Posts Tagged ‘workflow’

Manage Projects with GridIron Flow for Adobe Creative Suite

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

[Editor's note: Their screencast is impressive. Background app that tracks file time usage for billing and how your files are related to each other (what's placed where) and can search inside documents for layer names, etc). Sounds like a version of Adobe Bridge that's actually useful!]

Republished from the company’s website.

Be totally organized without organizing anything.

Flow is the world’s first Visual Workflow Manager, built from the ground up to keep creative professionals streamlined and informed. Flow gives you a total understanding of your project, visually and intuitively. In one simple interface, you’ll see all your project files, how they’re related to each other, and where they’re located – on a local drive, on a network volume, even on a DVD you burned a few months ago.

This new birds-eye-view of your project gives you instant access to any file you need—and any version of that file, even if you’ve overwritten it while making changes. Flow even alerts you if you try to modify or delete a file that you shouldn’t. Bottom line: no more lost files, no more accidents, and no more all-nighters. You’ll find yourself delivering everything right the first time—without doing anything different.

John Nack, Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop, calls Flow “one of the slickest, most potentially transformative applications I’ve seen in years.” Could it transform the way you work? Check out Flow’s features to find out.

Watch their video or get the demo . . .

screenshot_large

Instance_setMcName Flash Script + MaPublisher = Flash Interactive Thematic Mapping (Kelso)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

charlestonelectionresults

[Editor's note: Making the GIS > Illustrator > Flash workflow a 30 minute process instead of a 30 hour slog. Thanks Sebastian!]

Ken Hawkins, formerly of The Post and Courier newspaper (Charleston, SC) helped me figure out how to take GIS shapefile data (point, line, and polygon) prepped in ArcMap or similar, process it in Illustrator using the Avenza MaPublisher plugin, and then copy-paste import into Flash CS3+ and apply the Instance_setMcName script. I first saw his handywork in the http://www.charleston.net/graphics/200802_primary/ map which is illustrated at the top of this post. I first learned of this technique last year but I think it is still relevant so am posting it now.

Ken had help from Len De Groot over at newsartists.orghttp://www.newsartists.org/forums/showthread.php?p=41780, registration required). I have reformatted and edited Ken and Len’s instructions below.

Requirements:
  • A shapefile,
  • Illustrator CS3,
  • MaPublisher (Illustrator plugin),
  • Flash CS3, and
  • Free command script called “Instance_setMcName”. Before you start, download the script from Adobe, registration required (alternate download, no registration required) and double click file icon to install the script into Flash. Relaunch Flash to enable the script.

Overview:

  • Shapefile prep work in ArcMap GIS as needed.
  • Import the shapefile (.shp) in Illustrator using MaPublisher. Each geographic feature imports as it’s own path object in illustrator, visible in the Layers panel when it is set to not just show top level layers.
  • Use MaPublisher to name each map object’s GIS database attribute to name itself.
  • Import the Illustrator file to Flash .
  • Run the script to take the movieclip names and apply them to instances.

Detailed Workflow:

  1. Shapefile prep work in ArcMap as needed.
  2. Open your GIS shapefile in Illustrator via the MaPublisher plugin (File > Import Map Data).
  3. Edit > Select All the imported map path objects.
  4. Open the MapAttributes panel by going to View > MaPublisher > MapAttributes.
  5. In your MapAttributes panel, use the flyout menu to select Edit Schema.
  6. Select the #Name (usually selected by default) in the list of columns.
  7. Check the box marked “Derive value from expression”
  8. Click the “…” button.
  9. In the resulting dialog’s text entry field, type in the name of the field you want to use to name the individual polygons (county, precinct, etc.). This is case sensitive.
  10. Hit OK twice.
  11. Watch as your individual path objects are named in the Layers panel then save the file.
  12. Open Flash and import the AI file to the stage (File > Import).
  13. In the Import dialog box, select all the sublayers and check the box named “Create movie clip” and hit OK. The map will be imported both onto the stage and each map object will be added to the document’s Library.
  14. In the Library panel, select all the MovieClips in the Illustrator Import sub-folder and drag them up and out of the folders to the top level.
  15. Use Edit > Select All to select all your map object symbols on the stage.
  16. Under “Commands” in the top menu, select “Instance_setMcName.”
  17. All you symbol instances will be named the same as their parent movieClip libary item. Use the Properties panel to verify this.

Both Ken and I have used this process on multiple shapefiles with hundreds of objects and it’s worked like a dream.

Caution on Numeric Names:

Some GIS shapefiles have category names that begin with numbers, which Flash doesn’t like. Flash is picky about some other characters starting off the name, too, so when in doubt, use the following solution.

You can edit the schema to add a letter in front of each name and then use actionscript to do the same to each item in your XML file. A little cloogy but better than the alternative.

  1. Click the Add button in the Edit Schema window in MaPublisher’s Illustrator panel
  2. Name the new column “a”. Make sure the Type is string and enter “a” for the value (the derive value button must be unchecked to see this option).
  3. Press enter.
  4. Select #Name column.
  5. Find the expression field in the same dialog and type out “a&PRECINCT” (where “a” is the “a” attribute column name and PRECINCT is the attribute column name). Note: the & symbol is used to concatenate (add together) the string values in each attribute column.
  6. Press enter.
  7. Verify the name changes in the Layers panel.

Seperate Stroke and Fill Workflow:

To have a seperate stroke layer on polygons so the fills can be color coded seperately from the strokes (which would always maintain the same stroke color) you’ll need to make a 2nd copy of the symbols:

  1. In Illustrator after you’ve used MaPublisher to name all your polygons appropriately, duplicate the layer and hide/lock the original layer.
  2. Give the new polygons a stoke and no fill, and rename them using Steps 3-6 except append the naming scheme with “Stroke”
  3. Import the Illustrator file to Flash. Two groups of symbols are imported.One group’s symbols will be named something like “precinct234″ and the other group’s corresponding symbols will be named “precinct234Stroke”
  4. Flash can now be instructed via ActionScript coding to independently control a symbols fill and whether or not it is “highlighted” with a stroke.

Bonus Feature!

Use MaPublisher to import other GIS layers (roads, polling locations, etc.) and they will land directly on top of the thematic symbols. I recommend doing this in the same import session, or before you rescale the maps. Best results when all GIS shapefiles are already in the same projection.

To set up your XML which is used to import your map data values (essentially an XML version of your DBF file associated with the shapefile), check out Layne’s thread.

Getting Illustrator Map Symbols into ArcMap (ESRI)

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

A friend recently asked me if it was possible to get the same custom map symbols he is using in the Adobe Illustrator design package into his ESRI ArcMap project. I recommended saving them out as EMF (Windows Meta File format) which are readable in ArcMap. Newer version of Adobe Illustrator save this format on both the Mac and PC (early Mac versions didn’t).

ESRI has two official workflow recommendations in their Mapping Center “Ask a Cartographer” section, both which involve EMF export. Kudos to Charlie and Aileen at ESRI for making the Mapping Center helpful:

1. Convert EPS symbols into a ESRI style (view at ESRI.com)

Q: I have symbols that are right now in EPS format and I would like to create a style with them. What is the best way to proceed ?

Mapping Center Answer:

There are two potential workflows:

  1. If the EPS files are multi-color use a graphics software package to export them to .EMF files that you can make picture marker symbols from.  I’t important to set the artboard for each EPS file to match the extent of the graphics in order to get a good result.  This will work for single color EPS artwork as well.

2. Getting Illustrator-made symbols into ArcMap (view at ESRI.com)

Q: I would like to take symbols/icons that I created in Illustrator then export them into ArcMap for use in map production. If this question is already answered, could you direct me to that resource?

Mapping Center Answer:

You should export each of your Illy symbols/icons to a .EMF file and those can be used to create Picture Marker Symbols in ArcMap.  Our help topic on Creating Marker Symbols explains how to create picture markers from EMF files; it’s the next to the last procedure in that topic.

  • In many cases we copy EPS artwork into a font editing software package and create a TrueType font.  We do that because we’ve developed the in-house expertise to do so and that had a bit of a learning curve.  However, if you want to create representation marker symbols you can dispense with the refined aspects of that workflow because it is possible to create representation markers from font-based markers, but not with EMF files.  Once the artwork is converted to a representation marker it is easier to edit any remaining qualities of the graphic in the representation marker editor.
  • New Job, Same Desk

    Monday, May 12th, 2008

    cairo online process


    Starting last week, I officially turned my day-job attention to online web graphics instead of the previous focus on print maps and graphics (only done a few thousand of those!). I am still working for The Washington Post’s NewsArt department but will now be collaborating with my colleagues over at WPNI.com to produce interactive graphics from inside the Washington Post newsroom in downtown Washington DC.


    Alberto Cairo has some interesting things to say about creating the same infographic for print and the web. (Flowchart above credit Alberto Cairo.)


    I’ll still have some cartographic duties (like map editing and the weekly real estate value maps) but my primary focus will be on interactive maps and graphics.


    Here’s my first week’s efforts:


    Careless Detention: Medical Care in Immigrant Prisons

    The latest from Pulitzer prize winner Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein, co-published with 60 Minutes.

    • Day 1: Flash map with HTML table below listing out the mouseOver data. The age and origin charting were dropped from the online presentation but the raw data is present in the table and mouseOvers. The map is auto plotting long-lat pairs out of a KML data file onto the Albers projected map and getting the mouseOver and name from the KML markers :)
    • Day 2: Satellite map as JPG of the print graphic.

    Burma’s Cyclone Nargis

    Breaking news, natural disaster, humanitarian crises in south-east Asia.

    • Day 1: in Flash with mouseOver behaviors directly linking text descriptions to map locations.
    • Day 2: in HTML with html image map on JPG linking down to table entrees about map locations.

    Freehand To Illustrator Experience

    Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

    von illustration

    Illustrator’s CS3 release makes it much easier for Macromedia Freehand users to transition over from-scratch and legacy artwork. But there are still a few bumps on the road.

    Von Glitschka tells about his experience in his blog post: Switching from FreeHand to Illustrator.

    His post was written after a year working in Illustrator and goes thru how he creates an example art file and shares a few useful plugins that bring some Freehand-style functionality to Adobe’s flagship vector ap. Von also has a few other cool illustration focused tutorials here.