Projects 2011

Black is Black …… or is it?

Posted by 24 Aug, 2011

‘Black is black’ so the old Rolling Stones lyric went, but when it comes to print, not always.  I came across  this problem recently when working with a client who likes black even more than Steve Jobs who, it is reported, spent something approaching a hundred thousand dollars getting the right sort of black for […]

‘Black is black’ so the old Rolling Stones lyric went, but when it comes to print, not always.  I came across  this problem recently when working with a client who likes black even more than Steve Jobs who, it is reported, spent something approaching a hundred thousand dollars getting the right sort of black for Next computer cases in the eighties.

The problem arises when you produce graphics with a background that graduates to black  in say Adobe Photoshop and then import those graphics into page layout programme Adobe InDesign in this case, which also has a black background.  The two black merge and create an invisible join and the job is done… right? ….wrong!  Whilst it might look OK on your screen when printed or output to pdf the Photoshop black is grey and sticks out like a sore thumb.  See example below.

As you can see the oval Photoshop vignette to black is visible against the background black in InDesign. The problem relates to the way the two programs create their black swatches and the final image processing when creating the final pdfs for print. (If you don’t see a difference increase the brightness on your monitor)

However help is at hand, if you have experienced this problem and been tearing your hair out trying to fix it, here is a simple step procedure to remove the problem.

In Photoshop or other image editor

1. Make sure your file is using the CMYK colour space.
2. Ensure the printer profile  is the same that to be used in InDesign (I use the default setting)
3. The black swatch that you use to create black needs to be set to C100, M100, Y100, K,100

In InDesign
In preferences set ‘Appearance of Black’ to rich black
Do not use the default black swatch in InDesign to create your background.  Create a new black swatch in the swatches tool panel and as in Photoshop set its CMYK values to 100 each and use to set the background colour of the piece.

 

I hope you found this short article useful.  If  Applause can help with any of the tasks in your digital day please call.

 

(0) Comment Categories : design for print, Projects 2011

DVD Publishing – An Offline Success

Posted by 28 Jun, 2011

When learning a new subject or skill, especially if self teaching, a continual and easy access to learning resources is a fundamental part of the process.  This is particularly relevant in pan global, multi language and multi cultural situations where connection to the internet or provision of modern computer equipment may not be available. In […]

When learning a new subject or skill, especially if self teaching, a continual and easy access to learning resources is a fundamental part of the process.  This is particularly relevant in pan global, multi language and multi cultural situations where connection to the internet or provision of modern computer equipment may not be available.

In my own experience, it’s a huge benefit to  have  manuals, tutorials, video all at hand so I can instantly cross reference from one media to another,  mix animated demonstration or video with detailed study in text form and listen to audio description without having to consider the Internet. As, whilst an almost inexhaustible library of research material, it can also be quite frustrating.  Setting aside the issues of connectivity and bandwidth, for the provider the cost of delivering constant access to such large quantities of media rich applications on a continual basis going forward can be prohibitive.  For the user constant online access over a long period of time to media rich material can also be expensive consequently the benefit of  having everything on your hard drive in your own computer is clear.

A company with huge expertise in this area is International publisher Macmillan Education. With over 150 years of publishing experience and operating in over 130 countries they work with local teachers, students, institutions, and educational authorities to develop high-quality coursebooks, supplementary materials and digital products to suit the needs of classrooms around the world.

At the end of 2010 Macmillan asked Lemon Digital and Applause to provide an interactive DVD resource for two of their forthcoming projects;  ‘Learning Teaching’ a training manual first published in 1994, now revised as a third edition and to be complemented with a DVD training video produced by MTJ Video in Oxford and a range of digital publications provided in pdf format;   ‘The Business’ a DVD resource bank  at pre-intermediate to advanced level, containing a massive resource of video, worksheets, teachers notes, authentic listening activities, Powerpoint and more.

applause, macmillan the business dvd

Both interactive Enhanced DVDs were to be distributed world-wide and required accessibility across a wide range of media platforms, basic DVD player, PC and Macintosh computers Applause were asked to develop the programmes which would then be exhaustively tested across virtually all known combinations of hardware and software  by Testronic Labs in London.  Both titles passed out with flying colours and are now available on Macmillan’s website.

Learning Teaching

The Business

Guy Jackson at Macmillan commented “The Enhanced DVD was a steep learning curve for us but Applause worked tirelessly and patiently on both projects taking complete responsibility for the builds. We handed over the assets and let them get on with it!”

 

(0) Comment Categories : design for print, interactive media, Projects 2011

3D Visualisation and Photo Realistic Modelling

Posted by 4 Apr, 2011

You have an amazing new packaging idea, a new product development, an architectural proposal or a creative concept for a conference or exhibition space but it’s still on the drawing board or just in your head . You can  enthuse your client, excite them with potential and gain competitive advantage by using photo realistic 3D […]

You have an amazing new packaging idea, a new product development, an architectural proposal or a creative concept for a conference or exhibition space but it’s still on the drawing board or just in your head . You can  enthuse your client, excite them with potential and gain competitive advantage by using photo realistic 3D visualisation to bring the subject alive.


Photo real image creation has been a specialism at Applause since the days of ‘comping’ colour transparencies, working with such clients as Westland and Racal (now Thales Group) to provide visual representations of complex projects under development.  More recently we have worked in the events industry providing pre-build 3D simulations of conference and exhibition stand creative concepts. And now expanding the skillset to cover a wider range of applications, delivered as high resolution still images, HD, standard or streaming video.

Clients are often not really sure  if they like an idea until they see it; also with complex long term  projects it may be necessary to demonstrate work in progress as a final situation. In these circumstances it can be a real advantage to be able to show exactly how things will look. Illustrating packaging in variety of colours and label designs, showing how seating will work in a particular event venue or just how good stainless steel, glass, acrylics and marble can look in a new build are just some of the ways photo real 3D can help. A particular advantage in high value projects where expensive materials and high labour cost will be involved.

Take it a stage further and add animation, fly your customers Peter Pan style, take a micro journey through places a camera wouldn’t fit, create the ‘impossible’ to interest and engage your customers.

Here are just some of the potential applications:

  • Confex & Event Visuals
  • Architectural Photo Realism
  • Product Simulation
  • Photomontage and Digital Retouching
  • Packaging visuals
  • Video Wall and Studio Backdrops
(0) Comment Categories : conference & exhibition, design for print, Projects 2011

Is your Avatar as Professional as You

Posted by 25 Mar, 2011

Why your social media persona is important. How you can create a professional visual presence for free.         Once upon a time to market your business all you needed were some business cards a telephone and perhaps if you were flush with start up capital – a brochure and an ad in […]

Why your social media persona is important.

How you can create a professional visual presence for free.

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time to market your business all you needed were some business cards a telephone and perhaps if you were flush with start up capital – a brochure and an ad in yellow pages.

How times change; in today’s multi channel marketing world a whole variety of tools are at your disposal each requiring it own discipline.  And, the pace of change gets faster and faster new technologies are almost tumbling over one another to gain ascendancy.  One of the newest, and probably most controversial, is Social Media Marketing sometimes referred to as Socialnomics, only a few years old but now experiencing huge exponential growth, and whether you believe they are a complete waste of time or valuable tool enabling direct contact with your target audience one thing is certain, this style of communication is here to stay.

From a business perspective, although there are a host of browser based software options, the recognised front runners are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (use these links to connect if you like !) and although these are very different marketing platforms they have one thing in common – the ‘Avatar’ or the little square picture sitting top left of screen.  This was the point during your signing up for an account with one of these social media vendors when you were presented with an ‘upload your photo’ button, and thought, “Good grief, where can I find a photo”. Rummaging in the attic and finally resorting to the one of you grinning at the camera whilst in the Costas.  Much in the same way as in the past you might have thought “I need some business cards” and nipped down to the local copy shop.

The result is largely the same – unprofessional, creating negative impact and damaging the perception of you and your business.

Why so?  When you are having a face to face communication, you have an opportunity to build rapport and create a good impression, the business card is secondary, albeit still important.  Not with #SM when someone links to you that little picture is all they’ve got.  That’s why it is important.

So I thought it might be useful to provide a few hints and tips on how to create an Avatar that will give a professional impression and it won’t necessarily cost a bean.

Firstly consider how want to use Social Media and what you think the viewer will be looking for.  If you are marketing  a product you manufacture – a picture of it; a service that you provide – a photo of you; an abstract, like a community or charity could be an iconic image or logo.

Secondly bear in mind size.  Avatars are a tiny squares and you want yours to convey your message. A photo of you in front of your wonderful new premises looks great on the website and press release but will be reduced to unidentified blobs at this size.

Here’s how – First off, get out the digital camera and take your picture. Now I did say ‘for free’ so YOU have to take the picture but if you really don’t get photography then employ the family camera enthusiast or bring in a professional there are super people around who will do this for less that £100 and provide you with range of shots you can use in a variety of ways. Here are some I hadshot by Blue Skies Photography in Redfield, Bristol [OK it did cost me something!). Note the composition and usage of a plain grey or my brand colour background to provide a space to superimpose a logo or keyword.

avatar photos selected for applause

If DIY is your choice here are some handy hints:

  • Use natural light but not direct sun and not flash (window light is good for portraits)
  • Make sure the background is uncluttered (there won’t be room for much background anyway)
  • Wear clothes that contrast with the background and convey your style (professional, trendy etc)
  • Make the subject occupy at least a third of the picture area (cameras today have plenty of resolution for this purpose but bear in mind you might want to use this shot for other purposes)
  • Consider using some bright colour (background, clothes flowers perhaps)

OK so now you have your picture and imported into the computer the final stage is to prepare the image for upload.  You will need some image editing software to do this, if you are lucky enough to have a copy of Photoshop or Fireworks you are good to go. But there are many free applications you can use, GIMP is a good example that will do all you need (‘FREE but do make the donation).

The Gimp open dialogue, applause tutorialThe task is to adjust and crop the image to the size required so that you have exactly the right image to upload.  If you have Photoshop likely you’ll know what to do so I’m leaving you to your own devices.  If not download and install the GIMP from here http://www.gimp.org/ .  Here’s quick ‘how to’ adjust and crop a photo for your avatar:

1. Open a photo file, I’ve picked a flower photo so we can assume this is for a florist’s Twitter avatar photo.

 

 

2. Often the exposure or colour of the picture isn’t quite right so you have a complete range of tools under the <Colours> menu to adjust the image to your liking.

3. Now you crop the area to select the portion of the image you want to use.  On the tool panel on the left find the ‘craft knife’ icon (I’ve ringed it red on my screen image) and select it, you can now draw an area over the image, you can also fine tune your selection by dragging the corner handles (remember you want to end up with a square format).  Once you are happy hit <enter> and save your image (use a different filename if you want to keep the original.  All that remains is to set the image to the correct size, most Social Media programmes use 100 x 100 or 200 x 200 pixel images for avatars. Go to the <Image>/<Scale Image> menu to adjust the size of the final image the whichever size you require and do a final save.

This is clearly a very quick snapshot and there are a host of tools and features within the software that will allow you to manipulate your avatar photo in a host of ways.  Have a play and see what you come up with – but remember the final photo will need to reflect the professional image you want to portray so don’t get too carried away!

(0) Comment Categories : internet and web, Projects 2011, Social Marketing Media