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The Total WordPress Theme by WPExplorer

The Total WordPress Theme By WPExplorer

Today I want to talk about the Total Wordpress theme by WPExplorer. We'll look at the theme features and talk with AJ Clarke, the developer of Total. I have been using Total since 2014. Before I found the theme, I was using a different Wordpress theme for every site. Wordpress themes tend to have limited customization abilities. If you use the same theme for all of your sites they end up looking the same, even with custom CSS. This means learning a new theme every time you build a site. This also means finding glitches in the code, things don't work right, etc. I have used a ton of themes since I started using Wordpress over 10 years ago; Avada and many more. Every time I'm left feeling like "I wish it did this." I don't have that problem anymore with Total. It just DOES. It could be the poster child for Nike. Total is completely customizable. You really can create an unlimited amount of designs. It's truly insane. The day I installed this theme and saw what it could really do, I nearly cried. Yeah, I know… You're thinking "Get a life, nerd." and I DID - After I…

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Social Media Templates

Social Media Templates

5/1/2014 Update: As Murphy's Law would have it, Facebook changed their layouts again yesterday. I have updated the template and you can download it here: 5/1/2014 Facebook Template I will continue to update the templates as Facebook and other social media outlets update their layouts. Just check this post when you see things have changed on your profile pages. Please note the new template above is not reflected in the examples below. I'm too angry at Facebook to update everything. I want to share some info on social media templates, or skins, as they're sometimes called. I have worked up a series of examples and templates for you to use from a site I manage called Baubles-n-Bling. Download the layered PSD templates if you want to follow along! It all starts with the main site. We recently migrated it over to Shopify. When we post the new sale on the homepage, we want to spin this look out across all social media outlets. This is the sale hero that appears on the site:

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WordPress: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

WordPress: A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing?

Everyone wants to use Wordpress. Wordpress! Wordpress! Yay! Yay! Yay! It's free, it's easy, it's... sometimes very problematic. I'll be the first to admit I love Wordpress. I love the shit out of it. But there are times when it isn't appropriate to use. Wordpress wasn't meant to perform all of the robust features and functions we try to glean from it. It is but a humble blog that was SO awesome that folks saw potential there. That potential is valid as long as you don't try to get too crazy with it. As a general rule of thumb Wordpress works great if you are simply displaying content (text, images, videos), or selling product or services via PayPal. Heck, I'll even go so far as to say Woo Commerce might serve you well if you really want to put a retail module in place on your site. But that's it - That's as far as you should go with Wordpress. When you make Wordpress do things it wasn't meant to do, it creates huge problems later. Problems you can't always see in the beginning. Plugins tend to be the culprit in many cases. If you're having trouble, look to thy…

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Pink Floyd Wall Mural

Pink Floyd Wall Mural

What can I say. I love the Pink Floyd. I love Gerald Scarfe’s style. In tribute to him, and Pink Floyd, I present this project. This is a wall mural I did on the wall of my first apartment in Pittsburgh. It took about four months to complete. My neighbor said when I moved out they had to put several coats of paint on it. He said the maintenance guys were huge fans and lamented their task. Then the new tenants moved in. My former neighbor met them, and told them what was on the wall. They, too were saddened. Meh… C’est la vie. I had been using my CD artwork with a magnifying glass as a guide, which isn’t great because of the dot in the print. A friend I went to school with saw what I was doing, and lent me his vinyl copy. HUGE freaking help. The first concert I ever went to was their Division Bell tour in 1994. I saved one of the plastic beer cups from the show, and I put my ticket stub in it. I continued to add my stub to the Floyd cup for every show I’ve ever been to. I…

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Color Correction

Color Correction

There are many factors that go into getting the best color out of your brand. After a while, the colors you use become the brand as well. Let's look at Pepsi or Home Depot. Those brands are recognized by the colors - because they are consistent. Color also has psychological effects. Most casinos and restaurants are red or have lots of red accents (red makes you want things). Purple is a sign of sensuality, bisexuality, spirituality, creativity, wealth, royalty... All colors have some affect on us. Now, the first thing to tackle is the calibration of your monitor and making sure your Photoshop color settings are set to match. Adobe recommends using Adobe 1998. Your monitor should have some basic color calibration settings that can be adjusted. If you're on a Mac, (aside from being lucky) you can go into your system preferences and do a custom calibration if the Adobe 1998 isn't doin' it for ya. The closer you can get your monitor to "reality", the less work you will have to do. The second thing you have to do is learn to go by the numbers. If you are preparing an image that will be printed, you must…

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Naming%20Conventions

Naming%20Conventions

Yeah. Spaces happen. Then you get that ugly "%20". Naming conventions for your files are very important. It is best to employ a simple, systematic naming convention for all your daily files. Whether you're keeping track of content, site slices, whatever... There are a few rules of thumb that can avoid issues later on. 1. Spaces. Just forget the spacebar exists on your computer. If you must have space, use an underscore "_". This will avoid issues such as uploading files to a server or directory paths to images on a website. Also avoid non-standard characters like: ' & ; When a space occurs, you get the "%20" and the path can't be followed, leaving you with broken links or bad FTP uploads that disappear. 2. File names and their length. I have seen some image files on websites that have over 100 characters in the file names. WTF!? Seriously folks... Try to keep the file names as short and to-the-point as possible. When slicing up a site, I execute a very page-specific naming convention that potentially allows all the images to reside in the root images directory if they had to. Every sliced file name becomes a mini-directory about…

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RGB, CMYK – When and Where

RGB, CMYK – When And Where

RGB will give you all colors. The best saturation in your colors comes from this mode. All web images are RGB (jpg or png) or indexed color (gif). Because of the crossover back & forth from web to print, we have to deal with RGB (web) files and CMYK (print) files. If you try to put up a .jpg on the web that is CMYK, it won't show up. It must be converted to RGB. CMYK images are used for print. If an RGB image slips past your print production, it can look awful and be a huge waste of printing dollars. When I do any artwork, it all starts out in RGB. Images for color correction, vector logos, print ads, you name it. With proper use of the brand's Pantone colors where applicable, I know that when I convert it to CMYK for print, it will experience a smaller amount of color change. Once the artwork is finished and approved, the file is duplicated and print production is ran. This includes converting said print piece to CMYK and having a color proof printed to check color. Be sure to have a way to revert back to RGB if color…

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Resolution for Print and Web

Resolution For Print And Web

You can't use your low resolution logo from the web to have printing done. Forget about it. Only Chuck Norris can do this successfully. You need to have the right resolution for print and web for best results. Bitmapped images are made up of pixels, the smallest unit a computer can display data. When digitizing an image, you will need to select the desired amount of pixels per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI), depending on what you want to do with the image. Incidentally, PPI (web) and DPI (print) are interchangeable terms, meaning essentially the same thing. Web = 72 DPI Print = 300 DPI* *You can go down to 250 DPI in some cases until the naked eye will see degradation in the image. Large format printing is usually done between 100-150 DPI (posters, banners, tradeshow booths, billboards). Most large format printing is not meant for someone to be standing up close to it. Up close, the images will not look as sharp and you will see the dot from the print. But from a distance, the image will look fine. This is where vector art can come in real handy. Vector can go large format and…

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Unsharp Mask

Unsharp Mask

Sometimes all we have is a bad image to work with. That's the reality, unfortunately. Whether you have to enlarge an image above 100% of it's actual size or if you are trying to fix a blurred image, unsharp mask in Photoshop is a life saver. .jpg compression is another issue that can rob you of your clarity. Over-compressed images look bad and sometimes are all we have to work with. When I am trying to fix an image, I will run my unsharp mask after a good color correcting. My primary setting is: Amount: 400% Radius: .2 pixels Threshold: 0 levels Sometimes, I will go up to a .3 on the radius, but only if the image has been very degraded and needs a little extra sharpening. Sometimes it can further damage the image, so be careful. With this recipe, I can create images that are always crisp. Even when you reduce the size of an image, it blurs the pixels slightly. Reduce a large image to 300 wide. You will see the best results by using an image of a person. Unsharp Mask sharpens edges, not the whole image. Now run an unsharp mask on it and toggle…

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Quick Keys

Quick Keys

Take a look at your drop down menus at the top of your desktop. Click on one and notice the characters to the right of the options. Those are your quick keys. By typing that configuration, you will get the same action to the left. When you are rockin' out in Photoshop, there isn't time to keep going up to the edit menu, selecting copy, then going to where it will be pasted, going back up to the edit menu, selecting paste. F that. Select your text or object, hit Command+C, or for Mac users, hit Apple+C. Select area to be pasted, hit Command+V, or for Mac users, hit Apple+V. Voila. Done. Try them out and see how much quicker you can work. Most quick keys are the same from software to software, but can differ.

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