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Webydo Review: Enabling Web Designers to Create Freely

Webydo Review: Enabling Web Designers to Create Freely

Designing a website exactly as you or your client envision can be difficult to do if you don't know code. You can work with a developer, but that cuts into your profits and adds extra time to your project, which in turn costs your clients more. For these reasons and more, many professional web designers are turning to website builders, a lot cheaper and faster solution than learning to code. However, there are loads of website builders and not all are created equal. Some site builders are completely free even after the site is live, but these often come with limitations in design options and no e-commerce option. Others advertise that their website builder is specifically for designers, but they come with additional requirements or a limit in regards to the price. Webydo is a website builder that has recently come to my attention and covers all of the aforementioned cons. The founders started Webydo because they wanted to help create a more efficient web design process by allowing designers to communicate directly with a client, rather than through a developer. So they created a website builder that provides designers with creative freedom and turns their projects into an HTML website and CMS seamlessly. It even comes complete with ecommerce options, unlimited access to all of the design features in the free plan, and a platform to create a responsive website with cross-browser capabilities. Every designer is different, so Webydo may not be your cup of tea. But take a look at the premium, professional features and some of the stunning websites that designers are creating with Webydo. Even if you decide not to use Webydo, it is undeniable that the creators of this website builder certainly did an amazing job! Free Preview Stella and Lori home page designed on and powered by Webydo All of the features are great, but probably what surprised me the most about Webydo is that they allow designers to create a website in-browser for free. You can even take the site live temporarily to allow clients to preview it before deciding to publish through Webydo's cloud hosting. A real live website in your own domain name does come with a price, but thankfully a very reasonable price (see the plans below). And once you do purchase a subscription, the cloud hosting includes automatic backup, fast and secure servers, and worldwide CDN through Akamai so that clients access your site through whichever server they are closest to. What all of this boils down to is assurance of a fast website no matter where in the world viewers access the website. Free - 15 pages, Webydo's sub-domain, unlimited bandwidth, 1 GB storage, can create as many temporary sites as needed Premium - $7.90/month (billed annually) subscription or $9.90/month (billed biannually) - unlimited pages, own domain, unlimited bandwidth, 2 GB storage Large web agency premium plan for over 100 websites Easy Design Features Here's the fun part - designers have amazing tools to use while creating their web design and all in-browser. Just as with most website builders, Webydo works on a drag and drop system but extra design features include fill, shadow, stroke, smart guides with snapping, text captions for images, grid generator, layers window, and set corner radiuses. One of the best time-saving perks is the automatic optimization of any media you upload, no need to worry about good site performance. Another time saver is the access to free open-source web fonts, so you don't have to spend an hour looking for the right free font and then downloading it to your hard drive. Stella and Lori interactive About page designed on and powered by Webydo Keep in mind that Webydo is definitely for those with design experience, and especially web design experience. You have the choice to start either with a blank screen or a readymade design. Webydo points out that you can change every single pixel of the design, but what about when you just want a quick switch? As of now, changing templates is not possible, but head over to the suggestion for adding the ability to switch templates and add your vote (more on this below). Ecommerce, Responsive, and More Webydo uses the Ecwid E-commerce widget so that you can offer an ecommerce solution to customers. It comes with various payment options, excellent control over stock, product descriptions for media-rich categories - all the basics for a website selling products. For the first few years, Webydo was cross-platform but not responsive. Thankfully due to enough votes, the builder now creates responsive websites so that your website looks great even on mobile and tablets. Honestly, the fact that a designer can create a responsive website makes Webydo much more competitive in the website builder industry. Yoav Gurin Business gallery designed on and powered by Webydo An interesting feature unique to Webydo is the ability to reinforce your brand as a web designer. You can replace the Webydo logo with your own in the client's login screen, your dashboard, client's CMS, and even your online design studio. The CMS functionality of your Webydo website is quite robust. You can choose which design elements you want to lock and which you want to leave open to your client to edit. The design is a WYSIWYG and similar to Word, making it easy for your client to learn. It also comes with SEO features, site analytics, and the ability to manage multiple clients from single dashboard. Suggest and Vote on New Features I like this aspect so much, that I gave it an entire separate section. Webydo has a page on its website called Participate, which is basically a forum. Just like other site builder forums, you can either suggest a new feature or you can report bugs. However, the awesome extra on this forum is that you can vote on suggested new features and the guys over at Webydo will not only listen and respond but also add these new features. Sometimes Webydo will immediately agree that a suggested feature needs added, but other times they wait to see how many votes a suggestion will receive. With enough votes, they will push the suggestion to the top of their to-do list. The other nice function is that Webydo shows the status of a suggestion on the forum, such as "Gathering Feedback", "Started", or "Completed". This is a brilliant move on their part, as it gives users a powerful voice in the improvement of the features. After reading this review, if you feel like Webydo is the website builder for you, then head over to the site and immediately start designing. Or even you want to try it for free, remember that you can create a design in-browser and preview it, with no pressure to sign up. With this in mind, the free-no-strings-attached aspect of Webydo is enough to garner even just a quick look, especially since no other robust website builder offers such a refreshing pressure-free offer! Tara Hornor Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a company that specializes in guest blogging and building backlinks. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

DVD Review: How to Draw Cars Now by Driven Mavens + Discount Code

Today I decided to make a change and make a review instead of a feature post. This amazing opportunity came to me from car designer Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens, he gladly sent me one copy of his DVD now in sale "How to Draw Cars Now". I really had a fun time going through his DVD and this is my review. What started as a Kickstarter Project hugely became into a successful story about Arvind getting his knowledge out for aspiring designers and drawing hobbyists to automotive design and illustration using markers, pencils, gouache paints and of course Photoshop. A great mix of modern and old school styling into your work. To find out more about Arvind Ramkrishna and Driven Maven, you can check out his website / blog at, also check out their website or just like them on Facebook. Review With more than 4 hours of video content with 4 ebooks, Arvind really takes you on a ride of instructional content and you clearly see the focus is on How to Draw Cars and with a complete workshop on the matter. With loads of training exercises and reference, what strikes me more is that Arvind kept the old good ways of drawing with pencils and markers. Since with all the technology around us, I am in agreement that the best way to learn. One thing I really enjoyed was how easy Arvind took us along the way in the videos. He has a way of explaining things with such a educational and inspiring to work more on your drawings. Of course, it will take a lot of practice but I truly think you can produce some amazing sketches and renderings in the automotive design. Some samples from Arvind Ramkrishna's work Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Discount Code Arvind is giving us away a Discount Code "Abduzeedo" of 15% of any purchases on his store. Check out this store at:

App Review: Gradient by Jumpzero

Today I wanna share a review about an app I tried a couple days ago and I truly enjoyed it. It's the Gradient App from Jumpzero, the app is the opportunity to create gradients for web browsers. It's a really good app for the web designers and also for designers that wants a useful colour app at hand. All rights reserved to The Look As I first noticed, the look is really simple, one window with straight-forward options. We can clearly see that the purpose is to create the gradients. All rights reserved to The Options The Gradient App is coming with three different main functions to make gradients. You have selecting the colours which is pretty common. You have also by setting the gradient appears or by creating it in CSS. The use of the Custom Color Picker is very recommended also. All rights reserved to More Options You can also select the type of gradients, either is direction and centre position. Choosing “linear” type, you will choose one of four directions; down, right, diagonally down and diagonally up. If you select a radial gradient then you have a few more choices as to where you want the gradient to centre. I think it's a good option to make some variations. All rights reserved to Get the Code The CSS button will give you a Live Preview of the code you chose. If you're happy happy with it, you can just copy to clipboard and paste it into your design, or go back and make some modifications. All rights reserved to Final Words I truly enjoyed the simplicity and efficiency of the Gradient App. For the price of 4.99 (US - Canada), you get a simple useful app packed with great features. Get it now on iTunes. For more information about the Gradient App and Jumpzero, you can check out the gradient website at or simply follow them on Twitter @jumpzero .

iPhone 4 versus Nexus One Review

Before I start my review of the iPhone 4 and also the comparison between the 2 phones and OSs I want to say that I was a very early adopter of the iPhone despite the fact I was in Brazil, I managed to get one the next month after it was released in the US, so I’ve been using it since 2007. Then in the end of last year, 2009, I switched to Android thanks to Motorola for allowing me to be a tester of the Milestone (Droid) in Brazil. After the Milestone I got a Nexus One and I used it until last week when I got the iPhone 4. It took me some time to get used to Android and now it’s taking a little bit longer than I expected to get used to the iPhone again, even though I was an iPhone user for more than 2 years. So, this post will be a review of both phones and I will do that because I’ve been receiving emails from people asking me about the phone I use and what I think about this or that phone. It's also based on my usage and necessity. So, without further ado let’s start the review. Design It’s pretty hard to compare both phones in terms of hardware design, it’s clear they have different approaches in terms of concept, materials and therefore design. The Nexus One is a very sleek phone, I really like the design with round corners and edges, super thin and with a beautiful 3.7 inches display. The 4 buttons that Android needs is digital and not physical, they are located at the bottom of the screen and quite often I needed to press twice or more than that to make them work. There’s also that little scrolling ball, I don’t even know the name of that. It was most of the times useless. The iPhone keeps the same 3.5 inches display but the phone itself got a totally new design. It looks amazing, very solid, heavy with metal and glass. As Steve Jobs mentioned it’s like a Leica camera. The phone in terms of beauty is the best, very simple, minimalistic with the Jonathan Ive style all over it. I also have to say the antenna problem is real and it’s a design flaw. What is interesting is that it's impossible to imagine that they didn’t test that or thought that the external antenna would be bad idea, even though they claim that other phones have the same issue and it’s not a real problem, buy why give away bumpers for the phones then? Actually why the bumper only protects the metal part of the phone and not the glass ones? Performance Both phones are fast and responsive. The Android sometimes gets a bit sluggish due the multitask, but nothing that could really makes the phone unusable. The iPhone seems really fast, my last iPhone was the 3G so I can’t tell you precisely how faster it is compared with the 3GS, but it runs very smoothly with all the transition and other eye-candy effects that the iOS has. So in terms of performance I have to say that the phones are pretty much the same, but the iPhone makes things look smoother because of the inertia scrolling and animations. Screen The screen is, in my opinion, one of the best things on the iPhone 4, it’s simply beautiful. The texts look super sharp the colors are good and it works well on outdoors. The Retina Display is killer and makes me want to have that on my iPad and my computer as well. The only problem with the Retina Display is that there are tons of apps that need to be updated, including the Abduzeedo app, otherwise they will have that pixelated look. About the Nexus One screen, don’t get me wrong, it’s really good, but it cannot compare with the Retina Display. The screen is bigger and you can see more in it, like a web site for example. So in terms of screen iPhone 4 has a very clear advantage over Android and I believe over any other phone out there. Camera The Nexus One has a pretty good camera, 5 megapixels with zoom, flash and auto focus. With Froyo I believe there were a few refinements with the camera as well and if you use the CyanogenMod you can get the tap to focus and I believe 720p video recording too. The iPhone 4 camera was updated as well, it has 5 megapixels camera, zoom, the tap to focus and flash. The quality of the photos from the iPhone camera is impressive, even with low light you still get a pretty descent photo. The video recording in 720p HD is another great feature. Compare the photos taken with the iPhone 4 with HDR on and Nexus One Both phones have a really good camera but I will admit that I prefer the iPhone 4 camera. It’s easy to use, faster and the quality seems a bit superior. I am not an expert though, so feel free to share your opinion with us. Battery Both phones are pretty much the same in terms of battery life, you can go through the day with them, but if you try to have the same experience you have on Android on the iPhone, like all the apps running in the background like Gtalk, Emails, you won’t be able to go as long as with the Nexus One. Now I have disabled Push for some apps and I can get a really good result with the iPhone. One advantage for the Nexus One is the fact that you can replace batteries, so you can have more tha one battery and just change it when necessary. So in terms of battery life, the Nexus One was superior at least for me because I had all the multitask, push, gtalk on and was able to get the same time than the iPhone without those. But I haven’t run any super advanced and fancy test, just based on my own experience. Software I believe the software is the most important part of this review. In terms of hardware both phones are fantastic if you get the iPhone or the Nexus One (if you can get one) you will be super happy. Now the software is where we have the most significant differences. Android One of the reasons I decided to change to Android was that I needed a phone that I could rely on if I had a problem with my blog for example, the old iPhone 3G I had wasn’t capable of doing that. With Android you have multitask, fast switching and an integration with Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Gtalk, Google Calendar that the iPhone can’t even get closer to that. If you use these services you will love Android. The Android UI elements The first thing you will notice is that when you get your Android phone you don’t need anything but your Google account, put your username and password and boom you have all set, your contacts, calendars, emails, gtalk everything ready to be used. There’s no need to activate on iTunes and sync all the time. Just get the phone and start using it. In terms of multitask, the Android is still superior than the iPhone 4, it’s real multitask, like a computer and it works fine. You can have instant message apps opened and other apps and they will run fine, of course sometimes you will need to kill some apps with a task manager to save your battery or because the phone might start to get a bit sluggish. The notification system that Android has kicks ass and beat the iPhone hands down. You can’t even compare both systems because the Android is really but really superior. Notification system: iOS and Android The UI of Android has a lot to evolve. The Google apps are great in the Google style, super simple, minimal and focus on the function much more than look and feel. Now the third party apps are a total mess. The UI lacks consistency and you will find apps with terrible UIs. The UI and UX of Android is the biggest problem they have right now in my opinion, and I am pretty sure they know that and are working hard to solve this problem in the next version, Gingerbread, which will be released next month I think. The Android virtual keyboard is really good but it’s not the best, it lacks multitouch and that can be a real problem sometimes, however you can install the Swype keyboard and solve this issue with a really innovative solution. I saw some videos and people using it that simply blew me away how fast they were able to type. Another problem Android has is a media center app. The one that comes with it cannot compare with iTunes, but for me that wasn’t a problem because I am a and Audible user so I tend to have very few or no songs on my phone. So I am either streaming music or listening to Audiobooks, and Android does a fantastic job with that. iOS 4.1 In terms of design the iOS hasn’t change much since the first version in 2007. The 4.x version came with new features such as folders and multitask but that wasn’t really new, actually those features were very old features for Android users. Apple claims to have done it right and for the folders I agree with them, the fact that you can simply drag an icon over another and create a folder automatically is pretty clever and works really well. Folders in iOS 4 Now the multitask is something really important in my opinion, even though it’s not a full multitask because only some types of apps can use it, like music, messaging and a few others I think, it works fine and the fast switching is a nice disguise as well. But when Steve Jobs said that if you have to use a task manager your mobile OS has a problem, I thought I would never have to close apps on my iPhone 4, which it’s not true. The way you can see the apps that are running is by double clicking on the home button. It’s a good solution but it’s not the best, plus that is a task manager because by holding the finger on an icon they will start jiggling and you will be able to close the apps. If that’s not a task manager I don’t know what it is, even though it’s much better than the Android ones. The iPhone has the coolest and most beautiful apps The notification system on iOS sucks and it’s the biggest problem with iOS in my opinion. It’s terrible like you get that pop up alert box that simply stops you from doing whatever you are doing. Also when you receive an email just you get the sound alert and badge, there’s no preview to see if it’s an important one or worth checking it out. So for the software decision my opinion is pretty simple. If you need a phone that is more a computer in which you will be able get more productive and things done, plus you don’t like to have to hook your phone in a computer all the time, get an Android phone. But if you want the best user experience with a more polished UI, plus if you have lots of songs and videos in your iTunes and don’t care about syncing all the time. The iOS is your choice. The best of each phone: Android Nexus One More models to choose, even though it might be a problem as well but you can get different screen sizes, with physical keyboard. Real multitask Widgets Fantastic Notification System Tethering and Wifi hotspot - that’s killer and I already miss it. I will jailbreak my iPhone as soon as it’s released just to get that back. Flash - even though it might look crazy but I used to check my Google Analytics all the time and Flash always ran very well in my Nexus One. Apps integration - you could share a URL from the browser to Facebook, or Twitter automatically, that is very useful when you have to promote your posts on different services. Google integration Gtalk No need to sync Navigate - Turn by turn maps free iPhone 4 Beautiful and consistent UI Fantastic screen, the best out there Easy to use More and better apps Better games and more options Killer camera Best user experience - the transitions when you change the screen orientation, the fast switching and other little details that make all the difference in terms of user experience. iTunes for music and video Beautiful form factor. Best copy and paste and text selection. Inertia Scroll Multitouch Keyboard Wrap-up As I mentioned before both phones are amazing, so it doesn’t matter each phone you get, either Android or iPhone, you will get the best that is available out there and, as both phones are awesome, they have problems too. It would be perfect if we could get what is best from each phone and make the best phone ever, but that is still a dream :) In terms of choice right now I chose the iPhone 4 to be my primary phone, however I won’t sell my Nexus One because I am looking forward to what’s coming within the next few months with the Android 3.0. The mobile market is where the innovation is happening right now and we have tons of new devices coming especially Android ones. That might be a problem because with so many options of Android it can be really hard hard to choose the right one, like the paradox of choice. While the iPhone there’s only one model so you just need to think about the storage size you want. There’s also other players in the market with a very special attention to Microsoft with the Windows Phone 7 and the beautiful Metro UI. So if you want to get a new smartphone, now it’s the right time. Other reviews Nexus One review - Engadget iPhone 4 review - Engadget Your thoughts Now I would love to hear from you. What do you think about Android and iPhone 4? Which one do you have? So share with us your thoughts, I’m sure that will be very helpful for those that haven’t made the decision.

Wacom Intuos4 Wireless Review

As a graphic designer I have to admit that I am not good at drawing. At first it was something that always bothered me, but I never thought that to be a good graphic designer I had to master the craft of drawing too. So during these years I was reluctant to get a tablet. Now I finally got one and I must say, I should have done so years ago. The tablet I'm talking about is the Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless and it is awesome. In terms of design it’s a beautiful piece of equipment. It's also wireless which means your desk will remain clean and clutter-free. If you’re like me and get extremely irritated with will be pleased. Unboxing... always an awesome experience The new Intuos4 Wireless pen tablet with Bluetooth® wireless technology lets you relax in your favorite working position or move about freely up to 33 feet (10 meters) from your computer. Enjoy the freedom of working "unattached" from your Mac or PC and reducing cord clutter. The new Wacom Wireless comes in one size only, which I believe is the standard medium of the wired versions. I'd say it’s a good size, although my track record with tablets is low. After 10 years of using mouses and trackpads, the idea of the Wacom as being my screen area still confuses me so that will definitely take a little getting used to. The Intuos 4 Wireless size compared with a Macbook Pro 17 Using the Wacom Wireless Like I said, I'm still getting used to it and I'm also traveling at the moment, so even though I have played with it quite a few times, I haven’t exactly had the time I want to dive into this device and start getting all the magic from it. There is a video, however, from the Wacom site that gives you an idea of just how powerful this baby really is. It has eight customizable ExpressKeys with illuminated displays and a finger-sensitive touch ring that controls up to four different functions per application. The grip pen introduces Wacom's newest tip sensor technology that delivers precise pressure control with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60 degrees of tilt recognition. If you have a tablet I'd like to invite you to share your opinion with us. I know there’s a lot of people that think like I used to in terms of the advantages of having a good tablet. I think it's a very important tool for a designer giving ample freedom to add our own style and trace to our artworks. As I mentioned, I haven't had the necessary time to come up with some examples however I'm working on some really cool illustrations for a client, which I cannot show them right now, but I have to say, the Intuos4 Wireless is making my life much easier and that's why I want to just give you a sneak peek of the type of work Illustration created using the Intuos4 Wireless For more infornation I highly recommend that you check out Wacom Intuos4 Wireless website. Unboxing and photos of the Intuos4 Wireless

New Masters of Photoshop — Book Review

New Masters of Photoshop is an amazing book that I'll be reviewing on this post and sharing the best parts of it. If you like photoshop and learning from tutorials this is a must have, check it out. The Book New Master of Photoshop is a book that was released back in 2003 right when I was highly exploring and creating all sorts of graphics with Photoshop with the intention to learn as much as possible. So when I found out about this book I couldn't resist but to get it. The book had the intention of "showcase of Masters who use Photoshop, and Masters of Photoshop use. The photographers, animators, artists, and designers assembled here have a myriad of different skills: some manipulate, some animate, some create from scratch. All of them produce remarkable, beautiful things. In these pages, the authors will demonstrate examples of their print work, web work, public work, and private work, explaining the techniques they use to achieve their results. More than that, though, they'll tell you how they think: who their influences are, where their ideas come from, and how they find inspiration when the well has run dry." and this is exactly what they did, the book is a selection of 19 masters (photographers, animators, artists, and designers) and each person took a chapter to talk about their experiences on the past, how they started working with photoshop, along with their work being displayed and by the end of each chapter each person finished off with a nice tutorial with some great techniques. What I learn from this book wasn't only a bunch of different techniques in photoshop but I actually got to know how all these 19 masters started they journeys and with a lot of work and a lot of practice they got to the where they are. That's truly inspired me to learn more and more and the tutorials are great which makes this book a complete piece and very well recommended to anyone willing to learn. The Masters Tim Bird, Michael Cina, Gavin Cromhout, Josh Fallon, Jens Magnus Karlsson, Derek Lea, Adrian Luna, Catherine McIntyre, Wojtek Madej, Jason Mohr, Eun-Ha Paek, Andrew Park, Paul Sinclair, Colin Smith, Yoshi Sodeoka, Peter Stanick, Johann Terrettaz, Norma V. Toraya, Mike Young Preview $2000 Giveaway

One of the greatest challenges for a young designer is how to start making money. In my case I've always thought I would have to work on those super cool design studio to do that. Now, after a decade, I found out that there are several ways to do that online without even leaving the comfort of your home. is another great option, not only to make money but also to find really useful graphics. is a marketplace focused on design related content. Designers can buy and sell simple but very useful things such as textures, icons, graphics and vectors for very affordable prices. The whole content of the site is provided by digital artists, designers, illustrators and enthusiasts. Pretty much anybody can submit their work and start selling it. As an Author on the Envato Marketplaces you are eligible to receive between 40% and 70% of every sale should you choose to follow our Exclusive Authoring plan. Being an exclusive author means that any items you sell on an Envato Marketplace are unique to our libraries. We highly recomend that you visit and we have a great giveaway thanks to the Envato Marketplaces team. We're giving away $20 in credits to the first 100 readers that post a comment with a valid FlashDen / GraphicRiver username. Check out the Terms & Conditions for the Giveaway. Terms & Conditions for Giveaway Entrants must comment a valid FlashDen / GraphicRiver username. Entrants may only enter once, usernames will be cross referenced with IP addresses, emails and other parameters to ensure fairness. Credits are not exchangeable for cash and will be made within 10 days of the posting regardless of whether the quota of 100 valid entries has been met. Entrants who receive the credit will receive an email informing them of the credit to their account. No other notice of "winners" will be made. The first 100 valid individual usernames will receive a credit of US$20 to their accounts to spend on GraphicRiver. Examples of Graphics, Textures and icons you will find at

Learning the new Adobe CS4 Apps with Lynda

Last week Adobe started shipping the new version of their CS suite of applications. The Adobe CS4 family comes with a redesigned interface and a ton of new features. To get up to speed with all of the new features has created the CS4 University. I had a chance to access the CS4 University, and found that you'll have everything you need to upgrade your skills for the new Adobe Apps. There are videos lessons such as: New Features, Getting Started, and Essential Training for Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, After Effects, InDesign, Flash, Soundbooth, Premiere, Contribute, and Encore. “We are excited to offer in-box training from and have worked closely on the development of their CS4U video training to help our designers and developers discover new possibilities and unleash their creative potential”. Thomas DeMeo, Director of Product Management Adobe Creative Suite ABOUT CS4 University: CS4 University is comprised of very diverse, specialized course titles that cover virtually every aspect of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product family. Some of these courses are very advanced, while others include special applications for people working more at the consumer level. All of these courses are designed to help’s Online Training Library® subscribers get the most out of the new Adobe software. Included within these courses are three new series: The “New Features” series focuses on what has changed since Adobe Creative Suite 3 software was released. The “Getting Started” series is designed to get Creative Suite 4 users up and running quickly. The “Essential Training” series supplies the ground-up fundamentals needed to master each application in Creative Suite 4 Lynda Weinman, co-founder of, said: “As the software landscape continually evolves, a Online Training Library subscription remains the most comprehensive and efficient way for designers, instructors, students, and hobbyists to keep their skill sets up to date.” “Packed with hundreds of new, innovative features—the Creative Suite 4 product line advances the creative process across print, Web, mobile, interactive, film and video production,” said Chad Siegel, group product manager for Creative Suites at Adobe. “ shows our customers just how to incorporate these innovations within their daily creative workflows with their new training offerings for CS4.” After a few days taking the Lynda Courses, I have to say, they are really good. I’m taking the After Effects and Cinema 4D courses, and I’m pretty happy with my evolution on those apps. I highly recommend that you check their courses out. They have both subscription plans and DVDs; but the access to their online library is definitely worth it.

Fluid Mask 3 Review and Giveaway

One of the most difficult, and in my opinion most annoying tasks is when you have already sketched some ideas, then you start the digital process and you have to cut a person, or tree from the background. Doing that can sometimes take hours until you achieve a good result. There are many ways extract people and objects from the background. Photoshop has some nice built in features such as the Extract or the Background Eraser Tool. However, if you really need a professional result and don’t have much time to spend on it, you have to check out a plugin called Fluid Mask 3. Fluid Mask 3 is the professionals’ choice. Fluid Mask 2 established itself as the market leader in still image cutting-out – Fluid Mask 3 takes masking to the next level. Quick to pick up and intuitive to use, Fluid Mask 3 gets professional results fast. I have been using it for a few days and I’m really surprised with the quality of this plugin. You can get a fantastic result in a no more than a few minutes. Even for the most complex images. Here are some features of version 3: Faster initial image processing - For multi-core machines, Fluid Mask 3 runs its initial image processing up to 40% faster. With ever growing image file sizes our everyday image editing tools need to catch up – Fluid Mask 3 runs faster than ever. Localised edge detection and blending - It’s a true-ism when cutting out objects from their backgrounds that often 90% of the time is spent on 10% of the image – getting a difficult edge “just right”. Fluid Mask 3 now has a set of easy to use tools to isolate a difficult area (in a Patch) and apply alternative edge finding and blending techniques - making easy the tricky parts of image cutting. Intelligent Edge Blending - Fluid Mask 3 not only finds edges but also understands the width and character of an edge. On edges which are largely free of noise and where there is some contrast between foreground and background, Fluid Mask 3's intelligent blending is the only blending around to automatically extract the morphology (character) of an edge - remember there is no such thing as a 6 pixel feather on all edges in real life! Use feather blending where there is no contrast or lots of noise in an edge. Fluid Mask 3 will still find the correct edge width. I highly recommend that you check this tool out. If you deal with this kind of task on a daily basis it’s a must have plugin for your tool box. Below some example For Tutorials: For Live Training: Also we have a copy to give away; so as usual we will pick a reader that drops a comment, but this reader must have an abduzeedo account ;)

HDR Software: Essential HDR Reviewed - 2 copies Giveaway

The program formerly known as "Project Wukong" has been released a few days ago as Essential HDR. I've no idea why they would drop an awesome code name like Wukong, maybe the guys from Imaging Luminary aren't real Ninjas after all... But they are certainly nice people: You can download the demo version for free (called community version), which is essentially a demo with a bottom frame watermark and 1 megapixel size restriction. Even better, the first 1000 copies are on sale for 30% off ($48.99 instead of $69.99). Essential HDR is an HDR generator and tonemapper. It has a global and a local tonemapping operator. The local TMO (Detail Revealer) is the big selling point. According to the developers it is a new algorithm that produces less artifacts (halos, over-saturation) and runs at a decent speed (multicore support). I can wholeheartedly agree: this is indeed a very powerful tonemapper. Without much fuzz I got a very natural images, the preview is pretty accurate, and it is super-easy to use. For control freaks there might be too few sliders, but I find it very intuitive. Update: Due to a bad misunderstanding, I've used Christian Bloch's review on Essential HDR. I did actually use the software, and I did enjoy it. These are my comparisons. Side-by-side comparison. The overall interface is kept simple and it blends right in with other Windows Vista applications. There is no Mac version, but it runs fine on Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion. My test image #1. My test image #2. My test image #3. We have 2 copies to give away, so just leave a comment and we will announce the winner next week.

Screensteps review - 2 copies giveaway

It's been more than a year that I write tutorials almost every week. Even though I got used to the process of capturing screenshots and then organize and save them with the right names for the right steps, it was still very time consuming task. Now, I've found a software that really helps the process of writing tutorials. Screensteps is as the documentation tool for people who don't want to do documentation. Basically Screensteps allows you to capture the screens directly to a document. Then you can add title, description, and export it in many different ways: PDF, HTML, straight to your blog, or even to Screensteps live blog system. But it's not just that. You can edit steps, replace and resize images, add sequences of numbers, graphic elements such as rectangles, ellipses, and arrows. Also you can format the text with bold, italic, and different text colors. However the coolest thing is that you can create templates and export your tutorial the way you want. In my case, I write tutorials for 2 blogs, Abduzeedo and PSDTUTS, so I have 2 templates and just choose the one I will export it. That simple. Screensteps really helps the process of creating tutorials, although, I think, there are some features missing that would be very important, like add more than one image per a step for example I highly recommend you to download the demo and check it out. Besides that we have a copy of Screensteps to giveaway, so just leave a comment and next Tuesday we will announce the lucky winner. Quick Intro Video More Screenshots

3D Wall Flash Component Giveaway

This week I had the chance to test the new Flashloaded component, called 3D Wall. It’s a really cool component that allows us to create 3D walls with pictures and you can navigate through the photos in a 3D space, very Apple TV style. 3D Wall displays images on an engaging interactive 3D wall using the Papervision3D engine. The wall can be flat or set at any curvature to create a truly unique look. The viewer can also scroll, tilt and zoom the wall freely. Includes a built-in preloader for seemless transitions between thumbs and large images. Over 60 parameters to customize your wall ensures unlimited number of looks and an enticing viewer experience. Available for ActionScript 3.0 (Flash CS3) only. I’ve done some experiments here with the component and I have to say, it’s awesome. There are a lot of parameters but it’s easy to understand, and if you want to create a simple and stunning portfolio site, this is a good option. Give it a try. Some Features: Flat or curved wall Double sided thumbnails Interactive wall tilting Adjustable number of rows and spacing Customizable animation settings Mouse and keyboard interactivity Swivel camera External XML file Glow & reflection XML or Component Inspector Depth of field Mouse events Built-in skinnable scrollbar and preloader We have two copies of 3D Wall to give away, so just leave a comment and next week, May 1st we will announce the winners. For more information visit UPDATE: The winners are: Anjana Giackop