SkillForge Blog

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How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop

2019-02-25T17:23:23-04:00

When we convert a color image to grayscale in Photoshop, we  obviously toss out color. But sometimes this makes the image look a little flat. Color can make an image look vivid, and not just because color is there. It also allows subtle contrasts, enhancements, and other things which are harder in a grayscale image. But grayscale images can be enhanced, and there are one or two tricks we can pull before the actual conversion. One is based on the color or colors which form the majority of the image. We can use a Color Balance adjustment layer to make colors [...]

How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop2019-02-25T17:23:23-04:00

How to create a full screen background

2019-07-31T10:00:35-04:00

In this post, we'll talk about how to create a full-screen background using CSS and HTML.  We are going to bypass all the CSS properties that exist for backgrounds to do this, so consider this a type of CSS hack (:  What we are going to do is insert an image to the page and then style it to act as a background.  So that is the first part, find the image you want to use and put it on the page like so: <img src="yourimage.jpg" class="bg" alt="Background Image"> You can use a .jpg, .png, .gif, or whatever image you want.  [...]

How to create a full screen background2019-07-31T10:00:35-04:00

How to Use the Organizer in Microsoft Project

2019-02-19T13:44:11-04:00

The Organizer is one of the lesser-known features in Project. And it’s a shame that this one is overlooked. It can be a major help in both building templates and making already-built elements easily available. One common example is calendars. If you build a company calendar, and want it in other projects, you can copy it anywhere with the Organizer. Since calendars can take some work to create, they are among the most frequently-copied items in the program. First, we open the source and destination projects. Any two can be used. We then go to the View tab, and either Task [...]

How to Use the Organizer in Microsoft Project2019-02-19T13:44:11-04:00

How to redirect a HTML page

2019-07-31T09:44:17-04:00

Sometimes in the web design world, you'll need to redirect a page.  Maybe it's because the page no longer exists, the page has been updated and moved, or it could be a page that you don't want the user to be on for very long.  There are plenty of ways to do this.  You could use a bunch of different languages like PHP or JavaScript but there's a way, in HTML, to accomplish this with the meta tag and here it is: <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;url=http://example.com/" /> Let's break this down.  It looks just like a normal meta tag but it has [...]

How to redirect a HTML page2019-07-31T09:44:17-04:00

Using the ISNULL Function in Crystal Reports

2019-02-16T18:44:59-04:00

The IsNull function in Crystal allows us to deal efficiently with nulls, or empty fields, in a data source. I talked about this in an earlier post. We don’t want to skip partly empty records, in most cases. But if we bring in nulls, we have to be able to work around them or compensate for them. The first example shows what happens if there is nothing in the Region field, and no IsNull to help. We get a comma between city and state/region, but there is sometimes no state/region to display. And some people find this distracting, or even irritating. [...]

Using the ISNULL Function in Crystal Reports2019-02-16T18:44:59-04:00

For of vs For in JavaScript Loops

2019-07-22T15:24:11-04:00

In JavaScript there are two kinds of for loops: for of and for in.  The difference can be seen when looping through arrays.  Let's take this array for example: var greetings = ["Hi","Hey","Hello"] It's just a normal array with three strings (words) in it called greetings.  If I were to apply the for in loop to it like this: for(x in greetings){ document.write(x + "<br>"); } This would print out the index positions of each value in the array.  So we'd get 0, 1, and 2 printed out to the page on their own lines.  If we wanted to pull the [...]

For of vs For in JavaScript Loops2019-07-22T15:24:11-04:00

How to Work with Nulls in Crystal Reports

2019-02-08T16:41:16-04:00

Crystal Reports handles nulls, or completely unfilled fields, in a particular way. And it’s very important that anyone using the program understands the details clearly. A null, in Crystal’s view, is a database field which never had anything in it, and doesn’t now. A real-life example of this is in some people-related databases; folks sometimes don’t have an official home phone anymore. They do 99.9% of their stuff via smartphone, and don’t need a hard line. So they’ll have a number in the Cell Phone field, and nothing in the Home Phone field. But this means a technically incomplete record, and [...]

How to Work with Nulls in Crystal Reports2019-02-08T16:41:16-04:00

How To Loop Through An Object In JavaScript

2019-07-22T15:04:24-04:00

In JavaScript there's a way to access all the items in an object called the for in loop.  It allows you to iterate (or loop) through all the key value pairs in an object.  For example, if we had this object: var jsobj = { company: "SkillForge", course: "JavaScript", isFun: "Yes" } We would be able to get the keys and the values out of it using the for in loop.  To pull the keys out we could do this: for(x in jsobj){ document.write(x + "<br>"); } In this loop, x is a variable that will be holding all of the [...]

How To Loop Through An Object In JavaScript2019-07-22T15:04:24-04:00

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text

2019-02-08T11:56:05-04:00

Someone had a question about working with text in Photoshop using Bitmap mode: “Between 50% threshold, pattern dither, diffusion dither and halftone screen, which one is more suitable for text use?” This is the image mode which converts to strictly black-and-white pixels. We want to be aware that even Grayscale mode, often thought of as “black-and-white”, isn’t really. Bitmap is the only mode which natively uses just those two colors. But even Bitmap mode has a few variations, as mentioned above. So if one is scanning text in from somewhere, which should we use? The answer depends partially on whether there’s [...]

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text2019-02-08T11:56:05-04:00

How to stop a loop from inside a nested loop

2019-07-15T14:21:21-04:00

There are times in JavaScript when we'll have a loop inside of another loop and we'll want to stop the outer most loop from inside the inner one.  Here is a block of code that is showing what I'm talking about: var i = 0; while(i < 3){ for(x=1; x<=10;x++){ if(x%5 == 0){ //we want to to stop the while loop here } document.write(x); } i++; } We have a for loop that is inside of a while loop and we want to be able to stop the while loop from inside the for loop.  This code prints out all the [...]

How to stop a loop from inside a nested loop2019-07-15T14:21:21-04:00

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop

2019-02-08T16:25:10-04:00

Got a real-life question from someone this time, regarding how to fix glare. It’s a fairly typical problem in some images. Reflections off shiny surfaces, lights accidentally pointing toward the camera, even some kinds of glossy fabric, or curved glass acting as a lens can distract, if not irritate, the viewer (and the subject, and the photographer). Here’s a wedding picture with just this kind of problem. Just above the bride’s head, we’re getting a spot of unusual brightness. (The lady asked, “Can you adjust my halo?” ? ) Obviously, we want to tone the glare spot down as much as [...]

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop2019-02-08T16:25:10-04:00

How to create a placeholder on a select dropdown in HTML

2019-07-08T13:43:01-04:00

In HTML there's this nifty attribute called the placeholder.  If you were to create an input text box like this: <input type="text" placeholder="Type Here"> It would create a text box with a placeholder in it which you can see below:     The text "Type Here" will disappear when you start to type anything into the box and it will re-appear when you delete it.  It's a useful way to prompt the user to do what you want and not lose any space by doing so.  But what about drop-down menus like this?       This is the HTML code [...]

How to create a placeholder on a select dropdown in HTML2019-07-08T13:43:01-04:00

Using Master Pages in Adobe InDesign—Basics

2019-01-29T15:56:20-04:00

The concept of master pages in Adobe InDesign is closely related to headers and footers in many other programs. Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, or even Excel or Access all have a similar feature. So if you’ve used headers and footers, you won’t be on totally unfamiliar ground. Masters are essentially the “background” behind any pages they’re applied to. Think of paper behind glass, with stuff drawn on the glass, and you’ve got the basic concept. Once we open a document, we usually set the number of pages first. This makes it easier to figure out what goes on a given master [...]

Using Master Pages in Adobe InDesign—Basics2019-01-29T15:56:20-04:00

How to start a basic Vue.js page

2019-06-30T23:25:31-04:00

If you want to dive into Vue.js and don't want to mess around with Node.js and other installs this post is for you. To start using Vue.js in a webpage, all you need to do is set up a CDN (content delivery network) link just like you would with jQuery. You would start with a typical HTML page: <!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Basic Vue.js Page</title> </head> <body> </body> </html> Then in the head tag, add the Vue.js CDN link which came from here: <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Basic Vue.js Page</title> <script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/vue"></script> </head> Once you've done that, you're golden, and [...]

How to start a basic Vue.js page2019-06-30T23:25:31-04:00

Using Guides for Line-Up in Adobe InDesign

2019-01-28T16:07:37-04:00

Although some people don’t think it’s vital, lining page elements up neatly—for which guides are very helpful—in Adobe InDesign can make a big difference in the final product. The eye is a better instrument than some people think. And visual neatness can greatly reduce perceived “clutter” in a document. Luckily, the process is very easy, and the program gives us a couple of simple but powerful tools to help. Once we have our page elements in place, we can drag guides right out of the rulers. You can place as many as you like, anywhere, on any page. They don’t print [...]

Using Guides for Line-Up in Adobe InDesign2019-01-28T16:07:37-04:00

How to Create a Preflight Profile for Adobe InDesign

2019-01-28T12:21:59-04:00

When working with InDesign, we need to “preflight” files we intend to print. A pilot will inspect an airplane before flying it, which is where the term comes from. Similarly, we check a file for various potential problems before we print it. And if it’s going to a commercial printing business, this is even more important. A LOT of time and money could be wasted if we don’t. A preflight profile is how we deal with it. A profile is a set of rules we need the document to follow. You can think of it as rather like your mental checklist [...]

How to Create a Preflight Profile for Adobe InDesign2019-01-28T12:21:59-04:00

How to Create or Import a Table in Adobe InDesign

2019-01-25T15:19:29-04:00

The table is just too useful to keep out of many business documents these days. It’s too good at organizing data. Luckily, even a desktop publishing program like InDesign has the feature handy. And we can even import an existing one pretty much as-is, to save some time. To create it from scratch, with a document to hold it, we have to create or select a text frame. Even if we’re going to put graphics in the table, it’s one of those things the program “just does”. Then we go to the Table menu and click the Insert Table… command. We [...]

How to Create or Import a Table in Adobe InDesign2019-01-25T15:19:29-04:00

Using the Symbol Sprayer and Shifter in Adobe Illustrator

2019-01-24T17:46:46-04:00

The Symbol tools in Illustrator give the program some true artistic ability. Many people, even now, think this is lacking, and that Illustrator is more "tech" where Photoshop is “arty”. But if properly used, Illustrator can do some very arty things. Two of the Symbol tools, in particular, are rather easy to use, and can produce some striking results. One is the Sprayer. It allows us to select a symbol and “scatter” a bunch of repeats in a given area. (A symbol, in Illustrator-ese, is an object we add to the Symbols panel for spraying, shifting, etc. Think of spray paint [...]

Using the Symbol Sprayer and Shifter in Adobe Illustrator2019-01-24T17:46:46-04:00

How to Use the Transform Features in Adobe Illustrator

2019-01-24T14:57:25-04:00

When we want to transform, or make specific changes to, an object in Illustrator, we can use the Transform panel. We can also use a couple of the tools in the Tools panel, depending on our preference. For certain kinds of diagrams and precise illustrations,  we may need an accurate angle, or exact amount of change. So knowing how to use the various transform abilities can be critical. (Note: It’s a good idea to make a copy of the object, layer, or document you’re working on, for practice.) The Transform panel can handle several basic kinds of change—size, rotation, and shear. [...]

How to Use the Transform Features in Adobe Illustrator2019-01-24T14:57:25-04:00

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project

2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

A template in Project, as in most other programs, is a blank form. We fill in the spaces, as on a tax form or license application. The more complex the job, the more complex the form. So when we’re managing a project, any help we can get doing a bunch of similar projects is really good. The key is having a project file that’s mostly or entirely complete—i.e., the project is done. Because if we know the project ran successfully, we can frequently use it to guide others of the same sort. So we open the file in question, and see [...]

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

Using the Split Form and Datasheet Form in Microsoft Access

2019-01-22T13:59:46-04:00

The idea of the split form in Access is rather like its cousin in Project. We set up a view with the “big picture” or large-scale view in one portion of the window (usually the top), and details in the bottom. Sometimes vice versa, but the thinking is to have both available for convenience. Creating a split form is very easy, as it’s listed within the regular forms. We select the table we want to work with, go to the Create tab->Forms->More Forms, and click Split Form. The result is to show the data from the table in two ways. One, [...]

Using the Split Form and Datasheet Form in Microsoft Access2019-01-22T13:59:46-04:00

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

When we create a project plan, summary tasks are like the main points in a term paper outline. They mark off the highest-level things we need to do in the project. They’re the main stages or phases we look at. So they’re a useful tool for visually organizing the project, in a user-friendly way. The good news is, we don’t have to insert them immediately. We can start by just writing down what we need to do, and clean up later. Here we have a list of tasks for doing some house painting. (Yes, I’ve done this for real. Yes, that’s [...]

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

Project allows for things like calculated fields and other custom data. It holds some fields “in reserve” aside from the ones set up for task names, durations, etc. This way, users can insert data the program couldn’t know about in advance. (I mentioned custom text fields a while back, but a calculated field is a slightly different thing.) Having some experience with formulas, in the style of Access or Excel, will help. And making sure one has a clear idea of what needs to be calculated is important, naturally. We start by calling up the Custom Fields box. It’s under the [...]

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop

2019-01-09T16:25:18-04:00

One of the more subtle problems in digital photography is something called moiré. It looks rather like a slight mesh of light and dark lines, sometimes curved, sometimes straight. Certain kinds of fabric produce this effect when one takes pictures of, say, people in suits. Silks are among the biggest culprits, and wedding images can abound with it. Luckily, there’s a bit of work we can do in Photoshop to greatly reduce the visibility of moiré. We start by opening the picture and selecting the area with the moiré effect. We want to use a couple of pixels of feather, so [...]

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop2019-01-09T16:25:18-04:00

How to Export Data from Crystal Reports

2019-01-09T12:18:26-04:00

We usually have to export data from Crystal Reports, for a couple of reasons. One is, the program normally has to be there to read a Crystal file, so exporting allows others to read something. And unless the report is on a shared drive, it usually has to be emailed to the other parties. Luckily, the dialog box makes the process about as simple as possible. One can click File->Export->Export Report, or go directly to the Export button in the first toolbar. When the box appears, we have two main choices to make. One is the file format we’ll export data [...]

How to Export Data from Crystal Reports2019-01-09T12:18:26-04:00

How to Use Warp Type in Adobe Illustrator

2019-04-12T17:48:03-04:00

Illustrator is capable of treating text as a graphic element much as anything we draw with any of the tools, so the ability to warp type shouldn’t come as a surprise. Type on a path is another feature in the same ballpark (check my previous post). The basic starting point is the same. We use the Type tool, usually, to create the piece of text we need. We then have to tell the program to treat it as a graphic element rather than a text box per se. (This allows the Warp Type control to show.) We do this by switching [...]

How to Use Warp Type in Adobe Illustrator2019-04-12T17:48:03-04:00

Use Type on a Path in Adobe Illustrator

2018-12-31T20:29:22-04:00

The use of type on a path is an interesting cross between text and graphics, and allows text to be more than just a means of conveying information in Illustrator. But in order to use the feature correctly, one has to understand a couple of things about how it behaves. First, we usually need to create the shape which we’ll use as a baseline, in the sense that typography uses the term—the line on which the text sits. Then, we select the Type on a Path tool (in the same flyout as the regular Type tool). Position the cursor on the [...]

Use Type on a Path in Adobe Illustrator2018-12-31T20:29:22-04:00

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop

2018-12-28T15:24:56-04:00

The Photoshop features called Image Size and Canvas Size can be a little confusing. The names are similar, and at first glance what they do will seem to be also. And both are on the Image menu. But the two controls do something quite different from each other, and understanding how can be helpful. Once we open a sample document, we can try using each one. First, Image Size. This feature can change two main things—(a) the size, in height and width, of the printed image, and (b) its resolution, or level of detail in pixels per inch. Since it can [...]

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop2018-12-28T15:24:56-04:00

The Difference Between Double and Single Quotes in PHP

2019-03-17T20:17:56-04:00

In PHP, the difference between using double or single quotes is quite large unlike other languages like JavaScript.  The main difference, that I believe is most important, is you can use variables inside of double quotes in wherein single quote statements you cannot.  For example, if I have a variable set like so: $age = 22; And I wanted to use it in an echo statement I could do this with single quotes: echo 'I am ' . $age . ' years old'; That would work fine, it would print out to the page "I am 22 years old" just like [...]

The Difference Between Double and Single Quotes in PHP2019-03-17T20:17:56-04:00

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop

2018-12-28T11:25:35-04:00

Resolution, in the graphics world, refers to detail. Usually, in a Photoshop document, it means the number of dots or pixels per inch. And this number tells you how detailed, sharp, or clear the image will be. Generally, the higher, the better. But there are a couple of points we need to know to use this to the fullest. Changing the resolution of an image is very simple. Having opened the image, we go to the Image menu, click Image Size, and change the number as needed. The number of pixels per inch is usually figured according to the purpose of [...]

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop2018-12-28T11:25:35-04:00