Review: Adobe Creative Cloud All-in-One For Dummies

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Hey, it’s OK to be a dummy sometimes; especially when it comes to the complexities and nuances of the increasingly vast Adobe Creative Cloud suite. So as a creative (or indeed anyone whose career or hobbyist interests rely on making things with image and text that look clear and pretty) what better gift than the power of mastering these essential tools?

What’s great about this particular well-known brand of reference guides is that it’s written by experts, rather than writers speaking to experts (so in this case, designers). As such, the tips and guidance are spelled out in a way that’s not only comprehensible to those in the design industry, but in a way that is tailored to those looking to work in it. 

The authors Jennifer and Christopher Smith certainly have pedigree: Jennifer is a UX consultant, designer, educator, and author of 12 or so books on digital imaging and web publishing; while Christopher is president of the American Graphics Institute and author of numerous books on web, interactive, and print publishing technology, including many official Adobe training guides.

Seven mini-books

Adobe Creative Cloud All-in-One For Dummies (Second Edition) is divided into seven mini-books across a hefty 800 pages, and covers InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Photoshop CC, Acrobat Pro, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe XD. While there’s no doubt this book is aimed more at those at the beginning of their creative software journey, it’s undoubtedly helpful for those already proficient in their tools. 

There's advice on using advanced features, and of course, helping a Photoshop whizz incorporate other tools and work across different programmes to make their lives easier and their work sparkle. 

What’s potentially off-putting for a book about how to design well is that it certainly isn’t the most beautiful, or indeed well-designed book we’ve ever seen: the icons are ugly; and the typographic decisions leave a lot to be desired. 

It’s also slightly misleading to bill the title as as 'all-in-one', when it doesn’t actually cover programmes like Lightroom, Premiere Pro and After Effects. But in fairness, it’s probably wise to master the less complex programmes before tackling moving image and animation software. 

Adobe Creative Cloud All-in-One For Dummies is certainly aimed more at the beginner end of the spectrum, although there’s definitely a few gems in here for the more advanced. However, it might take a bit of slightly frustrating rifling through this hefty tome to get there.

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Top 9 Graphic Design Tools of 2018

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It hasn’t been long since we’ve been in awe of experiencing the change that machines and computers brought into our everyday life. Since then technology continues to evolve and unfold many of its inspiring phases. We have seen a rapid evolution in the digital industry for which technology contributes at a large scale. Similarly, graphic […]

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Build a Professional-Grade Website With Wix

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Chances are you’ve heard of Wix – one of the top website builders out there. As a web professional, you may think that it’s solely a DIY tool aimed at beginners. While the Wix interface is intuitive to use it’s also incredibly powerful.

Wix offers an extensive feature list including professional web tools and design features and advanced code capabilities. You can use it to build a site for yourself or for your clients that is both powerful and mobile optimized.

Create Without Limits

Wix now offers advanced code capabilities, so you can create your own content-rich websites and web applications. If you’re comfortable with CSS, JavaScript and databases, you’ll have a blast creating anything you want with Wix Code. Now here’s the best part, Wix Code works directly with the Wix editor so you can code using the stunning visual components of the Wix Editor. Plus, it’s all SEO compatible, so you can make sure the website you build can get found online.

Professional Features from Wix

Wix has a huge app market that offers tons of professional tools to help you manage and grow your business online. Want an online store? Check. Start accept bookings online? Done. Sell your artwork or videos online? You got it. By this point, Wix has become so good at offering every business niche, you’d be hard-pressed to find something they don’t have.

Professional features include:

Real-time feedback and design sharing


Online booking system

Retina-ready image galleries

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools

Designer-made templates for any business need


Design With Peak Efficiency

Wix takes care of the hard stuff, so you can focus on what really matter – designing your stunning website. Wix offers hundreds of design features that you can use to create something beautiful without stressing yourself out. Their intuitive drag and drop UI means that you can position elements where you want without having to tweak code. It’ll save you time and unnecessary headaches.

They’ve even simplified complicated features like parallax scrolling, video backgrounds and animation. Each one can be easily added to your design. Plus, you’ll find hundreds of installed fonts and the ability to upload your own.

Everything works with minimal effort on your part. Layouts are also a piece of cake – including multi-column. You don’t need to resort to hacks to get the exact look you’re after. The Wix UI means that you can focus your attention right where it needs to be: On building an amazing website. There’s no need to pull up multiple applications or browser windows. You’ll have access to everything you need in one place.

Tools Designed With You in Mind

Putting powerful features in the hands of designers is what Wix does best. They want you to stay ahead of the pack and on top of the latest trends. Always in Style With their collection of gorgeous templates, you’ll always be right on the cutting edge when it comes to design. And with new templates constantly being added, you’ll stay that way well into the future. Taking advantage of the latest design is a matter of a few clicks.

Feedback in Real-Time When you’re working on a project, you’ll often need to bring clients and colleagues into the loop. Wix lets you share your work with a single click and collect feedback in real-time. You’ll speed up the revision process and avoid unproductive email chains. Design With AI That Understands You Using Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) brings a new level of efficiency to site creation.

The first AI that will design a website for you, the system learns your needs and builds a site to your specifications. Resources and Services You Need There’s no need to search the web for top resources – Wix has you covered. Their image collection contains thousands of visuals from both Wix and Shutterstock that you can use on your site. Plus, there are built-in tools to help you with critical tasks like invoicing, email marketing and SEO.

Build It Your Way With Wix

If you’re a designer looking for a fast, stable and secure platform – look no further than Wix. They can provide you with the tools you need to build a great site with full control over the entire process. Start building with Wix for free and put the most technologically advanced website builder to work for you.

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10 Alternative Android Keyboard Apps

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Every Android device has its own keyboard build into the system, but no matter how feature-filled the built-in keyboard is, it is still very general. So, if you think the current keyboard in your…

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Our 10 Favorite Open Source Resources From 2017

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So many new projects are released every year and it’s tough to keep track. This is great for developers who benefit from the open source community. But it makes searching a lot more difficult.

I’ve scoured GitHub, organizing the best projects I could find that were released in 2017. These are my personal favorites and they’re likely to be around for quite a while.

Note that these are projects that were originally created during 2017. They each show tons of value and potential for growth. There may be other existing projects that grew a lot over 2017, but I’m hoping to focus on newer resources that have been gaining traction.

1. Vivify

Vivify css framework

The Vivify CSS library was first published to GitHub in late August 2017. It’s been updated a few times but the core goal of the library is pretty clear: awesome CSS effects.

Have a look at the current homepage and see what you think. It works much like the Animate.css library – except the features are somewhat limited. Yet, they also feel easier to customize.

There are a bunch of custom animations in here that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Things like paper folding animations, rolling out with fades and fast dives/swoops from all directions.

One of the best new libraries to use for modern CSS3 animations.

2. jQuery Steps

jquery steps plugin

With the right plugins you can extend your forms with a bunch of handy UX features. Some of these may be aesthetic-only, while others can radically improve your form’s usability.

The jQuery Steps plugin is one such example. It was first released on April 19th and perhaps the coolest progress step plugin out there.

It’s super lightweight and runs with just a few lines of JS code (plus a CSS stylesheet).

Take a look at their GitHub repo for a full setup guide. It’s a lot easier than you might think and the final result looks fantastic.

Plus, the plugin comes with several options to customize the progress bar’s design.

3. Petal CSS

Petal css framework

There’s a heavy debate on whether frontend frameworks are must-haves in the current web space. You certainly have a lot to pick from and they all vary so much. But one of my newest favorites is Petal CSS.

No doubt one of the better frameworks released in 2017, I’ve recommended this many times over the past year. I think it’s a powerful choice for minimalist designers.

It doesn’t force any certain type of interface and it gives you so much control over which features you want to use.

This can’t compete with the likes of Bootstrap…but thankfully it wasn’t designed to! For a small minimalist framework, Petal is a real treat.

4. Flex UI

Flex ui framework

The Flex UI Kit is another CSS framework released in 2017. This one’s a bit newer so it doesn’t have as many updates. But it’s still usable in real-world projects.

Flex UI stands out because it runs the entire framework on the flexbox property. This means that all of the responsive codes, layout grids and typography is structured using flexbox. No more floated elements and clearfix hacks with this framework.

I do find this a little more generic than the Petal framework, but it’s also a reliable choice. Have a look at the demo page for sample UI elements.

5. Sticky Sidebar

Sticky Sidebar plugin

You can add sticky sidebars onto any site to increase ad views, keep featured stories while scrolling or even increase email signups through your opt-in form.

In May 2017, developer Ahmed Bouhuolia released this Sticky Sidebar plugin. It runs on pure JavaScript and uses custom functions to auto-calculate where the last item should appear, based on the viewer’s browser width.

The demo page has plenty of examples, along with guides for getting started. Anyone who’s into vanilla JS should give this a shot.

6. rFramework

rFramework plugin

Looking for another awesome startup framework for the web? rFramework might be worth your time since it’s fully semantic and plays nice with other libraries such as Angular.

To get started all you need are the two CSS & JS files – both of which you can pull from the GitHub repo. All the styles are pretty basic which makes this a great starting point for building websites without reworking your own code base.

Also take a look at their live page showcasing all of the core features that rFramework has to offer.

It may not seem like much now, but this has the potential to grow into a solid minimalist framework in the coming years.

7. NoobScroll

NoobScroll plugin

In mid-April 2017 NoobScroll was released. It’s a scrolling library in JavaScript that lets you create some pretty wacky effects with user scroll behaviors.

Have a look over the main page for some live demos and documentation. With this library you can disable certain scrollbars, create smooth scroll animations or even add a custom scroll bar into any element.

This is perfect for creating long flyout navigation on mobile screens. With this approach, you can have lengthy dropdown menus without having them grow too large.

8. jQuery Gantt

jquery Gantt plugin

Tech enthusiasts and data scientists likely know about gantt charts – although they’re less common to the general public. This is typically a graphical representation of scheduling and it’s not something you usually find on the web.

jQuery Gantt is the first plugin of its kind, released on April 24, 2017. This has so many uses for booking, managing teams or even with SaaS apps that rely heavily on scheduling (ex: social media management tools).

It works in all modern browsers with legacy support for IE 11. You can learn more on their GitHub page, which also has setup docs for getting started.

9. Paroller.js

Paroller.js plugin

Building your own parallax site is easier now than ever before. And thanks to plugins like Paroller.js, you can do it in record time.

This free jQuery plugin lets you add custom parallax scrolling features onto any page element. You can target specific background photos, change the scroll speed, and even alter the direction between horizontal and vertical.

It’s a pretty solid plugin that still gets frequent updates. Have a look at their GitHub repo for more details.

10. Password Strength Meter

Password Strength Meter plugin

Last, but certainly not least on my list is this password strength plugin, created March 11, 2017. It’s built on jQuery and gets frequent updates for new features & bug fixes.

With this plugin you can change the difficulty rating for password complexity. Plus, you can define certain parameters like the total number of required uppercase letters or special characters.

If you’re interested in adding this to your own site, the GitHub repo is a nice place to start. The main demo page also has some cool examples you can test out.

But if you’re looking for more new open source projects, try searching GitHub to see what you find. The best resources often find a way of accruing stars, forks and social shares pretty fast.

Making The Transition From After Effects To CSS Transitions And Keyframes

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Websites are looking more and more like mobile apps. Users are also increasingly expecting a more app-like experience. From push notifications to offline mode, native web apps are getting there.
Once web apps function like native apps, the design interactions would also change to address the use case — namely, the ubiquity of animations. Animations drive interactions in all of our favourite apps, from Uber to Lyft and Snapchat to Instagram.

Presentator – A 100% Free Design Collaboration Platform

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How to Improve Windows 10’s Battery Life

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Like its predecessors, Windows 10 also comes with a bunch of features to increase battery timing, including a completely new Battery Saver option. On top of that, the Anniversary update and the new…

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8 iPhone & Android Apps To Create Cinemagraph

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3 Things to Consider Before Switching Hosting

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Inspired Magazine
Inspired Magazine – creativity & inspiration daily

Are you fed up with your current host and now you’re looking for a different provider?

Maybe you found a cheaper host or a faster one or a host that offers some sort of benefit like a website builder.

These are all valid reasons to switch hosting companies, but it’s essential to consider a few things before making the big change.

First of all, no matter how much the host tells you that they’ll do everything for you, some of the work is going to be completed by you. Most notably, your email address transfer.

Some companies don’t have email addresses provided through their host, so those people won’t have to worry about anything. However, it takes some reading, understanding, and frustration to configure your Outlook or other inboxes with the new hosting credentials.

So, start by understanding that moving hosts doesn’t mean you sit back and watch the experts take care of everything. It’s a collaborative process that’ll most likely take a significant amount of time out of your day. After all, you have to communicate all of the logins to your hosting company and walk through the process of setting up your emails.

Some other considerations come into play during your switch from one host to another. If you’re thinking about jumping ship, take a good look at these thoughts so as not to make a rash decision. You may discover a great deal, but if you find out that the new host stinks, it’s a whole separate process trying to get your money back and moving the files to the old host again.

Therefore, keep reading to learn about the things to consider before switching hosting.

1. Is the Host You’re Switching to Considered One of the Best?

Your entire website setup relies on the hosting. The speed, security, management, and control over your site depends on getting a good host. Therefore, it’s extremely important to consider whether or not the world is talking about the new host.

If you can’t find anything on blogs or other online publications, it’s probably not a good idea to risk your website with the host.

The best hosting companies get mentioned all the time on “best of” lists, where the articles break down why they’re so good, based on criteria like speed, uptime, and customer support.

You’ll also learn more details about the hosts, considering most hosting company websites have extremely salesy and confusing information. So, instead of looking through hosting website sales copy, you’re at an extreme advantage checking out reputable blogs that talk about hosting, blogging, and building website.

As you peruse the internet for reviews, seek out articles that reveal critical, unbiased information about those hosts. If you start seeing your prospective host in these lists as quality options, you’ll most likely have enough information to pull the trigger.

For instance, I like to see some of the following in the articles:

The cost – It’s great when the author showcases all hosting plans from each company. We also like to see how long you have to prepay in order to get a certain rate. The reason for this is because most hosts market their lowest price on the website, but then you’ll discover you have to pay for something like two or three years in advance to get that monthly rate.
Money back guarantees – Although the goal is to locate a great host so that you don’t have to leave again, it’s important to find articles that highlight money back guarantees. This way, you know how long you have to get a full refund.
Load time – If the author didn’t at least complete a little research on load time I’d skip the article altogether. Why? Because hosting has a strong effect on how fast your website loads up to customers. The speed affects SEO and how often users leave your site without looking at anything.
Uptime – This is in the same category as load time, but it’s more about whether or not your site is going to randomly crash because of server problems. Most often the uptime for a host is close to 100%, but it’s good to check in the hosting reviews to see if anyone else has experience uptime problems.

2. Are You Getting Swindled?

Let’s face it, most brands and individuals looking into hosting think about pricing before security or speed. It’s not the way it should be, but budgets are a real thing.

Therefore, it’s ideal to find some of the cheapest pricing you can for a host. The only problem is that when you see hosts selling for less than a dollar, or somewhere around that, there’s a chance you’re getting swindled out of your money and placed on an easily hacked, unsafe server.

In addition, you might find that these super cheap hosts operate in a bad IP neighborhood, and this means that Google will most likely punish your site in return.

Along with rough downtime and bad support, your best bet is to avoid situations like these.

For example, some of the cheapest Aussie Hosting options are pretty bad. However, you can find quality shared and VPS hosting in that region without having to spend too much money. This is especially the case if you’re a blogger or small business owner who doesn’t initially expect to see much traffic coming to the site.

3. How’s the Customer Support?

When transferring from one host to another, the customer support comes into play quite often.

It’s also essential to have a phone line, live chat, and email address to contact the host after everything has been moved over. After all, you’re bound to encounter troubles with your site files. When that happens, you need someone to talk to.

Are You Ready to Switch Hosting?

Okay, so you’ve evaluated whether or not your future host is considered one of the best, checked to make sure you’re not getting swindled, and made sure that the customer support is pretty good.

Once you’ve walked through those steps you should have no problem switching over to the new host. Good luck!

header image courtesy of Alexey Kuvaldin

This post 3 Things to Consider Before Switching Hosting was written by Inspired Mag Team and first appearedon Inspired Magazine.