Facebook is now monetizing groups by giving admins the option to implement monthly membership fees.
The post Facebook Lets Group Admins Charge for Monthly Subscriptions by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Facebook is now monetizing groups by giving admins the option to implement monthly membership fees.
The post Facebook Lets Group Admins Charge for Monthly Subscriptions by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
Search experts share concerns about Google’s Web Light and how it breaks web pages.
The post Concerns About Google Web Light by @martinibuster appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Google introduced a new set of tools that will let content creators test and measure the impact of YouTube videos.
The post Google to Launch Head-to-Head Testing Tool for YouTube Videos by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Posted by NeilCrist
Every year, we publish an overview of all the upgrades we’ve made to our tools and how those changes benefit our customers and Moz Community members. So far, 2018 has been a whirlwind of activity here at Moz — not only did we release a massive, long-awaited update to our link building tool, we’ve also been improving and updating systems and tools across the board to make your Moz experience even better. To that end, we’re sharing a mid-year retrospective to keep up with the incredible amount of progress we’ve made.
We receive a lot of amazing feedback from our customers on pain points they experience and improvements they’d like to see. Folks, we hear you.
We not only massively restructured some of our internal systems to provide you with better data, we also innovated new ways to display and report on that data, making the tools more accurate and more useful than ever before.
If you’ve been tasked with achieving organic success, we know your job isn’t easy. You need tools that get the job done, and done well. We think Moz delivered.
Check out our 2018 improvements so far:
Our link index underwent a major overhaul: it’s now 20x larger and 30x fresher than it was previously. This new link index data has been made available via our Mozscape API, as well as integrated into many Moz Pro tools, including Campaigns, Keyword Explorer, the MozBar, and Fresh Web Explorer. But undoubtedly the largest and most-anticipated improvement the new link index allowed us to make was the launch of Link Explorer, which we rolled out at the end of April as a replacement for Open Site Explorer.
Link Explorer addresses and improves upon its predecessor by providing more data, fresher data, and better ways to visualize that data. Answering a long-asked-for feature in OSE, Link Explorer includes historical metrics, and it also surfaces newly discovered and lost links:
Below are just a few of the many ways Link Explorer is providing some of the best link data available:
Explore your link profile
You can learn more about Link Explorer by reading Sarah Bird’s announcement, watching Rand’s Whiteboard Friday, or visiting our Link Explorer Help Guide. Even though it’s still in beta, Link Explorer already blows away OSE’s data quality, freshness, and capabilities. Look for steady improvements to Link Explorer as we continue to iterate on it and add more key features.
Moz’s On-Page Grader got a thorough and much-needed overhaul! Not only did we freshen up the interface with a new look and feel, but we also added new features and improved upon our data.
Inside the new On-Page Grader, you’ll find:
On-Page Grader is a great way to take a quick look at how well a page is optimized for a specified keyword. Here’s how it works.
Input your page and the keyword you want that page to rank for…
… and On-Page Grader will return a list of suggestions for improving your on-site optimization.
Check it out!
We’re very excited to announce that, as of just last week, international data has been added to the Keywords by Site feature of Keyword Explorer! This will now allow Moz Pro customers to see which keywords they rank for and assess their visibility across millions of SERPs, now encompassing the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia! Keywords by Site is a newer feature within Keyword Explorer, added just last October to show which and how many keywords any domain, subdomain, or page ranks for.
Want to see which keywords your site ranks for in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia?
See what you rank for
It’s easy to use — just select a country from the dropdown menu to the right. This will show you which keywords a domain or page is ranking for from a particular country.
We know it can be important to track your site changes in real time. That’s why, on June 29th, we’re replacing our legacy site audit tool, Crawl Test, with the new and improved On-Demand Crawl:
Whether you need to double-check a change you’ve made or need a one-off report, the new On-Demand Crawl offers an updated experience for Moz Pro customers:
On-Demand Crawl is already available now in Moz Pro. If you’re curious how it works, check it out:
Try On-Demand Crawl
Moz’s email notification system and tools dashboard didn’t always sync up perfectly with the actual data update times. Sometimes, customers would receive an email or see updated dates on their dashboard before the data had rolled out, resulting in confusion. We’ve streamlined the process, and now customers no longer have to wonder where their data is — you can rest assured that your data is waiting for you in Moz Pro as soon as you’re notified.
While we had originally planned to retire Rank Tracker at the beginning of June, we’ve decided to hold off in light of the feedback we received from our customers. Our goal in retiring Rank Tracker was to make Moz Pro easier to navigate by eliminating the redundancy of having two options for tracking keyword rankings (Rank Tracker and Campaigns), but after hearing how many people use and value Rank Tracker, and after weighing our options, we decided to postpone its retirement until we had a better solution than simply shutting it down.
Right now, we’re focused on learning more from our community on what makes this tool so valuable, so if you have feedback regarding Rank Tracker, we’d love it if you would take our survey. The information we gather from this survey will help us create a better solution for you!
In response to the growing interest in advanced and niche-specific training, Moz is now offering ongoing classes and seminars on topics such as e-commerce SEO and technical site audits. If there’s an advanced topic you’d like training on, let us know by visiting https://moz.com/training and navigating to the “Custom” tab to tell us exactly what type of training you’re looking for.
We love the fact that we have Moz customers from around the globe, so we’re always looking for new ways to accommodate those in different timezones and those with sporadic schedules. One new way we’re doing this is by offering on-demand coursework. Get training from Moz when it works best for you. With this added scheduling flexibility (and with added instructors to boot), we hope to be able to reach more people than ever before.
To view Moz’s on-demand coursework, visit moz.com/training and click on the “On-Demand” tab.
There’s been a growing demand for a meaningful certification program in SEO, and we’re proud to say that Moz is here to deliver. This coursework will include a certificate and a badge for your LinkedIn profile. We’re planning on launching the program later this year, so stay tuned by signing up for Moz Training Alerts!
Have feedback for us on any of our 2018 improvements? Any ideas on new ways we can improve our tools and training resources? Let us know in the comments! We love hearing from marketers like you. Your input helps us develop the best tools possible for ensuring your content gets found online.
If you’re not a Moz Pro subscriber and haven’t gotten a chance to check out these new features yet, sign up for a free trial!
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Style guides are now firmly established as a key part of the modern web design workflow. Their use in web projects has been steadily rising for some time now, thanks to heightened community awareness, with various industry professionals demonstrating their use and effectiveness.
The rise of style guides was partly linked to the development of responsive web design, but they're now helping designers and devs deal with the demands of a more capable web and increasingly ambitious web projects. They will help you design and build faster, with more accurate and consistent results.
In this article we'll go through everything you need to know about what a style guide is, how to put one together, and how to use one. Use the quick links on the right to jump to the section you want.
In contrast to a traditional static website layout composition produced in Sketch, Photoshop CC or similar, a style guide is a set of elements and components that when used together can form a complete layout or parts of that layout. When produced correctly, they are scalable and flexible, making them the perfect tool for building responsive designs. Take a look at styleguide.io for lots of examples of great style guides, and resources for learning more.
In this article, I'll use the terms ‘style guide' and ‘design system' interchangeably, as I believe style guides are most effective when they form a system for managing existing designs and allowing the production of new ones with ease.
So why would you want to switch from a traditional workflow? For a start, introducing a style guide means you will be able to get into the browser quicker and spend less time in desktop web design tools.
At their most useful, style guides enable you to work up all your design concepts in the browser, demoting the likes of Photoshop and Sketch to asset creation tools, rather than what you use to envision layouts.
Whilst style guides are primarily a tool for web designers and/or developers, they can be a deliverable for clients too. Style guides give clients an insight into the design system being established, and the palette that will form their product. Samantha Warren explores this idea in detail with her Style Tiles; a method for demonstrating a visual language to clients in the form of fonts, colours and interface elements.
The problem with the traditional approach of asking clients to sign off on static layouts is that these are essentially photographs of what the website might look like. Of course, we'll try our best to make the final product look like the promise we've made in this photo, but we're creating an idealistic render, without having to contend with all the living parts of the web.
Many small nuances – such as type rendering and spacing – may change. This can amount to the client feeling like they have been misled by the Photoshop render.
Using style guides as a design deliverable eradicates these difficult discussions with a client. They make design changes easier to complete without much hassle, and get you in the modular mindset from an early stage in the project workflow.
Ideally your style guide should give you everything you need to design and build a page at a moment's notice, without having to open up Photoshop or Sketch. In regards to the format, a style guide should be live HTML, categorised in a manner that is easily maintainable for you and any other designers that might come into contact with it.
Starting with the basics, let's look at the ingredients of what makes a good style guide. I find the headings I've covered here help as a base to get started with, but feel free to add sub-headings and get more specific. Take a look at Brad Frost's Atomic Design as a potential methodology for organising this part of a design system.
This includes the whole typographic hierarchy, covering headings, lists, block quotes and paragraph text. It should also cover any variations within these categories, such as captions, drop caps and any other special typographic treatments, and UI contexts like buttons, navigation and form fields.
Grids and spacing
This should include both horizontal and vertical layout grid systems. Grid guidelines enable you to rapidly prototype and build layouts without having to make time-consuming adjustments to spacing and margins.
Your primary colour palette, including the main link colours, actions and element colours (for example, buttons, labels and icons). In this section you'll also need to include any colours outside of this palette that occur for circumstances outside of the ideal design state, like error and system messages, and validation.
Modules comprise elements such as buttons, form fields, tabs and navigation, as well as collections of elements such as captioned images and blog post meta data. They also include combinations of elements working together – for example an article heading, date and introduction paragraph, a tooltip with a small heading and text, and so on.
How exactly do you put together a style guide? Here, I'll walk you through the process I use.
Start with wireframes
Before you code a single line of your design system, you need to know roughly what parts you're going to need for it. Early on in the project, when a client has provided the initial content and assets you'll be working with, you should aim to establish the foundation of your design system with a set of wireframe sketches.
Wireframes are a style guide's secret weapon. Take time to sketch out all the screens in your product, either with a pen and paper, or using a wireframe tool. Include any specific UI design components you'll likely need in the final product.
Look for patterns
It's at this point I recommend finding a large physical work area where you can spread out your wireframe sketches so they are all visible at once and you can get a broad view of the system you're about to establish. Look over your sketches and notice patterns emerging. Perhaps a combination of elements appears together frequently, and could become a reusable module?
Also look for patterns that are trying to emerge. For example, a list of blog articles might take a similar format to a list of search results, but let's say the elements are arranged in a different order. Perhaps changing one of the two to match the other will help the user read a pattern they have subconsciously learned elsewhere in your product.
I like to use a set of Post-It Note page markers to label all of the elements in my wireframe pages for reference. For example, a module like a breadcrumb that occurs throughout the sketches could be labelled ‘M01'. ‘M' indicates it's a module. The number indicates which module it happens to be in my system – the next module would be M02, M03 and so on.
The element itself could be repeated elsewhere, so this breadcrumb pattern might appear on a product page as well as a blog article, both labelled M01, so I don't end up designing and building multiple versions of the same element when it comes to prototyping the wireframes.
Move into HTML
After you've finished cataloguing and labelling the wireframes, it's simply a matter of taking that catalogue of elements and modules and building them as a live HTML style guide.
Think of it like an Airfix model. You have an instruction sheet (your wireframe sketches) and a set of labelled parts (your style guide) corresponding to the instruction sheet. Once you have a concept of what you want to create, you will know what parts you are going to need, and at that point you're ready to start building your design system.
The best part of approaching design systems in this manner is that it enables you to rapidly produce new screens and components – each scenario is only a wireframe sketch away. The style guide reminds you of your existing components and patterns when drawing your next sketch. Once the sketch is complete, you are ready to build quickly with the wireframes as your instruction sheet, using the ready made elements in your style guide.
Technically speaking, a style guide is never really complete; it's an ever-evolving document that grows with your project. It's impossible to know in advance every combination of elements, patterns and modules that will need to exist, beyond what you currently have planned. But that's okay. True to the ever-changing nature of our web, a style guide can only be as complete as the current state of your product.
In its (mostly) complete state, a style guide is a reference for the over-arching visual language of the product you are building. It means you can visualise how new features might take shape, and the look and feel they adopt. It's also a living library of tested elements and components that can be used to quickly construct new screens or parts of a product, making it the most efficient way to rapidly build projects on any scale.
It is essential a style guide is maintained beyond its initial conception. It must remain current, rather than being a snapshot of what the product's design system looked like at a particular time. It should be the visual lexicon of your project – the entity you consult whenever a design decision is made after sketching. All new components and modules are made from its DNA, so from a user experience perspective, any new pieces will look consistent as part of the complete brand picture.
If you have never used a style guide in a web project before, try it on your next project and see the difference it makes in helping you design, build and prototype quicker. With practice, they'll become easier to create, and you'll even find patterns within your style guide that can be reused to speed up the process of creating the next style guide.
A useful style guide goes beyond the capabilities of a visual reference. It becomes your product's DNA, from which every piece of current and future design originates to produce the consistent style and characteristics of the rest of the product.
This article originally appeared in net magazine. Subscribe here.
Google’s John Mueller revealed that the company is looking into simplifying the process of adding multiple properties to Search Console.
The post Google to Make it Easier to Add Multiple Properties to Search Console by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Dot art – otherwise known as pointillism – covers many forms of art. Artists, graphic designers, photographers and illustrators are all experimenting with this exciting art technique. But whatever the medium, pointillism pieces all have one thing in common: the dot.
We've selected 18 striking examples of pointillism-based artwork to inspire you to give the technique a go. Some are more traditional, while others have elaborated on the technique to create something entirely new.
Berlin-based Federico Pietrella's approach to pointillism doesn't involve pens or brushes; instead he works with old-fashioned date stamps and uses them to build up his brilliantly detailed artworks. The final touch? He always has the stamp set to the current date, so you can tell exactly when each work was created.
Ecuadorean artist Angelo Franco has been painting for over 30 years. His work is notable for its bright, contrasting colours and pointillist, impressionistic style, which he uses to try to capture the essence of his subjects, whether they're landscapes or still life studies.
Coming from a creative family and inspired by the Impressionist masters as a boy, Dutch artist Ton Dubbledam often works in a pointillist style that's notable for his use of repoussoir – putting the light in the background and using strong shadows to draw the eye to important details.
James Cochran – Jimmy C – was a huge part of the underground graffiti movement in Australia during the late 1980s. His interest in urban realist and figurative oil painting led to the development of his signature aerosol pointillist style; portraits or urban landscapes painted entirely from blobs of spray paint.
Although now living in London, Cochran's pieces of art can be seen on walls, buildings, and murals around the globe. His David Bowie mural in Brixton, London, has been adopted as a shrine to the musician.
An artist, anarchist and keen sailor, much of whose work focused on the French coastline, Paul Signac was one of the two founders of Pointillism, along with Georges Seurat. Inspired by Surat's working methods and theory of colours, Signac abandoned impressionism and developed the process of painting scientifically juxtaposed dots of pure colour that would blend in the viewer's eye, rather than on the canvas.
St Louis-based artist Jerry O Wilkerson expertly blended pointillism with pop art in his work. Much of it was food-based, featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, lobsters and even a Campbell's soup tin, among other things, rendered in vivid pointillistic colours that owed as much to the half-tone looks of print processes as to the impressionistic style of the original pointillists.
Born and based in Hanoi, Phan Thu Trang uses a limited palette and bold dabs of colour to bring the rural Vietnamese landscape to vivid life. Using oils and a palette knife to render the amazing impasto trees that dominate her work, she always tries to use colour and light to create a different sensation for each piece of her art.
Hailing from Minsk in Belarus, Yuriy Skorohod describes himself as a dotwork artist. "The 'dot' is an abstract object in space having neither volume, area, length nor any other measurable characteristics," he says. "This way, out of nothing, my drawings are getting born."
Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1960, William Wilkins started developing his own pointillist technique in the 1970s.
His earlier work tends to be concerned with tone and colour and frequently employs many layers of paint, while his more recent work is more interested in luminosity and opacity, with seldom more than one layer of paint on the canvas. He lives and works in Wales, but also works in Venice.
Kevin Sprouls spearheaded the style of drawing now referred to as 'hedcut'. Using a stippling method of many small dots and a cross hatching method of many small lines, Sprouls created drawings that emulated the look and feel of old newspaper woodcuts and engraving.
In 1979, the illustrator approached The Wall Street Journal with his ink dot work and was subsequently employed by the publication until 1987, helping to create its signature look. There are now five hedcut artists at working at The Wallstreet Journal, continuing Sprouls' legacy.
All tattoos are essentially pointillism. Typically using eight needles at once, tattoos are made when each needle penetrates the skin at high speed to create lines.
What is so unique about Dr Woo's work, however, is that he uses one needle, meaning his tattoos are created not from a machine, but by hand dot after excruciating dot.
While this style of tattooing isn't unique to Woo, his designs are incredibly intricate and beautiful and have inspired many. The LA-based artist has inked celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Brooklyn Beckham and Ellie Goulding.
French artist Xavier Casalta is an expert when it comes to creating inspiring dot art. He builds up his images using a time-consuming stippling technique in black ink – the above artwork took 400 hours to complete, and includes around eight million dots. Casalta's intricate designs have attracted clients including Dior, the National Gallery of London and Nissan.
Pablo Jurado Ruiz is a Spanish artist who specialises in pointillist art, using black and white drawing to create beautifully realistic portraits of innocence. "I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision," he explains. "My current work focuses on simple but realistic drawings worked in an impressionist technique."
French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat spent over two years creating his beautiful, and probably best-known, painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
An early example of pointillism, Seurat finished the piece, which is estimated to consist of approximately 3,456,000 dots, in the late 1880s.
Crafted by illustrator and artist Miguel Endara, Hero (above) is composed of approximately 3.2 million black ink dots, using a single Sakura Pigma Micron pen (nib size 005, 0.2mm). It took nearly a whole year to complete. You can see how it was done in the video below.
Most – but not – of multidisciplinary designer Matt Booth's work uses pointillism as its influence. This skull glow poster uses an array of dots to make up the image. The skull on this dot art print appears completely white until the lights go out.
How could we write up a post on pointillism and dot art without including the Queen of the polka dot herself, Yayoi Kusama? Ever since the 1960s, this dot-loving lady has been renowned for her innovative and inspirational work.
This project entitled Obliteration Room was showcased in London's Tate Modern and in galleries all over the world. Over the course of a few weeks, a space was transformed from a blank canvas into an explosion of colour, with thousands of spots stuck over every available surface.
Photographer Philip Karlberg's assignments take him all over the world. Among his commercial clients are Swarovski, Marc O’Polo, Kasthall, and NK. In this project, Philip used around 1200 sticks over a six day period to create these striking celebrity portraits. The other subjects include Lady Gaga and Jackie O.
Plucking out the best camera from a sea of seemingly similar models can be taxing. With so many capable cameras across many categories, even deciding on the right format may prove challenging – but we can help. In this guide, you’ll find the best DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras for photography you can buy, whatever your budget or skill level.
Right now, we think the best camera out there is the Nikon 7500. It’s a camera for everyone, with great image quality, glorious 4K video and a vast assortment of lenses for every eventuality. Or if video is your thing, our best 4K camera is the Panasonic Lumix GH5, with its impressive breadth of movie-making features.
Of course, the best camera for you depends on what you need it for. Whatever your creative output, we’ve got the right option here: you’ll find the best DSLR and our favourite cheap DSLR at the top of this list, with superb mirrorless and compact options further down. We’ve also covered the best action cameras, as well as the best travel camera for your holidays – and even the best camera phone, for those times when you don't want to carry a camera.
Here's our pick of the best cameras for photography out there…
It may not be the newest camera here, but the Nikon D7500 is still our pick of the moment – and it comes at a great price. It really is a camera for everyone that still manages to shine in so many departments. It boasts an imaging pipeline identical to that inside the far pricier Nikon D500 model, bags of control over image capture, and compatibility with a vast assortment of lenses that stretch back decades. And it all comes in a robust, affordable body that would be great as an upgrade from a more junior camera, but is powerful enough to serve as a backup for a full-frame camera like the Nikon D850 (below).
The 20.9MP sensor is a sound performer, with a more modest pixel count that allows for an ISO range up to an option equivalent to a staggering ISO 1,640,000. Meanwhile, videos are recorded in glorious 4K quality, and bursts of images can be fired at 8fps when action presents itself. All of this makes the Nikon D7500 particularly suited to outdoor photography. You can buy the camera on its own, although a kit with the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED is also available – this particular combination will leave you primed for every eventuality. If you’re feeling a little more flush, take a look at the Nikon D500, which is similar in its intentions but a little more powerful.
The Nikon D850 is still top dog in the DSLR world, and unchallenged by Canon when you consider just how many things it gets right. Normally such cameras are intended to excel in one area, such as speed or resolution, but the D850 delivers in all of them. Its 45.7MP sensor produces richly detailed images, particularly as it lacks an anti-aliasing filter, while 7fps burst shooting can be boosted to 9fps with an optional grip and battery. The 153-point AF system, meanwhile, is still Nikon’s most comprehensive iteration. And naturally, 4K video is on board too.
Around its solid core, the camera is ready for unlimited creativity, with time-lapse shooting, slow-motion video output in Full HD, in-camera Raw processing and a raft of other post-capture adjustments all falling to hand. Shooting at night? Many of the camera’s controls light up, and the ISO range stretches to a setting equivalent to 102,400 – a rarity on a camera with such a populated sensor. Need to shoot silently? Not possible on many other DSLRs, but here you can fire 30fps bursts in complete silence.
Targeted at pros – and as at home in the studio as it is, quite literally, in the field – the body usually comes on its own. But if you don’t already own a lens you’ll be well served by partnering it with the excellent AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR for general use. Can’t quite stretch to the D850’s asking price? Good-quality examples of the older Nikon D810 can still be found online.
The Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 is neither the cheapest entry-level DSLR nor the newest, but it gains a spot on our best camera for photography list by breaking from entry-level DSLR norms to provide a particularly generous feature set. In essence, it feels like it’s designed with the entry-level user’s needs and desires in mind, rather than a particular price point. The 24.2MP appears fairly conventional, but it’s furnished with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology to make focusing nice and swift in live view, and focusing transitions smooth and professional when creating videos. These are captured in Full HD rather than 4K quality, but the option to record to 60p and a mic input boost its potential for high-quality recordings.
The flip-out LCD, meanwhile, is a boon for shooting from unorthodox angles, and its super-sensitive touch panel lets you focus effortlessly where you want by touch. The camera’s DIGIC 7 processing engine is one of the newest, and this allows for a range of Picture Styles and in-camera Raw processing, while the full Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth trinity of connectivity options star alongside.
You can grab it as a body-only option, although most people just getting started will no doubt want to spend a shade more to pair it with the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even opt for a kit with the all-encompassing EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM instead, and if you fancy something similar but with a bit more powerful, take a look at the Canon EOS 800D. A great option for the first-timer, particularly if live view or video is your thing.
It’s difficult to know where to start with the Panasonic GH5; there’s simply so much to pique the videographer’s interest. 4K footage can be recorded in both DCI 4K and UHD 4K flavours without the heavy crop factors that plague other 4K models, and this is captured in high-quality 10-bit 4:2:2 (internally). You can also use focus peaking to get focus bitingly sharp, call on an anamorphic shooting option, capture at high speeds for slow-motion output and opt for a (paid-for) log option. Video aside, there’s plenty more to love, from the excellent 3.6million dot viewfinder and articulating LCD through to 9fps shooting and 225 AF points, all inside a sturdy, weather-sealed body.
Not quite what you need? The newer Panasonic GH5S variant opts for a 10.2MP sensor for better dynamic range and low-light performance, but misses out on sensor-based image stabilisation. Alternatively, the older Panasonic GH4 also provides 4K recording, and would make a good alternative if your budget doesn’t quite reach what’s being asked here.
Panasonic has made more effort than most to make 4K video a feature on cameras of all levels in recent years, so it’s no surprise that our favourite cheap 4K camera is a Lumix model. The Panasonic G80 is phenomenally well specified for a camera with such a reasonable price tag, with a powerful five-axis image stabilisation system keeping everything stable, together with a high-quality 2.36million dot electronic viewfinder and a touchscreen that flips out and responds to the lightest of touch commands. With video, the camera shoots 4K UHD footage to regular 30p and cinematic 24p options, with a microphone port at its side and a hotshoe to mount it.
A slew of further video-oriented features on the inside make your life easier, from focus peaking and zebra patterning through to a live cropping mode that pans a 4K scene without you needing to move the camera, outputting the results in Full HD. There’s even a flat Cinelike Gamma D profile to give you a better starting point for grading. Is that 16MP sensor putting you off? It shouldn’t. Panasonic opted to remove its anti-aliasing filter, the result being that images are more crisp and detailed than they would be otherwise. Grab it with the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 LUMIX G VARIO POWER O.I.S kit lens if you want a great all-purpose package, or as a body only if you require a more exotic optic. Overall, a top option for anyone looking to get into serious videomaking on a shoestring.
Just as Nikon’s D850 quickly became the DSLR that everyone wanted to switch to, Sony’s A7 III has mirrorless users saving up their pennies. While many models have their specific focus and target audience, the A7 III really is a camera for all. A 24MP full-frame sensor, hybrid AF system that covers a staggering 93 per cent of the frame and 4K video from oversampled footage are just a sliver of the highlights. Sony has focused on the details too, installing the useful AF joystick that found fans on previous models, and boosting battery life to a very respectable (by mirrorless standards) 710 frames.
The A7 III is a great all-rounder, with a versatile feature-set that makes it a great fit for a range of applications, but the older Sony A7 II is still very much on a sale and worth considering if you fancy something more keenly priced. Either way, grab it with the FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS if you’re just getting started, unless you already own a lens or two.
Today’s compact cameras are incredibly advanced, and while the RX100 Mark IV is now a couple of years old, it’s hard to think of a camera that offers the same great balance of price, specs and portability. Despite the powerful partnership of a large 1in sensor and 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic at its heart, and a high-quality electronic viewfinder that pops up on demand, it somehow manages to be smaller and lighter than most other compacts.
And for anyone looking to travel light, it delivers plenty. The rear LCD screen flips up and round to face the front, while a maximum shutter speed of 1/32,000sec (with the electronic shutter) permits super high-speed motion to be captured with clarity. On the other end of the shutter-speed scale, a built-in ND filter allows for longer exposure than would be otherwise possible, as well as video recording in bright light. And all of this is before we get to 4K video, with slow-motion footage recorded at up to 1000fps too. It’s also wirelessly connected and charges through its USB port. Really, there’s little it can’t or doesn’t do.
The camera has been updated by both the RX100 Mark V and the recently announced Mark VI model, and these are worth considering if action or travel photography are more your thing. For everyone else after a more everyday camera for photography, the Mark IV's more modest feature set and price tag will no doubt suit you better.
The Sony RX10 III is another camera that has been updated since its launch but is still recommended for its price-to-spec sheet – particularly as it often subject the the odd cash back offer. So why is it so tempting for travel photography? The core combo of a stacked 1in sensor and an impressively bright 24-600mm (equiv) f/2.8-4 lens is mostly why it's so special, as you just don’t get that balance of sensor size, focal range and brightness in such a compact package anywhere else. But it’s the fact that these features are both excellent performers, rather than marketing highlights, that makes the camera such a pleasure to use.
Thankfully the lens is primed with a very effective image stabilisation system to keep everything crisp. Meanwhile, 4K video recording is augmented by a range of supporting technologies and recording options, including both headphone and microphone ports and a raft of slow-motion shooting options. The weather-sealed body is also a massive bonus for those traveling through the odd patch of inclement weather, while the ergonomics allow you to get the kind of purchase that you’d normally have to turn to to a DSLR for.
Don't need such a humongous optic? The older Sony RX10 Mark II provides much the same but with a 24-200mm (equiv) lens. Feeling fancy and want something more powerful? The newer RX10 Mark IV boasts a superior 315-point phase-detect AF system and a touchscreen, and a faster 24fps burst rate on top of sundry changes.
It might be a doppelganger for the previous HERO5 model, but GoPro gave the HERO6 a considerable boost on the inside over its predecessor. While the camera maintains the highlight specs of a 12MP sensor and 4K video recording, video can now be recorded at up to 60fps, with a fresh GP1 chip now allowing three-axis image stabilisation along with better colour accuracy and more efficient video compression.
GoPro has a number of rivals that offer cheaper alternatives, but the HERO6 boasts a number of tricks that justify its more premium billing. You can venture 10m underwater without a housing, and take advantage of a built-in GPS system, accelerometer and gyroscope. And you can even use your voice to command the unit to perform key actions. Need to zoom? Simply slide a bar on the rear 2in touchscreen display. Together with so many other features, such as Raw shooting, HDR capture, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it's clear that the HERO6 is far better suited to a variety of creative endeavours than your average action camera. Definitely one for thrill-seekers.
Also read: The best cheap GoPro deals for filmmakers
Smartphones may have shrunk the compact camera market to a fraction of its former size, but the presence of cameras like the PowerShot SX620 HS prove that there are still good reasons for the two formats to co-exist. After all, what smartphone offers a stabilised 25x optical zoom range that stretches from 25-625mm (in 35mm terms), together with the SX620 HS’s level of physical control?
Despite its beefy focal range, Canon has designed the camera with a svelte body that will still slip inside your pocket without any bother. This makes it great for those after a basic travel camera that’s as happy to hone in on far-off details as it will capture sweeping landscapes. And with Wi-Fi and NFC on board, you can quickly get your creations out into the wider world without hassle.
If you’re after something similar but don’t quite need that monstrous zoom, the arguably more handsome IXUS 285 HS is worth popping on your shortlist.
Fast becoming the cameraphone of choice for creatives in all all fields, the fact that the Google Pixel 2 integrates seamlessly with Google’s whole ecosystem is a massive draw in itself, but top-quality hardware and usability makes the deal even sweeter. Powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor, the 12.2MP rear camera captures some of the finest stills on a smartphone to date, with the wide f/1.8 aperture ensuring that it admits plenty of light. Optical image stabilisation is also on board to help keep everything sharp, while top-quality 4K video recording features alongside. Everything is also viewed through a 5in AMOLED Full HD display too, which is colourful and crisp, although the lack of a proper headphone port might not suit everyone.
There are rumblings of a third-generation version coming shortly, so if you absolutely must have the latest in smartphone tech you may want to hang on for that – plus the price of this version will likely drop. Otherwise, this is a fine choice if you want to capture still and videos and don’t want to be burdened by a bulky setup.
More and more frequently, designers and developers are acknowledging the importance of motion design in the context of user experience. Animation on the web is no longer a way to delight and wow the user but a functional tool that makes experiences easy, fun and memorable.
Animation in the context of user interfaces is still a very new field. There aren’t many resources out there that teach best practice or show common patterns of UI animation that we can follow. Most of the time, it’s about experimentation, user testing and perhaps a bit of trial and error.
So in this tutorial, we will create something that doesn’t confuse, follows common patterns and is stylish. This will be the team profile section that you often see on company websites. The idea is to show a little more information on the team/staff member when each one is hovered over. Throughout the tutorial we will be using CodePen, but of course you can use your own favourite editor and development environment instead.
Begin by opening up CodePen and creating a new pen. We’re going to be using Bootstrap 4 and Sass (.scss), so make sure that within the settings you include the Bootstrap CSS and JS as your resource links and also set the CSS to SCSS. Another resource link you will need to add is Font Awesome, which we will use for our social icons.
Containers are what Bootstrap uses as its basic layout element and they are required when you’re using the default grid system. Within containers, you need to add in a row. Rows are wrappers for columns and you can specify the number of columns that you want out of a possible 12 and what the breakpoint will be. In our case, we want an element that has a medium-sized breakpoint and fills three columns in width.
The first profile UI element we will start with will be for a female team member and she will be part of the blue team. The colour will be specified using a class called blue and the actual colour will eventually be defined using Sass variables, which we will do in a later step. Then we will need to add in a photo and give it a class called photo.
The last bit of HTML to be added will be for the name, title and social icons, which will be added underneath the last div tag we just added in the last step. For the social icons, we will be using Font Awesome and these will be placed within an unordered list.
If you are following along using CodePen, then you will already have Sass installed and ready to go. You just need to click on the pen settings icon/button and choose SCSS as your CSS preprocessor. Then we can go ahead and add in some variables that will store all of our colours. We’ve used rgba as the colour values to allow us more meaningful control of all the colours’ opacity.
To make things look more appealing, we will place a nice background image on the body. Here we can use our first set of variables and give the background image a pleasing gradient overlay that goes from light green to blue. Then to make our background image fully responsive, we will set the view height to 100vh.
Each team profile will be given the same styles and the class team will be used for this. The background will be white, all content centred and we need to make sure the position is set to relative. Then we can include the CSS for the profile image. For best results, make sure the original image you use has dimensions no bigger than 200px square. However, we will change the height and width of these within the photo CSS rule.
The first piece of animation we will add will be at the top of our profile element. The idea is that when we hover over the whole element, a blue circular shape will animate down. We can control how much of the blue we can see by specifying the position of this to have a bottom percentage. So play around with this percentage and you’ll get a better idea of how this works. You never know: you might even discover a better effect!
The team photo is our focal point in this UI and is probably the most obvious element that you would expect to animate in some shape or form. The CSS we will add in this step will first turn the photo into a smaller circle, then when hovered over there will be a light blue border added to it and the photo will scale down together with the border. With the transitions added, we get a nice fluid animation.
The profile name and position need a little bit of tidying up. These won’t be animated but that shouldn’t stop you from adding your own animation to these if you’d like. Perhaps scale them up slightly on hover, as you’ll have enough space due to the resizing of the photo.
The social icons will first be positioned off the bottom of the page by -100px. Then when we hover over it, the bottom position will be set to zero and with a transition added, this will give us a nice smooth animation as it moves back up into view. The icons will be given their own hover state, setting their background to white and the icon to blue.
To mix things up a bit, we can begin to add more members to our team. The colour we’ll use for this next one will be green. But first go back into the HTML section/file and all we need to do is copy the col-md-3 class – not the row – down to the last div tag under the social icons and paste it in.
Once you have changed the blue class to green, we can finally add in all the CSS that will give us the same animation.
And the beauty of this approach is that you can repeat as required for many different colour classes, enabling you to subtly theme your UI animations as is required.
This article was originally published in issue 307 of net, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers. Buy issue 307 or subscribe to net.
If you're interested in learning more about how you can make your sites pop and sparkle using sleek UI animation, make sure you've picked up your ticket for Generate London.
A front-end designer and developer currently working as creative developer for Asemblr.com, Steven Roberts will be delivering his talk – CSS Animation: Beyond Transitions – in which he will show you the best tools for the job and recreate some of the best animations the web has to offer, while discovering the possibilities and limitations of animating with just CSS.
Generate London takes place from 19-21 September 2018. Get your ticket now.