Hey guys, gals, and non-binary pals! If you aren’t used to adobe products, a project that forces you to use them may seem a bit challenging. But the SMDC is here to help with this quick guide for the main programs the average student needs, and how to figure out what program you should use based on the assignment. As you may know, all of our computers come equipped with the full creative suite, but we’ll just be focusing on four programs and what their strengths are; Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
All adobe products first screen will ask you to choose the size (and units), PPI, and sometimes RGB or CMYK. The size is the dimensions of your final project; some standard sizes (in inches) are 8.5×11, 11×17, 18×24, and 24×36, but ask someone at the desk if you are planning to print something larger than 8.5×11 here at the design center. PPI stands for “pixels per inch”, also referred to as a pixel ratio, it determines the quality of the image. A resolution of 300 is a good standard PPI to stick with, much more and it will take forever to load and you’ve got a deadline! Finally, RGB and CMYK refer to the colors that will be used to make up the pixels, you should choose RGB if the project will be presented on a computer, and CMYK if you plan to print it.
Alright, basics over, now onto the fun stuff!
Is your project mostly text-based with fewer images, but you want it to be jazzier than what word can offer? InDesign is for you! Easy to align and customize with tons of fonts to choose from and a ton of freedom to stylize. InDesign is primarily used for layout design, publications, and print media. You can add as many pages as you want and craft a professional, clean series of documents to suit your writing needs. If this sounds up your alley, click on the pink square with the ID in the center.
Perhaps you’re going totally image-based, and you want to make the images yourself. If so, saddle up for Illustrator! Illustrator- the orange square with the Ai inside- is a vector-based software, which means when you draw it makes a lot smoother curves and more perfect shapes and lines than good old MS Paint when you were a kid. Other adobe products are bitmap, which are useful but don’t give you the pristine clean lines a vector can. Illustrator is used as a drawing program, so it’s best used to be totally creative and innovative! If this is the one for you, consider renting out one of our drawing tablets or studio 5 to unleash your inner artist.
Or maybe you have images and/or text, but you are taking photos and pictures from elsewhere instead of creating them yourself. Maybe you’re a photographer looking to make your most recent shoot’s results look extra great, or simply want to make a sign with text and pictures without messing everything up when you move it (looking at you, word). In which case, you’re looking at a one-way ticket to Photoshop! Probably the most commonly used adobe product, Photoshop is the last word in image manipulation, editing, combining, and more. While also being a great program for assignments with text, it combines some of the best qualities of InDesign and Illustrator to let you create a totally unique project.
There are dozens more adobe programs you can branch out to after you master these programs, all of which you can use here at the design center for free! The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and that step is successfully making your very first one-of-a-kind adobe project.