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  2. It's been in beta for a while, but Affinity Publisher has finally officially launched on Mac and Windows. The news comes fresh from the Affinity Live event, where Serif also revealed a ridiculously cool new feature: users will be able to swap between Designer, Photo and Publisher personas to instantly access the full range of each app's tools. For the full story, read on. As predicted, Serif is launching its desktop publishing app with a special introductory offer: right now you can get Affinity Publisher with 20% off. As with all Affinity apps, there's no subscription, which means you can pick up Publisher for a one-off payment of $31.99/£38.99 (usually $39.99/£48.99). For more creative bargains, make sure you bookmark our Amazon Prime Day deals page. Alternatively, read on for more info about Affinity Publisher. StudioLink technology changes the game for designers Affinity Publisher has its own impressive set of vector and photo editing tools built-in, but if you own Serif's other creative apps – vector design tool Affinity Designer and image editor Affinity Photo (which both got a major upgrade earlier in the month) – you can unlock Publisher's game-changing StudioLink technology. By clicking between the three different icons at the top of the interface, you'll be able to access a full array of professional vector and photo image editing tools from within Affinity Publisher. The desktop publishing app has launched on Mac (above) and Windows [image: Serif] That means that for the first time, designers will be able to jump between publishing and image editing tasks from within the same app. Could this be the productivity feature that pushes Affinity apps to the front of the creative software race? "Affinity Publisher with StudioLink... allows you to instantly switch to the advanced photo editing features of Affinity Photo and precise vector tools of Affinity Designer without ever leaving the app," said managing director Ashley Hewson. "It’s the most fluid workflow ever conceived in a creative suite of applications, and we think it’s a game changer.” iPad app integration Serif's dedicated iPad apps can already handle Publisher documents [image: Serif] As of now, Serif has updated the iPad versions of Affinity Designer and Photo to enable them to open, edit and export Publisher documents. We'll have to wait a little longer for a dedicated iPad version of Affinity Publisher, however – a launch is pencilled in for next year. Serif has confirmed the iPad app will feature the same StudioLink technology as the desktop apps, which is very exciting news indeed. Serif has impressed with its dedicated iPad apps, with Affinity Designer for iPad ranking highly in our list of the best iPad apps for painting and drawing. We're excited to see if Affinity Publisher for iPad will follow the same trend. Affinity Publisher features Publisher includes plenty of advanced layout features, including text on a path [image: Serif] What else can we expect from Serif's InDesign-botherer? There's all the usual features you need in a publishing app – Master Pages, facing-page spreads, grids, tables, advanced typography, text flow and full professional print output – plus many more. Affinity Publisher can import and export all major raster and vector files, including layered PSD, PDF, EPS formats. And it can output print-ready documents in the latest PDF/X formats, with hyperlink support for documents shared online. Serif also promises that it'll run like a dream, even on the most content-heavy documents. Find out more about the app (and pick up a copy with 20% off) on Serif's Affinity Publisher page. Read more: Explore our Affinity Designer video tutorial series Facebook's Libra logo causes internet meltdown The best Adobe deals in 2019 View the full article
  3. Want to become a professional copywriter? You’ll likely find that your career progresses in leaps and bounds after you get your hands on The Complete Digital Copywriting Master Class Bundle. This bundle offers in-depth training so you can become an outstanding copywriter. You’ll learn everything from proven copywriting strategies to common mistakes you should avoid. The best web hosting services in 2019 Armed with these insights from this bundle, you'll be able to create engaging content and monitor its online success via analytics tools. And with SEO tips, your work will also rank up there with your competition. You’ll also learn the basics of social media and email marketing, which will help to drive growth and revenue towards your business. What's more, you can save 96 per cent on the bundle when you buy it today. Get your bundle for just $39! Related articles: The best print adverts ever How to write the perfect brief How to write engaging case studies for your portfolio View the full article
  4. In a case of life imitating art, Resident Evil fans have spotted a lookalike logo from the game being used by a real company. The catch? The fictional logo in question belongs to the Umbrella Corporation, a malicious pharmaceutical company that gets up to all sorts of shady activity in the Resident Evil series. Hardly a company you want to make a connection with. As you can see from the image taken by a Chinese social media user with the handle SRXEABYSS (below), the logo uses the same shape and colour split. Unlike Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation logo (above), this real-life design uses a white and turquoise colour scheme, instead of white and red. The uncanny similarities don't end there though. That's because the company using the doppelganger design, Shanghai Ruilan Bao Hu San Biotech Limited, is itself a pharmaceutical business. Maybe it should've read our logo design guide and researched its idea before approving it. Yeah, that's pretty similar [Image: SRXEABYSS] We're not saying this company straight-up stole the logo from Resident Evil though. It's just one of those neat coincidences that attracts attention because so many similarities stack up. We certainly don't expect the branding agency for a pharmaceutical company to trawl the ridiculously in-depth Umbrella Corporation Resident Evil Wiki. And if this story sounds too good to be true, a screenshot from the company's official site that's doing the rounds (below) reveals that the logo is in fact a real design that exists in the world. Looks legit [Image: Shanghai Ruilan Bao Hu San Biotech Limited] So let this serve as a cautionary tale. If you're launching a logo, maybe check to see that there isn't an evil, fictional version of your company that's already using an extremely similar design. Related articles: The 10 top fictional brands from film and TV 11 steps to better logos 10 of the best logos ever View the full article
  5. Suddenly feeling inspired to visit Canada? The new brand evolution for the country's national tourism marketing agency, Destination Canada, must be doing its job, then. The old Destination Canada logo was a pretty standard and unexciting text-based effort, adorned with a maple leaf. For the new logo design, though, it's pulled out all the stops and stretched the word 'CANADA' into a typographic heart (with an optional maple leaf adornment to the side), and it's one hell of a striking piece of work that's definitely going to divide opinion. 18 controversial moments in logo design and branding The old logo was, you know, fine, if you like that sort of thing [Image: Destination Canada] The unevenly stretched text is guaranteed to infuriate as many people as it delights, and the heart it forms is just a little on the wide side, to the extent that it might not immediately be clear to viewers that it's actually a heart. But it's fun and quirky and not really the sort of brand identity you'd expect from Canada, which has a bit of a reputation as being maybe just a little boring, particularly compared to its brash neighbour to the south. There's also a fleeting resemblance to Milton Glaser's iconic I Love New York logo; some might even say that it's the logo I Love New York could have been, but we wouldn't pay much attention to that sort of person. If you're not sure what Canada is then the brand booklet will set you straight [Image: Destination Canada] In the accompanying Destination Canada brand booklet - a veritable goldmine of wonderfully overblown branding pronouncements - the logo is explained as, "a reflection of Canada today, a study in movement and evolution rooted in our country's bold colour and iconography. Here, we take the nation's pulse and feel its heartbeat. It's an embodiment of the positive energy that makes hearts glow." Who can argue with such passion? If you love a good design style guide, you really ought to download Destination Canada's brand booklet, which as well as providing those all-important tips on presenting the logo properly, also features loads of fantastic definitions of what Canada is, for example: 'Canada is more than a place on a map, it's a beacon to the world'. These are generally split across multiple double-page spreads along with some glorious photography, and they're all rendered in Destination Canada's display font, Separat Black, which is another undeniably quirky choice. Described as a font that stands out due to its offbeat yet approachable style, it's notable for its utterly bonkers R and K, both of which look like they've been drawn by someone who's forgotten what an R and a K actually look like. We totally stan Separat Black; just look at that R and K [Image: Destination Canada] In short, this is a brilliantly fun and unexpected piece of branding; find out more over at Destination Canada. Related articles: 21 outstanding uses of colour in branding Can you guess the brand from its original logo? 11 steps to better logos View the full article
  6. Designers all have neat beards and play ping pong a lot. Oh, and they’re all men, who – when they’re not playing ping pong – just sit around drawing all day, right? Hmm. Maybe not. There's a lot of misconceptions (some damaging, some plain daft) floating about the place, which can make entering the creative industry seem a little daunting. But don't be put off finding that dream design job. Here we explore and dispel some of the most common myths about the industry, and lay bare a couple of surprises too. 01. It's all digital these days “From the perspective of a graphic design educator, one of the biggest misconceptions my students have had about the design industry is that it's 100 per cent digital,” says Rob Walker, Wakefield College lecturer and owner of glass signwriting company Signs by Umberto. “It’s true that a great deal of design output is digital, however the path to getting the desired result can often be multidisciplinary.” Rob Walker proving not all design is digital [Image: Rob Walker] 02. Hiring a top senior designer is best A senior designer isn't always what's needed, says Hadrien Chatelet, designer and creative director of PR company The Wern: “A junior/middle-weight designer is always much more eager to push new ideas and try out different creative processes,” says Chatelet. “In a middle-to-large agency, a top senior designer is going to be too high up the food chain to be as creative as perhaps they once were. This is because the agency model means that with seniority comes team management, strategy and new business responsibilities taking you away from design on a day-to-day basis.” There is also the risk of repetitive ideas and a fixed point-of-view at senior level, in Chatelet's opinion: “Too often clients respect the archaic hierarchy, but companies that champion youth boards of directors can help businesses keep fresh.” 03. You need a design degree “I think most people assume designers all went and studied the same thing: 'design’, says Sally Bell, co-founder of strategic design consultancy b1 Creative. “But I don’t even know if there is such a thing as a ‘design’ degree. I studied visual communication and at b1 we have people who studied product design, illustration and photography. We also have some who didn't study at university at all but learned skills on the job, YouTube or online courses. "Equally I know many creatives who studied nothing close to 'design'. I once worked with someone with a PHD in forestry, so traditional qualifications are not as important as talent and skill.” 04. Design is all about aesthetics "This is an extremely common misconception," says Steve O’Connor, design lead at Sigma. "Making things look great is only one aspect of design work. A client once said to me in a kickoff meeting for designing a mobile app, ‘Oh, you just make it look nice’. I laughed and then went on to describe my input to the process: understanding them; understanding their target markets; working with them to refine their aims; research; concepting; user flows; prototyping; user research; designs for build; user interface animation design; oh, and I make it look nice!” 05. The best design is conducted by a solo genius Design is a team activity Paul Jervis-Heath, Modern Human Think the best design takes just one creative brain? "Nothing could be further from the truth," says Paul Jervis-Heath, co-founder of design practice and innovation consultancy Modern Human. “Design is a team activity. At Modern Human we put a lot of thought into creating teams with the right balance of acquired and inherent diversity so that we can create new products and services that make a meaningful difference to the world and our clients.” Johnny Rae-Evans, head of creative at Capgemini, agrees: “The truth is, most designers don’t work alone. They’re part of teams or communities. They seek insight and knowledge from those folks with subject-matter expertise. You want your designer to redesign a complex healthcare service? Yep, they shouldn’t be doing that alone. It’s hard work – it’s about process and it’s about collaboration.” 06. Creativity cannot be taught "It's a common misconception that creativity cannot be taught," says Emily Benwell from the design and marketing Team at Liberty Marketing. "But people can go to school to learn to be creative. I held design workshops recently for the different teams at Liberty Marketing to get them to grips with basic design principles and our new mature branding; the feedback I’ve received since has been great. It’s the simple things, such as knowing about balance and white space that has made the most difference.” So that's the common misconceptions covered, now for a couple of design industry insights you might not have heard... 01. Product design isn't just 'stuff' “With the rise of service design, digital design, speculative design, etc, product design has become as broad as the mind can imagine,” says Lauren Davies, founder of multidisciplinary design studio HEKA. “Hence the Royal College of Art in London offering a course in Design Products, rather than Product Design. This opens the definition of the outcome being anything that is the product of a design process.” 02. Design is about managing relationships “On a degree course you are often the sole ‘author’ of the work you produce and autonomy when it comes to making decisions is encouraged,” says Izabelle May, graphic designer and owner of May Creative. "This can be a surprising change when you enter the workplace," May continues. "The multiple stakeholder aspect of doing design work is one which is difficult to replicate in design education, even when answering briefs as a team, where you tend to work with your peers.” She adds: “Learning to navigate power balances, differing stakeholder views, achieving design sign-off and learning to present and make the case for design work with persuasion is a huge part of a designer’s skillset.” Read more: Graphic designer's pricelist is (still) priceless 6 of the best free online graphic design courses 39 books every graphic designer should read View the full article
  7. Facebook has come a long way from the days when each status was prefaced with 'is' and all your updates appeared on one ungainly page. In 2019 the social media giant is branching out in new directions, including the announcement that it will launch a cryptocurrency app, Libra. However Libra's logo has lead to confusion thanks to its distinctly Aquarian symbol. If you missed the announcement earlier this week, let's quickly get you up to speed with Libra. The global cryptocurrency service is Facebook's first step towards blockchain domination. And don't worry if you don't know what blockchain is, our plain English guide explains all. Basically, Libra is Facebook's answer to Bitcoin. Although unlike Bitcoin, Libra is backed by a reserve of assets. Facebook hopes it will be the first mainstream cryptocurrency, so expect to see a lot more of it in the near future. You'll probably be using Libra to buy all sorts of things, maybe even some sweet Amazon Prime Day deals. But enough of the technobabble. This is a design site after all, and we were attracted to Libra thanks to its distinctly un-Libra logo (above). Our guide to everything you need to know about logo design stresses that brands need to focus on clarity. But this seems to have passed Libra by as it's gone for a more Aquarian logo. (If your star sign knowledge is a little rusty, the Aquarian glyph is a pair of jagged wave symbols.) Think we're reading too much into this? We're not alone. Plenty of social media users came to the same conclusion when Libra was unveiled earlier this week. Other social media users were a bit more off the wall with their reactions to the Libra logo. What's all the more frustrating is that the Libra star sign is symbolised by a pair of balance scales. You know, those tools that are used to weigh the value of things. What could be better as a visual shorthand for a cryptocurrency service backed by assets?! We despair. This isn't the only time Facebook's designs have made waves (sorry) recently. Earlier in the year it came under fire for redesigning its app logo, and as part of its biggest redesign in over a decade, Facebook said goodbye to its distinctive blue bar. Angry reaction emojis all round. As for Libra though, it's set to launch next year. When it takes, off these controversial waves will probably make a home on your smartphone screen, just like the Facebook app itself. Related articles: 5 logo design fails (and what you can learn from them) 5 logo design terms you should know 18 controversial moments in logo design and branding View the full article
  8. Spanish clothing label Desigual has made branding history by claiming to be the first company to flip its logo backwards. The decision to turn its lettering around channels the label's outlandish streak, which can be seen in its range of trendy and vibrant clothing. Shoppers familiar with the brand will already know that the previous Desigual logo wasn't afraid to experiment with its lettering. Before the whole word got flipped around, the letter 's' in was already displayed back to front. This was a clever and subtle choice. The letter 's' is easy to read when it appears backwards so the name remained legible. Our guide to logo design encourages designers to reflect a brand's personality in their use of typography, but with the whole design flipped to appear as 'lɒυϱiƨǝꓷ', has the label gone too far? Perhaps not. When Desigual revealed its new logo on its Instagram page, people weren't put off. User samanthaturmaine commented "can't wait to get some new stuff!" while seforadivino replied "the new logo gives more identity to the brand! Beautiful, creative, simple and direct." High praise indeed. In its Instagram replies, Desigual also expanded on the thinking behind the new logo: "we changed the logo because we want to be more faithful to what we are. Desigual means creativity. Desigual means seeing life from another point of view. Desigual means inspiring people to take risks and think differently, to go outside their comfort zone." "We want to be 100% Desigual," it adds. "What’s more representative of our intentions than to take our own logo, something with pre-established norms, and turn it completely around?" In a statement picked up by WWD, Desigual's chief marketing officer, Guillem Gallego, sheds even more light on the decision. "The reason why we flipped the 'S' was because it stood for embracing difference and making a statement, so we're going to do this to all the letters and be the first brand ever to flip its logo 100 per cent backward." Makes sense. But we can't help but wonder, how are people supposed to pronounce the new name? Should they start with the 'l' and read from left to right as usual? Luckily, Desigual was on hand to reassure people that it's still pronounced the same as it was. Desigual isn't the first company to flip its lettering around though. American food chain the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has irked social media users as it repeatedly teases upside down typography rebrands. While IHOP annoyed people though, Desigual seems to have struck gold. Shoppers are happy, the brand's well represented, and it now has a completely unique design. The new logo will also be accompanied by a revamped website, a new retail concept, and a capsule collection of logo T-shirts. And if you miss the old logo, you can always look at the new design in a mirror, or read it through the shop's window display glass to see the previous version. Related articles: 5 logo design fails (and what you can learn from them) 5 logo design terms you should know 18 controversial moments in logo design and branding View the full article
  9. Welcome to our pick of the best Android tablets for creatives and designers in 2019. Tablet devices are wonderfully versatile gadgets, with their slim and light designs letting you comfortably carry them around with you – and use almost anywhere. Their touchscreen displays also make them brilliant tools for digital artists, and there are a range of styluses which offer responsive and tactile experiences, which turn any standard Android tablet into a feature-rich drawing tablet. But why would you want to go with an Android tablet, as opposed to an iPad? There are a number of reasons. For a start, while Apple is the only company that creates iPads, Android tablets are made by a huge variety of manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony and Google itself. This gives you a huge choice when looking to buy – and in this best Android tablet buying guide, we've featured a large range of different Android tablets to suit every budget. The best Amazon Prime Day deals for designers Speaking of budget, many Android tablets are a lot less expensive than Apple's offerings – however, that doesn't mean they lack the features of iPads. Thanks to Android's popularity – it's the most widely-used operating system in the world – there is a huge amount of amazing Android apps for creatives – both paid for and free – that can be downloaded onto the best Android tablets. Why Apple's iPads have a lot of things to recommend them to creatives (we've got the best cheap iPad deals here if you're interested), the best Android tablets offer better value, more choice and more freedom as well. So, read on for our picks of the best Android tablets for creatives in 2019. Image: Asus The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 shows that Apple's iPads aren't the only tablets that offer sleek and stylish designs, and it's our choice for the best overall Android tablet. Not only does it have a gorgeous design, but it offers a decent amount of power, and its 9.7-inch display is bright and beautiful, and will show off your digital art in the very best light. It's not got the best battery life, but considering the features and price, this is easily the best Android tablet if you want an all-round performer. Image: Lenovo One of the best things about Android tablets is the huge amount of devices out there – especially in the budget price range. However, while the does mean you get a lot of choice, it also means there's quite a few duds out there – especially if you go for the ultra-cheap tablets. Buying a cheap tablet that's not up to the job is a waste of money – no matter how little you spent on it – which is why our pick for the best Android tablet if you're on a budget isn't the absolute cheapest device you'll find. Still, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus is a very affordable Android tablet that doesn't cut too many corners in the bid to keep its price low. It's got a lovely design and a great range of features that makes it feel a lot more expensive than it actually is. Image: Samsung The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet if money is no object. It's expensive, but it's easily one of the best Android tablets of 2019, and if you have the budget for it, you're not going to be disappointed. It comes with the S Pen stylus included in the box, and it's powered by the mighty Snapdragon 835 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM. This means the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 does a brilliant job of running Android apps with ease. You can even use a mouse and keyboard and turn it into a laptop-like device. Image: Google The Google Pixel Slate isn't technically an Android tablet in the traditional sense, as it runs Google's other operating system, Chrome OS, it can run any Android app downloaded from the Google Play Store. With Chrome OS often feeling like a desktop version of Android, access to all the apps, we'd argue that the Google Pixel Slate is an Android tablet for all intents and purposes, and that's why it's eligible for our best Android tablet for drawing. So, why have we picked it? Put simply, the large 12.3-inch screen makes it an ideal tablet for drawing, giving you a huge amount of surface to draw on. Not only that, but the 3,000 x 2,000 resolution is one of the highest you can find on a tablet. This will ensure your drawings look the absolute best they can. The only downside (apart from the price) is that a stylus isn't included. Image: Samsung The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is our pick for the best Android tablet with a stylus. While the Tab S4 is newer, it's also a lot more expensive, so if you don't mind slightly older hardware, you're able to get a fantastic deal on the Tab S3. Despite its age, it still comes with a powerful processor and an excellent HDR display for stunning image quality. And, of course, it comes with Samsung's excellent S-Pen stylus, which works brilliantly with the tablet, and has a few nice features of its own. Not many tablets come with their own stylus, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 features one of the best. Image: Amazon Amazon isn't just the world's biggest online shop, it also does a great line of Android tablets, and the Amazon HD 8 is our pick for the best Android tablet for gaming. The 2018 version benefits from an improved camera and larger storage option, but it's the low price and huge selection of games that makes this a brilliant choice. The 8-inch screen isn't the biggest, but the 800 x 1200 resolution means games look sharp and vibrant, without taxing the hardware too much. This is definitely worth considering if you're looking for an Android tablet to mainly game on. Image: Amazon If you're looking for the best Android tablet for kids, then the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is the one to go for. It's small enough to be carried around by little ones, and it has a rugged body that can survive being knocked about and dropped. You also get a one-year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited, (a package worth £3.99 per month for non-Prime users). This gives your kids access to thousands of apps with no ads or in-app purchases, and there's decent parental controls as well. Best of all, you also get a no-nonsense, two-year worry-free guarantee, which means if the tablet does break, Amazon will replace it for free. Read more: The best drawing tablets money can buy The best tablets for photo and video editing The best tablets with a stylus for drawing and note-taking View the full article
  10. Working with code means spending a long time in front of a screen, so it's worth investing in one of the best monitors for programming. A 4K screen is a great starting point, making text look smooth and helping minimize eyestrain. Extra-wide and curved monitors are also a great choice for programming because they enable you to see more at once, and many are ideal for multi-monitor setups, with thin bezels to minimize distractions. Ergonomics are important too; the best monitors for programming features are easily adjustable, with a good range of movement. You might also like a monitor that can be rotated to portrait orientation. It's also a good idea to look out for monitors with blue light filtering, which will be kinder to your eyes, and flicker reduction. Some monitors also offer automatic brightness adjustment, which fine-tunes the display to suit the ambient light to help you avoid eyestrain. It might also be worth looking at the best monitor stands too, to get your set-up just right. If you can wait a few weeks before buying, you could well see some of these best monitors for programming in amongst some great Amazon Prime day deals. But if you've got the cash and are ready to go, here's the best money can currently buy. 4K monitors are great for programming, but only if they're large enough that you're not left squinting at tiny text. There are no such worries with the BenQ PD3200U, whose huge 32-inch panel takes up quite a lot of desk space, but looks fantastic. It features BenQ's Eye-Care technology, which filters blue light and eliminates flicker so you can work in comfort. The display can also be rotated 90 degrees if you're among the many programmers who prefer working with a vertical display. It was originally created with designers in mind, but the BenQ PD3200U is also a programmer's perfect companion. If you're working to a budget, take a good look at the MSI Optix MAG271CR. This montor was built for gamers, but works equally well for programming thanks to its gently curved design and flicker-free panel. Its 144Hz refresh rate is particularly impressive (though less important for programming) and its stand is easy to adjust, offering 130mm of height adjustment and 25 degrees of tilt. Our only reservation is that the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is a little low for a monitor this size, so text doesn't look quite as crisp as we'd like. For the price, though, it's hard to beat. The BenQ DesignVue PD2720U features a top-end 4K IPS panel to ensure text looks pin-sharp as you work. It's also an excellent display for a multi-montitor setup thanks to its two USB-C ports, which enable you to daisy-chain several screens together, and its flexible stand means you can easily switch it to portrait orientation if you prefer. Like all BenQ monitors it feaures the company's proprietary blue light filtering and anti-flicker technology to reduce strain. If you're also a gamer you might prefer a monitor with a higher refresh rate than 60Hz, but this serious screen is built for work rather than play. The ultra-wide LG 34UC79G-B gives you plenty of space to work, and its 21:9 IPS panel offers great viewing angles if you shift position or adjust it while you're working. Like any ultra-wide panel, it can't be swivelled, but it does offer 120mm height adjustment and 25 degrees of tilt, with robust build quality that will keep you working happily for years to come. Its resolution is a little lower than we'd like for a panel this size, but a panel with more pixels carries a much higher price tag. This is a lot of monitor for the price, and makes very few compromises. The BenQ EX3501R is a stunning monitor that will serve you equally well for programming and gaming. Its high resolution makes the short and wide aspect ratio easier to work with, and if there's still not enough space, the USB-C connection makes multi-monitor setups easy. It features blue light filtering, plus a sensor on its bottom bezel that detects ambient light levels and adjusts the panel's brightness accordingly. This is a smart looking monitor too; it's just a shame it's not more adjustable, offering 25 degrees of tilt, but just 60mm height adjustment. Otherwise, the EX3501R is hard to fault. Read more: The best 4K monitors The best monitors for video editing The best ultrawide monitor in 2019 View the full article
  11. This issue, along with our usual reviews, inspiration and regular Q and A sections, we take you behind the scenes on the blockbuster Pokemon movie: Detective Pikachu. With a mix of features, interviews and training, you'll soon be on the road to mastering your own 3D projects. We take a look inside 3D World 249 to find out what else is in store... Buy issue 249 of 3D World here Feature: Detective Pikachu Discover Detective Pikachu In this feature, explore some of the tips and techniques used by the teams behind the blockbuster Pokemon movie, which we celebrate with out split run cover. Gotta catch 'em all! Tutorial: Rig and pose a character in VR Learn to rig inside VR space. In this tutorial series, industry expert and 3D World magazine regular, Martin Nebelong, shows you how to use Masterpiece VR to rig and pose characters. Tutorial: Kitbash on the go Use your iPad to kitbash Adam Dewhirst shows you his process for modelling 3D kitbashing components on the iPad! Feature: Explore the VFX of American Gods Behind the scenes on American Gods We delve into the dark to bring you insights on the making of the second series of the hit Amazon show American Gods. Training: Q and A Your CG questions answered Our regular panel is back to answer your CG questions and help you break through your 3D woes. Subscribe to 3D World here Read more: Become a better 3D artist The 10 best 3D movies of 2019 The best new 3D tools for 2019 View the full article
  12. Everyone knows the Apple logo. As far as designs go, it's up there with McDonald's Golden Arches and the Nike swoosh. Chances are you're even reading this article from a device decked out with the iconic image. If you're trying to figure out why it's so successful, you might have turned to our guide to logo design. However the Apple logo is built on some surprising facts, as we discovered when we caught up with its designer, Rob Janoff, at this year's D&AD Festival. Here are five unusual nuggets of Apple logo information from Janoff as he shared the story behind his most famous work. And if you want to know the full story, check out his new book, Taking A Bite Out Of The Apple. 01. There was practically no brief Isaac Newton appeared in the original Apple logo [Image: Logopedia] It's hard to imagine now, but at one point Apple was an unknown fledgling startup. This means that branding wasn't exactly the company's top priority, despite Steve Job's famous attention to detail when it comes to aesthetics. Its original logo (above) was an elaborate drawing by Ronald Wayne, but when it came to a redesign, Janoff says that he was offered a "non-brief". Back in the mid '70s, things weren't so sophisticated. "They weren't called briefs, they were like memos that somebody would put out," says Janoff, who created the logo as a piece of work for a little agency. "They weren't nearly as detailed or as in-depth as they are now." All that's changed now though, as Janoff likes to give his clients a long questionnaire to fill out. "It's all about meeting your client, and finding out what's important to them," he adds. "Usually, the wrong things are important to them. They want too much." 02. It was the only design idea on the table During his talk at D&AD, the audience was clamouring to know if Janoff had surviving drafts of other Apple logo ideas. Sadly not, and it's unlikely they would've looked too different anyway, That's because he didn't prepare any alternative designs when working on the logo. "The Apple logo was the clearest bell of a visual I've ever had," adds Janoff. "There was a bite taken out of it because that's what apples look like. I remember ABC books. A is for Apple. And they would almost always show the apple but there was a bite out of it." It was a risky but confident approach that paid off big time. Janoff's logo stuck, and he didn't have to present alternative suggestions. This isn't a working method he would recommend to designers though: "ALWAYS have back-ups!" 03. The logo succeeds because it's simple It looks like an apple because that's what apples look like [Image: Logopedia] Some people have read some symbolism into Janoff's Apple logo, which was originally a multicoloured affair. But while he cites the animated film Yellow Submarine as an inspiration, the loaded metaphor of the apple eaten by Adam and Eve didn't come into it. "The key, I think, to effective, memorable designs, is keeping it very simple so somebody can remember you," Janoff reveals. And as for that bite, besides referencing picture books, it was also a simple way to give the apple scale. Meanwhile the colours served as an elegant introduction to the graphics capabilities of early Apple computers. "An apple shape wouldn't do," adds Janoff. "It had to be very distinctive. The colours did that." 04. It cost 50 grand to digitise Janoff's vibrant logo took its inspiration from a screen's colour test bars [Image: Logopedia] Considering that it was created back in 1977, it's no surprise to learn that Janoff's Apple logo was created with analogue tools. However, when the time to bring the design up to date, Apple forked out an eye-watering sum to digitise its logo. "Steve had it digitised so that the colours would brighten up," says Janoff. "And the shape got squeezed a little bit. I think they paid 50 grand for it." Making a digital version had to happen though. Because without any kind of separation or black line, the logo's colours wouldn't be able to sit alongside one another. "It's hard to realise that back in the day, there was no four colour process. Everything was laid down in separate PMS colours, which was a bitch for them to register." Digitising the logo only improved the design in Janoff's eyes though. "It not only brought it up to date, but you were able to get beautiful, dense colours that sparkle because they were made out of pixels." 05. It changed colour to stay ahead The Apple logo is no longer colourful though, so what happened? "When I did the design with colours, it was a time when no computers were doing things in colour," says Janoff. "So clearly there was a point of difference." After a while though, the promise of colour was no big deal. So according to Janoff, the logo "needed to be different, it needed to be more sophisticated. Because Apple really wanted to get into business." "I'm glad they changed it to keep up with the times. And now it's white, and what could be more minimal and beautiful than white?" Is there any chance the Apple logo will change more drastically in the future? Janoof doesn't think so. "They would never do that. Once they had the logo, it was never going to get touched." Related articles: Is Apple ditching its 'i'? IKEA takes a bite out of Apple in hilarious new ad The 10 most beautiful Apple products (and the 5 ugliest) View the full article
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  14. Four vulnerabilities could "SACK" connected devices with denial-of-service exploits. View the full article
  15. Do you like the look of the image above? It's called 2B - Nier Automata, and it's by Meli Magali. Crediting artists like that is not only easy, it's also good practice for the creative community in general. One person who doesn't agree though is tech billionaire Elon Musk, who stirred up a Twitter storm recently by refusing to credit Magali for her amazing work. It all started when Musk tweeted a picture of Magali's artwork on 15 June. When someone likes your work enough to want to share it around, that's usually going to make an artist feel good. And when that person in question has a whopping 27 million followers, the reaction should be one of overwhelming gratitude. After all, an audience of 27 million people isn't easy to come by. And having a celebrity share your art gives your work an immediate sense of clout. If one of the richest people on the planet likes your art techniques, you must be doing something right... right? However the experience was bittersweet for Magali. Her art might have been shared by an influential person, but with no credit, the whole experience had been tainted. The artist shared her reaction in a tweet that balances disbelief with irritation. You'll notice that Musk has since deleted his original tweet. That's because the story doesn't end there. Shortly after Musk shared the image, which he had cryptically captioned with "2b", Twitter users were quick to rally around Magali and demand that he credit her. Sounds like a reasonable request to us. But for the man behind Tesla, this was apparently too much of a tall order. His reply was initially a curt decline. It's not asking for the earth, is it? [Image: Kotaku] But it quickly escalated into the outrageous. Social media users took issue with Musk's refusal to credit Magali, so he replied with one of the most baffling leaps of logic we've seen in quite some time. Where to begin? [Image: Kotaku] The issue isn't so much that Musk didn't credit Magali. Lots of people share art without crediting the creator, even though chances are the artist wouldn't mind a shout out. You could argue that the inability to edit tweets is destroying the medium, but as for crediting artists? Nah, we're not buying it. The problem here is that Musk stubbornly refused to add a credit when people asked for one. There's no reason not to do so. All it would take is a few seconds to type Magali's name, press tweet, and hey presto, everyone's happy. He wouldn't even have to include a link to her Twitter profile or Artstation page. Although we'd argue that, with 27 million followers, this would've been the courteous thing to do. Either way, it would've saved Musk from the headache of dealing with angry notifications. Having said that, it looks like Magali has got the art of self-promotion down. In the wake of this Twitter storm, she's set up a pinned tweet that showcases her work and links to her portfolio. We've already seen how a pinned tweet can win you new work, so here's hoping Magali will land lots of clients off the back of all this drama. Musk later claimed to have deleted his Twitter account over the situation. But given that he did this via a now deleted tweet, we're taking his announcement with a pinch of salt. Related articles: 5 ways to improve your digital art skills How to adapt your digital art to feedback The best digital art software in 2019 View the full article
  16. Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) bugs and an XML external entity (XXE) problem opens the door to takeover of admin desktops. View the full article
  17. The Department of Homeland Security urged system administrators to update their Windows machines after testing a working BlueKeep exploit for Windows 2000. View the full article
  18. Today Wacom has announced a new smart stylus that aims to improve the drawing experience for Windows 10 users. Optimised for the Windows Ink Workspace, the Bamboo Ink Plus is a rechargeable model for creators, which finally does away with the need for elusive AAAA batteries. This is great news for Wacom users. For too long they've had to look on with envy as Apple users plug in their Pencils and recharge them for future use on the best drawing apps for iPad. Now the playing field has been slightly levelled, and Bamboo Ink Plus users no longer have to fork out for batteries. Amazon Prime Day 2019: everything you need to know The new Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus aims to streamline the creative experience for users – equipped with a single button, which, when pressed, launches Windows 10 creative apps such as Bamboo Paper and Screen Sketch. Topped off with tilt recognition, higher responsiveness and interchangeable nibs, Wacom's Bamboo Ink Plus looks set to take the drawing and sketching experience to the next level. Creative apps are only a button-push away [Image: Wacom] This isn't the first Wacom stylus that doesn't rely on batteries though. Previous styli have relied on Wacom's patented electro-magnetic resonance (EMR) technology for power. In plain English, this basically means that EMR pens can operate without a battery or a chord thanks to some nifty sensors that generate a magnetic field. And while EMR models are handy, a rechargeable stylus with added functionality is a more than welcome addition to Wacom's range. "By turning every stroke into a precise digital representation of our thoughts and imagination, these new smart styli can help bring out the visual thinker and artist in all of us" says Heidi Wang, Senior Vice President of Wacom’s Ink Division, in a press release. The Bamboo Ink Plus costs €99,90/ £84,99/ $99,95, and is available now from the Wacom store. And if you're after a shiny new tablet to use your new stylus on, don't miss our round up of the best cheap Wacom tablet deals. Related articles: Hover-based gestures could be coming to Apple Pencil The best tablets with a stylus for drawing and note-taking in 2019 19 best iPad Pro apps designed for Apple Pencil View the full article
  19. When it comes to animating with SVGs, one major turn-off can be the idea of getting bogged down in JavaScript libraries. However, this doesn't have to be the case. CSS can handle selecting individual paths within an SVG to create effects. Just knowing the basics can mean that it's possible to turn flat, cliched icons into something a little more impressive. So perhaps it's time to run through the fundamental steps of SVG optimisation and animation. When integrated into different designs, it doesn't take long to realise that the possibilities are endless. For more motion inspiration, take a look at Creative Bloq's guide to CSS animation examples and how to code them. Save £100 with a super early bird ticket to Generate CSS, the one-day web conference hosted by Creative Bloq, Web Designer magazine and net magazine. Book here. 01. Create and save First, create an SVG to work with. For this tutorial, we will be using a simple graphic made in Illustrator. When using Illustrator to export an SVG reduce the size of the artboard to fit the graphic, then click 'Save As'. Select SVG from the 'save as type' dropdown menu, then 'SVG code…' on the SVG Options dialogue. 02. Optimise for the web Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: SVGOMG] Cutting out unnecessary tags will make the image easier to deal with. This can be done manually by copying the code to your favourite editor and removing empty tags and metadata. Alternatively, a fantastic resource called SVGOMG will do this automatically. Paste the code into the 'Paste markup' area on the SVGOMG interface, then copy the image again using the button on the bottom right. 03. Set up a HTML Document Open your code editor of choice and set up a blank HTML document. We will write the CSS animation in a file called main.css, so create this too. To keep things focused on the animation, we've pulled in the CSS-only version of Bootstrap 4.1.3. 04. Build the layout Let's build the bones of our layout and make a space for our SVG. We've added a header and two columns: one on the left for some text, and one on the right, which will hold the SVG that we'll be animating. To liven the page up, use a second, static, SVG as a background on the body tag. 05. Place the SVG We're using our animation to make the introduction at the top of the page more interesting. Paste the optimised SVG code into the second column on the page. If using bootstrap, give the SVG the class img-fluid to make sure it scales on mobiles. 06. Add classes to the SVG Adding classes to the SVG allows CSS to select the individual shapes within the image. This means you can animate different shapes of the image at different times, creating a more complex effect. 07. Initial states Selecting our SVG elements in CSS is the same as any other element. We use our classes to select those elements within the SVG. Both parts of our SVG will start as hidden when the page loads, so let's use CSS to set both element's opacity to 0. 08. Declare the animations We need to declare the name and keyframes for each animation so that CSS knows what we want to do when we ask it to perform an effect. I've chosen textDraw and rectFade, as they describe each animation. rectFade will be a simple two-step animation. textDraw will have an extra middle step. 09. Assign animation and properties Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford] We add the rectFade animation to the rectBackground element and give it a duration of one second. An easeOut cubic bezier is being used to give it a smoother feel. We add forwards so the element keeps the properties of the last keyframe when the animation ends. 10. The rectangle animation Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford] With just two keyframes, all we need to do for our rectangle is set a start and finish set of attributes. Let's start with a 1% width and finish on 100% to give an 'expanding to the right effect'. We can also set opacity: 1 to the last keyframe so the shape fades in at the same time. 11. The text animation We're going to create a line-draw effect on our text then use a fill to fade in. To set up the text animation we give it our textDraw with a four second duration. The cubic bezier has been modified on this step to give it a slightly different pace of movement. 12. Delay the start Our text needs to run just as the rectangle has finished fading in. Because the rectangle has a one second duration, delay the start of the text animation by that time. 13. Emulate line drawing Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford] To get our line drawing effect we will use the stroke-dasharray and stroke-dashoffset parameters. Your values will be different to mine depending on the SVG you are using. To find your value, use your preferred developer tools and increase stroke-dasharray from 0 until the entire shape is covered by one stroke. 14. First line drawing keyframe Now we have our one very large stroke that covers the entire text path, let's offset it by its own length to effectively push it away. Using stroke-dashoffset for the same value as our dasharray should do it. Let's set this in our first keyframe. We'll also make the shape fill transparent and set the stroke to white if it isn't already. 15. Draw the lines Our middle keyframe appears at 40% through the animation. We bring the stroke-dashoffset back to zero so the dash covers the entire path. We can re-add the transparent fill at this stage to make sure the fill only appears once the drawing is complete. 16. Fill in the shape For the last part of the animation, we will fill the shape in white. All we need to do for the last keyframe is raise the alpha value of the fill colour. This creates the fade-in effect of the fill. This article was originally published in creative web design magazine Web Designer. Buy issue 286 or subscribe. Read more: Add SVG filters with CSS How to design with CSS shapes: An introduction How to code smart text effects with CSS View the full article
  20. People can get very twitchy when a company plays with its own logo design, so it's understandable that there was a bit of concern recently when Oreo posted a Facebook image of its logo, but with the O's at the beginning and end missing. What could it possibly mean? Thankfully a few hours later Oreo clarified this latest version of its iconic logo design on Twitter (read our guide to logo design here): it was taking part in an initiative set up by the American Red Cross to encourage people to sign up for World Blood Donor Day. Quiz: Spot the errors in these famous logos As the day went on and people signed up, the Oreo cookie filled up with delicious creamy goodness until, later on, it finally filled up and the missing O's were returned. If you're not entirely sure what missing letters of the alphabet have to do with donating blood, it's all to do with blood types. The ABO blood group system covers all the different variants in blood type, and the American Red Cross had a clever idea to use this to drum up support for World Blood Donor Day this year. Lots of companies signed up to remove the A's, B's and O's from their logos [Image: American Red Cross] For its #MissingTypes campaign, it asked a whole load of companies to remove the letters A, B and O from their logos. Plenty signed up, including Adobe, Google and Facebook, some of them fading out the letters and others deleting them altogether in the drive to encourage people to donate blood. The American Red Cross has also produced a free Missing Types ebook, answering frequently asked questions about donating blood and debunking popular myths. To get a copy, and to find out more about the #MissingTypes campaign and the brands that supported it, head for the American Red Cross Missing Types page. Related articles: 8 brands celebrating Pride Month 18 controversial moments in logo design and branding 5 social media tricks to help your brand thrive View the full article
  21. Every designer has their own preferred set of go-to fonts, a dependable set of serifs and sans-serifs that'll cover most eventualities. But every now and then you find yourself in need of something a little out of the ordinary, a really weird but eye-catching font that you can use sparingly to grab people's attention. When you're in need of a weird font, you're not always sure exactly what you're looking for; it's the sort of thing that you'll only recognise when you see it. So to help you out, we've gathered together 10 of our favourite weird and unusual fonts for you to download for free today (see more of our favourite free fonts here). All of them are free to use for personal work, and some of them can be used commercially too. 15 top typography resources 01. Blue Rabbit Give your text that lagomorphic touch [Image: Willian Santos] We're not entirely sure what it has to do with rabbits, but you can definitely make it appear in blue – or any other colour you like. Blue Rabbit is an excellently circular and elegant typeface that's an intriguing mix of upper and lower-case characters, and guaranteed to catch the eye. It's the work of Willian Santos, and it's free for both personal and commercial use. 02. Pop of the Tops This quirky take on Cooper Black will be your number one [Image: Imagex] This hand-drawn and beautifully scratchy take on Cooper Black is the perfect way to give your work a bit of retro cool. Pop of the Tops takes its name the 'Top of the Pops' compilation albums of the 1970s, a very of-its-time series consisting of anonymous cover versions of hit songs. Find one in a middle-aged relative's record collection and you'll see the Cooper Black title (plus a very 1970s cover model). It's free for personal use; contact its creator about commercial usage. 03. Psychedelic Caps Far out, man [Image: DaFont/Jim McCauley] If your retro tastes go further back than the 1970s, Psychedelic Caps is a fab and groovy all-caps font that perfectly captures the spirit of the swinging '60s. Created by Jorge Morón, it's free for personal use and goes perfectly with wild colour schemes. For an added psychedelic feel, we'd advise warping it along a curved path to really bring out its weird proportions. 04. Bad Signal A little bit of glitch never did anyone any harm [Image: Woodcutter Manero] Bringing things a bit more up to date, here's a bold and brash font with just enough glitch to make people notice. Bad Signal features random lines of distortion streaking through its all-caps characters, giving your text the appearance of a fax sent over a really noisy phone line, hence the name. It's the work of Woodcutter Manero from Spain, and it's free for personal use only. 05. Simple Myopia There's more to bad vision than a simple blur [Image: Woodcutter Manero] Another beautifully distorted font from Woodcutter Manero, Simple Myopia simulates the effect of short-sightedness not by blurring its text, but by scattering the pixels around the letterforms. It's a clever and striking effect that would work well as a headline font or on posters. Simple Myopia comes with both caps and lower case characters, plus symbols and a few accented characters, and it's free for personal use. 06. Smile and Wave A straightforward headline font with some eye-catching features [Image: Chris Vile] For the most part, Smile and Wave looks like a fairly ordinary all-caps sans serif headline font with a bit of weathering for effect; it's only when you check out the weird and triangular styling on the A, K, M and W that you'll notice its attention-grabbing qualities. If you need a display font that makes people look twice, this is a perfect candidate. It's the work of Chris Vile and it's free for personal use; a commercial licence will cost you $39. 07. Through the Black Through the Black is odd and just a little intimidating [Image: FontSpace] If you need your text to give viewers an uneasy feeling, Through the Black by KineticPlasma fonts would be a great way to do just that. Its weirdly-warped characters are far from easy on the eye, delivering an effect a little like looking at a ransom note made from cut-out newspaper text; it's an effect that you'll want to use sparingly on just the right call to action or similar. For all its weirdness, Through the Black is great value – its free for personal and commercial use under the SIL Open Font Licence, and it comes in a whole load of weights. 08. Rebimboca Outline This free deco font has plenty of charm [Image: Paulo W] The original Rebimboca is a beautiful and peculiar deco font by Brazilian designer and typographer Paulo W, with some wonderfully ornate touches; you can buy it here from £11.99. Rebimboca Outline is one of a number of free variants, with all the original's strange charm, but in an outline version that looks almost as good. It's free for personal use, but you can use it for commercial purposes in return for a donation. 09. VTC-BadVision Another great way to get that short-sighted look [Image: WOlfBainX/Jim McCauley] If you enjoyed the skewed optics of Woodcutter Manero's Simple Myopia, here's a similar take on a myopic view of the world, this time from designer Larry Yerkes who works under the name WolfBainX. VTC-BadVision is an all-caps font that achieves its effect by distorting its text in a way that simulates the look of double vision; from a distance it looks blurred, but up close it's broken-up and scratchy. It's free for personal use only. 10. Aberforth A clean, mixed-case font with a gorgeous quirky look [Image: Brittany Murphy] To finish off here's Aberforth, a clean and simple font from Brittany Murphy with a decidedly striking look. Its caps characters are perfectly fine-looking bold sans-serifs, but it's the lower case set that's where the fun lies: it's a mixture of upper and lower case characters that'll give your text an adorably quirky feel. Aberforth is free for personal use; prices for a commercial licence start at just $8.00. Related articles: Font types: A designer's guide The 8 biggest typography mistakes designers make The 10 commandments of typography View the full article
  22. The best camcorders go far beyond the videos created on today's flagship smartphones. Meaning that even if you've got one of the best camera phones around, you'd probably still benefit from a dedicated camcorder. Far from dying out, the camcorder is experiencing a renaissance, with a remarkable choice for every budget, level of expertise and activity. 4K camcorders are now commonplace, from sophisticated semi-pro models with full manual controls to beginner-friendly devices with presets and automated features to ease the learning curve. For sports and tough conditions, there are also camcorders designed to be dustproof, waterproof, shockproof, and able to handle temperatures well below freezing. Many modern camcorders also offer wireless connectivity, allowing you to transfer videos without wires, or even stream them directly online. Here we've rounded up the very best camcorders that deliver the optimum balance of value and performance, whatever your needs. And if you're looking for ways to edit your footage once you're done, don't miss our posts on the best video editing apps and best laptops for video editing. For professional-quality shooting, the Panasonic HC-X1E is hard to beat. It's the heaviest camera in our roundup by some way, so it's not the most portable option and will need a good quality tripod to keep it stable if you're not resting it on your shoulder. Experienced videographers will appreciate the comprehensive manual controls, including triple lens rings (for focus, zoom and iris), plus customisable controls for gain, white balance, shutter and more. Experienced videographers will appreciate the manual controls, including triple lens rings (focus, zoom and iris) plus programmable buttons for adjusting the shutter, gain, white balance and more. The HC-X1E also features a 1-inch CMOS sensor, Leica Dicomar Lens and 20x optical zoom for capturing pin-sharp footage without distortion. It's not a camcorder you'll master quickly, but the quality is well worth the time investment. The Sony HDR-CX405 is a great value camcorder that doesn't compromise on quality – even a little. With a compact chassis and built-in image stabilisation, it's ideal for filming one-handed, and features a raft of presets to help first-timers achieve better results. It can record in both XAVC S or AVCHD format and MP4 format simultaneously, and capture high quality stills while also recording video. There's no wireless connectivity, but the USB connector is simple to use when it's time to charge or transfer files to a computer. There's even a built-in tool for editing videos in-camera. This camcorder is simple to use, and very impressive for the price. Whether handheld or mounted on a tripod, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 delivers pro-quality 4K footage at 50FPS, or 1080P at 100FPS (ideal for super-smooth slow motion). There's also an eight-stop ND-grad filter for shooting landscapes, plus a 15x wide-angle zoom lens. With both automatic shooting modes and customisable manual controls, it's ideal if you're making the jump to a high-end camcorder and want to learn the ropes at your own pace. Unusually for a 4K camcorder, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 also features dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity for fuss-free file transfers. This is a robust, reliable 4K camcorder, and the perfect companion for shooting in the great outdoors. The GoPro Hero5 Black isn't the newest of GoPro's action cameras, but it set the bar very high and is now better value than ever. Despite its diminutive size, this little action camera is capable of capturing 4K footage in extreme conditions. It's waterproof to 10m even without a housing (something few rival sports cameras can beat), and with voice controls it's easy to operate when your hands are occupied with swimming, skiing and otherwise having fun. 4K video capture maxes out at 30FPS, but the Hero5 Black is still a great choice, and tough enough to survive any adventure. Sony produces a wide range of camcorders for all skill levels, and its mid-range models like the Sony PJ620 are among the best on the market. This camcorder features Sony's proprietary image stabilisation to minimise shake when shooting freehand, which can prove invaluable when used with the 30x optical zoom, which would otherwise amplify unwanted movement. Spot-focus, intelligent auto, wind noise reduction and smile shutter make things even easier when capturing home movies. The Sony PJ620 also features a built-in 25-lumen projector, but this soon becomes rather hot – more of a gimmick than a useful tool, and this camcorder's only real letdown. In the market for a 4K camcorder but not ready to go semi-pro? Take a good look at the Panasonic HC-VX980EB-K – its impressive specs list includes HDR video for lifelike colours, an extensive choice of scene modes, full manual mode (with controls for focus, white balance, shutter and iris) and top-notch image stabilisation. The wireless multi-cam option, which is becoming a key feature for Panasonic's consumer range, lets you link multiple camcorders and assemble the footage using the Panasonic app. It's a shame that most of the creative effects can only be used when shooting in 1080P, but shooting in 4K gives you more potential for editing in post. For quick, fun shooting at home or on the move, you can't go wrong with the Canon LEGRIA HF R86. This is no 4K manual monster – what you get here is a camcorder built for capturing family moments in 1080p. Unusually, the Canon LEGRIA HF R86 comes with 8GB internal storage in addition to its SD slot (enough for half an hour of Full HD video), and is capable of transferring files via Wi-Fi or NFC straight to a PC, ready to be uploaded and shared on your social network of choice. This is a reliable, thoughtfully designed camcorder that would make an ideal gift for new parents. MiniDV is now an outmoded format, having being superseded by SD cards, but the Canon VIXIA HV20 was one of the best camcorders made for the little tapes in their twilight years. Capable of shooting at 1080p and featuring 10x optical zoom, it was a seriously powerful consumer camera when first released, and has aged well in the years since. Helpfully, this MiniDV camcorder is also capable of recording to Mini SD cards, which will keep it in regular use once your supply of tiny tapes runs dry. You might find a new VIXIA HV20, but otherwise refurbished is the way to go. The JVC Everio GZ-RY980HEU is tough, powerful and dependable – ideal for shooting 4K on the road. JVC's new Falconbird image processor is less power-hungry than previous versions, extending battery life for 4.5 hours of continuous 4K shooting, and the camcorder's tough chassis will survive drops of 1.5m, submersion in water to depths of 5m, and temperatures of -10C. This is a strong candidate if you're looking for a camcorder for recording far from home (and power outlets), and with the JVC Everio GZ-RY980HEU capable of taking 8K stills, you might decide to leave your regular camera at home. The Sony RX0 II is tiny – seriously tiny. The sports camera market has blossomed in recent years, with a host of rivals appearing to wrestle for GoPro's crown, and the tough little RX0 II is punching well above its weight. It's the world's smallest 4K camcorder, capable of shooting at 30FPS and capturing 15.3MP stills. Its Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens is impressive, and it even features a diminutive tiltable LCD display. It's waterproof to 1m without a case, and resistant to accidental crushing. You don't get a lot of camera for your money, but it's a pocket-sized powerhouse. Read more: The best cameras for beginners The best monitors for video editing How to edit videos: top tips for beginners View the full article
  23. Lino printmaking is a method of relief printing which involves carving a drawing into a soft linoleum block, rolling a thin layer of ink over it, and pressing paper on top to transfer the image. The areas where you have carved away reveal the paper beneath, often with quite beautiful results. Lino prints look bold and powerful, with hard lines, flat areas of colour, and high contrast between the paper and ink. You can spend a long time carving, or just make a simple design, but the printing is fairly fast, so multiple copies can be made quickly and easily. Many artists find that working in lino changes their style, and drawings that look tentative or flimsy in pencil take on a more confident, powerful quality when transformed into lino prints (see our best pencil drawings for drawing inspiration). In this tutorial you will learn the basics of lino printmaking as we explain how to make a simple lino print using a few basic materials. 01. Get to know your tools The tools you'll need for lino printmaking, flowers optional [Image: Meg Buick] Before you start your lino printmaking project, you need to make sure you have the right tools. You will need the following: lino board ink roller carving tools sheet for inking up (glass, plastic, a tile, another piece of lino, anything that is smooth, flat and non-absorbent) marker pen pencil (see our post on the best pencils) carbon paper (optional) There's more than one tool for carving out your lino [Image: Meg Buick] Lino cut tools have been developed over time so that each tool can be used to give a different mark or texture. Look at the blade of each tool. Some have a pointy ‘V’ shape, and some have a curvy ‘U’ shape. Another one is flat, and one is like a small craft knife. 02. Draw and transfer your design Draw your design out before you start [Image: Meg Buick] Start off with a simple drawing. You can draw directly onto the lino or you can transfer a photograph or drawing using carbon paper. 03. Create areas of light and dark Highlighting the areas that will be light or dark can help you understand what you're creating [Image: Meg Buick] You will have to clear away all the 'paper' areas on the lino block with your tools – it’s an inverse of drawing with a black pen on white paper. It can help to use a marker pen to clarify the light and dark areas of your image. 04. Make a test piece to practise Different tools create different textures [Image: Meg Buick] Try shading a test piece of lino with your marker pen (so you can see what you’re doing) and try and use every tool in the box to make as many textures as you can. Holding the tool in one hand a bit like a pen, insert it into the surface of the lino and push forward. You should see a slither of lino being lifted away. Push forwards and tilt the angle of your hand to remove it completely, and have a look at the mark you have made. You’ll find that the V tools are better for narrow, sketchy lines like a fine point pen, while the U tool cuts wider marks like a marker. The flat tool can be used for clearing larger areas Use one hand to carve and the other to steady it. The pressure, speed and angle of the tool will all make a difference. Always cut away from your fingers – these blades can be sharp! Keep turning the block as you work on it rather than turning to cut back towards yourself. 04. Carve out your design Consider which tools you'll use for different areas of your design [Image: Meg Buick] After practicing with your tools on your test piece, choose the marks and textures you want to use in your design. You might want some areas to be drawn like a pencil line using the V tool, and others as flat areas of black or white. 05. Shade your carvings with a marker pen Marker pens can help you see what you're doing [Image: Meg Buick] Use a chunky marker pen to shade over where you are carving – it will bring out the marks you are making, and give a better idea of the way your block will look like when it is printed. 06. Roll your ink onto the sheet Create a thin, even layer of ink on your sheet [Image: Meg Buick] Now it’s time to get messy! You’ll need your 'slab' or 'sheet' for rolling out the ink. We are using a plastic lid. Start by squeezing a thin strip of ink at the bottom of your slab, straight from the tube. Dip the roller in the ink and then roll forward onto the plastic, spreading ink out evenly across it until it covers it in a thin, even, flat layer. Too thick and it will sound squelchy and have little peaks, a bit like orange peel. Try and aim for a ‘whisper’ as the roller runs up and down, and a texture a bit like brushed suede. 07. Roll ink onto the lino Aim for a shiny, inky texture on your lino [Image: Meg Buick] When you have a nice even layer of ink on your slab, roll directly onto your lino. This is the exciting bit where you start to get a sense of what your image will look like. Roll in lots of different directions and after rolling two or three times on your block, go back and roll in the inky slab to re-fill your roller by rolling across it again. When you have covered your block, it should be covered in an even, shiny texture, showing you that you have inked the entire image. 08. Press paper onto your lino Place a piece of paper over your lino and press down with your hands [Image: Meg Buick] Now for the printing! A great thing about lino printmaking is that it can be done at home without the need for a printing press – all you need is your hands. Put a piece of paper directly on top of your image, and smooth down with your hands all over. 09. Press with a wooden spoon Press down with a wooden spoon to make sure your image prints correctly on your paper [Image: Meg Buick] Take a wooden spoon and, starting in the middle of the image, begin rubbing the round base of the spoon in small circles, moving outwards to cover the block, and making sure you reach the edges. You should see the paper go slightly shiny where you have rubbed, and you may see a light embossing from your image. This will help you keep track of where you have covered. 10. Peel off your print Now for the big reveal... [Image: Meg Buick] When you think you have printed the whole image, gently peel up the corners and have a peek. Apply further pressure if you think it still looks a bit patchy. Then, take two corners of your paper and gently lift it up from the block. Voilà! You have your first lino cut. Make as many copies as you want. 11. Compare your lino block and your print Decide if you're happy with your image [Image: Meg Buick] Your final print will be a reversal of your lino block. Look at areas of texture created by the tools where you have carved away and decide if you want to make any changes. You can wash your block and continue to carve if you wish. 12. Leave your lino prints to dry Your final print [Image: Meg Buick] Leave your prints to dry over a few days, by placing them separately somewhere flat and warm. Make sure you wash all your tools thoroughly – you can clean your lino block and inking slab and roller with warm, soapy water and a rag – and you're done. Cato Press is a printmaking studio in East Bristol that runs courses in lino cut and other printmaking processes. Visit the Cato Press website to find out more. Read more: Pencil drawing techniques: Pro tips to sharpen your skills Get started with Risograph printing An introduction to monotype printing View the full article
  24. Microsoft is urging users to patch every Exim installation in their organization and make sure that they are updated to the most recent version, Exim version 4.92. View the full article
  25. Adobe Fresco has been announced as the latest addition to the Creative Cloud family. The next-generation digital art app, which was previously known as Project Gemini, recreates the feeling of drawing and painting with traditional tools. Designed for the iPad, and other stylus and touch devices, Adobe Fresco is now open to pre-release testing. You might remember that Fresco was first announced as Project Gemini at Adobe's annual conference, Adobe MAX 2018. Fresco looks set to be Adobe's answer to Procreate, and could rank up there with the best drawing apps for iPad. Revealed by Kyle T. Webster and Eric Snowden, Fresco will pair pen and touch hardware with professional tools and a streamlined, easy-to-use interface. Sign up to Adobe Creative Cloud "We’re developing Adobe Fresco to empower spontaneous creativity," explains Creative Cloud's chief product officer and executive vice president, Scott Belsky in an Adobe blog post. "Because it's built for the Apple iPad (with versions for other stylus- and touch-based devices to follow), you’ll be able to bring Fresco wherever you go. It frees drawing and painting from the desktop and lets you create everywhere, anytime." Fresco's name is no coincidence, either. The word refers to a centuries-old painting technique where artists would work into wet plaster. And once the plaster was dry, they were out of time. This perfectly sums up how Fresco will replicate the organic interactions of analogue art tools, such as chalk, oils, and watercolours. Rethinking the mobile art experience Fresco has been created with Adobe's users and community in mind. Having heard that they've been asking for professional-level features on mobile, Adobe went back to the drawing board and completely rethought how its tools can be used on the go. The result is a set of intuitive features that hope to recapture that simple, natural feeling of working with analogue drawing tools. New painting and illustration capabilities, such as new types of paint and painting interactions, open up previously impossible digital art opportunities. This includes the ability to mix digital watercolour washes just like the real thing, as well as exclusive brushes and a multiscreen mode. To ensure that they're up to scratch, these tools have been rigorously tested by a selection of skilled artists. On top of that, Adobe Fresco is also able to sync with Photoshop on the desktop. This means that art you make in the field can be developed seamlessly when you're back in the studio, without the headache of transferring files. Images created in Adobe Fresco will sync with Photoshop on desktop [Image: Adobe] "Fresco will have the power creative professionals need," adds Belsky. "It includes pro-level tools like layers, masking, and selection in a workspace you can customise for efficiency." Adobe Fresco is due to launch later in the year, but if you would like to sign up for pre-testing, you can apply here. And if you're after a device that will make your digital artwork look as good as can be, check out our guide to the best tablets with a stylus for drawing. Read more: How to draw: the best drawing tutorials Sneak peek: Supercharged Photoshop tool The 10 commandments of Photoshop etiquette View the full article
  26. You've been on a trip that was really special to you. You shot some great videos you'll always treasure. And now you want to show them to your friends, family, colleagues, and perhaps share it on your social media networks . But you don't want people to just glance at them, say "Yeah great" and then wander off; you really want them to watch it properly! And you know that the more slickly produced they are, the more that's likely to actually happen. Thankfully, in 2019, you don't need special training to create professional looking videos. Adobe's Premiere Rush provides a simple way to edit your footage that anyone can use. And if you really want to add the 'Wow' factor to your footage, you can use Adobe Stock Motion Templates to add the kind of animated titles and graphics you see in movies and TV shows. Read on as we explain how... 01. Import your video It's easy to edit your video in Premiere Rush First, download the free version of Adobe Premiere Rush. (Note: you'll need an Adobe ID; if you don't have one, create one for free here.) Open the app, and click the 'Create a New Project' button in the top-left corner. Import your video or videos, and edit them accordingly using the software. (If you need help in this, check out this Premiere Rush tutorial). 02. Find a motion template There are hundreds of great motion templates on the Adobe Stock website Titles, credits, captions, transitions, and graphics can really add the 'wow' factor to your video. And the great news is that you don't need to craft them yourself: that's already been done for you. Adobe Stock has hundreds of professionally designed motion graphics templates that you can drag and drop into your video. Check out the hundreds of great templates on offer at Adobe Stock. Just hover over the still image and you'll see what they look like when animated. 03. Import a stock motion template into Rush Search for motion templates right within Premiere Rush Open up Premiere Rush and in the top-right hand side of the screen, you'll see a square with a 'T' in it. Click on it, and you will bring up the 'Titles' panel. Choose the 'More titles' button in the top right, and this will list all available motion templates from Adobe Stock. You can either scroll through them, or use the search bar to find the one you're looking for. Here, we're using the neon pink and yellow template called 'Sliding Pop Art Title'. Once you've chosen your template, drag it onto the timeline of your video. (Note: you don't place it on the still images themselves, but in the strip above them). Then, if you want to make your template appear for a shorter or longer time in the video, pull the purple rectangle back and forth accordingly. 04. Edit your Stock Motion template Update your text and change font, size, etc using the 'Edit' tab The 'Edit' panel on the right enables you to customise your template to your heart's content; you can change the font, the size, and more. You'll also want to change the text itself, of course. Note: this is done by clicking in the text box on the screen, not in the edit panel or the timeline. Now, click the play button to see what your motion text looks like within the video. If it doesn't look right, then just go back and keep tweaking until it does. Alternatively, if you decide against using the template altogether, no problem. Just select it and delete it by clicking the trashcan icon on the left, and start again with another template. Also note that you're not restricted to one template per video, you can use as many as you like. 05. Export your video Exporting your video to your computer or social networks is a piece of cake Once you're happy with your video, click the 'Share' button in the top-left corner. Now you'll be given the choice of saving your video to your desktop, YouTube, Instagram or Behance. And you're done! Here's our example video, and another one we enhanced with titles and graphics in just a few minutes, using the same steps. Just think how you could use these kinds of titles, transitions and motion graphics to bring your own holiday videos to life! There are hundreds of Adobe Stock motion templates to choose from, so don't hang around: start trying them out today. Get started with Adobe Stock here. View the full article
  27. With Sky Boxes and Freeview HD recorders now allowing viewers to fast-forward through the commercials, the need for TV ads to amuse, charm, and delight is more important than ever. But can an ad ever be TOO entertaining? We’d argue that solely entertaining without persuading is ultimately a futile activity. As well as engaging its audience, an ad also needs to deliver a clear and understandable message, and ideally, prompt viewers to take some kind of action. In this post, we highlight five UK ads that are hugely entertaining but where the commercial message seems muddled or lost. Don't get us wrong: they're all brilliantly made, and some have even won awards... but we humbly question whether they actually serve the fundamental brand purpose. 01. John Lewis/Elton John It’s a little bit funny, the feeling inside, when you watch this ad created by Adam & Eve/DDB. Because quite frankly it seems more like an ad for Elton John than an ad for John Lewis. For two minutes and 10 seconds, we're treated to a beautifully constructed journey through the life and career of the singer. This mini-biopic is epic, touching and at times overwhelming. And yet... its connection with the high-street retailer it's supposed to be promoting seems less than obvious. It's only in the final few seconds that we get the payoff: apparently, when he was a boy, Elton's parents bought him a piano, and so the final caption reads “Sometimes a gift is more than a gift”. It’s a nice line, but it feels like a stretch to connect any of this with John Lewis. Pianos are not an obvious item you’d associate with the British retail institution, and in fact, they literally don’t sell them. (Yes, they do sell digital pianos, but in this context, that’s really not the same thing.) Overall, it all feels like John Lewis was so excited to be associated with a rock icon, they forgot that the point was to get people to actually buy stuff. If the purpose of a TV ad is to encourage the viewer to take an action, this one certainly works... but only if the action is to download Elton's ‘Your Song’, or go to the cinema and watch Rocketman. How to do it better The 2014 Christmas ad for John Lewis, also by Adam & Eve/DDB, again tells the story of a specific purchase; in this case, a toy penguin. But in this case, it's both something people are likely to buy, and something John Lewis actually sells. Furthermore, the story and the tagline (“Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of”) conveys a broader notion: that of delighting a child with a present tailored to their own desires and dreams, which is much more universally relatable. 02. Confused.com/Brian the Robot Comparison websites are often awkward and time-consuming to use. So even though we know they could save us money on our car insurance or energy bills, we often just lazily click ‘renew’ when our year’s contract is up. This ad, created by Publicis London, aimed to make Confused.com's service seem more accessible, by portraying it in the form of a chummy, approachable robot called Brian. And it was certainly entertaining. With a fun soundtrack, which fans of 1980s TV will recognise as the Knight Rider theme tune, we see Brian comically chase a family driving across the UK for a series of days and nights. Finally, he catches up and informs them: “I could save you £230 on your car insurance”. This could have been a great climax to an entertaining sequence. But to our minds, the ad fluffs it; the driver simply responds “Cheers mate” and drives off. Honestly, it seems more like he's giving Brian the brush-off than actively engaging in the comparison process. This damp squib of an ending means the whole thing falls flat. And the family’s passive response seems unlikely to encourage viewers to visit Confused.com and start entering their details. How to do it better This ad for ClearScore.com is drily amusing, with a comedy dog and a funny miscommunication between husband and wife. But it’s also superbly persuasive. The call to action couldn’t be clearer, as the characters basically hold up a mirror to viewers at home, showing them exactly what to do, and how quickly it can be done. A great example of how to be entertaining, at the same time as conveying a clear message and call to action. 03. Halifax/Wizard of Oz Who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz? And this ad, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, cleverly blends the classic movie's footage with a newly filmed scene in a way that can only be described as technical genius. Like in the movie, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin-Man and the Cowardly Lion knock on the door of the Great and Powerful Oz’s castle. But instead of the Wizard, they’re greeted by Greg, a Halifax mortgage advisor, who tells them, “If it’s the home of your dreams you’re after, maybe I can help?” It’s a smart concept, and a lovely way to view a boring subject like banking through a rosy lens of nostalgia. But ultimately, it falls flat when Greg informs Dorothy: “I can’t give you a mortgage, you’re far too young” – and she then bursts into tears! Although Greg eventually does get Dorothy home, this moment feels like a bum note, instantly unravelling the (already weak) connection with getting a mortgage that the ad was meant to promote. Overall, then, the whole thing feels like something that everyone had a lot of fun making, but doesn’t really get across a clear message. How to do it better This earlier Halifax ad, also created by Adam&EveDDB, is far less convoluted: Top Cat and his sidekick Benny simply walk into a branch, ask for a mortgage, and well, get a mortgage. The ad works particularly well because it ties into what fans already know about the characters (they're always being evicted from their trash can-homes), while it's simple enough that people who’ve never seen the show still get the point. 04. The National Lottery/Please Not Them You'd think that persuading people to buy lottery tickets was a fairly simple proposition: who doesn’t want to be a multimillionaire overnight? But for some reason, the National Lottery decided to go for a more complicated, surreal and irony-laced approach with its ‘Please Not Them’ series of ads. Rather than pursuing the obvious line that people like being instantly rich, it played on the somewhat quixotic notion of playing to stop other people winning; specifically, celebrities with ludicrous ideas about what they'd do with the money. Don't misunderstand us: this campaign, led by AMV BBDO, was hugely entertaining, often hilarious, and packed with star power. In the ad shown above, Piers Morgan plays an exaggerated version of himself, in which he designs a narcissistic amusement park called Piers’ Pier. Other ads in the series featured James Blunt and Katie Price, and each parodies celebrities’ sense of their own importance brilliantly. So hats off to AMV BBDO for creating these superb comedy sketches. We just question whether anyone has ever bought a ticket because of them. Quite simply, their tongue is so firmly in their cheek that the concept of playing the lottery is less brought to the forefront of viewers' minds than shoved right to the back. How to do it better For a British audience, a naked appeal to personal greed might be considered a bit tasteless. So this clever ad, again from AMV BBDO, instead focuses on the things we’d buy for our nearest and dearest if we won. It's a simple but effective campaign that recasts our avarice as generosity, and gives us a truly convincing reason to buy that next lottery ticket (which we wanted to do anyway, but just needed a bit more talking into). 05. Nationwide/Flo and Joan This series of adverts for Nationwide features a comedy duo called Flo and Joan. And it seems to have divided the nation – or at least those active on the internet – between people who love them and people who truly hate them. From a pure business point of view, there’s nothing wrong with creating ads that annoy people. Some of the most successful ads of all time have also been the most irritating, from Cillit Bang to Go Compare, partly because they tend to stick in the memory for longer. But just being irritating isn’t enough in itself. As we’ve said many times in this article now, there needs to be a clear message, ideally one that makes a viewer imagine using your product or service, and a call to action. But to our mind, this campaign, created by VCCP, features none of these things. Each of the ads consists of a comedy song, followed by a couple of text captions about how great the building society is. Yet the two seem at best distantly (and at worst tortuously) related to each other. In short, the entire campaign seems more like an advert for Flo and Joan. We hope they reap the benefit, because we honestly can’t see Nationwide doing so. How to do it better Here’s a much more effective use of a comedy song, in an ad to promote Yorkshire Tea. It basically takes the classic British notion that a cup of tea cures all ills to ridiculous extremes. And it's not just funny and entertaining, but conveys the message and the call to action quickly and efficiently. That contrasts strongly with the Flo and Joan ads, where you have to watch the entire thing before you find out what the heck any of this has to do with Nationwide. View the full article
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