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By Colleen Wheeler | Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year creativity resolutions from lynda.com authors

To celebrate the new year and my new position as content manager of the design segment at lynda.com, I decided to quiz some of our lynda.com authors about what kind of advice, warnings, or personal goals they might have for 2011. Here are some of the useful tips, gentle admonitions, and personal goals they shared:

David Blatner suggests that we take a little time now to make styles, master pages, learn keyboard shortcuts, set up workspaces, or other time-saving shortcut skills, in order to save a lot more time downstream. I so agree with David on this one. And while I’m really good (obsessive, really) about creating styles in InDesign, I’m a horrible procrastinator when it comes to learning shortcuts. Which is silly. A few seconds of concentration on learning how to navigate the Layers panel in Photoshop with the keyboard would probably pay off before I even get around to breaking the rest of my resolutions.

James Fritz wants to learn more about new technology, and since Fritz is the author of InDesign CS5: Interactive Documents and Presentations, his thoughts naturally run to ePub and hopes we have something in the works there. (We’ll get on it, Fritz.) He also recommends brushing up on HTML5 and CSS. Don’t know where to start? Try James Williamson’s Web Design Fundamentals course.

Deke McClelland thinks you should stop adding those heavy-handed precious-memory vignettes to your portraits no matter how easy they are to create in Photoshop/ACR these days. Let’s face it, vignettes are the drop shadows of the new millennium. Unless you are shooting actions shots of dinosaurs, of course, then vignette away (check out the Adding grain and vignetting effects from Deke’s Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced course for why this last bit makes any sense whatsoever).

Mordy Golding thinks learning  to exploit Illustrator’s Appearance panel is definitely worth your 2011 attention. In fact, Mordy once claimed that “…the Appearance panel was the source of all things about modern Illustrator usage. The path to Illustrator righteousness. If you aren’t using it yet, you need to get with the program.” (Illustrator that is). You can get Mordy’s rundown on Using the Appearance panel from his Illustrator CS5 Essential Training course.

All good ideas, I think. Any bad design production habits you want to replace with better ones this year? Any good habits you hope your friends and colleagues adopt? What about things you want to learn—and how can we keep our resolution to help you with that?

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