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Entries in Pages (4)

How to: Design, create and share a party invitation or business flyer

Ipad creative page layout

Pages is probably one of the most underrated iPad apps. It's much more than a Word compatible word processor, Pages is almost a fully featured desktop publishing app. I have access to some of the best page layout and design tools available on OS X, but I wanted to see how practical an iOS page layout workflow could be.

With that in mind, I decided to design, create and share a party invitation using Adobe Ideas and Apple's Pages.

Step 1 - Sketch out ideas

Pencil sketch

Every good page layout starts with a pencil sketch. You'll no doubt already have your favourite sketching app in mind, I decided to use Adobe Ideas, as I find it provides a fluid sketching experience. You can see the results of my brainstorming above, nothing too detailed, just a rough layout.

Step 2 - Gather resources

As you can't add new fonts to the iPad, by resources, I actually mean photos and illustrations. I quickly found a large photo of a bright red stage curtain on the web and I looked on my friends Flickr account for a pleasing group shot of all the family. The curtain photo was good to use as it was, but the family photo needed a little lightening in Luminance.

Step 3 - Create the page design

Background image

This is where the fun really begins. The first thing I had to do was get the red curtain to cover the entire page. The easiest way to do this is via the Document Setup page under the Tools menu (top right). Document Setup is primarily for setting the headers, footers and margins of the document, but media, tables, charts and shapes can all be added here too. The next trick with the Document Setup page is to add your sketch as a transparent layer. You do this by adding your sketch in much the same way as the background imager. The key is to make your sketch semitransparent. Do this by tapping on the sketch image then tapping on the paint brush icon. Tap Style, then tap Style Options, then Effects and set the transparency to about 30%. Now you can use your sketch as a reference as you place your text, photos and boxes in the usual manner within the main page layout view.

The real key to making your design come alive is to experiment with some of the gorgeous fonts that Apple have supplied with iOS and to get creative with transparency. If you look at my final design you'll see I've use Hoefler Text with a slight drop shadow and Bodoni Ornaments. I've used a couple of boxes with varying levels of transparency to give the design a little depth and to darken the background so that the white text stands out nicely. As you build your design you'll no doubt need to keep a close eye on how the layers are stacked in the Arrange menu. It's all too easy to assume that you've deleted an element when in actual fact it's simply under a photo or a box.

I cannot express enough how important it is to experiment with the options that Pages offer. By tastefully combining boxes, shadows and images, all with varying transparency levels, pleasing designs can be quickly created.

Step 4 - Share

By far the easiest way to share your invitation with your friends is to email them a PDF from the main document selection screen. Just tap the Edit button on the top right, tap on the preview of your invitation than tap the Share button on the top left.

Another, more traditional option, is to email the PDF to yourself and then print off the invites on your own printer or at your local print shop. The PDF files that Pages creates are of a high quality. They don't have bleed or printers crop marks and they are in the RGB not CMYK colour space, but most printers will be able to print from your PDF without much trouble.

Final thoughts

The whole process, from sketching out the idea in Abode Ideas to sending the PDF file to the printer took a little over 2 hours. Not bad for a device that so many claimed would be for content consumption only.

Why not have a go yourself? Do you have a summer garden party planned, or perhaps a family get together? With the iPad and couple of cheap apps you have all the tools you needs to create a professional looking invitation or business flyer. 

App Store Links: Pages, Adobe Ideas and Luminance

How to: Use Pages for iPad with Most Cloud Services

Pages on the iPad works with iCloud but what if you want to collaborate using another Cloud service like Dropbox, Google Docs or Box.net where your documents are already stored? Read on to find out how.

Being able to collaborate with colleagues or clients online is often an essential part of any Creative workflow. Where document production is concerned, Pages for iPad is arguably one of the better apps, but out of the box Pages doesn't work with Cloud Services like Dropbox.

For the last couple of weeks we've been testing a set up that uses Pages V1.5 on our iPad to open and save files to Dropbox and a few other Cloud Services via the third party site Otixo.

(Update: Although we have based this workflow on Pages, its fellow iWork apps, Numbers and Keynote for iOS, can also save to a WebDAV service so this set up should be fine with them too on both your iPad and iPhone.)

It works great, so we thought you might like to know how to set this up on your iPad. Here's how:

Set up your Cloud Services

The first thing you will need to do is set up a free Otixo account, then login and add each of your Cloud services (just click on the + next to 'My Cloud Services' to add a new service).

Otixo lets you manage all your Cloud services in one place and crucially swap files between them without needing to download them to a computer then upload them again to another service.

The list of services is comprehensive and being added to all the time, we've added the three we use most here.

Cloud Services added to Otixo

Once your accounts are setup in Otixo you're ready to go.

How to edit an existing document

1: Open Pages on your iPad and tap the + to add a document, then select WebDAV. This will be where your existing document is downloaded from.

Selecting WebDAV as the document source

2: In the WebDAV Sign In window enter https://dav.otixo.com into the Server Address box, then enter your Otixo Username and Password and tap Sign In.

Enter Otixo account details as WebDAV Sign In

3: You should now see a list of the Cloud services you set up in your Otixo account

Cloud Services as folders in Otixo

4: Choose the folder for the service hosting your existing document then, if necessary, navigate to the folder where the file is located.

5: Select the file and Pages will download it to your iPad ready for editing. Pages for iPad will open .pages files, Word files (.doc, .docx, .dotx) and plain text files (.txt).

How to Save a Pages document to a Cloud Service

Whether you have created a new document on your iPad with Pages, or edited an existing document, saving that document to a Cloud Service is fairly straightforward. Here's how you do it:

1: With your document open in Pages on your iPad, click on the Tools icon (the spanner) and select the first option 'Share and Print'.

Selecting 'Share and Print' in Pages

2: Select 'Copy to WebDAV' from the 'Share and Print' menu.

Selecting 'Copy to WebDAV'

4: If you have not set up Otixo already, or you have signed out of Otixo, you will need to enter your WebDAV Sign In details here. This will be your Otixo account login and Server Address (as shown below).

Enter Otixo account details as WebDAV Sign In

5: Choose the format you want to save this document in, Pages, PDF or Word. (Notice the Server address is listed as Otixo).

Choose File Format for destination copy

6: Choose the Cloud Service and Folder where you want to save the file. Note: this does not have to be the same service you downloaded it from.

7: Select the blue 'Copy' button and the file is saved to your chosen location. In the case of Dropbox in our tests, it appeared almost instantly on our Mac's Dropbox folder.

Confirm location and Copy your file to the Cloud

The Otixo service has worked flawlessly in all of our tests and means that we can now edit and share documents with pretty much anyone without the need for iCloud syncing. It is also a big advantage having all our Cloud Services in one 'dashboard' on Otixo, allowing us to copy files between Cloud Services using just one login from any browser on any computer or iOS device.

Did you find this 'How to' useful? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to share it using one of the options below.

Walt Mossberg iPad Review Video and more detail

For those that haven't seen it yet, here is Walt Mossberg's review summary video from the All Things Digital site, take a moment to watch it through, we have made a few observations below. 

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing here at iPad Creative the potential of the iPad as a Publishing device and Walt makes a comment in his review about working with the Pages app and its integration with the ubiquitous Microsoft Word:

This is a serious content creation app that should help the iPad compete with laptops and can import Microsoft Office files. However, only the word processor exports to Microsoft’s formats, and not always accurately. In one case, the exported Word file had misaligned text. When I then tried exporting the document as a PDF file, it was unreadable.

Not all positive, but this is probably more about software compatability and can no doubt be enhanced by Apple in future updates, this is after all Version 1.0 of the iPad apps and we should probably expect things to take a while to settle down.  But he does say that Pages is a 'serious content creation app', which we felt was the case after seeing Apple's walkthrough video.

Another area we are interested in is the iPad's handling of photos, and Walt encourages us a little by saying:

The photo app is striking, and much more like the one on the Mac than the one on the iPhone.

Still no word on editing our photos though, it looks like we will have to wait a few days for people to play with some of the iPhone apps on the iPad to see how it copes with this.

He then goes on to give a little bit of counter-balance by pointing out some of the things that we all know already, but that are missing from the iPad:

I did run into some other annoying limitations. For instance, the email program lacks the ability to create local folders or rules for auto-sorting messages, and it doesn’t allow group addressing. The browser lacks tabs. And the Wi-Fi-only version lacks GPS. Also, videophiles may dislike the fact that the iPad’s screen lacks wide-screen dimensions, so you either get black bars above or below wide-screen videos, or, if you choose an option to fill the screen, some of the picture may get cut off. 

As we mentioned in our previous post, the review is on the whole positive and places the iPad in its own niche, not as a specific replacement for any other device.  Check out the full review here.

5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 5

With the US launch of the iPad now just a few days away, we have been taking a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.  

Some of this has been wishful thinking (Aperture on the iPad for example), some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads.

In case you missed any of the posts, we have listed them here:

Part 1 - Art (Brushes App)

Part 2 - Video (Reel Director)

Part 3 - Photography (Photoshop Mobile)

Part 4 - Music (Four Track)

Our fifth and final part of the series looks at pulling all of this together and we call it:

Creative content creation - Pages for the iPad

Why are we getting excited about Pages for the iPad?  Well, for a start, it looks gorgeous, Apple have done a fantastic job of optimising the app for the iPad as you would expect, and it stands out as a fine example for other Developers of what can be done on the iPad platform.  If you are not sure what we are talking about, take a moment to watch Apple's guided tour video for Pages first.

Looks great doesn't it?  Bearing in mind that this is version 1.0 of the software, we think that Apple have made content creation easy and fun, but at the moment Pages for the iPad only appears to create gorgeous, but static, documents.

With the ability to output to PDF or back to Pages on the Mac, this may well be enough for some Creatives, and at just under $10 we think it is a bargain given its current functionality.

Ideally though, we would like to see a bit more integration with other media. This would be a great advantage for self-published content creator.

Imagine you run a small fanzine and currently print out a greyscale magazine every few months, it takes you a long time and costs you quite a bit more than you make in subscriptions, but you love the subject and you really don't care about making money.  You have decided to take the fanzine entirely digital.  You have no budget, but you have an e-mail list of dedicated readers who are open to new ways of reading your publication.

You have a great idea for a fully integrated magazine blending together different media into one publication that you can e-mail out to your subscribers.  In your head this new fanzine has video clips, audio comments and interviews from some of the content creators you follow, a 'Fan Art' section with bios of the artists, audio messages fans have recorded on their iPhones and e-mailed to you that you want to collate together on a 'Your Comments' page and obviously plenty of photos too.  

How great would it be for someone like this, or the Educator creating learning materials, or perhaps a Student putting together a project, basically anyone who wants to produce creative content, to be able to all of this in ONE iPad application and share it with others, either on a site or via e-mail?

This is possible, we realise, with a combination of PDF (Acrobat) and ePub and possibly now HTML5 for video (HTML5 is good for iPhones/iPads), but it seems to be fiddly and/or expensive to get these documents together at the moment.  After watching the video above, we are certain that Pages could be the foundation of the one piece of software that can fulfil this need for independent, busy and probably cash-strapped creatives.  Whether the iPad can cope with all of this remains to be seen, but at this early stage it certainly seems like it will be able to, if not now, in future iterations for sure.

Pages as it is though looks great and we cannot wait to get our hands on it.

We hope you have enjoyed our mini-series of posts about the type of apps we want to be using on our iPads.  If you have any observations, or your own ideas about what you want to be using your iPad for, please let us know in the comments. 

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