Tag Archive: graphic design


Mock ups can really showcase graphic design so that the public can get a ‘real world’ view of the end product. Do you use mock ups to enhance your presentations? If so, buying them for different purposes can really add up. Here’s a chance to get hundreds of mock ups now and in the future for one reasonable price.

 

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Need some cute summer graphics to spice up your posts and blog? Try these tropical inspired graphics for a really low price to add fun in the sun.

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If you have been sad since Star Wars The Clone Wars ended, try getting your fix in the games.

SWTOR, or Star Wars The Old Republic is now a free-to-play game with intensely rich and beautiful graphics.  Lightsabers, blasters and jetpacks, oh my!

The characters are detailed and richly colored, the ships and space stations are nearly real-world level.  In addition, the characters and objects are expertly animated so the movements are smooth, not jerky.  And of course, the sound has that other-world quality we have associated with Star Wars since Episode I.  Even on the free level there are great stories to follow and action to enjoy.  As with all free-to-play games, there is fine print or restrictions.  Read them here.

But what makes this game great are the graphics.  You feel that you are in a movie especially if you opt to plug into a large monitor or HDTV.

Click the image below to view the video trailer for SWTOR.  And let us know if you had fun playing.

star wars the old republic

Credit: Yahoo! Movies

Credit: Yahoo! Movies

After Earth is the latest movie pair up of Jaden and Will Smith.  Jaden is shaping up to be a true chip off the ol’ block when it comes to acting chops.

But Jaden and Will both have to compete with the effects in this beautifully crafted movie. The creatures, landscape, technology and space scenes all hold their own as supporting acts.  And to complete this digital masterpiece, the website for After Earth is sublime. The scroll changes scenes, backgrounds, pages and creates character moves similar to the Iron Man 3 website. And all without Flash.  Techsnoop predicts that this trend will continue. While Flash will have a place in some games and apps, as a web animation, it is losing steam quickly.

While this level of interactivity could be distracting on most business sites, for the movie industry this is becoming the gold standard. Movie productions are followed closely in social media and websites have to go up far in advance of the actual opening. Adding interactive and animated elements keeps visitors coming back for updates and generates buzz.

It also provides a continuous marketing presence that the public promotes for the studio. A true win for the movie when it is a good one like After Earth.

socialmedia

(copyright DKemp Designs)

Social Media is the great business buzzword.  What is your social media strategy, do you have social media apps, how do you handle social media. these are the questions of the new consumer landscape.

If you are a small business chances are you don’t have the budget to hire a specialized social media master.  So you make do with whoever in the office seems to know the most.  But it is not enough to set up a Facebook, Twitter and Google+ page and hope masses of customers will show up.  In fact, Techsnoop has seen hundreds of business pages that have virtual dust on them.

Looks Count

First, is your page appealing?  You need to have a great logo and cover photo that attract interest and showcase your business.  The photos should be crisp and in-focus, not blurred or stretched out.  Here is where a little money goes a long way.  A professional graphic designer can create 2 or 3 cover photos in the sizes needed and you can rotate them through the year.  Next you need to post some interesting information on the page.  Blog or news items relating to your business are great posts if you don’t have any sales or promotions going.

Mix It Up

Next, do you like or comment on posts of others on your page?  If not, why not?  You should have at least a few regulars with content you can look for and like each week.  Mention others and interact so they will do the same.  This is what gets your “talking about” stats up on Facebook.

You wouldn’t go to a party and stand in the corner looking but not speaking to anyone.  The social part of social media is interaction.  Make honest connections with others who have something in common and keep conversations going.  Thank others and when asking for likes and follows use the word “please”.  Manners count.

To keep your time manageable on the platforms, search for specific content that relates to your business or interests you like technology or football.  This will help you choose your top engagers and keep the time spent to about 3 total hours per week.  Ideally, time should be spent one hour a day for 3 days each week.  This keeps you looking active.

Let us know in the comments if this helps you focus your social media efforts for 2013.

Cintiq Touch HD - WacomIf you are a graphic designer you know tools are the killer difference.  Talent is great, but without the proper tools your productivity sucks.  Techsnoop can’t even get things done without her wireless mouse.

So, start saving your pennies because the folks at Wacom have done it again with this killer graphics tablet.  The only thing more you could ask for in a piece of equipment is for it to read your mind… come to think of it, they’re working on that.

So everyone sing with me “All I want For Christmas….” while watching this video.

socia mediaWhy blog?

Many small business owners and freelancers are confused by the multitude of social media options and how it can increase their reach.  Blogging is one way to increase the reach of any business provided the blog offers useful information presented in an engaging way.

Photos and video are one way of engaging readers, but sought after information consolidated in a non-confusing prose also can be useful to your readers.  Adding your social media contact buttons and website links can encourage readers to visit your sites and begin to recommend you.

In the loud, crowded Internet marketplace, recommendations as an expert in your field are like gold.  Recommendations separate you from fly-by-night shysters who only want to skim quick profits as opposed to building customer relationships that last.

How to get started?  Create a list of topics you are interested in and have experience with.  Write a bunch of random thoughts down.  They don’t need to be complete sentences or written nicely.  Just free form write whatever comes to mind.  Put it away for a day.  Come back and select a topic to expand on, then, do your research.  Look up information related to your topics that will be interesting to others.

Write two or three posts before beginning to publish and review them carefully for typos and grammar before publishing.  Choose free pics or graphics or make your own that relate to the topic.  Then link with social media to complete the circle.  All of the resources gather and increase traffic and traffic is the first step to online business success.

Stop by frequently for further blogging tips and let us know if this inspired you to start a blog.

Happy Monday.  Time to crack open the coffee and Coke and get back to the design grind.  If you have no current projects, this is a great time to pre-solve some tricky procedures.

Unless you are a design guru, Techsnoop is sure many aspects of using files in After Effects has you scratching your head with “now what”.  Importing files and transforming them into spectacular works can be different every time.  But this great tutorial from Adobe TV should help clear the fog, at least with files created in Illustrator.

Branding is a complex process that involves a number of people and trial and error.  However if you are a small business start up you likely do not have funds to hire professional branding firms or to undertake extensive market research.

So how do you establish an identity for your business that will stand out in the crowd?  First check out the competition.  See what is working for other companies similar to yours.  Do not copy them, but make notes on things they have in common.  Color is a great place to start, for instance, blue is a highly used color in many logos and websites.  Blue conveys trust and dependability and so is used to create a bond between customer and business.  Black equates with value and sophistication and thus the rise of black websites and business cards.

Use tools like Kuler from Adobe to create and select complimentary colors for logos, text and website graphics.  The site allows you to upload a photo you like and create a color palette as well as creating color mixes on the fly.  Having a firm color choice can make the web design process faster and cheaper.  Colors create the tone and can suggest a theme for your company communications.

Instead of using expensive market research, try out your brand with a small run of business cards, Facebook cover, Twitter background and mailers.  Enlist friends and family as test audience.  As you collect customers, ask for honest feedback on your marketing materials.  Ask what made them come to you or what caught their eye.  Also ask what they feel doesn’t work as this is the critical part that needs changing.

Choose a graphic designer who is comfortable creating a logo and graphics that will evolve over time and will include this in the pricing.  Don’t expect your designer to make changes for free.  Know that designers charge based on time, talent and creativity.  The combination is what causes variation between designers.  If your budget is really low, you need to consider using an intern with the expectation that the project will take longer and quality may be less.

Finally, look at your brand carefully to make sure it feels right for you and your business.  The whole point of your brand is to convey your uniqueness, if this doesn’t come through the brand fails.

If you are a freelance designer or small business, time is premium and you may not have time to make every little detail of your web site or social media pages.  Techsnoop is here to help with a list of free icon downloads that will spice up your pages with a professional look with no extra effort on your part.  Use the extra time saved to bookmark our new location here at Techsnoop’s Helper and keep up with the freebie action.

Icons

Free Social Media Icon Set

Download this Free Social Media Icon Set or check out our large collection of WordPress Themes by Elegant Themes.

3D

 

 

Element 3D not only provides effects, it can animate your objects.  This terrific plug-in is actually a program within a program for After Effects.  It even has its own interface that comes up when activated.  Objects can be completely manipulated, duplicated and animated within the scene.

Techsnoop puts this in the top 10 must-have designer tools.