Video: Our design team on… upgrading to the LG Ultrafine 5K display

Video: Our design team on… upgrading to the LG Ultrafine 5K display

Graphic designer Simon was recently told to upgrade from his beloved Apple Cinema Display in favour of something newer, more efficient and colour accurate. It’s fair to say he was not best pleased with how the incredible resolution, colours and adjustable stand of the LG Ultrafine 5K display allowed him to be more productive and comfortable. Not happy at all.

Want to know more about the LG Ultrafine 5K display? Give us a call on 03332 409 251, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Video: Our design team’s verdict on Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Video: Our design team’s verdict on Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Our design team recently got their hands on Wacom’s new MobileStudio Pro mobile computer. But how would it compare against the Wacom Cintiq Companion and the team’s own trusty Intuos Pro tablets? Here are their first impressions…

Want to know more about the Wacom MobileStudio Pro? 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

 

Bringing Zebedee the zebra to life with Adobe Creative Cloud

Bringing Zebedee the zebra to life with Adobe Creative Cloud

We’ve loved the cracking Christmas ads from Apple, John Lewis, H&M and Sainsbury’s this year, so we decided to join in the fun and create a festive-themed feature of our own. 

Taking some solid inspiration from John Lewis’s popular ‘Buster the Boxer’ campaign, I took to my favourite Adobe Creative Cloud apps to bring our very own trampolining critter to life – Zebedee the zebra! 

Zebedee enjoying a popular zebra pass time – trampolining!
Zebedee enjoying a popular zebra past time – trampolining!

I use Adobe Creative Cloud for all my animation work because it’s easy to use. App integration allows you to switch between programs without worrying about file compatibility or loss of progress, making the transition from design to video nice and simple.

When I began the initial design, I booted up Illustrator and created each scene in 2D, making sure to keep any component I wanted to animate independently on a separate layer. Once I’d finished the 2D design, I imported the layers for each scene into After Effects and enabled them for 3D. From there I added a camera and lighting, providing some depth to the artwork.

Zebedee makes a friend...
Zebedee makes a friend…

Adobe’s neat animation tools allowed me to fine tune the basics of the design, animating the camera and other moving parts, including clouds and the hedgehog. I did this using basic layer variables like position and rotation, and made use of a few expressions when I needed items to loop or react to components from another layer (expressions are a feature of Adobe After Effects, allowing you to create relationships between layer properties, using the keyframes of one property to dynamically animate other layers).

One of the great things about Creative Cloud for animation is that it supports a whole load of different plug-ins. These can be utilised to provide new tools that increase the functionality of your apps, which is great for continued efficiency and productivity, and saves you having to use other design programs entirely. When it came to animating Zebedee the zebra, I made use of After Effects’ puppet tool and a third-party rigging plug-in called DUIK. DUIK allows moving parts to be controlled ‘realistically’, keeping  appendages attached to the appropriate body part – in this case, hooves to legs and legs to body.

"YouTube are gonna love this..."
“YouTube are gonna love this…”

I wasn’t too happy with my first attempt at texturing the snow in the garden using a vector texture brush in Illustrator, and ended up finishing the job with a third-party brush in Photoshop. Thankfully, replacing all the layers in After Effects was quick and easy and didn’t affect any of the animating I’d already done (thanks, app integration!).

Once I’d completed each scene, I imported them all as After Effects compositions into Premiere Pro. From there, I arranged them on the timeline, edited the transitions and added the music. Then I used Media Encoder to export each cut for approval (I exported at a lower resolution until the finished version was fully signed off), which allowed me to continue working with Premiere Pro in the meantime.

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You can check out Zebedee the zebra’s Christmas debut below:

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

 

Why use animation (and Adobe Creative Cloud) for marketing?

Why use animation (and Adobe Creative Cloud) for marketing?

With the way people respond to advertising changing (Newscred report that 87% of buyers say digital content has a large impact on their purchasing decisions), I’ve found myself increasingly using animation as part of my video workflow. 

Why animation for marketing?

There are a few reasons we might decide animation was the best way to communicate a message – it can help make abstract or complex concepts easier to understand than a paragraph of text or a voiceover, or it can help to make dryer subjects more interesting and fun just by adding some graphics with a bit of movement. It also allows us to keep multimedia campaigns visually consistent by reusing spot illustrations that might have been created for a print campaign and turning them into motion graphics for video content.

We find we get some really good response when we incorporate animation, but creating it obviously takes time. Adobe Creative Cloud – a staple of my video workflow – helps ease that a bit.

Why use Adobe Creative Cloud?

Creative Cloud was an obvious choice for me when starting out in animation. For a start, I already had a CC subscription for all the other web and print work I was doing, so I had instant access to After Effects, and when I first went to use it a lot of the features came intuitively from being used to working in Illustrator and Photoshop etc. Keeping everything within Creative Cloud has other benefits too – there are dynamic links between all of the apps that I use for animation that keep my workflow totally non-destructive and any aspect of the final product is easily editable at any point of the process.

It’s great for organisation. I keep the bits I need to move independently of each other on separate layers in Illustrator, that way I can have them as separate layers in After Effects too. It means I don’t have to make loads of separate Illustrator files.

If you make any changes to your work, it’ll automatically update in Premiere Pro, taking out the hassle of going back and forth, saving different components multiple times every time you make a change. Creative Cloud gives you a more integrated user experience that’s brilliant for animation. App integration provides me with all the tools I could need to take an animation from initial illustration right the way up to final export.

Adobe Creative Cloud from Jigsaw24

I really would recommend making the move to Creative Cloud if you don’t already have a subscription. Or, indeed, if you’re looking at bringing video and animation in-house for the first time. The Complete package gives you access to all Adobe apps (After Effects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, plus your standards like Photoshop, InDesign and more), or you can just opt for a Single App subscription too. Find out more about buying options for Adobe Creative Cloud here.

Oh, and you can see some of my animation work here at the Jigsaw24 YouTube channel.

 

– Want to get the most out of Adobe Creative Cloud? For tutorials, tips and other resources, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub

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


Video: Our design team on… Adobe Creative Cloud for video

Video: Our design team on… Adobe Creative Cloud for video

For anyone looking to bring video production in-house, Adobe Premiere Pro in Creative Cloud is the first port of call. Here, graphic designer Simon runs us through his basic shooting and editing workflow with Premiere Pro, while the rest of the marketing team show off their (frankly shocking) pool skills…

– Want to get the most out of Adobe Creative Cloud? For tutorials, tips and other resources, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 251, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Video: My design workflow, from mobile to desktop

Video: My design workflow, from mobile to desktop

In this video, I’m looking at how to combine Adobe mobile and desktop apps to work quickly without compromising on creativity. Using a company newsletter as an example, I take a project from initial concept on mobile to further editing on desktop, right through to delivery. Word of warning: our 70s-themed Betamax meeting room features some dangerously funky wallpaper…

Want to know more? Call us on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com, and keep up with all things Apple by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24

Video review: Our design team on… iPad Pro

Video review: Our design team on… iPad Pro

What do actual designers think of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil? To find out, we let them loose with Apple’s largest tablet for a day, to get their views on drawing, multi-tasking and… drumming.

Free event: Hands-on with iPad Pro and Adobe

Want to put iPad Pro to the test yourself? Pop down to our free Hands-on with iPad Pro and Adobe event on 10th February to get a masterclass in mobile workflows from Adobe’s Senior Solutions Consultant Tony Harmer, put your questions to the team and – most importantly – get hands-on with the latest and largest addition to the iPad family, so you can see how it’ll handle your favourite creative apps.

Want to find out more about iPad Pro? Options start at the 32GB model up to 128GB, and it’s available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, with prices from £547 ex VAT. Get in touch with the team 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.


Designers’ deep dive: Adobe Linked Assets

Designers’ deep dive: Adobe Linked Assets

In the first of a series of articles, the design team are taking a closer look at aspects of Adobe Creative Cloud. First up, I’ve taken a look at Linked Assets, how they work and how they can improve your workflow…

In Creative Cloud 2014, the new Libraries panel meant that frequently used assets, such as vector graphics and photos, could be stored and organised in Creative Cloud, and then accessed easily for use in another document – even in a different application. When the element was brought into a new document from the Libraries panel, it was just a copy of the original, so any subsequent editing only affected that particular instance of it, and if the original was updated, it would have to be reimported.

Linked Assets in Adobe Creative Cloud

What are Linked Assets?

Now in CC 2015, there’s the option to bring an asset into a new document as a ‘linked asset’. To do this, just right click on the asset in the Libraries panel and select ‘Place Linked’ instead of ‘Place Copy’. Now if the original is edited, any instances imported in this way will also update (they actually show a little cloud alert in the top left of their frame first and update when this is clicked).

Linked Assets in Adobe Creative Cloud

What are the benefits?

As well as saving time reimporting assets if changes are made, this is really beneficial for teams working on a project simultaneously – for example, if one designer needs to make changes to an illustration that another has used in a brochure, placing it as a linked asset in InDesign will mean that they see the changes as soon as the first designer resaves it.

This is all pretty similar to stuff you could already do through File > Place, or dragging and dropping in many applications, but having the assets you know you’ll use most accessible in the in-app Libraries makes them much more efficient than having to navigate through your whole filing system in Finder or suchlike. If you’re using Adobe Stock, the whole process of sourcing, editing and using photos across multiple documents is now especially streamlined.

Another big benefit of using Libraries to store and place linked assets is that if a designer is working remotely from their shared server, they’ll still be dynamically linked to the rest of the team, instead of getting broken links to anything stored on the server (or having to duplicate all of the assets and saving on their own machine). A big win for our team.

For more on Adobe Creative Cloud, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub, get in contact with us on 03332 409 251 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com.

Video: Our design team on working with Wacom Intuos Pro

Video: Our design team on working with Wacom Intuos Pro

Ask any designer nowadays and they’ll tell you their Wacom is indispensable to their work. Ask our design team, and they’ll tell you why they’d like to snog theirs. Find out how they’re using Wacom Intuos Pro in design work as diverse as print, web, illustration and animation in this video… 

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