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Getty Image Embed: A Murky Future

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 11, 2014

Stock image giant Getty Images announced this month that the company was making 35 million images free for non-commercial use via their image embed technology. The selected images are indentified on the stock site with a “</>” icon. Clicking on the symbol yields a snippet of code which can be copied into the source code of a website or blog, causing the unwatermarked image to appear on the  page. As reported in the British Journal of Photography, Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty, states that the step was taken in recognition of the widespread infringement of their licensed images: “What we’re finding is that the vast majority of infringement in this space happens with self-publishers who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing, and simply don’t have any budget to support their content needs.”

The embedded images include Getty’s logo, the photographer’s credit, and social media sharing links which appear underneath the image area. The image links back to the image page on Getty’s site, with information on licensing a higher resolution copy of the image. The technology used to embed the image, deploying iframes, prevents users from changing the image size, and also restricts the images from being fully responsive. (When image embed was first announced, users realized they could in fact crop out the credit line and Getty logo, but Getty quickly altered the code to prevent this.) According to Peters, by making a large library of images available for legal sharing, Getty hopes to benefit their “content creators.”

However, looking at Getty’s terms of use raises questions about Getty’s plans to monetize the image embed player. As Pat David reported in PetaPixel, the embed player iframe element will permit Getty to load any content into the user’s webpage. Although Getty claims to not have any plans in the works to monetize the embed feature, their terms of use reserve that right: “Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.” Joshua Benton on the Nieman Journalism Lab speculates that Getty could gather data from the embedded images to target ads to specific websites.

Additionally, Getty contributors – photographers and illustrators who participate on the site – do not have the option to opt out of the image embed program. (Getty is withholding their premium Reportage and Contour from the program.) Wired speculates that with careful planning, the embed program could yield better compensation to Getty’s photographers or illustrators – or could fail miserably. Either way, it’s easy to envision that one repercussion of the program will be the continued devaluation of visual works as “content” which should be free.

New Guild Member Benefit: Tutorials by Joseph Caserto

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 06, 2014

Joseph Caserto tutorial on UDEMYGuild member Joseph Caserto teaches a variety of courses relevant to illustrators and designers through the online portal, Udemy. He’s offering his full range of classes to Guild members at a generous discount. The coursework covers topics for creatives at all skill levels, from Adobe Digital Publishing Suite for Beginners, through InDesign TurboChargers and Create Your Own iPad and Android Publications. Guild members may access the discount code by logging into the Guild website (login area on the upper right), and visiting the Professional Discounts: Workshops & Classes page. Please note that the discount is only extended to Joseph Caserto’s classes on the Udemy website.

Using Fonts: A Typographic Treasury

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 24, 2014

FontShop is one of many top notch resources for anyone purchasing typefaces, offering thousands of fonts from a variety of foundries as well as its house brand, FontFont. Many of the new releases are featured on FontShop’s blog. But anyone who assumes the blog is just another advertising medium should take a closer look. Selecting FontShop blog articles tagged with “Using Fonts” pulls up a stellar series of informative articles on typography, authored by letterer David Sudweeks. The article series has garnered praise from the likes of Erik Spiekermann.

Sudweeks had intended the series to cover the fundamentals of typography, and many of the articles handle basics, such as “Using Baseline Grids” and “Basic Kerning.” Sudweeks doesn’t refrain from digging deeply into the most mundane subject matter, and the result is a goldmine of information. For example, an article on using Search and Replace delves into GREP, that mysterious search option within the InDesign Find/Change dialogue box. (As it turns out, GREP – from a Unix term – permits one to search for a string of characters. Who knew?) Similarly, an article on “A Sense for Type Scale” was continued into a second article, which lead naturally into a two-part article on “Understanding Visual Hierarchy.”

Some articles cover more fun topics, such as “Wedding Invitation Typography,” or “Making your First Font.” Sudweeks also doesn’t limit himself to typography for print. Several articles deal with responsive typography, CSS, and @font-face. For those who think excellent typography crosses all media, a particularly wonderful article covers “Understanding Cascading Styles in Print and Web.”

 

Brought to our attention by @espiekermann.

Purge Yourself: Jealousy is Creative Poison

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 21, 2014

Jim ZubThe multi-talented artist, writer, and educator, Jim Zub, has written a cautionary article on the destructive power of jealousy. “Jealousy is Creative Poison” is targeted to new cartoonists and comic book creators, but the advice is relevant to anyone working in a creative field. Zub acknowledges that he is stating the obvious when he warns artists against measuring their success against that of others. While he recognizes that jealousy is unavoidable in a career in which one’s ego is wrapped in one’s creation, he exhorts creators to push past it.

Zub passes on three key pieces of advice: First, don’t let jealousy motivate creation, leading you to tear down the work of others. Second, don’t lash out when you feel as though you’re failing. And third, don’t focus on others’ success, but live in your present. Zub ends on a high note, reminding his readers that there is an extensive audience for good stories, good characters, and artists who persevere.

Zub’s website is well worth a visit to aspiring comic book authors and graphic novelists. He’s featured a series of articles covering everything from “How to Break into Comics” to “How to Find an Artist,” comic writing, creator-owned economics, communication, and comic promotion.

Jim Zub is an award winning cartoonist and writer living in Toronto, Canada. He is the writer of Samurai Jack, Makeshift Miracle, Skullkickers, and Pathfinder. His client list includes Disney, Warner Bros., Hasbro, and Mattel. When he isn’t writing comics and graphic novels, he’s the Program Coordinator for the animation program at Seneca College.

Photo used with permission.

Not so Much to Like: Facebook Page Reach Declines

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 20, 2014

Have you set up a Facebook page for your illustration or design business? Chances are this winter you’ve seen a large drop in the total reach of your page posts. On the Guild’s Facebook page alone, we’ve seen a drop in total reach of up to 60% for some posts. For the past six months, Facebook has been tweaking their News Feed algorithm to emphasize posts on links, and decrease the reach of posts with meme and spammy content. While there is some speculation that the move is an attempt to drive businesses to purchase ads on Facebook, the company states that it’s seeking to provide a higher quality, more meaningful news feed for its participants.

Purchasing ad space on Facebook is probably not the best use of a limited marketing budget for the average design or illustration shop. However, there still are a number of steps you can take to increase your Page’s exposure. Chad Whittman, founder of EdgeRank Checker, posted an article on The Moz Blog describing the results of an extensive case study comparing the organic reach of two Pages which posted different content. Whittman’s takeaway from the case study is that page administrators should focus on quality engagement rather than frequent calls to action, post frequently and at different times of the day, and study their page analytics to understand which posts and sources engage their followers.

Patrick Cuttica of Socialkaty has some additional insights into how pages can extend their reach. He points out that posts with multiple photos (a recent improvement Facebook recently added) have a much higher engagement rate than posts with only one photo. (Before posting your images to Facebook, beware of their Terms of Use, which according to ASMP permit the company to monetize them. Instead of your original artwork, you may prefer to post, for example, photos of events you’re participating in.)

In late January, Facebook announced two recent changes to the Newsfeed algorithm, “Story Bumping” and “Last Actor”. Story Bumping posts older stories to the top of a News Feed if readers are still engaging it, and Last Actor prioritizes posts from Pages of friends with whom a user has recently interacted. Cuttica urges Page administrators to take advantage of these changes by visiting old posts people have commented on and replying to them, and by linking back to an old post in a new post or by embedding the post in a blog or webpage.

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