New Adobe Character Animation Application Shown at NAB

At the NAB Conference from April 11th to April 16th, Adobe announced a new app, coming to Adobe Creative Cloud members.

Adobe Character Animator does just what it says it will do. You can use pre-created characters that appear to come with the app, or you can create your characters using Photoshop or Illustrator and animate them. I believe I’m initially most impressed with the facial recognition and animation activation, which takes prompts directly from your webcam.

Of course, version 1 of anything will have it’s issues – but this looks really promising!!!

http://www.rgbhq.com/nab-2015-adobe-character-animator-preview/

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Who says you don’t get Nuthin’ for Nuthin’?

OnOne Software, one of the premiere Photoshop Plug-In makers is offering an EXCELLENT FREE version of their Photographic Effects Plugin software for Photoshop. On the same page, they also offer several presets for Lightroom, Aperture, and Camera Raw.

This is FREE, people! And the effects and interface are very flexible and very cool!

Check them out at http://www.ononesoftware.com/free/

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17 Amazing Typography-Based Posters

For my design and typography students – anyone into Illlustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, even Dreamweaver, After Effects… this article shows some excellent work with type as graphic – even when the posters are about the typeface itself!

http://www.teamofdesigner.com/index.php/inspiration/typography/43-17-amazing-typography-based-posters

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Adding an “Impossible Gradient” to Editable Type

Jeff Witchel, an Adobe Certified Instructor for Adobe Illustrator and a frequent contributor to Layers Magazine (which many of you know is one of my favorite resources), has created a video tutorial for the addition of Gradients to type, WHILE keeping the type editable. This is one of those un-obvious Illustrator controls (uses one of my favorite tools – the Appearance Panel) that will help a bunch of you!

http://www.jeffwitchel.net/2012/03/apply-an-impossible-gradient-to-editable-type/

 

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Really Great Open Source ClipArt Library

Free – and Open Source Clip Art. Not only are they free in the public domain and usable for any purpose whatsoever, but there’s also a cool collaborative environment in which you can make your own alterations and share them. A great graphics resource, and an excellent way to get involved in the practical design of these images.

http://openclipart.org/

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Happy 22nd Anniversary, Photoshop!

Today marks Photoshop’s 22nd Anniversary. This amazing program has changed the course of photography, digital imaging, motion graphics, video and animation, web design… and countless other creative ways of life. It took way fewer years for Photoshop to become so ingrained in our culture that it became an actual VERB!

On the 20th Anniversary, Russell Brown, the Senior Creative Director for Photoshop, created an amazing video, commemorating the history of Photoshop to that date. It’s worth remembering here:

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-20th-anniversary/2010-a-photoshop-odyssey/

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Excellent Video Spoofing Photoshop

My students know that one of my Photoshop class mantras is that “Ain’t Nuthin’ Real Anymore”. Well, this excellent video by Jesse Rosten spoofs the use of Photoshop in a hilarious manner. I highly recommend viewing this one!

http://vimeo.com/34813864 

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FREE E-Book – 25 Champions of Design

The people at CreativePro.com have posted a page with a link to an excellent free Ebook (in PDF format), named 25 Champions of Design. I’m sure my design students of all types will derive some excellent information from this book. And, best of all – it’s FREE!

http://www.creativepro.com/article/25-champions-design 

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Fumy 2.0 – a cool little graphics program

Cigarette and Smoke

Demo image made in 4 minutes with Fumy and Photoshop

Here’s a little program I love! I bought a program named Smoke some time ago, at a discounted price. I thought it looked like a cool, fun toy of a program, but it’s so much more! Smoke underwent a name change. It’s new name is Fumy, and the newly released version is  Fumy 2.0.

Painting in Fumy is like painting with smoke, or waves, or patterns or light. Version 1, with all it’s point updates was very cool – choose a style and some colors and then paint. You could place the end results into Photoshop documents (or simply create a stand-alone graphic). The only “real” limitation was that the end-result image was opaque. You could use any color background, but you created an opaque image for which you might have to use Blending Modes in Photoshop to influence the result.

Now, with version 2.0, we have layers! This means that not only can we create images with transparent backgrounds, but we also have some limited blending modes inside the program, and we also have the ability to export individual layers of our image.

The names of the controls present a bit of a learning curve: names like “Flow”, “Range”, “Intensity”, “Density”, “Fluency”, “Gravity”, and “Quality” may not make immediate sense, but that’s part of the idea of working in this Fumy. It’s all about experimentation (you all know that’s a BIG teaching point of mine anyway, right?)

Version 2.0 just came out a few days ago, so there’re still a few “issues” to resolve. For example, the tooltip names don’t align and so you have to trust the icon more than the name of the tool. Also, there seems to be a bit of a problem with the function of exporting individual layers, but you should also be aware that the developer is extremely responsive. I’ve had a few questions over the past couple of versions, and I received response emails the same day!

On top of all this coolness and fun, here’s the real kicker – I’d originally bought this program for $6 via Maczot.com. It was also included in a software bundle I’d purchased at MacLegion.com. But I never needed the new version. Every update has been free – and the recent UPGRADE was ALSO FREE! Any developer with such a cool product, who is so responsive, and has such generous upgrade policies should be commended! I encounter so many programs with ridiculous and draconian upgrade costs, I’m especially impressed by this (see Adobe’s new upgrade policies, for example!)

Despite the few bugs in this new version, I highly recommend it – and the developer. If the regular $19.99 seems a bit much, wait… you’ll see it in a bundle, I’m sure. Also, Neatberry (the developer) seems to have a slew of other cool programs. I’m looking forward to checking them out.

Oh, and the image you see in this post  was done using a stock image from stock.xchng, and a quick image from Fumy 2.0, created and composited in about 4 minutes using Photoshop.

Check out Fumy 2.0. Let me know what you think!

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