LATEST AWESOMNESS

Be a Hero or at Least Have a Hero Banner

Click on almost any website these days, and you’re likely to see a hero banner. No, this doesn’t mean images of capes and hammers and a collection of super cool gadgets, but the idea is kind of the same. The hero banner is one of the first things that visitors see on your website, and when done well, it’s intriguing enough to keep them on the site and get them to do something — or better yet, buy something.

Some people consider their home page to be a hero banner, but that’s not technically correct. In some cases, a landing page can be a hero banner, but if the banner is on the home page, it’s only a part of the page. Unlike a typical homepage, which may be packed with information and links, a hero banner is generally focused on one specific call to action.

Your homepage will likely have contact information, links to social media, primary and secondary calls to action, logos, and links to other pages on the site – all of which are important – but the hero banner is strictly focused on one key message. It leads visitors to another part of your site, perhaps your homepage or another landing page, according to your site’s primary purpose.

Hero images have become so popular because they pop. They add interest to your site without a lot of clutter, while helping express your key messages and establish your brand. And unlike carousel images, they don’t hide content on your site. Users don’t have to go searching for the banner they just saw or wait for the carousel to come back around.

Your key content is located front and center — right where it needs to be. And thanks to easy-to-use banner maker tools, they aren’t difficult to add to your site.

6 Common Storyboarding Mistakes to Avoid

When you are creating an animated video for your business, one of the most important steps in the process is the storyboard. A rough representation of how your video will play out, shot by shot, a storyboard not only helps you plan for the production of the video, but it can save you time and money in the long run by giving you the chance to work through potential problems before you create the final product.

It also helps you refine and share your vision with others, who may not have a complete understanding of your concept based on the script alone.

Despite the importance of storyboarding, many new video creators either skip the process altogether, or make some big mistakes that delay their production schedule — or worse. If you avoid these mistakes, though, you will have a more successful video, and an easier time making it.

Why Animated Videos Are Best for YouTube Marketing

If you are marketing any sort of product or service, you’ve undoubtedly realized that YouTube is an important marketing tool. With more than a billion unique users every month and more than 6 billion hours of video watched every month, it only makes sense to promote your company, product, or service online.

Now granted, not everyone using YouTube is watching to learn something — there are far too many funny cat videos on the site with millions of views to make that argument. However studies show that a high percentage of YouTube users are in fact using the site to search for work-related information as well as how-to videos and other useful information.

In fact, according to one study in Forbes, more than 50 percent of executives report watching work-related or business videos on YouTube every week, and of those, 65 percent visit the marketer’s website after watching.

But while it’s clear that YouTube is important for marketing purposes, the question then becomes “What should we put up there?” The answer is animation.

Promoting Creativity and Collaboration With Technology

Raise your hand if you grew up visiting the “computer lab” at school. Chances are, if you are in your mid-20s or older, you probably learned “technology” at school in a dedicated classroom with a teacher who specialized in computers — and by technology, you learned how to perform basic functions (i.e., word processing) and maybe play a few educational games.

The world of classroom technology is different now than it was in the 1980s and ‘90s, and even to some extent the early 2000s. Technology is no longer treated as a separate subject or an elective. Rather, technology and computers have become inextricably linked to the educational process.

Children as young as kindergarten are issued iPads to practice reading and math skills, and play games and create work via apps. Computer workstations are replacing traditional desks in many classrooms, and in those that aren’t, students are bringing their own tablets and laptops to school and completing their work on apps like Google Docs, and emailing them to teachers instead of turning in printed documents.

Yet for all of the access to technology that students have, the overwhelming majority of schools only use the internet to research information. The traditional classroom environment often makes it difficult for students to use technology to its full advantage.

One major area where technology in the classroom can make a significant difference is in collaboration. With the right tools and applications, students can learn from each other, both in the same classroom and around the globe, in a number of exciting ways.

4 Simple Tips for Illustrating Your Explainer Video

So I see you’ve come a long way since scripting your precious explainer video. Well done! You’re approaching the halfway point and it’s time to consider all of the graphics, icons, logos, text styles, fonts and visual style elements you wish to incorporate. During your beginning scriptwriting phase, you should have pooled a decent amount of reference to kickstart the process, so pin up all of your favorite browser tabs and get to it!

  1. “Good artists borrow, Great artists steal”
    Remember that famous and possibly implausible Picasso quote that Steve Jobs was so fond of? It’s not to be taken literally. So, please don’t go thinking I’m condoning your breaking into the Sistine Chapel and taking a chisel to your favorite wall. It’s best to assume this means you should take your favorite elements and transform them into your own style. If you happen to “steal” the exact same color palette, be sure that it’s the only element you use from that artwork. If it uses culturally identifiable shapes or patterns, be sure to avoid absolute similarities. Don’t let people confuse homage for perversion, when referencing another artist’s work. And always be sure to get permission from and credit another artist’s work if you absolutely must copy it.

6 Basics to Brilliant Animation

Hey there! Ever wonder how the seasoned pro’s over at Pixar and Dreamworks create such brilliant and beautiful moving works of art? Believe me, I always wanted to sample a little of the secret animator sauce they marinade their meals in. But, it might shock you to know it’s really all about the basics… and sticking to them. You don’t have to be Eadweard Muybridge to achieve a sense of realism. Allow me to reveal those basics with you, now:

1. Lines are the Key
Anyone can draw a line and the simplest of lines can be beautiful. It can show the direction a character is moving in, or simply act as a center line for the character to pose on. One line can set the start of an action and another line be used to accentuate its movement to the end of the action. Conquer your self-esteem and draw out your key poses with stick figures. Even the pro’s start with stick figures.

2. Simple Shapes
Ovals, rectangles and triangles, being the simplest shapes you can draw, also happen to be the best and most commonly used shapes to animate with. Ovals are great for just about every need. They can be 3-dimensional, rigid or squishy. Rectangles can be solid features, or flexible portions of a character. You’d be surprised just how versatile a rectangle can be, especially when you pull out the corners. Triangles are great filler shapes and greatly enhance character and object silhouette.

The Flipped Classroom: Does It Actually Work?

What is the flipped classroom

According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 7,000 students drop out of high school each day, totalling in 1.2 million annually. That is a staggering number: 25% of freshmen who walk into a classroom on their first day of school will not graduate with their classmates. One of the reasons why students quit school is that the traditional one-size-fits-all model does not seem to work: it often results in limited student engagement and general lack of interest for school. Is there anything we can do about it?

Flipped classroom: a new approach to education

In the traditional educational model, the teacher would typically be the focus of the classroom, presenting information to students and trying to squeeze as much contents as possible into the lesson. New topics are covered in class, and students would normally be given some homework to read from the textbook and do some exercises to practice what they learned. In this environment, students’ engagement is limited as there is simply not enough time for them to discuss the topic with the teacher or work independently during the lesson, as all their time is dedicated to listening to what the teacher has to say. While teachers strive to make the learning process as engaging as possible, an approach known as “flipped classroom” is gaining more popularity every year.

What exactly is a flipped classroom?

Enhancing the Modern STEAM Curriculum

Teaching or learning in a STEM-centric environment? Psst… you forgot the A for Arts!

That’s right – in a new era of all things science, technology, math and engineering, we need not look past art and design as the broad-spectrum stitching that binds the others together. After all, the cultivators of STEM education over at Sesame Street have already pivoted to tackle this all-too-important topic of integrating art into their shows!

At least, understanding the correlation between colors, lines and spacial reasoning is knowledge that anyone can benefit from, even beyond building a robot. At most, the basic principles of design serve to bolster an understanding of how our human eyes and brains consume and process information – adhering entrepreneurial visions with a creative glue that will continue to prove its worth way past your typical career trajectory. From this perspective, it is only fair that STEAM rightfully reserves its place in our new educational curricula.

Script Writing Tips: FREE Sample Explainer Video Script!

Want to create an explainer video but not sure where to begin? Well today is your lucky day!

First let’s start with watching an explainer video - sit back and enjoy the awesome cinematic masterpiece :D

After you’ve watched this super cool explainer video what did you discover? Hopefully, you were entertained but there’s more…All explainer videos are trying to do what? Explain things right!? Exactly! Let’s break down the anatomy of an explainer video.

All explainer videos start with:

Could Your Content Marketing Use a Boost? Get Animated

One of the best things about content marketing is the sheer variety of ways that you can create content. Love to write? Blogs, case studies, and whitepapers can help spread your message far and wide. Found some great stats and interesting information? Try an infographic. Want to engage with your audience? Get social on Facebook and Twitter.

The list goes on, but the point is that content marketing has plenty of room for flexibility and creativity — in fact, using as many different tactics as possible is often a good strategy for keeping your existing audience engaged while still expanding your reach.

Among the most effective content marketing tactics is video. Back in 2012, YouTube predicted that video would eventually make up 90 percent of internet traffic, and every year that prediction appears closer to coming true. In 2014, video traffic (which includes streaming services like Netflix) reached 64 percent, and Cisco predicts that by 2019, that number will be up to 80 percent. Clearly, users are comfortable watching videos online, and when it comes to marketing, many often prefer to watch a video than read information about a company, product, or service.

It makes sense, then, to include video in your content marketing strategy. However, there is one type of video that’s proving to be more effective than any other when it comes to increasing click through rates and conversions: Animated video. Whether you choose a custom 2D cartoon, a whiteboard, or a motion graphic video (or any of the many other styles of video animation), the positive effect of animation on our content marketing efforts cannot be understated.