ACD Blog – Design

blog stuff about design

Amplify your Creativity

Adobe creative event
Today, May the 14th was the Adobe amplify your creativity event in Sydney, Australia. Here are my thoughts on it as it went down.
Adobe seems to be really pushing the integration of the mobile device as an everyday tool, which, is no longer considered a dumbed down version of the main app, but an essential part of the process. 

It’s quite amazing that diversity of new apps coming out that are part of the creative process. From storyboarding, to sound recording on the fly, you can easily see how Adobe has absorbed many other smaller companies with niche applications.

One particularly exciting addition, is that you can use the creative cloud for high end processing. For example, if you need to apply a filter to a large image, which Wijk be impossible on iPad, then you can send it to the cloud for processing and it send you back the processed image

I was very happy to see the onus shifted from technology to creativity, where many peoples speeches accentuated the importance of creativity and the importance of storytelling over anything else.
To many of us, Lightroom always seems like it was designed for mobile. Well now it is a fully functional iOS app, which for me makes much more sense in this format. The only thing we need now is iOS to run on higher end photographic devices.
Another main focus of the new apps, is creating color tables. Using photos or video, either live or pre saved, you can create color tables for design projects and also for video (also called a LUT). It’s all pretty dry stuff but essential to any successful project and unlike image capture, which is often not good enough on mobile, color palettes need to be mobile, and cloud synced , so your design team can all reference the same color theme simultaneously.
For those who like little animatics of their holidays, or need a simple parallax style presentation, Adobe slate will be your go. It’s actually quite a nice way to make a little storyboard. It’s not revolutionary, but nice that it’s built into the creative cloud as you can access all you online assets.  That’s basically the main reason people will drop their current apps for these same jobs, and move to the Adobe version. It will also homogenize the way we see projects delivered from now on.

Overall, I think the most significant changes for desktop apps were for video editing and production. Lots of very powerful tools from speed grade and prelude are woven into premiere pro. As I have been doing a lot of video work lately I was very excited by these. Unfortunately not a lot of new information about photoshop.
Another pants creamer for video peeps will be real time feedback for after fx. You no longer need to render video when you make changes. Even live compositing. It’s incredibly powerful and a major time saver. In face that’s the reason I stopped working mainly with video and 3d, is wasted time during rendering. Can’t wait until 3d gets the same, although there are many tools for that in.  3d too.
The new Adobe character animator that will be built into after effects is possibly the most mind blowing. I can see a lot of animators out of a job with this one. You can make any 2d character animations as long as you can use photoshop.And morph cuts will also change interviews forever. After fx and premiere have never been in a better place.  
There were a few image changes like haze reduction and mock ups that instantly export to your desktop versions of photoshop, Indesign and illustrator.Many of the tools were not integrated into any app yet, but were test versions, which will be integrated in the future. 
So that’s my round up. Hope that shows a little of what was on show.i will add links this after the fact.

Another important understanding

I think for many people, the final frontier will be, “can I publish from a mobile device?”. This blog post was written on the fly as I saw things at the conference, but even I was thinking that I need to upload the draft, fix the images and  get it moving. 

After seeing the upgrades to all the mobile apps and the future, I am dedicated to finishing and uploading this blog post on mobile, and I hope everyone else now understands that the mobile revolution is truly coming.

Installing Bootcamp on your new 5k retina iMac

Technically installing bootcamp on any recent Mac should be the same, so other of you using the new retina Macbook Pro or even the Mac Pro can follow these instructions.

You would think that is ts a simple process, but I found it to be quite confusing and annoying, so i decided to make a little guide.


In your Applications>Utilities folder you will find Boot Camp Assistant.
like any form of Boot Camp, its a pretty “no frills” affair and they dont make it any more exciting than it needs to be.



You will need 2 things

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.38.21 pm

1.Copy of Windows 7 or 8 in an ISO format.

This somehow stands for “International Organization for Standardization”, but forget that ( plus the letters are in the wrong order) . Its just what is known as a “disk image” and usually looks like a small round thing on your desktop once mounted or a file with a picture of a hard disk.

You can create that using “Disk Utility” (which is on your mac already) or other DVD copying software if you have the original, or be sneaky and download it you little devil. Bill Gates is probably in Africa and won’t notice. YOU CAN ONLY USE WINDOWS 7 or 8 as the new imac runs only  64-bit architecture. If you think this is some sort of small lego set, then pipe down and just remember the numbers 7 or 8 (if you can).


2. A small usb 2.0 thumb drive which is at least 8GB in size.

which will hold the installation. Seems pretty redundant to have to get the installation made twice, but hey, I didn’t design the process. Once this is done you can reuse that USB if you need to install bootcamp on other machines.
Generally I would recommend a funny USB stick that makes it look like a dog is getting busy with your USB port, but as the USB ports are on the back of your imac you may use a boring looking one if you like.


3. (optional) An empty external hard disk… if you want your windows to be on an external disk.
or you can use your main hard disk which will be automatically partitioned. 

For most of us, its just easier to use the same hard drive, so its always there when you need it, not that most of us will take our iMacs with us (although it is light enough to and i will probably do that sometimes). One thing to be aware of, is that, in the case of the iMac retina, you will be partitioning a “fusion” drive (25%SSD and 75% HDD), and I’m pretty sure none of the SSD will be part of your partition. I dont have the resources to test this theory but seems very likely than any partitioned area will be from the “furthest” part of the HDD, which allows you to partition and unpartition easily without losing Mac system data.



I suggest leaving all the options on. Some people say partition your hard disk first and skip the first step. I say they are very silly, or possibly know something I dont. Anyway this is the easiest way I feel.

Before you start this process, MAKE SURE you have the CD KEY for windows handy. If it is in a file on your mac, you WILL NOT be able to access it once your computer reboots in windows. This will greatly affect your happiness and you may have to start again. Just write it on a piece of paper or if you have a second computer please have it readily available

It will give you a warning saying it will erase your USB stick. Throw caution to the wind and let that happen. Then it will go to this screen….. for LOOOONG time. Go have a cup of coffee or other beverage of your choice.

This is doing what it says I imagine. Let it do its thing. Go and play with your kids, or if you dont have kids, then go play with your girlfriend, and one day you may be able to play with your kids.


After reboot

Ok, it gets a little confusing here, so just copy what I did. It will show your hard disk with 4 separate partitions. 2 of the are quite small. Ignore them.

I told my mac to partition my hard drive with 225Gb for windows… seems some is lost in the conversion and it went down to 160.6GB. Make sure to check thew sizes of the disks to find the right one. It will also have in capital letter “BOOTCAMP” next to it.Now the next part baffles me. It WILL NOT allow you to install windows on there as it says it is not formatted in NTFS format. How Apple managed to include this flaw is beyond me and so strange as that is the sole purpose of this software. Very silly Apple!

To fix this, just click the “Format” button just below, it will warn you about erasing data. Just say yes and it will only take about 10 seconds to complete.


Now it still referenced as “Drive 0 Partition 4” but loses its bootcamp name.
Note: when you open the computer up again in OS X when all this is finished, it will still be called “BOOTCAMP” and  will be slightly larger than shown here. Also you OSX partition will recuperate the space… Its all very confusing and I’m pretty sure that it because of the fusion drive. That being said I’m glad I’m chose a fairly large space for it (chose 225GB and ended up with 172GB) as i want me PC drive to be fairly large so as to not come into space issues further down the track and I advise you add 20% more on to what you want to end up with.



The Setup Process

It will reboot and a tiny windows logo will appear… actually you will realise soon that everything is small on the Windows side.


The next phase will be to enter your windows PRODUCT KEY. As i recommended before if you have a digital version of it, you had better have it written down somewhere (like I didn’t), or if you have two computers, search it that way. (which I had to do)


After that you are basically home free. It will install and then go into setup mode.


After reboot you choose language


Yes, this is truly how Microsoft see me. Some faceless idiot on a dangerously blue screen.


And suddenly that allow you to personalise with pretty colors.


It says many things, and eventually “almost ready” for about 30 mins. It truly is NOT almost ready, but the cycling colors are quite mesmerising.



Good on you!!  You successfully installed windows on you iMac.

Further viewing

Here is a really blurry video that some guy called diego made. Its totally different to the method I used as he does each stage separately. Anyway seems to work and may be a good backup for some of you that get stuck somewhere in the middle and need to start over. My technique I feel is more simple for the general user.

How to start a WordPress blog/site

So i’m guessing most of you know what a blog is, and almost the same amount know what WordPress is a brief description of what it is and why it is the platform of choice for most bloggers in the world.

WordPress is a CMS, a Content Management System. It is a group of code (PHP) that basically allows you to write content which is saved into a database and regurgitated into pages in the order of your choosing. The most powerful function of this kind of systems that you can constantly change your website by knowing a password, and need no backend knowledge of what the code is doing and why. This means anyone anywhere can have a blog if they want to,if they have access to the Internet.

On the other hand, if you have the skills and needs you can modify the code to suit your needs easily, to customize the design and user interaction experience. For novices there are handy ways to do this using plugins to add funtionality and themes to change the appearance and layout. Basically it puts the power in your hands of making your own website and making it to suit your changing styles and needs over time without having to re-write any content when you do.

Ok. I could go into it all day, but here I want to teach you how to set up your own site. In the past few years I have setup so many WordPress sites that’s is almost uncountable. They are free to install, as long as you have a web server, and if you don’t there are options available for you too. If you have no money but want a site it’s the way to go. If you have special needs, then that is where someone like me can step in and make a set for you and then you take over and run it. Either way at the end it’s your site and you make the content, and that’s the point of it, and that’s the future of web communication.

There are 4 methods of starting a WordPress site.

1. Hosted on

2. DIY – Hosted on your own server (auto install)

3. DIY – Hosted on your own server (manual install)

4. Get a professional to get it started then take it over (on your server or theirs)

They second two work exactly the same, the first one is the easiest but has limitations that the other two do not. The last is for those with more money than time or require something better than basic.

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Is it personal… or private? just for fun… or for business?

Is the domain name important (aka URL, the

Do people need to bookmark pages in your blog or the top page is fine?

Is it advantageous to look “homemade” or more “professional”?

The least “professional”, or should I say “personalized” is the one hosted on The URL will be something like and the styling options, although fairly impressive are limited. When you host it on your own server you have three options.

For Hosting methods, see further down this post, This is extremely important, but for now lets focus on how to install WordPress.

Install methods

1. Hosted on – this happens automatically and as long as you can remember your own email and password you should be fine. Enough said.

2. Hosted on your own server (auto install) – Many web hosts will have WordPress built in. Remember you must have the ability to use databases with your account. You need at least (and generally at most) one database to run your WordPress. So I use godaddy and I can install them with the greatest of ease. I also often do it manually and you can name your databases nicer names when you do it manually, but for most people this is the easiest. Log into your account, choose hosted account, choose applications, choose WordPress and put the folder directory and POW! Bobs your uncle/ill be a monkey’s uncle, a new blank slate website appears in 30 mins or so. See pics.

3. Hosted on your own server (manual install) – This is not that hard, but a little more complicated. I actually like this method but its not necessary for you one time website users. This method, you first make a database and write down it’s details. Then, using an FTP program, copy the WordPress files into place. You must change the wp-config.php file to have all the right details of the database as well as the location of the blog files. It’s pretty easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. You really get to know WordPress by interacting with the files through an FTP program, for example, in the “wp-content” folder you can see the themes and urging folder and you can manually install and modify files here to customize your site. All pro WordPress users will spend a lot of time in this folder, usually updating the CSS files to style themes.

See pics below. Open in your favorite FTP program. you will need your login details to your server and password

Then go to your hosting server and create a databsse.

You must edit the wp-config.php file t0 point to your database.

This may be complicae for some, so if you have any questions, please message Ahimsa Creative on Facebook.

4. Get a professional to make it. This is easy. Call up me or someone with similar skills and they will do it. If they don’t know how then tell them to look at this blog.

Hosting Options

1.Make that a hosted domain on a server so that the points to the WordPress installation and if you click a page link, it becomes or somethign like that. This is the most professional but most expensive. Everyone needs one hosted domain, so if you only have one site then it’s perfect for you. I have many so I use that page as a portal to my other sites.

See the example of which is my hosted domain

2.If you put it in a folder on someone else’s (or another of your own) hosted domain and then buy a cheap domain which points to it, they can type in your URL, but will get taken to the real URL,which they will see, unless you mask the domain.

For example the domain will now be blog/category/ or similar. You can see the difference but for many it’s too small to care. Depends what the first blog is. If you sell babies rattles and host it on a server which hosts a porn site you own it could end up and that’s probably not good for business

See the examples of and

These I have forwarded, so you can see the real URL when you click them.Fine for me as they are all part if what I call the Ahimsa Collective and are in the family of Ahimsa Creative.

3. Solution- MASK YOUR DOMAIN. Masking your domain means that it hides where it is actually going. S it will always say even if hosted on your other porn site hosted account. PERFECT …you may think and for most of us this is fine, but they will not be able to bookmark any pages on your site except the very top page as the URL will never change. For most of us this is actually advantageous, us if you were Wikipedia that would really suck ass as the would redefine the term research into “re-search” and be pointless.

You should note that it slightly affects your google rank, but not significantly enough for most people to care. So let’s skip that. If you are setting a website up on the cheap I’m guessing you’re not a multinational corporation and word of mouth, your business cards, social media and direct links will be your main source of traffic.

See the example of which is also hosted on It’s real address is [note to self:please insert here when I remember some thing like]. (You can check and see its the same) but I have masked the domain so it always stays that address, even if you click a link to another server. You can impress your friends by having a link to on your website and pretend that you made it (it will still have your web address until you close that window or tab)

Holy shit. I never thought this blog post would be so detailed. It’s amazing how long it takes to type things that I can explain in a few minutes. Now yu should know the all your options when it comes to setting up your new blog.

As always, please ask any questions you have below and I will respond as soon as I can.

The roundup

Hope this sheds some light on how to setup a WordPress blog, and what options are available to you.

So why give it all away?? You might think its a bad idea for a web designer to give these secrets away, but im in the business of helping others live their dreams and reach their goals. We sell information, we sell freedom, and everyone deserves freedom and a chance to reach others with their art, ideas or whatever they want to share. So get out there and share….

There will be more WordPress page tutorials coming up on this blog, with how to improve the look of your site one you have it. Don’t be too picky in the beginning (unless you chose option 4 and are getting it designed). It’s much better to have good information on a shit looking site than no information on a non existent site. Unless you are a designer,photographer,artist or someone in the visual design/arts field the main reason people will come to your site is for the information.

Y-U-M! – Improve your food pics

So being a Photoshop professional makes you sensitive to bad quality imagery. Being a living creature also gives you an unnerving feeling when you see something you perceive as food look unappealing. I suffer from both of these situations, so instead of cringing I’m goin to show you a super easy way to get your food pics looking spot on.

So basically here, I’m going to show you how to make your food pictures look bright and bubbly and make people’s mouths water when they see them.

Lets face it. There are so many camera apps on our devices these day, some of which are designed for food. This will show you what they attempt to do, and give you an easy way to do it yourself. I’m going to explain it for Photoshop users, as I know many people use it, whether bought or not. You can do this same technique in any software, but I made this acronym to help you remember, which is designed for Photoshop’s shortcut commands.

It’s Y-U-M,

or +Y,+U,+M

Thats Command on a Mac and Control on a PC.

So you have a photo of your food. That’s the first step. A friend of mine took this pic, which i noticed on Facebook, and I came up with the idea that this is a skill that almost everyone can benefit from, as food photography is very popular these days, and even more so in Japan where I was living for the previous 7 years.

Now to be honest for those working on the web, you don’t need the Y-step, so skip this step if you are using it for Facebook or your blog.

Step 1

Y – Proof Colors.

So pressing Command-Y will turn on your proof colors, which are a digital representation of how your document will print. Some colors that can be displayed on screen do not exist in print (as they use additive color as opposed to subtractive color). These colors are know as out-of-gamut colors. So if you plan to print your picture, turn this on. Vibrant foods like tomatoes will often look disappointing when you print them out as they are too vibrant to be represented with conventional inks. Also notice the sub-menu and make sure its on “Working CMYK”, as this represent most home printers.

Step 2

U – add Saturation

Next, press Command-U and the HSL dialog box will come up. The only one here you want to touch is Saturation. Like Saturation suggests, using the metaphor of the sponge, it will hold more color, like a sponge full of liquid. Food always looks better with a bit of extra color added.I would say add anywhere between +10 and +35. Any more and it will start to look too unrealistic. (see more info at the end of this blog post)

Now click “OK” to lock this stage in.

Step 3

M – Curves

Next is Curves. Curves technically bend the light spectrum to elongate the middle tones of an image. If that sounds like bullshit then just forget that and just remember than in a RBG (additive color which all web images are) image, moving the curves up will add more light into the image.

The first step is to color balance, and the easiest way is to set a grey point.Look at my arrows in the image above. there are 3 eye droppers there. Choose the middle one. Next you must click on an area that you think contains absolutely no color,or as little as possible, and is also 50% between black and white. of course in any shadow, radiant colors do bounce but for most situations, you can find a shadow that is far enough away from the object to be almost perfect grey. A grey balance is almost the same as a white balance, which you may have heard of, but i think gives you more options to choose from and gives better results.

If your image goes crazy and really wrong looking, don’t worry, you most likely just hit a colored pixel by mistake. Just try it again until it looks well balanced.

Before clicking “OK”, then look at point 2 on the image. You can drag the middle point of the colors slightly towards the top left. this will stretch the mid tones in the image and add light, without destroying the black or white tones.

Now click “OK”

And now you are done

Within about 2 minutes, you can have a primo looking image of your food.

The proof is in the pudding…. or Cucumber Stick as the case may be
Here is a comparison of before and after with the photos

And there you have it. Actually i got a light feathered white brush and sprayed the edge so it blends to pure white, instead of increasing the brightness, because it much more important the food looks realistic, not the table. Of course you can manipulate more if you like. But These steps are all you need to make your food look YUM!

As a side note, you should always try to use the original uncompressed image to manipulate, as the compression artifacts (like the pattern you see in the tomato) will often be enhanced. Also for food coloring there is a big difference between real color, and perceived real color. You probably wont find too many tomatoes like the above picture, but it is in harmony with the color enhanced imagery we see on the internet these days. What you want to bring out with food is the emotional response of the excitement of the great taste and freshness of the food.

Simple Awesome Screenshots in OSX

So, this is nothing new, but every time you upgrade your operating system this thing seems to revert, and it certainly did happen to me when i recently upgraded to OSX 10.9 Mavericks. I take a lot of screen grabs. I mainly use them for emails (where i dont need to save them), but sometimes i do and I really dont want them hanging around all over my desktop thankyou very much!

By default, they appear on the desktop, but they can be easily told to go to a folder. I keep a “Screenshots” on the desktop for easy referencing. Its always sorted by “Date Modified” descending, so the newest one is at the top. This method works for any version of OSX but i assume you are all upgrading to 10.9 most recently.

Here’s the method for making a nice screenshot folder on your desktop


  • Click this link (which will show you some png images of cameras)
  • Click the camera image you like. When it appears bigger and loads right click on it and select “copy image”
  • Go to your desktop. Type ⌘-N to make a new folder – Call it “Screenshots
  • select the folder if it isnt already and type ⌘-I ( to see info) and then hit “tab”
  • type ⌘-V to paste the image in there, Now it looks pretty.That is important, and will help you find it much easier on your desktop.


  • click the icon on the top right on your screen. Type in “Terminal” and open this app
  • copy and paste this into the terminal once it has started up and loaded, , then hit “return”

defaults write location ~/Desktop/Screenshots

  • now copy and paste this into the terminal, then hit “return”

killall SystemUIServer

It should look like this, except it will have your computer name and user name.

and now you can take a screenshot and test to see if it worked.. It should appear in that folder. To take a screenshot see below.

The Basics of Screenshots in OSX

So while im writing this, i thought I better explain all the options available to you for Screenshots.I do know that many people still do not know how to do this, as people still often ask me what i’m doing when i take screen grabs. So heres the basic deal. You can take snapshots in OSX… (big whoop!) well, yes it is and its basically the most used function i use on it every day. and there are many awesome ways to do it.

There are 3 basic modes


Area Mode Presentation Mode Whole screen
⌘-shift-4 ⌘-shift-4 (release) space bar (release) click window ⌘-shift-3
• Selected area (the most useful) • Presentation Mode has a nice drop shadow and no background (makes it look pretty) • the whole screen (only use if you actually need t he menu to be visible on screen)


Details of each mode

Window Mode


In window mode you can draw a box around whatever you want and it will just give you that area… probably the most handy

….although there may be one that I use even more than that. If i only need it temporarily, why waste disk space by saving it, if you hold the “control” key when you click the mouse ( so its ⌘-shift-4, release the keys, hold control, click and draw your box, release the mouse – then ⌘-V when you are in the right program), it will just save it into your clipboard temporarily. You can then paste it into an email, or even into photoshop, which will automatically size the document to the last snapshot you made.

see example

Presentation Mode

-shift-4 (release) space bar (release) click window

This mode does exactly what it says it will. Make a window ready for presentation. You can see how below. It removes all the background, and make a nice drop shadow of the window. Like all Snapshots (unless you change the default) it is in PNG format, which means it contains transparency and the drop shadow will bledn into whatever background you have.

this is the same image put inside an orange table. No ugly white blends here!

Fullscreen Mode


This is fairly self explanatory and does what it says it will do…. I dont recommend this at all as it wastes disk space (by having a large file size) and is generally erdundant and harder to email. If proportionally shrunk down it also makes your target area much harder to see.

So I ope this helped some of you out there to streamline your screenshots. There are other modifications you can make but I generally suggest you leave them alone unless you know what you are doing. Happy Snapping!

CHROME is going Platinum

It certainly seems Chrome has stormed the market and has officially taken over as the most popular browser. In a free application market, which all web browsers are, you often see domination of this kind, but unlike proce point being a major factor, the workflow and available tools always are the major factors, as well as social influence.

Google obviously failed to overthrow Facebook with their own version of facebook, Google+. They also went head to head with Firefox in the browser market, which I thought would be the same deal, but this time they won, and I would say the default browser of choice these days would be Chrome.

As a web designer, i have always appreciated the advanced tools of Firefox (especially firebug – and have waited as long as i can for them to get their program working without stealing all my RAM.

Well i gave up after a looong wait. Made the switch to chrome on the weekend. I really missed my Firefox setup, but after a good 2-3 hours of setup (you really dont know how much you will like an app till its fully tuned to your needs), im very happy with it, and can see at least a 2-3GB memory improvement. I can recommend to anyone maxing their RAM in Firefox.


Step 1 – Change your default browser.

its a bitch when you click a ink and it opens in firefox. now you’ve got both open. Great. way to save memory genius! So don’t forget to do this if you plan to permanently change browser.


Step 2 – pin your most used tabs

The ability to PIN certain tabs perfect for email, kindle reader, and i have my Yamaha audio receiver on there, so i can change sound inputs and volume without the remote). It’s a perfect way to save screen space and get rid of the tabs you use all the time. Keep them to the left and have a tidier workspace. Just right click and say “pin tab” and it will shrink down to a favicon sized logo.


Step 3 – find some time saving and time wasting tools

You can setup your new page tabs with loads of pages and apps, much like you would on an iphone. You can name each page down the bottom. They have a “windows 8″ style page option also with pink squares, but once you fill up about 30 slots it defaults back to its original style. This is easier and better.

Here are some “plugins” that i installed to my chrome desktop. As its just been a few days i haven’t had tome to rurally thoroughly test each one, but here are the ones i think will be very interesting.

Plugins I like


Earbits Radio – browse channels – good world music selection – FULL SCREEN IMAGERY

middle eastern world – indian world and all kinds of subgenres for electronic. I was introduced to them when was djing at the Eclipse festival in Australia and they had an official eclipse radio station for all the artists there and every song yo can see who it is and also join up to a mailing list of their music. very handy (if you want to join a lot, then setup a new email address just to receive all the music ideas )

Audio Sauna – nice little synth you can play with your commuter keyboard that has a whole bunch of sounds. good sub bass, as well as a pretty standard sequencer. Good for playing around and making ideas on. You can save the tracks to a folder and reopen them later on. sweet. – Who doesn’t love a good tape. they had such personality, you got to love every warp and glitch on every song you had on tape. This mix tape is very different though, as it is of YouTube videos. It is partenered with soundcloud, so i thought you could make music compilations, but fuck me if i could work out how. Make mixtures of everything you like, and. They have awesome tape designs and unlimited fun. you can share your tapes too. click the play button in the right spindle( is that what the are called?)

Dark Editor – make your won pub books out of text on your computer, or type stuff in there. perfect if you want to make a very simple EPUB book to send someone with your resume or similar.

In the office

Resumup – This show you how to get from where you are now, to where you want ot be career wise. Pretty interesting. Shows you jobs available and courses available along the way. Not sure how realistic it is though.

Fox Utils Merge PDF- Merges PDFs. Not foxes.

PDF Split - same as above but the opposite. Not fox related at all.

PDFBot- make a web page into a PDF

and of course

GAMES – Whooppee!

Most of the games I downloaded free on chrome were total crapola. There were one or two that stand out as a bit interesting for different reasons.

Contra – the original Konami NES game playable through chrome. Awesome if you like blowing and shooting things with little pixel shaped bullets. nice moody music and i looove pixelation transitions. It’s pretty hard so you won’t get far. But that means its good for a short break. There is 3 in the series. well worth getting on a wii if you have one.

Z-tpye – very interesting typing game.Like space invaders but you gotta type the words of the incoming spaceships which get progressively longer. You die after about 5 mins. Good for a quick break but not very relaxing on your fingers.

WarLight – old school turn by turn take over the world game. Played like its a board game. No fancy animations, just numbers. Good for strategy loving people. Spent more time on this game than any other recently, and crazily addictive. First 3 missions are not so hard, but after that beware. This gets two thumbs up for being so engaging and so simple at the same time.

WEB IMAGES – How does a JPEG work?

This is to teach people about JPEGS and other web image file formats, to get their sites working better, faster and to SAVE MONEY ( if you dont have unlimited internet and pay per GB).

Well these days you dont have to worry TOO much about download times, but its certainly something to know about. Old school web designers like me have an edge over the new guys as they never learned this stuff. When I went to school we had to learn optimising 8-bit color palettes (which i wont get into here). Needless to say, the more information you have makes you smarter, and this may just help you optimize your images or just make you understand how to get good looking images without wasting disk space and download time.

Lets introduce the WEB IMAGE TYPES  briefly.

JPEG - Stand for Joint Photographic Experts Group. The web standard for photo based imagery. loses to PNG and GIF for flat colors but if you had to choose only one type this would be it. Handles large images well and has many levels of incremental quality allowed. Previews well in photoshop and gives you accurate file sizes so the best by far.

PNG – The new kid on the block. it stands for “portable network image”. The 24-bit standard version allows transparency, so its essential for classy web design.Not good for large photographs. basically it was designed to replace the outdated gifs we used to see on the net that were very ugly.

GIF – Id most likely never use one of these anymore as a PNG is far superior for flat color. They were popular in the 80s and early 90s as they can be animated ( contain multiple frames of data ) which advertisers loved, but now most ads are flash based. Gif runs from a color palette, so is fantastic for text on white or black. Colr palettes are the reason some images look grainy or “dithered” as they have cut the color palette down and some colors lose their ability to blend well ( like posterising an image ).

How does a JPEG work?

JPEG compresses images horizontally, so its not designed for images with vertical bands or lines.

I kind of think about them as being made by a director, standing back form the screen telling a painter what to paint and for how long. Somethng like “Ok, now black!. keep it going for 88 pixels….”  “ok, now green for 20 pixles”  etc. etc. or something like that. the longer each horizontal area goes the better it will compress with a JPEG. This is the reason you saw many pitures with lines through them in the late 90s-early 00s as they were trying to cut downoad time (and look kind of terminatoresque/futuristic).

The “quality” of a JPEG specifies its color range variance. As explained below, if its for the web, then you need less color variance as the colors are over saturated ( color and brightness added) by the computer screen so less variance is needed. i would say always use between 60 and 70 for a JPEG. That’s all you need to know if you’re a beginner and it will help you a lot just that info.

The Science

So we now know that JPEGs are coded first horizontally,then what happens.

These days JPEGs also use DCT coefficients in their encoding, which allow pixels to pass their color values to vertically neighboring pixels with minimal data required, so they also perform well with flat colors restricted to areas. Lower quality JPEGs will “harmonize” similar colors to simplify the color palette and use DCT to convey their information.

Huffman encoding is the next process where the DCT coeffients are split into groupings that are encoded with letters to shorten their length. Like letters on a keyboard, certain colors are used more and are given the shortest codes. The A group takes much less info to create and by lowering the JPEG quality you exponentially reduce the color variation, a lot of whihc wont be notice on a computer screen as the colors are so oversaturated anyway.


JPEG horizontal lines 8.97kb – 70 percent

JPEG vertical lines 15.36kb – 70 percent quality ( almost double the size)

JPEG horizontal disrupted lines 12.6kb – 70 percent quality
This shows what i mean by the horizontal compression. Even 2 lines completely ruins the compression on a JPEG.

Same image in PNG
PNG horizontal disrupted lines 1.1kb
REMEMBER THIS – Flat color areas : a PNG is always a file size advantage, no matter what direction.


JPEG image 20.5kb – 70 percent

PNG image 61.2kb (3 times the size)

using the same image, i tried JPEG and PNG and JPEG killed PNG’s ability to compress an image. Goes to show you need to use the right tool for the right job. In almost all cases, PNG for flat color and JPEG for photos.


JPEG image 2.3kb – 70 percent

PNG image 1kb (half the size)

File Size Discrepancy

Another thing to note is that most operating systems just guess the size and round them up, so what you see in your file browser may not be completely accurate. Its more of an issue for small images, but its better to trust photoshop than your OS, or “get info” on a file to find its real size. (Keep in mind that 1000bytes is not 1kb, 1024 is, so the numbers will not translate directly by cutting off 3 decimal places)

This is not a maybe situation, this method will always work. I use this every day in my work.
JPEG for photos or mixed. PNG for flat color.

Hope this helped you and it makes your websites run smoother in the future. Daish



This goes without saying. Photoshop is where i make all my images, and the “Save for Web & Devices” option will allow you to preview in any mode you want. Command+option+shift+S will get you there.

You can choose which File type in the top right and see the resulting file size in the bottom right.


Recently there’s been a program that was introduced to me. Of course theres lots of programs out there that will reduce file sizes for you, but i tend to shy away from them as I want to see each and every image in preview before i decide its ok for use to avoid ugly mistakes, but if you use this application one image at a time it could be handy for some.

Its called JPEGMini and supposedly makes much smaller file sizes than regular jpegs. I tested it out on the image i made and seemed to do a good job, but the advertised compression rate is not exactly mathematically accurate. Still, for large images, can save you some download time and disk space.

NOTE:If you are using large images from print, then I would recommend using CMYK (4 color separation) TIFF, as it is lossless and you can’t get better than that really. JPEG Mini would be useful for those wanting to show large images on the web, like a photographers portfolio or the background of your site.

Anyway heres the link if you want to try. Its a free app ( the lite version which allows you 20 images per day ) which is enough for most people im sure:


This is another one that compresses not only jpegs but also PNGs – and its also FREE!

Extra info

for video you can get MPEG or MPG which stand for Moving Picture Experts Group, which is basically a series of JPEG images (plus a little magic) to make a movie.

Actually MPEG1 was the first movie format using the JPEG compression algorithm , then improved by MPEG2, also know as DVD format. They tried to improve it and make MPEG3, but the project failed, but they realized the audio component was so good, which analyzed the audio and removed what it perceived to be inaudible frequencies, that it got released on its own, the ever loved MP3.

now were up to MPEG4 and its a pretty darn great compression format, and also allows you to choose which algorithm is encoded with.