Dotting tools spotlight: Shop Acrylic Paints & Paint Sets Online

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Shop Acrylic Paints & Paint Sets Online

Learn Your Basics on Acrylic Painting at Spotlight

Artists already know that there are different types of painting styles out there. If you are on this page, then you are probably interested in acrylic painting. If you are an experienced painter, you already know what you will be needing. However, if you are a beginner, you might need the lowdown on the basics of acrylic painting. Read on to discover the basics on acrylic painting!

When Should I Choose Acrylic Painting Instead of Oil Painting?

One of the main reasons why artists choose acrylic over oil is simply affordability. However, acrylic paints do come with additional advantages. For example, acrylic paints can be used on almost any surface. They also dry quickly, which could be a big advantage for artists with a lot of inspiration!

Which Brushes Do I Need for Acrylic Painting?

Most brushes for acrylic painting are made from synthetic materials – this also means they could be used on a variety of surfaces. It is also important to have a variety of these brushes, ideally you want several brushes from small to large.

For beginners, it is always advised to buy several different brushes. By doing this, you can get more familiar with the different types and feel which ones suit you best. However, when in doubt, you can always choose one of the most versatile brushes for acrylic painting, the filbert brush.

How Do I Mix My Paints?

As you may know already, most artists choose some of the basic colours and do the mixing themselves. When working with acrylics, it is best to have a dedicated palette for it – this because acrylics can dry incredibly fast.

There is a way to prevent acrylics from drying out before you can use them. Obtain a spray bottle for any store and fill it with some water. If you want to retain the strength of your colour, this might not be the best method, but it is useful if you want to get a watercolour effect with your acrylics.

What Is Gesso?

When you start out with acrylic paints, you may hear the term “gesso” being used by other artists. Gesso is a specific type of white paint mixture. It is used by artists as a base for acrylic painting and oil painting. So, if you are painting on a canvas or linen, be sure to paint it with gesso first – this will give you a much smoother and more resistant surface to paint on.

What Is Glazing?

Beginners might hear the term “glazing” too. Glazing is a method used to seal pencil sketches. To get this glaze, most artists use a gel medium for their projects. Artists can also colour this gel, more specifically by mixing the gel with some of the acrylic colour they wish to use.

When you mix the gel and a colour together, make sure you have your trusty spray bottle on hand. Sometimes the gel and colour can create a mixture that is too sticky. To solve this situation, simply add a little mist to loosen it up a little.

How Do I Create Texture with Acrylics?

Acrylics can create some wonderful texture, but there is a method you must implement to do this. To create more texture, wait until the paint on the canvas is dry. Then, dip your paintbrush in the preferred colour and paint it over the dry paint to create the texture you want to see.

Naturally, you can use certain brushes to create more texture in your artwork too. In our brushes section, you can find a full guide on paintbrushes and discover which ones can create more texture on your artwork.

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Find the Best Paintbrushes for the Sharpest Price at Spotlight!

Spotlight offers the finest art supplies for budding artists – this includes a selection of branded paintbrushes. Below, we have provided a guide on how to buy your paintbrushes, so you get the most out of your hard-earned cash. Read on to find out which paintbrushes fit you!

How Does the Hair Type of the Brush Affect My Art?

One of the things you must consider when buying your paintbrushes is the material the paintbrush is made of. Naturally, the most important aspect of those materials is the paintbrush hair.

Artists usually choose from two different types of brushes, more specifically the bristle brush and the sable brush. These brushes are available in different shapes and sizes, but they can also be made with different types of hair – this includes animal hair and synthetic fibre.

When Should I Choose Bristle Paintbrushes for My Art?

Bristle paintbrushes are brushes that are a little thicker and stronger. They are usually made with rough hairs, which are commonly obtained from wild hogs. However, there are bristle paintbrushes with synthetic hairs as well.

Artists use bristle paintbrushes when they need to cover larger areas, since bristle paintbrushes can hold a lot of paint. The texture of the bristle paintbrush is also unique, since it adds a rough look and more elevation to the canvas. So, if you are missing that special quality on your painting, you might benefit from using the bristle paintbrush.

When Should I Choose Sable Brushes for My Art?

Compared to bristle paintbrushes, sable brushes are made from finer and softer hair. Manufacturers commonly use soft animal hair, obtained from animals such as the mongoose or mink. However, soft synthetic fibres are also possible, and are usually more affordable for artists too.

Considering sable brushes are made from softer materials, they will have a different effect on canvas than bristle brushes. Sable brushes tend to leave clean marks with hidden paint strokes. Therefore, these brushes are perfect for artists who want more realism in their artwork.

What Are the Different Brush Shapes?

There are three brush shapes commonly used by artists. Some variants are available, but nowhere near as popular as these three: flat, filbert, and round. All these brush shapes are available in sable and bristle hair. Each artist tends to have their own personal preference when it comes to brush shapes. So, if you are just starting out, it is a good idea to experiment with each brush to determine the one that suits you best.

Flat Brushes

The flat brush is a common choice amongst artists. It is characterised by a rectangular shape, so it also makes square marks on canvas. Because of these marks, flat brushes are a good choice for figure or portrait painting.

Filbert Brushes

Artists could also choose a filbert brush, which is a combination of the flat and round brush. The unique shape of the brush ensures artists can create various marks, but also makes it the perfect choice for blending edges on a canvas.

Round Brushes

Your final choice is the round brush, enabling the artist to go from thick to thin. The shape of this type of brush resembles a pencil, so it is possible to use this brush for hatching and drawing marks.

Where Can I Find More Art Supplies at Spotlight?

Spotlight offers more art supplies than brushes alone! To discover our art supplies, simply head over to the crafts & hobbies section. Not only will you discover premium art supplies, you will also discover our sharp prices!

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Things You Need To Know About Working With Acrylic Paints!

Working with acrylic paints can be incredibly exciting, especially since it is one of the most versatile and affordable paint options out there. Of course, the process of working with acrylics can be daunting for a beginner. To help you hone your skills in acrylic painting, we have provided an overview of expert tips below. So, once you have finished shopping for acrylic paint on Spotlight, be sure to implement them in your artwork.

What Is The First Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

One of the first things to consider when you are working with acrylic paints is the type of paintbrush you will use. Naturally, not all paintbrushes work well with acrylics. Fortunately, the paintbrushes you will use for acrylic paint are also counted among the most affordable.

Acrylic paintbrushes are mostly made from synthetic bristles. As such, they are relatively easy to produce and to maintain. To start, you should at least have a couple of brushes of sizes 6 to 10, this includes flat brushes as well as round brushes.

What Is The Second Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

Once you start painting with acrylics, you will notice that various brands can deliver variable results. As you develop your style as an artist, you will soon start to prefer a specific brand.

As you work with different brands, you will also notice that thinning out your paint is something that must be done carefully. Some acrylic paints can have problems with their emulsion when too much water is used. Of course, the amount of water can be variable from brand to brand, so it can take some experimentation.

What Is The Third Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

When you work with acrylic paint, you will also mix your paints to get different colours. If you are not that familiar with your colour wheel, it can happen to have a print out of the colour wheel nearby to help you blend your acrylics.

We must mention that you should also remember how your paint will dry when you are blending colours. So, if you are mixing, you should always blend in one shade lighter than the colour you are looking for.

What Is The Fourth Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

Since you will be blending a lot of paint, it is important to know how to keep that paint in the best condition possible. One of the common problems with acrylics is that they do tend to dry quickly, this opposed to oil paint that takes days to dry. However, the benefit of quick drying does have a downside, as it can dry out the paint on your palette.

To ensure your paint stays in good condition, always get a good spray bottle with a little bit of water. When you use a gentle spray on your palette every now and again, it will keep your paint nice and wet. Of course, be sure not to use too much paint, as doing so could lead to problems with your emulsion or it may turn your acrylics into a watercolour.

What Is The Fifth Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

If you are working with canvas, it can be a good idea to prepare your canvas before you start painting on it. One mixture you could use to prepare the canvas is called Gesso. When you apply this special medium on the canvas, it will make it easier to apply your acrylic paint and manipulate it. Of course, you can also use this medium to manipulate the texture on the canvas.

What Is The Final Tip To Work With Acrylic Paints?

One of the hardest things you will ever have to do when working with acrylic paints is blending your paint on the canvas. Most artists prefer to use their favourite brush, but a filbert brush is a great way to start.

When it comes to blending, you can either blend wet on wet, which tends to be the easiest method for most artists, but you can also dry layer. To determine which method is easiest for you, it could be worth experimenting on a test canvas beforehand.

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The Ultimate Guide To Paintbrushes For Artists

When it comes down to paintbrushes, there are a million things to take into consideration. As a beginner, choosing the best paintbrushes for your future painting style is never that straightforward. To help you get familiar with the world of paintbrushes, we have created an easy guide for you to refer to.

Which Bristles Are Used For Working With Certain Paints?

There are different types of bristles that can be used with different types of paints. As an artist, it is important to know which brushes are most suitable for your chosen paint. Below, we have listed the options and the most suitable brushes to match.

Watercolour brushes – Paintbrushes suitable for watercolour paints are usually made from a synthetic material, this includes synthetic sable or nylon. In some cases, regular sable can be used too. Naturally, artists must try each type to determine which one they work with the easiest. Of course, certain artists work with a combination of these brushes.

Oil brushes – Oil painting brushes are usually made from natural bristles, this considering that most synthetic materials do not handle oil-based paints that well. So, when you look for oil brushes, you will encounter materials such as hog bristle. That being said, sable is another material you can encounter here.

Acrylic brushes – You have a lot of freedom when it comes to the brushes you use for acrylic paint, as most tend to handle the paint quite well. However, most artists will use full nylon or synthetic brushes for acrylic paints.

Which Brush Shapes Are Used For Which Techniques?

Once you start taking a closer look at the different paintbrushes that are available for your artwork, you will notice that they can look quite different. Because of the different shapes of paintbrushes, choosing the ones you will use regularly will be a challenge. Below, you will find an overview of common brush shapes and their common applications.

Round brush – The round brush is one of the most common brushes out there. It is characterised by its round bristles and tiny tip, which enables more detailed work. So, if you need to paint any details, this is probably the brush you will grab.

Flat brush – A flat brush is used quite differently than the round brush. Instead of detailing, this brush is used to paint large surfaces with paint at the same time. Since this brush must cover larger surfaces, the bristles on the flat brush will be considerably longer than some other brushes.

Bright brush – The bright brush looks a lot like the flat brush upon first glance. However, the bristles on the bright brush are a lot shorter than those on the flat brush. As such, this brush is used to manipulate added paint on a canvas. For example, if you wish to move some paint to an area where there is a thinner application of paint.

Filbert brush – This is a staple in the collection of many artists, mainly because this paintbrush is so wonderfully versatile. Firstly, you can use the brush to cover a large area of the canvas with paint. On the other hand, you can use this brush for detailing as well. So, if you do not like to switch your paintbrushes a lot, this is a must for your personal collection.

Fan brush – The fan brush is a difficult one to miss, because this brush actually looks like a genuine fan. Of course, given the fan position of the bristles, this brush should be used to apply large areas of paint.

Angle brush – An angle brush is just as versatile as the filbert brush. You can use them for your general painting actions, but your can also use an angle brush for some detailing.

Rigger brush – A rigger brush is quite thin in its appearance. While it is classified as a round brush, it has long hairs and a very thin tip. Because of the thin tip, you can use this brush to create fine lines on the canvas. This type of brush can also be used with different kinds of paint, this ranges from your average watercolour to a sturdy oil-based paint. So, this is another staple for your personal collection.

Watercolour Paint & Paints Sets

Expert Tips For Watercolour Paintings From Spotlight

Watercolour can be an incredibly fun paint to work with, but it does require some degree of skill. If you are unfamiliar with watercolours and want to test the waters, why not check out the guide to watercolours below.

Which Paintbrushes Are Advised For Watercolour Painting?

As a beginner, it is usually a good idea to have a variety of brushes at your disposal. While it may be tempting to limit yourself in the amount of brushes you purchase first, having a range of different sized brushes ensures you can work on both large and small surfaces. It also allows you to fill larger spaces with watercolour, but also work in a little more detail if you wish to do so.

Most artists will have a collection of brushes that range between sizes 000 and 6. Over time, you will undoubtedly have your own preferences, but even those brushes you do not use a lot will eventually get some use.

Why Should I Buy High-Quality Watercolour Paint?

While you may not think that the quality of your watercolour paint matters when you are a beginner, the opposite is true. In fact, a good quality watercolour will last considerably longer than lower quality paint. Watercolour of higher quality is also less likely to turn yellow, which can influence the beautiful colours on your masterpiece.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Watercolour Paints?

Watercolours have several benefits. Just like oil and acrylics, watercolours are wonderfully versatile. Obviously, they also create their own unique effect. So, let us take a closer look at the effects that can be created with a good watercolour paint.

Can be used wet and dry – When you work with watercolours, you can use your paint both wet and dry. Evidently, this means that you can create a variety of colours and shades with the same tube of paint. By transitioning between dry and wet, you can influence the darkness as well as the saturation of your paints.

Some artists use a combination of wet and dry in their watercolours to get more control over their art. When you start with dry paint and finish with wet paint, you will find that your technique will benefit greatly.

Dark to light becomes easier – Artists who love working from dark to light in their paintings will find that watercolour paint carries their preference. In fact, one of the most used techniques in watercolour paintings is working from light to dark.

Splattering technique – This is a technique that is easily executed with watercolours. To get the splatters on the canvas, you simply hold your paintbrush back in front of the canvas. Then, release the paintbrush quickly to create the splatter effect.

Colour bleeding – Since water paints are so think, they can easily blend with one another on a canvas. In fact, if you are thinking of painting a nice selection of flowers or a landscape, then this type of bleeding can prove beneficial.

To create a bleeding effect on a canvas, you should add some amount of water to the watercolour paint on a brush. Then, apply it to the canvas or the paper. Then, choose another colour and repeat the process. Once applied, the colours will blend beautifully.

Do I Need Any Special Tools When Working With Watercolour Paints?

Working with watercolours is usually quite straightforward, so you do not need anything else than the usual painting supplies. That being said, we do recommend that artist always have some paper towels on hand, these can be used to correct your work if you make a mistake.

Obtain Your Watercolour Paints From Spotlight

At Spotlight, you can easily obtain a nice collection of watercolours. We provide watercolours in all types of formats, this goes from the typical watercolour tubes to the palates. So, we have something for the preference of every artist.

In addition to our watercolour paints, you can find more artist supplies in our catalogue. You can count on oil paints, acrylic paints, pencils, chalk, brushes, easels, prepared canvas and countless other supplies. When you shop at Spotlight, you can count on the sharpest prices for all artist supplies, so be sure to check out the range today.

Must-Have Tools and Accessories for Diamond Painting – Diamond Art Club

Diamond painting is a wonderful way to reveal your artistic side, even if there’s not a single crafty bone in your body. Using an applicator tool and wax, you scoop up diamonds and set them on an adhesive canvas which features a color-coded chart. In other words, it’s so easy, even a child could do it! But even experienced crafters feel the draw to this mesmerizing hobby.

But this is more than a fun and engaging hobby. Since diamond painting can be considered a form of mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT), you can even find peace, clarity and happiness all while expressing creative energy. 

However, if you have just discovered the world of diamond painting, you might be confused about the tools and accessories that come along with each kit. You may be wondering what is actually included or what you need to go out and purchase. Plus, there is an array of other additional accessories you can include to complete your diamond art studio.

From basic diamond painting supplies to light pads to frames, we’re going to walk you through what you need and what would be nice to have. 

From drills and pens to light pads, here are the basic diamond painting supplies to prepare you for this wonderful and relaxing new hobby. 

Drills and Pens

The absolute primary tool you need for diamond painting is an applicator pen. There are two main diamond art pens from which to choose: drill pens and wax pens. Let’s take a look at how each type is used: 

Diamond drill pens–Drill pens are the more traditional option, and they’re included within each diamond painting kit. With this type of pen, simply dip it into the wax or glue and pick up the diamond. Next, you drop it into position on the canvas.   

Diamond wax pens–Wax pens apply wax directly to the diamond piece, eliminating the extra step. When a pen begins to run low on wax, you simply sharpen it and promptly get back to enjoying your kit. 

Diamond drill wheel pick-up pen–These pens offer an adhesive wheel on one end that allows you to easily grab diamonds by rolling it across a tray. You can also roll it across to place diamonds down and even remove them. 

It’s also important to note that every diamond art kit comes with glue or wax to get you started, so there’s no need to seek out this accessory.    

Light Pad

Another practical accessory is the diamond painting light pad. Not only can a light pad illuminate each diamond from beneath, making a dazzling display, but it can reduce eye strain as well. Diamond painting light pads are especially useful in making sure each diamond piece is placed in its respective spot, eliminating accidents and mistakes. This way, you know exactly where that drill needs to go! Of course, light pads can be battery-operated or rechargeable. 

The diamond art light pad offered on this site has numerous advantages. For starters, it’s thin (0.2-inch thickness), compact (14 x 10-inch size) and lightweight (1.32 pounds), allowing you to carry it practically anywhere you want. 

It’s not battery-operated which means you don’t have to worry about keeping batteries on hand. Instead, it’s simply connected by a 3.3-foot USB cable through personal devices such as a PC, phone adapter or power bank. 

Another advantage of this diamond art light pad is that it is a flicker-free LED lamp, meaning you will experience less eye strain and headaches. This is especially important if you suffer from migraines. LED lamps also project a brighter surface area.

This light pad also has a long life span and 50,000 hours of continuous use. Now, that’s a lot of time spent enjoying diamond art! It also includes a one-year warranty should anything happen.

Glue or Wax

Each diamond art kit will include some sort of adhesive whether it’s glue or wax. Using your pen’s hollow nib, you scoop up the glue and then the diamond drill. This is meant to make it easy to transfer each colored gem to their location without dropping. Once you find its location, you transfer the drill to the adhesive canvas. And there’s no need to reapply the glue. You can use the same dabbed droplet again. 

You can find numerous online tutorials that teach you how to use the glue. If diamond art painting is new to you, go find a few to familiarize yourself with the techniques.

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Craft Tables and Easels 

If you truly want to complete the ultimate diamond art painting studio, a craft table or easel is the perfect additional accessory. However, there are several features of a table or easel you should consider. 

Angled and Height Adjustable–Choose a craft table which offers an angled position, sparing you from working hunched over which can create bad neck aches. In the same vein, make sure it is height adjustable as well. 

Transparent Surface–Consider a glass craft table for your diamond art station. This way you can treat it as a giant light pad, shining a spotlight from beneath. 

Storage Compartments–Storage compartments are a handy feature too! That way, you can store your beads and pens safely away should you have pets or small children who tend to put tiny objects in their mouths.  

At the very least, you should get yourself an easel or drawing board that tilts. Having a tiltable easel, again, can save you from poor posture and neck strain. The beauty of an adjustable drawing board is that you can place it on any existing table. If you prefer to work at the kitchen table, where there is lots of natural sunlight, an easel or drawing board offers a versatile, movable solution.  

Ergonomic Chair 

Besides having a proper table or workspace, also consider getting a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Sitting for long lengths of time can really do numbers on your posture, causing neck aches and even back aches. So do yourself a favor and get a chair that you can sit in for hours as you enjoy your diamond art.  

Try out different chairs, but ultimately settle on one with an adjustable backrest that follows the shape of your spine. Also, make sure your feet rest on the floor or, if you prefer sitting higher, that they have a foot brace. While you’re not placing a diamond, make sure the armrests are close by so you can allow your shoulders to relax. In general, your chair’s arm height should be equal to your desk’s height. 

Storage Compartments

Speaking of storage compartments, it’s helpful to find a way to keep your diamonds and gems neatly organized. This way, you can dive right in to it without having to spread everything out or clean up previous messes. Here are some storage solutions to keep your diamond painting hobby systemized and stress-free.

Diamond Organizer

With this 30-slot diamond organizer, you can easily keep track of all your colored diamonds. Each of the 30 individual containers has a screw-on lid and rests inside a larger, handy organizer case. With this container, you’re sure never to lose a single diamond ever again!  

For a more affordable, budget-friendly option, use these diamond painting tricks, tips and hacks. You can also use a recycled egg carton or simply sort diamonds into plastic baggies, labeling each with their corresponding number or symbol. 

Extra Diamonds

Accidents happen from time to time, and diamonds tend to walk off and go missing. So occasionally you may need extra diamonds. Whatever shape you prefer, round drill or square drill, be sure to order extra diamonds in the same shape for your masterpiece. 

When you choose a diamond art kit, your kit will tell you which diamonds it includes. However, should you forget or toss away the kit, here are the three main types of diamonds:

  • Round diamonds Easy enough for kids, and fast to use. 

  • Square diamonds

    Mosaic tile-style diamonds that snug nicely, edge-to-edge. 

  • Aurora Borealis (AB) diamonds Found in select paintings, AB diamonds give off an iridescent rainbow effect like that of the Northern Lights. 

Foldable Magnifier

As with any hobby that requires eye-hand coordination, having a magnifier offers a clearer scope and really gets in there to see where you’re headed with that diamond piece. And a folding magnifier is perfect for those who have trouble seeing small parts or who are far-sighted. Even better–use a magnifying glass that includes an LED light. 

Big Diamond Trays

While all of Diamond Art Club kits include a small tray to keep gems neatly and close at hand, some prefer to have a larger tray. You can find much more spacious trays with a bigger pour-spout, allowing you to line up your rhinestones for a more organized system. Most larger diamond trays also come equipped with stainless steel tweezers to shuffle the tiny diamonds around without scratching them. 

Frames

Once you have completed your masterpiece, you may want to frame it! Luckily, it’s quite easy to frame your diamond art piece, and it only takes a few steps. Follow Diamond Art Club’s more thorough, step-by-step instructions on how to frame a diamond painting. 

Standard-Size Frames

Use a standard-size frame bought at your local hobby or art supply store. You can find various frame styles and finishes to suit your existing decor. However, keep in mind that many diamond paintings do not come in standard sizes, so you may need to trim down your canvas to fit. One tip is to aim for a frame that’s a bit smaller than your diamond art masterpiece. Another tip is to frame the artwork without the glass; otherwise, it could dull the glimmering vibrancy of the diamonds.   

Stretcher Bar Frame

Stretcher bars are perfect for framing your canvas diamond art piece. Plus, they can be found in various shapes and sizes. Just be sure to measure your painting first and decide if you’d like the artwork to stretch around the canvas’ edges or if you’d prefer to have a border. You will also need staples and a staple gun to hold it in place. Alternatively, you could use U-nails to secure the canvas in a cleaner, neater style. 

Should you choose a stretcher bar frame, ensure it comes with wall-mounting hardware or grab yourself a pack if not. You will need to attach it to the back of the top stretcher bar in order to hang it.

Art Canvas

Lastly, you could mount your diamond art piece onto an art canvas. Make sure the canvas is at least two-inches smaller in length and width to ensure your diamond art canvas can stretch around it. Next, cover the back of the canvas with craft glue, spreading it evenly, except along the edges. On a cutting mat, press the glued blank canvas onto the diamond art canvas as it’s still wet, center it and trim the edges leaving two-inches. One important note here is to be sure to allow the glue to thoroughly dry and adhere before you hang it.   

Professional Frame

Of course, if you like, have your diamond art piece professionally framed! If you can’t decide or choose between a frame you like, you can customize the look yourself. Drop by a frame shop or standard craft store to achieve the exact look you want! 

With diamond art taking off as a new hobby, there are new accessories being discovered and created every day. There are even diamond art enthusiasts making their own gadgets and accessories to meet their personal needs to help them achieve their masterpiece. 

Find an accessory that inspired you to get crafty with diamond art? We want to hear about it!

Spotlight #15: Tea Cake on her illustrations and pyrography


Have I mentioned lately that I love Instagram? Sure, there’s a dark side (artwork gets copied, altered and reproduced without credit for instance, and there are a lot of hate commenting going on) but I really enjoy spending time scrolling through the photos of people I follow. Every now and then I discover someone new, someone I get an immediate Instagram-crush on (is that a thing?) and cyber-stalk through their whole timeline. I recently did that with Tea Cake when I bumped into one of her drawings. I love how she alternates between illustration and pyrography, and asked her if she’d like some insights on her work and techniques with you today. Enjoy!

Bleaq: Can you introduce yourself and your work in a few sentences?
TC: My name is Tea Cake (besides Tea being a shortened version of my birth name, that is my actual real name!) and I am an illustrator and artist based in both London and Los Angeles. My work reflects my main interests in life; animals, science, the occult, symbolism, history and mythology. I spend most of my time holed up in my studio drawing or making something or reading. The only other thing I am likely to be doing is hunting for spiders in my garden and taking macro photographs of them!

You have a degree in animal biology and ecology, and a history as a jewelry designer. How did you get into illustration and pyrography? Did you have a specific moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career as an artist?
TC: Well, I have always been an artist first and foremost. I went through a few years of self-discovery during which I flitted between various media, trying to find that which suited me best. I worked with textiles, jewelry and leather, I sculpted, I painted, I drew, I photographed… anything that I could create something visually rich with. The degree in animal biology and ecology was purely out of interest in the natural world (the other lifelong passion of mine) and my desire to have a contingency in place should I need one. That in itself led me on to another creative outlet that I still use to this day for my own personal satisfaction and that is taxidermy and bone preparation. I trained under the tutelage of a museum taxidermist in the Welsh countryside years ago whilst I was still at university. It was the perfect way to mesh both my scientific and artistic backgrounds together.

Regarding a specific moment of realization regarding my career as an artist. Yes, you could say that. Fate took care of it for me really. I was still running my jewelry label and I sustained a minor injury to my right arm which made using my tools tricky. I made the decision to put the label on hiatus and concentrate on the other things I could do that didn’t involve saws and hammers in order to let my arm heal and not make it worse. It took off in a way I wasn’t expecting so I took the hint and decided to focus 100% of my efforts on my illustration and such and made the rather painful decision to permanently put my jewelry label to bed. Honestly, as hard as that was for me at the time, I haven’t looked back since.

Your portfolio shows some lovely illustrations burned in wood. Can you tell something about this technique? For instance: you state that one piece often takes weeks to complete, what makes pyrography so time consuming?
TC: Thank you! Yes, it is very time consuming; or at least it, is for me! I guess the main reasons for this would be my technique, the scale of the pieces in question and my attention to detail. The sort of tool I use has a variable temperature setting so I get different effects by either turning it up or down. I use a fine wire tip to get all of the effects I create and do all of my shading and detail work much the same way as I do with a fine liner pen, for example. It’s all lines and stippling. If you look at the skate deck that I did, that thing is shaded entirely with individual dots, and because each dot is burned into the wood, it’s not just a case of quickly dotting all over the area like you would with a pen. A lot of time and attention goes into just the line-work too as I have to be careful and precise in order to get consistent line. I have to apply the same amount of pressure all over the board or I will end up with messy lines and parts that are charred or not burned enough. As you can imagine, there is very little room for error as I can’t erase a line once it’s burned in, and as I am quite heavy handed, my marks are deep, they are not just on the surface of the wood so I cannot just sand them away!

There’s a lot of esoteric symbolism in your work. Can you tell a but about your fascination for this kind of symbolism? Where does that fascination come from?
TC: That goes back a long, long way! Without going into reams of detail, when I was about 13 or 14, I was on holiday in a tiny little seaside town in Dorset, England. I found a book about witches and the occult in a secondhand bookstore and bought it. Reading it felt like I had found ‘home’, so to speak. I learned a lot from that book and it led me on to other things that enabled me to find my identity and carve out a path for myself. The last 16 years or so have been spent learning, practicing and developing my skills in certain areas. Along with that has come a keen interest in symbology, its uses over the years, the various languages, codes and cyphers that have been used to keep things hidden from those who would persecute, the signs and symbols used to communicate secretly with fellow members of any given society in plain sight. It’s all fascinating to me and so visually exciting. I can’t help but use it in my work. It also means that a lot of my pieces carry messages of their own.

Who are your favorite artists? How do they inspire your work?
TC: I am particularly fond of the work of Jessica Joslin, Caitlinn Hackett, Glenn Arthur and a whole host of extremely talented tattoo artists, many of whom I am lucky enough to call friends and have been tattooed by!

I take my inspiration from their dedication mostly. I am in awe of anyone who dedicates their entire being to something that they love and even more so when it comes across in the form of beautiful artwork. I have been inspired to try new techniques and experiment with different media and mostly, I have been inspired to dive in head first and give everything I have to my art.

It’s probably like asking parents which of their kids they like best, but do you have a piece or pieces from your work that you like best? If so, why that one?
TC: That’s actually a pretty good way of describing that question! It’s very hard to pick a favorite piece. I suppose I should give special credit to the pieces that I have surprised myself with. By that I mean those pieces that have made me go “wow…” when I sit back and it hits me that I just spent 3 weeks on a painting and never realized how big it had gotten. Or those that have eased me back into doing something I had left alone for a long time… like large paintings. I painted a large Japanese themed tattoo design last year that was bigger than anything I had done in over 12 years. I was very happy with how that one came out…mainly because I started it absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t make a good job of it! Of course, my 3 headed cat will always be a favorite. The fact that it went crazy and amassed a total of over 100,000 notes on Tumblr without any credit on it whatsoever was both a blessing and a curse. I was humbled by the fact that that many people liked it enough to re-blog it, but it was upsetting to see it going around all over the place completely anonymously. Oh well, live and learn! Everything is either watermarked or signed before I photograph it now!

With many social networking websites it’s almost hard to keep track of everything! How important is the internet for you as an artist?
TC: It’s crucial. I absolutely would not be able to do what I do now without it. The people who follow me and support my art online are very important to me and I am extremely grateful to each of them. It is because of the internet that I am able to put my art out there in the public eye in order for it to be seen by people everywhere in the world, and that has led to my being able to exhibit it in gallery shows and get it seen ‘in real life’ now too.

Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
TC: Well, I won’t shatter the illusion by recommending you a film because my taste ranks things like Beavis & Butt-head Do America, Baseketball, Airheads and Wayne’s World way up there amongst my favorites ever!

I can certainly recommend The Worst Street In London by Fiona Rule as a good, factual read though. It is all about Dorset Street, a now non-existent street in East London which was right in the heart of Jack the Ripper’s territory. Really interesting!

As for an artist, definitely check out the marker drawing by Ramon Maiden. He is a phenomenal talent! 

Bleaq: That’s all for today! A big thanks goes out to Tea for being so kind to open up about her work and techniques, I really loved reading everything, so thank you! If you enjoy Tea’s work you can check out her website, Instagram feed or shop to buy prints and original pieces.

Once again: thanks for reading! Hope you all have a lovely weekend, and I hope to see you again on Monday.

PMC 46 Point and line laser – Line and point lasers

PMC 46 Point and line laser – Line and point lasers – Hilti United Kingdom Skip to main content Hilti

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New product

Article # r4387

Combined laser level with 2 lines and 4 points for plumb, horizontal and vertical alignment and right angles using the red beam

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Customers also searched laser level , laser level , combilaser , combination laser or combined level

Benefits and Applications

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  • Compact size for fast striping speed
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  • Out-of-level and low battery alerts prevent errors and unplanned downtime
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  • Magnetic foot for easy attachment to drywall profiles

Applications

  • Vertical pipe alignment
  • Horizontal alignment of electrical outlets, cable trays, radiators and piping systems
  • Horizontal and vertical alignment of doors and windows
  • Transferring anchorage points from floor to ceiling
  • Transferring spot marks

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90,000 “The body is in a catastrophe and is flying apart” Why the coronavirus can be much more dangerous and kill people who have already recovered: Society: Russia: Lenta.Common crawl en

Coronavirus infection brings many unpleasant surprises with its consequences. Sometimes, after some time after recovery and negative tests for infection, the symptoms of the disease return. Survivors complain of poor health, temperature fluctuations, breathing difficulties, cardiac and neurological problems. Why this is happening and what to prepare for when the coronavirus returns with renewed vigor in the fall, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University (USA), Chief Researcher of the Medical Genetic Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ancha Baranova told Lente.ru.

“Lenta.ru”: What happens to the survivors?

Ancha Baranova : Many have transferred the covid completely without a trace. But covid is a lottery, the rates in it depend on what your initial physiological state was. People usually know little about their health, they also do not know about their genetic characteristics. There is, of course, an element of luck: how the infection went, how the immune system reacted to it at this particular moment in time.

Now about one in 20 recovered people is still stuck at the same level of well-being that they had during covid.All muscles ache, fatigue, the head does not understand, any load is especially difficult. I do not mean a situation when an athlete cannot swim a hundred meters in the pool in the same seconds as before the illness. We are talking about any loads. For example, washing dishes is also a burden. Or a person went to work from sick leave, and in the evening he comes home, falls exhausted and sleeps. Family members are pretty bad at it. It seems to them that since the treatment has been going on for more than a month, everything should be in order, it is good to suffer.

Don’t believe?

Rather, they think that a person is winding himself up. In addition, doctors often do not understand what exactly is happening. Especially those who have not yet encountered covid. Often doctors advise to go to a psychologist, psychiatrist.

It is not yet clear if long convalescence is a feature of covid. In principle, after other viral infections, people get stuck for a long time with chronic fatigue syndrome

This syndrome is what the patients themselves call this.In science, this condition is known as fibromyalgic-encephalopathic syndrome. But before, there were not so many such patients, and it was not clear after what kind of disease this condition could develop. Now there is a lot of covid, he is in the center of attention, so they began to talk about the state of fatigue.

Fatigue and feeling unwell – are they exclusively personal feelings, or are there any objective data, changes in the analyzes?

What is “objective data”? The doctor must listen to what the patient says to him.Unfortunately, we have one well-known phenomenon, fully proven by science: women’s diseases, that is, diseases that occur ten times more often in women, are not as important as men’s. If a woman comes with this, the doctor waves his hand and says: go, lie down, don’t fool me, you are about to menopause. But if a man comes with the same symptoms, a whole squad begins to jump around him.

Discrimination in medicine?

There is nothing offensive here, it’s just that human society was formed.Doctors, who for a long time were mostly men, looked at the complaints and understood them only if they themselves had experienced this at least once in their lives, or were told about it by people whom they believed. For example, other doctors are also men. The symptoms of menopause were reliably described only in the middle of the twentieth century, when female doctors appeared. Until that time, menopause was characterized as follows: well, women are a fool, they always, in general, were a fool, and the older they get, the more they fool.

Photo: Nacho Doce / Reuters

Why am I talking about covid here? Of course, it’s not about women.It’s just that the discrimination mechanism is similar. We have a new disease, patients began to describe new symptoms, and doctors tell them: go to a psychiatrist or get more rest. It’s just because they say that in their recommendations, and even more so in textbooks, such symptoms are not spelled out. New things make you think and gain recognition only if not one or two people speak about it, but a lot. Or when the voice of someone significant joins the handful of speakers.

So here – his condition after recovering from covid was described by the English doctor Paul Garner, professor at the School of Tropical Medicine from Liverpool.After that, the “survivors” began to gradually listen to and observe them, to provide assistance.

A month ago it was believed that the main problem of “survivors” would be pulmonary fibrosis. Know something about this?

This problem has been slightly delayed in time. Pneumonia, frosted glass patterns, lung lesions – they are there, no one denies them. But the degree of fibrosis, and whether it exists at all, can be clarified only after a certain period of time. Let’s say in a year.

Now there are simply no tools to talk about it. In theory, frosted glass patterns can diminish over time, or may remain the same. If they decrease, we can see it on a computed tomography (CT) scan of the lungs. But CT does not actually detect fibrosis. It can be reliably established only by a pathologist at an autopsy. There are, of course, markers of the disease. The main one is a decrease in respiratory activity according to the results of spirometry. Using a special device, they measure the volume of exhaled air and compare whether there is progress or regression.

Now doctors are careful to say that after covid, in principle, you can get not only problems with the lungs, but also diabetes mellitus, stroke and any other chronic disease in general. This is true?

Yes, but this is not a property of covid, but a property of the human body. All diseases reinforce each other. Covid is a catastrophic event. For the elderly, for example, a very often catastrophic event is a hip fracture. There was an old jolly woman, she ran, everything was fine with her.She slipped, broke the neck of her hip, and put the prosthesis in place. She was, of course, in bed because of this. And then she got pneumonia – just because she was lying. Antibiotics were cured. I got up, but somehow badly, my leg hurts and sways a little … Many elderly patients with a hip fracture die within six months or a year, regardless of the fact that all the necessary procedures have been performed. They die for completely different reasons, and not because of the complications of the fracture. Because the body is in a catastrophe, it cannot cope with it and is scattered to pieces.If a person who is 20 years old breaks a hip, then, of course, he will come to his senses without problems. A 90-year-old woman is much less likely to do so.

Covid is now for many that very catastrophic event. Other viral infections can also be such a trigger. Remember Ebola? At first it seemed like an acute illness. If recovered, then – like a cucumber. But it turned out that after the illness the patient has many chronic problems. It was not found out right away, but as soon as a group of recovered people gathered, and they began to be watched.

With covid – everything is the same. This is a catastrophic event and should not be underestimated. The best strategy for dealing with him is never to meet him. Personally, I adhere to this strategy

If you go to the forum of those who have been ill now, the most popular topic there is whether it is possible to get sick again. Many people write that after a month or two after negative tests, they again received a positive result. Diagnostic errors?

Photo: Rebecca Blackwell / AP

There is such a word – reactivation.I have never used it before because I am an optimist and I don’t want to croak. But today this term already quite legally appears in serious scientific articles in relation to covid. Therefore, I perceive this fact as a green light for myself.

There are viruses that can sit in the human body for life. For example, the herpes virus. During the middle years of a person’s life, he either does not show himself in any way, or annoys with small rashes. And in old age, it can disperse – half of the back is covered with a rash with bubbles, everything hurts and so on.Herpes is also a virus, although not the same as SARS-CoV-2. But herpes is definitely capable of being reactivated in the body. SARS-CoV-2 is a completely different virus, it seems that it cannot multiply in long-lived human cells.

But there are already scientific works in which it is shown that the coronavirus can hide in macrophages, and they are mobile cells, they crawl and swim everywhere. The virus does not multiply there, it simply hides in them, and spoils a little, and then crawls out of them again and infects other cells.As long as the macrophage is alive, the

virus may be alive

That is, for some, covid will become a chronic disease?

Chronic illness is a loose concept. Basically, the term “chronic disease” means that this disease is in a person for the rest of his life. We cannot say the same about the coronavirus yet, and I hope we never will. But in principle, if the process lasts three months, then this is also not an acute condition, but a subchronic one, which is alarming. The virus has disappeared and the symptoms are stuck.We do not yet know how long SARS-CoV-2 can hide in the human body, but there are bad bells.

For the Ebola virus, which is also based on RNA, it has been shown that in recovered men the virus sits in semen for a very long time – up to a year. And he doesn’t show himself in any way. A sick man, thinking that he is completely healthy, meets a girl, and she becomes infected from him sexually. Not some chlamydomonas, but Ebola! Actually, we learned about such features of Ebola thanks to an epidemiological investigation.

Photo: Ilya Pitalev / RIA Novosti

In the case of covid, can the carrier be contagious?

Not clear. If this virus sits and does not manifest itself in any way, then it is probably not contagious. On the other hand, if blood is transfused from such a person-carrier to another healthy one, there is probably a danger. Although untreated blood is not being transfused at the moment, so don’t worry. Whether there is a coronavirus in semen has not yet been studied. If this happens in the case of Ebola, then here it is not excluded.

About how the coronavirus proceeds, have scientists been able to find out something new recently?

Now there are interesting histological data from American pathologists on the results of autopsy of patients with covid. Large hypoxic areas were found in their brains. Moreover, they are even in the event that the patient’s covid proceeded with not too pronounced symptoms. That is, the person did not die from the coronavirus, but for some other reason, but the posthumous PCR analysis showed that he also had a coronavirus.What is brain hypoxia is a condition after a lack of oxygen. Hypoxia markedly reduces a person’s functional capabilities. Depending on where exactly the areas of hypoxia are located in the brain, various disturbances can be observed – in some, the gait will suffer, and in others the memory.

Photo: Hannah McKay / Reuters

There is data on the histology of the heart. It was expected that there would be areas of necrosis in the heart muscle, which occurs in the event of a heart attack. In fact, throughout the heart muscle in these patients there were pinpoint microchanges, that is, necrosis of individual cells or groups of cells.Since the heart is a muscle, then in other muscles – legs, arms – it is quite expected to meet the same microscopic changes. There is no more accurate data on other muscles. Pathologists usually pay attention to those organs from which death occurs: the brain, heart, lungs. Kidneys and something else are rarely looked at.

Brain hypoxia alone would be enough to explain chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome has many other components. For example, some incomprehensible regional pain: a leg, an arm, etc. hurts.Perhaps this is a consequence of just such mini-necrosis.

But all this requires a more careful study. It seems to me that a cohort of patients should now be created. Doctors should pay attention to them, recruit them for controlled clinical trials, take tests from them, compare these tests with some descriptions of well-being, and conduct an objective assessment of their capabilities. For example, night-day temperature, walk a hundred steps and indicate at which step shortness of breath began, and so on.

Do you have postcoid centers in America, where they study the consequences of the disease and work with the survivors?

Not yet.In the United States, the government is more and more actively pursuing the line that it is impossible to stay in quarantine forever, go to work, especially since the mortality rate has been reduced and the likelihood of dying is small. If you get sick, we will treat you. But from what to treat, if they already seem to have recovered? If there is chronic disability through the development of chronic fatigue or other types of chronicity, then it is necessary to develop rehabilitation programs, supportive treatment, and so on.

What should be included in these programs?

For example, in Russia there is a very good post-stroke drug rehabilitation.These are various vasodilator drugs, nootropics, and more. It seems to me that postcoid fatigue is very similar to fatigue after a stroke, so recovery programs may be similar.

Doctors have mixed opinions about many drugs for post-stroke recovery. It is believed that these are drugs with unproven efficacy. Can you trust them?

I have my own point of view on this. Of course, I am the most active supporter of evidence-based medicine. But when we talk about drugs without an evidence base, this does not mean that research has been carried out and it became clear that drugs do not work.More often than not, no one dealt with these drugs normally.

Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

There are several reasons for this. The most common – the drug was invented a long time ago and went beyond the 20-year term of patent rights. As soon as this happens, the interest of organizations that conduct evidence-based research completely disappears – simply because anyone can now make this drug. The same applies to vitamins, as well as substances of plant and animal origin.Since they were created by Mother Nature, they are not patentable at all.

The basis of evidence-based medicine is clinical trials. People usually don’t understand how much they cost. It costs about two billion dollars or more to test the simplest chemically created substance for one nosology. And what is one nosology? Let’s say you are experiencing Mexidol with ischemic stroke in the anterior lobe of the brain. And to prove the effectiveness of Mexidol in stroke in the posterior lobe of the brain, another two billion dollars are needed.These are very serious sums. And the organization will spend it only if it is sure that it will recoup the investment.

I’m not saying that there were excellent medicines in Soviet times, but some of them worked quite well. So why did they disappear? Not at all because they have lost their effectiveness. They were replaced by drugs not so much stronger as more expensive ones. It is simply unprofitable to sell pills for three kopecks per pack, and as a result, they were discontinued

There was such a medicine – verapamil.Many elderly people have used this remedy for pressure. But in this capacity it is not very specific. Modern drugs for hypertension are much more accurate and effective.

However, verapamil had many other properties. For example, when used consistently, it has potentiating efficacy for virtually any chemotherapy. It cannot be used as a treatment for cancer, but if the patient is constantly taking the drug because it is treating hypertension, then the tumor grows more slowly. For example, if remission lasts not five years, but eight – is that bad? The substance has the ability to undermine the membrane potential of rapidly dividing cells, and also inhibits the resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapeutic drugs.All this is described in the scientific literature, but no one will produce clinical trials of this effect. Because two billion dollars cannot be recouped with two-ruble pills.

It is impossible to divide the drugs into completely evidential and not fully proven. It can be divided by the level of evidence – high, medium, low. Of course, I am totally for evidence-based medicine. But often arguments against “low-evidence” medicines are structured in such a way that the words “evidence-based medicine” in them can be replaced by the words “show me the money.”Don’t they? Well, go away with your medications. This is not about national health and safety, but about profit.

The same happens with the use of already approved, well-proven medicines, but not for those diseases for which they were tested, but for others, but with the same mechanisms. We have pathophysiological mechanisms – you can count on one hand! And there are so many different medicines! It’s inconsistent, but there are explanations for this. For example, to treat the effects of a heart attack in Japan, there is a magic drug called edaravone.It’s approved. And now this drug was finally registered in the United States – and also approved. But for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And this is good! However, there are still many more heart attackers than ALS patients, and they will not receive this drug in their lives. Just because the manufacturing company did not pull to enter this huge market, much more expensive tests are needed here. But a heart attack in Japanese and Americans is unlikely to differ in its pathophysiology….

Some hopeless situation looms.What should people do?

Learn to read biological texts. This is, of course, a joke. Few people will be able to understand this specific literature. Nevertheless, it is sad that fish are often thrown out along with the muddy water. In fact, there is a way out. Both old and new, and “natural” drugs should be tested from the point of view of evidence-based medicine, but not within the framework of private initiatives, but in the state program. China, and South Korea too, have been clinically testing all possible combinations of drugs from traditional medicine for ten years and are slowly selecting candidates for further modification and patenting.

One of the breakthroughs is baicalein, a safe drug for the prevention and treatment of intestinal cancer in remission, and much more. Hundreds of articles have already been published on it. It is made of Scutellaria Baikal, and it is not for nothing that it is called Baikal …

Photo: Denis Abramov / RIA Novosti

It turns out that everything depends on money?

Another big problem is the insurmountably high requirements for the medicine. It should heal everyone and not harm anyone. These drugs are very difficult to create.It’s about the same if we banned strawberries now, because some children are allergic to them.

Recently I read an article that just pissed me off. A Brief History: Africa has a huge malaria problem. There are many cures for this, but they are expensive, so all charitable foundations have come together to find a solution. And they found the substance artemisinin. Well, not that they found it – let’s say, they read about it in the treatises of Chinese traditional medicine … It was isolated from wormwood for the treatment of malaria.Using a chemical process, its formula was modified to produce dihydroartemisinin. In it, the original component is from the same wormwood, but slightly improved – the efficiency is higher. It is now sold in pill form in Africa and Asia, and very cheaply.

The authors of the scientific article put the dihydroartemisinin tablets on the shelf and examined them six months later. It turned out that during this period the pill loses from 2 to 15 percent of its activity. And based on the fact that dihydroartemisinin is not stable enough to meet international pharmaceutical criteria, it was demanded to be banned.Indeed, according to the rules, a tablet should lose no more than two percent of its activity per year!

Researchers worried that due to drug instability, patients and doctors would not be able to guess how many pills to drink. Maybe you have to drink, say, instead of two pills, two and a half. They take care, in general. But in practice, it turns out something else: let these people get sick better or even die, well, or let them first save up money for “correct”, much more expensive pills than those treated by those who work but are unstable.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of this in medicine and pharmaceuticals. There are other disappointing examples when a tablet has been approved for a long time and works well as its active substance, but manufacturers have long “simplified” the production process, and now the tablet contains poisonous impurities, for example, with a carcinogenic effect. Examples are the recall of some drugs such as ranitidine in the United States and metformin in Poland. So everything does not work smoothly everywhere, unfortunately.

Do you think covid can push the system to rethink all of these approaches?

There is hope, but little.The pharmaceutical business is being rebuilt with great difficulty.

True, I can give a positive example about vaccines. Why don’t we have good flu vaccines, but the available ones protect by 25-30 percent? Simply because the flu vaccine is old, first generation. Although there have long been technologies that make it possible to make a vaccine of both the second and third generation. These more effective drugs, which do not require adjuvants (amplifiers – approx. “Lenta.ru” ), are created by some small companies that develop new technologies.The scientific literature is full of new generations of vaccines that save from everything. You can even make vaccines in plants. I ate a banana and got vaccinated. I am not kidding. Only such technologies are never tested at all, even though they are created. Why? Including because we have industry giants that produce vaccines that have been tested for a long time and earn billions from it. And they don’t need competitors in this market.

And now, thanks to covid, all these new vaccines have the opportunity to enter the market.We are talking about the technology of mRNA vaccines. They are being developed now in the USA, Europe, China, Russia. The drugs have not yet been fully tested, but the published results are very encouraging. The titers of neutralizing antibodies, which are formed in the test volunteers, are tens of times higher than the titers of antibodies obtained after natural infection. That is, we have already made serious progress in terms of vaccines. You look, and with regard to drugs, something will change.

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Strata 3D – ru.pediatrendo.com

35 Proprietary software
3D strata
Operating system Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Type 3D modeling and animation
License Web site
www .strata .com

Strata Design 3D CX is a commercial 3D modeling, rendering and animation software developed by Corastar, Inc.in St. George, Utah, dba Strata Software. Strata is a pioneer and developer of 3D design software.

Strata Design 3D The CX 8 is the latest incarnation of what was originally called StrataVision 3D. It is best known for being a versatile 3D modeling application with photorealistic rendering capabilities, ease of use, and tight integration with Adobe Photoshop. Strata 3D is focused on the illustration / multimedia market, not the film / game market.

Strata 3D software in its various versions has received awards and accolades from many sources, including MacUser UK , Digit Magazine , Layers Magazine , DigitalArts , MacWorld , and Photoshop User .

History

Strata 3D was one of the first desktop applications for 3D graphics, the first StrataVision 3D was released in 1989. The company was founded by brothers Ken and Gary Bringhurst.

By 1996, the company was one of the five largest private employers in southern Utah. The Bringhurst brothers and their company are staying at their picturesque home in a red rock near St. George, Utah. Ken Bringhurst is the executive chairman of the company and Gary Bringhurst is the CTO.

As of September 2016, John Wright is President and CEO.

Move to VR / AR

Strata announced initial funding for its move to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) on September 22, 2016.

Greg Coffford, co-founder of Lanstead Investors PTY Limited, managed the funding; Company changes include the appointment of John Wright as President and Managing Director.

Strata plans to provide users with the ability to view and sell design projects using VR and AR headsets, as well as offer custom designs for VR / AR.

Strata Design 3D CX Features

Strata Design 3D CX 8.1 is the latest product release with many updates, enhancements and enhancements.

  • Rendering features. Strata Design 3D CX is renowned for its high-quality rendering capabilities – rendering is the creation of a finished, final image. Rendering capabilities include:
    • Intel’s Embree Raycasting, added in v8.1, increases rendering speed by 300-800 percent.
    • Preview renderers include LiveRay, which generates a full ray-traced rendering of an object or scene.Several OpenGL and Toon rendering options are also available for previewing a model or scene.
    • Raydiosity and raytracing render options include many customization options such as rendering to alpha, rendering to Photoshop layers, gamma control, and the ability to load or save custom render settings.
    • Other options include blurred transparency and reflectivity, instance rendering, shadows, soft shadows, MIP mapping, specular light, antimatter effects, and stereoscopic rendering.
  • Texturing features of include a palette of hundreds of ready-made surface textures and the ability to create new ones using features such as direct linking to the original Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files – make changes in Photoshop or Illustrator and the model’s surface will automatically update.
    • Texture channels include Diffuse Color, Reflection Color, Specular Reflection, Reflection Count, Inline Amount, Anisotropy, Opacity, Smoothness, Refractive Index, Glow Index, Bulge, Normal, Drop Map, and Mask.
    • Other features include inline UV mapping, scripting, hierarchical control, normal maps, and many predefined and customizable volume and hard textures including fog, haze, fog and clouds.
    • Grid Mapping UV mapping uses Least Squares Conformal Mapping (LSCM) technology. LSCM unwrapping options include unfolding entire objects, an individual UV, or just selected polygons. The following unfolding commands are available: anchor, fit, fit each, rotate connected, move, select perimeter, assign a UV edge seam.
    • Texture preview LiveRay allows the user to see texture changes directly in simulation mode.
    • Quick texture settings include glossiness and transparency, which allows you to quickly adjust the basic attributes of the texture.
  • Pre-built Demo Scenes Included in the app, allows users to create an object or model in one of 29 pre-built indoor and outdoor templates, including white and dark studios and pre-built shelving.Ready-made templates include optimized lights and light domes.
  • Modeling features for include Bezier splines, polygons, quadrilateral polysplines (subdivision surfaces), metasurfaces, extrusion, lathe, booleans, skin, and mirror.
  • The viewing capabilities of include fast OpenGL previews and photorealistic LiveRay previews, familiar interface, split view, camera view, multiple views, depth cue, picture / movie background, and spotlight viewing.
  • Features of the environment include the plane of the earth, refraction of air, visible and reflective background, atmosphere, gravity and wind.
  • Lighting Features Available in Design 3D CX 8.x include Point Lights, Point Lights, Global Lights, Glowing Surfaces, Lightdome HDRI, Intensity, Soft Edges, Key Objects, Ambient Lights, Animated Lights, Gels , lighting effects and integration with HDR Light Studio (optional).
  • Special effects include lens flare, auras, particles, effect scripts, fountains, fire, smoke, hair, hotspots, pixie dust. Also included are global gravity, wind force, and air control.
  • File Import / Export Features include U3D (in), Collada (in / out), Illustrator / EPS (in), Photoshop PSD (in / out), STL (in / out), XMM (out), Quicktime (in / out), PICT (in / out), Quicktime VR (out), TGA (in / out), TIFF (in / out), BMP (in / out), JPEG (in / out), 3DS (in ), PDF (input), DXF (input / output), AVI (input / output), MiniCAD (input), Amapi (input / output), OBJ (input / output), VRML 1 and 2 (input / output), Flash SWF (output), True Type Fonts (in) and Postscript fonts (in)
  • Animation features. Everything can be animated in Design 3D. Capabilities include scripting, hierarchical animation, visible paths, animation preview, event-driven path mapping, keyframes, velocity graphs, life control, path alignment, inverse and forward kinematics, and event proportional scaling. The following toolpath types are available: TCB, spline, and natural. Animation effects allow users to smash, explode, and wiggle objects.
  • Drawing features include 2D / 3D text, 2D drawing tools, 3D primitives, and spline curves.

Versions

The current version of Strata 3D is Strata Design 3D CX 8.1, which adds Embree Raycasting from Intel.

  • Design 3D CX 8.0 adds a 64-bit renderer with expanded memory handling and improved handling of very large renderings. Other rendering improvements included a new dialog that added gamma, brightness, and black point controls, as well as the ability to render high dynamic range (HDRI) images.Other notable additions are the Publish command for exporting objects to 3D printing services including Augment, Sketchfab, and iMaterialise. Lighting enhancements include integration with HDR Light Studio.
  • New features in Design 3D CX 7.5 include UV editing tools such as Conform, polygon mesh seam markings, and new UV editing tools. Modeling enhancements include the Decimate command, new methods and tools for editing polygons, import and export of STL files (.stl) for 3D printing, and support for bump / normal maps in Collada import / export.
  • The 2012 release of Design 3D CX 7.0 included numerous texture enhancements such as support for anisotropy and normal maps, blurred transparency, and subsets for applying different textures to different polygon groups of the same object. V7 also includes a full UV editor, new polygon selection and editing tools, rendering and speed improvements. Rendering enhancements include support for blurry reflections and blurred transparency, as well as responsive surface sampling. [ when? ]
  • In 2009, Design 3D CX 6 added HDRI lighting, new grid and guide features, multiple polygon editing tools, editing tools for lathes, Bézier, extrude and extruded objects along the path, new texture channels and elements controls including Fresnel interpolation, new photon rendering, and improved rendering quality and speed. Version 6 also added tighter integration with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended through a suite of plugins.Design 3D Model, TexturePaint, Match, and Render plugins allowed users to easily send models back and forth from Photoshop to create, edit, and texturize 3D content.
  • Design 3D CX 5.x releases since 2006 included subdividing surfaces (Catmull-Clark polygon smoothing), scripting using the Lua programming language, and rendering to Photoshop layers. This release introduced new split tools, scripting support, bones and the IK system, and a story palette.
  • The 2004 releases of Strata 3D CX v4.x included polygon modeling and sectional surface modeling (SDS) tools.
  • In 2002, Strata 3Dbase and Strata 3D Pro (version 3) added features such as toon rendering and photon display.
  • By 1999, Strata StudioPro 2.53 offered many new features, including the choice of QuicDraw 3D or OpenGL for screen rendering, multiple view options to speed up redrawing, and the ability to convert 3D primitives to skin, Bezier, polygonal mesh objects.Other features included texture preview, contour extrusion, boolean operations, skin (loft), and extrusion; and special effects such as fountains, lens flare, fog, fog
  • Strata StudioPro 1.

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