Hello, World!

Hey, Thanks for coming to my blog. I titled it “Hello, World!” because that’s the first thing you learn to program in any language. Since I failed at C++, I was surprised as anyone to find that I could figure out enough Applescript to help me make quick work of some of the more boring, tedious and painful duties of my job as a Mac Production Artist.

There are three ways to go in the graphic arts side of publishing. All of them include knowledge of the basic graphic design programs: Adobe’s InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat, Quark Xpress, and the Microsoft Office Suite.

One, you could become a graphic designer, and be completely responsible for the look and feel of a printed page. I did that for awhile (nothing big) but I eventually quit because

  • design clients are often difficult to work with
  • most of my graphic design friends were starving.

You can also become a prepress technician. That’s the girl or guy who gets finished art (used to be called “camera-ready art” before the digital takeover) ready printing on a printing press. I did that for three years. The problem: the hours. Most people are hired for the night shift, and in my case that was 12 hours straight from dusk to dawn.

So I got lucky and got hired as a production artist at a small publishing firm. Production artists help get the graphic designer’s art to the publisher with minimal issues. We solve technical as well as logistical problems that could make a beautiful concept turn into an amateurish piece of print.

As a result, production artists are the least respected of the three. If “stuff” rolls downhill, we’re in the valley, baby! Still, I get handsomely paid, don’t have to deal with clients who are usually ignorant of design esthetics, and best of all, no overnights!

Now this blog is meant to share some tips and tricks for making production work lighter and faster. Much of it, but not all, will be concerned with Applescript, a great tool for automating processes in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and MS Office. I don’t do a lot of work in Quark anymore, so not much about Quark (sorry.)

Of course Applescript isn’t the only way to make production work easier. There are a lot of built in functions in the programs, such as Macros in Word, or Actions in Illustrator, and a lot of ways to speed up the most mundane tasks.

Sometimes you might have a differing opinion about the way something should be done. That’s okay. I have found that graphic design programs are so vast, you can learn something new everyday, even if you have been working in them professionally for years.

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