Adobe buyers’ guide: Which licensing plan is right for you?

Adobe buyers’ guide: Which licensing plan is right for you?

Choosing an Adobe plan can be a confusing process. Subscription or perpetual? Annual or extended term? Is it better for you to purchase in bulk or to purchase over time?  

To try and make things a bit clearer, we’re going to break your licensing options down based on something you’re more likely to know: which apps you need access to. Knowing whether you need the full Creative Cloud suite, can manage with a stripped down version or just need to update your PDF workflow will go a long way to help you find the right plan for you.

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If you need Creative Cloud…

You need to involve yourself in the VIP licensing program, which is the only one that can provide Creative Cloud Complete or Creative Cloud Single Apps. Called the ‘Value Incentive Plan’, this is a subscription model that gives you access to the software itself, any updates as soon as they are released, mobile apps, and an Admin Console for managing multiple licences.

Using VIP, you can purchase Creative Cloud for teams or Creative Cloud for enterprise.

Creative Cloud for teams is designed, unsurprisingly, for small work groups and design teams. Users get access to extra online storage and collaborative tools that are not available to individuals. Team licences can be assigned to an individual (named licensing) or a device (device licensing) if you are an educational institution. The licences are owned by the company, not the end users, and can be reassigned to new users as needed.

Creative Cloud for enterprise is designed for larger deployments, and comes with extra management and security tools, which you can read about here.

VIP offers three subscription term options – annual, extended and three year commit.  The annual subscription is for 12 months paid upfront, so you’d renew annually.  The extended subscription can be chosen when you sign up to VIP and allows you to pay upfront for up to three years if you are a business, or four years for education and government.

Finally, the three year commit option is available when you qualify for VIP Select, and means you pay a set price  in return for maintaining your licence quantity over three years (commercial and government customers also get increased discounts).  You achieve VIP Select status when you buy ten or more licences (fifty for education).  As well as giving you the option to sign up for three year commit, it also gives you volume discounts on all purchases.

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Adobe Acrobat DC

The best way to get Adobe’s all-conquering PDF program is through the ‘Value Incentive Plan’, a subscription model that gives you access to the software itself, any updates as soon as they are released, mobile apps, and an Admin Console for managing multiple licences. This is the same model used to purchase Creative Cloud, and like Creative Cloud, Acrobat DC it can be purchased for teams or for enterprise.

Opting for a VIP subscription is better than buying Acrobat outright, as the subscription model gives you access to extra services and features not available in the perpetually licensed version (i.e. the version you can buy outright), including support for syncing PDFs across mobile devices, electronic signing within business apps and the ability to photograph any document with your iPad camera and convert it instantly to a PDF.

If you only need the desktop version of Acrobat and think you can do without the extra features, you can buy a perpetual licence via Adobe’s Transactional Licensing Program (TLP) or Cumulative Licensing Program (CLP).

The TLP is ideal if you want to place a large, one-off order. There is no contract and no membership requirement. You simply make one large transaction, and get better pricing the more licences you buy.

The CLP is for organisations who make purchases on a regular basis. You sign a two year membership deal, and get points for every Adobe purchase you make. The more points you accrue, the better your discount. The only thing to bear in mind is that in order to be able to join the CLP, your initial purchase needs to be worth 5000 Adobe points (the equivalent of about 12 commercial Acrobat Pro licences).

Adobe’s latest release of Acrobat DC supports Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, VMware Horizon and Microsoft App-V via the VIP named user model.  Windows Terminal Server is restricted to perpetual.

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Adobe Stock

If you’re a Creative Cloud customer you can choose to add an Adobe Stock subscription to your VIP membership.  The VIP model is the only one that can provide Adobe Stock, and it is only available as a team option.

Other packages

If you’ve not seen what you want here, you’re probably after something that’s only available on the TLP or CLP. The Elements range of apps (cut down versions of Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro), Adobe Captivate, FrameMaker, FreeHand, PageMaker and ColdFusion, as well as tools like Adobe Meta Server, Tech Communications Suite and Font Folio, are all available on standalone perpetual licences, but not through any of the subscription options.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Your guide to better backup: RPO and RTO explained

Your guide to better backup: RPO and RTO explained

There’s nothing this blog likes better than jargon-busting, and today we’ve got two key backup acronyms in our sights: RPO and RTO. 

First off: what do they stand for?

RPO stands for recovery point objective. It refers to the last point in time you can afford to restore to. So for example, if one of your systems relies on a static database, the RPO for that database could be hours or even days – you can work as well from last week’s data as from yesterday’s. If you run an online store, though, your RPO will be to the last transaction, which could be seconds ago.

RTO stands for recovery time objective. This is the amount of time your key systems can go down for without your business being adversely affected. For example, if your server crashed on Thursday and you could afford for it to stay offline until the end of Friday without losing any business, your RTO would be a day. If you can’t afford to ever have your systems go offline, then your RTO is zero.

Why should I worry about them?

RPO dictates how redundant your storage, infrastructure and backup need to be. The lower your RPO, the more redundancy you need to build into your organisation.

Your RTO dictates the type of backup and data replication that you need. For example, restoring from a tape archive can take days, so if your RTO is less than that you may want to use disks for archive storage instead, and make sure you have a good offsite data replication solution you can work from.

Data replication is just another word for backup, right?

Not quite. Data replication is a mirror copy of your data that you can access instantly in the event that your primary system goes down. Data stored there is in a format that end users can use immediately. One customer of ours, for example, has a copy of their main server hosted in the cloud, and if their internal network goes down, key members of staff can just log into the cloud version of the server and keep working. Replicating your data is expensive as you need twice as much storage, but massively reduces the time it takes you to get back up and running.

A backup is a copy of your data that is unconnected to your live system, is probably kept in a format that your end users can’t access immediately, and needs to be restored before it can be accessed. There is no instant access to a backup copy.

Glad we cleared that up. How do I calculate my RPO and RTO?

Well, your RPO is simply the amount of data you can afford to lose and still function as a business, so you’re going to to need to sit down with a copy of your backup schedule and make sure that it gives you access to the data that you need. One thing to bear in mind is that where your backups are is almost as important as when they were done – if you make backups every day but only take them offsite at the end of the week, a flood would destroy a week’s worth of backups, not a day’s worth. If keeping your RPO down in a priority, it’s better to invest in more media and move your backups offsite every day (you might consider using the cloud rather than physical drives to control the cost of this).

Your RTO is based on a range of factors, including: how quickly downtime will lead to you losing money; how quickly downtime will cause a loss of customer faith and see you lose customers to rivals; which business practices are dependent on which systems (the RTO for systems with a lot of dependants is less than that of systems with few dependants); how critical those dependants are (the RTO for critical dependants is lower that that of non-critical ones).

If I’m backing up a lot of data, how do I make sure I maintain my RTO?

This is an increasingly common question. Rich media files can be huge, which means you can end up with multi-terabyte file and email servers to back up every day, which can actually take longer than a day to do. This backup deficit is, obviously, deeply bad from a data recovery point of view.

What you want to do is take a tiered approach. Get everything you’re keeping ‘just because’ or which isn’t used regularly over to an offsite archive, and back this up as infrequently as is safe (every month, for example). Then, you’ll only need to do daily/hourly backups on current files and live projects, which will be far faster and be less likely to have a negative impact on day to day user experience.

You can also use a tiered system to reduce overall costs. Rather than keeping everything on the most redundant possible storage, identify your critical systems, medium priority systems and low priority systems, and build in appropriate levels of redundancy and data protection for each.

Want to know more about ensuring you can meet your RTO and RPO? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Print in the digital age (or, why you should care about catalogues in 2017)

Print in the digital age (or, why you should care about catalogues in 2017)

Over the last few years, digital marketing has made its way to the heart of most companies’ marketing strategies. Whether you were won over by the instantaneous nature of social channels, the ‘stickiness’ of video content or the eye-popping possibilities afforded to us by recent advances in VR, chances are print is no longer the most exciting part of your marketing strategy. Which is odd, because it still works. 

As recently as mid-2015, the DMA were reporting direct mail response rates were nearly 600% higher than for digital channels, and it’s still pulling ahead of digital channels in this year’s report (heads up: it’s a paid paper). And research by Royal Mail has shown that, regardless of which age group you look at, 26.7% of consumers say that they’ve purchased something as the result of direct mail in the last year.

So why is direct mail still working?

A popular theory is that unlike, say, emails and social media notifications, which some consumers are receiving an almost overwhelming number of, well-crafted print pieces have rarity value. Their very unusualness makes them eye-catching and memorable, meaning your messaging stays front of mind for longer.

And if you combine this with personalisation – one of everyone’s predicted hot trends for 2017, as it leads to a rumoured lift in profits ranging from 31% to 10% depending on who you ask – you can use print to make a lasting impact on your audience.

Even the cost per acquisition, a metric that you’d assume would get increasingly shaky for print as online advertising becomes better targeted, has stayed reasonable thanks to the shift to digital printing and a variable print workflow, which allows greater economy at smaller scales. You can even provide different areas of your organisation with templated documentation that they can personalise for customers and then send to print on an as-needed basis.

This means you can supply customers or groups with uniquely targeted content and still have money left over to invest in other channels, something that’s reflected in the fact that 52% of DMA respondents are now combining at least three channels on any given campaign. A highly personalised print piece can be used to generate initial impact, then transition customers over digital channels such as email and social. It also provides an element of trustworthiness – we’re all more likely to open the brochure of a company we don’t know than click on their pop-up add – that can translate to more ready engagement on the consumer’s part once you’ve moved them to the digital pipeline.

Streamlining print production

While many of us are already cutting print costs by opting for digital over offset printing, it’s also worth bearing in mind that streamlining in-house production can bring down the cost of print media by making things more efficient in-house.

Centralised, accurate data, a streamlined approvals amends process and easy-to-use team management tools all help make things run more smoothly. Seeing them combined with PIM and CRM functionality in tools like MatrixCMS is likely to become increasingly common as we see the demand for content become more immediate and the number of channels content is duplicated to increases. After all, why update your catalogues and web platforms separately when you could drive them both from the same system?

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Adobe Acrobat DC adds virtualisation support for Citrix, VMware and Microsoft solutions

Adobe Acrobat DC adds virtualisation support for Citrix, VMware and Microsoft solutions

Virtualisation – the process of hosting applications and desktops on a server and then pushing them out to end users’ devices – is an increasingly popular way to make sure your end users have access to all the data and apps they need, on every device they use, whenever and wherever they’re using them.

CIOs and IT managers love this as it allows them to enforce permissions (based on your log-in, you can be shown a desktop with the correct apps and access for your role), distribute apps (they just update the server rather than updating every device manually) and generally save the IT department time, money and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.

But there has always been one dark shadow in the bright new world of virtualisation, and it has been this: a lack of proper PDF workflow support. So far, end users in virtual environments have had to work with a cut down version of Acrobat, stripped of many of the features available in the subscription-only version.

No longer.

The full, subscription-only version, Adobe Acrobat DC, has added support for leading virtualisation platforms from Citrix and VMware. (It already supports Microsoft App-V.)

End users in virtualised environments can now enjoy the benefits of subscription licensing, including access to the latest product features and updates as soon as they are released, access to mobile and e-sign features, and easy licence management via the admin console.

But the brightest shaft in this sunbeam we call news is support for secure, named-user access to Acrobat DC via Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and VMware Horizon. This means IT managers can deploy the software to multiple systems, but only specified, named users will be able to access the app or desktop at any given time. Admins will be able to track their Acrobat DC licences centrally, and add or remove named users at any time.

To find out more about deploying Acrobat DC in your organisation, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 251 or at adobe@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Buyers’ guide: Apple notebooks

Buyers’ guide: Apple notebooks

Not sure whether you need a lightweight 12″ MacBook, the versatile MacBook Air or the power of the MacBook Pro (with or without its shiny new Touch Bar and Touch ID)? Here’s a run down of the key specs – and some user comments – to help you decide one way or the other.

If you have any questions left at the end, you can always get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 for more advice, or enjoy a live chat with one of them over on our website.

12″ MacBook

macbook_12

Apple’s entry-level notebook is the 12″ MacBook. The smallest, lightest and goldest of the Apple notebook range, the MacBook was introduced in 2015 and was the first of the Apple line to feature a range of innovations, including the USB-C standard, the Force Touch touchpad, and a lighter ‘butterfly’ keyboard. The USB-C standard incorporates power, VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort standards into a single, versatile port (you will need to buy an additional adaptor to ensure all your non-USB-C devices can still connect to your MacBook).

This versatility makes the MacBook a great notebook for anyone who has to wear multiple hats, or who is moving between locations and needs to be able to slot in to whatever working environment they find. Its silent, fanless design and light touch keyboard are ideal for anyone who does most of their typing on the train and would to keep things to a polite volume.

As it is the smallest notebook in the range, MacBook doesn’t quite have the power to handle big data or creative tasks, but if you’re mostly going to be doing admin and general office work, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Ideal for: Office and admin work, mobile workers who need functionality beyond that of an iOS device.

Width: 13.1mm.

Weight: 2lbs.

Display: 12″ Retina display with 2304 x 1440 resolution.

Processors: 6th generation Intel Core m3, m5 and m7 processors.

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515.

Storage: 512GB flash storage and 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1035 (£1242 inc VAT)

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MacBook Air

macbook_air

The MacBook Air has been with us since 2008 and, though it may no longer be the lightest in the lineup, it’s still got a lot to recommend it to your mobile workforce. With up to 12 hours’ battery life, it’s the most long-lived of all the Apple range, and with a 8GB RAM and Intel i7 processors, it meets the minimum requirements for most creative apps.

Granted, it might struggle to run more than one at once, or handle higher end work, but it’s ideal for managers or those who are more involved in the approvals process than actual creation, but may need to access and annotate native files.

But it’s not just for mobile workers – it’s more than a match for common office and productivity apps, and if you’re called into a meeting, you can just pick up your MacBook Air and head down, hooking up to the room’s display (either wirelessly over AirPlay and Apple TV, or through a wired Mini DisplayPort connection) to share with the group.

It’s worth noting that the MacBook Air is the last in the Apple notebook lineup to not feature any USB-C ports, so perhaps not the best if you want to futureproof your Mac estate. However, the Air’s reliability and lifespan make it a solid investment if having the latest ports isn’t a priority for you.

Ideal for: Anyone who needs to run applications on the move when a tablet just won’t cut it – so salespeople, client-facing consultants and other staff in the field, for example. Will also work for creatives in a pinch.

Width: 17mm.

Weight: 2.96lbs.

Display: 13″ widescreen display.

Processors: Fifth generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000.

Storage: Up to 512GB flash storage and 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 12 hours.

Cost: From £785 (£942 inc VAT)

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MacBook Pro

The most recently reinvigorated of all the Apple notebooks, the MacBook Pro now comes in three flavours: a 13″ MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar, and 13″ and 15″ models with Apple’s Touch Bar and Touch ID technology built in.

While each model has different internal specifications, there have been a few improvements made across the board. The latest generation of Retina display has a 67% higher contrast ratio and can hit up to 500 nits brightness. It uses the P3 colourspace, which means it can display 25% more colours than standard RGB, giving you access to far more greens and reds.

To complement this, the MacBook Pro range boasts between 103 and 130% faster graphics performance than the previous generation, depending on which model you choose. You’ll also experience up to 76% faster 4K rendering, up to 130% faster realtime 3D graphics performance, and 103% faster performance when you’re gaming – all of which are ideal for creative users.

The MacBook Pro’s speakers have also been given a polish, and have twice as much dynamic range, more than twice as much bass and 58% more volume, so they’ll fit right into any audio workflow.

All models use the new Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C standard, which boasts all the benefits of the USB-C standard found on the 12″ MacBook, but also incorporates the high speed (40Gbps) Thunderbolt 3 connection. This means that you can plug your MacBook Pro into any of your Thunderbolt peripherals, including up to two 5K displays, and transform it from a lightweight, portable notebook to the centre of a creative workstation.

However, the most obvious addition to the MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar, a Retina quality touch strip that replaces the function keys. As well as offering a touch alternative to your function keys, the Touch Bar offers contextual shortcuts to make everything from sending email to adjusting settings in Photoshop easier and quicker. You can now keep one hand on the trackpad and the other on the Touch Bar and edit your image without having to break off and use keyboard shortcuts or a tablet.

There’s also added security thanks to the addition of Touch ID, Apple’s biometric authentication system. You can now use two factor authentication, sign in using your fingerprint, or switch users by tapping Touch ID.

13″ MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

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Ideal for: Anyone who’d like a MacBook Air but is worried that it’s not future-proof enough.

Width: 14.9mm.

Weight: 3lbs.

Display: 13″ Retina display.

Processors: Dual-core Intel Core i5 processors.

Graphics: Intel Iris graphics 540.

Storage: Up to 256GB flash storage and up to 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1199 (£1438.80 inc VAT).

 

13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

macbook_pro_15

Ideal for: Creatives who don’t like to be tied down, heavy duty office and data work.

Width: 14.9mm (13″), 15.5mm (15″).

Weight: 3lb (13″), 4lb (15″).

Display: 13″ or 15″ Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution.

Processors: Dual-core or quad-core Intel i5 or i7 processors.

Graphics: Intel Iris 540 graphics (13″), Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB or memory (15″).

Storage: Up to 2TB flash storage and up to 16GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1947 (£2336.40 inc VAT).

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Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Wacom update lineup with Cintiq Pro, Intuos Pro and Intuos Paper

Wacom update lineup with Cintiq Pro, Intuos Pro and Intuos Paper

Wacom have announced three new additions to their lineup: an updated Intuos Pro and new Intuos Pro Paper, both available now, and the Cintiq Pro, which should be joining us later in the year. 

Intuos Pro Medium and Intuos Pro Large

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First things first: users of the Intuos Pro Small tablet, we’re sorry but there’s no new version of your tablet. This selection of updates is only available for the medium and large tablets.

Medium and large tablet users, there’s a lot to be happy about. The new Intuos Pro comes with the new Pro Pen 2, a new stylus that’s four times more accurate than the previous generation of Pro Pen and boasts 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity – more than any other stylus/tablet combo on the market. This should result in a more natural and responsive drawing experience with virtually no lag and natural tilt support. Handily, it doesn’t need batteries or charging, running instead on Wacom’s own peculiar brand of sand magic (resonant inductive coupling, apparently).

The tablets themselves are now just 8mm thick, managing to be slimmer and more compact than their predecessors while maintaining the same size active area. As usual, both models come with a Touch Ring, eight customisable ExpressKeys and on-pen slider switches so that you can have your favourite shortcuts right at your fingertips. The active area still features support multitouch gestures (don’t worry, the palm rejection is still excellent).

If you’d like to update, you can now. The Wacom Intros Pro Medium is available for a very reasonable £274 ex VAT, while the Wacom Intuos Pro Large will set you back £374 ex VAT

Intuos Paper Edition

intuos_paper

If you prefer to start work on good old fashioned paper, the new Intuos Paper Edition is for you. It combines an Intuos Pro tablet with a Paper Clip, which affixes to the top of your tablet and tracks pen strokes made with your Wacom Finetip Pen (don’t worry, this is included).

As you draw with your Finetip Pen, the Clip saves each stroke as an editable file which you can subsequently open in your creative software of choice. If you want the digital version of your drawing to be made up of Photoshop-friendly layers, all you need to do is tap a button on your tablet to start a new layer as you’re drawing.

The Intuos Paper Edition can hold up to 200 multi-layered drawings before you need to transfer them to your computer, which can be a Mac or PC. Once you’ve transferred the sketches to your computer, just remove the Clip, pick up a Wacom Pro Pen and edit them as you would any other digital drawing.

The medium Wacom Intuos Paper Edition is available now for £316 ex VAT, while the large version is available for £416 ex VAT

Wacom Cintiq Pro

wacom_cintiq_pro

Wacom’s latest addition to their Cintiq lineup comes in two sizes: the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13, which has a 13.3″ display, and the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16, which very logically has a 15.6″ one. Both are compatible with Mac and PC computers, and can connect via USB-C, or via Mini DisplayPort and USB using an adaptor (which Wacom kindly include with the tablet so you don’t have to fork out twice).

This time around, the display is an sleek edge-to-edge etched glass surface, which leads to a slimmer, swisher design and a more realistic ‘pen on paper’ feel. The 13″ model has an HD screen while the 16″ has a 4K resolution one, and they’re colour accurate for 87% and 94% of Adobe RGB respectively.

Like the new Intuos Pro and Intuos Paper Edition, the Cintiq Pro ships with the ridiculously sensitive Wacom Pro Pen 2, which boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support and virtually no lag.

The Cintiq Pro has a built-in kick stand, and an optional Wacom Stand with three levels of elevation is available for anyone who wants more flexibility. There are no on-tablet ExpressKeys, but anyone who prefers physical buttons to the Cintiq’s touchscreen controls can invest in a Wacom ExpressKey Remote.

The Cintiq Pro 13 is due to ship later this month, with the Cintiq Pro 16 to follow in February. UK pricing is to be confirmed, but we’ll let you know when we do.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Our designers test drive Photoshop CC’s Touch Bar integration

Our designers test drive Photoshop CC’s Touch Bar integration

When Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, Adobe were one of the first software vendors to announce support for the new Touch Bar technology, demoing Photoshop integration live onstage at the launch event

Now that we have both the 13″ and 15″ models in stock, and Adobe have released a list of all the shortcuts that will be available on Touch Bar, we thought we’d set our designers loose on a Touch Bar MacBook Pro and see how they found using the new shortcuts.

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Liana, Graphic Designer and hand model

To begin with it does feel a bit strange forcing yourself to use the Touch Bar rather than keyboard shortcuts, but I imagine it’s like when you first start using a Wacom Cintiq – once you get used to using it, it’s really useful.

The shortcuts I used most were definitely the ones to change layer properties. The brush options are a lot more intuitive on Touch Bar, as they increase and decrease in much smaller increments than they do when you use the keyboard shortcuts, so there’s a nice gradual slide that allows you to get exactly the size you want. The bar is very good at sliding, generally; each slider expands when you click on it, so if you’re changing colour options you have a nice wide range to get the exact hue and brightness you need, and you have a lot more room to edit the opacity options than you do when you edit them directly on your Wacom.

touch_bar_photoshop_brush_size

The favourites bar has a nice range of common shortcuts that you can add to your Touch Bar. Having full screen mode just a tap away is useful if your art director is hovering over you and wants a clean preview of your work. From a non-design point of view, I really liked having tiny previews of all my open tabs in Safari, which made searching for images far easier.

touch_bar_internet_buttons

Jamie, Web Designer

I hadn’t used one of the new generation of keyboards before and the lack of key travel feels weird at first, but the larger key area certainly makes the keyboard easier to type on. The one complaint that I would have is that the keys are perhaps a bit too noisy for the amount of travel they have.  The light touch makes me a feel like a hacker, the loud noise makes it sound like I’m mashing buttons on Street Fighter.

Touch Bar looks nice; it’s vibrant and sharp, and the matte finish allows fingers to just slide over the surface, which is nice when there are a few apps that have tabs or slides that require you to interface this way.

In Photoshop, Touch Bar initially feels a little redundant, as keyboard shortcuts can be used for a lot of the same tasks, and don’t require me to move my hands from the keyboard or move my eyes away from the screen. As time goes on though, it does have its advantages. For example, controls for brush size and opacity are easily within reach. I could imagine using a Wacom with my hand hovering over the Touch Bar, drawing with my right hand and dynamically updating the size, flow etc along the way.

touch_bar_photoshop_menu

There are some features that are nice with Touch Bar too. In Photoshop again, having the blending modes and layer transparency readily available is nice. I haven’t learned the keyboard shortcuts for blending modes yet, so this feels pleasant. It’s easy to see that Touch Bar would be a hit with those who aren’t privy to the dark magic of keyboard shortcuts and those used to touch screens as a primary interface.

One nice touch I did like was dialogue boxes, and that their options are readily available on the touch bar. I don’t have to move my mouse to get to the buttons to quickly dismiss pop-ups.

Thierry, Graphic Designer

I can see Touch Bar being really useful for designers who don’t use a pen tablet as part of their normal workflow. The quick button options mean the left hand can be used to adjust Touch Bar controls while you use the touchpad with your right (or vice versa for lefties).

touch_bar_photoshop_colour_slider

The options that are usually stuck in Menu Options are the most useful to me. Having options like horizontal/vertical flip and new layer on the bar is a huge time saver as they’re now in easy reach and don’t require me to temporarily break my train of thought to navigate menu options. Hopefully as time goes on, the customisable options available on the bar will expand, and then it’ll be a great tool for tweaking your workspace to suit your preferences.

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Tried the new Touch Bar? Let us know what you think in the comments. You can browse the new MacBook Pro range here, or get in touch with our Adobe team to update your Creative Cloud subscription on 03332 409 251. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Derby University student wins prestigious media awards

Derby University student wins prestigious media awards

A media production student from the University of Derby has won two Royal Television Society Midlands Centre awards for her outstanding work on her third year film, A Girl’s Story, a docudrama about a girl who struggles to maintain a long-distance relationship with her parents, who have gone away to find work.

Producer/director Yue Liu is an international student from China. She was nominated in the category of Best Factual Film, and such was the quality of production that the judging panel also selected her film to compete in the Best Camerawork category.

Media production programme leader Phil Basi said: “This is a great achievement for Yue and the course, highlighting that we can produce award-winning students with the high calibre skills required to succeed in media production.”

Yue was overjoyed with the news and said: “I can’t believe that I have won in two categories and believe that this would not have been possible without the support of the staff and students at Derby.

derby_uni_1

We’d also like to take a very slight bit of credit, having kitted Derby University out with over £150,000 worth of studio equipment over the years – include the suite of iMacs where media production students edit their award-winning work.  This is the second year running that films from Derby University’s media production degree programme have been shortlisted in the RTS Awards, and we’re delighted to see that Derby University’s investment in industry-standard equipment from the likes of Panasonic, Canon, Atmos, EIZO and Matrox is paying off!

Yue will now go on to represent the Midlands at the National Royal Television Society Awards to be held in London in spring 2017, where she’ll face stiff completion from across the UK. Winners were announced at the prestigious gala dinner which was held on the evening of Thursday 3rd November at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.

 

Media Production, Students work in the Computer Labs

From all of us here at Jigsaw24, well done Yue and best of luck for the next stage of the competition!

Want to know more about how we keep universities like Derby ahead of the curve? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid reactivate ScriptSync and PhraseFind add-on options

Avid reactivate ScriptSync and PhraseFind add-on options

Hot on the heels of their acquisition of Nexidia’s Emmy award-winning dialogue and audio analysis tools, Avid have revealed that they’re bringing back ScriptSync and PhraseFind add-on options to Media Composer. 

What’s new in ScriptSync?

ScriptSync version 2.0 will be available from February 2017, either as a new add-on to your Media Composer licence, or as an update for anyone who already owns a ScriptSync version 1.0 licence.

As with the previous version, ScriptSync version 2.0 indexes your media and links your clips to your imported script text, so you can select a line of script and instantly see the associated takes.

However, with the incorporation of Nexidia technology, version 2.0 will also include: 

– An updated colour palette for richer markup.

– Native support for more frame formats, including 4×3 and 16×9.

– Undo and Redo stacks.

– User notes.

– Editable script text.

What’s new in PhraseFind?

Also available in February 2017, PhraseFind version 2.0 indexes your audio files, so you can search for media based on spoken words. Anyone with a still-active PhraseFind 1.0 licence can upgrade to PhraseFind 2.0, or it’s available as a full upgrade for anyone without a current licence.

New features in PhraseFind version 2.0 include: 

– A reskinned Find window which matches the updated one  in Media Composer.

– Autofill in the Search field.

– An improved, faster phonetic indexing engine.

– Support for additional languages and dialects.

– Support for shorter phoneme phrases (basically it listens better and returns more accurate results).

What are my licensing options?

There is no subscription option for these add-ons – they must be purchased outright. However, they are both available as a Floating Licence, in the same way that your Symphony and NewsCutter options are.

Education customers can purchase a discounted bundle that includes both add-ons – they are not available at discounted prices individually.

These latest versions will only work with Media Composer v8.8.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

Avid have been feeling particularly generous toward NEXIS users of late, bringing out not one but two software updates for their shared storage platform. Here’s a quick rundown of the new features. 

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.0?

Protected Workspaces. This release introduces support for protecting Workspaces against the failure of an entire Engine. To use this feature, called media mirroring, your shared storage system must comprise a System Director Appliance and at least three Engines of the same type (three Avid NEXIS | E2, three Avid NEXIS | E4, or three Avid NEXIS | E5 Engines). All the Engines must have the same number and capacity of Media Packs, and all of the Media Packs must belong to the same Storage Group.

For mirrored Workspaces, if an Engine fails there is no impact on workflow. 
You can upgrade an existing shared storage system to support mirrored Workspaces. After the upgrade, a new column called Mirror Capable is displayed on the Storage Groups page. If any existing Storage Groups meet the criteria for this feature, after the upgrade the Mirror Capable column displays a Yes. You do not need to manually enable this support on a Storage Group; it is automatic.
You can choose to use mirroring on new Workspaces you create in that group. Two-disk Media Pack protection is also applied to any new mirrored Workspaces.

Mirror-capable Storage Groups are subject to some restrictions on changes and redistribution; see the Avid NEXIS Administration Guide for more information.

Link aggregation. This release introduces support for link aggregation (also called NIC teaming) on the Ethernet ports in all Controllers in an Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engine or System Director Appliance. Link aggregation provides protection from a single point of failure (one Ethernet port or one switch, depending on how you configure your network).
For more detail, see the Avid NEXIS Setup and Maintenance Guide, the Avid NEXIS Administration Guide, and the Avid NEXIS Network and Switch Guide. All of these documents are available on the Avid Knowledge Base.

Bug fixes. This update fixes several issues, including:

– Drives being marked as under-performing or failed in error. This could lead to media being offline. Avid strongly recommends upgrading to Avid NEXIS v7.0.

– An issue where using copy and paste actions in the Agent did not work on the CONFIGURE tab, in the Data Interfaces fields.

– Removed the “Missing/Empty Disk” warnings in Engines that are not fully populated with Media Packs, because that is a supported configuration.

– An issue with LDAP authentication on Avid NEXIS systems, so that it no longer requires reverse DNS lookup.

– Restored the functionality of the Notification Service. In earlier versions of Avid NEXIS v6.x, the Notification Service did not work. This issue also affected Avid ISIS | 1000 systems running v5.x, on which the Notification Service was configured and working, which were upgraded to v6.x. After the upgrade, notification emails were no longer generated.

Aspera support. v7.0 introduces support for running an Aspera data transfer application on an Avid NEXIS client to transfer files between Workspaces on local and remote NEXIS systems. This release also supports transferring data from Avid NEXIS Workspaces to an Aspera Enterprise Server running Aspera on Demand for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). For more information, see here.

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

Increased capacity. Starting in the v7.x releases, the total scale of the Avid NEXIS Enterprise has been raised to 2.88PB of capacity and 192 GBps of bandwidth.

More Media Packs. The limits on the number of Media Packs in an Avid NEXIS system have increased, too. You can now have: up to 24 Media Packs in systems with a System Director Appliance and the Avid NEXIS | FS Extended licence and any combination of Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engines, or up to 48 Media Packs in systems with a System Director Appliance and the Avid NEXIS | FS Advanced licence and any combination of Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engines.

More secure passwords. This release introduces support for extended password lengths for users. Now, users can have passwords of up to 127 bytes, which is equivalent to 127 ASCII characters. The Administrator account for an Avid NEXIS system can also be up to 127 bytes (ASCII characters).

Better drive performance. This release fixes a problem where drives were marked as under-performing or failed in error. This could lead to media being offline. Avid requires upgrading to Avid NEXIS v7.0 or higher.

Bug fixes This release fixes a problem specific to the Avid NEXIS | PRO running Avid NEXIS v7.0, where running the Log Aggregator caused the System Director to restart. It also fixes a problem isolated to Avid NEXIS v7.0 systems, where a client could not open a Pro Tools project stored on an Avid NEXIS system.

NEXIS v7.1 is available now through your Avid Master Account.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.