A guide to Wacom: Choosing the best graphics tablet

A guide to Wacom: Choosing the best graphics tablet

Wacom’s graphics tablet lineup includes solutions for all kinds of creative work, needs and budgets. Here, we present our guide to all things Wacom, including MobileStudio Pro, the Cintiq range and Intuos Pro. 

So which Wacom is for you? All will be revealed in our rundown below…

Our bestselling graphics tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro

Go for this if… you frequently work in creative applications such as InDesign and Photoshop. It’s the ideal tool for precision work on layouts and imagery, offering great resolution and sensitivity, as well as tilt recognition and ExpressKeys.

new_wacom_intuos_pro

With the old Intuos range of tablets now being completely discontinued, Wacom’s entry level option is now the more recent Intuos Pro. The price tag may be a little more than its predecessor, but for the increased outlay, the Intuos Pro does come packed with a rich feature set that makes it ideal for more professional creative work.

The Intuos Pro comes in both medium and large sizes, complete with the Pro Pen 2, a stylus that’s four times more accurate than the previous generation of Pro Pen and boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity – more than any other stylus/tablet combo on the market. This results in a more natural and responsive drawing experience with virtually no lag and natural tilt support. Handily, it doesn’t need batteries or charging, running instead on Wacom’s own peculiar brand of sand magic (resonant inductive coupling, apparently).

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

Options:

Buy the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (2017) here – £274 ex VAT (£328.80 inc VAT).

Buy the Wacom Intuos Pro Large (2017) here – £374 ex VAT (£448.80 inc VAT).

 

Intuos Pro Paper Edition

Go for this if… If you prefer to start work on good old fashioned paper.

intuos_paper

The Intuos Paper Edition combines an Intuos Pro tablet with a Paper Clip, which affixes to the top of your tablet and tracks pen strokes made with your Wacom Finetip Pen (don’t worry, this is included).

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

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

Buy the medium Wacom Intuos Paper Edition here – £316 ex VAT (£379.20 inc VAT).

Buy the large Wacom Intuos Paper Edition here – £416 ex VAT (£499.20 inc VAT).  

 

The complete mobile solution: Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Go for this if… you want to combine your graphics tablet and laptop into a single piece of kit.

Wacom_Mobile_Studio_Pro 13

This Intel Powered, tablet computer provides a complete mobile solution for creatives on the go, running full versions of your favourite creative software. With up to 4K resolution and 96% RGB colour performance, as well as the Wacom Pro Pen 2 (which is 4x more pressure-sensitive and 4x more accurate than the previous version), this is a game-changing bit of design kit.

wacom_mobile_studio_pro_16

MobileStudio Pro comes in two versions – 13 and 16. MobileStudio Pro 13 packs a 13.3” screen, designed for maximum mobility, and features 2560×1440 resolution, 96% Adobe RGB colour performance, six ExpressKeys, and three different configurations to choose from. The MobileStudio Pro 16 provides a larger workspace, offering up a 15.6” 3840×2160 resolution display with 94% Adobe RGB colour performance. It also boasts a more substantial eight ExpressKeys and comes in two different configurations. Both models run on full versions of Windows 10.

Options:

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i5, 128GB, 8GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1374 (£1648.80 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i7, 256GB, 8GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1499 (£1798.80 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 13, Intel Core i7, 512GB, 16GB, Intel Iris Graphics 550 here – £1916 (£2299.20 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 16, Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8GB, NVIDIA Quadro M600M with 2GB GDDr5 VRAM here – £1833 (£2199.60 inc VAT)

Buy Mobile Studio 16, Intel Core i7, 512GB, 16GB, NVIDIA Quadro M1000M with 4GB GDDr5 VRAM here – £2291 (£2749.20 inc VAT)

 

The quality pen display: Wacom Cintiq display

Go for this if… you work with illustrations, 3D design or any field where you’re more likely to deal with texturing, fine art or brush work.

Wacom Cintiq 27QHD display tablet

Wacom Cintiq brings together pen and touch input with a high res display to create a piece of technology that is, quite simply, unbeatable for digital artists. Rather than having to interpret your on-screen movements on a tablet, you get to paint directly onto the screen, allowing you to achieve incredible accuracy. It’s also completely customisable to your way of working – each stand allows you to position the screen in a way that is comfortable for you, and the ExpressKeys and TouchRings can be tailored to your needs.

There are a number of sizes available – the Cintiq 22HD is a desktop version with a 21.5″ full HD display, while the Cintiq 13HD is a far more portable option. The Cintiq 27QHD, is right at the top end, with improved hi-def resolution in its 2560×1440 pixel active workable area, a distinctly slimmer and lighter form factor, and a new customisable ExpressKey Remote Control which can be placed on your tablet or on your desk for more flexible working.

Options:

Buy Wacom Cintiq 13HD here – £575 (£690 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 22HD Pen-only display here – £1224 (£1468.80 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Pen-only display here – £1455 (£1746 inc VAT)

Buy Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Pen & Touch display here – £1832 (£2198.40 inc VAT)

 

The high-end pen display: Wacom Cintiq Pro

Go for this if… You want the most sensitive creative pen display around.

wacom_cintiq_pro

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

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

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

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

Options:

Buy the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 here – £699 ex VAT (£838.80 inc VAT)

Buy the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 here – £1166 ex VAT (£1399.20 inc VAT)

 

Got a question? Call us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com to find out more about the different models from Wacom available or the best graphics tablet for your creative workflow. For everything else, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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

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

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

Why animation for marketing?

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

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

Why use Adobe Creative Cloud?

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

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

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

Adobe Creative Cloud from Jigsaw24

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

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

 

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

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


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.

Streamlining design efficiency with Adobe CC Libraries: A Pfeiffer report

Streamlining design efficiency with Adobe CC Libraries: A Pfeiffer report

They might not be able to agree on the ultimate typeface, but if there’s one thing our design team are unanimous on it’s their love of Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, making access to key tools, colours, fonts and more between apps infinitely easier. Now, to show just how much they impact on efficiency and productivity, Pfeiffer Consulting have produced a report commissioned by Adobe that gives benchmark results based on real world workflows.

Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries: The Productivity Impact of Shared Assets and Settings‘ compares the results of using Adobe CC Libraries to “typical workflow situations that rely on shared template documents stored on a server, or on the use of corporate style guides”, as well as “how small, repetitive productivity gains can add up over time, particularly in a workgroup situation that relies on frequently shared and updated elements”.

Key findings

– Creative Cloud Libraries allow highly efficient sharing and updating of settings, styles and assets among different applications and computers, as well as team members.

– Benchmarks conducted for this project show significant productivity gains resulting from the use of CC Libraries: the average of six workflow benchmarks showed close to 10x productivity gains for the benchmarked operations (see chart below.)

– Cumulative, small productivity gains in repetitive operations add up significantly and could save workgroups hours in the course of a week.

– Sharing and one update of colour settings, one set of graphics, and one image asset, took almost twenty minutes to complete using common workflow methods – and just over three minutes with CC Libraries.

Real world workflows

Applying colour setting from shared template document: with Adobe CC Libraries (16sec); without Adobe CC Libraries (2min 33sec).

Applying type setting from corporate style guide: with Adobe CC Libraries (28sec); without Adobe CC Libraries (3min 59sec).

Finding and placing corporate asset: with Adobe CC Libraries (14sec); without Adobe CC Libraries (2min 35sec).

Licensing high-res image and replacing in composition: with Adobe CC Libraries (3min 13sec); without Adobe CC Libraries (19min 56sec).

– Check out the findings in full by downloading the Pfeiffer report on Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries here.

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.

 

5 things to consider when picking stock images

5 things to consider when picking stock images

Picking stock imagery may seem like a chore, but when you’re working on a project and looking to find the perfect photo, the most popular or most artistic isn’t always going to fit the bill. Our team have put together a few tips to bear in mind when selecting the right image for your work.

#1 Get the most from your image

The key here is to think broadly. The last thing you want is to purchase an image for the email campaign you’re designing, only to find out that you need to adapt it into a dreaded skyscraper banner the week after. If you don’t know all the elements of the project right now, try and pick an image that can be easily adapted to different aspect ratios.

Secondly, while I know it seems obvious, you’d be surprised just how many times I’ve seen stock images purchased and used once, only to then disappear into the abyss of a server, never to be seen again. Get your money’s worth, people! Where you have licensed an image for multiple uses, be sure to keep it in the back of your mind in case another campaign crops up where it can be used. We may use the same image in an education piece of marketing as in a business piece, for example.

#2 What’s the best before date?

OK, we all know that some stock photography looks like it’s been lifted straight out of the 80s, but we aren’t just talking about whether or not the models are sporting fetching mullets and a tache here. It’s important to take a good look at the items in shot to make sure that they aren’t going to date too quickly. As an example, we’re always on the lookout for computers or tablets that are about to be superseded by newer models. For some projects, as long as the photo is current, it’ll be absolutely fine. But the last thing you want to do is to put something in print that will result in a reprint in a couple of months.

#3 Don’t be stung by approvals

It’s the rule we all live by and all get caught out on: don’t download the high res version until all key stakeholders have seen the project. Preview versions are there to prevent you from wasting your budget or stock credits, so be sure to use them. And if you’re the kind of person who likes to download and take the hit on the budget so that you don’t end up duplicating work once the high res version is approved, take a look at Adobe Stock. The built-in integration between Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud means that you can use the preview image when designing your visuals and, once it’s signed off, a hit of a button will swap out the linked asset – a massive time saver!

#4 Make the image your own

Most stock image licences allow you to adapt the original photo to some degree, and if you want your project to have something unique about it, it’s good to make the most of that flexibility. Inevitably there are going to be certain images that are more popular than others, so if your heart is set on using them, do something a bit different to make it your own. Take a look at the cover of our brochure of retail solutions, in which we replaced the standard brick wall behind the female shop assistant with a busy store.

Adapting Stock Imagery - Jigsaw24 Retail Brochure

#5 Have a few ideas in your back pocket

The last one is to make sure you have a few ideas stored away in your back pocket. While we all like to think we get it right first time, there are always occasions where the client has other ideas! So be sure to pick out a few image options when you’re searching, so that if they come back with the red pin, you’re ready with some alternatives that you already approve of.

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.

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.

Wacom announce a new range of Intuos tablets

Wacom announce a new range of Intuos tablets

On 3rd September Wacom announced the release of a new generation of tablets to their popular Intuos range. Four new models are soon to hit the shelves, in the form of the Intuos Art, Intuos Comic, Intuos Photo and Intuos Draw (pen only).

Want to get hands-on with the new Wacom products? We’re holding a Wacom Drop-in Day on 17th September which you’re more than welcome to attend. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of the page to let us know you’re coming.

Not only have Wacom dropped the four new tablets, but they’ve also announced that they will come with free creative software and video tutorials, so you’ll have everything you need to start working in one package. Here’s what you need to know about them…

Features

– 1024 pen pressure sensitivity levels for great precision and accuracy.

– Four customisable ExpressKeys to give you shortcuts to the functions you use the most.

– Free creative software and video tutorials.

– Quick and easy to set up (plug into your Mac or PC via USB, install the driver, register and download your creative software).

– A choice of size and colour.

Intuos Draw

(Creative pen tablet)

Perfect for: Sketching and drawing beginners.

Wacom Draw

The Intuos Draw has been designed with drawing in mind, and is the perfect choice for novices looking to improve their skills. The Intuos Draw comes with free ArtRage Lite software.

How much does it cost?

Grab an Intuos Draw from £49 (£58.80 inc VAT)

Available as:

Wacom Intuos Draw creative pen tablet – small (white)

Wacom Intuos Draw creative pen tablet – small (blue)

Intuos Art

(Creative pen and touch tablet)

Perfect for: More advanced digital art and design.

Wacom Art

The Intuos Art is perfect for those of you who will be creating artwork, printing paintings and sharing your work online. The Intuos Art comes with all the tools you need to paint, design and create artwork including Coral Painter Essentials software.

How much does it cost?

Grab an Intuos Art from £74 (£88.80 inc VAT)

Available as:

Wacom Intuos Art creative pen and touch tablet – small (black)

Wacom Intuos Art creative pen and touch tablet – small (blue)

Wacom Intuos Art creative pen and touch tablet – medium (black)

Wacom Intuos Art creative pen and touch tablet – medium (blue)

Intuos Photo

(Creative pen and touch tablet)

Perfect for: Digital photo editing.

Wacom Photo

If you’re looking for a tablet that will allow you to perfect your images for printing, push your creative boundaries and share your work with friends and family, the Intuos Photo is the perfect tool for taking your work to the next level. The Intuos Photo comes bundled with plenty of great software including Coral Paintshop Pro X8 for Windows, Coral AfterShot Pro 2 for Windows and Mac and Macphun Creativity Kit (with Tonality Pro, Intensify Pro, Snapheal Pro and Noiseless Pro).

How much does it cost?

Grab an Intuos Photo from £74 (£88.80 inc VAT)

Avavilable as:

Wacom Intuos Photo creative pen and touch tablet – small (black)

Intuos Comic

(Creative pen and touch tablet)

Perfect for: Creating comics and manga art.

Wacom Comic

The Intuos Comic has been specifically designed with comic fans in mind, and comes with Clip Studio Paint Pro and Anime Studio available to download for free.

How much does it cost?

Grab an Intuos Comic from £74 (£88.80 inc VAT)

Available as:

Wacom Intuos Comic creative pen and touch tablet – small (black)

Wacom Intuos Comic creative pen and touch tablet – small (blue)

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

Top design tips: Data merging and Print Booklet in InDesign

Top design tips: Data merging and Print Booklet in InDesign

For my latest roundup of clever little hints to help speed up your workflow, I’ve aimed my designer vision squarely at Adobe InDesign CS6. Specifically, the Data Merging feature, which lets you quickly customise a document, much like Mail Merge but for whole elements of layouts, and Print Booklet – an oft-overlooked tool for producing professional printed proofs. Enjoy!

Data Merging in InDesign CS6

I’ve used the Data Merging feature in Adobe InDesign CS6 a few times before, but was reminded of just how effective it is recently when a particular job came up. We were asked to create and print 50 proposal documents in-house to send out to companies, with personalised company logos, contact names and company names on each of the 15 pages. Initially the designer involved thought they’d have to create 50 documents, and each one would have to be manually put together – placing 50 logos and ‘finding and replacing’ company names. But the neat little Data Merging script meant we could cut out that tedium. Here’s how it works:

Screen Shot 2012-10-22 At 11.02.23

– You’ll find the panel under Windows > Utilities > Data Merge in InDesign CS6.

– Using this panel will allow you to assign areas of an InDesign document with tags that link back to a CSV file. The CSV file should contain all the personalised elements you require.

– The small example below shows we need to personalise a full company name, company name (shortened version is applicable) and we want to add a photo change – in this case a company logo.

– Once we have the CSV file with our 50 companies, we need to load it into the Data Merge panel. Go to the flyout menu and click ‘Select Data Source…’, then find your CSV file.

– The fields from the CSV file should now appear in the Data Merge panel.

Screen Shot 2012-10-22 At 11.04.51
– Now it’s simply a case of telling InDesign where it needs to put this information. This is done by selecting the type that need to be personalised and then clicking the correct data. InDesign will insert << Company Name >> (or the appropriate data tag) where this data needs to be added.
– To add a photo change, create a blank Frame and then select the data source to fill this, in our case @Photos.
– Once you’ve added all your data fields, you’re ready to create a PDF or a merged InDesign document. There are further options to explore at this point but basically if you click OK, InDesign should create your personalised document for how ever many versions you require.
And that’s it – simple customised documents in a fraction of the time it would take to individually make changes for each company. If you get stuck, there’s more information on data merging at the InDesign community help page.

 

Print Booklet in InDesign CS6

 

We produce a range of printed marketing material at Jigsaw24, including catalogues of varying page numbers. For mocking up proofs to check and get internal approvals on, we use another handy little feature tucked away in InDesign – Print Booklet. This allows you to take your chronologically prepared pages and print it as printers pairs. It’s a very useful and straightforward feature for proofing, or if you want to get a flavour of how your document might be working.
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Simply head to File > Print Booklet to open the options menu. From here, you can choose what kind of page arrangement you’re after – 2-up Saddle Stitch, 2-up Perfect Bound or Consecutive. You’ll also find extensive options for creeps, bleeds, margins and more. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more information about all the options and troubleshooting at Adobe’s community help site.
– Like what you see? Both these features are available in InDesign, and we’ve currently offering great savings when you upgrade from CS3/4 to Adobe Creative Suite 6!
Call 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Edit any PDF in Quark with PDF2DTP

Edit any PDF in Quark with PDF2DTP

It’s one of those design nightmares – a client comes to you with a PDF and wants it amending, but you don’t have any of the original source files! Short of manually converting the PDF one page at a time or recreating the entire document (all the while mentally editing an image of your client’s head into a vicious animal attack), what can you do?

Markzware, creator of tons of plug-ins for Quark, think they have the answer with PDF2DTP. This new plug-in, or ‘XTension’, lets you easily import an entire multipage PDF into QuarkXPress 9, converting the whole thing into an editable Quark file. Then you can simply make your edits with familiar tools and export it back out to hand to your client as a new PDF.

How well does it work?

Have a look at the PDF2DTP XTension for QuarkXPress 9 in action and get the full word from Markzware in the video at the bottom. It’s already getting rave reviews from designers for its conversion speed and accuracy – Paul Ramos, a publishing professional at Difusao Cultural enthused, “PDF2DTP is fantastic! I tried it on a PDF for a book that had 524 pages, and it took less than five minutes to make the total conversion. It even isolated the images in separate files.”

Our resident Quark expert Priya Saggar reckons PDF2DTP will be a very welcome addition to designers’ toolbelts. “This is going to take a lot of tedious work out of converting PDFs to make minor edits, or quickly recovering a document when all you’ve got left is the PDF,” she said. “It does usually retail for £179 but, for a limited time, you can get it free with every QuarkXPress 9 purchase or upgrade. PDF2DTP comes as an electronic download for either Mac or Windows – all you need to do is register your Quark and fill in the online redemption form.”

You can also get more info by calling our team on 03332 409 306 and emailing sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Adobe Creative Week 2012: Our design team’s thoughts

Adobe Creative Week 2012: Our design team’s thoughts

Our design team spend most of their waking hours toiling over Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Dreamweaver, so we thought it would be a good idea for us to check in with some of Adobe Creative Week 2012’s online seminars and see what other creatives were up to.

With the UK economy still idling in recession, big themes up for discussion were how creativity could help push growth, the decline of print, constrained budgets and changing skill sets. Adobe also showcased their new Touch apps for Apple’s iPad, Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6. Here’s Liana, Ed and Paul’s thoughts on the week’s hotly contested debates…

Day 1: Creative Industry Overview

The overarching question to kick off Creative Week was ‘Can creativity help drive the UK out of recession?’, and the results showed the viewers had a pretty sunny outlook, 88% of them voting ‘Yes’. One of the themes touched on was creativity in education, and whether we were failing the younger generation by not giving art and creative subjects enough credibility.

Designer Liana Jackson wasn’t so sure it was such a big hindrance: “While gaining basic skills in maths and science is necessary, I’ve never felt like I wasn’t able to pursue a career in design because art wasn’t ‘credible’. I suppose it can be seen more as a hobby than an actual job, and I think more people are trying to get into creative roles now, and earning money doing jobs for people because they ‘kind of know’ what they’re doing. This can lead to a lot of pants design out there and a lot of qualified designers out of a job.”

With the rising use of mobile devices in the classroom (Adobe showed an interesting case study from Ravensbourne College), students are getting far more collaborative and diverse design skills. Whether this new crop of creativity can provide the stimulus the UK needs for economic growth remains to be seen.

Adobe Touch apps and Creative Cloud

Throughout Creative Week, Adobe evangelists were showcasing their latest products with in-depth video tutorials, which are all handily uploaded to the Adobe Creative Week site to watch back at your leisure. Of particular interest to our iPad expert Ed Reisner were the new Adobe Touch apps and Creative Cloud, as presented by Rufus Deuchler (Senior Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems – @rufusd on Twitter).

“While Apple have been pushing their cloud services for a while, it’s great that you can now ‘work in the cloud’ with Adobe,” he said. “Creative Cloud also lets you download and manage desktop apps like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign or the Touch tablet apps such as Kuler and Proto, a bit like Apple’s App Store. Interestingly, you can also download an app for a specific time period. This would be useful if you’ve taken on a contractor for a month or two, and only need a Photoshop licence for that time.”

Ed also thought Adobe’s six Touch apps – Photoshop, Kuler, Proto, Collage, Ideas and Debut – would be really useful for designers on the move: “Each of the Touch apps is designed specifically for multitouch use, and as they integrate with Creative Cloud, will let you work on initial concepts and save them while you’re out of the office.

“Photoshop Touch gives you control of some basic Photoshop commands, but also lets you add comments so you can collaboratively review ideas with colleagues and clients. The Ideas app is great for sketching out concepts, letting you draw intuitively with touch gestures as vector paths, ready to scale up in Illustrator when you’re back at your desktop computer. Of all Adobe’s Touch apps, the most interesting is probably Proto, which integrates with Dreamweaver to let you create basic websites on the fly. You can be with a client and sketch out ideas on your iPad as you’re talking, using multitouch gestures to put in headers, tabs and more.”

Day 2: Design and Publishing

The decline of print media is no big news, so it was heartening to see that 69% of people surveyed on Day 2 thought that print could survive the digital revolution. Jeremy Leslie from the magCulture blog said that having both print and digital “gives us the option to pick and choose the right solution for the project in hand”, while Future Publishing’s digital Editor-in-Chief Mike Goldsmith enthused that “digital technology gives you permission to fail”, as it’s so much easier to rectify mistakes and make amends.

“Digital media can reach people far quicker than print, and with platforms like Twitter, it’s changed how we read and consume content,” said Liana. “But they reminded viewers that the challenge is still engaging that person to want to follow a link and read on.

“Design, like fashion, is also cyclical, and Adobe brought up the good example of InDesign’s first introduction, and people moving over from Quark. Everyone learned to use new tools like drop shadow, but then it became so ubiquitous that it fell out of favour, only to come back when it started being seen as different and original again,” she added.

Tutorials for Day 2 focused on Adobe’s big three apps for design and publishing – Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator – as well as newcomer Muse, which lets you do WYSIWYG web design without lines and lines of code. Check out the videos on the Adobe Creative Week site.

We’ve been using Creative Suite 6 for a while now, and our videographer Tom has also put together his own handy tutorials for Photoshop’s Content-Aware and text extrusion tools, and Image Trace in Illustrator, which you can see over at our YouTube channel.

Day 3: Film and video

‘Do smaller budgets make for more original ideas?’ Last year, the BBC spent 13% less on TV, and ITV spent 21% less (2011 compared to 2010), yet revenue went up for both. Pressure and expectation from above to do more with fewer resources and less technology can force creatives to think differently, seemed to be the reasoning.

One new avenue which has helped is social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter which, former BBC social media expert Marc Goodchild reckons, “brings producers closer to their audience”.

Liana agreed that social media is now a key part of creativity: “As Marc said, YouTube allows you to test your work and fine tune it before the final cut, decreasing risk and making it as good as it can be. It’s also great for talent scouts and HR managers looking to hire people. Pilots used to be secretive and for a specialised audience, but now they’re expected to be seen by lots of people, thus giving more constructive feedback.

“The panellists also discussed how Twitter is now a valid source of openly eavesdropping – people aren’t afraid to give their opinion because they aren’t talking to your face. There are also enough people to get a rounded, calculated result, from a different range of expertise and backgrounds.”

Day 4: Web and mobile

Cross-disciplinary skills are all well and good, but the fourth day of Creative Week asked – ‘Should you be a Jack of all trades instead of a master of one?’. A very talented 64% said designers should be skilled in newer processes like app design in addition to traditional skills.

With the ways people consume media changing, and clients wanting to be at the forefront of that change, keeping up to date with technology has never been so important. Just as a coder needs a basic grasp of design, designers should have an understanding of coding, they said.

Adobe demoed a great new resource – The Expressive Web – showcasing CSS3, HTML5 and content aware pages. As Ed mentioned above, there’s also the new Touch app Proto. Proto lets you create a website wireframe directly on your tablet device, preview in on the tablet and then export it out to the Creative Cloud where you can then start fleshing the website out in Dreamweaver.

Day 5: Photography and Imaging

The last day’s topic was bound to cause a bit of controversy – ‘Is digital imaging all tech and no talent?’. Any designer worth their salt knows that software is a brilliant addition to photography, but it can’t make a great photo on its own, and an overwhelming 70% agreed that ‘No’, you need talent too.

It was said that Photoshop gives you the opportunity to experiment using techniques and ideas without massive costs – for example award-winning photographer Timothy Allen (BBC’s Human Planet) argued that it was much more cost-effective to use the Tilt-shift feature in Photoshop than it was to buy new lenses to shoot with to achieve the same effect.

Senior designer Paul Shillabeer thought the rise of ‘iPhoneography’ and photo-sharing sites was having a very real effect on the industry. “More amateurs and professionals are using apps and iPhones to create imagery,” he said. “This movement is getting bigger and is very accessible to all levels of photographer from pros to casual snappers. Erin Moroney [of the UK Young Photographers’ Alliance] also noted that photo stock libraries are finding it hard to compete and cannot command the high price tags they used to because people are sourcing images from so many other sources – a very similar image to what a client’s looking for could easily be found on Flickr.”

– A good taster of the current state of the design and media industries, Adobe’s Creative Week 2012 managed to wrap up all the big questions about the changing face of digital creativity. If you missed any of the debates and tutorials, you can catch up on demand here.

You can find out more about Adobe Creative Suite 6 and our full range of design tools at our site, or by calling our team on 03332 409 306 or emailing CAD@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.