Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

The days of static web pages, emails and designs are behind us, and with interactivity and animation rapidly gaining momentum over the past few years, it’s safe to say immersive content is here to stay. Offering up richer experiences for customers and users, interactive designs are proving much more effective and engaging, and creative businesses have been quick to adopt the trend and make it their own. So what kind of interactive, animated content have they been creating and how could it affect business and generate better marketing results?

Due to the fundamentals of human psychology and visual perception, ensuring the effectiveness of your visual communications is key – that’s why usability and accessibility are so important to any digital or online experience. Linear, easy to use interfaces, intelligent personalisation and specialisation should be your top priorities when it comes to UX (user experience), and in 2018, interactivity and animation have an essential role in all of that.

As a form of interactive storytelling, these mediums have proved successful with customers and are now an integral part of marketing engagement. Reportedly, 88% of online customers are less likely to revisit a website if they’ve had a bad experience, while 75% of judgments about website credibility centre on a site’s aesthetics. To top that off, a massive 94% of first impressions are based on design, showing just how important it is to create engaging content that offers something unique and different, with interactivity being the key hook to keeping customers engaged with whatever your company is offering.

Interactive creativity

We can’t have a conversation about the rise of interactivity and animation without discussing the actual content that’s being created. While some websites opt to have video backgrounds, this can lead to noticeable performance issues. To overcome this problem, web designers have begun employing background animations – known as ‘particle backgrounds’ – instead of video. Created from lightweight javascript, particle backgrounds let animation form a part of a website’s natural background, reducing load times while still engaging customers in a unique, thought-provoking way. Taking this one step further, so-called integrated animations are another way that designers have taken advantage of browser technology improvements, and are particularly useful for keeping a user engaged throughout the duration of their visit to a website. They can be used to liven up a typically dull loading screen, display something fun and attention-grabbing while hovering over a link or image, or react according to a user’s scrolling and navigation patterns.

Mobile-optimised websites are another facet of interactivity that’s taken hold in recent years. In 2016, smartphones and tablets overtook desktop to become the population’s browsing device of choice. Desktop’s portion of browsing traffic dwindled to 48.7%, while mobile web browsing’s share of the action had risen consistently since 2009. That meant that developers, marketers and eCommerce giants had to respond accordingly – they started to create sites that were just as easy to navigate on mobile as they were on desktop, if not easier. Featuring stripped back, minimalist designs, mobile-friendly sites are seen as nigh-on essential these days, making it even easier for customers to interact with their favourite brands online while engaging with products and content. Likewise, responsive design has even helped revolutionise desktop browsing. These days, websites typically respond to the size of the window they’re being viewed in, and react and resize depending on how the user manipulates them. In the coming years, designers will have to accommodate newer mediums such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), which demand deeper interactivity for users.

But what do actual creatives think to these new interactivity standards and the inclusion of animation in design? We asked our resident Web Designer, Jamie, for his thoughts – “With mobile phones and tablets becoming today’s primary devices for browsing, I think responsiveness is key to giving equal experience to a user, regardless of screen size. And if you want to capture a user’s attention, animation and interactivity are great tools that draw on the curiosity and playfulness of a person’s mind.” Our Graphic Designer, Videographer and Animator, Simon, added “The presence of motion graphics on a web page or email immediately draws a user’s attention and provides an extra level of engagement. Animated GIFs or longer animated videos embedded in the page can also help get an idea across more clearly than a still illustration or icon in some situations.”

How can interactive designs and animation benefit business?

A number of industry marketing studies suggest that brands which utilise animation and interactivity (and have paid particular attention to UX design in general) will see the results. According to one study, one in three people will abandon a purchase if they can’t find the correct information, suggesting an interactive site that responds to a user’s needs and displays information more clearly would retain their custom. Similarly, visit-to-lead conversions have shown to be as much as 400% higher on websites with a better UX design, while a more user-friendly UI (user interface) has raised conversion rates by 200% in some cases. It’s also worth noting that 97% of business customers consider usability to be the most essential component of mobile apps, something that interactivity and strategically placed animation could help companies take advantage of.

If you’re more concerned with email design, polls have routinely ranked interactive emails as the number one email marketing trend. Interactive emails can consist of a news story feed, polls, navigation bars and tabs, feedback functionality and more. In 2015, Ticketmaster trialled an interactive email containing a poll. It let recipients vote for the best music video of the year, best female video, best male video and best rock video, all without clicking away from the email – and it paid off! On top of better than average click-through and engagement rates, the email received 182% more opens than standard email communications. Some companies have even gone so far as to include the ability to place orders within an email, and while few have perfected it, it’s led to an uptick in sales within these communications.

Want to get started?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help you bring animation and interactive design in-house. A designer’s first port of call should always be Mac, which is ideal for any creative looking to immerse themselves in animation. Built with enough processing and graphical power to handle intensive animation generation, Apple hardware is perfectly suited to the requirements of modern creative workflows. If you want the best of the best, the brand new iMac Pro is fully equipped to take on 3D animation, which’ll really put you ahead of the competition!

Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes everything you could need to get started (as well as tutorials to lend a hand along the way), is essential if you want to achieve the industry-standard and remain competitive. Popular Adobe apps for animation include After Effects, Animate, Illustrator, Photoshop and new Character Animator. Simon thinks highly of Creative Cloud’s powerful tools, too – “Motion graphics are increasingly simple to produce within Adobe Creative Cloud. The timeline window in Photoshop is great for compiling short sequences, while After Effects has every tool you could ever need to produce longer, more complex animations.” You can find out more about Creative Cloud here, including features, applications, benefits for your studio, and price plans.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Trouble at the Old Mill IV: IT – Behind the scenes

Trouble at the Old Mill IV: IT – Behind the scenes

MacBook Pros have been disappearing all over Jigsaw24 HQ, and there are reports of a mysterious red balloon making its way around the office. Three intrepid team members headed down to the depths of the basement store room to take on the ghoulish clown causing all the trouble…

We had a blast filming the latest instalment of Trouble at the Old Mill, starring our very willing junior copywriter Joe as the titular clown. Aside from a rubber mask, some face paint and a bright yellow raincoat, our kit list for filming the video featured a range of great products from Canon to Adobe. Our director and in-house videographer Simon let us know what was used to create the Halloween magic…

The kit

CAMERA: Canon C100

“The C100 is nice and simple to use,” says Simon. “The controls are quite similar to Canon’s DSLRs, so setting white balance, aperture and ISO is all very quick and straightforward. It’s also pretty compact for carrying around and setting up – the camera, lens, multiple mics and power all fit in one backpack-style camera bag.

“The camcorder is known for its ability in low light, which was useful for some of those dark storeroom shots where I bumped the ISO up pretty high without the noise getting unbearable. I tried out a different picture profile for this video than I usually use for normal corporate videos. The ‘cinema’ profile is very flat in tone and desaturated in colour, which provides greater scope for grading later on.”

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“One thing that I wish this model had (which the C100 Mk II and other cameras in the range have) is higher frame rate shooting options. A couple of shots would have looked really good in slow motion, but at 25fps I couldn’t slow it down without the image visibly lagging.”

You can still pick up the Canon C100 Mk I at only £2039, or treat yourself to the C100 Mk II at only £2999, which now comes with a FREE Atomos Ninja Blade!

LENS: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Lens

“This range of focal lengths provides great versatility without having to keep buying and swapping lots of lenses. I used the longer focal lengths (and positioned myself further from the subject) for getting shots with nice shallow depth of field, and shorter ones for fitting everything in the shot where space was restricted. At 2.8L it’s also pretty fast, which again helped in those low light situations.”

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MICROPHONE: Sennheiser MD 46 Handheld Cardioid Dynamic ENG Microphone

“I’d never used this mic before, but my usual lapel and shotgun mics were picking up too much background noise when we were trying to record dialogue in a noisy office. Its intended use is for reporters, so it’s very directional and cuts out a lot of peripheral sound. This meant we had to position it very carefully when trying to pick up multiple voices, hence some very precarious boom setups (that actually appear in the video once or twice if you look closely…).”

The Sennheiser MD 46 is just £190 right now!

MICROPHONE: Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

“For backup, and because I had a spare channel I thought I may as well use, I kept my usual shotgun mic attached to the top of the camera and pointed at the action the whole time. I didn’t end up mixing this into the edit very much, but at low levels it occasionally added a subtle ambience when combined with the Sennheiser.”

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LIGHTING: Photoflex Medium Starlite Kit

“We have two big softboxes and a smaller Dedolight. I don’t really have any clue on how you’re meant to use these, but spent a lot of time aimlessly moving them around so everyone else would think I knew what I was doing.”

If you know more about lights than Simon, we’ve got the Photoflex Medium Starlite Kit for £440

 

The editing software

INGEST: Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder

“One feature in Premiere Pro which I’m a big fan of is Proxy Workflow. I set the project ingest settings to automatically create proxies, so whenever I imported from the browser window into the project in Premiere Pro, Media Encoder would open and do its thing in the background. This then meant I could edit with lower resolution previews, so there was none of the frustrating stopping and starting that can occur when working with full HD footage. There’s a simple toggle switch for going between the proxies and the full res files, which I used when working on finer detail grading and sharpening.”

EDITING: Adobe Premiere Pro

“I used Premiere Pro for sorting through the source files, adding markers at points in the shots that I thought I was going to use, and started dragging clips on to a timeline. Because the video has distinct scenes, with different looks and sound requirements, I edited each one separately in a nested sequence, then lined them all up and worked out the transitions between them on a master sequence. I used a lot more film dissolve and crossfades from the Effects pane than I would on a normal corporate video to try and get the edits flowing smoothly and to accentuate the atmosphere of the scenes.”

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COLOUR CORRECTION AND GRADING: Lumetri Color in Premiere Pro

“Lumetri Color is an incredibly powerful and versatile colour tool in Premiere Pro. My process with it was to use its ‘basic’ controls to hone the white balance and overall levels so that the shot looked neutral. Then it has a set of ‘creative’ controls for giving the footage more of a distinct look.

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“After trying out a LOT of third party LUTs, I ended up using the same one throughout (but increased and decreased in strength), which just seemed most natural with the footage we’d shot and added an extra level of consistency between shots. I did all of this on adjustment layers above the source footage on the timeline so that each clip was treated the same without having to go in and apply to each individually.”

SOUND MIXING: Premiere Pro

“All of the sound was mixed in Premiere Pro too. The source footage generally needed some gain control for consistency between clips and then a bit of EQ, compression and a tiny hint of reverb. I also used noise reduction for most of the dialogue because the ambient office sounds were distracting and inconsistent between shots. Because it then sounded unnaturally quiet between lines, I mixed in a stock effect of an office environment.”

SPECIAL EFFECTS: After Effects

“Titles and a few special effects were done in After Effects. The dynamic link between the apps allows me to see the graphics I’m working on in After Effects over the video footage in Premiere Pro instantly.

“Trying to make the cloud of bats was my first experience with the Particle World effect. I think it’s more designed for small, non-descript particles that look like rain drops or suchlike, but I applied it to a bat shape I made in Illustrator and it turned out pretty much how I wanted.”

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“The clown coming out of the computer was also my first go at filming against a green screen. I tried to get the lighting even and consistent with the shot I needed to composite it with while shooting, then used the Keylight effect in After Effects. Playing around with the Keylight controls managed to isolate the clown how I wanted, but I found I still had to animate a couple of masks frame by frame to get it looking right as it moved in and out of the laptop.”

Find out more about Adobe’s great video-editing apps here.

You’ll save too… check out our scarily good savings at www.Jigsaw24.com/offers, get in touch with the sales team on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, events and hauntings, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 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.

 

Adobe reveal new Creative Cloud features at Adobe MAX

Adobe reveal new Creative Cloud features at Adobe MAX

Adobe have used their annual Adobe MAX conference to announce a raft of new features for Creative Cloud users, which we can expect to join the Adobe lineup between now and the end of the year. The new improvements are designed to make it easier for creatives to deal with the new challenges presented by virtual and augmented reality, and the rise in demand for 3D content.  

Adobe’s latest updates are designed to promote collaboration, mobility, a ‘cloud first’ philosophy (in which work lives primarily in the cloud and is then edited on various devices but not housed on them), and machine learning, which constitutes extending the kind of intelligent technology that powers Photoshop’s Context Aware tools into other apps.

Coming soon: Project Felix

Felix is intended to allow graphic designers to combine 2D and 3D assets to create their images without having to familiarise themselves with more complicated applications like After Effects.

The beta is going to be opened to paid Creative Cloud for teams members at the end of the year. Once you’re on board, you’ll be able to use Project Felix to develop photorealistic 3D images using a workflow that’s specifically designed for people who aren’t experienced 3D content creators.

Key features announced as part of the beta include a free library of models, materials and lights to help you get started straight away, realtime rendering so that you can view updates as you design, and machine learning features that include auto lighting and auto horizon positioning tools.

Based on user feedback so far, Adobe are already working to improve interoperability with Photoshop and Illustrator, make label/decal application easier, add GPU rendering support and more, so it’s well worth keeping an eye out for the start of the beta.

Now in beta: Adobe Experience Design CC

The Experience Design (XD) beta continues apace, with over 50 features added since March. The app is designed to improve teamwork among workgroups who are prototyping apps and mobile content, and allows you to build and share prototypes, then collaborate and feed back on them in realtime. Adobe say it’s now ready for everyday use on computers that are running macOS, so if you’ve been holding off on downloading XD until it became more stable, now’s the time to get involved.

Major new additions include the arrival of Layers, a slightly modified version of the layers you know from Photoshop et al that makes it easier to navigate between artboards and work with elements on each. The idea is that Layers will speed up your XD workflow by allowing you to focus on just the elements you want to modify (the Layers panel contextually displays only the layers for the artboard that you select).

To navigate to the artboard you need, just double-click its icon and XD will automatically pan and zoom to that artboard, fitting it into the application window. Double-clicking on groups allows you to explore and navigate to nested elements. You can also reorder, rename, show/hide, export, make symbols and lock/unlock layers quickly and easily.

Another addition is Symbols, aka objects that you use throughout your design, and which are all dynamically updated if you edit once instance. All you need to do to create a Symbol is hit Cmd+K. For ease of organisation, all your Symbols are stored in their own library, and you can drag and drop them from there into your prototype.

Once everything is added, your peers will be able to comment on it in realtime, and preview changes on different devices as they are made.

The XD beta is currently available on macOS, iOS and Android platforms, with Windows 10 compatibility coming soon.

What’s new in… desktop design apps

The biggest overall change is to your in-app searching capabilities. The new Universal Search in Photoshop not only lets you search all panels, menus, libraries and assets from a single pane (great for finding a command you’ve forgotten the location of), but includes a Visual Search component.

A bit like Google Images, Visual Search allows you to find an image that’s almost right in a library or Adobe Stock, and then search specifically for images that are similar to that one. In a nice additional touch, you can add text descriptors to the image you’ve searched, so if we were to have found a particularly noble picture of our mascot, the zebra, but wanted it to be standing against a setting sun, we could search “[selected image] + sunset” to see pictures that feature similar zebras against the sunset, or ask for a zebra with water in the foreground and mountains behind. This will also work when searching for textures and shadows to add to 3D objects.

Both Photoshop and Illustrator are now going to include template libraries to help new users (or experienced users who are short on time) to get started on common document types. Additional templates will be available in Adobe Stock, and should you download one that you don’t have the right fonts for, Typekit will automatically source and download them for you.

Photoshop also benefits from tighter SVG integration, an enhanced Properties Panel, and support for SVG fonts.

As well as templates, Illustrator is poised to receive font, text and glyph enhancements as a result of Adobe answering 81 common user requests in this update.

Dreamweaver is going to get a new, streamlined interface with a fast, flexible coding engine, but we haven’t managed to get a peek yet – we’ll let you know more when we do.

What’s new in… video apps

The emphasis here is on preparing video and animation workflows for the influx of 3D and virtual/augmented reality projects that are expected to hit the pipeline as everyone attempts to develop the next Pokemon Go.

A new 3D rendering engine in After Effects allows for the creation of extruded text and shape layers, and handles CPU rendering of 3D elements up to 20 times faster than the current version.

As part of their push to integrate more machine learning elements into Creative Cloud, Premiere Pro is getting a new auto-aware virtual reality feature that auto detects the kind of content you’re creating, and a new Social Publishing Panel (released in beta at MAX) will optimise the publishing of content you create in Premiere Pro across multiple social channels, so you achieve maximum impact.

There were two other key beta trials launched at Adobe MAX: Team Projects and Character Animator. Character Animator is designed to improve the connection between Photoshop, Illustrator and video apps to speed up puppet creation and animation – you might have seen it in action during The Simpsons’ live episode or when a cartoon version of Donald Trump appeared on the The Late Show. By mapping characters’ movement patterns onto an actor’s features, Character Animator lets you see your animated creations walk and talk in realtime.

Team Projects allows Creative Cloud for teams and Creative Cloud for enterprise members to co-edit video files simultaneously in Premiere Pro, After Effects and Prelude, so multiple users can be working on the same frame at the same time, but all accessing it from different machines.

What’s new in… mobile apps

The big news is that Photoshop Sketch, Comp and Photoshop Fix are now going to be available on Android. There have also been a number of workflow improvements, including automatic creation of mockups, universal copy/paste within and across documents (hooray!) and enhanced font support in Comp.

Photoshop Brush is also going to be supported in Sketch, and both Sketch and Draw are going to gain new layer blend modes.

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

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.

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

It’s hard to believe that a year’s passed since Adobe unveiled Stock, Artboards and a whole load of cool new features in their desktop and mobile apps. Now, they’re at it again, with the 2016 update to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. This comes replete with a whole arsenal of new creative tools and improvements across Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects and more, as well as always-welcome performance improvements.

Our pick of the new features

With dozens of new features available for desktop apps as well as mobile and Adobe Stock, we’d be here all day talking about every one, so we’ll concentrate on the main apps that our creative team use day-in, day-out (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro and After Effects, mainly), and some of the tools and workflow improvements they’re most excited about.

Photoshop. With every new iteration of Photoshop, there are always one or two big crowdpleasers, and this time round is no different. The Content-Aware tools were a real game-changer when they were originally released, and the new Content-Aware Crop, which fills in the gaps when you rotate an image or expand your canvas, looks very handy indeed.

The one that we’ve had the most fun with so far, though, is Face Aware Liquify, a very clever tool for detecting and magically making adjustments to facial features in images. Graphic designer Liana had a play with an unsuspecting subject’s face below, and had this to say: “On first play, it’s really good, detecting faces straight away and very accurately. You can use the sliders or grab the various facial features, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting there to be so many options, eg eye tilt or distance. Obviously these examples are the extremes, but I think this would be very useful in making subtle changes.” Cheers, Li…

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Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.09.23

Another new Photoshop feature of interest is Match Font, which identifies Latin fonts in images. “It’s recommended to get a straight-on image, so I did a quick Perspective Warp because the photo was at an angle,” Liana said. “It did seem a bit hit and miss (just nudging the box along could make it come up with different results even though the text was still in the box). But even though it didn’t find the font that we’ve used here, it did come up with similar suggestions. I love the fact that it searches Typekit too, which is obviously really handy. I think this is a good tool to get a similar style font and various options, but maybe not if you really need ‘that exact font’.”

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Illustrator. No silly faces in this one, unfortunately, just cold hard workflow improvements. The latest update for Illustrator features Fast Export of assets and artboards. When you need an icon scaled for multiple screen sizes, instead of exporting each size configuration individually, now you can export the icon across all the required size configurations at the same time with just one click, which is going to make life a lot easier for our design team.

Premiere Pro and After Effects. Earlier this year at NAB 2016, Adobe made a big announcement about upcoming updates to their core Creative Cloud for teams (CCT) video apps. They promised VR video capabilities and faster than ever media ingest and editing workflows in Premiere Pro CC, as well as a more responsive After Effects (as well as the usual performance and stability enhancements across all the Adobe video and audio applications). And with this update, they’ve made good on their word.

New Virtual Reality features have been added to Premiere Pro, including a ‘field of view’ mode which makes it easy for editors and filmmakers to preview media and see what the viewer will see. Then there’s the new Character Animator in After Effects, which makes it easy to match an animated character to a real-life actor’s speech and movements in real time. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’ll be interested to know that this latest update was recently tested by The Simpsons’ animation team when they used it for Homer Simpson’s live Q&A session in the 15th May episode.

Creative Cloud Libraries. Creative Cloud Libraries was a big hit with our design team when it first came out, meaning easier access to key tools, colours, fonts and more. And now it’s even better, with read-only library collaboration, followable Libraries with a Send Link, an updated Libraries panel for Photoshop CC, Dreamweaver CC (Beta), Adobe Muse CC and Animate CC, and new asset type support for InDesign CC, including gradients, colours, styles, tints and swatches.

When can I get them?

As always, if you’re a current Creative Cloud for teams subscriber, you get all new updates immediately for free. A notification should have pinged up in your Creative Cloud app. If you don’t currently hold an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription though, you can of course get in touch with us, as the UK’s leading Adobe reseller, to get it all sorted.

– 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.

Chasing auroras: An interview with photographer Jamen Percy

Chasing auroras: An interview with photographer Jamen Percy

Jamen Percy is an international, award-winning photographer, designer and Adobe Stock contributor (check out his Stock portfolio here). He’s also got a bit of a thing for the Northern Lights, winning Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015: Aurorae Category and setting up his own Arctic Circle photo tour group, Aurora Chasers (see more on Jamen’s Instagram). We quizzed him on his photography workflow, selling for stock services and why you shouldn’t get between a mother bear and her cubs… 

Jamen Percy

How did you first get into photography? 

I was at the ripe old age of 26 when I was in need of a fresh change in my life, so I relocated from my home town in Sydney to London. There I soon became addicted to travelling abroad and this gave me that extra reason to invest in a proper SLR camera. The two went in hand, and it was wanderlust at first sight.

What kind of work and styles do you specialise in? 

I cover quite a variety of subject matter – I started with travel, specialising in the Aurora Borealis up in the Arctic circle, but then branched out as my lust for wildlife and nature adventures exponentially expanded. I would then do small studio shots in my London home for technique practice, which also helped pay for all the gear I ‘just had to have’ for my next trip.

Jamen Percy Aurora Borealis

What’s been the hardest shoot you’ve been on?

Every subject is hard – if it’s easy, then it’s not worth it. You can bet many other people have done the same if it’s too easy. When it gets hard, you know you’re on to something good. It’s also when most people give up. In terms of stock photography, a unique picture is key. I love shooting wildlife and, although it’s not as profitable for stock as other subjects, I enjoy it so much it never feels like work to me.

Jamen Percy brown bear

The hardest shoot so far would have to be brown bears in the forests of Finland. Their behavior is so unpredictable; you can’t just come out of your hide and give them some creative direction. They are tough models to work with! Although they aren’t aggressive if they do see you, if you come between a mother and her cubs you won’t come out on top. It makes toilet breaks outside the hide interesting…

Jamen Percy brown bear and cub

You’ve shot some amazing pictures of the Aurora Borealis too – how was that?

Very cold! It’s extreme conditions and it can be very hard to chase them as the weather seems to be against you 95% of the time. But, that 5% is always worth it, even if you can’t feel your toes or hands and it’s 4am. It’s never the same and always awe-inspiring.

Do you have a photography Moby Dick you’re still on the hunt for?

Yes, there’s a list! Working with wildlife is a game of patience and persistence. I have a project in Central America photographing one of the world’s most elusive predators – wild jaguars. It’s been going for three years now, still with no shot yet, but I know it will come. And when it does…

So what’s in your kit bag? And what non-techy item are you never without on a shoot?

I’ve gone from owning every lens possible to having just the bare essentials. For day to day use, I have a super wide-Carl Zeiss 15mm lens, then an all-rounder Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, followed by the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L II. This gives me a full range and I rarely need anything else unless it’s really specific – telephoto or fisheye, for example – and for that I would hire the lens out. In terms of non-tech, I always have a soft cloth for cleaning the lens and a chocolate bar to keep my energy levels up. If you get tired and hungry you can’t focus and get lazy – photography can be surprisingly physical.

Jamen Percy

Can you describe your workflow for us?

I load my images straight into Lightroom, where I do a quick pass marking the ones worth keeping and deleting the rest, which usually reduces the collection to 25% of the original amount. From there I apply an overall lens correction and adjustments, then I go through each image and make local adjustments and tweaks to the lighting. By then I can usually spot the favourites and I keyword and export them to be uploaded. I try to avoid uploading similar images to keep my portfolio to a high standard.

Do you use any other editing tools such as Photoshop?

I only use Photoshop to do studio shoots where I remove infrastructure and tools used to position the subjects, combining images or changing colours of objects. Most of my photos stay in Lightroom though. It now has so many more features that I don’t need third party software for panoramic and such like I used to. I also use Adobe After Effects to compile timelapses.

Jamen_Percy_Aurora

You do a lot of stock imagery work – how do you decide what to give over to stock services?

If I think it will sell on Adobe Stock, then I will submit it, otherwise the photo will sit on my hard drive and cost money rather than make it. However, context does apply to stock – some images will sell at high prices as art prints but never sell at all on Adobe Stock – these tend to be more creative visions which are too abstract to sell commercially but highly prized as unique in the art world. It’s all about finding the right audience for each image.

Jamen Percy

So is there a balance between what you think will be commercially successful and still retaining your style?

No never, but I seem to always get some of my style in each photograph, regardless of the subject matter. I will photograph anything that will sell, as soulless as its sounds – the image selling industry has become so hardline for making money you cannot afford to exclude anything and often the subjects people don’t want to photograph are in demand because of this. You can always use different aliases to separate your portfolio into styles with most stock libraries however. Also, having a good variety of work will increase your opportunities. Every subject matter is a challenge and has lessons to learn.

What kind of thing do you receive the most interest in?

My timelapses and photos of the Aurora Borealis have always outsold any of my other work. To get all the conditions right for a good shoot can take many seasons to crack, as well as the aurora coming in 11-year cycles of strength, so for 5 years there are almost no chances to photograph strong activity – which adds to its rareness.

Do you have any advice you can give to up and coming photographers?

Always be unique if you want to sell. If you don’t, you’re just adding to the pollution.

Check out more of Jamen’s great work on his Instagram, and over in his Adobe Stock portfolio.

Want to find out more about Adobe Stock? Head on over to our Adobe Stock page to take a look at the full feature-set. You can also give us a call on 03332 409 259, email adobe@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below.

Adobe drop new 2015 Creative Cloud features and updates

Adobe drop new 2015 Creative Cloud features and updates

In what’s become a bit of a yearly tradition, Adobe have unveiled major new 2015 updates for all Creative Cloud desktop apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and more.

Creative Cloud 2015 also brings new updates to mobile apps, including the brand new Adobe Hue for iOS, as well as new improved libraries and the new Adobe Stock asset marketplace. Of course, if you’ve got an ongoing Creative Cloud membership, all the new stuff comes at no extra cost too. We’ve picked out our top new updates and features below.

 

Desktop apps get a sprinkling of magic

All 15 Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps get updates in the 2015 release, with Adobe adding what they call their ‘Adobe Magic’. Just some of the new features to look out for include:

Photoshop CC. 2015 sees the introduction of Artboards, an easy way to create and preview multiple layouts of different sizes in one Photoshop document, and Device Preview, so you can check how they’ll look on different devices. An interesting workflow addition is the new Photoshop Design Space interface which lets users create their own tool layouts based on just the tools they need to do their work. Performance-wise, the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tools have been boosted with Mercury Graphics Engine enhancements, so you get results up to a massive 120 times faster than in CS6.

Lightroom CC. Lightroom, as well as Photoshop, gets a new Dehaze feature which eliminates fog and haze from photos, including underwater shots, for startlingly clear images. Haze can also be added to a photo for artistic effect.

Illustrator CC. Illustrator has also had a speed boost – it’s now ten times faster and ten times more precise than CS6. Thanks to a new Mercury Performance System boost, you can pan, zoom and scroll faster and more smoothly, and zoom into your artwork to create and edit with incredible precision (magnification can now reach up to 64,000% instead of 6400%). A new Chart tool lets users create custom charts and graphics.

InDesign CC. Mercury performance has also come to InDesign, meaning you can now zoom, scroll and page through complex documents twice as fast. Other new enhancements let you place images directly into cells of tables, add colour or shading to paragraphs, and publish and distribute documents with a single click.

Premiere Pro CC. Video users get spoiled with some big new improvements in the 2015 release. The new Lumetri Colour panel simplifies colour workflows with better colour correction tools and intuitive sliders. For editing interviews, the new Morph Cut feature smooths out jump cuts and sound bytes in talking-head shots to create a cohesive, polished sequence.

After Effects CC. New tracking features give you exceptional accuracy by managing the level of detail you track, and simple mask tracking lets you quickly apply effects only to a face, such as selective colour correction or blurring. You can easily animate 2D characters from Illustrator or Photoshop with Character Animator, which tracks your facial movements, records a voiceover and even triggers bodily movement with simple keyboard actions and automated features. Newcomers will also benefit from the new Simplified Preview mode which helps users get to grips with motion graphics and visual effects.

Dreamweaver CC. It’s now easier than ever to create mobile websites in Dreamweaver, with support for responsive design to create production-ready websites that dynamically adapt to various screen sizes. You also have the ability to preview and test websites on multiple devices in realtime. Quickly turn Photoshop comps into code-based designs with Extract, and work more efficiently with Code Editor tools like code completion, built-in validation and site management.

Muse CC. With instant access to premium fonts in Typekit from the Adobe Muse font menu, and the ability to integrate blogs, shopping carts, radio buttons and more using new widgets downloaded from the Library panel, it’s now much faster to create dynamic, engaging web designs.

 

Libraries get Linked Assets

Creative Cloud Libraries has always been a favourite feature of our team, giving easier access to key tools, brushes, colours, fonts and more, in Photoshop and InDesign. Now in the 2015 release, that functionality is extended to more apps, with support for Premiere Pro and After Effects. Adobe have also added support for Linked Assets, which lets you make an amend to an asset and then have that change automatically incorporated within every document or project.

 

Adobe stock up on assets

Adobe Stock is Adobe’s new asset marketplace, home to some 40 million quality images and graphics. It conveniently integrates into CC desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more, letting you save images to your Creative Cloud Libraries and then access them directly from inside your apps. You can work with watermarked images directly in comps, then when you’re ready to purchase, any edits you made to the watermarked image are magically applied to the purchased full-resolution image via CreativeSync.

You can buy Adobe Stock with new Creative Cloud for teams purchases or simply add it to your existing membership, and we’ll have full pricing and availability soon.

 

New and improved mobile CC apps

The Creative Cloud mobile app lineup keeps getting stronger, with updates to Adobe Comp CC, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Brush CC, Shape CC and Color CC for iPad and iPhone (Shape, Color and Photoshop Mix are also now available for Android).

Adobe have also released new mobile apps Adobe Hue, Preview and Comp which are designed to make it even easier to capture inspiration and create from anywhere. Hue lets you capture colour palettes from photographs to create ‘Looks’ that can be uploaded to your Creative Cloud Library. You can then use these as creative references and to improve video footage in apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Premiere Clip for iOS devices. Adobe Preview CC gives Photoshop CC designers precise, realtime previews of their mobile designs, while you can use Comp CC to draft your layouts using natural drawing gestures.

 

– The 2015 updates to CC desktop and mobile apps are available to download immediately for all Creative Cloud members as part of their membership at no additional cost. If you want to know more about Creative Cloud subscriptions, get in touch on the details below.

Adobe Creative Cloud hub on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? 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.

Tutorial: How to insert 3D objects in After Effects

Tutorial: How to insert 3D objects in After Effects

If you’re looking to add photorealistic 3D content to existing footage, this tutorial from Adobe will show you how. Using After Effects’ Live 3D Pipeline and the included Maxon Cinema 4D Lite, you’ll be able to add 3D objects directly into your existing compositions relatively easily.

For more on Adobe Creative Cloud, check out 0ur Adobe Creative Cloud Hub or give us a buzz on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com

How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

When Adobe announced that their key apps were moving to Creative Cloud and that a new teams option would be available, we decided to sign our in-house design team up straight away. While they were initially nervous, we now have a team of designers who can work remotely, collaborate easily and have developed an unhealthy fascination with InCopy…

Choosing to move to Creative Cloud for teams

As the UK’s largest Adobe reseller, we’re always keen to get our hands on the latest updates so that we know what our customers are dealing with. However, when the design team found our that their beloved copies of Creative Suite were going to be confiscated, they were a little worried.

“At first, I was apprehensive, because it was really an unknown,” explains our design manager Loui Goldsworthy. “Because of the name, I thought it might change how our team works. Would it pull from a server continuously and be slow?” (These worries turned out to be unfounded – our team just needed to download the apps once, then worked locally as they had before, without the need to connect to Adobe’s servers or maintain a constant internet access.)

But the possibility of accessing new features quickly overcame any nerves. “We thought it was the right thing to do – we were excited to move and see the new features we’d get to explore, and we always want to make sure we’re utilising the latest features and using the most efficient workflow,” Loui.

As for the designers themselves, their reactions ranged from excited to nervous to worried that they’d have to pay for their own software – a worry quickly put paid to by the arrival of Creative Cloud for teams, which allowed everything to be managed centrally rather than forcing each designer to take out an individual licence.

Getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams

When it came to getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams, “It was really easy,” said Loui. “We just had to assign the email addresses of the individual designers to the licence. They then got an invitation to the main Creative Cloud portal.”

From there, the designers can download whichever apps they need. If their requirements change or they want to explore a new app, they simply head back to the portal. On the flipside of that, our design managers can also choose to lock down apps if they wish. “We’ve stayed away from that as just because some of our apps aren’t part of our workflow now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. If we don’t explore them we don’t know what we could be missing. The expanded range of apps available as standard in Creative Cloud for teams is great to give us opportunities to be able to cater more widely to our clients’ needs.”

Finding new features and tools

One of the main benefits of moving to Creative Cloud for teams was that our designers got access to a host of new tools. “I love the idea of Edge Animate and the possibilities it opens up when you’re creating HTML5 animations for websites and iBooks,” said Paul, while our graphic designer Liana is a big fan of Kuler: “You can download it to your iPhone, which is great if you get inspiration on the go or need to kill time on the bus.”

Across the department, there’s also been a lot of interest in InCopy. “I looked at it years ago but made the decision that the extra cost wasn’t justified then – now it’s free it might be a really useful addition to our workflow,” said Loui.

So would we recommend it?

“Yes,” said Loui. “Firstly because the range of apps that come as standard within Creative Cloud and the seamless integration between them. And secondly because of the admin side of things – I’m very pleased not to have to mess about with loading installer CDs, it’s much better to have a central area where I can download the apps I need when I need them. Plus it’s great that the licence allows me to load Creative Cloud on my home computer so I can continue with some bits at home if I need to, or any of the team can pick up work out of office – it helps us stay productive without being tied down.”

“I’ve changed my mind about the cost after working with it,” Paul added. “Yes, on the face of it, moving to a subscription rather than owning your software is strange, but you do get access to all the applications. This opens a lot of doors creatively and also challenges you and makes you want to learn more and do more.”

Want to know more about how Adobe Creative Cloud for teams could help you? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
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