Exchanging Good Ideas

By Mark

If you hadn’t realized it there are a lot of seriously creative people out there.  As we all know I am not one of them, but Adobe helps you take advantage of their willingness to share some of the shortcuts and artistic effects they have created—some for free, others for some $.  A few years ago, Adobe added a new feature to Photoshop and Illustrator called the Configurator.  Basically, it is a customizable tool box that you can build yourself with frequently used tools and embedded actions.  Just like the other panels which can be opened from the Window menu, you can add and adjust to suit exactly what you want to see. 

Those creative types started playing around with them and discovered that they needed a way to share the cool things they had built with others.  As an example I was working on a creative project and knew I wanted to apply a paper texture.  I just opened up the Adobe Paper Texture panel and had a lot to choose from.  

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Well, at first this process was very ugly, and took a lot of work under the hood in order to get them installed inside the apps.  The engineers created a new tool set and the Adobe Exchange as the vehicle for displaying, sharing and downloading everything. 

To start the process first go to the >Windows> Extensions menu on the top level menu bar.  Select the Adobe Exchange and it will open a web portal to the exchange.  

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It shows you the panels organized by All, Paid, Free, and My Stuff. 

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If you browse through the “Free” panel, you can see that Adobe puts quite a bit of content here.  Their resident mad scientist Dr. Russell Brown has built several panels including his “Watercolor Assistant”, which walks you step-by-step in creating a painting.  

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Because you can embed videos and other content in the panel, Adobe also puts out and updates tutorials on the new features as they are released in the creative cloud; an easy and free way to keep up with the constant changes.  

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Each panel has a description and user reviews which can help give you more information.  Finally there are hundreds of panels available over on the “Paid” side.  They range in price and quality from very cheap to pretty darn expensive.    

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All in all, Exchange gives you new tools, which might be exactly what is needed in order to make you look like you were creative after all.