Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

4 Terrific Ways to Convert Videos to Marvelously Animated GIFs

Are you an animation fanatic? Are you a savvy go-getter with a penchant for converting your favorite videos to awesome animated GIFs? If you are not a technical savvy, don’t worry. Pick a smart video-to-GIF maker to get started. Here we go some of the best recommended GIF makers. You might have a look at that information for future reference.

VideoGIF for Mac

If you’re an active YouTube member, then you’ll want to check out VideoGIF for Mac. This versatile utility allows you to convert videos to GIF animations straight from YouTube videos as well as local videos very quickly with very little hassle. It works almost all common video formats such as MOV, MPEG, MP4, M4V, 3GP, AVI and more.

It is flexible to trim any portion of the video to use, as well as to crop, resize or customize the overlays, frame delay, sequence, effects and its color settings. If you don’t have a video in the local folders, just enter the YouTube URL from which you would like to create your GIF. You also opt to change the GIF animation speed and the output quality of the GIF. The highlight is that you can get accurate start time and end time for the overlays of text objects and sticks as what a professional GIF editor can do.

VideoGIF for Mac is a great tool for people who want to create incredible animated GIF as avatar, screensaver and cool element online. It’s a dead simple way to make your own GIFs for all kinds of uses.

Giffing Tool

Giffing Tool, a Windows GIF maker, allows you to create GIFs by recording your screen in a specific area you selected. Always remember the shorter the recording, the higher the quality. With this software, you can also trim video frames, add text, and adjust quality settings freely.

Giffing Tool is a fun tool for creating GIFs by recording screen. If you want to enjoy the fun of making GIF from a recording screen, it might be a nice choice.

PicGIF for Mac

PicGIF for Mac, just as its name implies, is designed mainly for or assembling images into GIFs. It displays the frames one by one as pictures in the app window. Does it work for videos? Yes, it works for videos too. PicGIF allows you to add the local video files as well as webcam videos to make GIFs. And it works as smoothly as the two above work. You are free to set your start frame and end frame or just remove any frame that you just don’t like. Besides, you can use PicGIF for Mac to create GIFs from videos, web camera, as well as your life photos.

Photoshop

Photoshop is well-known photo manipulation software which is the extremely powerful editor for editing images. It also helps users convert video to GIF, but you need to procure your own videos. A MP4 format is preferable.

You can trim the clip from a video as you want and tweak a lot of options to personalize you GIF. You may have some troubles to finish your GIF with Photoshop, but it’s worth it to explore and experience the challenge and surprise it brings to you.

The first three quick and easy to use GIF makes are for those casual GIF artists while the last one is a serious GIF action for those who enjoy challenge. There are dozens of GIF making tools, and I just list some of them. I’m sure you’ll find the one that fits you perfectly.

Pros and Cons of The 4 Types of 2D Animation

As you might know, there are different types of animation, and today I’m going to focus on the types of animation you can do in 2D. Frame-By-Frame, Rotoscoping, Cut Out Animation, And Rigged Characters with Inverse Kinematics.

1. Frame-by-Frame

This is also known as Classical Animation, Traditional Animation or Flip Animation. What you do here is pretty simple, you draw each frame. Ha! Simple, right? I know. But wait, there’s a way to do it. First, you have to know your frame rate, which in the next example will be 12 fps (frames per second), and for that we will have to do 12 drawings for one second.

How to do it: You can do this by having the correct timing of the movement. First, you need a sample (if you are animating a character jumping, then you need a video of someone jumping).

Once you have the video, there are many ways to calculate time and convert it into frames. My favorite is: Stop Motion Works Stopwatch (link at the end of this article). In my example it will be a 8 frame jump.

What you do is: You draw the key frames of the skeleton of your character, and then, you continue by drawing the in-between frames. Let’s make an example of a female jumping (only the action, that means, no anticipation and no aftermath, to keep this simple and friendly). You draw the starting pose (frame 1), then the character in mid-air (frame 5), and finally the landing posture (frame 9).

After you have those 3 drawings, you draw a the in-between frames. A drawing between starting pose (frame 1), mid-air pose (frame 5), and landing (frame 9). In other words, you draw frames 3 and 7. And finally, you draw the missing frames. Easy enough? After the skeleton is animated for all the frames, you add detail frame by frame, a little bit of body form, then a more detailed head on every frame, then the right arm on all the frames, and so on. You continue until you have a detailed character on every frame.

Pros: Your limit is your own imagination. Characters can do whatever you want, have any facial expression you want and any pose you can come up with.

Cons: Takes a lot of time. Animating 1 second can take a couple of hours.

2. Rotoscoping
Rotoscoping is another form of frame-by-frame animation. What you do is you take a piece of footage and import it into your favorite 2D animation software. Now, all you do is draw the silhouette of every frame. Then you substitute those drawings with some details that make up your character. Big nose? Long hair? Fat? Thin?

Pros: You work a bit faster, because you don’t have to draw the key frames and then the in-between, you just follow each frame; and the motion is very realistic, because you just follow the footage frame by frame.

Cons: Even though it can be a bit faster than Traditional Animation, you still need a lot of time to do it, because you have to draw every frame, and also, you start to get limitations: The character will only do what the person in the footage does.

If you need it to do something else than what you have in the footage, then you will have to switch to traditional animation, drawing the key frames first, then the in-between.

3. Cutout Animation

This kind of animation takes preparation. You take each angle of your character (front, sides and back) and you “cut” the character into its parts (hence the name Cut Out Animation). For example, if you were to animate the front side, then you would have the head in one layer, the arms, forehand and hands for each side in a different layer, and so on. This takes time to prepare, but the good thing is that you don’t have to draw each frame, you only prepare once and then you animate the character as if it was a puppet.

Pros: It’s way faster to animate, because you don’t have to draw each frame, you only draw your character and each facial expression once, and after the “puppet” is ready, you can start animating.

Cons: It can take a some time to prepare and the character is limited by the rig. That means, you can’t put her in any position you can imagine, only those you can achieve with the rig. Another disadvantage is that it’s not the fastest way to animate, because if you want to move his hand, then you need to rotate the shoulder, then the arm, then the forearm until you get the hand to the place you need.

4. Rigged Characters (using Inverse Kinematics)

This type of animation is the fastest to achieve. Software like Toon Boom or Animation Studio have a lot of tools that help you rig a character with inverse kinematics and automate facial expressions.

Inverse kinematics are the opposite of forward kinematics (used in Cut Out animation). In Cut Out animation, if you need the hand to be in a position, you have to rotate the shoulder, then forearm and so on. Inverse Kinematics let you click on the hand and move it to the position you want, and the positions and rotations of the shoulder, arm and forearm are automatically calculated by mathematical formulas.

Pros: You animate at top speed. With just a few clicks and drags.

Cons: It takes longer to prepare than the cut out animation, but cuts your working time exponentially. Another disadvantage is that you have limits, you can only do what the Rig allows you to. You can’t move the character into any position you can imagine, but only into those allowed by the rig.

Conclusion:

You cannot have it all. You either have unlimited movement, but huge time investment, or you get limited movement with little time investment. These are the options you have. And for the record, Disney movies use frame by frame, but the shows you see on TV, because they are under schedule, they use a combination between Rigged Characters and Frame by Frame, depending on the shot they are working on.

My advice is, learn to do Frame-by-Frame animation and Rigged Characters, you need them both. But if time is a big issue, then you should definitely master Rigged Character Animation. You can find courses online.

Should You Buy a Piano or a Keyboard?

Piano or Keyboard: Which Should You Go With?

Although the piano and the keyboard appear to have the same basic features, there is a wide range of differences between the two. These differences become apparent when considering how they are constructed, used, and the type of music each one plays. History

Over three hundred years ago, an Italian harpsichord maker decided to broaden the range of his instrument. His invention had similar keys to the harpsichord, but when the keys are pressed a felt tipped hammer hits the appropriate string(s) producing a sound that has been found to be impossible to reproduce. Over the years this invention has been changed slightly, but eventually came to be known as the piano.

The keyboard on the other hand, originated from the pipe organ. One of the biggest differences between the two instruments is the fact that a piano is considered an acoustic string instrument, while a keyboard produces music digitally, generally requiring electricity to function. The Differences

The feel of the two instruments also differs. Some keyboards have small keys and feel like plastic to the touch, while higher end models may feel more like the wooden keys of a piano.

Another key difference is the sound produced by each instrument. Electronic keyboards can create a variety of sounds and effects, while the piano produces a set of the same sounds that vary by tone, generated by the keys and pedals. The hammer system makes a piano touch-sensitive, meaning the sound produced depends on how you press the keys, while a keyboard will sound the same no matter how u press them.

The piano and keyboard also differ in range. A piano has 88 keys (88 notes), but a typical keyboard today has only 61 or 76 keys. Probably the biggest drawback of the electronic keyboard is the quality of the sound. It is almost impossible to replicate the rich tone of a well-made acoustic piano with an electronically produced sound.

Of course the size of the instruments also differs significantly. Keyboards are portable and do not take up as much room space as a piano, and moving a keyboard isn’t nearly as difficult as moving a piano from room to room or location to location. They also don’t have to be tuned, while a piano does. Cost is another factor when evaluating the two instruments. A good acoustic piano can be quite costly, and may not be affordable to many musicians. A keyboard, on the other hand, can range in price from $300 to $1,000, or less if you consider purchasing a used model.

5 Different Ways To Showcase Your Ice Balls.

Colored Balls

Release your inner creative self by including a small amount of color to your spheres of ice. You may achieve this by placing a few drops of food coloring to the ice mold after the water filled mold has been in the freezer for around an hour. You can add in a bit more food coloring if you want more vivid colors. Alternatively, if you’re adding the ice balls to fruit juice , you can pour juice in the molds in place of water and freeze. This way you have colored AND flavored ice orbs! Simply add an ice juice round into a glass, pour the fruit juice over and serve. It’s less likely your juice would taste watered-down this way!

Flower Balls

Looking to add a touch of Zen into your drink? Create flower ice spheres! You can simply make these by putting the flower of your choice into the ice ball mold, snap the 2 mold pieces together and pour distilled or filtered water in the mold up until the fill line and freeze. When you release the ball from the mold you’ll get a dazzling ice ball with the flower frozen inside.

To achieve more visual clarity of the imbedded flower you could try putting in filtered water and freeze from top to bottom. You could do this by putting the filled ice ball molds in to a cooler. Pour water all around the molds and put the entire cooler in your freezer. Of course, you’ll need a cooler compact enough to fit in your freezer. Once frozen, take out the cooler, chip away the ice around the sides of the molds to release them and slowly unmold. Done! Clearer ice balls make it possible for the flower to show through so much more.

Fruit And Herb Balls

This is achieved in the same way as creating flower balls however this time around, utilizing fruit and/or herbs! Be imaginative and use your favorite colorful fruit that is in season for example,: strawberries, raspberries, lemon or lime wedges, pieces of kiwi, or other types of vibrant fruits or berries. Incorporating your favorite herb to your fruit balls not only gives increased flavor but looks stunning too!

Glam Balls

Who knew ice could be so glamorous? Particularly when it’s very simple to do? Just freeze your ice round as normal, put it in a wide rim glass, pour your preferred beverage or cocktail over it and add in some edible silver or gold flakes over the ice. It would be even better if you could find edible gold or silver leaves to use instead.

Multi Purpose Balls

Who says ice balls are created for drinks alone? There are a great many ways you can use your dazzling ice rounds. For example, you could use it for helping keep things cool. Put some frozen orbs into a cooler for your picnic and you’ll be sure everything in there will keep cool all day. Another terrific use for them is for winter decorations. Prepare some frozen colored balls, you are able to use faucet water this time around, then afterwards line them up along your driveway on the snow. For special events, you can even pile some clear or colored ice balls on a beautiful plate or bowl. They ought to keep their shape until the celebration ends particularly during the winter season! You can also mix them up with crushed ice and, with the right lighting, you’ll get a stunning arrangement of ice on your buffet table . Why not fill an ice bucket with ice balls and put your bottle of wine or champagne in it to stay cooled for much longer?

The sky’s the limit when your creative juices get going so have a good time with your friends or family. Red berry juice balls for Christmas cocktails or orange ice balls for your Halloween punch bowl for example. Enjoy!

The Future Of The World (Humor)

An old manuscript was found in the attic of the legend Migel Nostrildamous, a seer of the 1500s who could smell the future. It is written in his own handwriting and it foretells events in the not-so-distant future. And it doesn’t smell good.

Migel writes of the following events:

The year is 2035. The entire border between the U.S. and Mexico has been paved with asphalt so people don’t slip as they run cross. All illegal aliens in the U.S. have been granted amnesty and a subscription to Telemundo. The official language of the U.S. is Spanish. Mexico’s population is 35.

Obamacare requires insurance companies to cover children up until the age of 64, as long as they live with their parents and their mother still does their laundry. A “pre-existing condition” is now defined as a condition that existed before you existed. What this means is that all out-of-pocket expenses paid by your parents and grandparents for their own medical problems, you now get reimbursed for. And this all works out well. Every family has three cars, six servants, a horse stable, and insurance company executives live in homeless shelters.

Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, embark on a joint venture. They’ll be manufacturing detachable mops that can be used as a Kim Jong-un wig that doesn’t fly off when playing basketball.

The International Court of Justice moves from the Hague to the Bronx. In their first session they condemn New York City cops for occupying Brooklyn.

ISIS runs the U.N.’s Human Rights Council and declares that killing a terrorist is a crime against humanity.

The U.S. military has been reduced to a small fraction of what it used to be back in 2014. It loses many men in combat in a war with Denmark. The U.S. is outgunned and outnumbered. Denmark’s army consists of 500 well-armed soldiers, it’s navy has three rowboats with mounted shotguns and it’s air force consists of five cropdusters that can drop 78 cherry bombs a minute. The U.S. doesn’t stand a chance.

Israel finally agrees to give up all the land demanded by Hamas. Hamas builds more tunnels with the help of Iran’s biggest contractor, “Jihad Construction, Roofing and Waterproofing,” and completes the project under budget by taking advantage of the construction company’s semi-annual “Buy cement for one tunnel, get cement for another tunnel free” sale.

Hamas is invited to the U.S. to help New York City complete its never-ending subway projects. Hamas responds, “Can not do. Not have enough cement for tunnel from New York to Israel.”

In light of its land gain, Hamas now demands that Israel roll back its borders to the pre-Egyptian-bondage lines. Israel responds that it’s willing to comply as soon as it figures out how to split the Red Sea again.

Evolutionists are dealt a big blow when a book that disproves the theory of evolution, “Fossils Make A Monkey Out Of Evolution,” reaches one billion in sales on Amazon. In response, evolutionists claim they can prove that if you incubate a bunch of worms in a solution of amino acids and carbon compounds they will eventually evolve into the Long Island Railroad. And they bolster their claim by recounting an experiment that showed that a worm’s cell magnified eight billion times has a remarkable resemblance to a train window.

Migel Nostrildamous writes that his nose was getting a little stuffed and he was having a hard time smelling any further future events. But he promises to make more predictions as soon as his sinus clears up.

Creating an inexpensive photography studio

Let’s face it: the thought of taking an existing space and converting it into a studio can be daunting to say the least! As a newborn photographer, a studio is an absolute necessity. But creating the studio without spending a fortune (I’m talking gagillions of dollars here…gagillions) led me on a path that had very little instruction, so I had to blaze my own trail, getting creative along the way!

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Hi! I’m Elizabeth. Owner of Elizabeth Moore Photography based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I married my wonderful husband last year and had to uproot, re-locate, and re-brand my business. As many of you photographers who have gone through this know, this can be a business killer!

THE STUDIO

Moving to a new area outside of my old reach was tough. I’d be lying if I said it was a smooth transition. However, one amazing moment led to another once I started working on converting a spare bedroom into my studio. As a newly married couple, money was tight, so everything purchased had to go a LONG way.

The spare room started as a pretty standard 10 x 12 – white walls, two windows, and carpet (which led to a problem, more on the carpet later). My studio had to have different flooring choices, numerous backdrops that were able to be quickly and easily changed out, and the studio had to be able to accommodate a lighting system. How the HECK am I going to do all of this in 120 sq. feet!?

Cue my husband, who has an engineer brain, who figured out inexpensive work-around tactics that actually work BETTER than the expensive stuff!

LIGHTING

This will probably be the most expensive single purchase in your studio. I knew I needed at least three lights: an overhead, and two fill lights on 45-degree angles. There are a million options out there for this kind of “kit”, but I have tried and tested about a half dozen of them until I found the one that blended quality with value the best: The CowboyStudio 2275 Watt lighting kit.

studio-on-a-budget-02

If you’re looking for a lighting kit that that can be transported all over God’s creation, then this kit is probably NOT for you (I haven’t had any issues in my studio, but the kit may not survive being moved around constantly), but for a permanent starting studio these are just good enough! The option to turn on each individual bulb on the fill lights is awesome, and gives you customizable light for your situation!

Here’s my two hacks:

For the overhead light, you need counter-weight to go in the bags. I use 4 cans of the on-sale soup from the grocery store…cheap and heavy.
Go purchase fluorescent bulbs with color temperatures between 3500-5000k for that natural “soft daylight” look. The 5500k bulbs the kit comes with put out too sterile of light for me, but everyone is different!
Lets break down the lighting cost:

Lighting Kit — $230.00
Soup Cans Counterweights – 4 for $1.00
Replacement bulbs – 10 @ $8.00 a piece.
Total: About $310.00
BACKDROP SYSTEM

I specialize in photographing newborns, toddlers, and older children. Because of this, I have extremely limited time to be changing out backdrops and need to be able to do it quickly and easily. Luckily, there’s an inexpensive solution for this, also from Cowboy Studio: Three-roller wall mounting backdrop support system.

Side note: Fotodiox also has an almost exact system, which you can find on Amazon. However, I can’t speak for its quality, as I haven’t used it!

The little plastic chains are surprisingly easy to use, and work pretty well, even with heavy backdrops! Also, DO NOT forget to use large wall anchor screws to mount the backdrop system. No one needs embarrassment with a client, or worse: a lawsuit, because of a mounting system that pulls out of the drywall and falls.

Simply mount the two ends of the wall mount system a little farther distance apart as your largest backdrop’s width. If your largest backdrop is 6 feet wide, set the distance between mounts to be 6.5 feet apart. If you might be expanding to larger backdrops later on, make sure to keep that in mind when you mount the system, as it’s FAR easier to easier to accommodate smaller backdrops than larger ones in the future.

BACKDROP SUPPORT

Speaking of the backdrop system, you also need to figure out how to hang your backdrops! This is where the crafty part comes in! The manual for the mounting system suggests using PVC or aluminum tubes as the cross bars to support the weight. I HIGHLY recommend PVC tubes. Luckily, I did the trial-and-error already, so you don’t have to!

PVC dimensions: 2″ diameter Charlotte Pipe from any hardware store . Usually these come in 10ft. long segments, which you will need a handsaw or power tool to cut to the proper length. If you can find a store that will charge you by the foot, you will save some money. I had to buy one pipe for each backdrop, since my cut size was 6 feet in length (which meant 4’ of pipe was discarded).

How to mount the backdrops you ask? Simple! I used carpet tape from any hardware store. Both sides of the tape are sticky, with powerful adhesive, so you can hang anything from heavy vinyl to light paper backdrops without worrying about it peeling off. I found that using two strips of the carpet tape next to each other gives the best hold.

BACKDROPS

With this set-up, you can literally use anything as a backdrop. Wallpaper, construction paper, fabric, vinyl, muslin, and even carpet! You can find rolls of paper at local craft stores (great for seamless wall to floor backdrops). I just rolled the paper off the cardboard tube it comes with and onto the PVC tube! Also, vinyl is actually much cheaper in craft stores than it is online.

We ran into a snag while using the paper and fabric backdrops. How can you keep the material weighted down to prevent curling or wrinkling of the material? The answer came with steel rods! You can pick up these at hardware stores…just find the proper weight and length to match your material. Fold up the bottom couple inches of whatever material you’re using, use carpet tape to adhere it and create a “pocket” for the rod to slide in, and BOOM you’re done. You now have a weighted bottom to your backdrop to ensure little/no wrinkling, no curling, and a smooth roll-up and roll-down of the material!

Lets break down the backdrop system cost:

Mounting System — $60.00
Wall Anchors & Screws — $5.00
PVC supports — $7.00 each
Carpet tape roll — $9.00 each
Backdrops – Varying costs (Vinyl was $20.00 for 2 yards each with coupon)
Total: $100 + depending on amount of backdrops
FLOORING

Originally, I thought that this part of the studio project would be the most expensive. My old studio had beautiful wood floors, which were awesome for shoots. Unfortunately, my new space had carpet, and I mean bottom-of-the-barrel-cheap type of stuff. I thought I was going to have to purchase wood flooring and put it together piece-by-piece, but luckily my hubby found an amazing solution!

Remember vinyl flooring? That stuff that a few years ago looked so unbelievably hideous, and you would probably only use it for a mudroom or for the flooring of a camping trailer? Well, what used to be ugly has done some growing up! Vinyl nowadays comes in such a variety that you can find exactly what you want, even wood floor imitators…and it actually looks like REAL wood!

My husband went to the local discount flooring warehouse and snatched up some clearance items that had already been cut down from the full-size. Because of this, I was able to get 4 different 6 foot wide sheets of “wood” vinyl for less than 100 bucks! After cutting the sheets of vinyl to size, I actually had enough leftover to make a few backdrops too, one of which is long enough to be a seamless backdrop.

One problem with carpet underneath: when someone steps on the vinyl, the carpet pushes down, which gives a “sunken” look up on top. Solution: Plywood squares! We found these great connecting squares of plywood that have traction bottoms. You can buy just enough to fit the size of your space, and they’re cheap!

With this set-up, I can quickly and easily interchange flooring options for all of my clients. They can request one or two different flooring choices, and I just have those two options laying on top of each other!

Lets break down the flooring Cost:

4 discount vinyl floors — $95.00
2×2 Plywood connecting flooring squares – 9 @ $6.00 each (makes 6×6 foot square)
Total: $150 with four flooring options
BONUS: Baseboard Molding Hack:
My shooting style includes a bit of seamless backdrops and also ones with flooring/backdrop combos. I wanted baseboard moldings to imitate a real wall. Obviously, you have to fake this with no actual wall since you’re using a hanging backdrop.

The solution was pretty…interesting. But it was definitely a cool fix! Once you buy your baseboards and cut them to length, you’ll need to attach an L-bracket to each end of the baseboard with superglue (for maximum hold). The baseboard will want to tip forward at this point because of the top heaviness. To fix this you need to add counter-weights. My husband’s ingenious cheap solution:

Steel nuts! You can buy these for virtually nothing at any hardware store. Just superglue and stack them as high as you need to counter the weight of the baseboard. Once you’re done, you should have a freestanding baseboard that can just push up against the backdrop, imitating a real wall!

lets break the Baseboard Cost (though this is not mandatory and is definitely my style):

2 baseboards — $20.00
Bag of L-brackets — $5.00
Bag of 25 Nuts — $5.00
Total: $30.00
PROPS

As a photographer who specializes in newborns and children, I’ve accumulated ROOMS of props. Yes, I’m using rooms as a unit of measurement!

You can spend a fortune on buying props specifically made for photographers. Or, you can save a fortune by visiting local garage sales, antique outlets, and flea markets. For example, I found this absolutely stunning used saddle for about 10 bucks at an antique flea market. It took about 20 minutes (and a whole roll of paper towels) to clean it up, but it was totally worth it!

Also, many newborn photographers will splurge on a legitimate baby poser beanbags. These are specifically designed to help bring the best out of your shots! I recently purchased one of these myself as my business has grown, but did you know you can accomplish almost the same thing for a fraction of the cost?

Meet the Wal-Mart beanbag. For those of you outside of the US, Wal-Mart is this magical place where you can find any product you can imagine, for cheap. This includes beanbag furniture, where you can pick up a small beanbag chair for less than 20 bucks.

When the beanbag arrives, you will need to add more “fluff”, so I bought an extra bag of beans, which gave me the perfect firmness I needed! A couple of microphone stands I picked up at a flea market, a curtain rod between the two, and some clamps will attach your blankets/cloth so you can drape it over the bag. DONE. You have a perfect newborn poser with a simple, easy, and cheap backdrop system.

Lets look at the props costs:

Props Cost — $50.00
Beanbag poser — $18.00
Extra “beans” — $16.00
Mic stands — $20.00
Curtain rod — $10.00
Blankets/cloth — $20.00
Total: $134.00
IT’S A WRAP

I hope after reading this, you’ve gotten ideas as to how it’s possible to have your very own studio. You CAN do it yourself, and you accomplish it without breaking the bank! Of course, everyone’s situation is different…maybe you need to add more in the budget for additional backdrops, or perhaps you already have a lighting kit. Either way, the total budget for this project will change for you and my estimates should be used as guidance, not rule.

Here is breakdown of the entire studio cost:

Lighting — $310.00
Backdrops (system, supports, materials) — $100.00 +
Flooring — $150.00
Baseboards — $30.00
Total: ~$600.00 (more depending on the amount of backdrops you have)
And for the newborn photographer:

Studio: $600.00+
Props/posers/blankets — $134.00
Total: $734.00+
With just a few booked sessions, I have already paid for my new studio with all the props I need. The best part? I can actually call this space “mine”, and know that my own sweat, hard-work, and determination helped create my very own photography studio complete with everything I need for even the messiest situations….

Best of luck to you!

6 Lessons Artists can learn from Startups

There are several stages of business development that all startup ventures must pass through before they can start enjoying good returns. Unfortunately, most artists do not focus on the business side of things. New musicians, painters, designers or sculptors are like business enterprises, meaning that there is a lot that they can borrow from startups if they are keen on making profits from their talents, such as:

1- Networking

Instead of taking a backseat after finishing a beautiful painting, a fine artist must find a way to sell it. This means networking with possible clients both off and online in order to create a buzz about their product. It might be scary trying to sell your work to strangers, but establishing business relationships is all about taking risks and not getting discouraged if they do not pay off.

2- Entertain criticism

Do not fear judgment about your work, but instead be ready to stand in the spotlight as where there is rejection, there is also acceptance. Remember that, like a startup venture, artists who are starting out also face challenges which should not deter them from their goals of earning a decent living from their talent. Professional marketers and public relation firms can help artists cater to the business aspect while they focus on their passion.

3- Display a good image

Startup managers know that customers judge them according to their image. If business premises are dirty or disorderly and the attendants cannot communicate well, there are high odds of failure. Artists must also be very careful of the image that they present and how they relate to their likely customers or investors. Most people in the art world are free spirits who barely recognize the demands of the business world, but this shouldn’t be the case. Such care free people deter investors as it heightens risks.

4- Use the 80/20 principle

For the creative mind, art and business hardly go hand-in-hand, but that is no excuse for failure as a professional artist. Even if all you want is to immerse yourself into your art pieces all day long, selling them will definitely improve your life. To strike a balance, art marketing experts recommend that artists dedicate 80% of their time to their creations and 20% to public relations and marketing.

5- Diversify how you make your money

Some great artists like Jay Z and Beyoncé are often ranked among the richest celebrities. This is not just for their music, but also because they engage in parallel activities like fashion and movies to rake in more cash. As a beginner, you can arrange workshops or become an assistant to great artists like the Chapman brothers, who were assistants to the great Gilbert & Georg. This will increase your work’s exposure and help you learn vital lessons for success.

6- Build a relationship with your fans

Pablo Picasso was a famous artist renowned for some great pieces, but the most admirable thing about him was his amazing connection with his fans. He would mingle and freely interact with people to gain inspiration. By doing that, he achieved rare celebrity status which made his exemplary works even more desirable, popular, and valuable.

Art can certainly make you millions, but that calls for a great image and marketing mind.

5 Interesting Facts About Beethoven You May Not Have Known

Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential musicians/composers of the Classical and Romantic era. He was born in Bonn, which is the capital of Cologne (Germany) on December 17th 1770.

He had a very diligent melodious career with the help of his father, Johann Van Beethoven, who started teaching him music at a very early age. Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for the piano and 1 for the violin, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets to represent his entire career. There is probably no one in the developing world that doesn’t recognize a piece or two that was written by Ludwig. His music was dramatic and fierce and lives on to this day.

A lot of historical information can be found about Beethoven, but there are some exceptional facts about him that you may never have known:

Does Age Really Matter?

On paper Ludwig Van Beethoven was born on 1770. However, for many years the composer thought he was born in 1772. The exact year of birth was never officially definite. Historians believe that Beethoven’s father intentionally created this deception by altering his age so that he could present a much younger musical virtuoso. Remember, around the same time period Mozart was already quite established, and most likely, Beethoven’s biggest musical rival! His father didn’t want his son to be out-done by a fellow young originator.

Student Turned Piano Teacher

Beethoven was forced into the practice of music by an early age and music became his existence. It became his identity and he was very successful. One would assume that his passion for music would be something that he would love to share with those who wanted to learn. Beethoven was known to show utter disdain for piano teaching unless he was able to teach exceptionally gifted students, and, it has been noted, that if the student was a beautiful woman, it didn’t matter if she couldn’t tap her fingers to chop-sticks let alone play the piano.

Sounds of Silence for Ludwig

The worst fate that could ever befall a musician is loss of hearing. That is exactly what happened to Beethoven. His hearing loss was gradual, but by 1819, in his 30’s, he was clinically and completely deaf. According to correspondences written by Ludwig, he considered his hearing loss a “demon”, which haunted him everywhere he went. There were moments in this phase of his life where he contemplated suicide, but the love of music and his career held that action at bay. After the deafness set in, he was still able to complete thirty-two piano sonatas, seventeen string quartets, nine symphonies, one of which would be the Fifth Symphony – one of the most commonly recognized pieces he ever wrote.

Twelve Times Thirty

Music and math have always been complimentary disciplines. According to the American Mathematical Society, counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtone, and pitch are ALL notations made my composers that are directly connected to mathematics. With that being said, Beethoven was not very gifted, to say the least, when it came to basic math. Due to family obligations, he had to leave school at the early age of 11 to help support his family.

Beethoven’s Struggle For Health

Throughout Beethoven’s childhood, middle years and up to his death, he was never blessed with a healthy life. In addition to his hearing loss, which was attributed to typhus, he also suffered from colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, skin disorder, to list a few. His death was eventually caused by cirrhosis, which lead to liver failure.

Whatever strange behavior or physical infirmities Beethoven struggled with, there is no denying that he will forever remain one of the greatest composers of all time.

Jimi Hendrix Psychedelic Art

You can order tee shirts online for yourself and for your organization too.. You may find many tee shirts online that are certainly quite costlier. The everyday TV advertisements mocking about good tee-shirt brands may certainly not have a tempting collection of it. One if the ultimate choices that you can go for is the Jimi Hendrix psychedelic poster. It brings to you the coolest collection which is fit for all sizes.

You can search up the web for a variety of online stores that offers a good tee-shirt collection. It is indeed cool to get quotes from different online shops so that you get price of same. You see a few suppliers give you discounts over many choices. Some retailers also let you customize your own designs and offer suggestions for developing your choices. Also, some may even give discounts like buy one get one free.

The whole world is changing and so with this you need an exclusive artwork for your interiors too. You will have official guests and all your other relatives visiting you and so you need to keep your homes neat and tidy. The tempting corners of your house will be icing on the cake. So, if you truly wish to make a strong impact while you prefer to gift any fabric it is better to for Jimi Hendrix clothing.

Finding a good artwork involves certain attention that have to give while selecting the same. The only way for you can make a search over the web is by selecting a good artist. You can look out online or then can look for the many referrals.

You are sure to come across quite many alternatives for artists who can help you to make best portraits too. By selecting an artist through references you will find a professional that is already recognized. When you start looking out on the web you will easily be able to hunt for the best artist. You can get to see their work over their homepage.

You simply need to pick the best jimi hendrix painting for yourself. At last, you will enjoy the elegant corners of the eye catching piece.

Personalized shirts and t-shirts made from such natural fabrics can be obtained easily from the website. The only important thing to keep in mind is that you need to take the correct choice for the pattern and design so that everyone out there will keep it.

10 Tips to Read More Books

A survey carried out 15 years ago showed that almost half of Americans didn’t read a single book in 12 months. Since then, reading rates have been falling. Sometimes this happens just because we don’t have enough time, but more often it’s just lack of motivation. So, before you turn to our foolproof tips for developing a reading habit, ask yourself a simple question.

Do you really want to read more?

Most of us know we SHOULD read more. Yet, we don’t really WANT to – we don’t truly understand all the benefits. That’s why so many attempts to read more fail. So, what are the benefits of “consuming” more texts?
Keeping your mind sharp. Reading involves mental effort, it forces you to think – this is what television, for instance, can’t do.
Becoming an expert. Having read around 15 books on a subject, you build a better understanding of it than most people. Having read 200-300 books on a topic, you reach the level of an expert.
Changing your life. Self-help genre is the best in this respect, yet even fiction often gives ideas for self-improvement and making your life better. Reading a lot often gives you a chance to think in ways you hadn’t considered earlier.
Being aware of what’s going on in the world. Books may give an insight about trends that will affect our future.
Think of other, more personal reasons. If you are still sure you really want to develop a reading habit, try the following strategies.

Start your morning with reading

Why not start your day with investing in yourself? If reading is the first or one of the first things you do when you wake up, you will be less likely to skip it or just “forget” about it. This routine will help you make reading an automatic activity. You will also read later in the day, when you have time.
However, if you know your mind tends to be slower in the first half of the day, then you might consider reading in the evening, when your concentration is better.

Set a daily goal

For instance, 30 pages or 10% of a book daily. In this way you will be able to read about 3 books a month, or 36 books a year.
For bigger books, 10% is a lot, so you may want to read 5% in the morning and 5% later in the day.

Drop a book you don’t love

Having read 20% of a book you discovered it’s just a waste of time? Don’t be afraid to quit. Otherwise, reading will become a chore rather than a passion.

Keep a list of books you’d like to read

Amazon Wish List can be rather convenient for building such a list. Avoid multiple lists, as you will very likely lose track.

Keep track of the books you’ve read

If you are able to see your achievements, it will help you build up motivation.

Make notes

Use note taking software that gives you a chance to synchronize information on several devices. If you prefer paper books, you may consider making notes on a piece of paper and keeping this piece inside the book.

Try speed reading

This technique is great for many types of books, including self-help books and books connected with one’s job. You will easily find books and software to help you increase your reading speed. But just to begin with, try the following simple steps:
– run a card, a pointer or your index finger beneath the text – in this way you force your eyes and brain to keep pace
– stop “pronouncing” words you read in your head
– read in sprints: set a timer (10 minutes, for instance) and read faster than you actually comprehend.

Have a book with you everywhere

If you find paper books too heavy, opt for an ebook. You may be surprised by how much you are able read during the time in lines etc.

Listen to audio books

It takes more time to listen through a book than to read it, yet audiobooks are great when you can’t actually read (doing chores, walking around).

Make reading more of a social activity

Join a book club. There are a lot of online groups, but you may also find in-person clubs in many towns. Get a library card or find friends who share your interest in reading.