Archive | Design (Software) RSS feed for this section

An App That Helps Freelancers Put A Price For Their Services

13 Sep

This looks like an amazing app for all us freelancers out there. I know I always struggle when someone asks me to design something for them as to what to charge them, as I have little experience in the field. But by the sounds of it, this app does all the hard work for you and advises you roughly what you should be charging. I will definitely be looking for this app!!

Taken from

“As a freelancer, some of you may find it quite difficult to give reasonable quotes to clients for your services—if the quote is too high, you’ll lose a potential client—too low and you’ll end up making a loss.

To help freelancers tackle this problem, a new iOS app called ‘MyPrice’ helps them calculate how much they should charge for their services—by taking into account factors such as education, work experience, the nature of the project, client and location.

With MyPrice, the app will provide freelancers with an estimate and reasonable figure of how much they should charge for each project—whether it’s on hourly rates or a per-project basis.

As a cloud-based software, the app allows users to save previous templates of their past projects for future references.

It even provides tips on how they can further their career as a freelancer.

MyPrice is currently free for download on the iTunes Store.”









Windows 8: The boldest, biggest redesign in Microsofts history

13 Sep


So I did a post early about the re-brand of Windows. Here I have found another article about how the whole soft-wear has been re-designed to give the user an whole new experience using grids and whatnot. I’m not too sure what to make of it but a lot of people are saying “a good design means good business” Its a whole new Windows to what we have grown up with, see what you think.

Taken from



A pair of leggy, lipsticked models stop short outside a casting call at Milk Studios, a cavernous space in Hollywood known for art shows and photo shoots. They edge forward in 4-inch heels, intrigued by the sidewalk scene: a snaking line of balding reporters and backpacked bloggers sweating in the June afternoon heat. Not exactly the red carpet at Fashion Week. “It’s for Microsoft,” an attendee mumbles when asked about the commotion. Thick-framed Ray-Bans do nothing to hide the models’ puzzled looks.

A good 40 minutes after the crowd began to form, the doors open and more than a hundred reporters shuffle into the space and take their seats. The room darkens, the caffeinated stares of live-bloggers lit only by the glow of MacBook Airs. (Not for crew members, who joke that their instructions are “No fruit allowed”; Microsoft higher-ups had forbidden them from bringing iGadgets to the event.) A bass-heavy pop song blasts over the speakers as CEO Steve Ballmer stomps out in front of the crowd, his Shrek-like stature dominating the stage, to unveil the star of the show: the Surface tablet, the first PC device that Microsoft has manufactured in its 30-year history.

In the center is Sam Moreau, who led the Windows user experience team.

The buzz, the secrecy, the horde of reporters–one might expect this from Apple, not the corporate giant responsible for Clippy and blue screens of death. The attention was warranted, too. The Surface, with its ultrathin magnesium casing and integrated kickstand, might be the iPad’s most compelling competitor yet.

But what was really revolutionary at Milk Studios that day was the software driving the Surface: Windows 8, which aims to change the way we’ve been interacting with computers for the past three decades. Windows 8 could also transform the nature of the software giant’s competition with home-run king Apple, potentially reversing a string of embarrassing defeats, especially in the mobile market. Even more improbably, Microsoft is building this comeback attempt not on its traditional strength–engineering–but on, of all things, design.

Microsoft has united around a set of design principles that it dubbed Metro, a slick, intuitive, and playful visual language that is seeping into the company’s product portfolio, from Office to Bing to Windows Phone to Xbox, creating a common platform for hardware of all types. You won’t be seeing the word Metro in Microsoft’s branding because of a reported last-minute naming conflict with a European partner. But as manifested in Windows 8, these principles embody what the company has called an “authentically digital” experience. Gone are the icon-studded toolbars and drop-down menus and artificial glassy reflections; Windows 8 emphasizes a stripped-down user interface that’s flat and without flourish. “It’s not about adornments,” says Sam Moreau, the director of user experience for Windows. “It’s about typography, color, motion. That’s the pixel.”

With 1 billion users of its operating system, Microsoft’s novel approach to interface design could cause tectonic shifts in the way software of all sorts is conceived. And therein lies the risk. Windows has long been Microsoft’s bread and butter: 336 million Windows PCs were sold in 2011–roughly 10 per second–a large chunk of which went to corporate customers, who are constitutionally resistant to change. The Surface could add to the disruption, as third-party hardware makers will soon be in the awkward position of having to compete with the company they support. But Microsoft has no choice other than to bet on its new software design. For if Apple has proved anything, it’s that design has become big business in the technology world.

“It’s the ultimate design challenge,” Moreau says. “You’ve got 25 years of Windows behind you. There’s a responsibility to preserve it but also to evolve–knowing that when you change something, you’re changing how computing works.”

Live tiles display real-time updates for email, weather, and more, giving immediate context without having to dive into a web page or widget.


Visually, at least, Windows 8 is the simplest version of the operating system ever. For years, software has followed the same formula: The user interface mimics a real-life desktop, with documents filed in folders and pictographic icons that act as visual metaphors of a software program’s function. It’s a legacy of the graphical user interface (GUI) popularized in the 1980s by Apple. Operating systems have largely seen only incremental innovations since Windows 1.0 and the original Macintosh. They do many more tricks than before, but the underlying blueprint is the same.

Windows 8 rips that blueprint to shreds. The new face of Windows is a Mondrianesque grid of tiles colored like Skittles. Clicking on a tile will bring up your news or your inbox or your documents. Within these Metro-style apps are no toolbars or framed windows–just an immersive full-screen experience. The UI is minimal, featuring only clean typography, basic icons, and intermittent animations that provide real-time updates for, say, a new email or calendar appointment. Even the famous start button–the icon occupying the lower left corner since Windows 95–is gone. (Users can still access the old desktop-based UI if they wish, but it’s been relegated to an application within Windows 8.)

Metro has a noble provenance: the Bauhaus school, the German modernist movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Its central ethos was that materials must be treated in ways that speak to their essential nature. “Reducing down to the most beautiful form and function–that’s what the Bauhaus was all about,” Moreau says. Fashioning metal to look like wood, for example, was tantamount to a crime. These standards have driven architects and graphic designers ever since.

The Bauhaus ideal came to permeate life in all sorts of everyday objects–chairs, lamps, teapots–and by the 1960s, utilitarian design was helping passengers navigate city streets, highways, and transit hubs. Indeed, the language of Metro was initially sparked by way-finding systems in subways and airports. Jeff Fong, principal design lead for Windows Phone and a founder of the Metro principles, cites among his inspirations the signage at Heathrow’s 1961 Oceanic Terminal (now Terminal 3) for its crisp typography and no-fuss iconography, and Italian designer Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 New York City subway map. “That structure, that order, that grid system–there’s something so clear and direct about it,” he says of the lucidity of both. “Before we called it Metro, we actually called it Airport.”


As in Bauhaus design, with its fidelity to the essence of materials, the most innovative element of Metro is its shift away from visual metaphors. That imitative system, called skeuomorphism, is another legacy of GUI. Before users were accustomed to working with computers, designers had to make on-screen applications legible–for example, a digital Rolodex to denote where contacts were stored. Skeuomorphism has since flooded into all areas of UI design–most prevalently (and jarringly, to some) in Apple’s software, where digital calendars have faux-leather stitching and bookshelves an Ikea-like veneer. “We think stuff like leather stitching is just a useless distraction,” says Moreau, who seems genuinely repulsed by excessive GUI, as if it were actually gooey and not just pronounced that way. Team Microsoft believes consumers have developed a fluency for digital interfaces and no longer need those kitschy translations. In Bauhaus-speak, software designers can finally let the pixel be a pixel.

That Microsoft would come to invoke the Bauhaus is an unlikely turn of events. The impetus isn’t coming from a Ministry of Design or an aesthetics-obsessed CEO. “Unlike other companies that maybe have one person at the top, we don’t have a [design] czar at Microsoft,” says Julie Larson-Green, VP of program management for Windows. Of Metro, she adds, “It’s not like Steve [Ballmer] decreed it.” One former longtime Microsoft manager put it bluntly: “I don’t think Steve could even spell the word design.” And unlike Steve Jobs, who was infamous for meddling in every detail of Apple’s product launches, Ballmer didn’t go to any of the rehearsals at Milk Studios for the unveiling of the Surface; his part was played by a stand-in till he arrived on the day.

So if the brass were so indifferent to design, how did this thinking emerge at Microsoft at all?

In May 2009, Julie Larson-Green corralled 150 thought leaders from various Microsoft groups (Office, Phone, Bing, Xbox) in the Redmond, Washington, campus conference center to kick off planning for Windows 8. MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” boomed throughout the auditorium, and the crowd watched as Sam Moreau and fellow Windows designer Jensen Harris rifled through then-and-now pictures of Jodie Foster. They wanted to demonstrate how much the world had changed since 1992, when baggy pants and The Silence of the Lambs were in and the first memo circulated at Microsoft about a new kind of UI that would go into Windows 95.

The new social app corrals your fragmented networks–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn–into one simple hub of status updates.

But the PowerPoint presentation took a serious turn when Moreau and Harris, self-described partners in crime, began displaying images of revolutionary products followed by their disruptive successors: Sony’s PlayStation 2 controller replaced by Nintendo’s Wii remote, Yahoo’s home page supplanted by Google’s search box. They didn’t want to wait for Windows to be shunted aside. As Larson-Green says, “It’s a risk to do something new, but it’s also a risk to sit where we are. There’s always an opportunity to think different.”

Call it a Freudian slip that Larson-Green would invoke Apple’s famous slogan to describe the innovator’s dilemma faced by Microsoft. If anything, the warning came late; the company had already become the complacent incumbent and fallen behind in music players, e-readers, and smartphones. The PowerPoint presentation did include a slide for the iPhone (conveniently compared to a BlackBerry), the perfect symbol of the disruption Microsoft suffered in mobile operating systems, where it once owned a 42% market share. Apple’s iPad now generates more revenue than Windows does; iPhone sales alone eclipsed Microsoft’s total revenue of about $74 billion for the fiscal year ending in June.

So Microsoft embraced design not because Ballmer suddenly discovered beauty or started futzing around with typefaces, but because Apple showed that good design can be obscenely profitable. “We have recognized the value of [design],” says P.J. Hough, head of Microsoft’s Office division, “and we have decided to make it a much higher priority.” A former senior-level Microsoft source who advised Ballmer puts it a touch more tartly: “They’re placing an emphasis on design because the dollars sit there. They’re looking at Apple’s market cap.”

Still, the Windows 8 designers can’t quite pinpoint the origins of the company’s new religion, not least because they have worked without attention from top management. According to insiders, Ballmer offered no direction to the Windows 8 team on the features of the new user interface. Windows president Steven Sinofsky kept him abreast of the team’s progress, but Ballmer met with Larson-Green only twice during the development process, and he never got together with the team to green-light the design.

Now, after a long, hard slog, the company’s top designers have a wider field of play. At 41, Moreau is young for Microsoft’s leadership team; he joined the company only in 2006. (“Internally, that’s code for ‘Vista isn’t my fault,’ ” he has joked.) With a boyish grin, he speaks eagerly but unpretentiously about Swiss graphic design and Josef Mueller-Brockmann, its exemplar; you imagine the documentary Helvetica sitting atop his Netflix queue. Moreau has teamed up with veterans such as Windows Phone SVP Joe Belfiore, who joined Microsoft in 1990 as an engineer, to provide downfield blocking for designers. Sources praise the pair for “lowering barriers” and “putting a lot on the line and really battling with management.”

Their work has let Microsoft steal a beat on Apple, winning the company some unfamiliar praise. “I think Microsoft is ahead of everyone else,” argues Gadi Amit, founder of design agency NewDealDesign. “They’re no longer chasing Apple; they’re actually making Apple look old. That’s a really unexpected turn of events in design and the competition between these two powerhouses.”

Microsoft and Apple have long been at odds over software design. If any company has exemplified skeuomorphism, it’s Apple. As Microsoft flattens its interface, Apple continues to push its software toward more glossiness, more 3-D, more bevel. Apple recently demonstrated a feature in iOS 6, the next version of its mobile operating system, that will delete used e-tickets and coupons with an animated paper shredder.

Inside Apple, tension has built up between supporters and detractors of these digital trompe l’oeils. Scott Forstall, Apple’s SVP of iOS, is a big supporter of the skeuomorphic approach. But industrial design SVP Jonathan Ive and other top Apple staff are said to despise the trend, according to several former senior Apple designers who wished not to be identified. “You could tell who did the product based on how much glitz was in the UI,” says one source familiar with Apple’s design process.

One former senior UI designer who worked closely with Jobs traces skeuomorphism back to the Apple cofounder himself. “Steve pushed it hard,” the source says. “The iCal’s leather stitching was taken directly from a texture in his Gulfstream jet. There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible.” Apple declined to comment for this story.

Much of the criticism of Apple’s software design hasn’t made its way into the mainstream consciousness partly because, as industrial designer Yves Behar puts it, “People think that everything Apple does is sent from God.” But its software, once as widely praised for its polish as Microsoft’s was (and still is) derided for its glitches, clunkiness, and vulnerability to malware, now faces a legitimate rival in Windows. “My teenage daughter has never seen some of these GUI metaphors,” says Amit. “She doesn’t use a Rolodex or the calendar my grandmother used 50 years ago. Microsoft finally broke through this paradigm.”

Behar agrees and is surprised that Apple, so renowned for its Bauhaus approach to hardware and the beauty of its devices, would tolerate such embellishments in its software. “It’s distasteful because it’s inherently confusing,” he says. “The digital bookshelf doesn’t really work like a bookshelf. Microsoft is showing the way to higher, cleaner, more functional design.”

Even so, it may be too early to declare that Microsoft has turned over a new leaf, especially in terms of commitment from its leadership. “If the importance and value and DNA of design aren’t trickling down, they sure as hell are going to have a hard time trickling up,” says Ian Sands, the former senior director of Microsoft’s product long-term vision and strategy, who left the company in 2010. Louis Danziger, an independent graphic designer who has consulted with Microsoft since 1995 and taught many of its top designers, also has doubts. “The software engineers and product managers there often think of design as lipstick,” he writes via email, “something applied at the end to enhance appearance rather than an enabler of their activity, which it is.”

At Apple, by contrast, design is embedded in the culture. One former top designer who has worked at both Apple and Microsoft recalls visiting the Apple shipping unit and discovering workers carefully loading boxes so the logos all faced the same direction. “I asked why and one guy explained that he loved the look on people’s faces when he threw open the truck doors and revealed all the boxes perfectly aligned,” the director says. “They weren’t instructed to do that. I know that’s just a simple example, but I mean, it’s the guys in shipping and receiving!”

It was 2010 when Moreau and Larson-Green laid eyes on the first mock-up of Windows 8, named “Pocahontas” to reflect their journey into a new world of design. Since then, Metro has worked its way into other products and software applications. The Xbox features a dashboard of tiles branded with modern typography. Bing touts a Spartan design that fuses social networking with search. And in the next version of Office, blue, green, and red ribbons will slide out from the left side of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint when users, say, print or save a document, providing a simplified interface for navigation. Most menus will seamlessly refresh rather than disgorge clunky pop-up boxes, and all files will be stored in the cloud by default. Much of the clutter will be gone–fewer buttons, no drop shadows–and, like Windows 8, Office will be touch-screen ready.

On October 26, Microsoft will release Windows 8 to the world, and the company will finally learn if its bet on design has paid off. Microsoft knows that it faces a stern test in the market, especially with corporate customers, for whom elegant design has never been a decisive factor, as Apple could tell you. But whether or not users love Windows 8, Moreau and his team have done something new; they have taken it to Apple; they have won a little respect.

And yet… inside Windows 8, past its novel and beautiful skin, lie many elements of the past. Just one click away, in the desktop app, is the old world of Microsoft–toolbars, task bars, drop-down menus, cluttered folder systems. Even the company’s flagship browser, Internet Explorer, once a key to Microsoft’s future on the web, remains a symbol for the addiction to this bygone era. Two versions of Explorer come installed on Windows 8, one pre- and one post-Metro. No matter how lovely the new face of Windows 8, the suspicion is that the old Microsoft is hidden one layer beneath–all you have to do is scratch the surface.

In late March, I spoke with Moreau about this legacy on a visit to Soho House, a pricey, members-only club in Manhattan’s meatpacking district. In the fifth-floor library, framed by elements he banished from Windows–leather-bound books, wood paneling–I asked him whether Windows would ever be free of all the cobwebs.

“I have no idea,” he says, swirling the ice in his glass. “We haven’t even started thinking about what’s after this. It’s enough just to build this thing.” He adds, “It’s true that people don’t like change. But we don’t do things frivolously. I don’t want someone to be frustrated or mad–that hurts my heart.”

And who knew Microsoft had a heart?”

How to Make Cinemagraphs — Still Photos that Move Like Movies!

29 Aug

This is a step by step guide I found, on how to make your own Cinemagraphs. It’s done on a Windows computer with CS4 but Im sure all you wizz kids out there will figure out the Mac equivalent of the actions, and also using an updated version of photoshop. Im going to try and use CS6 to master this technique.

This post is taken from

‘Cause who said photos can only feature “still” life?

Inspired by the moving pictures created by photographer and motion designer duo Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, we set out to make the magic happen.

Make your pictures move like ours did with a some Photoshop magic!


Photos can show movement when made into GIFs.

GIFs stand for Graphics Interchange Format, and it’s a bitmap image format that supports animation. This supported animation is what makes any movement possible.

This magical movement hit the world wide web in the late eighties, so it’s nothing new. However, the animation in GIFs are generally characterized to be rather jumpy and irregular.

Then came along Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. This talented team of fashion photographer and motion designer crafted “cinemagraphs”—incredibly sleek and sophisticated GIFs.

So celebrate the smooth comeback of GIFs by making your own photos join the movement!


  • A camera that can shoot video
  • A tripod
  • Ideas for scenes to make into a cinemagraph!
  • A model and/or whatever props needed
  • A computer
  • Access to a video editing program (optional)
  • Access to Adobe Photoshop (for this tutorial, we are using the CS4 version)


beforeFirst, plan out a scene you would like to record.

For your first round of cinemagraphs, try to keep it simple.

Some helpful hints & tips:

  • Remember that for this sort of GIF, you want to show some sort of subtle movement; you want to create the intrigue of “what a nice photo—whoa, it moves!!”
  • Besides showing some movement, you also want to make sure you have something in your scene that stays consistent to contrast and emphasize that movement.
  • Try to think of a scene or movement that would be fairly easy to loop since your final GIF will be set to loop forever.
  • Your scene can involve a person but it doesn’t necessarily have to.

Some of the ideas we came up with were:

  • Tree leaves gently moving in a breeze
  • Someone’s eyes blinking or moving
  • People or things moving as shown in glass window reflections


beforeOnce you have your scene figured out, set it up with whatever “characters” or props needed.

Then set up your camera up on your tripod and start filming away!

Make sure your tripod is standing on a solid surface to make sure your camera can film as still as possible.

You don’t have to film your scene for very long; 10-20 seconds of footage is more than enough to make a cinemagraph.


beforeWhen you’ve shot what you needed for you scene, transfer your video file(s) to your computer.

Before you can open and edit your video file through Adobe Photoshop, you have to make sure the file is something that can be opened in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop can open MOV or AVI video files.

If the video files you shot aren’t either of these files or any other video files that can be opened in Photoshop, open your video files in any standard video editing program to convert your files.


beforeTo open and edit your video in Photoshop, go to File > Import > Video Frames to Layers.

A window will pop up where you will be given the option to:

  • Import your entire file into frames, or
  • Import a selected portion of your video file.

As a general note, having a lot of frames will make your resulting GIF animate much more smoothly.

However, more frames means more memory, and thus a larger file to work with. And you don’t want to work with a huge file on Photoshop because it’ll slow down the program (and your computer in general).

So, the best is to aim for a under 100 frames to start with. You can (and probably will) get rid of more frames as you’re making your cinemagraph.

For our cinemagraph, we decided to import a selected portion of our video—the particular moment where our lovely model happened to look up from her book to gaze at the viewer.

Before you click “OK,” make sure you’ve checked the appropriate import options you want on the left side of the window, as well as to check the box next to the “Make Frame Animation” option.


beforeOnce your video file has been imported into frames in Photoshop, find your layers window.

You will see that each frame of your video has been made into its own separate layer.


beforeTo view these layers as frames, go to Windows > Animation.

In the animation window, click on the bottom right icon of a film reel to see the animation as frames.

Now you’ll see that each frame corresponds to each layer of your video file.

This means that these layers and frames are linked to each other. Keep this in mind when you’re editing and deleting layers and/or frames!


beforeNow that you can see all the frames in your video, figure out what frames capture the movement you want for your cinemagraph.

Hit the space bar to play your video file so you can find the movement you want.

Once you’ve identified what these frames are, isolate them by getting rid of both the frame AND the layer, as these are linked to each other.

Note that when you delete frames, Frame 1 in your animation window will always be the very last layer in your Layer window, regardless if it’s Layer 1 (the original Frame 1) or Layer 92 (as in our case). If this break in coordinating frames and layers numbers bothers you, you can rename the layers to match to the frames when you’ve finished deleting all the unneeded frames and layers.


beforeWithin your now edited video file, choose one layer to show the consistent, non-moving elements of your cinemagraph.

Duplicate this layer and place it on top of all the other layers in the Layers window.

Name this layer “Alpha,” since it’ll be the layer that you want to consistently show on top of each and every layer–and thus frame.


beforeNow that you got your Alpha layer chosen and situated, it’s time to show the movement in your GIF.

You’ll be editing your Alpha layer to show this movement by using a vector mask and masking out the elements in that layer that you want to show moving.

Don’t know what a vector mask is or what masking means? Find out here.

For our cinemagraph, we masked out the areas of our model’s eyes and some of her hair, as well as the bushes in the background, since these were the elements that we wanted to show some movement.


beforeOnce you’ve masked out what you wanted in your Alpha layer, it’s time to do a test run of your cinemagraph!

In your animation window—make sure it’s viewing the frames—make sure your animation is set to loop “Forever”. Then play your animation.

From this test run, you should be able to see what further edits you need to make to your layers and/or frames for your final GIF.


beforeOne of the challenges you may see from your initial test run of your GIF is in making a fairly smooth loop in the movements shown.

This can be resolved in the following ways:

  • After the last frame in your animation window, add a frame that contains the Alpha layer as well as the very first layer (the bottom-most layer). To do so, duplicate the last frame, and then change what layers show up in it in the Layer window.Then, tween the last frame and this added frame to help ease the transition that happens in the loop.For our cinemagraph, we chose this method to solve the looping challenge.
  • Depending on the movement you’re featuring in your GIF, you may want to have reversed frames of your animation to make a smooth transition.To do this, first select all your frames in the Animation (frames) window, duplicate them, and place them after all your original frames.Then, select all these duplicate frames and set them to reverse by clicking on the little down arrow on the top right of the Animation (frames) window.

Don’t forget to test your cinemagraph by playing it through the animation (frames) window as you figure out how to smoothly loop it.


beforeAs your cinemagraph will be a GIF file, it’s important to know that GIF files can’t hold a lot of color memory like other image file formats. This means your richly colored frames right now will not look as vibrant when converted to a GIF file.

To accommodate to this challenge, apply a color effect that will work with less color memory. Such effects include duotone or color-processing effects.

You can do this manually by playing with an adjustment mask over all your layers, or you can search the web for free Photoshop actions for color effects that you can just apply over all your layers.

We used cross-coloring Photoshop actions from this site for our cinemagraph.


beforeWe know you’re probably stoked to show off your finished cinemagraph after ya get through this tutorial.

To help optimize your GIF so that it’ll show up nicely on the web—like, say, your awesome blog—we have to make sure your GIF file won’t be more large than is necessary. The internet is not friendly to large GIF files.

With so many layers in your file already, it’s already bound to be a large file, so how can you make it smaller?

Why, resize your image, of course!

Resize your image according to your preference in Image > Image Size.

Make sure the resolution of your image is also set to 72 pixels/inch; that’s all the resolution needed for images on the web.

Our cinemagraph, for the purposes of this tutorial, is set at a rather large size of 600×400 pixels.

Note: If you’ve optimized your GIF file as best you can, and you later find it’s still having trouble being uploaded on the web, there are free GIF resizers available online that can make your GIF file more web-friendly.


beforeHuzzah! Now you’re ready to save your cinemagraph file as a GIF.

First, save the file you’ve been editing (if you haven’t done so during this process) as a PSD file so you can come back for more edits if needed.

Then do a “Save for Web & Devices.”

In the window that pops up, make sure in the top right hand corner that you’re saving a GIF file with 256 colors before you click to save.


beforeYou now have a cinemagraph done under your belt!

It’s time to show the digital world your spectacular creation so upload away to your blog, Tumblr, or web site!

10 useful apps for designers on the go

23 Aug

So if you’ve got your tablets with you whilst your travelling, you probably want something to do, rather than sitting there and twiddling your thumbs. Here is a post that I found detailing the top apps for creatives on the go. Try them out, I know I will be.

The post was taken from You The

“For most graphic designers and artists, a capable computer with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop or any other photo editing software is their best tool for creating awe-inspiring designs. But let’s face it, there are times that a great inspiration can come in a place where one has no immediate access to a computer and all you have with you is your smartphone or your tablet.

In most cases, you’ll just have to settle with remembering the thing or the event that inspired you and wait until you get home and start work using your computer. But what if I told you that there are already apps you can use on your smartphone and tablet that will allow you to capture and recreate those inspirational design ideas on the fly? You don’t believe me? Here are 10 examples that will certainly change your mind.”

Adobe Ideas (iPad)

Adobe Ideas is part of a group of applications intended for designers and graphic artists.  This wonderful app allows users to easily sketch using vectors and save and use multiple color themes. It also allows users to play with 10 drawing layers and 1 photo layer to provide more flexible and designs.

In addition users have access to several vector-based drawing tools as well as brushes with variable sizes. There’s also an eyedropper tool that makes it easy for picking up colors from your photo or drawing. And with the ability to sync your artwork to Adobe’s Creative cloud, users can easily retrieve their work on their computers for further refinement using the software of their choice.




Sketchbook Pro for iPad

Developed by Autodesk Inc, SketchBook Pro offers iPad users with a quick and easy alternative for manipulating images on the fly. The app features high quality brushes and tools that can rival other desktop PC-based software. For starters, it comes with a professional grade paint engine that delivers smooth and precise brush strokes. It also has more than 60 preset brushes that include pencils, markers and natural media.

Users can also play around with several layers, with the app having the ability to duplicate, merge, reorder, move, scale and rotate layers to help users improve their design. The app also allow the exportation and importation of PSD files via iTunes or Dropbox in case you want to improve your design at a later time in your computer.



Brushes (iPad)

Brushes is another painting app that is available for the iPad. Created by Taptrix, Inc. the app features 19 high-quality brushes and 5 blend modes. 6 layers are also made available to designers which they can reorder, merge or control the transparency.

There’s also a generous undo and redo button the make it easier in correcting errors as well as a desktop-class color picker and eyedropper to give users a more convenient and accurate way of selecting colors for their work. Images made using the app can be directly uploaded to Flickr or be displayed on a TV screen since the app supports VGA/TV output.



ArtStudio for iPad

ArtStudio is a comprehensive sketching, painting and photo editing software created by Lucky Clan. The app features 15 tools and around 300 high quality brushes (free and paid). Also, ArtStudio has fully customizable settings for brush strokes which includes blur, flip, size, opacity, spacing, fadeout, squeeze, angle, speed-size and jitter-saturation to name a few.

Here are the complete features of the app:

  • flexible canvas size, max: 2048×1536(iPad 1), 2592×1936 (iPad 2), 2448×3264 (the new iPad)
  • support for any device orientation
  • 15 tools: select, pencil, wet paintbrush, dry paintbrush, spray, dots, eraser, smudge, bucket fill, gradient, text, clone, blur/sharpen, dodge/burn, eyedropper
  • 300 high quality brushes (150 free, 150 paid) divided into 20 groups which are all fully customizable
  • favorites list to quickly access user’s favorite brush settings
  • fully customizable stroke settings: blur, flip, size, opacity, spacing, fadeout, squeeze, angle, speed-size, etc.
  • simulated brush pressure, support for bluetooth stylus pressure sensitivity (currently only Jot Touch)
  • symmetric drawing
  • Options for layers, layers masks and transformations
  • 10 layer blending modes: normal, multiply, add, difference, screen, overlay, hue, saturation, color, value
  • Import and Export function
  • undo/redo with almost infinite number of steps
  • image resize (none, bilinear, bicubic, lanczos interpolations) , change canvas size, crop
  • 15 filters: gaussian/motion/radial blur, sharpen, unsharp mask, add noise, render clouds, edge detect, border/vignette and more
  • adjustments: brightness/contrast/exposure, hue/saturation/lightness, color balance, temperature, shadows/highlights, CURVES, auto contrast/colors/white balance and more




Layers Pro (iPad)

Layers Pro is the paid version of the Layers app created by for Apple’s iPad. It has a clean and intuitive interface that supports two fingered panning and pinch to zoom. The app also has 15 high quality brushes, a paint brush, smudge tool and eraser. Users can make use of five paintable layers per drawing and advanced layer manipulation tools.

Brush sizes are also adjustable and there is a large color picker that can save recent color choices. A generous undo history is also available and users can opt to email their paintings as a layered PSD file.




Sketch Lover (Android)

There are also plenty of choices for Android users. Sketch Lover is another painting app that makes use of a rich set of sketch brushes with support for a movie playback function that allows users to watch a replay of how they created their artwork.

Features of this app are listed below:

  • More than 15 brushes. More brushes will be avaiable in new version.
  • Sketch on photo
  • Eraser
  • Undo / Redo
  • Pinch to Zoom In or Zoom Out
  • Brush Pressure 0% – 100%
  • Desktop-class color picker
  • Save to SD function or Share via Facebook, email, Flickr, MMS, etc.



Sketch Free (Android)

Sketch Free is another painting app for Android. It is one of the most basic painting apps in this list which offers only the basic function one would need in a painting app. For starters it only has 11 brushes and an eraser tool. There’s a basic Undo/Redo function and a color picker.

Users can either save their sketches on to their SD card or share it via email, MMS and other services with a share function.


PicsArt – Photo Studio (Android) 

There are also apps that cater to photographers. PicsArt – Photo Studio is one of them which provides droid owners an easy and convenient way of editing their photos. This app has a picture editor with tons of photo manipulation tools, masks, collages, borders, frames, etc. As well as magic effects like a stenciler, cartoonizer, contours and smart blur effects to name a few.

It also has drawing effects which includes sticker mode, callouts, artistic brushes and text styles. Sharing is also made easy with PicsArt’s own social network or you can add photos to your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress and DeviantArt accounts.




Photo Editor by Aviary (Android)

Another photo editing software available in the Google Play store is the Photo Editor app made by Aviary. Just like PicsArt, it has a very intuitive user interface with a bit more extras. The apps features are listed below.

  • One-tap auto enhance
  • 12 FREE photo effects
  • Fun Stickers and Color balance
  • Crop, rotate, and straighten your photo
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature, and saturation
  • Sharpen and blur
  •  Color temperature (“Warmth”)
  • Draw and add text
  • Create your own memes
  • Cosmetic tools: fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth




PicsPlay Pro – Fx Photo Editor (Android)

If you want even more features, then you can opt to have the PicsPlay Pro – Fx Photo Editor app. It has 200 professional presets like Scene, HDR, blur, vintage, grunge, etc. Real time Preset opacity control, a time matrix with temporal photographic effects and useful add-ons like textures and borders.

The complete features of the app are shown below:

  • Undo & Redo your process up to 10 times
  • Environmental settings
  • 200 Presets categorized in 10 themes
  • Filter effects and real-time control
  • Time Matrix
  • Crop and Mirror
  • Color, Contrast, Saturation, Exposure
  • Histogram, Colored Curve, B&W Curve, White Balance
  • Add-ons :Textures, Borders, Vignetting and Stamps
  • Support sending to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more.




7 Jul

Ok so who has been lucky enough to get their hands on CS6??

Good isn’t it. It’s faster and smoother, but thats all on the outside. What about when you dig deeper into it?

Theres an endless number of new and improved actions to help you creative flow. Including the easier to use 3D feature. I’m currently playing with this to improve my 3D skills and will upload my image once its completed.

I’m still getting to grips with the slightly changed screen, as it looks so different, but much better. It isolates your work off from the rest of your desktop, making it clearer to see.

I’m still exploring but ill be sure to keep you posted

Keep Smiling 😀