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Website Review

I came across a few blogs/websites which are relevant to graphic design and are pretty useful. But this website in particular, caught my eye:

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk

This website has lots of good inspiration, for one thing. The news section has a variety of subjects, from interviews with artists to logo designs and articles on technology, for instance, the iPad bringing a new era of art and an app store purely for Google Glass.

Interview: Psykopaint developers explain how the iPad has led to the birth of a new art form

By on September 06, 2013

Software developers Psykosoft took to the stage at Reasons to be Creative in Brighton this week, where they spilled the secrets about their “evil plan to break the barriers of creativity” by making Psykopaint, an app that is about to launch on iPad.

“Psykopaint is an application that can be used to turn photographs into paintings, and can also be used to create paintings from scratch.”

That’s pretty cool. Although, I can’t help but think that a lot of people would have the opinion that it’s too “easy” and I can understand the impression that it could effectively taint the acknowledgement towards the skill set one needs in order to create such good paintings. So often I hear “there’s an app for that now” or “these days you can just do it on a computer”. Raw skills are becoming far and few… But “these days” you DO need to embrace technology because that’s the way the world is leaning towards. It would still be good to practice painting and drawing etc. but it would also be fundamental to learn the skills required for such technology. It all depends on what companies are pro “future” (if technology is what they class as futuristic!)

“they believe devices such as the iPad have led to the birth of a new art form.” 

“Matheiu Gosselin, who explained that he always wanted to be a painter but felt that he wasn’t very good at it, so he built his own tool to solve the problem.”

Now this statement makes me think that it’s just some guy who’s seen a minute gap in the market for “people who can’t paint good” and decided that he’d create an app, just because he can. Instead of seeing it as resourceful or even necessary, it gives the impression of being a money-making scheme.

“It doesn’t change much, it’s just the way you grab colour. Because when you use the app, you either grab a colour from the picture or you just select a colour if you’re starting from scratch. It doesn’t technically change much, it’s just an added functionality. Users already know the tools so they can just go straight in to a new canvas and start working.”

The explanation sounds quite straight forward and useful. But the sentence at the end about users already knowing how the tools work give the impression that it’s going to be easy for everyone – almost like another Instagram app…

I can see the benefits as I read on, there are a few minor differences from other apps, but in the long run it’d be easier to learn raw skills/learning how to use Photoshop. I’m not entirely sold on the “new art form”… I think old school painting and drawing is still the most beneficial skill to have.

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The tutorials section is good. There are very basic tutorials, like changing text colour, and very detailed tutorials, for instance creating isometric infographics on Illustrator. I like the look of the lighting effect tutorial for Photoshop.

Review section – a good section to have, especially when writing your own review! From Animation & Apps, to Videos and Workstations, there is a wide variety to choose from.

Review: Should you Upgrade to Creative Cloud? 

“The answer to the ten-million-dollar question – or the somewhere-between-£15-and-£65-per-month question – is a slightly nebulous maybe. There are many different types of creative who use Adobe’s applications, so alongside the reviews of the individual products we’re running in our Creative Cloud Guide, I’m going to take you through what CC has to offer based on the mediums you work with, so you can work out whether Creative Cloud is right for you/and your studio.”

If they kept it to £14.65 then I may have contemplated it but now that it’s around about £40 per month it doesn’t seem worth it…

“So if subscribing to Creative Cloud makes sense for you, it’s best to get in quickly. However, these low prices hide the fact that in a year’s time you’re going to have to pay full whack – and full whack may be more than it is now. Adobe will almost certainly raise prices in the future, and while we hope it’ll only be inflationary, there’s no way to know what will happen. You need to ask yourself how you’d feel if in a year’s time it cost you £50 per month, or £70 – or your studio £100 per month, per seat. Once you’re in, you’re in – and going back might be trickier than you think, as Adobe has been hazy about how exactly you’ll be able to downconvert CC-created project files to what you’ve got now.

Pricing aside, let’s look at whether there are currently enough useful functions for different types of users to justify switching over to the Creative Cloud.” 

Graphic designer: probably not

“Primarily print-based graphic designers will get the least from Creative Cloud – especially if you’re already on CS5, 5.5 or 6. Pretty much all of the relevant new features added in InDesign CC, Illustrator CC andPhotoshop CC could be classified as nice, but aren’t creatively exciting or time-savingly useful.

InDesign CC has a dark interface like its sister app and can make QR codes (but doesn’t include tips for persuading clients to use them). Illustrator CC lets you manipulate type with the mouse, and you can place multiple images in turn a la InDesign CS5Both have better type filtering. Photoshop CC can also do rounded corners. 

(You’ll also get features added to Photoshop and Illustrator between CS6 and now, but again they’re relatively minor).

Muse CC is only available to Cloud subscribers and is useful in its own way. It’s a web design tool for projects for clients with low expectations – fewer than 10 pages and requiring you to make any changes. A web design tool for when your local independent coffee shop comes calling, if you will. It’s easy for long-term InDesign users to get to grips with, but it’s no use if you need something more interesting than a flat site – or need to work with developers (in which case, check out the £35 Illustrator-styleSketch).

The services that sit alongside the applications include one definite winner: the desktop-friendly Typekit – though this wasn’t launched today as it’s not ready yet, apparently. This will give you access to 700 fonts – and fonts you can use in any app, not just Adobe’sOkay, it appears that a lot of these are free Google web fonts, but there are some great typefaces here including the Digital Arts’ ‘house font’ Futura, Aktiv Grotesk, Franklin Gothic, and more.

Is this worth the monthly fee alone? Well, certainly not until it launches. Other services include Dropbox-style file sharing (which appears to have not launched either) and a free Behance ProSite, which if it’s going to appeal, you probably already have.

More interesting is the ability to learn other tools without having to pay more – the chance to get into motion graphics or proper web design is a great opportunity. But again, you have to ask yourself whether this is worth the cash?” 

Illustrator: no

“If you use Photoshop and/or Illustrator for artwork creation, there’s little to get you to move, whether you’re a hand-drawn artist who uses Photoshop for colouring/touch-up or full-on vector artwork creation in Illustrator.Illustrator CC‘s typography tweaks and Photoshop CC‘s rounded corners aren’t going to generate more than an “oh well” from you – though illustrators who work with photographic elements will appreciate Photoshop CC’s new retouch tools such as Smart Sharpen.

More appealing for some is the inclusion of a Lite version of Maxon’s Cinema 4D suite for creating 3D CG – as many illustrators would like to explore creating photorealistic or abstract 3D elements to include in your compositions. But the only purpose of Cinema 4D Lite is to create CG for VFX work in After Effects – you can’t access except through AE.

Again, the most interesting parts of Creative Cloud are the services: Typekit’s 700 fonts could prove useful, and for freelance artists, a Behance ProSite is a really useful asset (if you don’t already have one, or a Cargo site or similar).

If all you use is Photoshop or Illustrator, Adobe is offering Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC alone for £14.65 plus VAT each. This is a much more attractive proposition if you want the photo retouch features in Photoshop CC or better type controls in Photoshop. Adding a Behance ProSite is another £7 per month – which brings it up to around £22.”

I like that they give you advice depending on what you specialise in. It’s quite personal and a handy review.

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The features section seems to be a collation of the popular hints, tips and articles at the moment. Probably worth a scroll through when looking for something particularly good. They have topics to help you too.

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Portfolios section – a good section for inspiration and research!

Here are a few I particularly like…

Sam Janssen

Most of Sam Janssen’s work is created using vector techniques. He calls it “digitalised street art with some abstract and realism.|

Where did you train?

I’m self-taught.

What’s your favourite tool?

The Pen tool – smooth lines and curves, what do you need more?

What techniques to do you use most?

Vector and dodge and burn. Those two combined are magic.

What has been your favourite piece you’ve created?

That must be Rollup Get Creative. I really dig the colours.

What kinds of materials do you work with?

Pencil and paper, a digital SLR camera and a MacBook Pro. 

What (computer packages do you use?

Adobe CS6.

Which clients have you worked for? Where have you exhibited your work?

I’m currently freelancing for afcreations. A friend of mine gives me some work now and then.

What inspires you?

Music, art and friends

Favourite websites / blogs?

Behance, abduzeedo, obeymagazineDA and Facebook.

Gabriel Moreno 

Gabriel’s work is an astonishingly good mix of hand-drawn linework and digital colouring that’s packed with detail – yet immediately beautiful from afar.

Where did you train?

I’m lucky to have received many commissions; there is no better training [than this].

Where are you based?

Madrid, I love to spend some time in New York, but in Madrid is where I’m happy.

What is your favourite tool and why?

Paper and pencil. Digitally I use a Wacom tablet and Photoshop, but the principle must be real.

Which clients have you worked for?

Rolling Stone, LA Times, Nike, Wall Street Journal, Coca-Cola, Universal Music and ad agencies like JWT in New York, Y&R in Moscow or Leo Burnett in Beirut.

What inspires you?

Women, sensuality, and the ability of drawing to multiply that beyond reality.

Conrad Roset

Based in Barcelona, Conrad Roset is a freelanceillustrator who produces some wonderfully sexual artworks.

What techniques do you use most?

I love using watercolours, but I also like to experiment with different techniques. Recently, I’ve been painting a lot with gouache.

What kinds of materials do you work with?

I use all sorts of materials in my work, including acrylics, gouache, watercolours and pens. 

What computer packages do you use?

Photoshop. 

Which clients have you worked for, and where have you exhibited your work?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some big-name clients, such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas, Zara, Custo and Oysho. My artwork has also been shown across the globe, including Miscelanea in Barcelona, Pantocrator in Shanghai, and London’s Apart Gallery. 

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is Egon Schielle, an early 20th century Austrian expressionist artist. 

What are your favourite websites and blogs?

Behance, Hi-Fructose, ffffound, and Juxtapoz. 

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Guides – pretty sure this every section categorised into their topics, for instance if you click on Graphic Design it comes up with all the news, topics (both related and relevant) features and tutorials to do with the subject. Pretty handy to just search many things under one category.

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All in all, I’d say this is a pretty awesome website and it’ll definitely get used throughout the year!

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http://play4theworld.com/5-awesome-graphic-design-blogs/

This blog briefly reviews 5 other graphic design blogs. They are all very similar but they each have their own little perks:

1. Designrfix – probably the best blog on there simply for the amount of info on there for graphic design (it ranges from advertising to wallpapers). There’s also a drop down menu for web design which is handy and the inspiration drop down is even more varied (the top ten skills employers look for is a useful one!)

2. Spoon Graphics – is well presented and has some very good tutorials, especially all the effects in Photoshop (vintage, light etc.) tutorials.

3. GoMediaZine – this site is a bit hard to follow as it only gives you one image in each section and the rest are just titles, so it’s hard to know whether any of them are really worth perusing. Other than that the tutorials are decent.

4. You the designer – the templates are quite handy, and the inspiration is based on interviews which is quite clever. The infographics section is quite cool too although not updated very often.

5. From up North – is very funky. There’s some really cool inspiration on there and it’s very extensive with the amount of categories. In the articles section there is also a page on design briefs where they are reviewed by the admins – some of them are really cool!

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www.flippingtypical.com

This is a very simple, very clever, very brilliant site. My boyfriend showed it to me and I can see myself using it a LOT over the next few years!

Flipping typical shows you previews of a word, sentence, phrase – whatever! – in all the fonts that are currently on your laptop/computer. Great for projects, especially typography briefs!

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http://www.typographicposters.com

I came across this website whilst researching for my typography sketchbook and found it really cool. All sorts of posters from all across the globe, and when you click on one it gives you a very brief bio of the designer and a link to their own site (if they have one). Very good inspiration and I’ll definitely put some in my sketchbook!

 

 

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