Freebie: Vector Hand Drawn Elements

Coming to you, live, from the Go Media Arsenal – Hand Drawn Elements!

Elements preview

Download the Hand Drawn Elements Vector Freebie

This hand drawn vector pack has so many small details to choose from (52 if you want to get technical), you’ll want to fill your next project to the brim with them. With line flourishes and plant details, this little freebie has plenty of things that you didn’t even know were missing from your repertoire.

Download the Hand Drawn Elements Vector Freebie now and get to making some more wonderful things!

JessicasHandDrawnElements

Want more freebies? Check out this freebie on the arsenal!

5 Ways You’re Screwing Yourself

Productivity Tips for Designers:
5 Ways You’re Screwing Yourself

No one is perfect, not even the graphic designers here at Go Media. Faults are what makes us human, after all. But there are definitely some things that we do to ourselves that we definitely don’t need to and being able to stop these thoughts or habits in their tracks will make us better designers and will help us to stop being a jerk to ourselves.

1. Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates. It’s a fact of life. But it seems that creatives procrastinate more than others, and it’s probably due to overactive imaginations. Creatives tend to dream up situations in which what they need to do will somehow go negatively. Putting it off or not doing it altogether seems like a better option than having a negative experience.

It’s difficult to give up a habit that seems to get you what you want now. Procrastination is almost like instant gratification, which is way better versus the long term satisfaction of not having a burden on your shoulders in a procrastinator’s eyes. You think, “I have a ton of time to do that. I’ll definitely be able to get this project done in the amount of time that I’ll leave myself to complete this project,” which typically, is pretty optimistic.

But what does procrastinating really get you? Stress, anxiety, loss of sleep, and you’re being a jerk to yourself. If you don’t feel like doing something and you put it off to tomorrow, it’s almost like you’re thinking that tomorrow it won’t necessarily be you that will be doing it, but someone else. You’re expecting the tomorrow you to clean up your mess, do your homework, and get that project done.

But is tomorrow you really that different from today you? Will a night of rest really be all that you need to motivate yourself to do what needs to be done?

Giving up procrastination is easier said than done, especially if you’re surrounded by other procrastinators.

Some tips:

  • Don’t give in to your own excuses, and don’t let other people help you in those excuses, either.
  • Reward yourself when you complete your task; the thing that you’re using to put off the job at hand is a good start for a reward. Or, you could even reward yourself with something from the Go Media Arsenal.
  • Change your negative thoughts with positive ones on future happenings; there’s a 50% chance of things going wrong, but there is a 50% chance of things going well, too. Why not focus on the positive thing that might happen instead of the bad?

2. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleeping isn’t what it used to be. Before it was a societal norm for people to have to report to a job, most people slept in intervals. People would go to sleep when the sun would go down, go through a REM cycle, wake up, maybe read a book, then go back to bed and wake with the sun. It wasn’t uncommon or seen as a problem if you didn’t sleep through the night. I’m sure many of the designers at Cleveland Design Firm Go Media do this on the weekend!

In fact, some highly creative and intelligent people didn’t even get a full 8 hours of sleep. Leonard Da Vinci followed the Uberman sleep cycle in which he would take 20 minute naps every 4 hours, equating to 2 hours of sleep per day.

But that’s not how we sleep now, and many people seem to have trouble having a restful night sleep.

It’s easy to think that you’ll catch up on sleep later. Unfortunately, that’s not how sleep works. Once you lose sleep in a 24 hour period, you don’t “catch up” on it. The effects are felt, and oversleeping won’t help you fix it. Essentially, you’re just screwing yourself out of sleep.

Some tips:

  • Go to sleep the same time every night; yes, even on the weekends, if you can. This way, you develop a healthy sleep pattern and can fall asleep around the same time every night.
  • Avoid electronics an hour before bedtime. The light from electronics can sometimes mimic morning light which forces your body to stay awake.
  • Create a habit that you only do right before bed, such as reading a certain book or doing a certain activity. Your body will start to get sleepy when you keep up the habit.

3. Talking to Yourself Negatively

You believe the things that you say to yourself, especially if you say them to yourself all the time. But do you remember where those things that you think about yourself came from? A majority of the time, you weren’t the first person to tell yourself the negative thoughts that you put in your head. There’s a difference between knowing what your faults are and actively trying to fix them, and bashing yourself down for things that probably aren’t even faults. Talking yourself down isn’t necessarily the first or healthiest step you should take in becoming a better and well-rounded person and graphic designer.

What are some of the things that you say to yourself on a regular basis? If a friend were to say those things to you as often as you said them to yourself, how long would you stay friends with them?

If we don’t want our friends to talk to us in this fashion, then why do we allow ourselves to drag us down? It probably has a lot to do with habits that we learned from adults as we were growing up, or other people’s comments that we’ve heard over the years. Either way, those negative pep talks that you give yourself aren’t making you more humble or perform better. You’re just bringing yourself undue stress and anxiety for thoughts that probably had nothing to do with you in the first place, and what a jerky thing to do to yourself.

Some tips:

  • Talk back to your negative thoughts with positive back talk. If you talk back to your thoughts, you can almost personify it into something apart from yourself. At first, it might be difficult to come up with things to say back to your negative voice, but after some practice, you’ll be able to talk it down to the point where the negative voice no longer has anything to say.
  • Be kind and generous. If you do good actions and say good things, typically, that makes you a good person. If you’re actively pursuing being a good person, negative thoughts about yourself are easier to push aside or ignore.
  • Be grateful. Instead of focusing on things that you can’t do, focus on things that you’re grateful for. With gratitude, a general sense of positivity follows. Keeping track of things that you’re grateful for can also make it easier for you to combat negative thoughts about yourself that can come your way.

4. Not Practicing Enough

You’ve heard the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” There’s a reason that people say it, especially among creatives. If you don’t practice your craft, you’re likely to lose it, and if you’re making a career out of your creativity, it’s something you need to keep up. I’m sure you’ve also heard that to be considered an expert at something typically takes 10,000 hours or 5 years doing it full time. Luckily, that isn’t necessarily true. Psychologists haven’t actually been able to agree on broken down numbers or time spent on an activity to be considered an expert.

But, practicing does needs to be deliberate. If you’re going to practice something, you need to be sure you’re practicing the right habits, or you won’t be able to move past your current skill level. So why wouldn’t you?

Some tips:

  • Take 15 minutes a day to brush up on something you need to get better at. A quick 15 minute sketch can help you place what you need to work on.
  • Ask for some help or critique. Sometimes we just go on our merry way without getting input from others, but asking for an honest critique and being able to take that critique can open you up to things that you might not have realized you were lacking in.
  • Ask others how they practice or what they think they need improvement on. This is a good practice because people are more likely to be more honest on things they can improve upon and ways to do it than if you’re strictly asking for feedback on something you’ve done. A good place to start is with the Go Media Arsenal’s video tutorial section.

5. Not Trying New Things

A creative’s career, especially a graphic designer’s career, depends on staying current. Knowing trends, the newest tricks, the best ways to get peoples’ attention now, are all skills that we need to constantly keep updated. Along with practicing our skills, we need to learn new ones.

But it’s so easy to just come home, be lazy, go out, relax. And we all know, procrastination is easy for us creatives. Now, don’t get me wrong, relaxing is a necessary part of being healthy and happy, but, learning new skills keeps your brain young, and can help you to live longer. Learning new skills can have a huge impact on things that you don’t even realize; you can adapt to your career, help your self-confidence, decision making, and much more. So really, new skills don’t have a downside.

Some tips:

  • Read and/or watch a tutorial once a week on something you don’t know. Ohio branding company Go Media has plenty of tutorials that you should take a look at!
  • Take a class on something that you don’t know anything about. There are plenty of discount or coupon sites that can help you find classes on things such as glass blowing or even beer education.
  • Ask someone you know to teach you something that they know. It’s a great way to bond with people by creating a common interest and shows interest in them as a person. Plus, it’s free!

If you follow even some of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to stop screwing yourself.

Flash Tutorial: An Introduction to Animation for Newbies

Introduction to Flash Animation

Now, I only know a handful of the multiple software programs that Adobe has to offer, but, in my opinion, Flash is one of the more difficult to learn. Jumping into a project with Flash takes a lot of time and effort, so I want to go over the absolute basics with you. After all, it was quite difficult for me to find anything that helped me in my introduction with Flash. So for our first project, we’re going to make some rectangles move.

So, first things first. We have to open Flash.

Step 1

The type of file that I typically open is an ActionScript 3.0, which is the most recent version of ActionScript. It’s the best for what you want to do for a lot of technical reasons we don’t need to go over right now. But just know that Flash files that use ActionScript 3 cannot include earlier versions of ActionScript.

Step 2

Okay, so we’ve opened our program and now we are at the workspace. The big white space in the middle here is called the stage. If you want something to be seen, make sure that it is within the white space, otherwise, it is unseen offstage.

You will note that my workspace has all of my tools situated on the right hand of the screen. Flash mostly uses the same kind of tools that are used in most of the Adobe suite.

One important thing to note: when you are making shapes with a stroke, the stroke tends to act as a separate component from the shape you originally drew it with, so I tend to make shapes without a stroke.

The main aspect of Flash is that it contains a Timeline that is typically affixed to the bottom of your screen workspace. The timeline is where you keep track of your layers and animation. The timeline is divided into separate frames that can be selected and keyframes inserted.

A Keyframe is a frame where content appears on the Timeline. Typically, Flash’s default setting for speed is 24 frames per second, so it takes 24 frames of animation to create a second of active content.

Empty Keyframe

This is an example of a blank keyframe, which would be 6 frames long if played in Flash Professional. Notice the empty circle at frame 1 indicating there isn’t any content.

Keyframe w action

This is an example of a blank keyframe, but has actions attached to it. Notice the a above the keyframe. Actions are the coding in Flash (we won’t get into coding in this post).

Keyframe w content

Pictured above is an example of a keyframe with content. Notice the filled in circle on the first keyframe.

Content w Tween

This is what a tween looks like when applied to a keyframe with content, more specifically, this is a shape tween. Tween comes from the words “in between.” A tween helps to create movement in your animation.

There are 3 different types of tweens. There are classic tweens (creating a tween that can change size, position, and skew of almost anything), motion tweens (applied to symbols and text fields), and shape tweens (drawing a vector shape on one keyframe and then drawing another shape in a second keyframe).

Frame Animation

This is an example of what the timeline looks like when you are using keyframe animation. Each frame is a keyframe, so instead of using tweens, you are creating each motion within each frame.

So now that we understand the timeline, keyframes, and tweens, let’s draw some shapes.

Step 3

What I did here is pick my color with the color picker (no stroke!) and use the rectangle tool to draw a shape on Layer 1 in frame 1.

Step 3a

Before we get much further, I want to make sure that you know that there are two defaulted tabbed spaces that can be very helpful to you. Libraries are going to be used later in this post, but Properties is also very useful to you.

Properties will tell you what kind of content you have selected, can let you name instances (not shown), and you can change your positioning, size, color, and all kinds of other useful tools that are necessary to the creation process in Flash.

Step 4

Continuing on, since I want this shape to move, I’m going to insert a keyframe at frame 45, which will make this animation less than 2 seconds long. To insert the keyframe, I simply right click so this menu will pop up.

Step 5

With the keyframe at frame 45 highlighted, I take my shape and move it into the position I would like my shape to end up at the end of the animation.

Step 6

Now that we have our shape in the positions we want, we’re going to click anywhere between the two keyframes and create a classic tween. Now, the shape will move within the 45 frames.

Step 7

Now, let’s make a copy the same shape to move in a different direction as the original shape. So to do that, we’re going to use the library panel.

The library stores shapes, animations, sounds, and even photos where they can easily be clicked and dragged out onto the stage.

To make our current shape an aspect of the library, we must convert it to a symbol.

Step 8

In this new menu, we are going to make this a movie symbol, and name this object “Purple Rectangle” and then click on Okay.

Step 9

The symbol now appears under the library tab as Purple Rectangle. We are going to add a new layer and then drag our new symbol out.

Step 10

Next, we’re going to position out our second shape where we would like it to initially appear when the animation begins.

Step 11

After we have our initial position, we’re going to insert a keyframe on layer 2 under frame 45 and move the shape to where we would like the shape to end when the animation is complete.

Step 12

Now that we have our two positions, we are again going to create a classic tween so that our shape moves.

Step 13

Now let’s preview our hard work by going under the Control Panel, to Test Movie, to In Flash Professional.

Step 14

Congrats! You’ve made your first Flash movie! Brought to you by the patron saints of responsive web design Ohio, Go Media.