AR for Visual Aide

By now, most of us have heard about augmented reality or have used it somehow. It is not a new technology, but the way it has been used lately is quite innovative and goes far beyond entertainment purposes.

Augmented Reality happens when we can see our physical real world environment and then modify, replace, or add objects to it (images, sounds, videos, graphics, and GPS data) generated by a computer. It is closely related to a wider concept called mediated reality, and it works by enhancing somehow our perception of reality.

It is important to keep in mind that Augmented Reality is soothing entirely different from Virtual Reality. In the second, we replace our real world environment by a fully simulated one.

OxSight, a new start-up, created and is testing Augmented Reality glasses to help people with very limited vision. They describe this device “as a hearing aid for the blind”. So far, the glasses have proven to work quite good for people who still have a little bit of sight (whether if it is a light detection, movement or shape impairment), and they use that slight portion of their vision to amplify it with the glasses.

One of the main advantages of the glasses, and that might be what is holding back its full potential, is that there is nothing connected to the brain and it doesn’t have a direct interaction with the eyeball. Instead, it works with well-known technologies like see-through displays, cameras and computer vision representations that have already been developed on Augmented Reality to understand the real world environment. It makes OxSight very friendly and easy to use.

Another great feature of the glasses is that their creators understand that there are a lot of causes for vision loss and that every case is different. That’s why they created a board so the user can customise and adjust the parameters of the image they are seeing. This board assures the user will be able to understand his/her surrounding and the objects in it.

For people who have lost their vision capabilities over the years, this has represented a great change because now, thanks to OxSight, they can see their families faces and that’s something they thought were never be able to do again.

Easier Web Design

Most of us are quite familiar with some of the most popular Adobe software by now, and these programs are great tools for creating a vast number of different projects. However, as technology moves forward and we are required to create better and faster, the usual Abode products are a bit inadequate.

I’ve been using Photoshop and Illustrator for most of my web-based and digital projects until quite recently. I learnt from experienced UX/UI designers that these programs are not ideal for the digital design process. These are some of the reasons why:

  1. They were not created specifically for digital projects (despite the fact that we can optimise and create images with them).
  2. You can’t easily reuse the elements that are repeated over a project preserving its properties.
  3. It is a huge headache separating or selecting each item as we need it for exporting.
  4. You have to choose whether to work with vectors or pixels.

 

Meet Sketch!

Sketch was created specifically for digital design and everything related to it (icons, web interfaces, websites, etc). It provides a huge number of advantages, but here I’ll mention a few to encourage you to take a look at it.

  1. Time-saving. You can reuse elements with similar characteristics throughout your project and store them in your project library so you can use them as many time as you need.
  2. Infinite projects. You can create lots of pages, which at the same time can contain as many artboards as you need so you can keep all the style elements at hand for the whole project!
  3. Text styling. You can create as many text styles as you need and you can apply them with just a click. You can also make changes to the original style, and it will be reflected in all the other elements with it applied. Also, the text will be displayed exactly as it would on the final product.
  4. Mirror. You can see your project on Apple devices so you can see how it actually looks on a determined screen.
  5. Versatile. You can have both vector and pixels working together, and toggle the view of your project.

 

I have a lot more of reasons why I love working on Sketch, but if you want to take a closer look at it, you can do it here. There’s also a discount for students if you feel like getting the license (which you might not have to pay for every year).

The 2016 13” MacBook Pro

I’ve always been a huge fan of Apple products. Some people have different opinions but for me, working on a MacBook Pro and an iMac, actually made a difference when it comes to getting things done. I used to work on Windows PCs, but as I started needing more and more design software, all the computers I had just didn’t seem to handle it. I’m aware that there are other OS’ that would support design software even better than any Apple machine, but I just love how friendly I find the Apple’s OS.

However, last year when I heard about the very expected launch of the new 13” MacBook Pro I felt quite disappointed. There are a lot of new features that I found unnecessary, and some that I thought were just wrong for the target.

 

 

It looks kind of cool on the video, and of course, you might feel like you want it, right? Well, if we take a closer look to some of the specs, we might not feel the same. So, here we go:

  1. The price. If you go for the cheaper version of it, it will be missing a lot of the features you saw in the promotional video. So, for getting the adaptive, multi-touch screen with all the amazing shortcuts (the Touch Bar Model), you might have to pay over 1.800 USD, and that is quite expensive considering that they don’t even mention that the new features come with an extra cost. (I’m conscious that this happens with a lot of ads).
  2. The size. It is a bit lighter (11.97×8.36×0.58 inches. 3.02 pounds), but it is also smaller than the latest version (12.35×8.62×0.71 inches. 3.42 lbs). If you take a look at some of the competitor products, they do offer lighter laptops without the reduced displays. This is quite important for me since I find working on smaller screens a bit annoying.
  3. The Ports. This is one of the features that I thought was plain WRONG. The new laptop comes with barely any port. Now, for the usage I give to my current laptop, it just wouldn’t work at all. I know technology moves forward and all that, but how is it possible that it doesn’t have a USB port if that’s how we plug most of our current devices? Seriously, I know a Thunderbolt 3 port is great, but there are still too many devices that work with USB ports. By the way, they also got rid of the SD card slot. So, if you get one of this, it is very likely that you will need another 70USD for buying an adaptor. This is so bad that you wouldn’t even be able to plug the latest iPhone to this computer!
  4. The display. Even though they claim that this new version was going to be more colourful and bright, in none of the reviews I checked they say that there is an actual improvement compared to the last model.

I don’t know if some of the Apple detractors are right when they say that without Jobs everything is going to go down the hill very quickly, but I hope for the next launches they come up with features that are actually thought to make the machine efficient.

Design What?

When I decided to become a Graphic Designer, I certainly thought it was the chance to communicate what was meaningful to me in a creative and unusual way.

During school, most of the projects were just for training, so we were pretty much able to create the briefs to fit our creative path because the important thing was understanding the methodology and the developing our technical skills. Later, we started competing in some university design contests, so the main thing here was to test our criteria. However, up till that moment, we never had to care about the content because the whole point was learning about design. Some years passed, and I learnt that ignoring the content is a HUGE mistake.

I started seeing amazing projects around the internet, and I noticed that the ones I liked the most were all those about honest experiences and points of view; and those that supported human values at some level. Why? Well, selling products is no longer a fresh idea, and right now I think it is a bit suffocating and most of the time it seems just unreal. However, when you are a designer, you don’t get to decide what to communicate or even who gets to be your client (even as a freelancer).

Recently, I found a project created by two great designers –Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman-: “12 Kinds of Kindness”. When I started checking it, I thought I was an amazing project! They started it after reflecting on their daily life and some of the experiences they lived while working on a previous project. It was evident how well planned it was. It’s based on the 12 steps programs to convey, in quite a creative way, a powerful message: empathy. For the content, they use videos, GIFs, lettering, and very lovely illustrations.

I think this is an excellent example of what we, as designers, can create if we are committed enough to set up and communicate our ideas. Besides getting our space for saying what we want how we want, it is an excellent opportunity to promote ourselves! (Not to mention how extraordinary is to find a design project that is not selling you something).

Projects like this proof that we have a lot to say, that creating our content is meaningful and that the best way is our way.

How much importance do you give to the content? What kind of projects would you like to work on in the future?

Unleash Your Creativity

Have you ever thought of a project that would represent your creativity as no other project might? Have you not started working on it because of the lack of time and resources? Well, good news! Adobe created this fantastic program called Adobe Creative Residency. It started a couple years ago and took candidates only in the U.S. However, this year it is opened to all of us! For 2017 it will take six residents from the U.S, Germany and Canada!

The program gives candidates the opportunity to work on a personal creative project for a whole year. The entire point of it is sharing the residents’ experience, so they inspire others to know about new and different methods and processes for creating.

What comes with the residency? Pretty much everything you’ve ever wished for as a creative. They will provide all the tools you might need to develop your very own personal project for a whole year, and you’ll receive guidance from advisors. Additionally, they will pay you a salary and handle all you expenses for the residency duration.

 

What’s the catch? As I mentioned before, the whole point of the program is sharing so, everyone will be looking at you for the entire year while you work on your project. You’ll need to focus on your craft, your strengths and weaknesses; as well as sharing your creative learnings, processes, failures and successes via social media, conferences, and workshops. Personally, I think that having the time and space to figure out your creative process in just a year is a change most of us won’t have.

This might sound a bit scary and like a lot of pressure, but it is a great chance to get to figure out how to start a career and how to get things done, not to mention the great work you can add to your portfolio!

For 2017 the Adobe Creative Residency will focus on projects focused on photography, graphic design (Print and Digital), UX / UI design, graphic composition, video (mainly YouTube and Vimeo) and illustration. Your creative field is not listed there? It’s ok. They encourage candidates to apply even if their projects are in different areas.

How would you like being part of such a great project while being a part of a team like Adobe?

Play the Game!

It doesn’t matter if you want to be an illustrator, a typographer, a web designer, or a digital designer among all the things you can be after finishing you study program; you will need to keep your skills as sharp as possible.

At Method.ac, they created a few games that will help every designer test and improve some if the most crucial technical abilities as they play.

 

The Bézier Game

The Bézier Game will help you getting better and mastering the Bezier tool – only one of the MOST important in the design world – and successfully naturalise the way the pen tool works.

When playing, remember to use as little anchor points as possible to get a better score!

 


SHAPETYPE a letter shaping game

The SHAPETYPE game has some of the functionality of the Bézier Game but applied to a more precise matter: Here you will adjust the letter curves. They will display different letters of various fonts so that you can get a better understanding of typeface creation. The closer you get to the original character shape, the higher score you will get.
This game is ideal for all those interested in lettering and typography, generally speaking.

 

KERNTYPE a kerning game

Kerning is one of the most important qualities about fonts, and it is also one of the most frequently forgotten features to check. A proper kerning can be the difference between a great typographic design and a mediocre one.

What is kerning anyways?
It is the space between the letters. The trick here is that no all pairs of letters have the same space because they are all different, and when you try to space letters by using software; it won’t take into account this fundamental fact. The good news is that there is not tool more accurate than the designer’s eye for this task!

Keep in mind that for body or texts, a high-quality font will work just fine. However, you need to be extra careful when you are working on designs with bigger letters because here everyone will be able to see easier the odd spaces.

 

COLOR a color matching game

This game will help you improve you colour vision and accuracy. It is also a great game to better understand how to create colour schemes for future projects!

 

 

 

 

Share your scores on the comments!