Useful links: keywords, shading, diversity

Here’s a comprehensive post on keyword research that would be good to share with students.

I’m always fascinated by stories about what women in the gaming and animation industry do. (My 16 year old grandchild wants to have a career in the field.)  Here’s an interview with Brave Shading Art Director Tia Kratter.

Nick Disabato talks about how he works to achieve gender diversity in his industry.

How To Have A Video Background For Your Website

Do you want to put a video background on your website to achieve the same impressive design results showcased by sites such as Razorfish and Random Dance? It’s really not difficult to do, so long as you have a cursory knowledge of how to edit HTML files and upload Javascript files.


One way to add a video background to your website is to use the video embed HTML5 feature along with a bit of CSS3 to help your video maintain its position. Though this is an option, it’s not an ideal solution because it doesn’t allow you the control you need to make your videos interactive (if desired) or to determine what device your website is being loaded on. The latter is critical, because many devices won’t run background videos.

The best method is to employ Javascript to load your background video. Javascript can determine what device is being used, and then load an image when background videos cannot be played.

There are many different scripts out there for loading videos, and each can be customized to serve your own purposes. However, there are two scripts I recommend, depending on your video source.

Big Video

Developed by John Polacek at Draftfcb Chicago, this script makes it simple for you to add a background video to your website. You’ll need the jQuery, jQuery UI, and jQuery imagesloaded libraries and plugin to use the script. With this script, you can load videos from any source (though the author recommends Vimeo), and you can even add an interactive playlist.

Big Video

YouTube Video Background

This is a simple script that’s likewise easy to use; it will call YouTube videos to be loaded as your web page background.

YouTube Video Background

As with any web implementation, test your new video background to make sure it plays on all major browsers and responds as it should (such as with image replacement) on different devices and operating systems. Don’t be afraid to play with the code to add features you want to use, and make it your own! And, if you’re more a designer by heart, you can always hire a freelancer to install these scripts for you.

They’re relatively simple, so an experienced coder should be able to implement them rather quickly and with minimal charge.

Do you have a preferred method of loading videos as web page backgrounds? Have I missed anything that should be included? Let me know in the comments!

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

10 Best Design Freebies of January 2013

Designers make their mark by staying one step ahead of the pack. Itís your job to be design-savvy, so don’t let clients catch you using last year’s tools and
templates. Thankfully, there are plenty of successful (and generous) designers out there willing to throw you a bone. The following 10 design freebies were
released this month so you can stay competitive without breaking the bank.

1. Simple Icon Set by Joshua Andrew Davies

When it comes to design, the devil’s in the details. These eye-catching icons will instantly give your work a fresh, modern feel. Clean. Simple. Free.

Simple Icon Set

2. Leo Restro Joomla Template by LeoTheme

This template is the ultimate time-saver. The themes adapt to smartphones, tablets, and desktop screens, reaching a broader audience with your portfolios,
blogs and project sites.

Leo Restro Joomla Template

3. Insect Photoshop Brushes by Lileya Brogu

These 42 realistic insect brushes will make your skin crawl. The detail in these illustrations really stand out, down to the veins in a fly’s wings.

Insect Photoshop Brushes

4. Hand Drawn Speech Bubble Photoshop Brushes by Kerby Rosanes

Get 30 unique speech bubble shapes in one download. Use these brushes when you want a hand-made, personalized design that still pops.

Whether it’s an advertisement, web site or comic, there’s a speech bubble to fit.

Speech Bubble

5. Free WordPress Theme: AyoShop by AyoThemes

WordPress is still the go-to platform for personal and professional sites. Unique, user-friendly themes are in high demand.

This one fits the bill without sacrificing quality, contemporary design.

Free WordPress Theme

6. Responsive Blog/Magazine Themes by Design Bolts

More WordPress themes! A handful of basic themes that can help you transition to responsive design. Think of them as one-size-fits-all templates for when you
need to get your client up and blogging fast.

Responsive Themes

7. Portfolio Layout Template by Bloom Web Design

Online portfolios aren’t just for designers. Artists and professionals of all kinds want to showcase their talents. This template is simple enough to be versatile, yet bold enough to make an impression.

Portfolio Layout Template

8. Wispy Fire Brushes by Dustin Schmieding

These five abstract brushes will inspire you. Do you see wispy fire or squid ink?

Fire Brushes

9. Responsive HTML5 Template: TXT by n33

If you’re using HTML5 Up!, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better starting point than TXT. It’s fully responsive and works across mobile, tablet and desktop.

Responsive HTML5 Template

10. Gemicon Icon Set by Turqois

Dig into more than 600 fresh icons in one place. When you need an ultra-specific icon (Cassette tape? Chicken leg?) Gemicon saves you from scouring the
internet — a designer’s most dreaded time-suck.

Gemicon Icon Set

Writer Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Useful Links: W3C news, Instagram TOS

W3C published today the complete definition of the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications. Though not yet W3C standards, these specifications are now feature complete, meaning businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning.

Instagram’s new terms of service are causing controversy. What Instagram’s New Terms of Service Mean for You is from the NYTimes. Wired tells us How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account. Alexandra Asher Sears, who writes about various site’s terms of service for BlogHer in a series called If Emily Posted, will be looking at the ethics of what Instagram is doing. That post will be published on BlogHer on Thursday and should be full of helpful details to help you make a decision about your Instagram account.

Regarding Instagram, here’s a strong thought from blogdiva,


10 Video Tools for Graphic Designers

The mass popularity of video presents opportunities for graphic designers to dabble into video editing. Even if youíre not going to do video editing professionally, learn enough to make it part of your skill set, because video is likely to rule the future. Get started or become a pro with the following 10 video tools for graphic designers.

1. Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is often considered the de facto program for video effects, titling and compositing. The cons? It is not user friendly for those with no video editing experience, and the learning curve is steep.

Adobe After Effects

2. BorisFX

BorisFX is a plug-in suite that takes basic video editing programs to the next level. Superior keying and compositing tools adds another dimension to a basic editing platform, allowing you to do more with graphics and fonts. More importantly for novices, it simplifies effects so you can quickly add a professional touch to your videos.


3. Motion

Motion is the effects program that works in conjunction with Final Cut Pro ñ in other words, it is Apple’s answer to Adobe After Effects.


4. Adobe Photoshop

How does Photoshop fit into this equation? Not only can you alter video files, but you can also share work seamlessly with other Adobe programs such as Premiere Pro and After Effects. Photoshop puts most designers on familiar ground.

Adobe Photoshop

5. Smoke

You want high-grade, super-impressive special effects? Look no further than Smoke, available only for the Mac.


6. Toon Boom

Toon Boom allows you to make quick and easy animations that maintain a premium appearance, without a steep learning curve.

Toon Boom

7. 3Ds Max

With industry-leading 3Ds Max, the only thing youíre limited by is your imagination.

3Ds Max

8. Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere is a fairly basic editing program, but when you combine it with the power of Adobe Creative Suite, it is so much more. Working in conjunction with Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects, you’ll have all you’ll ever need to create high-quality graphics and compositing in one package.

Adobe Premiere

9. Final Cut Pro

Much like Premiere, Final Cut Pro is a basic editing program, but with a decidedly Apple twist. It was a long-time industry standard for video editing; combing graphics, titling and compositing with ease.

Final Cut Pro

10. Ultimatte

Ultimatte started out as keying software, but then transitioned into hardware. If you are serious about compositing and getting the cleanest possible work on green or blue screens, then Ultimatte is a must-have tool.


Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

10 Awesome New Tools for Graphic Designers

Looking for some sweet new graphic design tools? The apps, software and web tools listed here have all made names for themselves in the graphic design market in recent years.

1. Paper

This iPad app lets you use your tablet like a notepad, allowing you to sketch your ideas as if you were using a traditional notebook.


2. Adobe Ideas

This is another idea notepad, except this one is integrated into the Adobe Creative Suite so you can use it seamlessly with Illustrator and Photoshop.

adobe ideas

3. iFontMaker

This iPad app lets you make your own handwritten font in minutes.

ifont maker

4. Pictaculous

Sometimes choosing a color palette can be challenging, but not anymore! Upload your photo to Pictaculous and it will automatically generate a matching color palette for you; thus saving time, effort and guesswork.


5. ColoRotate

Color editing has always been a mundane task for graphic designers, but ColoRotate takes a lot of the busy work out of it. The app promises quick color editing that is intuitive and easy to use.


6. Trevor Morris Photoshop Scripts

Here’s a host of tools for Photoshop CS6: a collection of scripts by Trevor Morris that will make your image editing quicker while reducing dull and dreary busy work.
trevor tools

7. Sketch

Sketch is more than just another sketchpad; it’s a powerful vector image creator and editor that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest graphic designer.

8. Sketchbook Express

This is a sketchbook for Mac that takes the idea of MS Paint to the next level.
sketchbook express

9. Neat Image

Digital photos are convenient, but they can often be noisy. Neat Image is a plugin for Photoshop that turns noisy, grainy photos into sharp, crisp, vibrant images.

neat image

10. iStudio Publisher

If you are looking for software to layout pages for a magazine or brochure, then iStudio is for you. The learning curve is low compared to InDesign or QuarkXPress, so you can be up and running in no time.

istudio publisher

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.