Posts Tagged ‘photo’

Examination of Japanese Website Design Trends

Japan plays host to some very impressive website designers. Their skills in the arts cannot be compared and demonstrate a powerful digital force among Internet readers. Luckily understanding how to read Japanese isn’t required to admire their website graphics and animation effects.

We’ll be looking into a few Japanese website designs which have pushed the limits on conventional development. As a designer it’s a refreshing feeling to work with alternate design concepts and build your own unique ideas off these.

Many of the most popular Japanese websites have been built in Flash, and this is no surprise. Although Flash-based websites do not rank very well in Google (at all) they offer a unique user experience which can’t be found anywhere else.

In fact, Flash offers so much extensible content you may be surprised at just what is possible. Motion backgrounds and animated menu effects are just the tipping point on many Adobe Flash powered websites. Intricate portfolio layouts and detailed characters almost spring to life off the webpage.

Flash Design Trends

One overlooked misconception is the loading speed of each page. Because the entire website is Flash-based it will require a large amount of bandwidth to transfer and download all of the page content. This frequently leads to very long loading/splash pages which are a huge loss for potential user experience.

Although in the end it’s difficult to provide any judgement on the Flash-based approach. There are also many Japanese websites which are built off HTML5/CSS3 so I’m not categorizing all layouts as Flash-based. However with such a wide range of out-of-box thinking Japan has shown us a new outlook on envisioning the modern day website design.

It seems the Japanese community is well renowned for their work in the digital animation arts. Ranging from television to video games it seems the artistic works meld into the islands’ society and culture.

Frog illustrations

In many new-age web designs we are seeing much more illustrated artwork and digital graphics. Icon designers have also integrated an enormous amount of hand-drawn effects into their works. Japanese website designs have become much more branded by the likes of mascots, illustrated vectors, and small page icons.

Similarly artists who offer these graphics showcase their work on many places throughout the web. Twitter backgrounds and Deviant Art accounts are full of some amazing illustrations from past designs.

This is a common trend amongst web designers and has been growing rapidly. Many Japanese companies which involve their products in the entertainment sector have gone above and beyond to create a dynamic user interface to match their website.

Katamari Damacy official

Many of the websites coming to mind include innovative virtual worlds from video games. Katamari Damacy and Kingdom Hearts II specifically stand out as offering a very powerful user interface presence. The striking similarity between menu links in-game and on the webpages are resounding.

This can be seen not only for these games, but countless other series. The most common approach of course is an entire Flash-based website constructed through ActionScript events. Even so, other Japanese graphics artists are creating unique UI effects outside of just the video game industry.

It’s not too often we’ll see images of physical reality built into the most popular websites of today. This is quite the contrary of many popular Japanese artists which in fact specialize in building outstanding modern-day layouts.

These include shots of arial birds-eye-view photos from cities and taller buildings. Many times the background or Flash animation on a page will include common everyday natural elements such as cats, trees, cars, and entire human cities. There are neat user effects applied to create a natural mood (e.g. website colors changing from day to night).

Shanghai Financial

These graphics of buildings and people can sometimes even be built into the website itself. The varied degree of creativity from Japan shows even entire websites using a small land mass as navigation for the entire website. Pages can be accessed via buildings, lawn signs, even blimps flying atop the page heading!

Below is a small collection of Japanese website designs. These include mostly Flash pages with animation effects and custom UI elements. If you’re looking for design inspiration this may be one of the most creative and “out-there” galleries.

The designs are from a selection of varied topics and niches from a handful of time periods. If you have other suggestions for similar websites feel free to share them in the comments below.

Nestle

Eye Talk Town

Egao Saku

Hiroto Rakusho

Love Happy

kids wonder project

Naruhodo Agent

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Detailed Technology Photoshop Brush Sets (1000+ Brushes)

If you are looking to give your designs a technical or futuristic modern feel, or even just give them a detailed and clean look, then you are in for a treat today. In this round-up we have collected 40 various Photoshop Brushes that focus on technology.

High Res Blueprint and Schematics (16 Brushes)

High Res Blueprint and Schematics (16 Brushes)
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Z-Design Tech Brush Set (40 Brushes)

Z-Design Tech Brush Set (40 Brushes)
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Tech Brushes For You (56 Brushes)

Tech Brushes For You (56 Brushes)
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Tech Brushes (100 Brushes)

Tech Brushes (100 Brushes)
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Schematics (21 Brushes)

Schematics (21 Brushes)
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Tech Brushes (19 Brushes)

Tech Brushes (19 Brushes)
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Technical (18 Brushes)

Technical (18 Brushes)
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Tech Set 01 (43 Brushes)

Tech Set 01 (43 Brushes)
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Tech Brush Mega Pack

Tech Brush Mega Pack
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Basic Tech Brushes

Basic Tech Brushes
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Techset

Techset
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Cyber (26 Brushes)

Cyber (26 Brushes)
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Abstract Tech Brushes (55 Brushes)

Abstract Tech Brushes (55 Brushes)
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Diesel Power Brush Set

Diesel Power
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Tech Brush Set V2

Tech Brush Set V2
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Advanced Tech (50 Brushes)

Advanced Tech (50 Brushes)Download Page →

Tech Brushes (9 Brushes)

Tech Brushes (9 Brushes)
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Big Brushes Tech Brushes (200 Brushes)

Big Brushes Tech Brushes (200 Brushes)
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TECH BRUSHES v.2

TECH BRUSHES v.2
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Solid Tech Rings (1000)

Solid Tech Rings (1000)
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Z-DESIGN Tech Brushes Set

Z-DESIGN Tech Brushes Set
Download Page →

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How to Boost Your Creativity in 3 (or 7) Days

All creative professionals face creative blocks. Many times these blocks are caused by being overworked and burned out on creativity. Sometimes routine helps, but it can frequently hinder the brain juices. After all, variety is the spice of life.

As a creative professional there are definitely some related fields to your profession. Being a graphic designer with a degree, I could swear that college burned out my creativity. Then I discovered that I enjoyed photography as a hobby. I also like to sit at my drafting table and sketch. Both of these hobbies are related to the field of design, and both help me get creative.

The Solution

Each day you should focus on a different task. For me it’s illustration on the first day, photography on the second day, and design on the third day.

Never let your work spill over into your personal time unless it is absolutely necessary. When 5 p.m. rolls around on a photography day you should get away from the computer and go take some photos. If it’s a design day then I may let my work flow over into my “spice” time, but that’s alright – it suits the day I’m on.

Creative Day 1 – Illustration

Creative Day 1 - Illustration
(Image Source: Andrea Joseph)

Being able to draw is beneficial to almost everyone, and almost anyone can draw. Graphic designers are frequently creating logo thumbs, layout sketches, or figuring out how in the hell to fit EVERYTHING on that business card. The designer’s sketchbook comes in handy – and it’s obvious that illustration is related to design.

Try to hone your skills as an illustrator. Make sure to challenge yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure. Do something different on each illustration day. Browse deviatart.com if you’re lacking inspiration. I highly recommend visiting drawspace.com for some interesting and challenging exercises.

Recommended illustration material:
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain →
Riven Phoenix – Drawing The Human Figure From Your Mind →

Creative Day 2 – Photography

Creative Day 2 - Photography
(Image Source: dsevilla)

It’s always nice to have photography on-hand for that random brochure or web design project, so why don’t designers take more photos themselves? I know that I get tired of flipping through stock photography, and I have to resort to telling my clients that it’s time to move to a paid stock site when the free sites run out of good photos.

Photography is also a fantastic hobby that lets you keep memories of your daily life. Building your own library of various images also gives you a better chance of having the perfect photo for a design project in the future. It’s a win-win situation. Just make sure to challenge yourself with your photos the same way you would with illustration. For some inspirational ideas here, I would recommend checking out the digitalphotographyschool.com forums.

Other sources:
Find local photography groups or try to contact your favorite photographer – you’d be surprised at how many photographers love to talk about their ideas and profession.

Creative Day 3 – Design

Creative Day 3 - Design
(Image Source: guidosportaal)

On Design days I enjoy trying out new tutorials. It’s always good to build on existing knowledge, as it nurtures creativity. Sometimes I’ll create something for a friend if I’m not feeling up to doing a full tutorial. I don’t think of doing free work for friends as spec work, just a nice surprise when somebody close to me ends up getting a new set of business cards.

Another great side-effect of doing design in my spare time is a better portfolio. Doing some brochure designs for a fake company, a logo design for a family member, or a business card for my neighbor – it all ends up being potential portfolio material.

Just like illustration days and photo days, it’s important to challenge yourself on design days. Do something that you wouldn’t normally do. If you’re stuck doing logos all the time, try to do some web or print designs. Even better – do a set of print and web designs. Try to create a magazine cover and a web site to match the fake “corporate identity”.

For some inspiration on design days, check out the Tuts+ Network.

Salt and Pepper – Add to Taste

Once a week, I like to meditate on the events of my Creative Days and write. Finding some great nature sounds and closing my eyes really gets thoughts flowing. Sometimes I come up with new ideas for the coming week – then I write them down. Other times I reflect on what I’ve done for the past week and decide which projects are showing promise.

This is entirely optional. I know some artistic people don’t enjoy writing, and some people can’t sit still for 5 minutes. Still, I would highly recommend a relaxing meditation day once a week to avoid being burned out on your projects.

You can find meditation music numerous places online, or you can purchase a Naturespace app for your iDevice. Another fantastic option is the Centerpointe meditation set – though a bit more expensive.

On a Side Note…

I recently began a 365 project that follows these specific guidelines. I would highly recommend that you do the same. After all, with the New Year just past, it wouldn’t be a horrible time to make a new resolution – as a matter of fact, it would be a perfect time.

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Mobile Cheatsheets for iPhone, Android and Blackberry App Development

In this post we have rounded up a selection of useful cheatsheets, references, quick recipes and code snippet resources specifically for Android, Blackberry and iPhone app development. No developer should work without these.

Android Classes (PDF)

Android Classes
Download Android Classes (PDF) →

Fastboot Cheat Sheet (HTML)

Fastboot Cheat Sheet
View Fastboot Cheat Sheet (HTML) →

Android Recipes and Snippets (HTML)

Android Recipes and Snippets
View Android Recipes and Snippets (HTML) →

Common Tasks and How to Do Them in Android (HTML)

Common Tasks and How to Do Them in Android
View Common Tasks and How to Do Them in Android (HTML) →

The Android Developer's Guide (HTML)

The Android Developer's Guide
View The Android Developer's Guide (HTML) →

Android Package Index (HTML)

Android Package Index
View the Android Package Index (HTML) →

BlackBerry Browser CSS Reference (PDF)

BlackBerry Browser CSS Reference
Download the BlackBerry Browser CSS Reference (PDF) →

BlackBerry Java SDK Quick Reference Guide (PDF)

BlackBerry Java SDK Quick Reference Guide
Download the BlackBerry Java SDK Quick Reference Guide (PDF) →

BlackBerry JDE 6.0.0 API Reference (HTML)

BlackBerry JDE 6.0.0 API Reference
View the BlackBerry JDE 6.0.0 API Reference (HTML) →

Xcode Shortcuts (PDF)

Xcode Shortcuts
Download the Xcode Shortcuts (PDF) →

Xcode Macros Cheatsheet (PDF)

Xcode Macros Cheatsheet
Download the Xcode Macros Cheatsheet (PDF) →

XCode Tips & Tricks (HTML)

XCode Tips & TricksHere you will find a multitude of useful Xcode tips and snippets.
View the Xcode Tips & Tricks (HTML) →

Xcode Keyboard Shortcut List (PNG)

Xcode Keyboard Shortcut List
Download the Xcode Keyboard Shortcut List (PNG) →

iPhone SDK Objective-C Cheat Sheet (PDF)

iPhone SDK Objective-C Cheat Sheet
Download the iPhone SDK Objective-C Cheat Sheet (PDF) →

jQuery idocs – API documentation for jQuery built specifically for the iPhone & iPod touch

jQuery idocs - API documentation for jQuery built specifically for the iPhone & iPod touch
View the jQuery idocs – API documentation for jQuery →

Cocoa iOS 3.0 Cheatsheet (PDF)

Cocoa iOS 3.0 Cheatsheet
Download the Cocoa iOS 3.0 Cheatsheet (PDF) →

iPhone Distribution Build Cheatsheet (PDF)

iPhone Distribution Build Cheatsheet
Download the iPhone Distribution Build Cheatsheet (PDF) →

iPhone Application Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet (HTML)

iPhone Application Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet
View the iPhone Application Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet (HTML) →

Hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries (HTML)

Hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries
Download the Hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries (HTML) →

CSS3 Cheat Sheet (PDF)

CSS3 Cheat Sheet
Download the CSS3 Cheat Sheet (PDF) →

Icon Reference from Hicksdesign

Icon Reference from Hicksdesign
View the Icon Reference from Hicksdesign →

W3C Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) Flipcards (PDF)

W3C Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) Flipcards
Download the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices Flipcards (PDF) →

Touch Gesture Reference Guide (PDF)

Touch Gesture Reference Guide
Download the Touch Gesture Reference Guide (PDF) →

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25 Beautiful & Fresh Photoshop Brush Sets for Brush Lovers

Recently a new design resource launched called BrushLovers.com, offering a huge selection of highly professional, unique and meticulously designed Photoshop Brush packs. For the most part all of the brushes are completely free to use, but they also offer a selection of premium brushes selling from only $3 (you could also purchase a brush packs which would save you even more).

As we really do love to offer some fresh and creative new resources here at Speckyboy, we felt we should highlight some of the most popular brushes that BrushLovers has to offer. We are sure you will be more than impressed.
Of course, if you would like to browse and download even more (150+) free Photoshop brush sets, then visit and bookmark BrushLovers.com.

All of these brushes can be used for both personal and commercial purposes, provided that the brush files are not distributed in any shape or form.

Dot Com (20 Brushes)


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Spiral Squiggles (12 Brushes)


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Pop Dots (6 Brushes)


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Techno Pop (8 Brushes)


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Rising Smoke (10 Brushes)


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Three Thin Swirls (8 Brushes)


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Fine Spatters (15 Brushes)


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Futuristic (3 Brushes)


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Perfect Flowers (10 Brushes)


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Plastered Prime (2 Brushes)


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Halftone Grunge (4 Brushes)


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Grunge Frames (10 Brushes)


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Vine Swirls (10 Brushes)


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Fall Leaves (10 Brushes)


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Scrubbed Prime (1 Brushes)


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Flower Portraits (4 Brushes)


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Spinning Stars (4 Brushes)


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Texture Crush (6 Brushes)


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Pretty Garden (5 Brushes)


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Dry Brush Stroke (5 Brushes)


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Coursage (3 Brushes)


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Forest Flora (6 Brushes)


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Techno Shadows (3 Brushes)


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Teardrop Combo (10 Brushes)


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Dotted Neon Lines (6 Brushes)


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Hard Splats (3 Brushes)


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