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Do you like the look of the image above? It's called 2B - Nier Automata, and it's by Meli Magali. Crediting artists like that is not only easy, it's also good practice for the creative community in general. One person who doesn't agree though is tech billionaire Elon Musk, who stirred up a Twitter storm recently by refusing to credit Magali for her amazing work.

It all started when Musk tweeted a picture of Magali's artwork on 15 June. When someone likes your work enough to want to share it around, that's usually going to make an artist feel good. And when that person in question has a whopping 27 million followers, the reaction should be one of overwhelming gratitude.

After all, an audience of 27 million people isn't easy to come by. And having a celebrity share your art gives your work an immediate sense of clout. If one of the richest people on the planet likes your art techniques, you must be doing something right... right?

However the experience was bittersweet for Magali. Her art might have been shared by an influential person, but with no credit, the whole experience had been tainted. The artist shared her reaction in a tweet that balances disbelief with irritation.

You'll notice that Musk has since deleted his original tweet. That's because the story doesn't end there. Shortly after Musk shared the image, which he had cryptically captioned with "2b", Twitter users were quick to rally around Magali and demand that he credit her.

Sounds like a reasonable request to us. But for the man behind Tesla, this was apparently too much of a tall order. His reply was initially a curt decline.

It's not asking for the earth, is it? [Image: Kotaku]

But it quickly escalated into the outrageous. Social media users took issue with Musk's refusal to credit Magali, so he replied with one of the most baffling leaps of logic we've seen in quite some time.

Where to begin? [Image: Kotaku]

The issue isn't so much that Musk didn't credit Magali. Lots of people share art without crediting the creator, even though chances are the artist wouldn't mind a shout out. You could argue that the inability to edit tweets is destroying the medium, but as for crediting artists? Nah, we're not buying it.

The problem here is that Musk stubbornly refused to add a credit when people asked for one. There's no reason not to do so. All it would take is a few seconds to type Magali's name, press tweet, and hey presto, everyone's happy.

He wouldn't even have to include a link to her Twitter profile or Artstation page. Although we'd argue that, with 27 million followers, this would've been the courteous thing to do. Either way, it would've saved Musk from the headache of dealing with angry notifications.

Having said that, it looks like Magali has got the art of self-promotion down. In the wake of this Twitter storm, she's set up a pinned tweet that showcases her work and links to her portfolio. We've already seen how a pinned tweet can win you new work, so here's hoping Magali will land lots of clients off the back of all this drama.

Musk later claimed to have deleted his Twitter account over the situation. But given that he did this via a now deleted tweet, we're taking his announcement with a pinch of salt.

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Today Wacom has announced a new smart stylus that aims to improve the drawing experience for Windows 10 users. Optimised for the Windows Ink Workspace, the Bamboo Ink Plus is a rechargeable model for creators, which finally does away with the need for elusive AAAA batteries.

This is great news for Wacom users. For too long they've had to look on with envy as Apple users plug in their Pencils and recharge them for future use on the best drawing apps for iPad. Now the playing field has been slightly levelled, and Bamboo Ink Plus users no longer have to fork out for batteries. 

The new Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus aims to streamline the creative experience for users – equipped with a single button, which, when pressed, launches Windows 10 creative apps such as Bamboo Paper and Screen Sketch. Topped off with tilt recognition, higher responsiveness and interchangeable nibs, Wacom's Bamboo Ink Plus looks set to take the drawing and sketching experience to the next level.

Creative apps are only a button-push away [Image: Wacom]

This isn't the first Wacom stylus that doesn't rely on batteries though. Previous styli have relied on Wacom's patented electro-magnetic resonance (EMR) technology for power.

In plain English, this basically means that EMR pens can operate without a battery or a chord thanks to some nifty sensors that generate a magnetic field. And while EMR models are handy, a rechargeable stylus with added functionality is a more than welcome addition to Wacom's range.

"By turning every stroke into a precise digital representation of our thoughts and imagination, these new smart styli can help bring out the visual thinker and artist in all of us" says Heidi Wang, Senior Vice President of Wacom’s Ink Division, in a press release.

The Bamboo Ink Plus costs €99,90/ £84,99/ $99,95, and is available now from the Wacom store. And if you're after a shiny new tablet to use your new stylus on, don't miss our round up of the best cheap Wacom tablet deals

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When it comes to animating with SVGs, one major turn-off can be the idea of getting bogged down in JavaScript libraries. However, this doesn't have to be the case. CSS can handle selecting individual paths within an SVG to create effects. Just knowing the basics can mean that it's possible to turn flat, cliched icons into something a little more impressive. So perhaps it's time to run through the fundamental steps of SVG optimisation and animation. When integrated into different designs, it doesn't take long to realise that the possibilities are endless.

For more motion inspiration, take a look at Creative Bloq's guide to CSS animation examples and how to code them.

Save £100 with a super early bird ticket to Generate CSS, the one-day web conference hosted by Creative Bloq, Web Designer magazine and net magazine. Book here.

01. Create and save

First, create an SVG to work with. For this tutorial, we will be using a simple graphic made in Illustrator. When using Illustrator to export an SVG reduce the size of the artboard to fit the graphic, then click 'Save As'. Select SVG from the 'save as type' dropdown menu, then 'SVG code…' on the SVG Options dialogue.

02. Optimise for the web 

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: SVGOMG]

Cutting out unnecessary tags will make the image easier to deal with. This can be done manually by copying the code to your favourite editor and removing empty tags and metadata. Alternatively, a fantastic resource called SVGOMG will do this automatically. Paste the code into the 'Paste markup' area on the SVGOMG interface, then copy the image again using the button on the bottom right.

03. Set up a HTML Document

Open your code editor of choice and set up a blank HTML document. We will write the CSS animation in a file called main.css, so create this too. To keep things focused on the animation, we've pulled in the CSS-only version of Bootstrap 4.1.3.

04. Build the layout

Let's build the bones of our layout and make a space for our SVG. We've added a header and two columns: one on the left for some text, and one on the right, which will hold the SVG that we'll be animating. To liven the page up, use a second, static, SVG as a background on the body tag. 

05. Place the SVG

We're using our animation to make the introduction at the top of the page more interesting. Paste the optimised SVG code into the second column on the page. If using bootstrap, give the SVG the class img-fluid to make sure it scales on mobiles.

06. Add classes to the SVG

Adding classes to the SVG allows CSS to select the individual shapes within the image. This means you can animate different shapes of the image at different times, creating a more complex effect.

07. Initial states

Selecting our SVG elements in CSS is the same as any other element. We use our classes to select those elements within the SVG. Both parts of our SVG will start as hidden when the page loads, so let's use CSS to set both element's opacity to 0.

08. Declare the animations

We need to declare the name and keyframes for each animation so that CSS knows what we want to do when we ask it to perform an effect. I've chosen textDraw and rectFade, as they describe each animation. rectFade will be a simple two-step animation. textDraw will have an extra middle step.

09. Assign animation and properties

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford]

We add the rectFade animation to the rectBackground element and give it a duration of one second. An easeOut cubic bezier is being used to give it a smoother feel. We add forwards so the element keeps the properties of the last keyframe when the animation ends.

10. The rectangle animation

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford]

With just two keyframes, all we need to do for our rectangle is set a start and finish set of attributes. Let's start with a 1% width and finish on 100% to give an 'expanding to the right effect'. We can also set opacity: 1 to the last keyframe so the shape fades in at the same time.

11. The text animation

We're going to create a line-draw effect on our text then use a fill to fade in. To set up the text animation we give it our textDraw with a four second duration. The cubic bezier has been modified on this step to give it a slightly different pace of movement. 

12. Delay the start 

Our text needs to run just as the rectangle has finished fading in. Because the rectangle has a one second duration, delay the start of the text animation by that time.

13. Emulate line drawing

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image [Image: Joseph Ford]

To get our line drawing effect we will use the stroke-dasharray and stroke-dashoffset parameters. Your values will be different to mine depending on the SVG you are using. To find your value, use your preferred developer tools and increase stroke-dasharray from 0 until the entire shape is covered by one stroke.

14. First line drawing keyframe

Now we have our one very large stroke that covers the entire text path, let's offset it by its own length to effectively push it away. Using stroke-dashoffset for the same value as our dasharray should do it. Let's set this in our first keyframe. We'll also make the shape fill transparent and set the stroke to white if it isn't already.

15. Draw the lines

Our middle keyframe appears at 40% through the animation. We bring the stroke-dashoffset back to zero so the dash covers the entire path. We can re-add the transparent fill at this stage to make sure the fill only appears once the drawing is complete.

16. Fill in the shape

For the last part of the animation, we will fill the shape in white. All we need to do for the last keyframe is raise the alpha value of the fill colour. This creates the fade-in effect of the fill.


This article was originally published in creative web design magazine Web Designer. Buy issue 286 or subscribe.

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People can get very twitchy when a company plays with its own logo design, so it's understandable that there was a bit of concern recently when Oreo posted a Facebook image of its logo, but with the O's at the beginning and end missing. What could it possibly mean?

Thankfully a few hours later Oreo clarified this latest version of its iconic logo design on Twitter (read our guide to logo design here): it was taking part in an initiative set up by the American Red Cross to encourage people to sign up for World Blood Donor Day.

As the day went on and people signed up, the Oreo cookie filled up with delicious creamy goodness until, later on, it finally filled up and the missing O's were returned.

If you're not entirely sure what missing letters of the alphabet have to do with donating blood, it's all to do with blood types. The ABO blood group system covers all the different variants in blood type, and the American Red Cross had a clever idea to use this to drum up support for World Blood Donor Day this year.

Lots of companies signed up to remove the A's, B's and O's from their logos [Image: American Red Cross]

For its #MissingTypes campaign, it asked a whole load of companies to remove the letters A, B and O from their logos. Plenty signed up, including Adobe, Google and Facebook, some of them fading out the letters and others deleting them altogether in the drive to encourage people to donate blood.

The American Red Cross has also produced a free Missing Types ebook, answering frequently asked questions about donating blood and debunking popular myths. To get a copy, and to find out more about the #MissingTypes campaign and the brands that supported it, head for the American Red Cross Missing Types page.

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Every designer has their own preferred set of go-to fonts, a dependable set of serifs and sans-serifs that'll cover most eventualities. But every now and then you find yourself in need of something a little out of the ordinary, a really weird but eye-catching font that you can use sparingly to grab people's attention.

When you're in need of a weird font, you're not always sure exactly what you're looking for; it's the sort of thing that you'll only recognise when you see it. So to help you out, we've gathered together 10 of our favourite weird and unusual fonts for you to download for free today (see more of our favourite free fonts here). All of them are free to use for personal work, and some of them can be used commercially too.

01. Blue Rabbit

Give your text that lagomorphic touch [Image: Willian Santos]

We're not entirely sure what it has to do with rabbits, but you can definitely make it appear in blue – or any other colour you like. Blue Rabbit is an excellently circular and elegant typeface that's an intriguing mix of upper and lower-case characters, and guaranteed to catch the eye. It's the work of Willian Santos, and it's free for both personal and commercial use.

02. Pop of the Tops

This quirky take on Cooper Black will be your number one [Image: Imagex]

This hand-drawn and beautifully scratchy take on Cooper Black is the perfect way to give your work a bit of retro cool. Pop of the Tops takes its name the 'Top of the Pops' compilation albums of the 1970s, a very of-its-time series consisting of anonymous cover versions of hit songs. Find one in a middle-aged relative's record collection and you'll see the Cooper Black title (plus a very 1970s cover model). It's free for personal use; contact its creator about commercial usage.

03. Psychedelic Caps

Far out, man [Image: DaFont/Jim McCauley]

If your retro tastes go further back than the 1970s, Psychedelic Caps is a fab and groovy all-caps font that perfectly captures the spirit of the swinging '60s. Created by Jorge Morón, it's free for personal use and goes perfectly with wild colour schemes. For an added psychedelic feel, we'd advise warping it along a curved path to really bring out its weird proportions.

04. Bad Signal

A little bit of glitch never did anyone any harm [Image: Woodcutter Manero]

Bringing things a bit more up to date, here's a bold and brash font with just enough glitch to make people notice. Bad Signal features random lines of distortion streaking through its all-caps characters, giving your text the appearance of a fax sent over a really noisy phone line, hence the name. It's the work of Woodcutter Manero from Spain, and it's free for personal use only.

05. Simple Myopia

There's more to bad vision than a simple blur [Image: Woodcutter Manero] 

Another beautifully distorted font from Woodcutter Manero, Simple Myopia simulates the effect of short-sightedness not by blurring its text, but by scattering the pixels around the letterforms. It's a clever and striking effect that would work well as a headline font or on posters. Simple Myopia comes with both caps and lower case characters, plus symbols and a few accented characters, and it's free for personal use.

06. Smile and Wave

A straightforward headline font with some eye-catching features [Image: Chris Vile]

For the most part, Smile and Wave looks like a fairly ordinary all-caps sans serif headline font with a bit of weathering for effect; it's only when you check out the weird and triangular styling on the A, K, M and W that you'll notice its attention-grabbing qualities. If you need a display font that makes people look twice, this is a perfect candidate. It's the work of Chris Vile and it's free for personal use; a commercial licence will cost you $39.

07. Through the Black

Through the Black is odd and just a little intimidating [Image: FontSpace]

If you need your text to give viewers an uneasy feeling, Through the Black by KineticPlasma fonts would be a great way to do just that. Its weirdly-warped characters are far from easy on the eye, delivering an effect a little like looking at a ransom note made from cut-out newspaper text; it's an effect that you'll want to use sparingly on just the right call to action or similar. For all its weirdness, Through the Black is great value – its free for personal and commercial use under the SIL Open Font Licence, and it comes in a whole load of weights.

08. Rebimboca Outline

This free deco font has plenty of charm [Image: Paulo W]

The original Rebimboca is a beautiful and peculiar deco font by Brazilian designer and typographer Paulo W, with some wonderfully ornate touches; you can buy it here from £11.99. Rebimboca Outline is one of a number of free variants, with all the original's strange charm, but in an outline version that looks almost as good. It's free for personal use, but you can use it for commercial purposes in return for a donation.

09. VTC-BadVision

Another great way to get that short-sighted look [Image: WOlfBainX/Jim McCauley]

If you enjoyed the skewed optics of Woodcutter Manero's Simple Myopia, here's a similar take on a myopic view of the world, this time from designer Larry Yerkes who works under the name WolfBainX. VTC-BadVision is an all-caps font that achieves its effect by distorting its text in a way that simulates the look of double vision; from a distance it looks blurred, but up close it's broken-up and scratchy. It's free for personal use only.

10. Aberforth

A clean, mixed-case font with a gorgeous quirky look [Image: Brittany Murphy]

To finish off here's Aberforth, a clean and simple font from Brittany Murphy with a decidedly striking look. Its caps characters are perfectly fine-looking bold sans-serifs, but it's the lower case set that's where the fun lies: it's a mixture of upper and lower case characters that'll give your text an adorably quirky feel. Aberforth is free for personal use; prices for a commercial licence start at just $8.00.

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The best camcorders go far beyond the videos created on today's flagship smartphones. Meaning that even if you've got one of the best camera phones around, you'd probably still benefit from a dedicated camcorder. Far from dying out, the camcorder is experiencing a renaissance, with a remarkable choice for every budget, level of expertise and activity.

4K camcorders are now commonplace, from sophisticated semi-pro models with full manual controls to beginner-friendly devices with presets and automated features to ease the learning curve. For sports and tough conditions, there are also camcorders designed to be dustproof, waterproof, shockproof, and able to handle temperatures well below freezing. Many modern camcorders also offer wireless connectivity, allowing you to transfer videos without wires, or even stream them directly online.

Here we've rounded up the very best camcorders that deliver the optimum balance of value and performance, whatever your needs.

And if you're looking for ways to edit your footage once you're done, don't miss our posts on the best video editing apps and best laptops for video editing.

For professional-quality shooting, the Panasonic HC-X1E is hard to beat. It's the heaviest camera in our roundup by some way, so it's not the most portable option and will need a good quality tripod to keep it stable if you're not resting it on your shoulder. Experienced videographers will appreciate the comprehensive manual controls, including triple lens rings (for focus, zoom and iris), plus customisable controls for gain, white balance, shutter and more. Experienced videographers will appreciate the manual controls, including triple lens rings (focus, zoom and iris) plus programmable buttons for adjusting the shutter, gain, white balance and more. The HC-X1E also features a 1-inch CMOS sensor, Leica Dicomar Lens and 20x optical zoom for capturing pin-sharp footage without distortion. It's not a camcorder you'll master quickly, but the quality is well worth the time investment.

The Sony HDR-CX405 is a great value camcorder that doesn't compromise on quality – even a little. With a compact chassis and built-in image stabilisation, it's ideal for filming one-handed, and features a raft of presets to help first-timers achieve better results. It can record in both XAVC S or AVCHD format and MP4 format simultaneously, and capture high quality stills while also recording video. There's no wireless connectivity, but the USB connector is simple to use when it's time to charge or transfer files to a computer. There's even a built-in tool for editing videos in-camera. This camcorder is simple to use, and very impressive for the price.

Whether handheld or mounted on a tripod, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 delivers pro-quality 4K footage at 50FPS, or 1080P at 100FPS (ideal for super-smooth slow motion). There's also an eight-stop ND-grad filter for shooting landscapes, plus a 15x wide-angle zoom lens. With both automatic shooting modes and customisable manual controls, it's ideal if you're making the jump to a high-end camcorder and want to learn the ropes at your own pace. Unusually for a 4K camcorder, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 also features dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity for fuss-free file transfers. This is a robust, reliable 4K camcorder, and the perfect companion for shooting in the great outdoors.

The GoPro Hero5 Black isn't the newest of GoPro's action cameras, but it set the bar very high and is now better value than ever. Despite its diminutive size, this little action camera is capable of capturing 4K footage in extreme conditions. It's waterproof to 10m even without a housing (something few rival sports cameras can beat), and with voice controls it's easy to operate when your hands are occupied with swimming, skiing and otherwise having fun. 4K video capture maxes out at 30FPS, but the Hero5 Black is still a great choice, and tough enough to survive any adventure.

Sony produces a wide range of camcorders for all skill levels, and its mid-range models like the Sony PJ620 are among the best on the market. This camcorder features Sony's proprietary image stabilisation to minimise shake when shooting freehand, which can prove invaluable when used with the 30x optical zoom, which would otherwise amplify unwanted movement. Spot-focus, intelligent auto, wind noise reduction and smile shutter make things even easier when capturing home movies. The Sony PJ620 also features a built-in 25-lumen projector, but this soon becomes rather hot – more of a gimmick than a useful tool, and this camcorder's only real letdown.

In the market for a 4K camcorder but not ready to go semi-pro? Take a good look at the Panasonic HC-VX980EB-K – its impressive specs list includes HDR video for lifelike colours, an extensive choice of scene modes, full manual mode (with controls for focus, white balance, shutter and iris) and top-notch image stabilisation. The wireless multi-cam option, which is becoming a key feature for Panasonic's consumer range, lets you link multiple camcorders and assemble the footage using the Panasonic app. It's a shame that most of the creative effects can only be used when shooting in 1080P, but shooting in 4K gives you more potential for editing in post.

For quick, fun shooting at home or on the move, you can't go wrong with the Canon LEGRIA HF R86. This is no 4K manual monster – what you get here is a camcorder built for capturing family moments in 1080p. Unusually, the Canon LEGRIA HF R86 comes with 8GB internal storage in addition to its SD slot (enough for half an hour of Full HD video), and is capable of transferring files via Wi-Fi or NFC straight to a PC, ready to be uploaded and shared on your social network of choice. This is a reliable, thoughtfully designed camcorder that would make an ideal gift for new parents.

MiniDV is now an outmoded format, having being superseded by SD cards, but the Canon VIXIA HV20 was one of the best camcorders made for the little tapes in their twilight years. Capable of shooting at 1080p and featuring 10x optical zoom, it was a seriously powerful consumer camera when first released, and has aged well in the years since. Helpfully, this MiniDV camcorder is also capable of recording to Mini SD cards, which will keep it in regular use once your supply of tiny tapes runs dry. You might find a new VIXIA HV20, but otherwise refurbished is the way to go.

The JVC Everio GZ-RY980HEU is tough, powerful and dependable – ideal for shooting 4K on the road.  JVC's new Falconbird image processor is less power-hungry than previous versions, extending battery life for 4.5 hours of continuous 4K shooting, and the camcorder's tough chassis will survive drops of 1.5m, submersion in water to depths of 5m, and temperatures of -10C. This is a strong candidate if you're looking for a camcorder for recording far from home (and power outlets), and with the JVC Everio GZ-RY980HEU capable of taking 8K stills, you might decide to leave your regular camera at home.

The Sony RX0 II is tiny – seriously tiny. The sports camera market has blossomed in recent years, with a host of rivals appearing to wrestle for GoPro's crown, and the tough little RX0 II is punching well above its weight. It's the world's smallest 4K camcorder, capable of shooting at 30FPS and capturing 15.3MP stills. Its Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens is impressive, and it even features a diminutive tiltable LCD display. It's waterproof to 1m without a case, and resistant to accidental crushing. You don't get a lot of camera for your money, but it's a pocket-sized powerhouse.

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Lino printmaking is a method of relief printing which involves carving a drawing into a soft linoleum block, rolling a thin layer of ink over it, and pressing paper on top to transfer the image. The areas where you have carved away reveal the paper beneath, often with quite beautiful results.

Lino prints look bold and powerful, with hard lines, flat areas of colour, and high contrast between the paper and ink. You can spend a long time carving, or just make a simple design, but the printing is fairly fast, so multiple copies can be made quickly and easily. Many artists find that working in lino changes their style, and drawings that look tentative or flimsy in pencil take on a more confident, powerful quality when transformed into lino prints (see our best pencil drawings for drawing inspiration).

In this tutorial you will learn the basics of lino printmaking as we explain how to make a simple lino print using a few basic materials.

01. Get to know your tools

The tools you'll need for lino printmaking, flowers optional [Image: Meg Buick]

Before you start your lino printmaking project, you need to make sure you have the right tools. You will need the following:

There's more than one tool for carving out your lino [Image: Meg Buick]

Lino cut tools have been developed over time so that each tool can be used to give a different mark or texture. Look at the blade of each tool. Some have a pointy ‘V’ shape, and some have a curvy ‘U’ shape. Another one is flat, and one is like a small craft knife.  

02. Draw and transfer your design

Draw your design out before you start [Image: Meg Buick]

Start off with a simple drawing. You can draw directly onto the lino or you can transfer a photograph or drawing using carbon paper.  

03. Create areas of light and dark

Highlighting the areas that will be light or dark can help you understand what you're creating [Image: Meg Buick]

You will have to clear away all the 'paper' areas on the lino block with your tools – it’s an inverse of drawing with a black pen on white paper. It can help to use a marker pen to clarify the light and dark areas of your image.

04. Make a test piece to practise

Different tools create different textures [Image: Meg Buick]

Try shading a test piece of lino with your marker pen (so you can see what you’re doing) and try and use every tool in the box to make as many textures as you can. Holding the tool in one hand a bit like a pen, insert it into the surface of the lino and push forward. You should see a slither of lino being lifted away.  

Push forwards and tilt the angle of your hand to remove it completely, and have a look at the mark you have made. You’ll find that the V tools are better for narrow, sketchy lines like a fine point pen, while the U tool cuts wider marks like a marker. 

The flat tool can be used for clearing larger areas Use one hand to carve and the other to steady it. The pressure, speed and angle of the tool will all make a difference.

Always cut away from your fingers – these blades can be sharp! Keep turning the block as you work on it rather than turning to cut back towards yourself.

04. Carve out your design

Consider which tools you'll use for different areas of your design [Image: Meg Buick]

After practicing with your tools on your test piece, choose the marks and textures you want to use in your design. You might want some areas to be drawn like a pencil line using the V tool, and others as flat areas of black or white.  

05. Shade your carvings with a marker pen

Marker pens can help you see what you're doing [Image: Meg Buick]

Use a chunky marker pen to shade over where you are carving – it will bring out the marks you are making, and give a better idea of the way your block will look like when it is printed.

06. Roll your ink onto the sheet

Create a thin, even layer of ink on your sheet [Image: Meg Buick]

Now it’s time to get messy! You’ll need your 'slab' or 'sheet' for rolling out the ink. We are using a plastic lid. Start by squeezing a thin strip of ink at the bottom of your slab, straight from the tube. 

Dip the roller in the ink and then roll forward onto the plastic, spreading ink out evenly across it until it covers it in a thin, even, flat layer. Too thick and it will sound squelchy and have little peaks, a bit like orange peel. Try and aim for a ‘whisper’ as the roller runs up and down, and a texture a bit like brushed suede.

07. Roll ink onto the lino

Aim for a shiny, inky texture on your lino [Image: Meg Buick]

When you have a nice even layer of ink on your slab, roll directly onto your lino. This is the exciting bit where you start to get a sense of what your image will look like. Roll in lots of different directions and after rolling two or three times on your block, go back and roll in the inky slab to re-fill your roller by rolling across it again. When you have covered your block, it should be covered in an even, shiny texture, showing you that you have inked the entire image.  

08. Press paper onto your lino

Place a piece of paper over your lino and press down with your hands [Image: Meg Buick]

Now for the printing! A great thing about lino printmaking is that it can be done at home without the need for a printing press – all you need is your hands. Put a piece of paper directly on top of your image, and smooth down with your hands all over.

09. Press with a wooden spoon

Press down with a wooden spoon to make sure your image prints correctly on your paper [Image: Meg Buick]

Take a wooden spoon and, starting in the middle of the image, begin rubbing the round base of the spoon in small circles, moving outwards to cover the block, and making sure you reach the edges. You should see the paper go slightly shiny where you have rubbed, and you may see a light embossing from your image. This will help you keep track of where you have covered.  

10. Peel off your print

Now for the big reveal... [Image: Meg Buick]

When you think you have printed the whole image, gently peel up the corners and have a peek. Apply further pressure if you think it still looks a bit patchy. Then, take two corners of your paper and gently lift it up from the block. Voilà! You have your first lino cut. Make as many copies as you want. 

11. Compare your lino block and your print

Decide if you're happy with your image [Image: Meg Buick]

Your final print will be a reversal of your lino block. Look at areas of texture created by the tools where you have carved away and decide if you want to make any changes. You can wash your block and continue to carve if you wish.

12. Leave your lino prints to dry

Your final print [Image: Meg Buick]

Leave your prints to dry over a few days, by placing them separately somewhere flat and warm. Make sure you wash all your tools thoroughly – you can clean your lino block and inking slab and roller with warm, soapy water and a rag – and you're done. 

Cato Press is a printmaking studio in East Bristol that runs courses in lino cut and other printmaking processes. Visit the Cato Press website to find out more.

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Adobe Fresco has been announced as the latest addition to the Creative Cloud family. The next-generation digital art app, which was previously known as Project Gemini, recreates the feeling of drawing and painting with traditional tools. Designed for the iPad, and other stylus and touch devices, Adobe Fresco is now open to pre-release testing.

You might remember that Fresco was first announced as Project Gemini at Adobe's annual conference, Adobe MAX 2018. Fresco looks set to be Adobe's answer to Procreate, and could rank up there with the best drawing apps for iPad. Revealed by Kyle T. Webster and Eric Snowden, Fresco will pair pen and touch hardware with professional tools and a streamlined, easy-to-use interface.

"We’re developing Adobe Fresco to empower spontaneous creativity," explains Creative Cloud's chief product officer and executive vice president, Scott Belsky in an Adobe blog post.

"Because it's built for the Apple iPad (with versions for other stylus- and touch-based devices to follow), you’ll be able to bring Fresco wherever you go. It frees drawing and painting from the desktop and lets you create everywhere, anytime."

Fresco's name is no coincidence, either. The word refers to a centuries-old painting technique where artists would work into wet plaster. And once the plaster was dry, they were out of time. This perfectly sums up how Fresco will replicate the organic interactions of analogue art tools, such as chalk, oils, and watercolours.

Rethinking the mobile art experience
First Look at Adobe Fresco - Adobe's Drawing and Painting App | Adobe Creative Cloud - YouTube

Fresco has been created with Adobe's users and community in mind. Having heard that they've been asking for professional-level features on mobile, Adobe went back to the drawing board and completely rethought how its tools can be used on the go.

The result is a set of intuitive features that hope to recapture that simple, natural feeling of working with analogue drawing tools. New painting and illustration capabilities, such as new types of paint and painting interactions, open up previously impossible digital art opportunities. This includes the ability to mix digital watercolour washes just like the real thing, as well as exclusive brushes and a multiscreen mode.

To ensure that they're up to scratch, these tools have been rigorously tested by a selection of skilled artists. On top of that, Adobe Fresco is also able to sync with Photoshop on the desktop. This means that art you make in the field can be developed seamlessly when you're back in the studio, without the headache of transferring files.

Images created in Adobe Fresco will sync with Photoshop on desktop [Image: Adobe]

"Fresco will have the power creative professionals need," adds Belsky. "It includes pro-level tools like layers, masking, and selection in a workspace you can customise for efficiency."

Adobe Fresco is due to launch later in the year, but if you would like to sign up for pre-testing, you can apply here. And if you're after a device that will make your digital artwork look as good as can be, check out our guide to the best tablets with a stylus for drawing.

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You've been on a trip that was really special to you. You shot some great videos you'll always treasure. And now you want to show them to your friends, family, colleagues, and perhaps share it on your social media networks . 

But you don't want people to just glance at them, say "Yeah great" and then wander off; you really want them to watch it properly! And you know that the more slickly produced they are, the more that's likely to actually happen.

Thankfully, in 2019, you don't need special training to create professional looking videos. Adobe's Premiere Rush provides a simple way to edit your footage that anyone can use. 

And if you really want to add the 'Wow' factor to your footage, you can use Adobe Stock Motion Templates to add the kind of animated titles and graphics you see in movies and TV shows. Read on as we explain how...

01. Import your video

It's easy to edit your video in Premiere Rush

First, download the free version of Adobe Premiere Rush. (Note: you'll need an Adobe ID; if you don't have one, create one for free here.) 

Open the app, and click the 'Create a New Project' button in the top-left corner. Import your video or videos, and edit them accordingly using the software. (If you need help in this, check out this Premiere Rush tutorial).

02. Find a motion template

There are hundreds of great motion templates on the Adobe Stock website

Titles, credits, captions, transitions, and graphics can really add the 'wow' factor to your video. And the great news is that you don't need to craft them yourself: that's already been done for you. Adobe Stock has hundreds of professionally designed motion graphics templates that you can drag and drop into your video. 

Check out the hundreds of great templates on offer at Adobe Stock. Just hover over the still image and you'll see what they look like when animated. 

03. Import a stock motion template into Rush

Search for motion templates right within Premiere Rush 

Open up Premiere Rush and in the top-right hand side of the screen, you'll see a square with a 'T' in it. Click on it, and you will bring up the 'Titles' panel. 

Choose the 'More titles' button in the top right, and this will list all available motion templates from Adobe Stock. You can either scroll through them, or use the search bar to find the one you're looking for. Here, we're using the neon pink and yellow template called 'Sliding Pop Art Title'.

Once you've chosen your template, drag it onto the timeline of your video. (Note: you don't place it on the still images themselves, but in the strip above them). Then, if you want to make your template appear for a shorter or longer time in the video, pull the purple rectangle back and forth accordingly.

04. Edit your Stock Motion template

Update your text and change font, size, etc using the 'Edit' tab

The 'Edit' panel on the right enables you to customise your template to your heart's content; you can change the font, the size, and more. You'll also want to change the text itself, of course. Note: this is done by clicking in the text box on the screen, not in the edit panel or the timeline.

Now, click the play button to see what your motion text looks like within the video. If it doesn't look right, then just go back and keep tweaking until it does. Alternatively, if you decide against using the template altogether, no problem. Just select it and delete it by clicking the trashcan icon on the left, and start again with another template. 

Also note that you're not restricted to one template per video, you can use as many as you like.

05. Export your video 

Exporting your video to your computer or social networks is a piece of cake

Once you're happy with your video, click the 'Share' button in the top-left corner. Now you'll be given the choice of saving your video to your desktop, YouTube, Instagram or Behance. And you're done! 

Here's our example video, and another one we enhanced with titles and graphics in just a few minutes, using the same steps.

Sequence 01 1 - YouTube
Sequence 02 1 - YouTube

Just think how you could use these kinds of titles, transitions and motion graphics to bring your own holiday videos to life! 

There are hundreds of Adobe Stock motion templates to choose from, so don't hang around: start trying them out today. Get started with Adobe Stock here.

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With Sky Boxes and Freeview HD recorders now allowing viewers to fast-forward through the commercials, the need for TV ads to amuse, charm, and delight is more important than ever. 

But can an ad ever be TOO entertaining? We’d argue that solely entertaining without persuading is ultimately a futile activity. As well as engaging its audience, an ad also needs to deliver a clear and understandable message, and ideally, prompt viewers to take some kind of action. 

In this post, we highlight five UK ads that are hugely entertaining but where the commercial message seems muddled or lost. Don't get us wrong: they're all brilliantly made, and some have even won awards... but we humbly question whether they actually serve the fundamental brand purpose.

01. John Lewis/Elton John
John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 - #EltonJohnLewis 🎹 - YouTube

It’s a little bit funny, the feeling inside, when you watch this ad created by Adam & Eve/DDB. Because quite frankly it seems more like an ad for Elton John than an ad for John Lewis. 

For two minutes and 10 seconds, we're treated to a beautifully constructed journey through the life and career of the singer. This mini-biopic is epic, touching and at times overwhelming. And yet... its connection with the high-street retailer it's supposed to be promoting seems less than obvious. 

It's only in the final few seconds that we get the payoff: apparently, when he was a boy, Elton's parents bought him a piano, and so the final caption reads “Sometimes a gift is more than a gift”. 

It’s a nice line, but it feels like a stretch to connect any of this with John Lewis. Pianos are not an obvious item you’d associate with the British retail institution, and in fact, they literally don’t sell them. (Yes, they do sell digital pianos, but in this context, that’s really not the same thing.)

Overall, it all feels like John Lewis was so excited to be associated with a rock icon, they forgot that the point was to get people to actually buy stuff.

If the purpose of a TV ad is to encourage the viewer to take an action, this one certainly works... but only if the action is to download Elton's ‘Your Song’, or go to the cinema and watch Rocketman.

How to do it better
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 - #MontyThePenguin - YouTube

The 2014 Christmas ad for John Lewis, also by Adam & Eve/DDB, again tells the story of a specific purchase; in this case, a toy penguin. But in this case, it's both something people are likely to buy, and something John Lewis actually sells. 

Furthermore, the story and the tagline (“Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of”) conveys a broader notion: that of delighting a child with a present tailored to their own desires and dreams, which is much more universally relatable.

02. Confused.com/Brian the Robot 
Telly Ad - Confused.com - Brian the Robot Follows The Family Around - Quick Quote - YouTube

Comparison websites are often awkward and time-consuming to use. So even though we know they could save us money on our car insurance or energy bills, we often just lazily click ‘renew’ when our year’s contract is up. 

This ad, created by Publicis London, aimed to make Confused.com's service seem more accessible, by portraying it in the form of a chummy, approachable robot called Brian. And it was certainly entertaining. 

With a fun soundtrack, which fans of 1980s TV will recognise as the Knight Rider theme tune, we see Brian comically chase a family driving across the UK for a series of days and nights. Finally, he catches up and informs them: “I could save you £230 on your car insurance”.

This could have been a great climax to an entertaining sequence. But to our minds, the ad fluffs it; the driver simply responds “Cheers mate” and  drives off. Honestly, it seems more like he's giving Brian the brush-off than actively engaging in the comparison process.

This damp squib of an ending means the whole thing falls flat. And the family’s passive response seems unlikely to encourage viewers to visit Confused.com and start entering their details.

How to do it better
ClearScore TV Ad May 2016 TV - 'Wat Doing?' - YouTube

This ad for ClearScore.com is drily amusing, with a comedy dog and a funny miscommunication between husband and wife. But it’s also superbly persuasive. The call to action couldn’t be clearer, as the characters basically hold up a mirror to viewers at home, showing them exactly what to do, and how quickly it can be done. A great example of how to be entertaining, at the same time as conveying a clear message and call to action.

03. Halifax/Wizard of Oz
Halifax Wizard of Oz Home Buying Advert - YouTube

Who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz? And this ad, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, cleverly blends the classic movie's footage with a newly filmed scene in a way that can only be described as technical genius.

Like in the movie, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin-Man and the Cowardly Lion knock on the door of the Great and Powerful Oz’s castle. But instead of the Wizard, they’re greeted by Greg, a Halifax mortgage advisor, who tells them, “If it’s the home of your dreams you’re after, maybe I can help?”

It’s a smart concept, and a lovely way to view a boring subject like banking through a rosy lens of nostalgia. But ultimately, it falls flat when Greg informs Dorothy: “I can’t give you a mortgage, you’re far too young” – and she then bursts into tears!

Although Greg eventually does get Dorothy home, this moment feels like a bum note, instantly unravelling the (already weak) connection with getting a mortgage that the ad was meant to promote. 

Overall, then, the whole thing feels like something that everyone had a lot of fun making, but doesn’t really get across a clear message.

How to do it better
Halifax - Top Cat (2016, UK) - YouTube

This earlier Halifax ad, also created by Adam&EveDDB, is far less convoluted: Top Cat and his sidekick Benny simply walk into a branch, ask for a mortgage, and well, get a mortgage. The ad works particularly well because it ties into what fans already know about the characters (they're always being evicted from their trash can-homes), while it's simple enough that people who’ve never seen the show still get the point.

04. The National Lottery/Please Not Them
The National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem – Piers Morgan (Extended version) - Lotto - YouTube

You'd think that persuading people to buy lottery tickets was a fairly simple proposition: who doesn’t want to be a multimillionaire overnight? But for some reason, the National Lottery decided to go for a more complicated, surreal and irony-laced approach with its ‘Please Not Them’ series of ads. 

Rather than pursuing the obvious line that people like being instantly rich, it played on the somewhat quixotic notion of playing to stop other people winning; specifically, celebrities with ludicrous ideas about what they'd do with the money. 

Don't misunderstand us: this campaign, led by AMV BBDO, was hugely entertaining, often hilarious, and packed with star power. In the ad shown above, Piers Morgan plays an exaggerated version of himself, in which he designs a narcissistic amusement park called Piers’ Pier. Other ads in the series featured James Blunt and Katie Price, and each parodies celebrities’ sense of their own importance brilliantly.

So hats off to AMV BBDO for creating these superb comedy sketches. We just question whether anyone has ever bought a ticket because of them. Quite simply, their tongue is so firmly in their cheek that the concept of playing the lottery is less brought to the forefront of viewers' minds than shoved right to the back.

How to do it better
Who Wins If You Win? - YouTube

For a British audience, a naked appeal to personal greed might be considered a bit tasteless. So this clever ad, again from AMV BBDO, instead focuses on the things we’d buy for our nearest and dearest if we won. It's a simple but effective campaign that recasts our avarice as generosity, and gives us a truly convincing reason to buy that next lottery ticket (which we wanted to do anyway, but just needed a bit more talking into).

05. Nationwide/Flo and Joan
Nationwide advert. Flo & Joan. Small House. - YouTube

This series of adverts for Nationwide features a comedy duo called Flo and Joan. And it seems to have divided the nation – or at least those active on the internet – between people who love them and people who truly hate them. 

From a pure business point of view, there’s nothing wrong with creating ads that annoy people. Some of the most successful ads of all time have also been the most irritating, from Cillit Bang to Go Compare, partly because they tend to stick in the memory for longer. 

But just being irritating isn’t enough in itself. As we’ve said many times in this article now, there needs to be a clear message, ideally one that makes a viewer imagine using your product or service, and a call to action. But to our mind, this campaign, created by VCCP, features none of these things. 

Each of the ads consists of a comedy song, followed by a couple of text captions about how great the building society is. Yet the two seem at best distantly (and at worst tortuously) related to each other. 

In short, the entire campaign seems more like an advert for Flo and Joan. We hope they reap the benefit, because we honestly can’t see Nationwide doing so. 

How to do it better
The Tea Song - by Yorkshire Tea - YouTube

Here’s a much more effective use of a comedy song, in an ad to promote Yorkshire Tea. It basically takes the classic British notion that a cup of tea cures all ills to ridiculous extremes. And it's not just funny and entertaining, but conveys the message and the call to action quickly and efficiently. That contrasts strongly with the Flo and Joan ads, where you have to watch the entire thing before you find out what the heck any of this has to do with Nationwide.

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