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8 Practical Ways to Get Your Best Ideas

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 11th June, 2018

Tutorial: Making Best use of Smart Objects in Photoshop

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 8th January, 2018

Microsoft Excel – Formatting Database Lists as Tables

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.

Posted by Paul Wherly on 21st November, 2017

Combining Apple iMovie and Keynote for Video Presentations

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 30th October, 2017

The Careers That Benefit from Digital or Creative Training

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 15th September, 2017

Tips for Avoiding a Creative Block

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 24th July, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Updating

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 5th July, 2017

Cinema 4D – Choosing the right version

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.

Posted by Matthew O'Neill on 26th April, 2017

Best Practice for Animation Design

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 6th April, 2017

What does 2017 hold for the Creative Industries?

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 14th March, 2017

How to achieve Faster Renders in Cinema 4D

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.

Posted by Matthew O'Neill on 3rd March, 2017

Typography Best Practices You Should Follow

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 6th February, 2017

How To Start Your Career in Web Design

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 12th January, 2017

Adobe Illustrator the Master of Text Control

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 12th December, 2016

Best Practices for Web Design

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 31st October, 2016

Underpinning Professional Photography

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 24th October, 2016

Advantages of Using WordPress for your Business

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 21st September, 2016

Illustration: It’s All About Using Bézier Curves

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.

Posted by Susannah Hall on 6th September, 2016

The Best Creative Courses For Your Career

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 23rd August, 2016

The Importance of Colour Management in Creative Design

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.

Posted by Mark Wood on 4th August, 2016

Web Design Trends To Look Out For

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 13th July, 2016

Key Skills needed to work in Graphic Design

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.

Posted by XCT Marketing on 8th June, 2016

Advantages of Keynote for Creating Presentations

How to Develop Keynote Presentations for playback on, Mac, iPad, and PowerPoint. Keynote is a productivity application that fills the same role as Microsoft PowerPoint. In this article I’ll explain the advantages of using Keynote, and how to develop presentations for deployment on Macs, iOS devices (iPads and iPhones) and as PowerPoint for Windows PC…. Read the full article.

Posted by Mark Wood on 29th April, 2016