Graphic Design Training — Enhancing Your Computer Graphic Design Skills | Ezinearticles

By Susan Jan

Graphic designers nowadays require not only creative abilities, but also some understanding of other graphic design-related areas such as computer graphic design.

During the 80’s, the advent of desktop publishing and of design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Fireworks, put the power and versatility of the computer at graphic designers’ fingertips. Designers for the first time were easily able to manipulate images and create 3D images using the computer. Computers are now considered to be an indispensable tool in the graphic design industry, though some traditional graphic designers may still prefer to use manual and traditional tools for their creative endeavors.

With modern graphic design concepts and methodologies always changing, graphic designers need to continually advance their knowledge of different graphic design techniques, innovations and graphic design software packages. At present, the basic instructions in graphic designing cannot guarantee for a competitive product anymore without the use of high technology, so that the demand for highly skilled graphic designers is higher than ever.

To become a computer graphic designer, the basic requirements include good creative abilities, good computers skills, and good communication skills.

Computer graphic design helps graphic designers complete their tasks faster and easier. They can effortlessly translate ideas into visual imagery, save it onto their computers and edit it whenever alterations are necessary.

There are great many benefits if you undergo computer graphic design training geared towards arming you with a wider range of cutting edge graphic design skills. Having computer design training also means a greater choice of employment. Computer graphic design skills are in great demand in such sectors as:

1. Advertising agencies – You can use your newly acquired graphic design skills to design appealing and eye-catching advertisements for different media.

2. Web design companies – Help design appealing web pages.

3. Design studios – Apply your design skills to photo editing such as editing the contrast and the brightness of colors on the photos.

4. Publishing houses – Perform layout design and editing tasks. Publications usually follow a distribution schedule; so make sure you are able to meet deadlines.

5. Corporate advertising departments – Design professional corporate ads.

6. TV and film companies – out of all the other jobs, this is where a graphic designer is most suited as it requires a comprehensive application of the designer’s skill and ability, especially if working on animation films.

Your computer graphic design training will open new doors for you into a world of greater opportunities. Your computer design knowledge, combined with your dedication and commitment, will surely help you reach your goal.

For more on Graphics Design visit Graphic Design Training and Graphic Design Job, and also at Health and Fitness.

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ugh. Tomorrow is monday?!?!?

For me, it’s always the same: self-doubt. We’ve all stared helplessly at blank computer screens, sketchpads, or canvases from time to time, and inspiration is nowhere to be found. In its place is what I call the Bad Voice. It’s the one you use to beat yourself up

Hillman Curtis | MTIV

That’s pretty much how the past week has entirely gone. The project at work this week had me kind of confused (or maybe bored). Though the end result looks fine (definitely better than the previous edition), I know that the idea could have been better represented. But, by the end of last week I was desperately grasping for ideas, and just ran with what any inspiration I’d found.

New cornucopia for microstock
New cornucopia for microstock

I haven’t blogged, haven’t even reblogged … Been working on a microstock illustration a bit this week and did a couple simple speculative designs on 99designs. Those speculative things never make me feel any better. There are so many artists with such brilliant ideas that know how to use vibrant colors to make their designs stand out from the rest. Whether their ideas will really work (especially logos) never seems to be a concern. Even when printability is at stake.

Bear did let me buy another graphics tablet to use at home. So, I’ll be using my bamboo tablet permanently at work and have a new Intuos 3 (old I know, but brand new in package!) for home. Which is kind of exciting. I should get it in the middle of next week sometime.

Anyhow, thanks for reading everyone. I’ll try to do better this week.

Digital Designers and Carpal Tunnel | thebestdesigns.com

For many web designers and digital artists, their profession requires them to sit in front of a computer for many hours each day. Although some may not realize it, this can be very hard on the body. The human body was not designed to sit for hours on end – nor were our eyes designed to stare at a computer screen all day. Our bodies, and especially our muscles, need activity and movement every day. Computer professionals also need to pay attention to how often they are using a muscle in a repetitive motion, such as with mouse-clicking or typing.

Continuous, repetitive motions like this can lead to painful complications such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

I have been a web designer for more than a decade, and during this time, I have come up with some methods that I use to help keep my body as healthy as I can as I work my day job. I want to share some of these tips in hopes that it might help you too.

Use an Ergonomic Workstation

This is one of the most important aspects of keeping your body healthy as you work. If you do not have a workstation that is ergonomic, you could be causing more harm to your body than you realize. There are certain positions that are more natural for our body as we sit at a computer.

If we stray from these natural positions, it can cause irritation to our muscles and skeletal system over time.

There are many resources online that illustrate what is needed to have an ergonomic workstation. It is advised that you try to adhere to these standards with your own workstation. Whether you work from home, or in an office for a company, it is important to make this happen as soon as you can. If you work for a company, and you see that your current workstation is doing more harm than good, you could talk to your boss about some things that can be done to make it more comfortable for you. Some companies will be happy to help with these changes, since you work for them and they want to keep their employees comfortable and happy. Sometimes, no additional cost is involved if they are able to rearrange furniture or take items from their own storage that aren’t being used. It really just depends on what is needed to make your workstation comfortable.

If your company is not willing to help or pay for the necessary changes in your workstation, you may want to ask if they would be able to pay for half of the items you need to purchase. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to pay for everything out of your own pocket to ensure that your workstation is the way you need it to be. If you do this, you will want to document in writing what you paid for, so if you ever leave the company, you can take those purchases with you. (And honestly, if the company you are working for doesn’t seem to be concerned about your comfort level or your health, then you may want to reconsider your employment there anyway.)
Wow. This looks cozy.

Switch Between Different Arm Movements

When you click on a mouse all day with the same arm, you are causing those arm muscles to constantly contract in the same way for many hours each day. Over time, this can be harmful to your arm, hand and wrist – and even your shoulder too. Since many designers and digital artists use Adobe Photoshop and other graphics programs, mouse-clicking is a very abundant movement that we use throughout the day. If we perform this same movement too much, even with breaks, it can still cause irritation over time.

One of the things I started doing is switching between the methods that I use to perform actions on the computer.

I have a Wacom Tablet that I use mainly for Photoshop tasks, and I keep my wireless mouse on my desk to use when I am writing, researching or clicking on links, etc. This allows my arm to change movements and use my arm muscles in different ways throughout the day. When I use the Wacom Tablet, my arm is turned on its side, and my hand is in a pen-writing position. This feels very natural and comfortable. I also have the sensitivity of the pen set to a light click so that I don’t have to press so hard when clicking. This also helps with the strain on my muscles.

In addition to the switching of tools, I also trained myself to be ambidextrius on the computer so that I can use both my left hand and my right hand for using the Wacom Tablet and clicking the mouse. It was much easier to get used to this than I thought it would be. I am originally right-handed, but using my left hand felt just as natural after only a day or two. The same may be true for you if you decide to give it a try. In doing this, I am not only changing the arm movements I am using, but I am also giving random breaks to each arm as I work.

Take Several Breaks Away from the Computer

Breaks are very important for designers and computer professionals. You should take breaks away from the computer as much as you reasonably can. It’s not a good idea to interrupt yourself so much that you become unproductive, but you should have planned breaks every hour or two so you aren’t left sitting at your desk for five hours at a time. This gives your muscles and your eyes a break, and it also gives your mind a way to recharge. Many of my best ideas come from when I am away from the computer screen.

And if you are a designer with a 27″ screen or larger, this is even more reason for you to give your eyes a break.

When I’m working at home, my dogs also help to remind me to take a break. They’ll wake up from a nap and put their little paws up on my chair – tails wagging – and I know exactly what time it is. I make sure to take breaks to play with them at least five times a day. It helps them, and it helps me, so it’s a win-win for all. If you work from home, and you have kids or dogs, you should also listen to them when they want you to take a break – not only for your health, but also for your personal happiness and family life. Kids are only kids for so long, and your dogs are only with you for a short time. You shouldn’t pass up too many of those moments just because you wanted to sit at the computer longer. You won’t get that time back with them once it’s gone.
Thanks for bringing me to the park.

Stretch Regularly

There are several stretches that can help tight, overworked muscles. These stretches help to extend the muscle fibers after they have been contracted for long periods of time. When you are clicking a mouse or typing away at keys, you are constantly contracting those muscles, and if you do this too much, your muscles begin to stay contracted – even when they are resting. If you add stretching to your daily routine, you are helping your muscle fibers to stretch out again and relax after long periods of work.

Get Regular Massages

Regular massages can significantly minimize problems associated with the repetitive nature of typing on a keyboard or mouse-clicking for extended periods of time. Some of the benefits of massage are increased blood flow and nutrients to the muscles, the flushing out of harmful toxins, the stretching of the muscle fibers which are tight due to over-use, and massage also helps with the breakdown of adhesions (knots) in the muscles.

Routine massages are just as important as stretching. Your muscles need to be healthy. If they are not, it can cause more serious medical problems later on. If you can schedule these treatments into your busy life, you can help to prevent problems now and later on. This is especially important if you are already having arm or wrist pain from Carpal Tunnel.

These massages can help to ease the pain that you feel in your arms, wrists and hands.

It is also recommended that you consult with a massage therapist that is skilled in more therapeutic techniques. These massage therapists will be able to assist you with specific issues related to the stress caused by repetitive motion, and the sessions are usually priced around $60 – $80 per hour of treatment (and even less for half an hour). A good maintenance plan would be to go at least once per month and more frequently if you have specific issues you are dealing with.

Exercise Regularly

The human body was never meant to sit still for eight hours at a time, five days per week. Just review our blueprints, and you will see the proof. Most of what our body needs is somehow related to some form of exercise – whether it’s to strengthen our hearts, to provide enough oxygen to our cells and brain, or to keep our muscles healthy and mobile.

Our bodies want to be active, and our muscles need to be mobile at different times throughout the day.

If you have access to gym equipment, you should make it part of your routine to exercise for at least thirty minutes, three times per week – if not more. Or if you can take time to jog, ride a bike or take brisk walks, that can help too. Any type of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

When I worked in an office building all day, I would make time to take breaks to walk up the nine flights of stairs in our building. I did this a few times each day to keep my body active. This wasn’t the type of strenuous exercise that breaks a sweat of course, but it was just enough to get my heart rate up a little and to give my legs a decent workout. This also helped to wake me up if I was feeling sleepy – since sitting at a desk every day can sometimes lead to moments of unintentional dreaming at your desk. 😉

Just Listen to Your Body. It Knows Best.

When you start to feel pain, get up and get away from the computer for a while. Do not ignore this warning. This pain that you feel is your body telling you that’s it’s not very happy with what you are doing to it. If you keep ignoring your body’s warnings, you may begin your golden years with medical issues that even our parents didn’t have. Our generation will have been using computers for many decades by then, and I don’t even want to predict the types of issues that some computer professionals may have if they don’t start taking care of themselves now. The sooner, the better – and what better time to start than now.

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Written by Angela

Angela is a Texas web designer who’s been running The Best Designs and writing articles since 2001. She also loves fine art and photography, and enjoys working on portrait art when she can find the time. Angela believes that in the art and design world, there is no room for anything but the finest, and hard work that speaks for itself. She strives to illustrate this within this website and also in her own work.

This One Tweet Reveals What’s Wrong With American Business | Linkedin

July 31, 2013

If you watch TV, you’ll be led to believe that the problem with the U.S. economy is that one political team or the other is ruining the country.

A sharp drop in government spending this year is, in fact, temporarily hurting economic growth, but that’s not the real problem.

The real problem is that American corporations, which are richer and more profitable than they have ever been in history (see chart below), have become so obsessed with “maximizing short-term profits” that they are no longer investing in their future, their people, and the country.

This short-term greed can be seen in many aspects of corporate behavior, from scrimping on investment to obsessing about quarterly earnings to fretting about daily fluctuations in stock prices. But it is most visible in the general cultural attitude toward average employees.

Employees are human beings. They devote their lives to creating value for customers, shareholders, and colleagues. And, in return, at least in theory, they share in the rewards of the value created by their team.

In theory.

In practice, American business culture has become so obsessed with maximizing short-term profits that employees aren’t regarded as people who are members of a team.

Rather, they are regarded as “costs.”

And “costs,” as we all know, are supposed to be reduced as much as is humanly possible (except the “costs” of the salaries of senior management and investors–those are supposed to be increased).

This view of employees was expressed succinctly yesterday by a Twitter user named Daryl Tremblay, who was appalled by the suggestion that McDonald’s should increase the wages of its restaurant workers and pay for this by making a bit less money. (I was arguing that McDonald’s employees should not be treated as “costs,” but instead as valuable members of a successful team who shouldn’t have to work that hard and still live in poverty.)

Here was Daryl’s response:

Now, Daryl is hardly alone in this view. Most senior managers and owners of big American corporations think this way these days. They regard the human beings they work with–the human beings who create the value that pays their salaries–as “costs” to be reduced to create “maximized earnings.” Because “maximized earnings,” it is now frequently said, is the only thing that any business owner or manager should care about.

Whenever you suggest to folks like Daryl that it doesn’t have to be this way, that some companies can and do balance the interests of shareholders with the interests of customers and employees–and, in so doing, create a symbiotic relationship that supports all of these constituencies–folks like Daryl call you a “socialist.”

This is a strange insult, because the government has nothing to do with this. But, nevertheless, “socialist” is the label you get branded with if you suggest that the senior managers and owners of America’s corporations should share more of their vast wealth with the employees who create it.

This view of capitalism is that it is a sort of Lord-Of-The-Flies economic system in which the only consideration should be “every man for himself.” In this style of capitalism, leaders do not manage teams and organizations in a way that creates value for everyone–customers, shareholders, and employees. Rather, in this style of capitalism, a handful of winners extract as much value as they can from hapless losers who don’t have the skills, knowledge, or time necessary to “demand a raise” or “go get a better job.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There is no capitalist law that says companies have to view employees as “costs” and pay them as little as possible.

Senior managers and owners can choose to share more of a company’s wealth with the people who generate it. They can choose to make only reasonable profits, while still generating compelling financial returns. And they can choose to pay their team-mates living wages instead of viewing them as “costs” and extracting every penny of possible value from them.

If American corporations were struggling to earn money these days, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

But they aren’t.

As the chart above shows, American corporations have the highest profits and profit margins in history.

American corporations can afford to pay their employees better, hire more employees, and invest more in their future and the country’s future.

But American corporations aren’t doing that.

Instead, American corporations are choosing to divert as much of their value as possible to their owners and senior managers.

Doing this is not a law of capitalism.

It’s a choice.

And it is a choice, unfortunately, that is destroying America’s middle class, robbing American consumers (a.k.a., “employees”) of spending power, and, ironically, hurting the growth of the same corporations that are making this choice.

If your customers are strapped, your company can’t grow.

And, right now, American companies are choosing to impoverish their customers (employees), while skimming off as much wealth as possible for themselves.

SEE ALSO: Here’s Who To Blame For The Crappy U.S. Economy…

Corporate profits and profit margins are at the highest level in history…

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

What Salary Does a Graphic Designer Make? | ezinearticles.com

By 

So-you’ve decided on a career as a graphic design professional. What kind of money can you expect to make in this field? First of all, you need to look at what you’ll make when you enter the field versus what you can earn over the lifetime of your career. The American Institute of Graphic Arts found in 2008 that entry-level graphic designers earned on average $35,000 annually, while senior designers having experience and supervisory duties averaged $60,000. Those graphic designers who were creative heads of departments, owned their own designing firms or were partners at designing firms enjoyed salaries of around $95,000 a year.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2008 graphic designers made an overall average of $42,400 a year– the lowest-paid 10 percent of graphic designers earned a salary of less than $26,110 annually, while those in the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $76,660. After considering entry-level versus experienced graphic designers, there are salary differences depending on the industry employed in. Among the five industries employing the highest numbers of graphic designers, computer systems design and related services paid the best at $47,860 yearly on average, and printing and related support activities the least at $36,100 yearly on average.

College education, specifically a degree, has a marked effect on the amount of money a designer can earn. A degree of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Graphic Design enables a designer to have a median salary of $36,074; earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree gives one a slighter edge of $41,260.

Where you work as a graphic design professional makes a difference in salary, too. According to payscale.com, the average yearly salary for a graphic designer in San Francisco is about $52,000; the next best city to work in is Seattle-the average yearly salary for graphic designers in that city is about $47,000. Other cities that offer good salaries for graphic designers are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas. And as far as working for a small firm or a large company, when it comes to a graphic designer’s salary, it’s better to work for the “big guy”: those in firms employing less than 10 people earn a little over $35,000 average annual salary, while those working in large companies with 50,000 or more employees see an increase to over $53,000 yearly.

So—how does all this stack up against the average American worker? According to the 2007 findings of the United States Census Bureau, the average salary in the United States is around $81,000 a year, taking into account all types of jobs and experience. If you are a designer with a college degree who has put in several years in a large company, or has successfully created your own design business, you could meet or exceed that average. The future for designers seems to have the opportunity for growth and advancement, especially for those who consistently improve their technological skills and keep their fingers on the pulse of society’s needs and wants. For graphic designers, especially, staying power equals earning power.

Find tips for picking the best graphic design schools. Read articles at http://www.graphicdesignersalarydata.com/ on how to select a school that fits your needs and what you are looking for in this career. Learn about how long the programs are and the classes you will be taking.

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Design Competition Model Is Working For 99designs, Especially In Asia | TechCrunch

Victoria Ho

Love them or hate them, 99designs’ design contest model is working pretty well, going by its latest figures.

The Melbourne, Australian company now pays out about $2 million per month to designers on its site, according to its CEO, Patrick Llewellyn.

Comparing that to the $20 million it paid out in the three years between 2009 and 2011, that’s an almost four-fold growth.

But for every designer that gets paid, hundreds of others don’t.

99designs currently makes 90 percent of its revenue through design competitions. That is, a paying client puts up a request for a design say a logo for example and designers submit their work, in hopes of winning the job and getting paid.

Typically, contests can draw hundreds to thousand of entries, with only the final winner getting picked. Llewellyn didn’t comment on how many designers respond to competitions, but to give you an idea of the stream of responses, the company told TechInAsia in June that one design is uploaded every four seconds to the site, and that 99designs has amassed about 23 million submissions in its five years.

99designs takes, at its lowest end, a 5 percent commission on jobs, and this can go up to 40 percent for clients on gold level tiers. This involves having a 99designs member of staff handhold you, from writing a design brief to selecting top designers and inviting them to your contest.

He wouldn’t break down the proportion of clients on the different tiers, but at the lowest cut of 5 percent, 99designs makes revenues of at least $105,000 a month.

Naturally, the company has copped some flak for its business model, which some say turns the design marketplace into a Walmart-style bazaar and thins out the profits for good designers. Critics also say that it is unfair to the many designers which put in work that eventually doesn’t get picked, resulting in designers working for no payment.

Llewellyn insisted, however, that the contest model has worked for its designers who willingly participate, because it’s become a fantastic way to meet clients.

And they are asking for more ways to interact with the site. For a long time, we were just the facilitator for that meeting, but people are asking for more tools, he said.

In response, the company is ploughing money back into building a payment gateway and a project management tool. It started building a basic version about 18 months ago, and now it’s rolling out the service to more of its users, he said.

Asian designers supply half of 99designs’ work
Llewellyn said that the company paid $3 million in the past quarter to designers in Asia, a 10 percent increase over the previous quarter. This means that half of the design work is coming from the region.

But almost 70 percent of its sales still come from North American customers. The past year has seen 99designs expand into Europe, with sites in German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. We’ve put people on the ground in London, and doubled the Berlin team to 10, he added.

Last year, it scooped up European rival, 12designer, for an undisclosed amount, too.

These moves haven’t shifted much of the proportion over to Europe yet, however. North America’s contribution has hovered at the 70 percent mark for the past few years, and Europe stands at 15 percent.

Over in Asia, in spite of the massive participation from designers there, just 5 percent of client work comes from the region.

Llewellyn said the company is hoping this will change, with its recent foray into the region. We haven’t had an Asian presence till about two months ago, he said.

The company launched its Singapore site, 99designs.com.sg, in June, about a month after it created 99designs.hk for Hong Kong.

While it has targeted the two Southeast Asian economic hubs for business development, designers in Indonesia and the Philippines have contributed the most work in the region. The two countries have taken $10 million of the total $54 million that 99designs has paid out over the past five years.

The company competes with a fellow Aussie company, DesignCrowd. The latter, also founded in 2008, just told VentureBeat that it has hit $10 million in project revenue. It’s on track to hit $1 million a month in client fees, it said.

99designs was founded by Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz. It raised $35 million from Accel in 2011.

Llewellyn said the company isn’t profitable yet. We were (before the funding), when we were bootstrapped and cashflow-funded. But we’re investing heavily into the business, and into marketing in all our countries, he said.

99designs is the world’s largest online graphic design marketplace, connecting startups, small businesses, marketing agencies and other organizations with design needs with more than 220,000 graphic designers from 192 countries around the world. Since its 2008 founding in Melbourne, Australia, 99designs has hosted more than 200,000 design contests for customers and has paid out in excess of USD $50 million to its design community. 99designs enables customers to source graphic design work quickly and affordably by launching design contests…

WYSIWYG Web Design Software – Which One is Best?

There are a number of applications out there that allow you to design websites using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. We’re going to look at the best web design software that falls into this category. We’ll also look at the benefits of using such software to help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.

The principle behind WYSIWYG editors is that whatever you see on the page is what you’ll get when your website is published. Basically it gives you an interface where you can build your website exactly how you want it to look when people visit it online.

The most popular web design software packages are Dreamweaver, FrontPage and XSitePro. Adobe Dreamweaver is the professional choice due to its massive range of features and ability to create dynamic websites. The downside being it’s difficult to pick up and use ‘out of the box’ and requires a lot of hours to learn just the basics, especially if you’re new to web design. It’s also expensive to buy.

Microsoft’s FrontPage has a lot of features but often adds needless code to the pages it creates. This can increase page loading times, especially for those who still access the internet using a dial-up connection. It’s not as user-friendly as Dreamweaver and pushes you in the direction of using Microsoft server technologies to build dynamic sites which won’t suit everyone’s needs. On the plus side, FrontPage costs less than Dreamweaver and is slightly easier to learn.

The third and final WYSIWYG web design software we’re going to look at is XSitePro from Intellimon Ltd. This is a relatively new application that has been developed with the novice or internet marketer in mind.

Because the majority of features within Dreamweaver and FrontPage won’t be used by most users, XSitePro has done away with them and left only the tools that novice-to-intermediate web designers need. It’s resulted in an easy-to-use application that can be picked up and used by just about anybody.

The downside to XSitePro is that it’s more difficult to create dynamic sites and has done away with the look and feel of traditional WYSIWYG website software. So if you’re used to working with Dreamweaver or FrontPage then you might find XSitePro hard to get used to.

When it comes to web design software, a WYSIWYG editor is really the only way to go. It makes production time far quicker, but you need to start with the right software.

If you’re a professional web designer and you want to create cutting-edge websites using the latest technologies then without a doubt you need to use Adobe Dreamweaver. It’s amazingly powerful and automates a lot of the common tasks associated with web design.

If you’re not after something quite as feature-packed as Dreamweaver and you’re a fan of Microsoft technologies and you’d like to use them on the web, then FrontPage might be for you. Just don’t go creating large pages as they could take an age to load!

If you’re new to web design or you’d like to get something that doesn’t have the learning time of Dreamweaver or FrontPage then XSitePro is for you. It’s quick to learn, easy to use and can produce truly beautiful sites very quickly. And like Dreamweaver, it automates a lot of the common tasks associated with web design.

Picking the right WYSIWYG web design software is essential to make sure you find web design fun and interesting and not a chore. You should choose based on your skill level and exactly what you want to achieve. That will give you the results you want and will make building websites something you can enjoy for years to come.

James Simpson is an internet marketer and web designer. He specializes in product development and is a foremost expert on the web design software XSitePro. He runs the popular third-party site XSitePro Videos which reveals tons of information about the software.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Simpson
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