A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

We caught up with Zoe Scott-Smith, Senior Brand Designer at Threerooms Branding Agency in Nottingham, to find out about the kind of work she does, their projects, the technology they use, what keeps her inspired each day, and which industry trends they’ve got their eyes on…

Tell us about the kind of work you do at Threerooms? 

Threerooms is a digital-first branding agency, so as Senior Brand Designer, I get to work on lots of varied and exciting brand projects. The great thing about branding is that each project is completely bespoke and crafted to the individual client, so even though the creative process can be similar, no project or day is the same. I work closely with clients from the get-go, too – from initial brand workshops, through to rolling out bespoke and tailored brands. Brand workshops are a great chance to truly learn about the client, and understanding how a company or business began is one of my favourite questions. You can delve deep into their personality, ethos and find out what drives them.

What are some big projects you’ve been working on recently? 

I have been working on lots of really exciting top brands, covering everything from universities, the emergency services, charities, packaging for drinks, the beauty industry, and even a brand new aquatics brand. I absolutely love getting stuck into creating a new brand. Even now, I find the creative process such a rewarding journey.

Aside from brand jobs, I have been creating a range of illustrations and wall graphics for one of our clients. It’s a lot of fun working with so many different creative mediums.

zoe_sketch

What technology does your team rely on every day? 

There are lots of different tools that we rely on day to day. Adobe Creative Cloud (everything from InDesign and Photoshop to Illustrator and Lightroom), as well as 3D software such as Cinema 4D and web software like Sketch. Aside from design software, InVision is our go-to presentation software, as it lets us to upload and present our visuals while allowing for easy commenting and feedback.

When it comes to communication and collaboration, software such as Podio, which acts as our main central hub, is key. Other tools like Forecast help us map out different project schedules, while WorkflowMax lets us keep an eye on invoicing and time allocation management. Google for Business is especially handy for collaboration, and – of course – Spotify is my go-to for much needed tunes.

How does this compare to the technology you were using at the start of your career?

I am quite lucky – when I was starting my career, a lot of the other, lesser known design packages were being phased out and I jumped straight into Adobe CS4! Without making myself sound too old, the technology really has evolved so much. When I started in the industry ten years ago, it was a print-dominated world – web software like Sketch wasn’t around and terms like UX weren’t commonplace. The work felt more isolated, so collaborative tools have really paved the way for more unity and open-thinking between designers.

Regarding interaction with clients, back then it was a bit more of a “here’s a bit of paper with amends scribbled on it” approach. Collaboration tools are not just a way for designers to feed back, but are a huge part of client interactions, too. It is essential for this process to be as smooth as possible to avoid hiccups and allow designers more time to do what they do best. Internally, collaboration tools allow the team to quickly provide feedback from everyone’s perspective, and enable us to understand their comments more clearly. Ultimately, this makes for a better project outcome.

What technology has had the biggest impact on Threerooms? 

All the latest technology trends have had a huge impact on the studio. We pride ourselves in keeping up to date with the latest trends, advancements and tweaks as they all add up in their own way, and usually help to simplify and advance the creative process.

There are a few different things we’re excited about, the first being Dimension, the new 3D software by Adobe. We’re also looking forward to Adobe Spark and InVision Studio.

zoe_work2

How do your team stay productive during busy, stressful times?

We’re armed with our headphones! But in all seriousness, when it’s busy and time is of the essence, being able to pull the team together for input and feedback is ideal for discovering new creative routes and re-energising. Working in a close-knit team has some huge advantages, too. We all know what eachother are working on and can offer input, fresh ideas and collaborate between ourselves, which really helps to enhance each project.

What keeps you inspired everyday? 

The main sources of inspiration are obvious – Behance, Pinterest and Dribbble. However, when a challenge arises, team get-togethers provide the best source of inspiration. You find that with several design heads together, problems are quickly resolved.

I have to mention our beautiful surroundings! With our studio being based at Strelley Hall, it’s amazing how much of a difference having a tranquil setting can make to your creative thoughts. I once heard that the Pixar team often take a drive to ‘nowhere’, passing through serene landscapes to rattle through their creative problems – I think we could be on to something!

Of course, music is a huge source of inspiration for everyone. Nothing is better than throwing your headphones on or cranking up the studio speaker and blasting out your favourite tunes for tackling the tricky tasks at hand.

strelley_hall

Do you use any design tablets, and if so, how do you use them?

I used to dabble with Wacom’s a fair bit – I think they’re great to use. I guess I don’t particularly miss the interaction of holding a pen-like device though – whenever I am needed to create bespoke illustrations, I instinctively grab my brush pens and do them raw. Something about this tactile approach is rewarding and offers greater control.

I then use the Adobe Capture mobile app to snap my hand-crafted illustrations, which then sync instantly into my chosen Creative Cloud library as a vectorised illustration. I love how this app still retains even the slightest imperfections – the smallest splatters of ink or alterations in a line – which all add to the character of the overall look.

Are there any industry trends that your team are thinking about incorporating into your work in the near future?

I think it’s important to always look to the future, and to consider what we need to incorporate in order to keep Threerooms ahead. With logo animations being one of the dominant trends at the moment, we are looking to push animation in all of our work, from logos all the way through to websites. In addition, we’re looking to push modelling advances by using the latest Adobe software like Dimension, and we’re also thinking about the possibilities of VR and how we can shape new experiences in that environment.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges for all designers is to ensure we are still generating creative ideas and staying ahead of the trends. I often find myself scrolling through the latest and greatest branding examples, questioning why certain things were done in certain ways, what they were looking to achieve, and most importantly, absorbing everything I see.

Outside of the creative process, the biggest challenge would have to be client deadlines, which we overcome by utilising our workflow tools to assist with timeframes. Budget constraints can also be a challenge, however we find our process of in-depth workshops helps us to achieve the end goal quicker by fully understanding the client’s needs from the outset.

zoe_work1

How important is collaboration for your team, and how has technology helped with this?

Collaboration is massively important, and enables us to get the best out of our projects. We never underestimate the value of getting a fresh pair of eyes on our work, and are always doing internal reviews to enhance collaboration on all of our projects. With everyone’s eyes on each project, it allows us to continually push the boundaries in what we create and feedback on each other’s work. Not only does it lead to great results for Threerooms and our team, but also for our clients.

Threerooms are a leading brand and creative agency in Nottingham. They help marketing teams and business owners add value to their brands through impeccable design and effective brand strategy.

threerooms.com

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

When’s best to refresh your team’s creative technology?

When’s best to refresh your team’s creative technology?

If you’ve had your current technology setup for a while now and it’s still doing a perfectly good job, upgrading probably isn’t even on your radar. And that’s fair enough – spending on new kit can be expensive, and moving over to fresh hardware can be a hassle if you don’t really need to. But it’s important to remember that as new software and standards are released, your tech will gradually begin to slow down. 

It’s easy to sit back, relax, and deal with something as big as a complete technology refresh only when you absolutely have to, and having the very latest hardware isn’t exactly essential. With that being said, why should you bother upgrading your kit, when exactly is the best time for a refresh, and how can you ensure you’re getting the best value for money?

Why?

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, having access to the latest hardware is obviously a major plus and should prevent you from falling behind. Powerful tech allows you to explore and experiment with new mediums – for example, only Creative Cloud users have access to Adobe’s incredible tools for things like VR, AR and 3D animation – and means your existing workflow and projects will benefit from increased efficiency and productivity no matter what your creative vocation is. Likewise, if you’ve started to notice your current setup wearing down and underperforming, it’s time to start plotting a refresh. Once your tech starts causing problems for your creative workflow, you’ll find it harder to hit deadlines and meet the requirements of stakeholders and clients.

When?

Answering the ‘when’ question is a bit trickier. A lot of it comes down to the amount of money you have available for an upgrade at any given time, what’s happening in your business (whether you’re in the middle of large projects, restructuring or hiring new staff, for example), and how critical a kit update is for your team. It almost goes without saying, but keeping an eye out for deals and sales could be ideal if you need new hardware but are limited in the budget department. So try and time your purchasing plans with upcoming sales and jump on bargains when you see them, and if you can purchase a large amount of gear in one go at a discounted rate, you could save yourself more than a few quid.

How?

When planning out your creative technology upgrade, consider searching out trade-in/buy back deals. Once you’re sure you’ve received a good offer for your existing tech, trade it all in for cash to put towards new hardware. It’s also worth staggering your upgrade process, starting with the oldest tech and working up – that way, it’ll be easier to manage and you won’t have to splash out on a large outlay.

In terms of manageability and affordability, you’ll find it easier if you partner up with a reliable supplier that can offer you expert guidance along the way, and advise you on the best choices for your creative needs and budget (like us!). It’s also well worth looking into Device as a Service (DaaS) models for your purchasing. DaaS provides businesses with a rolling agreement for the very latest hardware, and includes support, repairs, warranties and more for one price, per user, per month. Likewise, leasing arrangements are a great way of spreading the cost of your new kit, allowing for increased flexibility and simpler budgeting than a big, one-off payment. You can find out more about our leasing options here.

If you think you’re ready to upgrade your team’s setup, take a look at our Creative Kit Configurator – it’s the best way to ensure you get the perfect, cost-effective tech for your needs. Simply select the type of user you’re buying for, then customise different parts of the setup to suit your specific requirements.

For more information, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Creative trend: The kit list – getting ready to tackle VR

Creative trend: The kit list – getting ready to tackle VR

Virtual reality is unavoidable at the moment. Marketeers are praising its immersiveness and versatility as tools to increase engagement; the relative novelty of successful VR projects makes them a hit with PR teams, and creative teams are excited to push themselves in a new medium, as you can see from our panel featuring creatives from The Mill, Halo Post, Alchemy VR and Rewind:

 

All of which begs the question, is this something you should be doing in-house? A case could be made for outsourcing to specialists like Alchemy whenever clients ask you for VR content, but the increased control and agility that comes with doing things in-house – especially when it comes to things like integrating 360 video into a wider campaign, rather than staging one-off VR events – has led many creative teams, including ours, to wonder if they could take this on themselves. Let’s take a look at what you’d need.

What could you be creating?

As Facebook, YouTube and other large platforms add support for 360-degree video, it’s becoming an integral part of many social campaigns, an extension of the traditional video content you might produce for a cross-platform project. It’s also become a popular alternative to corporate ‘explainers’ among companies who want to seem cutting edge and, as in this well-regarded example from Michelle Obama and The Verge, with publishers and journalists who want to ensure their content stays relevant as users move to new platforms. (The New York Times also got a massive publicity boost when it gave away a million Cardboard headsets and started making startlingly good immersive journalism).

‘Immersive VR’ – the kind that uses an expensive headset and motion tracking to make you feel like you’ve wandered into a video game – has more in common with games development and 3D animation than traditional film production, although as our panel pointed out, the sense of narrative and need for careful direction remain.

In the commercial sphere, immersive VR has proven to be a great tool for attracting PR at one-off events or tours (this mildly terrifying hiking experience from Merrell, for example or Sotheby’s offering you the chance to climb inside a Dalí painting. You can also climb inside your own sketches with help from Gravity Sketch). However, as VR technology becomes more readily available (and affordable) we’re seeing the rise of more apps for end users.

This is especially true of content that can be consumed via cheaper headset solutions like Google Cardboard. Cardboard-compatible apps have received a mixed response in the past because until recently many of the smartphones it worked with struggled to sync streams of 3D sufficiently well to avoid lagging and motion sickness, but the times they are a-changing, and the chips in phones they are a-getting more powerful.

So what kit do you need to invest in?

When it comes to shooting 360 video, there are two ways to do it: attach multiple action cameras (GoPros are popular) to a rig, then stitch the footage from each camera into a 360 degree panorama, or buy a camera designed to shoot 360, or go all the way and invest in the Insta360 Pro for true 360 filming.

We’d recommend shooting native 360, but if you’re wary of investing that much upfront, Teradek’s Sphere solution comes with a GoPro-compatible rig and a monitoring solution that’ll let you see your stitched footage on-set, which is a huge advantage if clients are going to be present for the shoot. There’s also Google’s Jump programme, for which you’d need to purchase a Google Jump rig, then use the Jump Assembler to send your footage to Google, who return it to you 48-72 hours later, fully stitched.

However you choose to shoot your footage, you’ll want to add Imagineer Systems’ mocha VR plug-in to your editing software, as that makes it possible for you to perform tasks like optimised planar tracking, masking, object removal, and horizon stabilisation directly in your NLE.

Adobe have been quick to add VR tools to Premiere Pro, too, so if you already have a Creative Cloud subscription then it’s well worth exploring those. With the Premiere Pro CC 2017 update, Adobe added native QuickTime DNxHR/HD codec support, so you can create VR media files which play back more efficiently than H.264. They also added VR properties to Clips, meaning Premiere Pro will look for the same metadata added during export, which allows 360 playback in YouTube and Facebook. In June, Adobe acquired Skybox plug-ins by Mettle, for 360 video and VR, which will integrate their functionality natively into Premiere Pro and After Effects, and should be available by the end of the year.

One of the key things from the panel we held (seriously, scroll back up and give it a watch), is that while virtual reality projects tend to max out at around 20 minutes in length, they spend longer in post-production than a 60 minute television programme, as the challenges of stitching footage, mixing audio and performing all your usual corrections and grades now has to be done on far more footage, which is far more difficult to match, may contain 3D animated elements, and potentially contains a crew and other equipment that need to be painted out, because there’s nowhere to hide them in a 360-degree shoot. Even adding motion graphics, as you might want to in a corporate video, becomes much more difficult when they have to exist (and follow the viewer around) in a 3D space.

Doing all this means you might need to invest in higher-spec workstations (asked to describe the ideal spec, our product manager simply said “beefy”, which you’re free to take however you want, but which we think means “the sort of thing you’d work with 4K footage on, why not explore your options in our workstation configurator?”).

How can we help?  

Aside from hosting Soho’s premier panel on the subject, we can provide all the kit you need for VR – cameras, rigs, software, plug-ins, media, monitors – from one place, with 30 day credit accounts (subject to you passing a credit check) and next day delivery on many key items.

If you’re not quite ready to buy, our longstanding relationships with leading media vendors mean that we’re perfectly placed to advise on the directions different suppliers are taking with VR, and help you find kit, storage solutions and workstations to support the direction you want to take, as well as advice on how to fit them all together.

For more on the cost of bringing VR in house, take a look at this sister article for finance teams. If you want to know more about VR, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. If you’re ready to start shopping head to our design store, hereFor everything else, including the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Buyers’ guide: Apple desktops

Buyers’ guide: Apple desktops

While Mac has long been the go-to choice for creatives using resource-draining editing software or demanding design programs, Mac has also proven itself as a brilliant option for business and beyond. When it comes to Mac for desktop, there are three simple choices: the all-in-one iMac, the powerful, professional Mac Pro, and the compact and efficient Mac mini.

In the desktop arena, Mac faces fierce competition from a vast array of PCs all clamouring to sit atop your desk. And packing in a huge assortment of different processors, graphics cards and monitors, the desktop world can be a perplexing and intimidating place – particularly for first time buyers. With Apple’s Mac desktop range, you know what you’re getting – a familiar UI, trusty hardware and an assortment of essential creative software and applications at your fingertips.

Take a look at this essential buyers’ guide so you know exactly what you’re in for when you go with Apple and their Mac desktops.

iMac

m227axc

With its big, bright Retina display now available in 5K on the 27″ model and 4K on its 21.5″ sister, and powerful internals, the iMac really is the ultimate all-in-one desktop. It’s long been popular among image specialists and designers, and has caught the attention of videographers thanks to its built-in 4K editing capabilities. But outside of the creative world, it’s also found favour with business users, education institutions, and home users, thanks to its multi-purpose ethos.

The iMac is both sleek in design and space-efficient, with all the internals  built into its gorgeous, slim screen, meaning no cables and no mess. It even comes equipped with an Apple Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Trackpad 2 to boot.

The specs:

21″ iMac

– 21″ widescreen display.

– Up to 2TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i5 2.8GHz processor.

– Up to Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200. 

From £869 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

21″ iMac with 4K Retina display 

– 21″ 4K Retina display.

– Up to 2TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.3GHz processor.

– Up to Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200. 

From £1199 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ iMac with 5K Retina display

– 27″ 5K Retina display.

– Up to 3TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 32GB (4x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Quad Core i7 4.0GHz processor.

– Up to AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory 

From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24. 

Mac Pro

Mac Pro on Jigsaw24

The creative powerhouse and Apple’s workhorse, the Mac Pro is the only way to go if you’re looking for optimum performance, user-specific customisability and the ultimate editing hub. With the potential to house a colossal 64GB of RAM and up to 12 individual processors,  Mac Pro will deliver at every turn.

There’s a reason Mac Pro is considered the industry-standard – it’s fast and reliable, perfectly suited for editing audio and video in your favourite applications like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Da Vinci Resolve. The power of the Mac Pro is contained within its discreet yet stylish cylindrical casing and is only 25cm high and 5kg in weight – perfect for maintaining a clear, open workspace. Sporting all the ports you could ever need, Mac Pro allows you to connect all of your essential peripherals, right at home in a large creative suite complete with multiple monitors and lots of external storage. If you want to make use of Mac Pro’s customisability and design a desktop computer suited specifically to you, we recommend giving our Mac Pro Configurator a look.

The specs:

– Up to 2.7GHz 12-core processor.

– Up to 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.

– Up to 64GB (4x16GB) memory.

– Up to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.

– Support for three 4K displays,

– Six Thunderbolt ports.

From £2485 ex VAT.

 

Mac mini

mac mini

The light and compact Mac mini offers an impressive amount of power for such a small computer. With 3GHz of muscle and up to 16GB of RAM, Mac mini coasts through those essential office tasks and performs well under processing pressure. While it may not match the sheer performance of the Mac Pro or iMac, it’s perfect for streaming your content around an office or in a meeting with AirPlay. For all of your admin, server, or streaming-based needs, look no further than the Mac mini.

The specs:

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Dual Core i7 3GHz processor.

From £395 ex VAT.

Want to know more about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

 

 

IBC 2016: Adobe unveils new virtual reality, character animation and 3D innovations

IBC 2016: Adobe unveils new virtual reality, character animation and 3D innovations

Adobe today revealed a series of innovations coming soon in Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud in advance of IBC in Amsterdam. Keeping pace with high velocity content demands across both new and traditional platforms, Adobe will showcase advancements in VR, 3D, motion graphics and character animation supported by tools to deliver, measure and monetise TV and film content across multiple screens.

At IBC, Adobe will demonstrate these advancements at Stand 7.G27 in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center and at over 107 partner booths from September 9-13.

“Adobe is helping video creators of all kinds – from broadcasters and big movie studios to YouTubers and brands – create their best work,” said Bill Roberts, senior director of product management at Adobe. “As these stories take shape, ideas need to seamlessly move between tools, technologies and teams. Adobe’s multiscreen solution helps media companies connect with their audiences in a personalised way by delivering compelling experiences and adopting immersive capabilities such as 3D, VR and AR.”

Video editors from Hollywood to Sundance to YouTube are taking note of Adobe Creative Cloud, most recently Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, and through the work of next-generation creators like Smosh, RocketJump and SoKrispyMedia. Television networks are making history by bringing characters to life with Character Animator in The Simpsons and Cartoon Donald Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Additionally, NBC Sports recently leveraged Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions to power the digital delivery of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I love keeping everything under one roof. I love the idea that it’s all housed under one banner and that all the apps within Adobe Creative Cloud can talk to each other. And for all of my future projects I want to really explore that workflow. It’s a really exciting sphere to be working within,” said David Lowery, director of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

Driving the future of VR, 3D and animation

Expanding on the new VR features launched earlier this year, Adobe is unveiling additional innovation in the next release of Premiere Pro CC including auto-aware VR that seamlessly detects and applies the correct setting to stereoscopic and monoscopic media. Capabilities in Adobe Primetime empower media companies to capture the full potential of VR by building sustainable businesses and delivering premium viewing experiences. These include video playback support, dynamic ad insertion and content protection via Adobe’s Virtual Reality Digital Rights Management (VRDRM).

Rapidly accelerating 3D content creation, Adobe will showcase a 3D rendering engine which increases the pace and efficiency of 3D content generation. Artists can also now create editable 3D elements such as text and shape layers intuitively from within After Effects CC with new Cinerender technology from MAXON. Puppet creation and animation with Character Animator, Adobe’s popular live motion-capture tool, will get even better with faster and easier through integrated round-trip functionality between Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Illustrator CC.

Powerful integrated workflows and performance enhancements

With Adobe Creative Cloud, post-production teams can move freely from application to application without interrupting the creative flow. New features in both Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud let media companies and content creators engage their audiences more effectively across any screen:

Huge productivity gains (up to six times faster) with Adobe Stock video are reported in a new study by Pfeiffer Consulting, which compares using video with Adobe Stock and other stock services.

Performance improvements with real-time playback in a new After Effects video preview architecture lets users play raw footage in real-time, eliminating the need to cache before previewing footage. GPU-accelerated effects enable faster render compositions.

Refined Lumetri Color tools in Premiere Pro CC now provides HDR10 metadata support for editing and delivering HDR10 for new HDR-enabled TVs and displays, plus expanded support for color space metadata, providing greater precision for delivering brilliant imagery.

Destination Publishing to render and share video to Behance, the world’s largest creative community, is now possible along with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Better captions and subtitles in Premiere Pro CC lets users easily create and fine-tune captions to enliven silent auto-play video previews on Facebook for higher engagement, target different languages or improve accessibility for hearing impaired viewers.

Actionable analytics in Adobe Analytics for Video allows users to measure streams instead of just video starts and stops, delivering a more comprehensive view of how videos are consumed.

Premium ad-supported viewing on connected devices is now supported in Adobe Primetime, allowing media companies to deliver quality and buffer-free experiences, while weaving content and ads together into a single stream.

Collaboration for Connected Teams

Adobe will showcase its new hosted collaboration service, Team Projects, to address the challenge of working with other editors and designers across multiple projects and tools. Built on Adobe Anywhere technology, Team Projects integrates deep collaboration features such as version control and smart conflict resolutions and allows editors and motion graphics artists to work simultaneously within Adobe Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC and Adobe Prelude CC. Additionally, the data in Team Projects will be securely hosted in the cloud and media files referenced by Team Projects can be locally stored source files or shared lightweight proxies.

Helpful Links from Adobe

Unveiling Created Connectivity – Creative Cloud.
YouTube Live Event with Jason Levine on September 7 from 8-9 a.m. PT.

Learn more about Creative Cloud Video.
Adobe Feature Reveal “What’s New?” and data sheet.
Adobe Feature Reveal Blog

For more on the latest IBC releases, take a look at our roundup post, give us a call on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2016: NewTek’s NDI For Adobe Creative Cloud applications

NAB 2016: NewTek’s NDI For Adobe Creative Cloud applications

At NAB 2016, NewTek today announced NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud, a software plug-in with NewTek’s groundbreaking Network Device Interface (NDI) technology. The NDI integration enables users of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe After Effects CC and other Adobe Creative Cloud applications to send real-time video and audio to any NDI-enabled receiving product, such as production switchers or capture cards, across a standard Ethernet network.

With NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud, creators and producers can significantly accelerate their pre- and post- production pipelines, bypassing rendering and uploading of creative elements for a faster, more efficient delivery for content review and approval. It also allows teams in different locations to work together in one interface in real-time, making creative decisions collaboratively—and saving valuable time in the process.

The NDI integration for products in Adobe Creative Cloud also enables just-in-time editing workflows over IP for live production environments, such as news programs and live sporting events. Producers will be able to deliver edited content, including key and fill, directly from the Adobe Premiere Pro CC timeline into their production switcher for use on-air, without needing to render and push to playout servers.

“NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud transforms the workflows for Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC users by making creative elements visible on virtually any screen or any output on their local area network in full resolution,” said Michael Kornet, executive vice president of Business Development for NewTek. “The creative efficiencies plus time and cost savings to be gained is tremendous and represents a breakthrough across the board in all traditional pre-, live-, and post-production workflows. We are so excited to see how Adobe Creative Cloud customers will utilize the NDI integration to achieve things in ways that until now were unimaginable.”

“Adobe Creative Cloud users appreciate our advanced tools which help them be their most creative,” Sue Skidmore, head of partner relations, Adobe Pro Video. “NewTek NDI for the Adobe Creative Cloud plug in delivers the efficiency that content creators need to help them do great work in today’s fast-paced production environments. It also opens the door for editors and producers who want to bring the streamlined power of Adobe Premiere Pro CC into their live production workflows.”

NDI, the new standard for live production IP workflow, is bi-directional and backwards compatible with a large number of devices from top manufacturers already utilizing NewTek’s open standard allowing IP connectivity between devices. NDI is now available as a royalty free software developer kit (SDK) for any company looking to establish IP workflows within their organization, or in production tools and systems they manufacture.

Pricing and Availability

NewTek’s NDI plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud is available now as a download from NewTek’s site as a one-time purchase for $99 USMSRP.

For more on the latest NAB Show releases, take a look at our roundup post, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Using the Canon XC10 in Biological Photography MSc

Using the Canon XC10 in Biological Photography MSc

As Canon’s latest wonder, the compact, 4K XC10 video camera is in high demand among image specialists. The Biological Photography team over at the University of Nottingham got their hands on the XC10, so our very own Anthony Corcoran and Liz Sunter sat down with David McMahon (Director of Photography & Imaging) and Steve Galloway (Taught Course Specialist) for a chat to find out their thoughts on the camera, and how they’ve been using it on the Biological Photography and Imaging MSc course.

AC:  Do you find it’s students who already have a degree in science that want to do more media type stuff coming to the course?

DM: We get students who’ve come straight out of doing their degree, but we also get a large percentage of students who’ve been out in the working world as well who are coming back to do our course, so they might decide on a career change. So our youngest student would be 22 just coming out of their undergraduate programme, right up to… we had a student who was 65, was she?

SG: I think she was, yeah.

DM: Anyway, getting the budget to buy the kit and so on is a big problem. We ask them to bring along a basic kit, which is a DSLR with a basic lens, flash, some other bits and pieces, and then we supply them with extras to top that kit up, like a 70 – 300mm lens, macro lens and things like that.

AC: So traditionally you’re using basically photography based kit and these days you’re doing bits of video production on DSLRs?

DM: Yeah, we used to use the Sony 1000Es, which we got from Jigsaw24 years ago, but the problem was they were tape-based, so there was a lot of time spent importing the tape into the system and stuff like that. And then we went on to the Canon 7Ds, but then we saw the XC10s at the Rutland Bird Fair.

AC: Good to know Canon are nailing absolutely every possible market.

DM: Steve said “I want to show you this camera.” And as soon as I saw the camera – terrific.

AC: I thought the same, because of the small form factor and the little flip out screen. And in fact I quite like the fact that you can’t change the lens. Just having the large sensor and fixed lens means you can move quickly. And then also things like, the five axle stabilisation system’s pretty smart, and it can do 4K or HD, all at a 1200 quid price point.

DM: In terms of education kit, and the reason one of the bits is really good is the actual restrictions it puts on you as well. You can’t change the lenses, so the student is actually stuck with what you have to give them, and they have to learn to work with what they’ve got, [whereas] instead of being like, “Ooh, I need to get closer” they’ll put on a longer lens, and then vibration will start coming into it and they’ll go “Well why is it vibrating?” So give them a piece of kit that is very restrictive and first of all it does mess about with their heads, but secondly they start to learn how to get round these problems.

AC: So what was in the shooting kit?

SG: It was the camera and accessories, and then we gave them a tripod with a video fluid head, sound kit, so they had a field recorder, an on-camera microphone and a shotgun microphone in a blimp and a boom pole. They had some sliders, some tabletop dollies and some jibs. And they were all trained up on that, they did a practice exercise first. They have to learn the motions themselves.

DM: The first part is more about how you’re going to be working together as a team. They don’t know who’s going to be working with who, that’s put together at the last minute, so it’s getting them to work with someone that they haven’t necessarily worked with, bringing other people into it – they might have to find a voiceover artist – they need to then communicate with outside organisations to arrange filming and such. And it’s all done over a really short period of time, so it makes them really sit up and think about what they need to do. The video aspect is actually secondary to what we’re trying to teach them – to think on their feet and arrange things, working together, coping with the stress of editing and learning how to edit.

AC: There are so many factors. Traditionally editing was a craft done by only an editor, and I know it’s kind of more simple now doing it on a computer [but] at the same time you’ve got a million more different types of codecs, a million more different types of plug-ins, a million more different types of software, so you could argue it’s more complicated in some respects. A guy could have spent years at the BBC learning that craft and that camera inside out, but that’s not going to happen today. There’s all sorts of stuff, whether you’re doing After Effects or Photoshop, tweaking it, and also mixing media inside your films, using bits of stills or bits of photography –

DM: Again this is what they had to do, they had to bring in their own kind of animation into the film as well, so it’s not only about filming on the XC10s but also using other Adobe programmes like Photoshop and Illustrator to actually do animations and to use that within the films as well. So there’s a whole mixed bunch that we actually give them to do in a three week period. The photography side of their learning is quite laidback. The video side is quite an intense programme that we throw at them.

LS: And lastly, how was your experience working with Jigsaw24? 

DM: I think that Jigsaw24 is a fantastic company, I really wouldn’t shop anywhere else for computer equipment or things like that. We’ve had issues before with other companies, but with Jigsaw24 you know they’re going to deal with any problems properly.

Want to know more about the Canon XC10? Get in touch with the team on 03332 400 888 or email sales@jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Review: A day in the life of iPad Pro

Review: A day in the life of iPad Pro

When iPad Pro was announced in September 2015, we couldn’t quite imagine how it’d fit into our creative workflow. But after getting our hands on one for a couple of weeks and letting the team put it through its paces, we’ve come to understand Apple’s vision for this super-sized, yet super-portable and powerful tablet.

We placed iPad Pro with our in-house creative team, to see how they used the device as part of their creative workflow. iPad Pro seamlessly integrated with our Mac computers and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Here’s how the team has been using iPad Pro this week… 

Monday:

“I kicked things off by taking iPad Pro with me to our weekly creative team catchup. It was great for making quick notes, annotating and sketching out ideas. Initially I thought it would be too big and heavy to take to meetings and brainstorming sessions, but on closer inspection I found it to be quite the opposite and a great portable device. It’s particularly light and thin with a beautifully sleek 12.9” Retina display making it ideal for sharing ideas with the team in meetings and on the go. Being able to handwrite notes using the Apple Pencil was a real bonus, and was a great addition during brainstorming sessions.” – Becky

IMG_9830

Tuesday:

“This week I’ve been working on a new illustration to front an event invite. I used Adobe Creative Cloud mobile application Photoshop Sketch to create my initial artwork ideas. Photoshop Sketch mimics the same visual effects you get when painting and drawing on paper, so using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil felt really natural. I’ve been working with the water colour brush today, which is really responsive, I can watch the colour spread and develop much like the real thing would.

I wasn’t expecting iPad Pro to replace my iMac setup and desktop Creative Cloud applications, but I could certainly get used to switching between the two and would benefit greatly from having the freedom to work on the go, knowing that my projects would synchronise across devices and apps so I could keep picking it up wherever I’m working.” – Xenia

IMG_9812

Wednesday:

“I find that I’m just as productive working on iPad Pro as I am on my MacBook. Although the multitasking Spilt View feature is available across iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, using it on iPad Pro was brilliant. Today I was writing up my work in Pages using Split View with Safari open on the other side. It’s a great way of working and such a time saver not having to flick between applications.” – Shariff

IMG_9817

Thursday:

“I’ve just finished working my way through an Adobe training clip. I like to keep on top of Adobe updates, so today I was working in Split View with half the screen displaying Adobe Comp and the other half open with Safari so I could follow the tutorial.” – Thierry

Friday:

“Today I’ve been finishing off the projects I started earlier in the week. I really enjoy being able to pick up iPad Pro, tap into Adobe Creative Cloud applications and pick up sketches and graphics I’ve been working on, on my desktop in mobile form. I like how weighty the Apple Pencil is, it doesn’t feel like it’s about to fly out of my hand across the room and there’s minimal lag! When I’m sketching on iPad Pro it feels like a completely natural drawing experience, Apple Pencil is thinner than the stylus I usually use with my Wacom tablet, but it was very easy to adjust to.” – Jamie

Additional thoughts from the team:

“The Apple Pencil is awesome, and the iPad Pro is a good size, but it’s not really necessary when you have a MacBook. I can see the appeal if you’re working on an iMac and need something portable though. If the iPad Pro could run the Photoshop desktop app like a Mac did with OS X, it’d be on to a winner.” – Liana

“While iPad Pro impresses most when drawing – the Apple Pencil is a real pleasure to draw with, being incredibly responsive, and also much more natural and comfortable than some graphics tablet pencils – for me, as a copywriter, it’s the screen size that’s the winner. When it was first announced, some balked at the idea of a 12” iPad, but actually using the iPad Pro, it makes perfect sense. You have an almost full-size keyboard at your fingertips, so word processing is a realistic option. I’d still prefer to type on my trusty 13” MacBook Air – I would miss the feedback and clickety-clack of a real keyboard – but I would definitely consider iPad Pro as a tool for word processing on the move.” – Liz

The pros

– It’s far lighter than you expect, which makes it a very portable option despite its larger size than other models.

– The added size just makes everything a little bit easier to do (without going too big!) – everything from multitasking to typing to sketching ideas and making notes is natural.

– The Apple Pencil is a joy to use! Sketching is so much more accurate than comparable tools we have used and very quickly it becomes as fluid as using pencil on paper.

– Split-screen makes sense on iPad Pro, as you basically have two full sized apps running alongside each other in a way that’s not been possible until now.

We’d love to see…

– There’s really only one thing: more heavy duty creative apps that would give it the ability to be a realistic alternative to the notebook. At the minute the Adobe tools available are great for developing ideas and working on the fly, but you’re going to have to have your MacBook with you if you want to do anything more than sketching and basic comping. But that’s more about the tools than the hardware, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on developments in that area.

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.

Free trial of Adobe Stock for Creative Cloud for teams members

Free trial of Adobe Stock for Creative Cloud for teams members

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams members can now redeem a thirty day free trial of Adobe Stock per account. Stock allows its users access to a vast library of stock images available to purchase directly in Creative Cloud apps. Manage your content and experience seamless Creative Cloud integration for yourself.  

Adobe are inviting members to visit the Adobe Stock website and sign in with their Adobe ID to claim ten free stock images that teams will have thirty days to download. The offer is restricted to one use per Creative Cloud account and is not available to those who have already used their test run or already have an Adobe Stock subscription.

Adobe Stock’s library of images is always growing, giving its users a vast array of content to play and create with. With over 45 million images available, the image archive has quickly become the go-to stock photo source for designers and artists. Any images purchased within Adobe Stock can be accessed by the entire team at no extra charge.

Here are a few thoughts from our design team:

Xenia: “Adobe Stock makes it really easy and quick to search for images and add them to your library straight from Photoshop. The imagery is constantly being updated too.”

Simon: “Once you’re browsing, the interface feels cleaner and simpler than other libraries I’ve used.”

Thierry: “I find Adobe Stock really useful for mocking up how a project can look by placing in preview images without having to leave the application.”

You can find our full review of Adobe Stock here.

Unclaimed Adobe Stock trial licences expire after 30 days from the date they are awarded so if you’ve got one, what are you waiting for? Make the most of it today and get creating!

reading_dark_grey_button

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

What’s big in visuals for 2016? Adobe give their predictions…

What’s big in visuals for 2016? Adobe give their predictions…

Choosing the right stock imagery to make your marketing more engaging can sometimes be a challenge, especially with literally millions of assets available at the click of a mouse. Sure, everyone loves a good shot of a businessman pointing to a blank pie chart with a wide grin, but is that really the right image to inspire modern audiences?

To give you an idea of the kind of images that might do, the forward-thinking folk at Adobe have put together a guide to what they think will be visual trends in 2016, including new technologies, low poly style and hipster chic. With their Adobe Stock asset library constantly growing, they’re a fair bet to predict what’s going to be big. We’ve lovingly copied it below, but you can read the full article from Adobe Head of Content Scott Braut here.”

Tech Turns Cool

“The appearance of young, tech persona in imagery is on the rise. With the popularity of tech culture (HBO’s successful “Silicon Valley” TV show as a prime example) and gadgets like virtual reality headsets and hoverboards in the mainstream, the tech industry and those in it are becoming more sought after. The next generation is learning to code and jobs in the tech landscape are desirable, replacing previous connotations that the industry is filled with hooded hackers hunching over laptops.”

Rise of New Aesthetics

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an affinity for all things “hipster” – cappuccino art, bowties and suspenders, handlebar mustaches, 1950s tea dresses, black and white filters. Hipster aesthetic has been a mecca for brands and still remains popular, but new ones are on the rise. Brands should keep their eye out for new aesthetics representing the aspirations of the young urban creative.”

New Perspective Portrait

“The smartphone profoundly transformed not only the way people interact with cameras but the way we photograph ourselves. A new visual language arose with the “selfie” though we may be seeing a shift towards perspective portraits. Perspective portraits offer a more intricate take on a subject than the standard selfie, giving the impression that you are not looking at a photo, but are instead alongside the subject and part of the scene itself.”

Colour Consistency

“Ever year brings predictions for what will be the most popular colour. Pantone released two colours of the year – Rose Quartz and Serenity – and many trend reporters are heralding white as ‘the’ colour for 2016 (a sharp contrast from Behance’s announcement that red was their most popular hue of 2015).”

“In stock imagery, brands generally have a consolidated color scheme that already exists. Therefore, our outlook for color in 2016 is envisioned around how we will use colour instead. Consistent, bold, colour saturated images ensure an image will stand out amongst others, increasing a brand’s positioning whether that be white for calmness, pink for youthful appeal or green for sustainability.”

High-Impact Aerial

“As technological innovations increase our ability to explore more of Earth and afar, so too does the technology to photograph in stunning detail previously unchartered sights. Whereas drones were previously costly, high-tech photographic equipment, they’re now readily available for all photographers to take to the skies and capture bird’s eye view panoramas.

“Additionally, scenic backgrounds have always been a popular search result for users; they can be applied toward a multitude of projects, appealing to a wide range of people. What we will see more of in 2016, however, is the geographical locations captured.

Current Affairs

“We devour news and content on an hourly basis thanks to social media’s hold on our lives, and companies therefore need to stay on top of current affairs. As the world changes, audiences want brands to share similar values and expect companies to take stances and demonstrate support for causes. For example, in June 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalised in the United States, we saw an increase of rainbow filters and rainbow flags on social media.”

Low Poly Style

“Minimalism will remain a trend year after year, but in variations. This year’s minimalism will be low poly style. The simplicity and cut of this graphic style will increase to become a winning formula in 2016. When used in backgrounds, the style makes for a voguish, cutting edge aesthetic particularly when composed with strong, offset colours.”

Want to know more about Adobe Stock? 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.