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  2. Erik Spiekermann’s experimental letterpress workshop, 98a, is the birthplace of post-digital printingChange Is Good is a new fiction book by Louis Rossetto, co-founder of Wired, about the birth of the dot-com age. And fittingly for a book about a revolution, it's the first book to be designed and printed by typography legend Erik Spiekermann's new printing process, which he calls 'post-digital printing'. This method will use a combination of new laser plate cutting technology and letterpress to print 1,000 copies of the book, which is available on Kickstarter. We caught up with Rossetto and Spiekermann to find out more about this printing process. What are the benefits of letterpress printing compared to offset? Louis Rossetto: Offset printing handles colour really well. But at the same time, when you're reading a book that's only text, offset doesn't deliver on a quality level like letterpress used to. On the other hand, letterpress has the limitation of not being able to do typography well. What Erik's able to do in developing this new technology is marry the advances that have occurred in typography over the last 30 years to the clear benefits of letterpress, in terms of its black type and sharp forms impressed into the paper. The whole package ends up being startlingly better than what we're used to. What's the process for this new printing method? Erik Spiekermann: We bought an image setter machine that cuts into polymer plastic with a laser, and then we can print from those plates. We put these plates with metal backs in our machine, which has a magnetic base. It goes into the printing press, and stays there. And then we get the impression, the raised surface, of the letters. You can see the printing process in action in the video above Tell us about Change Is Good... LR: Change Is Good is a story about a moment that changed the world. In the 90s, there were young people with fire in their eyes, with big ideas and a passion to make change happen. Change is Good is about those people and their challenges. It's utterly appropriate that the story of this era of revolutionary change is brought out on new technology which will revolutionise printing. Change is Good is the first book to use Spiekermann's new print processAre there any types of books that you think wouldn't print well using this method? ES: Text is where letterpress shines, but we can imagine printing books using a mix of processes, for example, full colour offset and black type, or other combinations. We are no Luddites, and we like all types of printing on paper – including using our Risograph. What's the future of post-digital printing? ES: Bringing together the best of each technology: digital type and typesetting offer more choices and better precision. Letterpress printing makes type look better than watery offset. We've already printed two books for a major German publisher, and will print another five titles this year. What advice do you have for someone wanting to get more from letterpress, who doesn't have your resources? ES: Come and buy plates from us. We need to get our money back on our investment. This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 270. Buy it here. Related articles: 50 inspiring examples of letterpress business cards Create special print finishes in InDesign 5 things every creative needs to know about print design View the full article
  3. After Effects CC might sound like a complex program, but once you grasp some basic concepts, you’ll be able to create a range of animation styles using Adobe's 3D, motion graphics and animation software. Get Adobe Creative CloudIn this article we'll run through some top tips for animating illustrations in After Effects, starting with the basics. And be sure to check out other great After Effects tutorials for beginners, intermediate and experts afterwards, for more practical tips and design inspiration. 01. Import files from Photoshop After Effects allows you to incorporate Photoshop files into your composition (comp). When you import these files into a project, the layers will retain their individual qualities – simply drag one onto the comp and it will appear on the animation timeline. 02. Use keyframes Use the position attribute to move the element during keyframes [click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge this screenshot] Clicking the triangle next to Transform will show Position, Scale, Rotation, and more. Each of these aspects is a keyframe – a location on the timeline that marks the beginning or end of a transition. To add a keyframe, select which characteristic you want to alter and click forward on the timeline. The position, for instance, can change from one keyframe to another by dragging it along the comp. When you play the animation, it will travel along the path you created. 03. Smooth out transitions using easing Easing can make transitions between keyframes look less choppy by organically speeding up or slowing down the animation. Find the Keyframe Assistant menu under Animation to incorporate easing. Easy Ease does what the name suggests by easing the element on both sides of the keyframe. 04. Adjust anchor points Adjust the anchor points to ensure individual parts rotate in relation to one another [click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge this screenshot] Parenting synchronises the changes of one layer with another layer’s transformation. The wheel of a car, for instance, would be the child layer of a vehicle’s body, which is the parent. In this case, every time the car is moved, rotated or scaled, the wheel goes with it. To assign the parent/child relationship, first make sure that your anchor points are correctly aligned. Think about it like the skeleton of a figure – what are the joints? When something rotates, where will it rotate from? Drag the anchor point to change its position. 05. Connect elements Click on the child element (the spiral) and drag the icon to its parent [click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge this screenshot] Once these points are determined, select the intended child element and click the spiral icon under Parent. Then, drag it to the parent element and release – the two are now paired and any changes you make will affect both parts of your new element. 06. Add motion Use the Puppet Pins to assign movement to different parts of the image [click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge this image] The Puppet tool adds natural motion to a rasterised image. A snake can bob its head while its tail shakes, for example, all with the placement of a few pins. First, click on the triangle next to effects and select puppet. Under it, you’ll see Mesh 1. Click on the triangle next to it to bring up the Deform menu. You’ll now be able to click on the areas where you’d like to to add Puppet Pins – you can experiment with this until you get the effect you are looking for. Once you’ve finished placing your pins, click forward on the timeline and use the Transform property to stretch or distort each individual pin. Your puppeted subject will be moving in no time. 07. Export your animation Export your animated illustration [click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge this screenshot]Once you're happy with your animation, export it. To export an animation into a movie, go to File > Export > Add to render queue. This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine. Subscribe now. Related articles: 40 amazing After Effects tutorials How to move over from Photoshop to After Effects The beginner's guide to After Effects View the full article
  4. Yesterday
  5. http://wccftech.com/roca-worse-krack-crypto-keys-risk/ … View the full article
  6. KRACK

    KRACK Wi-Fi Vulnerability: Update Every Device & OS. . . Image Source : CommitStrip
  7. A flawed Infineon Technology chipset left HP, Lenovo and Microsoft devices open to what is called a 'practical factorization attack,' in which an attacker computes the private part of an RSA key. View the full article
  8. https://thehackernews.com/2017/10/flash-player-zero-day.html … View the full article
  9. The world of a jobbing designer might not always be glamorous and well paid, but it makes up for it in other ways. Whether it's personal pride or fulfilling long-held ambitions, there are different markers of success for creatives, but what are they? We reached out to the community to find out. 01. Surprise recognition Stanley Chow knew he'd made it when his children started recognising his work“When my kids, who are four and seven, recognise my work,” says freelance illustrator Stanley Chow. “I took them to see Paddington Bear at the cinema and unbeknown to me there was a scene that featured an illustration for an ad that I did for McDonald’s. When the camera was panning around Piccadilly Circus, my illustration popped up on the cinema screen – both my kids stood up in the cinema and yelped, ‘Daddy, I saw your picture!’ “Also, there are a few posters and marketing campaigns that I have done dotted around Manchester. My kids frequently spot them before I do, and ask me, ‘Daddy, is that your picture? Are you famous?’” 02. Satisfied clients For Ross Barber-Smith, nothing beats a satisfied client“When a client’s reply blows me away,” says Ross Barber-Smith, the owner and web designer of Electric Kiwi. “I’ve had clients tell me they cried with happiness and excitement when they got the draft design over, because it captured their vision exactly. “I've also had other clients come back to me after their site has been live for a while, telling me how much it’s helped them grow and enabled them to book more gigs across Europe. Hearing feedback and stories like that makes me feel great, and like I’m succeeding.” 03. Positive impact GBH's Brinley Clark thinks a design's success is measured in its impact“Success is many things. In sports, it’s trophies; in politics, it’s votes; and in design, it’s impact,” explains GBH's senior designer Brinley Clark. “I think you’ve got to ask yourself a few questions. Has the work has changed people’s perceptions? Has it made a positive impact on both the end user and the company implementing it? And perhaps most importantly – has it inspired other designers?” This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine issue 258. Subscribe here. Read more: Johnson Banks responds to Science Museum rebrand New Star Wars movie poster suggests there will be blood Grow your design business without losing focus View the full article
  10. https://thehackernews.com/2017/10/linux-privilege-escalation.html … View the full article
  11. Adobe today released an out-of-band Flash Player update addressing a zero-day vulnerability being exploited by a little-known Middle Eastern APT group called Black Oasis. View the full article
  12. While Adobe Illustrator doesn't have as many plugins as its raster brother Photoshop, developers take the application very seriously when it comes to building new tools, effects and workflow solutions. Extending the abilities of Illustrator isn't usually necessary, but, as with Photoshop, plugins can save time and effort. These plugins won't cause a mini-revolution in your studio, but they will enable you to carry out certain tasks quicker. Plus, many of these are designed for older versions of Ai, adding some functionality of newer versions like Creative Cloud without the additional expense of upgrading. You'll find a couple of collections in the following list, too, so there are actually way more than 17 Adobe Illustrator plugins here – enjoy! 01. VectorScribe v3 Price: $92 Compatibility: CS6 to CC 2017 Take control of your vectors with VectorScribe, described by its creators as a vector Swiss Army knife. You can use it to manage points, paths and handles, making your work easier to edit and reducing file sizes at the same time. You can create and edit shapes as well as applying different styles of corner to your work, and with VectorScribe's dynamic measurements you can quickly and accurately measure everything from simple lengths to angles and path areas, removing any guesswork when you need to get things exactly the right size. 02. Cineware for Illustrator Add another dimension to your work with Cineware for Illustrator Price: Free Compatibility: Mac OS and Windows 10 Start working in 3D with this new plugin by MAXON in partnership with TurboSquid. This entry-level piece of software is perfect for designers who have felt intimidated by 3D tools in the past but still want to experiment with the medium. The plugin works by allowing users to import any Cinema 4D file and adjust the view, lighting and textures to integrate 3D elements with 2D design. One crucial difference between this plugin and Adobe's Project Felix is that with Cineware you don't have to leave Illustrator to start rendering. This streamlines the workflow for product designers, especially seeing as changes can be made at any time and the image will re-render automatically. 03. Gold Rush Add some sparkle to your Illustrator designs with Gold Rush Price: $22 Compatibility: CS3+ Give your work a classy, presidential look with Gold Rush, a plugin providing all the metallic, glitter and foil effects that you'll ever need. Containing 218 swatches in raster format and 35 brushed elements, it's ideal for anything that needs a bit of bling. The set includes hot foil effects, crumpled foil, gold leaf, bokeh, metallic paint, and much more, not just in gold but also rose gold, black, silver and copper. 04. Hot Door Control Ramp up your productivity with Hot Door Control Plug-ins Price: $98 Compatibility: CS6 to CC 2015 Control is a set of seven plugins for Illustrator that enable you to ramp up your productivity with new techniques for editing, organising and labelling your work. Available for $20 each – or $98 for the whole set – the various plugins can help you select artwork with custom search criteria, create layer groups for organisation and printing, nudge artwork at less than 1pt increments, log your time spent on documents, call out artwork and document attributes and attach tags to artwork for counting and tracking materials. 05. Concatenate Concatenate is extremely useful and just $20 Price: $20 Compatibility: CS3 to CC 2017 Concatenate is a plugin filter that connects multiple paths into one continuous path, similar to the Merge Path command when using the Blob Brush tool in Illustrator CS4 and CS5. However, Concatenate adds a few extra features including an 'assimilate' function, which scans a selected area or layer for unselected paths, and adds them to the merge. The 'connect' function then enables users to subsequently add lines or extra segments between open paths. 06. ColliderScribe v2 Price: $33/£25 Compatibility: CS to CC 2017 ColliderScribe provides a simple toolset for Illustrator that lets you position shapes accurately, placing any object precisely next to another when they touch, and enabling you to quickly and easily arrange shapes in formations and patterns. ColliderScribe 2 includes a Rotate To Collision Tool, plus severa features and improvements not seen in version 1 – including a New Space Fill feature, which lets you fill the container path with selected objects, distributing them evenly within the shape. 07. ArtBlue Gold 2.53 Simultaneously edit paths belonging to the same group Price: $159 Compatibility: CS6 to CC 2014 (Mac OS X only) For a more pricey but sophisticated shape-creation tool, Amazon Canvas' ArtBlue Gold 2.5 comes with a range of tools and a custom shape feature that lets you import and export formations between ArtBlue and Photoshop. A Shape Transform Matrix tool – among other features – means you can convert a simple shape into common shape formations or complex geometric sculptures, and objects placed in 3D space can be edited and tracked. 08. Patharea Price: Free Compatibility: Ai 7/8/9, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS6 If you need to calculate the length or area of interlocking or singular Illustrator paths, there is an inbuilt option, but it involves accessing the debugging dialog box and scanning for the appropriate info. Patharea makes the process speedier. You access it via the Filters menu, and it gives the length of a selected path, or area of conjoined paths and shapes, making precise calculations for printed graphics far snappier to retrieve. 09. EskoArtwork Data Exchange Plug-in Price: Free Compatibility: CS6 to CC 2017 ArtiosCAD is a mainstay application in the packaging design industry, and this Illustrator plugin acts as the perfect bridge. It enables users to open native ArtiosCAD files in Illustrator without the need to convert and flatten them, position them on the artboard and then apply swatches, objects and full Ai files upon the ArtiosCAD design. You can then manipulate guides and paths of the Illustrator artwork directly on the ArtiosCAD object. It also works as a bridge between Esko's other apps: Automation Engine, PackEdge, Plato and ArtPro. 10. CADtools 11 Price: $379 Compatibility: CS5 to CC 2017 As the name suggests, CADtools adds CAD functionality to Illustrator. Very useful features include the ability to snap objects and project art onto isometric grids, which can save hours. CADtools 11 also adds 92 new tools, organised into 10 groups, to the Illustrator toolbox. It's a well-thought-out plugin that can boost efficiency dramatically. Upgrading from version 8, 9 or 10 costs $229, or newcomers can get the full version for $379. 11. SymmetryWorks 6 The new Color Symmetries pane offers 46 secondary symmetry buttons Price: $364 (full version - other options available) Compatibility: Ai 10 to CC 2017 At $364 for the full version, SymmetryWorks isn't a casual purchase. It's a specialist tool, but if you work with repeat graphics and complex patterns, it'll save you a considerable amount of time. SymmetryWorks lets you quickly generate repeating graphics using Illustrator's drawing tools, then apply transformations to 'grow' the pattern. Once they're complete, patterns can be saved as swatches. LivePresets then augments this process, enabling users to update and edit these pattern swatches and symbols through a 'live edit' function. The latest version adds a new way of automatically creating patterns – by adding colour reversals to simple geometric transformations. This technique balances 'positive' and 'negative' counterparts and automatically generates spectacular, easy-on-the-eye patterns. 12. Select Menu Price: Free Compatibility: CS3 to CC 2017 The addition of 18 extra objects to Illustrator may seem unnecessary, but this plugin grants users access to guides, open paths, closed paths, unfilled paths, stroked paths, unstroked paths, dashed paths, undashed paths, compound paths, groups and more on a single object. It twins these with additional export options that, while present in Illustrator natively, can be combined here for saving transparencies and flattening images quickly. 13. Xtream Path 2 There's no need for control points with Xtream Path 2 Price: $139 Compatibility: Ai 8 to CC 2017 A brilliant addition to Illustrator's path-editing providing, among other things, the freedom to grab anywhere on a path and edit it from that position, rather than adding control points. It takes a while to get the hang of but soon becomes a very efficient way to construct artwork. The Symmetric Edit tool is beautiful and Smart Rounding is fantastic. A great suite of tools and excellent value. 14. Phantasm v3 Price: $78 Compatibility: CS5 to CC Phantasm CS's appeal is in its simplicity. It effectively plugs a hole between Illustrator and Photoshop, adding familiar bitmap-editing functions and options to a vector workflow. Such tools include Curves, Hue and Saturation, Levels and even Automation functions for all of the above. All of the effects are non-destructive, and it also offers duotone and halftone options, an overprint preview and a separations option that adds some serious prepress weight to Illustrator's arsenal. 15. FILTERiT 5 FilterIt 5 is a versatile tool that lets you create simple to complex images in seconds Price: $129 Compatibility: CS6 to CC 2017 This classic suite of plugins has been updated in response to Adobe incorporating many of the original feature sets into CS4 and CS5. For earlier version users, the 3D Transform options are still a solid choice, but now all users can benefit from its Trace Options for quick animation work, and Live Cut Out, Emboss, Live Neon, and Border features. Finally, a Live Circle feature enables users to quickly copy a single object into a circle pattern. 16. CAD-COMPO CAD-COMPO is a cheaper combination of plugins than CADtools 9 Price: $150 Compatibility: Ai 10 to CC 2017 A cheaper alternative to CADtools 9, CAD-COMPO is a combination of technical drawing plugins including BPT-Pro4, which adds a highly functional 2D-CAD program into Illustrator, and EXDXF-Pro4, which assists the import of CAD-standard DXF files to Illustrator and export of Ai files to CAD. 17. Magic Exporter Quickly export objects from your AI docs to PNGs for all devices and screens Price: $25/£23 Compatibility: CC Jeremy Marchand's Magic Exporter simplifies the process of exporting objects from Ai docs to web-ready PNG files. Instead of having to manually slice or hide layers to export the object you need, all you have to do is mark the object you need and export it using the dedicated menu. Helpfully, it can automatically create several PNG copies of the same object scaled to screen sizes. If you're creating UI elements for the web in Illustrator, this will save you valuable time. Main image: Ben O'Brien Related articles: 100 amazing Adobe Illustrator tutorials The 60 best free Photoshop brushes 55 best free fonts for designers View the full article
  13. The KRACK, or key reinstallation attack, disclosed today allow attackers to decrypt encrypted traffic, steal data and inject malicious code depending on the network configuration. View the full article
  14. Once you've come up with an idea for a fantasy creature, the next step is to bring it to life by painting it with believable colours and textures. Here are our workflow tips for painting creatures in pencil and watercolour. If you're having trouble coming up with ideas, take a look at our guide to designing imaginary beasts. Then, follow these steps... 01. Brainstorm A theme may help you to brainstorm ideasFirst, get those ideas down on paper. Usually it’ll take me a while to create any shapes that I like, or even anything that I’d want to take further. Sometimes they appear fully formed and others will never make it into a painting. I use my heavy blunt mechanical pencil to make loose designs and then refine them with a sharper point. For the thumbnails above, my theme was ‘enchanted forest’ – and anything that popped into my head that may exist in such a place was extracted from my brain. 02. Use a wide pencil for rough ideas Using a wide pencil keeps ideas rough and quickMost of my creature ideas begin with a very rough thumbnail. I prefer to use a very large 5.6mm heavy mechanical pencil by Koh-I-Noor, which stops me getting obsessed with detail. I wanted to create something darkly mischievous with this guy. Buy a Koh-I-Noor 5.6mm mechanical pencil (UK) for £4.50 Buy a Koh-I-Noor 5.6mm mechanical pencil (US) for $4.90 03. Try a watercolour sketch Use a light wash to sketch with watercolourMy next step from thumbnail is sketching with watercolour. Instead of damaging the watercolour paper, which is easy to do with lots of erasing of pencil lines, I use a fine brush (my favourite is size 3 Series 7 Winsor & Newton sable) and using a light wash I draw the creature directly onto the paper. 04. Depict the fine details Work from light to dark to build up the paintingOnce I’ve sketched the design in watercolour, I make a pass with a darker wash and figure out which areas I want lighter and darker. With watercolour you need to work from light to dark. The process is time consuming, but well worth it for the final result. I’m a big fan of detail so I use very fine brushes for this. It also enables you to go steady with the value range, which in this instance I hadn’t decided on until I started the painting. 05. Build up layers Building up layers is particularly important for painting furIn the case of this Darkling Glib creature, I didn’t quite capture the dark and creepy nature of the initial rough thumbnail. However, I was really pleased with the result. With any furry creature it’s worth taking the time to slowly build up layers of washes to paint fur. 06. Throw out all your plans Drop paint onto a wet board and watch abstract shapes emerge and spark your imaginationThis is another valid way of coming up with an interesting creature. For this piece I started by soaking the illustration board (a Strathmore 500 wet media board) using a misting spray bottle filled with water. I then mixed some paints and started dropping the colour onto the paper. This made for some wonderful accidental shapes. With this approach, eventually you’ll start to see something appear among these shapes and you can then start to refine it. 07. Go with the flow Let the happy accidents roll inFor my magical being here, I saw a face, so I started to build on that. I used the interesting shapes that the watercolour made as it dried (a very handy tip is to have a small hair dryer at your desk so you can speed up the drying of each wash). Once I’d started picking out a nose and some eyes (plus an extra one!), I could continue working around the painting and further develop the face more. The great thing about using watercolour paint, particularly into wet paper, is that it’s unpredictable. It’s the perfect setup for generating those happy accidents. 08. Splash paint around to create texture Use real creatures as a reference for your fantasy beasts' texturesHave fun with patterns and shapes to give the impression of scales or knobbly textured skin. I used reference from the mouths of lizards and also crocodiles for this dragon’s jaw and then mixed it up a bit. Splash paint around and let it dry in various textures, then use the patterns from those dried splodges to guide where you might make marks. I like to keep things fairly organic-looking. 09. Use a rigger brush for fine hairs Rigger brushes create perfect fine lines for hairI used a fine rigger brush to create the very fine long hairs all over this little chap. The rigger is a wonderful brush for keeping control of fine lines and they hold a fair amount of pigment, which is always useful. The brush’s name comes from the brushes that were created to paint the rigging on paintings of tall ships. 10. Develop the eyes Again, studying the eyes of real creatures will add realism to your fantasy creature paintingsEyes are possibly the most important thing to bring a creature or strange being to life. The final dots of watery reflection in them can make or break a painting. Make sure you study lots of pictures of eyes – consider finding some eyes that don’t belong in a human face and put them there, such as the eyes of an octopus! These are the things which can create an unusual, original creature. I chose a contrasting colour for the eyes of my green man so that they instantly pop out from the greens and purples. 11. Use Acryla gouache for glossy eyes Painting spots of light on the eyes suggests wetnessGlossy eyes are essential, especially in a mammal. Once I’m ready to add highlights to an eye I bring out the Acryla gouache. This medium is permanent and behaves much like acrylic, except that it dries completely matte – just like watercolour. I use this all the time for highlights in my paintings, and it can be mixed with watercolour to tint it (or you can buy other colours in the same medium too, of course). As well as the main highlight on the eye, I always add tiny spots of light around the lids of the eye to give the impression of wetness. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 151. Buy it here. Related articles: How to draw and paint - 100 pro tips and tutorials 20 best iPad art apps for digital painting and sketching 9 top tips for drawing in black and white View the full article
  15. Free 3D drawing software SketchUp is pretty straightforward to use, but with the right textures you can create impressive 3D art. The tool makes it easy to import SketchUp textures and modify them with its editing tools. You can even use Photoshop within the program to create the exact look you require. SketchUp supports pretty much every image format, except DDS. So any JPEG, PNG and PSD files are fine, and you can even use V-Ray’s .vismats files if you have the V-Ray rendering tool add-on. TIFs give the most realistic rendering, as these are print-quality images with super-high resolution, giving your textures the added detail that's particularly important for games design and animations. Despite this, it can be a little tiresome to collect enough high-res imagery to build up a sufficient and diverse collection of SketchUp textures to use in your 3D projects, so we’ve made it easy with our roundup of the best SketchUp texture packs that can easily be added to your catalogue. Use them for all your design needs – whether that be for your latest gaming project, or an interior design commission. 01. Wood Textures Creator: Lost & Taken Price: $10 Caleb Kimbrough runs the blog Lost & Taken with the simple goal of providing the best SketchUp textures available. On his DeviantArt account, he offers a whole host of textures for free, but in order to keep his dream alive, his full sets (and they are pretty substantial) cost a few bucks. These 52 different wood textures are a solid start if you want to a nice wood grain effect for any project. The full pack comes at a reasonable price, but for the budget (read: free) version, you can download six of Lost & Taken’s wood textures here. 02. Fabric Patterns Creator: WebTreats Etc Price: Free This pack of eight tileable SketchUp textures includes the most common fabrics you may want to recreate within your 3D composite, including denim, wool, leather and cotton with a variety of weaves to play around with. The textures are offered in two resolutions and as both PSD and JPG formats. 03. Concrete Textures Creator: Vandelay Design Price: Free Concrete textures vary hugely, and are incredibly useful for things like urban landscapes (post-apocalyptic or not). Steven Snell is a part-time web developer, blogger and dog walker, not to mention editor-in-chief of Vandelay Design. He has graciously compiled a great list of 30+ concrete textures and a set of free, high-res textures that are available to use in your own design work. 04. Marble Textures Creator: GraphicBurger Price: Free GraphicBurger is a great little design source for all your graphic needs, and volume 4 of its collection of high-res marble texture images are brilliantly easy to import into SketchUp. These real marble images will add a touch of ancient elegance to your architectural design, and can be used for free in both personal and commercial projects. 05. Stone Walls Creator: David Chumilla Liccioli Price: $6 Spanish 3D digital artist David Chumilla Liccioli regularly offers up textures for free on Gumroad. These four realistic stone wall tile textures are based on Photogrammetry meshes captured in rural and urban environments. The artist suggests a scale of 2 or 2.5 metres per tile. 06. Stone Textures Creator: Joost Vanhoutte Price: Free Digital 3D artist Joost Vanhoutte runs Texture Ninja, a textures site. Although most of his packs are completely free, he appreciates a donation to keep his textures site alive, so you can support him via his Patreon. This pack includes a whopping 111 different stone textures, so you're sure to find one that suits your project. 07. Road Textures Creator: Ezekeil_HQ Price: $40.60 This pack of 225 road textures features both JPG and PNG formats of tileable, seamless images, entirely based on real-life photos of roads worldwide. The pack contains stripes, lines, marks, arrows, manholes, reflectors, patches, signs, dust and dirt and details of various roads, making it easy to realistically recreate cityscapes or lost highways. 08. Surface Imperfections Creator: Clement Feuillet Price: 7 EUR Surface Collection 1 offers a fantastic selection of 80 textures of surfaces and imperfections in high-res TIF format – plus, most are completely tileable. This SketchUp textures pack was compiled by French digital artist Clement Feuillet. The pack includes dust, scratches, liquid, stains, cracks, grunge effects, rust, dirt, fingerprints and more to enhance your 3D digital scenes. 09. Dirt and Soil Textures Creator: Holypixel Price: $6 These 10 Seamless Dirt and Soil Textures have been designed at a resolution of 1500 x 1500px, and are sure to bring your organic digital world to life. Available in both JPG and Photoshop PAT files, they are perfect for 3D visualisations and rendering. They're completely unique, too. 10. Glass Textures Creator: Dragon Woman (dbstrtz) Price: Free Glass can be hard to capture digitally without some serious rendering skills, but with the help of Dragon Woman’s seven-image pack on Deviant Art, you can recreate a variety of textured glass to insert easily into your 3D designs. She regularly compiles free packs, so check out her stone and wood collections too! 11. Wet Sand Creator: Fiat Lux Price: $21.60 Fiat Lux specialises in 3D materials, textures and light rigs. This particular collection of five 4K textures is already fully mapped, allowing you to easily recreate the wet sand materials. Each of these SketchUp textures has been created procedurally, so they tile seamlessly. Included in the pack are a general beach sand, white sand, red clay sand, white river sand and black lava sand. 12. Metal Textures Creator: Scott R Price: Free Metals are another common texture required when building a 3D model. Although this pack is small, it contains a great variety of metallic textures and patterns, including rusted, scratched, galvanised, polished and perforated options. Plus, all of these were created using the SketchUp program itself. 13. Wallpaper Textures Creator: Rich O’Brien Price: $1.99 Whether you design for the real world as an interior designer or architect, or create your own digital worlds as a games designer, having a selection of wallpapers can really give your digital set a homely and realistic feel. Not all walls are bricks or concrete, so easily give them that splash of colour without the fuss of illustrating it yourself, with these 24 seamless wallpaper textures. Read more: 30 free 3D models 37 brilliant Blender tutorials The 10 biggest 3D movies of 2017 View the full article
  16. For today's daily deal, we've got you a great discount on a bundle of courses that will teach you coding skills. And if you're after more amazing deals for designers, illustrators, artists and more, bookmark our Best Black Friday deals 2017 page. Knowing how to code is becoming an essential skill for all sorts of professions, and it's never too late to learn. You can pick up the fundamentals of the coding languages that makes our favourite websites and services function with the help of the Ultimate Learn to Code 2017 Bundle. Get it on sale now for just $49 (approx £37) – plus save an additional 50% off when you use the coupon code BUNDLE50 at checkout. It doesn't matter if you want to learn to code just for fun or if you'd like to eventually launch a web career based on the skill, you'll find a course that can help you in the Ultimate Learn to Code Bundle 2017. This massive collection of courses will give you the know-how necessary to become a talented web developer with the skills to craft great projects with your coding skills. With more than 80 hours of actionable content and 10 courses on everything from Python to Ruby on Rails to Java, you’ll be building your own apps and sites in no time. The Learn to Code 2017 Bundle usually retails for $1,186. Right now, you can save 95% off the retail price. That means you'll pay just $49 (approx £37) for an incredible bundle of courses that could change your career course, so grab it today. Don’t forget to use the coupon code BUNDLE50 at checkout to save an additional 50% off. The 10 courses included in this bundle are: Python for Beginners 2017 Java From Beginner to Expert Practical Web Programming 101 The Professional Ruby on Rails Developer with Rails 5 JavaScript Specialist Designation The Complete HTML5 & CSS3 Course: Build Professional Websites Angular 2 with TypeScript for Beginners: The Pragmatic Guide Learn Xamarin by Creating Real World Cross-Platform Apps iOS 10 & Objective-C: Complete Developer Course Learn Fundamental SQL Programming With SQL Server 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. Related articles: Get 250 Udemy courses free for a limited period Get a lifetime of tech training from eduCBA on sale 25 top-class website templates View the full article
  17. https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16481136/wpa2-wi-fi-krack-vulnerability … View the full article
  18. Last Sunday, Rich McCor, Thomas Kakareko and Nathalie Geffroy touched down in Los Angeles ready to set off on an epic road trip across America, courtesy of Adobe. We're now a week into #RoadtoMAX17, and what a week it has been! On Monday the trip kicked off in style, with the group rising early to catch the sunrise over Los Angeles. The trio made sure their pre-5am wake-up call was worthwhile by capturing some incredible images, before taking in the sights of Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach and Redondo. Armed with their own shots of the sunny morning, the group made their way to Malibu to meet up with world-famous music photographer Guido Karp. Part of the aim of the road trip is to use collaboration, new tools, and plenty of experimentation explore the world through fresh eyes, and this was the ideal opportunity for the photographers to break out of their comfort zones. Along with Karp, the trio discovered how to shoot from an entirely different perspective, using El Matador Beach as the backdrop. On Tuesday, the group journeyed to Salvation Mountain, taking in the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs and the Cabazon Dinosaurs along the way, before heading East to Phoenix, Arizona and – of course – the Grand Canyon. En route, they captured, edited and developed work based around themes of nature, people and the artificial world, with the help of Adobe's full suite of desktop and mobile tools. Since then, the photographers have been continuing their trip across the continent towards Las Vegas, where they'll arrive in time for Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, which runs from 18-20 October. The entire road trip is being documented, so you can follow along on the journey. Follow @AdobeUK #RoadToMAX17 for live updates or check out the official Adobe Spark travel diary. View the full article
  19. When it comes to creating digital art and web designs, Photoshop (part of Adobe's Creative Cloud) has been the go-to tool for years. But this doesn't mean it's the only software for the job. In recent years Sketch, a proprietary vector graphics editor, has risen through the ranks to become a serious rival to the mighty Photoshop. With an Apple Design Award to its name, as well as being named app of the year by our very own net magazine, there's clearly something special about Sketch. How does it compare to Photoshop, though? To guide potential users and old hands through the pros and cons of both Sketch and Photoshop, MonsterPost has created this handy infographic. Covering everything from workflow efficiency to tools on offer, this head-to-head infographic doesn't pull any punches. But who emerges as the winner? Find out below. See MonsterPost's blog post about the infographic here. Related articles: 8 free tools for creating infographics 95 top Photoshop tutorials 23 top Sketch plugins View the full article
  20. Earlier this year, Computer Arts magazine polled over 80 top creative directors, studio founders and design course leaders from across the UK to discover which industry peers they most revere and respect, to produce its annual UK Top 50 studio rankings. Now in its fourth year, this list is all about peer reputation – regardless of the studios' number of staff, operating budget or awards won. In short, the 50 world-class studios on the list are there because their fellow designers think they should be. We'll be releasing the full rankings over the coming weeks, but scroll down to see who snagged spots 31-50 in 2017. Or if you can't wait, get your hands on a print or digital version of Computer Arts magazine issue 272 now to see the whole list. As well as revealing all the winners, this special issue comes with an incredible, collectable glow-in-the-dark cover, designed exclusively by Studio Sutherl&. See how it was printed in the video above. Buy your collectable Computer Arts #272 now Read on to discover who made the cut in the UK’s Top 50 studios 2017, and stay tuned to find out which tiny studio rocketed to the top spot after an incredible year. 31. Nomad Studio Founded: 2016 Location: London Number of staff: 6 “Last year it was really all about survival,” contemplates Stuart Watson, partner and creative director of Nomad Studio. “This year it’s going to be all about the work: launching Sky Sports in partnership with Sky Creative. It was a pretty tough ask for a small studio, but we’ve made it work and we’re really proud of the team.” 32. Zak Group Founded: 2005 Location: London Number of staff: 8 “2017 has all been about us expanding our work in the digital field,” says Zak Group director, Zak Kyes. “Right now, we’re in the process of developing a flagship digital platform for M+, the museum of visual culture in Hong Kong, as well as the website for the renowned German art school, Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.” 33. NB Studio Founded: 1997 Location: London Number of staff: 10 Nick Finney, co-founder and creative director of NB Studio, sees the last 12 months as a mixed bag: “Battles were won, lost and drawn,” he says. “Talented people left and talented people joined. Clients were wowed and records were beaten.” And the biggest highlight? “Virtual reality landed in the studio and it’s an exciting project,” he enthuses. 34. Studio Makgill Founded: 2007 Location: Brighton Number of staff: 5 “During 2017, it’s felt like we’ve had to hold on really tight at times, but as long as you enjoy the moments of calm, all is okay,” says Hamish Makgill, creative director and founder of this Brighton-based agency. “The biggest highlight of the year was two massive projects landing in the studio on the same day.” 35. Design Bridge Founded: 1986 Location: London (plus Amsterdam, Singapore, New York) Number of staff: 400 “Our new global brand identity for Hellmann’s launched in March this year, and we’re now seeing it applied to all brand communications and touchpoints,” says Design Bridge’s group brand guardian Birgitte Woehlk. Also this year, CCO Graham Shearsby has been appointed as a D&AD trustee, and the agency has been acquired by WPP. 36. B&B Studio Founded: 2009 Location: London Number of staff: 24 “2017 has felt like a year when we’ve been attracting the right sort of clients,” reflects B&B creative partner Shaun Bowen. “Brands that aren’t afraid to be challenging, like BrewDog. Brands that are willing to be challenged like Higgidy and Firefly. Brands that are defined by their ethical purpose, like Snact and Kit & Kin.” 37. Commission Studio Founded: 2013 Location: London Number of staff: 6 “In 2017 we’ve worked with fashion brands like & Other Stories and Léon Bara, speciality coffee brands Volcano and Old Spike, luxury goods companies LVMH, Rimowa, and Moët Hennessy,” says co-founder and creative director Christopher Moorby. “Working across lots of industries keeps things interesting and we also often get to cross-pollinate.” 38. Rose Design Founded: 1999 Location: London Number of staff: 8 “Despite the political climate, we’ve had an exciting, challenging, yet ultimately rewarding year,” says Simon Elliott, owner and creative partner at Rose Design. Highlights have included launching its long-awaited new website, and publication design work for the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games held in Baku, Azerbaijan. 39. Moth Founded: 2015 Location: London Number of staff: 7 “This year has been a landmark for Moth, says producer Ifor Ashton. “We recently made a big shift from being a collective to a full-time production studio, and that really came to fruition in 2017. We were also lucky to spend a lot of time in New York earlier and work directly with Facebook on a big rebrand.” 40. Here Design Founded: 2006 Location: London Number of staff: 31 “The projects that stand out in 2017 are those unexpected enquiries,” says creative partner at Here Design, Caz Hildebrand. “A kombucha brewery in Suffolk, barista training for young offenders, a book on the joys of punctuation. Going into 2018, we’re planning to redesign our own company structure, to better reflect all the diverse things we work on.” Next page: Top UK studios 2017 numbers 41-50 41. Moving Brands Founded: 1998 Location: London (plus Zurich, San Francisco, New York) Number of staff: 64 “We’re working in a whirlwind of huge technological leaps and cultural shifts,” says John Faye, UK/EU marketing manager at Moving Brands. “In 2017, we’ve been partnering with some incredible leaders, entrepreneurs and organisations, such as IBM i. And we’ve taken time to boost learning and empower teams.” 42. Supple Studio Founded: 2013 Location: Bath Number of staff: 4 “This year has seen Supple Studio pass a number of milestones, says creative director Jamie Ellul. “May gave us our first D&AD Pencil. In July, we moved to a beautiful, three-floor studio. And designing the products and collectibles for the Royal Mail’s David Bowie stamp issue was a dream come true.” 43. John Morgan Studio Founded: 2000 Location: London Number of staff: 3 The scope and reach of John Morgan Studio extended further in 2017, as its titular founder began a professorship at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The year’s biggest highlight was the launch of Four Corners Irregulars, a new series of books about modern British visual history, while 2018 will see the studio launch a new type foundry. 44. Love Creative Founded: 2001 Location: Manchester Number of staff: 52 “In the last 12 months we’ve seen our brand and packaging reset for Häagen-Dazs go live, as well as our latest packaging work for Haig Club, known as The Clubman,” says executive creative director David Palmer. “We’ve also expanded the business onto two floors and picked up a whole bunch of awards.” 45. Pearlfisher Founded: 1992 Location: London (plus New York, Copenhagen, San Francisco) Number of staff: 120 “In 2017, we’re celebrating one of the best financial performances of recent years,” says founding partner and CEO of Pearlfisher, Jonathan Ford. “Highlights included rebrands of iconic tea and coffee brand Taylors of Harrogate, audio lifestyle brand B&O Play and art product brand Reeves – its first major rebrand in 250 years.” 46. SB Studio Founded: 2009 Location: Liverpool and London Number of staff: 9 “The past year’s flown by,” says Benji Holroyd, creative director at SB Studio. “Our highlight has been the full renaming and rebrand of Innovators Hub, now affectionately known as OH. The first product of our design sprint process, all in one week. Fast, relevant, no BS and a beautiful result.” 47. Julia Founded: 2008 Location: London (and Rome) Number of staff: 3 Julia is a small London studio making its first appearance on our list this year. “We’ve been working with well-regarded institutions, that’s probably increased our exposure a bit,” reasons co-founder Hugo Timm. The studio has also just opened an office in Rome and plans to do the same in Paris in 2018, the year of its 10th anniversary. 48. Magpie Founded: 2008 Location: London Number of staff: 10 “Demand’s been high for Magpie’s services in 2017,” says co-founder David Azurdia. “Having worked so hard to keep the quality of our work so high, it’s really nice to feel as though people value it.” And he’s optimistic about 2018, despite Brexit. “As bleak as it’s all looking, we’re creative thinkers: we adapt and survive.” 49. GBH Founded: 1999 Location: London Number of staff: 25 GBH co-founder Peter Hale cites two big highlights for the agency in 2017. “Firstly launching the GBH book, Charm, Belligerence and Diversity, celebrating almost 20 years of working together,” he says. “Secondly, working with Vincross, a fanatical team of Chinese entrepreneurs and developers in Beijing on a robotics project called HEXA. 50. Together Design Founded: 2003 Location: London Number of staff: 18 The last 12 months have been a period of consolidation at Together, says brand planner Robin Kadrnka. “We won a number of design awards for different clients, and we were excited to maintain the variety of projects that we enjoy so much, including London’s Eat 17 store and restaurant chain.” Related articles: How to make it in a top studio Studio vs freelance: The pros and cons 20 tips for design interview success View the full article
  21. You're reading Mega Navigation Menu Design Trends in Modern Websites, originally posted on Designmodo. If you've enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+! We’ve all seen mega navigations and fullscreen dropdowns online. They’re common across the web and especially useful on sites with tons of links. But designing a mega nav that works can be a real pain. There are no strict guidelines for these menus so you have to study what others are doing and try to […] View the full article
  22. Whatever design course you’re on, you’ve probably noticed it’s a little behind the times. And to a certain extent, that’s unavoidable. From a practical point of view, it takes some time to put together a workable syllabus, and when it comes to updating it, the gears of university bureaucracy tend to grind slowly. And actually, there’s nothing wrong with that. Ultimately, you’re there to learn the fundamentals of design, and those remain timeless. When it comes to your first job, your creative director is going to be far less concerned about, say, whether you’re au fait with the latest Adobe software than if you understand the basics of good composition and following a brief. But it’s still worth catching up with a few recent trends that may have passed you by in the meantime. In this post, we’ll bring you quickly up to speed with 5 design industry trends. 01. Design is becoming more important Turner Duckworth is one of many firms expanding in response to greater demand for design servicesWe’ll start with some good news: you’ve chosen a good time to study design. Because nowadays it’s not just the subordinate of wider business goals, but increasingly the driver of them. “It’s an exciting time,” says David Turner, joint CEO and CCO of Turner Duckworth, which has recently moved to a bigger offices in London and expanded to New York. ”We’ve seen design become more and more important in the rapidly shifting world of communications, and design excellence is more and more valued as a true differentiator.” In short, design is no longer an optional add-on or a subset of marketing, but an integral part of business strategy, says Nicki Sprinz, managing director of ustwo. “Clients are asking us to help them introduce new ways of working alongside the products and services we are building with them,” she explains. “A huge number of companies are going through digital transformation, and we're partnering with them to make the transition easier.” A good example of this is ustwo’s work with the Co-op, which has asked the Co-op to help drive efficiencies in its food business over the next five years. “These big strategic challenges are super exciting and they have the potential to make a massive difference to our clients’ business,” she says, “although it does mean that we are working in new ways and in new areas that at times take us out of our comfort zone.” This probably won’t directly impact you in your first design job; expect most of your time to be spent on commonplace tasks such as colour correction and preparing images for print. But in a broader sense, the trend means that opportunities are expanding, both in terms of agencies and in-house design departments. So rather than jumping at the first job you see, it’s worth having a look at what’s on offer and working out where you and your skillset can best fit. 02. The fundamentals of web design are being disrupted CSS in JavaScript is changing the way we think about web design. (Image by Jonathan White) If you’ve studied web design on your course, you’ll no doubt have covered the basics. So you’ll know that HTML is used for content, CSS for styling and JavaScript for animation and interactivity. But what may not have been mentioned is that there’s a new growing movement to do things differently; namely, styling your documents within JavaScript itself. Driven by the React community, this practice remains controversial to say the least. But with its emphasis on creating reusable components, it does promise to save web designers a lot of time ‘reinventing the wheel’, so it could well become an established practice in the near future. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the methods that your tutors have taught you, of course. But it’s probably worth getting an overview on this new trend too. Check out this Medium post by Jonathan White to see what all the fuss is about. 03. Disciplines are merging and regrouping Subscribers to the Creative Cloud get a wide range of software that makes it easier to switch between disciplinesIs your design course specialised into a specific discipline? Do you consider yourself a graphic designer, web designer, motion designer, UX designer animator or 3D artist, specifically? If so, that’s not a bad thing. Employers like applicants who have a clear idea about where their interests lie and what they want to achieve. But just be aware that not everyone in design has such clearly defined roles. In fact, in many ways, the boundaries between different disciplines are becoming more porous. That’s partly because of new hardware. For instance, in a world where even magazine covers and ad campaigns are being shot on iPhones, the idea that you’re not a “real photographer” unless you own expensive equipment is fast disappearing. It’s also to do with the evolution of software. Nowadays anyone who subscribes to Adobe’s Creative Cloud has access not just to Photoshop and Illustrator but to tools like After Effects and Premiere Pro, and common features and interfaces across the suite makes picking up such new skills quicker and easier. Overall, we’d call this trend good news for students. Because it means that over time, you’ll be freer to push your creative development in any direction you want - rather than having to restrict yourself to one unchanging one, the moment you start your first job. 04. Social media is increasingly central These days, employers are as likely to see your work via a social platform like Behance as through a formally submitted portfolioOnce upon a time, employers would take the time to respond to a speculative letter and check out your portfolio. Nowadays, though, they don’t necessarily need to do that. That's because they’re finding that the best work from promising graduates often appears before them miraculously, through the magic of social media sharing. So if you’re not sharing the work you’re most proud of (whether that be freelance work, college assignments or personal projects) on a social platform such as Instagram, Twitter, Behance, Dribbble or ArtStation, you’re probably going to miss out. We’re not quite at the stage of social media dominance that other creative industries have reached - not yet anyway. For example, if you’re a model these days, no modelling agency will interview you unless you have at least 10K Instagram followers. A graduate designer doesn't need to have thousands of followers, but if your work has no social existence at all, it may well count against you. That said, don’t try to do too much. If you attempt to populate all the different social media platforms, you’ll probably make a pig’s ear of it. You’re better off picking one social platform that’s right for you, and focusing all of your energies and attentions on that. 05. The industry is spreading out The critical and commercial success of agencies like Music shows that you don’t need to be in London to make a name for yourself Think you need to be in London, New York, Paris or Tokyo to find a decent design job? Well, it probably won’t hurt. But technologies like high-speed broadband have made the world a lot smaller, and the design industry a lot more diffuse, over recent years. And that’s a trend that can only continue into the 2020s. So you’ll find a number of influential design agencies outside capital cities nowadays: check out our list of brilliant Manchester agencies, for example. And even in smaller towns and cities, you’ll find a surprising range of creative agencies, web startups, print shops, animation studios and in-house design departments if you dig deep enough. So rather than think: ‘Where do I need to go to find work?’, it may be better to think: ‘Where do I want to live?’ and go from there. Good luck! Related articles: The student guide to working at a top agency 5 design agencies that do things differently 6 rock-solid ways to improve your graphic design portfolio View the full article
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  24. The Wacom MobileStudio Pro tablet PC aims to give professional designers, illustrators, artists and photographers the convenience of a mobile tablet, alongside the full power of creative apps like Photoshop and Illustrator. Get Adobe Creative CloudIt comes in two versions: a 13-inch model (£1,399.99 - £2,299.99) and 16-inch (£2,199.98 - £2,749.99). And, like the Surface Pro, the hybrid mobile computer – this is far more than just a drawing tablet – offers the full Windows 10 experience. So does it strike the right balance between usable power and portability? And should you buy it? Wacom MobileStudio Pro: portability The Wacom MobileStudio Pro is a world apart from its Cintiq range of devices. Sleeker and less boxy, it feels high-end before you even power it on. The choice of materials is exactly what you'd expect from a device of this cost, and the weight adds to the solid feel. The Wacom MobileStudio Pro isn't light, but then this isn't a casual Surface or iPad Pro. It’s a professional-level content creation machine that users will lean on heavily and, as such, needs to be sturdy. Lets face it: when it's on the desk, the weight is a definite bonus. It certainly doesn't need to be carried with a keyboard or mouse (although that can be done) as the eight fully customisable ExpressKeys, touch ring, and various switches and pots are well-placed for right or left-handers. They’re also numerous enough to enable the most common shortcuts to be programmed (globally or by app too). Wacom MobileStudio Pro: screen and pen The biggest talking point of the Wacom MobileStudio Pro is its screen and pen interface. Wacom's Pro Pen 2 boasts increased capabilities – including 60 degrees of tilt, over 8000 levels of sensitivity and pixel-level pointing accuracy. And while that might seem overkill, it really helps make the whole drawing experience feel more natural. This leads onto the most important element of such a device: the screen. The 4k display is colour accurate enough for most, and positioned very close to the etched glass screen, making it a real joy to use (and it gives out much less glare than, say, a Macbook Pro). Paired with the Pro Pen 2, the screen has just the right amount of friction to make for a consistent and enjoyable experience. The large, soft, rubber grip of the stylus helps ease fatigue, while simultaneously making all strokes – from small detail to large canvas-crossing movements – feel accurate and easy. The contrast and brightness of the display are above average, powered by good quality Nvidia Quadro GPU, perfectly suited to pro 2D and 3d work. This GPU choice is paired well with the i5 or i7 CPU RAM, depending on which model you’re using. The higher spec model has a 3D scanning camera, which some users will ignore, or at the most try out a handful of times. However, if you're a 3D artist, or have use for such a peripheral, the fact that it’s built into the Wacom MobileStudio Pro might be a bonus – especially considering it comes bundled with Artec Studio 11 software, making this an out-of-the box solution. Wacom MobileStudio Pro: accessories Our main gripe with the MobileStudio Pro is that the adjustable stand is an optional extra. This feels a bit cheap considering the initial outlay - and the stand lacks the innovation of solutions from cheaper tablets, although it does fit in with the model Wacom uses across its product range. That said, as a professional device it’s likely that some users will already have their own drawing board setup. Wacom does offer some good accessories, such as a breakout box that lets you connect to a third-party computer, opening up use as a standard Cintiq. This offering will be of more use to some than others, of course. Real world use sees an easy four–five hours of battery life, depending on the task. This isn't too far from the advertised six hours for this kind of machine, and should comfortably cover most on-the-move work. The two models cater to most users’ needs, with 8-16GB RAM, 256-512GB SSD, bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even GPS is on offer. Even if you remove the excellent display and pen capability, the remaining PC is still pretty good for a mobile machine. The cameras are functional, but nothing special. In reality they are a cheap addition for Wacom and it's rare that you'll want to use a two-plus kilo, 16-inch machine as a camera, especially when you can use the bluetooth connection or SD slot to quickly move files over. Wacom MobileStudio Pro: conclusion We like: the display and screen combo, the Pro Pen 2 and battery life. We don't like: the price or the weight (at least for travel). Also, the lower specced versions can feel a little underwhelming compared to the range topper. If you can stump the extra cash, then do. You'll not need to upgrade for some time. If you’re in the market for a portable device for light computing, the odd game and some office tasks, then the device is massively overpowered and overpriced. However, if you’re an artist or designer then you can't do better than the Wacom MobileStudio Pro. The screen interaction is a true joy (the etched glass is the same as found on the Cintiq range), the Pro Pen 2 is both fun yet detailed, and the spec of the underlying PC makes for a workhorse machine that can easily replace a notebook PC. It might not be cheap, but it succeeds at every task it was designed for. Also read: The best drawing tablet: our pick of the best graphics tablets View the full article
  25. Whatever your political leaning may be, it’s hard to argue right now that we’re living in anything other than interesting times. The year 2016 served up two enormous helpings of the unthinkable. Firstly in the form of the referendum, which saw the UK vote by the narrowest of margins to leave the EU (read our Designer's Guide to Brexit article), and then later in the year when Americans chose Donald Trump as their president. Spin forward to now and Trump is already teetering on the verge of impeachment, while in the UK there's been a snap general election that’s blown up right in the government’s face, leaving the country with a hung parliament and Brexit talks starting for real. The only certainty now is uncertainty, and it’s perfectly natural to feel nervous in such a volatile world The only certainty now – death and taxes aside – is uncertainty, and it’s perfectly natural to feel nervous in such a volatile world. And if you’re running your own web business or trying to get by as a freelancer, this feeling is only magnified. Prospects might look bleak, but are things really that bad? We’ve been speaking to web professionals and studio heads to get a feeling for how the web industries are coping in these uncertain times, and here’s the good news: they’re broadly optimistic that things will work out. It might be a rough ride, but as players in a business where rapid evolution is the order of the day, they’re sure that they can adapt to whatever’s thrown at them in the coming years. The negatives… Which isn’t to say that everything’s fine. “The referendum itself and the election were hugely disruptive for a lot of our UK local government customers,” says Suraj Kika, CEO at Jadu. Fortunately this didn’t result in any cancelled projects; however it did result in delays that play out over months afterwards. “No one enjoys that kind of disruption,” says Kika. Delete employs team members from outside the UK, which could lead to post-Brexit problems Confusion about freedom of movement post-Brexit is another cause for concern. Alex Ellis is managing director of Delete, and employs numerous team members from outside the UK, both from Europe and further afield. “The uncertainty around freedom of movement and the effect that will have on them, as well as their family and friends, has understandably caused a lot of concern,” he tells us. “Bearing in mind the vast mix of countries that the talent within our industry in the UK comes from, this could have a bigger impact than is currently being discussed.” Brexit has slashed the value of the pound in relation to the dollar, and remote staff are far more expensive than they used to be Harry O’Connor, VoodooChilli The impact of Brexit on the value of the pound has naturally had a knock-on effect for businesses, particularly those who employ staff overseas. For Brown&co, an outsourced-model brand collective, this has already been an issue. “Many of our collaborators work and live elsewhere in the world,” explains co-founder Troy Wade. “With the weaker pound post-Brexit, we are having to pay them more than we were to match or beat their local earnings.” There’s a similar story from Harry O’Connor, managing director at VoodooChilli Design. While most of his staff work out from the main office in Hereford, the company also works closely with talented people based around the world. These workers are paid in US dollars. “Brexit has slashed the value of the pound in relation to the dollar,” explains O’Connor,“ and remote staff are far more expensive than they used to be.” … and the positives Of course, the devalued pound can have its upsides as well as its downsides. “The service industry in the UK has got significantly cheaper for overseas clients with the drop in the pound,” reveals Ellis. “Soon after the Brexit decision, we saw clients in both Switzerland and Italy re-issuing briefs to us for a number of key projects that had previously been paused. From talking to our European clients, it is being seen as another advantage.” Ellis understands that this may only be a short- to medium-term advantage, but nevertheless it’s one to leverage while it’s there, and Delete isn’t the only agency to recognise this. O’Connor notes that VoodooChilli’s quotes to American clients have become far more competitive thanks to the weaker pound, and Wade points out another positive: that foreign clients are now seeing British agencies as a more attractive prospect. “We are completely set up for remote working (with collaborators and clients) so it really doesn’t matter where our clients are based,” he tells us. “Our two biggest are currently in the Netherlands and Turkey. Through a combination of our model and the weaker pound, they can now afford to work with a top drawer British firm.” Brown&co’s outsourced and distributed model makes it well placed to ride out any local storm And it’s possible that Brexit could make life a little easier for anyone building the web; for Kika, it offers the opportunity to say goodbye to a thorn in a web developer’s side. “The Cookie Law, a piece of legislation that requires websites to get consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer, started as an EU Directive and was adopted by all EU countries,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll see that thing become part of the past!” Preparing for the future While it’s impossible to predict the future, it is at least possible to recognise potential dangers and adapt your business so that it’s ready for anything. Kika is rethinking how his company will grow across Europe, and anticipating the need for different financial processes for European customers and employees. But Jadu has been preparing for uncertainty in another way: “Two years ago we anticipated that things might start hitting the fan. We launched a cloud-based customer service platform called ‘CXM’ which focuses on helping customers connect to organisations that service them. Sort of a ‘digital concierge ’, CXM is real-time case management and instant messaging rolled into one.” Jadu’s work with local government customers has been disrupted by Brexit The success of CXM has led to a wholesale shift in Jadu’s business, seeing it becoming a cloud SaaS service provider and giving it an extra degree of diversity and versatility in the face of the unknown; an excellent survival strategy that’s already paying off. Meanwhile Jon Davie, CEO at Zone has found that despite political and economic uncertainty, most things are carrying on as usual. When it comes to post-Brexit, however, he expects that Zone will have to put more effort into attracting and retaining digital talent. Anything that makes the UK a less attractive place to live and work is a risk – we’re already in a competitive market for the best people Jon Davie, Zone “Anything that makes the UK a less attractive place to live and work is a risk,” he explains. “We’re already in a competitive market for the best people, and we’ll have to work even harder to find and keep our people happy.” Ellis agrees that there’s a danger of talent leaving the UK, and Delete’s approach to managing this is more about prevention than adaptation. “In this industry your team is key,” he says, “and we are very proud of ours; my focus will be on ensuring we continue to invest strongly into our teams at an individual level to ensure that Delete, and the UK, continues to be the right place for them.” Shall we get out of here? After the EU referendum there was plenty of talk about getting out of Britain and moving to the EU, and in the financial sector that still appears to be a likely prospect. However, as far as the web is concerned, cooler heads seem to be prevailing. “For weeks after the result, I seriously contemplated leaving the country, which may have been a knee-jerk reaction,” says Adam Cowley, a small business director with seven years’ experience as a freelance web developer and technical lead. “In reality, as a freelancer you could be based anywhere in the world. Many UK companies currently outsource to non-EU countries, I don’t see why the EU would be any different. Luckily, countries – EU or otherwise – will always be looking for highly skilled, knowledgeable workers so the option is always there if things don’t work out well.” Technology allows many face-to-face meetings without anyone needing to be physically face-to-face Troy Wade, Brown&Co Delete is taking a pragmatic approach and looks set to stay put: “Our three-year plans have not changed, so we are definitely not looking to relocate wholesale to the EU,” says Ellis. “We are continuously reviewing the market in the EU, including the number of leads we are receiving and growth of our existing clients, and will plan any physical presence in the EU around that.” The advantage of the internet, of course, is that it doesn’t matter where you are, as Wade agrees. “Technology, if used correctly, allows many face-to-face meetings without anyone needing to be physically face-to-face,” he tells us. “It also means we can work seamlessly with collaborators in any country we choose, when the need arises, and without having to have an office there.” Kira is thinking along similar lines. “We aren’t sure ‘offices’ in the traditional sense are where we are going,” he suggests, “rather we’re likely to invest in facilitating remote working regardless of location.” Brexit: The endgame There’s always the possibility, mind, that all this is just a big fuss over nothing. While Article 50 has been signed and the UK is on the road to leaving the EU, it’s not guaranteed that this will actually happen. This summer’s general election appears to have knocked the wind out the hard Brexit sails, and with a long process of negotiation ahead that no-one here seems to be ready for, who knows where we’ll end up? Ellis is hopeful about what will happen. “Ultimately I believe it will result in a deal that works for the UK,” he says, “whatever that ends up being. The UK is not just going to shut up shop and the EU doesn’t want to crush us, so despite the twists and turns I am confident about the end result. Honestly, for me the riskiest part of this is the next two years, during the uncertainty of the process, rather than the end result.” Not everyone shares Ellis’s optimistic outlook, though. “I can’t see a lot of good coming from it,” comments O’Connor. “I think long term, costs will go up for the average person in the UK, and businesses will need to charge more in order to make ends meet. I suspect prices will eventually be forced down for web designers.” Jon Davie from Zone recommends keeping up with the latest technologies as a survival strategyCowley is also concerned about how Brexit may end up playing out, believing that negotiations will be difficult and we could end up leaving the single market in order to control the free movement of labour. “This could be damaging for the tech industry in the UK if the skilled labour isn’t available,” he notes. “When I recently helped with employing a full-time developer for a London-based company, the majority of applicants were non-UK.” For now, though, we can’t be sure what will happen. “I think recent events have shown us that only a fool would try to predict what will happen next week,” says Davie, “never mind how the next two years will play out!” Are we doomed? With so much uncertainty, it’s easy to get caught up in doom-mongering. But really, is it worth it? From what we’ve been hearing, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. “I’m fundamentally optimistic about our business and the digital market generally,” says Jon Davie. “People with the skills to help clients adapt will be well placed to benefit from that disruption.” VoodooChilli isn’t spooked; 15 years in business has given it perspectiveO’Connor sees uncertainty as a great opportunity for anyone whose job is helping other businesses succeed. “Selling websites in uncertain times is like trying to sell water in a drought,” he points out, “It’s not a difficult sale!” While he thinks the next few years will be up and down, Ellis thinks this situation is temporary. “The fact is that no matter what the future brings, to prosper you need to be positive,” he says, “and with an industry that is full of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, talent and pure grit we will survive, and I believe thrive, throughout and beyond.” Whatever happens, Wade is ready. “This is the new normal, ” he concludes, “and we’re excited about it.” This article originally appeared in issue 296 of net magazine. 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