Finding Good Keywords

Finding Good Keywords

If you advertise with adwords you have probably realized that with recent changes to their system, the crowd at google have made it very difficult to maintain a profitable adwords campaign. This applies to those promoting other peoples products or their own. The way I used to create a keyword list for my campaigns was to use the adwords sandbox to enter a bunch of keywords that were relevant to my market and just add whatever words it spat out at me. It took me a while but I realized eventually that this wasn’t the best way to go about it. Many of my keywords would become inactive and the ones that remained were ranked 17.2 and not seeing a lot of action at all. It annoyed me because as you probably know, on the adwords traffic estimate screen you always seem to get a number of clicks that excites you but when you actually put up the campaign the results you see are much different. Also I was always limited by the number of related keywords I could think up in my own head. I knew about the power of ‘backdoor’ keywords but couldn’t think up enough of them up to create a profitable campaign! The point it changed is when I found a piece of software that could I could use to see the bid results for large numbers of keywords at once so I could tell immediately which keywords were going to be the most profitable to use in my campaigns and which ones I shouldn’t bother with. Not only that but this same piece of...
What Is Page Rank?

What Is Page Rank?

Page ranks are defined numerically, from 1 through 10 – 10, being the highest. Very few pages have a page rank of 10, and anything above a 6 is considered very good. There are many factors that determine a page’s rank, but the main variable seems to be based on how many websites link to your page. The higher page ranked sites that link to your site, the better. In other words, 10 links to your page from high ranking sites like CNN.com, Yahoo.com, etc, will easily outweigh five times that amount of links from unknown sites with low page ranks. And, just to make it trickier, the amount of “credit” your site gets from incoming links, is also divided by the amount of sites you link OUT to. Equally important, is your site’s actual content. It needs to be information that people can use and take active interest in. Having content that matches your keywords should also go without saying. Why Is This Important? Page rank is extremely important, in that it determines how high you get on search engine results. And just as it’s helpful to have your incoming links be from reputable, trusted, relevant sites, your outbound links will also be more valuable to those pages you do link out to. This is important when negotiating for link exchanges with other sites. The higher your page ranking, the more desirable a link from your page will be to others – Including those willing to pay for said link. Are There Ways To Generate Better Page Rank At No Cost? Absolutely! To follow are some of the...
Search Engine Mistakes to Avoid

Search Engine Mistakes to Avoid

If you have a website then you already know the importance of traffic. Traffic is to Internet marketing as location is to real estate. It’s the only thing that really matters. If you cannot generate targeted visitors to your site, you will not make any sales. Usually the owner or designer of the website is the person designated to drive traffic to the site. The chief ingredient in generating traffic is the search engine. Of coarse, you can use advertising, but it’s going to cost you. Using the search engines to generate targeted (interested in your product) traffic is the least expensive method known. Unfortunately, many website owners do not understand the importance of search engine visibility, which leads to traffic. They place more importance on producing a “pretty” website. Not that this is bad, but it is really secondary to search engine placement. Hopefully, the following list of common mistakes, made by many website owners, will help you generate more targeted traffic to your site…after all, isn’t that what you want. 1. Not using keywords effectively. This is probably one of the most critical area of site design. Choose the right keywords and potential customers will find your site. Use the wrong ones and your site will see little, if any, traffic. 2. Repeating the same keywords. When you use the same keywords over and over again (called keyword stacking) the search engines may downgrade (or skip) the page or site. 3. Robbing pages from other websites. How many times have you heard or read that “this is the Internet and it’s ok” to steal icons and text...
Taking Better Photography

Taking Better Photography

Taking a good photograph isn’t as hard as you may think. You don’t need the most expensive camera or years of experience. Though, the most important advice that years of experience will tell you is that you need to take an exaggerated amount of photographs in one shoot at multiple angles, and an expensive camera enables you to take higher resolution photographs that can be blown up to about five feet and still retain crisp lines. Cameras are all about point of view, that’s it. Everybody has a standard way to look at things, the photographers ambition is to always look at things from a different point of view, and then capture that image. One way to get successful images is to keep looking from a different point of view. Traditional is boring, but it is relevant, if your aim is wedding photography, you don’t really want to push or break the lines of tradition, here it is a different point of view, a traditional point of view will produce things like the idea of the sacred. A more expensive camera will also produce richer gradients, blacks are blacker color is brighter and angles are more extreme with interchangeable lenses but all this can wait. I’m not trying to get you to go out and buy a fifteen hundred dollar camera, quite the opposite actually, it’s better to start off with whatever camera you have laying around, because it will limit your vision, constraining it into an appropriate box from which you can break out of over time. We’ve all heard it… and here it is again, just go...
Concerning Digital Prints

Concerning Digital Prints

So, you have captured that wonderful moment, a beautiful image in your digital camera! Now, you are preparing to take a print to make a gift to your dear and near one or for your personal collection! Now here is the crux! In the majority of such cases, as our experience tells us, people are not sure what the maximum size can be for a digital print, without that image distorting! Many people think that they can make the image as big as they want, then print without knowing about the “image stitching technique”! And when there is distortion, they blame the printer for low visual quality. One must remember that what looks the worst from a close distance may look the best if the distance between the image and the viewer is increased (10 to 15 feet or more) in case of larger digital prints. While taking digital prints, the photographer should consider critically how the image will be displayed for a better, if not the best viewing experience. There are some digital printers too, who do not know the limit or only who only concentrate on money rather than the quality of the output offered. Sometimes they forget that what is merely a digital photo to them, may be a precious moment to the photographer, which may never be repeated! The maximum size that a printout of a digital photo can be, depends on various aspects. But the common aspect can be the following if you are thinking of having your photo printed for yourself: If you are using a commercial 1.2 mega pixel camera, the best digital...
Careers in Photography

Careers in Photography

Are you thinking about taking up the hobby of photography? Many who have already discovered this exciting and fulfilling hobby can tell you the top ten reasons why photography is so great. Maybe you will be captivated by this compelling and diverse art as well. 1. The Challenge of Getting the Perfect Picture If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sometimes a hundred shots have to be taken and you have to try for several days to get just the picture you want. An individual must have patience, but at the end of the day a great sense of accomplishment is felt from capturing the best part. 2. Tell A Story From beginning to end of a snowball fight, with people throwing their first snowball and eventually rolling in the snow and then dusting off, you can see the event and it tells the story of friendship, fun and joy of life. Looking at pictures of an old family farm from its humble beginnings to the growth and increase over a hundred years it tells a story of family, hard work and sacrifice. Everyone has a story, photos can share that story and bring it to life. 3. Express Individuality A photographer subject matter will reflect their interests, likes and preferences. A photo can also reflect the individuality of a subject. The clothes they choose to wear and the location they want the pictures shot all show who they are and their personality. 4. Joy and Laughter Increase Anyone who looks at their first grade picture can attest to this fact. What is more fun than looking...
Free Internet Advertising

Free Internet Advertising

Free Internet advertising is sought after by most Internet marketers and one readily available source of free Internet advertising is the Internet forum. For Internet marketing novices, I’ll briefly explain how free Internet advertising is obtained from Internet forums. Basically, Internet forums are message boards where members can exchange information, obtain advice or just chat. There are Internet forums to cater for every topic you would care to imagine (and a few you would probably prefer not to dwell on). The Internet marketer advertises his products or services simply by posting messages on the forums. There are some Internet forums that forbid the posting of advertisements but, on many of these forums, it is still possible to obtain free Internet advertising by use of a signature file. The signature file is a short piece of text which can contain a link to a website and which can be annexed to every posting a member makes on a forum message board. If you have never tried forums as a source of free Internet advertising, you should bear in mind that there is an unwritten code of etiquette which need to be observed. The following are some of the unwritten rules which need to be followed if you intend to use forums for free Internet advertising for your business. Read the Forum Rules You need to read the rules of any Internet forum before you try to post a message there. I know this sounds obvious but it is clear that many forum users don’t bother to read the rules, despite the fact that the forum registration process inevitably includes a...
Eight Steps for e-Marketing

Eight Steps for e-Marketing

I know how to get a blank stare from just about any e-commerce website owner. All I have to do is ask them about their website marketing plan. When I ask them about their website marketing plan, I get that look. First the eyebrows go up. Then the eyes glaze over for a minute. And then the stammering begins. Sometimes there is no plan above the URL and printed business cards. Sometimes in addition to these strategies, they may opt in to start a newsletter. Sometimes my clients may go as far as to mention search engines. However; for the most part the plan is scattered and is applied elsewhere, say… through the brick and mortar strategies. You know how the old saying goes: “Failure to plan is a plan to fail.” Most small business owners I talk to are frustrated. They think their website is a big waste of money. An “online business card.” A “marketing expense” that doesn’t return any of its investment. And no wonder. You’ve spent thousands on a pretty web design. You shell out dough each and every month for website hosting. You may even be paying a webmaster to update the website regularly. And month after month, year after year, the sales barely trickle in. Marketing your web site is frustrating. It’s confusing! So we end up doing what all of us do when we’re frustrated and confused: deal with it “later.” And later never comes. Know what? It’s not your fault! No one ever taught you how to market on the Internet, this new medium. (They sure didn’t cover that in my...
A Great Way to Advertise

A Great Way to Advertise

One of the key essentials when it comes to making you and your business successful is advertising. Unfortunately most of us cannot afford to advertise during the super bowl with commercials, or place digital signs along Times Square. Beyond the mailers and business cards, there is another way to get your name and product circulating among the masses. The best part of it is, it will cost you next to nothing, and your customer will be doing all of the work for you. When I was in the freelance business, I found out by accident one of the best ways to advertise myself and my business. I have always found it to be in good practice to show my appreciation to my customers by sending them a token of my appreciation by sending them a thank you gesture of some kind, once the project was closed. As time went on, and I began to make a little more money, I had a few extra bucks to spend on my high end customers to show them my appreciation for doing business with me. Not that I was spending a fortune on my customers, just a few extra dollars on every project closing, it only seemed fair. Then something extraordinary happened. I had a couple who had just gotten married. Around the time that they had just moved into their new home, I sent them both a gift basket to their respected places of employment. When the gift baskets arrived, they were thrilled to death. Of course everyone in their office was curious and wanted to know where the gift basket...
What’s a Graphic Designer?

What’s a Graphic Designer?

A (sometimes referred to mistakenly as a , sometimes termed a) is a professional within the graphic design and graphic arts industry who assembles together images, typography or motion graphics to create a piece of design. A graphic designer creates the graphics primarily for published, printed or electronic media, such as brochures and advertising. They are also sometimes responsible for typesetting, illustration and web design, or take a teaching position, although these specialties may be assigned to specialists in various graphic design occupations. A core responsibility of the designer’s job is to present information in a way that is both accessible and aesthetic. Qualifications A degree (or occasionally certificates from accredited trade schools) is usually, though not always, considered essential for a graphic design position. After a career history has been established, though, the graphic designer’s experience and number of years in the business are considered the primary qualifications. A portfolio, which is the primary method for demonstrating these qualifications, is usually required to be shown at job interviews, and is constantly developed throughout a designer’s career. One can obtain an AAS, BA, BFA, MFA or an MPhil / PhD in graphic design. Degree programs available vary depending upon the institution, although typical U.S. graphic design jobs require at least some form of Bachelor’s degree. Current graphic designer jobs demand proficiency in one or more graphic design software programs, relevant to the job function, such as proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite. If a web designer, he or she should understand HTML and other programming languages to design websites. If a print designer, he or she should understand the processes...
10 Tips for Using Photoshop

10 Tips for Using Photoshop

Like a brush is to a painter an essential skill in the field of graphic design is Photoshop. The software offers increased productivity as well as flexibility. The features include aspects like file browser, vanishing point tool, smart sharpen filter, noise reduction filter, smart objects, as well as camera work-flow enhancements. Photoshop offers professional photo editing features, digital imaging, as well as non destructive editing. There are so many hidden features and insights to software, that it is often impossible to know them all. 1. There is a hidden option using which you can simulate bold and italic formatting styles for fonts that do not have these options. Click the button on the type tool option to bring up the character palette. Then select text and click the arrow in the upper right hand corner of the palette menu where faux bold and italics are present. However you will not be able to warp type when formatting has been applied. 2. One can quickly flip through blend modes while trying out effects by using the keys “shift+ to change to next mode and shift- to go to the previous mode.” When a painting tool is active this shortcut will change the blend mode of the painting tool. However, if anything is highlighted then the shortcut will not work. You will have press esc and then use the shortcut keys again. 3. The photo-merge feature can be used to seamlessly combine multiple images to create a panorama. This feature can be accessed from the Automate menu. You can even refine the composition using tools like rotate, zoom, pan, and set...
GIMP is a Great Alternative

GIMP is a Great Alternative

Digital photography has changed all of our lives and given us the ability to digitally manipulate and discover artistry in a new medium. But it’s not that simple, there are several pieces of software to edit your photos with after you take them, the most well known being Photoshop. There is a clear cut rival to Photoshop called GIMP, an open source software that is very similar to Photoshop, and some say better. 1. Starting with the most obvious and most important, GIMP is free. Yes free, no charge, nada, zip, zero. Photoshop costs upwards of $700 for a single license! The old saying stays true, if it’s free it’s for me. 2. GIMP is a much smaller install, about 20x smaller then Photoshop. Not only does the install go much quicker, but it takes up far less hard drive space making it the perfect image editing software for laptops and netbooks where hard drive space may be at a premium. 3. Photoshop is extremely resource intensive, it will run on older hardware but it’s not optimized to and will be sluggish and slow. GIMP on the other hand is amazingly fast and stable. It will install on nearly any hardware running Mac, Windows or even Unix! 4. Gimp is more user friendly. Photoshop was actually created as a piece of software intended for graphics and photographic editing, never just digital photo editing. Because of this it’s bloated with features and functions most photographs don’t want or need. The physical layout of the screen is similar to that of Photoshop, but is also customizable and flexible to fit your...
A Guide to Hiking with your Dog

A Guide to Hiking with your Dog

Dogs are a natural fit for joining you on your hiking and backpacking adventures. Let’s face it, most dogs love to be outside. The sights, the smells, the sounds… did I mention the smells!? Just like you, your dog will benefit from the exercise, fresh air and can keep you in good company on the trail. Conditioning – including puppies It’s best to allow puppies to fully develop their bones and joints prior to starting any long distance hikes. Short day hikes are generally okay but you should avoid high impact activities and long miles. When will they be old enough? Probably sometime around a year old but it really depends on the breed and the best answer is to consult with your vet. For adult dogs, conditioning is not much different than it is for humans. Start small, build mileage and weight. Your dog’s strength and stamina will build and his paw pads will toughen up. Remember, your dog can’t say when they’re tired and sore. You’ll have to watch for signs: Licking feet – are his pad’s injured or irritated? Excessive panting, stopping, lagging behind – is he getting overheated? Find some shade and work on hydration. Cooling products can also help. A tucked tail Your dog’s tail is always a good indicator of their state. Up and wagging? He’s probably doing well. Tucked between the legs? It might be time for a break. Permits and regulations Know the necessary permits and regulations before you head out. Are dogs allowed? Not in most National Parks but most other Federal Land is fair game. Be sure to check...
6 Myths About Heat

6 Myths About Heat

Hot weather in Indiana is, let’s face it, frequent. On those hot and humid summer days, it’s brilliant. There’s great joy to be had in strolling around in the forest pretending you’re actually somewhere like the tropics. But high temperatures and the burning sun also come with dangers. Heat exhaustion and the much more serious heat stroke can strike with surprising ease and rapidness – particularly if, like most, you’re not really used to it. Perhaps because of our lack of familiarity with that big yellow ball in the sky, people’s grasp of the dangers posed by hot weather is not always perfect. We debunk some of the more popular myths and give you some tips to embrace the heat and sun safely. Myth 1: The sun can’t harm me From time to time we’ve all forgotten that the sun is still a gigantic ball of UV-emitting nuclear fire, even in Indiana. Some basic tips: a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen is best as they won’t dribble off after five minutes of sweating uphill, but even these need to be reapplied eventually after enough perspiration. A hat with a wide brim will protect your face and shoulders and provide shade. For other clothing, think loose, light garments like zip-off summer trousers and long-sleeve button shirts. In the long days of summer, early starts and late finishes with a shady rest during the heat of the day can be a simple way to enjoy the hills in peace and comfort. You also get to see more wildlife early and late because animals are far more sensible than we are. Myth 2:...
Dealing with Heat on a Hike

Dealing with Heat on a Hike

Summer means preparing yourself for hiking in hot weather. Dealing with heat is a fact of life and not just on desert trails. High humidity can send the heat index (how hot the combination of air temperature and relative humidity feels to your body) well above 100 degrees, even in northern parts of the country. So no matter where you live, it’s critical that you pay attention to weather conditions before you head out for a day of summer hiking. Other than simply not hiking, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risks. But you can greatly reduce the dangers by taking basic precautions. Planning Ahead Pay attention to weather forecasts Sites like Weather.com let you check forecasts by location and ZIP code. The site offers hourly temperature predictions for the current day and every three hours for the following day. Don’t be overly ambitious A hot day isn’t the best time to finally do that 10-miler with 2,000 feet of climbing. If you’re intent on getting out, scale back your expectations and save the tough trails for another day. Choose the right hike If you live in an area with topographical variation, look for higher elevation trails. Hikes along the coasts or other large bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes, will also be cooler than inland trails. Hike early in the day Temperatures can easily be 20-25 degrees cooler in the morning than in the afternoon. The day will cool off toward sunset but temperatures will still be much hotter than in morning. Avoid the most intense sun Direct sun will increase heat-related stresses and the risk of sunburn. Try to...
Open World Design in Blender

Open World Design in Blender

Open World Design in video games is becoming widely popular. Gamers are seeking games that are more advanced. For the most part, linear games are loosing their interest, and new ways of gaming are being developed, hence games like World of Warcraft and Eve Online. Are you looking to create an open world but don’t know where to start? These tips will steer you in the right direction. Level Design You say you are worried about the cost of such a huge scene in the editing process. A valid worry but ask yourself this; Why edit it all in the one scene? For each area that your world is divided up into make a separate blend file. Group the entire map together as a single blender group and link the group into your final file. Now arrange these objects in your final file to make your world and you can edit each section separately in their own file. The results will be automatically transferred to the final blend file. LOD (Level of Detail) There are many prototypes for LOD (Level of detail) in Blender. It can be done with python and even with logic bricks. You want to carefully map out how to run your LOD system for each section and for the map as a whole. Remember also to use the lowest LOD level as the object seen when editing the map. Since in the 3D viewport all the objects will be giving their impact you want to be using the versions with the lowest poly-count to avoid editing impact. Heavy use of occluders Occluders are a relatively...
Along The Riverbank

Along The Riverbank

Down the road a ways, is a medium sized river that resembles the Indiana Dunes Shoreline. We go there sometimes, hunt for interesting rocks, clean up trash people have thrown aside, or to just get out and about. One time an old man came to make sure I was not some teenage kid getting drunk. He tried telling me it was private property even though it was not. This is a trek that either requires getting wet, or wearing waterproof boots. To explore the hidden areas of this area you have to wade out into the river and cross it many times. Downstream it turns into a much larger river, and joins the main stream which flows all the way down to Kentucky. Here along this small stream, lays built up dead...
Around the Corner Part 1

Around the Corner Part 1

Most of the past ten years has been spent in front of a computer, it was great, I’ve personally excelled quite a bit! in fact, I’ve been in front of a computer sense I was fourteen. It took a lot of time sitting in front of a computer to realize how important it is to go outside. These days it’s not as simple to just go outside. I’ve got a child who can’t be out that long or she will go through heat exhaustion. It’s not like I can go to the smoky mountains each day, or Indiana dunes whenever I want (Working on it, but not yet) Further more, I have to keep a nature photography specialty active. So I’ve created a way to organize it, what about just around the corner. I remember when I was a teen, I walked everywhere and was amazed at how many people offered me a ride, unaware that I was walking around simply because I wanted too. I would walk everywhere until I began running. At the most I would walk more than twenty miles a day, cycling is another thing I’m getting back into. On average I’d run three miles a day, walk no less than a mile a day, and weekly ride my bike an average of five miles a day. Today however, I’ve forgotten what that really meant. So this area, anything labeled “Around the corner” details and documents small, mini explorations. There is a spot, around the corner forgotten, it’s past the houses laying on the edge of the cornfields. The only way there is down an overgrown...
Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a unit of the National Park System designated as a U.S. National Lakeshore located in northwest Indiana and managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966. The national lakeshore runs for nearly 25 miles (40 km) along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, in Beverly Shores, Indiana. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres. The National Lakeshore has acquired about 95% of the property within the authorized boundaries. The National Lakeshore holdings are non-contiguous and includes the 2,182-acre Indiana Dunes State Park (1916), which is owned and managed by the state of Indiana in Beverly Shores, Indiana. The park is physically divided into 15 disconnected pieces. Along the lakefront, the eastern area is roughly the lakeshore south to U.S. 12 or U.S. 20 between Michigan City, Indiana on the east and the ArcelorMittal steel plant on the west. A small extension, south of the steel mill continues west along Salt Creek to Indiana 249. The western area is roughly the shoreline south to U.S. 12 between the Burns Ditch west to Broadway, downtown Gary, Indiana. In addition, there are several outlying areas, including; Pinhook Bog, in LaPorte County to the east. The Heron Rookery in Porter County, the center of the park, and the Calumet Prairie State Nature Preserve and Hobart Prairie Grove, both in Lake County, the western end of the park. Also within the National Lakeshore is the Hoosier Prairie State Nature Preserve, managed by the Indiana Department of Natural...
10 Great Features Of Blender

10 Great Features Of Blender

If all you know about Blender is that it’s free to download, maybe it’s time you took another look. There’s a number of free 3D software packages available for download online. One of the most popular open source software is Blender 3D. Over the last few years, its development has really forged ahead and while many of its idiosyncrasies remain, there’s a lot of good stuff in there of use to CG artists and illustrators. In fact, the software has come so far in recent years, that Blender enthusiasts all over the world are branching out into 3D movies, currently working on a feature animation The Gooseberry project. You can master the software with this brilliant selection of Blender tutorials. But before you do, read on for some interesting facts about Blender; some you might know, a few you probably won’t – and a couple of things that took us by surprise too… 1. You can render with it Blender Cycles offers stunning ultra-realistic rendering. Of course you know you can create images with Blender, but did you know it has a GPU-accelerated unbiased render engine, called Cycles? As long as you have a CUDA-compliant graphics card, you’ll get realtime rendering in the main display. Not only does this help Blender artists work more quickly and efficiently, but with Cycles’ global illumination the images are much more photo-real. The latest version of Cycles has an improved sky model, blackbody emissive materials, hair rendering and tone mapping – and the next one will feature volumetrics. 2. You can simulate fluids You can use Blender to make anything from splashing liquids...
Meet Blender 3D

Meet Blender 3D

In 1988, Ton Roosendaal co-founded the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo. This studio quickly became the largest 3D animation house in the Netherlands. Within NeoGeo, Ton was responsible for both art direction and internal software development. After a careful deliberation it was decided that the current in-house 3D tool-set needed to be rewritten from scratch. In 1995 this rewrite began and was destined to become the 3D software tool we all now know as Blender. Ton founded a new company called Not a Number (NaN), to further market and develop Blender. NaN’s business model involved providing commercial products and services around Blender. In 2000 the company secured growth financing by several investment companies. Target was to create a free creation tool for interactive 3D (on-line) content, and commercial versions of the software for distribution and publishing. Sadly, due to disappointing sales and the ongoing difficult economic climate, the NaN investors decided to shut down all operations early 2002. The shutdown also included discontinuing the development of Blender. Enthusiastic support from the user community and customers couldn’t justify leaving Blender to disappear into oblivion. Since restarting a company with a sufficiently large team of developers wasn’t feasible, in May 2002 Ton Roosendaal started the non-profit Blender Foundation. The Blender Foundation’s first goal was to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as a community based open source project. In July 2002, Ton managed to get the NaN investors to agree on a unique Blender Foundation plan to attempt to open source Blender. The “Free Blender” campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR, as a one-time fee so that the NaN...
Defining Creativity

Defining Creativity

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition or a joke) or an original physical object (such as an invention, a literary work or a painting). Scholarly interest in creativity involves many definitions and concepts pertaining to a number of disciplines: psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy (particularly philosophy of science), technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, songwriting, and economics, covering the relations between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes, personality type and creative ability, creativity and mental health; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology; and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Definition In a summary of scientific research into creativity, Michael Mumford suggested: “Over the course of the last decade, however, we seem to have reached a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products” or, in Robert Sternberg’s words, the production of “something original and worthwhile”. Authors have diverged dramatically in their precise definitions beyond these general commonalities: Peter Meusburger reckons that over a hundred different analyses can be found in the literature. As an illustration, one definition given by Dr. E. Paul Torrance described it as “a process of becoming sensitive to problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, disharmonies, and so on; identifying the difficulty; searching for solutions, making guesses, or formulating hypotheses about the deficiencies: testing and retesting these hypotheses and possibly modifying and retesting them; and finally communicating the...
Creative Theory

Creative Theory

There has been much empirical study in psychology and cognitive science of the processes through which creativity occurs. Interpretation of the results of these studies has led to several possible explanations of the sources and methods of creativity. Incubation Incubation is a temporary break from creative problem solving that can result in insight. There has been some empirical research looking at whether, as the concept of “incubation” in Wallas’ model implies, a period of interruption or rest from a problem may aid creative problem-solving. Ward lists various hypotheses that have been advanced to explain why incubation may aid creative problem-solving, and notes how some empirical evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that incubation aids creative problem-solving in that it enables “forgetting” of misleading clues. Absence of incubation may lead the problem solver to become fixated on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem. This work disputes the earlier hypothesis that creative solutions to problems arise mysteriously from the unconscious mind while the conscious mind is occupied on other tasks. Convergent and divergent thinking J. P. Guilford drew a distinction between convergent and divergent production (commonly renamed convergent and divergent thinking). Convergent thinking involves aiming for a single, correct solution to a problem, whereas divergent thinking involves creative generation of multiple answers to a set problem. Divergent thinking is sometimes used as a synonym for creativity in psychology literature. Other researchers have occasionally used the terms flexible thinking or fluid intelligence, which are roughly similar to (but not synonymous with) creativity. Creative cognition approach In 1992, Finke et al. proposed the “Geneplore” model, in which creativity takes place in two phases:...
Creative Strength

Creative Strength

Graphic design is a field that is quickly changing, both creatively and technically, and while it is easy to get caught up in learning new technical skills, it is just as important to focus improving and pushing the limits of our creativity. Below is a list of tips, exercises and practices that can help you strengthen creativity, continue learning, and help you to become an all-around better designer. Step 1 Become a collector. Each time you see a design that inspires you, collect it, bring it home and file it away. You can stack them in boxes or folders, allowing you access to them. They’re a great resource of inspiration when needed. Even Starbucks gives out creative weekly mini-newspapers. You can also do this online. Download work which you like. Make a new Map on your computer and name it ‘Inspiration’. Save everything you like there. Every time you’re stuck or have no idea what to add more into your work, you can always look in your ‘Inspiration’ map. Step 2 Buy books. Having an extensive book collection is essential to learning. Try to buy a new book at least every few weeks. Look for a range of inspirational, educational, fun, and technical topics. Step 3 Read design-related blogs. You will learn a lot by reading other designers’ blogs. The web in an invaluable resource of information — take advantage of it and actually use it. Step 4 Look out for tutorials. These will teach you new techniques, and will expose you to new methods and useful tricks. Work through them and then apply the learned techniques to your...
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