Digital Foundations, CC-Licensed Media Design Instruction

Cameron Parkins, December 22nd, 2008

Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite is a new book that aims to teach the principles of Bauhaus design and its relation to modern software, Adobe’s Creative Suite in particular:

Digital Foundations uses formal exercises of the Bauhaus to teach the Adobe Creative Suite. All students of digital design and production—whether learning in a classroom or on their own—need to understand the basic principles of design in order to implement them using current software. Far too often design is left out of books that teach software for the trade and academic markets. Consequently, the design software training exercise is often a lost opportunity for visual learning. Digital Foundations reinvigorates software training by integrating Bauhaus formal design exercises inspired by the history of art and design into tutorials fusing design fundamentals and core Adobe Creative Suite methodologies. The result is a cohesive learning experience.

The book is being released under a CC BY-NC-SA license and is available for free in wiki format (also available for purchase here). This license choice not only keeps the content open and shareable, but is also a “first for AIGA Design Press, New Riders, and Peachpit, and the result of 9 months of negotiation” (via Boing Boing).

Digital Foundations‘ authors, xtine burrough and Michael Mandiberg, have posted their musings on copyright, the public domain, and Creative Commons on the Digital Founation’s blog through out the book’s creation. Similarly, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that while the book focuses on Adobe’s Creative Suite, the design principles taught therein are equally applicable to open-source design tools such as GIMP and Inkscape.

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Adobe continues to do the right thing with XMP

Mike Linksvayer, September 12th, 2008

XMP is the format Creative Commons recommends for embedding metadata (such as licensing information) in most media file types. Frankly there isn’t much competition — embedded metadata is poorly supported, formats are balkanized, and nobody save Adobe (XMP’s developer) has had the willingness to work on a problem that can only be solved over many years (programmers have to build support into software people actually use) and a platform to drive initial adoption.

Fortunately Adobe’s long term efforts are paying off. More and more software supports reading and embedding XMP with more and more file formats. This only makes sense, as more and more people have the need to manage huge media collections that previously only media houses such as ad agencies needed.

Equally fortunately, Adobe continues to make the right moves toward keeping XMP open, ensuring it continues progressing toward being the universal means of embedding metadata in media files. Last year Adobe released the XMP software development kit under the permissive BSD software license. This directly enabled Creative Commons’ liblicense to use some of this code.

Now Adobe’s XMP product manager Gunar Penikis blogs that Adobe has posted a royalty free public patent license for XMP:

This will further remove barriers to the adoption and use of XMP and a metadata standard across our partner solutions and ecosystems. Which is really exciting because better interoperability results in a better customer experience when media is exchanged across applications and services.

This is especially welcome news for the free/open source software world, including again, the code Creative Commons develops — software patents can block development and distribution of open code (e.g., see media codecs), so it is reassuring that Adobe has added a patent license to its openness strategy for XMP.

Thanks to Adobe! Incidentally, Gunar Penikis spoke about XMP at the CC technology summit held in June. See the summit page for slides and video.

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