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  2. Want to meet Hollywood bigwigs and veterans from the CG industry? Come to Vertex's networking event and you'll be able to mingle with some of the world’s leading artists, creatives and developers. You can exchange contacts with professionals, and who knows – you might even be able to land your next dream job! The networking event will take place after our panel discussion and it is a fantastic opportunity to speak one-on-one with experts and cultivate new relationships after spending the day attending the recruitment fair, listening to engaging talks and learning new skills in our workshops. The who's who of CG Some of the amazing speakers we have attending Vertex include the likes of CG Labs director Chris Nichols, Digital Domain co-founder and industry veteran Scott Ross, Allegorithmic CEO and founder Dr Sébastien Deguy, VR genius Glen Southern, Danny Sweeney from Creative Assembly, freelance 3D artist Maya Jermy, Bader Badruddin from Blue Zoo and much more. Scott will be speaking to 3D World editor Rob Redman about the future of British VFX after Brexit, looking at the pitfalls and opportunities. Our line-up of amazing speakers have some really inspiring talks for you Educate and inspire Don't forget we also have an incredible workshop from The Mill's Adam Dewhirst, who will walk you through how to create a digidouble in a day, using a range of techniques from photogrammetry and mesh wrapping to The Mill’s custom human rig. Dewhirst will delve into The Mill’s ‘master human set up’, and highlight how they’re investigating the future challenges of CG human models. Meanwhile, Saddington Baynes' Chris Christodoulou and Marc Shephard will demonstrate the technical backbone and processes that sit behind mass customisation in a special duo workshop, alongside the tools and software that can help artists work faster (with emphasis on Maya and Nuke). The mixer is only available for Access All Areas ticket holders so get your tickets now! Get your ticket to Vertex 2018 now! Vertex is the event for the CG community. Book your ticket now at vertexconf.com, where you can find out more about the other amazing speakers, workshops, recruitment fair, networking event, expo and more. Related articles: Scott Ross to talk at Vertex! Why Vertex is a must for CG artists The ethics of Digital Humans View the full article
  3. Last week
  4. Malware intended for a “high-impact” attack against safety systems likely would of caused physical damage to a targeted company located in the Middle East. View the full article
  5. While there’s certainly no shortage of books on Dieter Rams, a hefty new tome cuts to the chase with surely what all designers really want to hear: the titular Ten Principles for Good Design. But alongside concise, helpful lessons from the great Rams, the volume also shows (as if we didn’t know) exactly why he’s the man to be learning from, discussing his role as part of the birth of the Braun design ethos in the mid-1950s; and showcasing his product design work from the Jorrit Maan Collection. There’s also a clear, helpful timeline of key points in Rams’ life and career, revealing just how talented he was at such a young age: the designer wasn’t even 30 years old when was appointed head of the Braun Design Department in 1961. The volume opens with what it titles 'an important question'. As editor Cees W. de Jong writes, “back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world about him – ‘an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.’ Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design? As good design cannot be measured in a finite way, he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered good design.” Rams was ahead of his time in taking an approach to product design that not only brought aesthetics and functionality to the fore, but also prioritised durability and ease of use for those they were designing for. It’s this legacy and those all-important principles that this book presents so beautifully. The quiet, confident layout designs let Rams’ work speak for itself while showcasing imagery of 100 items in a detailed, considered way Alongside contributions written by Rams himself, including his Tokyo manifesto and an essay entitled ‘Design – Ritual of a Hopeful Society?’, the book also publishes interviews such as an in-conversation piece with Erik Mattie, and a contribution about the importance of teamwork to industrial design by the Braun Design Team. Naturally, the book design, layout and typesetting (by de Jong, VK Projects, Naarden & Asher Hazelaar, and Dutch studio Puls Ontwerp) takes Rams’ aesthetic principles and shows them in action, in book form. A few of these – as outlined in his 10 principles – are “good design is innovative; good design is aesthetic; good design is useful”. The quiet, confident layout designs let Rams’ work speak for itself while showcasing imagery of 100 items in a detailed, considered way. Among these are, of course, Rams' famous coffee grinder, but we also see less celebrated objects like shelving systems and cigarette lighters. In another helpful nod to design as a utopian idea that should be as easy to use as it is beautiful, the final part of the book presents a chronological overview of Rams’ designs, categorised by function, presenting a narrative of not just of his work, but also the evolution of industrial design. View the full article
  6. To draw hands, you need to look past the complexity of the hand's anatomy and recognise simple rules that will help you draw from a model or even your own imagination. Although they're notoriously tricky to get right, there are some sketching tips and tricks you can use. To help you, in this short tutorial we'll break the process down into four simple steps to create a quick sketch. We'll start by exploring the structure of the hand, and then look at how to translate this into a drawing. Watch the video below, and follow my written steps beneath that. We also have a more in-depth guide on How to draw hands, which breaks hand gestures into shapes for a more refined and realistic style. This guide is more concerned about creating sketches that capture the essence of a hand, at speed. Read on for four simple steps. 01. Consider how hands work To draw hands properly you need to understand their anatomy The most important thing in drawing hands is to understand their anatomy. Look at your own hand – it (usually) comprises of a palm, thumb, index finger and the three remaining fingers, which even though they can be moved separately, work together when it comes to grabbing objects. Move your hand and notice how your fingers and thumb bend and move, and what happens to the palm. 02. Find the right gesture Try out loads of gestures until you find one that really catches the eye Before you start drawing a hand, make sure you pick an interesting gesture. Try to experiment a lot at this point. A well-drawn gesture can communicate more than a hundred words. Be your own model and actor. Perform a gesture and notice what happens to your hand. Try to emulate those gestures in some fast and loose sketches. 03. Construct your sketch Start sketching with bigger shapes, observing how all the elements of the hand work together Once you choose the gesture you want to draw, start sketching it in a more precise way. Ask someone to pose for you or observe your own non-drawing hand. Start with bigger shapes; don't focus on small wrinkles or fingernails yet. A sturdy well-constructed sketch will go a long way. Observe how the elements of a hand work together and what happens to the skin and muscles. 04. Work in the details Refine your sketch and add in details such as wrinkles, fingernails and veins When you are happy with the first sketch, start refining it. Enhance the lines that are important and erase those that aren't. Add wrinkles, fingernails and veins if they are visible. When drawing fingernails, remember that they are not pasted on top of the fingers, they are well embedded in the tips of the fingers. Drawing them correctly is very important. This article was originally published in issue 12 of Paint & Draw, the art magazine offering tips and inspiration for artists everywhere. Buy it here. Related articles: How to choose the right drawing tools Sharpen your sketching skills How to draw and paint - 100 pro tips and tutorials View the full article
  7. Oscar-winning directors, chart-topping bands, and budgets larger than some movies: Christmas adverts have never been bigger. But, as this list proves, the best Christmas ads 2017 were the ones that played with the form, took chances, and did something a bit different. There's still a big emphasis on making you bulb, but we also liked action ads, comedy ads, and otherworldly ads. We've looked at the best of British – where the Christmas ad has blown up in recent years – but have also taken in commercials from the US, Europe, and further afield. In no particular order, here's our pick of the best Christmas ads of the year. 01. A Very Merry Mistake, Host/Havas Santa's a sort of bigwig sitting behind a massive desk. He takes calls from kids all over the world. He's fluent in all languages, you see. Then kids from New Zealand start calling. The Kiwi accent – clipped, vowel-swapping – proves too much for Santa. A boy named 'Bin' apparently wants a new 'biscuitball'. Fortunately for all, the Air New Zealand cabin crew are on hand to translate. Easily the funniest ad of the year. 02. Gogglebox Meets Coca-Cola's 'Holidays Are Coming' Gogglebox, if you haven't seen it, is a TV show that points a camera a people watching TV shows. Sounds rubbish; actually brilliant. Here the Gogglebox families watch Coca-Cola's Holidays Are Coming ad – which is now over two decades old. Say what want you about Coca-Cola, but for many of us, that ad signals the start of the Christmas season, as the Goggleboxers' reactions prove. A recent study found this the most engaging ad of the season. 03. Toyota R+S Holiday Commercial, Saatchi & Saatchi Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without multinational corporations trying to sell you stuff by making you cry. That's Toyota's play here: it got Emmy-winner Lance Acord to direct this Sundance-style, indie-movie tearjerker. Man: "So your folks took it pretty hard, huh?" Woman: "They loved that tree." A minute and a half later the whole family is gathered around said recently fallen tree. But, wait, it's been given a new lease of life and the woman's folks couldn't be happier about it. Cynical maybe, but it's deftly done. 04. Bring Everyone Together, CLM BBDO Remember that old M&Ms Christmas ad? Santa bumps in to Red and Yellow (those walking, talking, M&M characters). Both Santa and Red faint. It came out in 1996 and this is the sequel. What happens next is Yellow steps in to delivery Santa's presents, but, being a chocolate covered nut with no experience in complex intercontinental logistics, he gets them all mixed up. Did he ruin Christmas? No. Course not. "I think," Red says, "you made it even better." 05. Parking Lot, Venables Bell & Partners Two flustered men drive to into the parking lot of a mall for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Thing is, there's only one parking space left. They're both driving souped-up Audis and they both appear to be world-class stunt drivers. What follows is perhaps the best car chase in the history of advertising. It's nicely scripted too, as the ending mirrors the beginning when the two men meet again, this time while pushing shopping trolleys. 06. Paddington & The Christmas Visitor, Grey London This Paddington bear ad – for British supermarket Marks & Spencer – has a pretty familiar plot. Paddington mistakes a bearded burglar for Santa Claus. The bear helps him take back all the presents he's nicked. The thief sees the light … but then, according to some complaints, swears at Paddington. A spokesman for M&S said it's obvious the words are actually, "Thank you, little bear." 07. Moz The Monster, adam&eveDDB Current heavyweight champion of the Christmas ad in the UK is John Lewis. Moz the Monster is about a boy who makes mates with the creature that lives under his bed. Industry figures suggest its the department store's least successful Christmas campaign in five years. But when it comes to big names, it doesn't get much better: it's directed by Academy Award winner Michel Gondry and soundtracked by Mercury Music Prize winner Elbow. 08. J’ai tant rêvé, Romance French supermarket Intermarché went for something a bit different this year. A boy decides Santa's trademark big belly is doing him no good. The boy administers a diet of fresh fruit and veg, all from his favourite supermarket chain, of course, and bonds with his sister in the process. It's all nicely shot, with a Henri Salvador’s lovely J’ai tant rêvé providing the title and the soundtrack. 09. Danielle, Leo Burnett Iberia Most epic ad of the year goes to the Spanish national lottery. The Oscar-winning director Alejandro Amenábar directs Danielle, an 18-minute spot about an alien who comes to earth and takes the form of a woman. She tries to get to grips with modern life in Madrid. She meets Daniel, who thinks she's a foreigner, can't speak Spanish, and so mistakenly thinks her name is Danielle. It's a visually stunning ad which manages to incorporate the client into the story in a really creative way. 10. #YouShall Find Your Fairytale Christmas, J. Walter Thompson British department store Debenhams does a modern take on Cinderella in one of the most lushly shot ads of the season. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl lose each other … The two attempt to track each other down using social media. The whole thing goes viral. But still the pair can't find each other. That's when good old fashion fate steps in. It's all narrated by Ewan McGregor, who pops up at the end with a cameo that gives fate a helping hand. Read more: When to use humour in branding 10 advertisers that use creativity to boost their brand 40 traffic-stopping examples of billboard advertising View the full article
  8. CSS can revolutionise your web layouts, help you create animated menus, responsive layout grids and more – but it can also be a real nightmare. We’ve all seen CSS that has spiralled out of control into a mess of codependent, poorly named spaghetti. Fortunately, CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation are here to help. These frameworks give you the base styles you need to get your project off the ground quickly. But what if you need something more custom? What if your project is a beautiful, unique child that doesn’t conform to the rules, man? Solid foundation Buzzfeed has built its own CSS framework to make everything consistent – from header sizes and text colours down to social buttons At BuzzFeed we decided that we needed to create a framework from scratch. This framework, Solid, has changed how we develop our UI. It’s an atomic style guide made up of single-responsibility CSS classes – small classes that each describe a single CSS property (such as .text-1 for our h1 font size or .m1 for our default margin). By combining these classes we can cover the vast majority of styles in our ecosystem in a standardised way. With Solid we’ve codified common UX patterns across BuzzFeed’s products and reduced the amount of custom CSS we’re writing. Buzzfeed's Solid framework even extends to how forms and buttons are styled Why is this important? We have a big design and engineering team at BuzzFeed and, along with our web application, we also create and maintain many internal tools and dashboards. It is a challenge for us to ensure the design and CSS of our products stays visually and semantically consistent. Having a common UI language helps reduce the amount of design and HTML/CSS overhead, and gives us a common language we can share while building out BuzzFeed’s UI. But just because building a custom framework works for us doesn’t mean it will suit you and your projects. In true BuzzFeed fashion, we have created a quiz to help you decide whether you should use an existing framework, make your own, or not use a framework at all. So what approach should you take? Answer the following questions to find out: How important is the style of your project? A: The style of the product is really an afterthought for us B: Fairly, that’s why I’m taking this quiz! C: The style is the product Are there common/shared patterns in your project? A: No, but I would like there to be B: Yes, the need for shared patterns like forms and buttons is apparent C: Everything is unique and that’s how I like it Do you need to implement a lot of custom, one-off designs? A: No B: I’m not sure yet, it’s too early in the process to even know C: Yes, this website is going to be flashy and blow minds How much frontend expertise do you have on the team? A: It could be stronger B: There is a strong frontend engineering presence on my team C: What is frontend expertise? How would you describe the makeup of your team? A: A small team of mostly engineers B: A large team of designers and engineers who find the need to collaborate often C: It’s just me! Maybe my friend John if he has time What’s the visual style of the product? A: It can work with a generic style, as long as we can customise a few things here and there B: Our product is predictable and has repeated but unique needs C: Everything we design is a special, idiosyncratic flower. Like John What’s your timeline? A: Two weeks B: This is my personal journey, man C: Two months What would you consider the most important priority for this project? A: The timeline – we need something, like yesterday B: Sustainability – I need to make sure an engineer can work on this next year without hating me C: Design – we’re after a lot of flashy design handiwork What’s stopping you from creating a custom CSS style guide for your web project? A: The other priorities on my plate right now leave no time B: The stakeholders on the project don’t agree this is a priority C: I don’t have a need for it right now What’s your spirit animal? A: A leopard B: A wolf C: An English bulldog named John, after my lovely friend John. Hi John! Score time Tally up your answers, then discover your result based on your highest ranking category. Mostly As: Use an existing framework If timelines are tight and a distinct style is not your priority, then an existing framework is the way to go. If you want to get up and running as quickly as possible, try Bootstrap. For a responsive site with a clean, minimal style, try Foundation. If you’re building a more granular UI with some constraints, go for BassCSS. All three are robust and well-documented – you’ll have a UI together in no time. Mostly B: Build your own framework Sounds like your project needs its own standardised, documented styles. Congratulations! You’ve now got a real project on your hands. Try looking at existing frameworks and building off their best practices. Think of your framework from an outside perspective. Would your team use it if they didn’t have to? Solid works for BuzzFeed because it’s simply easier to develop with than without it (to read more about Solid and how we got started, check out our post on Medium). Building your own tool is not easy. But persevere and some day you’ll be writing cheeky quizzes too. Mostly C: Don’t use a framework OK, so there are a lot of problems with CSS. But you know what? Every web dev knows how to write it. If your project is small and stylised, consider sticking to vanilla CSS. Just make sure not to nest your selectors too deep. If you want a basic upgrade to CSS, consider reading up on BEM, a CSS naming convention that makes it clear which classes are dependent on each other. For more functional CSS check out Sass, a precompiled CSS extension that gives you variables and mixins. This article was originally published in issue 287 of net, the magazine for professional web designers and developers – offering the latest new web trends, technologies and techniques. Subscribe to net here. Related articles: Choose a website builder: 16 top tools How to make responsive web apps with container queries 12 must-have code testing tools View the full article
  9. The Harry Potter book series has spawned some amazing spin offs over the years. And while the likes of the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films and stage play The Cursed Child are a legitimate expansion of the series, a pastiche chapter written by a bot has tickled the internet's funny bones this week thanks to its peculiar turns of phrase that ape the style of the wizarding world's author, JK Rowling. Created by Botnik Studios, the short new chapter has been written with a predictive text keyboard that conjures up new sentences using an algorithm. The result is the bizarre but brilliant passage titled: Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. We urge you to take two minutes out of your day and read it - it beats fan fiction like My Immortal at any rate. How fan art can get you paidAs if the title wasn't unusual enough - although it does feel strangely true to Rowling's writing style - the contents of the story itself are where things start to get really weird. Kicking off with the fantastically odd sentence "the castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind", the text only gets more absurd as it goes along. Sentences this ludicrous are just begging for some artistic interpretation, and thankfully comic artist Megan Nicole Dong has stepped up to the challenge. Her distinctive doodle style lends itself perfectly to the short story's zany passages, such as Ron showing off his bad shirt or Harry Potter throwing his freshly torn out eyes into the forest. Check out a selection of Dong's fantastic doodles below, and be sure to head over to her Twitter page where she's posting more illustrations based on the story. With pretty much every sentence giving us the giggles, we can't wait to see which part she draws next. Which is worse, Ron or his Ron shirt? It wouldn't be a Harry Potter story without a trip to the Forbidden Forest The password to the secret room is... this Expect to see lots of fan-made t shirts with this written on them Related articles: J.K. Rowling's early Harry Potter sketches are a must-see New Harry potter movie logo uses typography as teasers New Harry Potter illustrations are a visual treat View the full article
  10. Whether it's playing a game on your PC or console or tapping away playing one on your phone on your way to work, games are a part of many people's daily routine. You can go from playing games to building the game of your dreams with the Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle, on sale for just $49 (approx. £37). The Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle is your opportunity to take your gaming interests to the next level. It's packed with the knowledge you need to go from exploring virtual worlds to building them. With 83 hours spanning seven unique courses that will take you through the fundamentals of game development and even help you build your very first games all on your own, this is the perfect kick-starter to launch your dream career. You can get the Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle on sale for just $49 (approx. £37). That’s a huge saving on a course valued at over $1,000 for a bundle that is sure to please any aspiring game developer, so grab this deal today! Creative Bloq deals This great deal comes courtesy of the Creative Bloq Deals store – a creative marketplace that's dedicated to ensuring you save money on the items that improve your design life. We all like a special offer or two, particularly with creative tools and design assets often being eye-wateringly expensive. That's why the Creative Bloq Deals store is committed to bringing you useful deals, freebies and giveaways on design assets (logos, templates, icons, fonts, vectors and more), tutorials, e-learning, inspirational items, hardware and more. Every day of the working week we feature a new offer, freebie or contest – if you miss one, you can easily find past deals posts on the Deals Staff author page or Offer tag page. Plus, you can get in touch with any feedback at: deals@creativebloq.com. View the full article
  11. If you want to learn the concepts of information architecture and start practicing it yourself, you should come to Generate New York in April, where Abby Covert will run a full-day workshop and follow it up with a talk at the conference that will help you make sense of any mess. According to Abby Covert, the web need information architects. In her rescheduled Generate talk, Covert will reveal how to become one, what makes it challenging, and why it can ruin your life. Websites used to be reasonably straightforward things, but as the web marched forward from niche interest to omnipresence, things got more complicated. Not merely in terms of technology, but also in terms of volume. Back in the Nineties a corporate site could get away with being made out of flat pages and a sidebar navigation. Today, though, it might consist of hundreds of pages, if not thousands. Organising such massive web presences is an increasing challenge; not merely the nuts and bolts of taxonomy, but also the messier business of implementing it all within organisations where political and technological arguments can hamper the process. People can agree that they need a better website, but no one likes to be told that they’ve been doing it wrong. This is where information architecture – or IA – comes into play. It’s enjoying a resurgence, and Abby Covert is one of the practitioners bringing it. Discovering IA Educated in graphic design, she had her first taste of information architecture at university. “It was mostly focused around distilling complex subject matter into graphics like a poster or an information graphic,” she tells us. Then in her first job out of school she worked as an icon designer, which led to her first information architecture job. “I told the team that I was working on that the icons were not the way to solve this problem,” she recalls. “They asked me if I knew what information architecture was and I was like, ‘Yes, I’m a print designer, of course I do.’ They were the ones that kind of clued me into the fact that this was actually something that was being applied to navigation systems with interfaces as well.” So what exactly is information architecture? Covert herself sums it up as making the unclear be clear: taking a whole mess of information and figuring out the most effective structure and language for it, in order to build accessible, navigable and manageable systems, sites and apps. Covert explains that it’s a fundamental skill set within practices such as UX or interaction design. “I would say the closest words that people may have heard of more recently would be content strategy, which is also a very close sister pattern to information architecture in terms of a practice,” she says. Making sense of the web The reason IA is returning to prominence now? “If you look at the evolution of the web over just the last decade it’s incredible how much has changed,” she observes. “Even in the early days of websites, you used to be able to rely that people were going to start at your homepage and then they were going to go from there. When search engines came about and started to get very detailed in terms of crawling something more than just your URL then you had to start thinking about people landing on deep inner pages of your site. Then add to that the persistence of social media sharing content out of context. “All of a sudden you had to think somebody could end up on some random place on your application or your website, not knowing anything about you or even having intended to go there,” she continues. “Having to think about it from a multi-channel and a more complex set of contexts, I think, has really just changed the way that we have to think about it. IA goes along with that.” Discover 'How to make sense of any mess' with at Persuasion, politics and facilitation If the science of IA is reasonably straightforward, however, the actual business of implementing it can be less so. Covert estimates that while 20 per cent of her job is the core business of drawing diagrams and mapping out fresh information structures, the other 80 per cent is what she describes as persuasion, politics and facilitation. “It’s hard to go into an organisation and critique something that somebody spent years creating,” she notes. And it’s this that can make IA a tremendously difficult discipline to teach, something that Covert does alongside her IA practice. “I was terrible when I first started doing this kind of work,” she recalls, “because I just thought that if I came up with something that made sense to me, and I tested it and it made sense to users, that I could then give it to other people in an organisation and that they would believe me. “In reality it’s not that cut and dry. That other part, the persuasion and the understanding of your stakeholders and the understanding of the environment that you’re working within, that’s something I haven’t figured out a way to teach without the element of time. I think that’s something that most of my students get theory on, but they really have to get out of their education and into their working world to discover the realities of practising it.” Everything changes As with web design and development, it’s a job in which you never stop learning. “I feel like every time I’ve got my hands around this thing and I think that it’s solid and I can grasp it, it changes. “I remember when I was three or four years in, I was very focused on software at that point, and I thought, man, this is great. I’ve finally got a grasp on this, I know the patterns, I know how to test things, I know all the questions to ask. Then rich internet applications changed everything and all of a sudden you couldn’t rely on a click and a reload for things to happen any more.” Without any set qualifications or career path, information architecture can be a difficult business to learn about and establish yourself in. There are quite a few books on the subject – with Covert’s own book, How to Make Sense of Any Mess, serving as a great introduction. Tickets for Generate New York 2018 are out now Abby will be one of the speakers at our web design event, Generate New York, on 25-27 April 2018. You can view the full star-studded lineup, and book your tickets now, at generateconf.com. This interview first appeared in net issue 292. Related articles: How to price your design project Balance content strategy with the voice of the brand Why you should make your users heroes View the full article
  12. The world of illustration never stays still for long. Aside from new illustration trends and illustration tools shaping the industry, there’s always new talent arriving on the scene, disrupting the zeitgeist with innovative techniques and new perspectives. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up. So, whether you're looking for the best illustrators to hire, collaborate with or inspire you, we've gathered 10 of our favourite artists of 2017 here to whet your appetite. Some are young guns, fresh out of college; others are older hands whose work might have recently hit a sweet spot, or dovetailed with wider trends. Next year, issue 276 of Computer Arts (on sale 6th February) will reveal its definite Illustrator Hotlist of 2018. In the meantime, here are 10 of the best illustrators of 2017... 01. Fionna Fernandes Fernandes is known for her youthful aesthetic Based in her home city of Sydney, Australia, Fionna Fernandes draws distinctive portraits for clients in fashion, editorial and advertising. With a client list ranging from My Little Pony and Nickelodeon to Toyota and Fanta, her bright and colourful stylings have been much in demand of late. Combining digital and hand-generated marks, Fernandes uses an Artline pen for her line work, and acrylic paint to come up with the light-hearted patterns she often uses as backgrounds. Recently, she’s been experimenting with collaged backdrops and adding stickers to the compositions. Juliette Lott, associate director of Illustration Web, which represents her, describes her work as “playful, fun and energetic. Fernandes’ work usually features female models in fashion scenarios, but she’s just as adept at depicting men, and animals too. There’s a youthful flavour to her aesthetic, and she enjoys drawing attention to certain aspects of the female face – the eyes, lips and hair – using brighter colours and patterns. This gives her portraits a unique feel and some extra punch.” 02. Andreea Cristina Dinu Andreea Cristina Dinu’s work artfully avoids cliche and borders on the surreal Born and raised in Romania, Andreea Cristina Dinu now works as an illustrator and graphic designer in her Hamburg studio Summerkid. Although nowadays her main focus is now illustration, she continues to develop her digital and print graphic design skills of 10 years and counting. Her cartoon-like illustrations are brimming with life and positivity, never fall into colour palette cliches, and often border on the surreal. Clients include the Süddeutsche Zeitung Familie (South German newspaper family), P Magazine, SUB25 Magazine and Art Safari 2017 Visuals, the yearly Bucharest art festival. Andrej Kiszling, design director of Owl Illustration, which represents her, describes Dino as a “super up-and-coming talent, characteristic with vivid semi-abstract style, really quite something new and fresh.” 03. Maldo Maldo uses bold and simple linework to make a big impact Originally from Bratislava, Slovakia, Maldo - a self-described “illustrator and creative maverick” - now works globally out of Prague, Czech Republic. Maldo has honed his illustrative style over time, simplifying it and taking it back to basics; nowadays it’s characterised by simple, bold linework, a sketchy look, a limited colour palette, and often using negative space. With clients including Time Inc, Travel + Leisure, Surf Office, and Festival de Cannes, he’s developed a nice line in designing for apparel brands and music labels, as well as editorial illustration and painting murals. 04. Jesús Sotes Jesús Sotés Vicente’s work is influenced by folk traditions and is centred around strong shapes Based in Pamplona, Spain, Jesús Sotés Vicente is a self-taught illustrator and graphic designer. His work makes strong use of shapes, the influence of folk traditions, and a love of foliage to create illustrations for editorial, advertising and book publishing that seem at once both familiar and original. It’s won him a string of commissions for book jackets, as well as big-name clients like British Airways and Hermes. 05. Giacomo Bagnara Giacomo Bagnara’s editorial work is deceptively simple, subtly powerful Giacomo Bagnara is an Italian illustrator who trained as an architect but ended up discovering a talent for editorial illustration, winning him clients such as Sony, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Die Zeit. His work is simple enough to work well on digital and social platforms. But there’s an underlying intelligence and thoughtfulness to it too, raising it about the norm and lending an air of understated sophistication to the brands who harness it. D&AD judge Andrea Chronopoulos says of Bagnara: “He always finds smart and elegant solutions in his illustrations. His images are essential but with small details that give a strong personality to all the elements.” 06. Cristina Daura Cristina Daura has carved out a distinctive look for her editorial and commercial work Cristina Daura is an illustrator and comic artist based in Barcelona, Spain. Her work is balanced and symmetrical, but never boring; two-dimensional, yet nicely textured. Most immediately, it is defiantly bright, colourful and upbeat, and dominated by a trademark colour palette that makes her work instantly identifiable. As well as a flurry of regional magazines, brands and festivals, Daura has done editorial and commercial work for the likes of The New York Times, New York Times Sunday Review and Penguin Books. “Her work is rigorous but also playful, with surreal and impactful compositions full of recurring elements that define her personal style,” says Chronopoulos. 07. Olivia Mathurin Olivia Mathurin harnesses the energy of the London streets in her dramatic work It’s common to find an illustrator who’s technically skilled yet produces little that’s new, engaging or original. That’s certainly NOT the case with Olivia Mathurin. The work of the London based illustrator, who graduated from the Royal College of Art this year with an MA in Visual Communication, doesn’t shy away from expressing a social and cultural political point of view. Giving a unique take on everyday city scenes, such as passengers on a bus or customers in a fast-food chicken takeaway, her work is social commentary at its most vibrant and challenging. 08. Hani Abusamra Hani Abusamra harnesses the power of contemporary pop culture in his quirky work Hani Abusamra is an illustrator and visual artist based in London who is inspired by science, print-making, comic books and skateboards. Much of his work takes serious topics and puts a quirky, colourful and pop culture-infused twist on them. “Hani’s work cleverly frames and layers pattern and iconic symbols with skilled figurative imagery creating seductive scenes, serious in content and pleasing to the eye,” says Lizzie Finn, course leader in MA Illustration & Visual Media at London College of Communication, UAL, which he recently completed. “His intricately constructed eight colour A0 screen print ‘They Were Allowed to Look Back (They Would Not be Turned to Stone) was a hit at the LCC postgraduate shows in December.” 09. Mr William Draw Mr William Draw’s fashion illustrations harness reductionism in an original and fascinating way Mr William Draw is an ex-product designer turned fashion illustrator. Based in Chile, he was selected as part of 200 best illustrators in the world by Lurzer's Archive 2016/17. “My work is a blend of oniric and symbolic elements with a surrealist aura,” he says, “where I combine handmade and digital techniques to show a universe where fashion acquires different meanings.” There are common themes in his illustrations, such as silhouette cutouts and empty, circular heads. But while reductive art can be often austere and boring, his inspired use of colour, deep attachment to his subject and general sense of joie de vivre creates an inspired synergy that makes each piece different, fascinating and compelling. 10. Decur Decur’s illustrations are weird, whimsical and wonderful Decur is an artist and illustrator from Santa Fe in Argentina whose children’s book-style art evoke times past while somehow remaining strikingly modern. The phrase “weird and wonderful” may be an overused one, but in this case it perfectly describes his quiet and whimsical style. “Decur’s fantastical world rendered in acrylics and watercolour has captured him a growing cult following both in Argentina and abroad, and an increasing amount of work in commercial illustration,” says Linda Neilson, director of Galería Mar Dulce, Buenos Aires. Related articles: 7 hot illustration trends of 2017 10 tools to make illustration easier in 2018 14 free resources to improve your illustration skills View the full article
  13. A permissions flaw in Microsoft’s Azure AD Connect software could allow a rogue admin to escalate account privileges and gain unauthorized universal access within a company’s internal network. View the full article
  14. It's been a good year for Serif, the company behind vector graphics editor Affinity Designer and image-editing app Affinity Photo. Not only was Affinity Photo on iPad recently crowned Apple's app of the year, but it's also made significant progress on its highly anticipated desktop publishing app, Affinity Publisher. Teased in a witty video posted on its Twitter and Facebook pages, the clip gives a glimpse of an early alpha build of Affinity Publisher. This comes in advance of a public beta due in the summer of 2018. Check it out below. It might have been a long time coming (Affinity thanks its users for their patience), but for fans of the platform that doesn't tie you down to subscription deals *cough* Adobe *cough*, it's sure to be worth the wait. Related articles: Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer v1.6 released Affinity launches free trial on Windows Affinity Photo brings professional photo editing to iPad View the full article
  15. On paper, having your artwork go viral online seems like the express ticket to success. If a piece of art gets shared by popular news outlets and social media pages, that means the creator is set to be inundated with 'likes' and new fans clamouring to buy their work, right? Not quite. While viral art, by its nature, can garner a lot of attention, the journey to fame and its rewards are not as straightforward as it seems. In a similar way to how sharing timely and talented fan art can get you paid, an image that goes viral can make artists money. But talking about the finances is tricky at the best of times. Chuck internet stardom into the mix and it becomes even more difficult to untangle exactly how much cash the phenomenon of your art going viral brings in. To clear things up, illustrator Lucy Bellwood broke down the numbers behind her Art of the Sailor artwork, above, in a recent blog post. The illustration, which details the different types of tattoos that sailors wear and explains what they mean, has enjoyed viral success and gone on to earn Bellwood $1,761.50 at the time of writing the blog. However, the image's timeline can be traced back all the way to February 2013. The initial commission takes off It was back in 2013, thanks to an introduction from fellow cartoonist Tony Cliff, that Bellwood landed a commission to do an illustration for the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The museum was running an exhibit on the history of tattoos and scrimshaw, and needed a poster that showed off some of the most popular choices. Bellwood jumped at the opportunity. "I was just starting out in 2013, didn't know the first thing about contracts, and was happy just to work on a project that reflected my personal passions and gave me a relevant platform," Bellwood tells Creative Bloq. I think you can still behave ethically and considerately even if you don't have a contract. Lucy Bellwood At this point she had no idea how popular the illustration would become, so she just quoted her hourly rate of $35, did the work across five and a half hours, and filed an invoice for the job. This also meant that she didn't specify purchasing rights, which could complicate things if she wanted to sell reproductions of the image later down the line. And selling prints is exactly what Bellwood did over the next two years. Thanks to a tour of the exhibition in 2014, the sailor tattoo poster started to get interest from curators at other maritime museums. This meant that she had to sort out who owned what if she wanted to capitalise on the illustration. Bellwood has a fascination for all things nautical (click the arrows icon to enlarge this image) "Since we had no written agreement I retained all the rights to my illustration, but it's complex: I collaborated with a designer! Technically we both own a slice of that image. "Everyone was amenable to the idea of producing posters to sell, so I was able to go ahead with the plan. I think you can still behave ethically and considerately even if you don't have a contract." Having a contract is the biggest lesson Bellwood has learned from the whole experience. Although considering that cultural institutions like regional maritime museums work with a small budget, she says she might have been tempted to waive the fee on this occasion. "I don't think it hurts to pay it forward," she says. "I don't carry some huge grudge about having "missed out" on remuneration from those exhibits." However, the poster's growing popularity did prompt Bellwood's parents to suggest that she should've demanded more for her services. "I'm not one to disagree when people want to pay me more money," she jokes, "But I also think context is important. After all, it's been four years. Of course I charge more now. I'm a more skilful artist than I was in 2013, and I'm also far more savvy about business than I was back then. The challenge of being a freelancer is being responsible for your own raises." Making money from going viral Between 2014 and 2017, Bellwood sold the original illustration of the sailor to a fan for $125 and paid Twin Ravens Press to produce 100 letterpress prints of the poster. These were originally offered up as rewards for a Kickstarter pledge for funding a book of her Baggywrinkles maritime comic series, but they were also taken to conventions. At $40, they proved to be out of a lot of shoppers' price range, although they did manage to bring in an extra $480. The tattoo poster was offered as a reward for a Baggywrinkles Kickstarter From here she went on to produce regular laser print posters and distributed print-on-demand versions from her site with the help of INPRNT. Thanks to INPRNT taking a substantial cut of each sale, these only brought in $10 profit. During this time the poster appeared on military and naval social media pages and racked up an impressive number of reactions and comments. Frustratingly though, appearing on social media pages didn't contribute hugely to sales, but in 2017 an appearance on Boing Boing meant things started to take off. With roughly 10 million page views per month, the feature on Boing Boing led other sites such as My Modern Met to also publish the poster. This in turn led to more sites and pages running the illustration, culminating in the likes of George Takei and Chris Hadfield posting it on their social media and web pages. Not only that, but thanks to Boing Boing carefully providing links to both the letterpress poster and the print-on-demand version in Bellwood's shop, a sizeable chunk of the artwork's overall profit of $1,761.50, specifically $814, came from that story about it. Building relationships At the end of November 2017, the rush of interest in the illustration started to taper off, but Bellwood found a second wind (or was it a third or fourth wind?) by writing about her viral experience on her Patreon page. Thanks to its transparency, the post was met with an enthusiastic reaction from other artists and illustrators. Attention is an opportunity, not a concluded transaction. Lucy Bellwood "The creative economy I'm a part of depends on human connection," says Bellwood, talking about why the post went down so well. "An image divorced from context may have the power to capture people's interest, but a contextualised human being has the power to create a bond. "I'm not in the business of trying to turbo-maximise the number of eyeballs on my work (although it's always a neat thing when it happens). I'm in the business of building relationships." Bellwood has had a handful of experiences of going viral Bellwood is keen to remind other artists that building a relationship relies on their own efforts, as well as hoping for positive feedback from going viral. "Attention is an opportunity, not a concluded transaction. It's the opening of a door. It's up to you to welcome people at the doorway and usher them through to being invested in your work and who you are. "So much of visibility on the web is unpredictable, but there are some basic best practices that will serve you well with any kind of attention: List your full name and contact info prominently on your website. Link to your store prominently on your website. (Same goes for whatever you'd most like people to know about or support, no more than three things. Patreon? Kickstarter? Mailing list?) Make it as easy as possible for people to get to you, learn about what you do, and give you money from any platform you use on the web: this means keeping info updated on social media, personal pages, and everything in-between." Yet despite her brushes with viral fame, Bellwood doesn't consider herself a 'viral artist'. "My stock in trade doesn't rest on regularly having my work reach a wide swath of the internet," she reveals. "I've had maybe three or four instances of this kind of attention, and every time it evokes a sort of bemused surprise. I find myself saying 'Well, this is interesting!' a lot, and then moving on, because my primary effort is focused on connecting with the people who follow me, which means writing about my experiences and welcoming people into my process. "I think folks who consistently 'go viral' are often working on a much more reliable release schedule, both in timing and format. It’s a question of content, but also of consistency." To find out more about Lucy Bellwood and support her work, visit her site, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and head over to her Patreon. Buy The Art of the Sailor letterpress print here, or as giclée art prints here. Related articles: 28 inspiring examples of vintage posters How to draw and paint - 100 pro tips and tutorials How to improve your character art View the full article
  16. Today's the day Mac enthusiasts have been waiting for: Apple has released its fastest and most powerful product ever – the iMac Pro. Re-engineered from the ground up, the iMac Pro boasts a staggering spec list, packing workstation-class parts into its iconic iMac all-in-one design. First announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference back in June 2017, this iMac Pro has been a long time coming. As we saw yesterday in T3's interview with Phil Schiller, Apple has been focusing on making sure the release is perfect. iMac Pro: price With a price tag starting at $4,999/ £4,899, we're expecting great things. Keep in mind that this hefty price bags you the most basic iMac Pro, which comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. If you've got the budget to scale things up, you can grab the top-spec iMac Pro for £12,279. For your money you'll get a whopping 18-core Intel Xeon processor, 128GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage. Xeon processors One of the biggest lures for designers though will be the Xeon processors. Thanks to their sturdy and reliable nature, Xeon chips have the benefit of providing larger caches, meaning that designers working with large Photoshop files will experience a superior performance. Backed up with error-correcting code RAM, creatives will also be able to put the iMac Pro through its paces without having to worry about errors that could result in a loss of data. A new thermal design is also integrated into the build, allowing the iMac Pro to increase its cooling capacity by 80%. No need to worry about overheating when you're waiting for a monstrous render to complete. Amazingly, Apple has delivered this beefed up device in a slim-line monitor with the same 27-inch display used on previous standard Mac desktops. The main visible difference will be that the exterior of the iMac Pro will be decked out in the same Space Gray colour used across Apple's iPads and MacBook Pros. Stunning 5K display When it comes to making art, designers will be able to see their work on screens with the 5K resolution they're familiar with using on existing Macs. However the iMac Pro screens are also 43% brighter and deliver an output of up to one billion colours. On top of this, the iMac Pro looks set to be a useful platform for VFX artists when it comes to creating content for VR platforms. This is down to Oculus and HTC both now supporting Macs on their headsets. If there's one complaint we've seen with the iMac Pro (apart from some baulking at the cost) it's that there's no Touch Bar integration. But if this is at the cost of the station's formidable power, we think it's a fair trade off. Related articles: The best MacBook deals for Christmas 2017 Why designers should reject Apple’s love of minimalism 10 tips for mastering Apple's Photos app View the full article
  17. Let’s face it, if you’re an illustrator, graphic designer or a web designer, you’re unlikely to become the next David Bailey. But feeling confident enough to photograph your print projects or product designs to a standard that will do them justice in your portfolio, or to photograph things while out and about to add to your collection of assets, is a skill that many creatives could benefit from. Enter the Manual Photography Cheat Sheet – Reloaded, an infographic from The London School of Photography designed to help novice photographers to explore the settings in their DSLR’s manual settings with confidence. So if you’ve always wondered what aperture means or how to stop your photos appearing grainy, scroll down to see the full infographic, and check out the useful tips shared. “The Manual Photography Cheat Sheet – Reloaded is a clean-cut, visual way of showing you how to step up your photography game from automatic to manual shooting,” says Antonio Leanza, owner of The London School of Photography. “Not only does shooting in manual mode enable you to produce sharp, well composed imagery – but you’ll also gain a stronger understanding of the inner workings of your camera.” To shoot star trails like this, manual settings are essential With the best cameras for creatives all offering manual control options, it’s worth exploring what these features can do. If you’ve ever wanted to take a mesmerising photo of star trails, for example, the infographic points out that a long exposure – achieved through the right balance of ISO, shutter speed and aperture, plus a tripod – is essential. “By shooting in manual mode you have full control of your shutter speed, ISO and aperture, amongst an array of other settings that can further fine-tune your images. By manually controlling aperture for example can help you achieve those beautifully aligned portraits with blurred or bokeh backgrounds. It’s also highly useful for changing shutter speeds, enabling you to achieve those fast moving subjects like cars or cyclists in crystal clear motion without sacrificing quality.” Just like design, there are some key rules to remember with photography The infographic also shares some tips of a more creative nature, such as a brief explanation of using the rule of thirds and shooting in the ‘golden hour’ – the minutes just after dawn or just before sunset, where the natural lighting is a flattering warm hue. With the festive break approaching quickly, why not try out some of these tips to elevate your photography as we head into 2018? Remember to click the icon in the top right of the infographic to see the full-size version. Click the icon in the top right of the infographic to see the full-size version Related articles: 15 inspiring photographers to follow on Instagram Build your first in-house photo studio The best laptop deals for Christmas 2017 View the full article
  18. Web developers are the people who keep the gears turning behind the scenes on all of your favourite applications and sites. It's a career that rewards structure as much as it does creativity, and you can join the ranks with the help of the Ultimate Front End Developer Bundle on sale now for just $39 (approx. £29). The Ultimate Front End Developer Bundle is the perfect starting place for any aspiring developer. This collection of eight expert-taught courses can help anyone, even an amateur, learn how to code using the most important languages in web development, from JavaScript to HTML5 and CSS3. As you work your way through this collection of eight expert-taught courses, you'll start to bring your dream designs to life. You can get the Ultimate Front End Developer Bundle on sale for just $39 (approx. £29), which is 96% off the full retail price. That’s a massive saving on a bundle that could help you launch a new career, so grab this deal today. About Creative Bloq deals This great deal comes courtesy of the Creative Bloq Deals store – a creative marketplace that's dedicated to ensuring you save money on the items that improve your design life. We all like a special offer or two, particularly with creative tools and design assets often being eye-wateringly expensive. That's why the Creative Bloq Deals store is committed to bringing you useful deals, freebies and giveaways on design assets (logos, templates, icons, fonts, vectors and more), tutorials, e-learning, inspirational items, hardware and more. Every day of the working week we feature a new offer, freebie or contest – if you miss one, you can easily find past deals posts on the Deals Staff author page or Offer tag page. Plus, you can get in touch with any feedback at: deals@creativebloq.com. Check out these other amazing deals: The best laptop deals for Christmas 2017 The best iPad deals for Christmas 2017 The best Wacom tablet deals for Christmas 2017 View the full article
  19. While many of us seek out the newest and shiniest tools, methods, and processes to build more successful websites, apps, products and services, we often overlook one of the oldest, leanest, most effective tools out there: the structurally sound story. The better the story, the more likely you are to want to use a product, continue to use it, pay to use it, and recommend it to others. In her Generate New York talk Story First: Crafting Products That Engage, Donna Lichaw will be on hand to explain how she helps organisations define and refine their value proposition, transform their thinking, and better engage with their core customers. Read our quick-fire Q&A from issue 282 of net magazine to find out more. Tell us a bit about what you do... Donna Lichaw: I help businesses and nonprofits better engage their audience with websites, software, apps and services. For example, I will help you figure out how to get more people to use your app, or how to encourage more people to buy something. In your book, The User’s Journey, you describe a story-first approach. In a nutshell, what is this? DL: If you’re building successful businesses, your job is to move people to action. You need to get them excited about your product or service, get them to want to do something, help them through a path, and then make sure they see value in engaging with your brand. Before I worked in tech, I was a filmmaker and had lots of practice doing all these things. Developing a successful product is much like developing a successful story for a film. It all starts with a fairly simple story structure. Without it, you’re launching best guesses. What inspired you to develop this approach? DL: After many years working on digital products, I started to see the most successful were those that had a solid story at their foundation. The rest did not. A few years ago, I was helping a startup revive a failing product, and I started to wonder if the story was inherent to successful products or something that could be engineered – just like a movie. Once we started to approach product development like film development, we were able to quickly and easily reimagine the product into something that is now very successful. Donna Lichaw's The User's Journey is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to build a better product or design a better experience How did you end up moving into tech? DL: I actually started working in tech at the same time I started making films. In college, I made films in school and worked as a multimedia designer, project manager and information architect the rest of the time. Early on it seemed like my work in tech was like a 2D version of my 3D work in film, but as tech got more sophisticated, the two became more similar. As the industry became concerned with user research and approaching design problems as human problems, my work in tech started to resemble my work making documentaries. I did qualitative and quantitative research to help uncover and solve problems, and then architected solutions that had to not just work, but be engaging. You do a lot of speaking at events. What do you think is key to a great conference presentation? DL: A story! When I was working with that fledgling startup a few years ago, I started teaching a class that had a lot of contact hours. I was afraid my students would lose interest or not retain what they learned. I read some books about presentation design and they all preached the importance of having a solid story structure at the core of your presentation. This was around the time I started asking myself if everything needed a story in order to engage an audience. I wove story structure into my classes, the product for the startup, my talks and workshops. What I’ve found is that if you want to engage your audience, you need to make each person feel like a hero. The best way to do that? Craft a story, call them to action, take them on a journey, provide value, and help them see what they can do next. What are you working on at the moment? DL: I just finished up the first part of a really fun project for the nonprofit that maintains Central Park in New York City. We set out to answer why people use the park, why they donate to the conservancy, and how to get more of those people to donate. The answers are the foundation for a digital strategy that will guide website and product development for the next year. Other than that, I’m working on one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on: we have a new baby at home. That will be my top project for the next couple of months at least. Tickets for Generate New York 2018 are out now Donna Lichaw will be one of the speakers at our web design event, Generate New York, on 25-27 April 2018. You can view the full star-studded lineup, and book your tickets now, at generateconf.com. Related articles: 7 killer ways to influence user behaviour 10 steps to an engaging user experience 11 huge web design trends for 2018 View the full article
  20. You're reading Best Tools for Web Designers to Use in 2018, originally posted on Designmodo. If you've enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+! The design world moves fast and there’s always new tools coming out. To stay ahead of the game requires an ear to the ground at all times. I’ve been keeping an eye on the design space this year and put together my top picks for the best design tools for 2018. Some of these tools […] View the full article
  21. No matter what you’re working on, how you apply textures to your model will make the difference between a final project that’s outstanding or just mediocre. There’s no point putting hours into producing a fantastic sculpt only to let it down with some subpar texturing, so we’ve collected advice from concept artist Daniel Hahn and character artist Jakub Chechelski on advancing your technique to help you produce realistic, compelling texturing effects in Substance Painter. For more great tips on Substance Painter, check out our event Vertex, where founder and CEO at Allegorithmic Sébastien Deguy will be giving an insightful talk! 01. Create a texture library Daniel Hahn: "If I don’t want to go through the whole process of creating UV maps for my robots I usually render the models out in three to four different material passes for the same perspective. This way I can decide really late in Photoshop where to put which materials. "The Photoshop layer masks come in handy in that process. I have a designated folder for my textures, where I have dirt stains, oil leaks, rust textures and logos. The best thing is to have them ready as PNGs with no backgrounds so you can throw them on quickly." 02. Consider the lighting Jakub Chechelski: "Be aware of the lighting that you use in Substance Painter during texturing. Every environment will make your colour look different, because of the source of the light. The safest bet is to use one of the studio light environments, as the light is white." Witcher Hunter – Real-time render by Jakub Chechelski 03. Keep your workflow non-destructive Jakub Chechelski: "Probably the best way to texture in Substance Painter is by using Fill layers, instead of general layers. You can choose your fill colour (e.g. red), mask it and paint your mask. That gives you the ability to change the hue of your fill to a darker, lighter or completely different colour." 04. Start early with dirt and decals Daniel Hahn: "Get textures, decals, labels and logos in place early on, as this way you can get an impression of the big picture along the concepting process. It’s important not to lose the overall concept idea when it comes to the details. I try to do this in 2D as well as in 3D. ZBrush has a great way of Polypainting along the concepting process. In 2D, just be sure to only flatten the logo layers when you are sure you want to mirror the concept, otherwise you end up with flipped texts. I usually want to have the possibility to decide very late whether I flip the image or not." 05. Smart masks and generators Jakub Chechelski: "These two are a great addition to Substance Painter, as they enable you to create a really interesting look within seconds. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to break them up even more: add another paint layer over your generator/mask and paint out details in some places, break the opacity!" 06. Create a strong base Jakub Chechelski: "I always try to create a base for every material that looks interesting. Firstly, you can always reuse it and secondly, it makes material look realistic. Instead of making your leather pure black, give it a few extra layers with different shades of black, purple and dark red. The same thing applies to the roughness channel; just make sure not to overdo it – the last thing you want is to make your character look like a Christmas tree." DTNR Blackops by Daniel Hahn 07. Make use of UV Maps Daniel Hahn: "Substance Painter is a good choice as a 3D texturing tool when you want to show a character in more than one view or scene. Uncharted 4 from Naughty Dog and Robo Recall from Epic Games were mainly textured using Substance Painter – it works for real-time rendered gaming characters and for ray-traced ones alike. The crucial thing to do is to create a solid and clean UV map of your character. As I model in ZBrush, the tool to do that is the UV Master in the plug-ins section. With a nice UV map, Substance Painter’s smart materials can create edge damages and great wear effects." 08. Think through your wear and tear Jakub Chechelski: "This is where you have to think about how your character will move, which part of their clothing/armour is going to touch and wear off, and what parts are prone to damage. Just because the shoes look muddy or dirty, this doesn’t mean that you need to add mud on the face. "The same thing applies to damage; if your character has a shield, it is most likely going to be worn and scratched, but the same thing doesn’t apply to his belts." Get your ticket to Vertex 2018 now! For more insight into the future of CG and Substance Painter and Substance Designer, don't miss Allegorithmic founder and CEO Dr Sébastien Deguy at Vertex, our debut event for the CG community. Book your ticket now at vertexconf.com, where you can find out more about the other amazing speakers, workshops, recruitment fair, networking event, expo and more. Related articles: Scott Ross to talk at Vertex! Why Vertex is a must for CG artists The ethics of Digital Humans View the full article
  22. Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft. As a database server, it is a software product with the primary function of storing and retrieving data as requested by other software applications which may run either on the same computer or on another computer across a network (including the Internet). In order to enable PHP MSSQL Extension, There are few modules need to be installed before you enable MSSQL Extension for PHP on server. a) Txt2man b) unixODBC c) freeTDS d) PHP mssql.so Step1: Download FreeTDS #wget http://ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/ALPHA/freetds/stable/freetds-stable.tgz Step2: Extract the downloaded file #tar zfvx freetds-stable.tgz Step3: Install it using the below commands #cd freetds-*; #./configure --prefix=/usr/local/freetds --with-tdsver=8.0 --enable-msdblib --enable-dbmfix --with-gnu-ld; make ; make install Step4: Add the compile flag for freetds to /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_php5 In this version, PHP 5 is the focus hence that specific file. Add the following: #echo "--with-mssql=/usr/local/freetds" >> /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_php5 *If you are using other Builds of Apache or PHP you may refer to the following for the correct file to edit instead of /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_php5 such as the case here. * Apache 1.3.x - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/Apache1 * Apache 2.0.x - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/Apache2 * Apache 2.2.x - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/Apache2_2 * All PHP 4.x versions - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_php4 * All PHP 5.x versions - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_php5 * Mod_suPHP - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/all_suphp * Specific PHP Version - /var/cpanel/easy/apache/rawopts/PHP-X.X.X Step5: Touch the following files as these are what are checked for by PHP. The following error will result if they are not in place. configure: error: Directory /usr/local/freetds is not a FreeTDS installation directory Here are the files to create for PHP's conditional check: #touch /usr/local/freetds/lib/libtds.a #touch /usr/local/freetds/include/tds.hp Step6: Now run Easy Apache and make sure that Mysql, Mysql of the system, amd Mysqli are all selected. Step7: Simply build. #/scripts/easyapache Note: If running a 64bit OS and get an error about configure: error: Could not find /usr/local/freetds/lib64/libsybdb.a|so you'll need to link a directory. In this example it was an easy fix. #cd /usr/local/freetds/ #ln -s /usr/local/freetds/lib lib64 #ll /usr/local/freetds/lib64/libsybdb.a #ll /usr/local/freetds/lib64/libsybdb.so #/scripts/easyapache http://techies-world.com/mssql-cpanel/
  23. New research shows how an old vulnerability called ROBOT can be exploited using an adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack to reveal the plaintext for a given TLS session. View the full article
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  25. With Christmas just around the corner, creatives across the world are busy designing their Christmas cards. We’ve already brought you a host of helpful festive resources – from free Christmas vectors to the best Christmas deals on laptops – but there are other methods, too. Here, London-based designer Freddie Made walks through how to use Adobe Stock and InDesign CC to craft a unique Christmas card creations this year. He’s creating a snowman-inspired scene, but you can use the skills here to bring your own designs to life. You can pick up Adobe Creative Cloud here now, if you need it. And to follow the tutorial, you can either watch the video – or walk through the written steps below. Enjoy! 01. Choose the background Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Search Adobe Stock using the Libraries tool in Photoshop CC. Look for an image of snow or another festive backdrop that could work for your card. Tip! The latest updates on Adobe Stock enable you to save a preview and use a watermarked version. That means you don’t have to commit to buying until you know it’s right. 02. Add detail to the background Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Next, search Adobe Stock for a ‘Snowy Forest’. You’ll find a broad range of options. Pick your favourite and simply add your chosen image to your composition. Open Blending Options in the Layers panel. Set the Blend mode to Darken, and merge the snow seamlessly over the forest layer behind it. You can also use the Eraser tool, with a Low Hardness setting, to neaten up the edge. Next, find an image of falling snow and paste this over your two-image composition. You will then need to move this layer to the background by simply applying a Clipping Mask to the layer, matching it to the forest image. Set the mode to Screen Blend to remove all the darkness from the layer, and you’re left with snow falling seamlessly into the forest. 03. Add a puddle Hit the top-right icon to expand the image To add a puddle to the foreground, search for one in Adobe Stock and place it within your collage. Use the Magic Wand tool and select the white area around the edge. Now go to Select > Similar to, and click on any other white areas within the layer. Next, go to Select > Inverse, and finally add a layer mask to remove all the white areas completely. Now select Opacity, adjust the setting to 60% and change the saturation to -30 using the Saturation tool to blend the colours nicely into the snow. 04. Add pebbles and a carrot Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Once you’ve found a black pebble in Adobe Stock that could work for the snowman’s eyes, mask it using Quick Mask mode - click on Edit - in the toolbox. Then, select the Paint Brush tool, set the hardness high and paint over the pebble. Click edit in Quick Mask again to make the selection, and then select the Layer Mask tool to remove the rest of the image. Now repeat this step with a carrot. Next, click on the pebble, press Alt/Opt and drag it to duplicate a second eye. With the carrot and pebbles masked, add a Drop Shadow with opacity set to 30%, distance to 4, speed to 1 and size to 2. 05. Use Visual Search in Adobe Stock Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Now we want to find a rabbit. This is a good time to try using Adobe Stock’s Visual Search tool. Select the first rabbit image you like, drag it into the search engine and you will find similar images in depth and tone. Select your perfect bunny and drop it into your composition. Repeat this step to find a hairdryer. 06. Add the rabbit and hairdryer Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Once you’ve selected your rabbit and hairdryer, place them into your composition and flip horizontally using the Edit > Transform tool. Set the Blend Mode to a dark colour to remove the white background and, if needed, remove any objects from the rabbit’s paw using the Eraser tool. Next, add the hairdryer, again using the darker colour blend mode. Flip it horizontally and place it in the rabbit’s paw. Adjust the colour using the Saturation tool to match the orange of the carrot. 07. Extend the cord Hit the top-right icon to expand the image To add a cord to the hairdryer, draw a horizontal line with a brush stroke of 3px. Then transform the path using the Warp tool followed by the Arc preset. Now rotate it, and place at the end of the existing cord. 08. Licensing images within Photoshop Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Once you’ve decided you’re happy with your chosen Stock images, go to your Library menu and right-click to license each image. Photoshop will automatically save over the watermarked previews with the high-res image. Save your PSD file. 09. Open the image with InDesign Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Open a new InDesign document to make the card template. To do this, go to File > New document. Choose the size of your document, set the number of pages to two, select facing pages and an orientation landscape. Now add two columns with a gutter of 0.4mm and all margins set to 0.4mm. Click File > Place and select your PSD file to place it on the front page of your card. 10. Personalise your card Hit the top-right icon to expand the image Finish your festive card by adding a personalised message. Once you’re done, click Save and your card is now ready to print. You can now use these skills to design your own, unique Christmas cards. Related articles: The best laptops for graphic design 2017 Adobe Stock improves visual search 20 tools to make you more creative in 2018 View the full article
  26. The wait is almost over – Apple's eagerly anticipated ‘workstation-class’ iMac Pro is due to launch on 14 December. Pushing further into pro territory than any device before it, the iMac Pro has been completely re-engineered to feature an Intel Xeon processor – and the firm claims it will be Apple's most powerful product yet. The new iMac Pro is great news for video editors, in particular. Shipping with the robust W-series 8, 10 or 18-core Xeon processor (rather than the Core i5 and Core i7 chips in current iMacs), it promises better performance when working with complex data – be that 4K video, 3D or huge Photoshop files. Get Adobe Creative Cloud nowThis won’t come cheap, of course. In June, Apple said that prices will start at $4,999. Dan Grabham, editor of our sister site T3, caught up with Apple's senior vice president Phil Schiller to learn more about the exciting release. Read an extract below where he talks about the development of the iMac Pro... So, iMac Pro. Obviously there’s a new Mac Pro on the horizon. I wondered if you could give me some insight into why you’re doing that now? Phil Schiller: First of all, we care deeply about our Pro customers. Always have, always will. We love that so much is created on Mac. One of the things we’ve learned over the last few years is the depth of love and loyalty for Mac OS by our Pro customers. And Pro is a very large term. It encompasses many different people with different needs. It's probably one of the biggest groups of software developers, creating apps for iOS or web Unix-based software. It’s really popular on the Mac. It's video editing, it's music creators, it's photographers, designers, graphic designers. It's architects, it's scientists, it's professors at university. So Pro is a very large category of customers that have different needs. What we find is, across all of our Mac products, we have a lot of pros on MacBook Pro; we have a lot of pros on iMac; and we have pros on Mac Pro. And so, a number of years ago, when we talked about where we need to move all our products forward for pros, we knew that there was an iMac need there. Inside, the iMac Pro really is a different computer, says Apple's Phil Schiller It’s fairly large, and previously what we’ve always done is to create and push the boundaries a little bit on the configuration of your iMac. You could get a little faster processor, more storage, that sort of thing. And that’s worked well up to now. This time, we decided to push it further. We asked our engineering teams, 'Can you make an iMac Pro that’s truly designed for pros?' Inside it really is a different computer. Its incredible display, its beautiful design that floats above the desktop, and its compactness, and all the things we love about iMac. It’s almost like another line, the iMac Pro. We invested in creating this additional thing that pushes iMac further up north into pro territory than anything we’ve ever done in an all-in-one desktop, because the customers are already there. Why now? This is how long it’s taken. It was a big, big project, and that’s just how things go. It takes this time. And we’re getting close to when it’s out there. It’s very soon. A matter of days now. And like all of our products, we have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, but the truth will be: what do customers tell us? I can’t wait. They’re using it. They’re applying it and telling us what things it’s best at, and where they get the most value from it. And we’re all going to learn together once it’s out there. It’s going to be the fastest Mac we’ve ever made. Phil Schiller, Apple This is always the most exciting moment. It truly is. A whole new product. Nobody’s used it yet in the real world, and they’re about to, and what are we all going to learn? That’s probably one of the most fun moments in any product launch that we have. And it’s going to be the fastest Mac we’ve ever made. And that’s really cool, too, because our customers never cease to be amazed with the incredible things they can use these products for if you just give them the tools they need – and speed is among the list of tools they need. How does Apple as a company think about the iPad Pro and the Mac now – do you think about them as complementary? Or is the iPad Pro a replacement product? Phil Schiller: What we’ve learned, truthfully, is that it’s both, and that depends on the user. For some people, iPad Pro is a replacement for their computer. Not that you throw away your computer. People don’t often do that. But in that it becomes your primary computing device. The way you mostly hear about this is when people say, "I use a computer at my desk or I use a Notebook at my desk, but when I travel, I travel just with my iPad Pro. It is so great in that situation." Or you’ll hear a customer say, "I spend more time with my iPad Pro because the tasks I use it more for are the things I spend the most time in" – whether it’s surfing the web, looking through photos of your photo library, checking and triaging your email quickly. So for those customers, the iPad has become their primary device. But they don’t think of it in their brains as competing with their previous computer. It’s just the computer they spend the most time with. And then there are other customers who augment their computer experience. They use their computer a lot, but they also use an iPad for a task that it is clearly far better for than their computer. I think that people love to watch movies and TV shows on their iPad more than they do on a computer. People like to read on their iPad better than on their computer. There are certainly going to be customers that choose that this is their next computer purchase in their life. They don’t even like to call it a computer. It’s just: “I want to get an iPad, and I’m going to do more things on it. I still have a computer.” It’s almost like they’re making a distinction between the two, even though the uses are overlapping, and one is replacing the other frequently. It’s an interesting thing. The words are important. People don’t necessarily like the word 'replace' when they’re making these choices. But in reality, they are spending more time on it. And what about Apple Pencil? PS: Pencil, after AirPods, maybe be the second product that I hear customers say is their new favourite Apple thing – the iPad’s Pencil. Because again, it’s such a simple device. A simple, solid, clear, very focused purpose, and yet, the technology behind that is incredibly advanced, and it enables artists to draw, paint, do whatever they want for creation, and we’ve just seen a tremendous response to that from designers who work with it. And also, I’m seeing more and more professionals and university students use it for note-taking and annotating documents, whatever, and really enjoying that experience. Now, is that a replacement for a computer? Is that an augmentation? I don’t know. Let them use whatever words they want. But they just like using it a lot. And so I think it’s not complete to talk about iPad Pro without also talking about Pencil. Related articles: The best MacBook deals for Christmas 2017 10 tips for mastering Apple's Photos app What if Apple made a Surface Book? View the full article
  27. CSS Grid Layout was launched into browsers in March 2017 and, at the time of writing, well over 70 per cent of the visitors to most sites will have Grid support. That figure is rapidly growing, and stands to improve as Edge ships its updated support. I hope that you've already had a chance to explore some of the features of CSS Grid Layout. This article will take a look at some of the features you might have missed. I'll also take a look at a few things that might be coming in future levels of the specification. 01. The minmax() function Unlike other layout methods, where we need to set sizing on the item itself, in Grid Layout we set sizing at a container level. We define tracks, which create grid cells, into which content can be placed. In order to do this in a flexible way, allowing for content that might be smaller or larger than the design expected, Grid brings new features to CSS. One of these is the minmax() function. This function means that you can specify a minimum and a maximum size for a track. In the example below, I have a neat panel with a heading in the top-left and a large image on the right. I want the top row to be a minimum of 150 pixels tall, no matter how many rows the heading or any other content might need. However, if there are more lines of content or the text size is larger, I want that box to grow bigger than 150 pixels. This is where I use minmax(), setting a minimum size of 150 pixels and a maximum of auto. By setting a minimum height on a row, we create neatly sized rows in our design, even with shorter content The minmax() function with a maximum of auto means that content does not overflow if there is more than expected By using minmax(), if we just have the heading in that box, the box is taller than the space required. If we have a longer heading and additional text, it expands to make room. 02. Auto-fill and auto-fit Flexbox enables many responsive design patterns without us needing to lean on Media Queries. Grid goes a step further though, enabling flexible design patterns with items lined up in two dimensions: by row and by column. A useful pattern is to be able to have as many columns as will fit into a container, and to do this we use two new keywords: auto-fill and auto-fit. To have as many 200 pixel column tracks as will fit into a container use a track listing of: To make those columns flexible but keeping a 200-pixel minimum, bring in the minmax() function that I described in the previous tip. We can create columns that are at least 200 pixels with a maximum of 1fr. After working out how many 200-pixel columns will fit, the browser assigns leftover space equally between our columns. This image demonstrates the difference between auto-fill with fixed-size columns and auto-fill using minmax() to create flexibly sized columns I've been using the auto-fill keyword here; this will maintain space for tracks even if there is no content for them. If instead you use auto-fit, any completely empty tracks will be collapsed and their space assigned to the other tracks. 03. Dense packing mode When you declare display: grid on an element, all of the direct children become grid items, and the items will start to automatically lay themselves out on that grid. This happens based on the auto-placement rules that are defined in the specification. If some of your items span tracks, and this means that there are items that won't fit in an available track, they will create a new row on the grid. By default, Grid progresses forwards and displays your items in the order that they appear in the source. However, if you set the value of grid-auto-flow to dense, Grid will start to backtrack after leaving these gaps. If it finds an item that will fit into a gap already left, it will pick it up and place it out of source order, into the gap. The auto-placement rules will keep grid items in source order by default; this may lead to gaps in the layout Using grid-auto-flow with a value of dense turns on the dense packing mode, which can backfill gaps in the layout This behaviour is useful if the items you are displaying don't have a logical order, however, you could easily make a layout very difficult for someone navigating using the keyboard if they are tabbing from item to item. Use this feature with great care and testing! 04. Magic lines and magic areas When you use the Grid Template Areas method of laying out content, you create a named area on your grid. This in turn creates a set of named lines for rows and columns that use the area name with -start and -end appended. In this next example, I have used the named lines created by positioning my grid areas to position an overlay. This works in reverse when you use named grid lines. If you name lines ending with -start and -end for columns and rows, you will create a named area of the main name used. An area defined by the lines content-start and content-end for rows and columns, would have the name content. You could place an item into that area with grid-area: content. The overlay has been positioned on top of the grid areas by using named lines created from the area name 05. Default alignment When an item becomes a grid item, the default behaviour is to stretch over its grid area; that is unless the item is something with an intrinsic aspect ratio. If the item has an aspect ratio, it will align to the start line in both the row and column direction. This means that Grid won't stretch your images out of proportion by default, although you can of course do so if you want to by changing the alignment behaviour. 06. Fallbacks Written into the CSS Grid specification are the details of how CSS Grid Layout overrides other layout methods. If you have an item that is floated, uses display: table or display: inline block and then becomes a grid item, the specification explains what will happen. In short, when an item becomes a grid item, you will find: If it is floated, or uses the clear property, these properties will cease to affect the item. If it has display: inline-block or uses a table property such as display: table-cell these no longer apply. In the case of table properties, anonymous boxes that are generated when using display: table-cell without a parent table are no longer created. vertical-align no longer applies. I created a cheatsheet that details these overrides with examples. You can find that on my site. While relying on this overriding behaviour will work in many cases, you need to take care with widths set on items that later become grid items. In previous layout methods, we control the width of an item on the item. With Grid, we place the item into a grid cell that constrains it. This means that if you have an item with a percentage width set, that width will resolve to a percentage of the grid area once the item becomes a grid item. The solution for this is another CSS specification: Feature Queries. We can use a Feature Query to test for Grid Layout support. If the browser supports Grid, I set the width to auto. 07. Sizing with min-content and max-content The CSS Intrinsic & Extrinsic Sizing Module Level 3 specification defines additional keywords for sizing. These keywords include min-content and max-content, which can be used to define sizing in your grid tracks. As a very simple example, I have created a two-column track grid. One column is defined as min-content size, the second column max-content. The first track is only as big as required to display a single word of the content – this is the minimum size that this track can be. The second expands to allow the whole row to display, which you might find cause overflows that you need to manage and deal with. The min-content column is as wide as needed to display one word; the max-content column expands in order to fit the sentence Level 2 features The Grid specification is now at Candidate Recommendation status, which means that we hope to not make any major changes to the spec; instead, it moves on to a phase where we look for at least two implementations of each feature. This ensures that the specification makes sense and can be implemented by browsers. Things are still happening for Grid, however, and in the rest of this article we will look at a recent change to the Level 1 specification and a couple of things that we might have to look forward to in Level 2. 08. Gaps are changing The grid-gap shorthand, plus the longhand grid-column-gap and grid-row-gap properties were changed during the August 2017 CSS Working Group meeting to become gap, column-gap and row-gap. They have also been moved to have their definitions in the Box Alignment specification. This is the specification that took the nice alignment features from Flexbox and expanded out so they could also be used in Grid – and potentially other layout methods too. Putting the gap features into the Box Alignment specification and naming them in a more generic way means that they can be used in other layout types where they make sense. The obvious place where they make sense is in Flexbox. This renaming means we'll ultimately get proper gaps in Flexbox; no more messing around with margins. Browsers will alias the old names to the new ones, so if you have already used gaps in Grid Layout that code won't break. However, you might like to also add both properties yourself; browsers ignore the one they don't support. 09. Grid isn't Masonry When people first see the dense packing mode that I demonstrated earlier in this article, they often think that Grid can do the Masonry layout pattern. Masonry, however, is a completely different type of layout. A standard Masonry layout isn't a strict grid, making this pattern sit somewhere between what Flexbox is good at and what Grid does. At the CSS Working Group, however, we are thinking about this issue. It's something that we know developers really want to be able to do. You can find the discussion in the CSS WG drafts repository over on GitHub, and even add your thoughts too. 10. Grid Area pseudo-elements Another common feature request for Grid Layout is the ability to style the grid cells or areas, without needing to insert an element to style. Currently, to add borders to an area you would need to add an empty element to your markup or use generated content to create a grid item that can be styled. There is an issue raised in relation to considering adding some kind of pseudo-element for grid areas. This would consequently give you something to target if you wanted to add backgrounds or borders to a particular area without adding some extra markup or using generated content. This article originally appeared in issue 298 of net magazine, the magazine for professional web designers and developers – offering the latest new web trends, technologies and techniques. Buy issue 298 here or subscribe to net here. Liked this? Read these! Create a responsive layout with CSS Grid Get up to speed with CSS Grid A guide to writing better CSS View the full article
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