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 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 ( & 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!


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.

Original Image
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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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…


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.


Photoshop Tutorial – Using Clipping Masks

One of the most common techniques used in Photoshop is masking. It is used to show or hide different parts of an image, usually based on either a color or shape. Clipping masks are handy when a specific shape area needs to be revealed. We use them often when creating buttons or teaser elements that have rounded corners or special shapes that require an image as a background.

In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a set of teaser buttons using the clipping mask technique. We often encounter a page element that has a repetitive design or shape but requires different backgrounds to represent its unique purpose. The main benefit of this technique is that once the mask is created it may be applied to as many layers as needed to accomplish your design goal.

Our example represents a simple teaser element that has three unique categories: dining, entertainment, and fitness. Our site or application would take the user to each specific area once the element is selected. We will now demonstrate how to quickly create this example and show how it scales to as many images as needed.

Teaser Images Clipping Mask

Our first step is to create a new project with our required settings. Since we generally design for the web our image will be sized to 200 x 200 pixels at 72dpi with a transparent background.

New Photoshop Document

Once the image is created, we will create our button shape on the first layer using the “Rounded Rectangle” tool. It is located under the standard “Rectangle” tool, accessible by clicking and holding the small black corner and selecting it from the additional tools list. The radius has been set to 15px which makes for a nice and clean rounded edge. Now that our button shape has been created we will proceed to adding an image to it.

Photoshop shape layer

Although there are many ways of adding an image layer, we are going to go step-by-step. We will manually create a new layer by using the menu: Layer->New->Layer… This will add the new layer above our button shape. Then we will select the new layer and go to: File->Place… This will open up a browser window where we must hunt for our desired image to be “placed” on the new layer. Once it is placed, we will size it appropriately using the handles then we hit the “Enter” key to apply the transformation.

Image placement Photoshop

Now that our image is placed approximately where we want it, the next step is to apply the clipping mask. Our image layer should still be selected so we go to: Layer -> Create Clipping Mask. The result should be an image with perfectly rounded corners. One of the benefits to using clipping masks is that we may now move or re-size the background image as needed and the shape will stay the same! We may now repeat this technique for as many unique images as required. Keep placing new images above your shape layer and they will end up with a similar result.

Multiple layers in Photoshop

We will continue to use this technique to add the titles to each of our unique teaser elements. This is a simple design so we will add a 50px tall rectangle on the lower part of the box. We place this element above our images and our initial shape. Once positioned, we will create a clipping mask once again creating the rounded corners. Afterwards we add a text layer and our desired title to each element, save them out in the format we need and call it a day!

Completed teaser button

Subliminal Marketing

James Vicary in the late 1950’s performed an experiment in front of moviegoers (unbeknownst to them) flashing two messages: “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat Popcorn”. His finding shows there was a substantial increase in the sales of soda and popcorn. When Vicary was asked to reproduce his findings, he admitted he had falsified the data.

Nearly 50 years later, Vicary’s hoax is still in use (and still fine-tuned) by many companies practicing subliminal advertising and marketing. Can a logo of a company build trust and loyalty with consumers (as subtle as shifting a character within a company name)? Definitely something to consider when you are debating between buying an Apple product versus Dell, Lenovo, or the many PC makers out in the market.

Do you see the arrow in FedEx’s logo? The arrow is pointing to the right (parked between the two letters E and X), possibly hinting at “wanting to move something forward”.

Further reading for your consideration:

15 Corporate Logos That Contain Subliminal Messaging

Small Business Marketing Advice: Should You Use Subliminal Advertising?

Subliminal Messages Motivate People To Actually Do Things They Already Wanted To Do

Subliminal advertising really does work, claim scientists

UCL study: subliminal messaging ‘more effective when negative’