Sunday, September 01, 2013

Sidewalk Plants/Learning New Programs

Hudson, New York

There's been a lot going on behind the scenes here recently. About ten days ago I signed up for a full membership in the Adobe Creative Suite. For several years now, while I had Photoshop up to date, I didn't have a proper page design program, or web page program, a full copy of Acrobat rather than just Reader, etc. There's been a lot of talk about Adobe's high-handed behavior "forcing" people to adopt a new model for licensing software, but especially at the introductory price of $20 a month, having access to all of Adobe's top of the line software through CC is an amazing bargain.

So I've been learning what's new and different in Photoshop CC (more on that another time) while relearning InDesign by diving into full-bore design work on the Drive-in Theater monograph. Also, I'm learning Muse, which I've never used before but is essentially InDesign for web sites, with a familiar interface and command structure. I've completely redone the front pages of my web site, linked over there in the sidebar. The pages are much cleaner and simpler, with navigation menus that should make it easier to maneuver. For the content of the many web gallery pages though, I didn't want to make them over. Not just because I'm lazy. Some of the galleries are over ten years old. I designed them in PageMill using flatbed scans of platinum prints with hand-made thumbnail pages linked to individual images. Then there are galleries made with GoLive from the original Adobe CS1. Over the years I changed the designs as I made new galleries, with recent additions being Flash galleries generated from Bridge Output Module. I wanted to keep all of this intact, but that isn't what Muse is really meant for. It's meant to be a sleek tool to create an entire website, quickly, from scratch, then either automatically upload it to a site hosted at Adobe (you get five of them with your CC membership) or manually to your own domain. It took a little while to figure out, but before long I was able to remake the front pages and still have the new Online Galleries page link to the whole archive of individual picture galleries.

Have a look! Leave me a comment if you encounter problems like broken links—there are almost bound to be a few.

Hudson, New York


Markus said...

Carl, the new layout is a big leap forward - I like it being very clear and terse. There's not much worse than an overloaded website, but some gallery generators don't share our preferences for straightforward designs.

One thing however I'd re-think: The galleries now work through flash (of course, as this is from Adobe, too). But flash does not natively play on iPads - and so you might loose quite a number of visitors, if there is no pure html fallback. Maybe you should do some research on the possibilities you have with Muse.

Carl Weese said...

Markus, thanks for the tip on iPads and Flash: I don't have one, and in fact my smartphone is an old, pretty low IQ Palm Pixie. I know from instruction videos that I can very easily have Muse make slideshows that are simple html, on the primary menu-linked pages. I don't know how to do it as a free-standing gallery folder like the ones generated by Bridge Output Module. Come to think of it though, I can have BOM create html galleries as well: the 107 Theaters gallery is one of these because I wanted to pick up the theater ID's from metadata in the RAW files and this wasn't an option with the Flash galleries available, happened automatically with this non-flash option.

Of course CC includes DreamWeaver and I've already downloaded it. I just thought Muse would give me a much quicker start and refresher on web page creation. Eventually I'll probably be better off learning it to manage a site as extensive as mine. But Muse looks perfect for quickly creating and putting up special-purpose, project-oriented sites hosted at Adobe.

Oh, wait...are you saying that all the galleries now for some reason require Flash, or just the actual Flash galleries?

Markus said...

Carl, I just checked back: It's the Off-Topic, the Ruskin, the FL OT, the Carnival Color and the Autumn Suite (here I stopped) galleries at least that require flash now - and those had made me curious, so I visited them. The others work without flash.

If you can get Muse do what's necessary, its certainly the more time economic tool - with dreamweaver you can get yourself entangled in all sorts of internet black magic, where one improvement causes other things to fail in certain constellations - I went through this hell with my bread job mapping website.

Carl Weese said...

OK, thanks. The simplest thing would be to make and upload alternate galleries to those, using BOM but with one of the non-Flash gallery options selected. Assembling the collections of individual files again to run the automation will be 90% of the effort needed.

Edd Fuller said...

Carl, I like the new look and know that it will look even better when you are finished with the transition so that the presentation of the various galleries is more consistent.

I went through all the galleries on my 10" Android tablet (Samsung Galaxy) and everything worked fine except for the "Gallery of Drive-in Theaters" which would not draw properly on the tablet--the filmstrip overlays the pictures and the navigation arrows. By the way, the drive-in pictures look fantastic on the tablet.

On some of the older galleries the link "Return to gallery page" does not work.

One more thing--it would be nice to be able to navigate directly back to the gallery index page from the gallery itself.

Carl Weese said...

Edd, thanks for the notes. I think that DI gallery may be the only one that uses that specific format (out of Bridge Output Module) so I could pick up the resources again and generate another format that we know is working. Glad to hear the pictures read well on the tablet--I don't even own a tablet to test-view on. On the Flash galleries not offering a link back to the index page--it just isn't an option, or not one that I've been able to find after trying several times. However, I now have access to DreamWeaver and Flash, though I don't know how to use them, so customizing those galleries will become an option when I get a chance to learn the new programs, but that isn't going to be near the top of my agenda for a while.

Anonymous said...

Carl, a little glitch:-

From ;-

go to -

then, at the bottom, click on :-
"return to gallery page"

returns a 404 no found,

It's looking for /galleries
when you want it to go to /online-galleries

Nice work though!

Carl Weese said...

Thanks for the catch: new name for the index gallery needs a new link.

Carl Weese said...

Interesting, I couldn't find any way to make Muse go in and open a non-Muse-created, archive page. To make the Kingston gallery link back to the index of galleries page work again I had to dust of Sea Monkey and use it to change the link.