Adobe launches cloud services for content creators

Adobe is planning to launch a series of Internet-hosted services, called Creative Cloud, designed for creators of digital content, the company said Monday.

Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch announced the new offerings at the Adobe Max conference, being held this week in Los Angeles. The services will be available early in 2012, according to the company.

Initially, the company will offer three services. One will provide fonts for websites. Another will help manage the process of digital publishing. The third, based on the Adobe Business Catalyst, will be for creating and managing websites. The company plans to introduce more services in the future, incorporating such Adobe products as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.

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Wacom releases updated Bamboo tablet line

While you may not have the artistic dedication (or bankroll) to warrant picking up one of Wacom’s Cintiq or Intuos tablets, you don’t have to feel left out: The company’s freshly updated Bamboo line offers three different affordable tablets for hobbyists, photo enthusiasts, and beginning artists.

With these new tablets, Wacom has simplified its consumer-level offerings—formerly five tablets under the Bamboo name with varying price points and features—into just three devices, the Bamboo Connect, Capture, and Create. For this revision, the company has attempted to target a specific swath of the tablet market for each model, rather than promote them by features alone.

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Blackmagic Design launches Thunderbolt video capture box

At the IBC show in Amsterdam, Blackmagic Design has announced Intensity Extreme, a new low-cost video capture and playback device that features HDMI and analog video I/O, and connects to recent Mac models using the new Thunderbolt connection. It is priced at €209.

Blackmagic says that Intensity Extreme is completely powered from the Thunderbolt connection on the computer, making it the perfect solution for adding video to laptop computers as it powers from the laptop battery. It features a chassis machined out of a solid block of aircraft grade aluminum.

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How to achieve perfect inkjet prints

Over the last several months we’ve covered numerous tips for producing better prints, and it’s a lot of information to remember. This article presents a handy recap as well as a guided tour through the Print dialog boxes of popular software such as iPhoto, Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS5—including tips for borderless printing.

Printing recap

The first step to ensuring great prints is to understand that your images are made from pixels and how to control pixel size using resolution, as discussed in Image resolution—the key to excellent prints. The next step is to download printer- and paper-specific profiles for better color accuracy. You can get the skinny on profiles and where to find them by visiting How to use printer profiles for color fidelity. If you enjoy maximum control over your prints, and you’re using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CS5, you can crop, resize your photo, and adjust its resolution manually as discussed in both How to resize digital images for print and How to resize small images for print. That said, let's turn our attention to using the print dialog boxes of popular software to produce amazing prints—without the hassle of resizing them first. While the screenshots and examples below are from Snow Leopard, the concepts and processes work the same way in Lion.

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Death of the typographer?

I've been re-reading Simon Garfield's Just My Type after it was sent to us by its appropriately titled American publisher Gotham Books. This is its first edition in the US*, and it's bound to be as popular in the creative community there as it has been in the UK (American designers—be prepared to get a least three copies for Christmas).

An easily accessible tome for anyone with a passing interest in design—the typographical equivalent of Freakonomics, if you like, Just My Type is frequently funny, not shy on details, and most-of-all celebratory of the beauty of letterforms without being all-out nerdish.

Just My Type also gives brief insights into the personal lives of the great typographers from John Baskerville to Matthew Carter.

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QuarkXPress App Studio arrives

Quark has launched QuarkXPress 9.1, a free update to QuarkXPress 9, which features its hotly anticipated App Studio.

App Studio's integrated toolset lets designers create branded iPad apps, distribute those apps via Apple's App Store, and design and publish content for purchase and download from within the apps.

“The proliferation of digital devices has created significant challenges for designers and publishers who not only need to get to the iPad, but who want to offer their readers an innovative, cutting-edge experience,” said Gavin Drake, vice president of marketing for Quark. “With App Studio we eliminate the biggest hurdles by offering a solution that designers can manage without requiring programming and that is affordable.”

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Digitally sketch on paper with Wacom's Inkling

When it comes to illustration on the computer, artists have had few choices: Scanning, which requires touch-up work (and, if necessary, vector traces); drawing with a mouse or trackpad; or, the most-appealing so far, working on a tablet or pressure-sensitive display. Wacom’s Inkling, announced Tuesday, hopes to eliminate these intermediary steps and bring artists back to their roots: drawing on pen and paper.

Like Livescribe’s Echo Smartpen, the Inkling is a digital sketch pen and receiver; sketch, and your lines will be translated into an illustration on your computer. Unlike the Smartpen, however, you don’t need special paper to record your drawings; you can attach the Inkling’s receiver to any paper surface and scribble away. The receiver will record all pen movements made on an A4 paper area (8.27-by-11.69 inches), though you can mount it to a larger piece of paper. Wacom’s pen has the company’s signature 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity built-in, so that all your line widths transfer accordingly.

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