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Shave time off CS4 projects and become more valuable to your employer

Last week I had a few tips for working between Illustrator and Photoshop to help improve your cross-media design skills. This week I'll revisit some of these tips from Computer Arts and shift the focus from Illustrator to InDesign. These tips will help you move more quickly between Photoshop and InDesign giving you an advantage when deadlines are staring you down.

 

Content-Aware Scaling - If an imported photo isn't working with the InDesign layout you had in mind, take advantage of Photoshop CS4's Content-Aware Scaling. This feature enables you to retain the important details and composition of the original photo. Select the area you want scale, then go to Edit>Content Aware Scaling. Use the 'Protect Skin Tones' option (click on the human silhouette icon) when working on photos of people, as this usually yields the best results.

Adjustment Layers - Adjustment layers in Photoshop CS4 are much more powerful and easier to control than in earlier versions and are now well supported in InDesign. Within Photoshop CS4 is a sub-panel control that enables you to adjust settings such as levels, curves and saturation with much more efficiency. After clicking on a setting, use the arrow located in the bottom-left corner to go back to the settings menu (as you would in your internet browser)

Refine selection - One option hidden away in Photoshop CS4 is the Refine Selection button, which enables you to quickly and accurately fine-tune your selections. After creating a selection, look for the button at the top of Photoshop's Menu pane - it will open a box featuring a number of sliding variables, along with an option enabling you to see your selection on a variety of different colored backgrounds. This is very useful when an accurate clipping is needed, be it in InDesign or any other application.

Grouping and naming layers - To help you modify the images in your InDesign layout without having to go back to Photoshop, ensure that you initially name and organize your layers in accordance with what makes sense for your project. The order in which you organize your layers is very important, as a group can have a pass-thrgouh blend applied which affects either every layer in the group or only those that you individually adjust. To group the layers, select those you wish to group then drag them to the Folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Drag the folders into the required hierarchy or group them into another folder for easy adjustment in InDesign.

Quick Copy Merged and Paste - When working on a document with a lot of images, constantly saving and placing the separate images into InDesign can be quite time-consuming. To get around this on small and simple jobs, Select All (Ctrl/Cmd+A), Copy Merged (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+C) and Paste (Ctrl/Cmd +V) the image straight into InDesign (or any CS4 program). This trick is not recommended for use on large documents, however, as it adds to the file size and does not enable easy editing and linking.

 

InDesign and Photoshop are two of the greatest tools a print designer could have ever asked for. The interoperability of the two programs is second to none and as we've seen with the CS series, cross-program compatibility will only become more powerful in the future.

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