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  1. Want to meet Hollywood bigwigs and veterans from the CG industry? Come to Vertex's networking event and you'll be able to mingle with some of the world’s leading artists, creatives and developers. You can exchange contacts with professionals, and who knows – you might even be able to land your next dream job! The networking event will take place after our panel discussion and it is a fantastic opportunity to speak one-on-one with experts and cultivate new relationships after spending the day attending the recruitment fair, listening to engaging talks and learning new skills in our workshops. The who's who of CG Some of the amazing speakers we have attending Vertex include the likes of CG Labs director Chris Nichols, Digital Domain co-founder and industry veteran Scott Ross, Allegorithmic CEO and founder Dr Sébastien Deguy, VR genius Glen Southern, Danny Sweeney from Creative Assembly, freelance 3D artist Maya Jermy, Bader Badruddin from Blue Zoo and much more. Scott will be speaking to 3D World editor Rob Redman about the future of British VFX after Brexit, looking at the pitfalls and opportunities. Our line-up of amazing speakers have some really inspiring talks for you Educate and inspire Don't forget we also have an incredible workshop from The Mill's Adam Dewhirst, who will walk you through how to create a digidouble in a day, using a range of techniques from photogrammetry and mesh wrapping to The Mill’s custom human rig. Dewhirst will delve into The Mill’s ‘master human set up’, and highlight how they’re investigating the future challenges of CG human models. Meanwhile, Saddington Baynes' Chris Christodoulou and Marc Shephard will demonstrate the technical backbone and processes that sit behind mass customisation in a special duo workshop, alongside the tools and software that can help artists work faster (with emphasis on Maya and Nuke). The mixer is only available for Access All Areas ticket holders so get your tickets now! Get your ticket to Vertex 2018 now! Vertex is the event for the CG community. Book your ticket now at vertexconf.com, where you can find out more about the other amazing speakers, workshops, recruitment fair, networking event, expo and more. Related articles: Scott Ross to talk at Vertex! Why Vertex is a must for CG artists The ethics of Digital Humans View the full article
  2. Malware intended for a “high-impact” attack against safety systems likely would of caused physical damage to a targeted company located in the Middle East. View the full article
  3. While there’s certainly no shortage of books on Dieter Rams, a hefty new tome cuts to the chase with surely what all designers really want to hear: the titular Ten Principles for Good Design. But alongside concise, helpful lessons from the great Rams, the volume also shows (as if we didn’t know) exactly why he’s the man to be learning from, discussing his role as part of the birth of the Braun design ethos in the mid-1950s; and showcasing his product design work from the Jorrit Maan Collection. There’s also a clear, helpful timeline of key points in Rams’ life and career, revealing just how talented he was at such a young age: the designer wasn’t even 30 years old when was appointed head of the Braun Design Department in 1961. The volume opens with what it titles 'an important question'. As editor Cees W. de Jong writes, “back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world about him – ‘an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.’ Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design? As good design cannot be measured in a finite way, he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered good design.” Rams was ahead of his time in taking an approach to product design that not only brought aesthetics and functionality to the fore, but also prioritised durability and ease of use for those they were designing for. It’s this legacy and those all-important principles that this book presents so beautifully. The quiet, confident layout designs let Rams’ work speak for itself while showcasing imagery of 100 items in a detailed, considered way Alongside contributions written by Rams himself, including his Tokyo manifesto and an essay entitled ‘Design – Ritual of a Hopeful Society?’, the book also publishes interviews such as an in-conversation piece with Erik Mattie, and a contribution about the importance of teamwork to industrial design by the Braun Design Team. Naturally, the book design, layout and typesetting (by de Jong, VK Projects, Naarden & Asher Hazelaar, and Dutch studio Puls Ontwerp) takes Rams’ aesthetic principles and shows them in action, in book form. A few of these – as outlined in his 10 principles – are “good design is innovative; good design is aesthetic; good design is useful”. The quiet, confident layout designs let Rams’ work speak for itself while showcasing imagery of 100 items in a detailed, considered way. Among these are, of course, Rams' famous coffee grinder, but we also see less celebrated objects like shelving systems and cigarette lighters. In another helpful nod to design as a utopian idea that should be as easy to use as it is beautiful, the final part of the book presents a chronological overview of Rams’ designs, categorised by function, presenting a narrative of not just of his work, but also the evolution of industrial design. View the full article
  4. To draw hands, you need to look past the complexity of the hand's anatomy and recognise simple rules that will help you draw from a model or even your own imagination. Although they're notoriously tricky to get right, there are some sketching tips and tricks you can use. To help you, in this short tutorial we'll break the process down into four simple steps to create a quick sketch. We'll start by exploring the structure of the hand, and then look at how to translate this into a drawing. Watch the video below, and follow my written steps beneath that. We also have a more in-depth guide on How to draw hands, which breaks hand gestures into shapes for a more refined and realistic style. This guide is more concerned about creating sketches that capture the essence of a hand, at speed. Read on for four simple steps. 01. Consider how hands work To draw hands properly you need to understand their anatomy The most important thing in drawing hands is to understand their anatomy. Look at your own hand – it (usually) comprises of a palm, thumb, index finger and the three remaining fingers, which even though they can be moved separately, work together when it comes to grabbing objects. Move your hand and notice how your fingers and thumb bend and move, and what happens to the palm. 02. Find the right gesture Try out loads of gestures until you find one that really catches the eye Before you start drawing a hand, make sure you pick an interesting gesture. Try to experiment a lot at this point. A well-drawn gesture can communicate more than a hundred words. Be your own model and actor. Perform a gesture and notice what happens to your hand. Try to emulate those gestures in some fast and loose sketches. 03. Construct your sketch Start sketching with bigger shapes, observing how all the elements of the hand work together Once you choose the gesture you want to draw, start sketching it in a more precise way. Ask someone to pose for you or observe your own non-drawing hand. Start with bigger shapes; don't focus on small wrinkles or fingernails yet. A sturdy well-constructed sketch will go a long way. Observe how the elements of a hand work together and what happens to the skin and muscles. 04. Work in the details Refine your sketch and add in details such as wrinkles, fingernails and veins When you are happy with the first sketch, start refining it. Enhance the lines that are important and erase those that aren't. Add wrinkles, fingernails and veins if they are visible. When drawing fingernails, remember that they are not pasted on top of the fingers, they are well embedded in the tips of the fingers. Drawing them correctly is very important. This article was originally published in issue 12 of Paint & Draw, the art magazine offering tips and inspiration for artists everywhere. Buy it here. Related articles: How to choose the right drawing tools Sharpen your sketching skills How to draw and paint - 100 pro tips and tutorials View the full article
  5. Oscar-winning directors, chart-topping bands, and budgets larger than some movies: Christmas adverts have never been bigger. But, as this list proves, the best Christmas ads 2017 were the ones that played with the form, took chances, and did something a bit different. There's still a big emphasis on making you bulb, but we also liked action ads, comedy ads, and otherworldly ads. We've looked at the best of British – where the Christmas ad has blown up in recent years – but have also taken in commercials from the US, Europe, and further afield. In no particular order, here's our pick of the best Christmas ads of the year. 01. A Very Merry Mistake, Host/Havas Santa's a sort of bigwig sitting behind a massive desk. He takes calls from kids all over the world. He's fluent in all languages, you see. Then kids from New Zealand start calling. The Kiwi accent – clipped, vowel-swapping – proves too much for Santa. A boy named 'Bin' apparently wants a new 'biscuitball'. Fortunately for all, the Air New Zealand cabin crew are on hand to translate. Easily the funniest ad of the year. 02. Gogglebox Meets Coca-Cola's 'Holidays Are Coming' Gogglebox, if you haven't seen it, is a TV show that points a camera a people watching TV shows. Sounds rubbish; actually brilliant. Here the Gogglebox families watch Coca-Cola's Holidays Are Coming ad – which is now over two decades old. Say what want you about Coca-Cola, but for many of us, that ad signals the start of the Christmas season, as the Goggleboxers' reactions prove. A recent study found this the most engaging ad of the season. 03. Toyota R+S Holiday Commercial, Saatchi & Saatchi Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without multinational corporations trying to sell you stuff by making you cry. That's Toyota's play here: it got Emmy-winner Lance Acord to direct this Sundance-style, indie-movie tearjerker. Man: "So your folks took it pretty hard, huh?" Woman: "They loved that tree." A minute and a half later the whole family is gathered around said recently fallen tree. But, wait, it's been given a new lease of life and the woman's folks couldn't be happier about it. Cynical maybe, but it's deftly done. 04. Bring Everyone Together, CLM BBDO Remember that old M&Ms Christmas ad? Santa bumps in to Red and Yellow (those walking, talking, M&M characters). Both Santa and Red faint. It came out in 1996 and this is the sequel. What happens next is Yellow steps in to delivery Santa's presents, but, being a chocolate covered nut with no experience in complex intercontinental logistics, he gets them all mixed up. Did he ruin Christmas? No. Course not. "I think," Red says, "you made it even better." 05. Parking Lot, Venables Bell & Partners Two flustered men drive to into the parking lot of a mall for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Thing is, there's only one parking space left. They're both driving souped-up Audis and they both appear to be world-class stunt drivers. What follows is perhaps the best car chase in the history of advertising. It's nicely scripted too, as the ending mirrors the beginning when the two men meet again, this time while pushing shopping trolleys. 06. Paddington & The Christmas Visitor, Grey London This Paddington bear ad – for British supermarket Marks & Spencer – has a pretty familiar plot. Paddington mistakes a bearded burglar for Santa Claus. The bear helps him take back all the presents he's nicked. The thief sees the light … but then, according to some complaints, swears at Paddington. A spokesman for M&S said it's obvious the words are actually, "Thank you, little bear." 07. Moz The Monster, adam&eveDDB Current heavyweight champion of the Christmas ad in the UK is John Lewis. Moz the Monster is about a boy who makes mates with the creature that lives under his bed. Industry figures suggest its the department store's least successful Christmas campaign in five years. But when it comes to big names, it doesn't get much better: it's directed by Academy Award winner Michel Gondry and soundtracked by Mercury Music Prize winner Elbow. 08. J’ai tant rêvé, Romance French supermarket Intermarché went for something a bit different this year. A boy decides Santa's trademark big belly is doing him no good. The boy administers a diet of fresh fruit and veg, all from his favourite supermarket chain, of course, and bonds with his sister in the process. It's all nicely shot, with a Henri Salvador’s lovely J’ai tant rêvé providing the title and the soundtrack. 09. Danielle, Leo Burnett Iberia Most epic ad of the year goes to the Spanish national lottery. The Oscar-winning director Alejandro Amenábar directs Danielle, an 18-minute spot about an alien who comes to earth and takes the form of a woman. She tries to get to grips with modern life in Madrid. She meets Daniel, who thinks she's a foreigner, can't speak Spanish, and so mistakenly thinks her name is Danielle. It's a visually stunning ad which manages to incorporate the client into the story in a really creative way. 10. #YouShall Find Your Fairytale Christmas, J. Walter Thompson British department store Debenhams does a modern take on Cinderella in one of the most lushly shot ads of the season. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl lose each other … The two attempt to track each other down using social media. The whole thing goes viral. But still the pair can't find each other. That's when good old fashion fate steps in. It's all narrated by Ewan McGregor, who pops up at the end with a cameo that gives fate a helping hand. Read more: When to use humour in branding 10 advertisers that use creativity to boost their brand 40 traffic-stopping examples of billboard advertising View the full article
  6. CSS can revolutionise your web layouts, help you create animated menus, responsive layout grids and more – but it can also be a real nightmare. We’ve all seen CSS that has spiralled out of control into a mess of codependent, poorly named spaghetti. Fortunately, CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation are here to help. These frameworks give you the base styles you need to get your project off the ground quickly. But what if you need something more custom? What if your project is a beautiful, unique child that doesn’t conform to the rules, man? Solid foundation Buzzfeed has built its own CSS framework to make everything consistent – from header sizes and text colours down to social buttons At BuzzFeed we decided that we needed to create a framework from scratch. This framework, Solid, has changed how we develop our UI. It’s an atomic style guide made up of single-responsibility CSS classes – small classes that each describe a single CSS property (such as .text-1 for our h1 font size or .m1 for our default margin). By combining these classes we can cover the vast majority of styles in our ecosystem in a standardised way. With Solid we’ve codified common UX patterns across BuzzFeed’s products and reduced the amount of custom CSS we’re writing. Buzzfeed's Solid framework even extends to how forms and buttons are styled Why is this important? We have a big design and engineering team at BuzzFeed and, along with our web application, we also create and maintain many internal tools and dashboards. It is a challenge for us to ensure the design and CSS of our products stays visually and semantically consistent. Having a common UI language helps reduce the amount of design and HTML/CSS overhead, and gives us a common language we can share while building out BuzzFeed’s UI. But just because building a custom framework works for us doesn’t mean it will suit you and your projects. In true BuzzFeed fashion, we have created a quiz to help you decide whether you should use an existing framework, make your own, or not use a framework at all. So what approach should you take? Answer the following questions to find out: How important is the style of your project? A: The style of the product is really an afterthought for us B: Fairly, that’s why I’m taking this quiz! C: The style is the product Are there common/shared patterns in your project? A: No, but I would like there to be B: Yes, the need for shared patterns like forms and buttons is apparent C: Everything is unique and that’s how I like it Do you need to implement a lot of custom, one-off designs? A: No B: I’m not sure yet, it’s too early in the process to even know C: Yes, this website is going to be flashy and blow minds How much frontend expertise do you have on the team? A: It could be stronger B: There is a strong frontend engineering presence on my team C: What is frontend expertise? How would you describe the makeup of your team? A: A small team of mostly engineers B: A large team of designers and engineers who find the need to collaborate often C: It’s just me! Maybe my friend John if he has time What’s the visual style of the product? A: It can work with a generic style, as long as we can customise a few things here and there B: Our product is predictable and has repeated but unique needs C: Everything we design is a special, idiosyncratic flower. Like John What’s your timeline? A: Two weeks B: This is my personal journey, man C: Two months What would you consider the most important priority for this project? A: The timeline – we need something, like yesterday B: Sustainability – I need to make sure an engineer can work on this next year without hating me C: Design – we’re after a lot of flashy design handiwork What’s stopping you from creating a custom CSS style guide for your web project? A: The other priorities on my plate right now leave no time B: The stakeholders on the project don’t agree this is a priority C: I don’t have a need for it right now What’s your spirit animal? A: A leopard B: A wolf C: An English bulldog named John, after my lovely friend John. Hi John! Score time Tally up your answers, then discover your result based on your highest ranking category. Mostly As: Use an existing framework If timelines are tight and a distinct style is not your priority, then an existing framework is the way to go. If you want to get up and running as quickly as possible, try Bootstrap. For a responsive site with a clean, minimal style, try Foundation. If you’re building a more granular UI with some constraints, go for BassCSS. All three are robust and well-documented – you’ll have a UI together in no time. Mostly B: Build your own framework Sounds like your project needs its own standardised, documented styles. Congratulations! You’ve now got a real project on your hands. Try looking at existing frameworks and building off their best practices. Think of your framework from an outside perspective. Would your team use it if they didn’t have to? Solid works for BuzzFeed because it’s simply easier to develop with than without it (to read more about Solid and how we got started, check out our post on Medium). Building your own tool is not easy. But persevere and some day you’ll be writing cheeky quizzes too. Mostly C: Don’t use a framework OK, so there are a lot of problems with CSS. But you know what? Every web dev knows how to write it. If your project is small and stylised, consider sticking to vanilla CSS. Just make sure not to nest your selectors too deep. If you want a basic upgrade to CSS, consider reading up on BEM, a CSS naming convention that makes it clear which classes are dependent on each other. For more functional CSS check out Sass, a precompiled CSS extension that gives you variables and mixins. This article was originally published in issue 287 of net, the magazine for professional web designers and developers – offering the latest new web trends, technologies and techniques. Subscribe to net here. Related articles: Choose a website builder: 16 top tools How to make responsive web apps with container queries 12 must-have code testing tools View the full article
  7. The Harry Potter book series has spawned some amazing spin offs over the years. And while the likes of the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films and stage play The Cursed Child are a legitimate expansion of the series, a pastiche chapter written by a bot has tickled the internet's funny bones this week thanks to its peculiar turns of phrase that ape the style of the wizarding world's author, JK Rowling. Created by Botnik Studios, the short new chapter has been written with a predictive text keyboard that conjures up new sentences using an algorithm. The result is the bizarre but brilliant passage titled: Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. We urge you to take two minutes out of your day and read it - it beats fan fiction like My Immortal at any rate. How fan art can get you paidAs if the title wasn't unusual enough - although it does feel strangely true to Rowling's writing style - the contents of the story itself are where things start to get really weird. Kicking off with the fantastically odd sentence "the castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind", the text only gets more absurd as it goes along. Sentences this ludicrous are just begging for some artistic interpretation, and thankfully comic artist Megan Nicole Dong has stepped up to the challenge. Her distinctive doodle style lends itself perfectly to the short story's zany passages, such as Ron showing off his bad shirt or Harry Potter throwing his freshly torn out eyes into the forest. Check out a selection of Dong's fantastic doodles below, and be sure to head over to her Twitter page where she's posting more illustrations based on the story. With pretty much every sentence giving us the giggles, we can't wait to see which part she draws next. Which is worse, Ron or his Ron shirt? It wouldn't be a Harry Potter story without a trip to the Forbidden Forest The password to the secret room is... this Expect to see lots of fan-made t shirts with this written on them Related articles: J.K. Rowling's early Harry Potter sketches are a must-see New Harry potter movie logo uses typography as teasers New Harry Potter illustrations are a visual treat View the full article
  8. Whether it's playing a game on your PC or console or tapping away playing one on your phone on your way to work, games are a part of many people's daily routine. You can go from playing games to building the game of your dreams with the Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle, on sale for just $49 (approx. £37). The Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle is your opportunity to take your gaming interests to the next level. It's packed with the knowledge you need to go from exploring virtual worlds to building them. With 83 hours spanning seven unique courses that will take you through the fundamentals of game development and even help you build your very first games all on your own, this is the perfect kick-starter to launch your dream career. You can get the Unity A to Z Game Development Bundle on sale for just $49 (approx. £37). That’s a huge saving on a course valued at over $1,000 for a bundle that is sure to please any aspiring game developer, so grab this deal today! Creative Bloq deals This great deal comes courtesy of the Creative Bloq Deals store – a creative marketplace that's dedicated to ensuring you save money on the items that improve your design life. We all like a special offer or two, particularly with creative tools and design assets often being eye-wateringly expensive. That's why the Creative Bloq Deals store is committed to bringing you useful deals, freebies and giveaways on design assets (logos, templates, icons, fonts, vectors and more), tutorials, e-learning, inspirational items, hardware and more. Every day of the working week we feature a new offer, freebie or contest – if you miss one, you can easily find past deals posts on the Deals Staff author page or Offer tag page. Plus, you can get in touch with any feedback at: deals@creativebloq.com. View the full article
  9. If you want to learn the concepts of information architecture and start practicing it yourself, you should come to Generate New York in April, where Abby Covert will run a full-day workshop and follow it up with a talk at the conference that will help you make sense of any mess. According to Abby Covert, the web need information architects. In her rescheduled Generate talk, Covert will reveal how to become one, what makes it challenging, and why it can ruin your life. Websites used to be reasonably straightforward things, but as the web marched forward from niche interest to omnipresence, things got more complicated. Not merely in terms of technology, but also in terms of volume. Back in the Nineties a corporate site could get away with being made out of flat pages and a sidebar navigation. Today, though, it might consist of hundreds of pages, if not thousands. Organising such massive web presences is an increasing challenge; not merely the nuts and bolts of taxonomy, but also the messier business of implementing it all within organisations where political and technological arguments can hamper the process. People can agree that they need a better website, but no one likes to be told that they’ve been doing it wrong. This is where information architecture – or IA – comes into play. It’s enjoying a resurgence, and Abby Covert is one of the practitioners bringing it. Discovering IA Educated in graphic design, she had her first taste of information architecture at university. “It was mostly focused around distilling complex subject matter into graphics like a poster or an information graphic,” she tells us. Then in her first job out of school she worked as an icon designer, which led to her first information architecture job. “I told the team that I was working on that the icons were not the way to solve this problem,” she recalls. “They asked me if I knew what information architecture was and I was like, ‘Yes, I’m a print designer, of course I do.’ They were the ones that kind of clued me into the fact that this was actually something that was being applied to navigation systems with interfaces as well.” So what exactly is information architecture? Covert herself sums it up as making the unclear be clear: taking a whole mess of information and figuring out the most effective structure and language for it, in order to build accessible, navigable and manageable systems, sites and apps. Covert explains that it’s a fundamental skill set within practices such as UX or interaction design. “I would say the closest words that people may have heard of more recently would be content strategy, which is also a very close sister pattern to information architecture in terms of a practice,” she says. Making sense of the web The reason IA is returning to prominence now? “If you look at the evolution of the web over just the last decade it’s incredible how much has changed,” she observes. “Even in the early days of websites, you used to be able to rely that people were going to start at your homepage and then they were going to go from there. When search engines came about and started to get very detailed in terms of crawling something more than just your URL then you had to start thinking about people landing on deep inner pages of your site. Then add to that the persistence of social media sharing content out of context. “All of a sudden you had to think somebody could end up on some random place on your application or your website, not knowing anything about you or even having intended to go there,” she continues. “Having to think about it from a multi-channel and a more complex set of contexts, I think, has really just changed the way that we have to think about it. IA goes along with that.” Discover 'How to make sense of any mess' with at Persuasion, politics and facilitation If the science of IA is reasonably straightforward, however, the actual business of implementing it can be less so. Covert estimates that while 20 per cent of her job is the core business of drawing diagrams and mapping out fresh information structures, the other 80 per cent is what she describes as persuasion, politics and facilitation. “It’s hard to go into an organisation and critique something that somebody spent years creating,” she notes. And it’s this that can make IA a tremendously difficult discipline to teach, something that Covert does alongside her IA practice. “I was terrible when I first started doing this kind of work,” she recalls, “because I just thought that if I came up with something that made sense to me, and I tested it and it made sense to users, that I could then give it to other people in an organisation and that they would believe me. “In reality it’s not that cut and dry. That other part, the persuasion and the understanding of your stakeholders and the understanding of the environment that you’re working within, that’s something I haven’t figured out a way to teach without the element of time. I think that’s something that most of my students get theory on, but they really have to get out of their education and into their working world to discover the realities of practising it.” Everything changes As with web design and development, it’s a job in which you never stop learning. “I feel like every time I’ve got my hands around this thing and I think that it’s solid and I can grasp it, it changes. “I remember when I was three or four years in, I was very focused on software at that point, and I thought, man, this is great. I’ve finally got a grasp on this, I know the patterns, I know how to test things, I know all the questions to ask. Then rich internet applications changed everything and all of a sudden you couldn’t rely on a click and a reload for things to happen any more.” Without any set qualifications or career path, information architecture can be a difficult business to learn about and establish yourself in. There are quite a few books on the subject – with Covert’s own book, How to Make Sense of Any Mess, serving as a great introduction. Tickets for Generate New York 2018 are out now Abby will be one of the speakers at our web design event, Generate New York, on 25-27 April 2018. You can view the full star-studded lineup, and book your tickets now, at generateconf.com. This interview first appeared in net issue 292. Related articles: How to price your design project Balance content strategy with the voice of the brand Why you should make your users heroes View the full article
  10. The world of illustration never stays still for long. Aside from new illustration trends and illustration tools shaping the industry, there’s always new talent arriving on the scene, disrupting the zeitgeist with innovative techniques and new perspectives. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up. So, whether you're looking for the best illustrators to hire, collaborate with or inspire you, we've gathered 10 of our favourite artists of 2017 here to whet your appetite. Some are young guns, fresh out of college; others are older hands whose work might have recently hit a sweet spot, or dovetailed with wider trends. Next year, issue 276 of Computer Arts (on sale 6th February) will reveal its definite Illustrator Hotlist of 2018. In the meantime, here are 10 of the best illustrators of 2017... 01. Fionna Fernandes Fernandes is known for her youthful aesthetic Based in her home city of Sydney, Australia, Fionna Fernandes draws distinctive portraits for clients in fashion, editorial and advertising. With a client list ranging from My Little Pony and Nickelodeon to Toyota and Fanta, her bright and colourful stylings have been much in demand of late. Combining digital and hand-generated marks, Fernandes uses an Artline pen for her line work, and acrylic paint to come up with the light-hearted patterns she often uses as backgrounds. Recently, she’s been experimenting with collaged backdrops and adding stickers to the compositions. Juliette Lott, associate director of Illustration Web, which represents her, describes her work as “playful, fun and energetic. Fernandes’ work usually features female models in fashion scenarios, but she’s just as adept at depicting men, and animals too. There’s a youthful flavour to her aesthetic, and she enjoys drawing attention to certain aspects of the female face – the eyes, lips and hair – using brighter colours and patterns. This gives her portraits a unique feel and some extra punch.” 02. Andreea Cristina Dinu Andreea Cristina Dinu’s work artfully avoids cliche and borders on the surreal Born and raised in Romania, Andreea Cristina Dinu now works as an illustrator and graphic designer in her Hamburg studio Summerkid. Although nowadays her main focus is now illustration, she continues to develop her digital and print graphic design skills of 10 years and counting. Her cartoon-like illustrations are brimming with life and positivity, never fall into colour palette cliches, and often border on the surreal. Clients include the Süddeutsche Zeitung Familie (South German newspaper family), P Magazine, SUB25 Magazine and Art Safari 2017 Visuals, the yearly Bucharest art festival. Andrej Kiszling, design director of Owl Illustration, which represents her, describes Dino as a “super up-and-coming talent, characteristic with vivid semi-abstract style, really quite something new and fresh.” 03. Maldo Maldo uses bold and simple linework to make a big impact Originally from Bratislava, Slovakia, Maldo - a self-described “illustrator and creative maverick” - now works globally out of Prague, Czech Republic. Maldo has honed his illustrative style over time, simplifying it and taking it back to basics; nowadays it’s characterised by simple, bold linework, a sketchy look, a limited colour palette, and often using negative space. With clients including Time Inc, Travel + Leisure, Surf Office, and Festival de Cannes, he’s developed a nice line in designing for apparel brands and music labels, as well as editorial illustration and painting murals. 04. Jesús Sotes Jesús Sotés Vicente’s work is influenced by folk traditions and is centred around strong shapes Based in Pamplona, Spain, Jesús Sotés Vicente is a self-taught illustrator and graphic designer. His work makes strong use of shapes, the influence of folk traditions, and a love of foliage to create illustrations for editorial, advertising and book publishing that seem at once both familiar and original. It’s won him a string of commissions for book jackets, as well as big-name clients like British Airways and Hermes. 05. Giacomo Bagnara Giacomo Bagnara’s editorial work is deceptively simple, subtly powerful Giacomo Bagnara is an Italian illustrator who trained as an architect but ended up discovering a talent for editorial illustration, winning him clients such as Sony, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Die Zeit. His work is simple enough to work well on digital and social platforms. But there’s an underlying intelligence and thoughtfulness to it too, raising it about the norm and lending an air of understated sophistication to the brands who harness it. D&AD judge Andrea Chronopoulos says of Bagnara: “He always finds smart and elegant solutions in his illustrations. His images are essential but with small details that give a strong personality to all the elements.” 06. Cristina Daura Cristina Daura has carved out a distinctive look for her editorial and commercial work Cristina Daura is an illustrator and comic artist based in Barcelona, Spain. Her work is balanced and symmetrical, but never boring; two-dimensional, yet nicely textured. Most immediately, it is defiantly bright, colourful and upbeat, and dominated by a trademark colour palette that makes her work instantly identifiable. As well as a flurry of regional magazines, brands and festivals, Daura has done editorial and commercial work for the likes of The New York Times, New York Times Sunday Review and Penguin Books. “Her work is rigorous but also playful, with surreal and impactful compositions full of recurring elements that define her personal style,” says Chronopoulos. 07. Olivia Mathurin Olivia Mathurin harnesses the energy of the London streets in her dramatic work It’s common to find an illustrator who’s technically skilled yet produces little that’s new, engaging or original. That’s certainly NOT the case with Olivia Mathurin. The work of the London based illustrator, who graduated from the Royal College of Art this year with an MA in Visual Communication, doesn’t shy away from expressing a social and cultural political point of view. Giving a unique take on everyday city scenes, such as passengers on a bus or customers in a fast-food chicken takeaway, her work is social commentary at its most vibrant and challenging. 08. Hani Abusamra Hani Abusamra harnesses the power of contemporary pop culture in his quirky work Hani Abusamra is an illustrator and visual artist based in London who is inspired by science, print-making, comic books and skateboards. Much of his work takes serious topics and puts a quirky, colourful and pop culture-infused twist on them. “Hani’s work cleverly frames and layers pattern and iconic symbols with skilled figurative imagery creating seductive scenes, serious in content and pleasing to the eye,” says Lizzie Finn, course leader in MA Illustration & Visual Media at London College of Communication, UAL, which he recently completed. “His intricately constructed eight colour A0 screen print ‘They Were Allowed to Look Back (They Would Not be Turned to Stone) was a hit at the LCC postgraduate shows in December.” 09. Mr William Draw Mr William Draw’s fashion illustrations harness reductionism in an original and fascinating way Mr William Draw is an ex-product designer turned fashion illustrator. Based in Chile, he was selected as part of 200 best illustrators in the world by Lurzer's Archive 2016/17. “My work is a blend of oniric and symbolic elements with a surrealist aura,” he says, “where I combine handmade and digital techniques to show a universe where fashion acquires different meanings.” There are common themes in his illustrations, such as silhouette cutouts and empty, circular heads. But while reductive art can be often austere and boring, his inspired use of colour, deep attachment to his subject and general sense of joie de vivre creates an inspired synergy that makes each piece different, fascinating and compelling. 10. Decur Decur’s illustrations are weird, whimsical and wonderful Decur is an artist and illustrator from Santa Fe in Argentina whose children’s book-style art evoke times past while somehow remaining strikingly modern. The phrase “weird and wonderful” may be an overused one, but in this case it perfectly describes his quiet and whimsical style. “Decur’s fantastical world rendered in acrylics and watercolour has captured him a growing cult following both in Argentina and abroad, and an increasing amount of work in commercial illustration,” says Linda Neilson, director of Galería Mar Dulce, Buenos Aires. Related articles: 7 hot illustration trends of 2017 10 tools to make illustration easier in 2018 14 free resources to improve your illustration skills View the full article
  11. A permissions flaw in Microsoft’s Azure AD Connect software could allow a rogue admin to escalate account privileges and gain unauthorized universal access within a company’s internal network. View the full article
  12. It's been a good year for Serif, the company behind vector graphics editor Affinity Designer and image-editing app Affinity Photo. Not only was Affinity Photo on iPad recently crowned Apple's app of the year, but it's also made significant progress on its highly anticipated desktop publishing app, Affinity Publisher. Teased in a witty video posted on its Twitter and Facebook pages, the clip gives a glimpse of an early alpha build of Affinity Publisher. This comes in advance of a public beta due in the summer of 2018. Check it out below. It might have been a long time coming (Affinity thanks its users for their patience), but for fans of the platform that doesn't tie you down to subscription deals *cough* Adobe *cough*, it's sure to be worth the wait. Related articles: Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer v1.6 released Affinity launches free trial on Windows Affinity Photo brings professional photo editing to iPad View the full article
  13. On paper, having your artwork go viral online seems like the express ticket to success. If a piece of art gets shared by popular news outlets and social media pages, that means the creator is set to be inundated with 'likes' and new fans clamouring to buy their work, right? Not quite. While viral art, by its nature, can garner a lot of attention, the journey to fame and its rewards are not as straightforward as it seems. In a similar way to how sharing timely and talented fan art can get you paid, an image that goes viral can make artists money. But talking about the finances is tricky at the best of times. Chuck internet stardom into the mix and it becomes even more difficult to untangle exactly how much cash the phenomenon of your art going viral brings in. To clear things up, illustrator Lucy Bellwood broke down the numbers behind her Art of the Sailor artwork, above, in a recent blog post. The illustration, which details the different types of tattoos that sailors wear and explains what they mean, has enjoyed viral success and gone on to earn Bellwood $1,761.50 at the time of writing the blog. However, the image's timeline can be traced back all the way to February 2013. The initial commission takes off It was back in 2013, thanks to an introduction from fellow cartoonist Tony Cliff, that Bellwood landed a commission to do an illustration for the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The museum was running an exhibit on the history of tattoos and scrimshaw, and needed a poster that showed off some of the most popular choices. Bellwood jumped at the opportunity. "I was just starting out in 2013, didn't know the first thing about contracts, and was happy just to work on a project that reflected my personal passions and gave me a relevant platform," Bellwood tells Creative Bloq. I think you can still behave ethically and considerately even if you don't have a contract. Lucy Bellwood At this point she had no idea how popular the illustration would become, so she just quoted her hourly rate of $35, did the work across five and a half hours, and filed an invoice for the job. This also meant that she didn't specify purchasing rights, which could complicate things if she wanted to sell reproductions of the image later down the line. And selling prints is exactly what Bellwood did over the next two years. Thanks to a tour of the exhibition in 2014, the sailor tattoo poster started to get interest from curators at other maritime museums. This meant that she had to sort out who owned what if she wanted to capitalise on the illustration. Bellwood has a fascination for all things nautical (click the arrows icon to enlarge this image) "Since we had no written agreement I retained all the rights to my illustration, but it's complex: I collaborated with a designer! Technically we both own a slice of that image. "Everyone was amenable to the idea of producing posters to sell, so I was able to go ahead with the plan. I think you can still behave ethically and considerately even if you don't have a contract." Having a contract is the biggest lesson Bellwood has learned from the whole experience. Although considering that cultural institutions like regional maritime museums work with a small budget, she says she might have been tempted to waive the fee on this occasion. "I don't think it hurts to pay it forward," she says. "I don't carry some huge grudge about having "missed out" on remuneration from those exhibits." However, the poster's growing popularity did prompt Bellwood's parents to suggest that she should've demanded more for her services. "I'm not one to disagree when people want to pay me more money," she jokes, "But I also think context is important. After all, it's been four years. Of course I charge more now. I'm a more skilful artist than I was in 2013, and I'm also far more savvy about business than I was back then. The challenge of being a freelancer is being responsible for your own raises." Making money from going viral Between 2014 and 2017, Bellwood sold the original illustration of the sailor to a fan for $125 and paid Twin Ravens Press to produce 100 letterpress prints of the poster. These were originally offered up as rewards for a Kickstarter pledge for funding a book of her Baggywrinkles maritime comic series, but they were also taken to conventions. At $40, they proved to be out of a lot of shoppers' price range, although they did manage to bring in an extra $480. The tattoo poster was offered as a reward for a Baggywrinkles Kickstarter From here she went on to produce regular laser print posters and distributed print-on-demand versions from her site with the help of INPRNT. Thanks to INPRNT taking a substantial cut of each sale, these only brought in $10 profit. During this time the poster appeared on military and naval social media pages and racked up an impressive number of reactions and comments. Frustratingly though, appearing on social media pages didn't contribute hugely to sales, but in 2017 an appearance on Boing Boing meant things started to take off. With roughly 10 million page views per month, the feature on Boing Boing led other sites such as My Modern Met to also publish the poster. This in turn led to more sites and pages running the illustration, culminating in the likes of George Takei and Chris Hadfield posting it on their social media and web pages. Not only that, but thanks to Boing Boing carefully providing links to both the letterpress poster and the print-on-demand version in Bellwood's shop, a sizeable chunk of the artwork's overall profit of $1,761.50, specifically $814, came from that story about it. Building relationships At the end of November 2017, the rush of interest in the illustration started to taper off, but Bellwood found a second wind (or was it a third or fourth wind?) by writing about her viral experience on her Patreon page. Thanks to its transparency, the post was met with an enthusiastic reaction from other artists and illustrators. Attention is an opportunity, not a concluded transaction. Lucy Bellwood "The creative economy I'm a part of depends on human connection," says Bellwood, talking about why the post went down so well. "An image divorced from context may have the power to capture people's interest, but a contextualised human being has the power to create a bond. "I'm not in the business of trying to turbo-maximise the number of eyeballs on my work (although it's always a neat thing when it happens). I'm in the business of building relationships." Bellwood has had a handful of experiences of going viral Bellwood is keen to remind other artists that building a relationship relies on their own efforts, as well as hoping for positive feedback from going viral. "Attention is an opportunity, not a concluded transaction. It's the opening of a door. It's up to you to welcome people at the doorway and usher them through to being invested in your work and who you are. "So much of visibility on the web is unpredictable, but there are some basic best practices that will serve you well with any kind of attention: List your full name and contact info prominently on your website. Link to your store prominently on your website. (Same goes for whatever you'd most like people to know about or support, no more than three things. Patreon? Kickstarter? Mailing list?) Make it as easy as possible for people to get to you, learn about what you do, and give you money from any platform you use on the web: this means keeping info updated on social media, personal pages, and everything in-between." Yet despite her brushes with viral fame, Bellwood doesn't consider herself a 'viral artist'. "My stock in trade doesn't rest on regularly having my work reach a wide swath of the internet," she reveals. "I've had maybe three or four instances of this kind of attention, and every time it evokes a sort of bemused surprise. I find myself saying 'Well, this is interesting!' a lot, and then moving on, because my primary effort is focused on connecting with the people who follow me, which means writing about my experiences and welcoming people into my process. "I think folks who consistently 'go viral' are often working on a much more reliable release schedule, both in timing and format. It’s a question of content, but also of consistency." To find out more about Lucy Bellwood and support her work, visit her site, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and head over to her Patreon. Buy The Art of the Sailor letterpress print here, or as giclée art prints here. Related articles: 28 inspiring examples of vintage posters How to draw and paint - 100 pro tips and tutorials How to improve your character art View the full article
  14. Today's the day Mac enthusiasts have been waiting for: Apple has released its fastest and most powerful product ever – the iMac Pro. Re-engineered from the ground up, the iMac Pro boasts a staggering spec list, packing workstation-class parts into its iconic iMac all-in-one design. First announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference back in June 2017, this iMac Pro has been a long time coming. As we saw yesterday in T3's interview with Phil Schiller, Apple has been focusing on making sure the release is perfect. iMac Pro: price With a price tag starting at $4,999/ £4,899, we're expecting great things. Keep in mind that this hefty price bags you the most basic iMac Pro, which comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. If you've got the budget to scale things up, you can grab the top-spec iMac Pro for £12,279. For your money you'll get a whopping 18-core Intel Xeon processor, 128GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage. Xeon processors One of the biggest lures for designers though will be the Xeon processors. Thanks to their sturdy and reliable nature, Xeon chips have the benefit of providing larger caches, meaning that designers working with large Photoshop files will experience a superior performance. Backed up with error-correcting code RAM, creatives will also be able to put the iMac Pro through its paces without having to worry about errors that could result in a loss of data. A new thermal design is also integrated into the build, allowing the iMac Pro to increase its cooling capacity by 80%. No need to worry about overheating when you're waiting for a monstrous render to complete. Amazingly, Apple has delivered this beefed up device in a slim-line monitor with the same 27-inch display used on previous standard Mac desktops. The main visible difference will be that the exterior of the iMac Pro will be decked out in the same Space Gray colour used across Apple's iPads and MacBook Pros. Stunning 5K display When it comes to making art, designers will be able to see their work on screens with the 5K resolution they're familiar with using on existing Macs. However the iMac Pro screens are also 43% brighter and deliver an output of up to one billion colours. On top of this, the iMac Pro looks set to be a useful platform for VFX artists when it comes to creating content for VR platforms. This is down to Oculus and HTC both now supporting Macs on their headsets. If there's one complaint we've seen with the iMac Pro (apart from some baulking at the cost) it's that there's no Touch Bar integration. But if this is at the cost of the station's formidable power, we think it's a fair trade off. Related articles: The best MacBook deals for Christmas 2017 Why designers should reject Apple’s love of minimalism 10 tips for mastering Apple's Photos app View the full article
  15. Let’s face it, if you’re an illustrator, graphic designer or a web designer, you’re unlikely to become the next David Bailey. But feeling confident enough to photograph your print projects or product designs to a standard that will do them justice in your portfolio, or to photograph things while out and about to add to your collection of assets, is a skill that many creatives could benefit from. Enter the Manual Photography Cheat Sheet – Reloaded, an infographic from The London School of Photography designed to help novice photographers to explore the settings in their DSLR’s manual settings with confidence. So if you’ve always wondered what aperture means or how to stop your photos appearing grainy, scroll down to see the full infographic, and check out the useful tips shared. “The Manual Photography Cheat Sheet – Reloaded is a clean-cut, visual way of showing you how to step up your photography game from automatic to manual shooting,” says Antonio Leanza, owner of The London School of Photography. “Not only does shooting in manual mode enable you to produce sharp, well composed imagery – but you’ll also gain a stronger understanding of the inner workings of your camera.” To shoot star trails like this, manual settings are essential With the best cameras for creatives all offering manual control options, it’s worth exploring what these features can do. If you’ve ever wanted to take a mesmerising photo of star trails, for example, the infographic points out that a long exposure – achieved through the right balance of ISO, shutter speed and aperture, plus a tripod – is essential. “By shooting in manual mode you have full control of your shutter speed, ISO and aperture, amongst an array of other settings that can further fine-tune your images. By manually controlling aperture for example can help you achieve those beautifully aligned portraits with blurred or bokeh backgrounds. It’s also highly useful for changing shutter speeds, enabling you to achieve those fast moving subjects like cars or cyclists in crystal clear motion without sacrificing quality.” Just like design, there are some key rules to remember with photography The infographic also shares some tips of a more creative nature, such as a brief explanation of using the rule of thirds and shooting in the ‘golden hour’ – the minutes just after dawn or just before sunset, where the natural lighting is a flattering warm hue. With the festive break approaching quickly, why not try out some of these tips to elevate your photography as we head into 2018? Remember to click the icon in the top right of the infographic to see the full-size version. Click the icon in the top right of the infographic to see the full-size version Related articles: 15 inspiring photographers to follow on Instagram Build your first in-house photo studio The best laptop deals for Christmas 2017 View the full article