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Online Designer Adobe Spark App for Social Media, Posters etc

Online Designer for Stunning Social Graphics, Short Videos, and Web Pages too!

Adobe has so many great online designer apps. Adobe Spark is THE must have for any one sharing content online. Not only is it great for social media design, it can also be used for most online visuals like ads, promotions, posts, hero images, videos and more. The app is brilliant and it’s FREE!

The app comes with tonnes of free stock photography, cool fonts and graphics to use. There are so many templates to use for almost any occasion and can be customized for your unique purposes. You can use the app on both desktop and mobile. Get it from the Play Store for Android. I like working on my graphics on my phone mostly because I can easily post to Instagram from mobile. But I use desktop often as well because I can work on the graphics on a bigger scale there. Check out some of my other social media planning apps on my blog here.

 

The Adobe Spark app is great for holiday graphics with templates for your holiday card maker and social media posts. I also recommend the app for promoting your brand, business, services and products. You can design one visual then easily readjust the canvas to any dimensions saving many versions at different dimensions. This makes it easy to develop a brand campaign of stunning and sophisticated visual graphics to represent your brand across all your social media platforms and more.

The app is also great for Wedding templates and more.

Spark comes with plenty of design templates for

  • holidays
  • seasonal
  • weddings
  • events
  • & more
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Photography Studio Activity Video

Banff Centre Story Studio for Film & Media

Story Studio is a film & media industry event held over a weekend, curated of key-note speakers, panels and round table discussions and is presented by the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in partnership with the Government of Alberta and Alberta Film.

The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity offers a world class experience nestled within the idyllic setting of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. They support artists in a number of ways such as artist residencies, conferences, festivals and more. As an event, story studio caught my attention as an opportunity for professional development for my own work within media production and entertainment based industries.

“[Story Studio] addresses new approaches to storytelling, innovating with technology, and developing sustainable, creative production and business models for media content.”

The weekend offered a number of discussions among aspects of film making and media development of which the programming was primarily geared towards directors and producers. Though the weekend attendees had backgrounds that ranged quite a bit. The program invites post-secondary students, entry-level producers, writers, actors, and directors to register. They also express that “mid-level and senior media professionals looking to gain experience working with new techniques and new technologies are also encouraged to attend.”

Some of the courses I attended here included speakers such as Canadian film producers and directors, Avi Federgreen, Linda Ambury, Alex Lazarowich and Indira Guha, who among others provided excellent industry insights and commentary. Also included were speaking engagements from sales agents and distributors working with Bell Media, Netflix and other leading industry resources.

If you work within Media & Production, Banff Centre may have an opportunity for you. Check out https://www.banffcentre.ca/media-and-production

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Photography Studio Activity

flora & farmer feature in Ciao Magazine

Excited to see our photography included in the latest issue of Ciao Magazine, Food, Fashion, Home Winnipeg. Our client Kim Bialkoski of flora & farmer was featured with an article and used our photo of her in the article. We’re so proud of Kim for making things so delicious that this great mag took note! Check out “The Chocolate Lovers” April / May 2018 issue found at locations around the city or online at their website http://www.ciaowinnipeg.com/ and be sure to check the wonderful flora & farmer out (taste better yet) also found at locations around the city, check out floraandfarmer.com for more info!

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Apps Design Freebies Graphic Design Photography Websites Tips

Image Optimization for Web

The important thing to remember is that every webpage has a PAGE LOAD TIME.
This is calculated by how much data needs to be uploaded to the users computer. The data on a page can also be called the WEB PAGE WEIGHT.

Other factors include the internet providers service, such as high speed vs. dial up.
So more web page weight= more web page load time = poor user experience = poor return rates and poor conversion of web traffic to sales. So keeping your web site load times in check and optimal increases your likelihood of having a successful website.

Sites like Pingdom can help you figure out how fast your websites webpages are loading
https://tools.pingdom.com/

The largest culprits of a heavy page weight/ slow page load time is media. Images are the biggest culprit of a slow website. Video and audio can also be suspect. After that, forms, java script and other special bells and whistles can really drag on a pages load time.

My clients primary concern is images and this is what we will concern ourselves with here today.
Estimates are that you should try and keep your websites webpage weight at under 200 kb. These means that all elements on that page should total the web page weight at under 200 kb.

One image can easily be twice that size if you don’t compress it. But if you know how to save your images for website optimization and if you know how to compress them, you will gain the advantage! Your site will be in control of your image content rather than you image content being in control of your site.

FIGURE OUT YOUR IMAGE DIMENSION AND SIZE
Figure out what you’re working with and how much work you need to do to get your images optimized properly. This should be as simple as right clicking your image and clicking “get info”. This will display some of the info data on the image including these two main factors of “size” & “dimensions”

SIZE THE IMAGE HEIGHT AND WIDTH APPROPRIATELY
Images displayed on your computer use pixels. The quality and amount of pixels needed to display a large printed photo to hang on your wall is much bigger than what you want to display on a computer screen. Typically a full screen background image is ideal with the proportions of 1250 X 800 pixels.
Your camera could be taking photos 3-6 times that amount which is great for printing but very superfluous for use on the web.

So start by saving your photo with smaller dimensions in an image editor on your computer (you can even do this in wordpress itself under “edit image”) so now save it to these full screen background proportions of 1250 X 800 if that’s what it’s being used for. Otherwise you can save it smaller than that for a banner or blog post image which don’t need to be fullscreen and will probably display at half that size or smaller.

COMPRESS THE IMAGE
Next is to compress the image in some file format, usually a jpg
This site offers info on working with the different file formats such as .gif, .png and .tiff
http://inobscuro.com/tutorials/optimizing-images-for-web-35/

How to compress your image for web optimization
1.Use an Image Editor

Compress the newly and appropriately sized image (1250 X 800px or less ) by finding the option in your image editor to save for web . This option should display your compression options and data
THis one is free
https://pixlr.com/
here’s some more..

9 Best Free Image Editors

http://mashable.com/2013/07/22/free-image-editors/#WAVaAS9jzmqo
16 essential photo editor apps
http://www.creativebloq.com/software/best-photo-editor-51411752

2. Use a Plug IN (wordpress)
There are many image optimization plug ins out there for wordpress. If you google image optimization plug in, you can find reviews on several of the most current and relevant.
I have recently tried this popular one called SMUSH IT . It is easy to use, once you’ve downloaded it and activated the SMUSH IT plug in, your image files in your website media library will now have a SMUSH IT botton and all you need do is press it.

SMUSH IT
https://en-ca.wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/

3.COMPRESS ONLINE
Websites like Optimizilla may give you the most efficiency for the least tech proficiency. Just load your images to the site and voila! Compressed jpgs

http://optimizilla.com/
With Optimizilla you can control the amount compressed and preview it with the Quality meter on the right. Lower the quality meter and you reduce the file size. This may sound unfortunate to lose “quality” but for the purpose of a website, a fair bit of quality loss can go mostly unnoticed. Optimizilla allows for you to preview the compressed image rates so you can decide for yourself how much compression the image can take while maintaining a good enough quality image to display.
I hope this covered some of what you need to know to achieve a fast loading website and confidence using images on your website and blogs. Images are a great tool for the web and I encourage you to use them. But you’ll be doing your website a favor if you know how to use them wisely.

Wikipedia explains data compression:

“In signal processing, data compression, source coding, or bit-rate reduction involves encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation. Compression can be either lossy or lossless. … The process of reducing the size of a data file is referred to as data compression.”

Compression is useful because it reduces resources required to store and transmit data. Computational resources are consumed in the compression process and, usually, in the reversal of the process (decompression). Data compression is subject to a space–time complexity trade-off. For instance, a compression scheme for video may require expensive hardware for the video to be decompressed fast enough to be viewed as it is being decompressed, and the option to decompress the video in full before watching it may be inconvenient or require additional storage. The design of data compression schemes involves trade-offs among various factors, including the degree of compression, the amount of distortion introduced (when using lossy data compression), and the computational resources required to compress and decompress the data.[5][6]”
(Read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_compression )

Categories
Design Freebies Graphic Design Photography Websites Tips

Full Screen Background Images for Web

I am a big fan of full screen background images used for a websites design.

2/3 screen to 1/3 screen is good too! The important thing is a nice glossy looking image to fill that space with good visual content.  A good quality photograph to convey your sites appeal is not something to be underestimated in terms of the visual impact and appeal that this can have for your website users. As someone who designs and builds websites, and who also is graphic artist and photographer, I can tell you that desiging a website is much easier for me when I have good visual photos to start with. The amount of energy and time that is required to make graphics that are as appealing as photographs isn’t quite the easy ticket as it is when working with good quality professional photos. To me, the ideal for 90% of nicely designed websites is good quality professional photo representation for your site and once this is taken care of, then embellishing with some well places graphics personal to your site.

So that being said, if you’re thinking of DIY building or hiring for a website, please do yourself the favour of taking the first steps of having some photos taken with your website in mind. This is important to have photos taken with the purpose of a website in mind because even though you might already have some great photos hanging around, you might find that they will not work as well with your site as there are certain key details to be mindful of for photographing for the purpose of presentation for web.

 

Width Wise Photos

The first and most obvious thing I try to convey to my clients whether they are selecting images from their personal photo library or hiring a photographer is the simple detail of having mostly width-wise images to work with. Computer screen monitors are width-wise, so most of your photo will want to follow suit, and this is certain for your fullscreen background image!

 

Dimensions and DPI (Dots Per Inch)

The photos most cameras will take will be significantly larger in size and pixels than you should have for your website. This is because cameras are generally made to be good enough for the option to print pictures in large formats to hang on your wall. This quality of image is much better quality and thus larger than what the web likes, because for the purpose of efficient webpage load times, images need to be smaller in dimension and quality for web than for print. For more info on saving images for web, please read my blog post Image Optimization for Web

 

With all that being said, these are the general details for good quality full screen backgrounds for web :

Dimensions: 1250 X 800 px

Resolution : 72 dpi (dots per inch)

 

Some of my other tips for your consideration for the purpose of website presentation include:

 

Colour Contrast

Bear in mind that there is likely to be other content on your website such as Text, Buttons and possibly graphics, forms etc. Especially if your background images are to be layered with these other elements, you will want to ensure that all elements are legible with contrast. If you have a dark background, the other elements should be light and vice versa to ensure high contrast.

 

Testing It Out

Once you’ve got some images to work with, be sure to test out their display or different browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc), devices (desktop, laptops, mobile, tablets) and screen sizes. All of these are factors in how your site and images will display so be sure to check out how your full screen background image will display with all these different factors.