Jun 022014

Pixar announced last week that it will be releasing a free, noncommercial version of its Renderman package. All of the many elements that make up Renderman will be made available to download as part of Pixar and Disney’s initiative to set Renderman up as the 3D imaging industry standard.

Renderman comprises a large batch of software and an API, and it works with Autodesk products like Maya to expand on tools for modeling, lighting, texturing, shading, VFX, and animation. Renderman also includes tools for setting up a render farm across multiple computers and servers.

via Pixar will soon release a free version of Renderman | Ars Technica.





May 292013


I’ve been hearing for years that designers need to learn to code. At first I thought I’d just end up doing two jobs instead of one. But the better I get at coding, the more I understand how connected they are. As a designer in the digital spectrum, you realize that your very work–your material, which exists in the world–is code. How can you design something if you don’t know how it works? So, designers, step into the ring.


I want you to download Processing. It’s a language built on Java and it focuses on images and animation. It’s good for designers because it gives you solid visual feedback about what your code is doing. After you download Processing, I want you to watch the video below. It’s a Processing sketch (a sketch is what the programs are called in Processing), and this is your first gentle punch. The video is about ten minutes long and shows a few simple examples of how to use numbers in different ways in order to make simple shapes on the canvas. Try to follow along with me and type everything out as I do, because I think it’ll help you learn.

MORE:   Designers: Learn To Code! Here’s How To Start | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.




May 202013

Having to manually apply the same features to near-identical elements can get tiresome. Fortunately, Dmitry Tsozik has a great trick for generating variants of an object or icon

This article first appeared in issue 234 of .net magazine – the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Have you ever thought how awesome it would be to remove all repetitive routines from your daily design work? Or how to get build some kind of graphic assets library in Photoshop – similar to Flash, Illustrator, After Effects and other Adobe apps? And wouldn’t it be great to have a couple more hours a day to add final touches to your designs?

In this tutorial, we’ll attempt to address all three questions, exploring a cool trick that enables you to work on any number of variations of an image at once. This workflow is extremely useful for games assets, and for GUI designers creating icons. It enables you to work on one object, save it, and let Photoshop distribute all the changes you’ve made to any number of variant copies.

If you’re familiar with Smart Objects, you already know that you can have multiple instances of one element. This tutorial will show you how to use Smart Objects in an even smarter way. I developed the technique trying to mimic an awesome workflow in After Effects, and it turns out that it works pretty well in Photoshop, too.

MORE:   Design 100 objects at once in Photoshop | Tutorial | .net magazine.




May 072013

Adobe’s Creative Suite and the applications that make it up—Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere, and a host of others—have been staples of many professional toolboxes for almost a decade now. The full suite itself has been available since September of 2003, and many of its applications have a history that reach back even further. Today at its MAX conference, however, Adobe announced a major shift in strategy for the software: boxed versions, along with their perpetual licenses, will no longer be available for any Adobe software newer than CS6. Going forward, subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will be the only way to upgrade your software.

As with the boxed versions of the software, Adobe offers several different pricing options for Creative Cloud subscriptions: new users can buy a subscription at $50 a month with an annual commitment (or $75 month-to-month), which gets you access to the full suite of software plus, all of Adobe’s Edge services, 20GB of cloud storage. Users of Creative Suite versions 3 to 5.5 can get their first year of service at a reduced rate of $30 a month for the first year, while current CS6 users can subscribe for $20 a month for the first year. For individuals, these subscriptions buy you the right to use the software on up to two different computers, same as the boxed versions.

MORE: Adobe’s Creative Suite is dead, long live the Creative Cloud | Ars Technica.




Mar 122013

Typography isn’t just about communication, it can also add subtle references to the message you’re trying to convey. Whole books have been written on the craft and nuanced world of typography and type design, but we’re keeping things simple.

In this article we’ve scoured the web to present you with a fine and varied selection of the best free fonts. Including scripts, serifs, and a range of ligatures, these fonts will give you greater flexibility in your designs, and add to your arsenal of design tools.

Some of these fonts can be used on your web projects, but check the terms. And if you’re looking at a quick overview of web font formats, check out Jonathan Snook’s post on font embedding.

So, without further ado, join us as we present you with 70 of the best free fonts, which you can download and use today. Let us know how you get on!

READ MORE:  Download the 70 best free fonts | Typography | Creative Bloq.




Mar 122013

Near the end of 2012, a group of us at Ziba got together to review what we’d learned over the course of the year. Working with dozens of clients who serve customers around the world, we designers spend a lot of time observing people as they interact with technology, services, and experiences, noticing how they seek solutions to everyday problems and make decisions. In the process, certain patterns emerge so forcefully that they’re practically unavoidable.

Meeting over three sessions spread out over a week, 23 Zibites (designers, researchers, and creative directors) discussed the patterns we’d seen, and distilled them down to the 12 insights we thought were most current and useful, to us and to our clients. Each one is presented here, as a brief essay that suggests how it will affect business practices in 2013, and as an illustration created by one of Ziba’s designers.

via The 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013 | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Mar 062013


3D printers are gaining in popularity, with uses spanning the spectrum from moon bases to firearms, but there’s another area where the ability to construct complex shapes is beginning to provide benefits: getting high.

Online magazine Motherboard has published the story about the slow but inevitable rise of 3D-printed bongs. MakerBot’s Thingiverse site returns almost two dozen template results when searching for “bong,” all of which are downloadable in STL format and printable on tons of different 3D printers.

Common resin-based 3D printers can’t create glass, so a water pipe produced from these templates wouldn’t be entirely print-n-toke, but most appear to be ready to go as soon as glass pipes are added. The descriptions for many of the pipes indicate that they should be printed with PLA, which the Ice Bong creator notes “is biodegradable and poses no health risk and also has no smell.”

READ MORE:  Download this bong: 3D printer templates for getting your buzz on | Ars Technica.




Sep 242012

Fis Anton Repponen has worked with some of the worlds biggest brands. Now you can learn from that experience, as he presents his own personal checklist for better designs

This design checklist is a guide that I created for myself over time – it allows me to find the balance between the two extremes I face daily as a designer. At times I can get carried away and only focus on all the little details without seeing the project from a birds-eye view, while at other times I only think of the project from a holistic perspective, without really focusing on the important details. Following these 10 steps allows me to stay on track with multiple projects simultaneously, and allows for a healthier design process overall.

MORE10 points I always keep in mind while designing | Feature | .net magazine.


Sep 182012

There’s a preconception among designers that email clients’ lack of support for web standards means you can’t get creative with newsletters. James Parker is out to explode this theory

In the current economic climate, firms across the globe are looking to maximise their return on investment from slashed marketing budgets. With customer information databases bulging, and the ability to target people genuinely interested in what they’re selling, it’s no surprise email newsletters have become the marketers’ new weapon of choice.

But even with demand at an all time high, there are still a vast number of designers hesitant to offer newsletters to their clients. Put off by the lack of support for web standards in email clients, many feel restricted as to how creative they can be.

I want to put that theory to bed. Designing in this format can be great fun, and the technical limitations of working on emails can be a blessing in disguise because they get us back to thinking about basic design principles.

In this tutorial we’ll use Fireworks to design an email newsletter for Love Barista, a social project for coffee lovers. Focusing on a sleek, scalable layout, and by considering the weight given to core elements in the design, you’ll build up an email that’ll stand out of any mailbox. At the end of the tutorial you’ll be ready to build, and as our layout would be perfect for a Campaign Monitor template, I’ll give you a few tips to help get you started.

MORE:  Make a scalable newsletter with Fireworks | Tutorial | .net magazine.


Sep 122012

Beating your head against a project’s metaphorical wall will never help you get into a creative and productive flow. Denise Jacobs presents four unconventional ways to help you get your creative productivity on

While most people attempt to force great ideas of out themselves by relentless pursuit of an answer to a problem or straining to think up original ideas, they don’t realise that most truly great ideas are borne from a more hands-off approach that comes from the back and forth dance between concentrated and diffused focus.

The road less travelled

Creative bursts occur when discrete bits of information stored in the brain connect along new neural pathways. Unfortunately, most people are typically overloaded and exhausted mentally and in a stressed state when trying to produce good work. Despite their best efforts, their brains travel along well-worn, established pathways, and they literally have one-track minds.

Clearly, a one-track mind is no place to generate awesome ideas. But, if one thing were ever true, it’s that you can’t force creativity: it needs incubation, downtime, and the space to happen on its own schedule. However, just because you can’t force creativity doesn’t mean you can’t give it the proper encouragement. Let’s take a look at four lesser-known secrets for increasing creative productivity.

MORE:  Four secrets to enhancing creative productivity | Feature | .net magazine.