Ninth of November Rumblings

Has been a while since I’ve written a general “What’s going on” post. Many things have happened this year, but among the most noteworthy would be:

Move to Openbook Howden Design & Print

As of 14 November, Openbook Howden will be my new employer, having served at another printer for the last four and a half years and contributing to:

  • 2011 Excellence in Craft award (PICAs) for “Alfred James Company History”
  • 2011 Excellence in Print award (PICAs) for “The art of Jeremy Boot”
  • 2010 Excellence in Digital Craft award (PICAs) “Sir Joseph Banks Journal”
  • Preparing PDFs for Print presentation for the Adobe Users Group of SA (AUGSA)
  • Various VDP, javascript and brain-breaking projects which were undertaken, especially the last VDP 8pp book!

I’ll miss the old crew, but won’t miss one colleague’s constant whistling! Nevertheless, it’s time for a change and to bring on the new projects.

Chance to assist Marc Autret with his “HurryCover 2.0” script

For those not familiar with the name, Marc Autret is a Developer and Graphic Designer at StudioEditorial in France. He is also a brilliant scripter and has produced some must-have scripts that no copy of InDesign should be without, among them being:

  • BookBarcode, a paid script for making the EAN13 barcodes which appear on books;
  • Wordalyzer, a paid script for making “Wordle” style graphics;
  • PageBorder, a free script for applying or removing a border to pages simply so clients can see the trim edge of odd-sized artwork;
  • Speeech, a free script for creating comic-like speech bubble effects;
  • His latest effort, HurryCover 2.0, a beta script (soon to be a paid script) for creating hard cover, soft cover or dust jackets for books.

During the year I had the opportunity to assist with the HurryCover project and, while it worked on the machine at home, would have issues on my old work mac. After several back and forths of versions to test with myself and many other beta testers, Marc has produced a brilliant script which any InDesign user should definitely add to their repetoire. For more information on Marc and his work, visit his website at Indiscripts.

Discovery of two major GREP styles

Since InDesign CS4, the software has supported the pattern-based application of styles better known as GREP styles. Often overlooked by many users, this feature has been invaluable on many VDP projects, but more specifically its ability to:

  • Make “square pegs fit round holes” by being able to auto-size the type based on the length of how many characters were in a line and then adjusting the character height/width percentages; and
  • “Hiding” text by applying no fill/strokes and changing the character width to 1% to literally hide characters which shouldn’t be there.

The odd mention here and there

Even though I wasn’t there, I had noticed that my blog had been referred to in a slideshow by the Paris InDesign Users Group (IDUG) as “Un site à voir pour les fans de la fusion de données!” (A site to see for fans of Data Merge!) The slideshow also featured some of the more complicated examples of Data Merge that I’ve done such as the piecharts and paragraph swapping. To Loic Aigon for mentioning this blog in the show, a big thankyou – Merci Beaucoup!

Also, during the usual posts on the Adobe Forum specifically for InDesign users, the respected and regular contributor to the forum Peter Spier graciously referred to me in one post as being the “Resident Expert of Data Merge”, a title which is quite a compliment. Having said that, like any other user I always learn from others and still have lots to learn myself.

So I think that’s it for now!

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