From the Beginner designer to Intermediate one – Part 3

Last week, we had talked about the little tips for Adobe Capture CC brushes tool, this week I will discuss the rest three tools: shapes, type, and patterns.


The purpose of shapes would transform an image into vectors and use them in Photoshop, Illustrator, and In Design. The way to create new shapes is similar to other tools, click on “+,” and take a picture of the object or your doodles, you could erase the part that you don’t like and draw directly on the screen of the mobile device to make changes. After saving to the library, you can open it and try different colours, effects or gradients to your doodles directly; you will be amazed by what you can do with your imagination.


The Type tool is helping users to get fonts from Typekit based on a text image. The users can record all the fonts and learn what the name of the fonts from this tool. Also, the user could create unique fonts by patterns which are funny. However, please keep in mind that you may not find out these kind of fonts in your
Adobe suite library. Although at the edit panel, users can change the size, setting the font style, try different leading or track numbers and all kinds of different compositions between the letters.


The Patterns tool allow users to transform any textures, original objectives or images into patterns. And there are five beautiful types of models inside your setting panel. After adjusting and editing, you can have your patterns with the same colour theme and patterns base on your original objectives. And the patterns can only be used in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Till now, the primary function of the most useful tool from The Adobe Capture CC have been introduced. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and I will answer the questions on my following blogs.

Is simplicity the easy way?

As an artist, I have been though many changes in the way is think, the way I see things and how I represent them on canvas. Many times have I had that internal struggle saying: should I leave this piece as it is? Or should I add something else? Yet, it is rare for me to think: maybe I should take some elements out. I have developed a love for making detail present in my pieces. I love spending time on every shadow, texture and any other aspect suitable for the composition. However, around the time of 6th grade, I remember many times I started to draw something and I got so sucked into it that I added way too much. In the end I wasn’t sure why, but I was not happy with the result. It wasn’t until I took a step back and thought: are all these extra things necessary in the first place?

Ever since, I still struggle with wanting to put more than necessary into my designs. But now I know to take a step back and analyse my composition. In addition, being a student at ACC has helped me a lot as I can see the work of people that maybe have similar minds as I do, or some that are totally different. I love learning from each one of them. All their experiences, which are all unique, effect their designs and creative ideas. This is very fascinating to me.

I do not think that a simplistic design is easy to pull off; there are is a lot of thinking that goes into it. In the end, what I have learned so far is that it is important to slow down from time to time, and take a look at your piece from a different point of view, still knowing what you want, but being able to learn from others as well. I still love detailed art pieces, but I can appreciate the beauty that can be displayed with a much simpler design. There is certainly something satisfying about a simple yet effective composition. Some examples we see out there are: The swoosh from Nike, or the stripes from Adidas; both very contemporary looks, they seem to never go out of style.

When Inspiration Hits

Inspiration. Ideas. Where do they come from? How do you know when they’re going to hit? How do you know if the idea that just hit you is a good one?

As design students, we are presented with the challenge of coming up with new ideas and concepts daily. With each now exercise, assignment and project, our minds race to find inspiration. What if inspiration doesn’t come? What then? Our instructors say, just run with the first idea you have. Don’t overthink it. So i have been trying to put this into practice (which is easier said than done).

So where do we go for inspiration? Some designers have epic Pinterest  boards, or search popular sites like Behance, Designspiration and Flickr. The problem with this, according to Smashing Magazine, is when taking ideas from similar mediums, there is a fine line between ‘inspired by’ and ‘copied’. So their suggestion is to look beyond design galleries, into the wide and awe-inspiring real world. Industries such as fashion, architecture, even music can help you visualize images which you can translate into your project. There are design playlists on Spotify! Did you know? Smashing Magazine has some links to said playlists. Like this one or this one.


The other morning as I was driving to school, stopped at a stoplight I looked to the sky. The rising sun hadn’t yet peaked above the horizon line, yet the colours emanating from the east were something else. The perfect gradient. The sky is an ever-changing canvas that never ceases to inspire me.

I believe it is important for us as aspiring designers and creators to keep our eyes open. Keep our childlike wonder and tap into our curiosity often. Try to look at things from another perspective. And when we have found that ‘other perspective’, look again.

Keep it real my darlings. Eyes to the sky.
xo M.

Inspiration in Your Pocket: The Subtle Art of Adobe Capture CC

As a Graphic Design student, Adobe Capture CC has quickly become my most reliable ally. Capture is part of Adobe’s mobile App family and easily the most beneficial for designers on the go. In 2016, Adobe combined four of its mobile asset building tools into one, forming a single app that can capture colours, patterns, materials, brushes, and shapes.

Adobe Capture CC opened the door to unlimited possibilities. With a few simple clicks on your mobile device, you can now create project assets from anywhere that are accessible all across Adobe’s mobile and desktop apps.



Originally, the shapes function was the reason I downloaded this App. Capture takes your sketchbook doodles and instantly turns them into vector shapes, you can also create shapes from high contrast photos.

Quick tip: Make sure to outline your doodles with a dark coloured marker before using the app, it will pick up the lines and curves easier.


Colour Themes

It’s so simple, just point and shoot for colour themes. Pulling colours from the real world has never been so easy. Snap a picture in the moment or use a picture from your camera roll on your phone and let Capture do the rest. Six movable circles will show up on the screen, once you’re happy with the colours picked, you can save your colour theme and use it over and over from your CC Library.



Create new and authentic patterns using the digital kaleidoscope with the Pattern tool. Select one of five geometric real time templates at the top of the screen and move your camera around until you find exactly what you’re looking for. The app prompts you to refine your pattern before saving it to your CC Library.

Furthermore, Capture goes above and beyond by building  textures and materials in seconds and also allows you to create customized brushes, forever creating original and authentic designs.

To top this digital sundae off with the perfect cherry, all assets created in Capture are instantly saved to your Creative Cloud Library making them accessible in all of your Adobe mobile and desktop apps. Creating genuinely original designs has never been so simple.

Adobe Capture CC is a designers dream and it fits right in your pocket.

There is more information available on Adobe’s website:

Your Style?



The concept of an artist’s own style is very interesting to me. So many artists stress out trying to find this golden and unique style that sets them apart from the rest. Yet, can we truly make exact copies of others people work without trying?

Since I have use of reason, I have been very fond of creating and drawing. Although, I really started to invest a  large amount of time into it when I was about 7 years old and my uncle told me about this series called Dragon Ball Z, he had watched it when he was a kid too so it’s been around for a while. I started watching it every night as it was shown on TV, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the art style and the creativity that it offered. Years later, I saw my uncle painting one of this show’s character on glass. It was a small piece. I thought it was fantastic and it gave me inspiration to develop a passion for drawing; not on glass, because I was young and I found it too difficult, but I started drawing and developing with any other media; pencil and paper being my primary choice. Over the years, I developed my technique further and I was able to replicate Dragon Ball characters rather well.

When I was about 12, I heard of another anime series on TV that I should check out. It was called Naruto: so, I watched it and just like with the other series, I completely fell in love with the story but also with the visuals that where between simplicity and complexity. Yet, they where very effective. As I did with Dragon Ball, I also tried to imitate the drawing style of the series, making various illustrations of the characters.

I have to admit that never in my life did I ever think what my own style was. I never saw anything wrong in drawing famous characters or designs. I always thought that it was ok to have something that you like drawing, over and over again; in doing so one develops the skill to use the art mediums or tools without stressing too much over the “idea” and if it looks right or not. As one has an image beside to compare.

In my humble opinion artists shouldn’t worry about having their own style of drawing from the beginning. I believe that the simple fact of you being a different individual, with a brain and body that works differently than others, is enough to make anything you do different, even if it’s a microscopic difference. And after a while in the process of trying out different styles; one will find out that there are some styles that stand and make you feel happy, those are the ones that will guide you in discovering your own style.

Top 5 Design Trends for 2018

As designers, we all have certain styles we love, and once we find our own signature style, we tend not to stray too far from our comfort zone. But staying in one place for long, my friends, is not so comfortable after a while. You may start to feel left behind, or obsolete in certain areas. Interactive design is constantly changing, and as this new year starts, we are all probably looking for inspiration and new avenues to explore. There is no longer any excuse for not creating user friendly, interactive and visually stunning websites. So here are some insider tips from Digital Synopsis and 99 Designs on trends to start incorporating into your work now.

1. Bold Typography / Intersecting Elements

With web coding technology so far advanced these days, it is easy to use more than just the basic web fonts. Custom fonts are very widely used on many websites now, creating strong visual tones for your page and to help portray the overall feeling of your site. Now start playing around with these fonts and types – break them up in different ways and use intersecting elements of type and graphics to create interest.

2. Vibrant Colours / Duotone

Many large companies, such as Spotify, have pushed trends such as duotone to the spotlight. A trend that started last year and will continue on into 2018. Vibrant tones online are breaking out of those web safe colours. Technology is allowing us to use thousands of colours, so why not take advantage. Bright colours are sure to attract attention.

3. Split Page / Asymmetrical Layouts

Image Source:

Grids are made to be broken in 2018. Splitting your page and grid layouts to create asymmetrical sections on your page is distinct and unconventional, and will set your site apart from traditional sites. It’s risky for certain markets or brands, but very striking when pulled off correctly.

4. Custom Retro-Modern Illustrations

Image Source:

Gone are the days of clip art. Trending now are simple, line images, which combines sleek, modern lines with retro colour schemes to keep things playful and friendly. Customizable to fit any concept or business.

5. Thoughtful / Interactive Animations

Animations have come a long way and in 2018 will focus more on intentional movements and directions. Signalling interactive content to engage users, helping them move through your site with ease and purpose.

Now give it a go! Explore! Create! Be wild and free my dears.

xo M.


*Blood warning*

Anime is an animated art style that originates from Japan. It is very popular in it’s home country but has a very large following in the western part of the world. The show’s them selves have a very wide range of genres, anywhere from Romance to Horror. The oldests Japanese Animation dates back to 1917, Mogura no Abanchūru (Mole’s Adventure). I have watched it and can say that the animation is extremely basic (which is a given concidering the time) but it is quite impressive of what they were capable of that long ago. The iconic style it has today however, did not surface until 1960(although it’s become more realistic in more recent years).

I myself enjoy the genre very much, and being an artist, the animation style peeks my interest too. Each show has it’s own unique style, much depending on the genre itself. The show Attack On Titan features harsher lines and less detailed design, where as some like God Eater feature a 3dimensional, game-like appearance.


Anime began like most animated shows, hand-drawn. The process is long and painstaking as each movement much be drawn seperatly. Now most anime are animated digitally, cutting the work time and increasing the quality. It is incredibly detailed and I genuinely admire the talent the animators have.

Most anime begin as manga (Japanese comics) and are then later picked up to be animate, much like how books are turned into films. For many, the animation style changes from the manga, becoming more detailed and expressive (like Haikyuu!!) but some of them have managed to keep the animation style almost eactly like the manga (Tokyo Ghoul). The skill to be able to animate a still photo and keep it the same, I think is very impressive.


Overall I think the Anime industry is only improving and in as little as a decade, I can only begin to imagine the types of animation styles and types of animators that will surface and if it will even become more photorealistic. But until then, I am quite content with styles and abilities that are around right now.

Take a Step Into Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has started becoming more and more well-known in the gaming industry. It adds much more immersive and engaging qualities to a game, and now that it has been around for awhile, inventors are coming up with new ways it can be integrated into games.

The Japanese firm, known as Cerevo, has come out with Taclim. Taclim is a set of virtual reality shoes. As you have probably already guessed, the purpose behind this is to allow users to feel the virtual world through their feet. Each shoe has 3 sensors, two on the bottom of the shoe (one at the front and one at the rear), and the other is located a top of the foot. While wearing the shoes, a person can feel water splashing, a wooden floor creaking, snow crunching, and even soft sand beneath their feet.

Imagine fighting someone or something in a game and kicking them. With Taclim, you would easily be able to feel the difference between kicking your opponent, or kicking his/her shield. This is exactly what Cerevo is going for.

This newest addition to the virtual reality world is certainly a positive one. However, there are some downfalls. The lucky people who were able to try this out said it felt awkward, and the shoes were quite big and clunky. They felt uncomfortable doing a kicking motion, because the shoes felt like they were going to fall off. They also felt odd to walk in. They were instructed to stand in place and shuffle their feet in order to experience the different “textures”. While doing this not only did they feel awkward, but the shoes were heavy on their feet. Obviously, with every new invention, there will be positive and negative feedback.

Taclim is worth somewhere between $1000 – $1500, and will be available in late 2017. So far it is only compatible with Google VR, which explains why it’s so pricey. Hopefully it will become compatible with more than just Google, because otherwise it might not sell too well.

So the question is would you buy this? Or is this just another silly gimmick that the gaming industry has come up with. With the release date being sometime this year, we will have to patiently wait.

Concept Or Story?


Have you ever watched a good animated movie, anime, or even played a game where the characters are just perfection and complete the whole story, almost to the point where they were created of being so? Of course, they were, and with that one character or two that usually has you cheering for them until the end rather them being a protagonist or antagonist you just find their looks seemingly memorable.

But have you really considered the time it’s taken to get the characters down rather than the story itself? It’s the director who gives his/her ideas off towards the concept art group and it’s their jobs to make his/her ideas come to life on paper or computer, if you’re a fan of Sailor Moon, Naruto, or Bleach they started straight from scratch with papers before sending them towards the computer crew for coloring. Another great anime was Inuyasha created by Rumiko Takahashi, Inuyasha has some of the most inspiring Character Concepts including Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippo, Kirara, and all the other characters themselves.

Concept Art for Sailor Moon (School Clothes)


Concept Art for Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)


Figuring out concepts for game characters is no different than playing around with their appearance as much as you want like creating concepts for anime or such, but it can take endless hours to create that “one” appearance that sticks in the eyes of someone while after playing games, especially when it needs to be changed up once again, the nice concept gets spiced up with a whole new look or one that looks the same with just a few modifications. It doesn’t really effect the story in anyway how the character dresses, but is it reasonable to make a character wear something light in cold environments when meanwhile they could likely freeze?


Jr & Chaos Concept Art (Xenosaga).


Lightning Concept Art (Lightning Returns)



As an aspiring Concept Artist myself, I find now that making concepts to match the personas you plan for your main characters is a necessary step in moving forward throughout it. With loads of ideas and different clothing types to hairstyles for characters it’s often difficult to choose just one, but it all starts right from a single thought, endless hours of coming up with the character you’re thinking of takes time, effort and most of all, patience.

In a game, anime, or animated movie what do you look forward to most, characters or the story-line, does it impact you most with characters that are most memorable or just a story that is?

Olly, the Robot with a Personality

Imagine, a black donut shaped robot that will rise to greet you and face in your direction whenever speaking.  A robot that doesn’t just respond with a voice, but also responds with light patterns.

Meet Olly, your robot with a personality.

Olly is a brain-inspired artificial intelligence formed by a group of machine and neuroscience learning scientists.  Olly is a robot you are able to have a conversation with, and is always there to help.  And since you are a unique person, every Olly is different and unique, depending on your daily conversations and interactions.

A couple of years ago in London the first Olly prototype was showed on stage at the TechCrunch Battlefield, and this year they picked up multiple awards for the product which include four innovation awards; Smart Home, Drones and Unnamed Systems, Home Appliances, and Home Audio-video Accessories.

Since the Olly was presented, many things were changed.  The overall design of Olly is completely changed, the company itself has built a speech recognition, and all hardware is tailor made.  They have used shape, colour, and movement to create a UI system.  This allows Olly to express its personality and emotions.

To show just how unique each Olly is, Emotech had a booth at CES where they had two Olly’s present.  The first Olly was very energetic and wanted to start a conversation with anyone who walked by.  Olly number two would wait patiently for someone to come up to it to start a conversation.  The booth was to show that Olly has deep-learning capabilities, which means if you were to buy one yourself, Olly would slowly become more like you when it starts to understand you and your daily routines.

But what else can Olly do?  Olly is also quite similar to Amazon’s Echo and/or Google Home.  Olly can look up questions for you, and you can connect it to your smartphone.  But with it’s deep-learning capabilities Olly is then able to detect things such as wanting to listen to music and what type of music.

Olly is not yet available to the public, but when it is the price should be around $700.

What do you think about Olly?

Espionage or writing utensil?

How about Both?

Have you ever found it almost impossible to take notes while in a meeting or a lecture hall and still keep up with what the speaker is saying? Or have you ever wanted to remember a special moment in your life and not be that obnoxious person with a huge camera snapping pictures that results in a huge flash every five minutes? Or have you ever wanted to do something slightly more devious and spy on or record someone without their knowledge? If you answered yes to question one or two and okay three (even though i totally do not condone spying on someone FYI) then the Spy Camera Pen is probably the thing you are looking for.

This little gadget comes equipped with  a built in lithium battery that can be recharged by using any USB port (perfect if you are doing covert espionage and only have your laptop near you) and it can record up to 2 GB of video, which again would be perfect for those who love to record the memories as they happen or spy on people as things happen. Either way, that’s a lot of video for your viewing pleasure once it’s all said and done. That video would also be good quality for your viewing pleasure as it takes crystal clear video through 1080p and 780p. It will also allow you to take smooth action shots if you are the type who will settle for a snapshot instead of a video. Also for those night owls who love to take pictures at night it also has the capability of a low light performance with minimal pixilation. Which for me would be handy because I absolutely can’t stand it when a picture looks pixalated. And the last feature but certainly not least, it comes equipped with a Time/Date stamp feature so that you can remember when and where exactly those photos were taken. It also has the dual feature of turning it off just in case there are some pictures or videos you’d rather forget when they were taken.

I personally love to record things, and remember passed events via video or pictures but i also don’t really like carrying around a camera or even my phone all the times. This pen would be perfect for me as I could just pop it in my pocket and be good to go to record and remember things as long as I had a USB port nearby just in case the battery life was used up before

Give Your Creativity a Boost

Legos are one of those toys that became a staple in almost everyone’s childhood. You would come home from the store, rip open your new lego set and, sure enough, in about an hour’s time, you’d have legos from one end of your room to the other. Lego taught children a very hands-on approach to creativity, and now, with Lego Boost, kids can make their imaginations come to life!

Lego Boost, is Lego’s newest addition to their lineup of toys. Targeted at kids ages seven and up, and priced at $160, Lego Boost is a set of legos that comes with a set of motors and programmable bricks that can work with new and existing sets to bring a creation to life.

The Lego Boost set comes with 5 different instructions for different models you can create. Two of them are Vinnie the Robot and Frankie the Cat. Vinnie the Robot can be programmed to behave in a “western” style. You can code him to shoot a gun at a target every time it hears a clap, and, of course, dress him in western gear. You can even code him to *cough, cough* fart, when you pull his finger.

Frankie the Cat comes with a number of unique and engaging programmable behaviours. He starts out as a kitten, and, as slowly or quickly as you want, you can program him to behave more like a full-grown cat. You can program him to hiss at you when you grab his tail, or purr when you feed him through a milk bottle. You can even leave him running in the background, so when he starts meowing, you will have to figure out what it is that he needs.

Now, you’re all probably thinking, how would a seven-year-old know how to code this? While we’re all used to being utterly baffled while attempting to code something, this, however, is much simpler. The app that is integral to the success of this toy uses color-coded icons. Basically, if you want Vinnie to say, “Howdy, partner!” every time you snap your fingers, you would place an icon used for audio next to one used for action. Therefore, it will know what to do when it hears you snapping your fingers.

Lego Boost will allow kids to express their creativity and it will spark a curiosity for how inventions are developed. I think that this will do wonders for children’s growth and development.

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).

Drumi: The Foot Powered Washing Machine

Have you ever gone camping and gotten your favorite shirt dirty? Or do you live in a small apartment that doesn’t come equipped with a washer and dryer and you find yourself not wanting to use the provided facilities in the building? If you answered yes to either of these OR you just simply want to know what I’m going to be talking about, then consider this…A washing machine that does not use electricity, is small and compact, and PORTABLE.

Now that I’ve got your attention, I’d like to tell you about the Drumi: the foot powered washing machine….

Costing only 299$ USD, this little guy is perfect for those who have a small apartment with no room for a washing machine. With it’s small size, the Drumi can easily be put in a corner of a room or packed away into the bottom of the closet until it is needed again to make room for something else that might be necessary. I also mentioned before that this little gadget is also portable. That is absolutely correct. Since this little thing does not use electricity but rather foot power (stepping on a peddle to make the mechanism run), it is perfect to have in the middle of nowhere on a camping trip to wash those soiled pieces of clothing that the kids don’t want to be without. This would sure beat using a washboard and a piece of soap in a river or a lake.

Convinced yet that you should get this washing machine?

Well how about a couple more facts about the Drumi that might sway your decision. Not only does it not use electricity and has a compact size but it also has a handy handle to make carrying this little gadget a little easier for those of us who might be strong enough to carry it without a handle. I know it would definitely be good for me to have a little gadget like this with a handle as my hands cannot manage carrying something this size and I also like to multi task. Why carry one thing when you could carry multiple things. Right?

So, what did we learn?

That the Drumi is perfect for those people who love camping but also love having clean clothes over those extended camping trips and for those who might live in a tiny apartment and don’t have a regular washing machine. Definitely a good investment!

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will launching this year!

Even though it will not be launching at mobile congress this year in Barcelona,

Which is held from February 27th 2017 until March 2nd 2017.

The GSMA, Mobile World Congress is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile

Industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators,

Device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world.

With the huge success of the galaxy S7 and S7 Edge I am sure the S8 will do just as good and more.

The Galaxy S8 is rumored to have the best tech specs that are currently out.

It is rumored to have a 4k 5.8 inch display and sd835 chip and now converting to the USB type C as did the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (which was a fail in all cellphone tech).

The Galaxy S8 could have a full face glass display, with no home button. The home button is rumored to be just a touch sensitive portion of the screen. Kind of like the home button on the iPhone 7 and 7 plus. The finger print scanner is said to be rear mounted like the LG G5.

The batter will still be encased in the phone. It is to be a 3000 mAh battery. I think Samsung should have opted to create a design that allows the batter to be removed and replaces by the user and not have to go to a cell shop or send it away for a in or out of warranty repair. If Samsung had stuck with removable battery design it could have brought over more customers and have kept previous that have left due to the battery being in-cased in the phone itself.

Gladly the Samsung S8 is said to be keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack and not following Apple’s lead and removing it all together. I feel this is a good decision because not everyone has the time or money to replace lost expensive Bluetooth headphones.

I am overly excited for the Samsung Galaxy S8. I can’t wait to see what the final design looks like and how well the body’s design will work with the user. I am praying to the phone Gods that the Galaxy S8 has a GUI similar or comparable to the GUI of the galaxy Note 7.


Microsoft Surface Book

As a student studying design in IMA, the idea of drawing tablets has always been appealing. Sure, I have a ‘drawing tablet’, but it’s a traditional, cheap, drawing-pad type with no digital display. While it is handy, the slight disconnect that occurs while drawing on the pad and looking at the screen leaves the user wanting more. I dreamed of the day I could afford a professional drawing tablet, the kind where the tablet is built into the screen. I imagined it would feel more natural to see the lines show up where you touch with the pen.

On our first day, we were shown the beautiful Cintiq monitors at the back of room 422. I know I wasn’t alone in that my instant thought was, “I NEED to try that!” After trying out the screen, my next thought was, “I NEED one of these!” Unfortunately as students, none of us really have the extra 3 Grand available just to purchase a monitor, never mind the tower with all the hardware capable of running the programs we use for designing. Most of us were just concerned with getting a laptop so that we can complete all our work and coding.

There is a product, produced by Microsoft, that offers a (somewhat) more affordable compromise of the two; the Surface Book.

This product functions as both a laptop and a tablet. The keyboard and screen detach at the hinge, allowing the user to use just the tablet portion, and then reattach to use as a functional laptop. The screen can also be attached ‘backwards’, creating a clipboard style drawing surface without losing battery life by detaching the screen. The screen carries about 25% of the Surface Book’s total battery power, allowing about 3 hours of use on its own.

Image result for surface book clipboard


The keyboard contains the other 75% of the battery, as well as the graphics card and processor. This means that when in ‘laptop mode’, the Surface Book is capable of gaming and rendering. The tablet portion is still capable of completing the drawing tasks in programs like Photoshop or Gimp. The stylus for the tablet is also magnetic and attaches conveniently to the side of the screen for storage and quick access.

Some people say that the gap between the keyboard and the tablet, when closed, is unsightly. I rather like this, however, because it creates a slightly angled surface. This would act as a small easel to tilt the screen towards the user when it’s laying on a table.

While it’s not exactly cheap, the Surface Book is about $1500, half the price of the Cintiq monitor. Personally I would love something like this down the road. This model came out in 2015, and I can only imagine what improvements will be made by the time I graduate/ can afford one!

The Hexoskin

We all know that a common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or become more healthy. Do people usually commit to their resolutions? Some do, some don’t. However, with this new piece of workout technology, I predict that more people will commit to having six-pack abs by swimsuit season.

The latest trend for fitness fanatics, first time gym goers, or anyone in between, is wearable technology. We have all heard of the Fitbit, but one step up is the Hexoskin. This new product on the market, worth a whopping $399, is a wearable fitness t-shirt. It is equipped with a Bluetooth sensor which is connected to numerous sensors in the fabric. If you choose to wear this during the day, it can track things such as heart rate, step count, calories burned, respiration rate, breathing volume, activity level, and much more. If you decide to wear this to bed at night, it can track your sleeping patterns, sleeping position, and cardiac and respiratory activity. All of this information is then sent directly to a smartphone app, with iOS and Android capabilities.

The hexoskin is made from waterproof material and comes in a variety of different sizes, with small to 3x available to men, and x-small to XL available to women. It is somewhat bulky, so it takes some time to get used to, especially if you plan on sleeping in it. The bluetooth device is located on the side of the torso and is hardly noticeable.

This is definitely not the first time something like this has been on the market. However, what it brings to the table is its ability to be used for more than just fitness. The Hexoskin can be worn while you sleep. This is especially important for professional athletes, because not only would this be effective to them during the day, but also at night. It is while we sleep that our bodies build and repair muscle, with some people saying that a good night’s sleep is almost as important as a solid workout regimen.

If you have the money, and are committed to reaching your fitness goals, then I’d say the Hexoskin is for you.

A Fresh Palette

There’s a lot of colors in the world and, as designers/developers, we work with them quite a bit. But it can sometimes be hard to find a color palette that looks appealing. Or sometimes we want something new but don’t really know what to look for. Well, there’s a blog for that! I happened to stumble across it quite by accident while browsing the dangerous jungle known as “tumblr”, and I believe that it can be a valuable resource not just for me, but for all of you as well.

“Color Me Curious” is a blog on tumblr that is solely devoted to posting various color palettes for anyone to use if they so wish. The blog accepts submissions, so anybody around the world can submit a color palette that appeals to them and feels like sharing. Not only does each post contain a sample image for each color, but the hexadecimal values are stated in the text portion of the post as well. With so many people and so many different views, there are endless, very different palettes to choose from. So you’ll never run out of colors to experiment with and create fresh designs.

Do you need a palette related to a specific color? Again, no worries! Aside from providing an image paired with the color code values, the posts also get tagged by specific colors as well depending on what the focus color is. So, if you need a palette that focusses on red, simply got to the blog’s search bar and type ‘red’ and you will be provided with all of the posts related to that color. Perhaps simply browsing through some of the palettes will give you the inspiration you need to get creating? Or maybe you will find a color that works just right with a character or design you’ve been doodling. The below images are some examples of palettes you may find.

The blog also encourages you to tag the art you make with the hashtag “colourpod” so they can see what you make with the palettes you use. This is not a requirement by any means, just a simple way to share your art with the blog if you feel like it by making it easy to find!

If you would like to make use of this resource, simply follow this link:

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

3D Pens

Many of us have heard about 3D printers which allow us to create objects out of thin air, but have you heard about the 3D pen. The first recognized 3D pen was the “3Doodler”. Very similar to a 3D printer, just one is hand sized now. How does the 3D pen work? The 3D pen is basically a safer hot glue gun. The pen is filled with a plastic based cartridge that melts and allows you to manipulate the matter into designs of your choosing. This can be a finicky piece of tech because if you release too much plastic it could possibly ruin your design. This new technology could have an endless amount of possibilities for uses, and the creativity will never end.


Designers, such as ourselves, could find this 3D pen to be very helpful. Eventually when we are introduced to 3D animation or Stop-Motion Animation we could use the pen to create our desired figure so we can reference it while creating it. Although we haven’t started animation yet I’m assuming it would be easier to have something that I could analysis so I can study all of the angles to get my animation just right.


What can we expect from this pen in the future? Both the 3D pen and printer have an endless amount of possibilities of their potential use. What are some possibilities? This technology could eventually be use to make materials for clothing, cars, and maybe even planes. 3D pens and 3D printers are also starting to be used in the health industry. For example, Grey’s Anatomy, a fictional TV show, had used this technology to make stints to save people’s lives. Although Grey’s Anatomy is a TV show it bases itself on real medical procedures and new technology that is used in actual hospitals.
Some may argue that a 3D pen may be useless or perhaps a waste of money, but I disagree. Already the technology has been helping out in medical procedures, and even saving lives, and a lot of people are not capable of doing that. Like I have stated before the possibilities are endless and the future is very bright for this technology. Maybe in the near future most of our materials will be made from either 3D printers or pens.

The “Digital Sign” You’ve Been Waiting For

As consumers we tend to take advertisements for granted. We see them on billboards, on TV, in shopping malls, on social media, and the list goes on and on. Do we really even notice them to their full extent? Do we stop and think about the work that went into creating them? Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but, with digital signage quickly emerging, it is certain that it will be a game-changer.

Digital signage is a form of advertising in which video or other media content is displayed using high quality monitors in public spaces for informational or interactive purposes. It is currently being used in places such as restaurants, sports arenas, as well as busy metropolitan areas, such as Times Square in New York City, or Piccadilly Square in London, England.

Digital advertisements in restaurants are becoming the key to growing a successful business. Not only does it make your pizza place or chicken joint look pretty cool, but it keeps the customers engaged, and when the customer is engaged they’re bound to hand over more cash. A good example of this is the addition of the new “Create Your Taste” burger machines at some U.S. locations of McDonalds. With this new feature, customers can become a “McChef” themselves, by handpicking everything on their burger from thirty different ingredients on a user-friendly touchscreen kiosk.

Another industry that is taking digital signage by storm is the sports industry. Sports centres around the world have noticed a decline in ticket sales because of the increase of top-notch home entertainment systems. The fans simply don’t need to physically go the stadium to enjoy the game, as they can do that without having to get off of their couches. Sports facilities can now display LED screens to enhance the viewer’s experience with the use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and they can even display the game in various camera angles to ensure the fans can keep up. An example of how a sports venue utilized digital signage is the Miami Heat’s Xfinity Plaza. The plaza has a custom built cylindrical display, complete with a stage. It was built to create an interactive and immersive area for the fans to enjoy before and after the game.

So, the questions is, do we really need to have enhanced digital advertisements when normal advertisements will still get the job done? We will have to see if this new development is a “sign” of things to come.

HiCan High Fidelity Canopy

This is the new High Fidelity Canopy, or HiCan for short. As shown above; this bed is very different than what someone would think about when the word “bed” comes to mind. Other than an adjustable mattress for optimal comfort, the HiCan is a “sleeping pod” that has everything you could ever dream of. No pun intended.

To start off, this bed has retractable blinds. So whether you do not like sunlight, or don’t make your bed in the morning, it can be fixed with the click of a button. HiCan also has a built in projector and retractable screen at the foot of the bed. To make that even cooler, it has a complete surround system to give you that “theater like” experience.

Do you like reading before bed? Well the HiCan has you covered with their reading lights inside of the canopy.

Are you a gamer? Well, not only does this bed have a multi-media PC, but it also has a gaming console inside of it as well.

This Canopy even has 8 different colors to chose from to personalize it even more.

The company says  “It’s designed to bring in our most personal space the emotion of driving our life through our dreams and passions.”

That sounds great, and as you could imagine there is a huge wait list of people who want this bed. Which would not be that surprising…. if the bed didn’t cost $67,018. However, the company knows that their bed is far more than expensive for a bed and having many failed efforts on trying to lower the price. The company offers people to try the bed for themselves for one or two nights. They are also offering a “smart-coupon” for 10% off any of the companies products, so maybe you can save a couple dollars on the canopy.

Although this invention is very innovative, I think I would rather buy a new vehicle, maybe put a down payment on a new house, or just save my money for something more logical for my life.


The Sims Evolution

Through years, the sims has been a fun and exciting game-play experience, from making your own sim with different features and a funny personality to mix the sims has always been one of those old games people like to play and build their sims to the top while fulfilling their sims wildest dreams.  Starting with the first Sims down to the Sims 4, here’s a small review of what is offered in each Sim game.

The Sims

The Sims, created in 2000 by Maxis and produced by Electronic Arts, an idea that came from SimCity Maxis brought the sims out, letting you live out the lives of the sims, making their choices in everyday life. In the Sims you control a sim starting out from their mothers house, your sim’s dream is to reach the top, and meet that special someone along the way. As you go up to the top house, you meet different types of people, the one most memorable would have to go to Mimi for being that vein turner in the game. Anything could be possible become a skilled pianist or maybe rise to the top of the military career. Just don’t test out if the bus will leave or stay if you’re a child it does leave, with or without you.


The Sims 2

After the Sims for the PS1 came out and was a great success, everyone’s long awaited question “When’s the next Sims coming out?” was answered. Maxis brought the Sims 2 into the gaming world, and as the last was another huge success. In this new story mode you were able to play with a friend in two player, and the newest addition: Control your sims every action from your controller! You could move your sim just by moving your thumb forward along the controllers Left stick. Each home had its very own story, with loads of mysteries and tasks to be done. You spent hours on end inside the sim world, until you finally reached the last house.


The Sims 3

Little after the Sims 3 came out, though it went up in graphics and skills to emotions, the multiplayer and controls were gone, leaving you only with a tiny cursor to deal with. The story mode was also taken away, the sims leaving you to “make your own story” that was the start when it begun to lose it’s flame, because do you really reach the last house? But with all the DLC’s that come with the Sims 3, it’s more enjoyable as you get to do more things. The Sims 3 Supernatural allows you to take on the role of a werewolf, howl at the moon feel its power, or even become a vampire or fairy. Maybe you want to send your sims to University with the Sims University Life, it’s your story and how you play that makes it fun.

The Sims 4

Though I have little to report on about the sims 4, the graphics themselves speak for it. With the cartoon-ish look and vibe of the Sims 4 leaves you wondering what happened while in development? I have downloaded the demo for it, creating a sim was neat but with the look of them they got less realistic than what we were taking from the sims 3. And with another fact, they forgot one important stage in a sim life, a toddler stage. The sims 4 is going to be one big cartoon in itself in my opinion.

What’s your take on the sims as it is now? What would you like to see be brought back before the Sims flies off into cartoon land?

Emerging Technology For 2017

The technology industry is one of the most dynamic industries in the world. It keeps changing and improving on a daily basis. So, which trends should we pay attention to this new year? There are uncountable tech trends but these are my top four tech trends for the year 2017.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Jacob Morgan regards IoT as a concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet. This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. There will be more research into IoT this year. Today, we have smart homes equipped with connected products that turns our home to a smart home.Artificial Intelligence

Simply put, Artificial Intelligence is intelligence exhibited or shown by machines. Many tech companies are aggressively investing in the development of AI which is set to become the next big thing. A good example of AI was when Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system defeated Korean grand-master Lee Sedol in the final game of their historic match, finishing the best-of-five series with four wins and one loss. This is interesting but the more AI becomes part of our daily lives, the more robots can take over human jobs. But lets be assured that AI is something to look forward to this year.

3 Dimensional printing for everyone

According to Wikipedia, 3D printing, refers to processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. Although 3D printing has been around for years, the price of 3D printing is very expensive. But according to projections, the price is expected to become pocket-friendly.

Innovative wearable’s

Wearable’s are gadgets that can be worn on our body as an implant or accessory. This year, it is expected that there will be more innovative and amazing wearable’s produced.