Former mayor explores the past of Santa Clarita

first_img If nothing else, the book is a good history lesson in which local readers have a strong stake. Before the city incorporated on Dec. 15, 1987, there were efforts to become a separate county. Boyer explores those campaigns and explains the evolution of what is now a bustling city of more than 170,000 people. “I think people ought to know what’s involved,” Boyer said, referring to portions of the book that talk about volunteer efforts to organize and expectations from the community for unpaid efforts to continue. “The idea of serving in public office just for the honor of it doesn’t work,” he said. “People should be decently paid so anyone can afford to run. It’s a huge sacrifice for some of the people who served in terms of lost income and opportunities.” Boyer also touches on his work with Healing the Children and establishing a sister city program that evolved into the Santa Clarita Valley International Program, on which he currently works raising money for medical missions. Santa Clarita has two sister cities: Tena, Ecuador, and Sariaya, Philippines. “To me, the sister city program works to give people of Santa Clarita a world view,” Boyer said. “It makes them realize we’re just a small part of the picture and get involved in an economic sphere much larger than we’re used to as well as offer humanitarian aid.” Boyer is taking the personal approach to sell his book, carrying a supply of copies in his car wherever he goes. “Bookstores want a dust cover and a UPC on my books, and I hate the darn things aesthetically. All that would do is drive up the cost if I had to do 1,000 dust covers. I thought I’d keep the price down.” He’s also offering the books to nonprofit organizations to sell, promising a percentage of the profits to be returned to the group. “Unless they don’t want to keep the percentage, then I’ll donate it to the sister city medical mission program,” he said. “Without having a plane fly overhead to say ‘Boyer’s book is out,’ I have to wait until more copies are sold to have money to advertise,” he said. “The City Council did ask me to bring books to the first council meeting in January.” Asked if he will be celebrating the city’s coming of age on Tuesday, Boyer answered in the affirmative. “Of course, if anyone wants to follow me out to the trunk of my car, I could always sell them a book,” he said, laughing. The cost of each book is $30.00. Boyer can be reached at (661) 259-3154. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 carol.rock@dailynews.com NEWHALL – Former Santa Clarita Mayor Carl Boyer has come up with a must-read for the holiday season. It could have been titled “Everything You Wanted To Know About Santa Clarita But Were Afraid To Ask,” but that title was too short. Instead “Santa Clarita: The Formation and Organization of the Largest Newly Incorporated City in the History of Humankind” is the latest entry on the local literary scene. Boyer credits Richard Dixon, chief administrative officer of Los Angeles County, with coining the phrase after the 41-square-mile city was approved in 1987 by the Local Agency Formation Commission, then by local voters. “Santa Clarita …” is Boyer’s first non-genealogy book. He has self-published more than two dozen genealogy volumes over the last several years. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The book is a 353-page primer full of statistics and financials, laying out the cityhood backers’ case of taxation without representation, as well as making clear the costs – both physical and fiscal – of running for office. “I wrote the book because there is very little literature on city incorporation,” Boyer said. “There’s a book called ‘Southern California Metropolis’ that kind of explains the reasoning behind city incorporation. But I really wanted to give credit to the people involved and set the record straight on what happened.” The book covers the efforts of residents determined to bring local control to the Santa Clarita Valley, many of them frustrated by decisions made in downtown Los Angeles by the county Board of Supervisors that didn’t consider the needs of this area. And it also includes some tidbits on the region’s past – such as when civil rights legend Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down and the board of the William S. Hart Union High School District refused to join the mourning nation in ordering campus flags flown at half-staff. The text is full of names familiar to those who have watched the area grow; the cast of movers and shakers over 40 years may sound familiar as well as remind readers how many leaders have been lost as the city has grown. Connie Worden-Roberts remains active, as do former Mayors Jan Heidt and Jo Anne Darcy and accountant Wayne Crawford. Among those who have died are Louis Braithwaite of the city’s first Planning Commission; Gil Callowhill, a water agency board member who helped drive cityhood; and Bob Lathrop, an activist who rallied the vote. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Drugs worth millions seized at OR Tambo

first_img26 November 2012South African Revenue Service (Sars) customs teams seized a total of 54 kilograms of drugs worth almost R16-million at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport over the weekend.The seizures were in 10 separate incidents, the first on Friday, when a search of an empty flight that had arrived from Sao Paulo, with the help of a Sars drug detector dog named Dodge, turned up an abandoned body wrap containing around 3kg of cocaine valued at R800 000.In another incident, a passenger travelling from Delhi was found carrying about 28kg of crystal meth (tik) valued at around R8.4-million that was hidden in several women’s handbags.Also on Friday, a passenger in transit from Sao Paulo to Lagos was stopped for questioning. A search revealed that the passenger’s hand luggage containing a number of towels that had been soaked in liquid cocaine weighing around 9kg with a value of R2.5-million.On Saturday, the customs team stopped a passenger in transit from Sao Paulo to Maputo who was found in possession of at least 5.5kg of cocaine valued at almost R1.5-million. Another was found in possession of up to 2.7kg cocaine in a body wrap.On Sunday, two passengers arriving from Sao Paulo were caught carrying cocaine in body wraps weighing 1.2kg and 1.73 kg worth R326 000 and R 461 000 respectively.Another two passengers in transit from Sao Paulo to Lagos were found carrying cocaine in body wraps valued at R434 000 and R431 000 respectively.Also on Sunday, a passenger on a flight from Sao Paulo was found to have swallowed 80 bullets of cocaine valued at R216 000.“All individuals involved and the drugs they were carrying have been handed over to the SAPS for further action,” Sars deputy spokesperson Marika Muller said on Monday.“These seizures mean that, already this month, Sars has stopped over 90kg of drugs entering the country. Final November figures will be available in early December.”Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

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New risk management options for Ohio apple, grape and tomato growers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are now available to cover fresh fruit in select Ohio counties beginning with the 2016 crop year.“In a number of counties in Ohio producers are growing apples, grapes and tomatoes and are wondering if they will have the same opportunity to manage their risk as corn and soybean producers. I am pleased to say they will have that opportunity. We are extending in 12 counties in Ohio for apples, three counties for grapes and 11 counties for tomatoes the opportunity to sign up for the SCO for coverage,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary. “This allows them to go above and beyond traditional crop insurance coverage option and gives them more production.”This is in addition to the alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, and rye that were recently made available for 2016 as well. Currently, SCO covers corn, cotton, cottonseed, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties.SCO is an area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop’s underlying policy. USDA’s Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, has posted information on the expanded program, including where SCO is available by crop and county. Visit www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/sco/index.html to learn more.In addition, producers of apples, tomatoes, and grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year.“We are announcing for apples, tomatoes and grapes the opportunity in several Ohio counties to expand the annual production history exclusion. That allows the to drop a poor year out of the calculations so they can provide better protection for their crop,” Vilsack said. “The announcement we are making are for the 2016 crop year for these crops so they have plenty of time to plan and evaluate for next year.”Alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, oats, onions, rye and winter wheat are also eligible in certain counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. These are in addition to barley, canola, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, popcorn, rice, soybeans, sunflowers and spring wheat, which were offered beginning in the 2015 crop year.The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50% below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote.A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the Risk Management Agency’s agent locator. Growers can use the agency’s cost estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Visit the Risk Management Agency at www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/aphye/index.html to learn more about SCO and APH Yield Exclusion.APH Yield Exclusion and SCO are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.last_img read more

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How to win in the booming China babytech market

first_imgMatthew Ryan Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Thanks to the relaxing of the single-child policy in 2016, China is predicted to be heading towards a baby boom, with the number of newborns predicted to reach 18 million by 2018. As a result, the countries already crazy annual spending on baby products is set for 15 per cent year-on-year growth, rising to RMB 969 billion ($147.4 billion) by 2020. Chinese born in the ’80s and ’90s are fearless tech lovers, with a recent survey finding that 60% of the population consider themselves early adopters. Babytech sales are already strong, and these changing demographics paired with a growing urban middle class are set to See also: Is smart baby tech a parent’s dream or worst nightmare?A number of babytech devices have already created a furor in China. In particular Moodoo, a smart fetal monitoring patch which managed to raised more than $4.3 million in five minutes. Other successes have been smart milk formula mixing machines, like NicePapa and the number of smart thermometers and monitoring devices. We spoke to Liang Du, CEO of Mommy Knows, an OEM/ODM company that focuses on Smart Diapers, Oscar Chan of Bimado, a foreign owned, but Chinese based baby tech manufacturer and Lucas Wang, CEO of hardware collaboration platform, HWTrek. They gave us the info on what overseas companies need to succeed in this flourishing smart product market. Consider the Chinese family as a wholeA difficult recent history and rapidly changing social milieu have created complex sets of consumer demands that are distinct from the US. Young Chinese parents are some of the savviest, early adopters in the world and make, informed, research-driven tech consumption decisions. Unfortunately, the situation is not as simple as marketing strictly towards this demographic. Grandparents commonly take the role of raising children, while parents work long working hours. According to Liang Du, creators of babytech devices “Always have to consider three factors. First, the user (baby), then the person purchasing the device (the parents) and finally the operator (grandparents).” Older generations of Chinese mostly grew up poor, in a country that was technologically behind the rest of the world and are confused by complex features. They also hold a number of folk beliefs that are incomprehensible to non-natives. For example, Bimado found at the testing stage, that many older Chinese believe that the correct treatment for a child with a fever is to wrap them in as many layers as possible, making it impossible for their device to get accurate temperature readings. Oscar Chan recommends that overseas companies in the babytech field in China, “study the overall preference of the whole Chinese household, rather than thinking about consumers individually.” You need to make the device simple enough for this generation to use, while still being technically advanced to attract parents. Being foreign is no longer enoughChina has changed. The catchment of buying a product from the West is fading and consumers are starting to prefer Chinese electronics brands. This is especially true of IoT and smart products, where China is widely perceived as having a competitive advantage. The ecosystem for smart products in Shenzhen and the rest of China is so advanced, that it is almost impossible for overseas companies to compete on features. Oscar Chan, recommends that it’s better to concentrate on branding, industrial design, and product safety: “Many Chinese products have really strong features but feel cheap or look ugly. Foreign companies can really add value and be competitive through telling a story…. branding, industrial design, swish UI and safety certification.” These views are echoed by Lucas Wang: “For more simple functioning hardware you can’t differentiate on hardware because that is easily replicated, the real value for Chinese consumer is in services and user experience.”Companies need to be special. The market is much more mature than the West and consumers have seen a lot before. Just adding BlueTooth, Wifi, and an app to a traditional toy, is not enough to woo consumers. According to Liang Du, If you do want to go down that path of adding technical features to a familiar baby product, then “make sure that every last bit of your design is as good as the traditional product.”Find a local partnerMao Zedong said “Women hold up half the sky,” but in modern Chinese households, the mother now has an even greater share of the decision making process. As Liang Du explains, “The role of the father in shopping has been reduced to only suggestions. It’s useless selling a babytech product on features or techy spec stuff that men like. You need to use more feminine trigger words in your branding like “natural” and “environmentally friendly.”To meet the demands of the China market, it is best to work with a Chinese partner. The supply chain in Shenzhen and the rest of China is pretty complete, from sensor manufacturers to specialist babytech design houses. Foreign companies who base themselves in China, can take advantage of this ecosystem and get both the edge on the local market and the global one. As Oscar Chan explains that “Shenzhen has become so international. The company I work with has a Swiss designer. Shenzhen had a good downstream ecosystem and now they have upstream as well. Everything is here.”Lucas Wang adds: “Working with a local design house or manufacturer, means that you are able to meet the rapidly changing preferences of local consumers. The preferences of Chinese parents change so quickly and without a local partner, you are fumbling around in the dark.”center_img Tags:#baby#babytech#China#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#top Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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How to Enhance Customer Service Through AI

first_imgTags:#ai powered customer support#benefits of ai in customer service#future of ai in customer service Messaging applications are ruling.In recent years, we have experienced a significant change in the way we communicate. Real-time messaging applications have completely transformed online communications. Furthermore, their usage is not just limited to communicating with friends and colleagues; they are persistently communicating with brands too. It’s an excellent tool to interact with your existing, as well as future customers quickly and efficiently.Many industries including retail, tourism, and airline have already started this exercise. Users now can book airline tickets, purchase online clothes and check out hotel prices through messaging applications. It is high time that businesses understand this change and modify their communication strategies accordingly.ChatbotsNoticed on the bottom, right side of the web page — a tiny box displaying a quote “May I Help You?” That’s that’s the automatic Chatbot. An annoying issues that customers face is the unavailability of quick solutions when confused. With AI-enabled Chatbots, this problem can be easily addressed. These are self-learning bots that are programmed superiorly to answer queries that the customers might raise.Chatbots with their predictive analysis can identify possible issues the customer might face and present pre-emptive action plans for them to have a splendid experience. Even programmed voice assistants will soon replace the traditional call center service to address issues such as extended wait time.Such prolific and on-time customer service can increase the gratification and satisfaction level among customers.Good customer engagement.A customer service executive usually is keen to solve only the ongoing issues of the customers. However, businesses might want to extract something more from such calls. They expect the agents to gather some crucial details regarding the customer’s experience with the products or services. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, automated CRM can procure such information from the customers and directly share it with agents to address along with the ongoing issues that the customers might be facing. It is a smart way to make customer interactions and customer service more fruitful.Speed and scalability.Quick response to customer queries with highly scalable solutions is crucial for businesses to achieve a competitive edge. AI can help achieve it. Chatbots are programmed to learn from each interaction with customers. They can understand the customer needs better than humans and can offer more real-time, scalable solutions.Also, with AI and Chatbots, businesses can come up with an interactive FAQs session with customers to notify them about a new product or a service without any human interaction. It’s a cost-effective and time-saving exercise.Penetrating new demographic or geographic locations, businesses don’t need to hire and train local staff for customer service. AI is efficient enough.Predict what customers might look for.Personalization gives more gratification to customers than anything else. Amazon can fetch the exact products you might be searching. The smart artificial intelligence technology enables it. What you search for online, what you purchase, what you post on social media, what you discuss in your personal texts and emails — all this data is gathered. After carefully analyzing it, businesses can offer exactly what you might want to find online, whether this is a product, or content titles. With highly scalable machine learning algorithm, businesses can suggest travel destinations that you might be interested in also offer entertainment options that you would love to explore.These smart prediction satiates the consumers with personalized offers and helps businesses to improve customer experience.Get customer insights.Access to a massive pool of data the AI offers, businesses are now able to predict the future buying patterns of the customers. Even by conducting events, campaigns, and seminars, companies are trying to engage customers and get their views. For example, a travel agency might do an online campaign about where which destination would you like to travel for the Christmas holidays. Later, with the help of this collected data, the agency can offer personalized packages when Christmas approaches.The same exercise can be performed to improve operations and various processes too. A feedback form or a review section can be added to a particular online process where customers can share their experiences. Based on such data, businesses can make amendments to address the pain points the customers might be facing.24/7 customer service without any hindrances.A company that is expanded at multiple locations might face difficulties to manage flawless customer service operations. Furthermore, the overall cost of developing a local customer support network in different regions with different time zones may touch the sky. It is not feasible, nor practical or a smart option.AI has impeccable capabilities handling all problems with fluency and precision. No matter what your communication medium or language you want to deploy — AI can manage it all. Fast, reliable, durable, multilingual and hassle-free technology — AI promises some powerful possibilities for your business.Redirected Multi-channel supportAI not only provides solutions but, it can also identify issues, and when a particular support channel is unable to help, it redirects the customer to a new channel swiftly and promptly. For example, if a Chatbot is unable to solve a particular query, AI will direct the customer to the call support channel to resolve the issue. Such a comprehensive support system does not disinterest customers and keeps interaction live and astute.Superior customer gratificationMillennials nowadays don’t just expect good products and services; they want gratification. They need quick, efficient, superior solutions that add some value. With AI-enabled customer service, they can skip the queue and get immediate insightful responses that are relevant and subjected to the core issue. They will undoubtedly appreciate such advanced customer support and put you in their good books.ReliabilityCustomers, sometimes, don’t return to the brand if they encounter bad experiences. In fact, sometimes, they don’t even use a customer service channel when the issue arises. They simply leave the page. AI-enabled Chatbots and other customer service tools offer dependable, real-time solutions and that too instantly. Brand reliability plays a massive role in retaining customers and AI merely delivers it to you.Innovation with cost savingsCheck with any business that still follows the traditional call center channel to address customer service. They will agree that it’s a costly tool, as it includes the brand costs of hiring, training and retaining staff. Even after such heavy spending, the model sometimes fails to live up to the expectations. Artificial intelligence handles this issue single-handedly with innovative technologies such as machine learning and advanced speech recognition. It is highly cost-effective and saves a great deal of time too.Conclusion:Businesses are finally switching from traditional customer service models to AI-enabled ones. AI is matching up the customer expectations and needs. Artificial intelligence has carved a niche for itself by employing future-driven, quick, reliable and superior customer service solutions that serve the core purpose proficiently. Consumer buying and decision-making patterns are changing, and businesses are amending their strategies accordingly to simplify and streamline processes and operations. AI can do it. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. Adventure lover, passionate traveler, and a lover of nature. Avantika Shergilcenter_img There is no exaggeration in saying that the contemporary era is of automation. People just love automation. Booking movie tickets, or ordering pizza, commaning voice assistants for any task, travel assistance — all of it — we love automation. Automation reduces human efforts but it also empowers users. When it comes to customer service, AI tops the charts. Across all business verticals, automation seems to be ruling. Customer experience is one of the most pivotal aspects of acquiring and retaining customers. Due to increased competition, businesses are putting great efforts to ensure that customers are delighted while dealing with the brand. If the customers are not satisfied with the services, then they will not interact with the brand in the future.Although the introduction of Artificial Intelligence was delayed, within a short span, it has given a paradigm shift to the world. Businesses are employing digitally-empowered customer service solutions to enrich their customers’ journey. Automation has made it easy to educate customers about the products and services, to acquire new customers and to assist for any queries.With the invention of Chatbots, the call center executives need not type the same boring responses each day. Eliminating human intervention from the customer service model is a blessing in disguise for businesses. Artificial intelligence has contributed immensely to automate major aspects of the customer service model. Also, there is no limitation to what AI can achieve in the future.Let’s explore what artificial intelligence has to offer to the customer service segment: Related Posts AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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21 FREE Hand-Painted Brush Stroke Motion Graphics

first_imgLooking for more free assets? Check these out.29 Free LUTs for Video15 FREE Camera Shake Presets for After Effects and Premiere Pro355 Free Motion Graphics, Sound Effects, Action Elements and MoreCreative Uses for Bokeh Overlays + Free Prism Bokeh PackHow to Use These 4 Free Animated Texts in Your Videos With these FREE, hand-painted brush stroke graphics and animations, you can easily add a bit of flair and texture to your videos and animations.When you’re making titles or motion graphics, adding a little extra animation or texture can go a long way to give your project a custom, hand-made feel. Especially when those additions are custom and handmade.With these simple-yet-effective hand-painted line animations, shapes, and other paint graphics, you can drag-and-drop some extra texture and motion onto any scene or graphic. These elements are all pre-keyed and ready to go. Just add them on top of anything that needs a little something extra.This pack of 21 FREE Brush Stroke Graphics includes the following:21 5-second Quicktime .mov files in Prores 444, pre-keyed (with alpha) animated brush stroke graphics.11 different types of line animations, including thick, faded, dotted, and more.3 different circle animations with varied looks.7 various shape and symbol animations, like arrows, Xs, and check marks.A 15% off Shutterstock coupon Download the 21 FREE Brush Stroke GraphicsClick the button below to download the free pack of 21 Brush Stroke Graphics. In the download, you’ll find everything you need to get started. These motion graphics are free to use in any personal or commercial projects. By downloading, you agree not to resell or redistribute these free assets. DOWNLOAD 21 FREE BRUSH STROKE GRAPHICSHow to Use These Free Paint GraphicsThese free brush stroke graphics are pre-keyed and extremely easy to use.These FREE brush stroke graphics are extremely easy to use.They are all pre-keyed with an alpha channel, so there’s no need to do anything with transfer modes or luma mattes. You can drag and drop them onto your footage and use them however you like.There is one caveat: all of these files are 5 seconds long. This means that if you need them to be longer, you’ll need to lengthen them in your editing software.Lengthening The Animation In PremiereClicking Insert Frame Hold Segment in Premiere will let you lengthen the animation.To lengthen the graphics in Premiere, simply add your element to the timeline and position it using the motion tab in the effects controls.Once you have it where you like it, you can right-click on the element on your timeline with your playhead toward the end of the clip (it doesn’t really matter where, just as long as the animation has run its course), and then select “Insert Frame Hold Segment.”This will give you an extendable clip that can last as long as you need.Lengthening The Animation In After EffectsClicking Freeze on Last Frame in After Effects will allow you to extend the animation.In After Effects, it’s even easier to get the length that you need.Once you’ve got your element placed in the composition, you can simply right-click it and navigate to the “time” dropdown menu. There, you’ll see the option to “Freeze On Last Frame.”Select this, and After Effects will now play through the beginning portion of the animation and freeze it on the final frame. This way, you can extend the clip manually.Want to see some of these elements in action? Check out this video.last_img read more

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