Quick Tip: “Permissions” Issue with Adobe Extension Manager

Categories Design

If you receive an error while installing an extension to the CS5 (or CS4) suite like “You do not have appropriate permissions” to install the extension, do the following:

  1. Close Adobe Extension Manager
  2. Through the Windows programs menu, find Adobe Extension Manager and right-click it
  3. Select “Run as Administrator”
  4. Install your extension by double-clicking the .zxp file

WordPress Tip: Adding Custom Menus to a Theme

If you’re using WordPress 3.0 or above (which, if you’re using WordPress, you really should be), you have the option of adding custom menus to your theme without extra plugins.

In the past, this was managed via plugins such as “Page Links To” and “Exclude Pages.” Now, this can all be managed within the WordPress admin console and in your theme, with a decent amount of customization.

In this tutorial, I’m assuming you know the basics of PHP (enough to create your own theme, at least).

To tell WordPress that this theme supports menus, add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file:

// I want to add a header and footer
register_nav_menus( array(
'header' => 'Top Navigation',
'footer' => 'Top Navigation',

To use a menu in your theme files, you will need to add a line similar to what’s shown here. I added this in my header.php file for the top navigation, and added a similar line to footer.php:

There are many more options available for how your menu is displayed; see the WordPress Codex page for wp_nav_menu.

To create your new menus in WordPress, go to the admin console, click Appearances > Menus. This screen is fairly self-explanatory. I was able to replace three plugins and some custom header and footer code using only this method, in about 10 minutes (including research on wp_nav_menu).

For even more hardcore customization using custom walkers (a feature described in the Codex), check out Christian Budschedl’s excellent post, Improve Your WordPress Navigation Output.

Happy blogging!

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5: Worth the Upgrade?

Categories Design

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5: Make Adobe Money Edition

Note the "CS5.5" tag, because it's the exact same box as CS5.

Adobe has recently released version 5.5 of its Creative Suite packages. Having recently upgraded to CS5 from a mixed CS3/CS4 environment, I had to ask myself if it’s worth both the trouble and expense to upgrade at this point.

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After Effects: Fullscreen Preview

Categories Design Video

If you actually bother preemptively reading your software documentation, you may have already known this, but this is a huge time-saver over having to render test movies for my HDTV.

At work, I’m using a 27″ 1080p monitor/television as my secondary monitor. We use a model that has a similar color profile for presentations, so using this screen as a preview screen is essential. Otherwise, we’d have to keep our presentation displays unpacked and hooked up to a computer, transfer files, and so on. I won’t get into (more) details, but suffice to say it would be a royal pain.

You can stretch to the edges, but there's still a border.

Even with this setup, I’ve been rendering drafts to an mp4 file and running a video player fullscreen on the HDTV (which matches the production environment). This is still a step I’d rather not have to do, so finally today I did some searching.

‘Lo, and behold! There is a way.

According to Adobe documentation, Ctrl+\ (+\ on Mac) does the following:

Resize application window or floating window to fit screen. (Press again to resize window so that contents fill the screen.)

Since my composition window is on the second monitor already, I pressed Ctrl+\ twice.

Ah, fullscreen goodness.

Fix the Photoshop Clipboard (All Versions)

Categories Design

Situation #1: You are taking a series of screenshots and pasting them into Photoshop. Suddenly, you keep getting the same image when you paste, despite taking updated screenshots.

Situation #2: You copy an image to the clipboard from your browser, paste it into Photoshop, and all subsequent paste operations from your browser result in the same damn image.

Situation #3: You are working in Photoshop, and try to paste an image from any external program, and end up getting something you copied in Photoshop earlier.

What do these situations have in common (other than being annoying)? They’re all instances of Photoshop’s clipboard thinking it’s smarter than you.

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Adobe Photoshop CS Under Windows 7

Categories Design

I installed Photoshop CS on my home machine because Photoshop CS4 runs like a dog, even on my quad-core machine beast. I do still use the rest of the CS4 applications, because their enhancements are actually worth using. But, that’s a whole different story

Anyway, if for some reason you’re using Photoshop CS in Windows 7, you might find your layer dragging going quite slowly, and things generally not working at full speed.

To fix this, go to your Photoshop shortcut and right-click it. Select Properties, then the Compatibility tab. Check the box marked “Disable desktop composition” and press OK. When you start Photoshop, Windows will go into “Basic” color mode, which looks like crap, but your Photoshop will now run smooth as silk.


On a side note, I also had to do this for 3ds max 9. I don’t remember the exact issue, but it also required old-school access to the screen drawing.