16.11.16 by Jeff

Google’s ‘Quick Draw’ Guesses Your Drawings And Gets Smarter The More You Play

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Google has just released a series of A.I. Experiments that are really fun to play around with. One of them is Quick, Draw! which utilizes machine learning and a neural network to play Pictionary. You make a doodle and it guesses what you’re drawing as you draw, and the more drawings it sees the smarter it gets. It’s actually kinda nuts when it says what you’re drawing before you’ve finished it. Sometimes it wouldn’t know what I was drawing until I added a very specific element like the second vertical line (candle) on the top of my cake.

To be able to witness machine learning like this is pretty amazing, and also a tiny bit frightening. Watch the video below which explains exactly how it works!

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01.11.16 by Jeff

Black Mirror “Nosedive” Ringtones

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In case you missed it, Charlie Brooker, creator of Black Mirror (aka the best show on Netflix) did an AMA on Reddit last week. One redditor asked if ringtones from the “Nosedive” episode would ever be available as ringtones and Mr. Brooker came through with some download links:

 

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I highly recommend checking out the show if you haven’t seen it already. Think Twilight Zone or Ex Machina. One of the episodes, “Men Against Fire”, actually features a score by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury (the duo who scored Ex Machina). Other episodes feature music from some of my favourite composers like Max Richter (“Nosedive”) and Clint Mansell (“San Junipero”). Just a heads up the show isn’t exactly lighthearted. The title, Black Mirror, refers to that dark reflection of yourself trapped on that little screen in the palm of your hand. I’ve already said too much, just go watch it.

 

28.10.16 by Staff

Giveaway: Adam J. Kurtz’s Pick Me Up

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Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author who just released his second book. Pick Me Up is an interactive book-journal designed to help you through dark times! Check out more images from Pick Me Up below. We also have two pairs to give away!

If you’d like to snag a copy for yourself and a friend, just leave a comment below, naming the person you want to give the book to and a sentence about the first day you met! We’ll pick two winners in two weeks and each winner will get two books!

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20.10.16 by Jeff

Opinion: How to Email an Illustrator

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We recently came across an article proposing the most efficient way to communicate with an illustrator, and it’s relevant for anyone looking to hire creatives of any discipline. Illustrator Kyle T. Webster wrote the article to act as “a guideline that will lead to improved communication, fewer revisions, better artwork, and fewer headaches for all involved”.
 
If you’re a freelance creative and have any thoughts to add, or you’re an art director with a counterpoint, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
 
 

1. Your first email to an illustrator should not read: “Hey, are you available for an assignment?”
 
This kind of email is a waste of everybody’s time, because all of the important information is missing: size and number of illustrations, context, timeline, and budget. In order to reduce the back-and-forth between the individual assigning the art, and the illustrator, simply take a moment to include the important information in the initial email request.
 
For example: “Hello, John – we are publishing a story about the ongoing conflict between hedgehogs and walruses. We will need a cover, a full page, and two spot illustrations. The deadline for sketches is March 1st, and the finals will be due March 8th. Our budget is $3750. Are you available / interested in working with us on this assignment? Please let me know by 5pm today. Thank you.”
 
With one email, you have now given the artist all of the info needed for him/her to decide whether or not to accept the job. This used to be the standard introductory email for all assignments. I’m not sure what happened, but I, and many illustrators I know, rarely get emails like this any more. Let’s fix that.
 
 
 
2. Please do not expect illustrators to read minds.
 
Details are very important. When sending emails about your job, give as many relevant details as possible to an artist, if the assigned artwork has specific requirements. Illustrators are very capable of drawing anything you need, but we cannot guess what that might be if we are not told up front. For example, if you tell an illustrator to draw “a car on a street,” then the illustrator will assume the make and model of the car are not important. S/he will also assume the street can be any kind of street. Therefore, it is not fair to the artist to reject the final art because you expected a vintage Porsche on the Autobahn. Please be sure to communicate all required elements of the art in your earliest correspondence with your artist, and it will be smooth sailing for all.
 
Sometimes, very little direction is preferred, if the assignment calls for a lot of artistic freedom and interpretation. But, let us not confuse this with a lack of relevant information. For instance, the recent recipient of the Richard Gangel Art Director Award, SooJin Buzelli, is famous for giving her artists a lot of freedom. But let us note that when she assigns work, she actually has spent a good deal of time figuring out a way to distill a complex article down to its essential message or theme. She then sends this one or two sentence summary to a carefully selected illustrator, providing that individual with a perfect launchpad from which to create a unique visual solution. Concise and efficient.
 
 
 
3. Please write back. Please.
 
This is just common courtesy. I often get asked if I am available for an illustration and I then respond in the affirmative with some questions about the assignment or the budget or some other detail. Then, no reply ever comes. A week later, I will see another artist blog about completing the very same assignment that was initially emailed to me. While I understand that everybody is very busy, and emails are flying around at the speed of light, I urge you to please remember that it is unprofessional and quite rude to simply leave an artist hanging.
 
We often will put other things on hold or rework our weekly schedule to accommodate a project that we think is moving forward. A simple email to let us know that you will be working with somebody else, the job is cancelled, the issue is on hold, etc. is all we need to move on and stay on top of our other jobs. Thank you.

 
 
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19.10.16 by Staff

Sponsored: Introducing Envato Elements

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Envato has just introduced a new resource called Envato Elements that offers more than 6000 curated design assets, for any type of project you may be working on, created by global community of independent designers.

Envato is offering a limited time launch pricing of $29/month, which grants you access to commercial licenses to massive libraries of fonts, graphics, web templates (HTML/CSS), graphic templates and soon to come CMS templates. New items will also be added on a weekly basis to each category. Perfect for any one that has a regular need for high quality ready-to-use design assets. Learn more about Envato Elements in the video below:

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19.10.16 by Jeff

Creative App of the Day: Generate

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A new version of Generate has hit the app store and this one includes a partnership with Adobe which allows users to go between the app and the Adobe platform allowing for even more creative freedom. Generate has been used by artists like the Flaming Lips and for some of the visuals for the opening sequence to the Wachowski’s Netflix series Sense 8.

Definitely had some fun playing around with the various filters in the app, and the integration of music-triggered effects is cool too. Excited to see where this app goes. Shout out to our buddy Malcolm who created the app, cool to see something like this come out of Vancouver!

Generate is having a creative showcase of the app at Adobe’s space in New York, more info here.

13.10.16 by Jeff

Booooooom TV Guide: Best Animations of the Week

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If you haven’t been keeping up, this week there’s lot of new animation work on our video platform, Booooooom TV. We pick the best of the web and throw in some of our own video productions in there too. Hopefully you’ll see a bunch of stuff here that you won’t find anywhere else.

I recommend watching:

1) Benjy Brooke’s terrific short “Power Hungry” (wish it was longer).

2) A film about a record-breaking flight created using an old typewriter.

3) Animation for Sneaks “Tough Luck” – love the drawing style!

 

 

19.09.16 by Jeff

Constructive Criticism: Share Your Work

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After all the responses last time, thought it’d be nice to do this again! Every week I get lots of emails asking for feedback on work and it’s pretty overwhelming and impossible to get through them all. The Monthly Reader Submissions posts exist for this very reason (so if you want to submit work please continue to share your work through these posts).

I wanted to try out a slightly different post here, one dedicated to providing people with some constructive criticism and feedback on the things they’re making. If you’re brave enough to share an image and link of your work below I will try to provide you with some feedback but also, and more importantly (because there’s only one of me), I’d like to invite other readers to give some polite, helpful, insightful comments to those submitting as well! It’s really hard to step outside yourself and see your own work with fresh eyes, and having a bunch of different sets of eyes provide feedback may help you improve.

Ideally the feedback is honest and direct (but not mean), and people in this community can actually spur each other onto to create stronger work. I realise this is a delicate balance to strike especially on the Internet so we’ll see how it goes.

To submit work or provide feedback open up the full post (either by clicking on the post title, the image above or the link at the bottom) and scroll down to the comments section. Please read the guidelines below!

 

Guidelines:

1. If you share your own work here, please also leave some feedback for others that have posted work. It helps the community!

2. Please don’t flood the comments with a dozen images, just post 1 image that represents your best work along with 1 link.

3. Keep in mind your post may not show up right away because it has an image attached. It may need to be manually approved first so don’t freak out and post a million times, once is enough. This is not about curation, it’s the way our commenting system is setup.

4. If you are providing feedback for someone please remember: Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome. (via)

 

SUBMIT WORK / PROVIDE FEEDBACK