(Easily) Export Layers to Files in Illustrator

Amazing that this still isn't a built-in feature in Illustrator even in the 2014 release. There are a few scripts floating around to do this quickly and easily, I recommend this one from the arcticmill.com folks. Visit their post to download the script (direct link to the .jsx file).

By default it spits out hi, med, and low sized versions and you can customize it as you see fit. Also a great feature it includes is the crop to artboard which was handy in a recent case. Options for .svg, .jpg, and .png are great as well. 

It wouldn't take much for Adobe to include useful scripts like these in the default install, much the way the do for Photoshop and After Effects. Not really sure why the scripts shipping with Illustrator have been pretty barren for as long as I can remember. 

Creative Mornings Toronto #1 - The Jumpoff

Photo by Jacklyn Atlas www.jacklynatlas.com

Really not a fan of getting up that early in the morning, but the first ever edition of Toronto's Creative Morning was a great success. Speakers for the inaugural talk were Helen Kerr & Nigel Smith of KerrSmith.

Mat Martel and I were on video duty, he also handled the edit because that's his deal, as editing has a habit of driving me insane. The next CMTO is on deck for Jan 20, check out creativemornings.com for more info.

You can check out the rest of the photos from the talk over on the Creative Mornings Toronto Flickr page.

Audio problems in After Effects & Premiere Pro CS5 CS5.5, might want to look here

I was having some strange problems with audio not playing back properly in After Effects the other day, followed quickly by a similar issues in Premiere Pro. Wasn't able to find any google love for the problem, but eventually stumbled upon something that seemed to have fixed my problem.

Basically I was occasionally losing the ability to playback audio during Ram previews in AE, no matter what I had the audio preferences set at. I think* my problem was solved after booting up the 'Audio MIDI setup' utility. In here I noticed that there was entries for both After Effects 10.5 as well as After Effects 10.5.1, which I think was the route of the problem. Maybe the 10.5.1 update left some cache or something that was causing a conflict? Either way, I deleted the old one and everything seems to be back to normal for me now.

*Not 100% sure this was what solved it, but I'm pretty sure as things seem to be remedied for the most part now. This may or may not be of any use to anyone, but I just thought I'd put it out there in case someone stumbles upon this in a google search, as I couldn't find any mention of it out there myself. The Audio Midi setup tool is in your Utilities folder fyi.

- Jordan

How to change the default font in Adobe Illustrator (and more!)

To change the default font in Illustrator from Myriad to something else you prefer is fairly easy, although not nearly as straightforward as it should be. All you need to do is locate the following folder buried inside your home directory:

Adobe Illustrator template defaults

Users > *username* > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CSX > en_US >

These are the base template files that are loaded each time you start a new Illustrator document. You'll need to change the ones you use most often. If you're like me and *luckily* have no clue what things like *Flash Catalyst* even are, then you can leave those alone.

Most of the time I just start with the Print template and occasionally the Video and Film one.

Open up Basic RGB.ai (or whatever template you want/use)

Go to Window > Type > Character Styles

You'll get this window, double click on *Normal Character Style*

Now under *Basic Character Formats* you can set your new preferred default typeface.

Save and Close this template.

Now, try launching a new document using the Basic RGB template (or whatever one you've just changed) and the default font should reflect your changes.

Another thing I found this useful for was tweaking the Video and Film template. I usually avoid using it because the transparency grid and those rulers/guides it has on by default I would just turn off. You can tweak these templates to your hearts content, so for starters I just turned off the transparency grid and made some changes to the guides to better suit my taste.


How to Zip & UnZip files on your FTP server (Using SSH & Transmit)

Occasionally I've run into the need to either Zip or Unzip a file once it's up on my FTP server. I was pretty sure this was possible but I'd never bothered to figure it out until recently. You might not ever find yourself having a need for this, but if you deal with the occasional client who doesn't really understand compression, you might find yourself pulling off a few 30GB+ folders from time to time. Basically it's fairly straightforward (if you're using Transmit, but let's be honest - what else would you even be considering?). Step 1 was to enable SSH access on your web server/FTP. Over at Bluehost, all this took was 2 minutes with a quick message to their online support chat, they enable it on their end for your account. Next, you need to be logged in to *SFTP* as opposed to basic FTP.

Step 3 is to zip/unzip to your hearts content. With your file selected, go to the File menu and at the bottom you should see *'Send SSH Command'*. The lovely developers at Panic have included the ability to send the zip commands automatically for the programmatically challenged. Just click the gear icon and pick your poison, no typing required. Then just let it work its magic, and in a matter of minutes or seconds depending on what you're doing you'll be all set.

So to recap:

1. Enable SSH 2. Use Transmit, login via SFTP 3. File > Send SSH Command > Zip/Unzip

Hope that helps anyone looking for how to do this.

Digital Scrapbook: All-Type posters

I've been collecting examples of all-typographic posters for a little while in Evernote. Wish I had a better way to save them all at the time in one place so that they have proper links to their source, but alas I'm still working on that (Pinterest looks promising though).

Click to see the whole post to get the full monty, lots of goodies:


Studio Tools Series: Post Haste - Automated Project Folder Setup

Post Haste is an awesome app/utility I use on a regular basis. I have wanted something like this for a long time, especially when working in a busy studio environment with jobs coming in from everywhere and no one person responsible for getting project folders setup. I even entertained looking into getting it produced myself at one point because it was desperately needed at the time. But luckily, Paul Conigliaro came through and did everyone a huge favor with Post Haste. Basically this little utility pops up a dialog where you enter your new project's details and hit 'Create Project'. It creates a copy of your project folder template (which you define), and places it into your chosen directory of choice. Simple? Yes, but use it for a little while an you'll quickly discover how invaluable this little guy is.

I evoke Launchbar, type 'pos'... up pops Post Haste, quickly fill out the fields, hit create and boom, Finder opens to the newly created project folder ready to go. Essentially this really is no different than having your project template folder somewhere, duplicating it, renaming it correctly, & moving it to it's proper location. But it automates and regulates the entire process, and ensures consistency. It will be saving you a lot of time & headaches in the long run, trust me.

The project template you define can include files as well as folders. Which means if you usually start from a templated After Effects set-up file, you can include that in your AE folder as well, and have a fresh copy waiting for you when you start. It is a great way to ensure consistent project naming and folder structure when working. This becomes especially important at the small-t0-medium sized studios. If you're just one guy, sure you'll benefit from the consistency, but you probably know where your files are and have your own system for files. Larger studios typically have this organizational aspect under control, as typically someone or something is responsible for keeping things fairly organized. Aka, there's someone there responsible for yelling at you if your shit's everywhere and you're screwing up the system.

Where things start to go to hell in my experience have been in the smaller studios. The ones where no one is really too responsible for project management like this. Everywhere has a system no matter how broken or awfully disorganized. Things just kind of hobble along for the most part until things start to get misplaced or accidentally become 'unfindable' (aka deleted or otherwise MIA). Post Haste doesn't exactly solve anything in this regard, but that's really getting into something completely different. This is definitely a great thing to adopt if any of this is sounding all too familiar...

There's a great set of preferences to customize and get it setup just the way you need it. The only thing I'd really like to see added is a radio box/selection that would allow me to choose between a couple different project templates that I have. I'm probably in the minority here, but I do a few different types of work in addition to my main After Effects pixel-pushing. iOS apps, the occasional print or web job, etc. It would be nice to have a toggle where I could select which project type it is and have it duplicate the appropriate folder.

Great tool. Head on over here to get it, and if you use it it's 'lunchware', so considering buying the man a beer.

Cloudapp - A Great Utility for Getting Files to Clients & One of the Best General File Sharing Utilities Period

In the ongoing quest to to continue to smooth out my freelancing workflow, one of the things I'm always on the lookout for are great solutions for moving files around to people. Recently I've been getting a lot of mileage out of the Cloud.app service. So far it's the fastest and easiest way I've seen to get files around to clients. I have primarily been using the Dropbox Public to get review Quicktimes and smaller deliverables out to people, but Cloud.app bests other solutions for a few reasons.

First is the shear simplicity of it. Drag a file from anywhere to the menubar icon, and the file is automatically uploaded and a publicly accessible URL is copied to your clipboard. Just hit paste to Email or IM the link and away you go. These guys have done a great job on the simplicity of the service. The corresponding website to retrieve the files is beautifully designed in it's simplicity, and looks like new little features are being added on a regular basis to make it even better. By default it's also setup to automatically upload all your screenshots. I had no idea how handy something like that was, I use it all the time.

The real beauty of this service is unlocked when you sign up for the Pro account. Not only do you get increased upload limits (free account is limited to 25mb/file, pro accounts increase it to 250mb/file) but the coolest feature is the ability to use a custom domain.

By setting it up to use your own domain or sub-domain you get customized links to share that make you look like a pro. I just set up my account to use the files.jordanlloyd.com subdomain. What's great is that other than setting up the domain for use with Cloudapp (using a simple CNAME record), all the work is still done by Cloudapp on their servers and their storage (which I assume is S3?). So technically files are not hosted by you or your domain at all, but rather just accessible via your custom domain URL. I really like the setup this way, and it might make clients feel a little more at ease receiving files from a more personal URL rather than a (likely) unknown URL/service they haven't heard of.

So I definitely recommend checking this out if you move a lot of files around during the day, especially if you deal with slightly less tech-savvy clients. Definitely look into the pro account for the added convenience of larger files and the ability to setup your custom URL. It's cheap too, $5/month, $25/6 months or $45/year.

You can checkout Cloud.app in the Mac Appstore or at (www.getcloudapp.com).