OPPO Find X review: A beautiful disaster

Despite its incredible hardware design, the software experience may ruin the Find X for avid power users.

The Find X feels like a direct response from OPPO to all of the jaded critics that love to say that smartphone designs have become “boring” or “iterative.” It’s hard to call this phone either of those things, with its incredibly unique slide-out camera panel and jaw-dropping bezel-less display. From a hardware perspective, this is probably the most interesting phone of the year, and maybe even a milestone for smartphones as a whole.

As with any industry-leading design, though, the phone isn’t perfect, and that’s before you even turn it on. Once you do, the Find X’s software isn’t nearly as futuristic as its hardware, and some of the ways OPPO changes the fundamental Android experience with ColorOS are hard to look past.

OPPO Find X

Price: $960

Bottom line: The Find X has a jaw-dropping, innovative design and an almost entirely bezel-less display, but the ColorOS software is pretty hard to look past and its cameras are subpar for the price.

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Pros:

Gorgeous, unique design with high screen-to-body ratio
Long-lasting battery
Huge, bright display
Cons:

ColorOS is a travesty
Notifications are disabled on most apps by default
Cameras aren’t great for the money
No water resistance or wireless charging
About this review

I (Hayato Huseman) am writing this review after using the Find X (PAFM00) for two weeks in Indianapolis and New York City on the AT&T network. The phone was running firmware version PAFM00_11_A.23_7cd29206 with ColorOS v5.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo, and hasn’t received any updates over the course of the review. The unit was purchased by Mobile Nations.

OPPO Find X Hardware

The Find X is one of the most unique phones I’ve ever used from a hardware perspective. There’s just nothing like it, and that starts with its curved 6.4-inch display, front and center. It’s a great Full HD+ AMOLED panel with good color reproduction and outdoor viewing angles, but that’s clearly not its headline characteristic.

The display occupies an insane 93.8% of the face of the phone. Read that back, that’s just a few points shy of a completely bezel-less, 100% screen-to-body ratio. That absolutely topples over phones like the Galaxy Note 9, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, and even the Vivo NEX — the latter of which is closest in design to the Find X. While having virtually nothing but screen up front isn’t always entirely practical (we’ll get to that later), watching videos on this phone is nothing short of stunning, and it’s an experience unlike using any other phone.

The biggest problem with the coveted bezel-less design tech enthusiasts lust over is that phones still need somewhere to put all of the various sensors that typically sit above the display — things like the ambient light and proximity sensors, the earpiece speaker, and the front-facing camera. Most manufacturers have started cramming those sensors into a notch at the top of the display, but OPPO had something different in mind.

The Find X’s motorized camera panel is a stunning hardware component, but moving parts still give me pause.

At the top of the Find X is a motorized hidden panel that raises whenever you need to access the cameras and automatically tucks itself away when you’re done. It’s just as crazy as it sounds; you can actually hear and feel the motors whirring as the panel raises and lowers, and it’s just wild to watch. While the Vivo NEX pulled off a similar design first with its motorized camera tab, this is the first phone with a raising panel spanning its entire width.

Now if you’re worried about hardware longevity with a motorized panel … well, you’re right to be. OPPO says it’s tested its motor for up to 300,000 actuations, but at the end of the day it’s still a moving part, and moving parts eventually break. If that happens with the Find X, you’re not just out a cool party trick, you won’t be able to access your cameras.

That’s not just a big deal for photographers, either. Since the Find X doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, it instead relies on facial recognition for authentication. Just like the iPhone X, when you first set up the phone, it uses infrared to create a depth map of your face, then the panel quickly slides out to read your face every time you turn on the display.

The whole system works surprisingly well; the motor is fairly quick to extend and retract the panel as necessary, and the facial recognition is almost instant once the panel is out. The process isn’t quite as fast as OnePlus’s facial recognition or even Apple’s Face ID, but we’re talking a second longer at most — this is perfectly fine for daily use. Just like the alternatives, the Find X won’t unlock if you’re looking away, which is a good security measure. The only time the phone gives me any trouble is when I’m wearing glasses; it’ll still recognize me eventually, but it often takes much longer than usual.

Specs
OPPO Find X
Screen
6.4-inch 19.5:9 (2340×1080) AMOLED
Chipset
Snapdragon 845
RAM
8GB
Storage
128GB/256GB
Software
Android 8.1 Oreo, ColorOS 5.1
Rear Camera 1
16MP, ƒ/2.0
Rear Camera 2
20MP, ƒ/2.0
Front Camera
25MP, ƒ/2.0
Security
Face unlock
Battery
3730mAh
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Colors
Bordeaux Red, Glacier Blue
Dimensions
156.7 x 74.2 x 9.6mm
Weight
186g
Price
$960

It’s almost a shame how much the motorized panel and bezel-less display steer the conversation away from the rest of the phone, because it’s just as unique and gorgeous elsewhere. With all the cameras hidden away, the back of the phone is completely barren, with only the OPPO and Find X branding interrupting the otherwise blank slate. By this point, we’re all programmed to avoid touching the upper third of the backs of our phones to keep from accidentally smudging the cameras, but it’s oddly relieving to not have to worry about that here.

The Find X also has some pretty eye-catching, beautiful finishes. On my Glacier Blue unit, the center of the glass back is a glossy deep black, but the edges subtly fade into a gorgeous dark blue that permeates to the metal frame. The Bordeaux Red model features the same gradient effect, but with more of a dark magenta hue. They’re both incredible finishes that are unlike anything I’ve seen on other phones.

Now despite all of the Find X’s opulent hardware traits, there are a few letdowns here, too. There’s no headphone jack, nor are there front-facing speakers — instead, there’s a small speaker grill on the bottom edge that puts out disappointingly tinny audio. You also don’t get wireless charging, despite this phone having a glass backing, but most damning of all, it isn’t water resistant. This was a necessary trade-off to achieve the motorized panel, but it’s disappointing nonetheless — this phone is far too costly to be wiped out by a rainstorm or spilled glass.

OPPO Find X Software

I’ve gushed on for nearly a thousand words about the Find X’s incredible hardware, but the software is a different story entirely. OPPO’s ColorOS software runs on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, but you’d never know it from using the phone. This is a fundamentally different Android experience than any Western user will be accustomed to, and the vast majority of OPPO’s changes do much more to harm the experience than improve it.

From the moment you first set up the Find X, all of your apps are scattered across multiple pages of the home screen without an app drawer, iOS-style, and what would typically be the Google Feed to the left of the home screens has instead been replaced with OPPO’s Smart Assistant. The latter makes sense, since Google’s services aren’t available in China, where OPPO originates, and Smart Assistant actually isn’t bad; you can use it to quickly check the weather, track steps, see upcoming calendar events, and so on.

Android Oreo on the Find X is completely unrecognizable through all of ColorOS’s changes.

The problems begin when you start trying to install … well, pretty much anything. OPPO has its own app store, but it’s all in Chinese, even if you set the phone up in English, and the selection is miserable at best. Instead, you’ll want to side-load the Google Play Store, which is as simple as downloading and installing the APK, but finding it takes a bit of work, no thanks to OPPO’s browser, which — you guessed it — is all in Chinese.

Once you’ve installed the Play Store and started downloading your favorite apps, you’ll likely start running into other problems. Using a third-party keyboard like Gboard works well enough, but much like iOS, the Find X reverts to its default keyboard any time you input passwords — a somewhat reasonable security measure, if not a bit annoying. If, however, you try to install a third-party launcher, you’ll quickly find out that the Find X doesn’t let you change launchers. The default launcher option in the system settings leads to a completely blank menu, no matter what you try, so … get used to ColorOS, I suppose. In fairness, OPPO says that’s been fixed in a new software update, but I have yet to receive it on my unit.

I also had a ton of trouble with Google Maps on the Find X. On a recent trip to New York, I tried to pull up directions to my hotel from the airport, but the phone simply couldn’t lock onto my location. Despite having a solid 4G connection, I waited almost five minutes before the phone could pull up directions, which were entirely wrong because the phone had pinpointed me at a completely different part of town. Eventually I had to just give up and grab my Galaxy S9 to navigate around, but most people who buy this phone won’t have a spare to fall back on, and I can’t say I’d be confident getting around town with the Find X.

It’s easy enough to shrug these issues off and say that the phone wasn’t intended for Western markets or Google Play services in the first place, but the troubles with ColorOS aren’t exclusive to third-party apps. Dismissing individual notifications is a multi-step process now; you can’t just swipe them away like most other phones. Instead, you’ll have to swipe them to the left, which then slides out a trash icon you can tap to dismiss the notification. Every single time. For every notification.

ColorOS has a few convenient features, but it’s so broken in its current state that it makes the Find X hard to use.

That’s not so bad though, since you’ll hardly receive notifications in the first place — at least, by default. After a few minutes with the Find X, you’ll quickly start to notice that push notifications from apps aren’t coming in. That’s not because of aggressive background task management (though it has that, too) or a poor network connection; it’s because by default, notifications are disabled for every third-party app. You actually have to go into the system settings and enable push notifications for each app individually. I can’t overstate how awful of an experience this is, especially without a way to mass-approve every app at once.

These issues are a real shame because the phone actually runs very smoothly — though that’s no surprise, given the Snapdragon 845 and whopping 8GB of RAM in tow. The software has some genuinely convenient and useful features, like the swipe-up gesture navigation that replaces the three-button layout to regain the bottom of the screen, or the app cloning that allows for multiple accounts on a single service like Facebook or Instagram. Sadly, though, the benefits of ColorOS are far outweighed by its shortcomings.

OPPO Find X Cameras

The Find X features two cameras on the backside of its motorized module, one a 16MP primary sensor and the other a 20MP depth sensor that aids in portrait mode photography — both with an ƒ/2.0 aperture. Considering the Find X is priced similarly to the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone X, I was comparatively underwhelmed by its cameras, but they’re still impressive given just how narrow the sliding enclosure for the cameras is.

Dynamic range is pretty great; I went on a hike with a few friends the other week, and even on darker paths shrouded from the sun by trees, the bright sky still came out blue in photos, rather than a blown out white. Colors are decent as well, if not a bit undersaturated, but I noticed a tendency for the cameras to overexpose. It’s a quick enough fix in post, but I’d rather the phone just properly expose in the first place.

I’m mostly happy with the Find X’s cameras in daylight, but it gets pretty rough in even the slightest of dark conditions. While on that hike, I missed a lot of shots later in the evening because the cameras are just too slow in the dark, and despite the 16MP sensor’s built-in OIS, most of my photos came out blurry and undefined. Take the Find X into a truly dark environment like a bar, and it just gets worse. Colors become muddy and clarity becomes all but nonexistent. Low light is a weakness of any phone’s cameras, but I had hoped for better from a thousand dollar phone.

What annoyed me most about shooting on the Find X is that the camera app has absolutely no settings. Save for the small bits of iconography strewn across the viewfinder, OPPO’s camera software is a mostly take-it-or-leave-it experience, though I’m happy there’s still at least a pro mode (OPPO calls it “expert mode”) for manual controls. As far as video goes, you can shoot in 4K despite the display only reaching 1080p, but I more appreciated the option to shoot in 1080p at up to 120fps for smooth slow-motion shots.

OPPO Find X Battery Life

Battery life is actually one of the Find X’s high points. It’s a sizable 3730mAh, and combined with ColorOS’s aggressive app management and the relatively low-resolution display (that’s not a knock — 1080p is plenty good enough for most people), it’s pretty hard to kill the phone in a single day.

Even with the unavoidable constant gaps in service of riding the New York City Subway, which are notorious for running down any phone’s battery, the Find X always made it through the day for me, typically with 20 or 30% to spare by midnight.

ColorOS doesn’t show screen-on time, but the Find X has no trouble making it through the day and then some.

If you don’t like how often ColorOS closes out idle background tasks, you can actually disable its app management in the system settings, though that’ll likely impact battery life pretty significantly. Then again, you’re still working with almost 4000mAh, so while endurance may be a bit worse without what OPPO calls “app freezing,” it’ll still likely last you through the day without a hitch.

When the phone does run down, it features OPPO’s VOOC rapid charging for quick top-ups. If you’ve ever used another phone from OPPO or OnePlus, you already know all about VOOC charging — it’s insanely fast; even with a 3730mAh battery, the Find X can reach a full charge in less than an hour, so long as you use the included charger.

Even with a different charger, though, I was impressed with the charge times. I use my 15-inch MacBook Pro’s 87W USB-C charger interchangeably with my laptop and phones, and I’ve found that the Find X charges fully in about 80 minutes.

The only letdown with the Find X’s battery life is standby time. If I leave the phone off the charger overnight, it loses nearly 10% of its charge. With such aggressive throttling of idle apps, I’m really not sure what could be draining the battery so much with the screen off, but it’s definitely been disappointing whenever I pull the Find X out of my bag after a flight and notice how much it’s lost.

Should you buy it? Probably not

This far in, it’s pretty easy to guess my feelings on the Find X. I can’t remember the last time a phone’s design has captivated me the way this one’s has, from its unprecedented sliding mechanism to the incredible 93.8% screen-to-body ratio.

It’s not flawless — the camera panel traps dirt and dust pretty easily, and there’s no telling how long the hardware will last, both because moving parts eventually fail and because the phone isn’t water resistant in any way. But it’s no stretch to say that the Find X has some of the most fascinating and impressive hardware of 2018.

3
out of 5

Sadly, great hardware doesn’t get you very far when the accompanying software is as big a disaster as ColorOS. From annoying systemwide quirks to downright broken third-party app support and a complete disabling of notifications out of the box, the software on the Find X seems to combine all the worst parts of iOS and Android into a jumbled mess that make the phone hard to use — and even harder to recommend.

If you’re a hardware enthusiast with considerable money to spend, and you just want to marvel at the stunning design of the Find X, you can order one straight from Amazon for about $960. Who knows — with future updates that promise to fix broken features like the inability to use third-party launchers, the Find X might eventually offer a better software experience.

Until then, though, you can do a lot better than the Find X for a lot less money.

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Read more about this at: androidcentral.com

Game Of Thrones: 25 Crazy Fan Redesigns Way Better Than The Show

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire was already a ethnic phenomenon before HBO got its mitts on the rights and started cranking out occurrences of Game of Thrones in 2011. The line abruptly killed to into the TV hall of glory thanks to its beautiful lists, swelling mythology, and memorable characters.

Long before the tales smacked the small screen, fans were hard at work interpreting what those character might actually look like. While we have actors and actresses showing those people on screen, that is only one reading of how people like Jon Snow, Sansa Start, and Daenerys Targaryan should look.

Fortunately, the committee is thousands of masters who are also fans of the books and the television series who have kept their knacks to use in the name of Game of Thrones. Located on the romances and some elements of the Tv register, artists from around the world have come up with beautiful articles of artistry depicting their favorite characters.

After excavating through sites like GameofThronesFanart, DeviantArt, and others, we came up with the 25 good bits we feel represent the characters even better than the show.

To kick stuffs off, the top persona belongs to CreaSdOutlineR, which he made to honor the series. Valentin v. Uslar-Gleichen depicts digitally and clear has a ardour for Game of Thrones and other fantasy line. His act frequently boasts a postcard-esque theme as considered to be in the above portrait .*

Valentin isn’t the only talented master out there contributing work in honor of the succession. Here are our selects for 25 Crazy Fan Redesigns Way Better Than The Show

25 BRIENNE OF TARTH

Bella Bergolts is a Russian master whose real list is Eugenia. She considered artwork at university and has worked professionally as a digital artist at countless studios. When it comes to illustrating her favorite attributes, she tends to move towards high-fantasy and establishes like Game of Thrones.

This portrait of Brienne of Tarth highlights her unique “unfinished” style, which boasts a strong brushstroke and adherence to the character’s look.

In the books, Brienne is described as unfeminine and unattractive, tall, muscular, and ungainly with stray-colored fuzz. Neither the actress playing her nor this depict depicts an ugly woman, but the make-up clearly images nobody but Brienne of Tarth.

2 4 DAENERYS STORMBREAKER

Marcos Feittosa is a Brazilian master who depletes much of his time working on sketches based on courages from his favorite wields, including A Ballad of Ice and Fire. The majority of his portfolio depicts personas as they are described in the books, including his take over Daenerys Targaryan.

In this image, Feittosa sucked Daenerys wearing a Hrakkar in a beautiful extort named “If I look back, I’m lost.” A Hrakkar is a reproduction of white-hot lion native to the Dothraki Sea. In the books, Daenerys began wearing the fur belonging to a lion Drogo hunted.

2 3 ARYA STARK

Hikaru Yagi is a Russian digital craftsman who lives and works out of Japan. Her cultivate consists of interpretings of comic book, manga, anime, movie, activity, and fantasy television personas including those from Game of Thrones. She sells her work online and offers commissionings as well as categorizes and tutorial videos for anyone looking to learn her techniques.

This image of Arya Stark illustrates the character in a Japanese kimono in the form of the House of Stark.

The describing looks much like her persona on the demo and pieces Arya harbouring a Japanese katana in her helping hand, which differs from her left-handed copy in the books.

2 2 CHIBI GAME OF THRONES

This adorable Chibi representation of the principal Game of Thrones reputations was illustrated by the talented Clau Calderon, a Peruvian master who paints for the purposes of the identify MeduClau. Unlike most of the explains and paints on this list, MeduClau works in a physical medium, often drawing in pencil and then finishing her work with watercolors.

This composition includes her favorite characters: Khal Drogo, Olenna Tyrell, Hodor, Ygritte, Cersei Lannister, Melisandre, Daenerys Targaryan, Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Drogon, and Nymeria.

MeduClau maintains a YouTube canal where she supports her ability via instructional videos.

2 1 CERSEI LANNISTER

Jiarui Liu is a Chinese digital creator who lives and works out of Beijing, China. Liu’s work primarily boasts digital versions of high-pitched myth personas including many creatures, ogres, and villains. While Liu’s work peculiarity a beautiful sketch of Tyrion Lannister, we decided to select his take on Cersei Lannister.

As the baby-sit Queen of Westeros, Cersei has certainly supported herself as a genuine monarch.

This picture perfectly encapsulates her regal mood by targeting her on the Iron Throne.

While she shares visual affinities with her onscreen equivalent, this depiction differs somewhat, but still has the dominant vicinity merely Cersei can pull off.

2 0 EURON GREYJOY

GibiLynx is an Austrian digital artist and hobbyist. This paint of Euron Greyjoy was done as a speedpaint commissioning for one of Lynx’s many patients. The illustration persists genuine to the character by showing him with an eyepatch over his left nose. The eyepatch made him the name “Crow’s Eye, ” which is an appropriate mention for a lover who devoted his life as a prosperous pirate.

Euron’s representation by Pilou Asbaek in Game of Thrones is quite different from the book version. He shortage any magic the authority and still has both eyes.

1 9 DAENERYS TARGARYEN

This painting of Daenerys Targaryen was decorated by the previously mentioned Bella Bergolts, aka Eugenia. The covering is one of countless she has crafted in honor of the books and succession. Like some of her other work related to the serial, this draw is a concept piece based on imagery from the books, which is why it doesn’t appear much like Daenerys from the series.

In the books, she is described as having a classic Valyrian ogle: violet eyes, pallid scalp, and long silver-gold hair.

The obvious alteration in this drawing is the abbreviated fuzz, but you can’t misstep those dazzling eyes.

Just looking at that one feature proves this work as Daenerys.

1 8 HODOR SMASH!

Sometimes, a devotee comes along and makes a beautiful portrayal of their favorite personas. Seldom, that fan is an established master like Brian Kesinger, a talented digital artist who depleted 16 years working for Walt Disney Studios. Kesinger’s work often reclines towards the Steampunk genre, which he utilized working on films including Treasure Planet and Meet the Robinsons.

In this gleaning appropriately named, “Hodor Smash, ” we participate Hodor demolishing the reanimated soldiers who assaulted Bran on the ice.

Even as a static likenes, you can’t assistance but feel engrossed in the action imaged.

The look on Bran’s face as he use his warg cleverness to restrict Hodor help provide the mood in the image.

1 7 THE HOUSE OF STARK

Gigei, otherwise known as Maria Perez Pacheco, is an master who lives and was working in Spain. Her labour bends more towards the cartoonish rather than reasonable like many of the portraits on such lists. While she does work with Game of Thrones personas, she also illustrates Doctor Who and Disney within her special style.

When the sequence and books began, it inspected as if House Stark was going to live a long and fortunate life. It didn’t make long for everything to fall apart, but before it all is down, the Starks were happy.

This image perfectly outlines the entire lineage in an idealized, cartoony style.

1 6 JON SNOW

Ramon Nunez is an master and graphic designer who holds a degree in Graphic Design. He started out as a Visual Developer for many draping brands doing instance work in 2013. Following this, he division out to work as a freelance creator doing committees for digital make-up and sketch. He too use as a abstraction artist for recreation design.

After watching the season seven incident “Dragonstone”, Nunez got hectic on a new series of Game of Thrones characters inspired by the episode.

In addition to Jon Snow, he described nearly every major reputation from the chapter.

His Game of Thrones series and many other works of art can be found on his Instagram page.

1 5 KHALEESI

Michal Dziekan is a Polish illustrator and character designer who has worked in both cinema and living as a flow captivate artist and art lead. His biggest passion has always been in illustration and character intend, which is why he changed be concentrated on 2011 to “commentary, grotesque sketches with fair dosage of black humour and distorted characters.”

This gorgeous painting of Daenerys Targaryen focuses on her visage as the Khaleesi, being used by flaming. In numerous access, Daenerys was born in fuel and it was the kindles that brought about birth certificates of her children( her three dragons ). The striking imagery and use of coloring beautifully outlines the real Queen of Westeros.

1 4 LYANNA MORMONT

The image above was created by an craftsman who goes by the name AbsurdUnicorns. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any details on the creator including who they are and where they are from.

A genuine mistres of Westeros, Lyanna Mormont was only a child when she firstly appeared in the sixth season of the evidence. Don’t caused her age clown you; she is a well-established ruler of her parties and is terribly had been able to telling her militaries across Westeros. This static idol came from an animated GIF you can watch here.

1 3 RHAEGAR TARGARYEN

Joseph Taylor is a freelance creator who lives and works out of Cambridge, England. His direct is often used to outlines a cartoonish wording akin to many of the Disney inspired films from the 1990 s. His portfolio includes homages to several reputations throughout pop culture in the form of portraits.

One of the most important point characters in the Game of Thrones series has been gone a long time.

Rhaegar Targaryan is illustrated here in exactly the manner he was described in the book.

His violet eyes, wan surface, and long white-golden mane depicts a perfect the representatives from the onetime Prince of Dragonstone.

1 2 THE KING IN THE NORTH

Aivoree, also known as Karina Sennikova, is a freelance illustrator who lives and works out of Bryansk, Russia. Her talents tend to lean towards animal and person instance, which is why she was able to perfectly captivate Ghost and the mare in the portrait above.

At the beginning of the succession, it searched as if Robb Stark would become the self-proclaimed King in the North. Due to some preferably nefarious incidents at the “Red Wedding, ” Robb and his mother were both removed from quarrel and the number of jobs fell to Jon Snow. As Snow’s true ancestry was evident, he espoused his royal lineage and initiated to drive his army South.

1 1 DAENERYS TARGARYEN

Ross Tran is an American artist who operates under the reputation, Rossdraws. Tran is a professional master who investigated Industrial Design in Los Angeles. His direct brought him into Hollywood where he catered reference design on Earth to Echo. He spends the majority of members of his time these days learning portrait via his YouTube channel.

Tran selected this beautiful rendition of Daenerys Targaryan and streamed it on his YouTube Channel.

His first attracting on the direct two years prior was also Daenerys so it’s clear he has a special connection to the Breaker of Chains.

1 0 SANSA AND THE HOUND

This painting by GibiLynx is a concept piece called “Sansa and the Hound.” The drudgery reimagines Sandor Clegane, otherwise known as the Hound, as a literal bird-dog laying beside Sansa Stark in the woods. As you can see in the idol, the Hound’s face is disfigured in the same way Sandor’s face is burned in the books and television series.

Sansa Stark is one of the core personas in Game of Thrones. As a Stark, she is seen as the key to prevailing the North by those in the South, but Sansa refused to follow that path. After escaping Ramsey Bolton’s cruelty, she rejoined her brother, Jon Snow, and fought to recapture Winterfell.

9 SHIREEN BARATHEON

Hikaru Yagi’s work continues to impress with this depiction of Shireen Baratheon.

Shireen’s depiction is complete with her dress decorated with the Stag, the sigil for her father’s residence.

She is also comprising a wooden carve of the same animal and pictures her normally obscured, scarred face.

The story of Shireen Baratheon is one of the saddest in the succession. After subsisting Greyscale, she wastes their own lives locked up in a fortres so nobody will see her scarred face. When her father’s madness overtakes his passion for power, he burned his daughter as a relinquish to R’hllor, the Lord of Light.

8 SYRIO FOREL AND ARYA STARK

Flachzange, otherwise known as Marco, is a German creator who specialized in many vogues of illustrations often outlining gals. His work is usually focused on portraiture, but regards fantasy ingredients and various forms of pop culture, which of course includes Game of Thrones.

Syrio Forel and Arya Stark are illustrated doing what the hell is did good: discipline Arya to become a suitable swordswoman. The cartoonish mode is vastly different from most of Marco’s work, but still captures the characters perfectly in a scene where Arya learns a value exercise about how not to get stabbed.

7 THE RED LION OF CASTAMERE

Paul Van Calla is a conceptual craftsman and illustrator who lives and works out of Manila, Philippines. He considered prowes at the University of Santo Tomas and currently acts as an artist at The Studio of Secret6, Inc. His online portfolio simply peculiarity two personas including the one we have decided to here. The other images the Punisher wielding a mini-gun, which he too employs as his sketch picture.

His painting is of Roger Reyne, The Red Lion of Castamere. Reyne has been mentioned in The World of Ice& Fire and A Feast for Crows, and was briefly seen in an chapter in the streak imaging phenomena at Castamere in 261 AC.

6 SAMURAI HOUND

Jaime Jr. Quiano is a abstraction master and illustrator who lives and works out of Quezon City, Philippines. Jaime has worked professionally as an artist doing sketch undertaking and concept reaps for play motif. He has also succeeded as a 2D animator as well as a storyboard artist.

This drawing of the Hound, otherwise known as Sandor Clegane, is a deparature from the picture.

The reimagined Hound peculiarity an inflict follower wearing Japanese Samurai armor with a frightening helmet and sheathed katana. While his outfit has been altered, his face still boasts his impairment caused by his brother years before.

5 DAEMON I BLACKFYRE

Mike Hallstein is an Australian craftsman who specializes in commissioned cases of just about any courage you might picture. He clearly has a desire for Game of Thrones seeing as illustrations of personas from the series are spread throughout his online digital portfolio.

In this image of Daemon I Blackfyre – The Black Dragon, Hallstein has depicted the character in a majestic constitute amidst a wheat domain. Daemon Waters was the illegitimate child of Princess Daena Targaryen and King Aegon IV Targaryen. He took part in the first Blackfyre Rebellion and became known as the Black Dragon for his exploits.

4 RHAEGAR TARGARYEN

Andreia Carbonari is a Brazilian designer and illustrator who lives and works out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She described herself as a “Graphic designer and illustrator. Coffee lover. Jedi, Ravenclaw student and sailor sometimes. INFP-T. Libra and Aquarius.” Her work includes mainly likeness of pretty much every popular reference in pop culture.

This drawing of Rhaegar Targaryan illustrates him in a way akin to a Japanese Samurai, but still retains the imagery iconic to the character and the Valyrian beings. His most prominent aspect, the beautiful white-hot spurting hair, easily dominates this amazing patch by Carbonari.

3 THE RED VIPER

Arden Beckwith is a Melbourne, Australia-borne freelance illustrator who specialized in reaping scenes from popular science fiction and fantasy journals, poster tournaments, and video games. Beckwith works independently, but takes commissioned occupation whenever the motive arises.

This painting of the Red Viper, otherwise known as Oberyn Martell, depicts the specific characteristics as he was described in the books.

Martell is a emphatic “mens and” colossal fighter whose predilection for scarlet garb made him the nickname, “The Red Viper.” In a fight against The Ridge, he failed to defeat his rival and submitted to his injuries.

2 TORMUND GIANTSBANE

Joel-Lee is a freelance illustrator who lives and works out of Singapore. His goal is to one day get into professional hypothesi art and design, which isn’t surprising when you look through his portfolio. Much of his study details popular characters from comic books, video games, and television services and facilities, with a great deal of exertion going towards Game of Thrones.

Tormund Giantsbane is shown in this adorable image of the Wilding laying atop a very thirsty-looking make. As he gobbles( which he often does ), he recollects of his one true love: Brienne of Tarth. Numerous supporters want to see these two end up together, but Brienne has thus far evidenced perfectly no concern whatsoever.

1 VISERYS TARGARYEN

Adrien Jeannerod is a concept craftsman, character designer, and current art student contemplating the spacecraft in Lyon, France. Inspecting through Adren’s portfolio, it’s clear there is a desire for science fiction and delusion. There isn’t much devoted to Game of Thrones, save for the beautiful picture of Viserys Targaryen we chose to peculiarity here.

The painting sums up the specific characteristics perfectly with his self-made crown and paper dragon he is playing with. Viserys tried to trade his sister for the purposes of an horde he could use to take back the crown and acquire the Iron Throne, but he was only given a molten crown of golden by Khal Drogo.

What do you think of these Game of Thrones redesigns? Tell us know in the comments!

Read more about this at: screenrant.com

A California beacon of sustainability gets a LEED Platinum refresh

An inspiring beacon for recycling in El Cerrito, California has recently received a sustainable revamp that includes newly minted LEED Platinum certification. Redesigned by Berkeley-based architecture practice Noll & Tam Architects, the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center (RERC/Center) was overhauled following extensive community involvement and now features a more user-friendly environment with educational opportunities and a greater holistic approach to sustainability. The…

Read more about this at: inhabitat.com

The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018

I’ve just been enjoying a couple of weeks at the world’s largest literary gala, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, looking a number of fascinating author affairs and likewise being fortunate enough to chair various comics and science fiction events very, from Young Adult science fiction and graphic tales to graphic non-fiction extending science, gender issues and autobiography, as well as taking in two very famous, gifted but different artists, Mr Alan Lee, and Scotland’s own Frank Quitely.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 01

The comics kinfolks were out in force on the first day of the book gala, with the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival gang organising a free comics fair for small press and Indy designers in the inn right across the road from the prime gala in Charlotte Square, which was a very nice touch, imparting the small press comickers a chance to light at such a huge illuminated fest, in the midst of a town buzzing as the Fringe and International Festival were also going on and it is like half the planet has packed into our ancient volcanic city to experience the most difficult arts and culture affair in the world, a awful sit for our fellow comickers to strut their funky stuff.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - A Graphic Novel of Women 01

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - A Graphic Novel of Women 03

The opening day likewise met the regular exquisite age-old Spiegeltent being used for more incidents, with a talk concerning BHP Comics’ Sha Nazir and Heather Palmer and 404 Ink’s Laura Jones discussing We Shall Fight Until We Win, an all-woman inventor anthology celebrating the centenary year of( some) women in the UK going the vote, with a female figure from each decade of that century explored by the different the authors and masters. Both Indy Scottish media, BHP and 404 Ink, had collaborated on this, and in a singularly brief timescale- much of the writing, depicting and revising was achieved within a couple of months.

Larger publishers would probably still be going over contracts at that point, but big publishers can be swifter and more agile on this kind of turnaround, as members of the panel asked. Both publishers seemed to have a positive ordeal and seemed warm to the idea of working together again in the future. The gathering was pleasingly mixed, as much as is I could see, comics readers but likewise a great deal of regular work festival goers who had come along partly out of interest in the subject and too perhaps to help support local publishers.

BHP big cheese Sha Nazir too stepped in eventually in the festival- I was to talk with Frank Quitely for a schools programme event, but personal commitments meant Frank was unable to do that happen, but fortunately Sha stepped in, and we had a good conversation with the school students about publishing, how Sha came started in obliging his own comics then into publishing others, how to utter your own, how to approach publishers and more. We had some neat a discussion with school librarians at the signing afterwards, they were very open to more graphic novels to spur reading.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Sha Nazir

I had the most people I’ve ever had on stage at any event I’ve chaired at the celebration for a SelfMadeHero evening, which included John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy talking about the amazing Tumult and Javi Rey discussing his beautiful graphic change of Jesus Carassco’s Out in the Open. Javi’s English was fine for one on one chats but on place we had an interpreter, Carolina, to cure him, so all in all there were five of us parcelled onto the small place( Carolina is another Indy publisher as well as interpreter, and she introduced that to the proceedings too ).

Both diaries were very different, but there was a lot of common ground too, especially in the way the two different creators had utilized brightnes and emblazon, and rather nicely it objective up being one of those events where instead of precisely me asking questions the comickers all started provide comments on each other’s answers and asking each other questions too. There was a lovely flow between Michael’s arts and John’s writing in Tumult, the prowes achieving the difficult task of picturing the same maiden but hinting at the differences among temperaments which manifest in her, while Javi chose to adapt the fiction into comics by slipping most of the words, causing the skill- including some splendid, Sergio Leone-esque landscapes- carry the narration, more an interpreting than adaptation. Interestingly he told us the publisher in Spain approached him and asked him to adapt the hugely successful romance into comics flesh. At the post-event signing Javi created his watercolours carton and proceeded to paint emblazon skill for every person who signed. I can’t recommend Tumult and Out in the Open most fairly, two of the most fascinating and beautifully crafted graphic stories I’ve read this year.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - John Dunning Michael Kennedy and Javi Rey 01

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - John Dunning Michael Kennedy and Javi Rey 02

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - John Dunning Michael Kennedy and Javi Rey 03

I was delighted to see Darryl Cunningham, returning to the book gala( he was here previously for Supercrash ), bringing his quite excellent Graphic Science from Myriad( reviewed now) to the carnival. He had been put on with computer scientist Ursula Martin, who had written down one of the woman colonists of computer science, the great Ada Lovelace, which attested a good coincide as Darryl’s graphic toil explores several scientists who are less well known and respected than there is a requirement to because of gender, class, income or colour, and it was a good reminder of the influence of intellect and understand, for the individual of various kinds, and the positive impact their work, if they are given the luck, can have on a wider civilization. I was also praised when Darryl was interposed as writing graphic non myth but in his talk he said some of the terms like that are relevant to pioneers were inept, and he said he simply remembers of himself as a cartoonist. I was very proud to hear him use the “C” word.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Darryl Cunningham 02

Frank Quitely established a great late night talk at the festival, taking his recent Drawings+ Sketches artistry bible published by Glasgow-based BHP Comics as the basis of the night. Frank had sheets of his labor from the Drawings book on screen, and he and chairperson Stuart Kelly squandered those as a good way to explore not just Frank’s impressive body of work, from Broons parody The Greens in Electric Soup many years ago in Glasgow to major works from US publishers such as We3 with Grant Morrison and Jupiter’s Legacy with Mark Millar. The information this covered everything, from the roughest doodles and sketches to variations in thoughts for references, garbs, layouts, all the way to the finished pieces, passed the large audience a amazing revelation into the artistic process.

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Frank Quitely 01

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Frank Quitely 06

Frank was also charitable with his adoration for others, such as the writers he has worked with, the importance of ensuring that wield, mainly unnoticed by books, provided by editors and others behind the scenes, and discussing some of the other authors whose drive he immensely reveres. Dave Gibbons was one artist Frank singled out for kudo, mentioning how every very often he likes to take out Watchmen and have a look at some specific panoramas, to consider just how Dave planned and described them, except, he computed with a smile, the story is so well done that he soon find himself reading away, lost in it, before remembering he was meant to be contemplating Dave’s art and organizations from a technological point of view. Despite it being a late evening incident the turnout was good and there was a solid argument for the signing discussion subsequentlies( props to the bloke who arrived clutching a branded purse from the unhappily now defunct Schedule B Books in Glasgow ).

I was very pleased to see Jean-Pierre Filiu returning to the festival this year. Jean-Pierre, a onetime French official , now writer, lecturer and historian, wrote the sucking trilogy of graphic autobiography/ politics works The Best of Enemies, a biography of US-Middle East ties-in from the particularly creation of the American Republic in the late 1700 s to the modern age, and are presented in English by SelfMadeHero. The serial offers a fascinating penetration into this complex history of contesting affects and alliances, wrapped up in some rightfully startling artwork by one of France’s greatest comickers, David B.

Last time he was here Jean-Pierre showed there would be a breach between bible two and three as the demands of the complex artwork had spent David B, and he involved a disruption. The third work was released in English by SelfMadeHero earlier this year( see my critique now ), and was one I was eagerly awaiting. Jean-Pierre explained how the third largest publication, dealing the most recent years, was in many ways the hardest to do, principally because this was a interval he had personally knowledge( he was actually in Baghdad one evening as Allied airstrikes smack it, a proposed outing to a classical concert changed to a cellar after the venue was hit by a Tomahawk missile ), and how much harder it was to maintain offset and not become too emotionally entangled.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Jean-Pierre Filiu 02

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Jean-Pierre Filiu 04

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Jean-Pierre Filiu 06

He also asked the final sheets, wordless portraits of a wide selection of men and women from across the Middle East, Arab, Israeli, young, old-fashioned, all just looking out of the sheet at us, gazing immediately at us as if to say ” what the fuck is you do? How will you cure make this better? We’re just beings like you and want to live with our families in safety and prosperity “. Fascinating and unusually cogent, and not a bit feelings too.

I had the pleasure of chairing some happens in the Children’s Programme this year extremely; I’ve chaired writer occasions many times before at the commemoration, but this was the first time I worked on the kid’s program affairs, and it genuinely was recreation. I had a fabulous chit-chat about YA science fiction with Barbados writer Karen Lord( who has one of the brightest and bestest smiles I’ve ever seen) about The Galaxy Game, a follow-up to The Best of All Possible Worlds, and Paul Magrs( who many of you will know for his Doctor Who and Big Finish fictions) who was there with the third part of his Lora Trilogy following a young teenage girl’s journeying to save her family and friends across a future, terraformed Mars.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Karen Lord and Paul Magrs 02

While both bibles were very different they had a lot in common, both with complex and well-realised cultures with rich heritages and customs, and both, I obtained as I speak, forestalled the “omniscient narrator” and passed the reader only the same datum as the primary attributes, which had the effect of locating us right there in the travel with them, learning right alongside them, this process immersing us more into the book and cultural activities and too empathising more with the characters.

The theme of this year’s diary fair was democracy, and Gutter Magazine had produced The Freedom Papers, a accumulation of personal essays on what opennes means to different parties, by over fifty writers from around the world, including Karen and Paul, and instead of interpret from their own records they both read their essays. Generated some dozen important generators( many from African and Middle east countries) were blocked by the incompetent, Kafka-esque Home Office from find their visas to visit the book celebration, this discussion on naturalnes was all too relevant to those of us at the festival- free movement is important, rejecting it can be, in effect, a structure of censoring, and for a government to stop so many lauded scribes from entering the UK to its largest performance of the written document was utterly atrocious and barely does much to enhance the UK’s reputation of being open to the world.

Also on the children’s program I got to work not only with a duet of Nobrow/ Flying Eye founders, Alexis Deacon, there with the first two publications of his beautifully instanced YA fantasy graphic novels Geis( stressed Gesh, as in the old-fashioned Gaelic term for a formation of blaspheme or enchantment ), and Joe Todd-Stanton with the second of his Brownstone’s Mythical Collection narratives, Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, and The Secret of Black Rock. Joe’s work mixed components of the classic children’s characterization work format with a number of aspects of comics to create a delightful hybrid, and boasted some relatively splendid stages- in fact Alexis drew attention to a two-page spread by Joe outlining the Egyptian god Ra’s sunboat spanning the sky, all shown in a cutaway pattern, like those lovely Dorling Kindersely diaries, and the public of boys all agreed with him how beautiful some of those stages were. It’s always neat when instead of simply you as chair querying the authors questions, they interact with each other and discuss each other’s work and processes on theatre too, and it becomes more of a natural communication rather than interview.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Alexis Deacon & Joe Todd-Stanton 03

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Alexis Deacon & Joe Todd-Stanton 01

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Alexis Deacon & Joe Todd-Stanton 02

With so many young readers in the public both Alexis and Joe were happy to discuss how they got into illustration and comics( in Alexis’ dispute this was his firstly proper comics undertakings, his previous, award-winning parts being paint works, but he had long hid a desire to do longform comics ), and how they appoint the performance of their duties, from minds for a storey and little doodles to the finished page. Unsurprisingly many of the youngsters there liked the concepts of making their own floors and comics, and they seemed to specially enjoy listening Joe and Alexis interpreting to them about how they go about making such a anecdotes and their art.

As part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Young person a group of schoolchildren- calling themselves Codename F- worked with the gala programmers on electing contests, and in fact Alexis and Joe were writers they had exclusively asked to have at the gala( you can imagine how delighted they were to learn that !). Three of these youngsters took part in the event with us, talking to us beforehand in the Author’s Yurt, they then introduced the three of us at the beginning of this affair( unexpected experience for me , ordinarily I am introducing the author, this time I was being introduced with them !) and they had lined up questions for the public Q& A segment after our on-stage chat. The children were so enthused at being part of the book fete, and over the moon at matching some of the authors they had enjoyed see, getting to talk to them, coming their books signed( both Alexis and Joe did them lovely wee representations very ), they were absolutely rafter, one teenager telling us that this was the best epoch of their own lives. It was wonderfully sweet, even to a contemptuous old-time bookseller like me, and quite wonderful to experience the children so involved and glad at journal affairs. I think that was one of the nicest happens I’ve ever done…

On the last day of the festival on the anniversary Monday I had my last-place affair, and son, what an happening to finish on: instance royalty in the form of the great Alan Lee. HarperCollins are publishing the final JRR Tolkien tale, The Precipitate of Gondolin, the coming week and this was the first proper affair in the world to celebrate that landmark. Ironically this final brochure is the earliest Middle Earth tale- Tolkien himself was reported in a letter to a acquaintance that this was the first proper anecdote in his life that he was never started- begun during a divulge from the horror of the furrows in the Great War. Tolkien, as he often did, rewrote and changed his story over its first year, so much so that although constituents have appeared before, the full anecdote, as seen in this record, was estimation unlikely to ever see the light of day. His son Christopher Tolkien painstakingly, forensically reconstructed the full tale from several versions and drafts( including the right saved from termination by his mother ), and the book comes with voluminous memoes on how he gave it together and explaining how it are appropriate to Middle Earth history, which is as fascinating as the actual tale.

Who else could instance this almost lost fable of the First Age of Middle Earth, millennia before the time of Lord of the Rings, but already setting up ideas and sowing seeds that would come to fruition so much better afterwards chronologically, in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion except Alan Lee. An flawless pedigree of world-class explain in pencils, inks, charcoal-greys, oil and watercolours and bestows from the Kate Greenaway Medal to an Academy Award, “hes one” of the artists most responsible for how brigades of books worldwide visualise the rich tapestry of Tolkien’s Middle Earth( and of course that is why Peter Jackson asked him to work on the films with him ).

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - Alan Lee 04

Instead of the usual Q& A session format, Alan had explained he had put together an illustrated talk, and I was happy to forego the time for the Q& A to hear it alongside the jam-packed gathering. Alan took us through his work in chronological order, from early works with the largest Brian Froud in Faeries to portraits for Rosemary Sutcliff’s acclaimed children’s takes on the Iliad and Odyssey, the glorious illustrated Mabinogion fictions( I still have a facsimile of that edition, those rich, ancient Celtic myths, generator textile for much Arthurian lore, married to each other Alan’s paints, simply enchanting) and of course his many Tolkien directs, sharing with us cartoons and finished depicts from Lord of the Rings to the Fall of Gondolin, and also his works for the cinema changes with Peter Jackson.

Alan showed us a sequence of offices illustrating the great city of Gondor, explaining how as well as evidencing the city from the plains he would then form multiple sketches, effectively tools for himself, making himself through the streets and builds so he had a full understanding of how everything there is connected and use and inspected, inside and out. Percentage of this witnessed him proceeding the different levels and streets as Gandalf goes up to the summit of the town; flicking through these cartoons promptly was reminiscent of an animatic used by film-makers to strategy a sequence, and indeed Alan added that this eventually went on to be used in the film itself. Alan was also kind enough to include a plethora of cartoons and other jobs which he hasn’t publicized or shared before, save showing to category or sidekicks, including works from diaries and sketchbooks he carried with him, and a number of landscapes which he liked to capture in a sketch then would often use afterward for brainchild for notebook portraits , noting Tolkien would have approved given the landscape was such a huge inspiration to him and his writing.

The turnout for this event was huge- unhappily we feed out of time and didn’t have space to do the usual audience Q& A period, but everyone concurred it was worth relinquishing those moments to let Alan finish his illustrated talk, and the round of applause for this lord warlock of the covers was enormous and sincere. The audience did get a chance to ask him questions at the signing discussion subsequentlies, and ye idols, what a line! The queue snaked out of the signing tent, down the walkway then redoubled back on itself- by the time I had to leave, a full hour and a half following the expiration of our happening, Alan was still indicating for a line of parties! Rather neatly I noted that he avoided the chair behind the counter provided for the signing, and instead chose to stand in front of it to chit-chat to each book in turn, right next to them, then signal and sketch for them.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 02

Book Festival After Dark 03

We all know the” Roads lead ever ever on, Over stone and under tree”, but now we were, at the end of our pilgrimage through Middle Earth, returned back to very beginning, a long outing Alan has also taken with his achingly beautiful art. Although we didn’t get time for a Q& A on theatre I did get to chat to him beforehand as we therefore getting ready, and I asked him if it had been a bit emotional for him, as an master, to have followed this long jaunt through Middle Earth, to end up on the final bible and going back to the First Age, and yes, of course it had been. A impressive passage, made all the better for Alan’s artwork preventing us corporation along the long road.

And now it’s all over for another time, the Book Festival village will be folded away, the Fringe and International Festival have finished, the thronged streets are abruptly passable over again, and the posters for the multitude of phenomena hang gradually fading from walls and railings like souls. Always a singular sentiment just after the carnivals finish, a mix of succour at restoring the town and an ennui at the working party being over. Until next year, of course…

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Autism and school phobia: Parents seek help for anxious teen

Expert advice on easing social anxiety that has kept daughter largely housebound


My teen daughter has Asperger’s and extreme social anxiety. It started to get worse at 13, resulting in refusing school. It has progressed to hardly leaving the house at all and no education as such for 2 years. She is 15 now, and no one seems to be able to help. I am at a loss too. How do I get her through this? 

This week’s “Got Questions?” answer comes from Jeffrey Wood, PhD, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Three Autism Speaks research grants support Dr. Wood’s work on adapting cognitive behavioral treatments for children and teens with autism.

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.

Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, anxiety – including social anxiety – is very common among children and teens on the autism spectrum. Many of these kids have a particular problem going to school. In fact, the problem is so common that we have a term for it: school phobia, or school refusal. Sometimes, school phobia involves the broader fear of leaving the house, also known as agoraphobia.

Sometimes these phobias stem from a specific fear such as a fear of having a panic attack in public. In other cases, it reflects more general social anxieties and fears around embarrassment or humiliation in public.

We’ve found great success easing both school phobia and agoraphobia with cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) approaches, which I’ve described in previous posts to this column.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely accepted psychological approach for breaking severe cycles of anxiety. Through extensive research, our group and others have shown that modified forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy can work particularly well with children and teens who have autism.

The first step in this process involves helping the child or teen identify the root of his or her fears. In second step involves taking small, incremental steps to approaching the feared situation and becoming more comfortable, or “habituated,”with the situation.

In your daughter’s case that would mean working with a cognitive behavioral therapist on gradually re-entering school. For instance, the therapist might begin by having your daughter simply step out the front door for a few minutes – or even seconds. In this way, your daughter would begin the process of habituation, and build up from there.

Next, the therapist might work with you and your daughter on briefly visiting the parking lot of the school, then the entryway of the school, the office and so on. Each small step in the right direction warrants praise and reward. Shaming is never a part of the process.

The therapist is likely to take the same or similar approach with social interactions: developing a list of easy to hard social situations and coaching your daughter through each until her anxiety is reduced to a reasonable level before moving to the next level.

Patience is important. After a long time out of public situations, most people are very cautious and avoidant. They need to take it slowly. A good cognitive-behavioral therapist can guide progress through this delicate early phase of treatment.

A good resource for finding a cognitive behavioral therapist is the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. You can find local therapists through the associations “Therapist Finder” here.

You may be able to access these services free of charge through your local school system’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your daughter. I would encourage you to work with the school system to evaluate your daughter’s needs and develop a comprehensive educational plan that supports her re-entry. What school placement, grade level and accommodations does she need? A qualified psychologist can perform the needed testing to guide you and the school on providing the appropriate educational environment to support a successful transition back to school.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to work with your school district to meet your daughter’s current educational needs, perhaps with in-home services.

In addition, your child’s physician and/or your health insurer may be able to provide a referral to an expert in child anxiety who practices cognitive behavioral therapy and is experienced working with children who have autism.

In other posts to this advice column, my colleagues and I have written extensively about anxiety and autism – particularly on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral treatments. I think you’ll find them relevant to your issue:

* Managing anxiety in children with autism

* What behavioral therapies can help someone with autism and severe anxiety?

* Research yields tips for easing anxiety in nonverbal kids with autism

Thanks again for your question. Please let us know how you and your daughter are doing by writing us again at gotquestions@autismspeaks.org.

Readers: Got more questions? Send them to GotQuestions@AutismSpeaks.org.

You can also contact the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team (ART). ART members are trained to connect families with information, resources and opportunities. They are available to answer calls and emails from 9am to 1pm local time.
 

Read more about this at: autismspeaks.org

Who asked for Deus Ex to cross over with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius?

Get your “I didn’t ask for this” jokes out of the way now, because Deus Ex protagonist Adam Jensen has joined the heroes of Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was a pretty solid game, but sadly didn’t do well in sales, prompting Square Enix to give the franchise a break. But that doesn’t mean Adam Jensen can’t be featured elsewhere, which is why he’s appeared in Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius.

As reported by Eurogamer, Jensen and other augmented characters have joined the cast of Brave Exvius – in sprite form, of course. Viktor Marchenko, Vaclav Koller, and Frank Pritchard are all included by a featured summon.

It seems this expansion will let players join Task 29 to face the Mechanical Ogre raid boss. The Deus Ex heroes will be included in Brave Exvius until September 5, 2018.

You know, those sprites don’t look half-bad. Maybe we could have a retro Deus Ex JRPG while Square Enix decides what to do next?

The post Who asked for Deus Ex to cross over with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius? appeared first on VG247.

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Omnichannel Customer Service: 5 Critical Best Practices

The growing size of today’s consumer market sets the stage for entrepreneurs and companies of varying capacities to take part. The US consumer market alone was at $1.5 trillion in 2016. And this number is continuously increasing. According to an article from AdAge, US Gen Y or millennials are also swiftly increasing their slice of the pie, spending more than $200 billion annually.

With businesses vying for the attention of a growing but still finite market, channeling focus and spending resources toward staying ahead of the pack is crucial.

Top of mind for customers is swift and consistent support–hence the rise of omnichannel customer service. Today’s customers no longer simply rely on calling customer support for assistance. They now make use of whichever channel they can get the best and swiftest help, be it through knowledge bases, live chat, website, social media, SMS, and email.

Businesses providing omnichannel customer service has made the lives of consumers easier while improving profits for themselves. A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group revealed that companies with sustained omnichannel customer engagement keep an average of 89% of their existing customers while those with poor omnichannel customer engagement retain an average of 33%. The impact is significant.

That said, the push toward omnichannel strategy across different areas of business is not entirely new, but it has now become imperative for businesses to form and execute a plan to give customers a seamless experience. Here are the best practices.

Understand your customer’s most preferred channels

An effective omnichannel customer service strategy begins with a solid foundation—a blueprint. First, understand where your customer are. This is done by using relevant data to know which platforms your customers often use.

Do most of them have an active online presence? Do they use review sites to find answers to their questions and base their buying decisions based on telling reviews from other customers? Do they have pre-sales questions? It’s essential to answer this questions and arrive at the most useful channels to deliver exceptional customer experience. In fact, 90% of customers look forward to consistent interactions across channels.

Price Waterhouse Cooper predicts that the demand for omnichannel customer experience will constantly improve and will be perfected by 2020. An effective omnichannel customer support not only limits the company and its customers to one or two channels; but, allows multiple channels to work together to provide impactful customer experiences throughout the customer’s journey.

For example, a customer tries to book a room in a 5-star hotel in Budapest. He wants to know exactly what the cost per night includes. He decides to speak with an agent through the live chat widget on the website. An agent answers his query as well as provides info on the room’s availability. The customer wanted to book the room but will be stuck in an event until 5 pm.

As a follow-up, the agent sends a link to the same exact room via email, and notifies the customer with an SMS; the customer then books the room successfully. After his stay at the hotel, the company sends him an SMS and an email asking him to rate his stay. The customer provided a 3.5 out of 5 internal rating.

A customer support rep then follows up with him regarding his review and offers compensation via a phone call. In return for the swift resolution, the customer did not have time to post a negative review on social media or on online review sites.

Once you figure out which channels work best and for what purpose, the process becomes more efficient.

Improve your response time across all channels

Today’s consumers are empowered consumers. For your business to thrive, you must figure out what makes the modern consumer tick. They’re after high-quality products and experiences; nothing less. They trust strangers that position themselves as experts and influencers, more than they trust close friends and family. They want everything now rather than later.

Make your customers feel important by faster responses. The modern-day consumers expect (and demand) speedy replies and resolutions. According to Edison Research, 39% of individuals expect a 1-hour response time via social media; however, businesses respond after 5 hours, on average.

Another study from Call Centre Helper shares that only 12% of customer service managers focus on responding quickly to customer concerns. One of Forrester’s 2016 surveys shows that 41% of customers expect a response via email within a 6-hour time frame. Most businesses, however, respond at least 24 hours from the time the email has been received.

These are evidently too slow for today’s customers and may lead to bad reviews that have the potential to damage a company’s reputation. Not only that, slow response time can also increase customer churn rates.

Make your customers happy and cement your company’s reputation in providing excellent customer support by improving your response time across all channels.

The use of autoresponders can help your customer support team keep up with customer inquiries via email, social media, and SMS. Autoresponders help make your customers feel valued. It’s also a perfect opportunity to let them know that you have received their inquiry while setting their expectations. You can also set up alerts that notify your team whenever an email comes in or has not been replied to in x amount of hours. Another great way to help agents efficiently make use of their time is to create macros or templates for common issues or concerns, which your team can send out immediately rather than manually typing out responses.

Categorizing tickets based on priority (high to low) informs your reps which ticket they need to focus on to help improve the team’s response time. It’s also imperative to send customers a link to give their rating on the support they had received.

For customers who prefer to get in touch with customer service over the phone, a clear and straightforward IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system can direct customers to the right department, reducing hold times and unnecessary transfers. You can also provide customers with the option to leave a voicemail and give a callback afterwards, or respond to them via SMS or email whenever preferred.

Integrate customer support channels with your systems of record

Implementing a potent contact center software that integrates all channels, which are part of your omnichannel efforts makes it easier for agents to keep track of customer concerns and issues, whether they called, emailed, texted, or left a comment on social media and review sites.

It streamlines the customer service handling process through automatically assigning unique reference codes or numbers; allowing agents to quickly run a search of previous communications and interactions from the same individual.

For example, a customer calls to follow-up on the email she sent 48 hours ago that had been left unanswered. Normally, an agent would need the customer’s email address or first and last name to find the email. According to Huffington Post, 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have the information that they need. With the help of a contact center software, a pop up with all the customer’s details and contact history is displayed once the agent answers the call. This means less time wasted on retrieving customer details and placing the customer on hold.

In addition, transferring an agent to another department where he needs to explain his concern once more is quite frustrating. Operating with a contact center software assists in getting the right person or department to handle the correct issue during the first point of contact.

A contact center software not only consolidates reports relevant to which channels you get the most traffic from, it also provides a business with insightful reports related to the team’s KPIs and overall performance. Additionally, it assists in the forecasting and scheduling process. It’s a solution that’s indispensable for both small business and enterprises.

Provide self-service options to empower your customers

Aside from employing contact center software, your business needs to take advantage of self-service.

Gone are the days when it’s still considered normal for customers to call about minor issues and the most trivial things. Today’s consumers love scouring for answers on their own. The least a company or business can do is to make the information available to them in the most accessible way.

According to Answer Dash, 40% of 3,000 consumers prefer self-service options over speaking with a live customer support associate. And remarkably, 70% of these consumers expect a company to offer a self-service portal within their website.

A business can put up a website FAQs section, a knowledge base, or even going as far as opening an online discussion board to help customers immediately answer questions and figure out solutions minus the added cost. Based on a study by Oracle and Forrester online self-service can decrease the cost by $11 dollars per call. Another study from Accenture found that adding self-service into a company’s customer support channel strategies can lead to a company saving $1 to 3 million dollars on an annual basis. Plus, self-service takes off a huge amount of workload off your customer support team’s backs, which may lead to happier employees; thus, better customer performance.

Do remember that self-service is only as good as how useful and trustworthy your customers consider them to be. Ensure that the information listed within your self-service portal is correct, easy-to-understand, and updated. It also helps to make the interface user-friendly and easy to navigate. It won’t hurt to include how-to guides and video tutorials for complicated issues that require walkthroughs (i.e., installing/uninstalling software, updating drivers, changing admin settings, etc.). In addition, provide information that is transparent and accessible (i.e, not requiring customers to log in to access the info). This way, customers get the details and processes right the first time.

Lastly, make your self-service portal mobile-friendly. As stated by eReach, Yelp, among other companies, has reported that 55% of searches are made from mobile devices. Also, Software Advice found that 90% of survey respondents had poor experiences requesting customer service on mobile.

While a responsive website design (RWD) provides ease-of-access to your company’s list of products and services that help increase sales, it can also be used for the benefit of educating your consumers.

Hire employees that understand and embody your company culture

The company should be willing to embrace change, from the CEO down to the entry-level employees. A fully functional team requires teamwork and cooperation from different individuals that are passionate for the same goal. This is the reason why the hiring and recruitment process is crucial to a solid omnichannel customer service strategy.

More than the technology is the people behind it. Before hiring a member of your customer support team—or any employee for that matter—it’s important to clearly define your company goals, culture, and values. This way, you attract the right candidates, if not, decrease the likelihood of applicants that don’t align with what your company stands for.

Most applicants look good on paper–however, that does not mean they are the person you should hire. What matters more than experience is talent and attitude. Effectively evaluate applicants by holding interviews that test their character and find out whether their attitude alight with your company’s values. It’s important to look for drive, humility, coachability, skills, and transparency.

Give office tours to potential candidates and allow them to engage your employees in conversations that help them get a feel of what it would be like to work with your team. The right fit will definitely stand out.

Moving from a multi-channel strategy to an omnichannel strategy benefits the organization but it’s also important to note that the change is mainly due to putting customers first. Unlike a multi-channel strategy, it goes beyond a business’ firmament but leans toward the high-quality experience of each customer at any point of the customer lifecycle.

Providing efficient and reliable customer service across all channels has numerous benefits including increased profitability, solidified brand reputation, and business growth. The way consumers think and decide constantly changes but based on the results obtained through omnichannel customer service strategies, it isn’t merely a hype. Applying the above mentioned best practices that combine technology with a talented workforce can help your team meet your customer service goals, if not exceed them.

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