7 Powerful Free Plugins for InDesign

I was searching for the auto-expanding text plugin for InDesign and found this awesome list of free Indesign plugins from Lynda.com. Here are my favorites:

  1. Autofit Allows you to have dynamic auto expanding (and shrinking) text boxes and set size relationships between text boxes.

  2. ImageLibraryLoader See a floating library-palette filled with images that are automatically retrieved from one or more folders.

  3. Keyboard Shortcuts Easily search, edit and assign keyboard shortcuts.

  4. LikeFindsLike Ever wish InDesign had a Select Similar option just like Illustrator? This is it.

  5. MultiDo Perform multiple undo or redo operations in one step.

  6. PatternMaker Create patterns directly in InDesign.

  7. TextExporter Better text exporting to rtf, txt and InDesign tagged text.

Cleanup Hero: The Eraser Tool

I used to manually edit vector art in Illustrator the hard way, manually snipping a path in two places with the scissors, selecting the section I didn't want, deleting it and then joining the path back together. Well, no more.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to start using it but the Eraser tool is awesome! It's a much better tool than the scissors for most cleanup and editing projects. It also rejoins the path for you! For extra speed, use the Eraser tool's keyboard shortcut: Shift-E.

Thymes Moonflower package design

I have to admit, I love the name Moonflower and that's half of what I like about this product, the name and how that translates into a subtle black and white design with only a hint of neutral color. From thedieline.com

Photo Restoration Workflow

Here is my non-destructive photo restoration workflow for restoring vintage photos.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop and analyze it. What the biggest problem with it? What needs to be done? If there is a drastic color shift problem, address that first by adding a Curves adjustment layer and adjusting the white and black points and other colors as necessary. If there are no major problems besides dust and scratches, rotate (if necessary), crop and proceed to the next step.

  2. I like to deal with the small sharp dust first because it's easily fixed with the Dust and Scratches filter. In the layers panel, right click on the layer with your photo and click Convert to Smart Object. Select Filter > Noise > Dust and Scratches. The radius and threshold values will depend on the resolution of your photo but I usually try a radius of 2 or 3 and threshold of 15-20. Click OK.

  3. Fill the Smart Filters layer mask with black to conceal the Dust and Scratches filter effect. With white as your foreground color (white to reveal the Dust and Scratches effect), click and paint to hide the small bits of dust using a small brush in detail areas, large brush in background areas. I recommend against flooding the whole image with the Dust and Scratches filter - it ends up blurring too much image detail.

  4. For the bigger pieces of dust or damage that can't be fixed with the Dust and Scratches filter, I use the healing brushes and sometimes the clone stamp tool. Create a new layer above your original image layer. If you have a Curves layer, make sure it is below the Curves layer.

  5. Select the healing brush and set it to Sample: Current and Below. Select the clone stamp tool and set it to Sample: Current and Below. Select the spot healing brush and set it to: Sample All Layers (there is no Current and Below option). Click and paint with these three tools as needed to get rid of all dust and damage.

  6. If you haven't done Curves in the beginning, go ahead and adjust the image now.

  7. Now for one of my favorite shortcuts: In the layers panel, select all layers and press Cmd-Opt-E (Stamp Layers). This merges a copy of all previous layers into a new layer on top. Apply sharpening to this merged layer with your favorite sharpening method (I like High Pass).

Thanks to FamilyOldPhotos.com and Martin Ruffner for this image.

NatureMaker Catalog

I like Nature Maker's catalog for its understated and simple design. I especially like the delicate filigree leaves on the catalog cover. Designed by StudioConover.com.