Creative Cloud glitches, crashes and quits and what to do about them

We’ve been noticing an increase in screen redraw glitches, specifically in InDesign, since the last few updates to CC. While they’re pretty cool (if you like random distortions) and can produce effects like the above, they’re actually a sign of bigger issues and something you should check out.

Screenshot of image glitches in an InDesign preview

The glitches are caused by compatibility issues with the GPU Performance function which Adobe started introducing to Creative Cloud applications In around 2014. The idea was to enhance performance by enabling applications to access the GPU processor on video cards, thereby boosting screen redraw, animation and video. You may have noticed when Photoshop started to do that dizzying animated zoom effect.

Screenshot of image glitches in an InDesign preview

The problem is, not all GPU chips are compatible or supported. This can present as interesting and intriguing screen redraw glitches, such as the ones illustrated here, but can have more serious effects such as random quits and crashes, documents appearing in black and white, jagged artwork and pop up error messages about “GPU Performance Features are not available”.
The immediate solution is to turn off GPU support by clicking the GPU icon

Screenshot of GPU Performance icon in inDesign

or by selecting GPU Performance in the application preferences. Turning GPU Performance off should solve the issues right away though you may also notice a slowdown in application performance.

Screenshot of InDesign GPU Performance Preferences
GPU Performance Preferences

You can then try Adobe’s suggested troubleshooting steps to see if you can restore the GPU functionality.

More information on GPU performance is available in these Knowledgebase articles for Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom.

We’d be interested to know if you’ve had any issues related to GPU performance and how you solved them, so get in touch in any of the usual ways.

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InDesign HTML Import Script

If you’ve ever needed to import HTML code into an InDesign document, you’ll have discovered it’s not that easy. Luckily Ariel Walden over at IDExtras has come up with a nifty script to do it for you. It’s not meant to import a fully formatted, complex HTML page (use Acrobat if you need that) but will “provide the main text and images on any given web page, and import those into InDesign. The idea is that the text should come in with same paragraph and character styles, in a clean and simple manner, ready for use in a design or publication.”

IDExtras is full of other InDesign and Acrobat scripts to make your life easier. Well worth checking out.

Source: An InDesign HTML Import Script | Id-Extras.com

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When should I convert images to CMYK?

This is a question we’re asked regularly and it causes some confusion. Images are generally captured using the RGB colour mode but, for printing, they need to be defined as CMYK mode. Think of it as the difference between screen viewing and printing.

Image of screen and printer icons

The initials RGB represent the primary colours of the screen mode – Red, Green and Blue, CMYK represents the primary colours of printing – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Black being represented as K or the Key colour).

In the early days of desktop publishing, images were converted to CMYK using Photoshop before they were placed into a design application like Illustrator, QuarkXPress or InDesign. This process can be time consuming and creates a variety of inconvenient side-effects. The CMYK colour mode is adapted for specific printing processes and machinery and has a reduced colour range compared to RGB so CMYK images so are not suitable for reuse in many other media. A further benefit from leaving images as RGB is that much of Photoshop only works in RGB mode so, if you convert an image you’ll find a substantial amount of Photoshop’s editing capabilities are disabled.

The good news is, this process is no longer necessary, as long as you are exporting your  document to a PDF using a preset which includes a colour conversion.

Screenshot of Photoshop Convert to CMYK mode

 

Let’s explain that further. The typical way to change colour modes in Photoshop is to manually select Image>Mode>CMYK Color, however,  as all Adobe applications use the same colour engine, you can perform an RGB to CYMK conversion at any point in your workflow using any Adobe application. If you are sending print-ready PDF’s to your print provider, you can automate the conversion by placing RGB images into InDesign or Illustrator and creating a PDF using choosing a preset such as PDF/X-1a2001 or Press Quality. These presets contain a built-in conversion which will convert any images to CMYK automatically. The original pictures will remain untouched, leaving you free to reuse them for output in other media without making duplicates.

Screenshot of InDesign Export to PDF

SCreenshot of second step of InDesign export to PDF process

This does not automate creative processes such as colour correction, retouching or sharpening and these should be carried out in Photoshop in conjunction the various soft proofing tools such as Proof Colours and Gamut Warning.

In cases where you intend to send open InDesign files and links to your print provider this approach is not suitable (unless you’ve agreed that your print provider will perform the conversion). For most people, however,  converting on export to PDF offers a much quicker and more efficient way to ensure images are correctly adjusted for print.

To learn more about working with colour with Creative Cloud, contact us.

 

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The Movable Book of Letterforms

Designer, Kevin Steele has created this spectacular introduction to letterforms. It’s a hand-crafted pop-up book, in an edition of three only, which acts as both an educational tool and a tribute to the craft of paper architecture. I wish there was a mass-production version. See more at Kevin’s web site.

This pop-up book serves as a basic introduction to letterforms, their origins, and unique characteristics. Type plays a fundamental role in the communication process as much through the shapes and styling of the letterforms as the actual words that they join to form. This book also attempts to demonstrate how movable books can be used to educate and create visual impact for audiences of all ages. Interior: digital print on Mohawk Superfine 80lb cover Cover: Laval velour bookcloth debossed with polymer plate All movable parts cut and assembled by hand. 2009 22 pages, 8.25″ x 8.25″ x 2.25″ Edition of 3

Source: The Movable Book of Letterforms

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The designer’s guide to grid theory

I spend a lot of time emphasising the importance of grids both in my commercial training as creativelab and also as a lecturer at the University of Stirling. Creativebloq has posted this useful introduction to grids in design. It;s primarily about screen design but many of the principles are true for print too. Well worth a look.

Source: The designer’s guide to grid theory | Creative Bloq

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