OmniSpear Scene75 Office Party

LAN PartyWhat better way to celebrate successful project launches than to head out to Scene75 for a day of games, Go-Karts, bowling and bumper cars?  Our group had a great time enjoying some team building this past Friday.  A few competitive rounds of Go-Karts, game racing and mini-golf challenges really helped pump us up for upcoming projects!

 

Recent Website Security Breaches – Dayton PHP Meetup at OmniSpear

SECURITYWe are looking forward to tonight’s Dayton PHP meetup hosted by OmniSpear.  The topic will cover many of the latest website security breaches and how they were successfully achieved.  There is still time to RSVP: Dayton PHP Meetup.

When: Tuesday August 16, 2016
Where: OmniSpear Office
Time: 6:00-8:-00pm

The Importance of Responsive Design

CMH-mockup-480x480With the majority of internet searches now initiating from mobile devices, responsive design is more important than ever. Responsive design allows your site to self-adjust to adequately fit mobile devices and tablets. Sites appear differently to users depending on how they are accessed – whether by a mobile device, tablet or laptop.  Without responsive design, customers can experience trouble while navigating the web on handheld devices, and features of websites can even become distorted.  These issues can heavily impact users and deter customers from visiting you online.  At OmniSpear,  we pride ourselves on our focus on responsive design.  As a standard, our sites are all optimized for the best viewing capabilities on phones and tablets.  We make sure your site looks its best no matter how customers get there.

Fresh New Look for Melink

melink-mock

Melink is an energy solutions company that strives to make building construction greener with a focus on integrity and innovation.  For this project, our team was tasked with providing an overhaul to the main company pages, as well as microsite for their product, Intelli-hood.  These sites represent two separate domains (www.melinkcorp.com & www.intellihood.com) but are seamlessly combined into a single overall theme.  The sleeker design makes it simple to jump from site to site, while remaining in the company’s overall vision and branding.  Each webpage is also responsive with clean layouts for easy navigation.  We are proud of the redesign and think Melink has a fresh face forward as they continue to expand.

New Look for Dr. Randal Haworth

HaworthFeaturedImageDr. Randal Haworth of Beverly Hills is one of the world’s most experienced plastic surgeons. We have been working with Dr. Haworth on a number of website makeovers and various sites for his products, including NightLift sleep lingerie.  For his main site’s latest revision, Dr. Haworth wanted us to utilize a sleek and modern layout, with seamless transitions between surgical procedures.  The result is a responsive site using a minimalist design. Customers can easily navigate beyond surgical procedure overviews, down to patient testimonials, examples of work and details for each procedure.
We love the update!  https://www.drhaworth.com/

 

Find OmniSpear’s New kITty Ad!

Omni Billboard Ad 2OmniSpear is very excited to roll-out our first billboard ad campaign. We’ve recently put in place two brand new ads on the digital billboard located on I-75 N just before Downtown near the Dryden exit. Keep on the lookout for our digital spots, including this special kitty ad that you can’t miss. We are so proud to be a part of the Dayton community and work with our local businesses.

OmniSpear Welcomes Ryan Harris!

Ryan Portfolio ShowWe are happily expanding the team here at OmniSpear and proudly welcome our newest member, Ryan Harris.  Ryan is a recent graduate from the School of Advertising Art and has been interning with us over the Spring.  He will soon be joining the company as our official employee this summer, and we are eager for him to get started.  Ryan will come as an addition to our art-minded (and techie) crew at the office, specializing on the front-end of web presence.  Our team had a chance to attend the SAA Portfolio show this past Friday to cheer on Ryan as he debuted his portfolio and final projects for graduation.  We are so proud of the work he created and know he will bring that same creativity to our clients.  Welcome Ryan!

Photoshop Tutorial – Adding Motion Effects With Radial Blur Filter

The radial blur filter allows us to enhance an image by adding a zoom effect. This is a powerful effect that will require us to mask out parts of the image to preserve our subject. In this example we are focusing on the vintage BMW 2002tii sports car. Take note of the flat focus of original image, although slightly dramatic we will use radial blur to add some excitement.

radial-blur-original
Original Image
radial-blur-final
Image with radial blur effect added

In order to create this result we start by duplicating our background image layer twice for a total of three layers. Select your background then go to: Layers -> Duplicate Layer… Let’s rename the top two layers radius 20 and radius 40.

radial-blur-layers

Our next step is to add the filter effect to each of the duplicated layers. We start by selecting the radius 20 layer and adding: Filter -> Blur -> Radial Blur… This will bring up the options for the effect. We set the effect for this as follows: Amount = 20, Blur Method = Zoom, Quality = Best. We also drag the Blur Center to the approximate location of our subject, the BMW sports car.

radial-blur-center

There is no built-in preview for this effect so you will need to make your best guess. It may take a few attempts to get your focus point set for the Blur Center.

radial-blur-20
The resulting layer will have blurred image radiating out from our center point

Our next step will be to replicate this effect on the radius 40 layer. Add the filter effect and only change the amount from 20 to 40. Do not change anything else in the settings for the Radial Blur except for the amount. It should result in a layer with a greater blur effect.

radial-blur-40
The result is a more intensely blurred layer

Our next steps will involve the use of layer masking to reveal our sports car amongst the blur effects. Select each of the radius layers and add a layer mask to each one. There is a handy shortcut button for this located in the footer of the layers window that will add the mask to the selected layer.

radial-blur-layer-mask
Adding layer masks

Repeat this process for both of the radius layers, we will reveal the focused object from each layer.
Start by hiding the radius 40 layer by clicking the small eye icon in the layers window. Then select the layer mask (white rectangular block) on the radius 20 layer. With the layer mask selected, choose your gradient tool and make sure the color palette is set to pure black and white. Also make sure your gradient is set to: Radial Gradient. Select the center of your object and drag the radius out to the edge of your intended focus area. This will result in a center focused image with blurry edges.

radial-blur-set-radius
Setting the Radial Gradient

Our next step is to manually brush-in more of the focus object. We achieve this by selecting the paintbrush tool, giving it a manageable brush size and setting the opacity lower. For this image, we set it to 50%. If the opacity is set too high the resulting mask will have harsh edges and produce an unnatural result. Brush around your object until the points of focus start to show through.

radial-blur-masked
Masking the layer

Repeat this same masking process for the radius 40 layer. This will result in having your focus object completely visible and everything else blurred. The final step is to adjust the opacity of the radius 40 and radius 20 layers. The amount set is completely subjective. You will need to find the balance that works for you. We set the opacity to 75% for both layers in this example.

radial-blur-opacity
Setting the layer opacity

Once you are satisfied, save your image into your desired format. Don’t forget to have some fun with it!

Photoshop Tutorial – Using The Curves Tool

Photoshop Tutorial – Using curves to adjust image tone

The curves tool is very powerful for image manipulation. We use curves to precisely adjust the tonal characteristics of an image. In this tutorial we will explore the curves tool in its simplest form to adjust the contrast of an image.

curves-photo-original

The original photograph was taken in a room with natural lighting and it looks acceptable. However, we can add an adjustment layer to it to give the photograph a precise contrast making it warm and rich in color.

curves-photo-adjusted

The curves tool is very precise and a small adjustment goes a long way! Here is a side-by-side view of the photograph before and after the adjustment.

curves-photo-side-by-side

So how did we get to the finished product? It’s really quite simple. We start by adding an adjustment layer to our original photograph. From the top menu: Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Curves… There is also a shortcut in the layers window for this as well. We could also change the image directly without the adjustment layer however this allows us to see our effects without corrupting the original photograph.

curves-adding-adjustment-layer

Once the new adjustment layer is inserted we manipulate the tone of the image by adding points to the “curve”. The curves window displays a histogram representing the distribution of light throughout the image. The left side is the dark the right side represents the lightness. Take note of the black to white gradient at the bottom of the chart.

curves-settings

Points may be added by simply grabbing the line at any point and moving it around. Once you have created a single adjustment point you may add others to gain the exact levels you require. Points may also be deleted as necessary just select the point and press your delete key.

This is a small sample of what can be achieved with the curves tool. Add additional adjustment layers and play with it, you may find combinations of different effects that make your image a work of art.

Photoshop Tutorial – Custom Shapes

Custom shapes are vector-based objects which add an endless array of possibilities to your designs. Photoshop by default has a basic set of shapes which includes arrows, star-bursts, speech bubbles and other random objects. These items are handy but on occasion we need something completely unique.

In this tutorial we will explore the creation of our own custom shapes. For this example we are going to take a rather small raster icon and convert it to a vector shape. We start by opening up our image and selecting the pen tool. The pen tool has a few options once selected. Make sure the “paths” option is selected otherwise the shape you create will automatically “fill” with the selected foreground color making the process more difficult.

Pen Tool

Create the initial object outline using the pen. You should make this outline as detailed as possible since the shape you are creating will be a vector object which may be scaled to a very large size showing any inconsistencies. Our first path outline illustrates how a basic shape may be created. Although for this particular item it needs more detail.

outline-basic

Here is an example of the shape that would be created if we had just stopped here:
shape-basic

Take note of how it resembles the original but really lacks the detail which defines the object as a microphone.

outline-advancedWe now revisit the object and outline additional parts of the microphone which will add the detail needed to make our shape resemble the original more closely. You may add as much detail as needed to accomplish your specific needs. For this microphone, we decided to outline all of the “ribs” and parts of the stand including some of the reflections.

The resulting custom shape is considerably more complex which makes a better representation of the original item.

shape-advanced

You may be asking “how did it go from a path to a shape?” That part is actually quite simple. Once you have created your paths make sure the layer containing them is selected. Go to the top menu: Edit -> Define Custom shape…

shape-select

Name your new shape and it will be added to your shape library for use in any project you may need it. Select the custom shape tool from the hidden menu under the rectangle and have some fun with it!

Here is an example of our new microphone shape re-sized and colorized.

microphone-shapes