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PSA – Facebook Messenger App has Scary Terms of Service

Okay I know this subject doesn’t really concern becoming or being an artist but nevertheless Facebook has become integral in to being an artist these days. From communicating with potential clients to just talking with other artists I find myself on it almost every day. It’s actually one of the ways our team at Once Upon a Sketch stays in contact. We have a Group discussion where we keep everyone up-to-date and when we are just communicating person-to-person we use Facebook messaging. Which brings me to why I’m writing this post. Like most of you I probably use Facebook mostly on my phone and just a little while ago the Facebook app required me to install a additional app called Facebook Messenger if I wanted to continue messaging. Some people might say well Facebook just spent $19 billion to buy a company called What’s App. Facebook must just want to get their moneys worth. This statement may be true but there seems to be a lot more going on if you dig into the terms of service accompanying this application. You may have already read about this somewhere else on the Internet but it needs to be reiterated since Facebook has now made this application required to use their messaging service. Here are a few of the permissions you will be giving up if you use the new Facebook messaging app. These are word for word from the Facebook messaging app terms of service.

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“Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.”
 
“Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.”
 
“Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.”
 
“Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.”
 
“Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.”
 

The list continues but this is just a handful of the choice quotes from the terms of service floating around the Internet these days. It’s worth pointing out that while these terms sound awful a lot of the permissions wording is taken straight from Android’s terms. FaceBook maybe just following the Android wording, just a bit of speculation to give Facebook some credit. Also, Apple iOS only asks for these permissions when a user tries to access one of these functions such as microphone access only being requested when a video/voice call happens. It still sounds like pretty scary permissions to give any app or company in my opinion. Especially a company who makes their money by learning everything they can about their users.

I had a friend over for dinner just the other day and she had unknowingly downloaded this app when her regular Facebook app prompted her to. I’m sure she blindly agreed to the terms of service like everyone does and didn’t even think about what she had agreed to. It so easy to do. It feels like you can’t do anything on the Internet these days without agreeing to something. So if your one of the one billion people who have downloaded this app please be careful. It may be nice to use a free application that lets you stay in contact with your friends but please remember the things you’re giving up by using it.

Source – Huffington Post

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

To Database or Not to Database – Organizing Your Contacts

For illustrators, building and maintaining a contact list for your marketing efforts is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Putting in the time and effort to build a highly targeted database of contacts is vital. To get your work seen, and for you to get hired – reaching out regularly to a targeted list of companies with whom you want to work is something you simply must do.

The software you choose for your database depends on personal preference. There are many contact relationship management (CRM) software choices out there – some free, some paid, many that are over complicated, and many with features you would never need to use. For myself, after looking at many of the options I settled on the simplest and most customizable choice – a spreadsheet. It’s simple, sortable, searchable, and exporting the data for labels or emailing is very straightforward.

The great thing about using a spreadsheet is you can customize the fields exactly the way you want. It’s easy to color highlight certain fields so you can get creative with color coding to help you track or remember certain details. You can set up drop down menus to select from pre-determined data. You can also set up additional spreadsheets in the same workbook – one for a list of publishers, and others for submission lists for picture book dummies, or lists for other contacts.

In my workbook, I have separate sheets for Publishers, Agents, and Picture Book submission lists (so I can track who I’ve sent to, who has responded, etc.)

For my main publisher list, here are the fields that I track:

 

The key to maintaining your database is to regularly go through and make sure the information is still current (your database is only as good as the data that is in it). I like to break it into small chunks and try to check 10 or so records each week until I reach the end of the list, then I just start again, repeating the process.

Another really useful thing to do is to save your spreadsheet into an online file sharing service, such as Dropbox – this way you can have access to your contacts from any device are using. Even your phone if you need to check some information while on the go. Or, another option would be to build your spreadsheet in Google Drive – and again you could have it available to you on any device

DOWNLOAD:

I built my spreadsheet using Excel, and I am making my template available here for anyone who would like to use it as a starting point for their own list, or for reference. The template includes my main publisher list template, as well as a second sheet template for a picture book submission list.

–> Download my Excel template

About the author

  • Chris JonesCHRIS JONESContributor

    Chris Jones is a Canadian based children's illustrator. He has always been interested in telling stories visually, and his colorful style focuses on humor and expressiveness. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), he has illustrated for several magazines and educational publishers. Chris is inspired by good music, good books, long walks, and generous amounts of coffee. Chris is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Modbook Pro X on Kickstarter

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On July 30th, 2014 Axiotron, the company that will convert your Apple MacBook into a pen-based Mac Drawing tablet launched a KickStarter campaign to fund their new Apple tablet conversion project called the Modbook X. The Modbook X KickStarter is exactly what you might think Axiotron would be offering with their campaign. They are taking the latest retina display MacBooks and converting them into a pen-based tablet. Helping to fund this campaign will allow you to send in your own MacBook machines to Modbook for conversion at the starting price of $1999 or just buy a brand-new one from Modbook for $3999. Of course there are tons of other ways you can customize your Modbook using this campaign but that’s just two base prices. For this campaign to be funded Axiotron is looking for $150,000 to get this campaign off the ground. On the KickStarter page they say “Unleash your creativity with the most innovative and powerful pen tablet ever, the Mac-based 15.4-inch Retina display Modbook Pro X.” These new ModBooks will use the latest retina MacBook Pros released just a day before this KickStarter campaign. It’s almost like Axiotron knew that new retina MacBooks would be launching, Which they probably did. Axiotron has been granted permission by Apple to offer their parts & services since 2007.

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Other additions to the new Modbook model are; integrated Keybars on the rear of the device which gives you easy access to keyboard shortcuts. They’ve also added  2,048 pressure levels, pen tilt and rotate to their screens with the digitizer pen. A Keyboard Stand that acts as an easel and also acts as a cover for the tablet. So if you’ve been looking for a portable larger digital drawing solution you might want to give this KickStarter campaign look. But if you’re not entirely sure about converting your old MacBook or buying a $4000 drawing tablet you might want to give a look to the Wacom Cintiq companion. Read my review on this product here.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Getting a Critique: When to Listen, When to Move On

Since it’s back to school time for many of us, I thought I’d focus on an old-school aspect of the illustrator’s journey: the critique. We all get them (if we’re smart) but how do we know what to listen to? I know seasoned illustrators who still ask this question. Over the years I’ve queried various illustrators about when they know how to listen and I’ve gotten many of the same answers.

Here’s when you tune in with all ears… and more than a grain of salt:

• When it’s someone in the position to move your career up a notch and you respect their opinion. That seems like a no brainer but notice I said AND. We often listen to one or the other. If it’s someone you respect but they don’t understand the particular industry you are approaching, then they may not be in the best position to offer advice. Likewise for someone who buys art… you may change your piece to fit their expectations but what if your long term goal is illustrating in a different field?

• When more than one person has mentioned the exact same problem, especially if it’s someone you trust, then it’s worth listening to.

• When the critique mentions a problem you already suspected was there in your heart of hearts….. you should listen, you were probably correct when you worried about it the first time.

• When it points out a way to get more story into the illustration, and it’s the story  – the intent of the piece – you are trying to tell, then listen.

Here’s when you consider smiling and saying, “thanks, I’ll think about it.”

• When the advice seems in conflict with the story you are trying to tell. Like my last bullet, this is also a toughie and demands that you be completely objective about your own work. Are you sure of the story?

• When the critique seems more like a commentary on someone else’s taste. Just because a very respected and highly competent art buyer likes blue doesn’t mean you have to add it to the image IF it goes against the story you were trying to tell.

• When the critique comes from someone outside your particular illustration industry, even if you respect them. This is also a toughie because it’s possible they have sound advice. But before you listen make sure you are educated about the standards in your field. It’s possible that you can bend their advice to work for you.  If, like myself, you are both an illustrator and a writer then that goes double. Some of the best critiques I’ve heard actually came from writers who were adept at thinking visually.

To paraphrase a comment from agent Michael Bourret about writers and editors: “sometimes the worst mistake is to do exactly what the editor asked for… instead of looking for the real problem.” And when it comes to critiques from buyers you are trying to impress but who have rejected the work,  Jane Yolen said it very well in her interview on 12 x 12 earlier this year: “Just because someone offers you a free critique on work they ultimately don’t want, they aren’t taking it! Sometimes it’s just better to forget those.” While it can be hard to get good constructive critiques and equally hard to listen to the criticism, the only way to become good at it is to seek them out regularly. Similar to learning perspective or how to draw the figure, practice is what develops the artists’ ability to receive – and to give – great critiques.

About the author

  • Mary Reaves UhlesMARY REAVES UHLESContributor

    Mary Reaves Uhles has created award winning illustrations in books and magazines for clients such as Cricket Magazine Group, McGraw Hill, Magic Wagon, and Thomas Nelson. Before beginning her career as a freelance illustrator, Mary worked as an animator on projects for Warner Brothers and Fisher-Price Interactive. A PAL member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Mary calls Nashville home and spends her free time behind the wheel of the family mini van.

More Life with Subsurface Scattering

Subsurface scattering (SSS) is the phenomenon when light enters a translucent material and upon entering it the light scatters inside the material before either being absorbed or leaving the material at a different location. I know this sounds like a hard idea to grasp but it’s a good concept to keep in the back of your mind when painting skin or other translucent materials.

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Subsurface scattering is mostly used in 3D applications, but I apply it when illustrating organic characters such as people. Adding a red tint to parts of the character such as the fingertips, nostrils, and ears really brings a character to life. SSS occurs most often when three conditions are met: translucent flesh, thin forms, and backlighting. Any organic surface where the light doesn’t have to travel very far to emerge out the other side is where this phenomenon occurs. Why do you add this additional color to these areas? Because of SSS many organic and inorganic materials are not totally opaque at the surface, so light does not just bounce off the top of there surfaces like it would in say a material like metal. Opaque materials allow light to enter the surface and once inside the light scatters around. As the light scatters around it takes on the color of whatever is inside the material. Finally, the light emerges out at a different location, but it projects a hint of the color of what is on the inside. For example, human skin is opaque. Blood is trapped within the skin. The light enters the skin. Then the light enters the blood and emerges out the other side with a reddish tint. A great example of SSS, hold up your hand in a dark room and using a flashlight shine the light back through your hand and watch how the light travels through your skin and gets scattered, taking on a reddish color.

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Subsurface scattering not only occurs with skin but other surfaces like the skin of fruits, leafs, marble, milk and gels. Without knowledge of SSS photo-realism really cannot be achieved so next time you’re drawing keep in mind the principles of subsurface scattering and watch how your characters are brought to life.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

What to put in your Children’s Book Portfolio

Every now and again, I get asked the question, “What should I put in my portfolio?”.  So, I wanted to take a moment and share some tips and suggestions you might consider when putting together an illustration portfolio. Specifically, a portfolio of illustrations catering to children’s publishing; although websites and social media play an ever-increasing role in promoting your work, having a physical portfolio will still come in handy the next time you attend a nearby illustration conference or if you find yourself lucky enough to be given some face time with an art director. So let’s get started… First off, let’s get the basics out of the way; a typical portfolio should contain anywhere from 12 to 15 images, bound in a nice, clean, and simple, 8″ x 11″ portfolio. The thing to remember is this: showcase work and talent, so the portfolio itself should NOT distract or compete with the artwork. So rule of thumb …keep it simple! Be sure to include pocket at the back of the portfolio with postcards and/or business card for someone to take. Now for the most important parts of any portfolio, the ARTWORK! Here are a few key points to remember:

  • Order & Pacing: Typically, a portfolio should open with a sample of your best work! The point of this is pretty obvious, you want to WOW your viewer and grab their attention right from the start. Once you have it, it’s a matter of sustaining that interest throughout the entire portfolio. To achieve this, you want to space your artwork out evenly and build a rhythm between some of your good/solid pieces and some great/better pieces. And to end it on a high note, you’ll want to include another one of your best illustrations. Ideally, this will leave them with a lasting impression of your work, or even better still, leave them wanting more!Below is a quick diagram to better illustrate this. One thing you will notice is that depending on the quality and the number of pieces in your portfolio, as well as the fact that you will be constantly update your portfolio, we will have some variations, but the basic structure should still be followed.
  • Consistency of Quality: Your portfolio is only as good as it’s weakest piece. So if you have an illustration that you are not sure about, it’s best to leave it out. To a potential client, a weak piece will also have the potential of leaving a lasting impression, but for all the wrong reasons. Your portfolio should only contain your best work, so in some cases, less is more. So remember, even if it means a thinner portfolio, only include work that you are actually proud to show off.
  • Consistency of Style: Along with demonstrating a consistent quality of work, you also want to define a consistent style in your art as well. A big mistake you can make is filling your portfolio with work in several different styles and techniques. Below are several scenarios someone might decide to do this with their portfolio. In each case, first, I’ll give the rationale behind these choices followed by reasons why you shouldn’t.
    1. By showing a wide range of styles, there is a belief that you are showing the art directors that you are versatile and capable of handling multiple mediums and styles. Instead, what ends up happening is that you’ll leave them thinking, “What kind of art will I expect if I hire you?” And this is not what is desired.   
    2. By including a portfolio with different styles, you are hoping this will help you land more jobs because you are in essence casting a wider net. Unfortunately, the downside of this is that you are also diluting your portfolio in the process. So instead of having a full portfolio of 12 solid pieces highlighting your individual style, you are only able to show potential clients 4 or 5 pieces. This will make it more difficult for them to accurately assess your skills and make them reluctant to hire you.
    3. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need a filler. You might run into a case of simply not having the number of illustrations to fill up your portfolio. So you decide to round out the 12 pieces with an illustration that’s different just to bulk up your numbers. The thing to remember is that any capable art director will see right through this as well, which will lead to them to question your experience. And just as bad, this misplaced illustration will stick out like a sore thumb and disrupt the flow to the rest of your portfolio.

    At the end of the day, the person looking at your art needs to be able to associate your name with your work. So the clearer and simpler you make it for them and yourself, the better.

Continue reading

Going Digital

When I talk with other artists, one thing people seem interested in is my experience transitioning from being a traditional artist to working digitally, and any tips I might have for other who also want to make the switch.  The most important thing to remember for artists who want to go digital is that you are switching your medium, and just like if you were to decide to transition from watercolor to sculpted clay, there is going to be a learning curve.  This post covers the basics that traditional artists who are considering transitioning to a digital medium should know.

Why Go Digital?

Attracting new clients.  There are some clients who specifically want artwork layered.  This is only possible in digital programs.

Evolving your style.  As with any new medium, going digital opens up the opportunity to use new techniques and tools to create a new style and take your artwork in a new direction.

Changing your work process.  When I painted with watercolors, it was important that colors be applied in a certain way at a certain time, and so I needed a large block of time in which to work.  When I became a working mother with a baby, I hardly ever had a few hours straight to paint.  Going digital allowed me to work in smaller blocks of time – 10 minutes, 30 minutes….whatever the baby would give me.  I could work, save the file, and then come back to the piece at the next available opportunity.  There is also something to be said for not having to use up valuable time stretching paper or color-correcting scanned artwork.

The Tools

TabletsPick your pen & paper.  While it is possible to illustrate with a mouse or trackball, the majority of digital artists prefer to use a tablet and stylus.  There are two general varieties.   Tablets like the Wacom Intuos are like a mousepad that sits in your lap.  As you move the stylus across the pressure-sensitive pad, the cursor will draw corresponding marks on your main monitor.  This is an affordable option for those who want to try their hand at digital art to see if the medium is a good fit for their art.  These types of tablets are also nice for artist who may want to work primarily traditionally, but want to make edits/touch ups to their artwork digitally before sending to a client.  There are also tablets that allow the artist to draw directly  on the monitor/screen.  Ipads and similar tablets can be used in this way, but the most elite option for this type of tablet is the Wacom Cintiq.  This tablet, though expensive, is a highly pressure-sensitive monitor that sits in your lap or on the desk, allowing the artist to paint directly onto the screen in a very natural manner.  For those who want a more mobile option, Wacom released it’s Companion model last year, which is a combination Cintiq-laptop.

Pick your program.  There are lots of programs out there to use for digital art, but the most popular are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Painter.  Illustrator specializes in creating vecctor artwork, which is typically flat or gradated color, very graphic looking, and capable of being up or down dramatically without affecting image clarity.  Painter is a tool for those who want to create realistic painterly illustrations that mimic oil paints, chalk, pastels and other traditional media.  Photoshop allows for painting with a variety of brushes for different effects as well as image/photo editing capabilities.

Time to Learn

Traditional artists, particularly those not accustomed to scanning their own artwork, may find that they need to brush up on some technical knowledge.   For example, digital artists must know what file format the final images should be delivered in.  It is common for clients to want CMYK (color profile) 300 DPI (resolution) Tiff (file format) files.  However, some clients may have other preferences, and the digital artist should know how to set up their image to reflect these preferences before they start painting.  Digital artists also know that the colors on their monitor may not be trustworthy for print-correct-colors.  It is helpful to preview your artwork on a variety of monitors to look for any colors or values that are not reading correctly, or to compare the colors on your monitor to a Pantone color swatch book.  The digital artist must also understand file size, and be able to store and deliver large files in a way that is not inconvenient to the client.  It is not uncommon for a layered working Photoshop file to be over 300 MB in size.  Most email inbox can only take up to 100 MB total, so email is not a good way to deliver many 300 MB files to a client.  Luckily, there are lots of online file sharing services, such as Dropbox, that can help the digital artist get his/her artwork to the client.  Some of these services are free, and some are not.  Other artists have personal FTP sites related to their personal websites to deliver files to a client. Before promising digital art to a client, it is important to understand file formats and specifications, and to have a reliable method for artwork delivery.

Time to Explore

As with any new medium, an artist cannot master it overnight.  Some techniques that worked for the artist traditionally will carry over to the computer environment easily, and some will not.  And just like every oil painter works differently to create the style that he/she wants, the same is true for digital artist.  Every digital art program has brushes and settings that can be used to achieve different looks, and it will take time for the new digital artist to find the tools and techniques that are right for his/her own artistic method.  After talking to a variety of artists who made the switch, you can expect about 6 months of practice and exploration before finding your digital style and being proficient enough at it to execute an illustration project on a deadline.  Youtube has lots of great videos of artists working digitally and sharing their work method.  These resources can be great sources of inspiration for those who need a little help learning the many techniques available for constructing  digital art.

Time to Change?

While many new digital artists try to identify techniques and tools that will allow them to duplicate their traditional style on the computer screen, it can be an unexpected pleasure to find that changing mediums can also change and evolve your illustration style.   For me  experimentation has been the best part of working digitally. With watercolor, I was always playing it safe, particularly with colors, because one wrong brush stroke could ruin hours of work. However, in Photoshop, I am able to try out colors, lighting and textures on separate layers without risking losing hours of work. By having the freedom to explore, I have been able to diversify my colors, create more engaging compositions, and add scanned textures and patterns.  I also found myself eventually gravitating towards more textured brushes, giving some areas of my artwork the look of chalk pastels rather than paint.  This enabled me to achieve color layering and depth that I was unable to achieve through traditional means.  Once I let go and stopped trying to get my new medium to behave like watercolor, I became open to using new color application techniques that eventually took my artwork to a more satisfying place.  The image below shows one of my last watercolor images, my first successful digital illustration, and my current digital style.

DigitalArtProgressionI hope all artists who are thinking about making the switch to digital enjoy the process of learning a new medium and seeing where it takes their artwork!  Happy illustrating!

About the author

  • Jennifer ZivoinJENNIFER ZIVOINContributor

    Jennifer Zivoin has always loved art and storytelling, so becoming a children's book illustrator was a natural career path. Most of her illustrations are painted digitally, though she draws inspiration from traditional media. In addition to artwork, Jennifer enjoys reading, cooking, and ballroom dancing - especially tango! She lives in Indiana with her husband and daughter.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 Update Part 2 – Software

Last year Adobe did away with their popular Creative Suite traditional software sales model and change there model to a subscription service. Well it’s been about a year and now Adobe is updating their Creative Cloud offerings for 2014. When Creative Cloud was first released Adobe promised a trickle of releases to their software throughout the year. Well on June 18 2014 Adobe open the floodgates and dropped a ton of new releases on the creative community. On Monday (July 14 2014) we discussed all of Adobe’s new mobile offerings. Well, today we are going to be taking a look at their updates to their Desktop software for 2014. We are only going to focus on software that relates to illustrators, so sorry all of you After Effects, Dreamweaver, and Muse fans. Let’s get into it.

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The first update is to their naming structure. Instead of just calling the entire service Creative Cloud they are now adding a year to each update. This year’s update is Adobe Creative Cloud 2014. While we’re talking about small incremental additions to the CC service Adobe has also announced the Creative Cloud Market. Think stock image library. On the Creative Cloud blog they called it “a collection of high-quality, curated assets for creatives by creatives. Now you can access a remarkable selection of vector graphics, icons, patterns, UI Kits, for-placement images, and more from your Creative Cloud Desktop app—all part of your subscription to Creative Cloud.” In my opinion it’s an interesting idea but we’ll have to see how the library grows with time but if you’re already paying for the CC service it can’t hurt to check it out.

Now on to the design software. All of the revisions to Adobe software lineup have added improvements to the design work flow and a performance boosts. All the new updates to Adobe Creative Cloud are available to existing CC subscribers for free and individual Creative Cloud memberships start at $49.99 per month for new customers, $29.99 per month if you own a previous version of the Adobe creative suite CS3 or higher (for the first year), and $19.99 for students. Your subscription profile has also been improved with better syncing between desktop apps and mobile apps as well as including stored files, photos, fonts, and preferences allowing your files to be seamlessly shared between applications. Adobe says of these new features “The new CC desktop apps, mobile apps, and hardware are tightly integrated through Creative Cloud services. This integration helps liberate the creative process by enabling users to access and manage everything that makes up their creative profile — their files, photos, fonts, colors, community and more — from wherever they work.” So what updates have been made to the software?

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Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 – This new version of Photoshop seems to be more of an incremental update as opposed to the big release of last year. Photoshop is now on it’s 15th iteration so it’s more feature polish less innovation but altogether it seems like a welcome update. Whats new for 2014? Most of these additions will help out photographers not as much illustrators but let’s go through them anyway because some of them are pretty cool.

The stand out to me is a new feature called Focus Mask. Photoshop will now help you start a mask by automatically selecting the in-focus areas of your image. Focus Mask works great with portraits and other images that have shallow depth of field. Next Adobe adds to their filters with 2 new Blur motion effects. Use Path Blur to add blur along any path and Spin Blur to create circular or elliptical blurs that will help add a sense of motion to your images. Photoshop has also added improvements to content aware fill. They’ve also added a feature to Photoshop that InDesign has had for a while called Smart Guides. Smart Guides is a handy tool that shows you the positioning between elements in relationship to each other.

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Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 – What does Illustrator CC 2014 have to offer for your monthly subscription Fee? Like Photoshop the additions to the new illustrator seem to be just more refinement. Adobe has cleaned up how the Pen Tool works so now as you draw your a line it will give you a preview of how the final shape will look before you commit. Another welcome addition is how Typekit helps your workflow with missing fonts. Now when you open a file that doesn’t have a font installed Illustrator will reach out to Typekit, download the font and install it on your computer making it available for all other applications. Lastly and maybe most importantly, they’ve added Live Shapes to Illustrator. You can now quickly modify rectangle corners, with independent control over each corner’s radius. You can scale and rotate rectangles, and Illustrator remembers your work— so you can quickly return to your original shape.

Adobe InDesign CC 2014 – What’s new? Honestly it doesn’t seem like very much over its predecessor but what they have done is improved the EPUB export features and honestly this one might be the most exciting for children’s book illustrators. Adobe’s site says about this new feature “Make interactive EPUB books with live text—such as children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, and textbooks—that are rich with illustrations, photos, audio, or animations. Layout and design remain fixed no matter the screen size.” They’ve added a few other minor additions like better tabs, and color groups but the EPUB of enhancements are, by far, the standout for me.

There you have it all the new additions to Creative Cloud 2014. If you didn’t read our first article about their new mobile offerings you can check it out here. If there’s anything you saw from Adobe that you thought stood out and we didn’t cover it please let us know about it in the comments.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2014 Update Part 1 – Mobile

In 2013 Adobe released their Creative Cloud service switching from a traditional software sales model to a subscription based service. This switch did away with the much beloved Creative Suite software bundle which included Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and many more applications.  At first consumers were unsure of this change to their favorite creative products but Adobe has stuck to their guns and on June 18th 2014 released a large update to their software-as-a-service offerings as well as a few surprises. On Wednesday (July 16, 2014) we will be going over the desktop software revisions but today we have a quick rundown of all the Mobile software updates Adobe has released.

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First off and most interestingly Adobe has released hardware. The company that’s most known for their software has just released a new line of products to help your creative endeavors. Adobe Ink is a new digital pen that connects to Creative Cloud. Adobe’s fine-tipped, pressure sensitive pen is a three-sided hydro-formed aluminum stylus for iPad version 4+ or better running iOS 7. They described it as “lightweight and balanced for a comfortable grip.” The second piece of hardware is a digital ruler that works in tandem with Ink. Adobe Slide was created to enable precision sketches and lines. Again to use Slide you’ll need an iPad version 4+ that’s running the latest version of Apples mobile software, iOS7. Slide works by setting the digital ruler down on the iPad then the ruler marks will appear on screen. As you draw with Ink your digital lines will snap to guides giving you a perfect line. Ink and Slide come as a pair for $199.99. It’s seems like a steep price for something that is not integral to the creative process at this point but Michael Gough, Adobe’s experience design lead, disagrees saying “Sooner or later, the mouse and keyboard aren’t going to be enough,” and ”We’re trying to prepare ourselves.” It seems like with these new products Adobe is making a future play for when artists no longer use laptops and desktop computers and only do their work on tablets. Only time will tell. What makes this pair better then other styluses? It pairs with Creative Cloud so all your settings will be saved allowing you to start working on one iPad and switch to another and continue seamlessly between the two. The nice part is you don’t need to pay for a creative cloud subscription to use the pairing options. As of now Adobe Ink and slide only work with two Adobe iPad apps (Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line) but I’m sure more support is coming. If you’d like to read someone’s thoughts that have had hands on with these products check out this article from The Verge.

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Speaking of software that these products work with, lets switch gears to the five new mobile applications. On a blog post on Adobe site they say “These are incredibly powerful apps that start to bring the functionality you get from desktop apps, to mobile.” How is Adobe going to accomplish this? Well, these new apps will have the ability to upload some of the more processor intensive functions to Adobe servers and do the hard work there. Let’s take a look at these five new free apps from Adobe (these descriptions all come directly from Apple’s app store.)

Adobe Sketch – Adobe Sketch brings inspiration, drawing, and your creative community together in one place. Capture your ideas as sketches and share them on Behance for instant feedback. Sketch gives you the freedom to find inspiration, explore ideas, and get feedback from trusted peers—wherever you are.
Grab Adobe Sketch from the app store here

Adobe Line – A modern approach to drawing and drafting, Line lets you draw straight lines, geometric shapes, perspective views, and more. Adobe Line reimagines traditional drawing tools like rulers, T-squares and shape templates for the mobile world.
Grab Adobe Line from the app store here

Adobe Photoshop Mix – Combine the power of Adobe Photoshop software with the convenience of mobile for a creative, easy-to-use photo editing experience on your iPad (see recommended devices below). Non-destructive photo enhancements, selections, the ability to cut out and mix images, and more; plus a Creative Cloud connected workflow for even more creative possibilities.
Grab Adobe Photoshop Mix from the app store here

Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe Creative Cloud for iPhone and iPad: Your work, your inspiration, your creativity, with you wherever you go. Part of your free membership, this app connects your mobile devices to the Creative Cloud and unlocks new tools in your favorite apps. It also allows you to browse and preview your PSD, AI and other design files stored in the cloud.
Grab Adobe Creative Cloud from the app store here

Adobe Kuler – Adobe Kuler is a fun and simple way to capture inspiring color combinations wherever you see them. Simply point the iPhone camera at something colorful and Kuler will instantly extract a series of colors.You can share your themes with friends through Facebook, Twitter or email. You can also share the image that inspired the theme. And Adobe Creative Cloud members will find their Kuler themes instantly available in the Kuler panel in Adobe Illustrator CC or Adobe Ideas. You can also sync your color themes to the Kuler website where you can download the swatches for use in other Adobe products.
Grab Adobe Kuler from the app store here

There you have it, the rundown of Adobes 2014 products and mobile offerings. Check back for part 2 on Wednesday (July 16, 2014) where we look at the updates to their desktop software.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

What is Adobe Configurator?

Did you know Adobe makes a program that lets you make your own custom panels/palettes for Photoshop and in design? Well not many people do, so lets talk a little bit about Adobe Configurator. Adobe Labs offers the free utility for Mac or PC and give it a try, but if you’d like to learn more continue reading.

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If you want to make a panel with all your favorite drawing tools like the brush tool, gradient tool, smudge tool, eyedropper tool and, a few of your favorite actions you totally can with absolutely no knowledge of coding. The above image was created in about five minutes and has all the Photoshop tools and commands I frequently use. It was super easy to create a custom panel and export to Photoshop CS6 or Creative Cloud (InDesign only supports CS6). Configurator made it easy to drag and drop tools, menu items, scripts, actions and other objects you might want quick access to in your own panel design.

How do you make your own panels/palettes? Honestly I’m still learning the software myself so I thought I would share a YouTube video from people with a bit more knowledge then I. The video below is from the previous version of Configurator but I think the fundamentals are the same.

 

Source: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/configurator/

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.