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  1. To download the accompanying files for 3D World issue 223, simply click the link below each article and a zip file will automatically download the content to your Mac or PC. If you've missed this issue or other editions of 3D World, order a copy. If you have any problems downloading this content, please email: amy.hennessey@futurenet.com Pluralsight video course: Designing Motion Controller Experiences in Unreal Get this free video course from Pluralsight In this course, animator Nathan Glemboski shows you how to design motion controller experiences in Unreal so you can actually stand in worlds you have created. The videos cover setting up a VR character with motion controllers, interacting with objects and creating a teleport system. By the end of the course, which is under two hours, you’ll know how to move freely in a scene, and will also be able to pick up objects really easily. Software required: Unreal Engine 4 Download the video course here (826.3 MB) Create an explosion with FumeFX Learn how to create sparks and smoke Syawish A Rehman shares how to make a bang using Maya's nParticles and FumeFX. Download your files here (67.7MB) Create worn, ornate floors in Substance Designer Learn how to make high-quality materialsChris Hodgson shows how to create realistic materials in Substance Designer using masks generated in Photoshop and Hexels. Download your files here (74.9MB) Tutorial: Groom a furry creature Learn some top tips for grooming Jesus Fernandez shows us how to work with fur. Download your files here (177.5MB) Watch the videos here Tutorial: Create realistic, high resolution CG cloth Achieve great results with your fabric texturesJesus Fernandez shows you how to make convincing CG fabric that holds up to close examination. Download your files here (57.6MB) Download your video here (1.28GB) Artist Q&A: CG art problems solved Our CG artists fix your issuesThis month our team of artists explains how to make an Elsa-like plait, create a meteor shower, make plants in Cinema 4D, and sculpt caricatures in ZBrush. Download the video tips and files to follow these tutorials. Download your files here (54.4MB) Download your videos here (415.4 MB) View the full article
  2. https://twitter.com/fwosar/status/872958332465803269 … View the full article
  3. You're reading Google Introduces Spectral, a New Web Font, originally posted on Designmodo. If you've enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+! Spectral is the newest addition to Google’s font library. Designed by Production Type, the team behind great fonts such as Gemeli, or Cogito, Spectral is a beautiful screen-first font. Based in Paris, Production Type is a digital type design agency that’s involved with online distribution of retail fonts, but it also does custom typeface work […] View the full article
  4. You're reading After an App Redesign, Skype Gets a New Logo, originally posted on Designmodo. If you've enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+! Do you wonder how Fluent, Microsoft new design language, will look in real life? Look no further than Skype, Microsoft’s chat app. It’s got a new logo and the bubbles are gone. Well sort of, because you’ll still find the bubble around the S, but not on the full Skype logo with the cloudy outline. […] View the full article
  5. The latest dump from Wikileaks alleges the CIA installed custom router firmware on unsuspecting targets in order to spy on internet activity. View the full article
  6. https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/06/16/news-in-brief-facebook-moderators-revealed-to-terrorists-wikileaks-release-cherry-blossom-language-translating-earpiece/ … View the full article
  7. https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/06/13/when-sysadmins-attack-how-to-delete-an-entire-company/ … View the full article
  8. There's an undeserved mystique around oil painting that has put up some intimidating barriers for some artists wanting to use this wonderful medium. Oil paints offer a richness of colour and their surface allows the creation of beautiful textures. You can paint thick or thin, directly or use glazes. Oils can be used on paper, wood, metal, plastic, canvas and many other surfaces. If you're just getting started, don't get overwhelmed. Be patient with yourself and recognise that it'll take a little time to get the hang of this beautiful medium. Don't overcomplicate it, either. Here we'll go over the five key materials you'll need to paint with oils. 01. A spectrum of colours A basic palette like this will cover most eventualitiesThere are hundreds of colours to choose from, but start with a basic palette that covers the spectrum to give you a good mix of warm and cool hues. Most art materials are sold in at least two grades: student and professional. Whenever possible, purchase pro-grade materials as they almost always last longer and the paint goes further. Pro-grade oils will also contain more pigment, which will result in more accurate colour mixing, and will be resistant to fading in sunlight. 02. A variety of brushes Here's a handy selection of brushesI prefer Rosemary & Co. brushes, but I also recommend Silver Grand Prix and Trekell. Hog bristle brushes are versatile, not terribly expensive and allow for a variety of applications. Finer-haired brushes, both natural and synthetic, can give you an even smoother finish and make very fine detail possible. 03. A palette Make sure your palette is large enough to mix your paints onYou'll need a palette for your paint. This can be a disposable one, a clean tabletop or a handheld wood palette, or a piece of glass that can be quickly scraped clean. Whatever you use, choose something that's large enough to allow for easy mixing and that can be used ergonomically. 04. A surface to paint Whatever surface you use, prime it with gesso firstThe most common surfaces to paint on are canvas, linen and wood. You'll need to prime the surface with a gesso or ground to prevent the acids in the paint from contacting it directly. Acrylic gesso is easy to use and can be applied with a brush or roller. 05. A comfortable easel Pick an easel that best suits your preferred painting styleA solid easel is important so that your work is stable, safe and remains at a good working height while you're painting. You can purchase (pictured, left to right): portable metal tripod-style easels that can be used sitting or standing; larger H-frame style studio models that are meant to remain in situ; or folding French-style field easels. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue 145; buy it here! Related articles: How to get started with oil painting Paint a furry pet portrait Paint a portrait like the Old Masters View the full article
  9. It’s that time of year when the student show season is upon us. The work is done. Your portfolio content is created. And now comes the hard part (yes, you heard me) – now you need to make the most of it all. I’ve spent many years (15 since I had my own graduate show) scouting graphic design degree shows to find the best talent to join us at my agency, Design Bridge. Year on year I’ve seen the same mistakes repeated, but have also seen just what it takes to stand out and make those all-important first steps into a successful design career. D&AD New Blood rolls into London on 4 JulySo if you’re genuinely keen to get a job in the industry, but struggle to even imagine how to go about it when show time hits, here are my top tips for standing out for all the right reasons in the coming weeks and months. 01. Signpost yourself Know this: The big degree shows will be uncomfortably crowded. It’s essentially a cattle market, and that can be intimidating and overwhelming for both student and potential employer. From my perspective it’s tough to physically spot the standout work and even trickier to identify who was responsible for it. The most valuable advice I can give is to clearly label your work with your name and have your contact details available RIGHT NEXT TO IT (ideally in the form of a simple business card). Label your work, but also point me in the direction of the corresponding portfolio, which should also be clearly labelled and easy to find. As basic as it sounds, so many graduates neglect this simple step. You’re hoping to work in the communications industry, and this is your first test – get it right. 02. Get talking Bite the bullet and get chatting to peopleOK, deep breath. Now comes the part that, for many, is the most terrifying. During the show itself, no matter now scared you feel, force yourself to talk to people. Ask them questions, show them your work and show them your enthusiasm. I know how nerve-wracking it can be – I was too scared to speak to Mary Lewis when I saw her perusing my own degree show, and that lost opportunity to talk to an industry icon still haunts me. So trust me, relax. We are all just looking for a pleasant chat with pleasant people, nobody’s going to get hurt. All you need to say is ‘Hi, nice to meet you. Can I take you through the rest of my portfolio?’ Don’t miss the chance to talk to industry professionals. Even if it leads to nothing, every chat is an opportunity to learn, build your confidence and get noticed. So smile, clear your throat and bite that bullet. 03. Keep it simple Time to get brutal. If a piece of work requires an accompanying written essay in order for someone to understand it, the design is not immediate enough. And in the hustle and bustle of this environment, people won't have time to read much. Keep your portfolio simple and effortless. If you don’t like a project, take it out. It is far, far better to show fewer projects than to show work you’re not happy with. Think of the benefits; this means never having to apologise for a project, losing that knot in your stomach as you present it, never having to feign passion for something you never really liked that much anyway. If you are showing it, believe in it. This confidence will shine through and act as a huge selling point for both your work and you. 04. Put everything in its rightful place Put your best work front-and-centreThis is essential – you must think of your portfolio as the best story you’ll ever tell, so order is key. Put your favourite work at the beginning and the end. It’s an age-old trick, but these are the pages that the human brain is programmed to remember. Plus, starting with a project you love will boost your confidence and give you the buzz you need to keep going. Then finally, end on a high note with another killer piece of work that will leave them hungry for more. Spend some valuable time on what goes where in your portfolio. Run through it a few times to see what works, and if after one run through something doesn’t sit quite right, change it. You’ll see it improve with every run-through. Take a look at our tips for curating a creative portfolio for more guidance. 05. Keep a bit of rough When we’re looking for people to join us, we love to see how you think, so it’s good to keep some rough workings in there as clues to the type of designer you are. These can be bound together and tucked into the back of your folder, should anyone want to see them (they will). Seeing the multitude of other avenues that you could have gone down with a project, or the effort you put into the crafting and thinking, is often a joy to behold. For us it’s like ‘the making of’ and is so interesting. In the real world, this is what day-to-day designing is all about, so embrace it, because we do. 06. Do your homework on agencies If you get invited in to meet an agency (and well done if you do), get researching. Take the time to study its work, its ethos, its approach. Know who you’re hoping to work for and why – don’t just turn up with your fingers crossed that they’ll like you. Better yet, get ahead and arm yourself with this knowledge on the off-chance that you’ll bump into someone from one of your dream agencies at your show. Life has a funny way of ambushing you, so be prepared. 07. Remember that you are your best asset Agencies are after people whose personalities fit their cultureAt the risk of sounding like a careers adviser, be yourself and let your personality come across when you meet agencies. Great work is, well, great, but everybody is fundamentally searching for people they would like to work with. They're looking for people they’ll be sitting alongside, the people they’ll be directing, not just people with a thorough approach to layout. Even if your work isn’t perfect for a particular agency, if you are the right personality fit for the team you might just find you’re the kind of person they want to spend time with and mould into their next big thing. 08. Embrace your nerves (they’re just adrenalin in disguise) Of course, you may feel very nervous about a degree show situation. You’re human. The best way to deal with your nerves is to remember that they’ll be perceived as a positive thing. You see, your nerves show that you care, that you’re passionate about the opportunity and that you’re taking the whole thing seriously. It can be off-putting if someone is over-confident to the point of cockiness. It’s far preferable to meet people who realise that they don’t yet know it all. I certainly don’t – I’m still learning every day. I still get nervous, and when I do, it’s always a healthy reminder that I love what I do. 09. This is your chance, take it! Your degree show can be a great stepping stone on to bigger and better thingsGetting a job is often about being in the right place at the right time. But that time might come after a period of uncertainty, hard graft and lower pay. Yes, ideally you’re looking for a full-time job, but if you’re offered a work placement at an agency that you admire, you should take it if you possibly can. It’s your chance to prove yourself, and at your next interview people will be impressed that you’ve been recognised, that you’ve gained some experience, and that you were willing to do the work. Who knows, you could even tease out some recruitment rivalry. On any placement you’ll learn the ropes, meet people who might champion you even years later in your career, and you’ll get your hands on real-life projects. Just say yes and see what happens. 10. Smile and enjoy Get stuck in and take pride in your workThis is a big time for you. You’re leaving years of student life behind and entering the big, wide world. The hard graft of completing your project work is over, but the really exciting stuff is just about to begin. So have fun seeing your creations displayed for all to see. You deserve a drink and a moment to celebrate, knowing that right now, this moment, is one you'll probably never encounter again. So get stuck in, take pride in your work, and be energised by all you have ahead of you. You may not come out of the student shows with a job – not everyone does – but you’ll come out with plenty of tales to tell, and hopefully a few business cards, too. Believe me, it’s all going to be just fine. Related articles: How to market yourself with any budget 7 organisations design students need to know How to create the perfect design resumé View the full article
  10. Let's be honest, PDFs are a total pain to work with. They don't have to be, though. You can finally use PDFs the way they were always meant to be used by grabbing PDF Expert 2.2. It's on sale right now for just $29.99 (approx £24). PDF Expert 2.2 removes the clunky, restrictive parts of PDFs and turns them into an easy-to-use file type that you can do much more with. This all-purpose PDF editor makes it easy to add text and markups to a document, and allows you to turn any PDF into a collaboration so you can share the file with colleagues for input and refinement. PDF Expert 2.2 usually retails for $59.99, but you can get this award-winning Mac app on sale for just $29.99 (approx £24). That’s a saving of 50% off the retail price for a tool that will make your work easier, so grab this offer today! View the full article
  11. ImagineFX is celebrating its 150th issue anniversary! To celebrate, readers are being treated to a special issue, complete with two free gifts: an A2 poster featuring the art of Jana Schirmer and Lois van Baarle, and a 20-page supplement in association with ArtStation, exploring how to craft a killer portfolio. Buy the ImagineFX 150th anniversary special now! The team has also pulled out all the stops to bring you the best artists in the world. Loish – who has worked with the likes of LEGO and Marvel to bring their characters to life – has created the show-stopping cover art, and inside shares her expertise to show you how to paint your own bright, dynamic figure. Review: The Art of Loish Exclusive interview with Kim Jung GiReaders can also take a peek inside the sketchbooks of Hollywood film veteran Feng Zhu and Hugo award-winning illustrator Stephan Martinière; find out how Kim Jung Gi went from college dropout to sketching giant in an exclusive interview; and glean book illustration tips from Lord of the Rings artist John Howe. Subscribe to ImagineFX and never miss an issue Look inside Feng Zhu's sketchbookTop tutorials This issue's tutorial section comes packed with advice from industry-leading experts to help you sharpen your skills (use the arrows to scroll through the gallery below). First up, shortcuts aren’t cheating – they just free up precious minutes so you can focus on making your designs even more awesome. Studio Soi’s Domareen Fox runs through 14 top tips to help streamline your workflow and save you time. Even the most basic of sketches can turn into magical paintings. This month, Daniel Landerman reveals his advice for improving your sketches – whether that's by remembering to warm up or exploring calligraphy tools. In the Traditional Artist Workshop section you’ll learn how to capture emotion in your sci-fi illustrations. Donato Giancola gives an insight into how he created an emotionally arresting image for his Empathetic Robots series. Elsewhere in the issue Concept art insights from the talented Sean Sevestre Photobashing techniques with Dave Seeley Interview with concept artist Wayne Haag 8 hours of ImagineFX video and over 150 brushes! Buy ImagineFX 150th anniversary special now! View the full article
  12. 30 years ago, online service provider CompuServe was in a conundrum. It needed a colour image format for its file downloading areas, to replace the black-and-white RLE format. Software developer Steve Wilhite came to the rescue with the GIF. So far, so boring. We’re guessing that back then, no one would have predicted the GIF would undergo a phoenix-like transformation into a communication method beloved by internet-users the world over. Or that it would enable an entire generation to express itself in a way that it just couldn't manage with mere words. However you pronounce it (although let’s face it, only the pedants are trudging on with that ‘soft g’ rubbish), the GIF has changed the way we communicate online. To celebrate, Facebook has made GIFs available to use in the comments section and pulled together some pretty interesting stats on GIF usage in Messenger. Twitter is also in on the action, with users getting their GIF on to help mark the occasion. If you have a spare hour or so, the hashtag #HappyBirthdayGIF is worth a browse. You won't regret it. Happy birthday GIF! Related articles: Make an animated GIF in Photoshop The ultimate guide to GIF design View the full article
  13. Twitter has given its desktop and mobile sites an update to keep the brand fresh as it faces an ever-increasing assault on its microblogging dominance. The most obvious alteration is a new set of icons for the familiar reply, retweet, like, and DM buttons, as well as for the home, Moments, notifications and messages on the menu of the browser version. But there are other visual and UI tweaks that add up to a lighter, more minimal Twitter experience. Profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy are now contained in a new side navigation menu with fewer tabs at the bottom of the app. This change was rolled out on Android last year but now makes its way to iOS. Also on iOS, links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in the Twitter app. Twitter's typography has been tweaked, most obviously with bolder headlines, and profile photos are now round, similar to Instagram and Pinterest. New side menu makes Twitter's iOS app easier to navigateBut the big talking point among designers is the icon update. Twitter believes that the icons are more intuitive, which should improve the experience particularly for first-time users. In a blog post, Twitter says that people thought the reply icon, an arrow, meant delete or go back to a previous page. "We switched to a speech bubble, a symbol most know and love. We also made the icons lighter for more seamless interaction." The new icons are more minimal, softer and rounderFinally, Twitter's mobile apps now live-update instantly with reply, retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening. Some designers have already commented on the softer, more rounded look being friendlier – and artist Ash Huang makes an interesting point about Twitter conversations with strangers… Related articles: Meet the Twitter designer who shuns all social media 15 Twitter accounts every web designer should follow 50 design agencies to follow on Twitter View the full article
  14. For the last four years, Computer Arts has run a contest in partnership with D&AD New Blood for students and recent graduates to design the cover of the magazine's annual New Talent special. For this year's brief, CA's print finishing partner Celloglas offered up an extra-special finish for the entrants to get creative with: Mirri. After much deliberation, the CA team can now reveal the final shortlist of 10, one of whom will receive a £500 commission to develop their idea into the final cover of the issue, which goes on sale on 21 July 2017 (subscribe to CA now to guarantee your copy.) So without further ado, here's this year's top 10 in alphabetical order... 01. Camelia Pham Pham's lighthouse reflected in the binoculars represents the industryCamelia Pham is a second-year graphic design student at the Academy of Fine Art in Frosinone, Italy. "My idea is about a lighthouse as the talent seekers, shining down to find and shed a path to us, the young ones in the art community," she explains. "Meanwhile, we try to reciprocate the effort by sending you our best works with part of our soul attached to them, as seen in the eye in the forehead – the window of the soul." 02. Cathrine Understrup Fresh talented brains mix with golden noodles in Understrup's fun designCathrine Understrup graduated from the Danish School of Media & Journalism in 2015. She describes herself as "a creative wildcard", working across both advertising and graphic design. "I develop concepts with a strong emphasis on art direction," she says. "I have a passion for handcrafted tactile design." Accordingly, her cover concept relies on physical props, sculpted from clay and folded paper. "It's about literally picking up fresh talent," Understrup continues. "I would like to use Mirri on top of the noodles to make them shiny gold, and create a box of golden noodles with fresh talented brains entangled." 03. Dev Joshi Joshi's cover is a deliberately rough sketch reflecting ideas in development"As young, naive and often rather clueless new talent entering the world, we’re told to show only our best work to get noticed and get hired," points out the next finalist, Dev Joshi. "My cover design is just a rough-sketched pencil drawing, and it’s not very good. A lot of the time our ideas aren’t very good, but every concept starts with a simple sketch and grows from there." Joshi adds that his design breaks from CA's usual mould of "bright, beautiful and enticing covers", but adds that this approach can "help it become relatable to the everyman, or every creative." 04. Ingrid Tsy Tsy takes inspiration from fireworks as sparks of creativity"The fluid lines and dynamic forms of my design are like fireworks, in which ‘new talents’ are the sparks that illuminate the night sky," explains Ingrid Tsy. "The graphic is further enhanced by Mirri metallic finishes to captivate the audience with their explosive energy, just like a brilliant firework show." 05. Irinel Papuc Papuc focuses on the beating heart of the industryIrinel Papuc graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund, Germany, six months ago. She chose to submit an existing piece of work that fitted the brief – new talent is the beating heart of the industry, after all. Her goal was to find a way to show the intricacy and simplicity of a heart, without losing the aesthetic of the heart itself. "It was part of a '365' project, where I've been posting artwork every day for one year," explains Papuc. "It's a CGI sliced heart, with a slight transparent material – done in Cinema 4D and OctaneRender." 06. Jac Harries Harries hones in on the surge in VR influence on designersCurrently in his final year at Central Saint Martins in London, Jac Harries has developed a fascination with the increasing virtuality of the modern world. "This topic is increasingly relevant in the field of graphic design, as AR and VR become more and more widely used," he explains. "My design depicts a window into a virtual world, with a three-dimensional man on the other side touching the window. He could also be seen to be pushing through, as a symbol of the rapid speed that technology is shaping our future." Harries first rendered the man, focusing on his hands and fingertips, and then superimposed raindrops on top to achieve depth. "I believe this effect would add an extra level of depth and intrigue to a printed publication," he says. 07. Jenny Tang Tang's cover has a pearlescent treatment based on the 'world is your oyster' mantraEver since Jenny Tang graduated two years ago, she's been hearing the phrase 'the world is your oyster' – and she submitted a work-in-progress sketch to express the concept she had in mind. "Inspired by this expression, and the iridescent nature of a pearl, I chose to celebrate that feeling of being 'fresh out of university', with all of those endless possibilities waiting," she explains. "I wanted to create a grandiose display of life, choices and opportunities among a full shimmering 'pearl' cover to reflect this concept, and make something that will grab people's attention." 08. Jordan Pledge Pledge uses Mirri's holographic materials for his peacock designFor his cover concept, UWE Bristol graduate Jordan Pledge considered the fact that new talent needs to make itself known to the world – it doesn't just emerge out of nowhere. "My concept centres around one of nature’s biggest show-offs: the peacock," he says. "It uses the qualities of the holographic Mirri finish to represent the unique eye-catching skills and talents that we want the industry to recognise." 09. Kasia Serafin The design industry can be a jungle, Serafin points out“My concept refers to the brief’s suggested theme of ‘getting noticed’. The design industry can be a jungle, an unexplored territory, where the New Blood pencil-toucans reside and wait to be spotted," says Kasia Serafin, who featured in our New talent: 7 shining stars from D&AD New Blood 2016 post. Serafin proposes using a gold Mirri finish underneath her design, with a layer of white underpinning the colourful elements to help them pop. "It is stated in the brief that the entry only had to be a sketch or a mock-up, and there is always room for improvement, so I’d like to think of this as a first draft," she adds. 10. Robert Coker Coker used another well-worn phrase as his inspiration: the 'needle in a haystack'For Robert Coker, the phrase 'like finding a needle in a haystack' inspired a simple visual metaphor for seeking the brightest new talent. "Every year, more and more creatives pour onto the scene," he points out. "Looking for the brightest new stars has become trickier because of the sheer volume of creatives, in the UK alone." To enhance the concept, Coker suggests using a multi-level deboss on a textured soft-touch cover stock, to give the illusion of hay, or hair. "The needle in the haystack would be debossed, and finished with iridescent foil." Winner revealed at D&AD New Blood Computer Arts will reveal the winning cover design at D&AD New Blood Festival, which takes place at Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch from 5-6 July. We'll share it here on Creative Bloq shortly afterwards. Good luck everyone! Related articles: Meet the best graduates from two corners of the UK 7 organisations design students need to know New talent: 7 shining stars from D&AD New Blood 2016 View the full article
  15. New code and user testing tools and frameworks seem to pop up every day. Below is a varied list of code tools that accomplish various testing needs. Each one should be investigated to make sure it fits with your tech stack and technical needs. 01. Jasmine Jasmine is a behaviour-driven development framework for testing JavaScript code. It doesn't depend on any other JavaScript frameworks and it doesn't require a DOM. However, it does have a clean, obvious syntax so that you can easily write tests. 02. Mocha Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on Node.js and in the browser. Mocha tests run serially, allowing for flexible and accurate reporting, while mapping uncaught exceptions to the correct test cases. 03. Chai Chai is a BDD / TDD assertion library for Node.js and the browser that can be delightfully paired with any javascript testing framework. 04. QUnit QUnit is a powerful, easy-to-use JavaScript unit testing framework. It's used by the jQuery, jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile projects and is capable of testing any generic JavaScript code. 05. Sinon Sinon.JS provides standalone test spies, stubs and mocks for JavaScript. It doesn't rely on dependencies, and works with any unit testing framework. 06. Karma Karma is a framework-agnostic test runner for connected browsers. The results of each test against each browser are examined and displayed via the command line to the developer so they can see which browsers and tests passed or failed. 07. Selenium Selenium has a straightforward aim: to automate browsers. It is used primarily for automating web applications for testing purposes, but it can just as easily take care of web-based administrative tasks. 08. WebdriverIO WebdriverIO lets users control a browser or a mobile application with just a few lines of code, making test code simple, concise and easy to read. The integrated test runner also lets you write asynchronous commands in a synchronous way so that you don’t need to care about how to handle a Promise to avoid racing conditions. Additionally, it takes away all the cumbersome set up work and manages the Selenium session for you. 09. Nightwatch Nightwatch.js is an easy to use Node.js based End-to-End (E2E) testing solution for browser-based apps and websites. It uses the powerful W3C WebDriver API to perform commands and assertions on DOM elements. 10. PhantomCSS PhantomCSS takes screenshots captured by Casper.js and compares them to baseline images using Resemble.js to test for RGB pixel differences. PhantomCSS then generates image diffs to help you find the cause. 11. PhantomFlow PhantomFlow delivers UI testing with decision trees. It provides an experimental approach to UI testing, based on Decision Trees. A Node.js wrapper for Phantom.js, Casper.js and PhantomCSS, PhantomFlow enables a fluent way of describing user flows in code while generating structured tree data for visualisation. 12. Percy.io Percy provides iterative and fast feedback about visual changes, delivering what is calls continuous visual integration. It does this by running with a test suite, taking DOM snapshots, and uploading the, to the Percy service where they are rendered in a modern browser. This article was originally published in net magazine issue 285. Related articles 17 brilliant jQuery plugins 14 great free Bootstrap themes 21 top examples of JavaScript View the full article
  16. You invest a huge amount of effort, time and resources in getting your design right. So the last thing you want is for it to come back from the printers looking like a blurry, incoherent mess. But if you’ve spent your career to date focused on digital-only design, you may be unsure about what to do when sending a design to print. So in this post we round up five fundamental things you need to know, with some links for extra reading to expand your knowledge further. 01. The difference between RGB and CMYK Set your software to CMYK when printing your designsThe system that your computer software uses for generating colour on screen is not the same system that printers use. Computer graphics use the RGB colour system, which is made up of red, green and blue. But printers work with the cyan, magenta, yellow and black colour set – commonly referred to as CMYK. The RGB system has a greater range of colours than most printers can reproduce. If your designs are intended for digital only, you need your software set to RGB. If it’s for print, you must use CMYK. However, even working in CMYK, what you see on the screen won’t always be exactly what you’ll see on the printed product. That's why proofing your designs is so important. For more on this, read our article: How to colour-match your print projects. 02. The importance of resolution 300 DPI is the standard setting to ensure a high-quality printWhen you're working on the web, resolution isn't such an issue. But when it comes to printing, you’re going to need some very high-resolution files indeed, or your prints will come back blurry, muddy and incoherent. For print output, the most important measure you need to worry about is DPI: dots per inch. As the name suggests, this determines the number of dots your printer will create on one square inch of your printed page. The best practice is to set your software to the maximum DPI of 300. There’s no benefit to going any higher, and it will just make your file larger and more unwieldy. Also note that DPI should not be confused with PPI (pixels per inch), which is concerned with the density of dots in a square inch of screen space, and is thus used for digital design rather than print design. 03. How your design scales Will your images become blurry when printed at large sizes?When you look at your design on the screen, it may look perfect. But if it’s going to be printed at a much bigger size (such as a poster or billboard) or a dramatically smaller one (such as a business card), you need to consider how well the different elements of your design will scale. One of the most important aspects of that is typography. So to make sure the text on a business card is legible, for example, it’s best to avoid light and thin fonts. Also, don’t set the size so small that people won’t be able to read it when it’s printed. Another problem with scaling your designs comes when images are printed at large sizes. If they’re raster images, you need to supply them at a high enough resolution to avoid them blurring. But vector images shouldn’t cause a problem, as they are innately, infinitely scalable. For more details, read our ultimate guide to image resolution. 04. The need for bleed Ask your printer how much bleed you need to incorporate in your designsThe way a printer cuts the paper down is not an exact science, so designers have always left a little room around the edge of their designs as room for error. This is called bleed, and all good design software will include guides to show you where the bleed starts and finishes. Different printers will require different amounts of bleed, so you should always ask your printing company to tell you this (or check your own printer settings if you’re using an in-house machine). Here are some other questions to ask your printer. 05. The importance of proofreading Check everything thoroughly before sending your work to print, including kerningThis sounds like obvious advice, but it cannot be stressed enough: one of the biggest pitfalls of printing your designs in physical form is making silly mistakes. Because unlike the web, you can't go back to correct it. If it's wrong, you’ve simply wasted your money. Obviously you should spell check your work, but spell checking will only get you 75 per cent of the way there. It won’t pick up on many grammatical mistakes, it won’t notice if you misspell proper nouns such as company names, and it won’t know if you’ve used the wrong homophone – such as 'you're' when you should have used 'your' (or their/there, it’s/its, and so on). Plus, typos are not the only mistakes that can ruin your print design. You need to meticulously check your kerning. You need to check your punctuation (is that the correct form of dash? Should that be in smart or dumb quotes?). In short, anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong, so it’s best to get as many eyes as possible on your design – preferably a printed proof – before you send it off. These are just the very basics of what you need to know about printing your designs. To learn more, check out our glossary of printing terms, our advice on how to get more from your print projects, our guide to printing a poster and our pro tips for being perfect in print. View the full article
  17. http://thehackernews.com/2017/06/cia-wireless-router-hacking-tool.html … View the full article
  18. The 12 principles of animation were first introduced by Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, which was originally released in 1981. In this book, Johnston and Thomas examine the work of leading Disney animators from the 1930s and onwards, and boil their approach down to 12 basic principles. In this article, we'll take a closer look at each one, with helpful GIFs from Vincenzo Lodigiani, who also made the short video The Illusion of Life. Once you understand these 12 principles, you'll be able to take your animations to the next level. These are the 12 principles and what they mean: 01. Squash and stretch Show gravity with squash and stretch The squash and stretch principle is considered the most important of the 12 principles. When applied, it gives your animated characters and objects the illusion of gravity, weight, mass and flexibility. Think about how a bouncing rubber ball may react when tossed into the air: the ball stretches when it travels up and down and squishes when it hits the ground. When using squash and stretch, it's important to keep the object's volume consistent. So when you stretch something it needs to get thinner, and when you squash something it needs to get wider. 02. Anticipation Anticipation refers to the small movements that prepare you for a bigger oneAnticipation helps to prepare the viewer for what's about to happen. When applied, it helps to make the object's action more realistic. Consider what it might look like if you were to jump without bending your knees, or perhaps to throw a ball without first pulling your arm back. Not only would it look unnatural, we're not even sure it's possible to jump without bending your knees! So animating movements without a flicker of anticipation would also cause your animation to be stale and lifeless. 03. Staging Keep audiences' eyes on the main eventStaging in animation is a lot like composition in artwork – meaning, you are responsible for drawing the viewer's attention to what's important within the scene. Simply put: keep the focus on what's important, and keep everything else of non-importance to a minimum. 04. Straight ahead action and pose to pose Straight ahead action and pose to pose are often combinedThere are two ways to handle drawing animation: straight ahead and pose to pose. Each has its own benefits, and they are often combined. Straight ahead action involves drawing frame-by-frame from start-to-finish. If you're looking for fluid, realistic movement, straight ahead action is your best bet. With the pose to pose technique, you draw the beginning frame, the end frame, and a few key frames in between. Then you go back and complete the rest. Using this technique gives you a bit more control within the scene and allows you to increase the dramatic effect. 05. Follow through and overlapping action Follow through and overlapping action is the principle that not everything on an object stops dead at the same timeWhen objects are in motion, then they come to a stop, not everything on that object will stop at the same time. Also, not everything on an object will move at the same rate. If your character is running across the scene, their arms and legs may have a different timing than their head – this is overlapping action. Likewise, when they stop running, their hair will likely continue to move for a few frames as their head comes to rest – this is follow through. These are important principles to understand if you want your animation to flow. 06. Slow in and slow out Adding extra frames gives the impression of a change of speedThe best way to understand slow in and slow out is to think about how a car accelerates and decelerates. In both cases, things slow down. In animation, this effect is achieved by adding more frames at the beginning and end of an action sequence. Apply this principle to give your objects more life. 07. Arc Most objects follow an arc when they're movingWhen working in animation, it's best to stick with the laws of physics. As most objects follow an arc or a path when they're moving, your animations should reflect that arc. For example, when you toss a ball into the air, it follows a natural arc due to the Earth's gravity. 08. Secondary action Talking while walking is an example of a secondary actionSecondary actions are used to support or emphasise the main action. Adding secondary actions help add more dimension to your characters and objects. For instance, the subtle movement of your character’s hair as they walk, or perhaps a facial expression or a secondary object reacting to the first. Whatever the case may be, this secondary action should not distract from the primary one. 09. Timing Timing communicates believability and hints at a character's personalityAgain, we need to look to the laws of physics, and apply what we see in the natural world to our animations. In this case, timing. If you move an object too quickly or too slowly, it won't be believable. Using the correct timing allows you to control the mood and the reaction of your characters and objects. That's not to say you can't push things a little – but if you do, be consistent! 10. Exaggeration Earlier Disney animations ramped the exaggeration right upToo much realism can ruin an animation, making it appear static and boring. Instead, add some exaggeration to your characters and objects to make them more dynamic. Find ways to push the limits just beyond what's possible, and your animations will pop. 11. Solid drawing Giving your animations volume and weight is keyYou need to understand the basics of drawing. This includes knowing how to draw in three-dimensional space and understanding form and anatomy, weight and volume, and lights and shadows. While you can push the limits here, too, it's important to remain consistent. If your world has wonky doors and a warped perspective, keep that perspective throughout the entire animation. Otherwise, things will fall apart. 12. Appeal You can inject a lot of personality into animated characters through their movementsYour characters, objects, and the world in which they live need to appeal to the viewer. This includes having an easy to read design, solid drawing, and a personality. There is no formula for getting this right, but it starts with strong character development and being able to tell your story through the art of animation. Related articles: How to get started with animation Disney artists reveal how to survive in an animation studio How to land your dream job in animation If you're looking a little more guidance and some tools to help get you started, check out the Introduction to Moho tutorial series. View the full article
  19. Sketching is a simple but powerful tool for anyone involved with making digital products. Pens, paper and whiteboards are readily available in every office; there is no need for expensive hardware or software. It's quick, it's cheap and we don't have to be artists to scribble down a simple diagram explaining our ideas. Top sketching tips for beginnersHowever, there seems to be a potential barrier stopping a lot of people from taking the first steps and picking up a pen – especially for those coming from a non-design background like programming, research or product management. The sentence 'I don't know how to draw' can be anchored deeply in our heads, convincing us that, if we never had a knack for arts, sketching can't be for us. The good news is that everybody can sketch. Sketching is not about creating works of art, but expressing ideas and making concepts visible. When it comes to sketching interfaces, for example, lines and boxes combined in different ways make up 99 per cent of our sketches. In this article we'll take a closer look at these basic ingredients and explore some simple techniques to make our lines and boxes neater, cleaner and more confident. Whether we're using sketches to clarify our thinking, to collaborate on a solution with colleagues or to present a concept to stakeholders and clients, we'll make it much easier for everybody to 'see what we mean'. 01. Draw confident lines Clear, confident lines make readability easierConfident lines have a defined beginning, a calm and steady middle, and a solid, defined end. To practise making your lines more confident, pay attention to each of these three parts of your lines. It can help to consciously pause at the beginning and the end to give the line a nice solid feel at both sides. You can even move the pen against the direction of the line before starting the line and after ending it to visually reinforce the ends. 02. Don't throw your lines Thrown lines are great for creating dynamism, but no good for a clear sketchWhen you throw your lines, the focus is at the beginning, but gets lost along the way. The drawer loses control and the line loses definition towards the end. Thrown lines are a great way to express dynamism (for example in a storyboard), but when sketching interfaces, the focus is on clarity and readability, rather than dynamic expression. 03. Lift your wrist to draw straight lines If you’re having trouble keeping your lines straight, try lifting your hand off the page and pulling the pen towards you, rather than pushing it awayIf your lines – especially long ones – all seem to come out slightly curved rather than straight, try lifting your wrist off the paper and moving your whole arm. You can use your little finger to stabilise your hand on the paper. 04. Draw towards yourself Another way to achieve straighter lines is to draw them towards yourself. We tend to have more control over our hand movement when we pull the hand towards the centre of our body (the belly button) rather than pushing away from it. Just rotate your piece of paper when you need to draw horizontal lines. 05. Find your optimum sketching speed Find the right speed so you don’t end up with shaky lines, or lines that go off targetSketching is a quick technique, but there's no need to be hasty. Don't rush your pen around the paper. Instead find a steady pace that allows you to control your lines and make clear marks. If your lines are shaky, you're probably going too slow. Speeding up your drawing can help you to create smoother lines. If your lines are off target, you're probably going too fast. Slowing down will help you control the path of your lines better. 06. Don't draw hairy lines Draw one long, confident line – hairy lines are distractingSome people have a habit of sketching a line in lots of small segments. From my experience, this usually happens when someone is not that confident with sketching yet and are trying to find the right line, bit by bit. The resulting 'hairy' lines show this insecurity and add visual noise to the sketch. Practise making full, continuous lines. If the line doesn't quite come out as you planned, just put another, 'better' line on top. Over time, this will result in a more confident, calmer look. 07. Sketch clear shapes Lift your pen between each straight line to slow down your drawing and keep your shapes crispA box is a simple shape made up of four lines that meet at 90-degree angles. To sketch a neat box, draw each side individually and lift your pen in between each line. This will help you to keep each side straight and make the corners nice and defined. Lifting your pen naturally forces you to slow down a bit as well, which is one of the best ways to avoid sloppy boxes. 08. Close the corners of shapes Take some time to make sure you close up your shapes. Gaps between lines simply add visual noise Our mind will perceive individual strokes as one complete shape, even when the corners are not properly closed. This is because the human brain is pretty amazing – especially the part that deals with visual perception. However, leaving the corners of your boxes open creates visual noise and diverts mental processing power away from what you actually want your viewer to notice. Make a habit of properly closing the corners of your boxes. If the corners overlap, that's okay as well. 09. Sketch neat blind text Opt for straight lines for body copy and a tight zigzag for headersWhen sketching, we often use lines and scribbles to represent text. This is a quick way to sketch headings and blocks of text while keeping the fidelity low and preventing viewers from getting distracted by actual, readable content. When we're not paying attention, it is easy to fall into the habit of using random wavy lines (like those we associate with handwriting), especially when we're trying to represent larger fonts like headings or big labels. This, again, adds visual noise and makes your sketch hard to read. Get into the habit of using straight lines for body copy and a neat, tight zigzag to represent larger text. When you put all these small details together, the difference it makes to the overall appearance of your sketches is quite impressive. Remember, the goal is not to create 'beautiful' or 'arty' sketches, but to make your output clear and calm, so the viewer can focus on the idea being shown, rather than getting distracted by unnecessary visual noise. 10. Go for low fidelity to convey your concept Practise paring sketches back to just the essentials needed to capture your idea Hans Hofmann once said: "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." Beyond the mere technical skills of producing straight lines and neat boxes lies the much trickier, more conceptual side of sketching. Which parts do I need to sketch to convey a concept? What level of fidelity is right for the stage I am at? My general advice is: if you want to focus on getting better at one thing, make it sketching at low fidelity. Having taught sketching to hundreds of UX practitioners, I've discovered that reducing a sketch down to its essence is by far the hardest challenge. It is very easy to get distracted by the details and to lose clarity by cramming too much into one sketch. Practising low-fidelity sketching forces us to summarise complex concepts. It also teaches us how to spot patterns and helps us to understand structures. When we master sketching at low fidelity we become better communicators, as it helps us recognise how to show the big picture first and dive into more detail when and where it is needed. 11. Sketch existing interfaces Base your practice sketches on an existing page to focus on capturing the essence of the design, rather than creating a new layout The best way to learn how to create low fidelity sketches is to practise sketching an existing website layout. This allows you to focus fully on what and how you sketch, because you aren't having to come up with a good new design at the same time. Sketching existing interfaces can also be a great way to help you out if you get stuck in your design process. Sketching the current interface you want to improve, or the interface of a similar product, can help you find flaws and question the status quo on a much deeper, structural level. This can often lead to ideas of how to do things differently. 12. Imagine your audience Choose a screen from a website, software interface or mobile app. Imagine you wanted to explain to someone what this screen is about and what its main parts are. To focus the exercise, imagine you're talking to a particular person: a product manager, a visual designer, a developer, a content editor, a potential investor. Depending on who the audience is, your sketch will focus on different aspects of the screen design. Challenge yourself to sketch the overall structure first and to keep the amount of detail to the minimum. It usually takes a few rounds of sketches to get down to the essence. This article originally appeared in net magazine issue 285. Liked this? Then check these out: Create storyboards for web animations How to make your apps serverless 20 great resources for learning graphic design View the full article
  20. June is a big month for digital creatives. Apple hosted its World Wide Developers conference (WWDC) and the games industry has E3 in the middle of the month. Around these two massive tentpole shows are a raft of new announcements. Here are the 10 we’re most excited about. 01. iMac Pro The iMac Pro certainly looks the part in its space grey enclosureAfter the disappointment that many digital creatives felt when the new MacBook Pro launched, Apple promised that it still wanted to provide the machines for digital creatives. The iMac Pro is the first step to win back hearts and minds. With up to 18 cores, 128GB of RAM and next-generation AMD Vega GPUs, there is enough power to keep many creatives happy. The starting price of $4,999 and lack of upgradeable components, however, could dampen that happiness. We will find out in December when the iMac Pro ships. 02. VR for Mac With the upcoming macOS High Sierra, it will be possible to develop VR on a MacWith the new High Sierra macOS, Apple is adding first party support for Thunderbolt 3 external GPU boxes. Combined with the arrival of Steam VR for macOS, these announcements means that VR and many GPU-accelerated render engines can be used and developed on the Mac at last, using either AMD or NVIDIA cards. Apple is backing this up with an external graphics development kit, which boasts a Sonnet eGPU enclosure with an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card, and compatibility with HTC Vive VR headsets. 03. iPad Pro The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro replaces the 9.7 modelApple has released two new models of the iPad Pro, both with vastly improved screens and faster graphics. The screens now have a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, with a P3 wide colour display. The new iPads are likely to be the most colour accurate screens in any studio. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has been replaced by a 10.5-inch model (priced from $649/£619) with thinner side bevels, alongside the revamped 12.9-inch behemoth (from $799/£769). 04. iOS 11 iOS 11 supports many new iPad-specific features, including drag-and-drop with the new files appOne of the biggest issues with the iPad Pro is the fact that doing proper work has always felt like a chore due to the limitations of iOS. With the upcoming iOS 11, Apple has provided a major focus on the iPad, with drag-and-drop now available on split-screen, and a new Mac-like dock. The Apple Pencil is also made more useful, thanks to inline notation, scan and sign for documents, and a new handwriting recognition system. With a new ARKit API available to developers that allows full support for tracking objects into a camera view, iOS 11 looks like it could be a major boost for iPad productivity and digital content developers. 05. Affinity Photo for iPad Affinity Photo for iPad is a desktop-class image manipulation applicationAffinity Photo has developed a reputation as a true Photoshop competitor at a fraction of the price. With the release of the iPad version of Affinity Photo, Serif has created a professional image manipulation tool for the iPad and iPad Pro. In our initial test run, we were able to import an EXR image and create a mask for it using another bitmap-based image. Effects and filters are applied blisteringly quickly, and Affinity Photo works superbly with the Apple Pencil. Affinity Photo is available with an introductory 30 per cent discount at $19.99/£19.99 on the App Store. 06. New MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs Rounding out our Apple-fest is the announcement of key hardware updates for most Macs. Laptops across the board will see upgrades to Kaby Lake processors (Intel Core i5 and m3), plus there’s better discrete graphics for 15-inch MacBook Pros. The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros cost from $1,299/£1,249. iMacs will also receive new processors, as well as Thunderbolt 3 ports, brighter screens, a new extended keyboard and the ability to install up to 64GB of RAM in the 27-inch model. The new iMacs cost from $1,099/£1,049. 07. Microsoft Surface Pro The Microsoft Surface Pro gets welcome specification and stylus improvementsIt hasn’t just been Apple revealing new hardware this month. Microsoft has announced the new Surface Pro, which is a favourite tool of many digital artists due to its ability to run a full version of Windows. The new Surface Pro comes with Kaby Lake processors and improved cooling. This means for the first time the i5 version of the Surface Pro joins the i3 in running silently without fans. There is a new stylus, now with tilt support and 4,096 pressure points. Starting from $799/£799, the Surface Pro is available now. 08. Avatar SDK Avatar SDK enables you to create 3D avatars from photographsCreating avatars from photographs is becoming more common in various media, including games such as EA’s Game Face. Itseez3D is making that process easy for developers on many platforms, including Unity and iOS with Avatar SDK. If the demo mobile app is anything to go by, avatars are easy to capture and the quality is excellent. With a per-use pricing model (which starts with 50 avatars per month for free), Avatar SDK should allow many developers to add this cutting-edge feature. 09. Character Creator Sketchfab integration With the latest release of Reallusion’s iClone comes a major upgrade to the Character Creator plugin. Version 2 offers a range of new improvements, but it’s the Sketchfab integration that is a real high point. This makes iClone and Character Creator a great (and cost-effective) starting point for many artists wanting to create shareable character assets for game and VR use on the Sketchfab platform. The Lite version is free, while a full version costs $199 (iClone 6 or 7 licensees can upgrade for free). 10. HitFilm Express HitFilm Express offers many of the VFX and editing features of its HitFilm Pro for freeHitFilm Pro has a become a major competitor to Adobe Premiere and After Effects over the past few years. FXHOME's new HitFilm Express offers many of the same features as its big brother – including 4K editing – for free. Extra features can be purchased as add-ons at reasonable prices, in order to make HitFilm Express into a bespoke editing and VFX package. Related articles: Adobe Stock improves visual search to bring you vibrant, beautiful images 20 best designs in video games What if Apple made a Surface Book? View the full article
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  22. In 2016, we witnessed the rapid rise of a new buzzword: serverless. At face value, the term makes it sound like servers no longer exist. Of course, this is absurd. Every serverless application is running on a server somewhere. But it does mean that entire applications can be successfully built without deploying code to your own servers. While the term 'serverless' may be misleading, the value of delegating server management to a third party is very real. The dream of spending less time worrying about servers and more time building software can be a reality. Serverless in action At Bustle (where I work as director of engineering) we serve content to over 50 million unique readers a month. This means traffic at our scale is significant but also sudden, as articles can go viral at any moment. Our legacy VM-based infrastructure was having trouble keeping up and our engineers were spending too much time on operations. We started looking at serverless platforms as a solution and, after a few successful experiments, began moving over our entire stack. It has been a complete success; our projects are more maintainable, easier to operate, and cheaper. Amazon Web Services It is difficult to talk about serverless without focusing on Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has become synonymous with serverless because it answers one critical question: Where does the custom code go? The concept of using third-party services and platforms is not new. Databases, push notifications, caching, and many other layers of an application have all been available 'as a service' for a while, but they sat on the edge of your application. You still needed a place for core application code, which was usually a server (and often many of them) responding to external requests. This is where AWS came in. Its products AWS Lambda and AWS API Gateway exposed primitives that made it simple to deploy custom application code without the overhead of managing your own servers. AWS Lambda Lambda is Amazon's version of functions-as-a-service (FaaS). It is quite simple: you write code and upload it – though currently only Node.js, JavaScript, Python and C# have official support. AWS will then run that code in response to events including HTTP requests, S3 uploads, DynamoDB updates, Kinesis streams, and many others. Scaling happens automatically and you are only charged when your functions are running. None of these features are strictly a requirement for serverless, but AWS has certainly set the bar high. Any serverless platform will likely have a stateless FaaS offering with very granular billing because of the precedent set by AWS. Other platforms Amazon may have the lead, but other providers are catching up quickly. All the major cloud platforms have recently launched services targeted at serverless applications. Here are a few: Google Cloud Functions: Still in alpha, this provides similar functionality to AWS Lambda and can also be triggered by HTTP requests. Azure Functions: This is also similar to Lambda and still relatively new. Azure has a pleasant UI and makes it easy to expose functions over HTTP without needing a separate routing service. IBM OpenWhisk: The only major serverless platform that is open source. If you are interested in deploying your own serverless platform or just curious how they work under the hood, you will want to investigate this. Challenges No servers doesn't mean no operationsServerless does not come without its challenges. The space is new and as such, the community is still discovering best practices – especially when it comes to operations. I've seen people assume that no servers also means no operations. This could not be further from the truth. My favourite definition of operations comes from Charity Majors: "Operations is the constellation of your org's technical skills, practices, and cultural values around designing, building and maintaining systems, shipping software, and solving problems with technology." This beautifully captures how integral operations is to any software team, and serverless does not change that. More than ever we are in need of tools for deploying, maintaining and monitoring our applications. Unfortunately, having no access to the server means we are unable to use many tools that have been battle-tested over the last couple of decades. I anticipate that we will see many new startups' third-party services targeted at solving these problems for serverless developers. Some companies have already sprouted up or modified existing tools, including IOpipe and Honeycomb.io. Tools The open source community has recognised some of these challenges and responded with a wide range of tools and frameworks specifically targeting serverless. Here, the market dominance of Amazon is apparent, as most of these only currently support AWS. Of course, it is possible to manually build and deploy serverless applications yourself, but I wouldn't recommend it – with even a few endpoints, building, packaging, zipping, uploading and versioning all become difficult to manage. Here are just a few of the frameworks out there for you to consider: Serverless Framework: This is the oldest and most established framework for building serverless applications. It has a robust plugin system and integrates with many community developed plugins. Its stated goal is to eventually support deployment to any of the major cloud platforms. Apex: This is written in Go but supports Python, Node.js, Go and Java runtime languages. The creator, TJ Holowaychuk, is a fixture in the open source community and has a great sense of what makes for good developer tools. Chalice: The only framework created and maintained by AWS. It currently just supports Python. Shep: Bustle's own open source framework, used for all our production services. It focuses exclusively on the Node.js runtime and strives to be opinionated about how you should structure, build, and deploy applications. The future 2017 will continue to see the rapid adoption of serverless technologies by everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Even in its nascent state, the serverless movement is a significant step forward in enabling teams to build better software. That has been our experience at Bustle, and I've talked to engineers at other companies with similar stories. Capital One, iRobot, and Nordstrom have all talked publicly about their adoption of serverless. Servers will never fully go away, but it is a joy to build software and let someone else worry about them. If it fits your use case, I highly recommend you consider serverless for your next project. This article originally appeared in net magazine issue 292; buy it here! Related articles: 4 of the most game-changing developments in tech 20 useful tools for web developers 15 APIs developers need to know View the full article
  23. The era of Flash banners is coming to an end, and it's time for a better replacement. HTML5 animations are the perfect successor, especially considering how modern browsers handle and optimise animations created using JavaScript and CSS. SVG also makes an excellent tool for creating banners. By animating the content of SVG images, you can create appealing animations that look great on all screen resolutions. In this article we're going to animate an SVG banner using JavaScript. What is GSAP? GreenSock Animation Platform (GSAP) is one of the fastest animation librariesThe GreenSock Animation Platform (GSAP) is a suite of tools for creating scripted animations, and it is one of the most powerful JS animation libraries available today. I don't work for GreenSock nor have they paid me to write this article. I just love the library and highly recommend it for the great features it offers. GSAP has been around for a long time and comes with a mature API that covers the vast majority of our animation use cases. GSAP is created with a huge emphasis on performance and optimisation, making it one of the fastest animation libraries (it's up to 20 times faster than jQuery). Even Google developers recommend GSAP for JavaScript-based animations. GSAP's also solves browser compatibility issues, so you don't have to fret about browser prefixes, bugs or property inconsistencies. It handles all the cross-browser bits for you under the hood. The number one strength of GSAP is its animation sequencing capabilities. You can create individual tweens to animate just about any property of an element. You can also chain tweens into a timeline, making it simple to control them as a whole and precisely manage their timing in relation to each other. You can even nest timelines inside other timelines, as deeply as you want. The GreenSock team has quite a lot of animated SVG and HTML5 demos, including banners like this one, on its Codepen profile GSAP comes with core tools, and there are additional plugins that enable you to extend its functionality. You only need to add the plugins required for your particular project, thus maintaining as small a file size as possible. GSAP's TweenMax is a full-featured tool that handles the animation of any property over time, in addition to providing extra functionality by including some of GSAP's utility plugins by default. The focus is on being full-featured rather than lightweight. TweenMax also includes all the timeline sequencing and controlling capabilities we’ll be using throughout this tutorial. GSAP can be configured to work with the selector engine of your choice – it will even fall back to document. querySelectorAll() if you prefer vanilla JavaScript. So, unlike many other animation libraries, it has zero dependencies. Now you're (hopefully) sold on GSAP's superpowers, let's put it to practice and see how easy it is to create animated banners with it. Prepping the assets For this tutorial, we'll be animating a (modified) banner originally designed by Freepik. The image below shows the four 'screens' of the banner. We'll be animating from one to another in order to create a complex overall animation. The four scenes making up the banner. Each of these screens will be animated sequentiallyBy default, all screens are visible inside the banner, stacked on top of each other. Using GSAP, the elements are hidden, then animated into view and out again so the elements on the following screen can animate in. We will be breaking the animation down into individual tweens, combined into timelines (one for each screen) that are then added into one master timeline for the whole banner. First, we need to include TweenMax in our page. We can load it from a CDN: Next, we set the visibility of the SVG to hidden. This is something you will find yourself doing often. Because the animations will only start after the script is loaded, doing this helps us avoid a short 'flash' of the banner assets before the animation starts. We will unhide the SVG again at the beginning of the script, right before we run the animations. GSAP's tweening methods To create a simple tween you can use one of GSAP's methods: from(), to() or fromTo(). An example of these being used to animate an element might look like this: The from() method basically tweens backwards – you define the beginning values (in the tween) and the current values are used as the destination values. This is great for doing things like animating objects onto the screen, because you can set them up the way you want them to look at the end of the tween, and then animate in from elsewhere. This is exactly what we are going to do for our banner screens. The to() method will animate the target element from its current state to the destination values you define. Hopefully, fromTo() is now self-explanatory. These methods are used to define a single tween (which might be animating multiple properties). These tweens can then be appended to one timeline so they execute sequentially: You can add as many tweens as you want and those tweens can be applied to one or more elements. The timeline will play these tweens in the order you specify. The more complex your animations, the more scenes they will include. Each scene would be a series of 'micro' animations (the tweens) that happen at some point along the main timeline. It is possible to have tweens overlap and play relative to each other's time. You can also combine timelines into one master timeline. This is achieved by using TimelineMax's add() method to literally add the timelines into the master timeline. These timelines can then be controlled just like individual tweens can. For our animated banner, we will create four different timelines (one for each screen), and then these four timelines will be combined into one master timeline: Each of the functions inside the add() method will be used to define and return a timeline, which makes this sequencing possible. The autoAlpha property is the same thing as opacity except that when the value hits 0, the visibility property will be set to hidden in order to improve browser rendering performance and prevent clicks or interactivity on the target. With the help of GSAP’s plugins, you can create impressive HTML text animations, like the GreenSock homepage bannerAnimating elements into view We want to animate the screens into view so that they appear as if they were initially off-canvas. We’ll be using GSAP's from() method to define where they will animate from. Let's start by slide-fading in the text from the left. First, we create and return a timeline inside the animateScreen1() function, then we add to it the tween that will animate the text into view. You need to make sure you give the elements you want to animate proper class names and/or IDs for reference. The text is animated in from a -100% position (which means it is translated to the left, outside the banner's visible area) and opacity value 0. We'll get to the easing function part later. Instead of translateX and translateY, GSAP uses x, y and xPercent and yPercent to apply a translation to an element. You can learn about the difference between them in this video tutorial from Petr Tichy or this blog post from GreenSock. Synchronising tweens We want to fade the world map into view at the same time the text animates in. This is possible by using 'labels' inside the timeline. A label defines a point in time when the animation will start, and can be used in multiple tweens inside the timeline in order to play those tweens at the same time. You can call the label anything you like. Here, we've chosen "first" because it's the first point in time, so to speak. GSAP's labels can also be relative: you can use a label that specifies when to start a tween relative to the preceding tween. For example, you could use a "+=1" label that indicates that the current tween (or timeline) should start animating one second after the preceding one finishes. Staggering animations If you want to apply the same animation to multiple elements in sequence, you can leverage GSAP's staggering functions. This saves you from writing multiple instances of the tween for all those different elements. In the first screen, there are two sets of icons: a monochrome set and a coloured set. Each set is a group (<g>) which in turn contains other groups, one for each icon's contents. We will use the staggerFrom() method to define a tween that will be applied to icons in each group. This method will 'pop' the icons in one after the other: The numerical value right before the label (here "second") is the stagger value. This indicates the amount of time in seconds by which to stagger the start of each tween. Specifying easing functions When the second screen is to be animated into view, the function responsible for that animation first needs to remove the elements of the previous screen. The second animation will be defined in the animateScreen2() function, and will use staggerTo() to animate the first screen's elements out: The easing function specified for the ease property (Power2.easeIn) is used to create more elasticity, thus adding to the overall fluid effect. GSAP comes with a big bunch of built-in easing functions. Learn all about them in the docs. The tl.delay(.5) part is there to delay the execution of the animation. The reason we're delaying it is to give the user some time to read the contents of the first scene before we get to the other. The banner would be useless if the animations stood in the way of the message being read. .add("first", "-=0.6") enables us to create overlap by tightening the time between the previous and following tween. Specifying SVG transform origins The code for the third screen looks similar to that of the previous screens, with the exception of a new property that is used to animate the clock's hour and minute hands: You can specify the transform origin of an SVG element using either a percentage value (relative to the element's bounding box) or an absolute value (relative to the entire SVG canvas). The latter is specified using the svgOrigin property. Sometimes it can be useful to use svgOrigin instead of transformOrigin. Since both clock hands were being animated relative to the same point on the canvas, I've specified the coordinates of that point as the transform origin for both of them. Using Bézier tweens In the last screen, we have a line of text that is divided into multiple <tspan> elements – one wrapping each word, and a call-to-action. The best we can do here is to animate the visibility of the words. That said, if you are creating an HTML5 banner that animates HTML text, you can create extremely impressive text animations using GSAP's plugins. GSAP's homepage banner (at the bottom of the facing page) is a great example of that. You can check its code out here. To create a wiggly effect for the call to action button, we want to rotate it to the left and right a few times in a row. Instead of using multiple rotation tweens, we can use the Bézier plugin to move the values through a certain set smoothly, thus avoiding the jerky effect that could result from individual tweens. Provide the bezier object with an array of values and it will animate through them smoothly. Could it get any simpler? Summing up GSAP's powers really shine when you start creating sequenced, complex animations. All its sequencing and time control features make it an indispensable tool in our animation toolkit today. So go ahead, take GreenSock for a ride and propel your animation powers to the next level. Here's the finished animated banner on Codepen. This article was originally published in issue 273 of net magazine. See Chris Gannon live at Generate London and get an exclusive insight into his work Do you want to find out more about SVG animations and GSAP? Interactive SVG specialist Chris Gannon will present a deep dive into the GreenSock Animation Platform at Generate London on 21/22 September, a two-day/one-track conference also featuring Anton & Irene, Aaron Gustafson, Léonie Watson, Steve Fisher and many more great speakers. Book your ticket today! 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