My Macbook Experience

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As an advertising design student and graphic designer, my old Lenovo pc with an i3 processor just wasn’t holding up. Not to mention that the plastic casing had broken and fallen apart due to some screws falling out of the bottom.  Long story short Lenovo refused to fix it, and I was forced to use it until it almost couldn’t hold up.  At that point it was time to move on to something better.  With Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1, I saw no choice but to run towards Apple.  Windows 8.1 just didn’t seem like an option for a graphic designer like my self. So I purchased a MacBook Pro with the 2.2 GHz Retina Display.  I’ve had it for about a little over a month now.


Speedy.

The i7 processor keeps up great with everything I’ve done so far. I’ve ran a range of Adobe programs on it including After Effects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.  The MacBook held up awesome with all of these.  I can’t complain at all about the speed.

 

Mac OS X Mountain Lion

The OS X Mountain Lion is awesome with no bugs.  This is something I have never experienced with a PC. They have always had bugs on them and they were never “perfect.” And of course, I know nothing is perfect. But Mac OS X is pretty close. The only problem I have with it is that I still cannot pair Airdrop between my iPhone 5c and MacBook Pro.

Battery Life

Once again, I can’t complain. My MacBook Pro’s battery is great. It holds up for hours on end and doesn’t drain right away.

Those Are Just The Basics. So far everything is awesome and I’m loving my purchase. I’ll keep updated though, as I know that this is just the beginning and things could get better or worse at any time.

Why the MacBook Pro is Better Than the Surface Pro 3

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According to Microsoft, the new Surface Pro 3 “…has the power of a laptop in a lightweight, versatile form.” The surface pro has a 12″ screen, and up to 9 hours of battery life when browsing the web.  The Surface Pro also has a fourth generation Intel processor. Sounds good right?  In their advertisements, Surface has been coming after Apple and the MacBook Pro as well as the iPad. They are using a variety of claims to try to swing Apple users onto the Surface.  But which is really better? 

 

Battery Life

A laptop without a good battery is no fun. You don’t want to have to become magnetically attached to a wall outlet. So who has the better battery life? As we mentioned above, the Surface Pro 3 has a battery life of up to 9 hours of battery life, when browsing the web.  As for the MacBook Pro, let’s compare the closest model to the Surface Pro.  The MacBook Pro 13″ has up to 9 hours of battery life when browsing the web.  So that checks out with the Surface.  This is a tie right? Well, the MacBook Pro also provides that it has up to 9 hours of iTunes playback, and up to 30 days of standby time.  Apple pushes more credible facts to the consumer than Microsoft, so in my opinion I have to hand this one to Apple.

Macbook ProScreen Resolution

A Bright Screen can make all the difference. A screen with amazing resolution makes an even bigger difference.  The MacBook Pro has 227 pixels per inch on it’s 13″ screen, while the Surface Pro 3 has a 12″ screen with 216 pixels per inch.  The Surface pro 3 comes in slightly below the MacBook Pro in terms of the display and withthe MacBook’s Retina Display that “… reduces glare while maintaining incredible color and quality. Its high contrast ratio results in blacker blacks and whiter whites. And everything in between is rich and vibrant.” according to Apple. In my opinion, Apple pulls this one again.

 

Portability

This is one of the Surface Pro’s biggest selling points.  It is advertised to be extremely portable, and weighs only 2.4 pounds and is only .55″ thick with the keyboard attached. The MacBook Pro is .71″ thick and weighs 3.46 pounds. TheSurface comes up 1.06 pounds lighter and .16″ thinner. The surface takes this one.Surface Pro 3

Operating Systems

This is really subjective, so I’m not going to actually choose a winner here (I like The MacBook Pro OS X Mountain Lion but you didn’t here it from me.) You have to keep in mind that Microsoft installs windows 8.1 on the Surface Pro.  Now it’s up to you if you like the updated start screen and all the other features that come with Windows 8.1, or if you like the simplicity of the Mac OS.  This is up to you entirely, but if you are one of those that haven’t used a MacBook, I encourage trying it out. Which do you like better? Let us know in the comments.

Processing Power.

The Surface Pro is available with an i3 with 1.50 GHz, i5 with 1.90 GHz, or i7 processor with 1.70 GHz.  Which would you choose?  I would be let down with anything less than an i5.  An i3 processor is simply too slow for many of the things people do today.  If you are like my grandmother, and just use it for Facebook and paying bills, then by all means get one with an i3 processor.  But if you do anything more, you need atleast an i5. The MacBook Pro has a i5 processor with 2.4 GHz or an i7 with 2.8 GHz. Once again, the facts don’t lie. The MacBook Pro takes the cake.

Cost

The Surface is more cost effective, starting at $799 and going all the way up to $1,549.00.  As for the MacBook Pro, it starts at $1299 and ranges all the way up to $1799.  The thing to remember is, you pay for what you get.

 

These are just the bare necessities, and the MacBook Pro seems to have pulled all of the stops.  The Surface does have a touch screen display that the MacBook doesn’t have, but why worry about that when you can just get a Wacom tablet and use it when you need it? Check them out at www.wacom.com/en/us/.

 

We’ll let you decide, what to think.  Here’s a few exerpts from Surface’s Facebook Page that might help you think

 

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But then again, there’s always these guys:

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3 Easy Steps to Getting Started With Adobe Photoshop

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Learning new software is always difficult.  But when you are learning a programs as functional and diverse as Adobe Photoshop, it can be difficult to get started. If you want to get started without the struggling, just follow along.

1. Open Photoshop

Opening Photoshop is obviously the easiest step. You’re here now, so I’m assuming you have used a computer before and can navigate through the basics.  Your photoshop shortcut will probably be on your desktop if you are using a PC, or if you are using a Mac you will probably have to open your Launchpad to find it. Once you find it click on it.

Photoshop at Startup

Photoshop at Startup


2. Open Your File In Photoshop

After you have opened Photoshop, go to File>Open. When the Open window appears, select the file that you wish to open, then click the open button at the bottom right of the window.

Opening File In Photoshop

Opening File In Photoshop

Opening File In Photoshop

Opening File In Photoshop

 

3. Edit The File As You Wish.

At this point, you can edit the file. For an example on some editing you can do to the file, check out this post: http://bit.ly/1uGI0Io
Are you interested in learning Photoshop Shortcuts? Click here for a free cheat sheet!

Free Photoshop Cheat Sheet!

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Knowing photoshop shortcuts can speed up your workflow extremely.  We know that, and we want you to be able to utilize all of the tools we use on a daily basis. Do you need a brush?  Instead of searching for the brush tool in the tool panel, hit B on your keyboard. Or do you want to draw a rectangle? Hit the U key on your keyboard.
Do you want to become a Photoshop master? Click here to download your copy of the Photoshop_Shortcuts from Creative Overhaul.

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If you like this guide, subscribe using the button on the right or using your email.

Replacing Colors in Photoshop With the Color Replacement Tool

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This is something that you will probably need to do at some point.  You have an object that exists as one color, but you wish for it to be a different color for one reason or another. This is a fairly simple task and with some work you can make it come to life and look great.

Use This Image For The Tutorial | © 2014 Colton Owens

Use This Image For Tutorial | © 2014 Colton Owens

Open Image In Photoshop.

Right-click on the image above and open it in a new tab.  Right Click it again and this time save it to your desktop.  Open the image in photoshop in get ready!

Screenshot 1

 

Zoom in.

Once you have the image open in photoshop zoom in on the car, as this will be the area we are focusing on. Then choose the magnetic lasso tool in the tool bar.  This should be the third choice from the top, and if you don’t see the magnetic lasso tool you can right click to see more options or click and drag to the left for more options.

Screen Shot 2

Select The Body of the Car with the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

Here’s the longest part of the tutorial. Selecting the car takes a little patience. Drag the magnetic lasso tool around the body, leaving out the windows on the left side. Once your done change your selection mode up on the top left of the frame (not pictured below) it will look like a couple of squares overlapping. After you have changed your selection mode, select the headlights, grill, and other accents in the front of the car.  This will subtract them from your selection.  

Screen Shot 3

Save the Selection You Created.

The selection took some time. You don’t want to have to do that all over again do you?  Go to select at the top of your screen to select, and go down to the very bottom and click save. Name the selection “car” and click save.  If you need to come back to it you can select load selection right above the where you clicked to save the selection.

 

 Screen Shot 4

Duplicate the Layer.

Duplicate the background layer and name it “car body”. Your selection should still be active, click on the clipping mask button at the bottom.  This is the button that looks like the rectangle with a circle in the middle. Turn off the background layer. When you turn off the background layer the image will look like the bottom image.

Screen Shot 5

Screen Shot 6

Refine the Edge

Double click on the clipping mask on the car body layer.  Then an option will appear to refine selection. Click to refine the selection Move the sliders around until you get a nice edges and the body looks good. You can also use the brush on the left side of the refine mask dialogue box and brush around the car, and it will make your selection smoother.  This can be hard to master so if your just starting you can skip over this step.

 

Screen Shot 7

Replace the Color

Use the color replacement tool to change the body from white to red.  It may come out a little pink, but don’t worry about it we’ll change the blending mode. When we change the blending mode, it will change the appearance of the pink to red.

 

 Screen Shot 8

That’s It!

We’re done! I’ve set the blending mode to linear burn.  You can leave it at linear burn, or you can choose which ever color blending mode gives the look you are looking for.

Screen Shot 9

5 Simple Things To Do In Photoshop

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One of the things that drive me absolutely crazy are those people who use Photoshop for absolutely everything. Photoshop has certain advantages, and also it comes with severe disadvantages. If you use it for the right things it can reward you. If you use it for the wrong things, it can destroy your brand, and leave you with very bad graphics. Using photoshop may be difficult at first and knowing what to use it for may also be difficult.

Photoshop at Startup

Photoshop at Startup

Remove Unwanted Objects

You can easily remove unwanted objects using a variety of methods.  The difficult part might be replacing them with another object or texture. See the image below for an example.

 

Simple Photographic Touchups

When your models have blemishes, or you capture some small blemishes in something else. Maybe your photo is too bright or just a little dark. These small things are easy to fix in photoshop. Start with these small things and you will be on your way to mastering photoshop. The image below is an image of my cousin that I took on a ferris wheel.  I slightly brightened her and the cart, while leaving the background the same brightness. I removed a dark spot on her shirt, and removed the bracelet from her wrist. I also removed a vehicle that was about halfway down the left side of the image.

 

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Merging Images

So you want to add yourself in front of the ocean, but you live in Wyoming or you live in Florida but want to send your grandmother a picture of you in front of Mt. Rushmore. You can easily do this in photoshop. While my example below is not the best, if you have two images that do work very well togather, you won’t even be able to tell.

Race on the tracks of Circuit of the Americas for $50,000 per day

 

 

Changing Colors in Images

This one can be tricky but is also simple. You want to change a white car to red? Use the color replacement tool and you can make the car almost any color with a little work.

Using The Color Replacement Tool In Photoshop

Using The Color Replacement Tool In Photoshop

Crop Images

Cropping images in photoshop is easy to do.  You can use it to better your composition, cut unnecessary parts of your images out, and straighten images.

 

Cropped Image

Cropped Image

Start Marketing Your Business On Facebook

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You’ve set up a Facebook page for your business to reach a new market.  The first thing you’ve done is invite your friends to like the page, but now your stumped. You don’t know what to do next. Facebook marketing can be a difficult tool to master but with the right strategy and commitment it can be a very rewarding. Here’s somethings you can do to try to have better success within your Facebook pages. While this is in no way an absolute guide to Facebook marketing, these are some things you can experiment with. Remember every audience is different and every audience will react differently to different posts.

Try These Things to Engage Your Facebook Audience.

Always Post Pictures, Videos, Etc.

Pictures, Videos, and other materials other than just a post will almost always receive more engagement than just a post with words.  We are visual people and our eyes are drawn to images.  So posting images will help your posts to be viewed for a longer amount of time. Just think about it the next time your on Facebook, you’ll catch yourself looking at posts with images longer than post that don’t have it.  While there are no Facebook metrics to measure the time a post is viewed, you shouldn’t leave this out of the equation.

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The post above was posted on my page, which you can like at facebook.com/fingerprintfoundry . This post had just been posted so it does not yet show how many people saw it or any other analytics quite yet.  But the important thing is that it has a good image, that would be engaging to the audience.

 

Be Funny

We all like a little humor.  Thats why we’re on Facebook right? Ok maybe not everyone is on for the humor but you tend to remember those humorous posts don’t you? Posting funny things can get you a little ways, and this can come in handy when you don’t necessarily have material to post you can always post something funny. Use some inspiration from your favorite brands and find something funny.  Something funny will be out their. Post it on your page and you will catch someone’s attention.

Volkswagen Band
This post by Fingerprint Foundry uses humor, and no other marketing techniques and still reached 75 people, and even was shared once.  Even though you aren’t providing any information about your brand there is still that possibility that someone will click the link to your page, and at that you will still be getting your name in front of new faces.

 

Invite Your Friends to Like Your Page (Yes Even That Creepy Dude You Don’t Talk To)

When you see a Facebook page for the first time you judge it’s credibility by the number of likes it has.  This is why reaching 100 likes is the hardest thing you will have to do. Once you hit 100 likes it will seem like your page grows so much easier.  This is why you should invite everyone to like your page. I know, there will be the occasional person you don’t even know or don’t talk to that you will be hesitant to ask to like your page.  Do it anyway. A like is a like. Do it; invite that creepy dude you don’t talk to.

 

Pay Attention To Your Analytics

Here’s where Facebook hands you the golden key: the insights. Your insights will be the foundation of your Facebook marketing.  Use them, study them, and then take them and make them your own. One of the most helpful tools is under the Posts sections of the the insights page. It should look a little something like the image below.  Use this as the backbone to scheduling each of your posts.  Think about which day you will be posting and check out when your users are online.

You can choose post at any time you want. Just think about a few things, do you want to ride the wave as people get up in the morning? If so post at about 6 in the morning and your post should hang around until noon or so and keep getting more views. Or post around noon and let your post linger as the day goes on and people get on through out the day.  I personally prefer to not post too early and not too late.

Facebook Posts Insights

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are an awesome way to reach a wide audience, although you really have no control over who you reach. If you don’t know what a hashtag is, you have probably seen them and didn’t even know. Hashtags are infamous for use on Twitter, and Facebook has adopted them. When you click on a hashtag someone has posted it will pull up all posts that have used that hashtag. It’s always worth a shot.  The post below reached 620 people and only had about 100 likes at the time.

Share A Coke

Promote Posts or Your Page

Promoting your page or posts can boost your reach to extreme highs and you can select demographics to reach new audiences. I don’t recommend this until you know your audience, have done some research, and are comfortable with which posts do best.

 

You can like Fingerprint Foundry at http://www.facebook.com/fingerprintfoundry or visit our website at http://www.fingerprintfoundry.com

Photoshop: Your Worst Nightmare

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Every designer loves Photoshop right? It’s the god of graphic designers all around the world. The harsh truth is not everyone loves Photoshop. Many people use Photoshop to do great things, and many people use Photoshop to do things that are not so great. I have worked with people who center their entire design philosophy around photoshop. The cold, hard truth is I am no fan of Photoshop.

People use Photoshop for Everything…

Too often I see people who use photoshop for everything.  They design logos, create ads, and so much more in photoshop. The painful truth that these people don’t want to hear is that photoshop should not be used for such things.  Photoshop has been designed with image editing, manipulation, and other photography processes in mind.  Photoshop was never intended to be used to create things like business cards, fliers, brochures, etc.

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Photoshop Screen Interface


What Can I Use Photoshop For?

When you get ready to do your next project and you open up Photoshop, make sure Photoshop is the tool for the job.  Are you editing a photograph? Removing blemishes from a model? Recoloring a part of your image? Maybe your even combining images.  These are all good uses for Photoshop.

 

If not Photoshop, then what?

Photoshop is famous. Everyone knows the name. Photoshop’s cousins however don’t get as much credit as they deserve.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is Photoshop’s closest cousin and the one everyone should know. Illustrator is a vector graphics editor.  If you don’t know, vector graphics create lines that are smooth and created with mathematical expressions. If you notice in the image below the lines are crisply defined. This is the result you get from creating in Illustrator versus the pixilated view you would get from Photoshop. Illustrator is awesome for posters, business cards, fliers, and more.

Illustrator Screenshot

Adobe Illustrator Screenshot

 

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Adobe InDesign

InDesign is another awesome tool from Adobe. Indesign’s main purpose is for multipage publications such as books and magazines. Indesign makes multipage publications easy. Most likely small business owners and others reading this blog may not need to use InDesign but if you do need a multipage publication, InDesign is the way to go.

Adobe InDesign Screenshot

Adobe InDesign

Do You Really Need To Use Photoshop?

Don’t be a designer’s nightmare.  The next time you open up photoshop, make sure it is the tool for the job. If you are doing business cards, fliers, banners, etc. use Illustrator.  If you are doing a multipage publications, use InDesign. These tips will pay off in the long run.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Microsoft Word

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We’ve all used Microsoft Word. We’re all guilty. Word can be a wonderful tool for simple outlines and essays, but for things like résumés, advertisements, invitations, etc. stay away from Microsoft in General.

Word is not Typography Friendly.

Type up your résumé in Microsoft Word, and you will find that it will look decent. But who wants to hire decent? If you are an employer would you hire decent or would you hire someone who appears to be structured, organized, and professional?

In Microsoft Word you will find bad kerning. As discussed in Fonts For Your Business bad kerning is no good. Microsoft does not give the user any control over typography other than the font chosen and the size of the type. You have limited control over pretty much everything in Microsoft Word. I suggest using Adobe InDesign in the place of Microsoft Word. While InDesign is a little more demanding in terms of manual labor by the designer, it will reward you in the end.

Commercial Printers Will Not Accept .doc Files

When you go to a commercial printer to have fliers, pamphlets, brochures, etc. printed they most likely will want a .pdf file.  You can save .pdf files in Word, but depending on what you are creating you may want to save in a .jpg, .tiff, or .png file.  If you are looking to save any of those file formats, you are better off using graphics software.

Images and Colors in Word May Not Print as they Appear

Microsoft Word is primarily designed for creating black and white text in documents. While word does support images and colors, it does not have the capability to determine colors when printing like InDesign and Illustrator can. This could mean that the blue you see on your screen could print out to be more of a green. Whenever you are trying to brand your company printing mishaps can cost you big time.

The best practice is to stay away from Microsoft Word unless you are writing essays or taking notes. Microsoft word will make your designs look cluttered and they will not be clean and legible. If you agree feel free to leave a comment and if you don’t, lets talk!

Fonts For Your Business

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Ask Yourself This: What is a Font?

You can do much more than what you think with just a simple font. A font is the voice of your work. A font can send the right message, or send a very wrong message. This is why you should always choose fonts wisely. Dictionary.com’s definition for a font is: “A complete set of type of one style and size.” The thing you should know is that how typography worked before we had computers or printers.  The Gutenberg Bible was the first substantial book printed in the west with moveable metal type. Before it was printed in 1454 or 1455 books either had to be copied by hand or printed from engraved wooden blocks. Johann Gutenberg designed the first printing press with moveable type. Long story short, this revolutionized printing and even had an effect on our computers and how fonts behave on our computers. If you want to learn more about typography and it’s history there is a ton out on the internet.  ilovetyography.com would also be worth a visit. 

Typographical design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts.

– El Lissitzky,Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect.

Not only should you speak to your audience through the words that you type, but the letterforms that you use should support the message you are sending.

Examples of Good (and Bad) Type

Below are the same text, same size, same everything. Just two different fonts. Yes one stands a little taller and a little wider, this is because different fonts have different x-heights (the height of the letterform), and different widths of the letterforms.

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Minion Pro

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Papyrus

 

 

 

It all comes down to legibility.

Minion Pro on the right is a very clean, legible font. This is what you want. You want your consumers to be able to quickly read your message. In today’s world we are programed for simplicity, and if your consumers won’t read illegible type.

Bad Kerning

What is kerning? Kerning is the practice of adjusting the space between letterforms. In today’s world the computer will do all the work for us. However, technology is not always our friend. Very often, the computer won’t create the best kerning. You should also note that in the Adobe Creative Suite and other design programs you have two settings when it comes to controlling the kerning: optical and metrics.

Optical Kerning

Optical kerning basically adjusts the letterforms so that the spacing between the letters is the most pleasing to the eyes. The “Good Kerning” below was done with optical kerning.

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Metric Kerning

Metric Kerning simply makes the kerning between each of the letterforms equal in width. As you can see below the spacing is equal, but it still reads clearly.

blogpost3-03 These are the basic things you should watch for when choosing fonts. Always make it legible and always make sure your kerning is on spot. Designers will shoot your designs down if the kerning is bad, and if you don’t use good fonts.