Beginner’s Guide to Graphic Design

“What graphic design school have you been to?”, “How did you learn to design like that?”, Two questions I’m asked way too much, and to avoid getting asked over and over, I decided to make this blog post that will hopefully be of help to many people. The answer is, I went to an engineering university and I learned all I know with the help of this global network called the “internet”, I’m sure a lot of you have heard of this new and rising piece of technology, it’s trending really widely lately.

My main resource for learning was:

  1. Motivation: since you’re here, you’re obviously motivated. But how can you keep this motivation for the long haul. In this article, I will give you techniques that will hopefully keep you motivated like myself.
  2. Dedication: well, that’s a required spirit for pretty much anything you want to achieve in your life. Unless what you want to achieve in your life is facebook and watching series all day. In that case, dedication is not a requirement for most people.
  3. And finally the links I will be providing in this article.

Getting started

To get started you have to keep your hands busy, a technique I have been using is following full project tutorials step by step, this allowed me to get introduced to the tools and the software, and get myself up and running. It might seem that you’re just copying someone else’s work and not really being creative. But THAT’S OKAY! The purpose of this step is to learn the tool and be a ninja in Photoshop or Gimp or what have you!

I always say that knowing how to hold a pen doesn’t make you an author. That’s why similarly Graphic design is not just using a set of tools, so let’s learn how to grab a pen first anyway! Here are few links of channels that I personally start with, and I owe most of my knowledge to:

  1. ChChCheck it: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChChCheckItsClan
  2. Blue Lightning Tv: https://www.youtube.com/user/bluelightningtv
  3. TastyTuts: https://www.youtube.com/user/TastyTuts

And those are my top three website at the time I was getting started.

Decide a certain creative field

This is where you want to settle on a certain style; Visual Identity development, Film Making, Motion Graphics, 3D… but first, I believe you’ve got to have an idea about all of the fields (or most of them if possible). And I believe you should keep learning other creative fields even after you settle on that field of your expertise – so to speak.

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You might be worried that you end up falling in love with maybe web design or video montage, but you already spend too much time learning Photoshop. But remember, that was just a basic knowledge for colors and common tools that every designer should have no matter what.

So how would you decide you might ask! Well, easy! Get to know every field and then see what inspires you the most, what makes you go “this is so awesome, I will never be able to do something like that in my entire life”. What moves you! Because as we discussed earlier, you have to keep the motivation and a big part of it is challenging yourself, but more on that later (I promise).

Creative-Fields-Icon-Set

And to help you get to know certain fields, here are some links so you can start checking:

  1. Branding
  2. Web design
    1. CSS Awards
    2. Behance
  3. UI / UX
    1. Medium
    2. UX Box
  4. Motion Graphics
    1. Behance
    2. S*** Showreel Say
  5. 3D
  6. Film Making

Those are some links that I could provide, but if you don’t know how to use google. I suggest you pivot to another career path, sorry.

 

Practice makes perfect

Following tutorials will make you a master over the tool, but mostly you want to also be creative beast. True that some people are just more creative than others. However, people ignore the fact that practice has a ton to do with creativity, alongside with inspiration from other designers. Even though creativity means not copying mainly, I think if you can get away with copying, then you’re creative enough! (not that I encourage plagiarism or anything haha!)

 

Untitled-1

Here are more links to get you busy:

  1. Adobe Illustrator (Branding, Illustration, Graphic Design)

Blog.SpoonGraphics

  1. After Effects (Motion Graphics)

  • Websites
  • Youtube Chanels
  1. 3D Modeling / Texturing and lighting (Cinema 4D)

  1. Web design

 

Keep yourself motivated!

Alright, those were the longest list of links I have ever put in a single post. This must have been overwhelming for a fresh designer like you. Once you get started, you will get struggled over and over. You will hate your design at first, let’s be honest, chances are, this post will not make you the next big designer in the globe. And most probably you won’t be (certainly not in the next couple years). But that’s ok! You are perfectly on the right track. Not liking your design means that you have a TASTE! The only way that your becomes as good as your ambition is by practice.

Here are few tips to keep you going:

 

  • Personal Projects: at first, no  one will trust you for, say,  branding of their company, or their next ad that will be shown to millions. And that means you will have to do more personal projects to keep your hands busy. I spent over two years doing almost only personal projects. Example of which are some photo manipulation edits, low poly 3D objects, and even YouTube tutorials.
  • 6
    Even though my aim was just to do the one thing I love, which is graphic design and art. This helped me to get discovered on the internet. And that was not even my intention. I never thought “Hey I will upload this content to the internet so people can hire me” (even though I should have thought of such a brilliant idea haha!). But people take notice of passionate people, and what is better than working without limitations on a personal project that you are excited about, to shape your passion into an astonishing piece of art (-ish).

 

  • Working with limits: tools can be overwhelming, really really overwhelming… at some point you will get your first Photoshop plugin that makes you do some crazy stuff, and then you get another, and after that you learn another tool. And this will leave you with endless possibilities, but it doesn’t expand your horizon of creativity as you think! You might end up with some cool looking piece of art, but most of it isn’t yours because it was generated.
  • Untitled picture
    In addition, anyone can tell which plugin you’ve used, and that can look really unprofessional in your portfolio,… and trust me, psycho critiques of other creatives are no joke!
    Best examples of working with limits is flat design as you can see in the pictures. Even though it limits you from using shadows, glossiness, depth, but it forced creatives to find alternatives that look absolutely amazing.

 

  • Attend Events: It’s by far the most fun tip, surely you can learn a lot from your pc, at home, on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet. But it gets really repetitive to keep doing so, remember that design is for people, and what I mean is you don’t design for the soul purpose of designing, but it’s better to use your design knowledge to solve a certain problem. This is why attending events will be a big help in that. The fun part is they don’t necessarily have to be design related event, in fact, they better not be. It is very critical to know what else is there, it’s the best way to give your design a goal!
    As an engineering student, I attended tons of technology events, most of them have certain themes, and many of them gather professionals to discuss what’s even beyond technology. In certain events where you have to compete with a team against other teams, mostly I am the only designer around. And that allowed me to express my creativity, especially as a beginner with no trusted clients and all of that. It made me able to tackle real life problems using my skills.
    And not only that, the feedback that you get from your team mates, coaches, and even juries sometimes is very rewarding, and pushes you forward in your career.
  • Finally, Experiment! 
  • Don’t limit yourself, you can do more than illustration, I have seen digital painters that switch to animation, 3D artists that are now doing web design, and what got them to switch is human nature, we get bored very easily, especially us working in the creative field! So unless you try new things, you will lose your motivation quickly doing the same old thing.

 

 

Final word

 

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Remember that once you reach a certain skill level, and you start seeing your work becoming as good as your ambition, you then don’t become the best designer with only your skills with Photoshop and the rest of the tools, but by knowing how to be a good with communication, dealing with people promoting yourself (but that’s for another day and another article).

I will leave you now with this video:

Thanks for your time, my name is Imad Toubal and I ama proud Graphic Designer!

Imagine Cup Personal Experience

Imagine Cup is a global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.
Last year, 5 teams with 6 projects successfully made it to the Algerian Finals. That was held in “ESAA” School of business Algiers.
Usually Algeria takes only one good project from the three categories of Imagine Cup to the regional finals, Last year however, we were surprised to hear the news that one team from each category will represent Algeria in the Pan Arab regional finals of IC.
After we were announced as “2nd Place Winners” in finals (even though we belong to different categories) and having believed that only one project will be taken to Pan Arab regional finals, I cannot describe the feeling that I got hearing that the three categories will make it! and I don’t think my friends that were in the campus can either.

Winning Teams in Algeria:

SeeCure (World Citizenship Finalists):

Team of four students of IGEE (ex-INELEC) gathered to make a solution for car crashes, they succeeded to make a car extension that works for any vehicle, it detects accidents occurrence, so that their web app will automatically detects the closest emergency service, and finally contact it to help the victim in the right time.
 

H-4 Hestia (Innovation):

H-4 team from the ESI school (Higher School of Computer Science) rocked the innovation category using IoT technology based application that relies on Cortana to make your life easier. The project was a low cost home automation that allows users to voice command pretty much everything that works on electricity at your home.

Reload (Game):

Another team from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (looks like these guys do not only rock the electronics world). This team brought a RPG Online game, that shines in terms of both graphics and gameplay. Unity 3D was used to bring their characters to life, in addition to Azure as a backend for Online Support.
 
Back to our project, I and the rest of the team were more determined than ever, we carried on working on our project, adding more features to it and more user friendliness, including a mobile application that connects t it, where users can login to their account, check their subscription status, edit the emergency number… and so on.

Pan Arab Finals

The Pan arab finals was held in Zellaq, Bahrain, in Sofitel Hotel. And to be fair, I have never seen the hospitality that we knew from Bahrainis, they made sure to do the impossible so we can be best comfortable, and listened to all our demands and needs to further improve our project.

Yes, we were still developing our idea and refining it until the last breathe, in a matter of fact. We made a whole video montage inside f the plane, and Hocine, the team leader and business plan developer of our team, was keeping a paper with the pitch written on it, so he can keep memorizing it, on the plane, the bus, his room, whenever he finds an free three seconds period of time.
We were supposed to pitch our project on our second day in Bahrain, and then live demonstrate our project to another group of juries in the same day. As always, the presentation would never go as perfect as expected, there was only one American jury that seemed to find interest in our project, asking really tricky and interesting questions. And in the other hand, a typical Arab was checking his iPad for the whole presentation, which got me a bit frustrated as I felt lack of respect to our team and project. And I am not even going to go deeper in what we’ve seen in this kind of snobby Arabs.
Overall, we were really satisfied with our performance, especially on the demo. We brought a small toy car to test our device with… and also had some fun with it on the go.
The four days we spent in Bahrain were surely an unforgettable experience, meeting such young technology passionate students and creatives from around the arab world, has opened our mind wider, and further push our creativity to a whole new level.
 
Unfortunately, the Pan Arab finals were the last stop for all of the Algerian teams in Imagine Cup. However, this was not the end of their journey with their projects. In fact it was just a starting point to implement their ideas, and solution to the real world.
[References]
https://www.imaginecup.com
https://www.facebook.com/DZMSP/
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Imagine-Cup/ICPanArab15

Yad fl Yad

My name is Imad Eddine Toubal, Electrical Engineering bachelor, Computer Engineering student and a professional graphic designer from Boudouaou, Boumerdes. I study in IGEE Boumerdes, and currently working as freelance graphic designer. I worked with variety of local companies (such as Techno, Vertex, and Footland Store) as well as voluntary associations and organizations like Sidra.

Recently I teamed up with two talented students of different fields of expertise, Tareq Si Salem and Chaalal El Hadja, to use one thing that we’re all passionate about, that is, technology, to help the country we all love, Algeria.

In late 2015, we have found a great opportunity that would help up launch our application, Arab Mobile Challenge, we submitted our application when it was in beta. We were developing it on our spare time, until we released it in the early 2016 when we got the news that we were successfully nominated to the finals that were held in Algeria.

Yad fl Yad is an application that allows user to signal social and local problems, and therefore making them more visible to the community as well as the authority, you simply take off your phone, start the app and it will let you signal the problem by taking a picture, using your location as well as a short description and a category of the problem you are prompted to provide, and then the problem will be posted to our database and be visible to every user in the local area so they can in turn help solving the problem, or upvote it to make It more visible. The application as well, allows users to form virtual associations to team up and help solving a certain problem, this dramatically decreases the headache of creating an actual association that can be pain in countries like Algeria.

After submitting the app, many people got interested including the media, were we were featured in Echorouk TV and some newspapers.

Unfortunately, finals of AMC were the farthest we could get in that competition. However, the journey wasn’t over for Yad fl Yad as we will continue to make it happen in Algeria through promotion and campaigns, so more people will be aware of it and more people will help making Algeria or whenever their local residency is, a better place.

Our goal, still has long way to be achieved, but we believe that this kind of small projects that targets huge impact, will need a little help and cooperation with the government that we, unfortunately, cannot get easily, if not ever, due to the nature of the Algerian system. But because, we strongly believe that this kind of difficulties will never be on the way of young talented individuals that are gathered by the love of their country, we aim to make not only algeria, but the whole world, a better place.

Link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.dzgeeksdevs.com.yedfelyed

Windows 10 RTM Desktop Review

Windows 10 was announced in the late of 2014, And boy was I excited to finally have it on my personal computer. Microsoft was doing a pretty good job marketing their product, showing off its most relevant features, some innovative, and some are just a step back to some familiar features from earlier versions of the well-known operating system. Yes, I am looking at you Start menu.

Later on Microsoft finally released a beta version Windows 10, available for free for the community, mainly for technical users. But what got everybody’s attention is their other announcement that it will be free as an upgrade from Windows 8 and even Windows 7 for the first 12 months of its official release. That was the day everybody got twice as excited about Windows 10 final release.

Microsoft has been making newer builds of Windows, and they have been accessible to beta testers. Microsoft was doing a pretty good job, not only refining it by making it more flexible, stable, and less buggy, but also they have been introducing more features -and still doing- in terms of both functionality and user interface / experience.

At the start of June, Microsoft finally announced the release date of Windows 10 to be July 29th, 2015.

Though Windows 10 still carries the same July 29th release date, not everyone have gotten their hands on it at the end of the month.  According to Microsoft, the rollout of Windows 10 begins on its stated release date, though it might first be made available to those who have been helping Microsoft test the upcoming operating system as part of the Windows Insider program that began last October, 2014.

 

Those who were planning to make the jump to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 and 8.1 have been asked to reserve their copy of the new OS, though it turns out that those reservations may not be filled on July 29th, with Microsoft’s executive vice president of Terry Myserson taking to a blog post to explain the plans for its rollout. He said: “Starting on July 29, we will start rolling out Windows 10 to our Windows Insiders. From there, we will start notifying reserved systems in waves, slowly scaling up after July 29th.”

 

This did not stop many Microsoft fans and geek individuals to go around this problem by downloading a tool from Microsoft website (Microsoft Update Tool). Which will then allow them to download and upgrade to Windows 10 without having to wait for the upgrade notification.

 

The reason behind everyone’s excitement about Windows 10 in the first place was mainly Microsoft’s marketing that was a killer at the time.

Microsoft were mainly promoting top features of the operating system which are:

  1. The start menu: After the big hassle of Windows users who have been complaining of the “Start Screen” of Windows 8 and 8.1 that users found it very unfamiliar from the concept of Windows in general, Microsoft finally brought the all familiar “Start Menu” that we have all known and loved. “The Start menu is back—and it’s more personal, more organized, and more fun than before.” they declared in their website.
  2. The Windows Store: The store is not something new to Windows as they announced it on Windows 8 featuring “Metro Apps” that were running full screen on Windows 8 and 8.1, even not so many people found use to them, especially traditional users, since they were targeting Tablets and Touch devices. However, the new Store doesn’t only feature
  3. Cortana:  “your personal assistant, is right on your desktop.” The main point of Windows 10  that Microsoft focused on is personal computing. This new personal assistant that runs on voice commands from the user, not only does it get basic tasks done in few seconds such as setting up meetings or sending an email to a friend. But she can even find your files for you and tell you jokes and learn more about you while you’re using it.
  4. Microsoft Edge: this allegedly beast browser was doing a success when it first started as “Project Spartan” from Microsoft. “Microsoft Edge is the first browser that lets you take notes, write, doodle, and highlight directly on webpages” states the company. Not only that but Edge is knows to be the one of the fastest browsers on Windows ever (Don’t worry all you Google fans out there, Chrome is still on top).
  5. Windows Hello: the feature that lets you sign in in fraction of a second, unfortunately this does not work on any pc as it requires special hardware like a specific Intel webcam or a Finger Print Reader.
  6. Tablet mode: this feature is targeting people that have a Hybrid computer like Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga family and Microsoft Suface as you can switch between Tablet and Desktop mode to get a more powerful control on desktop and still have a nice touch friendly interface when using your device as a tablet, which basically means the best of both worlds

Windows 10 Tablet mode

  1. Multitasking: This new OS from Microsoft is absolutely a beast in multitasking, fast search, the new snapping feature, alongside with multi desktop feature, gather to form a uniquely  sweet experience while multitasking. And for Linux users, we know this is nothing new to you. But that still is a great decision from Microsoft to integrate new ideas to their software and help casual Windows users to make their life  bit easier.

But hold on a second, an OS like that has to be too perfect to be true. Right? Well it’s not perfect, not just yet. Although Microsoft was pushing updates continuously for over 8 months to beta testers. The final build (the RTM) was never “bug-free” and while lot of beta testers were happy of the final build performance a lot of users that immigrated to it directly from Windows 8 or 7, were not as happy as they found some problems with drivers and updates and such. Here is a list of frequently found problems for RTM users:

  1. Drivers: while some people had no issues when upgrading to this new operating system, many more had some difficulties finding the right drivers for their machines.
  2. Updates: Microsoft wanted once again to take a risk by limiting the user (again) this time, by omitting the option to decide whether or not to enable the automatic update. And again depending on individuals that could be a pro or con, some people like to be up to date 24/7 while some have slow internet. You decide.
  3. Slow performance: this frustrating problem that is contradicting to the whole idea of Windows 10, was a such a bummer to many Windows users, and it was mainly because of the two previous bugs.
  4. Battery usage: because of the heavy usage of the processor due to the “great features” that Microsoft made available on Windows. Laptop users were suffering from the very fast draining of the battery that would last 2 hours instead of 4 and 3 instead of 8 and so on. Even though Windows 10 did have a battery saver feature, it didn’t seem to do any better than normal usage on Windows 10.

As Microsoft stated, Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. And the company will mainly provide continuous major updates of Windows 10 instead of releasing newer versions of Windows, and because of that, it’s certain that Microsoft developers will be doing a great job in optimizing the operating system, and making it more flexible, stable and less buggy, as they already did in Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall update) that is its most recent major update.

Overall, Windows 10 was a major event to Microsoft, they did their best to bring all what the users have been asking for, from coming back to familiar Windows features, to introducing new features to the users that seem to come very handy.

I personally will be using Windows 10 with its pros and cons hoping to see more of what Microsoft is hiding for us of surprises while enjoying what’s already there.

 

Algerian Game Development Festival 2016 Experience

Algeria Game Dev Fest “AGDF” Is an event held in Algeria 2.0 concerning video game creation, it unites game design and game development passionate. It holds conferences, as well as a game development competition that a team from inelec participated, and was the 1st place winner in the 2nd edition of. The game “KYO: Dark Quest” of the team “Xerise” gathered four passionate students from different fields of expertise:

  • Imad Eddine Toubal: Graphics designer and digital artist.
  • Yousfi Mohamed Walid: Game designer and developer.
  • Bouchama Lotfi: Co-Programmer and level designer.
  • Boukhamla Zohir: Promoting and social media specialist.

lool

Game description

The game is about a Ninja trying to get back his memory, by passing through a series of obstacles and puzzles of all sorts, discovering his powers down the road, and using them for further obstacles and more complex puzzles.

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The player of the game needs to use both his reflex, and intelligence and they will be having ton of fun surpassing all the difficulties and discovering new levels and powers.

Algeria 2.0 was hell of an experience for me, as I was participating in three different competitions and attending several conferences and workshops on the go. I ended up with ton of experience in addition to some really great connection that kept pushing me forward in my career.

 

1000 Subscribers Special!

Hey guys, how is it going today I am uploading my 1000 subscriber special, I hope you like the video, the speed art and the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY RULES:

  1. Like the video (OPTIONAL, you can skip that or you can be nice :3 )
  2. Check my Behance projects
  3. Comment the top 3 low poly models you liked!

Top 3 project files will be up on 50 likes, so like and share! 🙂

PROJECTS TO CHOSE FROM:

SHOUTOUTS

I talked about some other great channels!

Visit visualintelligence.tk

Stuff I use:

  • Cinema 4D R15 (Modeling + Texturing and animation)
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • After Effects CS6 (Color Correction)
  • Camtasia Studio 8 to Record.

Social Links:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/visualintelligence
  • Google+: http://gplus.to/VisualIntelligence
  • Behance Portfolio: https://www.behance.net/ImadT
  • Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/vigraphis