Los Angeles InDesign User Group
Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Santa Monica Main Library
Martin Luther King Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, California 90401
By Alvin Takamori
A belated happy 2013, or, to be more current, happy Year Of The Snake! Having survived 2012, the world and life in general continues, and so does Los Angeles InDesign User Group meetings.
In January, we had planned for Diane Burns to be our guest speaker. However, an unexpected family matter prevented Diane from joining us. Now, anyone who has worked in the design profession, and probably a lot of other professions, has learned to deal with the unexpected: the last-minute changes from the client that alter your perfect layout; the print job that you anticipated would be done tomorrow, won’t be ready until next week; the long-time client who decides they’re going somewhere else... To maintain any sanity, you learn to adapt and cope with whatever surprise life brings. Well, we adapted, and turned to the very capable Andrew Keith Strauss to fill in as our featured presenter.
Andrew focused much of his talk on how InDesign and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) can be used to deal with the ever-changing world of digital devices. From iPads, to iPhones, to Androids, designers face an increasingly diverse range of potential output formats for their designs. Tablets like the iPad have a screen size built on a 4x3, 1.33 ratio, which matches the dimensions of traditional televisions. However, if you have an Android with HD format, the screen dimensions are 16x9, a 1.77 ratio. On the other hand, the iPhone has a screen with 3x2 dimensions, a 1.5 ratio. All of these also work vertically and horizontally. Furthermore, none of these match the traditional letter size of 11x8 1/2, which is a ratio of about 1.29. If you had to create separate designs for each format, the amount of work would be daunting. If you create one design and let it go out to all these devices... talk about dealing with the unexpected; the potential for unintended output results is a nightmare. Especially for designers accustomed to shifting letters a couple of points to get the perfect spacing.
In InDesign CS6, there are a few features that could help. Andrew pointed them out to us. First, under the Layout menu, there’s an option to create an Alternate Layout. If you need different layouts, for instance a vertical and a horizontal, you only need to design one, then use this to create the other. Not only does this save time during the initial creation, but later, if you make changes to one layout, the other will update.
If your pages are going to appear on screens of different proportions, a useful new tool in InDesign CS6 is the Liquid Page Tool. It sets up rules to control changes regarding where elements, like a photo or a text box, are positioned on a page and how they scale as the page size changes. An Absolute setting locks the elements of a page, so that there are no changes regardless of the size of the screen showing the page. Anything that doesn’t fit within the screen size is cropped off. Using the Liquid Page Tool gives you four other types of layout options.
The Scale option centers everything, and scales everything by the same proportions as the page size changes. The Re-centered option centers the content, but doesn’t scale it. This can be useful to avoid creating objects like text from becoming too small to read. Guide based allows you to set up guides that indicate where an off center focal point is on a layout. As the page size changes, that area is targeted as an important area of the layout to keep visible.
The most complex setting of Liquid Layouts is Object-Based. With this option you can control where each object: a photo, a graphic, or text box, etc. is positioned in relationship to the page and to other objects, and whether it scales. Using a simple diagram of a box to represent the selected object, the four circles outside the box indicate where the object is anchored to the page. For example, if you click the circle on the right, it fills indicating that the object will stay locked to the right side of the page. As the size of the screen changes, the object maintains its position relative to the right side of the screen, while the left increases or decreases with the changing screen size. If you clicked both the right and left circles, the object would have to scale up or down in size in order to stay locked to both sides as the screen size changes. The four dots on the inside of the box control the content. If you had a text box and clicked on all four inside circles, the content, in this case the type, would remain the same size, so as the screen size changed the text box would have to grow or shrink to accommodate the text. The locks on the dashed horizontal and vertical lines allow you to lock the height or width of the object. You can also select multiple objects using the same system and control the relationship between them. This can become fairly complex and requires some trial and error to figure out.
An older InDesign menu item that Andrew discussed was object frames. Under the Object menu is a Fitting option with the submenu Frame Fitting Options. Here you can set how content fits inside the object frame. Do you see the entire content, regardless of the size of the object frame, or does the content fill it completely with parts cropped by the object frame? If you don’t want it cropped, you could also fill the frame by stretching the content.
Similarly, the Object menu option of Text Frame Options controls how text appears within its frame. You can set the number of columns, the width of those columns, and whether you fill one column before text moves to the next column or balance the text between all columns inside the frame. You can also select the area of a text box that the text anchors to.
Layout Adjustment is another feature that copes with changing page sizes. If you have columns of text and the page width changes, you can choose to keep the same number of columns or add additional columns with a maximum width limit.
In Design CS6 has a new option, when you create a new document. Under intent, you can select digital publishing as an option. This feature is designed to set up your file for output to devices like tablets and smart phones. There’s a choice of document sizes that includes tablet and phone sizes -- be aware the new iPads have twice the resolution of their predecessor and the color space is RGB.
The Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is a way to create and deliver apps for tablets and smart phones. Access to DPS is purchased by subscription. The Single Edition level provides for a one-time app delivery. The Enterprise Edition is the most expensive option, geared toward big companies that need to deliver multiple apps, with extras like analytics.
To publish you’ll also need a developer certificate, which you renew annually.
The actual online magazine, brochure, catalog, etc. is created in InDesign using Folio Builder. Once created, the folio can be output for viewing on an iPad or an Android device.
The features in InDesign give a designer more control over how their creations will appear in the online world. However, relative instructions like,”I want this element to be on the right....” wherever that is on a viewers screen, means you don’t have absolute control. Not to mention, no control over the color settings on a viewer’s screen. So, as designers, we’ll all need to live more like “The Life of Pi” and let go and put our work in the fickle hands of the online universe.
Hey, the unexpected can be a good thing. Just ask the people who were prizewinners in January’s raffle. Start with Lea Frechette, who won eDocker Tablet Publisher, the big prize of the evening, worth nearly a thousand bucks. Then continue with dual winners Grance Guarte who won InDesign CS6 from Adobe and a subscription to Fotolia, and Schlesinger who won Markzware’s PUB2ID plug-in and TypeDNA. You can ask Enrique May who won Fotolia, Wendell Pascual who won Stock Layouts, David Glover who won the book Digital Publishing with InDesign CS6. And finally you can query Francisco Ponce and Alejandro Rubalcava, who each won a one-year subscription to InDesign Magazine.
Thanks to all the sponsors and donors of raffle prizes: Adobe, eDocker, Fotolia, InDesign Magazine, Markzware, TypeDNA, Stock Layouts, O’Reilly Press, Peachpit Press.
We are looking for someone to be our liasion to book publishing companies including Peachpit Press and O’Reilly Press. This includes ordering books for raffle, selecting review copies, recruiting reviewers and managing the review process.
Nigel French, designer, author and photographer, will be in Los Angeles (from England) to present on "Using Adobe InDesign (with Photoshop & Illustrator) to Make Typographic Art: Some Lessons I’ve Learned." The meeting will take place Thursday, March 21, 2013, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Roxbury Community Center Auditorium, 471 S. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. There is ample free parking.