ADOBE BRIDGE, OPTICAL KERNING AND OBJECT STYLES: AN ENCOUNTER WITH INDESIGN CS2

13 November 2006
Jenny Jasper, Icograda Communications Officer
Jenny Jasper, Icograda Communications Officer

Steve Holmes, noted designer and trainer for Total Training Adobe Creative Suite 2, presenting InDesign CS2's new features to Jenny Jasper (she would be where you are now)

Icograda Communications Officer meets Creative Suite 2
When I began working as Icograda Communications Officer in late July of this year - and thus crossed the threshold from 'Everywoman's' knowledge of graphic design and visual communication to the Grand Hall of world-renowned professionals - I opened my G4 iBook, glanced down at the dock, and noticed a blue feather, a pink butterfly and a yellow flower alongside my Microsoft Office icons. These, I was told, were my gateway into a marvellous new software release by Adobe called Creative Suite 2. And because Adobe had so generously donated this tool to my virtual desk in the same way that Knoll had provided the ergonomic chair and long white workstation I was currently seated at, it would eventually be my task to write something about my experiences with it and to share these experiences with the Icograda community at large. I fidgeted in my seat at first: "Me? Who am I to talk about graphic design tools in front of an audience of master craftspeople?" It was a bit like being asked to relate my Niagara-on-the-Lake wine tasting experiences to an international group of sommeliers. Nevertheless, after a pep talk from Icograda Director, Brenda Sanderson, in which she espoused the value of the user's experience with software tools - and, in particular, of my perspective as someone who shares the same concerns as any graphic designer (will these tools be effective in helping me achieve my goals?) - here I am, sharing my experiences with you on the Features section of the Icograda website.

Needless to say, if you are expecting a technical review, you will not find one here, though I have provided a couple of links to some below. What you will find is a testimony of how fast this software can be integrated into your workflow if you are considering making the switch from another page layout program to InDesign CS2.

My first conclusion, after opening InDesign CS2 to use it for the first time, was that software as sophisticated and powerful as this is not worth terribly much if one does not know how to use it efficiently and effectively. I did not have time to futz around trying to figure out how to make style sheets, import text and to duplicate object styles, etc. I needed some training and I needed it fast! So I turned to Total Training for some help. For those of you not familiar with Total Training, it is a video-based training provider and strategic partner in the Adobe Solutions Network that supplies the customized tutorials that ship with the actual software. Steve Holmes, an award-winning designer from Britian, is the trainer who delivers the InDesign CS2 course, and because he is the most internationally accessible trainer in the series and InDesign is the piece of the suite that integrates all of the others, why not begin with it?

Steve Holmes spends the week-end at my place
The 16.5-hour Total Training InDesign CS2 course ships in the form of two DVD-ROMs that contain a combination of project files and training videos. Once the files are uploaded, a kind of virtual apprenticeship ensues where the apprentice is encouraged to work concurrently with the master on the layout of a fairly sophisticated brochure for a museum - with one window open to the master's work in progress and the other to his/her own. The InDesign CS2 apprenticeship is structured around 37 lessons covering such things as workflow design, typography, image importing and editing, copy management and preparing a document for electronic and print publication. As mentioned earlier, Steve Holmes is the 'master' for this particular series.

One of the advantages of learning software using this kind of tool is the apprentice's capacity to choose his/her lesson according to his/her need. Not only can one skip ahead to the lesson one wishes to take at the time one needs to take it, one can skip ahead to the particular topic of the lesson one is interested in. For the sake of this article, we will focus on three new features to InDesign CS2: Adobe Bridge, Optical Kerning and Object Styles.

Adobe Bridge
Lesson 4: Navigation & Adobe Bridge - Topic 5: Introducing Adobe Bridge

Creative Suite 2's new file browser, Adobe Bridge, is a particularly attractive addition to its InDesign component. With a similar look to the traditional Photoshop file browser, it is actually a far more powerful tool that enables one to browse and open any document in any software from an icon on the InDesign CS2 control palette. In addition to enabling one to preview documents (including InDesign CS2 files) as images from a number of customized views, one can preview their metadata and rate and label them for purposes of future sorting and filtering. One can even view the images as a slide show! (For those of you who are not fans of PowerPoint, with all of its wizards facilitating 'bad design', this may be good news indeed.)

Optical Kerning
Lesson 8: Type Formatting - Topic 5: Adjusting Kerning & Baseline Shift

With optical kerning, CS2 adds yet another tool to InDesign's already excellent collection of typographical tools. Although true type fanatics may still want to resort to manual metric kerning with large titles and logos, the optical kerning tool available in CS2 is a great way of minimizing the time it takes to kern large blocks of copy.

Object Styles
Lesson 13: Graphic Frames & Object Styles - Topic 3: Saving a New Object Style

Everyone knows how efficient style sheets are in cutting down on the amount of time required to ensure consistent typefacing throughout a document. With CS2, InDesign now provides tools for object styling as well. The new Object Styles palette works in a similar way to the Paragraph and Character Styles palette and is found alongside them. Basically it allows layout artists to create styles for the various graphic elements in the document in order to cut down on the repetitive and time-consuming task of ensuring their consistent application.

Conclusion
I am hoping that this information has given graphic design associations and studios some idea of one of the options available to them in the event they are considering either an InDesign upgrade or a move from another page layout software to InDesign. If one purchases the software along with a video training course such as Total Training, it may take no more than a couple of week-ends before one is up-and-running with InDesign CS2.

Links:
Two InDesign CS2 Reviews:
www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,120193,pg,1,00.asp
www.macworld.com/2005/04/features/adobeindesign/index.php




About Adobe Creative Suite 2:
Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium software is a unified design environment that combines full new versions of Adobe Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, and Acrobat 7.0 Professional software with new Version Cue CS2, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Stock Photos. Delivering the next level of integration in creative software, Adobe Creative Suite 2 enables you to realize your ideas anywhere - in print, on the web, or on mobile devices.

About Total Training:
Total Training Inc. is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for leading creative design, digital video, and office productivity software programs. Among its assets, Total Training enjoys a strategic partnership with Adobe including the distribution of its customized tutorials inside of many of Adobe's software packages giving Total Training a notable brand positioning with Adobe's web, print and video product users.

Ranging from casual hobbyists to the most seasoned professionals, Total Training users quickly learn new software applications and broaden their knowledge of programs currently used. Narrated in an entertaining format by industry experts and leading authors, Total Training s CD- and DVD-based software training titles are critical tools for anyone wanting to learn tips, techniques, and best practices from the most respected names in the business: Deke McClelland (Photoshop Bible), Brian Maffitt, Steve Holmes, Jacob Rosenberg, Laurie Ulrich Fuller and Tim Plumer, Jr. Total Training s products are available through resellers or at www.totaltraining.com

For more information on the InDesign CS2 training video discussed above click here.