Archived entries for Programs

The Weather by Stefan Trifan

Love this awesome, and useful, screensaver by designer Stefan Trifan. The Weather is available for nearly all major cities and shows information for Now, Today, & Tomorrow. The minimal layout and custom iconography make this one of the most beautiful screensavers I’ve seen. Its a free download on Stefan’s website.

The Weather by Stefan Trifan

The Weather, a scrrensaver by Stefan Trifan

— Via Sub-Studio

The new Twitter redesign is about to roll out!

I’m eagerly awaiting the new Twitter site design to roll out over the next few weeks. Judging from the great little video they posted ( see below ) the new design will greatly improve its usability.

For more information:

The new Twitter Redesign

Minimal Folio iPad portfolio app by Simon Heys

Ever since I bought my iPad, I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to use it as both a personal portfolio and a presentation platform for Fresh Artsits. There didn’t seem to be a good option for easily flipping through images, organizing them into projects and seamlessly switching to video in the middle of the whole presentation. Simon Heys’ new app, Minimal Folio fixes all these issues. It easily integrates images and video into one app allowing you to group media into projects. The intuitive navigation allows you to vertically scroll within a project and horizontally scroll to the next project.

Simon plans on adding support for external displays, iPhone remote navigation, and both PDF and Dropbox support. When those features go live, this app will be unstoppable as a presentation tool.

Minimal Folio iPad app by Simon Heys

Beautiful Dock Icons by Jessica Hische

I really love pretty much anything Jessica Hische designs and her new set of Snow Leopard icons are no exception. These icons are beautifully simple and would be a welcome replacement for all the over designed program icons currently living in my (and any one’s) dock.

Download them here: Dock Icons by Jessica Hische

How to install the icons from Jessica:

I highly suggest everyone skip trying to do it manually and instead opt for Candybar, an awesome application by Panic. You can manually adjust almost all of them (by digging through the resource folders and replacing the .icns files), but on some of them it was a bit tricky and took some figuring out (like the finder is impossible to change in Snow Leopard apparently, but easily changed in Candybar).

New dock icons by Jessica Hische

AutoCAD coming back to the Mac

My heart skipped a beat when I heard that AutoCAD was coming back to the Mac. Its been rumored for a while now that Autodesk would be releasing a MAC version of their AutoCAD software again for MAC users but I never thought it would actually happen. The last MAC version of the software was released in 1992 with support being stopped in 1994.

The Mac version will cost $3,995, the same as the PC version, and will be released in October. But what is really exciting is that they will be releasing a mobile version of the software for the iPhone and the iPad, with support for future tablets and mobile platforms to come as well.

Read the full NY Times article here: NY Times – Autodesk Will Reintroduce Its AutoCAD Design Software for Macs

Autodesk AutoCAD for Mac

Mastering Illustrator with the Keyboard

While this list of Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcuts is not complete, it should be considered a starting point for anyone looking to become more efficient at using Illustrator. There are literally hundreds of key commands for Illustrator, not all of them are that useful. These 11 groups of commands should get you going towards a brighter future. If you find yourself using repeating the same set of actions over and over again, you can always set custom key commands to perform them. This is easily done but maybe I’ll write a follow up How-To later on.


Guides in Illustrator are one of the most important tools a designer can use. Mastering the use of them will help you exponentially in your everyday designing tasks. Guides are set by dragging out of the Rulers on the side of the document window. By default, the Rulers are hidden so you’ll have to Show them by using the Cmd-R [Ctrl-R] key command. Once the rulers are visible, you can just drag a guide out onto your art board. Cmd-R [Ctrl-R]: Show Rulers or Hide Rulers

Cmd-; [Ctrl-;]: Show Guides or Hide Guides

Option-Cmd-; [Alt-Ctrl-;]: Lock Guides or Unlock Guides

You can also turn objects in guides if you need to have oddly shaped guides. Cmd-5 [Ctrl-5]: Make Guides (convert shape to guides)

Option-Cmd-5 [Alt-Ctrl-5]: Release Guides (convert back to shape)

Nudging with Intelligence

In Illustrator, using the arrow keys to move objects around is called “nudging.” By default Illustrator has this increment set to 1pt but you can set this to be whatever you want. This seems like a paint to change but a few clicks can save you a lot of time during the day. There are two ways to go about choosing a good setting for this. One, if your working on a document in scale then chose a number that is easily divisible in that scale. Two, you can set the nudge to de a specific amount, like 0.25 inches, so that if you hit the arrow key 4 times you know that you just moved that object exactly 1 inch. Cmd-K [Ctrl-K]: Opens the preferences panel and highlights the keyboard increment field.

Arrow: Nudges the selected artwork

Shift-Arrow: Nudges selected artwork 10x the amount specified

Option-Arrow [Alt-Arrow]: Nudges a copy of the selected artwork

Shift-Option-Arrow [Shift-Alt-Arrow]: Nudges a copy of the selected artwork 10x the amount specified

Align with Smart Guides One of the most basic settings in Illustrator is often the most overlooked. Smart Guides has been around since the early days, yet people seem to think that if it looks like the shapes are lined up then they must be. This is never the case. Use Smart Guides. Smart Guides allows you to snap objects to the boundaries, centerlines, corners, etc of other objects, guides and art boards. If seeing the Smart Guides pop up all the time is annoying to you then instead of ignoring them, try to control them. First things first, open the Smart Guides preference panel and uncheck all boxes except for Alignment Guides. Now use the shortcut below to selectively turn them on and off. Cmd-U [Ctrl-U]: Toggles Smart Guide behavior on and off.

Faster & Smarter Selection Selection tools are the most used tool in Illustrator. Learn how to tame them and cut out switching back and forth between the two. Use the keyboard shortcuts and quit having to mouse over and click on the right tool each time. V: Selection tool (Solid arrow) — the inverted “V” looks like an arrow.

A: Direct Selection tool (Hollow arrow) — the “A” looks like an arrow with a hollow center.

Better Yet, rather than constantly switch between the two arrow tools, most power users use the Direct Selection tool most often and use these shortcuts: Cmd [Ctrl]: Temporarily toggles to Selection tool.

Option [Alt]: Temporarily toggles to Group Selection tool.

And instead of dragging a selection box around all of your artwork to select it all just use these: Cmd-A [Ctrl-A]: Select all.

Shift-Cmd-A [Shift-Ctrl-A]: Deselect all.

Controlling Object Atributes Applying color to your object in Illustrator can be a little annoying. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve applied the color to stroke when I want to apply it the fill. Sound familiar? You ca use these key commands to get a little better control over it: D: Resets an object’s appearance to white fill, 1pt black stroke.

X: Toggles the focus between Fill and Stroke.

Shift-X: Swaps the colors of an object’s fill and stroke.

/: Applies the None attribute.

Cmd-/ [Ctrl-/]: Applies a new fill (via the Appearance panel).

Shift-Cmd-/ [Shift-Ctrl-/]: Applies a new stroke (via the Appearance panel).

Object Stacking Order Staking order in Illustrator is one of the most important functions. It controls which objects are in front and which are behind other objects. The traditional method for doing this for most users it to mouse to the Object then Arrange drop down. This takes to much time and can easily be accomplished with easy to use key commands. Shift-Cmd-] [Shift-Ctrl-] ]: Bring to front.

Shift-Cmd-[ [Shift-Ctrl-[ ]: Send to back.

Cmd-] [Ctrl-] ]: Bring forward.

Cmd-[ [Ctrl-[ ]: Send backward.

Lock, Unlock, and Hide When working with complex artwork it can sometimes be really annoying (and hard) to control your selections. While in Illustrator CS4, the Isolation tool (used by double clicking on a group or mask) has made it a little easier to control selection, it is still necessary to lock and hide some objects. Cmd-2 [Ctrl-2]: Lock selected object(s).

Cmd-Option-2 [Ctrl-Alt-2]: Unlock all.

Cmd-3 [Ctrl-3>]: Hide selected object(s).

Cmd-Option-3 [Ctrl-Alt-3]: Show all.

Advanced Paste For anyone who remembers Macromedia FreeHand, Pasting in Illustrator has been somewhat of a hassle. Pasting in Illustrator with the more known Cmd-V [Ctrl-V] is limiting in that it only Pastes in front and in the center of you screen. Using the more advanced Paste commands you can gain greater control over where in the stacking order you Paste that object, which is useful when working with complex groups and masks. This only really works well if you are performing this task immediately after copying an object with in the same group or mask. Cmd-C [Ctrl-C]: Copy.

Cmd-V [Ctrl-V]: Paste.

Cmd-F [Ctrl-F]: Paste in front of the copied object.

Cmd-B [Ctrl-B]: Paste behind the copied object.

Navigatation In Illustrator there are some tools that are off-limits, not because they are bad to use, it just that you really shouldn’t waste your time with mousing to them. The hand tool and the Zoom tool should never be clicked, you really just have no reason to. Space: Hand tool.

Cmd-Space [Ctrl-Space]: Zoom in.

Cmd-Option-Space [Ctrl-Alt-Space]: Zoom out.

The only problem with key commands to use the Hand and Zoom tools is that when you are editing text, you have to add one more key to the mix otherwise your going to end up with a ton of extra spaces in your copy. By pressing Cmd-Space [Ctrl-Space] to access the Zoom tool, and then release just the Cmd [Ctrl] key, while still holding Space. This will give you the Hand tool. Slightly annoying but better than the other option. This one is a real jem. Illustrator CS4 introduced Tabbed Document windows, use this key command to easily switch between them. Cmd-` [Ctrl-`]: That’s a Tilde, which appears just over your Tab key on US keyboards, and allows you to toggle between open tabbed documents.

Using Effects Efficiently Say your applying an Effect to a whole bunch of objects, you could select them all, then apply the effect but this will group all the objects first then apply the effect. Apply the first Effect setting all the parameters you want in the Graphic Styles palette then use these key commands to repeat. Shift-Cmd-E [Shift-Ctrl-E]: Apply last-used effect with the same settings.

Shift-Cmd-Option-E [Shift-Ctrl-Alt-E]: Bring up the dialog box of the last-used effect.

Pathfinder Repeat Command While there aren’t key commands set for each Pathfinder action (you could set your own if you wanted with custom actions) and the Live Paint feature in Illustrator CS4 is much more powerful, you can easily repeat the last used Pathfinder action with the below key command. This is useful if your doing some serious shape editing. Cmd-4 [Ctrl-4]: Repeat last-applied Pathfinder function.

Mouse Paths – 24 Hours by Felton

24 hours of recorded mouse paths and clicks from Feltron’s Nicholas Felton.

Made using Anatoly Zenkov’s MousePaths java applet (MAC + PC)
Feltron MousePaths Main

Feltron MousePaths 02Feltron MousePaths 03

— via Feltron

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