Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 9:32:56 PM by Jim Babbage
My photos are now online from the camping trip with Tom Green and sons.
I shot approximately 600 images, and have edited them down to about 240, using Adobe Bridge as my primary tool.
I experimented with slow shutter speeds on many water shots this year and also made a conscious effort to find scenes which I thought would translate well into black and white. In fact, you'll get a first-hand look at how I created the black and white images on flickr in my latest tutorial, which is running on Tuesday of this week.
I've also included a few panoramics from the trip as well, including the one of the campsite.
I hope you get a chance to check out the photos. Feel free to comment on them; I love to know what people think.
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:59:34 AM by Jim Babbage
Yes it is almost that time again. This coming Saturday, August 1, my good friend Tom Green, I and our sons will be making the 12 hour trek to Obatanga Provincial Park for a week of very low tech relaxation.
Now we don't raise our noses at all technology, you understand; we'll still have our digital cameras so we can capture shots like those seen at mine and Tom's flickr sites. But overall it's a time to chill, read a book, go hiking or canoeing and watch the sun set over a wonderfully peaceful lake. There will be no laptops and our cell phones don't work up there (Tom keeps trying for a signal.)
I have no idea how Mr. Green will survive, as he will be unable to Twitter various profundities at any given time of day. Perhaps he will write them down and later do a massive post-adventure Twitter rampage . . .
This is, of course, assuming:
- We don't strand him on some tiny outcropping of Canadian shield poking out of a lake . . .
- And that we can keep all the sharp and pointy objects from his eager grasp . . .
- And that he doesn't get adopted by a black bear as her long lost albino cub . . .
- Or that he doesn't become the ringleader of the local Red Squirrel brigade, stealing careless campers' cookies by the bagful when they least expect it . . .
I am so dead when he reads this.
It's a time to recharge the spiritual and psychological batteries. That stored up energy is important. Soon after we return, both Tom and I will return to teaching at college - a job as rewarding as it can be exhausting.
In general it will be a time to refresh and renew ourselves before normal daily life washes over us again.
I can't wait. I even have new Christmas songs on my iPod - just for Tom (bwa ha ha . . .)
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 3:09:04 PM by Jim Babbage
I'm picking through my idea file for new tutorial concepts for Fireworks and I thought I'd put the request out to you, our faithful CMX subscribers. Is there something you've been dying to know about Fireworks? (or Photoshop or Dreamweaver or ~insert favorite app here~ . . .)
And what about the types of articles? Creative? Technical? Workflow? Business oriented?
Drop by the Community Clubhouse forum and share your thoughts and ideas.
Posted Wednesday, May 06, 2009 4:18:11 PM by Jim Babbage
Yes that's right!
Adobe has released the very long awaited patch for Fireworks CS4 for both Mac and Windows. The updater addresses some of the big issues related to text and stability.
You can download the update from http://www.adobe.com/support/fireworks/downloads_updaters.html.
After applying the update, please ensure that the version screen now shows as shown below.
You can also read more details about what was fixed in the patch by reading the release notes.
Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:08:09 PM by Stephanie
Hey, the economy sucks and everybody's scared. What better time to work on your education, up your web skills and earn a little extra job security? There are several upcoming conference opportunities I want to bring to your attention -- as well as reasons you might want to do it at all. If you're smart about it, you can streamline costs and make it an affordable trip.
Are conferences really worth it?
For my business, conferences have been invaluable -- and I'm referring to the time before I spoke at them. Not only do you have the ability to learn about many different subjects all in one place, but the networking can also be a key reason to attend. I can trace most of the original opportunities I've had in this industry back to the very first conference I attended -- TODCon (which sadly isn't happening this year). I recently ran into some old pictures from that conference and it occurred to me just how much of my web beginnings started there. At TODCon, I met Matt Brown who was then the Community Manager at Macromedia. Matt bugged, errr, I mean encouraged me until I agreed to write an article for the DevNet Center (yes, my first, and I was petrified). I also met Angela Buraligia, Dan Short and Massimo Foti -- and those relationships led to my first paper publishing experience (Chapter One of Dreamweaver MX 2004 Magic by New Riders). Most importantly, I met Ray West who encouraged me to join the team who was starting Community MX, prodded me into my first speaking gig (a later TODCon) and has been one of my best friends and supporters. In fact, those are just the high notes of that conference. I also met people there that have remained close friends and business contacts. People who have introduced me in turn to other people who became sub-contractors and go-to folks for various solutions in my business. In my opinion, unless you know it all (haha), you can't afford not to go. You can't afford not to give yourself the opportunity for growth and connection "in this economy."
I see the value, but I can't afford it right now.
- Economize by finding a conference close enough to drive to or one where the flight costs are lower.
- Save money by finding a roommate to share hotel costs.
- Take advantage of early bird and discount pricing.
- If your boss won't pay for the whole excursion this year, perhaps she'll split the cost with you. Negotiate. Show her the value you can bring back to your job.
(And remember, everything associated with the conference you choose is likely tax-deductible.)
OK, I'm convinced. What's coming up?
Glad you asked! There are several conferences coming up in the next couple months that are not to be missed (and yes, I'll be at all of them ;)). In chronological order, here they are:
Voices that Matter (VTM) is a conference put on by Pearson (parent company of Peachpit and New Riders among other imprints) in San Fransisco. It's next week - April 27-29, so you need to act on this one quickly! The two tracks in this conference pull together many of your favorite authors. The sessions allow for question time, but one of the beauties of this intimate conference is it's very easy to have lunch with one of the speaker/authors or to catch them in the hall to talk. Take advantage of these speakers -- in a good way -- they don't just write your books. Many are designers, developers and Web consultants just like you. Tap their brains while they're available to you in person!
No, I won't be at this one. My son has finals this week and I couldn't chance being on the road while he didn't get out of bed. LOL But Greg and many others will be there. I was at WebDU last year and it's a really well-run conference with great speakers. If you're on that Southern continent, make a dash for it. May 21-22 in Sydney. Lovely, not too cold, good speakers. :)
InControl is put on by AIGA Cincinnati in, you guessed it, Cincinnati, OH on June 11 & 12. There's one track each day and I have to say, they've really gone all out to pull together a great speaker line up. If you register before April 23, you'll be entered into a drawing for Adobe CS4 Master Collection. That alone could make your trip worthwhile. :) Early bird pricing is available until May 11th, saving you $100, with even more savings for AIGA members.
Web Design World brings a great group of speakers together for three days in what we hope will be a sunny time in Seattle. ;) Sign up by June 3 for a $200 discount. If you use my code - S9W12 - you'll save $395 off the standard price of the three-day Web Design World Passport - and I'll donate $100 to Habitat for Humanity. Everyone wins there. :)
So there you are. Four chances for you to bring some mad web skillz back to your business or our boss. And "in this economy" how can you afford not to?
Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:01:06 AM by Jim Babbage
A very exciting day, yesterday; I received my shipment of books and I must say, I'm very happy with the overall production quality of the book. It's pretty cool to see all the illustrations in full color!
Sporting a bright banana-yellow cover (you almost need sunglasses!) the book definitely stands out. Kinda like some of my shirts . . .
In the next few weeks, I hope to release a few excerpts of the book here on CMX, so stay tuned.
It should be in bookstores soon, so if you're interested in learning FW from the ground up, make sure to check it out.
Posted Tuesday, April 07, 2009 11:00:13 AM by Jim Babbage
Have you ever wondered if (or how) you can add an iframe to a Fireworks prototype? What about inserting a SWF? Or adding some jQuery functionality?
Well, I just finished reading a truly excellent article at the Adobe Developer Center, written by David Hogue and Mariano Ferrario that takes protyping with Fireworks to the next level.
If you're interested in prototyping, head on over to the Adobe Developer Center and check out this article.
Posted Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:42:14 PM by Jim Babbage
Well, it's finally happened.
I just pressed the checkout button at the Apple store and in a few days I will be the proud owner of my very first Macintosh.
I ordered the 15" Macbook Pro with the faster, bigger hard drive.
My old Toshiba doesn't owe me any favors; it's had a hard three year life span - and will probably end up in the hands of my nephew for at least a year, but with the writing I've been doing, having the ability to work with both Mac and PC apps is becoming pretty important. I'll just install a trusty copy of XP on the system so I can still work on both sides of the Force. ;-)
Can't wait till it gets here.
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 5:37:12 PM by Jim Babbage
Ahhhhhh! A huge sigh of relief and great sense of accomplishment are the two things I am feeling most at the moment. As the headline states, the very first Classroom in a Book for Fireworks is off to the presses.
I'm so freakin' excited!
The book has a total of 11 lessons, plus two supplemental lessons on the CD which accompanies the book. Just like other CiaB's, the artwork is included so people can work along with the same assets I used in the book. Some of the assets are supplied by - or inspired by - Adobe, and some are my own, including several photos.
I think this will be it for me on the book scene for a while, but I have some other projects in the works, including some new video titles with Lynda.com . . . and of course, I'll keep writing here at my home away from home, Community MX.
I'll keep you posted on the release date.
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 6:38:40 PM by Stephanie
When I write and speak, I often talk about using em units to size layouts giving the user the ability to resize the entire layout if they change their font size. In fact, chapter 5 of the book I co-authored with Greg Rewis is an entire project based on em units. Until all browsers zoom, this is my personal preferred method. My personal site is built using this method.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about Scaling fonts using em units and how I saw that affecting different types of users. A comment was made recently, and I wanted to address it in a new post while sharing a couple charts I made for myself. The comment said:
"A simple calculation as 1pt equals 1px at 72dpi (MAC) so:
1pt equals 1.33px at 96dpi (PC}
12px (pt) font in MAC is therefore 16px in a 96dpi PC.
If you have a parent element with a 11 pt font then to convert px dimensions to em you divide them by 14.63 (11pt x1.33) Dont interchange pt and px on a PC."
First I'd like to address using points for the screen on either a Mac or a PC. Simply don't do it. Ever. Points are for print. I regularly use points (as well as inches and serif fonts) when I create a print style sheet. I updated an article recently called From screen to print: Creating a print CSS in Dreamweaver published both at Community MX and Adobe's Devnet Center. One thing it addresses is how to use pts for print style sheets.
Until 2000, Macs used a 12px browser default and PCs used a 16px default. We got used to seeing different things (and due to the 72dpi vs 96dpi difference, it was further compounded if points were defined). I'm under the impression (but can't find anything quickly to back it up) that the 72/96dpi issue is no longer a problem. If anyone can point me to a recent reference confirming or denying that, I'd love it. Either way, all current browsers on both platforms now use 16px as their font-size default.
A while back, I was messing around for my own entertainment (you know, partying on a Saturday night or something) and created a couple of charts that might be helpful. The first is font size equivalencies. This chart shows that setting the font to 100%, 1em, 16px, 12pt and medium are equivalent in the same font. It also shows how font sizes can vary greatly from font to font.
The second chart was an exercise showing divs sized using em-units with a variety of font sizing. The red line down the right side is a graphic at 800px. The body's font size is set to 100% (16px). The first three divs show the default font sizing with the divs set to three different widths. The second section shows all divs set to 50em with the font-sizing (placed on the div) set to different units. It's an interesting exercise if you'd like to more clearly understand the effect of font sizes on the size of an em unit.
The interesting thing to me in the second chart, based on the gentleman's comment in my blog, was that viewing this chart on both a mac and a pc the lengths of the divs are the same. Yes, there's a very slight difference in actual font size on the PC - two of the lines of text slightly wrap to the next line - but the 50em width of the div is still exact on both platforms. Are we really that different anymore?
Posted Wednesday, January 07, 2009 7:20:23 PM by Stephanie
Though Greg Rewis and my updated book, Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS4, was listed on most sites with a February 9th release date, it's available now online! Since we were so late with the last one, we thought being early with this one might make up for it. Well, that's not entirely true. I think our publisher thought we'd be just as late this time and put a later date on it. Either way, the release date snuck up on me and since I'd promised to share it I wanted to give you a quick announcement here.
Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS4 has been updated for the completely overhauled interface in Dreamweaver CS4 and as such all screen shots and verbiage relating to that is updated. The new workflows in Dreamweaver CS4 are also introduced throughout the updated book. One change in Dreamweaver greatly affected the rewrite. Removing Layout mode took away the tool we showed to collapse tables and convert a table-based site. For that reason, principles taught in chapter 3 were integrated into chapter 4 (and I personally like chapter 4 better now -- the flow was completely rewritten). Throughout each project, we changed a few of the CSS techniques (as well as adding a couple new ones) as well -- isn't there always another way to do it? :)
Lastly, we integrated any errata found in the last book as well as utilizing some good suggestions made by reviewers. One of those was to have partial project builds available throughout each chapter so that users can check their work without having to go back to the beginning if they make a mistake. I think this makes the book even easier to work with than before. As always, keep your eye on the errata page (we do wish we were perfect) as we do keep it updated. More information on both books is available at the book site. If you have any questions, feel free to use the contact form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Happy coding!
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 12:04:43 PM by Scott Valentine
My new book, Real World Compositing with Photoshop CS4, is set to hit shelves in early January 2009. We turned in the final manuscript this past week. It's been an interesting journey, and I'm already collecting notes for a 2nd edition (if we're lucky), and possibly another book altogether.
We took the approach of going from concept to execution, hoping for a more holistic way of creating composite artwork. The goal was to help people understand that creating works, especially very realistic or goal-oriented pieces, is not something that can be done by piling up tutorial after tutorial. In fact, we rarely discuss specific techniques. Instead, we take the reader from concept development on up to the point of starting actual work, but not much further.
So, early on, we worked at guiding the reader towards having a vision in place, and working on elements along the way that support the vision. Planning, photography, sketches, notes, etc. are all wrapped up in the process of managing the vision. With any luck, there will be a supporting website to handle specific techniques and challenges, some of which will be brought to CMX as articles and tutorials. Keep your eyes peeled!
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 10:45:03 AM by Jim Babbage
Well, MAX San Francisco has come and gone. What an experience; 5000+ geeks attending a single event!
Seriously, it was a great event and I had the opportunity to meet and mingle with many new people. There were also a few networking opportunities as well. Both my Fireworks Mock Up labs were full, and I saw several other very interesting sessions and labs. I for one, was very impressed by the number of Fireworks sessions that were available.
Yep, the secret is out! :-)
On my return, I was informed by a very happy publisher that 28 copies of my book sold in the MAX Store during the event, which made me very happy as well.
I know I promised pics much earlier, but I've just gotten around to getting them online. So if you want to see a few shots from the event and a few from the aquariums at the California Academy of Sciences, head on over to my flickr site.
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:00:01 AM by Jim Babbage
Fireworks CS4 finally began to answer the problem of designing and exporting standards compliant web pages, with the inclusion of a new export feature, CSS and images. This feature was an enhanced version of the Smart CSS extension which was available for FW CS3.
Well, the shipping version of this CS4 feature still had some issues. but luckily for us, Fireworks evangelist Matt Stow worked with Adobe to improve the export script.
You will find his article and the new export assets on Adobe's web site:
This article and the support files are definitely worth a read.
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:19:52 AM by Jim Babbage
Well day 1 has come to a close (for me, anyway) and it was quite a whirlwind! The keynote session this morning was pretty cool. There's some pretty amazing stuff happening with AIR, FLEX and Flash in terms of development projects from companies like Disney Interactive and the New York Times Company.
I thought MAX was big last year; the attendance this year is even higher! I'm told there are over 5000 people attending the event.
I ran my first Fireworks Mock Up lab this morning and it went over very well. I'm very happy to not ethat both labs are at capacity (50 people per lab). It is so awesome to see this kind of interest in Fireworks!
It's been a blast hanging with friends; Danilo Celic, Joe Lowery, Alan Musselman and Aaron Beall, Stephanie Sullivan and Greg Rewis and may others. I haven't seen some of these people for months (or longer) so it's nice to get a chance to talk face to face.
This evening, Alan and I tooled around a bit in his car, taking a few night shots of the Bay Bridge and just enjoying the local scenery.
I'll post some photos soon on Flickr and update you when they're online.
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 7:51:12 PM by Stephanie
Yes, I've been meaning to put this up for quite some time but my schedule of late has made it tough to get much blog writing done. Before Adobe MAX starts, while people are deciding on their sessions, I wanted to make a quick post with more info about my sessions and other MAX happenings. Here they are in order of occurrence:
Greg Rewis (my co-author) and his fellow CS4 Web Tools evangelists will be doing a full day session on Sunday called, Designing Across Media with Adobe Creative Suite 4. This was an extremely popular session last year. The evangelists show how to use the tools in an integrated manor and really get the most out of then to benefit your web projects. Believe me, after writing a book with one of them, I can testify that they know stuff about these tools we never even thought of. ;) You must sign up for this in advance, so act quickly.
Monday, Greg Rewis and I will be doing a book signing at noon. Yes, the CS4 version of our book won't be out till December, but you can pre-order both the book and the upcoming videos. (I've done one for Pearson/Peachpit about Structure and Presentation -- along with CSS tips and tricks. Greg's upcoming video is about Behavior -- Ajax, Spry, Jquery.) Our current CS3 flavored book will be available in real time -- and we're happy to put our scribbles on it for you (or bring it from home if you already own it). If you're sticking with CS3 for a while, that's your best bet. If you'll be upgrading quickly to CS4 (or already have), come pre-order or just meet us. It's always fun to put faces and names together.
Following the book signing, at 2pm, I'll be presenting Standards-Based Solutions to Common Web Design Challenges in Moscone West 2008. This is an intermediate to advanced session and is best for people who already understand the basics of CSS. I will not be reviewing the box model, floating or positioning. We're going to get right into the down and dirty demos. Since my job entails either coding or teaching other people to code, I'll be sharing every day CSS challenges I'm presented with and techniques I commonly use to deal with them. There are many ways to make your CSS more succinct and powerful. This session is filling up fast, so you'll want to log in to the Scheduler and reserve your place soon.
On Wednesday, also at 2pm, I'll present a session called Common Mistakes Print Designers Make on the Web in Moscone West 2011. Don't let the title of this one fool you -- it's not just for print designers. This session covers the ten most common mistakes I see when people are learning to use CSS and web design. This applies, of course, to print people making the transition -- but many of these issues are universal. I promise I did many of these things myself at the beginning. We'll take a look at the common misconception or problem and then the "best practices" way to do it. This session is appropriate for beginner to intermediate levels.
If you've been to MAX before, you know it's a huge conference. Please don't be shy. Come grab me in the hall and introduce yourself. I'm really tall and hard to miss. ;) Feel free to discuss with me the challenges your business is facing. I'm always happy to help out where I can. I look forward to meeting you there!
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:02:44 PM by Jim Babbage
In a few days I'll be flying down to San Francisco to attend and present at this year's Adobe MAX. Last year was my first time going to MAX and it was certainly impressive. I'm very interested to see if that "MAX fever" is maintained.
As for the work side of MAX, I'll be running the Fireworks Mock Up lab, where we will take a couple half built sample files and add the interactivity and other steps necessary to turn the files into interactive PDF documents and AIR prototypes.
I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones (and giving out a few copies of my book). If you're attending MAX, I hope to see ya there.
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 3:29:40 AM by Stephanie
There are several exciting, upcoming events I've been meaning to blog about but... life's been wild. This is my first blog post since making the move to Phoenix, Arizona, rewriting Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS4, and shooting a video for Pearson on CSS and Dreamweaver. I'll blog again when those two items have release dates. It's safe to say I've been scarce everywhere--except twitter (where I'm stefsull).
Before I miss the opportunity, I'd like to mention that the first, virtual, world-wide conference is this weekend! The <head> conference, created by my friend Aral Balkan boasts an amazing line up of speakers. It would be hard to get this many people from this many places into, well, one place. Some speakers will be speaking live from hubs (like London) and the rest of us will be coming to you live from our own offices or, since it's the weekend, our homes. :) There are three virtual conference rooms using Adobe Connect Pro (viewed directly in your browser), chat for participants to get to know each other, a room (and events) in Second Life and other creative ways to allow attendees to interact virtually. Since you can't be in all three rooms at once (just like a regular conference), you'll have a year to view any of the presentations you like from the library. The only difference is that you can't ask questions in real time. It's quite affordable and won't cost you anything for travel. Just think of all the emissions you'll save -- a truly green conference. I'll present a session Saturday, October 25, at 20:00 - 20:45 (UTC) (that's 1pm in Arizona) called Content is for Everyone. Virtually come out and be part of history in the making!
A conference "in real life" you may want to attend is Adobe MAX. MAX is one of the largest conferences of the year. But don't be afraid, there are tons of small to moderate rooms and the geeks are friendly--particularly at the parties. :) With the recent launch of CS4, you'll have the opportunity to learn a lot about the new products. There are also sessions on mobile, CSS, interaction design and other more general subjects. I'll be presenting a session on Monday, Nov 17th called, Standards-Based Solutions to Common Web Design Challenges. On Wednesday, I'll present another session called, Common Mistakes Print Designers Make on the Web. This session is particularly good for people being moved from print, into the web space, but the content is also pertinent for people starting out that need to grasp CSS and the fluidity of the web. Be sure to sign up for these soon though -- they're filling up fast.
Whether virtually at <head> Conference or in real life at Adobe MAX, be sure to come up and say hello!
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 12:25:54 PM by Jim Babbage
I'm very proud to announce that Adobe Fireworks CS4 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques will be available October 20, 2008. It was a heck of an experience and I owe a big thanks to Kim Cavanaugh who was my tech editor.
You can learn more about the book here: http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321562879
I'm very excited about the book. I think it's a great introduction to Fireworks.
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2008 3:06:25 PM by Jim Babbage
At 12:01 this morning, Adobe publicly announced the upcoming release of Creative Suite 4. Some very cool new features have been added to all our favorite software applications. Fireworks CS4 is - IMO - the most significant upgrade in a long while. And other apps like Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash are also chock full of new goodies.
For more details, be sure to stay tuned here at CMX, and also make sure to drop by Adobe's web site for a breakdown of the Suite packages.