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.

Essential solutions to keep your creative files and assets secure

Essential solutions to keep your creative files and assets secure

We’ve been supplying leading creative technology solutions for more than 25 years now, and we’ve worked with some of the UK’s top creatives for just as long. We realise that lots of creative teams manage with the basics when it comes to storage, security, servers, and the other less glitzy IT stuff, but it’s essential to ensure that your assets and files are protected against the unknown.

Of course, nobody ever expects massive data loss to happen to them. And while it may sound dramatic, it’s probably worth asking yourself what you’d do if your premises went up in flames overnight. If your team are working from a shared hard drive on the office floor, saving assets and files to internal hard drives on your computers, or backing up to a server sat on the floor above, you could be putting all your work at risk.

Reportedly, 58% of small business aren’t prepared for data loss, with a further 60% closing down within six months of losing critical data. And while you may even be storing duplicate copies of your files on separate hard drives, there’s still a risk of those failing too. By slacking in the backend, you could face losing years worth of clients’ work, your company’s entire history of creative branding and marketing collateral, and more. Fortunately, there are solutions out there that’ll help prevent a file-related disaster before it happens, and will have your back on the off-chance one does occur. Here are a few of our top recommendations for keeping your precious work out of harm’s way…

For data backup…

If your business currently handles over 1TB of data, our very own Backup24 is perfect for keeping your files safe. It offers secure, offsite protection for all your digital media assets, and you can leave everything with us so you don’t have to bother with the management headache. Backup24 is scalable, meaning you can increase or reduce the amount of data you backup quickly and easily, with pricing starting from just £40 per terabyte per month. Users will also benefit from professional over the phone support, anytime access to data, fast and simple data retrieval, and much more. Unlike when you go with bigger providers, we can physically check your data everyday and don’t charge you to access your backups. You can find out more about Backup24 here.

For data security…

Security should be a top priority for every creative team. It’s important to consider what protection you have against hacking and infiltration, and to have a plan in place in case your data is compromised. Lots of teams use services like Dropbox or Google Drive to store files and assets, and while they may be cheap and convenient, this can leave your data wide open to malicious attacks.

If this is something you’re concerned about and want to ensure that your files stay private and secure, or if you’re a larger organisation that needs complete control and visibility over lots of assets, we’d recommend Acronis Access Advanced, which addresses common file security and privacy issues. It’s ideal for businesses who need a safe method for users to access and share content both internally and externally across a range of devices. The solution allows users to work with business files anytime, anywhere, bolsters content security and privacy, increases IT control and ensures compliance, boosts end user productivity and improves collaboration between colleagues. It also offers comprehensive security functionality and controls to better manage and protect users, apps and data, and the whole solution is easy to install, administer and use.

To receive a 30 day free trial of Acronis Access Advanced, head over to their website. In the video below, the Acronis team asked business people where they think their data is being stored and what would happen if it was lost or stolen…

For data transfer…

If you’re going to start regularly backing up your creative files and assets, you’ll require connectivity that’s well-suited to handling bandwidth-intensive processes and applications. For this, we reckon ATTO’s ThunderLink devices are ideal. Basically, they act as external adapters for Thunderbolt 2 to Ethernet, Fibre Channel and SAS and Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet and Fibre Channel. They connect all-in-one systems and laptops to storage devices while delivering high data transfer rates, as well as link aggregation and failover, redundancy and increased availability for critical network applications to protect against potential system failure.

ThunderLink devices provide optimised, scalable connectivity and are designed to integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructures. ATTO’s latest ThunderLink lineup boasts superior throughput to meet modern bandwidth requirements – respective devices deliver 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet and scalable 16Gb/s and 32Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 to Fibre Channel connectivity – perfect for speedy data backups and transfers of large creative files and assets. You can find out more about ATTO hardware here.

If anything we’ve discussed has got you thinking about the way your team secures, stores, shares and transfers creative files, get in touch with our specialist team on the details below and they’ll be happy to discuss any of the products mentioned above and any workflow requirements you may have.

If you’d like to find out more about our essential solutions for creative teams, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 is shipping right now!

Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 is shipping right now!

That’s right, the wait is over. The fourteenth iteration of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve is shipping as we speak and we’re super excited. Existing Resolve users can upgrade free of charge, with version 14 promising up to ten times faster editing speeds, professional Fairlight audio, revolutionary collaboration and more.

Users will be able to take advantage of hundreds of new features and improvements for editors, colourists, and – for the first time ever – audio production professionals.

Resolve 14 comes packing a fresh playback engine that dramatically increases editing performance and responsiveness for trimming and playback, even when working with processor-intensive formats like H.264 and RAW.

Colour correction

Likewise, colourists will continue to enjoy the industry’s most powerful primary and secondary correction tools, complete with an advanced curve editor, tracking and stabilisation, noise reduction and grain tools, Resolve FX and the rest. They’ll also have access to a range of new filters, which include automatic facial recognition and tracking that allows users to quickly smooth skin tones, brighten eyes, alter lip colour and more.

Fairlight audio

For audio pros needing a complete end to end workflow, Resolve 14 includes Fairlight audio post tools that provide users with everything they need to record, edit, mix, sweeten and master sound for up to 1000 channels in realtime. The software also supports huge Fairlight audio consoles, and users can mix down and master to multiple formats, including 3D audio space formats such as 5.1, 7.1 and 22.2.

Collaboration

The latest version even boasts innovative new multi-user collaboration tools, including bin locking, chat and timeline merging that let editors, colourists and sound editors work on the same project simultaneously. That means you no longer have to waste precious time conforming or waiting for a locked edit before you can start work on colour and audio – ideal for hitting those tight deadlines and working in parallel so your team can spend more time being creative.

The free version of DaVinci Resolve 14 – which contains everything you’ll need for working on SD, HD and Ultra HD at up to 60 frames per second – is available to download now on macOS, Windows and Linux. If you require even more creative tools and options, Resolve 14 Studio, which you can purchase from our store here, provides support for 4K and higher along with frame rates of up to 120 fps, as well as lots of additional features that help make your work even more impressive.

Why Jigsaw24?

Working closely with Blackmagic Design and the DaVinci development team, developing qualified, scalable workstations on every platform has enabled us to become the go-to experts for Resolve in the UK and Nordic countries. We are one of the few partners chosen globally for DaVinci Resolve on Linux, showing that Blackmagic Design have a strong respect for our capabilities and understanding of the complexity and requirements in high-end grading systems and workflows. In 2015, we won the Blackmagic Design Outstanding Achievement award for our ongoing dedication to providing expert solutions and the best possible customer experience.

If you’d like to receive an expert demo (and a cracking cuppa) at our facility in Soho before upgrading, you can book in today by clicking here. Alternatively, you can arrange a test run with one of the team by dropping an email over to soho@Jigsaw24.com or calling 03332 409 285.

If you want to know more about DaVinci Resolve 14, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How to solve your creative team’s 10 trickiest workflow problems

How to solve your creative team’s 10 trickiest workflow problems

Our creative team understand just how critical a hassle-free workflow is. When your team’s trying to hit tight deadlines, the last thing they need is to be slowed down by the same old problems.

Below, we’ve listed 10 of the trickiest workflow issues that are causing trouble for creative teams, and some software solution recommendations that’ll help you fix them. You can stop pulling your hair out now.

“I need to see proof copies of my team’s work and be able to compare amends on PDF files.”

As every creative team knows, long paper trails are a real pain when it comes to proofing and amends. Luckily, there are PDF editing tools which offer document tracking and management functionality that streamline the proofing process and cut turnaround times. They should allow users to create, edit and sign PDF files, while providing cloud features that let you work on them anywhere. Keep an eye out for the ability to compare files, review differences between them, and visualise and filter changes, as well as mobile functionality that offers access to recent files across mobile, desktop and web, meaning you’ll be able to carry on working even if you’re away from your main computer. We use Adobe Acrobat DC – which offers all of the above – so we recommend giving that a look.

“I need to ensure all our staff have their devices backed up, so they can access files if they get lost or stolen.”

With a variety of options out there, such as Code42’s CrashPlan, we recommend you spend some time search for an easy to manage solution that enables users to restore lost files files without additional support from IT. Software like this works in the background of your team’s machines to silently and continuously back up all distributed end user data so you have complete visibility and control on a single, secure platform. Leading solutions will also allow your team to benefit from unlimited storage with no bandwidth caps or file type restrictions, rock solid security complete with advanced encryption for your data, and tons of backup options across numerous devices and hard drives.

“I need my team to be able to work remotely without a load of IT hassle.”

These days, lots of businesses want to equip their staff with the ability to work remotely, and there are a variety of office suite solutions that can help with this. One such example is Microsoft Office 365, which comes with apps your team should already be familiar with, and is great for handling those not so creative bits that are the backbone of organisation and productivity. Top office software makes collaboration and document sharing nice and simple, and should include the latest versions of your favourite applications in both web and mobile form, as well as cloud services that provide access to files, emails and documents anywhere, any time.

“We want to back our servers up offsite with the ability to restore any files or folders quickly and efficiently.” 

There are lots of cloud backup and storage solutions to choose from, but Backup24 is a solid choice for creative teams who need secure, offsite protection for their intellectual property and digital media assets. Solutions like this should be scalable for businesses that have over 1TB of data (with no upper data limit), and usually allow you to leave everything with the team behind the software meaning you don’t have to manage a thing. Offsite managed backup services also provide users with some great benefits too, including anytime access to data, fast and simple retrieval, zero recovery costs, over the phone support and guidance when your team needs it, and much more.

“We’re a small team who need to cut the time it takes to find and manage our digital assets.”

With so many DAM solutions to choose from, we’d suggest giving Extensis Portfolio a try (this is the solution our creative team use). Management solutions such as Protfolio are built with speed and simplicity in mind, and help cut out all that time wasted spent searching the network, browsing countless folders and consulting team members. They can be used to manage images, video, audio or documents, and automatically catalogue and extract metadata for all assets. Users should be able to organise multimedia files into refined collections, and browse, preview and search for files, while automated keyword creation and previews make it simple to quickly sift through your team’s hefty file bank. DAM solutions are usually built for a certain amount of assets as standard, but can be increased by purchasing additional asset packs.

“We need to streamline our design workflow, but have to manage a large amount of product information.” 

Keeping on top of your product information and digital assets is a key part of modern day marketing, and ensuring a high response rate across multiple sales channels is a growing task for modern businesses. With a few different solutions to choose from, we recommend finding one that offers comprehensive, integrated product management and publishing, that’s all about streamlining your team’s design workflow and bolstering your marketing and sales efforts. For this, we’d suggest a solution such as MatrixCMS. Solutions like this mean design teams and product managers can work even more closely together, and their automated tools mean you don’t need to sweat the small stuff like repagination. They should even hook into InDesign and allow for easier proofing and editing.

“We want to access files quickly and easily while on the move.” 

This stuff can get pretty technical, so your team needs a solution that combines great functionality and complete ease of use. Acronis Access Connect does a top job, with solutions like this allowing Mac users to have the same access to Windows file and print servers as PC users. They’re also packed full of features that are specifically designed to deliver the fastest file and print services available, and help resolve common cross-platform file sharing issues. Teams can also benefit from bundled mobile apps (such as the Access Connect app for iOS devices), which allow users to remotely access file shares from any location that has network access through in-app file browsers. Most such apps should also come preloaded with document editing applications that lets users to carry on working while away from their desks – ideal for proofing and amending while out and about.

“The number of products and digital assets our business needs to manage is getting out of control.”

There are a few PIM (product information management) and DAM (digital asset management) solutions around right now. When scouring the marketplace for the right software, keep an eye out for something that offers powerful cloud-based product information management system with near-infinite power to handle unlimited amounts of product information. They should also allow for total ease to use, while providing adaptable tools that let users create the rich product content that customers demand, and permit retailers to publish automatically across multiple channels. For a quality DAM solution, you want something that makes it easy for you to organise, find, retrieve and share files from a centralised digital library. It’s also ideal if the solution delivers fast, controlled access to digital assets, while managing them in the most efficient way possible and keeping all digital assets automatically associated with their relevant products through product codes. For this tall task, we think something like Pimberly is perfect.

“Our designers need to organise their font collections into a single, searchable location.” 

If your designers want to better organise their fonts, look for an intuitive, stable and secure font management solution for individual users. They should provide direct access to your font collection from within your creative applications and via the cloud. One such solution – Suitcase Fusion 7 – utilises TypeSync, which enables designers to sync their fonts on any machine. Equipped with exclusive Font Sense technology, Suitcase Fusion fingerprints each version of a font using multiple criteria. This enables the application to provide highly accurate font matching functionality.

“We want to centrally manage our typographical assets.”

For teams of any size wanting top-level control over their font collections, we’d recommend looking for an on-premises server solution that’s integrated with macOS, Windows and Adobe Creative Cloud, which is built to help creative teams streamline the management of their font collection, while reducing costs on unused fonts and avoiding legal complications. No matter how big your team’s font database, a solution like Universal Type Server 6 provides centralised storage that makes it easy to find, sort, use and distribute fonts, while also identifying fonts and even recognising duplicates. Enhanced diagnostic reports provide in-depth insights into font usage, and alerts users when unlicensed fonts are being used that could cause legal issues.

Why Jigsaw24?

If your in-house creative team are experiencing issues and want some answers, you’ll be pleased to hear that after 25 years in the game we’ve heard every workflow problem before, and our close relationships with leading vendors mean we can recommend a solution to fix them all. But whatever your team’s issue – whether it’s refining your day to day processes, automating tasks or seamlessly integrating software – we’ve got you covered with essential solutions that’ll free up your design team and give them more time to do what they do best.

If you’d like to find out more about our essential software solutions for creative teams, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.comFor 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.

Online Creative look to Resolve for TOWIE ident on-set, edit and grade

Online Creative look to Resolve for TOWIE ident on-set, edit and grade

Brighton-based Online Creative Ltd are an boutique post facility with an enviable reputation for colour grading, editing and post, and a client list that includes the BBC, ITV, C4, Sky, IWC Media and ITN.

Recently, they took on the job of creating idents for Select Fashion, sponsors of The Only Way Is Essex, and decided to edit and grade the project almost entirely within DaVinci Resolve. We sat down with co-founder and senior colourist Darren Mostyn to get his take on the new, extended Resolve workflow.

Darren in Online Creative's Grade suite
Darren in Online Creative’s Grade suite

 

Can you outline the workflow you employed for the TOWIE project?

We edited and graded the Dancing On Ice sponsorship idents last year for ITN and had a lot of fun with those, so when the same director asked if we would work on the TOWIE idents we were more than happy to. The production company, Eclectic Motion based in London, approached David Ward to direct the series of nine sponsorship idents for their client, Select Fashion. After meeting us at our studio here in Brighton, Eclectic Motion were very happy for us to complete the entire post, from DIT and on-set grading through to the edit, graphics, colour grade and delivery.

Managing colour on set

Managing colour on set

How are you finding using Resolve for more of the creative workflow than just grading?

The entire post-production for the TOWIE sponsorship idents was managed through DaVinci Resolve Studio. Due to the incredibly tight turnaround of this job, we simply stayed in the software for the edit, grade and delivery. The Blackmagic Design team have radically upgraded the edit capability of Resolve since version 12 was released. Having played with the editing software over the last few months, we were confident that the job could easily be edited inside our grading software, saving us time versus switching between Avid for the edit and Resolve for the grade.

Online Creative's on-set Resolve edit/grade setup

Online Creative’s on-set Resolve edit/grade setup

The rushes were all shot in 4K mainly from a Sony FS7. We took our portable grading suite to the shoot and were immediately able to edit with Resolve without any transcoding, playing back in real time. We then applied looks on set to show the client, director and to assist DoP Mark Bader. Using the advanced editing functions in Resolve allowed us to quickly build some first assemblies, which would help us get ahead in the four days left for the edit. Once back in the studio, we simply connected the suites to the on-set project.

Which features of Resolve were most useful on this project?

I still think Resolve is a world class system for colour grading, but now with better-featured editing functionality I can easily make edit changes even if I have started the grade. The trimming functionality of the edit side has been well thought out and feels mature. I was very aware that on this project that there would be a point where we had to start the grade, even without a final picture lock, as the broadcast delivery deadline was so tight. The changes that were made were easily applied by simply switching to the edit page. Traditionally, I would have had to open the edit suite, make the changes, export the AAF/XML and then Resolve would re-conform the edit changes, but now it is completely seamless.

The completed edit in Resolve

The completed edit in Resolve

Were the clients aware of your heavy Resolve usage? Did they give any feedback on it?

Eclectic Motion and Select Fashion were really pleased we came on set and provided a look and rough edit straight away. It gave them confidence at the shoot that it was going to look great, especially as it was Select Fashion’s first TV spot. The grade back at our studio is always a good experience for the client. They were impressed with the speed of the system in 4K, and the tracker always gets a smile.

Before and After Darren's grade

Before and After Darren’s grade

We used Resolve to do some fixing where parts of the set were showing carpentry joins. The node sizing tool came in very handy to use as a paint/clone tool that was then easily tracked. The client was very aware that doing this outside of Resolve would have been an extra expense and taken up valuable time. It’s always great to be able to offer up these additional fixes to clients whilst keeping them on budget.

How does Resolve compare to your previous system?

I have been using Resolve here for over six years now. I previously graded using Digital Vision’s FilmMaster, Avid Symphony and Apple Color. I started grading on Resolve using the Tangent Wave control surface for about a year before committing to the full dedicated panels after deciding the software was a perfect tool for our broadcast needs – in addition to TVCs and idents, we grade documentary and longform work, so the control surface is a very important part of our set up. We now have a Tangent Element which runs on our second grading suite and is used on our portable kit.

Mid-grade in the Resolve suite

Mid-grade in the Resolve suite

What made you decide it was time to move more of your workflow into Resolve?

The Resolve software is always being developed and refined, and each year a new set of features appear that makes our workflow here smoother. Being a smaller facility than most of our Soho counterparts means that we have to give the very best quality service to keep ahead of the game. We need our software to be affordable, able to handle any job in HD and 4K resolution, and reliable – DaVinci Resolve ticks all these boxes and many more.

How did you find working with Jigsaw24? Would you recommend us?

We have bought the majority of our equipment from Jigsaw24. We had an issue with a new iMac that we ordered a little too close to a deadline. The machine caused a few problems and turned out to have a fault. Jigsaw24 replaced it and collected the faulty machine immediately without any hesitation, keeping us on track for our deadline. My clients expect us to pull out all the stops when needed, and so did Jigsaw24 on this occasion.

The fact that we are a small boutique facility in Brighton does not deter the team at Jigsaw24. They don’t treat us any differently to the big facilities, and that service goes a long way for me. Jamie and the team at Jigsaw24 certainly know their stuff in the world of post-production and are a valuable resource for me when compiling a shopping list.

Are you planning on sticking with this workflow for other projects? Are there any circumstances when you wouldn’t recommend it?

The Resolve workflow was completely flawless on the TOWIE/Select Fashion project. There are more projects in the diary that I will certainly implement the same workflow.

The lack of freelance editors with Resolve on their CV may be off-putting to some companies, but I am sure it won’t be long until freelance editors start trying the edit functionality in more detail and adding it to their list of NLEs. I don’t think it will be too long before we receive someone else’s programme edited entirely in Resolve to grade. To be able to simply open the Resolve project and start grading, bypassing the XML workflow altogether, will be great – I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys pre-grade conforming. I’d be interested to see how Resolve fares when editing longform programmes, which we’ll be looking at very soon.

Check out our DaVinci Resolve page to find out more! Or email our experts here: davinci@jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Don’t forget your Adobe Expert Services

Don’t forget your Adobe Expert Services

Did you know that with every Adobe Creative Cloud licence, you also get access to two 1:1 consulting sessions a year? These can be for anything from solving workflow issues to expanding your skill set, so don’t forget to take advantage of them. 

Adobe’s 1:1 consulting sessions provide customers a chance to get up to date with all the latest up in the Creative Cloud. If you’re struggling to get to grips with anything Adobe, a 30-minute Expert Services chat could be exactly what you need!

New software can be intimidating, and exploring every nook and cranny of unfamiliar territory can take a long time. Expert Services offer a unique screen sharing experience, so the guys over at Adobe can walk you through those complicated workflows step-by-step.

Expert Services can include:

– Explanations of new features within a new release.

– Best practices and advice for complex tasks.

– Typical workflows used between multiple Adobe applications.

If it suits you better, you can bundle your consultations together in a group. For example, three members of your team could receive a combined 90-minute group call from the experts at Adobe. It’s worth a thought. Best of all, Expert Services consultations can be scheduled at any time of your choosing, no hassle, no worries!

If you’re thinking you need a hand, or a word, from Adobe Expert Services, get online to the Team administration dashboard under Support – you’ll find everything you need there. If it’s more timely assistance you’re after, head over to Support to contact the team by Chat or Phone.

Interested in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? 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.