Friday, July 28, 2017

Celebrating Birthdays and July With Amazing Animations

Animation of the calendar page for July riding on a Rocket
July... our time together will soon come to an end for another year.  We have felt your moods — the burning kiss of sun on skin,  sweet breezes brushing against our cheeks, rains cooling and refreshing the air around us.

We have also, however, enjoyed the leisure and entertainment you've provided. From long weekends to vacations and special events, like Canada Day and Independence Day, July is the month to party.

This month the team at Vital Imagery Ltd.,   marked 11 years of delivering top-quality online images to customers for business and personal use.  As well, two colleagues have celebrated their special days recently, while there have been several July celebrants among our extended family.

And as the light fades on July's final sultry days, our family is getting set to make merry at our granddaughter's birthday bash.  Little Missy is turning five and the unicorn-themed event will be highlighted as always with games, cake and ice-cream, followed by an evening campfire and fireworks.

Summer birthdays are the best. However, until the arrival of Missy, only one member of the family was fortunate enough to celebrate then.  While our eldest made his debut on a blisteringly warm July 2, his three siblings, my husband and I, were all welcomed into this world as days were getting shorter and temperatures colder. 

I remember how envious of our son's birthday his sisters and brother were when growing up. No matter how great we tried to make their parties, the fact remained that summer bashes are best.  They weren't very old when they recognized that that summer party was always a blast and offered more options for everything from location to activities.

Animation of a couple on a bench having a drink at a picnic
Over the years we opted to host guests for our boy's event at our summer place or at a backyard fete. The numbers were generally greater than our fall and winter celebrants' shindigs boasted since the outdoors offer infinite space in which to move.  Rather than a few hours of partying, as was the case for the rest of us, the fun at the July fĂȘtes always lingered.

As the encroaching darkness at day's end came so much later,  it only made sense that the festivities be prolonged. Adults, never eager to give up on a gorgeous evening,  packed up weary children and headed home well past bedtime.

Gathering a group of people together to party, when the weather is conducive to outdoor activities is evidently a much preferred situation to cramming guests indoors. Even on rainy days there are typically breaks that allow for a bit of fresh air.

So, in planning  Missy's day, our daughter has always taken full advantage of the great outdoors.  The festivities should be the perfect way to end off a lovely summer month.

With so fun in mind for the weekend, it's hard not to be in the party mood. There's probably nothing that conveys that vibe better than birthday animations. From noisemakers and balloons to candles on cakes and happy children they can all be found in this adorable collection from Animation Factory
Animation of birthday balloons and gifts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Advanced Search Options Help You Find Your Way Around Clipart Sites

Clipart image of a businessman looking through a magnifying glassIt doesn't come without its problems but among the more positive aspects of the internet, when used wisely and with good intent,  is the fact that it allows us to find things — from people and places to information and pictures.

While taken at face value,  it can be somewhat off-putting to realize anyone can track us down on the world-wide web if they want. However, the discovery of long-lost friends, I can attest to personally, is a real gift. I have re-connected through social media with chums from elementary school as well as from other aspects of my past life and established even stronger ties as an adult.

We can find our way with Google maps, etc. We get answers to questions that in the moment really feel must be answered. Of course, in doing so, we hopefully exercise the necessary due diligence to ensure what we have read is accurate, through further research on reputable websites to confirm it.

It's the picture part I mentioned earlier, though, that I'm going to focus on a bit more. Primarily because that is the industry in which I work.  Finding images for projects, whether they are for professional use as in presentations and worksheets or for personal projects such as scrapbooking, embroidery, invitations, etc., has never been so easy thanks to the internet. However, while free is tempting, it is advised that you be cautious when looking for images. For example, many 'free' ones  will carry a headsup  in tiny print warning that the image you're using could be subject to copyright.

The best way to find high-quality, virus-free content, that will also not lead you into a copyright issue, is to purchase them from a reputable site such as iCLIPART.com, iPHOTOS.com or Clipart.com. You can buy a subscription or individual image to use in projects, royalty-free. There are no additional fees or credits.

The other benefit is the diversity of the massive content available. With millions of images in the inventories, there should be something for every need, style or taste.  Typically, a simple keyword search will help you find exactly what you want.

However, the Advanced Search options are wonderful tools to help you narrow the field when necessary.  Regardless of what website you choose,  check for them and see what they offer. For the sake of example we're going to take a little stroll through the options on iCLIPART.com.
Let's assume that I want a simple colour illustration of an ordinary guy, just standing still. Sometimes it's best to try a lot of keywords, but you want to be careful too not to limit yourself too much. I've opted for our purposes here to start simply. Using just the word 'man' in the search box to begin with I knew would bring oodles of results, 124,505 to be exact.

Eliminating 'Santa', 'Christmas', 'hockey', 'sports', 'player', 'band', 'music', 'entertainment', 'cop', 'woman' and 'occupations' based on some of the images I saw that I knew I didn't want, as well as 'animal' and 'monkey',  because there are occasionally  random examples,  significantly decreased the choices.

Clicking off the B&W option also dropped the selections by thousands.

Next I selected the category 'People' which again make a significant difference in the number of results.  However, there were still plenty to wade through so I thought I would add the word stand to the initial keyword of man, which then brought me to 611 results.  Which included the winner – right in the top row.
Keywording is a human science and therefore open to interpretation as well as human error. It is, therefore,  prudent to try a few options when searching. As mentioned, sometimes the path is through a single word; other times as the best thing is to use as many keywords as you can consider.  Just remember that the Advanced Search options are well worth the extra steps and can eliminate any sense of being overwhelmed by what you see.