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How to Integrate Green Screen into Your Next Marketing Video


Green screen or Chroma Key technology has been around for years with many people seeing it as something exclusive to big budget Hollywood productions. While it is certainly the case that these productions are top of the class in green screen technology; increasingly companies are using it to create professional, eye catching and entertaining videos. Vloggers, videographers and marketing companies are all using this powerful tool and this article will explain just how easy, effective and affordable it is to use.

What is green screen?

 

chromakey

Green screen or chromakey allows us to drop a subject, be it an actor, talking head or product into whatever foreground or background you would like to use. This setting can be a still image or video from your shop floor, a digitally generated environment or a creative commons video or any other visual you could think of. Green or blues screens are used because we are not green or blue! These colours do not match any naturally occurring skin tones or hair colours, which means that the subject can be isolated from the solid background and a new background dropped in to replace it.

How do we use it?

 

The most common use for a green screen for marketing purposes is to put a subject in an attractive, appropriate and controllable environment. To do this a green screen is set up behind the subject and is lit completely independently. This is an important point and one that is often overlooked, videographers and photographers will tell you that lighting is one of the most important  parts of a good shoot and this goes doubly so for green screen photography. The subject needs to be lit suitably and should be positioned such that they do not cast a shadow on the screen.

studio lighting

Using two diffused light sources positioned behind the subject helps you get an even light on your (hopefully unwrinkled) background and cuts down on the possibility of shadows from the subject playing havoc with colour keying in post-production. I can hear you saying now that “I am not a professional photographer! I don’t have diffused studio lighting! Where am I going to get a green screen anyway?!”  You can buy a green screen kit on Amazon for around $100 which contains everything you will need to make sure your footage has a nice, flat, crisp background which will make the next part of the process a dream. If you don’t want to spend the $100, any material of a similar shade to the commercially available screens will do as long as you light it evenly and independently from your subject.

ideal background

Now for the fun part; taking your subject and dropping it into your ideal background. To do this you will need to use any of a number of excellent software packages available such as After Effects, Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro or DaVinci Resolve to mention just a few. Some of these require some investment of time and money to use effectively but all achieve more or less the same result. Using the in-built features of these programs, it is possible to “key out” the green colour and place your subject in that beautiful background you want.

green background

Image credit: https://www.videvo.net/video/woman-playing-vr-on-green-screen/7819/

Why use a green screen?

 

There are many reasons to use green screening in your next marketing video:

 

There may be practical reasons; it might be impractical to shoot a marketing video on your shop floor as you may not want to interrupt workflow or maybe it is just too noisy. In this case you could shoot some background shots of your shop and superimpose that well recorded, uninterrupted green screen footage of yourself explaining just why your processes are better than your competitors.

 

Or perhaps you have creative reasons for this shoot; you might want to show your product or spokesperson in an exotic or even CGI background. For the former you can use creative commons video from any of a number of fantastic stock footage websites. The latter requires a little more work but the chroma keying procedure is the same.

new digital background

Image credit: https://www.videvo.net/video/rotating-globe-with-green-lasers/1634/

https://www.videvo.net/video/cartridge-glitch/4213/

And then crucially, there are financial reasons. In connection to the previous two points there are substantial cost savings to be made through green screen. Not having to travel with a crew to external sets or locations and not disrupting your staff are both clear examples.

 

TLDR: Green screening technology is an effective, affordable and fun way to make your next marketing video. It can allow you to add visual impact creatively to your scene for a very limited budget. Make a plan, give it a try and get creative!

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The 5 Routine Mistakes That Designers Make and How to Avoid Them


website design

We are all prone to making mistakes, even in areas we are experienced in. Approaching a task without the fear of making mistakes is the best attitude, and if and when they occur, they teach great lessons. For designers, some may be as simple as forgetting a small detail to bigger ones that would require a redo of the whole project.

Mistakes should not prevent you from being creative and designing that system or software for your client or business. Instead, they present you with a great chance to improve your skills and career. Here are some of the most common mistakes that a designer is prone to make and how you can avoid them.

Not Using Logs

Logs are an essential part of every system. They oversee system events as well as storing user actions like passwords and file renaming. They act as watchtower lookouts alerting you when there’s a security breach in the system.

Using logs when designing a system is therefore essential to ensure the security of the data and also spend more time-solving problems rather than looking for what is wrong. You might require the services of a log monitoring company for proper log management. Papertrail offers you an all-in-one cloud based log management solution to ensure your data is safe.

Taking on Many Projects at the Same Time

multiple projects

Having too much work to handle may mean more income and sometimes an overworked brain. The divided attention plus the tension of not meeting the deadlines may result in reduced output and a less than satisfied client. Imagine the quality of a project that you have given your focus. It will definitely improve your portfolio.

Solution: Even though it means less income, learning to say no to work you can't handle, is a virtue. You will have more time to concentrate on the tasks at hand and deliver quality work that can earn you referrals and recurrent clients.

Unclear Responsibilities

This happens especially when you are handling a group project. If there's no project manager, then individual tasks often overlap, some tasks may be left unattended to, or worse still other team members may be less concerned about their roles. The client will notice the mistakes in the work delivered, and whether or not you did your part excellently, the mistakes lie on every team member since there were no guidelines and expectations laid down at the start.

Solution: The best way to handle this would be clearly stating what is expected of every member of the team and tasks that each individual should handle by a project manager assigned to the project. According to the National Institute of Corrections, teams function more successfully when everyone understands their roles. That way, everyone will be answerable about their tasks.

Lack of Proper Communication

proper communication

Some instructions sent by the client weren't clear, but you did not seek clarification. Or it may be a question you should have asked during the meeting, but you did not because you feared been seen as dumb. The deadline draws near, and because you cannot avoid it anymore, you ask, and you are forced to correct parts you had already done or worse still, start the whole project again.

Solution: You can avoid all these problems by communicating all the relevant information with the client. Ask for clarification where you don't understand, sort out any uncertainties. It's better to over-communicate and avoid mistakes than not communicate at all and end up with a load of errors.

Working Alone

Doing everything yourself is a recipe for making mistakes. You love to think you’re the solution to all the problems. You don't ask someone to proofread your work or their insights, and you end up delivering work that is full of errors. Some of these details are very minute, and it'd take a different person to notice them.

Solution: Design is a collaborative discipline. Learn to involve other people, look for a variety of perspectives, and different insights. Most importantly, learn to tame your ego. There is no harm in looking for an editor to correct the errors. Design is inclusive or else it won’t work out.

Conclusion

Learning how to avoid these mistakes or even fixing them may take some time and sometimes even more investment. But in the end, it will pay off in other forms like client retention, increased income, more referrals, an excellent reputation, and reduced reworks. 

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Acrobat DC - Helpful Designer Software


Adobe - it's the most used reader program at the planet for now, a lot of people doesn’t even know any of his options. That topic would help you to understand Acrobat DC a bit better, little interface and using guide. Check it out, and probably you would love to teach that program like a professional.

 

In an Adobe Acrobat interface, there are three views, and these are home, document, and tools. When we go further into details on document view, it can either be a single document interface or multiple document interface that is, view one document at a time or numerous views at a time respectively. Home is a displayed page before you open a PDF in Adobe Acrobat. The tool is where all the Acrobat tools are presented. The Document is the default view all the time when a document is opened in Adobe Acrobat.

 

Adobe pdf reader for windows 10 is available and can be downloaded for free from the Adobe official website. You can download it and install within a few minutes and start enjoying all that Adobe Acrobat has to offer. The following discussion shade more light on Acrobat DC interface.

 

adobe pdf

 

Home view

 

As already said this is the page that is usually displayed when you open Adobe Acrobat and you have not opened any PDF file. It is an integral part of Adobe Acrobat in that it gives you quick access to recent files, frequently used tools, storage accounts, shared files, and to do tasks. Concerning the storage accounts, Adobe Acrobat has two accounts; these are the offline and online storage accounts where you can access your files. Other than your local computer, you can access your files from Adobe Cloud – these are files securely store using the link “Document Cloud” found on the left pane and online accounts such as Dropbox, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

 

 

Tool centre

 

This is the view you can navigate through to discover all the tools available in Adobe Acrobat. All these tools are listed according to categories. Whenever you select a tool, that tool-specific commands will appear automatically on the document view only if the file is opened. In some instances, you can also be able to open some tools without necessarily opening the file. You should worry about whether to open or not open the document; if you choose a tool that requires the document to be open, you will be prompted to do so.

 

You have the freedom to either add or remove tools shortcut in the right pane. This is how to do it. Clicking the “Add” button will result in adding the shortcut in the right pane. An alternative way is by dragging the tool into the right pane. To remove the shortcut, next to “Open” just below the tool name, click the Down arrow then select “Remove shortcut”. There is also an alternative way to remove a shortcut, and this is done by a simple click on the cross button on that particular shortcut in the right pane.

adobe pdf

 

Document view

 

As we have already highlighted, the document view is the default page whenever a PDF file is open. By default, when you open this page, you will see multiple tabbed interfaces for viewing numerous PDFs at a time. When you open multiple PDFs at a time, each will open as a tab but still on the same window of the application. You can switch from one tab to the other from the top whereby the name indicates the name of the file being opened in that particular tab. A previous and next buttons will always be displayed on the far right-hand-side for easy navigation through document tabs whenever the number or amount of documents are high such that they don’t fit the document view.

 

At the top of the work area, the toolbar and menu bar are displayed. For a stand-alone application, the work area comprises of three panes. Towards the left side is the navigation pane, on the middle is the document pane, and to the right is the tools or task pane. All these panes each have a specific important role it plays. The navigation pane located on the left is useful in providing smooth browsing through the PDF as well as perform other options on your PDF file. The function of document pane found in the middle is to display the PDFs. The toolbar located next to the top of the window plays a significant role in providing other controls you can use to work with your PDFs.

 

In the beginning, you may not be in a position to see various tools in the toolbar. To combat this, you can add some more tools to your toolbar for ease of access. To perform this, right-click on an empty space within the toolbar then select the tool that you want to be displayed in the toolbar.

 

In conclusion, we need to say that it's a small beginners guide, which takes five minutes from you. And even those tiny article bring a lot of helpful information to you, probably if you will check other guides by yourself - Acrobat DC will be used a lot by you. Thanks for reading and use only the best software.

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Make Animations Online - And More!


It is never too late to discover new digital tools that make your life easier! Today, we are giving you 9 software that can help you cut your working hours and simplify your design solutions, as well as inspire new ideas when you feel lost.

 

1 Venngage

 

Venngage is here to help you with your visual storytelling. This platform creates infographics for you - all you have to do is choose the perfect template, insert your data and customize. You can either sign up for free or pick one of the paid plans for more advanced features.

 

2 Animaker

 

Animating was never easier than with this animation machine. Choose your graphics, drag, drop, play and let your creativity shine. Animaker gives you six animation styles, which you can combine any way you want, to create a unique content you need. They offer a free plan, but the pricey ones aren't all that pricey either.

 

3 PS Express

 

Adobe Photoshop Express, an application from Adobe Systems, makes image editing and collage making on mobile phone a breeze. It's also free. Plug your imagination and creativity and get more from Adobe. It is available on iOS, Android and Windows phones, and tablets, while surprisingly easy to use.

 

4 BeFunky

 

BeFunky is a creative platform for photo editing, collages, and graphic design. Their main advantage is that it's super user-friendly, made for everyone, regardless of designer experience. Its funky layouts make it attractive for social media designers, although their mega long adds don't keep your attention and literary shout to you how big the competition is, making them not stand out as much.

 

5 Lightroom

 

Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Systems image manipulation software, is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and tvOS. You can import, organize, tag, edit, and share plenty of digital images. Why should you choose Lightroom? Their user-friendly interface and a whole 1TB of cloud storage! They operate under a Trialware license, so you can try it out first, to see if it fits.

 

6 Pixlr X

 

Pixlr X is the next generation of Pixlr editing. With their smart tools, Pixlr x makes editing faster, efficient, optimized and more sophisticated. It's great to quick fixes to your photo, but also fancy and reliable for professional editing. Easy navigation and digital drawing combined with photography are what makes Pixlr X stand out. Not a fan? Don't worry, Pixlr is still available for all users. Pixlr X, Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Pro or Pixlr Express? Web or Mobile? The choice is all yours.

 

7 Placeit

 

This brilliant app lets you imagine beyond your possibilities as a designer. Create everything with only one app - logos, social media designs, but also mock-ups and videos! They have nearly 30 000 templates waiting for you to play around with them and turn them upside down for your special project. Mock-ups were never so close and so beautiful. Slide, drop, resize, slideshow, gif around, all that while looking incredibly cool. 

 

8 Infogram

 

Get more of infographics and reports with infogram.com! This is more than a designer software, it is a platform for collaborations, where you can brand every design to fit your companies guidelines. Create a custom template and never worry about brand colors again! This doesn't make things easier only for you, but for the whole team to stay in the framework of your branded voice. Achieve more by making your designs interactive and engaging for the audience. Get analytics data for the impact of your infographics, track interactions, shares, and experience. Their basic plan is free, forever, so you're out of excuses to not give it a go!

 

9 Desygner

 

Desygner is made for desygners, not designers. It offers simplified design solutions and easy-to-use interface. Also, their logo is pretty cool. You can have it on your PC or your phone, drag and drop elements, customize color, text, font, and images; play around with layers and different effects. All that for no money at all. Handy, and doesn't take up much space or RAM.

 

As you already noticed from our articles, and your research in the world of software for visual expressions, there are countless options, possibilities, restrictions, open-source or pricey, useful, complicated, faster and slower ways to create your designs. Every day new apps launch and other ones, such as Recite, go down. 

 

When I researched for this article, Recite was one of the apps I wanted to mention in 10 apps I would present to you, but by the time I started writing, it was already gone from the internet. The competition is growing bigger, both for laics and professional designers, digital marketers and Instagram influencers, which is why we will often be surprised with amazing open-source resources and software, and create with no restrictions whatsoever.

 

Author: Nina Petrov, ninapetrov.com

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What Recent Google Algorithm Updates Mean for Your SEO Efforts


search engine optimization

Do Google algorithm updates lead to sleepless nights for your SEO reseller team? Does your agency spend a lot of time trying to understand the impact of Google's most recent update? This article is meant to help agency owners and their teams cut through a lot of confusion surrounding algorithm updates. Although some Google algorithm updates target content quality and others link quality, they all share one thing in common: the desire to show relevant search results to users of Google's search engine. Google knows that if they fail to provide high-quality search results, users will simply seek out alternative options. Although Bing and Yahoo do not appear to be much of a threat at this point, Amazon and Facebook could easily sneak up on Google if they let down their guard. Because Google understands that so much rides on providing quality search results, they release a number of core updates each year and as many as 300 smaller updates to tweak their algorithm. The next time Google releases a new algorithm update, we recommend that you view that update as a tweak to provide more relevant search results. Below, we will outline three timeless principles you can follow for all of your clients' campaigns regardless of what Google throws at you.

 

Searcher Intent Is The Foundation

 

We recommend you spend a good amount of time understanding the intent of the user during the search process. Google has answers to searchers' questions already pre-ordered, so they're simply waiting for users to ask a question. The two primary ways searchers ask questions is through voice search and keyboard searches. We will tackle each one separately and provide tips to optimize for each method of search. Voice search is quickly rising in popularity and many websites have not made changes to their site to optimize for voice search. Optimizing your clients' websites for voice search will put you one or even two steps ahead of the competition. The most important thing to understand about voice search is that queries are conversational in nature. Voice searchers tend to search as they talk and ask questions as they would to a normal person. For example, if a searcher was looking for a cell phone repair company in Tampa, they might say something like "Find a cell phone repair company near me"  or "Which cell phone repair companies are open right now?" Voice searchers are less likely to add a geographic modifier like keyboard searchers do. As a result, we recommend that you create an FAQ that answers common questions such as the ones above. We further recommend working answers into your blog posts and service pages where appropriate.

 

Optimizing for keyboard search requires that you understand which keywords bring users to your website. Jumping into Google Search Console or utilizing third-party tools such as ahrefs.com or SEMRush will provide you with the keyword research you need. If you have an AdWords account, you can also use Keyword Planner to find new keywords or simply use the keywords that are converting well in AdWords.

 

For most businesses, keyword research is fairly straightforward as users typically type in the service they're looking for coupled with the geographic location they live in. For example, if someone is searching for a home improvement company in Sacramento, they typically type in "Home improvement companies Sacramento" or "Sacramento home improvement company."   Although it can be difficult to add these phrases to your marketing copy as they are quite awkward, keywords of this nature can be added to your site’s title tags. Once keyword research is completed, utilize these newfound keywords in your marketing copy and future blog posts.

 

Create Cornerstone Content

 

As you are creating these new blog posts, please follow the tips below to maximize the potential rankings impact of each blog post. The most important thing to understand is that reader expectations have changed over the past five years. Readers used to be content with 500-word blog posts. That is no longer the case. Google rewards blog posts in excess of 2,000 words in length with page one rankings. The screenshot below shows the average number of words for content with page one rankings.

 

graph

 

Long-form content outperforms shorter blog post for a myriad of reasons including the ability to add substantially more keywords and the ability to go into greater depth. A typical blog reader comes to your website looking for solutions to a problem they're facing in which your company specializes. If your blog post provides a detailed step-by-step solution to that problem, you will be rewarded with higher rankings and improve time on page. Google uses the amount of time a user spends reading a blog post as a quality indicator. Content that provides incredible levels of detail that users need to reference continually as they solve the problem garners the most time on page for obvious reasons. In the past, many agencies believed that their clients did not want to provide this level of content as they were giving away valuable information for free. Any lost business will pale in comparison to increasing website traffic and new customers. Many visitors to a blog will read one, two, or more of your blogs before deciding to do business with you. Because you spent time helping them with no expectation of return, you position yourself as a thought leader and someone who puts the customer first. Those that give the most tend to receive the most.

 

Understanding the Role of Artificial Intelligence

 

Google now utilizes machine learning to further aid in their quest to provide unmatched search results to their users. Machine learning helps Google sort through the incredible amount of data created on the web each day. It parses through that data to look for patterns that help provide high-quality search results. Follow the three tips below to help Google's RankBrain understand that your website provides valuable information for searchers.

  1. Link building: Now that you created great content, is important to attract links from other websites to your blog posts and other important pages on your website. Google views links as votes for that content and for other resource pages on your website. This is an area where many SEO agencies struggle. Many do not have relationships with other websites. If you find that your agency is in this situation, we recommend that you partner with a white label SEO agency who has a wide variety of relationships with websites in several verticals.
  2. Keyword research: Focus on medium-tail keywords as they tend to convert at a higher rate than shorter keywords. RankBrain prefers longer keywords due to their high specificity.
  3. Content quality: Create user-centric blog content, white papers, and other forms of content that help potential customers grow their business and solve difficult problems.

Following the tips above will help you create a more consistent approach for your SEO clients and eliminate the strategic lurching that can often occur when new algorithm updates drop. The tips above will act as true north for your clients' SEO efforts. The next time an algorithm update drops, view it as a refinement of past updates centered around an effort to create better search results rather than a seemingly incongruent update that seems random in nature.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post; we hope that you will apply what you read here now and in the future.

 

BIO

Adam Stetzer holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published on the topics of Internet marketing, absenteeism, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity and safety, and culture. He has founded several technology firms, and is currently CEO at HubShout, a white label SEO reseller firm. In his 25 year career he has worked with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, LendingTree, American Express and ChevronTexaco. Adam has advised over 1,000 small business owners and blogs frequently.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamstetzer/
Adam Stetzer head shot

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Best Photo Editing Services Reviews


Stop wasting your time trying to find inexpensive and high-quality image editing services. Look through these 10 photo editing services reviews with before and after examples to make the right choice and not to spend money for nothing.

 

I’ve chosen this studio portrait because it is quite difficult to edit for amateurs. I’ve asked all photo editing services to fix image background, do something with this too orange light on the model’s face, clean her skin, adjust small details on her body and face.

 

I sent one shot to 10 image editing services and gave them identical instructions. While selecting websites, I studied a few reviews and used the articke about top 25 photo editing services review written by Jennifer Mulrow, a professional photographer.

 

Now it’s time to test and find out whether these services are worth our money and effort.

 

  1. FixThePhoto

 fixthephoto

 

Pros:

  • High-End photo retouching
  • Realistic results
  • Fast turnaround
  • Useful blog
  • A huge choice of photo editing plug-ins in the shop
  • Clear pricing system

 

FixThePhoto is a professional photo editing service that works with all photography genres and can handle any photo editing level. The prices are reasonable and understandable, there are a lot of before and after photo editing examples and all of them are at the high level and can be zoomed in.

 

Before placing your order, you may get a free quote. Having attached the photos via website/DropBox/WeTransfer/email, you may write the instructions, add examples of what you need, your portfolio photos for giving your edits a consistent look, and mark out the areas you need to be fixed.

 

My photo editing looks professional – Fix The Photo retouchers paid attention to small details, even slight scratches on the chair were removed. I like their decision regarding the yellow spot of light on the face – they didn’t eliminate it completely but added the effect of soft light. The work with the background is great, the gradient is light and smooth. Her hands look better.

 

  1. WeEditPhotos

 weeditphotos

 

Pros:

  • Low prices
  • Very professional portrait retouching
  • A detailed description of services
  • Quick turnaround

 

WeEditPhotos makes a positive first impression, has a nice website design and an interesting blog for beginning photographers. Their before/after image editing examples allow you to see the changes made by scrolling the lever in the middle of the image. You will read a very detailed description of each type of photo editing service they provide to know exactly what you will get.

 

Unlike the previous photo editing service, the approach to dealing with the light-and-dark pattern on the model’s skin was slightly different, but it looks good too. Dodge & Burn is perfect. The texture of the background was preserved, but the color became smoother. Now the model’s face and body skin looks natural and perfectly airbrushed.

 

  1. Wedding Retouching Service

WeddingRetouching

 

Pros:

  • Cheap batch photo editing
  • Discounts for bulk orders
  • Fast turnaround in high wedding seasons

 

The name of this photo editor service tells in what photo genre these guys specialize in. WeddingRetouching is engaged in all kinds of portrait photo retouching, offers discounts on wedding images if you order batch edit (color correction of 700 shots, image retouching of 20 shots at the basic level + 5 shots with advanced image retouching for $99). The examples are very professional and look like magazine covers.

 

I like the overall mood of the edited portrait. These guys removed the yellow color making the face evenly and properly lit. Also, the shot became voluminous. Light body reshaping and work with fabric is realistic and looks nice. But they didn’t remove the scratch on the chair which is not so important and doesn’t spoil the overall photo composition.

 

  1. High End Beauty Retouching

 4. High End Beauty Retouching

 

Pros:

  • High-level magazine retouch
  • Creative approach to picture retouching

 

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

 

This photo editing service is engaged exclusively in High-End and Magazine photo retouching, so the price tag is also higher – from $10 per photo and above.

 

In my instructions to this photo I specified – “Do something interesting with a yellow spot on the face or remove it completely”, and they chose the first variant. The skin retouching is very nice, the background was also modified well, but they changed the color to blue and smoothed its texture. I saw a slight body correction along with a straightened strap on her right shoulder. Overall, I’m satisfied with result.

 

  1. Nude Retouching Service

NudeRetouching 

 

Pros:

  • Deep skin retouching
  • Many examples

 

Cons:

  • Narrow focus of image editing

 

The same as the previous photo editing service, Nude Retouching Service is rather narrow-focused. Boudoir and nude photo editing is their main specialization. Their website resembles a fashion magazine. Prices are average – from $5 to $15 per image. The pricing is very convenient, with a detailed description of what you pay for.

 

Skin retouching and body correction are performed very professionally and naturally. You won’t find any flaws even zooming in, but her skin tone looks a little bit strange. They decided not to darken the light on the face and simply make it more muted and soft. As a result, the face is slightly different in color, it is especially noticeable on her lips.

 

  1. Photorelive

 Photorelive

 

 

Pros:

  • Fast turnaround
  • Modest prices

Cons:

  • Outdated website design
  • Low-quality examples
  • Inattention to details
  • Many problems with order placement

 

According to many photo editing services reviews on photography forums, Photorelive is considered to be the best picture edit service online. I totally disagree with this opinion.

Their website is inconvenient. At the first visit, the website shocks you with its design of the early 2000s – incomprehensible patterns, colors, minimum of information and examples of low-resolution images. Yes, it is cheaper than the previous photo editing services, but when I see their examples of work, I feel like I went back for 15 years.

When I ordered picture retouching, I thought it was funny to choose the intensity of skin blurring. Why is it necessary at all? Why can't you just do realistically? I have had plenty of problems with the order – I even have a confirmation by a phone number.

After receiving the result, I noticed that the extra items on the background weren’t removed, although the wall was smoothed. They got the best out of the yellow spot on the face. The skin was retouched well, but the small details weren’t corrected.

 

  1. Retouche

 

Retouche

 

Pros:

  • Beautiful before and after examples

 

Cons:

  • Inconvenient design
  • Strange order system
  • Not much information about services

 

If the website of the previous photo editing service for photographers seemed outdated, then these guys even didn’t try to make something stylish. I don't know who worked on the design, but the full-page coconut, small font with grey highlights and a transparent background make your head ache after 10 seconds of viewing – are you serious, guys?

 

The most absurd thing is the examples of image editing work. In fact, they are edited at a great, professional level, but it is all hidden under the cover of a terrible website.

 

I didn't expect to receive my order at all but I got it and it was pretty decent. They removed the glow from the face but the lips’ brightness was preserved, which is strange. There is an abundance of shadows in some parts of her body but in general, the skin looks good. The work with the background wasn’t carried out well as on the examples above.

 

  1. RetouchGem

 Retouchgem

 

Pros:

  • Decent quality of image retouching
  • Creative approach

 

Cons:

  • Inconvenient website
  • No pricing

 

The photo editing service welcomes you with a fantastic portrait, which apparently their retouchers have been working on for hours. Then you will notice text, a lot of text. If you go to their portfolio, you will see dozens of examples but they are all in small resolution. If you zoom in slightly, the slide show will be enabled. Some of the examples are great, some are pretty weird.

 

Excellent examples are placed together with descriptions of what is included in certain photo editing services. Their image resolution is decent and it is convenient to view before/after pictures. What about the prices? The website doesn’t feature any pricing, so you will find out the prices after making an order.

 

My image cost me $8. Retouchers got the best out of the yellow glow by preserving it and spreading all over the face. The background was made colder and they added a blue tint. All this contributed to the unusual mood of the shot.

 

  1. Fotofix

Fotofix 

 

Pros:

  • Many levels of photo editing

Cons:

  • Outdated website design
  • Examples of works in low resolution
  • Registration is required

 

A big mystery for me is the tasteless and outdated websites of photo editing services online. People who use their services are associated with creative artists. When you see that the creators of the website do not care about it, why should you think that retouchers will care about your pictures well?

I think the main Fotofix problem is quite obvious. They created the website in 2007 and it looks like it hasn't been updated for 12 years. Examples of poor-quality works and the prices in Fotofix credits raised a lot of questions.

 

As for image retouching, they chose the strangest way among all photo editing services. Instead of working separately with the glow, they just desaturated all the yellow colors turning it almost into B&W. Now the shot looks like a black-and-white picture with an orange spot on the top. The model’s skin looks too pale.

 

  1. PhotoEditingCompany

Photoeditingcompany 

 

Pros:

  • Cheap

 

Cons:

  • Many website bags
  • It is almost impossible to make an order
  • No pricing

This Australian photo editing outsourcing service is quite popular in the USA. I visited their website several times, but recently it has been updated and changed the name to Mist. An update is a good thing when it leads to improvements. In case of PhotoEditingCompany, it caused the opposite.

 

80% of the windows and pictures aren’t loading, don’t work or are completely empty. It is impossible to test the website. The design is decent but unfinished. There are no prices, the button for making an order has disappeared. To place an order, you had to contact them directly on Facebook and by mail.

 

Image retouching cost $5 and I would call it average. The yellow glow was completely removed and the light on the face skin was evened out. But there is a big problem – the face began to look artificial, as the skin tone is different from the body skin color. The background wasn’t touched, except the color that has acquired another shade.

 

 

  1. DigitalPhotoEditingServices

11. DigitalPhotoEditingServices 

 

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Large number of image editing services

 

Cons:

  • Disappointing quality
  • Examples of works in low resolution
  • You can’t find out the price before ordering

 

I worked with this outsourcing photo editing service for the first time. As I understand, now it has a different name – Invensis, although the address is the same. The site looks fine, I don't really like it, but it doesn’t put me off either.

 

The examples are not professional and they have a 250x100 resolution, so you can’t zoom in. Furthermore, the larger pictures have a watermark. To make an order, you need to specify a lot of personal data and I don’t think it is necessary. There is no pricing at all, you just place an order and only then find out how much it will cost.

 

I paid $5 for image retouching but I didn’t like what I received. They just brightened the picture, because even the line on the wall wasn’t removed. The skin retouching isn’t realistic and the yellow color has already begun to lose details, especially around her eyes.

 

  1. Photza

 Photza

 

Pros:

  • Convenient website
  • Clear pricing
  • Quick ordering

 

Cons:

  • Picture retouching at a very low level
  • Ignoring all the requests given in the instructions

 

The website of this picture editing outsourcing service looks quite professional – a lot of decent photo editing samples, various discounts, convenient pricing with a detailed description of everything that is included in the price.

 

In general, the expectations of this image edit service were huge. When I receive the shot, I had to double check several times, I couldn’t believe what they did. Maybe the problem is in the monitor they used, otherwise I don't know how to explain it.

 

They just darkened her skin. In some parts, you may see clear strokes, but the funny thing is that the background remained untouched. The model’s skin was smoothed in some places, but it became too flat on the face.

 

The glare under the earring drives me mad, because they have eliminated all the glare that gave volume to her skin. But this particular glare has been preserved and it looks like a white spot.

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6 Digital Design Tips to Help You Build Your Website


digital design

Are you an entrepreneur looking to build your own website? Here’s a quick pick-me-up for non-designers to guide you through the basics.

Graphics designers all over the world generally prefers Mac over PCs, so congrats if you’re on one. Apple has been consistently stronger in colour display and design support, but either way, get your device ready and let’s dive right in!

  1. Use authentic software

It is rather pricey to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, but you will soon find out that it’s far superior than using free, cracked software. Be it Photoshop or Illustrator, updates are usually unavailable when you’re on a cracked software. It’s also very time consuming to look for a legitimate crack - most of the time you just end up with malware.

Freebies are not worth a virus-ridden, lagging device, especially when the Mac itself is not cheap. Don’t waste time looking for the latest software crack, head straight to Adobe’s official site and get a subscription.

Students get the software at a discounted price, but even if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur, it’s worth paying full price. View shelling out the money as an investment but not an expense.

  1. Do not overdo it

Once you have your digital design tools all set up, here’s a simple design rule of thumb that should always be at the back of your mind – less is more.

Adobe design software comes with a range of fonts and you might be tempted to put them all to use, but consistency is key. One or at most, two styles are enough: one for the headers (title and sub-headers), and one for the body. If you must use multiple fonts, try to be as organized as possible. Make sure there is strong reason behind each change of font so it’s not confusing to the reader.

As with the saying, ‘simple English is good English,’ any sort of creative work should be focused primarily on getting the message across. If you’re not sure whether you’re overdoing it, come back to your design in a few days with fresh eyes. You’ll instantly notice if something sticks out.

  1. Leave appropriate blank spaces

This might be quite counter-intuitive to the beginner, but leaving blank spaces actually adds to your design. A cluttered layout is overwhelming and confusing. Readers want to be clearly guided as to where to look, so direct their attention to what’s important by leaving lots of blanks around it. Don’t fill up white spaces thinking you’re maximizing your real estate; a messy layout only deters your audience.

Apple’s ads are prime examples. Notice how they’re always ultra-simple yet super impactful? That’s the way to do it.

  1. Keep your objects aligned

Sometimes structure is vital to visual appeal. While we want to be unorthodox and creative, a solid framework gives your design a strong backbone so interesting features pop. Aligning key shapes and texts also makes your layout more presentable and professional. Once you’ve identified the objects you want to align, highlight them in one go and choose the way you want to line them up or distribute them.

  1. Choose palettes made by professionals

Here on Colour Lovers, there are millions of palettes to choose from. Unsure what to go for? You can decide based on the mood of your project or brand, or simply go for the palettes of the year.

Not only is it a dreadful process to pick your colours one by one, it’s also going to take a while before you get it right. Opting for pre-selected combinations will help you jump-start your design process.

  1. Conduct thorough research

The prevalent style of design varies from culture to culture, so make sure you conduct adequate research before you start putting things together to appeal to your audience. If you’re targeting a foreign market, consider installing a VPN on your Mac or PC to change your virtual location to the target locale. With a changed location, you’ll see search results as if you’re in the area, so you can take inspiration from competitor sites. Even if you’re going for an international and professional look, a VPN can still be of help – just change your location to the United States and take a leaf off their book.

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7 Ways To Protect Your Kids From Cybersecurity Threats


cyber security

Cybercrime is a very serious offence involving computers and networks. Several people are still victims these days. The activity ranges from hacking into personal accounts, child pornography, copyright infringement, sextortion, and unwarranted mass surveillance. Cyber attacks are very diverse and dealing with them isn't such an easy task. According to The New York Times, companies will never reveal information about a cyber attack on their systems until evidence is provided.

The internet is one place through which most of these attacks come from. Instead of planning to recover from an attack, it is better to protect yourself so that the attack doesn’t happen in the first place. We would be looking at seven different ways you can keep the security threats away from you.

Protecting Yourself from Cyber Security Threats

cyber security

1. Use stronger passwords

The use of stronger passwords locks down your accounts, making it nearly impossible for intruders to gain access. When signing into different accounts ensure you don’t repeat the password every time. If they could get one of your passwords, it means they can get all your passwords. Every password you use should be a minimum of 10 characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers and a variety of symbols. To keep your passwords on lockdown, generate stronger passwords, and for easier remembrance, it is advisable to use a password manager for security.

2. Change your social media settings

Your social media settings provide whatever a hacker would need to get into your account. Sharing important and private information on your social media accounts is not advisable. It is important to use a two-steps authentication method to protect your account further, ensuring that the hackers have to go through an extra step to get into your account. If they were able to get your password, you would be notified of an attempted login, after which you can change your password immediately. Always think well before inputting any information on your social media accounts. If they are not compulsory, then leave them out.

3. Teaching your kids about the internet

Internet Safety For Kids  is very necessary as your kids are as vulnerable as you are. If you can protect yourself from these security threats, don't assume that they can't still get to you through your children. Cybercriminals are very intent in their operations and some may go the extra mile to get to you. You can let your children know everything they need to know about online bullying, cyberstalking and other forms of harassment they can receive by being on the internet. You should also teach them how to prevent them.

4. Backup your data

Ensure you back up every important data on your device. There are several cloud storage platforms that possess enough space to back up your data frequently. Having only one copy of your important data is very risky, as a virus attack or other forms of attack on your system can lead to permanent loss of your data. Even if a technical problem occurs, there’s a backup.

5. Be careful when using public Wi-Fi

When being mindful of cyber threats, making use of personal network instead of public Wi-Fi is very important. If the Wi-Fi is the only option available, ensure that it is well protected and you know the Wi-Fi vendor providing the Wi-Fi. Also ensure your Wi-Fi is always turned off, except when intending to connect to a personal or known Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi would automatically connect to an open network close-by. Hackers use various Wi-Fi strategies to get into your device.

6. Regular software updates and Antivirus scans

Installing antivirus software and updating it regularly is one way to keep your system protected. Norton Antivirus is one of the good softwares that help you carry out scans, identify, and nullify threats on your system. Updating your system software and using the latest security updates helps keep your system in check, and prevent security incidents.

7. Learning how scammers operate

Scammers and cybercriminals have specific methods they use to gain access to your device from the internet.

Before clicking on anything when surfing the net, think twice. Is what you're about to click necessary? Was it expected? Do you know who sent it? Don't just click it because you're eager to see what is in it. Someone somewhere is also eager to see what is in your system. Stay cautious.

Once you've mastered the various ways to keep yourself safe from these attacks, you can begin to tell people about it till everyone is aware. Keeping yourself and your kids safe from identity theft and other forms of cyber attack should be a priority.

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Things to Keep in Mind to Make Your Website Look More Attractive


website design

All the web designers wish that they work on a well designed and formatted website. However, it doesn't mean that the website has to look all glitter and flawless. It means that how professional and sophisticated your site looks. Reason being, a number of websites are available online that are attractive but are unable to enchant and captivate potential customers. Therefore, web designing is crucial if you want your business to grow when it comes to web designing.

 

This article has clubbed together some of the top ways in which you can make your website look more attractive.

 

  • Keep the basic design simple

You must have noticed that certain websites have dozens of highlights, drop shadows, borders, and colors over the webpage. This would look colorful but might often fail to attract the customers. If you are planning to create a web design that it is loaded with colors and lines, this might be the right to drop it. Reason being, visitors will find it really hard to hunt for the relevant information and might consequently drop the idea of visiting your site.

 

In this era, minimalism in everything is becoming more and more wanted. Therefore, you should adopt a more sophisticated design that looks neat and tidy when approached. Adding tons of flashy elements will ultimately turn off the impression of your content and services provided.

 

  • Make the navigation over your website easy

An ultimate goal that every skillful web designer aspires to achieve is to give the best customer experience. A responsive web designer will make both the ends meet to get the best out of what is available. One of the awesome ways by which he can achieve this is causing the navigation over your website simple. Customers are in a great hurry to hunt for the required information.

 

Therefore, the website should look clean, neat and well organized so that the customers can get what they want easily with just a few hits.

 

  • Use the white space thoughtfully

Having a cluttered website design makes it tough for any visitor to be able to differentiate between various thoughts and ideas. It is necessarily the empty space that is devoid of any text or image and is strategically used to give a neat layout to the site. Moreover, white space determines the readability of the content published on your website along with deciding how appealing it looks to any visitor.

 

  • Use big and high-quality images

Using high-quality images may take a bit of time to get loaded, however, will make your website appear one in a million. Using these high-quality images will enable your site to look more professional. This will attract customers and eventually increase the traffic on your website.

 

Therefore, factors like choice of font, quality of images, use of CTA buttons etc. are essential when it comes to web designing. The first impression over your potential customers must be great. This will make them to visit our website more often.

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How to Build Your Website to be Safe From Cyber Attacks


cyber security

Today, at least 55% of all websites are built on content management systems (CMS). Data from Web Technology Surveys show that only 45.4% of websites are coded from scratch.
While CMS platforms such as WordPress present an easier way to build websites and also come with a lot of SEO tools and advantages, they are not without downsides.
The key one is cybersecurity with studies showing that most come with security vulnerabilities. This explains why websites built on CMS are among the top hacking targets on the internet.
Whether you are using a CMS or coding your website from scratch, it is essential that you take precautionary cybersecurity measures.
Remember that the internet users of today are highly informed and super-conscious about cybersecurity and are therefore likely stigmatise your brand at the first sign security loopholes.
Here are some cybersecurity tips to take into account when building a website using a CMS. Some of these measures are also applicable to hand-coded websites.

Ensure secure hosting
Before everything else, you need to ensure that you subscribe to a reputable and adequately secure web hosting.
The first step to determining the best web hosting provider is by reading other customers’ online reviews. It is important to note that some of these reviews may be faked and therefore only settle for a well-known provider.
Also, ensure that the hosting provider offers the necessary tools to secure your site and its functionality. Some of the things to look for include the SSL certificate and an SFTP option. CMS platforms such as WordPress provide free SSL certificates.
Another thing worth checking is whether the hosting provider offers backup tools. These tools protect your data from loss in the event of a system failure. While the task of backing up your data relies on you, you should ensure that the hosting provider has sound backup procedures and they back up their servers regularly.

You should also check whether their servers are maintained adequately and have a published security protocol.
Have a web-application firewall (WAF) in place

Another must-have tool in the website building process is a web application firewall (WAF). This tool can be software or hardware based, and its main purpose includes filtering unwanted traffic between your website server and data connection.
Common forms of cybersecurity issues addressed by WAF include hacks, DDoS attacks, Brute Force attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and Zero-day exploits.
Even better, this tool offers virtual patching before CMS platforms release virtual patches. The virtual patching is on a continuous basis meaning that hackers have no room to exploit unseen security loopholes.

On top of that, a WAF increases site speed and performance via top-level caching mechanisms. In the unlikely event that your website gets infected, a WAF greatly enhances the ability to clean your website faster and efficiently.

If you are using WordPress, there are numerous WAF plugins that you can install on your website. Popular plugins include Wordfence, Sucuri, Cloudflare, Stackpath, and NinjaFirewall.

Have Monitoring tools in Place
Website security monitoring tools are meant to help you to scan for vulnerabilities on your website and take the necessary measures.
Without these tools, you are likely to remain in the dark on the potential dangers facing your website until it is too late.
For most CMS platforms, there are multiple free tools that you can install to receive updates on your website security. The most common with WordPress users is SiteLock, a tool that identifies and fixes threats.
Other common monitoring tools that you should look for include Scan My Server, Sucuri, Quttera, Detectify, Web Inspector, and Netsparker Cloud. Each of these tools has unique monitoring functions, and therefore you should explore each and its benefits.
Use a VPN

A VPN is another must-have tool for your website security. With cyber attacks becoming complicated by the day, cybersecurity experts are recommending an extra layer of security on top what is commonly used.
What a VPN does is to encrypt your internet activity hence keeping off snoopers including your ISP, government agencies and cyber attackers.
In most instances, hackers must identify your hosting details to be able to perpetrate attacks on your website. A VPN alongside SSL completely hide your activities and CMS usage behind multiple layers of encryption.

Whether you are building your own site or for a client, a VPN will help you hide your trails and therefore keep attackers at bay. When shopping for a VPN, only settle for reputable brands and do research on where they stand in terms of speed, security, and accessibility.
There are many VPN options out there, but from our own experience, NordVPN is the best for website security.
Final Verdict
Website security should be a top priority for every web developer irrespective of whether they are coding from scratch or using a CMS. The website building process should involve measures such as researching and installing highly reputable security tools.

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