Premium Spotlight

Recover Lost Files With iSkysoft Data Recovery For Mac + Giveaway

It has happened to all of us at one point or another. You write a 4,000 word report for your company and the next day when you open your computer you find it has been deleted by a virus. Or you took dozens of cool pictures of your birthday party and saved them on your computer’s drive but your nephew deleted them by accident. Or maybe you were working on a project and your machine crashed and when you re-started the computer the file went missing as you hadn’t saved it.

If you have suffered from any such setbacks we have a solution for you. It’s called iSkysoft.

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The company started in 2004 when a group of young and energetic computer lovers gathered together. They started developing multimedia software for Windows. But soon Apple started gaining more users, they discovered that there was a gap in the market as Mac users needed multimedia software and there were little solutions available then. By 2005 iSkysoft Studio had started developing multimedia software which seamlessly supported the Macintosh platform. Today iSkysoft Studio is working in diverse fields. They started with only DVD software for Mac but soon launched more products for videos, YouTube, iPad, iPod, and iPhone. In this article I will focus on their software which lets you do data recovery on Mac. Gone are the days when you needed professional help from experts of the field to recover your lost data.

Today things have changed. With iSkysoft Data Recovery for Mac, anybody can do the task himself without needing any coding knowledge. This software lets you recover lost files in just three simple steps: Scan, Preview and Recover. The software comes in four recovery modes which recover virtually all data loss cases. Using the latest powerful scanning algorithms, the software can scan any Mac based hard drive or external hard drive without deleting any data and allows you to recover images, videos, documents, music, archive files and email messages very quickly and easily. Let me show you how it’s done. First of all the four methods of recovery allowed by the software are:

  1. Lost data recovery
  2. Raw data recovery
  3. Partition recovery
  4. Resume recovery

I deal with each one of them below.

1) Lost Data Recovery Lost Data Recovery mode allows you to recover lost data when it has been accidentally deleted by the pressing of Command and Delete keys together, deleted by emptying of the trash can, corrupted files, etc. When you click the Lost Data Recovery mode the window will appear like the one shown below.

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You should now select the drive where you have lost your files and then you should click the Scan button on top to start the scanning process. In case your drive doesn’t show in the list you should click the Refresh Drives button at the bottom and it should appear. When the scanning process is completed a new window will open up as shown below. Here you can preview the files before starting the recovery process. In order to recover them, check the files in the list and then click the Recover button to save the files where you desire. It is recommended that you don’t save them in the same position where you lost them but in some other drives.

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2) Raw Data Recovery You can use this Raw Data Recovery mode to perform a deeper scan and recover the files by their file signature or type. In this recovery mode you are allowed to recover up to 50 types of files which include PNG, JPG, MOV, M4V, M4A, MP3, PAGES, ZIP, and EML. The only disadvantage of this recovery method is that the original file names and file folders will remain unavailable.

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Choose a drive or the complete disk as you want and then click the Scan button. In case you have lost or formatted a partition select the whole disk. You can also try Refresh Drives option if your partition is not in the list. When the scanning process is completed check the files you want and click on the Recover button to save them to an external storage device. 3) Partition Recovery In the main interface of the screen click Partition Recovery to use this recovery option. Choose the disk you wish to recover and then click on Search Partition on the top of the screen to start scanning the lost, formatted, resized and corrupted partitions.

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4) Resume Recovery In some cases the scanning might take hours to complete. If for some reason you had to switch off your computer you can save the scan process until where it was completed and then resume it when you return. Click the Pause or Stop button first and then click the Save Scan Info button in order to save a .res file on your computer.

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Go and check out the software and then let me know what you think in the comments below. Bonus for Readers: 5 lucky SmashingApps readers will be awarded with registration codes for iSkysoft Data Recovery for Mac. You just need to comment about this review here and share it on your social network, and then send the screenshot of it to iSkysoft’s Facebook page. We’ll then choose the lucky ones to send the codes.

2014 is The Year For Professional Web Designers: See How Webydo Is Leading This New Era

2014 is the mark of a new era for the professional web designer. With more platforms and accessories widely available and at reasonable prices, the creative pro’s are stepping up their game. But what does this mean for the industry of the DIY web site builders? So far, we’ve mainly only seen advertisements of these DIY creators boasting that anyone can build a website. While yes, anyone can, the final product less than appealing. Now, moving forward and saving both time and money, designers are looking to take control and not have to resort to such platforms or have to hire a developer, so what’s the answer to this?

Webydo is a SaaS (Software as a Service) AKA a cloud-based service that is providing an online professional platform for designers to work with features they are familiar with like ‘Photoshop or ‘InDesign’. In our case the software is a combination of a website building platform and hosting service where all the features of the software are presented through the browser.

All sites are built and hosted with Webydo resources.

Webydo is a professional online suite that allows designers to create and manage quality HTML websites without writing any code and without the need to rely on a developer. Webydo lets designers bring their designs to life with just a click of a button and to publish an advanced HTML website with a built in Content Management System for the site owner.

Webydo is the bi-product of a community of designers. All features in it were developed by paying attention to the designers’ needs and requirements.

Some of the important features of Webydo are discussed below.

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Professional Features

Webydo allows designers to design within the browser i.e. online with a professional web design software that provides complete control over the different kinds of design elements.

The designer can start from scratch with a blank canvas or use pre-designed layouts as they want.

The software is somewhat akin to Photoshop so the designers won’t face much difficulty in getting acquainted with it and thus spending less time learning a new system and more diving into the creative process.

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Aside from the intuitive design elements, Webydo offers the trail blazing ability for designers to white label or brand their CMS by adding in their or their client’s logo. In addition, designers are able to send branded invoices for services rendered directly from the dashboard.

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Code Free

Webydo is set to change the traditional methods of website designing. As we move into 2014, coding is becoming an idea of the past and code free development platforms are leading the way, and Webydo is taking the lead. Webydo is aimed at the professional designer by allowing them to work without having to hire a developer; they are saving more than 70% of their resources and can allocate more time to the design, the clients and not worrying about how to set up the backend development.

The designer can design his website online and the system will automatically convert the design into an updated HTML code which can be accessed by the Content Management System (or CMS) of the designer’s client.

Cross Platform Code

The code talked about above is a cross-platform code. This means that the code that Webydo will generate will work across multiple browsers and also across multiple devices making it even easier than ever before to create a responsive website.

You see this code is updated to the latest industry standards. Of course it is very frustrating to know that your website is working fine on Chrome but is causing some problems with Firefox.

Or that it loads fine on a desktop computer but causes trouble on a smartphone.

With Webydo you don’t need to worry about such matters.

Articles

Webydo allows you to create elements that are based on a repetitive design. These include blog posts, a collection of products, news feeds, etc. The clients will have the option to update and add new articles from the CMS directly without making any changes to the design elements. All new posts will then follow the same pattern of design or the same design format as the previous posts would.

This is necessary for a consistent look and good overall design. Imagine a website with different articles all written in different kinds of fonts, different kinds of styles in headings, etc. It won’t look either nice or trustworthy.

Webydo was created by designers and for designers who are deciding the future of this trend setting platform. There are currently over 35K designers worldwide we are submitting and voting on new features on Webydo’s Participate page and watching as their suggestions are being turned into a design reality. Webydo is leading the way not only because they are a code free website creator, but because they are actually listening to their community’s needs and making it a reality.

Webydo is made to be affordable for the business professional so they can take on and manage more clients. The free plan offers sites which are accessible through a Webydo subdomain which are automatically generated. If designers wish to upgrade to a premium account later they can surely do so and for an affordable price of $7.9/ month (billed annually) & $9.9/ month (billed biannually). The Premium account allows for unlimited page creation, 2GB of storage and hosting of the custom domain name. The free plan, on the other hand, allows access to all the same professional design features but with a cap of only 15 pages, 1GB of storage and hosting on the Webydo subdomain.

The best way to know a platform is to use it. Go and use the free version of Webydo to design a website and let me know what you feel in the comments below.

Webydo: The Code Free Website Creator Platform For Professional Designers

Let’s say you are a designer who is hired by clients to create websites. The traditional process is to design the picture of the website in Photoshop and get it approved by the client. Once he approves it, you will have to hire a developer or a coder who will then convert that design into hand written HTML code which a web browser understands. Then when that code is uploaded on the server, the website goes live.

But research revealed that under such methods, 70% of the money is spent on the developer. The coding costs too much.
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This is the problem that Webydo, a professional website creator software, is designed to solve.

Webydo is based on the principle which puts the designer in charge. The designer can design a website in the browser itself without needing any coding language. He can upload images, videos, audio files, insert text material and place them anywhere on the page using drag and drop feature. As the designer works on the website, the website builder tool of Webydo automatically converts each design element into code. This goes on in the background and when the site design is completed the designer can download the complete code and submit it to the client.

So you see the code is generated without the need of any developer.

Webydo hunted and hired a group of excellent mathematicians who developed this algorithm which not only generates the code automatically but also makes it very easy for designers and their clients to manage and operate a website.

After its release in 2012, it became an instant hit.

Until now, over 13,000 designers from around the world have created more than 75,000 websites using this software.

Below I discuss some of the important features of Webydo.

Cross platform

Did you know that if your website works fine in Mozilla Firefox then it may not work as well in Chrome? Different web browsers and different mobile operating systems display the same site differently. As a website designer, it is necessary for you to ensure that your code works properly on all browsers and devices.

Webydo ensures this by generating a cross-platform code which is updated to the latest industry standards. This guarantees that your website will look as you want it to look on all browsers and devices.

Advanced features

Webydo offers many advanced web design features which you can use to create beautiful website designs. These features include a grid generator, smart guides and snapping, layers window, text caption for images and galleries, the ability to design sophisticated forms, set corner radiuses and other elements’ properties such as fill, shadow and stroke.

Webydo’s newest feature, articles, was selected by their design community themselves on their Participate forum where designers can communicate directly with the Product team on which features they want to see next. Now it’s possible for designers to create and manage things such as blogs, product collections, news feeds, etc using Webydo’s advanced Design Studio.

E-commerce

Nowadays more and more stores are cropping up online. Online shopping has many advantages over offline shopping and hence many people choose the former option. Successes of websites like Amazon and eBay are witness to this fact.

So if you too want to start the next Amazon, I mean if you want to start a website for selling products online, then Webydo has you covered.

Webydo offers an easy integration of Ecwid E-Commerce widget a dynamic and mobile friendly solution which accepts a range of payment solutions.
Designer-Client Relationship

CMS

Webydo offers a very usable Content Management System or CMS. As you design your website, Webydo automatically creates a friendly CMS. This CMS works two ways i.e. it can be operated upon by both you and your client. This has the advantage that your client can show you which elements he wants where and you can show him how the site will look after the implementation of those changes. Showing is better than talking.

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Simple editing

Webydo’s CMS is designed to help make editing easier. The CMS editor is as simple to use as working on a Word document. You can replace texts, insert graphics alter images and change videos.

After you are done with the edits, just hit Publish and all the changes will take effect immediately.

Remember Webydo is designed to not to let coding be a hindrance to website creators and it reflects in all its elements.

SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an absolute necessity for your website. In case you don’t know, it is a way in which you optimize your website so that it is easier for search engines to find and index your site and return the relevant pages of it as search results when someone searches for the particular keywords related to your pages.

Webydo helps you in your SEO by providing you with the necessary tools of the trade. Use them and see your website climb up in search results.

Dashboard

Webydo’s dashboard allows you to control multiple websites from the same account. So if you are a designer and have multiple clients then you can control and manage all their websites from a single dashboard. You can control unlimited clients’ sites from your dashboard. You don’t need to sign in and out of multiple accounts. Isn’t this hassle free? (YES IT IS!!)

Site analytics

Feedback is very necessary in any kind of business. If you don’t know how your audience is reacting to your website how will you improve upon it?

Webydo offers you accurate real time stats about traffic to your website, your page rank tracking, etc.

I think I have given you enough reasons to try out Webydo. Here is an awesome offer exclusively for SmashingApps readers, use coupon code SmashingAppsVIP9872 to get 72% of on 1st year. Go and visit the website and see it for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below.

MakeWebVideo – Great Videos At Great Price

Videos are one of the best means of communication for any business. These days we can see their extensive usage in all spheres of business. Be it on your website or the social media you can communicate much more in a video compared to writing paragraphs of boring text. Gone are those days when creating a video for your business would involve mastering one of those complicated video editing tools or hiring the services of a professional artist which would cost you dear. Today there are a number of online tools that allow you to create videos with ease and don’t need you to have any prior expertise in creating videos.

MakeWebVideo is one such tool that has become a talking point of late. This tool is creating ripples in the market as it is easy to use and allows you to create animated videos in a matter of 30 minutes. The videos are created using Adobe After Effects which is known to be of the most popular video editing tools and offers great output. You won’t need to invest on any expensive tool or software as it is completely browser based and allows you to create an attractive video that helps you brand your business. Basic skills with the computer and Internet are all that you need to create a video using this tool.

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Ease of Use

It is unlike any other tool that you must have already used to create videos. There are no unnecessary tools that can easily confuse a user and act as a turn off. The clean and easy interface is welcoming and it doesn’t take you time to get started with this tool. In fact the steps are so self-explanatory that you can come out with a professional video even in your first attempt. The only thing that you are required to do in this tool is upload text, footage, images and graphics onto the site and get the video that will help you create an impact on the minds of the viewers.

Get The Video The Way You Want

If there is one thing that puts this tool ahead of all major competitors is the wide choice of templates that it offers. Depending on your needs and niche you can create a video that will best appeal to your target audience. These templates have been created by some of the best video artists in the world. They provide you the basic skeletal structure that is required to create an amazing video. Templates that are currently available with this online tool include Ink Effect, 3D Design, Slideshow, Text Only, Cartoon, Tablet, Children, Scrapbook, Pop-Up Book, Corporate and Animated Explainer.

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Get Video In Three Steps

We have already spoken about the ease of use relating to this tool and now we shall see how you can create a video in three easy steps. No time wasted in getting acclimatized to this tool or installing any software or plugin. Here are the three easy steps towards getting a professional video.

# Step 1 – In the first step you will need to choose among the templates. This is the most important step in the process as you need to consider a lot of things while making the choice – target audience, the kind of message you want to spread etc.

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#Step 2 – It is the step in which you will decide how your final video would look like. Once you have chosen the template you will need to upload the texts, footages, pictures and graphics which will make your video. Upload these in a sequential order and be very careful with the spellings in the text. The last thing you want is a sloppy looking video.

# Step 3– This is the last and the final step in the process and here you will generate the video with a mouse click. In this step you will also get the embed code using which you will be able to embed this video on any website directly from their server.

Advantages of MakeWebVideo

Attractive Pricing

With all these benefits you might think this online tool to be highly expensive. This is where MakeWebVideo stands ahead of its competitors as it allows you to create a professional business video for as low as $19 USD. This makes the tool highly affordable for small business and startups who can’t afford large sums of money on creating a video. They also promise you 100% money back guarantee in case the video if you aren’t satisfied with the product. You can also create a free preview video which will give a glimpse of what the tool is capable of. Particularly, its very interesting that website let you create explainer videos without any pain

The Verdict

Promoting your business with a video is no longer a matter of choice but a necessity in today’s competitive business environment. In such a scenario if you are looking for a tool that helps you in creating attractive videos MakeWebVideo is surely one of your best bets. It is extremely easy to grasp and allows you to customize the video the way you want it. Your hunt for a professional video creation tool ends here and we can surely stamp on the scalability and versatility of MakeWebVideo.

Checkout MakeWebVideo Templates

Get Up To 2TB Of Cloud Storage At Shared.com

There was a time when the method to store your files and folders was to store them on a “real” device such as a computer, a compact disk or a floppy disk. This method had some big drawbacks. If a virus infected your computer, you would lose all your data; if your pet scratched the surface of the CD with its nails the CD won’t work anymore and even if a few droplets of moisture would have entered your floppy disk it would corrupt it completely.

Thanks to modern day technology, today we have something known as the “cloud storage”. Wikipedia defines cloud storage as follows:

Cloud storage is a model of networked enterprise storage where data is stored not only in the user’s computer, but in virtualized pools of storage which are generally hosted by third parties, too.

Difficult? I’ll break it down to easier terms.

In simple words, cloud storage just means that your data won’t be stored on your computer or disks but on online servers. Facebook is a classic example of cloud storage. Though their website is not mainly intended for cloud services yet their servers do it day and night. When you are uploading your latest picture with that new shirt you bought on the weekend, you are actually using cloud storage because that picture gets stored online.

The advantages of online storage are plenty, the main one being you get access to your files from any time and place which has an Internet connection.

So if you are searching for a cloud storage system to store and backup your data we suggest you try out Shared.

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As the name suggests, Shared can also be used for sharing files with people and not only for saving them. You see most e-mail service providers like Gmail and Yahoo! have restrictions on the size of files you can send via attachments. They won’t allow you data transfers beyond a few MBs. What if you want bigger files to be transferred? Here is where Shared can help you.

Just upload the large file on the Shared servers and then send the link to the intended recipient via e-mail. He can then download it on his device. For standard accounts, you can send a file of up to 1GB, Pro accounts can send files up to 5GB and Pro Plus offers up to 10 GB per file.

Shared has three types of plans and pricings – Standard, Pro and Pro Plus. As you can see from the image below the Standard plan is free.

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Signing up for the Standard account is also free, of course, and it is a good way to go and try out their services. You’ll get 5 GB of free storage for the Standard account and if you buy the Pro Plus account you will get 2 TB of storage which means 2,048 GB of data!

Signing up is easy and just takes two minutes. There is a small form to be filled, as you can see below.

Once you have entered the only four details required, your account would be up and running. Yes that’s fast. Why else do you think they host a thundering icon on their home page?

Once you have made an account you can begin uploading data to be saved on their servers. Shared supports a wide array of files ranging from audios, videos and text and dozens of different formats of each of these files.

Here are just a few supported formats:

Images (.jpg, .tiff, .gif)

Music (.mp3, .aiff, .m4a, .wav)

Video (.mov, .mp4, .m4v)

It’s not that you can only share the files through email. Shared has the AddThis widget installed and you can share files and folders with anyone you like through hundreds of different platforms. Look at the image below to see what I mean.

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Due to the diverse file compatibility and equally diverse ways to share it, Shared is ideal for designers, musicians, photographers, etc. Shared will allow them to have their portfolios just a few clicks away no matter where they go.

The fact that unlike many other cloud storages, Shared won’t ask you to install anything on your computer makes it all the more easier to use.

Shared takes its client security very seriously and all the uploaded files are stored with utmost security. Their U.S. based state-of-the art data center utilizes an advanced engineered infrastructure and a secure multiple redundancy distribution network. In addition, their data center meets strict federal security standards using arrest barriers, guarded entrances, biometric access, and video surveillance.

Your uploaded files are shared using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and a 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) on their servers and is never made public unless you share the link.

Shared also enables other bloggers and website owners to make money through their affiliate programs. All you have to do is to take the affiliate links generated by Shared and use them on your website. Whenever somebody clicks on those links and visits the Shared website and purchases either the Pro account or the Pro Plus account, you get a 30% commission. And it’s not even necessary that you yourself be a Pro or Pro Plus user.

Payments are made every month when the affiliate’s commissions exceed $100. If your accrued commission is less than that it will be added and adjusted into your next month’s commission. All payments are currently made through PayPal, but more merchant accounts are coming up soon.

So go and check the site out and let me know what you feel in the comments below.

Hurry up! and Grab your free 5GB @ https://www.shared.com

 

Convert Your PSD To HTML With The Site Slinger

Most people know that a strong website presence is a prerequisite for a successful online business. With literally millions of websites out there, you won’t want your website to drown into the large sea of other sites. Just like traditional businesses, the first impression is the most important, so a good website design is crucial. What most people do not know is that even with a good design, a poor website implementation can make your site feel cluttered, clumsy, and hard to use for your visitors. This could cause high bounce rates and lost visitors.

Unfortunately making a website is not as simple as taking an image from your camera and uploading it on Facebook. You need at least a working knowledge of coding languages like HTML and CSS. If you don’t, you it will be difficult to create and operate your website. To build a truly high quality website for a business or client, you should know HTML and CSS inside out.

Don’t worry. I know many people don’t have such advanced skills. After all if everybody was that technically advanced the world wouldn’t have needed designers, developers and freelancers.

Web professionals and freelancers have the inside scoop on how to get HTML and CSS fast. A designer designs your website in Photoshop, with all the things like your company’s logo, the color coding and color shades you require, the sidebar and buttons, etc. and then upload the file to The Site Slinger. Their developers will then convert your file into the necessary HTML/CSS code which you can then use to create your website. This process is called PSD to HTML.

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The Site Slinger was founded in 2009 by Connor Hood. Headquartered in Austin, Texas they have developers in the US who can discuss and review the PSD to HTML process with you for your project.

There are three types of delivery options for the PSD to HTML conversion service. At $169 per page you will get your code delivered in five days, at $199 per page in three days, and at $289 per page you can get it delivered the next day.

They don’t charge you extra for any basic website features. All jQuery animations are included in per page price. In case you don’t know, jQuery animations are interactions on the webpage. They consist of things like drop-down menus, modal popups, sliders, etc.

The three plans differ only in delivery times. Otherwise all the features are the same. See the screenshot below to see what I mean and for a full list of features that you will get.

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Besides the PSD to HTML service, they also offer two other services:

PSD to Responsive - A “responsive design” of a website means a design which changes its resolution when viewed on different devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Since the number of people who browse the net on these devices is in millions, more and more websites are using responsive designs.

The Site Slinger uses open source frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap and Foundation to code your responsive websites for you.

PSD to WordPress – You can get your designs turned into a live working website using WordPress. They are able to take your designs and create a custom theme for you to use.

So if you also want to run your website on this platform, your Photoshop file will be converted to a code which will be fine tuned and integrated to run on WordPress.

No matter which design or plan you choose, you will get the result that will match your original Photoshop image pixel by pixel.

Okay so once you have got your image ready, you can upload it on the website and although they prefer PSD files but well organized and layered Illustrator, Fireworks, or InDesign files are also acceptable.

A professional web developer from Austin will review your design and will complete a development brief to ensure that all requirements are documented before beginning work on the project and you will get a reply within two working days … oops sorry … two working hours! (Yes that’s not a typo.)

They will contact you to for any questions about the PSD design and HTML and CSS implementation. Also, you can talk to a developer at any time in the working hours through comments, chat or phone.

They have easy to use software, which you can use to keep a track on your project.

The Site Slinger accepts all major credit cards and paypal. The completed code will be returned to you on your delivery date or even earlier.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t it?

Below is the screenshot of a piece of HTML code. Actually the code is too long hence this is only a small part of it.

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Now when this code is inserted in a web browser it looks like as is shown below. (Again the complete image was too long to be accommodated here, so this is just a part.)

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Unfortunately in an image I cannot show you many effects like the hover effect and sliding images but I hope you get the picture. If you want more samples and if you want to see the real look of the webpages that these codes produce see the PSD to HTML examples.

They use only the latest coding tools like HTML5 Boilerplate, CSS3 and Twitter Bootstrap. The code is clean and well organized so if at any later stage you wish to get it tweaked by another developer, he will face no difficulty in finding what is where and who is who.

We highly recommend The Site Slinger and you should definitely give them a try. If your order consists of more than two pages then you will get your first page done at no cost!

Also you can get started for free. There is no need to pay anything for the initial submission of your Photoshop design and the feedback that you will get from the developer. You will only have to pay when you approve the quote to work with them for the entire project.

So go and check them out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Filter Forge – Great Solution To Your Digital Issues

Whether you are a novice or an expert digital artist, Filter Forge will prove to be a great tool that will ease your work with various projects. It is a high-end plugin for Adobe Photoshop that will allow you to create visual effects, enhance photos, process images, and the list may go on. The key features of Filter Forge include a visual filter editor and a free online filter library. If you are curious and interested in finding out more, then the following lines will help you in this respect, since they will reveal you the mystery of this Photoshop plugin.

In the following paragraphs, you will learn more about its features, why Filter Forge is unique, what makes it special and what is behind its technology.

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If you desire to build your own filters, backgrounds, effects, distortions, frames and so on, Filter Forge is once again the right product for you. It can produce a wide range of textures and effects which include organic structures, metallic and rocky surfaces, distortions, abstract textures, repeating patterns, color corrections, and more. All filters are adjustable and editable, seamlessly tiled, resolution-independent, and support real-world HDRI lighting. Also, filters can automatically generate diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps, which makes Filter Forge an essential tool for artists creating 3D models and environments, architectural visualization and high-end game content.

All Filter Forge users get free access to 9000+ filters. In fact, if you are talented, you may submit your textures and effects to the online collection. Thus it will get bigger and bigger, while Filter Forge will become better and better.

The next feature that contributes a lot to the uniqueness of this tool is the Filter Editor, a visual node-based environment allowing users to build custom filters without writing a single line of code. Filters are assembled by connecting components into a network to combine their effects. Components include familiar operations such as blurs, gradients, color adjustments, distortions, and blending. For end-users, the filter internals are hidden behind a simple set of filter controls – anyone can immediately benefit from filters without knowing what is inside them.

Previously it was mentioned something about HDRI lighting. Well, if you are eager to find out more about it, you should know that this tool uses high dynamic range images that catch real-lighting conditions. So, instead of getting old-style point lights you will benefit from real-world lighting that will set up immediately, thanks to these systems.

Oh, and not to mention that this program may function either as a Photoshop plugin, or as a standalone app. Besides that, the program is fully interactive; it comes with factory presets, randomizers and favorites that will let the buyers get back to the filters they use the most.

Apart from the information concerning the features of Filter Forge, people should find out more about prices, too, before buying the product. Well, if you desire the basic edition that will allow you to get acquainted to the immense free library you will have to pay $74. However, if you are interested in creating your own filters, you will make your first steps if you will purchase the standard edition available for $124. But the cherry on top is the professional edition, which has a discount of 50% and therefore from $399 is now available for $199. As you may have imagined, if you will decide to purchase this edition you will benefit from all the features that this tool has to offer.

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Anyway, if you are looking for some freebies, you will be pleased to learn that Filter Forge could offer something like this to you. First of all, there are the free Photoshop plugins that people could get from the Filter Library. These are based on the Filter Forge technology and have no time limitations. Also, if you want to see if this is the right tool for your business, you may download the trial version, which is free to use for 30 days and which is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7. And, if you are interested in a Windows 8 compatible version, you should know that a special variant is available on their website.

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In the end, if you are not convinced yet that this program will help your business, then you should check out the testimonials of their previous customers. You will see that everyone who has already used this Photoshop plugin is pleased with this choice and therefore recommends it to the others. Thus, don’t forget to check out this section, too in order to make sure that your purchase will be worth it.

To conclude, these are the main features and benefits that Filter Forge will offer to its buyers. As you can see, if you will buy this product, you will get access to the filter library, you will be able to generate textures and effects and you will get a solution for all your digital issues.

5 Tips To Create A Memorable Brand Identity

Today, consumers are almost overwhelmed by visuals. Whether driving down the highway, watching a television program, surfing the Internet, or shopping for groceries, consumers come across multiple brands during most daily activities. So is it even possible for a company to create a brand identity that will be remembered even after consumers encounter it?

The good news is that, yes, creating a memorable brand identity is entirely possible with lots of research, thought, and consideration for today’s technology. The following 5 tips are some of the most important for making sure that the brand you build is one that not only stands out but that consumers remember anytime they are in need of your products or services and can access from anywhere.

1.) Know Yourself

A memorable brand starts with a clear definition of your goals and mission as a company. A stronger vision of your company gives you a firm foundation to build your brand upon.

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Resources

If you are unsure of where to start with defining your company, try one of these resources:

2.) Research Your Customers

You can’t stop with knowing yourself because self-identification means nothing if you don’t have a clear picture of your target audience – your ideal customer. Knowing the consumers you will most likely attract as a company will help you better choose aspects of your brand design that customers will relate to and remember.

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Resources

Once you define your target market, do some research using some of these resources:

3.) Create a Brand Story

Developing a brand story goes back to making sure your company is relatable. A story draws customers in, and appeals to their emotions. If you can get them to feel an emotion that they relate to your company, then they will definitely remember you. Just make sure that your story is the same across every media that consumers encounter you – online, on their phones, or on a poster.

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Resources

See some examples of companies who have built their brands on a memorable story and discover which story type you want to use for your brand:

4 Leading Brand Stories – read about four different brands and just how well they built their brand around a strong story.

7 Basic Types of Brand Stories – learn the different types of stories a brand can tell and choose which one is best for you.

4.) Be Simple but Creative

A complicated design is never memorable. So keep everything about your brand simple. Limit your colors and your fonts, and design a minimal logo. Keeping your story simple as well ensures that customers remember it and the emotions it elicits better. Keep in mind, though, that you also want to be creative. The most creative brands have always been the ones the public remembers long after their initial emergence.

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Resources

You may want to research other simple yet creative brands before outlining your own design parameters:

DesignCrowd – this crowdsourcing website is not only a great source of inspiration for seeing creative and logo designs, app design, business card design, website design, and more; but it is also a great place for getting different elements of your brand created. Check out the blog for tips on how to create an effective design brief.

Dribbble – this is another excellent place to find inspiration for a simple yet creative brand design; lots of professional designers post examples of their brand work on this site.

5.) Be Consistent

A simple yet creative brand also ensures that it is still translatable between screen sizes or digital and print marketing media, for example. If you are able to maintain brand consistency no matter where customers encounter you, then you will build a much stronger and memorable brand. They will recognize your company whether they access your website on their laptop or on their mobile phone.

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Resources

Make sure that your website looks the same from any device and works on most browser systems:

Responsive vs. Adaptive vs. Mobile – this site gives an excellent definition of each along with when to use each; it also explains mobile apps.

Mobile vs. Responsive Websites – this site puts the pros and cons in a table format, making the differences of each type of web design easier to understand.

Creating a memorable brand today involves more than just a nice logo. You have to be more aware of yourself, your target market, and the technology that consumers may want to use to access you. So do your research before hiring a design firm or crowdsourcing the different aspects of your brand. A clear outline for designers to follow will mean that your brand is much more likely to be one that clients remember no matter where they come across your company.

Author Bio – By Tara Horner, freelance writer at DesignCrowd.com

Image credits

FilterForge: Photoshop Plugin Every Designer Should Have

In the world of web design you will often need the help of various products and items, just to accomplish your tasks. And it is obvious why. Things in this world move fast and they are improved and updated constantly; as a result you too will have to improve your techniques and use all the assets you have at your disposal. In these lines, you will learn more about Filter Forge, which is a high-end plugin for Adobe Photoshop that will help you create your own filters.

In case you haven’t heard much about it, then you should know that Filter Forge is a fantastic tool for photographers, designers and graphic artists that desire to embellish and improve the quality of their projects. Also, another thing people should know is that this software has numerous effects and textures, but if one can’t still find that effect that will help him or her send the right message, then designers are encouraged to create their own filters. Nevertheless if you want to know more about the things you benefit from when using this product, in the lines that are to come you will find out which are the advantages that this plugin offers.

Multitude of effects and textures

What designer or photographer would not desire to have at his or her disposal an assembly of effects and textures that would allow them to improve their work? Well, Filter Forge comes with 9231 of such things and the beauty lies in the fact that all these are available in the free online library. It is pretty nice, isn’t it?

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High usability

At first, many people will get scared by the idea of creating their own filters. But the thing is that with this product’s user friendly interface it will be something quite enjoyable and entertaining to create. You will just have to go to the visual filter editor and combine such features as: gradients, colors, blurs, and the list may continue. Therefore, one doesn’t have to possess many computer skills when using this item, because it is very easy to use, even for the beginners.

Time and effort saver

In this era of speed, everyone appreciates items that will allow them to save their time and energy. Well, as you can see this software has everything you need, in order to be able to transform your time in money. It will accommodate you and enhance the quality of your services, all these without having to consume much of your energy. Therefore, one should really try Filter Forge, since it is friendly with both your time and effort.

Freebies

As mentioned previously, there are over 4400 photo effects and over 4800 textures for free in the online library. Thus, filterforge.com has quite a large amount of freebies for the customers. But, besides that, it also helps the artists who would like to get their own free copy of Filter Forge. This process is quite easy: if you desire to win your very own copy, then you are welcome to submit your filters to the library, and if these will be appreciated by the other users, then the free copy is yours.

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Independence

It feels great not to be restricted to the number of effects and textures that certain products offer. Well, Filter Forge encourages graphic artists, designers and photographs to put their mind at work and to create something that will represent them and that will make it easier for them to transmit a message. Also, another feature that is worthy to take into consideration is the one that allows people to add their most used filters in the Favorite folder. Thus, once you have created something that you believe will help you in your work it is advisable to add it in this folder.

What if I don’t use Photoshop?

After this product will be installed in your computer it will include itself in the Photoshop menu. But if you would like not to use Photoshop, then you will be pleased to learn that it could also be utilized as an individual application. Therefore, although it is a Photoshop plugin it may also function as a standalone program.

Why should I buy it now?

If you hurry up, you will benefit from the 70% Holiday discount on all editions. This means that the basic edition, which is ideal if you are looking for quick results, is available at $44. The standard edition, which will help you save money and at the same time will offer you a huge amount of features, will cost you $74. While, the professional edition, with all the Filter Forge features, will help you save $280 since its price has decreased from $399 to $119.

Can I check it first?

Users that want to convince themselves that Filter Forge is the answer to their questions should download the free trial first. It lasts 30 days, but in this time, people will benefit from all its features. However, before downloading it is best to check system requirements and the host compatibility first, in order to make sure that everything is okay. Therefore, it is quite convenient for you, isn’t it?

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Is it trustful?

In case you will find hardware or software incompatibilities or errors in the product you will get a full refund. In order to request the refund, the customers are required to use the contact form. So, it is an easy and transparent process that will make you trust the company and the product.

And, last but not least, if you will have difficulties when using this item or if you are not sure how to obtain certain effects, then you should access filterforge.com and have a look at their tutorials. These will help you complete your job faster and will help you understand how does the application works. To conclude, this plugin is a must for you, if you want your career to advance, if you want to save your time and energy and if you want to accomplish new and challenging tasks.

High Quality Full Color Printing With PrintRunner

Suppose you are attending a business conference and someone asks you for your contact details. Now either you will search for a blank chit of paper and a pen and then write out your email address, your contact number, your office’s address and so on and so forth on it and give that chit to him or you can produce a nice, shining business card from your wallet. Which is better? A business card can save you a lot of embarrassment on such occasions. And why just a business card? Imagine inviting people to your child’s birthday party without a proper invitation card; or sending a gift to someone on Christmas without a greeting card. If not embarrassing then these things are surely not proper. The other person might feel that you don’t care much about him.

So let’s say you are considering getting some cards printed but are contemplating which company to choose to get the job done. You may check out PrintRunner.

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PrintRunner is a quality printing company located in Van Nuys, California. They are in business from the past 10 years. The company which started with a little more than a small press is today one of the most promising quality printers in Southern California, with an office which stretches for over 25,000 square feet, a Facebook page with more than 21,000 followers and a Twitter handle with just under 4,000 followers. PrintRunner provides its clients with the best possible value in high quality full color printing at a reasonable price. They print a variety of products ranging from business cards to postcards and from stickers to banners.

PrintRunner provides four types of services.

1) Graphic design

PrintRunner does not only print designs but can also create them. If you don’t have a design then PrintRunner’s design team can help you get one. All you have to do is to fill in a form with as much details as possible about the type of design you are looking for. You can also append some blue prints or rough sketches that you may have about the design. Then PrintRunner’s designers will review your material and will contact you with any questions that may arise. The first completed proof will be sent to you within three business days. In case you don’t like it or want some things to be changed you can order up to three revisions. In this entire process you will be having a direct conversation with the design team and hence you will get what you want. PrintRunner can also then print the design as per your requirements.

2) Mailing

Is your marriage approaching and you want beautiful marriage invitation cards to be designed, printed and dispatched to your guests? PrintRunner will save you the hassle by doing everything themselves. Yes they also offer mailing services. All your cards will be printed and sent in less than five working days.

3) Custom prints

Of course a business card requires a different size and look than what a birthday invite would require. Even a specific type of card can be, and is, created in different ways according to the different needs of people. For example some people prefer their business card to contain sharp edges while some other like them to be rounded off. PrintRunner allows you complete flexibility in choosing your design through its custom prints feature.

4) Free file check

Not all electronic documents are suitable for printing. A printer (a human whose job is to print things, not an electronic “printer”) first converts the respective document into a format which will produce the best quality printing and only then will hit the “print” button. PrintRunner offers you the free option of checking your document’s details that whether they will produce a good print or not. They will review the print resolution of your file; whether it is an acceptable file format or not; is it in a suitable color mode or not; etc. This service is free i.e. even when you are not getting anything designed or printed from PrintRunner, they will still review your file.

I have already mentioned some types of products that they create. Now let’s see some more of their products in some more details.

Vinyl banner and signs

These are weather resistant products designed by PrintRunner so that those heavy rains and those annual strong winds won’t corrode your ads. These banners and signs can be used both indoors and outdoors. As the heading suggests, PrintRunner uses vinyl in their construction which are ideal for all surroundings and they will also add up grommets or pole pockets which will make them easy for installation. They can be delivered in three business days, or if the need be, in two business days.

Bookmarks

I usually order my books from an online store and they provide free bookmarks with every book I buy. I never throw those bookmarks away as they are quite useful for me and I keep them in the books. When my friends see my books that store gets an automatic publicity. You see? Bookmarks are an easy and cheap way to advertize your business. PrintRunner allows you to get your bookmarks printed on three popular sizes – 2” x 6”, 2” x 7”, and 2.5” x 8.5”. You can apply your specifications and choose your paper between 14 pt. cardstock or 13 pt. 100% recycled paper.

Brochure printing

Brochures are indeed one of the most popular methods of advertising for a business. You can place them on the shelves attached to the entrance wall of your office so that people can pick them up or you can get them distributed manually in a place where large crowds converge. PrintRunner offers you seven options in choosing the card fold in your brochure printing. See the images below for two examples. There are, of course, other options too like choosing the color, paper, etc.

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Besides the type of prints mentioned above, PrintRunner offers many more types. Go and check out the website for further details and let me know what do you think about PrintRunner in the comments below.