Photography beginnings . . .

24 Apr

So as I am now in my final few weeks on my university degree (scary I know) I decided to do a little bit of photography for recreational purposes.

I know you guys like all the whacky things I find out there on the internet to bring to your pallet, but I am hoping you will like what I do too.

Here is a sneak peak at one that I have taken of my gorgeous pooch.

Some more that are coming soon are images of the band Stonewater, who headlined at Fibbers in York this weekend. but there will be another post/review about that later on once the photos have been edited, but in the mean time you can check the guys out on soundcloud!!!!




Busy Busy Busy

6 Mar

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know im still here just not posted for a while, got a few projects on the go, not to mention graduating in a few months ARRRRGHH!!

But yes back to the point, I will be back to posting random finds in the art and design world, not to mention some of my more updated work including an illustration book based on the film ‘UP’ I’m sure you have all seen it.

So keep an eye out as I will be posting Pics soon… heres a little sneak peak for you all.



In the mean time if you want to check out what I have been getting up to you can take a look at my portfolio at

Speak soon!!

First Project Back

24 Oct

Ok so I thought I would share with you all my first project of 3rd year.

Any of you who have been to Uni, or are currently at Uni will understand when I say that 3rd year is definitely the hardest.

So the project was to design and make a 2013 Calendar for an organisation of your choice, that was all we got given. Needless to say we all ran with the prospect of having a free rein. I decided to do mine for DogsTrust which is a dog rehoming centre across Britain.

So here is the final result, hope you like it 🙂











Disclaimer: All concepts, designs and images (above) belong to Laura Ball

Work Experience

17 Oct

ok ok ok, I never thought I would be looking for work experience again after the whole ‘Year 9. 2 weeks work experience to decide what you want to do with your life’ unfortunately I am, and that 2 weeks in year 9 has definitely not been useful.

So I thought I would share or rather rant a few of my problems so that if any of you out there can help me . . . please do.

Companies always seem to want experience, but you see theres a problem with that as that is the reason you are contacting them in the first place, to get experience. So how do you get around that?? I have countless pieces of work on my here and other sites, even sites to help get freelance work. No one seems to be interested unless you have experience…. help!!!

Internships, why is it that all internships seem to be on the other side of the country?? I know it is probably the industry I want to go into, but there has to be design companies closer to me than London?? I mean why don’t you get apprenticeships for design courses? Why can’t established companies offer to train you up to their standards, that way you would get experience along with a qualification. It would make it a lot easier than 25 of the students in my class all emailing the same companies to get work experience.

So yes anyone out there who can shed some light on this or maybe suggest companies to write to who can help me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for listening to this rant 😀 and I’ll get back to posting design stuff

Graph Paper Doodles Come To Life In Mesmerizing GIFs

17 Sep

So we have all been there, sat in maths class, not really understanding whats going on and doodling on our graph paper. Well this artist has taken it a step further and animated the doodles. They are so different to the other GIF’s I have looked at which is one of the reasons I like them. (Give the GIFs a few minutes to work if not click on the image and they should come to life)

Taken from


In addition to being an ideal vehicle for pet follies and YouTube pratfalls, animated GIFs have emerged as a versatile new medium for visual art in the Internet age. Art GIFs–as opposed to, I guess, “LOL GIFs?”–run the gamut from simple optical illusions and early Internet kitsch to theevocative Cinemagrams that set the Internet on fire for a few days last year. Alma Alloro’s GIFs fall somewhere in between, serving as a commentary on the relationship between analog and digital media–and also just giving you something cool looking to zone out to while you eat your lunch at your desk.


The collection, Further Abstracts, shows geometric doodles sliding and spinning with life on plain old graph paper. It’s basically what every day-dreaming trig student wishes would happen with his time-wasting sketches. In fact, that was more or less Alloro’s impulse for creating them.

“I made many still image drawings in the same style before,” the Tel Aviv-born artist told Co.Design, “and was curious to see what it would look like in animation.” But in addition to being relatively high quality and easy to disseminate, Alloro thinks GIFs represent a new kind of frontier in visual art–something related to but separate from its older sibling, video art. “Video ‬art began as a comment on cinema‫,‬ and I think it was never capable to become free from that role,” Alloro explained. “Now‫,‬ when videos occupy about 50‫%‬ of any important biennial, it seems like GIFs are replacing video-art and becoming the new avant-garde ‫.‬.. It is also part of this new trend to bring the Internet to a gallery space and vice versa.”


As if to prove her point, Alloro’s GIFs have been chosen for exhibition at the Caesura Gallery, an online-only collection that places some (relatively) traditional visual pieces, like a set of photographs of cleverly Photoshopped beer cans, alongside some more novel web-based works. Jesse Darling’s Menetekel (2012, Spray paint, animated GIF), another piece on the site, wins the award for collapsing the most media in the shortest amount of time: The work is a 7-second animated GIF of a hooded figure spray painting the Twitter hashtag #IRL on a brick wall, in real life. Basically, Alloro’s GIFs–a timeless analog time waster presented in the Internet’s freshest time wasting file format–are right at home.

Furthering their artistic bona fides, GIFs have even been accompanied by some jargon-heavy explicatory text. Alloro’s friend and fellow artist Gabriel S. Moses writes, “Alloro revives the Bauhaus movement’s celebrated core symbols (the triangle, square, and circle), only to subvert their refined ideology of functional beauty. Replacing iconic solid colors with a hyper-saturated radiance, the bare technical grid-aesthetics of these corrupted Bauhaus designs render the modern myth of functionality obsolete.”

He’s not kidding, Alloro insists, but she does admit she didn’t have much of that in mind when she was making the GIFs. “It’s nice not to over-analyze your own works,” she told Co.Design. “Let someone else do that.”

Check out the rest of the Further Abstracts GIFs at the Caesura Gallery.




Taking Photoshop’s Curves Beyond Highlights and Shadows

13 Sep

I dont know about you but I have never been able to get to grips with curves. Artist’s produce amazing pieces using curves and mastering them. Here is an article I sought out for you guys and me, to help us get our heads around them and what they can do. Hope it helps you 🙂

Taken from

photoshop curves control

Photoshop’s Curves is a flexible control that can brighten or darken parts of a layer based on the layer’s luminosity.

Editing tones in an image—not just grays and not always photos—can do more than fix highlights and shadows.

Curves can be used to edit photos, masks, graphics and even hues. But using it requires a little know-how and imagination.

Read on for more details about what Photoshop curves are, as well as how to use them properly for your designs.


Making Tonal Adjustments

Curves is found near the top of the Image → Adjustments menu. Its most obvious use is to adjust contrast in an image, and it is intuitive enough that most users need to study it only for a minute or so before catching on.

examples of simple tonal adjustments

Above: Drag a point on the curve line up to make the image brighter and down to make it darker. But what does that mean?

Curves uses a grid that shows before and after. The horizontal axis indicates original tones, and the vertical axis indicates how they will change. A diagonal line bisects the grid. Dragging points away from the diagonal line will brighten or darken highlights and shadows depending on where the change happens.

diagram of Curves grid, before and after

Above, the curve turns shadows into bright highlights, muddies mid-tones and turns the original white point into middle gray. The further the curve moves away from the diagonal line, the more extreme the change will be. It also means that the angle of the curve changes the image’s contrast in a given range of tones.

examples of how the slope affects contrast

Above, blue denotes which tones most of the pixels use. Red denotes the slope.

  1. Most of the tones are just to the left of mid-gray, so creating a steep angle in that area would give most of the image more contrast.
  2. The opposite—giving the mid-tones a flat slope—lowers the contrast.
  3. Creating a steep slope away from the popular tones creates extreme contrast: many shadows, some highlights and few mid-tones.


Choose Tones to Change With Curves

Unlike Levels, Curves allows changes to a select range of tones. Not only can shadows, mid-tones and highlights be changed, they can be changed independently.

examples of selective tonal changes

Two variations on the photo above show how Curves can affect different areas. In the center photo, pixels brighter than 50% are all brightened. But only the highest highlights—and darkest shadows—are brightened in the right-most image.

To add a point to the Curves line, simply click the line. To remove a point, drag it off the grid.

The Curves control isn’t limited to photos. For example, the logo below has a subtle texture—but what if “subtle” isn’t the right look?

example of a logo with more contrast via Curves

Above, a change in Curves brings out the texture in the disc and amplifies the sheen on the bolt. Knowing that Curves can be used beyond fixing tones and can be used in photos is the first step to grasping its hidden features.


Playing With Color

The Curves control hides many features in plain sight. One of these is the ability to color-correct (or cross-process) any digital image.

illustration showing where the RGB options reside

Above: with a drop-down menu above the grid, the user can edit one channel (red, green or blue in RGB images) at a time.

example of using Curves alter a photo's color

The photo above was given a color cast by warming its shadows and cooling its highlights. Specifically, red is removed from the shadows but added to the highlights, and vice versa for blue and green.

example of using Curves to tint a photo

A grayscale version of the same photo becomes a duotone when we use Curves to adjusts its channels. Above, extra red and green warm the highlights and mid-tones, while the shadows take on a bluish tinge. In Curves, channels often don’t require major changes to alter an image dramatically.


Improving Selections

Selections and masks in Photoshop aren’t simply on-or-off features, but rather a range of values—much like a gradient. And masks, like gradients, can be manipulated with Curves.

step-by-step 1

We want to screen the red image behind the black text but leave details at the edges. We start by adding a mask to the photo with the layer (above). A layer mask controls the layer’s opacity without erasing its pixels.

step-by-step 2

With a reflected gradient, the mask hides the center of the photo. In layer mask terms, light means more visible and dark means less visible.

step-by-step 3

We make the gradient “shallow” using Curves. If white areas of a mask are visible and black areas are invisible, then the gray is somewhat hidden.

step-by-step 4

The result (above) is a photo that is screened behind text but still visible at the edges. However, the text is still difficult to read.

step-by-step 5

Every time Curves opens, it looks at the mask anew. Above, we lower the white point to make the mask darker and thus less visible.

step-by-step 6

The result is a gently screened photo that fades into the text (above).


Secrets of the Curves Control

Curves is full of shortcuts and hidden features. Here are a few useful tidbits:

diagram of hidden features in Curves

Still, the fundamentals haven’t changed since Photoshop 1.0 first arrived on the scene. Many possibilities arise from this simple control.”

How to Optimize Content When You Don’t Know Jack about SEO

13 Sep

Ok so here are some more tips on mastering the art of SEO 🙂 hope it helps

Taken from

“Knowing how to optimize content for search engines is essential, but often easier said than done. After all, mastering the art and science of search engine optimization (SEO) is no small feat.

Frequent updates to Google’s search ranking algorithm — notably Panda and Penguin — only complicate matters. Although such updates go a long way toward enhancing the quality of search results by, for example, discounting the high volumes of low-quality content produced by content farms, they also mean that the best ways to optimize content are constantly evolving.

Simply put, you’ve got to stay on your toes. Fortunately for those of us who aren’t in the habit of analyzing search engine algorithms but still want to optimize content, there are some basic tips that are easy to follow.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me make it clear that I’m in no way, shape, or form an SEO expert. If you’re looking for the definitive word on the subject, there are far more comprehensive resources on the subject (such as this guide by SEOmoz). If, however, you’re new to SEO and are looking for some simple techniques to optimize content for search engines, written in plain language, read on!

How to optimize content: The 411 on keywords

At its most basic, SEO is about tinkering with your content to make it attractive to search engines. One way of doing this is by selecting the right keyword — the word or phrase that people would be most likely to enter into a search engine if they were looking for your content — and then using it throughout what you write. When Google indexes your website, it detects the keywords you’ve used and how you’ve used them, and ranks your content (in part) on that basis. That ranking is what determines if your content shows up on the first page of results when you google the keyword or on the fifty-first.

Of course, not all keywords are created equal. You’ve got to take care in choosing the ones that you’ll have the greatest chances of ranking well for. Many are highly competitive, so vetting your options is essential. Plus, what seems like the right keyword to you, may not be what people actually use to search for content. After all, what good is using “early stage companies” if most people are searching for “start-ups.”

Not to worry. You are not alone in your quest to optimize content. You can consult the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get some insights. Type in a potential keyword and the site tells you how many people are searching for it in a given month and how much competition there is, based on advertising spend for sponsored links. Armed with this data, you can do a reasonable job of picking a keyword.

Take this article as an example. Although I’m writing about “search engine optimization,” the keyword tool quickly reveals that it’s not a good choice.

optimize content, keywords, CMI

With more than 600,000 global monthly searches and a competition rating of high, I’ve got no chance of ranking for it. Looking at who is ranking on page one for this keyword — big names (SEOmoz), with sites that drive huge traffic — confirms that assessment.

After experimenting with other options, I discover that “optimize content” is a much better option. It still gets at the same idea as search engine optimization, but has a low competition ranking and garners about 1,900 global searches a month. While there are still some pretty big names on the first page of results for the term, my chances of winding up there too are much greater using “optimize content” than if I selected “search engine optimization” as my keyword.

Now you may be thinking that 1,900 hits a month is nothing compared to 600,000. True enough. However, if you can rank on page 1 for those 1,900 hits and consistently drive a portion of them to your site, you’re going to be much better off than if you rank on page 51 for the 600,000 hits and never get found.

Importantly, it was only after I had “optimize content” as my keyword, that I began writing this article.It’s much easier to create content with a keyword in mind than trying to retrofit it into something you’ve already crafted. All the more so because, as with any keyword, I need to use “optimize content” in context, not just willy-nilly, in order to help my ranking.

For reference, I’ve highlighted my use of my keyword optimize content throughout this article to show you how I used it. Some of the things to keep in mind when incorporating a keyword are to include it in:

  • The title of your content
  • The first sentence of your first paragraph
  • At least one heading within the content
  • The page’s URL
  • The page’s meta description
  • The alternate text field of any images you’ve included

Ultimately, you want to use your keyword enough for it to catch the attention of search engines, while still being sensible. Expert opinions vary, but the general rule of thumb is to aim for a keyword density — the percentage of times the keyword appears in your content compared to the total number of words — of between 1 percent and 3 percent. The keyword density of this article, FYI, is 1.23 percent.

Tip: To learn a lot more about keywords, check out “Better Keywords, Better Customers: A Business Guide to Keyword Generation.”

How to optimize content: other factors

If you’re creating your content in WordPress, consider using the SEO Yoast Tool, which analyzes how SEO-friendly your content is. The tool gives you ratings of green (good to go), yellow (hold up, you can do better), and red (stop, you’re off track!) across a variety of content optimization dimensions. In addition to telling you your keyword density, it checks to see if you’ve included keywords in the places noted above and if you’ve met a host of other guidelines.

The tool also checks out some other important factors that you need to bear in mind as you look tooptimize content. Namely, it looks to ensure that your content:

  • Is at least 300 words in length
  • Contains outbound links
  • Has a relatively short URL
  • Is easy to read, with concise sentences.

When I ran this article through the tool, I got the following result:

optimize content, yoast results, CMI

Overall, I’ve done a good job of optimizing this article for search engines. There are a couple of things I could adjust, but the mostly green lights tell me I’m ready to publish.

To be clear, there is a lot more to ranking well on search engines than optimizing your content. Google also looks at how much your content is shared, how many inbound links it has, and much more with its algorithm. That said, if you don’t know Jack about SEO, the tips above will go a long way toward helping as you look to optimize content!”