Adobe Edge supports all the basic iPad gestures.

  • ZOOM – Yes two finger pinch will zoom into your work.
  • UNDO – Two fingers ran quickly from the right to the left


15. Draw your Design

Using a stylish of your choice begin to draw your app prototypes.


16. Use Color to Highlight Features

The purpose of creating the prototype is to create quick design ideas – often working in black in white will be enough for most basic designs. However, color may be used to help highlight app layout and functions.

In the example below the green bar highlights where the app ad banner will run.


17. Add Detail to App Prototype

Add as much detail to your App Prototypes as you need.


18. Export your work.

Using the share button – located on the top right menu.

  • Click Share Button
  • Choice which service you which to use to share.
  • Follow on screen instructions to complete your share.


ADOBE: Photoshop GIF Animation

How to make a GIF animation with Adobe Photoshop.

Getting images to move is just fun. Here are the steps I used to create this short Photoshop GIF animation.

Step 1 – Review Source Files 

For my gif animation I started with these three photos. I like the body shot of the far right image – which I plan to use as my base image for the final animation. The other two photos, I plan on using the head and part of the neck for the final animation.


Step 2- Prep up files 

Using the Quick Selection Tool – I have a clean, shape selection around the birds head. I increased the selection area around hair on the birds head – I plan to refine the hair later – for now capturing the image of the head on a transparent background with be good enough.


Step 3 – Review images in Photoshop

Each image of the bird is now on its own layer in one Photoshop file. While the two heads that I sampled and bought into to use are quite a bit smaller than the bird head on the right – so I plan to resize the larger bird head to match the size of the other two bird photos – there’s has got to be a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” joke there somewhere.


Step 4 – Setting animation pieces 

Now that I have the three birds heads the same size – I can start having some fun – AFTER ONE LAST PREP STEP: Knock out the background from the main photograph. I shoot these bird photos earlier today at 300 DPI – High Quality. The Photoshop Quick Selection Tool loves to work with High Quality Digital images.


Step 5 – Content Aware- make your selection

I don’t think they even had this tool on Star Trek. The Content Aware Fill. Yes, this feature is similar to the Healing Brush – however it is also a bit different too. The Content Aware Fill likes to have a selected area to focus on. In my case with the bird head – I made a loose selection around the head and lower neck area.

From the menu Edit > Fill.


Step 6 – Fill with Content Aware 

From the Contents menu > select Content-Aware. Press OK. Photoshop will then review the selection area and attempt to fill the selection with content-aware content.


For this image I ran the content-aware feature 3 times on the same area. In this case I don’t mind losing the background windows. I may have to revisit the background to tweak – but for now, a quick crop (to remove the white frame).


Step 7 – Clean Up and Align 

I now have four layers – the background (with the body of the bird), and three bird heads (with transparent background) on the remaining layers.



Step 8 – Access Photoshop Animation Timeline  

To access the Photoshop animation tools. Go to the top Menu Bar > Window > Timeline. 


Step 9 – Working with Photoshop Animation Timeline 

Working the Photoshop Animation Timeline is fun. However, you may have to first turn it on. From the Timeline Drop down select Create Frame Animation. 



On the Timeline – Select the playback length.


As well as being able to control the playback time for each frame – you can also control the playback for the entire animation. On the lower part of the timeline you can choice how you wish for your animated gif to playback.

Playback Once, or 3 times, or Loop forever. Or, press other and make your own custom playback. computer_training_photoshop_animation_009cCreate a second Frame. Toggle off the layer with the left head. Toggle on the mid head.


I am pausing the first frame for half a second – the slight pause will give the viewer that impression that they are simply viewing a simple 2D photo – then the action happened.

Step 10 – Working with Photoshop Timeline Frames. 

With the placement of the first two frame – a simple animation has been created. More time was spent prepping up the image files. However, the next step is where you can really get creative with the frames. Adjust the playback length for each frame, while controlling the other all control of the animation.


Is Data the New Soil for your Business?

What is Data Visualization?

Knowledge = Power {from data}. Data Visualization Infographics are there to capture and relate the meaning of mass data.

Yes, we understand that knowledge based data is often not understood, appreciated, or seen. Which in an age that success is measured on your ability to share. You data driven message may be easily ignored when the data is difficult to understand – even when you are a numbers person.

Better Communication though Innovation” – Quote from video.

Data Visualization Infographics are a blend of Design and Data. Infographics can also be designed to illustrate relationships, hierarchies, complex systems, chronology, and mapping.

Data Visualization Infographics can provide the means to:

  • Focus on a precise data-set.
  • Tell a story.
  • Share Ideas and Concepts.
  • Form Connections.
  • Demonstrate the relationship between efficacy and popularity.

Our eyes and brain work quickly to process complex relationships and patterns. By using color, scaling, orientation, and motion graphics connections and patterns between numbers become easier to visualize, grasp, and act upon. the eyes ability to discern variations in color, shape, position, or pattern.

Visually you can hold the concept of conflicting points of views, that can be difficult to to balance when the information is verbalized. You know the one about – you are only listening for your moment to talk.

Create an Infographic Landscape

Data rich infographics create a visual landscape that your eyes can explore.

But you first need to be a data detective who can recognize hidden patterns. By first asking the right questions, or working the data in a particular way can create unexpected relationships. And if that doesn’t work. Ask different questions, or hire a data detective to interpret your dense data requirements.

Infographics can help your staff, students, clients, or colleagues navigate dense information. Infographics can change perspective when relative numbers are used.

The other aspect of Infographics is that they are often a living document. Recall, most people will interact with your infographics online, or during a presentation, training – that happens mostly in a paperless work environment. When infographics are connected to a live database – the results are always changing  – the information being presented is different – the visualization output is never the same.

A sense of uncontrolled skepticism has arrived with the overload and saturation of information. Along with a distrust from the collapse of reliability sources. And the fact that much of the information is boring. There is no magical magnetic force that draws people into decoding a well constructed spreadsheet.

Data Visualization – For more information

NEWS: Adobe Beta Tester

Adobe invited me to join their beta testing team. I said yes. Got approved. And am now part of the Adobe crew. Yes, that’s right. I get access to prerelease apps. Giving me a lovely sneak peek.

What does that mean?
Adobe provide me with future apps to test drive. With access to use new tools. Prior to their release as new apps. With the 24/7 Creative Cloud. Adobe is always working on new tools. And I get my hands on them first.

How does that impact you?
With an inside scope. I will provide app insight. What to expect? And the why. There are strict rules to when I may reveal. Adobe will first launch the app, with demos. I then post my findings. Adobe does not medal with what I publish. Only that I publish after app release.

What does that mean to me?
I get access to the beta software of the future. Insight to what is coming next. Upcoming trends. Which I will share on my blog and classes.

Getting the Design Bug

Back in 1998 I entered my first computer lab. Less than a year later I managed the lab. Yes, I got the Photoshop bug. Followed by Illustrator. Premiere. Poser. Director. Dreamweaver. Painter. AutoCAD. I was there for the launch of InDesign. That was my first three months. I am a fast learner!

Fast forward all those years. Back to now. Media has changed. Back then, they still preferred print. The world wide web was a notion. AOL was trendy. No one dared use their real ID. Now with hand-held devices we have access. Right in our pocket. There is no limit. And everyone has their name and birthday posted on Facebook.

My first call to action.

Test drive the new Adobe video apps. Yes Premiere Pro is now a rocket. Adobe video apps have always had a powerhouse of easy to use tools. Tools that have improved. But mostly, tools that work.

Look for my upcoming blog posts on the New Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects features.

Adobe FormsCentral

Why use Adobe FormsCentral?

Does your business need another form solution?

If it were 1995, Adobe would have stolen the show – game, set and match. Today, if you are like me, you already have an Online Cloud Solutions (OCS) integrated into your workflow – and it’s free!  Adobe FormsCentral wants you to pay for their service, roughly $200 a year – in one simple payment (each year).

What should you expect to get for $200?

Anticipate the standard form features; buttons, text boxes and multiple choice, as well as the online collaboration and analytical tools, that we have come to expect. Adobe have the basics covered, plus a few neat surprises like Page Skip Logic that advances users to their next question, depending on their previous  answer, making it easy to generate meaningful data.

Five years from now, we might very well be looking to Adobe for all our online business solutions. Presently however, the technical aspects of Adobe FormsCentral are comparable to most online form solutions. What Adobe does bring to what is typically a dull format, is design.

For our Google Form creators; that wish they could create custom branding, graphics and color options, to engage their audience, you may want to switch over to Adobe FormsCentral as they include all of these design features. For your simple forms, stick with Google Forms. If collecting valuable data is important to your business, you better have an engaging form – that is both user-friendly and attractive.

Adobe FormsCentral subcription includes over 70 easy to customize web forms or survey templates:

  • Registration templates
  • Education templates
  • Survey templates
  • HR templates
  • Marketing templates
  • Membership templates
  • Non-profit templates
  • Application templates
  • Sales templates
  • Feedback templates

Join me at the Asheville Adobe User Group for an Adobe FormsCentral demo, Wednesday March 21st 2012, 4-6pm – Charlotte Street Computers, Asheville .

Please RSVP (sign-up form to follow)

How to create an animated WordPress header with After Effects

OK we know it all started with a dancing hamster 15 years later – Animated GIF’s can actually deliver the CONTENT used to with Flash (SWF) files.

After Effects has included as export to Animated GIF format before – with mostly undesirable results – BUT WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO RENDER TO GIF? During the time of FLASH (animated GIF were stupid cute animated Hamsters) – today with Apple’s forceful resistance to the the Flash platform (for whatever reason) – designers can again get CLEVER with animated GIF’s.

To overcome some of the limitations of rendering animated GIF’s from After Effects, it is a good idea to render your After Effects content as

Photoshop Extended offers more control for creating animated GIF movies. Create your animation in After Effects, render and export to an intermediate format (such as a QuickTime movie), open the movie in Photoshop Extended, and export to animated GIF using Save For Web & Devices.


Adobe Muse

Adobe Muse Logo New method for design web sites

Yesterday, Adobe release Muse (code name), and in one step has transformed how we can now build our web sites. Muse generates clean code, that follows all web standards, is easy to work with and loads in every browser or device, like a charm.

Adobe Muse is free until the end of 2011 – be sure to download your copy at Adobe Muse – and let me know what you think.

Transcript from video

Transcript from video may content typos –
I have just installed the new software Muse from Adobe. At the moment you can download a free copy of the software. As I said, I just installed it a few moments ago. If you are used to working with Dreamweaver in the past you are certainly going to find this application different. First of all it’s very clean.

I just love the really easy instructions on what I want to do here. I what to create a new site let’s see what happens.

I haven’t looked at this before so I’m just simply going though this for the first time but I do like that we’ve got page sizes, with heights (you know that’s certainly something new for web design. Prefect, I’m going to do three columns. We’ve also got gutters; it is going to be interesting to see what happens here.

I’m going to go ahead and press OK. So I have my home page setup here.

Well that’s pretty nice; we can go ahead and make a really simple sitemap. As you can see I’m just clicking around. I’m not really sure what I’m doing to be honest but I am just clicking around and seeing  that Adobe Muse is creating a really nice sitemap here for me. I would assume I can just rename the pages.

All I am doing is simply double checking. I am going to make up some general pages that most basic web sites might have.

Now, I’m assuming here that this Master A is kind of probably some type of template that you can work with. Oh there we go; at the bottom of the page, we have the master template. That’s going to provide us with navigational menus on master pages. Set header and footer guides too. Oh that’s pretty cool.

Guys, I think we’re going to love this Adobe Muse software.

Adobe Muse feels very much like InDesign and this is definitely an InDesign 5 feature. You can round these corners off. Really can give them (corners) a really nice treatment unlike before where we could change the corners to round corners you can now control each corner independently. That’s something that we’ve always wanted to do for a long time.

I’m going to make a header something like so I’m going to keep it straight on one side here. I am looking for a filled color. You know what? I can probably just click here? I’ve got my color picker over here that’s kind of cool. You got some swatches here already programmed in. I’m really like that idea able to work with color in the same way you would with InDesign or Illustrator.

We can hyperlink to any page. All of those pages that we set up in the sitemap now already have preset hyperlinks to jump to. So I’m just going to actually adjust this rectangle that I just made there, and I’m going to say that go to the home page.

Held the ALT key here; and for people who don’t understand what that ALT key does in Adobe look at the cursor you see the way it has a double arrow now that’s an automated duplication tool.

As soon as I press ALT on the first square it’s going to go ahead and duplicate that for me. The other thing I’ve noticed here that it’s given me a precise management of the distance between each one of these objects. This is also in InDesign trait that we’ve really got used to and the publishing world. I just love that the ALT shortcut key is showing up here.

Now if my guess is right, we can probably go ahead and reprogram each one of these just pretty quickly. This is going to be something that people really gravitate towards.

Now everything has been distributed, the Master buttons have all been distributed to every one of the pages I’m going to double click on the home button. We’ve got our entire font styles that we are really accustomed to. We’ve got our indent to first line. Indent the whole paragraph. Most of the type setting tools that the majority of type designers are used to working with.

Adobe Muse also has export type as images. So, my entire font is now able to go out as an image.

With the preview mode on we are able to test to see if the buttons are working. As you saw from the earlier example, I didn’t do any type of programming. But, there we are, our buttons are all in place. We can go back to the design mode we can add our text fields directly in Web Site Create with Adobe Muse.

We also have other features. Menus, so we can insert a horizontal menu. Let’s go ahead and do a quick preview to see what type of mess I just made. Now look at that for a menu.

So, if I want to jump to resources, I can quickly do that. That we can just pop that menu in anywhere we like. If you notice, it’s just a simple rollover, a little buggy, but still seems pretty cool.

Again that is jumping from the previous plan that we did in the plan mode before jumping into the design mode. I am just thinking those designers are going to just really enjoyed this.

Let’s go ahead and I’m going to grab a photograph. Okay, so I have a loaded image, and this is something that I’ve seen in InDesign before. That’s pretty nice. Now I’m not sure if Adobe Muse wants me to drag or drop so I’m going to try it first. I dropped the image. Way too big, that’s not going to work. I am simply going to undo, and simply place that image where I want it to be. Well you know what, that seems pretty easy to me. You can also float that image; you can see its giving me a little bit of guidance here.

Also able to add a custom menu, not very pretty but works really well. I am able to go back to the plan area. I can duplicate the master plan. And make a new master plan. The one feature that I really do like here though is placing an image. I’m going to go ahead and do Place image which you’ll notice has the same shortcut as place in InDesign. I’m going grab this photograph of one of our goats in Adobe Muse. I’m bringing in an enormous image that I’m able to click and drag and add to my web site. You can notice here when I make the image larger than the described page size is. The web site goes ahead and extends the page height and adds additional columns in there for me and provides the space that I need to add that image directly into the composition.

I’m going to go back to the home page. I’m going to jump to a deep page from here. Now I’ve got my new layout without buttons to the side. I did use Master 1 to at least setup the header. It’s got the same columns, it’s got the footer, just modified the color. But, you can see the potential here very quickly.

CS5 Unofficial Blog

It might be the Unofficial Adobe CS5 Blog, but they have rounded up some really interesting time saving tips and tech information for us everyday users of Adobe Creative Suite 5 & 5.5.

The Unofficial Adobe CS5 Blog is heavy with follow along video tutorials – and with 22 different categories running from the A of Acrobat to the P of Photoshop there is certainly something there for you, as long as you time a little time to dig around the web site a bit.


CS5 Unofficial Blog

It might be the Unofficial Adobe CS5 Blog, but they have rounded up some really interesting time saving tips and tech information for us everyday users of Adobe Creative Suite 5 & 5.5.

The Unofficial Adobe CS5 Blog is heavy with follow along video tutorials – and with 22 different categories running from the A of Acrobat to the P of Photoshop there is certainly something there for you, as long as you time a little time to dig around the web site a bit.


Adobe InDesign Shortcut Key

Character / Paragraph Formatting Control Panel

It is no secret that using shortcuts keys within Adobe InDesign is essential for a productive workflow. However, after ten years, there are some truly smart shortcut keys that are not clearly listed within Adobe InDesign.

The Adobe toolbars have always included the practical facility to roll over a tool icon to access the name of the tool and the shortcut key, even when those shortcut keys were more than one letter, the shortcut keys are always listed. However, with the arrival of the Creative Suite came the control panel.

The Control Panel is the central control system for accessing the most popular features for your active tool. The control panel is basically the same as access the tool panel from the Windows menu. In most cases, the control panel is a great time saver, with the one exception being the most popular Character / Paragraph formatting control panel within Adobe InDesign.

Roll your mouse over the tool icons and their name will appear, however, none of the shortcuts are included. Being able to toggle between the Character and Paragraph panels without having to click either icon is a great time saver for me.

Adobe InDesign Character and Paragraph Panel Shortcut Key

Shortcut Key: CTRL ATL 7

Adobe Connection

Great way to share Adobe project ideas and files, without having to leave your desk. Troubleshoot and talk about your projects in private or as an active group.

If video sample does not load – watch video directly on Adobe

Connection prices are charged by the amount of users you have accessing.

Why update to Dreamweaver CS5

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 – 4 New Features for CMS Development that you can not do without.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5

With the release of Dreamweaver CS5, Adobe has addressed many of the difficult aspects of designing and developing for Content Management Systems by including the following four new features:

  1. Live Preview (no browser)
  2. File Relationship (filters)
  3. Live Code
  4. Code Hints (specific)

I do have to omit that I am a big fan of Dreamweaver, since the 1997 release, I have found the software to be easy to use and reliable. Other than a few interface changes, and improvements with software stability and workflow, Dreamweaver has not changed much over the years. While deploying internet content has completely changed.

Many web designers/developers have found their roles disappear as clients move toward popular and dependable user controlled content management systems and Social Network sites.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal offer solid, steady framework web sites that integrate User Privileges, Social Networking, Blog Posting, Google Webmaster Tools, Shopping Carts, CSS capabilities and successful SEO integration. While Social Networking web sites like Facebook and Twitter provides cost effective communication tools.

Clients can now easily post/share content, create advanced online galleries, upload video and deploy endless amounts of content without any help from a web designer or developer. The only noticeable difference by removing the developer and designer is that the web sites look the same, which is generally clean, uninteresting and dull.

For advanced web developers who already had a familiarity with FTP servers transfers, Local Hosting, CSS, PHP, HTML, JavaScript and function based commands, then using Dreamweaver still remained a strong web development tool within their web developers arsenal.

For the advanced web designer, adapting to CMS Framework web sites was more difficult, if almost impossible.

CMS (Content Management Web sites) are dynamic web sites that populate content during runtime, meaning that web site content is generating in real-time for a particular user or request. Unlike static web sites that present the same content to all users, CMS produce content based on the assigned role for a specific user. For a web site like Amazon identifying and producing relatable content to the user is an essential component to their success. However, beyond deploying independent content, the sidebar, header, footer and pages can be adapted to coincide with user permissions.

The problem that many web designers have had for the past five years, is that the resulting web site is difficult or impossible to see and complex to update in Dreamweaver.

With the release of Adobe Creative Suite – Dreamweaver (CS5) the role of the developer and design is back. With new integrated CMS Framework tools, developers/designers can test and author WordPress, Joomla or Drupal web sites all within the Adobe Dreamweaver environment.  With the Dreamweaver interface now having the ability to view and edit CMS Framework in real time.

Live Preview (no browser)

All users to Dreamweaver will instantly enjoy the new Live Preview feature. No more having to press F12 to view your webpage in an external browser, and no more of those aggravating activate now warning generated by Internet Explorer 8.   With Live Preview you have a real time preview of your web site right in Dreamweaver, with the extra bonus of being able to preview your content via any popular browser.

Live Preview works by creating a private proxy web site on the Adobe server and relayed back to the Dreamweaver interface.  Giving designers and developers a precise picture of how the web site will appear to your site visitors, making Live Preview feature a huge timesaver.

Adobe BrowserLab > Give access to Domain

File Relationship with filters

There are two very useful aspects to File Relationships with Filters. That can possibly reduce hours if not days from their workflow. From first file relationship aspect, gives you the big picture, the filtering ability provides the results to have access to precise functions or tools included deep within your web site.

Understanding how dynamic web site deploys content can be difficult enough to comprehend, but locating the correct line of code that controls the exact function, format or purpose of the content can be the quintessential needle in a haystack.

Forget about spending hours searching PHP, HTML, CSS, XML and JavaScript documents that content thousands of lines of valuable functional code. Dreamweaver CS5 expands on the build-in file relationship feature by including all files used in any capacity in that particular page. With earlier releases of Dreamweaver that included the file relationship tab, active pages no longer have to be include as local files. Dreamweaver will actually scan the server and compile the relationship based on the live active files, rather than the local copy of files residing on the computer hard drive.

One element that I think developers and designers will really appreciate is being able to see how different PHP, CSS and JavaScript documents relate to one another when used to create dynamic content. A basic WordPress page might use many different elements that share hundreds of live file relationships, making the active live File Relationship panel a little overwhelming. Dreamweaver developers have considered how vast source files can become and have included a clever filter feature. Making it easy and quick for developer or designer to access and edit any aspects of a web site.

Having the filter gives you the ability to search the web site for a particular feature; Header, footer, sidebar or DIV tag – and only show file relate files that include the particular element included for the search.


The LiveView is doing to dynamic web site, what Dreamweaver did ten years ago for static web pages. LiveView provides the developer/designer the ability to browse throughout the web site without leaving Dreamweaver. All of the web site functions are active in the preview – however, the big difference is now any component is editable within Dreamweaver, and fast to access. Simply click the item you need to alter and the corresponding line of code that controls the item will be presented and editable.

For the ultimate experience, combine LiveView with Live Preview.

Code Hints (specific)

New Code Hints Specific is that missing tool for CMS developers.

Writing code in Notepad is not a productive method for generating code. To be a productive web developer or designer it is important to become accustomed with viewing, editing and publishing code within the Dreamweaver environment.

Dreamweaver Code Hints is a fast method for writing clean, good and functional code. Dreamweaver has included code hint as a feature as far back as I recall. Early versions of Dreamweaver had code bloating problems that was later resolved to create a coding platform that produces web standard clean precise code. That is color coded and formatted for easy proofing and trouble shooting.

Building content and writing code of a content management system is different for each platform. For many developers it is easier to select one platform and only develop for that CMS. Dreamweaver is breaking that habit, by giving developers / programmers the ability to write CMS specific code based on the particular CMS updated, with Code Hints relating only to that one specific CMS.

Top Menu Bar: Site > Site-Specific Code Hints

Currently Dreamweaver has build in presets for Joomla, Drupal and WordPress and any Custom Framework or custom set of class that are used on any dynamitic web site.  The best part about the Code Hint feature is when used on a custom web site (not one of the top three), Dreamweaver will actually scan the entire server, locating all the web site functions, variables, CSS, HTML and PHP creating a code hint based upon those source files.  Now you can certainly brag about that Dreamweaver tool.

Other Dreamweaver and WordPress Resources

Adobe Blog –

Article written by Irish Guy – Gary Crossey

Asheville College 100 Classes Taught

Classes developed and taught by Gary Crossey

Adobe Creative Suite – What’s New?

Keep up to date with all of Adobe’s best practices, software updates and improved workflows with the Adobe Creative Session – What’s New workshops.

With a different focus each week, join Gary Crossey (Asheville Adobe User Group) Join Gary Crossey (Asheville Adobe User Group) as he explores the Creative Suite. Lesson include real-world projects that include graphic design, web design and development, video and audio editing and special effects, as well as the best practices for deploying content via the internet, print or social networking.

Fun, face paced class for new or experienced Adobe user who is interested in discovering what’s new with Adobe.

  • Adobe Create Suite – Introduction 5/4/2010
  • Adobe Create Suite – Introduction 8/14/2009
  • Adobe Create Suite – Introduction 1/10/2009
  • Adobe Create Suite – Introduction 10/18/2008
  • Adobe Create Suite – Introduction 1/23/2008
Date Class Title
10/1/2010 Adobe Dreamweaver – Advanced
1/25/2010 Adobe Dreamweaver – Beginning
9/17/2010 Adobe Dreamweaver – Intermediate
2/8/2010 Adobe Dreamweaver – Intermediate
9/30/2010 Adobe Dreamweaver – Intermediate
10/6/2009 Adobe Dreamweaver – Intro
11/9/2009 Adobe Dreamweaver – Introduction
10/7/2010 Adobe Illustrator – Beginning
9/24/2010 Adobe Illustrator – Beginning
10/29/2010 Adobe Illustrator – Intermediate
2/12/2010 Adobe Illustrator – Intermediate
3/28/2009 Adobe Illustrator – Introduction
3/15/2008 Adobe Illustrator – Introduction
7/12/2010 Adobe InDesign – Advanced
10/30/2009 Adobe InDesign – Advanced
6/6/2009 Adobe InDesign – Advanced
3/26/2009 Adobe InDesign – Advanced
5/17/2010 Adobe InDesign – Beginning
1/22/2010 Adobe InDesign – Beginning
6/4/2010 Adobe InDesign – Intermediate
5/23/2009 Adobe InDesign – Intermediate
3/19/2009 Adobe InDesign – Intermediate
10/13/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
8/11/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
5/9/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
3/12/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
2/26/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
11/7/2008 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
6/7/2008 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
10/20/2009 Adobe InDesign – Introduction
6/12/2009 Adobe InDesign – Masters
11/6/2009 Adobe InDesign – Masters
7/15/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Advanced
9/26/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Advanced
10/21/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Beginning
10/27/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Beginning
5/24/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Beginning
1/29/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Beginning
6/7/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
9/19/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
9/5/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
5/22/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
2/20/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
11/14/2008 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
3/14/2008 Adobe Photoshop – Intermediate
9/5/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Introduction
5/15/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Introduction
1/9/2009 Adobe Photoshop – Introduction
4/18/2008 Adobe Photoshop – Introduction
2/15/2008 Adobe Photoshop – Introduction
5/3/2010 Adobe Photoshop – Time Saving Tips and Tricks
5/31/2008 Adobe Photoshop Elements – Intermediate
4/20/2010 Computers for the Beginner
6/20/2009 Digital Photography / Portfolio
1/11/2010 DME 120 N1
1/14/2008 DME 140
1/12/2009 DME 260 D1
1/12/2009 DME 260 N1
1/12/2009 DME 285 D1
5/19/2009 Excel 2007 – Introduction
10/14/2010 Facebook for Business
1/19/2010 Facebook for Business
5/28/2010 Facebook for Business
4/22/2010 Facebook for Business
10/21/2009 Get the most out of Facebook
9/10/2009 Get the most out of Facebook
8/6/2009 Get the most out of Facebook
9/30/2010 Get your business online
7/16/2010 Get your business online
3/20/2010 Get your business online
9/17/2010 Get your business online
4/10/2010 Quickbooks Pro – Introduction
10/3/2009 Quickbooks Pro – Introduction
6/16/2009 Quickbooks Pro – Introduction
2/1/2008 SEF30017443400
2/25/2010 SEO / Business Website Engine Rankings
8/18/2009 Social Network Sites
10/8/2009 Using CSS for Web Design
1/14/2008 WEB 120
1/14/2008 WEB 120 D1
1/14/2008 WEB 140
5/21/2008 WEB 210 D1
5/21/2008 WEB 210 N1
3/27/2009 Web ActionScript – Projects
5/16/2008 Web Animation Flash – Intermediate
3/8/2008 Web Animation Flash – Intermediate
6/5/2009 Web Animation Flash – Introduction
3/20/2009 Web Animation Flash – Introduction
2/7/2009 Web Animation Flash – Introduction
3/7/2008 Web Animation Flash – Introduction
2/9/2008 Web Animation Flash – Introduction
10/15/2009 Website Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
6/24/2010 Word – Introduction
10/31/2009 WordPress
10/23/2010 WordPress Introduction