What not to wear…a HUGE © WORD!

So this WAS going to be an artist profile type article. Not that I do much profiling with those ever, I usually just repost the artist’s work, say “this is cool” and link to their site. But today’s will be link-only. Take a look at Jeff Miracola’s site, and browse through some of the images in his portfolio. Great work, BUT there’s a GIANT “COPYRIGHT JEFF MIRACOLA” directly in front of every image. And in most cases its so big it delivers a kick in the nads to the art itself.

UPDATE: Jeff’s site no longer has giant watermarks on the work! Yay. We can see clearly now. And thanks Jeff for the response below! I’m only noticing it 3 months after you posted it! Sorry.

So I’m shelving this post in the Freelance Tips category. Please don’t repeat this mistake when posting work from your portfolio.  As soon as you publish something original, you’ve copywritten it. And the internet is a publishable medium. So when I hit Publish on this blog article, I’ve got some legal rights just by doing so. Is that as good as downloading a copyright application and sending it into the Copyright Office. No. But do you think newspapers submit copyright applications for every article they publish? Nope. That’s why the copyright laws are the way they are. Publish something, and you’ve got a right to it. Same goes for art. 

Here’s the only semi-harmful scenarios I can imagine for Jeff (or anyone) not-watermarking their images….

1: Someone decides to print the art and sell it. Well, a 1000 pixel wide image on the internet is BIG, but print wise that resolution would be terrible. That size might print a quality copy around 2 inches wide.  I doubt micro-prints would be a hot seller on Etsy.com.

2. Someone decides to print unwatermarked art, for the malicious reason that they just like it and want to hang it up in their locker. Harmless right. Well maybe the artist could have sold this fan a real print of their work. So a sale is lost because this fan can print a low rez copy….  I don’t believe that. If someone really appreciates an artist’s work AND they have the money, they’ll buy a high rez print. If they don’t have the money, let ’em print it low-brow, and  they’ll be advertising the artist to anyone that passes by their locker. 

3. Someone decides to pass off the artist’s work as their own. Okay, thats possible. Maybe someone will sign up on Elance.com and claim “I did this, hire me”. But if someone is going to stoop to that level, there’s nothing stopping them from downloading watermarked images and saying  “Hi, my name is Jeff Mircola Nice to meet you, look what I drew.”

Finally,  someone may comment (or at least think it) that this seems a little hypocritical coming from someone that sells video downloads with the CartoonSmart logo somewhere in the video. Well that logo is not watermarked overtop the software OR the script editor. So at no time would someone be like “ack, I can’t see behind that damn logo.” So I consider it non-intrusive, and not taking away from the content in the same sense that a watermark takes away from art.  Art can be obstructed.  Training videos can’t be obstructed like that.

Plus, I’m not saying that art shouldn’t be signed. Art should be signed.  Two great places:

1) Bottom Left

2) Bottom Right. 



Pay for stuff in a Flash game?! Waaaahhht.

I don’t know much about this company Whirled, but they’ve got some serious prize money for Flash games ($7500 for first place!!)   And if that wasn’t enough to get you coding,  they’ve got a development kit for incorporating micro-transactions into your game. So for example if you made some kind of Conan type game, you can pay to upgrade from his sword to a bazooka. And if you’re not interested in making a game, they have plenty on their homepage to play. 

Dynamic Text in Flash Video

By now you’ve probably seen one of the Flash movies where  you enter someone’s name, hit play, and then magically see that name inside a video. Not sure what I mean?  Here’s an example. Well if you want to know a bit more about how that’s done, here’s a recent blog post by Michael Coleman from Adobe. Enjoy.

First Totally Free ToonBoom Animate tutorial…

So even though I’m still learning Toon Boom Animate, I’m going to post a quick demo on using the Brush tool. And although the brush tool in most drawing programs is pretty self-explanatory, Animate has an incredibly well done vector brush tool. And if you’re using a Wacom tablet, you can make use of the pressure sensitivity features to really finesse your line.  And as you can see from the screengrab below, I didn’t create any works of art, but if you watch the video you can listen to me gawk at the fantastic-ness of having a smooth brush tool for vector illustration…

Toon Boom Animate: Brush tool demo movie: Click here to watch in your browser, or Click here for a zipped version of the movie.

Some Awesome Business Cards!

Most of these cards are amazing. Click here or the pic below to see 40 of them.  The non-paper ones or crazy die-cuts are probably unrealistic for a lowly web designer on a budget, but some of these could inspire you to try something different with your cards. 

But if not…  just last week I was talking with a friend of mine about whether or not he should print cards for his web development business. I think its worth doing, but most likely he’ll probably hand out less than 100 of them ever. So consider quality-over-quantity. And I’m 99% sure this company Moo.com is the same printer another buddy of mine used a while back to print his cards. One side of each card was a different slice of an image from his Flickr account, the other side was the usual name, email, website, etc.  And these were great quality cards he had. I was tempted to get more cards I’ll never give out. 

Tutorials on the horizon…

So for lack of some great random art find on the internet this morning, I’ll just update everyone on some lessons coming down the pipeline. 

First, some awesome iPhone App lessons! I’m still watching these myself, but that means they are in-hand and almost ready to roll out. And in case you don’t already know the iPhone development kit is free (you just have to develop on an Apple). So the software to make apps won’t cost you a thing. Now if you want to sell / publish to the App store that costs a one time fee of $100. Not per app, don’t worry.  And of course consider  the $$$ you can make by selling apps. Actually let someone else consider it for you… Estimates on iPhone sales.  And unlike most CartoonSmart tutorials, where you’ll learn something to either spice up your website or spice up some clients, this lesson could help you create an actual product you sell. 

 Also complete and in the review stage, this block dropping Flash game might look familiar . This will be an Actionscript 3 gaming tutorial from the same great instructor that taught the basic tank game tutorial release a few days ago.

And the next After Effects lesson will have to do with this effect of breaking apart a still image and making it look 3D. So layering it, and moving elements separately. Plus we’ll throw some snow in there (or other particles) to really make it come alive.  One possible freelance use for this lesson would be doing this to wedding photos. I saw a photographers website where he advertised this service, and it wasn’t cheap. 

Finally, I spent a while this last weekend learning more of Toon Boom Animate. I mentioned earlier that I’d be doing some free “while I learn it myself” lessons linked up on the blog here for Animate, and someone at the company must have been paying attention because you’ll notice CartoonSmart.com now has some footer banners for Toon Boom. By the way, they are the first company I’ve ever let advertise on the site. I’ve proudly rejected every past advertiser because I didn’t feel they were worth recommending (proudly meaning,  I just didn’t reply to their email)… Anyway after getting my hands dirty with the software this weekend, I can definitely say they have thought about what Flash animators have been doing previously, and how to improve on that. And crossing over from Flash to Animate isn’t difficult (both programs have symbols, a Library, the timeline is similar, etc).

So again, look for some free lessons from me soon, and in the meantime, download their Learning Edition version of the program. Its free, and there’s no expiration on the trial period. The learning edition just has some watermarking on the published files, so you’ll want to pay for it before you submit your piece to the Oscars for best animated short. 

Sticker Graffiti & Sticker Legiti

 StickerBot.com emailed me and inspired this post so lets give them some credit:  they’ve got a very sweet deal for December. One of those, buy x amount, get x /2 amount for free. ( so buy 10,000 stickers get 5,000 free).  But those are  “legit” quality, vinyl stickers. If you don’t mind stenciling your stickers with a USPS label on them, then boom, you’re a sticker graffiti artist!… Click the pic above to jump to this guy’s Flickr collection of sticker graffiti he shot around Seattle. Some of these are really creative. Plus I love the idea of someone using hundreds of USPS labels not as intended

Here’s a few more sticker art / sticker graffiti sites ( comment with some more please) ….



StickerTrader  (watch their video below, its very cool) 

Finally check out this book on Amazon, Sticker City , I bought this  a while back when I was thinking of teaching a tutorial on sticker design. Then I realized, this was too broad of a topic to boil down to a couple hours of teaching.