Creativity

How To Be More Creative.

Here we are a little over one week into 2014. After a two week hiatus from the office I am back at work, and having a bit of trouble getting into my creative groove. I think it’s just the readjusting to a schedule, and trying to remember where I left off with so many assignments. If you are like me, you might need a little bit of a creative kickstart to get things rolling.

While there many ways to beat creative block, the infographic below by Who Is Hosting This? is a solid resource on how to bring back your creative self. It features five simple steps on how to be more creative, plus tools and techniques you can use all year long.

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What if Wacom Built a Tablet Computer? They Are.

If you are a designer or artist working with digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, you might have had a chance to work with the Wacom Cintiq. If you are unfamiliar with the Cintiq, it is Wacom’s monitor/input tablet combined. It allows you to draw and paint right on the surface, mimicking an actual physical work surface.

If you are an iPad or other tablet user, you have probably installed a few creative apps like Procreate, or ArtRage and use your tablet for sketching, drawing, photo-retouching, etc. with some kind of input stylus. And while your stylus does a pretty good job, in many ways it is not a substitute for your Wacom tablet or Cintiq. The fact is most styluses, have larger input tips, and almost all of them don’t offer pressure sensitivity like the Wacom. So, why hasn’t Wacom jumped into the tablet fray? Well they have.

The Wacom Cintiq Companion, and Comanion Hybrid are two new tablets from Wacom. The Companion runs a full blown version of Windows 8 and allows you full access to all of your desktop creative tools. The Companion Hybrid runs Android and give you access to all of your favorite Android creative apps, like Procreate, Sketch, and ArtRage.

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Both tablets offer an immersive on-screen creative experience and take full advantage of Wacom’s pressure sensitive stylus on a high resolution portable screen. The Companion running Windows 8 is essentially a mobile workstation with multi-touch control, pressure sensitive input and cloud based connectivity allowing you to create and share you r work from anywhere. Frankly I find this to be very exciting, because it take what I do on my iPad and extends it allowing me to be more creative from anywhere.

The overall specs for both tablets looks pretty impressive, especially for a first effort. Screen resolution is 1920 by 1080, Intel® CORE™ i-7 processor, 2048 levels pen pressure, 256 or 512 GB solid state drive, 16.7 million color display, 8 gig of RAM… I hope that Wacom is successful with this, because competition is a good thing, and hopefully it means Apple, and stylus manufacturers will step up their game resulting in better products for everyone.

There is no word on pricing and or availability as of yet, but you can sign up for email announcements about the tablets as they get closer to a launch date and release pricing info.

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Social Selling, the Problem with Foap.

About a year ago I downloaded and installed Foap on my iPhone. I liked the idea of selling my photos to a stock service with little effort. Like many apps, I tried it, put it back on the shelf and stopped using it until I saw a couple of weeks back that Foap had snagged another round of funding and was expanding the service globally. So after seeing the news about funding, I opened Foap to see if things had changed with the app,, and the service.

I’ve been using Foap for the last two weeks and have uploaded 50 or so photos to the service. If you are unfamiliar with the way Foap works it’s pretty simple. You upload a photo, then you rate 5 photos on the service and your photo gets placed in line to be voted on. All photos go through a Foap user review process. You get enough votes, your photo goes live and is up for sale. The higher the rating, the better your chances, thanks to ranking and exposure.

Here’s the rub though. Because everyone is voting, and wants their photo to be ranked high, people tend to give everyone a 3 stars or higher rating. Even if the photo is completely awful. Consequently, a large portion of the Foap catalog is for lack of a better term useless. Now before anyone starts typing up a flaming hate comment, I am not slamming all the photos on Foap. There are a ton of absolutely amazing images out there. The problem is using a peer based ranking system, in an environment where everyone wants to be popular and sell there images.

The lack of objective curation of the app effectively neutralizes all of the content housed on the Foap servers. As a person that purchases stock photography on a regular basis I have browsed thousands and thousands of image on Veer, Getty, iStock etc. The images that are on those sites, have been curated and edited by professionals that know what is going to sell, and what is going to make their catalog superior to the competition. Foap might be a peer driven social network of stock imagery, but in the end Foap and it’s users are competing with every stock library in the world. Because of that, I think Foap needs to have some level of professional curation and editing. Why? Because its all about quality.

All of the images below are within 1 point of each other in ranking. They all average about a 3.8 of the Foap scale of what is good. I know the subject matter is different across the images that are shown, but you have to admit the quality of some photos is much greater than others with the same ranking. And this is why Foap needs some form of editing, or enforceable guidlines for how a photo gets rated.

Just to let you know, I am no a disgruntled Foap user. I’ve been lucky enough to sell 2 images out of the 700,000 that Foap has in it’s ever growing catalog, and I actually think that Foap could work. It’s a great idea, but it needs some form of policing if it wants to be successful long term.

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