YouTube Premiere: How to Make Business Cards in Adobe Photoshop

Watch our brand new course premiere free on YouTube—join us and ask instructor Melody Nieves any burning design questions in the chat!

Learn how to stunning design business cards in Adobe Photoshop that make an impact! Our new course is premiering on Tuesday 12th at 10am EST. You’ll learn how to make three stunning designs inspired by minimalist, photographic, and artistic concepts—including all the techniques you need to design your own business cards and get them print ready. Sign up now!

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Growing a more inclusive and diverse Envato

When Envato enshrined diversity and inclusion in its values, it did so on a very clear understanding: that the company, and the people within it, will thrive if we continue to champion for positive change. Our leaders reflected at the time that it was on all staff to take up the responsibility for ensuring Envato was a place where talented, value-driven people thrive; a workplace that was welcoming, respectful and supportive.

A happy snap of some of the Envato staff at our Melbourne HQ

But such an approach still remains the exception, and not the rule. A recent Atlassian study revealed that while as many as 80% of the US tech sector believes diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an important issue, as many as 50% of those same respondents have decreased their participation in programs related to D&I.  It’s an alarming figure when all evidence points to the number of easily definable benefits a diverse workforce provides.

So while some of the biggest tech companies in the world, such as Spotify and Pinterest, took up the mantle and shared their diversity data in 2018, we continue to be served reminders of just how many challenges exist in continuing to make the sector a more inclusive place, despite the prominence of discussion around such issues.

Below you will find a summary of both new and existing activities that showcase how Envato has focussed on its commitments to growing a culture of inclusiveness and diversity across all aspects of our people experience and levels of the company, an approach that goes beyond just focussing on improved hiring practices as we scale our business.

This is now the fourth year we’ve reported on such activities, and you can read the 2017 report here.

Existing Activities

Gender equity across the business

One of the most visible and important measures we’ve set for ourselves at Envato is growing the number of female staff across all levels of the business. There’s never been a more important time to do this, with recent studies showing that while women are entering the tech force at an increased rate, the growth is still slowing (US), even if they’re able to land tech jobs at all (UK).

We need to ensure that the possible pipeline of female tech talent feels empowered about their career and that opportunities will exist for them if they go down this path,” said our Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale. “The most inspired and proactive young women who are keen to get involved in tech are often still finishing their education, so it’s still going to take time for a major shift to happen.”

In 2018, we saw an increase in female representation across the business, growing by 6% when compared to the year before. It’s worth noting that we are well aware that our current reporting has a binary view of gender, and is not inclusive of those who are gender diverse or non-binary. This is something we are seeking to resolve in future reporting on this subject.

All roles at Envato 2018

In technical roles – be they developers, product managers or UX and UI experts – we’ve also seen an equivalent increase.

Technical Roles @ Envato 2018

Growth in representation across all other, non-technical, roles was slower, but in line with the previous two years.

Non-Technical Roles @ Envato 2018

Finally, Envato’s leadership structure has never been more diverse, with this cohort of female staff growing by 7% when compared to 2017 levels.

Leadership roles @ Envato 2018

Developer Apprentice Program

In 2017 we launched a successful trial of a developer apprentice program targeted specifically at women wanting to enter the tech sector in a technical or development role. It was a lot of fun and we received a heap of great feedback from all involved. So in 2018, we offered it up again, with the second cohort of fantastic candidates currently embarking on their new career path.

Photo courtesy of AFR/Josh Robenstone
From left: Envato co-founder Collis Ta’eed, Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale, inaugural apprentice Jaime Gunther, apprentice trainer Mario Visic and Sharon Vaughan, who was another of the inaugural apprentices. Photo courtesy of AFR/Josh Robenstone

Mental health training for managers

This has been a consistent part of our inclusiveness program for the last few years, and as part of R U OK Day, we ran another two mental health awareness and resilience sessions for Envato’s people managers.

Ally and pride training

This year we partnered with Pride in Diversity to run the second round of ally awareness training. The training focused on three different aspects of being an ally, as well as the importance of LGBTI inclusion and awareness.

Envato CXO Justin French joins in the Pride Month celebrations at HQ.
Envato CXO Justin French joins in the Pride Month celebrations at HQ.

Targeted partnerships, including Code Like A Girl

One of Envato’s core values is that ‘When The Community Succeeds, We Succeed’. A big part of that is partnering with industry groups, not-for-profits and tech communities of all sizes, to try and have a positive impact in the areas in which we operate. One such partnership which entered its third year in 2018 was our sponsorship of Code Like a Girl. We love watching this organisation grow as it supports more and more girls and women to flourish in the world of coding. In turn, the team at Code Like a Girl have also provided group mentoring sessions to our own women in tech at Envato.

AWEI submission

For the third straight year we completed an Australian Workplace Equality Index submission. We’ve found that this process gives us a great guage on our LGBTI inclusion practices, as benchmarked against other organisations around Australia, both within our sector and further afield. While we have great engagement within our LGBTI community, we know we have more work to do in providing more consistent practices to build on that level of inclusion.

Supporting international campaigns through local events

Envato is very lucky to have an active and engaged group of staff, not just in our Melbourne HQ but around the world as well. As a group, we’ve thrown our support behind major national and international awareness campaigns such as Wear It Purple Day, International Women’s Day and Pride Month. 

Envato HQ was as vibrant as it's ever been for for Wear It Purple Day
Envato HQ was as vibrant as it’s ever been for Wear It Purple Day


New Activities

Envato Health & Wellness Expo 2018
Envato hosted a health and wellness expo at HQ for the first time in 2018.

Unconscious bias training

All new starters at Envato are now asked to complete a training program on unconscious bias as part of their onboarding program. While such programs won’t solve our problems of bias on their own, we believe it’s important that we are all aware of the effect our biases can have on who we are and how we work.

Family Violence Leave

The Australian Government has identified family violence as a major national health and welfare issue, with recent data highlighting just how prevalent and damaging such occurrences are. Envato has long supported the New Day Box project and in 2018 we introduced our first Family Violence Leave guideline, for any staff who experience a family violence-related challenge in their life. The guideline provides for 5 extra days of paid leave a year.

Updated Parental Leave

You may have seen our Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale talking about this issue already, but we feel like the Aussie tech sector could always do more to support parents who work in tech, especially as the number of women entering the local sector workforce increases.

Our updated parental leave policy includes:

  • Increasing primary caregiver leave from 18 weeks to 20 weeks, full pay
  • Increasing partner leave from two to three weeks, full pay
  • Providing two professional coaching sessions to the parent taking primary leave, to better assist with their workforce and professional development planning
  • All primary caregivers will also receive superannuation across both the paid and unpaid portions of their leave. For example, if a primary caregiver was to take 12 months of leave, Envato would continue to pay their superannuation contribution for the full year, even if the paid leave concluded at 20 weeks.

Safe Space Guidelines

Envato isn’t as small as it once was and we don’t always know each other well enough to know what’s okay and what’s not for someone else. We want Envato to be a place where people feel safe, heard, able to speak openly and with respect when communicating with others. Our new Safe Space Guidelines aims to ensure that as we grow, we continue to live by our values of Diverse and Inclusive, Fair Go and Tell It Like It Is.

Envato at the Tech Diversity Awards 2018
Inaugural developer apprentice Sharon Vaughan and Organisational Development Consultant Bec Covington attend the Victorian Tech Diversity Awards in 2018, where Envato was shortlisted in the Business category.

LGBTQI representation in Great Place to Work survey

We introduced an LGBTI demographic to the annual Great Place To Work survey we participate in every year. This has given our LGBTI community the opportunity to tell us how they feel about working at Envato, which will allow us to provide better awareness and support in the future.

The Future of Inclusion at Envato

Are there other areas of focus you would like to see Envato turn its attention to? Or an existing area you think we could do more in? Have your say here.

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Gutenberg: The Good, the Bad, and the Solutions

Gutenberg is the new default editor in WordPress (launched on 6 December 2018), replacing the word-processor-like TinyMCE. In a nutshell, it works by stacking “blocks” of various types of content on top of each other, letting a user create the kind of content they previously would have needed a custom theme or dedicated page-builder plugin to produce.

On face value, it sounds like a great improvement, but the launch of the new system has not been entirely smooth, with a considerable amount of negative feedback rolling in. Now, a couple of months after release, the big questions are: just how negative was the feedback, what caused it, and what can be done to see Gutenberg become a system users love?

In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of Gutenberg, including views from both users and industry experts, and we’ll look at what can be done to improve it.

User Reviews 75% Negative


The response to the new Gutenberg editor isn’t looking so hot from an end-user perspective. At the time of writing it’s sitting at a rating of 2 out of 5 stars, from a total of 2,438 reviews. If we consider a 4 or 5 star review as favorable, a 1 or 2 star review as unfavorable, and 3 stars as neutral:

  • 531 or 22% of reviewers like the plugin
  • 1,818 or 75% dislike it
  • 89 or 3% are neutral

In other words:

Roughly speaking, 3 out of 4 reviewers dislike Gutenberg.

It’s certainly possible that those who dislike Gutenberg are more motivated to write a review, and hence the numbers may be skewed. However, an additional point of information is that the Classic Editor plugin, which switches the WordPress editor back to its previous form, has over 2 million installs. The Classic Editor plugin is not bundled with WordPress—it has to be deliberately installed. It may be possible to infer from this that around 2 million active users have, at least for now, decided against using Gutenberg.

Why is it, then, that such a high proportion of users prefer to stay away from Gutenberg in its current form?

The most common complaints, as you read through reviews, can be summarized in these points:

  • Automatic rather than optional switch of editors
  • Breakages in compatibility with themes and plugins, or of existing workflows
  • Difficult to use, cumbersome
  • Not production-ready due to usability issues or bugs

On the other hand, the most common points of praise are:

  • Easy to use
  • Non-developers can use it to create complex layouts
  • Makes WordPress more well-equipped for the future

Feedback From WP Devs

What do people in the industry have to say about Gutenberg? In general, there has been a good bit of discussion among industry professionals surrounding how the development and release were managed, but what of the new editor itself?

Let’s hear from some WP devs:

“The release of Gutenberg was rushed and it still has some rough edges. That said, I expect these to be ironed out over the next year or so. It’s undoubtedly the future of WordPress, so you need to get your head around it sooner or later!”

– Stephen Cronin, WordPress Specialist at Envato


“I’m most excited for the budding ecosystem of Gutenberg blocks and toolkits to help folks do even more with the new editor. What a time to be a WordPress developer!”

– Rich Tabor, Founder of ThemeBeans


“I think the WordPress editor was long overdue for an overhaul. While I don’t have an issue with the concept of the new Block Editor, I do have lots of issues with the current implementation and what’s been added into Core.

The Block Editor has extremely poor UI & UX, and as even admitted by the WordPress Accessibility Team, poor accessibility. I’m constantly finding way too many issues whenever I try to use/test it, and combined with its poor usability, it’s going to be quite a while before I even consider using this for a client site or even any of my own sites.

The other issue I have with Block Editor is the complexity that they’ve introduced for developers who want to develop anything for the Block Editor, and also with how they handle each block. You can’t just simply change the markup for a block, you have to go through a whole deprecation process, requiring developers to retain old legacy code so as to avoid Blocks from breaking. This is adding unneeded bloat to WP.

Like a large portion of the WordPress community, I believe that the Block Editor should’ve been kept as a plugin, at least for a couple of major versions, until the UI & UX has been improved considerably, and the majority of issues have been fixed.”

– Anthony Hortin, Maddison Designs

What the User and Dev Feedback Tells Us

When we look at the feedback from both WordPress reviewers and developers, there are a few clear take-aways:

  • Gutenberg has positives people do like and appreciate.
  • Gutenberg has negatives people are not currently satisfied with.
  • Gutenberg is sticking around, for better or worse.

Given these three factors, the real question is:

What are some means by which Gutenberg might become a positive in the eyes of the majority of users and devs?

Let’s look at a couple of Gutenberg’s major strengths and weaknesses to find out.

Why Gutenberg Is a Fantastic Addition to WordPress

There has been a lot of focus on the things people don’t like about Gutenberg, but given that it’s here to stay, it might be more productive to start by looking at the things it does have going for it.

Rich, Custom Layouts With No Coding

Easy for average user

Previously, if a user wanted to do something not provided for by the classic editor, they’d have to bring in custom coding via inline HTML, a custom theme, or a plugin.

With Gutenberg’s block system, on the other hand, there are effectively unlimited permutations in how blocks can be assembled, meaning the editor can empower the user in ways previously impossible with an out-of-the-box WordPress installation.

A strong Gutenberg editor means people can do more than just write articles for themselves—given a quality Gutenberg-compatible theme as a foundation, they can build entire sites without needing assistance.

Simple Process to Change Content Ordering

Example of how Gutenberg block order can be changed
Example of how Gutenberg block order can be changed

In the TinyMCE editor, if you decided you wanted to move a paragraph of text, an image, or a heading, you pretty much had to cut and paste, and then hope for the best. I lost count of the number of times I helped someone with an issue on their site that proved to have come from the HTML in their post getting messed up during the editing process.

With the block system, if you want to change up the order of your content, it’s a simple matter of clicking a block’s “Move up” or “Move down” button, or dragging and dropping the block. This can save a lot of headaches for users trying to adjust their work on the fly.

Lots of Potential for Plugin and Theme Development

Gutenote - Gutenberg compatible WordPress theme
Gutenote: Gutenberg-optimized WordPress theme

Industrious WP devs have already been hard at work creating plugins and themes that leverage and expand upon Gutenberg.

Through WordPress APIs, it’s possible to create custom blocks that will appear as options for users. We covered how you can use the “create-guten-block” toolkit to help you along with this process in our course Building Gutenberg Blocks with create-guten-block.

WordPress themes can now dig into all the different block types Gutenberg offers and provide unique styling for each. You can check out some great themes doing just that in our roundup of “The Best Gutenberg-Optimized WordPress Themes, Available Now“.

Why Gutenberg Is a Problem for WordPress Users

The most common complaint about Gutenberg seems to be that it was automatically installed without a choice being given. However, if everyone preferred Gutenberg over TinyMCE, this likely wouldn’t be as much of an issue. Why, then, do users prefer TinyMCE over Gutenberg to the point that they wish they’d been given the choice to continue using the former? We touched on the reasons earlier, but let’s expand a little.

Compatibility & Workflow-Breaking Changes

One of the strongest sources of lifeblood for the WordPress world is its massive and thriving ecosystem of plugins and themes. There are countless custom site setups today kitted out with themes and plugins from this ecosystem that rely entirely on the way the post editor, custom fields and metaboxes worked before Gutenberg. For many owners of such sites, upon Gutenberg’s arrival their experience was that the functionality they relied on for their workflow simply stopped working.

This was exacerbated by the release of Gutenberg being sprung on WP plugin and theme devs with only three days notice, in December instead of the previously indicated January launch date, and by a development cycle during which frequent changes forced theme and plugin makers to implement and re-implement compatibility measures multiple times. On top of that, at launch there was still a long list of unresolved issues that were scheduled to be fixed in a later update.

All these factors combined to make the first experience of Gutenberg one fraught with technical issues for many users.

Even when users didn’t experience compatibility issues, we saw several reports from people saying they did not appreciate the significant change to existing workflows they would need to take on if they were to switch from TinyMCE to Gutenberg.

Review describing slowed process

Sudden Steep Learning Curve & Usability Issues

From the point of view of WordPress devs and people following WP news, Gutenberg has been on the way for two years.

But for the average user who just logs in periodically to add content and update their site, the word “Gutenberg” means nothing in particular, the editor they have grown very used to over the years is gone, and the new interface is confusing and entirely unfamiliar.

The block system may well prove to be a better experience for users once they grow comfortable with it, or when enough usability enhancements and bug fixes are added, but until such time it’s a source of frustration and slowed workflow for many.

Possible Ways to Ease Pain Points

To make devs and users happy about the presence of Gutenberg, its major weaknesses would need to be remedied while its strengths are accentuated. There are plenty of ways this could be done, but here are two possible helpful additions to the current system that spring to mind.

Offer a Clear Choice Between Classic and Gutenberg

One of the most common complaints has been that people felt they had no choice and Gutenberg was pushed on them. This is a concern worsened by the fact that both users and devs feel Gutenberg’s release was rushed, and that it’s not currently ready for production use. For that reason, it seems one of the first positive things WordPress could do is introduce choice in a way that alleviates this concern, especially until Gutenberg matures into an editor people feel is stable and feature complete.

What I mean by this is doing more than just having the Classic Editor plugin available in the repository, though that’s certainly a great start. WordPress is a system renowned for being usable by people who are not technicians, and in many cases it will not be sufficiently clear to users experiencing compatibility or usability problems that the remedy is to install this plugin.

Instead, perhaps for now the Classic Editor plugin should be installed by default, and a clear choice between it and Gutenberg should be continuously offered within the WordPress interface for the near future.

The folks at ThemeFusion, makers of the popular Avada theme, implemented exactly this type of choice during content creation for their theme users. When the “Add New” button is pressed, a drop-down list appears giving multiple options for the type of editor available for use:

Editor Options with ThemeFusion

If something like this were implemented into WordPress core, it would allow people to leave their existing content just as it is, while creating “sandbox” posts in which they can learn the new system at their own pace, ensuring compatibility with critical aspects of their site, and phasing in Gutenberg in a way that works for them.

A More Expansive Interactive Tutorial for On-Boarding

It’s quite telling that one of the main complaints in negative reviews has been that Gutenberg is hard to use, while one of the main points of praise in positive reviews has been how easy it is to use. Given this, perhaps a significant portion of negative opinions could be turned into positive opinions just by giving more assistance in learning the new editor.

To this end, it would be highly useful to include a far more in-depth walk-through of Gutenberg than you currently get when you first encounter it. At present, the on-boarding tips (summarized) are:

  1. Add a block by clicking the “+” button. There are all kinds of blocks.
  2. There are more settings for blocks in the sidebar.
  3. Click “Preview” to see a preview.
  4. Finished writing? Publish your post.

Current on-boarding for Gutenberg

This is a radically new system, entirely unfamiliar to many users, and yet only two of the four on-boarding tips relate to blocks. Further, those two tips tell you very little about how to actually use blocks. A more comprehensive tutorial would include topics like using toolbar buttons and formatting settings, adding blocks above or below existing content, moving blocks, deleting blocks, changing block types, adding and aligning images, inserting galleries, creating multi-column layouts, and so on.

If there was an on-boarding tip series that took users through more of the functionality on offer and showed them how to create some cool content they couldn’t make before, they might be a lot less overwhelmed and a lot more excited for the potential of blocks.

In the meantime, we put together a guide of our own, which you follow via our course “Create Content With WordPress Gutenberg“.

Wrapping Up: The Good News

When we look closely at the situation of Gutenberg, the good news is it doesn’t seem complaints are primarily directed at the fundamental concepts underpinning Gutenberg. Rather, they tend to be about how the editor launch was handled, and about usability issues that could be remedied.

We have seen so many wildly popular page-building plugins like WPBakery, and themes with integrated page builders like Avada, that it’s abundantly clear that there’s strong demand for a flexible, rich content creation process. It just needs to be done in a way that works for end users.

If WordPress increases meaningful user choice over their editor during the transition phase, enhances the on-boarding process, and continues to squash bugs and refine the user experience, we will undoubtedly see a thriving community that loves Gutenberg, and even the most unhappy of critics come back around, in the not too distant future.

The post Gutenberg: The Good, the Bad, and the Solutions appeared first on Envato.

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Top 10 Cinematic Music Tracks

Awards Season 2019 is well underway, with the biggest night of all (The Oscars) getting closer. This means that the camera lights are flashing, the red carpet has been rolled out, and the fancy dresses and over-the-top jewelry have taken the spotlight.

Aside from all of the glitz and glamor, Awards Season is also the perfect time to be inspired. Witnessing the cream of the crop can give you the push you need to put forth an awesome cinematic project of your own.

Take audio, for instance. There are Oscars for ‘Sound Editing’, ‘Sound Mixing’, ‘Original Score’, and ‘Original Song’. This can give you an idea of just how important audio is to your films and why you need to be careful with how you employ it.

For that reason, if you truly want your projects to convey your message perfectly, you need to choose cinematic music that will take them there.

To assist you in this respect, we’ve compiled a list of royalty-free cinematic music available on AudioJungle. Curated by our top specialists and reviewers, you can bet these tracks will help elevate your work and create the right atmosphere for your audiovisual projects. Lend your ear and be inspired!

The Best Cinematic Music Tracks

1. Epic Trailer

Let’s begin this list in an epic way with a royalty-free cinematic music track that’s powerful and grandiose. ‘Epic Trailer’ has orchestral arrangements, alongside some futuristic, glitchy notes. This gives it a very intense and dramatic sound.

I can already picture it playing near the end of a movie, when the climax is happening and your audience is expecting something truly epic to go down.

2. Uplifting Hollywood Awards Soundtrack

This next song has a title that’s very appealing if you’re looking to be internationally recognized for the score of your film: ‘Uplifting Hollywood Awards Soundtrack”. But what does that sound like?

Well, it has a very inspiring and encouraging vibe, all the while being elegant and triumphant. It has some lovely strings and a majestic composition, which could work well if you need to present something grand in your audiovisual project.

3. Dramatic Sports Trailer

Great, passionate, and transcendental sports movies do exist (for example, Rocky, Remember the Titans, The Wrestler, and even The Sandlot). Each of them has a very energetic feel and a stimulating message.

If this is the route in which you want to take your film, short, or other audiovisual project, you will need a cinematic music track that transmits just that. ‘Dramatic Sports Trailer’ can help in this matter, as it has a strong and motivating ring to it.

4. Sci-Fi Adventure

Now it’s time to visit the impossible—those stories that take place in other worlds, other universes, and under completely different conditions. Sci-fi movies can be mysterious, adventurous, and thrilling, but they keep a very human sense to them.

Capture that wide range of emotion with the ‘Sci-Fi Adventure’ music track. It’s sure to elevate the tension in your audience and have them biting their nails.

5. Inspirational Drama

Dramatic movies with an inspirational message are usually a fan favorite, which is why they’re often prized during awards ceremonies. And with good reason: they’re heavy with emotion, depth, and heart.

Still, the wrong type of music can break the spell and take your viewers out of the movie entirely. To ensure that won’t happen, utilize a cinematic music track such as ‘Inspirational Drama’. It’s at the same time dramatic and uplifting, which will allow you to provoke those feelings in your audience.

6. Cinematic Background Tension

Among the many reasons why we love watching movies, one of the strongest ones is that we do it to experience different emotions. Once more, the use of the right background music will add to your movie and help your audience live through the sentiments presented on the screen.

Take this royalty-free music track, for example. With the use of synths, strings, harps, and strong percussion, ‘Cinematic Background Tension’ will make your audience feel the emotions you want to convey.

7. Epic Cinematic Powerful Uplifting Trailer

The superhero has saved the day. The protagonist has achieved their purpose. The audience can breathe a sigh of relief once more. This is the part of the movie that has that uplifting message to it and an inspiring overall vibe.

To make those ending scenes land perfectly with your audience, you can use an emotional song such as ‘Epic Cinematic Powerful Uplifting Trailer’.

8. Epic Fantasy Trailer

The fantasy genre is also hugely popular in the film industry. Box office hits such as Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, The Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean, among a slew of others, have established this type of movie and made it a verifiable success among both young and old.

If you want to get your feet wet in the ‘Fantasy Movie’ puddle and take your spectators for a magical trip, make use of ‘Epic Fantasy Trailer’ in your audiovisual projects.

9. Emotional Cinematic History

Sometimes, you just want to create a beautiful audiovisual. And such beauty requires an equally beautiful cinematic music track. ‘Emotional Cinematic History’ can work perfectly for that purpose. It starts off with a lovely piano and slowly builds up into an expressive song with lively strings and a splendid orchestral arrangement.

10. The Epical

Last but not least, if we started the list in an epic way, it’s only fair that we end it in a pretty epic way, too. The ‘Epical’ cinematic music track has the ability to get everyone excited and motivated to accomplish their goals. It employs its instruments masterfully, to ensure that whoever is listening will get chills up and down their spine (which is probably what you want when you’re working on an epic movie).


Think of some of the movies with the best soundtracks: Titanic, Jaws, Amélie, La La Land, Harry Potter, etc. These are the proof that to have an awesome movie, you need a lot more than just stunning visuals. You also require captivating cinematic music tracks that will allow you to create an atmosphere in which you can surround your audience and relay the appropriate message to them.

To take your film or other multimedia project to the next level, make use of some of the royalty-free cinematic music tracks mentioned in this list. Keep in mind that if you didn’t find your perfect movie score here, you can take a listen through AudioJungle’s vast library. There, you’ll be able to explore a variety of high-quality sounds and compositions that could be the ideal pairing depending on the type of audiovisual project you’re working on.

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YouTube Premiere: Master PowerPoint—15 Essential Tips

Watch our brand new course premiere free on YouTube—join us and ask instructor Andrew Childress any burning PowerPoint questions in the chat!

Learn how to create a PowerPoint presentation that makes an impact in our new course, premiering on Wednesday 30th at 6pm EST. You’ll learn everything from how to use templates and slide masters, through to how to add animation and how to make a slideshow with music. Sign up now!

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Working Smart – Using "Screen Capture" Software

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Whether you need a quick jpg or gif for your website, or a short video to explain something visually, using "screen capture" software is a boon.

Sure, you can fire up Photoshop or other software to wrangle your images, and you can hook up your video camera and edit the footage into something short and sweet when you need something visual. But I like to use what works best and fastest, and so here's what I do:

For really fast jpgs and gif images I use Skitch (get it at skitch dot com). I use it a LOT. Think seconds, not minutes, to get an image. In fact, I use it to grab all the images I use in the blog. It's free and you can drag an image onto the little Skitch Screen, paste one you grabbed from your screen *, you can resize it by dragging the corner of the screen, and you can save your new image by typing in a name and dragging it onto your desktop or into a file folder.

Need a quick video of something you're doing on your computer? Faster and more effective than writing it all out in words, a short video works wonders. With Jing (jingproject dot com) (also free but the pro version is only $ 15 / yr) you can record a video of onscreen action, even snap a picture of your screen, and share it instantly via web, IM, or email. If you have a webcam, you can even record yourself. Great for blog entries or a quick "hello" to your family and friends.

Want to do a quick video of your onscreen action but need to edit it? Want to edit other types of video footage and incorporate images, Powerpoint slides and other goodies? I love (love) Camtasia (techsmith dot com $ 99 and worth every penny.

If you just need a quick image for a website or document, you can quickly grab ANY * image on your screen:

If you use a Mac –

1. Get whatever you want to capture showing on your computer screen.

2. Press and hold the following keys and then release: Apple Control Shift 4

3. Your pointer will change from an arrow to crosshairs (like a + sign).

4. Position the crosshairs over what you want to capture, then click, hold and drag until you've covered the image, then let go of the mouse.

5. The image is now on your clipboard, you can paste it into an email, a document, just about anywhere.

If you use a PC –

You'll have to get some free software so you can "grab" images from your computer screen. "Easy Capture" software can be downloaded for free via PC World Magazine and other places.

* And do not forget, just because an image is on the web does not mean you can use it (legally). I buy a lot of images at iStockPhoto or I use images I'm legally allowed to use.

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Try a Free Course on the Art of Voice Recording

Voice-overs are everywhere! News reporting, story telling, slide shows, training videos, web presentations, and advertisements are just some of the productions that use voice recordings as an essential element.

Find out how to get the perfect, professional sound in our free course, The Art of Voice Recording.

What You’ll Learn

Producing a good voice-over isn’t difficult, and the equipment you need is inexpensive. The quality of your voice-overs, however, will only be as good as your ability to control the sound and your techniques for capturing the audio.

In this course, you will learn about basic audio recording techniques, equipment options, acoustic treatment, and how to properly use the gear.

You’ll get over an hour of video, in which audio and video expert Dave Bode takes you through the whole process for recording the best possible audio, whether you have a simple setup or a well-equipped studio.

Voice recording studio

You’ll learn how to control the sound so that you get the exact results you need, without too much noise or distractions.

Voice recording chart

In addition to the technical aspect of this course, you will also learn about how to prepare for the read and how to work with clients to make sure expectations are met.

Learn the Art of Voice Recording Today!

This free course really does give you everything you need to know to make a professional voice recording for a video, interview, podcast, or any other purpose.

So get started right now, either by watching the video above or by clicking through to watch The Art of Voice Recording over on YouTube.

Chart showing audio levels

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Why Outsource Web Design Service?

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Web design service : Web designing is the most popular tool in the world of computers. Today is a world of technologies and everyone wants to use this technology for their betterment. Web designing is used to design and develop websites. These websites can be used in businesses for their publicity or by individual for their ports etc. Web design services are in demand as every one wants a good look for their websites as this is the first impression and first impression should always be good. An impressive look always leads towards it. It includes designing and developing part simultaniously. It should be done by experienced web designers.

Web designing tools : Web designing services tools include flash, Photoshop, corel draw, illustrator, firework, dream weaver, HTML, and dhtml. The developing tools include php,, etc. These tools are used by experienced person for designing and developing a website. Now days either in business or individual every body wants to create a website for their publicity.

Why need of outsourcing web design service? : As time changes, new techniques are developed for everything. Like in old days, the advertisement had been done through newspapers, pamphlets etc. But now as new technology becomes vast new ways are come out like websites on internet. Today every active person knows about this. But the question arises what about those people who know what web designing is but do not know how it works? What are the techniques used? The answer is Outsource web design service. This is a good concept for those who has less or no knowledge about designing that how it works but has a desire to develop a website for their product promotion internationally. Outsourcing is beneficial for those who know how to beat the time. In outsource web designing; there are professional designers who worked out for either an individual or a company according to their requirement. Just explain what your requirements are? and a skilled people will do exactly the same for you. Outsource web design services provide full range of web services like eCommerce website design, flash animation web site design etc. Web development services include shopping carts, online software etc.

Why India? There are many companies which provide outsource web designing services all over the world. These companies provide their services across the world. Some companies provide only designing services, some developing services and some both. These Companies appoints experienced and skilled staff for providing the services. Outsourcing these services to India is always beneficial. India has many experienced and professional web designing companies who have skilled people who are best in their work. It is also cost effective area than other countries. India has many web designing service providers who work at very low cost than others. Also Indians can do their work according to given time span. Indian designers are hard worker and complete their work in time. Indians are very efficient that they can work for 24 hours. So it is always being beneficial to outsource to India for getting cheap and best output.

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92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by Sundeep Mavi

Important Laptop Accessories

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  1. External hard drive I have an external hard drive with a 160 gigabyte capacity. I actually forgot what its rpm is but I'm confident that it's one of the fastest models currently in the market. I use it mainly to back up my important files and any work that I am doing. It gives me the peace of mind that I need – should anything bad happen to my laptop, all my files are neatly stored in a separate drive. Plus, I do not like to maximize my laptop's hard disk. That's because in the long run it will cause my laptop to run slower than usual.
  2. Optical mouse My laptop's built in track pad works fine but sometimes my hand yearns for the feel of an actual mouse. This is especially handy whenever I do some graphic work and I have to open up my Photoshop program. Just try creating paths using your track pad and you'll know what I mean.
  3. Laptop bag No laptop should be without one. That is my rule and I spread that rule to my fellow laptop users. A laptop can easily get scratched when it's bumped or heaven forbid, dropped. A laptop bag will help cushion the blow as well as make it easier for you to carry around. Plus a nice bag can be a fashion statement as well.
  4. Skin I put a beautiful skin on my laptop's cover. It's a picturesque beach scape of an island somewhere in the tropics. The picture is warm, relaxing and inviting. And I've seen a lot of people (women mostly) who look at my laptop because of that skin.
  5. Portable printer I actually have a portable printer that I always put in my car just in case I need to print out something while I'm outside. And it did prove very handy a few times when I had to print some spreadsheets for clients who suddenly asked me for another hard copy.

These are just a few of my laptop accessories. There are more out there and I'm sure you can find something that will make your life a lot easier.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by L Perez

Tips to Maintain MAC PC

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Do you have a Mac PC? If yes, then this article is worth reading. Here you will find useful tips to maintain your MAC PC. You can also consult a computer repair services that offer Apple Mac Support to make your MAC PC perform at its best. The tips are as follows:

Check whether there is plenty of disk space on the boot drive or not. Your MAC uses some of your hard drive space as virtual memory when there is not enough actual memory available. It's good to always keep 10% of your hard drive free for such activity. Remove Unwanted Language Packs as OS X contains hundreds of languages ??that you most likely will not use saving some extra disk space.

Check dock for unwanted apps. Your dock should only contain your most used applications so take a look through to see if there is anything you can remove or uninstall. Choose suitable applications for files be sensible when choosing what applications open by default – think do you really need Photoshop to open just to view an image when preview will work fine? Right click on a file then select Get Info.

Check Software Build If you have an Intel MAC then check the build of the software is universal – it might be that the application is still running through Rosetta and that a universal update is available. Remove dock animation Navigate to System Preferences – Dock then un-tick Animate Opening Applications. Avoid animated desks Navigate to System Preferences – Desktop & Screen Saver then un-tick Change picture.

Remove unused widgets. Each widget takes some memory and processor power even when you're not using the dashboard so only enable the ones you use. Alternately you can disable the dashboard. Check to see how much processing power and memory each widget uses. Some widgets are more intensive than others, if there is one that is specifically demanding see if there is one with similar functionality on the Apple website. To do this run Activity Monitor – Applications – Utilities -Activity Monitor.

Clear Cache. To speed up page loading Safari saves a copy of every page in its cache though if the cache gets too large it can actually slow down page loading so it's the best way to empty it occasionally. To do so, click Safari – Empty Cache. You also need to clear History. Safari can remember every single site you have visited which can have a negative effect on its performance. You can empty it be selecting History – Clear History.

Also clear AutoFill. AutoFill is the data is saved in forms such as your username and password on websites. As with the cache and history the AutoFill can mount up over time. To empty select Safari> Preferences then select the AutoFill tab. From here you can go through the three AutoFill sections and clear out data that you no longer want stored.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Source by James Mark Madison

Green Screen Photo Software Wizard Review

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If you like to consider yourself a photographer or even an entrepreneur then take a look what people can doing using green screen software for photographs. You can add anyone to any background with ease using green screen photo software. Not only can you amaze your friends, but you could potentially start a part-time business just of a one single piece of software and a digital camera. I know this because there is a kiosk at the mall that takes your picture and then puts some of the most amazing backgrounds and even funny situations to create something wonderful you can share with your family and friends.

My experience with Green Screen Wizard photos software is that I can place any person or image in front of the background of my choice that my imagination can come up with. This is great because I do not need to know any advanced Photoshop skills or own and expensive software.

Green Screen Wizard does exactly what I want the easy way so I can produce and print professional looking photos to depict any place, time, season, or whatever. If you are doing any photography and would like more artistic on a more professional level, then I recommend you download GreenScreen Wizard photo software.

Green Screen Wizard software can be used as a hobby or even make some extra money by turning it into a business. The bet part about the software is that you will always have the best holiday photo cards to send your family. It's great for scrapbooking!

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Source by Jenny Jen

The Associate in Graphic Arts Degree: An Overview

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Choosing a college degree program is never an easy decision. For most of us, it involves careful analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, and interests. For some who are lucky enough to have a talent, however, the choice of a major can be a natural extension of that talent.

If you're a gifted musician, choosing a major in music is a given. Have a knack for writing? Degree programs in journalism, communication, or English seem like the obvious choice. And if all you have done through your childhood, preteens, and teens is create art, then a graphic art degree is clearly the choice for you!

Graphic design is an excellent major for individuals who eat, drink, and breathe art-but contradictory to popular perception, there is much more to a graphic design degree than art. Graphic design is a perfect amalgamation of creativity, technical proficiency, and business intelligence.

Having oodles of talent is important, but it's not enough to make you a stellar graphic designer. In addition to artistic talent, other qualities expected in a professional graphic designer are communication skills, ability to manage time, and teamwork. That's where a graphic program comes into play. A graphic arts degree helps you not only grow your artistic talent, but also helps you develop the technological and business proficiencies you need to pursue a career as a graphic designer.

Graphic Art Degree: Overview

Associate's degree graphic arts programs are available at design schools and community colleges as well as postsecondary four-year institutions.

These degree programs are typically two years long, and are designed to train graduations in using cutting-edge technology and design principles to create visual concepts that communicate an idea, thought, or message.

The objective of a graphic degree is to help students learn to use design techniques, traditional art concepts, color theory, typography, etc. in a business environment. That's why most graphic programs are also designed to provide graduates a solid understanding of the different functional areas of business.

Moreover, design work severely happens now without the use of computers. So, graphic arts programs typically include training in the use of design software, desktop publishing tools, photo and video editing applications, etc.

Graphic Art Degree: Coursework

The coursework of an associate degree in graphic arts can be divided into several different categories: design, business, technology, and liberal arts.

As part of their design coursework, students are trained in web page design, typography, page layout, Illustrator, Photoshop, logo design, information design, Flash, etc. The graphic design degree curriculum includes business topics such as marketing, advertising principles, entrepreneurship, Internet commerce, etc.

Technology courses, such as computer fundamentals and programming languages, may also be a part of a graphic arts program, although there is more focus on such topics in a web design and development degree. Liberal arts courses tend to include English, sociology, communication, etc., in order to provide students a well-rounded education.

Graphic Art Degree: Prerequisites

To enroll in a graphic art degree, you should have a high school diploma or an equivalent GED credential. You should prepare for post secondary training by taking basic art and design courses in high school and creating a portfolio of your work.

Creating a portfolio is important, as some programs may require applicants to submit samples of their sketches, drawings, or designs.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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Source by David DM

Learn How to Color Grade Video in Our Latest Free Course

Color grading can really take your video work to the next level, giving it that magic “cinematic” look that filmmakers crave. It’s a complex topic, but Dave Bode breaks it down into simple steps in our latest free YouTube course, How to Color Grade Video.

What You’ll Learn

Color grading might seem a big, intimidating, costly process—and it definitely can be—but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Just a little bit of grading can go a long way to creating a compelling look in projects of all sizes, without breaking the budget!

In this 1.2-hour YouTube course, you will learn some of the secrets of color grading. You’ll start by learning how to shoot your initial footage in a way that will set you up for successful color grading.

You’ll also learn how color enhances and shapes perception. You will learn how to push colors away from the accurate and neutral into something that has more pop and punch, while maintaining continuity throughout your project.

Creating continuity with color grading

You will learn how to create some specific looks and how to use vignettes, grain, and more! You’ll even learn how to use color grading to communicate certain moods and messages to your viewers and enhance the storytelling.

Use color grading for storytelling

Learn Color Grading Today!

With the New Year just around the corner, it’s a great time to learn a new skill. If you work with any kind of video, color grading is an essential skill to learn. It will help you create better video that wows your audience and communicates your messages more effectively.

So scroll back up to watch the full video, or click through to watch How to Color Grade Video on YouTube.

Color grading example

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Top Benefits of Visual Effects Schools

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What are visual effects? According to a definition these are “Alterations to a film’s images during post-production.” The visual effects are basically a sub-category of special effects in which images are manipulated for an enhanced effect for films or video. It includes amalgamation of live action recording and CGI so as to produce an ambiance which looks real. This effect may be very dangerous or expensive or simply too difficult to capture on real time basis. The demand for enhanced effects has increased manifold, especially with the films that are made with huge budgets. Since a lot of money is at stake, film-makers are seeking professionals who are experienced in this field and can generate mind-blowing visual effects, which are uncommon yet interesting and will keep the public glued to the screen.

This theory, in turn justifies a great demand for schools which can train and offer courses to individuals. The visual effects schools offer a variety of media training programs like animation, audio recording, broadcasting, digital film and video production etc. One of the best schools across the globe, in this area is Austin Visual Effects Schools. Austin is the state capital of Texas and also the fourth largest city. It is home to some of the finest fashion design and photography schools as well as art colleges, which offer comprehensive courses with the help of modern software. The courses are more than a simple practical training with software.

Some of the photography colleges are:

o The Art Institute: It offers a program in commercial photography, digital photography, photography, photography and design and Visual Arts. It offers Bachelor’s as well as Diploma in this field.

o Westwood College: It offers a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication.

o The University of Texas at Austin: The Department of Radio and Television Film (or RTF) proffers some fantastic summer media camps for the young in 7th through 12th grades. These camps are held in the campus of the University and the campers can use the equipment provided by the RTF. The students get an opportunity to look at various aspects involved in film making. Generally a camp lasts for 5 days and the fee per session is $475.

Visual effects can be divided into 4 broad categories:

1. Models, in which miniature sets are used

2. Digital and/or traditional paintings: These are required to cater to the background elements

3. Live action: Here the main characters perform. The performances are keyed through the blue-screen or green-screen.

4. Digital animation: This involves computer graphics, texturing, animation, generating 3D characters etc.

These Schools also offer Graphic Designing courses which include studying design, animated typography, creating logos, Photoshop image manipulation and web sites etc., along with a hands-on training of the software that is used in the industry.

Once you graduate from these Schools, you can obtain employment in the entry level positions of advertising designers, computer artists, Video Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects Supervisor etc.

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92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

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omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Source by Manisha Kumar

Trend Predictions 2019: From Graphic Design to Web Design

We heard about the work of designer Ambar Del Moral through a designer we interviewed, Karin Schwarz, for our design/shine interview series …

10 New Low Poly Mobile Game Packs for 3D Modellers

In our $6,500 Low Poly Mobile Game Packs competition, 3D modellers were encouraged to submit their best Low Poly Mobile …

“The best businesses are created from some sort of insight.”

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