Welcome to the XChange Training Blog
Welcome to the XChange Training Blog providing Creative and Web Professionals with tutorials, tips & tricks and news features for a wide range of associated technology. Key resource areas include 3D Modelling & Animation, Adobe Creative Cloud, Design & Graphics, e-Learning, Video, Web Design and WordPress. For regular updates on new blog posts use the form to signup for further information.
As much as we wish it could be, creativity is not a switch that can just be turned on. Just like any other muscle in the body, your brain has to be trained on a regular basis to help it warm up and get the inspiration flowing. But as any creative professional will know, time… Read the full article.
This video tutorial explains how to use the Puppet Warp feature in Adobe Photoshop CC. The Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop allows you to manipulate pixels – pushing, pulling and stretching. It is the go-to tool for re-positioning body parts, adjusting hair or making something thicker or thinner. In this video we show you how… Read the full article.
Computer-aided design has come a long way since the introduction of programs such as Photoshop, and Trimble SketchUp is just one of the powerful tools architects can now use to bring their visions to life. Due to its functionality and simplicity, it’s no surprise that SketchUp has become a popular choice for those in a… Read the full article.
From time to time I take a fresh look at my workflows to see if new and improved options are available. In the case of Photoshop I embraced the idea of Smart Filters from their introduction over ten years ago, but I know from my teaching that many users have a limited understanding of the… Read the full article.
In the digital world we live in, classrooms are no longer filled with a blackboard and some chalk, this method of teaching was soon replaced with whiteboards and interactive screens, and now digital methods are reigning supreme as we turn to online to teach us. Moving away from classroom-based learning, eLearning tools remove barriers to… Read the full article.
Although Excel is not the best place to develop a sophisticated relational database it can be an ideal product for a one-off list. Once laid out in a continuous area, as shown in figure 1, with field headings at the top and records laid out sequentially under these the options on the Data ribbon, as… Read the full article.
Ideas for making professional looking short-films mixing text, stills, and video. I use Keynote to create presentations. One of the great things about this productivity application from Apple is its ability to create movie files. These can be versions of a presentation I have made live. After delivering a class I can post a narrated… Read the full article.
The creative industry as a whole contributes nearly £90 billion net to GDP and accounts for one in 11 jobs in the UK – rising faster than any other area of the economy. Yet despite this large contribution, there are an estimated 17 defined skill shortages in the creative sector with areas such as visual… Read the full article.
For many of us who aren’t in the know, or those who are new to website development or design, we will view and use a website, whilst being oblivious as to how it is made. However, behind the surface, there are two elements that are most commonly used when creating a website – HTML and… Read the full article.
Call it what you want mind, mental or creative block, it’s something that many of us have experienced. And when faced with such a dilemma, instead of feeling inspired to overcome such a problem, many of us retreat and spiral into a panic filled with worry about how we’ll miss a deadline, never come up… Read the full article.
Updating application software, or worse still upgrading an operating system fills me with a quiet dread. I am supposed to be an expert, but I still worry if pressing UPDATE is a clever move. In this article I cover the pros and cons of updating, including creating a safety net incase something goes awry. System administrators… Read the full article.
It’s estimated that by the end of 2017, 74% of all web traffic will come from video; and 55% of people watch videos online every day. With so many consuming video content each day already, it’s no surprise that it’s set to take over other forms of content on the web. 52% of marketers think… Read the full article.
Continuing professional development takes many forms. The opportunity to take a class at a training centre, or have a trainer visit you, is an ideal option, with the least desirable being given a PDF to read in your spare time. All good training should focus on the continual assessment of learning. A challenge for training… Read the full article.
Cinema 4D has more heads than a Hydra(!) so what is the difference and who are they all for? Cinema 4D Lite – £Free If you visit Maxon’s website, you won’t find this version for sale, in fact you may already have it installed. If you subscribe to Adobe’s CC bundle and have After Effects… Read the full article.
Animation is one of the most versatile creative art forms. Whether it’s being used to create an award-winning film by Disney or Pixar, in a TV advert, a game for Xbox or PlayStation, by architects to demonstrate their vision, or adding movement to an infographic – animation sequences can be used in a number of… Read the full article.
We may be part of the way into 2017, but there’s still time to share our predictions for the future of the creative industries this year. But first, let’s recap what happened over the past 12 months. 2016 saw data-driven marketing and advertising boom, and the way we consume content changed completely. With video becoming… Read the full article.
Tired of hanging around all day waiting for your Cinema 4D renders to finish? Give these settings a go and see how much faster you can get the software to render. Reflection Depth The first thing you can do with projects to speed them up is reduce the number of times a reflection can bounce… Read the full article.
Typography is the art, and technique of arranging a typeface or font to communicate a message. Aside from being used as a communicative tool, the typography you use in a design has an equal measure of influence as the words themselves. The verbal language may say one thing, but the visual language also conveys it’s… Read the full article.
Web design is a varied profession that blends creativity with technology. It involves designing the ‘front end’ of a website including the content, graphics, typography and colour palette. Businesses employ web designers to create attractive, interactive web portals that will maximise return on investment through conversions. A professional website will attract new customers, show up… Read the full article.
Adobe Illustrator, surpasses InDesign as a text manipulation tool. It’s the application I use for web, interface, logo, and info-graphic design. I rarely use it for illustration; the application has lots of powerful tools for drawing and creating painterly artwork. Here are a few examples of the illustrative work I’ve done using Illustrator. Figure 1:… Read the full article.
In this digital age, a bold and eye-catching design is extremely important to attract visitors to a site and keep conversion rates high. Your web page should be instantly informative to the user, but the style in which information is presented is just as important as the content. We have collated some of the best… Read the full article.
This article is for those interested in professional photography. I’ve taken a semi-academic approach here to illustrate topics that are not usually covered in training. Everyone’s a photographer, it’s just that some photographers are better equipped than others. That might seem rather throwaway or even bawdy, but let’s consider what that statement might mean. Figure… Read the full article.
It’s true – WordPress is one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) CMS or content management system in the world today. Following its launch in 2003, it is now used by more than 70 million sites across the globe, and these sites are publishing content every single second. From mummy bloggers, SME’s… Read the full article.
Bézier curves are created using the pen tool in Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and Corel Draw as well as in many other illustration programs. Instead of dragging the mouse along the curve you want to create you click where you want the curve to start and drag out a straight line that extends in a tangent… Read the full article.
In a world where the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and the creative industry is ever evolving, taking on a training course can help to give you the edge over the rest of the competition. Standing out from the crowd is no easy feat, but by investing in your career you’re not only helping… Read the full article.
In the creative industries we output designs, illustrations, and photographs in a variety of media; often onscreen or in print. Where tone and colour are concerned, there can be a disparity between what we see on screen, in the design-edit stage of our workflow, and the proofing or final output of our work. Colour Management… Read the full article.
The design industry has always been an ever changing landscape of thoughts, opinions which often leading to trends that are rarely evergreen. The digital explosion brought with it a new era of tools and workflow processes that are constantly being expanded to ensure optimum efficiency for design professionals of all capabilities. It’s always difficult to… Read the full article.
Lightroom is lauded by some as the panacea to photographers’ frustration with Adobe Photoshop. The promise is that Lightroom will let you spend more time shooting and less time processing photographs. At this point attention could become fixed on a comparison between the editing functions in the venerable Photoshop and Lightroom; it’s an interesting area… Read the full article.
If you’re reading this it’s likely you already know the power of visual content, but did you know that posts which incorporate images reportedly increase engagement by an average of 650%? Visuals help to sell content, gain better traction and more shares online. They ultimately allow readers to gain a quick understanding of what the… Read the full article.