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Do You Need to Know EVERYTHING?

Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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Do you really need to know EVERYTHING about an Adobe app?

Media technology is ever-changing. There was a time when creative professionals were pigeon-holed as: Photographer, Designer, Illustrator, Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, etc.

Today, one job description may require one primary skillset, but also a series of subset skills. By way of example, many people are in charge of web content for their employer. When they started their jobs, a few years ago, they may have been quite good with working in Adobe Photoshop.

With proper training that employee became an Adobe Photoshop ACA (Adobe Certified Associate: http://www.adobe.com/training/certification.html). As that person grew into the job, some skills with Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw were natural progressions. Soon Adobe Lightroom became helpful. Next, their employer wanted them to touch-up some documents in Adobe Acrobat, to add PDFs to the website. Now that person’s supervisor needs a few new documents created as PDFs so, our web content creator needs to learn some Adobe InDesign.

In the last sentence, “learn some Adobe InDesign” is the important part. That employee just needs some basics. The work that person is going to do uses pre-designed templates. So, a trained designer he/she is not.

We have enjoyed teaching Adobe 100 Level courses to these people, in a public college setting. Most of those students are in the 29-59 age range and have very good skills with macOS or Windows 10. They also know their way around the Adobe CC UI (user interface). So, they’re ready to learn the basics of an app, quite quickly.

Do they want to take a deep dive into the features of those Adobe apps? Not at this point.

They’re not looking at the scenery from 50,000 feet up. But, that student isn’t timid, either. They’re ready to land and get out and inhale the local air. But, they’re not interested in buying some InDesign real estate, pouring a foundation, and building a permanent home, either.

But, isn’t that what the full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is all about? That collection of desktop apps serve the multimedia professional quite well.

In short: a permanent InDesign residence? No.

A pigeon-holed job? Today, those things are for the birds. Multimedia professionals are capable of taking skills, reaching out, and constantly growing their own personal capabilities. They gain confidence in building their own workflows.

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017
Well, that's a credit to you both as gifted teachers who understand the material inside & out such that you can modify the course as the group's objectives change. There are probably less than 2% of undergrad college teachers who can do that because it's hard work.  In my experience, most instructors go by the book and deviate as little as possible.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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I don't think anyone can know everything, the danger comes when someone does not know enough, but thinks they do.

The Adobe apps make a number of users think that everything is easy when they first start out using them, and it is only when they come to doing something that is beyond the basics, that real problems start. That is often when we start to see posts in the forums complaining that there is something wrong with the program, users telling us that things should be easier, complaining that what we are telling them is stupid and we do not understand.

As an example in the Dw forum today, a new post was created asking where and how one installs Dw on the web hosting server, and if they should replace the wordpress installation they have just installed by clicking a button in the cpanel, (even wanted to attatch an image of the button!). Such questions shows a complete lack of knowledge on the users part, and that lack of knowledge one knows will only become a bigger problem for the poster over time.

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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pziecina  wrote

I don't think anyone can know everything, the danger comes when someone does not know enough, but thinks they do.

All of the public colleges in North America, which we have talked to, are under pressure to show accountability (as well they should). Janet & I are always given a little packet of things to do at the start and close of each course (all of which we love to do).

One of them is talking to the students to learn more about what they know and what they wish to accomplish.

I would guess that the vast majority of these media professionals have played around with the app we are about to teach them and they have hit way too many walls. Sometimes they have stories of things which went wrong at work.

The good thing is that they are in the classroom and ready to learn. By the final class day all the students always tell us that they are back on track and have new goals.

The problem is when people feel they need no classroom time, no books, no videos, no nothing… somehow they think they can figure it out on their own (hopefully they are not self-taught heart surgeons)!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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I agree.

According to the old adage, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.   Assuming you school for 25 years and work for 20 years with adequate time off for leisure, family & other avocations,  you could probably become an expert at 4-5 things per lifetime.  Possibly more if you're the super- self-driven type.

But what if you just need to be pretty good at something?   You can probably do that in 20 hours.

1.  Deconstruct the skill.  Identify exactly what you want to accomplish and make that your focus.

2.  Learn enough to identify & fix your mistakes.

3.  Remove distractions -- TV, internet, cell phones, texting, etc...

3.  Practice, practice, practice.

Nancy

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

1.  Deconstruct the skill.  Identify exactly what you want to accomplish and make that your focus.

2.  Learn enough to identify & fix your mistakes.

That's brilliant, Nancy-

Where did you learn that?

That's what Janet & I try to figure out when we meet a new batch of students for the first time and learn about their goals.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea   wrote

1.  Deconstruct the skill.  Identify exactly what you want to accomplish and make that your focus.

2.  Learn enough to identify & fix your mistakes.

That's brilliant, Nancy-

Where did you learn that?

I wish I could take credit for it but I can't.  I am largely self-taught.  And for that I am grateful to one really exceptional school teacher who gave me the skills & confidence to strike out on my own and learn whatever I wanted to learn without relying on so called traditional education.   Not that it matters much but he was from The Beat Generation and heavily influenced by Kerouac, Burroughs & Ginsberg .  I was just lucky to have an unorthodox teacher who wasn't afraid to say what he believed.

Nancy

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

I was just lucky to have an unorthodox teacher who wasn't afraid to say what he believed.

We cannot speak for teaching in general, but have decades of experience teaching creative talent about media technology. And, yes, it has a certain important form, especially when a goal is to start moving people toward certification, but we have to individually craft instruction.

Janet & I switch off who is the instructor and who is the teaching assistant, with each lesson. We make sure every student "gets" it.

We got our start teaching lighting even before our first book was released. I've done as many as 6 seminars over a 3 day weekend. And, I've never had the exact same teaching experience, ever. The student needs are different every time.

One thing is for sure, when we teach Adobe apps every student is brain-drained at the end of every day. And, for some odd reason, they still retain it all for the next class day.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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Well, that's a credit to you both as gifted teachers who understand the material inside & out such that you can modify the course as the group's objectives change.

There are probably less than 2% of undergrad college teachers who can do that because it's hard work.  In my experience, most instructors go by the book and deviate as little as possible.

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

Well, that's a credit to you both as gifted teachers who understand the material inside & out such that you can modify the course as the group's objectives change.

There are probably less than 2% of undergrad college teachers who can do that because it's hard work.  In my experience, most instructors go by the book and deviate as little as possible.

Thank you, very, very much Nancy-

Janet & I do know our materials backwards and forwards. We take every student very seriously. That makes it fun.

In all candor, adapting the materials hasn't always been a 100% success story. I remember one Photoshop class where students wanted to learn a technique. It was the last 14 or 15 minutes fo the day. The students were super smart. We finished the day's lessons. But the techniques were obviously too deep for them, once we got into it.

We thought we wasted their time. But two of the students went home and studied the technique, came in early for the next class day and wanted to show us what they did with what we taught them!

That's rewarding stuff.

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

There are probably less than 2% of undergrad college teachers who can do that because it's hard work.  In my experience, most instructors go by the book and deviate as little as possible.

BTW: The Virginia public higher education system has 39 colleges and universities. 23 of them have some very serious media technology programs. We're please to say that we have met quite a few Deans, VPs, Program Directors, and Professors/Instructors from every one of those 23 institutions and they're all some very well-versed innovative people.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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It's good to know that some higher learning programs are on solid ground in the 21st century.   You wouldn't know it from some of the forum posts we see where instructors are  clinging to a 10 year old syllabus with outdated software and text books.

Perhaps it's motivated in part by a lack of funding.  Or more likely insufficient knowledge about modern methods and an unwillingness to improve.   I grant you that some of the basics don't change much from product version to version.  But when I see students struggling to use Dreamweaver with Spry or Fluid Grid Layouts,  I just want to cry.   They're paying way too much for what they're receiving.

Nancy

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Advocate ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

You wouldn't know it from some of the forum posts we see where instructors are  clinging to a 10 year old syllabus with outdated software and text books.

We probably don't want to know where those people go to college. Depending on where a public college/university is located in North America there is usually a shared accreditation system. Most (if not all) do not permit the use of software which is more than 2 years old.

That said some other educational institutions belong to other accreditation systems, which have different requirements.

We have heard and witnessed some sad stories.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 06, 2017

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in Australia PDF is not used anywhere near as much as the US but I've been in web design + servers my whole adult life with out needing Indesign

when I left school some 30+ years ago most students could not count pass 100 or spell (except for their own names) but they all played sport of some type so that was considered fine... In Australia today the need for licences and government training centers is just starting to make its way into main stream so there are a lot of 3rd party training outfits telling people they can have a certificate 4 (one level below diploma) after two nights a week effort... if you ever hear a pilot talking to you with an Australian accent then my advice is get off!

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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Ussnorway  wrote

in Australia PDF is not used anywhere near as much as the US

That's interesting.

If you wanted to create a great looking document to put on a website (even a church bulletin) what file format is a better choice, for broad use on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices?

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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lol a really important church bulletin that needs to be sent to a mobile device has never come up... the F in PDF is for form and thats why they are bigger in the US i.e, your government does like its forms but I have not got an issue with PDF

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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Ussnorway  wrote

the F in PDF is for form and thats why they are bigger in the US i.e, your government does like its forms

A little bit of technology trivia for you: Adobe's concept for the Portable Document Format (PDF) got a big boost from the US Internal Revenue Service in the Acrobat 1.0 days. The IRS test drove PDF as a way of electronically filing tax returns. Acrobat allowed the forms to appear on screen looking like they did on paper, and at the time, that was something of a magic act happening on your desk!

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

A little bit of technology trivia for you: Adobe's concept for the Portable Document Format (PDF) got a big boost from the US Internal Revenue Service in the Acrobat 1.0 days. The IRS test drove PDF as a way of electronically filing tax returns. Acrobat allowed the forms to appear on screen looking like they did on paper, and at the time, that was something of a magic act happening on your desk!

By the time Acrobat 2.0 hit the streets (for free) we were designing cool documents in PageMaker. Talking big media organizations into posting PDFs on their website took a little doing.

We primarily heard executives say, "People download the Acrobat program and it's FREE! I can't believe that."

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

By the time Acrobat 2.0 hit the streets (for free) we were designing cool documents in PageMaker. Talking big media organizations into posting PDFs on their website took a little doing.

We primarily heard executives say, "People download the Acrobat program and it's FREE! I can't believe that."

I'm not certain if all the pdf's we see on the web are created using Acrobat, as most, (possibly all) server-side languages include libraries that can convert database built web pages to pdf format for delivery to a browser, or when clicking a download link in an html page.

I can remember using the C#.net library in 2002, and the php library in 2005.

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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pziecina  wrote

I'm not certain if all the pdf's we see on the web are created using Acrobat…

We were started pushing PDFs on the NBC News Weather Test Bed Site October 1995. Were there PDF readers beside Acrobat, then?

It took a while for the PDF to be accepted by the ISO as an international standard.

It wasn't always n open format was it?

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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I'm not certain exactly when the pdf format became open source, but it was around 95, and there were readers available from a number of vendors.

The current version of pdf used by Adobe programs is not open source though, so the ability to add javascript code to pdf elements is not part of the current iso specs, and exclusive to Adobe products, but the pdf.api that browsers are implementing, (it is being updated, very slowly) does allow some pdf documents that use javascript, (in a limited way) to be interactive.

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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pziecina  wrote

The current version of pdf used by Adobe programs is not open source though, so the ability to add javascript code to pdf elements is not part of the current iso specs…

That due to some security issues.

I don't know the whole story but it has something to do with the trigger backdoors from within the document.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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The problem of security on the web is still on-going, as anything that is viewable on a web page can be viewed by the user using code view. That is one of the main reasons browsers are blocking the reader plug-in and other items such as flash and quicktime.

A lot of the problems with browser security is because users do not update their OS's and browsers enough, and once an hacker has hacked a users system, (often using javascript) they can spread the virus or hack to any computer in a network without a user knowing.

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Advocate ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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pziecina  wrote

A lot of the problems with browser security is because users do not update their OS's and browsers enough, and once an hacker has hacked a users system, (often using javascript) they can spread the virus or hack to any computer in a network without a user knowing.

I'm told that if the ISO permitted such things in the PDF it would be possible to embed a browser engine in the PDF. And, from what you're saying, Paula, that makes sense. Someone attempting to terrorize a community could embed some very un-secure browser.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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It's the same problem that browsers are now having with a feature called web assembly, 'how much access to allow'.

If they include everything that is being asked for, then the 'back-door' becomes a security issue once again. I often read users and ACP's, (sometimes adobe staff) mentioning that web assembly could be used to replace the flash player, or even provide a way of including code to replace the missing functionality of plug-ins.

Naturally browsers do want to continue supporting and developing web assembly, but if they see it as a security risk in any way they will stop implementing it.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

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sercurity is a big thing for some people and others don't care about... the web is a big place with lots of different ideas. the main question (as I see it) is does a designer need to know only [this much] and can then stop learning? ime the answer is no and once they stop looking at new ideas its time to leave.

I have not had to learn Indesign yet but I have had clients ask me to put X indesign layout up on the web and I have also seen a few Indesign users wanting to learn Muse | Dreamwever | Wappler as a tool to get onto web design and if they can "wrap" their head around the lack of an A4 standard then they do well. I've recently moved to XenForo 2.0 and there is solid chance that something else will come out in a few years that makes me need to start again so Brian no I don't think you need to know everything but I do think you need to keep adjusting what you already know

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