Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

Tablet justified

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

It was a conscience decision to invest in a tablet computer for use with training. I have never felt more compelled to justify such spending, even when it hasn’t been prompted. My shiny new toy guilt has subsided since I’ve started to use it.

My initial reason for purchasing what seemed to be little more than another gadget, was to expand my knowledge of publishing to an array of mobile devices from InDesign CS5.5. It also offered the chance of creative input with Adobe Ideas and Adobe Color Lava, Eazel and Nav for Photoshop CS5.

While the iPad screen is relatively small compared with a laptop, its size means it’s easier to hold, rotate and share. I will want to do all three things as its great design is palpable. Accessibility and convenience mean it is too easy to download apps and publications. I looked for publications that are created from InDesign. Wired is a great one from many designed in InDesign. It is a different experience to reading the paper product. The design has been well thought through and the interactivity is immersive, though barely more effort than turning a page. It is as easy to pass around a group; can’t be rolled up, coffee stained or borrowed without return.I think it has the ability to pull you into its brand. Apart from passive use reading and viewing material, the apps promise productivity.

There are many drawing, painting and image manipulation applications for tablet devices, as an Adobe certified instructor and illustrator, I’d like to initially discuss what Adobe have on offer. Adobe Ideas still seems a little basic in both appearance and functionality. And while the software is inexpensive, ‘Layers’ can be purchased as an add in. I started out using just my digit free flowing over the surface of the iPad. This lacks precision but does give a sense of primeval mark making, and just good basic fun for newcomers to it. I then used a Griffin Stylus; which straight away felt intuitive. This got over my initial fear of only being able to create primitive marks on the page.

I can see a use for this to simply and quickly illustrate a point when I’m training in the classroom. I can easily switch to this, to project it, and now save sketches and diagrams where a conventional whiteboard couldn’t. Equally, anyone wishing to capture a rough idea, quickly, will find this helpful, as the results can be saved and accessed as PDF’s or simply opened in Adobe Illustrator for further work. Apart from drawing from scratch, you can use photos on separate layers to draw over. 
For these illustrations, I capitulated and bought layers to aid the drawing.

Tablet computing hasn’t killed drawing on paper or reading books and magazines, but they now have a truly viable alternative platform. Both paper and digital realms have their own merits. I look forward to the progression of the tablet, while not completely sidelining my moleskine.

Silver linings

Monday, May 17th, 2010

It may be a stretch of the imagination to say that ash clouds have silver linings. Short of the lost revenues, additional costs, frustration and sheer tedium of waiting to travel, there is a lot of fall out from these naturally occurring phenomena. It doesn’t help the smooth running of an economy. I do feel for those who have had their travel plans ruined.

With the ecological and monetary benefits, virtual solutions are being taken more seriously. There are a lot of things you cannot do virtually, thankfully. A virtual holiday anyone? A virtual performance, music or otherwise? How about a virtual meeting. Well there, you may just want to have a closer look. Could all your criteria be met by online technology? What sort of meeting or presentation could this aid. Training would be a suitable activity that would benefit from virtualisation. You wouldn’t have the time and expense of travelling to a location. There is a major benefit in learning in more manageable portions; you are not overloaded with the onslaught of information.

Adobe have had such a solution for a while. The Adobe Acrobat web site allows up to three users to meet virtually. This is perfect for small presentations, discussions and one-to-one training.

It works on Mac and PC, and requires nothing, other than the latest free Flash plug-in. It can work with applications other than Adobes’ too.

I deliver training and consultancy remotely to Mac and PC users. Imagine the scenario, you have been handed some work that is currently beyond what your experience, you have a limited budget (so a training course is out of the question) and the deadline is marching towards you. Without leaving the office, you could book the precise bit of training, and have it delivered right to you at your desktop, and get the job done.

If you’d like to see how it works, please contact me today to arrange a virtual meeting. It’s really easy to set up and you need no specialist equipment. Call me now, on 07966 212911 or email for your free trial.