Using Shared Libraries and some new tools in the Creative Cloud

By Mark

As most of you know my wonderful wife is a very dedicated teacher.  This year she took on a new position as the testing coordinator for the school and as she often does, she searches across a lot of blogs, twitter feeds and websites to gather good ideas for her school.  She found a great poster on all the attributes that standardized teaching doesn’t measure and wanted it for her room.   

The source document was provided and is intended for free use, but when we downloaded it, it was a .jpg file.   Trying to resize it back to poster size didn’t really work as the graphics and words looked terrible.  I said I would just recreate it for her.  It proved to be a fun project and the final product turned out great. 

As you can see the overall concept is pretty simple.  Mixed fonts of text and the colored pencils in the corners.  Well I could have just used any font I wanted but decided that I would replicate the original as closely as I could. 

I started by creating a poster sized document 24” x 36” so I didn’t have to worry about scaling it later.  I just filled it with black as the starting point.  I then opened the downloaded poster that Sarah had sent me.  This is where I started to take advantage of the features that Adobe introduced a few versions ago.  They call them Shared Libraries and they are intended to promote portability of design features from one project to another and from device to device.

Libraries Panel

Libraries Panel

.  Basically you can save colors, shapes, graphic elements, font styles, special brushes, patterns to the cloud.   No longer do you have to try and figure out or remember what the color scheme was, or what typeface did that customer want to use. 

I saved the reference graphic to start building my document. 

Next I wanted to figure out what the various colors were on the poster.  I just used the eyedropper tool and sampled each color.  With that color as the new foreground color, you just click on the square icon on the libraries pane and it adds the color.  Because the quality of the .jpg was what it was, there seemed to be color variations in the samples.  I got them all and then just used the one I liked best.

Then it was on to figuring out what fonts were there.  There are web apps and iphone apps which allow you to snap pictures of text and identify them.  With the latest PS update, that capability is now resident inside the Text menu itself. 

Just highlight the text you want to identify and then select the “Match Fonts” item.  It will provide a prioritized list of the best fits and will also show you what fonts are available in the Adobe Type Kit, which are included in your subscription.

Because I am a fontaholic, I also use other sources such as www.DaFont.com and www.skyfonts.com .  DaFont is almost all free for personal use and has a lot of specialized fonts for download.   Skyfont is a paid subscription where you can buy full families of type with all of the cool bells and whistles.

Because I wanted to keep my layers in some kind of order I created a layer group for each color of text and then made separate layers for each word.  

Once I created the first word in the right color, font and size for each one, I then saved that as a character style into the library.   After the first word, I just had to click that with the word selected and it was done. 

Character style saves the font, the color and the size info

Character style saves the font, the color and the size info

Since all the words in each color were grouped I could adjust the font size just by selecting the group.  Made the whole thing pretty easy to do.

I was pleased with the final result and much more importantly, so was Sarah. 

Final Results!

Final Results!

Don’t forget to sign up for the 1 October Worldwide Photowalk with us in Shepherdstown WV.  Here is the link.  http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/shepherdstown-wv/