Tuesday, December 3, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Send a Christmas Card With a Personal Touch ~ December 2013

iCLIPART.com - Send a Christmas Card With a Personal Touch ~ December 2013

Dec 3, 2013

Send a Christmas Card With a Personal Touch

Christmas cards are an excellent opportunity for staying in touch with old and new friends, family near and dear. As technology has inspired variety, more and more people are turning away from the standard boxed greetings and exercising a little creativity to add their own personal touch in sending out seasonal messages.

Besides extending best wishes to loved ones, neighbours and friends, this holiday tradition is a great way of updating folks on how you're doing. To that end including a family photo has become a popular option. People who don't see you often, appreciate this memento. Rather than just slap that picture inside, however, why not make it part of the card?

We decided to give it a try using one of the fantastic festive backgrounds from the iCLIPART.com collection to frame a photograph of a father and daughter. It was quite simple and only required a few steps to complete.

To get things started you will first need to open a new file in Photoshop, then alter the size. For our purpose we went with a 6" width by 4" height. Next, go to 'File'>'Open' and select the image you have chosen. We opted for a subdued snowflake background (Image #536373). As this particular illustration was square, rather than rectangular, we did have to crop it to fit before dragging in onto the open Photoshop file.

To ensure an even border you will want the rulers visible. ('View'>'Rulers') You can now set the guides to create the guides to outline the frame, by choosing 'View'>'Show'>'Smart Guides', then 'View'>'New Guide'. Move the guides to set your border at the desired width.

With the frame in place you can now open your picture in Photoshop. (We selected #678791 from iPHOTOS.com.) Size it to fit the centre portion of the card, cropping if necessary, then drag it onto the file. If it's still a bit large, use 'Edit'>'Transform'>'Scale' to alter it. Hold the Shift button while you move in the corners to where you need them, then hit return/enter.

Finally, while pictures may speak louder than words, it's likely you will want to include some text. Choosing the fonts can seem a daunting prospect with so many choices available. Obviously in this case something festive is what you'll be looking for. In addition to the ones on the website, iCLIPART.com's Pinterest page gave us several Christmas font suggestions. You can check them out here: http://www.pinterest.com/iclipart/free-photoshop-resources/

We chose Allura for "Merry Christmas" and Prelude for "From our neck of the woods to yours." Using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop we clicked on the hat and snow to match them to the fonts. Simply highlight the text, click, and voilá - a Christmas card cover that's truly all yours.

What Folks Are Saying About Us

"With all the online business transactions that take place every day, it is rare to have a company with employees like you who really do their best to take care of their customers. I know, and I am grateful."
J. Miller, Horn Lake MS

A Featured Collection:

This time of year all thoughts are of Christmas. iCLIPART.com has hundreds of wonderful festive images to suit every taste and need. However, if adorable is what you're looking for this collection is sure to appeal: Christmas Clipart

Thursday, November 7, 2013

iCLIPART.com - And in the Accounts Department we welcome... ~ November 2013

iCLIPART.com - And in the Accounts Department we welcome... ~ November 2013

Nov 6, 2013

And in the Accounts Department we welcome...

A new face has joined the team at Vital Imagery Ltd. Recently the company bid farewell to Accounts Manager Allyson Cardiff and with great delight has welcomed Jane McCutcheon to the position.

In her role at VI, Jane will be handling customer service calls as well as the day-to-day financial operations. Though she has had previous experience in those fields, Jane is particularly excited to use her knowledge of IT and software application to benefit the company. Prior to coming to VI, Jane spent two decades working for a company where she helped develop and implement new software to improve efficiency in administration and production, as well as gaining experience as a customer service manager.

"Now, when I'm speaking with VI customers, that background enables me to feel comfortable discussing operating systems and different software that will be of interest to them in using the images from our site. I love to be able to talk to people all over the world and use my expertise to assist them. I am well-versed on what customers expect from a company."

Never one to run from a new challenge, Jane is a self-described trailblazer, professionally and personally. Her first career move was working as a distribution operator for Ontario Hydro. "I was actually the first woman in the control centre and prior to that climbed poles training to be a lineman. I love new challenges and experiences and I'm not afraid of trying new things."

That spirit also took her to unexpected places in her personal life. Born and raised in the heart of metropolitan Toronto, Jane met and married a young man from the rural countryside of South-western Ontario. Now living on a mixed-farming operation, with her husband and two children (son Luke is a high school student, Hannah is off to university) Jane spends leisure time in a variety of ways though hockey is her first passion. "I have a love for the Leafs."

She also enjoys golfing, hot tubs, wine and photography.

Now Jane is excited to be working just a short distance from home with her new extended family at Vital Imagery Ltd. With enough time under her belt to be settled in to her the office chair, Jane says, "I like working for a company that understands what it takes to please people. The appreciation shown to their customers is shown to their staff as well. I love my job."

What Folks Are Saying About Us

"Thank you very much for the tip on desaturating and adding back the colour (From the September newsletter) It is ALWAYS great to learn new tricks in Photoshop. I am a person who learns quicker from trial and error and of course tips like yours. Please keep them coming as you have just save me loads of time and painful erasing!!! Thanks very much also for all your clipart. I am starting to design quite a bit of work and your site is priceless."
Andrew W. Alicante, Spain

A Featured Collection:

The American Thanksgiving is on its way. Here's a collection of just some of the great images from our site that will be perfect for your holiday projects: http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=54062588.

Friday, September 13, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Highlight What Matters to You With a Splash of Colour. ~ September 2013

iCLIPART.com - Highlight What Matters to You With a Splash of Colour. ~ September 2013

Sep 13, 2013

Highlight What Matters to You With a Splash of Colour.

With more than 7.8 million images in our collection at iCLIPART.com, finding one to suit your project isn't an issue. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all society, so even the perfect image might benefit from a little tweaking to be even better for your purposes.

And, as some changes can be done so simply with today's image editing software options, why not?

For my example, let's think back to those juicy berry days of summer. Now, let's suppose that you are searching for just the right image to draw attention to the delectable strawberry. A quick search and you find a great colour photo (#443171) a closeup of a young woman about to savour the flavour of this succulent fruit.

The photo is seductive, meant to draw you in. Your eye, as it should be, is taken to the woman, a beautiful bare-shouldered brunette, smoky lids closed as she leans in to taste the luscious fruit from the hand of another. However, while she deserves to get all the attention, you would prefer for your purpose that there is a greater focus on the berry. Thoughts then of how to highlight it, should get the creative juices flowing.

The method I decided on was to turn the photo into a black and white, then colour in the strawberry, a process that requires not much more than a steady hand and some patience. First, open the photo in Photoshop, then select 'Layer' > 'New Adjustment Layer' > 'DeSaturate'. This eliminates all the colour.

Next, choose the History Brush from the Tools and set the brush size to 10. The Hardness should be 100%.

The final step is to 'paint' the colour back into the strawberry. Zoom in close to outline and take a break from time to time so you can undo mistakes without losing all of your work.

The end result shown below is a dramatic effect allowing the strawberry to be the centre of interest while the sultry mood remains. The only thing left is to save and celebrate your accomplishment.

What Folks Are Saying About Us

"With all the online business transactions that take place every day, it is rare to have a company with employees like you who really do their best to take care of their customers. I know, and I am grateful."
J Miller, Horn Lake, MS

A Featured Collection:

Autumn days are looming. With the beautiful palette of colours that decorates the season, it's a dream time for landscape and nature photographers. This featured collection celebrates the glorious face of fall: http://www.iclipart.com/viewlightbox.php?lbox=75586058.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

iCLIPART.com - You Too Can Be a Quick Change Artist. ~ July 2013

iCLIPART.com - You Too Can Be a Quick Change Artist. ~ July 2013

June 2013

You Too Can Be a Quick Change Artist.

If there's one thing we know here at iCLIPART.com it's that there are a lot of people making great use of our site in a variety of ways. From professionals with graphic design or IT experience, to students learning about copyright, from small-business owners looking for a brand, to folks who need an image for that special one-time project, they've all found what they're looking for with us.

But, while needs, as well as the level of computer and design expertise vary greatly among our customers, our terms of use are the same for everyone. So, whether you're in the business of creating promotional materials for others, or wanting an image to decorate a flyer for a fundraiser, you will, for commercial purposes, need to edit the images you use from our site. The terms of use state that changing the image should be a combination of at least two elements.

While a novice might first feel a little intimidated by this, they will soon find it's not as scary as they initially thought. There are a number of ways to alter an image: adding text, changing a colour, adding to or taking away from it, combining two images together, etc. Yet, while one's imagination can soar when working with illustrations, the task is admittedly a bit trickier when dealing with photos.

Trust us, though. Even then, you don't have to be a graphic designer to comply with the rules. There are fortunately a number of online resources and downloadable software programs (many free) that can make changing an image, even a photograph, a breeze.

Here, are some examples of 'edited' photos that were completed basically with a couple of clicks of the mouse. Though they literally took brief minutes, both meet the terms of use requirement.

Using photo #492148 and the quick tricks that are available on Macs with iPhoto, the first step was to crop out the tree at the right and the grass at the bottom. While this does affect the composition somewhat it's such a simple way to change the image it's worth it. The next step was to boost the colour several times. Voila! Two changes.

Here you see the before and after:

Using the same photo, this time we enhanced it, then boosted the shadows. For something a little different, we blurred the edges and antiqued it.

One photo, three different looks. As noted, these were intended to show some quick fixes. Once you find your way into a program, you can have all sorts of fun playing with the images. Here are just a few examples of free editing software from our Pinterest board (http://pinterest.com/iclipart/image-editing-software/)

http://www.gimp.org/
http://www.nchsoftware.com/photoeditor/
http://www.photopos.com/Photo-Pos-Pro-Free-Photo-Editor.asp
http://www.getpaint.net/
http://picasa.google.com/
http://www.pixelmator.com/
http://www.serif.com/free-photo-editing-software/se/
http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/

What Folks Are Saying About Us

"We absolutely love the selection of clipart; especially all of the EPS files!"
Jillian O. Ames, IA

A Featured Collection:

With the humidity and soaring temperatures, there's no question we're deep into summer. To celebrate the beauty and fun of the season we offer this photo collection from our iPHOTOS.com site: http://www.iphotos.com/viewlightbox.php?lbox=80748375.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Looking Sharp With Photoshop's High Pass Filter. ~ June 2013

iCLIPART.com - Looking Sharp With Photoshop's High Pass Filter. ~ June 2013

June 2013

Looking Sharp With Photoshop's High Pass Filter.

If you're new to Photoshop and still experimenting with its many wonderful features, something you really do need to try out are the filters. These tools can improve an existing picture or create special effects.

We set one of our staff members on a little 'play time' with filters project recently. Having previously worked in a field where a rudimentary understanding of Photoshop was all that was required, there are tools she can find quite easily crop, clone stamp, lasso, and eraser. The rest, including filters, are a bit of a mystery. So, throwing caution to the wind she recently started clicking on filters and had some fun. She describes one result here:

"The first thing I discovered when checking out Photoshop filters was the variety. There are dozens of options to retouch, enhance or alter an image. Something that caught my eye, however, was a filter that would sharpen a photo. It seemed a choice worth investigating. It's called the High Pass filter, a versatile little tool the experts assured me can sharpen, soften or create contrast in images.

The photo I chose from iCLIPART.com was #293016 showing the statues on Easter Island. Like sentries lined up for duty, the subjects present an impressive sight in what was already a nice shot. I was curious, however, to see how it would look if it was just a big sharper. After opening the photograph in Photoshop, I created a Duplicate Layer, which is named Layer 1.

Moving to the blend mode of the duplicate layer I selected 'Overlay'.

 

This raises the contrast significantly in the photo but it's only temporary.

Under Filter, I next chose 'Option' > 'High Pass', then set the Radius to 1.7 pixels using the slider to sharpen the image. Any higher radius resulted in a 'halo' quality around the image which should be avoided.

To sharpen the image even further I changed 'Overlay' in the blend mode to 'Hard Light'. If you prefer a little less you can choose the 'Soft Light' option instead.

 

Below you can see the before and after results. It seems to me that the ability to make this change, in just a few quick steps, is quite a beneficial one when working with images."

  

What Folks Are Saying About Us

You do supply beautiful photos! I always find something from your site that adds to the beauty of a blog post or article. I can't thank you enough for the quality you provide. I am continually and pleasantly surprised. Nikki Y.

A Featured Collection:

In just a few days we'll be saying "Thanks, Dad!". Here's a great collection of photographs just in time for Father's Day. http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=59127810.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Tell Mom you love her with an iCLIPART.com Mother's Day card. ~ May 2013

iCLIPART.com - Tell Mom you love her with an iCLIPART.com Mother's Day card. ~ May 2013

May 2013

Tell Mom you love her with an iCLIPART.com Mother's Day card.

Remember those Mother's Day cards we used to create in elementary school? A piece of paper with a sweet little picture on the front and space for a cute verse that the teacher wrote on the blackboard for us to copy. Or cutting out bits and pieces of lace and tissue paper, that you pasted on the card to create an original design.

No matter what our artistic ability Mom always loved them.

So, with Mother's Day looming, why not create an adult version of this homemade project using some of iCLIPART.com's wonderful images.

For our purposes here we used Photoshop. The first step is to create a new document 11" wide by 15" long. Having selected the image for the front (#527202) and opening it in Photoshop, you'll want to copy and paste it onto the document. It's unlikely the image is going to fit so select 'Edit'>'Transform'>'Scale' then hold down the shift button and drag in the corners of the image. Make sure you keep the shift button down, otherwise the picture will distort. When you have it where you want it, hit return, then move the picture to the bottom right corner.

To include a greeting, use the Text tool. Playing with the font size and colour is part of the fun.

In order to work with and move the picture and text together on the page you will want to group them. Highlight the Layers you want to group, then by clicking the three small lines at the top right corner of the Layers information box under the x, you will see the options to make a New Group From Layers. You can then rename it.

Follow all of these steps for the left bottom (card back). The image used as a company logo on this example was #403640.

Now it's time to move on to what will be the inside of the card. In the top right corner of your document, using the text tool, type in a selected poem or prose. Then choose 'Edit'>'Transform'>'Rotate 180°'. Repeat the same steps on the left side. You may also want to add a visual element to the inside of the card. In this example, a portion of the front picture was cropped and the background erased as a decoration between the text.

The layers were then grouped as above.

Download the Final Card

Each of the groups may take some adjusting, to get them centred properly and to fit on the page. Print on nice card stock, then all that remains is to sign your name.

What Folks Are Saying About Us

I just have to tell you that I LOVE ICLIPART! I have used it for so many things. I do craft projects and publishing projects and you always have just what I'm looking for! It has saved me so much money doing it myself. I had a baby shower and I was able to use it for party favours and the invitations. At Christmas, I used it to design cards and emails. I think I will always be a member! W. Toddy, Richland, WA

A Featured Collection:

Our feathered friends have returned and we welcome them back with this collection of beautiful bird illustrations: http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=87489999.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Choosing the right font is important for your project. ~ March 2013

iCLIPART.com - Choosing the right font is important for your project. ~ March 2013

Mar 26, 2013

Choosing the right font is important for your project.

I'm sure you've all received one of those beautiful handwritten invitations the words flowing across them, the stylized letters full of artistic flair, adding just the right touch of formality to the occasion. The art form some crafty person used to achieve this effect is calligraphy, which has been described as "a type of visual art related to writing."

That quote, for me, exemplifies how important text can be to a finished product. When you're shopping for images on iCLIPART.com, finding the perfect illustration or photo to take your project from boring to inspired is only one part of the task. Choosing the right font completes it. And with the veritable smorgasbord of style available on iCLIPART.com it's always fun to sample the unfamiliar too. There's no need to stick to your tried and true.

One cautionary comment, however don't overdo. Too much is like a room full of different personalities fun at first, but it wears thin after a while.

While most of this commentary has been about how the proper text will improve the appearance of your project there are practical considerations as well. It's not just about style. For instance the sans-serif fonts are considered more readable and are generally used for the body of an article.

With these considerations in mind, trying to sort through the hundreds of options may seem formidable. This interesting website from Smashing Magazine offers some guiding principles for choosing and using typefaces that should help you sort through the profusion of options: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/12/14/what-font-should-i-use-five-principles-for-choosing-and-using-typefaces/.

What Folks Are Saying About Us

I would be lost without iCLIPART.com. I use it to set the tone of the article I am editing---sometimes I have been known to go through 30-40 pages of iCLIPART.com to find just the right image. I love the new images (really modern) and have been inspired by them, particularly for flyers that are targeted toward the young modern woman. I also do all of my Christmas cards with iCLIPART.com images and have friends just waiting to see what I am going to do next. B.C., Sacramento, CA

A Featured Collection:

Hopefully, by the time everyone receives this newsletter the snow has melted, the temperature has warmed and the buds are blooming. Just in case winter is lingering where you are here's a collection of delightful spring illustrations: http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=60361599.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Illustrate your story with iCLIPART.com. ~ February 2013

iCLIPART.com - Illustrate your story with iCLIPART.com. ~ February 2013

Jan 23, 2013

Illustrate your story with iCLIPART.com.

Among the many projects in which people use illustrations from iCLIPART.com are books. Where once upon a time only a select few writers were fortunate enough to see their work in print, modern publishing has made it possible for most would-be novelists and poets to share their stories, whether real or imagined.

However, having the talent to tell the story is one thing, the artistic ability to create the images for the front cover or inside quite another. And hiring an artist can be quite costly. The affordable option, therefore, is using images from iCLIPART.com, provided they are not intended as the focus of the book, but used solely to decorate it.

With the purchase of a subscription or images, authors are welcome to use our images in printed books up to 100,000 copies, after which they then need a Professional subscription. This means that if 10 images are used in one publication, then 10,000 copies of the book can be printed. For commercial purposes the images need to be significantly edited using a combination of at least two of the following: adding text, combining two or more images together, removing parts of an image, changing colours etc.

One of the most popular ways to publish these days, of course, is an eBook, which is permitted with the Professional subscription. Our terms of use describe an eBook as a verbatim digital version of a print book, delivered in a digital rights managed pdf, ePub, Mobipocket etc. file format for viewing on an electronic device.

Below are a number of sites where you can publish your iCLIPART.com illustrated eBook.

http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords
http://www.lulu.com/publish
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A37Z49E2DDQPP3
http://www.kobobooks.com/kobowritinglife
http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-write-publish-ebooks

What Folks Are Saying About Us

I love adding a touch of "iCLIPART.com" to some of my work!! I would be lost without it! LOVE IT!! D. McLeod (DM Photography), Stratford, ON

A Featured Collection:

Spring is on the horizon and Easter arrives right behind it. With all the excitement that comes with bunny ears and decorated eggs we hope you enjoy this collection of Easter photos: http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=38605018.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

iCLIPART.com - Creating your logo with iCLIPART.com. ~ January 2013

iCLIPART.com - Creating your logo with iCLIPART.com. ~ January 2013

Jan 23, 2013

Creating your logo with iCLIPART.com.

Your logo - it's a brand for your business, a definition of your style, your corporate identity. Coming up with the right design, therefore, is very important in this competitive world. You want something that will be recognizable while implying quality. It should stand out from others, impressing potential clients. It needs to say exactly who you are.

Professional basketball player LeBron James said, "There are teams and logos you see, no matter where you are in the world, and you know exactly who they are and what they mean." That is what a logo needs to be, a symbol or design that tells the world this is you.

Having a polished design is imperative, but need not be complex. The simple Apple logo is often used as an example of how important a logo can be to a company's identity. On its own, an apple really isn't that big a deal; with a bite out of the side, however, it becomes something else entirely.

While simplicity is fine, as Apple has shown, style is everything. No one wants an amateurish logo representing their business. Then again, of course, everyone doesn't have the resources to hire someone to create a stylishly unique logo for them. Especially small-business owners, or those just starting out. What they need is a resource to provide them with some affordable options. Fortunately, there are many illustrations available on iCLIPART.com that have been created by our talented artists for use as logos. Just using 'logo' in the keyword search will result in more than 4,000 examples.

The only stipulation for using iCLIPART illustrations in your logo design is that the images can't be trademarked, in whole in or in part. The reason for this is that the image could already be in circulation.

Once you find the image you like, it may be all you need for a professional-looking logo. However, if you choose instead to use it as a starting point here's a link to a site that can offer some advice on creating your perfect corporate identity: http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/awesome-rules-designing-perfect-logo/.

What Folks Are Saying About Us

I've been a subscriber for a while. I especially like your customer service. Love your website and I use it a lot! Ginny B. Upland, CA

A Featured Collection:

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Here's a collection of heart-inspired backgrounds just in time for your special projects: http://www.iclipart.com/viewbasket.php?lbox=91693772.