PhotoShop Makes it Easy to Quickly Straighten a Scan or Photo

 

 

If you begin work with a raw photograph or scan, chances are the image will be off-kilter – maybe just a little bit crooked, maybe a lot. Here’s an easy fix to straighten your image that does not require guesswork of how many degrees or rotation are needed.
Photo in need of alignment

In the sample image above, the subjects appear to be walking up a slight hill, but our objective is to have them on level ground. Beginning with CS5, the PhotoShop tools got a whole lot smarter and you can now Straighten a photo with the click of a button. The Crop tool itself will allow you to manually rotate the image, just by clicking slightly outside the crop area and pulling the image in whatever direction you desire. To have PhotoShop straighten your photo exactly, just click the “Straighten” button in the Toolbar at the top. This accesses your Ruler tool to draw a line on your image that you want to use to make your image plumb. The new tools make what use to be a more difficult task very intuitive and easy.
The “old” way of doing this was to get the Ruler tool (its hidden away on the fly-out menu of the Eyedropper tool). Find a line or edge in your image that you want to be perfectly horizontal.  Click and drag out a line with the ruler tool that you want to be exactly 90° perpendicular to vertical. Choose Image – Rotate – Arbitrary. The exact amount of rotation needed (to the 100th of a degree!) will be entered into the “Arbitrary” amount box. Just hit enter and your image will rotate clockwise or counterclockwise as needed according to the line you drew.

Using the Ruler Tool in PhotoSHop

Find the “horizon” or edge you want to be perfectly horizontal in your image and drag the ruler tool across it.

Rotate Image in PhotoShop

Image – Rotate Image – Arbitrary

Rotate Image in PhotoShop

The exact amount needed is automatically filled in the Rotation Amount

Straightened Image before recropping

Image aligned with drawn line, before recropping.

Finished photo after alignment

After aligning, you will need to recrop the image to make it square again. But the girl walking her dog is now on level ground. If your image was a scan of a document or printed photograph, aligning with the edge of the original will bring the image plumb again.

Thanks to CS5 and beyond, you may never need this again!

 

 

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Kuler is now Color! Plus, the New Color Theme Tool in Adobe InDesign CC 2014

 

InDesign-AdobeColor1

InDesign Color Themes Tool in ToolbarThe latest update for Adobe InDesign CC 2014 gives you a great new tool for creating a beautiful matching color palette based on the images and artwork already in your layout. The Color Theme tool will create for you 5 different 5-swatch palettes or themes of color with a simple click based on the objects you have selected on your page, which you can then add to your swatches palette or export to Adobe Color (formerly Kuler – will get to that in a moment) for use in other applications and on other devices.

InDesign-ColorThemesIf you have a photograph placed on your page, select the new tool then click the photo. The Color Theme tool will select a range or palette of colors based on that image. It will also work on a vector object, shape or a selected area of your layout including several different objects. A main 5-swatch color theme shows up automatically. By clicking on the down arrow you will see four additional “themes”: Colorful, Bright, Dark and Muted. These will give you variations of the basic theme from which to choose.

InDesign-OutputIntentA button to the right allows you to add any or all of the themes to your Swatches palette. Option clicking that button will allow you to add just an individual color. The colors are by default defined according to your “document intent.” If you hadn’t noticed, whenever you create a new InDesign document, there is a drop-down menu called Intent where you choose if your creation is heading for the Print world, for the Web or for Digital Publishing (e-Pubs). By double clicking the actual Color Theme tool in the toolbar, you can choose to leave your colors “defined as per document intent” or go ahead and decide for yourself to have the colors rendered as CMYK or RGB. In the prepress department here, we were hoping the tool would include the magic of matching the closest PMS color to the selected sample, but no such luck…..yet.

InDesignColorThemes-PalettesNow here’s another new feature. Adobe Kuler is now Adobe Color. You can access your Creative Cloud Color account directly in InDesign by going to Window – Color – Adobe Color Themes. In the panel that opens, you can access all your previously defined Kuler… er, Color themes, explore the themes of others just as you did with the mobile app or online, or create new ones from scratch. Any themes you create in PhotoShop or Illustrator are also here to share. Adobe has integrated the favorite advancements of its former Kuler app directly into the Creative Cloud applications in a very seamless, easy to use way.

InDesign-WhatsNewYou can watch a couple of very brief overviews of these new features from Adobe by going to Help – What’s New… These new features are very intuitive and a great tool for your color inspiration. The integration of Adobe Color directly into the Creative Cloud apps is very handy and will be welcomed by the Kuler/Color community, though I’m already finding it difficult to stop calling it Kuler.

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Why We Started Double Spacing after Each Sentence, and Why Typography Says “STOP!”

 

"One day, we will not have to separate sentences with two spaces."

 

The first thing I was told years ago on my very first day of work in prepress was to forget the old rule from high school typing class about using two spaces between sentences. When you learned to type on a typewriter, that became second nature and it was a hard habit to break in the beginning. But I only recently learned the reason WHY two spaces are no longer used, thanks to an excellent history of the phenomenon by Farhad Manjoo over at Slate. He makes a convincing case for why today you should “never, ever do it.” Knowing the reason always beats the the standard justification of “because that’s how it’s done today.”

First, rules in typography really are rules! Of course there are exceptions where rules are broken for good reason, but “that’s how I was taught” is not one of them! The rules of typography were agreed upon over years and years of professional development of “best practices.” In the early days of typesetting – so they tell us – the rules had not been developed yet. Printed material might have one space between sentences, it might have four. What was a “space” anyway? The size certainly varied. But as time rolled on, typesetters standardized their work and one space became the rule. Enter the typewriter.

Monospace type examplesTypewriters revolutionized business communications, and also created the need for the now outdated 2-space rule. Typewriters before the 1970s were monospaced – each letter the same width as any of the other letters or characters, unlike the type you are reading right now. Typewriters had no kerning or tracking capabilities and the result was difficulty in distinguishing sentences from each other because of all the “loose” spacing between letters. Two spaces between sentences proved to be generally more pleasing to the eye and easier to read.

So that’s the reason. But we aren’t using typewriters anymore! Even the later typewriters employed proportional type, ending the need for any extra spaces. Two spaces make an unpleasant gap in blocks of type. In the prepress department, the first step to placing and laying out a customer’s text is to do a “Find – Replace” for two spaces.

If you are still dropping in those extra spaces between sentences, you are not only saying that you are most likely over 40 and learned to type on a typewriter, but that you don’t like change very much! It really isn’t that hard a habit to break. Some specific workplaces or disciplines still cling to the two-space rule… I’ve heard the legal world is one of those. If you earn your living in one of those fields, you have an excuse. Otherwise, if you choose to hang onto the old 2-space rule, just be aware that the visual text you are creating in your emails and documents is saying things about you which you may not intend!

…and one more unbreakable rule: no indenting paragraphs with FIVE SPACES! Still see that typewriter holdover from time to time as well.

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Shandys, Selfies & A Mustache: Traveler Beer Does Integrated Marketing Right!

 

Stick on Mustaches from Traveler Beer

What is more fun than a stick-on mustache?!

…well, taking a selfie with your mustache to share with the world AND enjoying a new European twist on delicious beer at the same time. That combo has helped prove Traveler Beer Company a pro at integrated marketing. Combining a great product and marketing design with social media buzz is one step. But in Traveler’s current campaign, the vital link between the products and the online excitement is good, old-fashioned print and promotional products! It is exciting to see these traditional marketing tools put to their best use in combination with the latest in digital communications.

Traveler is “introducing” to the American market the European tradition of “shandys” – quality craft brews combined with carbonated citrus or fruit flavors. The four Traveler flavors use lemon and lime (“Curious Traveler“), grapefruit (“Illusive Traveler“),  strawberry (“Time Traveler“), and pumpkin (“Jack-O Traveler“). With such a unique product, Traveler is wisely shaping their marketing around the adventure of a new experience. By using a turn-of-the-LAST-century flavor to the graphics, they are reinforcing the idea that these flavors have been around a long while in Europe and proven a favorite. With the current public preference for all things hipster, the classic Victorian handlebar mustache works as the perfect representative of the product, and the perfect way to involve consumers in becoming a part of the marketing itself.

Promotional Products from Traveler Beer

Traveler’s mission was to involve the public through social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, primarily. To achieve that, they created a great variety of bar swag and promotional products to put the Traveler brand into consumer’s hands. Online, and in retail outlets, bars and restaurants, you can find branded t-shirts, backpacks, glassware, bar taps, and on and on. The key to actually involving folks in the marketing game is a set of stick-on mustaches attached to printed cards. The card for each style mustache directs the user to stick on the mustache, take a photo, and post it online with the hashtag #TRVLR. The result has been that elusive social media buzz and virality that makes a marketing campaign successful.

Twitter and Instagram SelfiesThe payoff for the consumer? Primarily, the fun of seeing their mustachioed selfies online! The Traveler website has a page called TRVLR GLRY with Mustache and Traveler of the Week photos, and shots from parties and events hosted around the Traveler products. Search for the hashtag #TRVLR on Twitter or Instagram to see all the folks joining in the fun.

The greatest part of this type of marketing? It can be done on a large scale like Traveler has shown us, or on a small scale for a local business with a lot less money and time to invest. Print and promotional products can be designed to encourage the recipient to actually market for the brand – post a photo, wear the logo, visit a webpage, or share the experience on social media of using the product. The reward for doing that can be a coupon or discount, a contest prize, or it can just be the kick of seeing one’s very own selfie on a website. When done right, adding the social media component to a standard print marketing campaign only amplifies the impact of the original idea but with very little, if any, added investment. For the consumer, it enhances your brand image and their enjoyment.

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Why Great Customer Service Is a Powerful Small Business Marketing Tool

 

Customer Service is a great marketing tool

With the power of the Internet and the multitude of review sites, it’s difficult to avoid honest opinions about your company. Those reviews, both positive and negative, are just a Google search away, and whether the complaint or review is valid or not, people may still take it as gospel.

According to Fonolo, 68 percent of businesses plan to increase the amount of money they invest in customer management because the customer experience is so important. Additionally, positive feedback can be very useful for marketing purposes, especially when customers share how their issues were resolved efficiently.

Companies can use that testimonial information to develop customer service strategies, and show their customers that they’re appreciated. This in turn creates new and repeat business. Here are some ways to turn customer referrals and testimonials into increased business:

Take Care of Your Customers

The best type of marketing is word-of-mouth by your customers. The best way to create a positive buzz about your company is to provide great customer service. People will remember how you solved their problems and helped them find whatever they needed. Not only will they return to your company but they also will tell their friends about their positive experience. This is the easiest way to market your company because you let your customers do the work for you.

Reflect Your Caring for Customers

Taking care of customers is a vital marketing issue, perhaps even more so than buying billboards or advertising. When customers feel cared for, many are quick to share that experience, reflecting the hard work of your company. Every customer is a gatekeeper to evangelize your brand. Showing your appreciation and generosity for loyal customers builds solid support for your business.

Marketing customer service requires long-term vision “to move the needle on customer service operations, in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your brand,” states Kate Leggett in an article on Forrester.

Loyal customers deserve your attention. Those who receive a top-to-bottom customer support experience could become repeat buyers. Your company can go above and beyond the typical customer service requirements by showing appreciation to loyal customers. When you reach out and thank them, it comes across as a genuine attempt to make them feel special. One way to do this is to send something like a gift basket and a hand-written thank you note. You can brand any number of useful and desirable products with your logo and colors to use as giveaways – the promotional products field has items at all price levels ready to be imprinted, engraved, embroidered or branded with your company logo and message. Also, print wear is a great idea – loyal customers will be happy to receive and wear a quality clothing item screen printed or embroidered with the attractive logo of a company they appreciate.

Locate Testimonials

If your company pops up in Internet searches next to negative terms, then that gives people an early reason to look elsewhere for comparable products or merchandise. But, if your business connects to positive search results, it gives people a reason to trust you.

With customer review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, people can see what others said about you, and, luckily, you can use positive reviews to your advantage. Figure out who your most sustained, loyal customers are, and ask them to honestly share their experience in a video testimonial for your company’s website. Wistia offers advise and tips for creating video testimonials for your business such as being prepared but not scripted. If you don’t like videos, then you also can ask repeat customers to go onto Yelp, Angie’s List or other review sites to honestly talk about their experiences.

In your advertising, emphasize the real-world experience of your most honest customers, and more people will get a sense of what you’re all about.

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Hard to Hide: Disabling an Overactive Welcome Screen in Illustrator CC 2014

Illustrator CC 2014 Welcome Screen

 

When the Welcome gets worn out…

With each new software upgrade, organizing your workspace and learning the new tools and interface changes can take a little time. Creative Cloud software generally launches by default a Welcome screen with helpful info on “What’s New” in the latest release. For the first few days, these are helpful; after that they begin to feel intrusive. With Illustrator CC 2014, the “Welcome” screen is pretty persistent in trying to keep on welcoming. The fix is a simple one – albeit not as simple as it could be!

InDesign Welcome screenIn previous version of Illustrator, the Welcome screen appeared with each launch, but the checkbox to hide the screen on future launches was always located at the bottom in plain view. With InDesign CC 2014, it is still there and easy to access. With PhotoShop CC 2014, there is no “Welcome” screen – it just lives under the Help menu and will take you to an Adobe webpage when chosen. But Illustrator expanded the Welcome screen for CC 2014, putting in four tabs to access different information. I wonder if Adobe is pushing a little harder to introduce PhotoShop and InDesign users to Illustrator?  The expanded screen can be useful, but it seems Adobe went a little further in trying to make you work to hide it.

Illustrator CC 2014 Welcome ScreenThe “Create” tab, which is the default screen on my installation and includes the easy access to open recent docs or new projects, does not include the box to hide the Welcome screen. I have no idea why. For some reason, only three of the four Welcome screen tabs have the check-able option to hide the window in the future. And, even on those three tabs, the bottom of the window is not visible until you scroll down to find the check box.

The Welcome screen info always lives under the Help menu, so if you find it annoying like I do, just click on any of the three tabs other than “Create” and scroll to the bottom of the window. There you can access the SLIGHTLY more elusive than normal “Don’t Show Welcome Screen Again” box.

How to hide the welcome screen in Illustrator

 

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing with FSC certified products. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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