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Five years ago, Microsoft released its latest and greatest generation of operating system, Windows XP, it was the first major operating system it had offered since Windows 98 and included a variety of pieces of software so that consumers would have more functionality in their computer out of the box. Microsoft will be doing the same thing with Windows Vista and bundling a number of free pieces of software designed to make you more productive. Read on to know what software will already be on your computer when you install Windows Vista.

Microsoft will be retiring Outlook Express in Windows Vista and instead you will have a program called “Windows Mail.” The new software will feature a Bayesian SPAM filter, which is very effective at stopping spam over time. The mail client will come with a great new interface as well as a phishing filter which will help spot scam emails which are trying to steal your personal information for purposes of identity theft.

Entirely new to the operating system will be Microsoft Windows Calendar. The software will be able to read from and publish to web-based calendars so you can view your schedule from anywhere. The calendar software also features support for the “iCalendar” format.

Built into Windows Explorer will be a program called “Windows Photo Gallery,” which will do a lot of things that programs such as Google Picasa do. It is essentially a photo-album for your computer, and users will be able to sort, categorize, title and rate images.

Microsoft Windows Movie Maker will receive a welcome upgrade and will be able to burn DVDs of the movies you make with it through a program called Windows DVD Maker. The new version of the Movie Maker will feature a number of interface enhancements and additional effects.

Windows Media Center will come standard as part of Windows Vista. Previously it was only available through Windows XP Media Center Edition. The software helps you categorize and sort your music and movies, as well as allows you to watch and record live TV with a video capture card. It acts as a “home entertainment hub” and works well on televisions.

And last but not least, we are getting new games! Microsoft decided that its fifteen year old version of solitaire needed a revision, so it decided to re-do all of its included games with its advanced new graphics. New games added include Chess, Mahjong, and a title called “Purble Place,” which is a children’s game.

Transportation Art Images

The Fourth of July is right around the corner. Now is the time to start planning for your party and getting things together. Along with the party, you will need to get the party invitations. There are plenty of places on the internet to get free 4th of July invitations. Some of the places allow you to customize your invitations the way that you want them. In this guide I will show you some of the best sites to get free 4th of July Party Invitations.

Internet Family Fun

Internet Family Fun has two 4th of July invitations that you can print out and use. The first invitation has an American Flag on it. The other invitation has fireworks on it. To print the 4th of July invitations, click the link above the invitation that you want to use. On the next page you will need to click the Download button. Wait for the window to load the invitation. Then click the print button at the top of the window. Click the bold link above to visit this site and view their 4th of July invitations.

123 Certificates

123 Certificates is another great site to print free Fourth of July invitations. This site has more backgrounds and styles to choose from than the above site. You can also customize the invitations on this site. Click the link above to go directly to the page with the 4th of July invitations. To use an invitation, click the invitation that you want to use. A new window will open. In that window you can fill in the fields to customize your invitation. Once you have finished, click the Make It button. On the next page you will see how the invitation will look. Click File > Print to print the 4th of July invitations.

123 Greetings

123 Greetings has free 4th of July invitations but these invitations are invitations that you send through email. Click the bold link above to go to the page with the 4th of July invitations. There are two invitations to choose from. Click on the invitation that you want to use. On the next page you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill in the fields. You can click preview to preview it before sending it. Then click the send button to send the invitations. You can send them to multiple emails.

These are the three best sites that I found for free 4th of July party invitations. 123 Certificates has the best invitations out of these three sites. They have more backgrounds to choose from. Click the bold links to visit the above sites.

You could also create your own 4th of July invitations using a graphics program like Fireworks, Paint Shop, or Photoshop. You can create your own by using free graphics from the web and adding text in the graphics program.

Images Of Graphic Design Arts

Whether you are a new graduate or a seasoned pro, it is good form to keep your portfolio in tip-top shape. You never know when you will be presented with a dream job opportunity. And when that opportunity presents itself, you must be prepared with an amazing portfolio that showcases your skills, your style, your craft, and your creativity. Here are 4 keys to creating the perfect portfolio to land the graphic design job of your dreams.

1. Chose your best pieces. This is important. Truly, it is quality that counts over quantity. Do not show pieces that you are not utterly proud of, just to have more to show. Chose pieces that you can speak about in detail. Chose pieces that showcase your skills. Chose pieces that highlight your strong points. Chose only the best.

Your compilation should be relevant to your audience. If you are showing your book to an advertising agency, become familiar with the type of work done there, and present a sampling of pieces which prove that you fit into their design culture. Maybe a small design firm is looking for fresh new talent to spice up their offerings. In that case select pieces which reflect your ability to innovate and create different design solutions. A book publisher may want to see that you can handle large documents, whereas some jobs will need to see your Photoshop skills. Do your research and use your portfolio to prove that you belong.

In all, your book should include about 12 of your best pieces.

If you are just starting out, and you find that you don’t have enough work,really evaluate the work that you do have. If you feel that the pieces you have do not showcase your amazing typography skills, or your stunning page composition abilities; give yourself an assignment. As long as it is well executed and you can speak about your goals and solutions (just like every other piece), pseudo assignments are a perfectly valid way to show your skills.

Now that you’ve gathered your best samples, you have to plan a killer presentation.

2. Perfect Visual Presentation. There is no way around this. You must present your work in the absolute best way possible. Remember, this is two fold. In today’s day and age you must be prepared with both a stunning online portfolio (more on this later) as well as a knock-out touch and feel book.

The portfolio that you bring with you to an interview, or drop off at a design firm should be impeccable. No torn edges, no creases or folds, absolutely no stains or stray marks. Your craft must be outstanding. All of your pieces should be neat, well-organized, and clearly labeled.

There are many different ways to present your work, depending on the types of items that you are including. Maybe you chose to photograph a series of books that you designed and then mount a few of your best spreads on black boards. Maybe you chose to compile actual samples of your work in a beautiful, leather-bound portfolio book. Keep in mind, every piece should have clean edges and sit comfortably in the allotted area. Nothing should be flopping around or crooked.

Your online portfolio can be more in-depth; however, the same rules apply: quantity isn’t your goal. Only include pieces that you are proud of. It should be organized and well-designed. Don’t get too flashy or cutesy, you don’t want to distract from your work.

OK, you have your best pieces, they have been compiled in the perfect way. Now you have to be ready to talk about them.

3. Speak about it. Be prepared to speak about your work: why it is important, why you included it, and why it is relevant to the interviewer. It is very important to be able to discuss your work, to share your passion. Be sure to mention your role/contribution to each project as well as the surrounding circumstances or constraints such as a tight budget or short schedule. This is where your passion will shine. Mention the fonts that you chose for this project, the way you collaborated with editors on this other, the attention to color in the illustrations that you ordered.

Articulate designers are like gold. Explaining your ideas and defending your choices will get you a long way in the graphic design industry.

You’ve put together the best work, presented it flawlessly, spoke with perfect articulation, you are golden! Right? Not so fast, don’t forget one last thing….

4.You. Don’t forget that you are a huge part of your portfolio. Make sure you present yourself appropriately. Depending on the culture of the office that you are interviewing with, that can mean anything from a business suit to a stylish semi-casual outfit. Do your research and make a good impression. Your look is as impactful as the look of your work.

Graphic Designs Website

The question of how to market a business depends greatly upon what kind of business that needs marketing. A gasoline station for example will usually only need the marketing of a attractive sign and theme, a good location, and low prices for gasoline. A grocery store will need the marketing of flyers demonstrating staple goods at low prices with coupons, and all other retail stores will price commodity like goods at very low prices in order to market the store to get people in the door in order to sell everything else that the store has to offer. Overall, marketing of any other type of sales business can be much more difficult especially marketing businesses that provide services.

A service business such as a tax firm, flower shop, real estate firm, or even a plumbing establishment will need strong marketing strategies in order to be successful. For most service businesses the most successful way of marketing is through knowing people, and this occurs through attending community organizations, college based organizations, churches, special events, fund raisers, and other such places. The more of a community leader that you become the more likely you are to be successful at marketing your business if it is a service business.

Slogans are good for distinguishing your competitive advantage in business from everyone else in order to show people why they should give their money to your business instead of the competition, but the downside of slogans is that a business has to firmly stand behind the slogan in order to not receive public ridicule. Jingles can be great forms of advertisement if repeated time and time again in a way that trigger people to remember your business. Logos can also be very effective if they are very simple, stylish, and seen often. Overall, despite slogans, jingles, and logos having some appeal the best way of getting recognition is still through giving something away for free.

What is ideal is to provide occasional services for next to nothing or even for free to people that you know that have many contacts and people that you know will get the word out that your business is good, but the tick is to make certain that those people will not be telling all their friends that you do all of your work for nothing. On the other hand you can provide a free service to everyone that could lead into other services such as in the case of a home appraisal, a free inspection, a free design, or free consultation. Overall, whatever you give away for free should either lead into the sale of your service or it should highly promote the sale of your service in order to be considered successful marketing.

Service businesses should always focus upon attending business expos, and at a business expo a business owner could show displays, give away products, or even sell very cheep products that everyone would be likely to buy when passing buy. For example a flower shop could sell roses for a dollar and have displays of flower arrangements, a chimney repair business could have a display of a home on fire as a result of poor chimney maintenance, and a home insurance company could give away free fire alarms. A expo booth would be manned by people that would explain how your business has something to offer that people either do not think that they need, do not realize that they need, or do not know how much better your service is compared to the industrial average, and thus expo booth representatives need to explain exactly why people should do business with your business.

Advertising like in the case of newspaper, television, Internet, and radio should all focus upon a target audience, and you should focus upon something that your business has to offer that will certainly get people in the door. For example a financial advisory firm would advertise having a free lecture on how the national debt will ultimately change the stock market in the next few decades, and this for example would be a advertisement for a target audience of business leaders that are business savvy that invest in the stock market. Overall, getting people to attend a free lecture through mass marketing advertisement could get people in the door to your business in order to sell services after the free event.

Some of the best service businesses may specialize in servicing other businesses in areas that are very specialized such as law, computer programming, insurance, and accounting. Businesses that service other businesses may need to study those other businesses in order to know who to talk to and how to market to them. In other words a information technology firm that services local small manufacturing businesses would need to do a lot of informal contacting of people associated with a target business in order to know how to make a final approach to demonstrate possible services to a manufacturing business leader. Overall, businesses that service other businesses need to really know a lot about the party receiving the service because otherwise the consequences can be detrimental since the market can be very slim with customers.

What is most ideal is to always perform the best possible work at the lowest or more reasonable price while showing genuine respect and care for the customer, and if this is always done to the fullest then customers may always be happy with your business and thus relationship marketing eventually causes word of mouth to promote your business in the long run. People are most likely to continue to pay for a service if they look forward to seeing the people that provide the service and if they like the price and quality of the service. In other words just like some people will only go to certain barber shops because they know the people that work at the barber shop thus building long term sales relationships can be the best method of marketing overall.

Graphics Gif

Irish Blessings are perfect ideas for wall art in your home. This incredibly simple tin Irish Blessing sign will look gorgeous in any home, or makes for a perfect house warming gift.

For this project, you will need:

- 8″ square checked tin tile (available online here at Viking Wood Crafts)

- Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Surface Conditioner

- Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Ultra White

- Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Ultra Black

- Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Apple Candy Green

- Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in 14K Gold

- Delta Perm Enamel Satin Glaze

- “May The Road Rise” Irish Blessing Rubber Stamp (available online here at Stampin.com)

- Masking tape

- Scissors

- Sponge brush

- Artist’s paintbrush

- Newspaper

Cover your workspace fully with newspaper to prevent any paint stains or drips. Cut strips of masking tape to cover the smooth center of the tile. Apply a thick coat of Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Surface Conditioner with the sponge brush to the entire tin tile. Let the surface conditioner dry for two to three hours before continuing.

Using the sponge brush, coat the outside etched area with Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Apple Candy Green. Allow the green paint to dry for fifteen to twenty minutes before applying a second coat. Let the green paint dry fully before continuing. Remove the masking tape.

Coat the smooth center of the tile with Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Ultra White. Let the paint dry for fifteen or more minutes before adding a second and third coat. Allow the tin tile dry for an hour, or until the paint is dry to the touch.

With the sponge brush, apply an even coat of Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in Ultra Black to the “May The Road Rise” Irish Blessing Rubber Stamp. Press the stamp to the white center of the tin tile, transferring the image. With the artist’s paintbrush, paint a “pot ‘o’ gold” onto the white portion of the tin using Delta Perm Enamel Air Dry Paint in 14K Gold. Use the green paint to add a shamrock. Allow the tin to dry overnight.

Fully cover the entire tin with Delta Perm Enamel Satin Glaze and allow it to dry overnight.

TIP: Love this craft idea, but have no wall space? Use a plate stand to hold up and display the tin tile just like a decorative plate!

Picasso Art

C’mon, admit it. MSN people graphics are pretty cool – we all secretly like them … even if we would happily spout on about the corporate monopoly Microsoft has created and “officially” want nothing to do with them.

Well … you don’t have to show off your neat little people graphic if you don’t want to. But I promise, you’ll want to.

This tutorial will guide you through the creation of a much cooler MSN-Style people graphic than you’ve seen before. It’s very easy to do, requires no special plug-ins, and can be done in any recent version of Adobe Photoshop without problems.

Creating Cool MSN People

1. Start with a new canvas: It needs to be in RGB mode and sizes at least 500 x 500 pixels. If you’re going to show off your graphic, you might want to go with a larger sized canvas – the larger the size you create at, the better. Working at a higher resolution means being able to size the graphic down for as many purposes as you like without any loss of quality.

2. Draw 3 Shapes: Start with a lighter version of the color scheme you want to end up with, and use ONLY shape tools (there’s a good reason for this, I promise). Draw a circle for the head and rasterize the layer (right-click the layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”), then draw a raindrop for the body but don’t rasterize this layer. Drag the body layer below the head layer. Then, draw an oval shadow and rasterize its layer. Drag the shadow layer below the body layer.

3. Transform the Body: The reason we didn’t rasterize the raindrop was so that we could transform it in this step without getting jaggedy-pixel edges on our shape. Select the raindrop layer, and click “Edit”, choose “Transform”, and pick “Warp”. This transform tool let’s you do some crazy things – what you’re going to want right now are the four “circle” handles. Drag them out so that the raindrop becomes more egg-shaped. (Reference Illustration 01). Click OK when you’re satisfied, and then rasterize this layer.

4. Blur the Shadow: The only thing left for us to do with the shadow layer is make it look more shadowy. We’re going to do that quick and easy by going to “Filter”, choosing “Blur”, and clicking “Gaussian Blur”. Set the radius of the blur to 5.0 pixels, and click OK.

5. Apply Head Layer Styles: We’re only going to mess with layer styles once, and we’re going to do that right now. Select your head layer and head into your layer styles window (click the small “f” icon in your layers palette, or go to “Layer” and choose “Layer Styles”). We want to apply a 1-pixel, Inside Stroke first. It should be the same color as your head, but darker. Then, go to the Gradient Overlay tab, tick the box, and set the default gradient to “Screen” Blend Mode. Finally, tick the Inner Glow box and change the size of the Inner Glow to 21. Click OK.

6. Apply Body Layer Styles: No, I didn’t trick you. We’re not going to mess with the layer styles again – we just want the body layer to match the head layer in styling. The easiest way to do this is to right-click your head layer, choose “Copy Layer Style”, then right-click your body layer and click “Paste Layer Style”. All done with that!

7. 3 Head Accents: Now to make the head look more interesting. First, draw a dark circle on the upper portion of the head. Gaussian blur it (Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur) at 2.0 pixels radius. Next, draw a lighter circle on top of the darker one. Gaussian blur this circle at 5.0 pixels radius. Finally, use a dark color and your circle shape tool to draw an oval down the right side of the head. Set this layer’s mode to “Screen”, grab your circle marquee tool, and cut out most of the circle so it becomes a crescent.

8. 4 Body Accents: Our last step – make the body as cool as the head. We’re going to make a nifty little tie for our cool msn guy. Grab your raindrop shape tool and draw a white raindrop first, and well above the bottom of it a darker raindrop, and right above that a dark raindrop. Don’t blur any of these, and make sure you rasterize each of them. Finally, repeat the steps to create a crescent down the side of the body.

Gorgeous msn guy, made quick and easy in Photoshop! So … you’re gonna go show it off, right?

Graphic Fashion Photo

The Micro Stock Photography industry boasts of turning people’s real love of photography into a good steady stream of income. So if you enjoy photography then this might be a great opportunity for you.

Micro Stock photography is a bi-product of what is traditionally known as stock photography. Stock photography consists of existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. Images are filed at an agency that negotiates licensing fees on the photographer’s behalf.

Micro Stock photography agencies provide images for the public to purchase at low prices and generally sell the images through the Internet. Micro Stock agencies accept images from professional photographers, hobbyists, and amateurs, and then sell the images from as low as $1 per use.

Shuttershock, Dreamstime, and Big Stock Photo are some of the top micro stock agencies in the industry. You can visit these websites and familiarize yourself with the different policies.

Small business owners, graphic designers, and personal computer users all purchase micro stock photography for use on websites, blogs, handouts, and promotional material. Customers find this industry so appealing because of the large selection of images, ease of access, and the low prices.

Don’t let the low pricing structure discourage you as a photographer. It is possible to make a substantial income from selling your photographs through micro stock agencies. For example, if your photograph sells for $1 dollar per use and you average 10 uses per day, you will make $70 dollars in one week. This can add up rather quickly. Submitting your photography to several agencies will increase your income potential.

You can build a portfolio of beautiful images in a very short period. In order to get started, all you will need is a digital camera, a computer, and access to the Internet. This business does not require any initial investment capital or a marketing campaign. All you have to do is take photographs and upload them to the agency site.

Do not let your photographs sit around collecting dust — use them to make money online. Selling your photography through these micro stock agencies is a wonderful way to supplement your income. Several photographers have been able to make a full time income by selling their images to multiple micro stock agencies.

Micro stock photography can be a rewarding experience. It is an easy way to make a good income on line, and you can submit new photographs at any time you want to.

Posters Rock Image

From local television commercials to feature films, free weekly newspaper layouts to ad pages in glossy magazines, the abilities learned in graphic arts programs are put to use in all walks of life. A graphic arts degree can help you get your foot in the door at media studios, ad agencies, commercial design firms, and a plethora of other industries that need beautiful images to help get their business done.

What Can You Gain with Graphic Arts Degrees?
If you're interested in a graphic art degree, don't forget to determine the direction you'd like to go with your studies. Graphic arts programs tend to have expansive boundaries, including everything from photography to digital design to metalwork. The content of your graphic arts degree will be largely up to you.

Vincent Martinez, a working artist and elementary graphic arts teacher in Austin, Texas, recommends graphic arts degrees for the variety of experiences they give budding artists. “You're forced to work in all different mediums, painting, printmaking, digital imaging, foundation sculpture, screenprinting, lithography, illustration, web design, etc. You also get to work alongside lots of people with the same goals you have, workshop your ideas, install your first shows together, and build a community of fellow artists that can stick with you throughout your career.”

Coursework Expectations in Graphic Arts Programs
The range of graphic arts degrees is enormous. In some states, entire universities are dedicated to providing a quality education in many different branches of the visual arts. A general graphic arts degree often contains semester-long primers in numerous avenues of the arts, culminating in a specialization in the discipline that the student finds the most rewarding or comfortable.

Here's a short list of customary courses that students in graphic arts programs can expect:

  • Layout Design
  • Color Theory
  • Branding and Identity
  • Typography
  • Web Page Design Principles
  • Flash Animation

Your graphic arts degree program may last anywhere from 18 months to four years, depending on the degree you're pursuing and the amount of work you're willing to put in per semester. An associate of arts graphic design degree may take as little as three or four terms to complete, whereas a bachelor of fine arts or communication design degree can take 48 months or more.

Graphic Arts Degrees and the Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiled an expansive bank of employment and salary figures for various occupations around the United States in 2009. They found that the mean annual wage for all jobs in the US comes in at $43,460, which can translate to a quite comfortable lifestyle. The same data produced an average yearly salary of $51,720 for professionals in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations, which is the industry supersector into which most graduates of graphic arts programs find themselves once they leave school. Here are just a few individual positions in this field and their corresponding annual salary averages:

  • Graphic designers: $47,820
  • Fine artists: $50,630
  • Multi-media artists and animators: $62,810
  • Art directors: $91,520

The list goes on. If you've ever considered a graphic arts degree, spend some energy researching the right school for you. Find your way to a rewarding future with a graphic arts degree.

Kelli Smith writes about colleges and universities, community colleges, and online schools. Find schools offering a graphic arts degree at www.CollegesandUniversities.org.

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