Why CSS Needs its Own Survey

2016 was only three years ago, but that’s almost a whole other era in web development terms. The JavaScript landscape was in turmoil, with up-and-comer React — as well as a little-known framework called Vue — fighting to dethrone Angular.

Like many other developers, I felt lost. I needed some clarity, and I figured the best way to get it was simply to ask fellow coders what they used, and more importantly, what they enjoyed using. The result was the first ever edition of the now annual State of JavaScript survey.

The State of JavaScript 2018

Things have stabilized in the JavaScript world since then. Turns out you can’t really go wrong with any one of the big three frameworks, and even less mainstream options, like Ember, have managed to build up passionate communities and show no sign of going anywhere.

But while all our attention was fixated on JavaScript, trouble was brewing in CSS land. For years, my impression of CSS’s evolution was slow, incremental progress. Back then, I was pretty sure border-radius support represented the crowning, final achievement of web browser technology.

But all of a sudden, things started picking up. Flexbox came out, representing the first new and widely adopted layout method in over a decade. And Grid came shortly after that, sweeping away years of hacky grid frameworks into the gutter of bad CSS practices.

Something even crazier happened: now that the JavaScript people had stopped creating a new framework every two weeks, they decided to use all their extra free time trying to make CSS even better! And thus CSS-in-JS was born.

And now it’s 2019, and the Flexbox Cheatsheet tab I’ve kept open for the past two years has now been joined by a Grid Cheatsheet, because no matter how many times I use them, I still need to double-check the syntax. And despite writing a popular introduction to CSS-in-JS, I still lazily default to familiar Sass for new projects, promising myself that I’ll “do things properly” the next time.

All …

Recreating the Facebook Messenger Gradient Effect with CSS

One Sunday morning, I woke up a little earlier than I would’ve liked to, thanks to the persistent buzzing of my phone. I reached out, tapped into Facebook Messenger, and joined the conversation. Pretty soon my attention went from the actual conversations to the funky gradient effect of the message bubbles containing them. Let me show you what I mean:

This is a new feature of Messenger, which allows you to choose a gradient instead of a plain color for the background of the chat messages. It’s currently available on the mobile application as well as Facebook’s site, but not yet on Messenger’s site. The gradient appears “fixed” so that chat bubbles appear to change background color as they scroll vertically.

I thought this looked like something that could be done in CSS, so… challenge accepted!

Let’s walk through my thought process as I attempted to recreate it and explain the CSS features that were used to make it work. Also, we’ll see how Facebook actually implemented it (spoiler alert: not the way I did) and how the two approaches compare.

Getting our hands dirty

First, let’s look at the example again to see what exactly it is that we’re trying to achieve here.

In general, we have a pretty standard messaging layout: messages are divided into bubbles going from top to bottom, ours on the right and the other people in the chat on the left. The ones on the left all have a gray background color, but the ones on the right look like they’re sharing the same fixed background gradient. That’s pretty much it!

Step 1: Set up the layout

This part is pretty simple: let’s arrange the messages in an ordered list and apply some basic CSS to make it look more like an actual messaging application:

<ol class="messages">
  <li class="ours">Hi, babe!</li>
  <li class="ours">I have something for you.</li>
  <li>What is it?</li>
  <li class="ours">Just a little something.</li>
  <li>Johnny, it’s beautiful. Thank you. Can I try it on now?</li>
  <li class="ours">Sure, it’s yours.</li>
  <li>Wait right here.</li>
  <li>I’ll try 

Weekly News for Designers № 477

10 Incredible Text Masking Effects Examples – A look at how text masking can dress up your site.
10 Incredible Text Masking Effects Examples

Colorful Typographic Experiments – Colorful fonts and other far-out text effects.
Colorful Typographic Experiments

Raster – A simple CSS Grid system that utilizes descriptive HTML.
Raster

Material Kit – A free Bootstrap 4 based material design UI kit with versions for HTML, React, WordPress and more.
Material Kit

Freelancers: How Much Work Is Too Much? – Some thoughts on when it might be time to lighten your workload.
Freelancers: How Much Work Is Too Much?

What are Design Systems? – Better understand design systems by looking at some real-life examples.
What are Design Systems?

Playful Masonry Image Gallery – Download a custom image gallery created with GSAP.
Playful Masonry Image Gallery

Creating 3D worlds with HTML and CSS – A guide for crafting amazing effects with CSS 3D Transforms.
Creating 3D worlds with HTML and CSS

Creating Liquid Effects on the Web – The combination of modern libraries and powerful processors make liquid effects more viable than ever.
Creating Liquid Effects on the Web

Improving WordPress Code With Modern PHP – The move to PHP 5.6 and eventually 7.0 will allow for a better-performing CMS.
Improving WordPress Code With Modern PHP

Cleave.js – A library for adding real-time formatting to form inputs.
Cleave.js

ICONSVG – Find, generate and customize SVG icons for your projects.
ICONSVG

A Conversation with WordPress Evangelist Maddy Osman – The popular writer and speaker shares freelancing advice and her thoughts on WordPress.
A Conversation with WordPress Evangelist Maddy Osman

Interactive Typography Cheatsheet – A fun tool for learning the various components of a letterform.
Interactive Typography Cheatsheet

Regex Cheat Sheet – Regex can get incredibly complicated. Thankfully, this cheat sheet is here to simplify things!
Regex Cheat Sheet

How to Create a Fake 3D Image Effect with WebGL – Learn how to create this attention-grabbing special effect.
How to Create a Fake 3D Image Effect with WebGL

Pure CSS Drawing Essentials – Want to create amazing CSS art? Here are 5 properties to master.
Pure CSS Drawing Essentials

OutSystems UI Kit – A complete collection of styles, UI patterns, widgets and layouts based on the OutSystems UI framework.
OutSystems UI Kit

Follow Speckyboy on Twitter or Facebook for a daily does of web design resources and freebies.

The post Weekly News for Designers № 477 appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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Meet the world’s best illustrators in Computer Arts

We're only a couple months into 2019, yet already we've been blown away by the amazing work pouring out of illustrators the world over. Sure, we might be going through some strange and turbulent times at the moment, but the top illustrators in the industry are taking advantage of this to create surprising, daring and powerful art.

In our hotlist of the illustrators to look out for in 2019, we profile the top names you've either seen already, or you can expect to see great things from in the future. These are the illustrators you're going to want to work with if you want your next project to stand out, so make sure you don't miss it.

This issue even has a cover by illustrator Max Guther, which has a special stippled UV treatment that rises off the page, giving it a sand-like effect. It also has special spot UV and copper foils. See how it was made here

Buy Computer Arts issue 290 now

Issue 290 cover sample

Meet the illustrators you’re going to want to work with

We're also proud to announce that Computer Art's sixth annual Brand Impact Awards are now open for submissions. These awards celebrate the very best pieces of branding work from across the industry, so if you think your work is in with a shot of winning, why not enter?

Get familiar with the entry criteria, explore the various categories, and be inspired by last year's winners by heading over to this page on Creative Bloq, the event's co-presenters. Here you'll also see the stunning new look created for the event by 'code poet' Zach Lieberman.

Save up to 59% on a Computer Arts subscription

Elsewhere in issue 290, we catch up with the bright, geometric work of London artist Morag Myerscough, take a look at the Fyne Ales rebrand, and learn how creatives are fighting for gender equality in the industry.

Take a closer look at what's inside Computer Arts issue 290 by scrolling left to right through the gallery below.

Computer Arts is the …

Behind the scenes on cinema’s weirdest VFX

The robot Jaegers and massive Kaiju monsters in Pacific Rim: Uprising. Giant and small versions of Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp. The alienesque symbiotes in Venom. The crazy critters of Annihilation. Wade Wilson’s baby legs in Deadpool 2. 

That’s only a small portion of the many incredible creatures and characters that visual effects studio DNEG has made for some of its recent projects, many of which are some of the biggest 3D movies of the year. Here, we take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the weirdest effects DNEG brought into our cinemas. 

01. Giant pigeons

giant CG pigeons

One of many weird scale challenges DNEG took on for Ant-Man and the Wasp

For Ant-Man and the Wasp, DNEG faced a whole host of weird challenges, not least creating massive pigeons to feature in a miniature-scale car chase scene. “The giant pigeons shot was a tough one!” says DNEG creature supervisor Remi Cauzid. “We are not used to seeing pigeons that close up, so we had to make sure we used good references. Our build lead, Daniel Axelsson, went out chasing pigeons with his camera. This is basically what you have to do – look for references as much as you can, and do not make things up. 

“The ‘actions’ for this pigeon were limited, so we focused on the limited range of motion it has to perform, but made sure this was looking as good as possible. And communication was a key thing – assets with feathers, animation and complex shaders always involve more artists than usual.”

Our build lead went out chasing pigeons with his camera

Remi Cauzid, DNEG

Giant pigeons were just one of the sizing challenges the studio tackled for the movie. DNEG not only had the challenge of crafting several digital double models – each with cloth, hair and muscle sims – it also regularly had to make them grow both larger and smaller than human size. Simulations began in Maya using nCloth and nHair, with an in-house muscle system running on Maya nodes. 

“We went for simplicity …

30+ Animated PowerPoint Templates (Free + Premium)

In this collection, we’re featuring some of the best, animated PowerPoint templates (both premium and free) to create stunning presentations filled with stylish object and transition animations.

Designing a PowerPoint presentation is not an easy job. It requires a lot of work and time. When crafting presentations, most people completely ignore one of the key elements of a creative slideshow: animation. Adding creative animations and effects not only makes your presentation slides interactive, but it’s also useful when emphasizing key points and data.

Of course, you don’t have to be a PowerPoint expert to design animated slideshows. You can simply use a pre-made animated PowerPoint template. We handpicked these templates just for you.

Blossom – Animated PowerPoint Template

Blossom - Animated Powerpoint Template

Blossom is a modern PowerPoint presentation template that comes with a set of fully animated slides. It includes a total of 150 slides in 5 different premade color schemes with 30 unique slides in each template. This template is perfect for modern business and startup presentations.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

Busono – Creative PowerPoint Template

Busono - Creative Powerpoint Template

Busono features a creative and minimal design that makes it the perfect choice for designing creative design and marketing related presentations. The template comes with 30 unique slides and you get to choose from 5 different color themes to match your branding.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

Muetto – Modern PowerPoint Template

Muetto - Modern Powerpoint Template

Muetto is a minimalist and fully animated PowerPoint presentation template featuring all kinds of slides, such as gallery slides and portfolio slides as well as lots of infographics, illustrations, icons, image placeholders, and much more to customize the design of the slides.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

Admire – Design Portfolio PowerPoint Template

Admire - Design Portfolio Powerpoint Template

Admire is most suitable for making portfolio presentations for creative professionals and design agencies. The PowerPoint template includes a total of 150 slides featuring editable vector graphics and image placeholders.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

Chiliad – Visual PowerPoint Template

Chiliad - Visual Powerpoint Template

Chiliad is a highly visual PowerPoint template that allows you to tell your story and message with slides filled lots of images. The template comes …

How to Make Gamification Work on the Web

The somewhat controversial topic of the usefulness of gamification in business has been sparking debates recently.

One claim is that it’s a great business tool that helps engage and retain clients, as well as lead them in the right direction. The opposite view holds that there are few real successes in gamification.

Today we’re going to the consider the case for gamification in interactive design, and illustrate it with some great examples.

The ABCs of Gamification

Gamification applies game elements, game mechanics and game thinking into non-game processes, like apps or websites, in an effort to make them more fun and engaging. However, it’s important to point out that gamification does not equal gaming or creating games for businesses. It simply borrows game features.

According to Statista calculations, the gamification market is expected to grow from the $4.91bn it was valued in 2016 to almost $12bn by 2021. The impressive gamification statistics doesn’t end at that. 40% of top organizations in the world are using gamification as their primary mechanism to transform business operations. The faith in this business tool is so big that some experts believe that by 2020 gamification will be widespread.

The main components that game mechanics are based on are the following:

  • Motivation — The reason users have to care, act or behave in a certain way;
  • Mastery — A set of rules, skills and knowledge users need to have to complete the task;
  • Triggers — The implementation of opportunities for users to fulfill their motivation.

Motivation is the first important element in this chain. It gives users a reason to behave a certain way, to take a desired action, complete that training or adopt a healthier lifestyle. Studying how users behave and how to motivate them to take a desired action has a lot to do with behavior design. The principles of Burrhus Frederic Skinner and his Operant Conditioning Chamber lay the basis for studies on how to influence a certain human behavior in order to design a certain habit.

Next follows …