To help new freelancers understand some of the paperwork associated with freelance business operations, FormSwift has published “The Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes.” Written by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille, the guide urges new solopreneurs to take a business-like approach to their freelance business.
Learn to Prosper in the Gig Economy
While many photographers, designers, and writers are accustomed to deriving some or all of their income from freelancing, many other professionals aren’t. But millions of new college graduates, part-time employees, under-employed professionals, and displaced workers are actively pursuing freelance gigs.
In fact, a whole new “Gig Economy” has taken shape in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. As Gerald Friedman pointed out on his Dollars and Sense blog, “Growing numbers of Americans no longer hold a regular ‘job’ with long-term connection to a particular business. Instead, they work “gigs,” where they are employed on a particular task or for a defined time…Borrowed from the music industry the word ‘gig’ is now applied to all sorts of flexible employment.”
Freelancers and independent contractors today include adjunct and part-time professors, Uber and Lyft drivers, translators, virtual assistants, doctors, lawyers, and accountants.
“The Freelancer’s Essential Guide Business and Taxes” discusses the types of forms new freelancers need to file estimated taxes or report payments to independent contractors you might hire to help you complete an assignment.
The guide reassures Gig Economy newcomers that they aren’t alone. Resources such as the Freelancers Union can show you how to forge a successful career as an independent worker.
Is Freelancing the New Normal?
According to the study “Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce,” 53 million Americans are now engaged in some form of supplemental, temporary, or project- or contract-based work. Technology has made it much easier for individuals to find freelance work and contribute work from wherever they choose to live.
The study lists five types of freelancers:
Independent contractor: Provides freelance, temporary, or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis.
Moonlighter: Uses freelance work to supplement income from a full-time job.
Diversified worker: Combines part-time jobs with freelance gigs.
Temporary worker: Works for a months-long project for single client.
Freelance business owner: Employs one to five people but regards himself or herself as both a freelancer and a business owner.
FormSwift is an online platform that makes it easy to locate, edit, and electronically sign more than 500 commonly used business and legal forms.
In addition to tax forms for estimated taxes, you can find templates for small business documents, real-estate transactions, affidavits, and personal contracts (such as prenups and cohabitation agreements).
In the small-business category, you can download and edit templates for:
independent contractor service agreements
cease-and-desist letters for copyright infringement
FormSwift members can choose from 500+ document templates or upload their own documents and use FormSwift’s tools to edit them.
The annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary education experience and conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques. The 42nd annual SIGGRAPH takes place August 9-13, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. Highlights include: an art gallery of hybrid crafts; a VR (Virtual Reality Village; and demonstrations of how emerging technologies will affect how we work and live.
Art Gallery: Hybrid Crafts
In the display of “Hybrid Crafts” in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, visitors will see how skilled artists are using computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts. The show will emphasize the importance of craft heritage in contemporary digital design. Gallery visitors will see how beautiful and meaningful artifacts are being produced by a machine and craftsperson working together, not by a machine or craftsperson alone.
The featured creations come from skilled makers who use computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts such as jewelry, bowl-making, wallpapers, and instruments.
For artworks included in the display entitled “The Hunt for Butterflies,” independent artist Peter Schmitt uses CAD, CNC machine tools, wood, plastic, metal, electronics, and mechanics “to explore the questions of how computational methods, machine tools, and fabrication resources can be used outside the paradigm of application, function, purpose and profit.”
In another display, independent artist Yael Friedman displays 3D-printed puzzle rings that are not only meant to be seen, but also be touched and played with.
In the 2015 VR Village, attendees can explore the fascinating potential of virutal reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and immersive environments for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in health, education, design, and gaming.
The 2015 VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015 will feature real-time immersion in the latest virutal and augmented realities, including Nomadic Virtual Reality (VR), Tabletop Augmented Reality (AR), Full-Dome Cinema, and live performances and demonstrations in a 360-degree immersion dome. The VR Village is a screening room for cutting -edge VR, AR, and Immersive Media programming.
For example, in the walk-about space of the Nomadic VR Arena, participants will use untethered headsets to freely explore immersive virtual environments. During the Immersive Explorers program, multiple visitors can explore the recreated interior of a pharoah’s tomb while interacting with 3D objects and other users.
In the “Holojam” program visitors will share a virtual space and see each other as stylized avatars, draw shapes in the air with a magic wand, and contribute to 3D sculptural artwork.
At the sit-down or stand-up Head-Mounted Display Stations, attendees can experience the latest in VR and AR programming. “Neuro” provides a VR journey through the brain of world-renowned musician Reuben Wu. “LovR” is a story of love told through neural activity captured over four seconds. Experience what happens when two lovers see each other for the first time.
In the Immersion Dome, visitors can follow energy from the sun to the Earth and explore the atmosphere and oceans. Immersive visualizations from the California Academy of Sciences will enable visitors to experience the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and explore the Earth’s ecosystems over the millennia.
“Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Immersive Environments are pat of a fast-growing, emerging market,” said Ed Lantz, SIGGRAPH 2015 VR Village Program Co-Chair. “As it grows, there will be room for alternative and independent producers, developers, distributors, and manufacturers to make important and original contributions to consumer products and programming. For the debut of SIGGRAPH’S VR Village, my co-chair Denise Quensel and I wanted to ensure that attendees have the chance to see amazing applications that have been developed by the world’s best programmers, cinematographers, artists, and game developers that are currently out there. We also hope to inspire and bring together the larger VR community.”
Speakers who will participate in moderated talks about “VR: Creating at the Edge” include executives from Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, Sony’s PlayStation Magic Lab, Emblematic Group, and Jaunt Studios.
The Emerging Technologies program will feature projects from various industries that demonstrate how evolving technologies and techniques impact the way we live and work. Each project and installation exhibits how innovation can improve work environments, make everyday tasks easier, or help make leisure time more enjoyable.
“As technology builds upon itself and becomes cheaper and wider spread, it’s important to see the beginnings of how see the beginnings of how it it was developed,” said Kristy Pron, SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies Program Chair. “For this year’s conference, we wanted to find technologies that can be applied to daily life, whether it will be tomorrow or in a few
to daily life, It’s exciting to see firsthand a technology that you can follow the development of and know that it will be relevant to you in the near future. Also, we wanted to uncover practical applications of emerging technology from various industries, such as automotive or assistive. I believe we’ve done that with the wide range of interactive installations that will be showcased.”
An Auto-Multiscopic Projector Array for Interactive Digital Humans Presented by Linkoping University and the University of Southern California
With this installation, users interact with life-size 3D digital human subjects displayed via a dense array of 216 video projectors to generate images with high angular density over a wide field of view. As users move around the display, their eyes transition from one view to the next, making it ideal for displaying life-size subjects and it allows for natural personal interactions with 3D cues, such as eye-gaze and spatial hand gestures. Automultiscopic 3D displays allow a large number of people to experience 3D content simultaneously without the need for special glasses or headgear.
Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment Presented by the Ford Motor Company
The Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) is a highly realistic immersive virtual reality system that addresses the unique challenges of automotive design, engineering and ergonomics. FiVE enables a collaborative approach that allows its program teams to see and understand complex engineering issues from any customer’s perspective; while, considering aesthetic design, fit and finish, manufacturability and maintenance of a vehicle’s system.
Christie Digital Sandbox Presented by Christie Digital
Christie Digital’s latest technology expands the capabilities of today’s automatic projection-calibration systems. This demonstration uses this technology application to seamlessly calibrate projection-mapped displays automatically on any surface, smooth or complex, and even 3D. Christie Digital’s Sandbox presents an automatic alignment of a projection display in less than 30 seconds, even after the projector and/or surface is moved.
Semantic Paint: Interactive Segmentation and Learning of 3D Worlds Presented by Stanford University, Nankai University, University of Oxford and Microsoft Research
This installation is a real-time system, interactive system for geometric reconstruction and object class segmentation of 3D worlds. With this system, a user can walk into a room wearing a consumer-depth camera and a virtual reality headset, and reconstruct the 3D scene and interactively segment it into object classes. The user physically interacts with the scene in the real world, touching objects and using voice commands to assign appropriate labels to
MidAir Touch Display Presented by Keio University and the University of Tokyo
The MidAir Touch Display integrates technology for tactile feedback, acoustic energy distribution, planer phased arrays, ultrasonic fields and aerial images through the Aerial Imaging Plate to provide visuo-tactile interaction with bare hands. This project enables users to see and touch virtually floating objects with the naked eye and their hands for true interaction. This presentation is a SIGGRAPH pick from the DC Expo in Japan.
VirtuEye is a London-based company that develops non-gaming virtual reality applications.
VirtuEye is using virtual reality technology to make it possible to be in one place physically while looking around in another location. They are marketing their services to real estate companies and travel agencies who want to showcase properties and destinations and galleries and museums who want to disseminate or preserve exhibitions.
While using virtual reality to visit a location isn’t quite the same as being there, VirtuEye founders believe it can be an extraordinary and practical experience: “The times when you had to physically visit a place to see it have ended.”
They also encourage artists to consider using virtual reality technology to influence the way people see and experience the world.
On July 14, an audience in Brooklyn used VirtuEye technology to see three site-specific sculptures that artist MrToll installed in the middle of the Arizona desert as part of the Virtual Borders Arizona project. Experiencing the Arizona desert via virtual reality technology enabled New Yorkers to see that human-defined borders are insignificant in a terrain in which raw, unforgiving nature stretches for hundreds of miles. The borderless land existed long before humans arrived and it will continue to exist long after humans are gone.
The virtual reality sculpture exhibition, curated by Gabija Grusaite, also suggested that everyone who pursues the dream to succeed needs to cross a metaphorical desert. The artist believes all borders are virtual borders, and that our modern world is enabled by free movement of people, ideas, art, and cultures. Trying to control that free movement limits creativity and progress.
To learn more about how VirtuEye can help real-estate buyers visit properties from afar, view the video below.
DESIGNERS. MakerShed.com, the official online store of Make: and Maker Faire, has added the new Sprout desktop design platform by HP to its list of featured products. Customers can now purchase Sprout in Maker Shed.
Sprout is the world’s first immersive computer, which enables consumers to bring their projects to life through 3-D scanning, touch experiences, and high performance hardware and software.
“This computer is an incredibly innovative tool for Makers,” said Sonia Wong, General Manager of Commerce at Maker Media. “We’re proud to have it available in Maker Shed because it’s changing the way people create and use technology for projects from art and design to prototyping.”
The initial idea for Sprout started as a collection of hardware and software to deliver a 2-D experience, but it grew into a powerful 3-D platform. With this type of creative computing technology, this computer has been able to break down the barriers between physical and digital, changing the way Makers engage and interact with the world around them.
“Our goal was to use Sprout to create new computing experiences by reimagining the way people collaborate and create projects,” said Eric Monsef, head of highly immersive systems at HP. “We designed it with Makers, artists and innovators in mind, so we’re excited that it’s now available at MakerShed.com.”
For under $2,000 customers can own this all-in-one computer for designing and creating projects. Users can capture real world objects in 3-D and apply and edit them from either Sprout’s touch screen or touch pad in an instant. With such a simple user interface, Sprout makes getting creative easy and fun for all ages. The computer is incredibly powerful, boasting an Intel Core i7 Processor, 1 terabyte of storage and a Windows operating system.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Maker Media is the publisher of Make: magazine and the producer of Maker Faire. It also develops “getting started” kits and books that are sold in its Maker Shed store as well as in retail channels. The Make: brand caters to a universe of more than 25 million makers collectively across its Make: magazine, makezine.com, Maker Faires, and Maker Shed properties.
Idomoo, a leading provider of Personalized Videos, has launched its Dynamic Storybuilding Suite as part of the Idomoo Personalized Video (PV) Cloud Platform. This will allow agencies and marketing teams to easily create personalized videos on their own. The new solution bundles all of the steps in the process (creative, design, animation, rendering, and distribution) into an easy-to-use system for automating and streamlining the personalized video creation process.
“Personalized video has been proven to significantly increase customer engagement and conversion results across many industries and we are now bringing this capability to every business,” said Yaron Kalish, Co-Founder and CEO of Idomoo. “We are using our vast industry knowledge to automate the personalized video creation process, allowing marketers to reap the benefits of this technology while eliminating the numerous pain points involved in the process.”
More than 50 creative agencies used the beta version of Dynamic Storybuilding Suite to independently build thousands of personalized videos that can deliver exceptional customer experiences to their clients. Among the agencies already working with the Idomoo Cloud platform are Ogilvy, RAAP, Switch Video, DDB and Pink Banana, who have created videos for brands such as T-Mobile, Cadbury, BBVA, Hubspot, Coca-Cola and more.
“Idomoo’s platform has enabled our agency to provide our clients with the ability to communicate with their customers and user base in a manner which allows them to foster a deeper personal and emotional connection,” said Russell Garn, Associate Creative Director of RAPP (an Omnicom company). “Our agency worked with Idomoo to create the award winning campaign for Barclays and we look forward to leveraging Idomoo’s technology in order to build future campaigns.”
The Storybuilding Suite allows businesses of all kinds to change the way they interact with their customers through its ability to tell adaptive stories, applying business logic to decide which scenes will be shown and in which order. Idomoo’s Storybuilding Suite features an advanced Web-based wizard tool to build and customize the video as well as choose ready-made video scenes that are ready to be plugged in to the video flow; an After Effect plugin to build additional scenes; Data Integration allowing for data upload from any data source; the Idomoo Player for optimized experience from mobile and desktop; and a Landing Page Builder that offers easy configuration of the destination landing page.
The Dynamic Storybuilding Suite is part of Idomoo’s next generation Video Cloud Platform, which also includes Idomoo’s Full Service personalized video offering and Dynamic Video Ads, as well as Video Templates.
Tips, tricks and documentation for using Idomoo’s PV Cloud are included in Idomoo Academy, an online knowledge repository.
Sphericam, the first 360 degree video camera made specifically for virtual reality film production, launched on Kickstarter June 30, with a funding goal of $150,000 by July 30.
About the size of a tennis ball, the Sphericam 2 includes six cameras that work seamlessly together to capture great-looking VR video content straight out of the box.
As huge companies like Oculus Rift and Samsung work furiously to create the best virtual reality viewing platform, Sphericam 2 has been created to fill a growing market void of actually creating that virtual reality content.
Sphericam 2 is perfect for recording stunning footage of adventure sports, journalism stories, and events such as weddings or birthdays.
A host of mounting options gives users multiple ways to hold the camera and capture footage. The camera also includes WiFi and wireless streaming, allowing users to easily view and share content on a smartphone or desktop. Sphericam 2’s iOS and Android app also allows users to monitor, transfer, view, edit and spread the virtual reality footage instantly.
“Sphericam 2 is poised to bring incredible cinematic content to Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and the VR world. Our camera has been designed to be the highest performing and most usable virtual reality camera on the market today,” said Sphericam creator Jeffrey Martin. “Every specification from frame rate to sensor type was chosen to maximize performance on today’s VR hardware.”
Dazzling crystalline design housed in a rugged anodized aluminium body
Six high-resolution lenses maintain constant exposure, WB settings for artifact-free 360°shooting
Jaw-dropping 4K resolution that leaves nothing to the imagination
Unmatched shooting flexibility with 24, 25, 30, 48, and 60 fps
Detail-devouring 2.4 Gigabits per second of raw capture gives incredible latitude for post production and color grading
Tiny distance between sensors minimizes parallax
Automatic, real-time stitching is possible to minimize post production times
Sphericam 2 can now be purchased via Kickstarter beginning at $1,299, which is $200 off of the final retail price.
In keeping with their mission of “changing the world through digital experiences,” Adobe has launched a milestone release of its flagship Adobe Creative Cloud tools and services. They also announced the availability of the new Adobe Stock content service.
The 2015 release of Creative Cloud includes major updates to Adobe’s desktop tools, including Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Premiere Pro CC and InDesign CC. It also provides new connected mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Adobe Stock is the first stock content service to be integrated directly into the tools creatives use every day.
Adobe Stock Content Service
Adobe Stock makes 40 million photos, vector graphics and illustrations accessible directly within CC desktop apps. You can launch Adobe Stock with CC desktop software, add watermarked images to Creative Cloud libraries, and then access and work with images across multiple desktop and mobile tools. When ready to license an image for finished work, you can do it directly within the CC desktop software application. You can also edit a watermarked image in an applications such as Photoshop CC. When licensed, the edits are automatically applied to the purchased full-resolution image.
Based on the acquisition of stock content provider Fotolia earlier this year, Adobe Stock is available in 36 countries and 13 languages worldwide, including the US, UK, Australia and Japan. It is expected to be available in India in the near future.
Because Adobe Stock is a standalone service, you don’t have to be a Creative Cloud member to download, purchase, or sell stock images. You can buy single images as needed or purchase a monthly plan.
If you are a Creative Cloud member, you can save up to 40 percent when you add an Adobe Stock annual plan to your Creative Cloud membership.
Adobe Stock may shake up the $3 billion global stock image market, because Adobe customers not only contribute to stock image services but are also regular purchasers of stock content. An estimated 85 percent of creatives who buy stock content use Adobe tools. More than 90 percent of stock content sellers use Adobe software to prepare photos and images.
Photographers and designers who contribute content to Adobe Stock can access a worldwide community of stock content buyers and receive industry-leading rates for content.
According to David Wadhwani, senior vice president of Digital Media, “Adobe Stock extends Creative Cloud’s value as a vibrant global marketplace.” When accessed through Creative Cloud, the new service simplifies the buying and selling of stock content.
“Our customers–the best photographers and designers on the planet–will have the opportunity to contribute millions of new photos and images to Adobe Stock,” says Wadhwani. “This is really going to raise the bar in the world of stock content.”
Improvements to Creative Cloud
Wadhwani believes Creative Cloud 2015 is Adobe’s most powerful and comprehensive release to date.
Since Creative Cloud was introduced in 2012, Adobe has championed the idea that mobile devices should be integral to the creative process, with free companion mobile apps working seamlessly with CC desktop tools. Adobe has now released Brush CC, Shape CC, Color CC and Photoshop Mix on Android for the first time, bringing connected mobile workflows to millions of creatives worldwide. Adobe has also updated many of its popular Creative Cloud mobile apps for iPhone and iPad, including Adobe Comp CC, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw, Brush CC, Shape CC and Color CC.
In addition to these updates, Adobe debuted Adobe Hue CC. Hue CC provides an easy way to capture and share production- quality lighting and color schemes — for video, film and broadcast — by using an iPhone camera and then applying these light and color moods into a Premiere Pro CC or After Effects CC project.
At the heart of Creative Cloud is Adobe CreativeSync, a signature technology that intelligently syncs creative assets: files, photos, fonts, vector graphics, brushes, colors, settings, metadata and more.
With CreativeSync, assets are instantly available, in the right format, wherever designers need them — across desktop, web and mobile apps. Available exclusively in Creative Cloud, CreativeSync means work can be kicked-off in any connected Creative Cloud mobile app or CC desktop tool; picked up again later in another; and finished in the designer’s favorite CC desktop software.
Advances in Desktop Tools
With the 2015 release of Creative Cloud, Adobe magic and Mercury performance provide speed and technology breakthroughs across 15 CC desktop applications:
Photoshop CC: Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Photoshop CC introduces Artboards, the best way to design cross-device user experiences in a single Photoshop document and quickly preview them on a device. Photoshop CC also includes a preview release of Photoshop Design Space, a sleek new work environment focused on the needs of mobile app and website designers.
Lightroom CC: Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC both gain the new Dehaze feature, which appeared first in October 2014. Dehaze eliminates fog and haze from photos, including underwater shots, for startlingly clear images. Haze can also be added to a photo for artistic effect.
Premiere Pro CC: The new Lumetri Color panel facilitates powerful color corrections using intuitive sliders and other simple controls. Morph Cut makes it easier to deliver polished interview content. It smoothes jump cuts in talking-head shots to create a cohesive, polished sequence.
After Effects CC: A new Uninterrupted Preview allows artists to adjust the properties of a composition and resize panels without impacting playback. Also, the ground-breaking Adobe Character Animator brings 2D figures to life using a webcam to track facial movements, record dialog and apply movements in real time onto a pre-configured character.
Illustrator CC is now 10 times faster and 10 times more precise than CS6. Powered by dramatic boosts to its Mercury Performance Engine, users can now pan and zoom smoothly without delays. With the new Chart tool (preview), designers can create beautiful custom charts and share them with others via CC Libraries.
InDesign CC gets its own Mercury performance surge. Zooming, scrolling, and paging through complex documents is now twice as fast. InDesign now also allows users to publish and distribute documents with a single click.
Dreamweaver CC has new responsive web design capabilities that let designers quickly lay out and build production-ready sites that adapt to any screen size.
Adobe Muse now includes instant access to premium fonts from TypekitAdditional updates to these and other CC desktop applications make this one of Adobe’s biggest releases in years.
Creative Cloud for the Digital Transformation of Enterprises
Adobe’s expanded Creative Cloud enterprise offering includes enterprise-grade administration, security, collaboration and publishing services for design-driven brands, businesses and large organizations.
These enhancements are designed to help large commercial, education and government customers who want to speed the development and publishing of customer experiences, as part of their digital transformation strategies.
The new enterprise edition of Creative Cloud includes all the product features from the Creative Cloud 2015 release, plus expanded security options and deep connections with Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS) and Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Two new security capabilities ensure protection of corporate assets, including customer-managed encryption keys and a new managed service hosting option, which offers dedicated storage behind a customer’s firewall.
Creative Cloud for enterprise also supports an upcoming release of DPS, empowering existing teams in organizations to rapidly design and publish mobile apps without writing code.
A public beta of this major update to DPS is available this week, with more information available here. Content from Creative Cloud for enterprise also syncs with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), a key component of Adobe Marketing cloud, to accelerate marketing campaigns by streamlining creative-to-marketing workflows.