Articles by Month: August 2015
Black and white linework is always nice, but sometimes a bit of color is needed to add a pinch of visual flavor to your delicious illustration soufflé . (Hooray cooking metaphors!) Let’s get into it and show you how to color linework in Photoshop.
I’ll be using the heroic imagery of this guy doing a Shoryuken. (I drew him at of the Cleveland Drink and Draws, a social meet up for artists, illustrators and doodlers to hang out, drink some beer and draw cool shit.) As you can see, it’s just a graphite pencil drawing, so while the majority of it is linework, there are some tonal gradations.
The first thing to do is to darken the drawing in the Levels settings (Image > Adjustments > Levels). Just don’t make it so dark that you’re losing detail. This will help in selecting the values of the drawing.
Next, open your Channels palette and hold down CTRL (or Command) and click on the RGB layer. If you’re in CYMK color mode, click the CYMK layer. Notice that the everything around the drawing is now selected, but it’s the drawing itself we want selected. Go ahead and simply inverse the selection via Select > Inverse (Shift + CTRL + I).
With the drawing selected, create a Layer Mask by clicking its icon, which is next to the Layer Style (fx) icon in the Layers Palette. You’ll notice that all of the white disappears.
Choose a your favorite color, select the Brush Tool (B) and color over your drawing. Because the Layer Mask is activated, it will only affect that which was selected (the drawing).
I went ahead and added a few more elements: a radial background using a vector from one of the Arsenal vector packs, a faint texture layer and the word “WIN.” And listen, if you don’t think you can do this, remember to tell yourself: SURE YOU CAN! (Shoryuken.) Get it!?
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. That joke isn’t even original and rather old. But oh well. Hooray puns!
Tune in again next time! (“Next time” meaning a week from now.)
Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Logo
When you think of great products or companies, the visual image that forms in your mind is probably that of their mark; McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s Swoosh and Coca-Cola’s wave. The inherent value of a quality brand is well established. At Cleveland graphic, web and logo design agency Go Media we’ve perfected the process of building memorable brands that last.
Our Cleveland logo design experts will ensure that your business stands apart in a competitive marketplace. We love helping folks through their entire branding process, one aspect of which is your logo – the mark or shape you’d use to represent your company.
A logo speaks volume about your brand, so what can you do to ensure it doesn’t fall flat on its face?
Here are 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Kick-Ass Logo
Mistake #1: Not trusting your designer.
It’s absolutely imperative that you choose a solid design firm (*cough – Go Media – cough*) with a great reputation (*cough – Go Media – cough*) for the job. Once you’ve chosen the firm and meet your designer – trust them. Their life’s work is to recognize great design (and the opposite). Heed the advice you receive and remember why you’re paying good money for it.
Mistake #2: Not trusting your instincts.
Now that we’ve told you to trust your designer – understand that this is a collaborative effort. Just as your designer is the expert in their field, you are the expert in yours. You know your customer base better than anyone. Educate your designer about your audience, the environment the identity will live in and your industry before they put pencil to paper. Once proofs are being send out, give your honest feedback. Trust your instincts and feel free to be honest.
Mistake #3: Being Too Emotionally Attached
Already have an existing logo? Recognize the difference between familiar and good. If you’ve established that your logo needs a facelift, work with a firm that can maintain your brand equity while bringing you the update you deserve. Unsure if your long-time logo is good or not? Talk to your customers, collect candid feedback, reassess.
Mistake #4: Imbuing all of your company traits onto your mark (that’s the symbol that represents your company).
In other words, don’t try to jam-pack your logo with everything you think your company does or represents. Remember that your logo is meant to be a symbol that represents your company. If your branding is done right*, your customer will fully experience your company in a wide variety of ways (for example, via your website, packaging, commercials and more), so no need to fit it all in here. Trying to bake in all of your brand values, personality, services, etc. and still have a strong mark is nearly impossible.
Mistake #5: Overly complicating your mark with shapes, color gradients, etc.
Your mark is not a piece of artwork, so hold back on the temptation to add pieces of flair. Avoid too much detail, pull back the reins. The best logos are simple, yet memorable due to their quiet strength. Aim for something unique or unexpected instead of packing on extras that will pull focus away from the heart of the matter.
Mistake #6: Using Insufficient Contrast
We want to see your logo without going cross-eyed. Don’t destroy a good thing by choosing the wrong colors for your logo. Learn about contrast and apply the rules appropriately.
Mistake #7: Being Overly Artistic in your Typeface
The number one goal of your typeface is for it to be legible. While it’s tempting to get creative with type, hold back and again, remember to keep it simple. If you’d like to infuse a strong sense of style into your logo, do so in your imagery.
Remember: There are many well-meaning, but not-so-hot logos out there in the world.
Remember, your company’s livelihood relies your branding, so make sure your logo game is tight. There are no shortcuts to greatness!
Lessons from WMC 6
The sixth year of Cleveland creative conference Weapons of Mass Creation Fest came and went (a little too fast), but if one thing’s for certain, the fest did not over promise and under deliver. This year, Heather Sakai and Bryan Garvin took over as Event Directors and it’s safe to say we all left feeling refreshed and inspired, with our hearts full of good laughs with new and old friends. Let’s talk about the takeaways from Cleveland creative firm Go Media’s WMC Fest 6.
1. Don’t Wait
Waiting around to get your ideas off the ground helps no one. It doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help the community, it doesn’t help your pockets. Antonio Garcia summed it up perfectly, when he reminded us of the great quote by Tony Gaskins: “If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs.” We all have ideas, every single one of us. Take action to make those ideas come to life.
[Tweet ““If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs.” – Tony Gaskins”]
“But I don’t know where to start!” you say. Ask someone! Reach out to your friends, this “network” of like minded individuals we have. What’s stopping you?
2. Never Give Up & Don’t Be Afraid
As we learned with Debbie Millman, some doors are going to flat out slam in your face. We are not always in our WMC Fest bubble and people can be cruel. Who cares about those people! Know who you are, know that you are awesome and can be just as great – even better than the person who shut you down.
3. Remember Your Passion For Life
Lenny Terenzi and Mike Jones took us on a roller coaster of emotions. We laughed, we cried, we hugged and we danced! Life is going to knock you down. It’s going to be mean and nasty and it’s really important to just punch life in it’s face! We will find what is meant for us when we are meant to find it. Until then, “belly flop into the damn pool!”
The goal isn’t to build a network and hope to get something out of someone somewhere down the line. It’s to make friends! It’s to bounce ideas off of each other, to collaborate, to lift each other up. A true sense of community is much more than saying ‘hi’ to your neighbors.
4. Be Authentic
Be the person your 12-year-old self would look up to. Have real conversations. We all strive to be authentic, live a great life with a super awesome job. But are we being true to ourselves? Michael Cavotta asked us to name three words that make you, you. Have you figured out those three pillars yet that make you your authentic self? Find out what gets your fire going, what lights you up. You are a badass tripod! Don’t fall outside of who you are.
This family started with a small group of people and has blossomed into the brightest peach in the box. WMC Fest 6 was a wonderfully emotional experience — the love was felt and the friendships are real. Only 300 some days left until we are back in the bubble! Stay true, stay weird and embrace your inner Kanye!
The WMC Fest Creators. Doers. Makers. Series
Our new video series highlights remarkable makers and designers that inspire and motivate us to create greatness. This week we put the spotlight on Danielle Evans. You may recognize Danielle’s work from this year’s Ink Wars competition or her downright delicious Food and Dimensional Typography Workshop – both featured at the best creative conference of the summer, Go Media’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest!
If you’re unfamiliar, Danielle Evans, aka Marmaladebleue, is an urban Columbus, Ohio native. She derives great pleasure in walking everywhere, taking food photos on Instagram, and being ‘the cool aunt’. Her heartstrings are plucked by lettering, which she exhibits through most notably food and dimensional type. Her work is thoughtful and inventive, elevating commonplace items into extraordinary lettering. She art directs, food styles, and collaborates with personable and quirky clients to achieve authentic and approachable work for social media campaigns, editorials, and advertising.
Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is presented by Cleveland web design, logo design and graphic design studio Go Media.
Watch the Video Now:
The Creators. Doers. Makers. Series, directed by Aaron Freeder, will be back with more videos highlighting your favorite Weapons of Mass Creation Fest artists. Continue checking back here on the ‘Zine or over at wmcfest.com for more great features.
Food Typography Video
Watch Episode 2: Michael Bierut
Positive and Negative Space in Illustrator
We all know that Illustrator is great for creating dynamic linework and wonderful shapes, but what about creating lines WITH shapes? You know, positive and negative space? Get what I’m saying? Picking up what I’m putting down? Smelling what I’m stepping in? If you’re still unsure, no problem. I’ll walk you through it, and by the end you will have another method to illustration in your repertoire.
Does this little guy look familiar?
Yep! He’s the mini version of the cosmic robot Buddha illustration I did for Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 6. This little dude also was featured on the WMC Fest 6 kid’s shirt.
Anyways, let’s get into it.
Pasted in the Illustrator artboard is the original sketch for my illustration. From this I outlined and created silhouetted shapes…
This layer is named “Positive 1” (as it says in the Layers Palette).
Next, a new layer was created (Negative 1). In this layer, I created the white (negative) shapes by using my original sketch as reference. It is at this point that the linework becomes defined.
My third layer (“Positive 2”) contains the last set of positive (black) shapes that sit on the white (in Negative 1 layer*).
*In my opinion, Negative 1 layer should actually only be named “Negative,” since there is not a “Negative 2” layer.
First making sure that my layers are unlocked and visible, I then select all my shapes, then copy and paste it all into a new layer (“Grouped”).
With everything selected, I use Pathfinder > Divide. This breaks down everything into separate shapes according to the intersecting edges.
By first ungrouping my illustration, I can now use the magic wand to select all the positive (black) shapes. I copy that, delete my all of my previous work, then do a Paste in Place, leaving only the positive shapes.
Your Fill will indicate that this has been done correctly if everything that is selected has black fill. No white (negative) shapes remain.
So why bother with this approach?
Honestly, it’s just matter of preference. For some illustrations, I’d rather just do the linework, yet there are some instances where it is easier for me to break it down (and build it up) through positive and negative space. I have also found that this approach enables me to translate my original line weights. The point is there are many ways to skin a cat. (Man…that’s a horrible expression. Skin a cat? Who does that? I don’t even…) Anyways, this is just another method of creating linework in Illustrator. In fact, I used this method a lot in creating the Iconic Cleveland Vector Pack.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Now go out and draw some cool shit.
Tips on Landing an Internship
Sadly, the day has come where my amazing internship with the designers at Cleveland design firm, Go Media ends. But before I go, I want to pass on helpful advice to any designers out there who are also looking to obtain their dream internship. There are lots of different things that come into play when applying for internships, two of which include your resume and cover letter. So whether you’re looking to land your own internship at Go Media, or at another awesome company, keep these tips in mind when preparing your materials!
Add Relevant Experience
Now I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to get experience when I need experience to get experience? But that’s not what this tip is about. Relevant experience can be relevant in many ways. Maybe you were the manager of your local grocery store where you picked up leadership skills. Or maybe you had a retail job where you regularly collaborated with team members and customers to produce high-quality products. All of these things help attribute to your worth as a potential intern or employee!
It’s all about selling yourself and believing in yourself. Also, it’s much easier to get experience first from being involved on your school’s campus, being a part of different organizations, or volunteering. These types of activities are crucial in building an impressive resume and getting your foot in the door for future opportunities!
Use Action Verbs
Now that you’ve listed some relevant experience on your resume, you need to effectively convey to your future employer what you did at that job. The best way to do this is use action/power verbs, rather than passive or weak verbs. Using words like, helped, assisted, contributed, worked, etc. are very vague and don’t help your future employer understand your duties. How did you help or assist with the project? In what ways did you contribute? Better words to use include, designed, collaborated, proposed, initiated, resolved, etc.
And if you’re having trouble coming up with your own power verbs, you can find a helpful list of them here.
Keep it to One Page
This is always a general rule to follow when building your resume. Unless you have 10+ years of experience in the field, you should keep your resume to 1 page, and even if you do have 10+ years of experience, hiring managers would probably appreciate you condensing your most relevant and important material to a single page.
And you may be asking yourself, but Rachel… how am I supposed to sell myself when I can’t fit all of my experience and achievements on one page? Well you can! It might take more work to refine your experience and details rather than just plug everything you’ve ever done in your entire life on your resume, but it’s a crucial step to making your resume effective.
Remember, a resume is an overview of all of your relevant experience and qualifications. As you gain more and more experience, you’ll want to refine your resume and delete older and less-relevant information. The company you’re applying to might get hundreds of resumes and cover letters every day, which means these hiring managers don’t have time to read every carefully placed word on your resume. They need a quick, effective overview so they can immediately determine if you’re a candidate they’re interested in. They don’t have time to read through your 2-3 page resume.
Create a Clean and Simple Layout
The point of your resume is to convey important information to the person receiving it. This means it needs to have a clear hierarchy and be easy to read and digest. I get it, you’re a designer and you want to voice your creativity everywhere you are, and you still can! There’s nothing wrong with adding personality to your resume and brand, actually, I encourage it! But I don’t encourage you to get so creative with your resume that it’s hard to understand and follow.
Remember, a lot of the time, your resume won’t even be going to a designer. It will be going to a hiring manager who will determine if you make the next cut. Save your beautiful ideas and designs for your portfolio.
And keep in mind to keep your color palette limited. I recommend going B&W or using 1 color. Remember, your resume may look beautiful on screen, or beautiful printed on your handpicked paper at your favorite printer, but the company you are applying to will probably print your resume out on cheap paper from a low-quality office printer that turns your rich, navy blue to a pale blue-ish grey (or they may just print it in B&W to begin with).
2. Cover Letter
Personally Tailor Each Cover Letter
When writing cover letters, you don’t want to have one general cover letter that you fire off to every company you apply to. Instead, create a unique, personalized cover letter to each specific company. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a general template that you base most of your cover letters off of, but they should all ultimately be different.
This involves researching each company. Go to their website and read about their history. Learn more about who they are and their values. You can then use this research to write a cover letter that better explains exactly why you believe you’re such an incredible fit for them specifically.
Read the Position Details
This one might seem obvious, but it’s incredibly important. The company you’re applying to will probably have a very clear job listing of what they are currently seeking, what skills they are looking for and even the type of personality or work ethic they want. They lay out exactly what they are looking for, and it’s your job to connect the dots between what they’re looking for and how that pertains to your experience.
Not only will they be excited that someone has so much relevant experience that matches perfectly with their job description, but they will just be happy that someone took the time to really read the job description and understand what they are looking for.
Don’t Forget to Focus on Them
Sure, a cover letter is obviously supposed to focus on you and your talents/experience, but it should also explain why you will be an asset to them. Don’t focus on how a position at their company would be beneficial to you, focus on how you would be beneficial to their company. You want them to read your cover letter and think that they need you as an asset, not just that you seem to be a solid, dependable candidate.
All in all, you just need to be confident, passionate and eager. Apply to a lot of different places, take any negativity or failure as a learning experience, and continue to grow as a designer and as a person.
And once you do land the internship of your dreams, don’t forget to soak up every little bit of the experience you can! As my time comes to an end at Go Media, I can’t help but express how much I’ve learned and grown as a designer. The people at Go Media are truly one of a kind, and I’ll always be so appreciative of the time and energy they gave towards teaching and mentoring myself.
Halftone Tutorial for Photoshop and Illustrator
Say it three times fast…
Halftones: those cool little dots that create lovely tonal values, yet still maintain that flat, graphic look. If you search “how to do halftones” on Google or YouTube, you’ll find that there are a number of ways to achieve this effect. Here at the Go Media’s Arsenal, the best site for design resources on the planet, we tasked our designer Jordan Wong to find the best methods to share with you!
The Halftone Triple Technique Tutorial (check out that alliteration) brings you not only step-by-step instructional videos on three different techniques in both Adobe (CS5) Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as working resources. By learning through example illustrations, custom-made by Jordan Wong, you will soon be creating masterpieces and getting asked left and right, “How did you make those sweet halftones?”
Learn these three techniques
Dot & Line Pattern Swatches Technique
Create line and dot pattern swatches along with how to fully customize them for your aesthetic needs. This technique is great for a uniform look and creating solid shaded areas. (15 minutes)
Gradient to Halftone Technique
Using the Color Halftone Effect, turn gradient-filled shapes into beautiful tonal halftones. Give your vector illustration gradation and depth with those little fun dots. (1 hr, 28 minutes)
Brush Tool Shading to Halftone Technique
Prefer to work on a drawing tablet or fancy Wacom Cintiq? Excellent. Use the brush tool to create controlled values of gray, which is then transformed into precise halftone shading. (1 hour, 40 minutes)
The Halftone Triple Technique Tutorial includes:
- Introduction video
- Step-by-step instructional videos (qty 4) outlining the three different halftone techniques – Brush Tool Shading to Halftone, Dot & Line Pattern, Gradient to Halftone Techniques (3 hours, 23 minutes of content!)
- Line & dots pattern swatches (an AI file of pre-made swatch patterns for your usage)
- Quick reference guides on halftone settings and appearances
- Full working files of the example illustrations!
Adventures in Design Live from WMC Fest
We here at Cleveland creative agency Go Media, producers of design conference Weapons of Mass Creation Fest were beyond honored to have Mark Brickey of the Adventures in Design Podcast as a keynote speaker for WMC Fest 6. As expected, Mark did not disappoint. If you weren’t present to experience AID Live from WMC Fest, it was truly magical. But you’re in luck – you can listen in now over at Adventures in Design!
Here’s a summary of what you’ll enjoy when you listen in >>
Episode 331 “LIVE from Ohio”
WMC Fest 6 Keynote Performance.
First Ever Circle of Trust Meet Up from Jakprints.
PART 01 – WMC Fest 6 Keynote Performance
Our friends Go Media hired Mark Brickey to deliver the keynote presentation for Weapons of Mass Creation 6. With a packed house, full of the most Circle of Trust members ever to assemble in one room, Adventures In Design brought in the A game! Hear Brickley’s keynote speech on becoming the best version of yourself by using the power of Kayne. WMC fest emcee Aaron Sechrist of OKPants.com sits in as sidekick for the evening shedding light on the day’s events and making light of all weird places Mark steers the ship. WMC Fest founder Jeff Finley joins the stage to talk about disconnecting from projects that define your professional identity and shares with us his 2 year journey of personal development. Last but not least Dustin Lee joins us to talk about how passive income changed his life when he needed it the most.
PART 02 – First Ever Circle of Trust Meet Up from Jakprints.
There has never been a bigger supporter of this project than Jakprints. With so many Adventures In Design listeners setting up shop in Cleveland for the weekend it was the perfect storm to take the show to the mothership and have the first ever Circle of Trust meet up. Always, one to offer the best customer service, Mark let the audience pick the night’s topic! Listen to this special Circle of Trust content (for members only) where we get a step by step break down to creating passive income and tiered earnings. Finally we had the time, space and place to go into the dirty details on changing your professional and personal life.
Enjoy and thanks to Mark Brickey for being awesome!
With Each Day You Get Little Bit Better.
A week may have already passed since Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 6 ended, but I’m still riding that inspiration wave and hopefully can share it with others. Therefore, this week’s tip goes out to those who have been feeling down in the dumps, who feel discouraged or even defeated. We’ve all been there. I hope that this Design Tip of the Week provides you a nugget of encouragement.
Let’s face it, there are days when we are just not our best. We feel sluggish and unmotivated, small and incapable. There are days when we’re slow, taking forever on something that does not even turn out all that great. We inevitably ask ourselves “am I even good enough?” or “will I get better?”
The answer of “you become good over time” is not always so reassuring. We’re too focused on the now, the immediately-felt insecurities. In the present when a brighter future feels uncertain, we are left with questioning “well…WHEN will I become good?” We search and search for that definitive moment of success. We are dying to hear “you made it.”
When I was facing these thoughts (and I still do), I was so fortunate that I had Aaron, a friend and co-worker at Go Media, to confide in. This article is because of him and it is his piece of advice that I wish to share with you all. This is what he told me…
With each day you get little bit better.
This may feel trivial at first, but it is a simple truth that offers so much encouragement. I will admit when I first heard him say this, it didn’t really sink in. I was too stuck in the now-ness of feeling “I suck and am no good.” Each time we would talk, he would graciously repeat, “Remember, with each day you get a little bit better.” Aaron’s insightful reminder now really hits home. We often don’t recognize the subtle growth we undergo day to day. A child has no idea if he or she is becoming taller if it weren’t for those little tick marks on the wall, each marking a new height gained month by month, year by year.
Pay attention to those tick marks. Take notice when something becomes easier for you, even if it is slightly. Seriously, set aside time to reflect on the things you’ve accomplished. Cherish those achievements and use them to propel you towards the next one. It is little by little that we become extraordinary.
Check out other articles on design insights that we have in our Go Media Zine. Get smarter, become inspired and go forth in creating masterpieces!
Graphic Design Shadowing Day
by guest blogger Lauren
My high school requires a Junior Shadow experience therefore I sent my requests to shadow a company to many companies in the Cleveland area and in Ohio. I was initially contemplating a career in Game Design and contacted a variety of companies. Go Media had been recommended to me by a faculty member from an art school in the area. I looked them up to see what they were about and I could then see why they came so highly recommended.
My first impression was to immediately click what their products were, and I was just awestruck by the amazing work that they did. My favorite product I found was the vectors, images that when made bigger or smaller and won’t pixelate or blur. I later learned from Go Media that vectors can be used in designs on T-shirts, logos, signs, and many other uses. All you had to do was buy the desired pack, and use the vectors to your liking. I was more than excited about this company, and hoped they would email me back soon.
The following day, I was thrilled to learn that Go Media agreed to have me shadow. Heather Sakai had kindly responded to my request. In the weeks leading up to my Junior Shadowing I was restless and was frequently in contact with Ms. Sakai. I wanted to my Junior Shadowing to start right then and there. Although I was never able to choose with whom I shadowed, I knew from what I saw on Go Media’s site that whomever I would shadow would be amazing. When it finally came time for my shadowing I was excited, but still my nerves were going crazy.
Upon arriving at Go Media my father and I were greeted by the beautiful Heather who showed us up the three flights of stairs covered in beautiful artwork and into the industrial-styled studio. I soon met the amazing Jordan Wong, an amazingly talented artist, whose artwork I had seen online. Throughout the day Jordan was able to show me a wide variety of the work he did. In the beginning I was even able to help Jordan match colors of a certain preset with PMS colors designed for screen printing. Later I helped hang up some sketches and drafts for vectors that Jordan had created, all of which I was so honored to hold, let alone help hang up over their large and drool-worthy drawing table.
They graciously had me join them for lunch at Johnny Mangoes and afterwards I was again able to help Jordan in some of the tasks he had on his to do list. First of all I helped Jordan with creating some artistic weapons that would become digital 3D renderings for their upcoming festival Weapons of Mass Creation. These weapons were creative, not only in the sense that they were well done, but in the sense that they themselves were things to create art. The main ‘weapon’ I was able to assist Jordan with was his ‘Illustrator’s Gauntlet’ which was a Golden Gauntlet that had visible inkwells and the tips of each finger was a micron pen tip, which is an artist pen. After helping with the color scheme and finding the perfect way to set up the diagram, I was then able to see another view of what Jordan does. I even suggested a cool idea for another ‘weapon’ or more of an accessory; an ink cape made of ink, that literally drips ink.
Next, I was able to help Jordan rephrase and grammar check three Freelancer Survival Guide booklets which the company sells online. We were able to edit and fix not only the paragraphs, but the layout of the pages as well, which was strangely fun to do, despite being a significant amount of work when you think about it. At the end of the day I was sad to leave, but I certainly didn’t leave empty handed or empty brained.
I walked down the three flights of stairs with my dad carrying a bag of t-shirts, a hat, and a hoodie promoting Weapons of Mass Creation which I proudly wore as soon as I arrived home. I also left Go Media with a new found desire to be a graphic design artist, a slight step away from originally wanting to be a female game designer in a male dominated, and heavily sexualized, field of work.
I learned so much from the Go Media staff and I am very grateful to them for allowing me to shadow. The staff was generous with providing me with helpful information that I need to think about as I take the next steps towards attending college. Minimally, to become a graphic design artist it would require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but would be significantly beneficial to also pursue a minor in business as well. In this career I believe that there are endless positive aspects to this career choice, many of which are connected to the freedom that comes when working in such an amazing company like Go Media.
The only major negative side to becoming a Graphic Designer is a very competitive job market. One thing I found surprising in this career was the significant amount of creativity that was able to be put into the jobs that needed to be done, while still accomplishing what the client wanted. This is definitely a career I would like to further pursue as I feel that there is significantly more creative freedom, and that everything I did wouldn’t be just a game that is played and gotten bored with after just a year, but a branding, a design, that stays for many years on posters, t-shirts, websites, and signs. To say the least, my Junior Shadowing Day at Go Media was the best day I could have asked for, and I definitely learned a lot while having a blast at the same time.
Hello Zine Readers! Sad to say it, but my time interning with the amazing graphic design team at Go Media is coming to an end. I am super jealous of the students that get to intern with them in the future. That being said, here are a few guidelines for the new batches of design interns out there to check out as get ready to work! Whether you are designing with Go Media, interning elsewhere, or beginning a new job, these tips might be just what you are looking for:
1. Absorb Everything.
As you start out as an intern, it is important to remember that everyone around you is a source of learning. Pay attention and soak in as much information as possible. Be a sponge!
2. Constructive Criticism
You are an intern to learn. Everyone understands that (trust me, they’ve been there too). Your employers/mentors are there to give you feedback and to help you become a better designer. Make sure you know that critiques are a crucial and valuable source of knowledge and are not an attack on you personally. Everyone knows you are learning and they want you to succeed. You can’t become a better designer or student without being able to swallow some pride and take advice from the best.
3. Write Everything Down. And Practice!
If you are anything like me, you might make for a very convincing victim of short term memory loss. I need to write everything down! You never know if someone will give you instructions and then you have to come back to that project later in the day. Write down everything, from the simplest of instructions to the most complex tutorials. Not only will this help you out while working on a project, but having a reference to look back on months later when you want to replicate a technique is comforting.
Just writing the info down might not be enough, so make sure you practice the concepts and keep it fresh in your mind! Like the old saying says, practice makes perfect. Trying new things is the only way to truly learn how to execute them!
4. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!
Before going into the work force, the only person dealing with your files is you. You know where everything is in a chaotic mish-mash of your own “organization” (that of course makes sense to you, and no one else…). However, you look back on an old project and your layers are a mess! Nothing is worse than being confused by your own work. Except maybe having someone else’s muddy files and needing to sort out their thought process.
The best way to make things nice and easy is to get organized. Clean up your layers and find a system to stick to that is clear and easy to follow. Your colleagues will thank you later! Remember, working for a company means you aren’t the only one using the files you worked on. And be sure to get into the habit of creating a clean file naming system for your own work.
5. Continue Learning
Whatever you do, don’t turn your brain off after the internship is over. Keep designing on your own time and learning from the designers you met during your internship. And don’t be afraid to keep in touch with the people you meet. Networking is super important, plus you never know when you might need an extra set of eyes to look over your work.
One really cool aspect of Go Media is the Zine. Through the blog you are able to continue learning and getting inspired! I plan to keep up to date on the Zine posts and I highly recommend that others do as well.
Learn outside of design! Trying new things, picking up a bit of reading material, or just being around other people forces you to learn more about the world around you. Plus you will learn more about yourself and what truly inspires you!
6. Don’t Forget to Say THANKS!
It’s always nice to thank those who take the time to be mentors and teach you. It’s only appropriate that my goodbye blog post includes a big, sappy, THANK YOU to everyone at Go Media. I had an awesome summer! I’ve learned so much from the team here and I can’t wait to continue my education at Miami University this year. I know everyone will be sharing experiences from their internships, but I highly doubt any will top mine. My internship here has most definitely prepared me for the possibilities of what lies ahead.
HTML5 is the longest HTML specification ever created. It touches upon numerous web design aspects: navigation, forms, semantics, etc. However, the major HTML5 advantage is the cross-platform visibility of multimedia content due to the total refusal from third-party proprietary plugins and APIs. There is no more need to use a Flash plugin to play a web video, as in HTML5 it runs in the native in-browser player embedded via <video> tag. This new markup element has its own peculiarities, which web designers should take into account while projecting web pages. Here are the top seven things about HTML5 video you also might not know.
1. HTML5 Requires Certain Video Formats
HTML5 video should be presented at least in one of the three recommended video formats: MP4, WebM or OGG. You may simply stick to MP4 format that now is supported by all major browsers:
Only make sure that your MP4 video is encoded with H.264 video and AAC audio codecs.
If you want to provide a native playback in as many browsers as possible, you’ll need to also include either an OGG or WebM rendition.
To prepare video files for HTML5 web player, you may use Freemake Video Converter. This free Windows software converts videos to all HTML5 compatible formats in bunch. Alternatively, you may use Handbrake to get just MP4 H.264 files. It provides more options for video customization.
2. Old Browsers Ignore HTML5 Video
Old Internet Explorer versions (8.0 or lower) do not support HTML5 <video> tag. Since the number of IE 6/7/8 users is still high, you should take care of those site visitors and provide Flash fallback for your HTML5 videos. This can be done using an <object> tag referring to a third-party SWF file. View a sample code:
3. YouTube Offers HTML5 Format by Default
Since January 2015 YouTube serves videos in HTML5 format by default. It means that you may upload your video to YouTube, integrate it onto your site via embed code and the video will be played in all devices. The only drawback of YouTube embed player is overlay advertising which is impossible to switch off in case you use third-party audio track in your video. To embed a video from YouTube, under the video click Share, then Embed, Show more. Customize settings and copy the code onto a web page.
4. Controls, Autoplay, Loop, Muted
HTML5 video provides several parameters you may switch on or off by simple adding or removal from the <video> tag. Such attributes are:
– controls – used to show default video controls like Play, Pause, Volume;
– autoplay – makes the browser immediately start playing the video;
– loop – tells the browser to automatically loop the video;
– muted – mutes the audio from the video.
These attributes are called binary, they enable the behavior when present, and do not when absent.
5. Captions and Subtitles
HTML5 provides an easy way to embed text alongside with your video. The <track> element provides a simple, standardized way to add subtitles, captions, screen reader descriptions and chapters to your video. This is a good way to improve video accessibility and make it possible for search engines to understand what is in the video. Here is the sample code showing how <track> element is used:
6. Custom HTML5 Video Players are Expensive
YouTube provides easy video embedding, but almost no options for player customization. If you want a video player to fit your corporate style, you should opt for a proprietary HTML5 video player. With such a player, you may set a custom player color, change controls, and add logos and call-to-actions on your video. However, such options start from $149 (JW Player). In case you want to stream a live video, be ready to pay $1000 monthly for Kaltura Video Player.
7. Canvas Interactivity
HTML5 video elements can interact with other elements like <canvas> to provide a completely new experience. For example, you can make your video explode when you click on it or change the background color of the page based on the primary colors in the video. Follow this guide to combine <video> and <canvas> elements for better user experience on your site.
Looking for more web help? Check out what the designers at Go Media have in store!
Meet Other Creatives
I wanted to write an article about meeting other creatives, but struggled with it. The advice of networking and connecting to those in the industry can often be belaboured by college professors and concerned parents. However, they are totally are in the right. Who you know does often lead to that next opportunity. In addition to that, building camaraderie and a sense of belonging goes a long way. I’d like to share my experience of being part of the creative community, which I believe will be more helpful than an article full of obvious advice.
I should first point out that ever since my years of college I have always felt intimidated. Many of the artists, illustrators and designers I know are older than me. I often felt like a kid, young and inexperienced (which I was.) Yet despite my feelings of smallness, it was awesome to have the opportunity of spending time with those who were experienced and damn good at what they do.
From my sophomore year in college up until the point I left Pittsburgh, I made it a point to attend everything: art shows, lectures, happy hours, workshops, performances and whatever else. The art and design scene, especially in Pittsburgh, is a small one, so after a while, you begin to recognize faces. Before I knew it, I would hit up an event and exchange handshakes and high fives with the majority of people there. It was fantastic, that feeling of being a part of something. There is a quote about the importance of just showing up…But it’s escaping my memory right now. Regardless, attending events was crucial in developing my involvement with the art and design community. I heard once that “YOU are the scene.” These words could never be truer.
Since moving to Cleveland, I have been to a number of events. Actually, even before I moved to Cleveland I attended Brite Winter Fest, Wizard World Comic-Con and the 78th St. Studios gallery crawl. This all took place when I was in town for my interview at Go Media and apartment hunting (once I got the job). Within the first week of living in Cleveland, I hit up a AIGA Cleveland happy hour, which is actually how I met Ian Zeigler of Photonic Studio. Since then I have participated in a live drawing event at Spaces gallery, shared a drink with Aaron Sechrist (Ok Pants) and met Sean Higgins (the Bubble Process) and Brian Jasinski (Grey Cardigan) at an arts festival. Cleveland’s art and design scene is flourishing, and it is filled with the friendliest, most supportive and talented people.
Because of the excitement of moving to a new city and being somewhat of an extrovert, I was able to do a lot of things and meet many people. However, I was still rather nervous through all of it! In many of these situations, I did not know anyone. No one could be my social safety raft. This can be terrifying. But the nerves go away after the first conversation starts, so you just have to take a big gulp of your beer, go up to someone and sincerely say, “Hey there, I’m so-and-so. I’m new here and looking to meet people.” The rest is easy-peasy.
From Pittsburgh to Cleveland, I have met the most amazing people. From sharing struggles and triumphs to teaching and inspiring, it is because of them that I have grown so much in my ability to think and create. With that, I say this to you, wonderful reader: go out there and show ‘em your stuff! Meet people and do things. Make new friends, form strong bonds and learn all you can from everyone and anyone. I know it can be nerve wracking and down right scary to put yourself out there. It is for everyone else. Like I said, things become a lot easier with that first “hello.”
How to Make a GIF from an Illustration
Hey designers, attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.
Are you interested in creating a simple animated GIF out of your illustration/vector/artwork? You’ve come to the right place! However, before I walk you through this article, if you haven’t already created an animated GIF from a video using Photoshop, that might be a good first step!
Many of the steps in both tutorials are similar, however, this process is slightly more complex. When you’re creating a GIF out of a video, you’re taking existing frames from the video and editing them down to create a GIF. However, for an illustration, you start with 0 frames, which means you need to create your own. This can get a bit more tricky, but if you stay organized, and follow my steps, you’ll get through it in a breeze!
Step 1: Select the illustration/artwork/icon you’d like to animate
For this tutorial, I will be using a vector icon to keep things nice and simple.
Step 2: Separate your artwork into layers
Import your artwork into your PSD document! There are a lot of ways to do this (i.e. importing layers from programs like Illustrator, Procreate, etc. or copy and paste layers between programs.) It’s important, however, to make sure you keep your layers separated. This will allow you to animate specific elements.
Since this is a vector icon created in Adobe Illustrator, I’ll just copy and paste my elements in one at a time.
- Open Illustrator file containing vector artwork
- Determine which elements you want animated, and which layers you don’t
- Merge all of the layers together that you do NOT want to animate and copy them into your Photoshop document first.
- Paste them in as a Smart Object (a window will pop up asking you this)
- Then, go back and paste in the layers that you DO want to animate, one at a time
- IMPORTANT: Copy these layers in SEPARATELY. For example, I want each of the little sparks around my icon to animate on one at a time. That means I need each little spark on its own layer.
In the above image, you’ll see I have all my artwork separated into layers. I’ve highlighted the layers I want to eventually animate in yellow, and the layers I want to stay static in orange.
Step 3: Setting up your timeline
After you have all of your layers pasted in, and everything looks good, open up the “Animation” or “Timeline” window within Photoshop (the name of this changes depending on which version of Photoshop you have).
- Open it by clicking Window > Animation/Timeline
- When the window pops up, hit “Create Video Timeline”
- Then, within that same window, hit the little hamburger menu (3 horizontal lines) in the top right corner, a menu should pop out
- Mouseover “Convert Frames” and then hit “Convert to Frame Animation”
- After, you should have one frame in your Timeline/Animation window.
Your “timeline” should look like the above photo (I’ve also circled the “hamburger menu” in yellow if you weren’t able to find it)
Step 4: Begin animating frames
Now that you have your document set up, you can begin animating your artwork! For my GIF, I want the little sparks around the lightbulb to flicker on one at a time. This means that I will need 1 frame for each action. And since I have 9 sparks, I will want 10 frames total. I’ve organized it in a list below:
- Frame 1: 0 sparks visible
- Frame 2: Only Spark 1 visible
- Frame 3: Only Spark 1 & 2 visible
- Frame 4: Only Spark 1, 2 & 3 visible
You can see from the small thumbnails in my Timeline window how the sparks are appearing one by one. You’ll also see a little “5 sec” below each thumbnail. That means each frame will be on screen for 5 seconds before moving to the next. We will fix that amount of time in the next step!
Although this tutorial is only showing a simple GIF animation, if you want to have actual movement across your GIF, the process works the same.
Let’s say I wanted my lightbulb to float across the screen from left to right. I would need to have my entire lightbulb on one layer, and have it visible on Frame 1.
Then I would create Frame 2 (to create a new frame, hit the icon next to the trash symbol in the Timeline/Animation window), duplicate my original lightbulb layer, nudge my new layer to the right (hold down shift, and hit the right arrow key), and hide the previous layer.
After, I would create Frame 3, duplicate my latest lightbulb layer again, nudge to the right, and once again hide my previous layers. You would repeat this process until your lightbulb makes it all the way across the screen.
Step 5: Edit keyframe rates
Now that you have all your frames created, you might hit the play button and think, wow, why is it taking so long? This is where keyframe speed comes into play!
Select all of your frames within your Animation/Timeline window, hit the little arrow beside the time, and either choose one of the listed times or input your own. I typically like to use the speed .08 seconds, but that’s my own personal taste, and can change based on the project.
After you set a new keyframe rate for your animation, you’ll also want to hit the dropdown for looping options and click “Forever.” This will ensure your GIF will loop for infinity and beyond!
Above images show before and after I set my framerate/looping time
Step 6: Play and Export!
After you finish the steps above, make sure you play your GIF and like how it looks and animates! Once you’re happy, you’ll be ready for final export!
When exporting a GIF, you won’t just “Save As” like you might with a JPG. You’ll want to go to File > Export > Save for Web. Once you hit “Save for Web,” a popup should come on screen. There are a lot of different options here, but in most cases you should just be able to hit “Save” and be done!
NOTE: I go into more specifics on exporting GIFs in my tutorial on creating a GIF from a video.
And there you have it!
If your GIF didn’t turn out the way you wanted, feel free to email me with your questions at [email protected]
I should also note that there are MANY different ways to create animations in Photoshop, so I encourage you to continue exploring and learning! You can also check out another one of our GIF tutorials that shows you how to use the Tween Animation Frames button in Photoshop.
Additionally, if you are looking to do heavy animation work, I would recommend trying out Adobe AfterEffects. The best advice I can give is to experiment! Try different things, mess up, start over and see what works best for you. Good luck!!
Halftones are a fantastic method of achieving lovely tonal values through a flat, graphic look. From the time of Andy Warhol to the present, they are still being stylistically used in art, illustration and design. Don’t know how to do them? You’ll find this week’s design tip to be quite useful then!
I’ll be using this photo as an example. (Pretty sweet, huh? Look at those gnarly-looking monsters.)
Step 1: Convert the photo to grayscale and up the contrast
Do this by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. Then increase the photo’s contrast in either Levels (Image > Adjustments > Levels) or Curves (Image > Adjustments > Curves).
Step 2: Covert the grayscale image to bitmap (halftone )
Similar to the last step, go to Image > Mode > Bitmap.
• Output Resolution should match the image’s input.
• Method: Halftone screen
• Frequency option is really based on preference. The higher the number, the more dots will be used to translate the photo’s tonal values. However, a lower input will produce a result with less dots and a more stark appearance. The result of the frequency is also dependent on size and resolution. I recommend 25 lines/inch to 45 lines/inch for images that are between 150 and 300 dpi. If the dpi is at 72, I prefer 12 lines/inch. Slight adjustments through trial and error may be needed in order to get the desired halftone look.
• Shape: Selecting “Round” will produce a halftone that utilizes dots to translate the photo’s values – the typical “halftone look.”
• Angle: I would keep this input value on default (22.5°). It pertains more to “Line” option (Shape).
Step 3: Marvel at its beauty
Boom! Hafltone complete!
Screen Display Discrepancies
There are times when a halftone image may look odd or plain crappy on a monitor. I do not know the reason for this, but after experimenting I found the frequency, size of the image and its resolution can affect the result displayed on screen. I recommend zooming in at 100% for a more accurate visual outcome. Checking printed proofs is never a bad idea either.
Dropping it into Illustrator
Because the image has been converted to Bitmap, you can select its Fill in Illustrator and easily change its color. Just save it as a .Tiff from Photoshop and re-open it in Illustrator to do so.
You now know how to halftone photos! This concludes this Design Tip of the Week, but speaking of halftones, did you know we offer a Halftone Pattern Vector Pack? There are also more resources and tutorials in the Go Media Arsenal, so definitely check them out! Finally, keep your eyes peeled. We’re working on something big, which may or may not be halftone-related…
Anyways, God speed!