All Things Smashing: Monthly Update

All Things Smashing: Monthly Update

All Things Smashing: Monthly Update

Iris Lješnjanin



We can’t repeat enough how wonderful the web performance community is! There are good folks who help make the web faster, and their efforts matter indeed. With the new year sinking in and everyone’s resolutions still being put to the test, personal goals such as reproducing bugs and fixing issues suddenly become something we all have in common: improving the web for everyone involved.

As various areas of performance become more and more sophisticated and complicated throughout the years, Vitaly refines and updates his front-end performance checklist every year. This guide covers pretty much everything from performance budgets to single-page apps to networking optimizations. It has proved to be quite useful to folks in the past years — anyone can edit it (PDF, MS Word Doc and Apple Pages) and adjust it to their own personal needs or even use it for their organization.

Now, without further ado, let’s see what’s been cooking at Smashing!

Exciting Times: New Smashing Book

The cover of the upcoming Smashing Book named “Ethical Design Handbook”Are you ready for the next Smashing book? Well, just like all the printed books we’ve published, each and every is crafted to deliver in-depth knowledge and expertise shared by experts and practitioners from the industry. The Ethical Design Handbook will not be any different. Written by Trine Falbe, Martin Michael Frederiksen and Kim Andersen, the book will be pre-released late January.

As always, there will be a pre-order discount available. We expect to ship printed hardcover copies late February, but in the meantime, feel free to subscribe to the book mailing list so that you can be one of the first folks to get your hands on the book!

Less Speaking, More Time For Questions

Our SmashingConfs are known to be friendly, inclusive events where front-end developers and designers come together to attend live sessions and hands-on workshops. From live designing to live debugging, we want you to ask speakers anything — from naming conventions to debugging strategies. For each talk, we’ll have enough time to go into detail, and show real examples from real work on the big screen.

A photo of Dan Mall standing on stage explaining code shown on the screen behind him

Dan Mall, Brad Frost and Ian Frost coding live on stage at SmashingConf in NYC. (Image credit: Drew McLellan) (Watch video)

If you’re eager not to miss out on one of our SmashingConfs, then early-bird tickets are still available. And if you need a lil’ help convincing your boss to send you to an event, let us know! We’ve got your back. 😉

A Taste Of Smashing… Offscreen

Smashing Podcast moderated by Drew McLellanWe’ve reached our 7th episode of the Smashing Podcast! We’re so proud and thrilled to have our dear friends and colleagues, Drew McLellan and Bethany Andrew, managing the bi-weekly interview show so brilliantly! The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and now we’re excited for many more!

Shining The Spotlight On TypeScript

Smashing TVIn less than two weeks (Jan. 29), we’ll be hosting a Smashing TV webinar with Stefan Baumgartner who’ll shed light on what type-checking has in store for folks creating and using the web. TypeScript has been one of the most hyped technologies in 2019 — it’s now time to look beyond the hype!

Mark your calendars and join us at 17:00 London time — we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences you’ve had in your career.

We publish a new article every day on various topics that are current in the web industry. Here are some that our readers seemed to enjoy the most and have recommended further:

  • The Split Personality Of Brutalist Web Development” by Frederick O’Brien
    No frills, or flashing neon frills with sprinklers attached? ‘Brutalist’ websites have flourished in recent years, but their guiding philosophy remains unclear.
  • Why You Should Choose HTML5
    Over

    ” by Bruce Lawson
    In this article, Bruce Lawson explains what use we have of

    and how authors should mark up headings that are hugely important to AT users.
  • Helping Browsers Optimize With The CSS Contain Property” by Rachel Andrew
    The CSS contain property gives you a way to explain your layout to the browser, so performance optimizations can be made. However, it does come with some side effects in terms of your layout.
  • An Introduction To React’s Context API” by Yusuff Faruq
    In this article, you will learn how to use React’s Context API which allows you to manage global application states in your React apps without resorting to props drilling.

Best Picks From Our Newsletter

With the start of a brand-new decade, we decided to start off with topics dedicated to web performance. There are so many talented folks out there working on brilliant projects, and we’d love to spread the word and give them the credit they deserve!

Note: A huge thank you to Cosima Mielke for writing and preparing these posts!

Which Metrics Matter Most?

First Meaningful Paint, Time to Interactive, First Input Delay, SpeedIndex. With so many performance metrics floating around, it’s not easy to strike just the right balance for a project. And most of the time, these metrics alone will be too generic and not precise enough, so we’ll need to complement them with custom ones as well. In small and large companies it’s common to define important pixels in the UI, measure how fast we can start render them, and how quickly we can provide input responsiveness for them.

Every project could benefit from a mix of at least 4 metrics. Time To Interactive (TTI) is the key metrics for understanding how much wait a user has to experience to use the site without a lag. First Input Delay (FID) complements TTI very well as it describes the missing part of the picture: what happens when a user actually interacts with the site.

A graph showing JavaScript fetch, parse, and compile loading phases

JavaScript fetch, parse, and compile loading phases (Image credit)

Total Blocking Time (TBT) helps quantify the severity of how non-interactive a page is prior to it becoming reliably interactive. And Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) highlights how often users experience unexpected layout shifts (reflows) when accessing the site. All these metrics will appear in Lighthouse v6 as it starts rolling out in 2020.

Additionally, you can look into FrustrationIndex that looks at the gaps between metrics instead of looking at them individually, ad weight impact and Component-Level CPU costs. Note that First Meaningful/Contentful Paint are being replaced with Largest Contentful Paint, and the role of SpeedIndex has decreased with new metrics showing up.

The Impact Of Performance Optimization

It’s no secret that performance has a direct impact on user experience and business metrics and that sometimes, even a seemingly small web performance optimization like shaving off a few milliseconds load time can lead to a better conversion rate. To demonstrate this impact, WPO Stats collects case studies and experiments from products and e-commerce sites — stories of successes and of things that went wrong. Inspiring!

UX Speed Calculator

An open-source visualization tool that helps explain the relationship between page speed, conversion and bounce rates. (Image credit)

To support your performance optimizations with some hard figures and help you better grasp their impact, Sergey Chernyshev built the UX Speed Calculator. It lets you see how speed distribution, error rate, bounce rate, and conversion rate intertwine for the values you enter. A handy little helper.

Automatically Compress The Images In Your PRs

Image optimization is probably one of the easiest tasks on your performance optimization checklist. However, if you have a lot of images to optimize, it can also take up quite some time, and in the hurry, some images might even make it into production skipping this step.

Image Actions

“State of the Web: Video Playback Metrics” by Doug Sillars (Image credit)

To change that, the team at Calibre built a GitHub action that automatically compresses all the JPEGs, PNGs, and WebP images in your pull requests. It’s fast, efficient, and, for near-lossless compression, it uses the best image compression algorithms available: mozjpeg and libvips. A real timesaver.

Resources To Stay On Top Of Performance

A lot of people in the web community are committed to performance and to helping spread the word about it. One of them is Tim Kadlec. In his podcast Chasing Waterfalls, he invites people who work to make the web faster for everyone. Three episodes have already been released, with Reefath Rajali sharing insights into PayPal’s performance journey, Malek Kalim exploring how to scale a culture of performance across an organization, and Katie Hempenius talking about performance budgets, third-party challenges, JavaScript, and a lot of other things that impact performance.

Chasing Waterfalls podcast hosted by Tim Kadlec

Conversations with the people working to make the web faster for everyone, hosted by Tim Kadlec. (Image credit)

Another handy resource to keep you on top of web performance comes from Ben Schwarz and Karolina Szczur. Together they curate the Performance Newsletter, delivering web performance tools, talks, and other resources to your inbox twice a month. There’s also an archive of previous newsletter issues for you to catch up on until the next issue will be sent out.

Each and every issue of the Smashing Newsletter is written and edited with love and care. No third-party mailings or hidden advertising — you’ve got our word.

Smashing Editorial
(cm, vf, ra, il)

Designers give iconic logos a radical makeover

Ever look at a famous logo and think, ‘I could have done a better job’? Course you have. And some designers have put their money where their mouths are and actually given it a crack. Popular designer portfolio and networking platform Dribbble has put together a roundup of the best unofficial logo redesigns of the past year. All these designers have given world-famous logos a radical makeover, and the results are well worth checking out.

Some of the designs here are arguably better than the originals; others serve as a reminder that effective logo design is a lot harder than it looks. Even the ones we think don’t work raise some interesting points as to what makes a logo successful or unsuccessful – for more on that, take a look at our feature on the stories behind the world’s best logos, or our roundup of logo design advice

Scroll down for a taster, and see what you think. A reminder: these are all unsolicited and unofficial. So don’t worry, none of these new-look logos are going to be elbowing out the classics any time soon. 

Click the icon in the top right of each image to enlarge it

This redesigned Twitter logo (right) opts for a more abstract silhouette

Twitter’s little birdy is instantly recognisable in a range of contexts. This redesigned logo opts for a much curvier, more abstract shape. The addition of a circle to represent the eye helps ensure it’s still recognisably a bird. This is one of the more divisive logos on the list. One of the reasons the current Twitter logo is so effective is that it easily passes the silhouette test, but does this version have such a strong impact? The redesign is the work of logo designer and self-confessed branding geek Myles Stockdale.

This redesign (right) has heritage in the Star Wars world

This is one of the most radical redesigns in Dribbble’s roundup. The original Star Wars font is gone completely, and instead there’s an unusual font with an Art Deco vibe. We wouldn’t immediately associate this aesthetic with sci-fi, but this logo actually bears some resemblance to the second Star Wars logo – especially those ‘A’s. It was created by Ted Kulakevich for Florida agency Unfold.

This unofficial Apple redesign (right) embraces Apple’s colourful side

Another titan in the world of logos, Apple’s apple has had broadly the same silhouette since 1977. Is it time to shake things up? Russian designer Ruslan Babkin has created a new look that makes a statement with colour and gradients. The striped, rainbow stylings hark back to Apple’s 1977 logo, but this logo takes on a whole new silhouette. The much-discussed ‘bite’ remains (read about that here), but does it still look like an apple? 

See the full roundup on Dribbble here

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How to make your app accessible

Government regulations in the UK mean that websites and apps in the public sector must now be accessible to everyone. In the digital age, mobile apps have become a widely popular platform for businesses to connect with their customers. Whether this is via a business, educational or entertainment app, the platform allows a more convenient, on-the-go approach in comparison to the likes of a website. Check out our free accessibility tool post for some quick and easy solutions. 

Making your app accessible means you must consider the range of challenges a customer may face, ensuring that as many people as possible can use it. This includes those with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive or learning difficulties, as well as deafness or impaired hearing. 

Designing an accessible app means much more than simply making the design clearer. You must design an app that is adaptable to those throughout the spectrum and support those who need the app’s extra, accessible functions. 

Here we will be discussing six factors organisations need to consider when designing an app, making sure it can be accessed by everyone. 

01. Create a simple, clear layout 

The initial step is to ensure you have a simple layout. A cluttered design may overwhelm a user who then might give up on your app before they have even properly begun to explore it.

Elements must be visible to those who may need to magnify the screen, so your design must be responsive and adapt to various screen sizes. Text and call-to-action buttons must also appear at an appropriate size, with the option to enlarge.

02. Design a consistent navigation

You must design an easy-to-follow app with clear indicators. Navigation should have short task flows and be easy to find, as well as consistent throughout the different stages of using the app. Again, this is especially important with your call-to-action buttons. They must be clearly labelled, to smoothly guide users through your app’s goal conversion. 

Navigation pointers – for instance, menu bars and search boxes – should also be consistently positioned in a similar format throughout your app. This will enable users to quickly and easily explore your app in a logical order with no confusion.

03. Consider your text formatting

Text is another element that must be carefully thought out. Dyslexia can affect a person’s accuracy of reading, so you must really think about the structure of copy used on your app. 

Uneven spacing, long sentences or paragraphs, italic fonts and the colour of text are just some design features you need to consider. Over-formatted text can be difficult for dyslexic users to read, as well as those with impaired vision, so make sure you keep your formatting simple and consistent throughout your design.

Accessible web design

Adding accessibility ensures that everyone can use your website or app

04. Make audio and video accessible

Creating an app that is interactive as well as accessible can be seen as a challenge, though creating a tick list of things you must consider will mean you can include media communications, for instance video and audio, where appropriate. 

When incorporating these elements, users should be able to pause or stop, adjust volume and turn captions on and off. You may also need to consider adding audio description for users with visual impairments and subtitles and sign language for those who may be deaf. 

If relevant, video and audio has the ability to transform any app, though if you feel it may cause accessibility concerns or be an added but unneeded extra, be sure to explore other creative options that can also add an interactive element. 

05. Give careful consideration to colour

Colour palettes are a top priority when designing any app, as most businesses associate certain colours with their branding. To make your app accessible to colour-blind users, it’s important to not fall in the design trap of solely relying on colour to communicate your message. 

This doesn’t mean avoiding using colour at all. As already mentioned, colour can reflect a brand, so you just need to make sure that elements of your app are not purely identified based on colour. Your palette should also be carefully selected so that users can fully interpret the information displayed.

06. Don’t forget to test

Following accessibility guidelines is always a good starting point but treating the development as a tick box challenge will not guarantee success. There are many methods to approach the testing phase, for instance engaging with real users at random and asking them to test elements of your app or using digital tools that can offer detailed assistance on screen reading. 

Designing an app is a great opportunity for creative minds to develop a strong platform for any business. Making it accessible should not be a constraint; it will enable you to create a positive brand image that can associate with everyone.

This article was originally published in issue 325 of net, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers and developers. Buy issue 325 or subscribe to net.

GenerateJS 2020 - 4 speakers

Join us in April 2020 with our lineup of JavaScript superstars at GenerateJS – the conference helping you build better JavaScript. Book now at generateconf.com 

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Artist’s illustrations of TV home floor plans are weirdly fascinating

Anyone who is remotely interested in houses will know the value of a good floor plan. And anyone who is remotely interested in TV shows will probably enjoy the beautiful floor plans created by interior designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde, who illustrates the houses inhabited by characters in popular shows and films.

These floor plans of abodes featured in the likes of Mad Men, The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Sex and the City, Girls and White Collar are fascinating for the shows’ fans – not least because some reveal rooms you can’t ever remember seeing (more on that later). They also reveal an interesting area of character design that you may not have considered. If you’re creating a character, do you always think about where they might live? How will their home reflect their personality?

Lizarralde’s prints reveal that the shows’ creators have certainly thought this through. But there are some elements that may surprise you. Below are some of our favourite floor plans from Lizarralde, who goes by the name Nikneuk on DeviantArt.

Click the icon in the top right of each image to view it full-size

This Mad Man’s apartment centres around his iconic living room

Don Draper from Mad Men’s apartment is actually kind of massive. There are three toilets. Naturally, in the show, we see him mostly in the bedroom, lounging in his living room, or occasionally looking pensive at his desk.

Do you recognise the room on rear right-hand corner of the ground floor? 

The Simpsons’ house is also bigger than you might think. In fact, it’s so big that some people on Twitter were surprised by the inclusion of some of the downstairs rooms (on the right of the floor plan), saying that they didn’t recognise them. But this being Twitter, people were quick to jump in with an explanation (see below).

The Simpsons place is not quite as stylish as Draper’s gaff (apart from those carrot curtains in the kitchen, which we wish we could see more of). Not surprisingly, there are quite a lot of comfy chairs.

Which friendly bunch live in these apartments?

One of Lizarralde’s Friends floor plans shows two apartments: there’s Chandler and Joey’s place, pictured next to Monica and Rachel’s. We love how he’s combined the two, seeing as they all basically live together anyway. (As a side note, we’d like to see how the apartments changed when the girls swapped with the boys.)

It’s also clear when you see the apartments side by side which one is bigger, plus fans of the show will delight in picking out several details, including the boys’ chairs and entertainment unit, the window seat in the girls’ apartment (where Rachel sits looking at the rain feeling sad about Ross), and Monica’s secret closet/cupboard of shame.

If you would like to see more of Lizarralde’s work, or buy one of his prints for your own home, visit his Etsy shop

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Learn the rules of digital copywriting with this bundle

Do you love writing? Have you ever considered making it your career? Take on a new skill for 2020 and master digital copywriting with The Modern Digital Copywriting & Marketing Playbook Bundle.

Copywriting is one of the top details many businesses overlook. It’s such a vital part of a brand’s message that improving your writing, even slightly, can help your products connect with an audience so much better. Whether you’re looking to build a career in content marketing or simply improve the copy on your personal site, this 10-course bundle brings you everything you need to transform your love of writing into a budding career.

You’ll start by learning different techniques for how to make your message impactful and engaging for your particular audience. You’ll also come away equipped with industry best practices to convert more leads, write for high-profile publications, and even learn how to jazz up your resume to finally land your dream job. With access to over 600 lessons, you’ll become a master of generating traffic to your website and converting that traffic into sales. You’ll even learn how to self publish books to Amazon and other leading book providers from the comfort of your home!

If you’re looking for a course that will help get your thoughts from your head onto the computer screen, this bundle has it. You’ll learn the ins and outs of using the art (and science) of copywriting with topics such as understanding how to write compelling headlines and learning what makes copy impactful. Gain techniques on how to write faster and understand what type of content you ultimately want to create.

Easy to follow video lectures and an included community of like-minded writers will help you connect and gain support for your work, such as providing introductions to in-network editors. With lifetime access, you’ll be able to revisit each course whenever you need a spark of inspiration or additional guidance. 

The Modern Digital Copywriting & Marketing Playbook Bundle is usually priced at $2,000, but, for a limited time, you can start writing like a pro for only $35. Transform your writing and help launch your next money-making career today.  

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The best cheap Hydro Flask deals in 2020

There are plenty of reasons you might want a Hydro Flask deal. Hydro Flask makes some of the best water bottles you can buy; they’re tough enough to withstand knocks, their double-walled vacuum insulation maintains your drink’s temperature, and they look great thanks to their clean lines and colourful powder-coated finish. Needless to say, having some Hydro Flasks dotted around your studio could give you some serious cool points.

They’re not just for water, either. Hydro Flask has a wide range of other insulated bottles and cups for everything from coffee and tea to soup and stew. All are lined with professional-grade stainless steel that doesn’t hang onto tastes and odours, and many are dishwasher-safe as well.

A Hydro Flask is great if you’ve been looking for a way to cut down on single-use plastics, but don’t want to spend money on something that’s poorly designed or easily broken. In the unlikely event that anything does happen to it, each Hydro Flash bottle and cup comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can simply contact the company for a replacement. With all that in mind, we’ve tracked down the very best prices for a range of Hydro Flasks. With so much choice, there’s sure to be something that’s your cup of tea.

Hydro Flask 21oz Standard Mouth Bottle

The Hydro Flask 21oz Standard Mouth Bottle is hugely popular, and for good reason – it’s a handy size that’ll slip easily into a bag, and it’ll keep your drink cold for 24 hours, or hot for six hours. It comes in six colours, with a tough powder-coated matt finish, and its stainless steel construction means it can take its share of knocks around the studio. This bottle is supplied with Hydro Flask’s Flex Cap as standard (with honeycomb-style insulation to help maintain a constant temperature), but you can choose a sports cap instead if you prefer, which may be a good choice if you’re concerned about spillage on your desk.

Hydro Flask 32oz Wide Mouth Bottle

The Hydro Flask 32oz Wide Mouth Bottle is easy to fill in a hurry, and its larger neck means you can easily pop a few ice cubes inside to keep your drink extra cold for hours on end. It’s also easier to clean than a narrower bottle (though you’ll still want to use a bottle brush to make sure you’re getting all the way inside). This larger capacity bottle won’t slip into your bag as easily as the 21oz one above, but the handle makes it easy to carry, and you won’t need to get up from your desk to refill it so frequently. There’s no sports cap option for the Wide Mouth Bottle, but Hydro Flask produces a version with a built-in straw instead.

Hydro Flask Oasis 128oz

If you’re working somewhere without a water cooler or easy access to a coffee machine, the Hydro Flask Oasis could be just what you need, holding enough of your chosen beverage to keep you going all day. This huge flask holds almost four litres, and has two lids: a smaller one for pouring, and a large one that you can remove for easy refilling and cleaning. The downside is that the Oasis is rather expensive, though Hydro Flask’s lifetime warranty takes some of the sting out, and you can also put it to good use for picnics, camping trips and parties when you’re not at your desk.

Hydro Flask Tumbler 16oz

The perfect replacement for all those disposable single-use cups – just hand over the Hydro Flask Tumbler in your favourite coffee shop and enjoy your hot drink guilt-free. While the Hydro Flask Tumbler doesn’t collapse flat like some reusable cups, it offers much better insulation and won’t acquire the same unpleasant taste as rubber cups tend to. It also fits in most cupholders, so you can use it when travelling between meetings. Just make sure you pay close attention when you’re ordering the Tumbler because not all retailers include the press-on lid, which is essential for keeping the contents hot.

Hydro Flask Coffee Mug 12oz

If you prefer to make your own hot drinks, the Hydro Flask 12oz Coffee Mug is the perfect vessel for the job. No longer will you find yourself in the frustrating situation of creating the perfect brew, then having it go stone cold while you’re caught up in work and client emails. The mug’s press-in lid fits securely and provides insulation to keep your drink hot for hours, and its soft-touch finish means it’s comfortable to wrap your hands around in a chilly office. It’s much pricier than a regular ceramic mug, but we think the benefits easily justify the cost.

Hydro Flask Coffee Flask 12oz

For enjoying a brew away from your desk, the Hydro Flask Coffee Flask 12oz is a great choice. Its wide neck means it’s easy to fill from a kettle, but its relatively squat design means it fits under most coffee machines as well, so you can take your preferred Nespresso drink on the road. This 12oz version is small enough to tuck neatly in your bag and holds a standard size cup of coffee, but larger versions are available if you need more caffeine to get you going in the morning. It’s also compatible with Hydro Flask’s Wide Mouth Straw Lid, which makes it ideal for iced coffee too.

Hydro Flask Food Flask 21oz

Your studio might not have a microwave, but with the Hydro Flask Food Flask 12oz you can still enjoy a hot lunch from home. This flask has an extra wide neck to accommodate forks and spoons, and its stainless steel interior doesn’t cling to food odours like plastic Tupperware. This it the smallest size, but larger Food Flasks are available if you have a larger appetite. Just make sure you don’t leave your lunch too late; this Hydro Flask has a larger lid than those intended for drinks, which means it doesn’t have quite the same level as insulation and will only keep food hot for around four hours.

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7 expert tips for facial animation in iClone 7

iClone is a powerful real-time animation tool that aims to remove the painful and repetitive aspects from the animation process, and simplify the difficult job of creating realistic digital humans. Like the game engines that gave rise to Machinima, iClone has always focused on being real-time, making it less complex than the more conventional animation tools.

The recent 7.7 update saw the introduction of the Digital Human Shader, which added sub surface scattering, as well as improving the materials on offer, to give skin, teeth, eyes, and hair a much more realistic appearance. It also brought with it Headshot, an AI-based generator that enables users to create character heads from photos of real people.

With more realistic looking characters comes the need for more convincing animation. There are few things more off-putting than a 3D character model that looks realistic, only to become awkward and unnatural when it comes to open its mouth. 

For that reason, this article will focus on facial animation. We’ll take a look at some of the tools and techniques that you can use in iClone to help you not only get your animations looking good, but do so relatively quickly. Follow along in the video below, or read on for a written version. If you’d like to render this video in Unreal Engine make sure you check out the bonus tip at the end, which shows you how to use the Live Link plugin.

01. Touch up the lip sync

This is the least sexy bit, which explains why so many people avoid it, but for now there really isn’t any way to get around it. If you don’t use motion capture, the first area of (facial) animation you should be working on is the lip sync. 

iClone won’t always know which phonemes are the best to apply when it does its automatic pass, which means you gotta get in there and clean some of that up manually, replacing incorrect or badly placed phonemes as you see them. One quick pass won’t fix everything, but it can dramatically improve the appearance of the lip sync.

If you are using motion capture, this step is still important. Current methods of capture are great for expressions, but not as good at discerning which mouth shapes you’re going for. Mixing the captured animation with the phonemes in the viseme track can yield excellent results.

02. Clean up the (mocap) performance

Many people don’t realise it, but virtually all the good looking motion captured animation you see has gone through some kind of cleanup process first. This is because there’s always a certain amount of noise in the capture – the software doesn’t know what’s desirable data and what isn’t; it just tries to capture all the movement it detects. This issue can often be improved by passing the data through various filters, but usually a human hand will also be needed to soften or accentuate parts. 

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

With facial animation captured in iClone there are sometimes gaps in the capture that cause the head or parts of the face to pop suddenly from one position to the next within a couple of frames. To fix the issue, right-click on any clip in need of some love and then click on Sample Expression Clip. This will reveal a key on every frame. 

Go through the clip and delete 3-6 keyframes (depending on severity of the jump) from the appropriate track, in any of the places where there’s a sudden pop. Remember to hit Flatten Expression Clip once you’re done.

03. Use Expression presets

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

If you rarely use facial mocap, iClone’s Face Key tools are the best place to start when it comes to animating the rest of the face. And even if you are using mocap, the Expression presets are a great way to accentuate any captured expressions that don’t quite come out the way you’d hoped.

There are seven categories, each with 12 preset facial expressions that can be dialled up or down to suit your needs. Familiarising yourself with these is a great way to get a good performance very quickly.

04. Liven up expressions with Face Puppet

This technique can be especially helpful if you’re animating everything by hand. Mocap is great at capturing the small passive movements of the facial muscles, but when animating by hand it can be quite difficult to add a keyframe every time you want a tiny twitch here, or some eye noise there. 

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

The Face Puppet tool is a simple way to add some of these difficult-to-animate movements in as much time as it takes to play the scene. There are a range of presets that govern the different parts of the face you may wish to control, or you can set them manually. Then just move your mouse around to ramp the movements up or down. It’s not always necessary, but it can make a huge difference to the end result, especially if you’re averse to doing lots of keyframe passes.

05. Focus in on eye movement and blinks

This is one of the most important parts of facial animation and should never be neglected. If you absolutely can’t keyframe eyes, iClone’s Look At feature will at least keep your character’s gaze focused on something specific. However, you should be aware that’s a bare-minimum effort – in reality eye movement often precedes head movement by a fraction of a second. If you want a truly realistic result, it’s necessary to keyframe your eyes to turn towards where the head is moving, just before the head does. 

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

Additionally, blinks are very important in making eye movements look realistic. Big eye movements, like those that come before a head turn, often have a blink halfway through. iClone applies automatic blinks to help make the characters feel alive but these are randomly placed. Help your performance by manually keying blinks on any large eye movements. With practice this doesn’t take very long at all.

06. Don’t forget the lower eyelids

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

This is related to the previous tip, but deserves its own point. In real life eyes aren’t spheres as they’re often represented in 3D models; the part that’s exposed bulges outward a bit. This means that when someone looks around, their upper and lower eyelids will bulge out in response to the movement. iClone replicates this effect but for it to do so, you have to make sure that you select the lower eyelids as well as the eyeballs when animating them.

07. Do multiple passes

Natural facial movement is a strange thing. Most of us understand it in an implicit way rather than a detailed, technical way. So one of the most important things you can do after working on some facial animation is to walk away, take a break and come back later. 

If you thought your first pass was marvellous, chances are a second look will reveal a few obvious issues that weren’t apparent the first time around. At this point, it’s usually fairly easy to go in and make small tweaks to get things looking a little more natural. 

It’s always worth doing at least two passes. The first is where the bulk of the work gets done, with the second to address any expressions that were too big or small, blinks that happened too fast, or to add little movements to parts that were too static.

Bonus tip: Try iClone Unreal Live Link – free for indie studios and creators

Click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image

If you want to do something like this in Unreal Engine, it will be very simple with the help with Live Link plugin. Character, facial animation and lighting are all transferred over, then you can make video texture in Unreal Engine. Reallusion recently announced it was making the iClone Unreal Live Link plugin free for indie studios and creators, enabling them to enjoy this powerful connection tool without paying a penny.

Making good looking animation is often not easy, but thankfully Reallusion has been working on this problem for many years. iClone’s many features make a difficult job considerably easier and sometimes fun.

Download the free 30-day trial version of the software and try it for yourself.

The best web browsers in 2020

Which is the best web browser for you? It’s a simple question with not such a straightforward answer. On the surface web browsers seem very similar, they let you browse the web. And, all modern browsers, offer good performance, strong security, a decent UI, plenty of features and a level of customisation. So deciding which one is right for you depends on your needs.

Are you a casual browser or are you a web designer/developer? Both will want different things from a browser. But it’s not just how web pages look in a browser and what features they have, there is also the ethos behind the browser. We all know that Google has the biggest market share on the planet when it comes to browsers. It typically offers the best support for the latest web technologies, which means your favourite landing pages will always look their best. However, those who treasure their privacy may want to look for an alternative browser that isn’t so invasive. 

This article focuses on the values and nature of the organisations behind each of the main browsers, plus particular features of interest. We have covered Firefox, Chrome and Opera, as well as the less well-known Brave and the ultra-customisable browser Vivaldi, as interesting alternatives. 

Before we dive in to our favoured five, we’ll take a quick look at the inner workings of web browsers.

Inner workings of web browsers

Interestingly, the majority of modern web browsers are based on Chromium, which is an open source project by Google – most of the source code of Google Chrome is from Chromium – and anyone can make their own version of a Chromium browser. Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, Microsoft Edge – and of course Chrome – are all based on Chromium. Firefox is different: it has its own browser engine (and also a huge extension ecosystem). 

When considering which web browser to use its extension library can be a key player in the decision-making process. They allow users to extend and create a browser that fits specific needs. Typically, Chrome extensions work across all Chromium-based browsers, meaning they can all benefit from that massive ecosystem. 

Another difference between Firefox and the rest is that it is made by a non-profit organisation, Mozilla. This may be a consideration when choosing a browser. Firefox is also a popular choice with web designers and developers. Brave is made by a very “values-driven” company co-founded by one of the co-founders of Mozilla. Opera was bought out by a Chinese consortium in 2016, and became a public company in 2018. Vivaldi is made by a company founded by the co-founder and former CEO of Opera Software. 

With this background information in mind, let’s take a look at each browser in more detail. 

01. Google Chrome 

best web browsers, Google Chrome

Chrome is the most popular browser, but is it the best?

Google Chrome is the world’s most widely used browser with up to two thirds of the market share according to most estimates; Safari is around 10-15 per cent and the rest are all in the single figures. 

This dominance sometimes results in certain benefits and conveniences for the end user – in recent years we’ve started to see “works best in Chrome” messages appearing around the web, even on large sites, and sometimes you’ll encounter things that require Chrome to work. 

When a website’s user base is so dominated by one browser it’s likely that it will be prioritised to some extent by the engineers working on that site, so there may be lots of little features around the web – and especially in Google products such as Gmail – that run a bit more smoothly on Chrome. Sometimes people release Chrome extensions and follow up with the Firefox one later, so early adopters may lean towards using Chrome for this reason. 

Omnibox and performance in Chrome vs other browsers

If you’re a fan of minimal interfaces you’ll like Chrome’s approach – a single ‘omnibox’ is for entering both URLs and search terms, and in general all interface elements are as pared down as possible. There’s quite an emphasis on reducing the number of clicks or keystrokes to achieve something – when you type in the address bar, answers to your query from Google Search appear as you type, and you can translate an entire foreign language site in a single click. Chrome works in harmony with Gmail and Google Drive – typing in the address bar automatically searches your Drive as well, so you can get straight into things from that omnibar. 

Chrome enables you to synchronise your settings, history, bookmarks, passwords and so on across devices, so that everything is just as you like it whether you’re using your laptop, mobile device or desktop machine. 

In terms of performance, it’s not always easy to say that one browser is better than another because it depends on your operating system, which sites you’re visiting, what extensions you have installed and other factors. And it changes over time – run the same tests a few months apart and you get different results. 

The best thing to do is to try one (or all) of these 5 cross-browser testing tools to see how your chosen web browser is performing. 

In summary, Chrome’s market dominance means that developers tend to prioritise making sure things work perfectly on Chrome. It’s fast and secure. It’s really good at syncing across devices, and it works in harmony with your Google Account, so you may find that Chrome is the most convenient browser for you.

02. Firefox Browser

best web browsers: Firefox quantum

Firefox Quantum is the overhauled version of Firefox

Firefox is constantly changing, back in 2017 is was called Firefox Quantum, but now it’s back to plain old Firefox Browser. The latest version of the browser, still packs performance and security, but it also has a strong focus on privacy. Mozilla recently built additional privacy protections in the browser, which included blocking third-party tracking cookies by default and created an easy-to-view report which shows the trackers that follow you and collect your online browsing habits and interests.

In September 2019, Mozilla introduced Firefox Private Network (FPN), an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and personal information when using Firefox.

User privacy is a central concern for Mozilla – it’s the first feature-set mentioned on the Firefox website and it doesn’t appear at all on the Chrome homepage, which gives you some insight into the relative priorities of these two browser makers. 

Cookie control in Firefox vs Chrome

Since cookies are used for both good and evil – that is, sometimes they do things that are useful for you, other times they are used to track you – you’re always going to be doing a balancing act between convenience and protecting your privacy. Firefox gives you a good deal of control over this. You can take its default settings that balance privacy and performance, or you can choose strong cookie blocking and do the work of manually unblocking any sites that are broken by this.

Chrome always wins brownie points for its minimal interface, but if you’re prepared to do some tweaking you can customise Firefox to similar effect. Like Chrome, Firefox will also let you synchronise settings, passwords and bookmarks across devices with a Firefox account.

Overall, Firefox is comparable to Chrome in terms of performance and features, so if you like the idea of a browser made by a non-profit organisation with a privacy-oriented ethos and a great selection of add-ons, then this could be the browser for you.

03. Opera

best web browsers: Opera

Opera’s special features set it apart from the others

Opera has a bunch of fantastic features that the other browsers don’t even try to compete with, so the fact that many non-techie people haven’t even heard of it – even though it has been around since the mid-nineties – is something of a mystery. 

The first thing that might excite you is that there is a free, unlimited VPN built into the browser. At first glance this sounds amazing, but Opera’s VPN known for being slow. That said, this is a fairly new feature so it may well improve over the coming years, and it’s terrific that a browser is making the move to build this right into the software. (A VPN enhances privacy and security by putting a kind of barrier between you and the rest of the internet – it replaces your IP with a virtual one so websites can’t identify you. It’s particularly good for shielding your browsing when you’re on a public network. See our post on the best VPN service.) 

The next special and unique feature is Opera Turbo. When you turn this on, web pages go through Opera’s servers where they’re compressed – so you receive the same content but download a fraction of the data. This means the data limit on your mobile device goes much further and you can speed up browsing on busy WiFi networks. 

Opera has a social sidebar that works with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp so you can keep your conversations going without switching tabs while browsing. There’s a built-in ad-blocker, a dark mode that makes websites dark for night-time browsing, and a battery saver mode that reduces activity in background tabs and pauses plugins to save power. 

We also love the Flow feature which solves the disconnect between your phone, tablet and computer – instead of emailing yourself links, you can use Flow to make a connection between mobile devices and your desktop machine. Like other browsers on this list, there is a sync feature that works across devices for bookmarks, history and passwords, and Opera’s sync works for open tabs, too. 

Opera performance

While it’s true that a lot of these things can be achieved in other browsers via extensions, Opera has made some very smart decisions about which features ought to be built into the browser – all of this great stuff is ready to go with Opera without any need to research and mess around with extensions. That said, if there are particular add-ons that you like, this is a Chromium browser so they likely will work here and can be installed from the Chrome Web Store. 

Opera has a really thoughtful and also trailblazing feature set that will make a big difference for some people. If you have to deal with a data limit or busy wifi network, Turbo could change your world – and the battery saver mode could also be a big deal for you. If you do a lot of Facebook or WhatsApp chatting, you might choose Opera just for the social sidebar. There’s no real downside to picking Opera over Chrome or Firefox, so if the interesting features appeal to you it’s an easy decision.

04. Brave

Browser - Brave

Brave proposes a new revenue model that rewards creators while protecting your privacy

Brave is a very different proposition to most browsers in that it seeks to change our approach to online revenue-generation and privacy. By default, Brave blocks adverts and trackers, and plugins are turned off. Most browsers download a lot of data that doesn’t benefit the user at all, and leaving all of this behind makes Brave faster and more secure – on mobile, it can be up to eight times faster than other browsers. 

All this ad-blocking is great for the end user but websites need a way to make money, so users are encouraged to support the sites they visit via the Brave Rewards system, an ad exchange platform based on the cryptocurrency Ethereum. There are two ways to get BAT (Basic Attention Token – the rewards currency) in your Brave Wallet: by transferring cryptocurrency (in the future you will be able to use a credit card) or by allowing some non-intrusive adverts. These so-called ‘Private ads’ appear as notifications within Brave, separately from the websites you’re looking at, and are targeted based on data stored locally on your computer so no information about you is collected. 

Once there’s BAT in your wallet, either accrued via Private ads or transferred directly, rewards are allocated automatically according to time spent on the sites you visit, and you can remove sites that you don’t want to support. Read more here.

This financial model rewards creators without invading the privacy of users or eating up mobile data allowance with adverts, and the people behind Brave are aiming to make the per-user rewards greater under this system than the current advertising model. 

Since Brave is based on Chromium almost all browser extensions that work with Chromium will work on Brave, and you install them from the Chrome Web Store – so you’re not going to miss out on the extensions ecosystem by switching to Brave. 

Unlike other browsers on this list, the sync feature is currently in beta and only syncs your bookmarks across devices. 

If you’re a web lover who’s disillusioned with how things have turned out and still have hope for the utopian ideals of the web’s founders, Brave could be the one for you. It’s fast, it’s secure, and it’s making a daring yet realistic proposition for an ethical and efficient online revenue model for creators. 

05. Vivaldi

Browser - Vivaldi

Vivaldi provides a personalised experience

All browsers can be tweaked and customised to a certain degree, but Vivaldi looks to give users a far more personalised experience than other browsers. It offers a treasure trove of options that allow for almost every single part of the browser to be tweaked to suit the user’s needs. 

You can start off with the simple things like modifying your home page colour and background image before moving on to other other elements of the browser’s appearance. You can adopt one of the inbuilt themes or create your own by customising background, foreground, highlight and accent colours, making tabs transparent and introducing rounded corners. You can even schedule the browser to switch to a different theme throughout the day. 

Don’t like where the address bar is positioned? Then move it. Don’t like what it looks like? Then customise it. If you don’t want to see it all, then you can set up a shortcut to hide/show it. There are hundreds of customisation options to choose from.

Plus, like a lot of modern browsers Vivaldi is based on the Chromium engine, which makes it compatible with most Chrome extensions. While Vivaldi is chock-a-block with great features the option to add even more makes the browser an even more attractive option. 

3 reasons why we’re super-excited about Super Nintendo World

We’ll admit it. We haven’t spent the last decade of our lives dreaming about how much better our lives would be if we were able to go to a live-action Nintendo utopia theme park where giant Marios appeared from nowhere and led us down big green pipes, and we were able to collect coins with our watches. 

But now that Super Nintendo World is soon to be part of Universal Studios Japan, and all of the above will soon become a reality (if the promo video is to believed), frankly, we’re beside ourselves. Even if we never get to go to the new theme park that’s set to open just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, we still love that it will exist. 

What’s so special about this new park? Apart from being based on one of our favourite character designs of all time, Super Mario, Super Nintendo World also represents a big shift in theme park design, and interactive experiences in general. 

Don’t believe us? Here are three reasons we’re super-excited for Super Mario’s theme park, including why we love the promo we’ve seen so far.

01. The Power Up Bands

super nintendo world

They might look like they were made for children, but these Power Up Bands are actually a technological feat

So walking around a theme park is usually pretty fun. There are rides. There might be characters. There is overpriced junk food. But Super Nintendo World takes all this a step further. Visitors will be given a Power Up Band, which tracks their experience, and allows them to interact with the park, collect gold coins and compete against each other. 

It’s not clear what you’ll actually win with said coins. Perhaps they’ll give you money off the junk food? Or, more likely, reward you with a little Mario memento. We also expect that they’ll get people coming back to the park more than once, in a bid to beat their friends. Good thinking, Universal. 

Universal says these bands will bring the world of Nintendo to life “in a whole new way”, and we’re inclined to agree. Instead of just observing the game, visitors will actually be part of it. This sounds super-cool, and also a great use of all sorts of tech. We only hope it works. No one wants to collect a bunch of gold coins only for their Power Up Band to lose its erm, power, and its coins. 

02. The joyful promo video

If Super Nintendo World is anything like the promo video (above), then we are truly in for a treat. This is the gaming utopia Mario fans have been dreaming of. It manages to look both fun and utterly ridiculous at the same time, with the music providing the perfect soundtrack for all the joyful running around.

This promo video makes it look like it would be impossible to be sad while at Super Nintendo World. Feeling a bit tired? Go jump on a mushroom! Standing a queue for too long? Touch a pole and it’ll make a fun noise! Not winning any gold coins? Go ride on a Mario Kart, or jump on your opponent’s head! (We really don’t know how this one will work).

While we hope that the park will indeed feature groups of dancing people throwing Super Stars at each other, with any luck the music on this particular video won’t be accompanying you around the whole place. That might get a little tiresome after a while (anyone who’s been on the It’s a Small World ride at Disney will understand).

03. The sparse website

super nintendo world

Is the website basic, or broken? We kind of love it either way

We can’t quite figure out the website for Super Nintendo World. Did its owners get so excited by all the gold coins and watches that they forgot to design it properly? Or does it deliberately look like it’s been sent from the yesteryear of web design? 

There are some parts that plain don’t work, rather than having been deliberately styled this way (try clicking through to do, well, anything). If you can’t read Japanese, the dodgy translations are also particularly enjoyable: “Furthermore, “power-up band” in hand, a vast area that consists of a number of layers , and challenge to a number of challenges with adventure, the world’s first activity is born!” is probably our favourite.

Anyway, all of this crude design doesn’t seem to bother us somehow. It just makes us feel like the real theme park is going to be extra charming, although hopefully more technically adept, and more accessible for the linguistically challenged. The website also includes the presentation video, see below.

If all of this has got you desperate to visit, then you may not have to travel all the way to Japan. Future parks are also planned for the US and Singapore. And in the meantime, you could always get your hands on a retro gaming console to get your Mario fix.

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The best computer for video editing in 2020

Welcome to our pick of the best computers for video editing. On this page you’ll find the very best video editing computers you can buy right now for a wide variety of budgets and skill levels.

So, if you’re a beginner that doesn’t want to spend lots on a PC, or a professional with a large budget who wants the very best computer for video editing money can buy, then this guide will help.

No matter what your skill level and budget, you’ll want to make sure that the computer you pick offers you enough power to handle opening and editing large video and sound files, as well as exporting, rendering and finalising your footage. This is particularly important if you’re working with high and ultra-high (4K and above) videos.

So, when picking the best computer for video editing, you’ll need a PC with a good CPU (preferably with four or more processor cores) and plenty of memory (RAM). This allows you to open and close apps quickly, as well as perform multiple tasks at once.

It also helps to keep your media on fast storage, preferably an SSD. In most software packages, it also helps to have a powerful graphics card that can be used to accelerate certain visual effects and filters. (While you’re here, you might want to check out our guide to the best video editing software, to whip your footage into shape.) 

But why choose a desktop computer instead of one of the best laptops for video editing? While today’s top-of-the-line laptops are indeed powerful enough to be used for video editing, you still get the best performance and best value for money from a desktop computer, with the added benefit that it’s much easier to upgrade.

We’ve picked out some of the top Windows PC and Mac computers for video editing, with a focus on both some of the most powerful workstations on the market today, as well as some options if your budget is more limited. Read on for the best computers for video editing…

Best computer for video editing: 21-inch Apple iMac with Retina display [Image: Apple]

We think the best computer for video editing right now is the 21-inch Apple iMac with 4K Retina display (2019). Now sporting six and eight-core 9th-generation Intel processors, the 2019 iMac has received the most significant update since Apple added a Retina display to the specification, making it a video editing powerhouse.

Of the two available screen sizes, the 21.5-inch Retina iMac represents a better overall combination of value and performance than the larger 27-inch model. You get an extremely high quality, bright 4K Retina (4,096 x 2,304) display with a quad-core processor and AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics card, that’s absolutely great for video editing. Choice upgrades would include adding some more memory and swapping the 1TB hard disk for an SSD, while a six-core processor is also available.

best computer for video editing: Microsoft Surface Studio 2 [Image: Microsoft]

Unlike Apple’s iMac all-in-one, a touch-sensitive  28-inch display (4,500 x 3,000) display is the centre piece of Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2, letting you drag and drop video clips with a finger as well as a mouse. It comes with hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way down to edit video and it can be used with a pen for drawing too.

Microsoft needs to update the Surface Studio with more modern CPUs, but it makes up for it with some serious graphics grunt powered by Nvidia, with a GeForce GTX 1070 available that will provide some serious visual power.

best computers for video editing: Mac Mini [Image: Apple]

We love the Mac Mini’s flexibility and diminutive form factor, so we’re really pleased to see Apple updated it with a modern specification and a new ‘space grey’ colour late last year. It is still one of Apple’s most affordable computers (relatively speaking) and now it’s capable of a lot more, including video editing. Pair it with one of the best monitors for video editing for a great setup.

The base model features a quad-core processor, 8GB of memory and a (paltry) 128GB SSD. All of these can be upgraded, with an optional six-core processor and a larger SSD for even high-end video work. But with a bit of tinkering you can upgrade the memory yourself for less money than Apple charges, and there are six expansion ports at the back for either USB or Thunderbolt external storage.

best computer for video editing: HP ENVY 795 [Image: HP]

With an 8th-generation Intel processor, HP’s silver-fronted Envy desktop PC is a box with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. The range is absolutely great for mid-range video editing, as the Nvidia GeForce graphics card can help out with various processing tasks, such as applying visual filter effects, while the main six-core CPU does much of the hard work.

We’d pick the slightly pricier 16GB option (or perform a memory upgrade) for more demanding video editing tasks, but as it carries an asking price that won’t break the bank, this is a great all-rounder family computer with enough performance to cope with video editing well.

If you want a video editing PC that offers a slick all-in-one design without the premium price tag of Apple’s iMac PCs, then the Lenovo Yoga A940 is a great choice, and one of our picks for the best video editing PCs of 2020.

It’s not quite as powerful as the iMac Pro, though not many PCs are, and its specs list isn’t quite as cutting edge as we’d like, as the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are ageing at this point. Still, it offers plenty of power for running video editing software (unlike iMacs, this runs Windows 10), and its gorgeous screen will make your footage look fantastic. Plus, it has Dolby Atmos speakers, which will help if you’re editing videos with Dolby’s latest 3D audio.

best computers for video editing: 27-inch Apple iMac with Retina display (2019) [Image: Apple]

The 2019 27-inch iMac is a real powerhouse that represents Apple’s best overall desktop video editing workstation. The reason that it’s a little further down our list is that it doesn’t come cheap. Its 5K Retina (5,120 x 2,880) display is absolutely brilliant, it produces superb colours, conforming to the DCI-P3 colour specification. And with an optional eight-core processor, it will significantly reduce rendering times and chew through even 4K video editing work.

Typical of Apple, it becomes a pricey prospect if you start adding lashings of SSD storage and the Radeon Pro Vega graphics card, but you can easily add more affordable third-party memory rather than pay Apple’s prices to reduce costs a bit.

best computers for video editing: Acer Predator Orion 9000 [Image: Acer]

With its bright blue LEDs, Acer’s new Predator desktop line-up (Orion 3000, 5000 and 9000) is squarely aimed at gamers, and comes with a specification that pairs the latest Intel processors with powerful Nvidia graphics cards. But with so much power to hand, these quiet and attractive systems are certain to be absolutely brilliant for video editing too.

The top-end Orion 9000 has one of the most powerful hardware configurations of any computer in this list. It has Intel processors with ten, or even 18 CPU cores, up to 64GB of memory and if your budget can stretch to it, even dual Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. That incredible configuration is sure to shrug off complex 4K video editing tasks like they’re simple edits in Microsoft Paint.

best computers for video editing: Apple iMac Pro [Image: Apple]

We know it’s eye-wateringly expensive. But Apple’s brand new iMac Pro is the new daddy of computers for designers: if you have the cash, this is the best video-editing computer currently on the market. (If you’re after a more affordable model, try the excellent iMac at number two, above.) 

So what do you get for your money? Firstly, there’s the 27-inch 5K resolution, which is 43 per cent brighter than standard Apple Retina monitors and delivers up to an astonishing one billion colours. There aren’t too many screens around that will flatter your footage more.

Starting with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, the least expensive iMac Pro option is already immensely powerful, with an outrageous 18-core option for those who can afford it. 1TB to 4TB of SSD internal storage means that you’ll be able to store tonnes of 4K footage before you need to think about additional external drives. And it’s not short on ports, either, with four Thunderbolt 3.0 ports and a 10GB ethernet port. Plus, of course you get the benefit of the platform’s formidable Final Cut Pro X editing software as well.

Read more about the new iMac Pro

best computers for video editing: Lenovo IdeaCentre 520-AAST 21.5in AIO PC [Image: Lenovo]

Complete with monitor, mouse and keyboard, it’s not easy to find exceptional quality computing for under a grand. But this Lenovo PC is an adequate option if you’re on a tight budget. It comes with a 23-inch Full HD monitor and packs in up to a 2TB hard drive and 7th-generation Intel processor.

If you’re somebody requiring a heavyweight machine for professional video editing all day everyday, this machine probably isn’t going to quite cut the mustard. But for keen amateurs and dabblers, the sub £1,000/$1,000 spend on this Lenovo all-in-one should be just fine. It’s worth noting that you can buy an even cheaper AMD-based version, but it will be less powerful and you get a smaller monitor.

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