Designer using fonts on MacOS? This article is a must-read!

If you use your Mac professionally, you most likely also work with fonts.

Fonts are essential for designs and professional print.

And if corrupt, they can cause issues, even crash applications upon launch. Or change your output.

One of the best articles I have ever read, summarizing font usage, font management and how to solve font issues is this article by Kurt Lang. I feel it is a must-read for everyone:

http://www.jklstudios.com/misc/osxfonts.html

Kurt has been a frequent poster on Apple’s forums and is constantly updating his article. If you benefit from his article, please consider making a small contribution via PayPal.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

Text shading done right (no workaround needed!)

For years QuarkXPress users asked for the ability to shade text (highlight text). As QuarkXPress didn’t offer this feature, there were many workarounds used, either using a custom underline style, anchor a box or by using a rule (above/below) to highlight text.

Unfortunately there can be downsides when using such a workaround. The example above cannot be done with a rule or an anchored box, as a) the highlighted text is at several places and b) breaks across lines.

Therefore in QuarkXPress 2017 we added the ability to to text shading properly. No need for workarounds.

Have a look, it’s maybe a hidden gem, as most people zoomed in on the more obvious highlights of QuarkXPress 2017 such as non-destructive Image Editing, Column split/span, responsive HTML5, free iOS app creation etc.

And probably more powerful than any other page layout application.

Powerful Text Shading in QuarkXPress 2017

In QuarkXPress 2017 there are two methods of Text Shading, for text (character) and paragraph.

Even better, additional to the “shade” you can also give it a frame.

And of course you can add text framing and text shading to style sheets.

And you can use them in a Conditional Style (for automatic formatting, e.g. highlight all instances of “today”.

Examples of Text Shading (character)

Shade any character (or word). You can use solid colors, semi-opaque colors or even multi-color gradients to highlight.

Examples of Text Shading (paragraph)

You can also add paragraph shading (and combine that with character shading).

Paragraphs can be shades as wide as the text runs, within indents or span the column (irrespective of indents).

Built-in intelligence (watch GIF)

When two paragraph shades are consecutive and have the exact same definition, QuarkXPress 2017 joins them automatically. No need for you to adjust manually.

When definitions slightly differ (as in the example below, once opacity differs), then the two shades are not joined automatically.

Examples of automatic shades (via Conditional Style)

Of course you can automate that (using Conditional Styles) to automatically highlight a specific word:

And of course it works with irregular shapes

Have boxes that are not rectangular? Just tell QuarkXPress 2017 whether it should ignore the shape of the box or automatically “clip shade to box”:

And more?

Yes, there is more, you can also add Text Framing. But that’s another story (post)…

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

Using Threshold in QuarkXPress 2017 for image masking

QuarkXPress 2017 introduces transparency blend modes as well as reintroducing image effects and adjustments. The combination is, in publishing terms, golden, provided that you remember that things should only be done in QuarkXPress when they make the most sense to do so. QX2017 is not attempting to replace Capture One, Affinty Photo, Adobe Photoshop or your other favourite RAW developer or editor.

That said, there are an awful lot of image management processes which ought to be done in layout, and doing them earlier in the process is a messy compromise which requires numerous round trips. The most obvious example is Output Sharpening: easy in QX2017, a tedious nightmare previously. However, it will be hard to show the power of output sharpening on screen, so let’s look at another, equally tedious, problem: image cutouts.

Now, we all know that you can cut an image out in QuarkXPress or competing, bundled, software, but we also know that this is a relatively rough-and-ready process. Alternatively, we can go to Photoshop, perhaps using OnOne or Vertus to assist us. We know we are going to spend a long time cutting out, and, if the requirement changes, or the client decides that they preferred one of the alternative images after all, we are going to have to do the whole thing again. And, with cutting out in Photoshop, there’s always the nightmare situation of a cutout which looks totally clean on screen, but prints yellow splodges with hard edges at production.

What if you could do the whole thing in one minute, without leaving QuarkXPress.

Cutout and Shadow in a minute

Ok, here is a problem image taken at the British Museum: 

This one is straight out of the camera, supplied as JPEG, and it’s Hercules (or Herakles) on the right that interests us. You couldn’t possibly use that image, marred as it is by bad exposure, bad colour temperature, and reflection on the glass.

First, let’s crop it and blow it out using Levels. You’ll notice that we’re setting the transparency mode to Multiply. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

A bit of colour balancing in the Highlights enables us to get rid of some yellow splodges which we will not want.

Next, let’s use Threshold to give us a good black mask, which we’ll invert with Invert. You’ll notice we’re setting this to Lighten as a transparency mode.

Our final piece of image adjustment is to use Threshold again with Gaussian Blur to give us the shadow. For this, we’ll go back to our original image with its adjustments as a basis. We’re going to set the transparency of the shadow to 50%, and give it a white background.

As you can see, adjustments and effects in QX2017 stack, non-destructively, executing the top one first, then the second, then the third. Additionally, we’ll distort the image to suit. We can keep playing with this as we develop the document. I’ll make sure that I expand the box the shadow is in, with its white background, to the size of all the other elements.

Finally we are ready to composite.

Here goes:

Now, this is not perfect, but we have spent a total of one minute on it, and, since everything is done non-destructively, we can now refine to suit our task. In most publications this image would be relatively small, perhaps a marginal illustration. We would want to take more time if it was a main featured image—but, in that case, we would probably also insist on starting with a much better original.

A couple of remarks.

First, the image logic is important here. At the back we have the shadow. On top of this, we have the mask we created with Threshold and Invert, set to Lighten. Its black areas have no impact on the area below, as black + Lighten = nothing. Its white areas entirely knock out the shadow, as white + Lighten = white. The top image is set to multiply. Anything x black = black, and image x white = the original image. The result is that the white areas of the original image become entirely transparent, allowing the bottom shadow to appear, but the imaged areas are opaque.

This might sound complicated, but once you’ve got it, you can do one of these a minute.

Second, the drop shadow is important. Although a cutout onto white was easy here, using levels, the cutout then either appears to float in the air, or else sit two-dimensionally on the paper. You need a shadow, and it cannot be the Dropped Shadow effect, which will reenforce the sense of a flat picture laid onto the page.

Final thoughts

To extract this much quality in terms of a cutout in Photoshop or other software would take you twenty minutes at least. If the client changed their mind, that would be another twenty minutes. You would also need to render the shadow as a separate image—not just a separate layer—in order to be able reposition the shadow so that it works with the layout. Of course, you could use this same technique in Photoshop, rather than doing a laborious manual cutout, but you are still faced with maintaining separate shadow images, and further annoying round-trips if the layout changes.

I’ve already ordered, and paid for, my upgrade to QX2017. It is an intense privilege to be one of the beta-testers. I’m awed by the possibilities that the new version brings. I thought it would be very hard to cap the 2016 seminal release. I guess I hadn’t reckoned with the ingenuity and tenacity of the folks at Quark…

Martin Turner is the author of Desk Top Publishing with QuarkXPress 2016, Desk Top Publishing with QuarkXPress 2017, and presenter on the video series Desk Top Publishing with QuarkXPress.

Create as many apps as you want – for free, from your Desktop?

As you might have seen, Quark has introduced QuarkXPress 2017 with the ability to create and export “unlimited”* iOS Single Apps directly out of QuarkXPress.

The advantages of this are:

  •  No need to create a log-in or use a system or portal
  • You create the apps directly from your Desktop out of QuarkXPress
  • You can create the design within your app with the same tool – QuarkXPress – that  you use for print
  • You can even convert Print layouts to digital and show them in your app
  • You can add stunning interactivity
  • All content is 100% HTML5
  • You get the apps delivered to your Desktop as a single delivery, your content is “backed in”
  • You can transfer your app to your test iPad or iPhone
  • You can hand in your app to Apple and – once approved – have it being delivered to your customers via the Apple’s App Store

All you need is QuarkXPress 2017 and an Apple Developer Account. Don’t worry, you won’t have to develop anything, it is Apple’s prerequisite to submit apps to the App Store.

So yes, you can create single apps for iOS directly from your Desktop.

How does it work?

A detailed documentation and video tutorials will be available once QuarkXPress 2017 has been released (in second quarter of 2017).

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

1) Prerequisites

  1. Get a developer account with Apple, which is $99 per year.
  2. Go to Apple’s developer portal and create 4 things, a development & distribution certificate and a development & distribution provisioning profile.
    (On Mac oyu can do that using Keychain, on Windows you will need to install the free OpenSSL)
  3. Go to iTunes Connect, basically the marketing portal for submitting apps to the App Store, and create marketing descriptions etc.
  4. Create an app icon and splash screens for your app

2) Create your app

  1. Create a digital layout in QuarkXPress 2017 (or convert an existing Print layout to a digital one). Optionally add a second layout for the other (vertical/horizontal) orientation.
  2. If you want, add interactivity like animations, audio, video, slideshows (using the HTML5 palette)
  3. Choose File > Export As > iOS App
  4. In the dialog appearing, add the two certificates and the two provisioning profiles. Add all meta data needed, like the app ID provided by Apple in iTunes Connect, the icon and the splash screens you created.
  5. Export your app ( so you need an internet connection then, however no log-in into any system).

3) Test and submit your app

  1. Either wait until the progress bar finishes or let it run in the background. After a while QuarkXPress 2017 will save two apps to your Desktop (or the folder that you specified), a test app and a production app.
  2. On Mac, transfer your test app to your iPad/iPhone, e.g. using iTunes or – my recommendation – “Apple Configurator 2“. On Windows use iTunes please.
  3. Test thoroughly.
  4. If fine, submit your production app to Apple. On Mac, you do that using Application Loader by Apple.
    From Windows you cannot do that, as Apple requires you to use Application Loader, which is only available on MacOS. So you either need to find somebody with a Mac to do that for you or rent a Mac. Here’s an example of a services in the cloud that allow you to rent a Mac for an hour: http://www.macincloud.com/
  5. Wait until Apple approves your app.

Done. And now create the next one.

A video of this can be seen here:

 

 


*Quark’s EULA specifies what “unlimited” means. Basically it is a “fair use” policy, so you can create as many apps as you need for your own use or to create for your customers. Quark e.g. doesn’t allow you to build a system around it, so a service that you pass on to other customers. Also the use is possible as long as QuarkXPress 2017 is the most recent version or the version before the most recent version of QuarkXPress. Afterwards you need to upgrade to a newer version to be able to use app export. All other functionality of QuarkXPress 2017 of course doesn’t have any timed restriction. You need an Apple Developer Account, which costs you an additional fee. And to submit an app to Apple, Apple requires you to use a Mac.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

How to see previews of QuarkXPress documents – even without having QuarkXPress running or installed

QuickLook / Quick View images and other files

Often you need to see a preview of documents that you have on Mac. With images that’s easy, by setting the right preferences MacOS / OS X will show you thumbnails of images and even previews when you select an image and hit the spacebar.

That’s possible because Apple built an interesting technology into MacOS / OS X called QuickLook.

QuickLook can either create or extract previews in certain file types and present them to you, so that it is easier to find out whether it is the right file.

JPG, PDF, movies, audio files, text files and many more.

What about QuarkXPress documents?

You might not have QuarkXPress running or need to visually see a QuarkXPress document on a Mac where you do not have QuarkXPress installed.

On Macs, where you have QuarkXPress installed, this is easy, just hit the spacebar. As QuarkXPress will have installed a QuickLook plug-in on first launch, Finder can show you thumbnails and previews of QuarkXPress documents.

On Macs, where you do not have QuarkXPress installed, you can install a free QuickLook plug-in (made by Quark) to also see previews and thumbnails of QuarkXPress documents. Here’s an extract of an article on forums.quark.com:

Free QuickLook plug-in to preview QuarkXPress projects
This will allow you to see thumbnails of QuarkXPress Projects (.qxp) in Finder and also provide a QuickLook preview.
This works for .qxp files created with QuarkXPress 7, 8, 9, 10, 2015 and 2016; regardless whether you have QuarkXPress installed or not.

1. Download the zipped QuickLook plug-in: Click to download QXP QuickLook plug-in

2. Unzip it.(Unzip by double-clicking the downloaded file.)

3. Navigate to folder /Library/QuickLook/(That’s the main ‘Library’ folder on your Macintosh HD.)

4. Put the QuickLook plug-in into this folder.(So copy the file ‘QuarkXPress.qlgenerator’ there. Finder will probably ask you for permission. If you already find one in there, replace it.)

5. Log off and log on again.

(To test whether it works, you can download a sample QXP file: Click to download sample QXP)

And what about “exotic” file formats?

If you have other file formats that you often need to preview and out-of-the-box MacOS doesn’t handle them, then have a look at the following great site, it lists all known QuickLook plug-ins – free and commercial – available for MacOS / OS X:

http://www.quicklookplugins.com/

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.