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25
I have to say that in June I came across some fantastic Photoshop tutorials which were full of creativity, useful tips and had some unique concepts. Today I would like to share with you some of the most inspiring and resourceful PS tutorials published on the web in the month that just passed.
Here are some of the awesome things you can learn from the tuts presented below: how to create an eco-friendly advertisment using stock images, how to mix custom brushes and stock photo to create an awesome grungy style artwork, how to master distressed effects in Photoshop, how to use modern technol
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ogy to achieve a vintage or retro look and so much more!
Create an Eye-Catching Eco-Friendly Shoe Advertisement – Psd Premium Tutorial

Create Awesome Grungy Style Artwork using Custom Brushes

How to Create Cityscape Concept Art

Make a Retro Space Themed Poster in Photoshop

Design a Retro Typographic Poster Using 3D Elements in Photoshop – Psd Premium Tutorial

Give your logo work a 3D edge

Create a Surreal Upside Down Mountain Painting in Photoshop

Design a Awesome Supernatural Dark Scene with Fiery Effect in Photoshop

Create Vintage Coupon in Photoshop

Create a Grungy Style Text Effect Inspired by “Infamous 2″ Game in Photoshop

Create a Surreal Out of Bounds Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Do you know any other awesome Photoshop tutorials from June? Please share them with us in the comments.
Photoshop Tutorials Roundup – June 2011 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
5
Some websites have a lot of visitors – and I mean a lot! And they pride themselves with that. Well, that’s ok if you’re an inspirational website, a design news portal – in short, it’s great as long as you don’t want your visitors to buy something from you – a service or a product.

Image source: Vectorious.net
Some of you may already know the fact that online success can’t be achieved over night, just by keeping your fingers crossed, hoping that your website’s traffic will do the job. You, as a website and online business own
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er, have to play the role of the active agent in this trade. You have to convince your visitors by combining the sales process with the buying process, applying the AIDAS formula (attention, interest, desire, action, satisfaction) while answering the question “What’s in it for me?”.
So here are a couple of valuable tips on how you can convert your visitors into subscribers or buyers:
1. Give your visitors answers
There is a reason why the “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) was invented. A great percent of your visitors wants to know or to find out some information while they are on your website. So here is what to do:

Don’t make them use the “Contact us” button because it’s frustrating for them and expensive for you.
It would be great if your visitors didn’t get to the FAQ button, so try to avoid that. I usually find it very annoying to scroll down a long page of possible question and answers to find the information I need, I’d rather look elsewhere.
Try to find out what your visitors want to find out and write that in your website in the header, below it or in banners.
If you notice that there are a lot of visitors who ask you various questions, you should structure your FAQ into more sections.
Consider using an expert in customer relations which uses a tool that permits him to take on questions, to answer them and to include them in a data base which can be used both by experts and customers.


Image source: Flickr
2. Maximize your conversion rate to sell content online
Make sure that your visitors can easily and quickly find what they are looking for on your website. You should also give your visitors the chance to see a great part of the content that they are going to pay. You can do this by offering free samples, testimonials, images and so on. Make the paying process as easy as possible.
Vector Famous Cities Free Sample

Image source: Designious.com
3. Focus on driving relevant traffic to your website
You may have read on all sorts of websites and forums that website owners are wondering how they can increase the number of visitors to their website, while others are giving tips on how to get more traffic. Long story short, it all comes down to this question: What do you prefer, heavy traffic or relevant visitors?
Because if you say you prefer heavy traffic, I understand that you just love to see your Analytic report and you giggle of joy when you see thousands of visitors and page views. What I’m wondering is: will you also be happy with your websites conversion rate?
It’s a very high probability that your conversion rate will register a noticeable decrease. The reason: it doesn’t matter if you have thousands of visitors if they were not actually interested in the content of your website.

Image source: Vectorious.net
I’m not saying here that heavy traffic is bad, it can be good if it’s relevant traffic. Either way, here are a couple of things you can do to drive some relevant traffic to your website:
Make search engines your friends - you need to rank high in search results on your keywords to bring relevant traffic to your website. So, you need to focus on optimizing your website for search engines to attract targeted traffic.
Take advantage of Social Networking – these days, social networking is on the roll! It can help you meet people very easily and you can also use it to promote your artwork, your products or whatever you’d like. The key here is to be genuine, to make friends, to communicate with people, to get their feedback, to answer their questions and so on. Remember: avoid actions that will make people consider you are spamming.
4. Don’t neglect the infrastructure of your website
If you are the marketing responsible, you may think that the speed of the website is not your responsibility and it doesn’t concern you. You should know that a slow website has a series of repercussions:

Less page views during a visit, which leads to a loss of incomes, especially if you sell publicity spaces.
Less links to your websites by search engines – this happens when the search engine  spiders try to index your content and give up.
Lower conversion rates.


This is the graph of Pixel77.
Here are a couple of tips to solve the speed problem:

Monitor the speed of your website at high points. For example, when you send an email with one of your promotions and you get a lot of answers.
Use one or several easy to use and not expensive tools to monitor your website’s performance.

5. Understand the steps of online shopping
In order to boost your conversion rate, you first of all need to understand where is the problem. You are aware that you have a great deal of visitors, but your website is still not converting the way it should. You need to find out what the problem is and fix it!

Image source: Bluegreen Resorts via Flickr
So where are you losing your customers? There can only be 6 points:
Finding – Possible scenario: you visitors and potential buyers can’t find that area in your website with the description of the product they are interested in buying.
Choosing – You don’t offer your buyers enough information so that they can choose the right product for them. They can’t tell the difference between the products you are offering.
Deciding – The buyers don’t know if the selected products will actually fulfill their needs and desires.
Guidance – Your buyers don’t know how to tell you that they are interested in purchasing a product.
Paying – The customer can’t complete the paying process and can’t send the order.
Satisfying – Your buyers didn’t get the products they ordered or decided that they want to return them.
Each of these 6 areas represents a target for preventive planning or for fixing. Of course, the important thing is to find out where are you losing the buyers along the process. A commonly mistake is that everybody focuses on the paying area although that area is responsible for a much lower percent of loss than the first areas  – which are responsible for over 50% of the loss sales.
So, how do you figure out where do you lose the buyers? Well, the easiest way is to watch people while they are buying. Follow someone’s steps while they are buying and take a close look at the purchasing process. I pretty sure that, if you do this a couple of times, you will draw up a long list of the changes you would want to make.
Your turn.
Do you have other tips on how to convert website visitors into buyers, from your experiences? Please share them with us.
5 Valuable Tips to Convert Your Website Visitors into Buyers is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We would like to introduce you to a new resource website of design goodies which is making its big entrance in the creative industry in a matter of days: Design TNT!
Design TNT is being launched with a clear mission: to provide all designers out there with high quality resources that they can’t find anywhere else – all in one place!

Here are some cool facts about Design TNT:

We want to make Design TNT the complete toolbox for designers and even more;
Every week we will add fresh resources to the website;
The license will allow you to use the res
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ources in both commercial and personal work;
There will be no long term commitments, you can cancel at any time;
You will get access to all the resources for a very small monthly price;

Awesome resources you will find at Design TNT.com:
Vectors

Photoshop brushes
Photoshop and Illustrator addons

Web: psd, icons, buttons, templates

Textures

Premium Tutorials

How much do you have to dig into your pockets for a subscription at Design TNT?
One of the great things about this resource site is that the price is unbelievable low considering the amount of design goodies you get:

$9/month with 10 downloads limit and $19/month with unlimited downloads.

Want a tip?
If you sign up for the newsletter on Design TNT you will get a 20% discount coupon when we launch. Now how sweet is that?
That being said, we think that you have all the reasons we could think of to visit Design TNT and sign up for the newsletter, to be the first to know when we launch this awesome design resources treasure!

Design TNT – A New Resource of Design Goodies for Creative Professionals is Launching Soon! is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We always like to surprise you with valuable vector resources that will help you save precious time and create amazing and fresh designs. Today, we are bringing you a cool giveaway with some top notch vector goodies from Designious.com. Check it out!
What can you win:
There will be 3 lucky winners, each will receive a Seamless Patterns Vector Mega Pack 3 from Designious.com, worth $50.

How to participate:
1. Comment on this post and use your email address so that we can contact you in case you win.
2. Tweet this giveaway.
It’s that simple!
What
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217;s the period of this giveaway:
This giveaway is available starting today, Monday, the 20th of June and it ends on Friday, the 24th of June.
When will we announce the winners:
The winners will be contacted by email on Monday, and we will also publish a post on Pixel77.com with the lucky winners.
Good luck to everyone!
While you’re here, why not join Pixel77′s news feed, to stay updated with our latest contests, articles and Photoshop tutorials, Like Pixel77 on Facebook if you want to see more interesting and useful design related resources or Follow Pixel77 on Twitter, to be the first to know when we post something interesting.
Giveaway – 3 x Beautiful Seamless Patterns Vector Mega Pack 3 from Designious.com is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
39
What do these amazing cities have in common, you might ask. Well, all 6 of them are included in the fabulous Famous Cities Vector Pack 1 from Designious.com! Designious released a collection of 10 incredibly resourceful famous cities vector packs and because there was so much to say and to show about each city included in every pack, I will be telling you a small story about each one, starting today with the cities from Famous Cities Vector Pack 1.

Now this is a great read for a couple of reasons:

you get to find out some interesting facts about some of the worlds famous
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cities,
you will see some awesome vector buildings and touristic attractions from those cities created by the talented artists from Designious.com
you can get your hands on these magnificent vector resources from Designious.com and create your very own amazing artworks for your design projects!

So here goes, enjoy!

Antalya is a beautiful city in the Southern Turkey, with a beautiful view towards the Taurus mountains and a heavenly beach opening to the Mediterranean Sea. Among the main attractions here you will find: The Archeological Museum, Chimaera and Olympos, Hadrian’s Gate, Old Harbor and Yivli Minare.


Bangkok is the capital and the largest city in Thailand, being world known as one of the most popular touristic destinations in the world, as well as an important economic and social center. Here you can feast your eyes on: Siam Ocean World, Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw, Jim Thompson’s House and a magnificent temple.


Dubai is one of the seven United Arab Emirates and the most populated one. It’s situated in the Arabic Peninsula, it has a subtropical climate and it’s world wide known for it’s luxuriant hotels and wealthy way of life. Among the most representative buildings you will see here: Dubai Maritime City, Meydan Racecourse, Jumeira, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa.


Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, situated on China’s South Coast, with openings to the Pearl River Delta and the South China sea and one of the world’s leading financial centers. It’s renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbor. Here are some of the main attractions in Hong Kong: Victoria Harbour, Star Ferry, Lantau Island, Ngong Ping 360 and Chi Lin Nunnery.


Istanbul is the city historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople and the largest city in Turkey, being a mega city and also the cultural, financial and economic center of Turkey. It’s a city with a rich background, that’s why it’s historic areas were added by UNESCO to the World Heritage List in 1985. The main attractions here are: The Blue  Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, the bazaars and The Black Sea.


Kuala Lumpur is the the capital and the largest city in Malaysia by population, as well as the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country. Kuala Lumpur is world wide known as the home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which became a symbol of Malaysia’s futuristic developments. Check out our collection of touristic attractions: The Petronas Towers, Menara KL Tower, Batu Caves, Thean Hou Temple and Bird Park.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these wonderful cities, as well the illustrations that we presented.
You can get these 6 vector cities all in one place with Famous Cities Vector Pack 1. Just imagine what you can do with all of these representative buildings and touristic attractions in vector format!
Antalya, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur – Famous Cities Vector Pack 1 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
38
I often fall in love with designs of various artists and I like to share my finds with you guys, so that you can also feast your eyes, get inspired and appreciate their talent.
Today I want to present you my latest crush: Madalina Andronic‘s artworks – and you will see why I liked them so much in the images below. But first let me tell you a few words about this talented girl: Madalina Andronic or in short Madi, is a Romanian artist currently based in London for studies; she is passionate about tiny, delicate details, with a taste for love, amusement, cherries and, the latest
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obsession – houses (or at least that’s what she states).
Here are some of her beautiful and colorful artworks. Enjoy!










If you want to see more amazing artworks from Madalina, you can visit her website, her blog or her Behance profile.
Fairytale Beautiful Illustrations from Madalina Andronic is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
26
So let’s say that you are a fresh graphic designer, maybe you’re even just out of school benches. You have done some small projects during school for some companies and some personal projects. You don’t have that much experience and you are aware of the fact that most people and companies rather do business with an already successful graphic designer.

In another situation, let’s say that you’ve started a small graphic design studio with your collage room mates and you have landed a few small projects with a couple of big companies. This is just the begi
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nning of the road for you, you still have a lot to learn, to practice and you still have  a long way to go before building your connections, growing your portfolio and becoming known.
As I said, all of us know that the “big projects” go to “the big boys”. What if you adopt a “big boy” strategy, and start acting like one? So if someone in interested in doing a project with you, don’t beg for that job, don’t look desperate to get it, act as if you don’t even really need that project. There are many other ways to look successful rather than answering “Fantastic!” every time someone asks you “How are you?”.

Make allusion to famous people or companies. You should mention in your discussions the names of other clients, especially if they are well known and respected. And not only in discussions, you can write on your website and on your blog about your clients and maybe even get some testimonials from them – that will increase the credibility in your services.
For example, if Apple is a satisfied customer of yours (even if you did a tiny project with them), the potential client will respect that more than the fact that your local Fast-food restaurant is happy with the 10 year of services you provided them. The potential client will think that Apple has a bigger discernment. It’s not always available, but, in business, perception is reality. That is the reason why celebrities get support from various products – it’s because we all want to be like successful people and companies.

When you answer to client’s questions, slip in words like “When I helped the guys from Sony with a similar problem…” or “Last month when we worked for a client in Europe…”. Nevertheless, always tell the truth! Never lie!
If you go abroad, mention this on your answering machine, on your twitter, your Facebook page or why not on your blog. You will seem more important if someone from another country/state/city asks for your services.
Celebrate milestones! Tell the world that you’ve just had your 10th, 50th, 10.000th client. Throw a party, make a fuss out of it. If you have an online business, have a giveaway, give some freebies to celebrate, have a discount. This will let people know that you are becoming more and more successful and that you want to keep your clients close.

Think of McDonalds for example, they used to announce: “Over 1 million products sold”. Now they say “Billions and billions of products sold”. Their products must really be good if they sell them in that quantity, right?
And a final observation on success: success will give birth to success, and winners love to deal with other winners. So why not, as a starting point, meet with other successful graphic designers, talk to them, see how they are thinking, maybe they’ll even share some tips with you? If you don’t have this opportunity, just take a look at what they are doing, they must have done it right, considering they made it. You can learn from them and you will see that you can achieve what you have in mind – to become successful.
By the way, do you have a successful graphic designer as a model? Please share him/her with us.
 
How to Think Like a Successful Graphic Designer is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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Another great week has passed and I came across a lot of useful and interesting articles on the the Web. If you didn’t get the chance to spend your free time updating your feeds with the latest articles published in the week that just passed, here are some of the most interesting reads:
Smashing Magazine - A Comprehensive Website Planning Guide

CrazyLeaf Design Blog - 30 Beautiful Free Icon Sets for Web Designers

Hongkiat - Email Marketing: Tips To Do It Well

Skyje - 33 SEO and SEM Blogs Every Webmaster Should Read

Blog.SpoonGraphics - Sho
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uld You Learn Photoshop or Fireworks? (and more!)

Sixrevisions - Getting Users to Sign Up: Factors in Design and Content

Webdesignledger - The Anatomy of An Effective Web Design

Bittbox - Design a Textured Button in Photoshop

Webdesignerdepot - Good Web content examples and what makes them work

1stwebdesigner - Tips and Considerations for Self-Promotion

Inspiredm – The History Of Social Media [Infographic]

Naldzgraphics – Ways to Achieve a Relaxing Workspace

Do you know any other interesting, useful articles that were published this week? Please share them with us.
Favorite Design Related Articles of The Week #4 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
19
Obviously, I’m not talking about literally “kissing” your visitors – being in the online environment you can’t even do that physically. KISS is short for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Funny, right? This is a message and a persuasion principle which applies online. The main idea here is that the key to a successful web design doesn’t consist in making it sophisticated, it’s about making it look simple. It seems easy, doesn’t it? In fact, creating a design which can be described as simple is not at all easy.

Image Source: Urban Barn
When
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you see a simple and clean website, like the Apple website for example, you think “Oh, this site looks great, although it’s so simple!”. As it turns out, well thought simplicity is the key factor which leads a website to success.
Here are some tips on how you can K.I.S.S.:
Limit the loading time for a page
I don’t know about you, but if I enter a website and the loading time of the page takes longer than 10-15 seconds I usually close that page, because I have a lot of work to do and I don’t need to waste time with things like this.

Image Source: 6smarketing
The best websites out there have a loading time under 10 seconds. Note that nobody will wait longer than 30 seconds for your page to appear. So, if your targeted audience is wide, consider the fact that most people are still under 56 k, they may even have their monitor resolution to 800 x 600 and they don’t even know how to change that (or that they CAN change it).
Have a simple and intuitive navigation
The majority of your visitors (and potential clients) will take a look at two, maybe three pages before they leave. That means you are only two clicks away from drowning if you don’t make sure that your visitor finds the info he is looking for quickly.

Have an eye catching title/text
When they land on a page, visitors first look at the text, not at the graphics. Why is this important? Because the text can keep them occupied while the graphics load. Note that you should use graphics only if this will help the visitors to understand better what they are looking for of if it offers information that can’t be communicated otherwise through text. Moreover, if you do decide to use graphics, create a simple graphic element, with a short loading time.

Have an effective Search Option
The search option on any website should provide fast and exact results. Most visitors or potential buyers which land on your website don’t even know how to use properly this option and this usually leads to receiving bad search results or no results at all. And if you do need a Search Option on your website, just make it simple and offer simple instructions. If a search will return too many irrelevant results, the visitors may feel overwhelmed and leave.

Image Source: Smashing Magazine website
Respect online conventions
For most people, blue and underlined words means that there is a link there or we have a “Click here” button. It would be safer if you didn’t create confusions. You should avoid to underline or to use blue to color other texts. Place the navigation options on the upper side or on the lateral side of your website and use reasonable schemes for categories which include more than one element.

Image source: Smashing Magazine website
Try to avoid scrolling down the page
But if you really must use it, then use it only vertically, never horizontally and be sure to place the most important information above the scrolling line. Remember: the most important information must get to the visitor first!
Make everything as clear as possible
First and most important thing, make sure to help your visitors and potential clients SEE the information – white backgrounds load quickly and helps the copy stand out. Label everything and make it simple, don’t use any slangy words. Give accurate explications. Remember: if your visitors can’t find something, it means that something isn’t there.

Image Source: Apple Website
Be sure your visitors don’t get stuck somewhere on your website
Let’s say, for example, that you have an online shop. Just think of your visitors like they are in a middle of a storm and they don’t have any kind of direction. They’re asking “Where are the products for checkout?”, “Where can I pay?” and so on. Make sure you provide a simple and intuitive navigation, so that the visitors can easily orientate on either page of your website. Place all the navigation links on all of your pages if you don’t want to discourage your clients to leave. Any step to the menu bar is a risk that people will leave your website.

See how on the Designious website, when you add something to cart, you are warned that you added that product to the cart by a message and you can see that in “My Cart” area also appears that you have 1 item in the cart.
Don’t assume that all of your visitors are experts in the online environment
Technology is a wonderful thing, but a lot of users are a couple of years behind when it comes to this. That’s the reason why the graphics must be simple. Most important, don’t ask your visitors to download plug-in elements. A lot of visitors don’t know how to do that and if they do know, why would you want to drive them away from the buying process and make them do something else, just because a designer thought that this would be cool. Visitors don’t say “Wow”, they just leave. So if you can’t incorporate something into your website, just let it go and focus on more important aspects. Give your visitors and your clients simple and clear instructions, as well as previous tools to guide them through the buying process.

Image Source: The Visible Dentist
Gain respect from your visitors by providing attention to details
You should know that visitors always look for reasons not to trust you: they look for spelling mistakes, typing mistakes, not working functions, browser compatibility issues and so on. Check and double check every detail and don’t give them the chance to find anything!
As some final ideas, check out the common characteristics of websites in the top 100:
- high loading speed
- as little graphics as possible
- few or none multimedia elements
- no frames
- similar navigation systems
- high contrast in the text and a lot of white spaces
- links in the traditional underlined blue
- no background images
- very few visible JavaScript tricks
- no splash
- a solid database behind them.
Your turn now.
Do you have any other K.I.S.S. tips? Please share them with us.
 
KISS Your Visitors If You Want Them To Come Back To Your Website is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
25
We have some great news for all you creative professionals out there! We bet you’ve already heard that Jay Hilgert, the founder of BittBox.com, was planning to start a bold project called FontDeals – and I’m sure you were very excited about that. Today, we’re thrilled to announce you that FontDeals JUST LAUNCHED!
People, people, hear all about it: FontDeals, the world’s first font bundle site is finally here!



What’s so great about FontDeals:
They are dedicated to providing top quality fonts at ridiculously low prices.
Th
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eir mission is to provide an affordable alternative to purchasing fonts on an individual basis.
The fonts you can find here can cost anywhere from $30 to $70 or more, but they are hunting down font foundries to get you huge discounts.
Some fonts cost more than software these days, but at FontDeals, you can get super savings and have extra weapons for everything you design.
2011 Summer Font Bundle – FontDeals current bundle
Imagine this: you get 15 font families (29 fonts) worth $506 for the amazing price of $49 – that’s a 90% discount on this sweet deal!

So you know, we checked them out and we can assure you that they are all top quality killer fonts! We think that this inaugural bundle from FontDeals is the coolest deal you can get your hands on this summer, so don’t miss it!
But wait, that’s not all!
The first 2000 bundle buyers will get a free treat: Giga Vector Pack 3 from Designious.com worth $195! Now how awesome is that, right?

Note that this bundle is available for a limited period of time, it will end in 14 days, so hurry up and get your hands on it now! Remember, if you are among the first 2000 buyers, you will also get the Giga Vector Pack 3 from Designious.com – an extra reason to stop wasting time and to visit FontDeals right now!

 
FontDeals.com Just Launched! The World’s First Font Bundle Site is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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