The name Adobe will be familiar to anyone with even a working knowledge of computing. This American software giant produces some of the world’s leading programs, ranging from animation software through to graphic design packages. Towering above these other accomplishments is the ubiquitous Acrobat program, better known for its Portable Document Format output, which is a rare example of a file type that can be opened and read on almost any modern device.
Because Adobe currently market 120 different products and packages, it can be difficult to decide which Adobe course to study. While niche packages like digital photography modifier, Lightroom, and interactive software package, Director, have their merits, a handful of Adobe programs have achieved iconic status and become widely used throughout their respective industries. That ensures consistently strong demand for IT professionals and graduates with an in-depth knowledge of these packages, making an Adobe course in one of these areas a valuable addition to any CV.
With the current proliferation of incompatible operating systems, it’s very important to have one or two file types that can be opened from any device, whether it’s an Apple iPad, an Android tablet, a Windows Phone or a Linux-powered PC. Essentially an entry-level desktop publishing program that’s been stripped down to the bare essentials, Adobe’s Acrobat package creates Portable Document Files, better known as PDFs. These are small, easily-downloadable files containing text, photos and hyperlinks, and with full backwards-compatibility, an original 1993 PDF will still open and display on a modern device. A successfully completed Acrobat course will be of value in most computing or media careers, since PDFs are ubiquitous on websites and as a method of sending documents via email.
If Acrobat represents the distilled essence of a desktop publishing package, InDesign is the real thing. Fifteen years after its launch, InDesign has become one of the world’s leading DTP packages, with the ability to create and design all forms of written media. Users can personalise documents using a huge variety of fonts and in-built adjustments, and the latest versions can be operated through the cloud for instant updates and access to the latest plug-ins. Furthermore, InDesign is relatively easy to use, with almost identical functionality in its PC and Mac variants, so an InDesign course will be useful for a career with printing firms, ad agencies, publishing houses or design studios.
InDesign is all well and good for printed materials, but websites require a very different approach to their design and coding. The ability to create quick and stylish webpages has underpinned the burgeoning popularity of Dreamweaver, a WYSIWYG package that translates designs into HTML coding – what you see on screen is what you’ll get online. Despite annual updates, its functionality remains largely unchanged, so a course in Dreamweaver won’t teach skills that will become obsolete next year, and this visual design package’s global appeal is reflected in the 19 language options currently available.
Before creating a brochure using InDesign or designing a website in Dreamweaver, it’s important to ensure your photos and graphics are of sufficiently high calibre. For image manipulation, trimming, cropping and layering, Adobe’s Photoshop is one of the industry leaders. The immense range of functionalities and options contained within Photoshop makes a working knowledge of it invaluable across professions as diverse as marketing, design, photography and programming. There is also a companion package for Photoshop called Illustrator, which is specifically geared around creating new logos, fonts and typesetting.
Over the years, Adobe has diversified into other visual design areas, and one of their more successful forays involves the world of visual effects for film and TV programmes. The package in question is After Effects, and a course in After Effects is ideal for anyone considering a career in graphics, film editing or special effects. Commonly used for creating visual trickery and animations, After Effects is a non-linear editing system, allowing different digital video tracks to be overlaid simultaneously. This package has grown and expanded alongside the technology powering it, and today it can produce real visual marvels. After Effects can also be enhanced with third-party plug-ins, ensuring there is always something new to learn.
Head in the clouds
Along with its rivals, Adobe has embraced the advent of cloud computing. Nowadays, packages don’t need to be purchased on CD and validated with 25-digit product keys – instead, they can be downloaded over the internet, and users can even access files without needing to install packages on the device they happen to be using at the time. The appeal of this remote-hosting is growing rapidly, and cloud computing is likely to become a larger element of the computing industry with every passing year which is why many Adobe courses will touch on this too. A number of Adobe packages (including Flash and InDesign) now offer dedicated cloud versions, while After Effects and Dreamweaver can only be bought in this format.
By Neil Cumins
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