Thursday, March 29, 2012

Technology All CG Artists Should Know About

Maybe you're reading this article because you are an intrigued CG artist. You have been involved with designing characters and props for movies, video games, and animations for years, or possibly only months. You have an established portfolio of designs that are helping you to find more work, but maybe there is something else out there. Maybe you'd want more from your designs aside from a cool screen saver. The countless hours on top of hours spent on each individual project deserve a little bit more respect, and I know how you can fulfill that.
3D printing is a technology that can bring your designs to life. This technology can help build your portfolio in a very "unorthodox" way that stands out from other CG artists. 3D printing is a form of manufacturing that involves the layer by layer assembly of products. In order for this technology to follow through, a design will have to be mocked up through one of various softwares. The 3D file created will be sent to a "3D printer", or the machine that physically manufactures the product. The computer on the printer will tell the ink jets, laser, nozzles, or ultraviolet rays, exactly where to begin manufacturing the product. 3D printing creates products one layer at a time in a very unorthodox form of manufacturing. This layer-by-layer process gives 3D printing almost complete geometrical independence, opposed to traditional forms of machining or CNC cutting. Products can be created in ceramics, thermoplastics like ABS, precious metals, or even full color materials. What does this mean?
CG artists can physically manufacture their designs through 3D printing. The hours of work and effort spent on projects can yield a physical model to hold in your very own hands. 3D printing isn't free, but it isn't unobtainable. Buying a 3D printer might be an option, as some printers only cost around $1,000. However, not everyone can simply throw around $1,000. Creating a 6 inch character models (dependent on the width and shape) could cost less than $100. A hollowed out model at 5" x 2" x 3" might cost $25 in full color. These models can be created through 3D printing services that exist on an international level. What comes from manufacturing your models?
Perhaps you have an interview coming up with a large corporation that may be hiring you. Of course you will print out your 2D portfolio to present, and this is very valuable. However, imagine handing your interviewer physical models of your best designs. Holding a visual model has the power to truly sell yourself, and your portfolio.
Maybe you have an interesting concept idea that people will pay for. Many people open up their own stores within these 3D printing communities offering specific character models that consumers can buy. This would be a different way to pocket some residual income from your current designs.
You just might want to have a physical model of a design that is valuable to you. The hours of hard work and effort put into creating a 3D image might have meant something to you; if you really cared about the project, maybe you want to own a piece of it. By that I mean: you might want to have your design sitting on your night stand or on your wall. You might want to hold on to your hard work... literally. It is inspiring to physically hold on to something that you put so much time and heart into; 3D printing is a way to bring a piece of you into real life. Whether you are preparing a physical portfolio as an artist or engineer, or you just want to bring your creations to life, 3D printing can help advance you in your career as a designer.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Google - Do No Evil!

Google, the most-used search engine on the world wide web, receives millions of queries each day through its various services. Be it lyrics of songs you are searching for or recipe of some far eastern dish, Google is there for your rescue. Google, has often been cited as an important milestone in the history of internet and it has definitely lived up to the motto of its founders "Do no evil."
What's in the name?
"Google" is actually the misspelling of " googol" which refers to the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros. Since, Page and Brin the founders of Google were aiming at building very large-scale search engines the name suited them perfectly.
Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford working on the Stanford Digital Library Project. The goal of the project was "to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library."
Conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page but Page and Brin theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites. This new technology determined a website's relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site. Simply put, it helps rank web pages that match a given search string. The algorithm was named PageRank (after Larry Page) with patent assigned to Stanford University. However, Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University.
Google Inc. (Google), a global technology company, was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. The announcement for its initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. Brin and Page own about 16 percent of the company's stake. Forbes - Google is ranked 103 among the Top Global 2000 with a market cap of $203.22 billion (as on April 2012).
Google is a brilliant example of doing one thing really really well. It also understands the constant race of today's man against time and probably they are the only people who want the people to leave their website as quickly as possible. Google is applauded for assessing the importance of each page using variety of techniques and gives you information on the go. "Don't be evil" - the company's unofficial motto is said to recognize that You can make money without doing evil.
This search engine's mission can be summed up as facilitating access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, the company has offices in more than 60 countries. Surely, Information or Google knows no boundaries.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Increasing Mobile Payments

What is the best way to be connected with customers all the time? Well that is easy: mobile devices. While it is easy to connect with customers over mobile devices, it is much harder to get them to purchase products through it. 25% of smartphone owners say that they have purchased something on their mobile devices while 60% say they purchased online and 87% purchased in the store according to Wave Collapse. The biggest reason is because consumers just find it easier to swipe a card in the store than try and order online. There are a few things that businesses can do to try and make it easier on their customers to buy with their mobile devices.
The first thing is to make sure that your site and everything on it is up to date and works with all browsers and operating systems. You do not want half of your customers to not be able to view your site or use it because they do not have the most up to date equipment. If it you have to choose a certain range of technology because of budget, it is a smart idea to choose those systems that have the most users. It is also necessary to have fast checkout speed and loading pages. Consumers are impatient and the faster something loads the better for them.
The next thing that customers worry about is the security of their information. Just like on a computer, customers want their information to be secure so that if they lose their device someone will not be able to get to their information, especially their credit card number. Data encryption and password protection as well as a secure connection will keep customer data safe and make them feel better about buying online.
One more way to make it better for customers to purchase with their mobile device is to have a one-click checkout. Businesses can use a card vault provider, a service which keeps customers credit card data secure in a database separate from the business, to give customers peace of mind when putting in their credit card number. This service also makes making a purchase simpler because it saves the customer's information for future purchases and takes out all the steps which can deter a customer from buying.
The future for mobile commerce looks good in face of all the doubt about mobile payments. In 3 years, it is predicted by RSR Research that 24% of retailers will have annual sales of 15% or more from their mobile channel. Right now, about 74 million American consumers shop from their mobile devices according to InMobi. Mobile usage and purchasing is increasing rapidly. It is a good idea for business to look further into the sales potential of mobile payments. With a strong mobile payment strategy a business can insure that it is making it as easy as possible for their customers to purchase on their mobile device and that they will continue to make repeat purchases.