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by Torin Cassani
Welcome to DeZION Colorado and our blog page. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.
Some of you may have become slightly confused using our Customize/Build Your Own page and we would like to make sure that the experience is as user friendly as possible. The website was designed to be used on an iPad or other mobile device, however works just as well on a computer. We offer a variety of different colors and many hydro-graphic combinations as well. Take a peek on the ‘customize’ tab and you will see the solid color options for your creation station. When you choose the ‘hydro-graphic’ option you will be presented with a number of different choices.
Now to be clear, a hydro-graphic is a roll of film placed on water before your Creation Station is dipped into the new graphic. Both options of hydro-graphics have the option of a matte or gloss finish. A full coverage hydro-graphic has solid colors on the roll of film and the original color of the creation station will not show through. On the other hand, the color underlay option will allow you to choose one, two or three colors that may be seen through the transparent sections of the roll of film. Also offered on the color underlay section is a glow in the dark option which is great for making sure you don’t misplace your creation station and iPad during the night time. There are a number of colors and combinations available on the website, however if you are interested in something not explicitly offered on the website then you may send a personal email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have fun with the options, feel free to suggest your own ideas and combinations and look forward to many, many more!
The Creation Station Journey: Maximizing my own efficiency
by Torin Cassani
As the Creation Station develops there is an increasingly common theme in the technology field pushing for local manufacturing to allow consumers to customize their product on many levels, often through an online “build” site. While this was happening, we realized that as a case for artists, designers, students, and young business professionals alike, many people will want to customize their Creation Station to help them further “stand out in the crowd.” We have spent endless hours researching a way to “customize” the Creation Station. We have found a perfect final solution that offers hundreds of options, but I will bring you through the process of how we arrived here.
When considering how textural the Back of the Creation Station is, it is easy to see that finding a method to “print” or “stamp” or “decal” the surface created a problem for us. But as we’ve learned, product design is constant problem solving. So, it all began when generation 9 of 11 prototypes was rendered in SolidWorks with a commissioned art piece (see image 1). We realized that it would be awesome to get whatever we want printed on the back of the iPad. It offered us a chance to commission locals and friends as artists, designing one graphic for the back of the Creation Station, then we’d make a limited number of them and call out “#27 of 100.” During this period, we were starting our first Kickstarter campaign so we were already in close contact with manufacturers. We explored everything from stamping (giant rubber stamps get inked and then pressure-pressed onto the iPad) to stenciling to sticker decals. Due to intricacy and the added cost to tooling these options presented, we moved on. As with most things, right as we were about to give up, we found Colorado Custom Look. One of our company goals is to stay local with all manufacturing and promote local Colorado economies while simultaneously cutting out off-shore replicas. Colorado Custom Look is local, plus they offer the first process that we have ever seen to accommodate very intricate 3D surfaces. The two top right buttons of this blog are video links to CCL.com videos on the process of Water Transfer Printing. Colorado Custom Look is a company specializing in decal placement onto anything but especially: gun stocks, car panels, and plastic products. One begins by selecting from one of their hundreds of decals (made by third party vinyl companies), then sometimes stipulating a color for laying underneath the decal itself. On our decal page there is clear stipulation, but they have two main categories of decal for choosing. The first is a full coverage texture or picture that is full color with no “see-through” portions, we call these “regular” decals. The second is a type of decal that has portions of clear vinyl worked in, and this allows them to paint the product first and have this color “show through” the decal and give it an accent color or base color. The process involves a layer of primer and a layer of paint if it has clear in the decal; this allows for the decal to “stick” to the object. Next, the film is cut to size and laid out on a giant bed of plain water. While it floats there, CCL uses a spray-gun to spray “activator” over the decal, which essentially eliminates the film altogether and the decal is basically grouped oils floating on the water. Simply grab the object by the inside and dip into the film. The film reacts similar to an object falling into a pool with a tarp over the top where the decal follows the object and clings to it right up to the seam line. The object is pulled slowly then shaken to shed excess decal film material. It’s quite magical. They finish it off with either a matte finish or a glossy finish which is baked on and creates UV protection, both of which we have experimented with. The glossy finish is almost sticky in nature and very grippy, and we recommend this for any and all users that aren’t doing serious drawing on their iPads. The matte finish is recommended for artists as it creates an easier sliding effect for both the back and the front frame with a stylus; the iPad is easier to spin and “free flow” with when finished in matte coating. The matte finish texturally reminds one of how a “wet-sanded” first coat of primer might feel, borderline slippery but very smooth. Glossy finish picks up light and really catches one’s eye from across the room, but matte is just as colorful only it doesn’t pick up light at all. We’ve done many renderings and test decals and narrowed it down to just over 500 options for our buyers. Visit the decals page and have some fun building your own! You can even pay $10 extra and get glow in the dark paint, blacklight vibrancy paint, and mix colors and do a gradient of your 2-4 favorite colors.
DeZION Colorado and Colorado Custom Look have worked together with many prototypes and are very close to perfecting the process with our particular design and material. In the future, we are very excited to say that we will have a return to our initial idea, in which we can find people to design custom graphics for decals and even do stuff like tie-dye colors and color swirls. This will create many more Creation Stations than 100 limited numbers, so we will simply be adding that decal to our product line. We hope to be designing custom Water Transfer Decal “Rolls” with our own decal patterns along with custom colored decals by 2014. Stay tuned for possible additions to the current list, and have fun building and customizing your very own personalized Creation Station! Also, please visit coloradocustomlook.com for more information than is provided to the top right.
Innovation Brought to the User by the User
by Luke Apke
My name is Luke Apke and I am the chief product designer and creator of the Creation Station. The Creation Station is that project that’s always been close to my heart and has been my side project for the last three years. The Creation Station made me the product designer I am today, and it helped me solve a problem I was already having with a now fundamental tool used daily for professional work and illustrations. When Torin Cassani, a ski-buddy at the time, came to me (knowing what I was in school for) and said that he saw a developing need for a product to help people use a stylus on the iPad, I was already a user experiencing the problem he indicated. I was on board to say the least.
While prototyping and beginning to “try out” initial iterations of the product, I knew we were onto something when I would take it off and need to do some drawings for school and physically notice missing it. When someone looks at the product there is a tendency to see it as a bulky approach to solving the problem; however, the front frame has been through many iterations and is literally just large enough to reach across the screen easily and just small enough to feel like a case. Once someone commits to the frame and sets their palm down, they find that they can draw straighter lines, smoother arcs, and write or take notes in hand-writing with penmanship that mimics the pen-to-paper experience. My favorite moment during long nightshifts and intense multi-hour drawing sessions is the moment when you forget the case is even there. It makes me smile as the designer to know that one day some other designer will pick up an iPad, download Sketchbook Pro, buy a Creation Station and a stylus of choice, and smile at all the many nuances that were put into this product. It improves even basic functions and the productivity of the iPad itself, and as Torin and I joke, I actually want to pick my iPad up and use it MORE when the Creation Station is on it. As someone who literally will sit down for 2, 4, 6, 8, or even 10 hour drawing sessions, I can attest that writers-cramp is something all artist dread when dancing with a deadline. It was really refreshing to hand the product to someone with Arthritis and hear that it helped them write effortlessly, with relaxed hand posture, and for much longer than they expected to be tolerating. As a user of the Creation Station, I love the following scenarios the Creation Station solves:
• needing to stand up and having a magnetic stylus stash readily available - click - set iPad down - sit back down - click - resume
• needing to clean the screen and simply removing the front frame in 2 seconds and shammy away
• having a speaker chamber amplifying low level volumes to personal stereo levels while wasting half the battery
• being able to pick the ideal place to sit for my mood/posture or take this amazing tool with me ANYWHERE
• having an undo button and that gradient tool, layers and multi-finger gestures, infinite color palette, saving to .psd, etc. (SketchbookPro)
The Creation Station changed my productivity level as drawing for long periods no longer seems difficult. I refer to Sketchbook Pro because it is what I was taught on in school (desktop version), but many Photoshop apps and other drawing/painting apps are quickly developing.
The state of the art competition, or “the desktop version” of digital sketching, is a computer monitor that comes with a special wireless pen that acts as the mouse cursor in addition to a drawing/writing tool. The device offers pressure sensitivity that allow you to select one pen or pencil and draw many different line-weights based on the pressure you exert on the pen. The pen boasts built in buttons, a programmed eraser, and a true “pen” feel. There are many shortcut buttons built into the monitor itself that are customizable per each program opened up. The “surface” or monitor has tabs that allow you to adjust the angle and simultaneously either bring the whole thing off the desk and to your lap or spin 180 directions either way (making it rotate the full 360 degrees possible). Perhaps the “final selling point” in contrast to the iPad as a legitimate sketching tool is the ability to run full programs like Photoshop and SketchbookPro 6 instead of Photoshop Touch or the Sketchbook Pro application which have limited tools available. Despite its apparent shortcomings, not only are apps and styli developing in unison with the iPad to compete with said competition, but buying an iPad and a Creation Station and even a pressure sensitive stylus will save a person, student or not, $1700 or more. When Torin and I embarked on this journey, we realized that the stylus industry was fairly under-developed at the time, and apps and styli technology would evolve with the iPad and DeZION Colorado. Practically on que, there have been several pressure sensitive styli released within the last couple months. These styli are bluetooth connected to the iPad and are associated with programming already built into a growing number of apps (obviously includes Sketchbook Pro). Using bluetooth technology allows the tablet/application to disassociate your palm from the pen, so you can even “turn your palm off” and set your palm on the screen. The only problem with turning off your palm is that multi finger gestures are turned off and so the Creation Station is still very much a necessity to me, despite the frequent occasion I want to mimic pen-to-paper drawings, in which case the pressure sensitive styli are a very important tool. The last reason that the iPad purchase makes a lot of sense is because in my humble opinion, the apps are actually becoming so user friendly and well-developed that I prefer them to the “full version” or full programs that you can experience on the “computer version.” To me, having a few less options can actually make things seem simpler, but well-developed professional tools like the Sketchbook Pro App try to remove the “baggage” and still leave you all tools necessary to do professional quality drawings or illustrations. To boot, on a touch screen device, the workspace is clear of tools. Simply tap three fingers and switch line-weights, to your eraser, or to the straight line or ellipse tool. One can pinch to zoom, making any sized canvas fit the iPad screen. My personal favorite tool is being able to swipe three fingers to the left to undo something and have double tap corner commands, which trumps blindly “key-seeking” on a keyboard next to the drawing surface. It’s actually much more intuitive and user friendly to me after having spent due time and diligence training and perfecting my trade on it.
In Conclusion, I am ecstatic to get this product out there! Starting as a user, I knew exactly what was needed to drive the key features home for designers and “regular” iPad users alike. This product is stacked to make the drawing experience rival much more expensive competition. As an artist/designer, it is a tool that I couldn’t live without. The iPad has become my main tool, being able to use a bluetooth printer, a bluetooth keyboard, and a bluetooth pressure sensitive stylus. I am able to read, send, and draft emails, take a photo and instantly have a photo underlay to sketch over (without ever leaving the SBP app). I use organizational note apps to organize my own projects and other freelance ventures and even track expenses, as well as apps like Skype for conference calls to partners, Evernote, Prezi, iFontMaker, Paper53, Photoshop Touch, and Layout. The final driving point is the battery life and the ultimate portability of the device in general, not inhibited in any way by the Creation Station. If not sold yet, watch the video above on how productive one can be with a couple hours on the Creation Station and check out the digital sketches I’ve included. Any designer, whether just starting out or fully in the professional realm, needs to seriously consider why they would spend more money when the alternate and fastly catching up alternative is actually the better choice.
What the iPad Could Be
by Paul Apke
A new report from the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, states that tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year after year and reach nearly 230 million units in 2013, up from 144.5 million units last year. PC’s are expecting to see negative growth for the second year in a row. They are predicting that by 2015, tablets will have more market share than the entire PC market. The research firm Garner expects that tablet shipments this year will exceed shipments of notebooks, the largest category of PC’s.
Tablet sales are growing explosively and are becoming more prevalent than the standard PC. Many different companies, organizations, and branches of government have already made this transition to tablets, and are pleased that they did. The U.S. Air Force, Border Patrol agents, every United pilot, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first NFL team to give their players tablets, rather than playbooks. These organizations and many others have made the switch to mobile devices because of the vast number of benefits. With tablets there are the advantages of being paperless, they are small, sleek, easy to transport, and ideal for personal use. They are generally faster and smoother running technology, they keep employees more engaged and more connected. A Mobile Work Exchange Report stated 95% of government employees surveyed said access to mobile devices improved their work and 33% believe customer service improved.
Looking at these facts it is easy to see a vast, global, demand for mobile devices. The speed and improvement in which technology is progressing is forcing companies and people to either get on board or get out of the way. Just as the typewriter was once a technological marvel and has long been surpassed by the PC, I’m convinced mobile devices will surpass PC’s. Except for very specific jobs or industries where the user needs a keyboard or mouse. But in terms of personal use, people prefer a tablet as it is easier to use, transport, and is more ideal for simple tasks like emails, web browsing, app use or watching movies.
As a modern businessman and a byproduct of this tablet era I’m not only a believer and a user, I’m an owner. I am fortunate and forever grateful to have been brought into DeZION Colorado by Luke and Torin. Not only did it give me first-hand marketing experience behind an amazing iPad case product, but also it taught me the needs and benefits of having a tablet. I am now completely paperless, I write my notes, ideas, proposals, emails, on my iPad. It helps us stay connected in ways we could not on PC’s, and even when one of us is out of the country. Tablet users are growing exponentially worldwide and will surpass PC users within the next few years if these trends continue.
The Creation Station is what gave me the revelation of how important tablets could be. With our case, one has the ability to write, or draw with ease and to stop wasting paper. Not only does our product protect the iPad and make it easier to hold, it has the ability to increase the functionality of the iPad. The features of The Creation Station provide the user with a better overall experience in not just writing and drawing but overall use on the iPad.