Adobe Creative Suite CS6 – Review Sessions

Finally the long awaited announcement from my side –  “Ladies and gentlemen I give you –  The CS6 Review Sessions

The series of  post that start this August, are unbiased and personal reviews on Adobe‘s latest version of the Creative Suite 6 (CS6). As a part of the Adobe CS6 User Review Program I have the opportunity to fiddle and experiment with some of the latest softwares in the CS6 Master collection. This review session is broken up into 10 episode (posts) starting this August, with one review post per month.

These post will primarily be focused on Adobe’s print related softwares –

  • Photoshop CS6
  • Illustrator CS6
  • InDesign CS6

Apart from these I will also do a couple of sneak peeks and reviews on selected video, audio and web softwares that are a part of the Creative Suite Master collection. Everything from Premier Pro CS6 to Dreamweaver CS6. Since this is a personal review, my reviews are going to be limited to the softwares that I work with. Hence these post will tend to primarily focus on print with a dash of web and audio/video. Also a lot of changes and interactive sessions will be added along the way. After a couple of post I will also provide an opportunity for the readers to share their opinion and point of view to help build a little more interactivity and strengthen the discussion.

The most important part of the review is that it will be completely unbiased. We will hear everything from – Good, bad, waste and “I have no clue why would they put something like that ?” Be sure to tune in and be a part of the discussion.

Till then you can checkout some of the latest features incorporated in Adobe’s Photoshop CS6


Disclaimer
These review sessions are not Official reviews for Adobe’s Creative Suite CS6. They are my personal opinions. They are in no way sponsored or funded by Adobe. 


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Anti Spec Movement – A personal Vendetta ?

Recently the global design community has witnessed a new movement. A movement called AntiSpec. Slow to catch on with many part of the design community, AntiSpec is a movement that is “supposedly” focused on saving designers from – Spec(ulative) work, which  is a cancer within the design industry. Recently when I stumbled upon this movement I was amazed by the initiative and a little confused after reading about it. But what exactly is this whole initiative ? Are Designers dying of Cancer? Are Designers not finding jobs? No.  Lets begin.

Well what is AntiSpec ?

AntiSpec is an initiative by Mark Collins from UK. He is the founder and constant source of updates for the AntiSpec movement. To really understand the nature of this initiative, we need to dive in slowly into this topic. As I mentioned earlier, it focuses on how Speculative work is a cancer in the Design industry. Well whats Spec work? Spec work – Crowd Sourcing – Spec competitions, they all involve  a single designer or agency working and designing for free in the hope of winning a project or reward.

In short and simple words, today a lot of online platforms provide opportunities for clients seeking design aid to simply tap potential designers and designs in the most easiest manner. All they have to do is pick a suitable site that host design contest, pay them a fee, host a competition to design the creatives they need. That’s the easy part.  Now here’s the deal. These sites attract thousands of budding and well experienced designers and artist. They participate by designing an entry and submit it to the site. In this fashion the client receives abundant entries and not forgetting tonnes of concepts and ideas. Well like any race, we have to have a winner. Eventually the client picks a favorite design and the design is awarded with a cash prize etc.

Understanding AntiSpec ?

Lets put this in numbers. 1 client, 1 competition, 2,00,000 designers active on the host site, 1600 designers participate in the client competition, 1 winner. The other side of the coin – 1599 designers lose. Client has received not only a winning design but also those 1599 losing concepts and designs. Expected right ? Well here’s where the AntiSpec comes into play. AntiSpec stands up for all those designers  who lose. It has a general message. DO NOT use these sites. Your efforts need not go unpaid. Regardless of the fact whether you a starter or professional, you shouldn’t work for free in this manner.

You’re better off contacting a charity and designing their website for free to add to your folio rather than pissing into the wind at a crowdsourced website. Become an intern. Contact your local design agencies. Freelancers and design agencies can explain to potential clients that they have a policy not to work for free. It is proven that clients can respond positively to the self-assurance that comes from an agency that isn’t willing to sell their soul. – AntiSpec

Being a part of  AntiSpec ?

So that is basically what AntiSpec is all about. Aims at creating awareness about the this growing trend where potential talent and hard work is being washed down the drain.  Just to get a little bigger picture here, do checkout the AntiSpec website – www.antispec.com

Currently the AntiSpec movement is supported by various communities worldwide and thousands of individual designers and artist. This movement is creating awareness and gaining a crowd gradually. They have got support from a lot of  sponsors like Media Temple , Invision and Behance . They main goals are :

1. Make the AntiSpec message clear and easy to absorb.

2. Gather thousands of designers to unite to help drive the message home.

Things you can do for AntiSpec: 

1 » Automate process so folks can add themselves [COMPLETE]

2 » Need links to existing articles on the web regarding spec work and crowdsourcing.

3 » Need some copy written for this website. [IN PROGRESS]

5 »Web badges of sorts that folks can add to their own websites to help spread the word and show support.

Under the AntiSpec scanner –

The AnitSpec tries to keep tab of such crowd sourced events. They have successfully archived a couple of site and past events that have had designers design for free. Here are some of them.

  •  The New York Times targets cartoonist to work for free – Read about it
  • You won’t find a self-respecting professional designer at 99designsRead about it
  • Penguin books crowdsource book cover for best-selling author John Green – Read about it
  • Obama supports job creation by launching a spec competition. Oh the irony. –Read about it
  • Paul McCartney & Rod Stewart Crowdsourcing Promotional Material – Read about it
  • 1stWebDesigner launches a spec competition – Read about it
  • CBC Television’s Gerry Dee wants a logo for his new TV show – Read about it
  • The Huffington Post, an AOL company, is seeking free design. Shame on them. – Read about it
At the end of the day, I ask myself.  So do I support this initiative or what ? Does this whole movement have a target or is just another  personal vendetta ?  Well in my opinion, the AntiSpec movement is more of an awareness campaign. Simply because it fails to draw a clear call-to-action. Ok so now that I’m aware of AntiSpec, I shouldn’t use sites like 99 designs ? Is that what it is about. I must admit, that this movement a right side and wrong side. Right side being it creates an awareness about the misuse of talent and also highlights other options to build a portfolio or find work without having a designer to sell his or her soul. Basically it portrays a simple message – Don’t work for free. But whats the bad site  ?  Well at the end of the day, a designer may submit a design to such crowd sourced projects out of his own free will.  AntiSpec suggest that even if you are an amateur, you shouldn’t try these options. I say WRONG.  Try these options. Yes you may not win, but it’s a mater of gaining experience. A lot of designers turn to these sites as a quick source of income. At the end of  the day, the site clearly states rules that there will only be 1 winner. Yet you have 1000+ designers participating out of own free will. And free will is something you can’t change or control. If designers want to , they will continue sending entries. But at the same time the clients too go wrong at one end. Don’t they have a heart? So many designs and ideas at their disposal and they reward only one ? But again each individual is aware of the facts!
So what do I have to say? Being a freelance designer for the last 3 years, in my opinion the AntiSpec is a good initiative to build awareness of the fact that designers need not sell their soul to grow and build their portfolio. And at the same time, I strongly believe this movement lack a call-to-action. All I’m going to say is, its a designer’s will if he or she wants to make her ideas and concepts available for free. You don’t have a say in it. But any designer who knows the value of his work and talent will never let it go for free. And when I say  ‘never lets it go for free’, it doesn’t mean it has to involve a cash reward.  But as I close this article here, I can’t help but think of the fact that crowd sourcing does enrage a large mass of people simply because it is taking away plenty of job availability.  Many who have supported AntiSpec has strongly expressed concern in regards to this subject, as more and more clients opt for crowd sourcing as it is cheaper, faster and more for a less price.
I support the AntiSpec initiative to bring about awareness, but I fail to understand the end stage of this movement. 

Keep Calm & Carry On

The story of the WWII Poster

Poster

You have probably stumbled across this poster several times, but never really understood the message it carries. This is no ordinary poster. The story of this plain and simple poster dates all the way back to the second World War. I happened to come across a recent post via twitter, where I watched a short film that told the story of  this ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster. It originates at the beginning of WWII and  rediscovered in a bookshop in England in 2000, becoming one of the iconic images of the 21st century.

History of this poster –  WWII (1939)

During WWII the British government created a series of posters that were to be used in times of war, that would provide the people with reassurance. These poster were to be uniform in appearance and also carried a uniform typeface and an image of the crown of King George the sixth, which would make it hard for the enemy to copy. These poster were designed only in two colors and out of all the design, 3 were finalized & went in to print. These poster aimed at  creating a sense of peace and confidence among the people during the time of war. There were 3 simple designs, that carried 3 simple messages. Out of which 2 were printed and distributed by the government. However the remaining one poster never made it out officially, until 2000 !

These were the 3 printed designs:

Out of the 3 designs, the second and the third were printed and distributed in the cities. However the first poster bearing the words “Keep calm…” was never distributed and intended to be used only in times of invasion . In the end this poster was never officially issued.

The Rediscovery:

Almost 50 years layer, this poster was rediscovered in a second hand bookshop in England. I could go on and describe its amazing rediscovery, but I think by Temujin Doran  and Nation (Concept and production) have done a beautiful job with this video.

 

Today only a handful of the original posters survive and most are held by the British National Archives. Only two posters are in private hands, one is held by WarTimePosters.co.uk and one by Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland (responsible for starting the recent popularity of the poster). This beautiful short film tells you the story of how it was rediscovered in a second hand book store in England. Even the bookstore has an amazing story – A railway station converted into a book store. It was only after the poster went up in the bookstore that people discovered it. Over the years people have replicated and sold this poster. Many seem to connect with the message it carries. While some just appreciate its design. Whatever maybe the reason, its hard for me to understand, why a phrase from the past decade would have so much appeal now. Is it the design ? Is it the message? Or perhaps its the words and simplicity it carries. Its something that many of us need in today’s busy life. Keep Calm and Carry on. Very few have been able to speak through their design. This definitely one  of the most connecting and engaging poster I have seen. Its almost like a voice out of history, for me. It offers a very simple and heart filled message for all, no matter whether its work, study, relationships, a struggle.

The message is simple – ” Keep Calm and Carry On.”

I have tried to dig up some more information about this poster. Feel free to check the links below:

  • The Store : Barter Books (UK)
  • Keep Calm iPhone app: Download
  • Article – “Stash of original iconic poster” (daily mail) – Read
  • Article – “The Greatest Motivational Poster Ever” (BBC News) – Read
  • Article –  “What Crisis? Keep Calm and Carry On: The Poster We Can’t Stop Buying” (Guardian) – Read
  • Article –  “Remixed Messages” (New York Times) – Read
  • More information on the Poster: Info
  • Keep Calm & Carry On wallpaper : Redesign – Download    Original design – Download
  • Scanned image of the original poster : Download
  • Buy the poster (Redesign) – Buy 
  • Keep Calm Carry On typeface – Download / Buy font
  • Purchase Keep Calm design merchandise  and products – Visit Store

Adobe Photoshop Cs 6

                For the last few weeks, the Photoshop team has been giving us some sneak peeks of the latest version of Photoshop. The latest version of Photoshop is due to be released in the first half of 2012.  So far a total of 5 sneak peekhave been released. Here is a quick overview what Adobe’s latest version of Photoshop Cs6 will have to offer.

Sneak peek #1 – Camera Raw 7
Sneak peek #2 – Performance Upgrade + Liquify tool 
Sneak peek #3 – Line drawing improvement (Dotted and dashed lines)
Sneak peek #4 – Advance content aware and copy 
Sneak peek #5 – Migrating presets, work space and tool settings + JDI
Sneak peek #6 –  New Blur tool & Options          (Updated March 2012)
Sneak peek #7 –  Enhanced 3D capabilities         (Updated 16 March 2012)
 
 
 

Sneak Peek #1 

Camera Raw 7 upgrade

In this video taken straight from the laptop of our Senior Product Manager, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, get an early look at some of the things the Photoshop team is working on for Camera Raw.

Highlights:

  • Camera Raw 7
  • Interface Color Adjustment

Sneak Peek #2 

Performance Upgrade

Get an early look at a popular Facebook fan request – background save and the most powerful liquify tool ever, from Photoshop Product Manager, Zorana Gee.

Highlights:

  • Background Save
  • Liquify tool Upgrade

Sneak Peek #3 

Line tool Upgrade

Product Manager, Zorana Gee, gives a hint at what’s to come – creating dashed and dotted lines with just one click in Photoshop. A top requested feature brought to life!


Highlights:

  • Dashed & Dotted lines in just one click

Sneak Peek #4

Advanced Content aware technologies (My personal favorite)

See more advanced features of Photoshop Content-Aware technology. Straight from Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes, this video shares how to seamlessly move or remove an object from an image.



Highlights:

  • Improved Content aware fill (Determine source & destination)
  • Advanced content aware fill – Extend & Move Fill

Sneak Peek #5

Migrating presets , work-space and tool preferences + Developments in JDI

Get a peek of what sharing presets will be like in the future. We’ve also addressed dozens of requests from our Photoshop community, called “just do its” or JDIs. Submit your feedback at http://feedback.photoshop.com.


Highlights:

  • Easy migration of settings and work space from Cs 5 to Cs6
  • New improved shortcuts for layer duplication
  • Improved label color feature for layers
  • New JDI request included
Contact Sheets and improved PDF settings (Bring back )
  

Sneak Peek #6

Blur tool upgrade and development
Photoshop’s new Blur Gallery, Photoshop Product Manager, Stephen Nielsen demonstrated the new Iris Blur effect, a feature that will help you to simulate depth of field in a photo. 

 

Highlights:

  • Blur tool updates
  • Bokeh options

Sneak Peek #7

3D enhancement and development
See the 3D capabilities to come in Photoshop CS6 Extended, including enhanced performance and the ability to change the position, color, material, shadow, and light source of a 3D image.
 


Highlights:

  • Complete revamp and upgrade of 3D capabilities.
 
 

Apart from these sneak peaks, here are a few Hidden gems in Photoshop. Go check them out. Hopefully this post shed enough light on all the new features Adobe plans to pack in the upcoming release of Photoshop Cs6 in 2012. However to my disappointment, I have yet not seen any AUTO SAVE feature! (Long awaited ) So is the upgrade worth the cost, I would say its too early to say. But hell yeah Cs6 has definitely a punch packed in.
Also Adobe organised a couple of Photoshop events in NYC. Here are a few unseen features that were also revealed . Go check them out – NYC Event 2012
As Photoshop adds more Sneak peeks, I shall keep re blogging this post. So stay tuned for more exciting news and upgraded tools & feature releases of Photoshop Cs6.

Finally the much awaited –  Adobe releases Photoshop CS6 Beta. Go ahead and download it now!

Montreal Meets 2012

Just a year back, I stumbled upon Montreal Meets 2011 tweets via James White (Signalnoise) and Fabio Sasso (Abduzeedo). This year Aoiro Studio brings Montreal Meets 2012. Go checkout what this design event has to offer.

What is Montreal Meets?

Montreal Meets 2012 is a simple design event planned in Montreal to help connect with the creative world. To create events that will make people get inspired by the design industry. Especially by the people mastering their vision. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn from the people of the industry. It’s their gift to us. It’s our legacy!

Connect. Inspire. Learn.
François Hoang / The Founder

Checkout the AWESOME speakers lined up for #MM2012

image: http://www.aoirostudio.com/mmtwo 
 
 

So good luck to all those involved in Montreal Meets 2012. Hope you’ll guys have a great time and have some awesome content to share after the event.

Photoshop Ninja – Design / Photoshop Workshop in Mumbai

On February 18, 19 I will be conducting my first ever Photoshop Workshop in Mumbai. It is a 2 day workshop open to all college students at cost of Rs.100 (for both days). Really excited to do it.  To checkout more on the event go to Photoshop Ninja


#RIP Steve Jobs

A tribute to the man who taught the world, no dream is hard to live. Who took a dream, a concept and changed the way the world shared, experienced, and touched. Steve Jobs showed the world, if you can imagine it, you can do it. You will be missed.

Thank you

 

Published in my college magazine 2012 – view