Summertime!

As promised, here is the PDF of the book I made for the final project in Design Communication 1 – The Joy of Disc Golf

I cut and pasted images and text from the internet for filler, but I also created some of my own graphics, photos, and copy. I really enjoyed this project and I picked up some new insight into the process of putting a book together. I’ve had a love affair with books since before I can remember, but I never really thought about how hard it is to design a book from cover to cover.

I also finished up with Digital Publishing 2 which is focused on Adobe InDesign. One major project was broken up into sections throughout the semester and we built a publication about tea. The final step of the project turned the print publication into an ePub.

With the skills I learned from these two classes I feel confident I could create a book and get it on the web in a digital form, now if only I had a story…

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My Friend Flickr

I was never much of a photog before when taking pictures meant having to lug around a camera. Now I have a camera in my pocket all the time and a different problem has arisen, too many photos. I use iCloud and Dropbox to store photos to free up memory on my phone. Problem solved. I spend a fair amount of time commuting on foot which provides ample opportunity to snap pictures of found art or graffiti. This is an artsy town so I started a Flickr account to store photos of graffiti I come across in my wanderings.
This link to my Flickr photo stream is a direct line to the graffiti I find around town. All of the pictures (except the one of Jimi Hendrix with a bushy afro) I took myself. I could elucidate more here, but I include fairly detailed descriptions of each photo on Flickr.
Save the URL from the link a above to check in from time to time as I’ll add more shots of art around town as I find it.
Or, here’s the RSS link if you’re into that sort of thing.

Me in action

I’m in Design Communication I at Austin Community College this semester and the final project is a book, at least 20 pages.
My professor allowed us to choose our own topic, to insure enthusiasm, so I chose disc golf as my topic.
I have to bind the book myself and I’ve never done it before so the enthusiasm wasn’t really there especially because I like the topic; I don’t want to do the sport I love a disservice. But I’ve got the enthusiasm now. The binding will be the most challenging part but I’ve already learned something awesome.

I decided to used images of myself for the book because I can get good photos and I don’t charge myself to use the images.

During my research I found an action shot of a lady driving from the tee box and it gave me an idea. My plan was to take stills from video to use in the book.

Starting out I wasn’t sure how to do it, I’ve got the Adobe Creative Suite so I thought I could pull stills from video using Premiere. I’m not as familiar with Premiere as I am with other tools in the Adobe tool chest and I don’t have time to learn it right now but I know I could find something online if I had to. Before I even tried Premiere I tried Photoshop. Video and animation have been in Photoshop for a bit, but I’ve not really made use of the Timeline except to make animated gifs.

So, I fired up Photoshop and opened a .mov file to see what happened.
Photoshop accepted the file, and though it was slow and clunky and the audio was terrible, it played my video. Not only that but within 15 seconds I was able to locate the exactly what I needed.

In the drop down menu of the Timeline window, Convert Frames>Flatten Frames Into Clips turns each frame of the video into a layer. Then I picked out layers showing the progression of my right hand fore hand drive. The image of me standing upright is part of the background, but all the other images of me going through the motions are cut out of different layers. I had to play with the arrangement to get the look I wanted but I’m excited with the end result.

20130422-232201.jpgMy masterpiece

I’ve got some great stills already, I’ll post the completed project in three weeks after the semester is over.

Now I want to take nothing but video of everything, why take stills when you can take 24 stills a second? Or more, in HD. I also want to use this technique on some other action sequences. I’m so immersed in disc golf right now all I can think about are action shots from the disc golf course.
Anyone have any suggestions for similar images I could apply my newfound skills to?

Here’s the original footage I pulled the stills from.

I’ve become a Pod(cast) Person!

The amount of information available via podcast staggers the mind. Any interest is covered, probably by more than one podcast. It’s like talk radio except you get to choose the content. Apple recently updated their podcast app and they improved the interface and added a playlist function. I look through the podcasts I am subscribed to and add the episodes I want to the On-The-Go playlist and then hit play, I get to program my very own talk radio station.

Enough singing the praises of the medium, let’s get to some content.
Many of the podcasts I listen to are design related and a few of my favorites are:
Design Matters with Debbie Millman– Debbie Millman is President of the design division at Sterling Brands and the AIGA. She podcasts her radio show from Design Observer. Each episode is between 30 minutes to an hour and she talks with designers, artists and other creative people about their creative lives.

99% Invisible-Roman Mars is a public radio producer and reporter who hosts this podcast. This one grew on me, I didn’t quite get it at first, but each episode covers some obscure topic about a hidden jewel, like public stairways in San Francisco, or offers insight into the fabric of our daily lives. The recent post about the Modern Moloch sheds some light on the early days of the automobile.

The Deeply Graphic Design Cast-I happened to start listening to this podcast right as they started a “Portfolio Site Pro-Tips Series” which has already given me some ideas and inspiration. They don’t post regularly but every post is worth listening to.

On The Grid-This is the newest podcast in my cue, but after one episode I am hooked. Episode 30:Make it Worse is 47 minutes 52 seconds of awesome. I hope they keep up the quality, after listening to two posts I feel confident these guys have it dialed in.

These are the top of my list, there are others I like but these four are at the top of my mind when I think about design podcasts I listen to.

My whole life doesn’t revolve around design (mostly, but not all of it), I also like science and home brewing.
For science and general knowledge of the world:
NPR:How To Do Everything– The mission statement is “If you need to know how to find a date, or how to find water in the desert, we’re here for you. No question is too big or too small.” I recently listened to Episode 102: 70 Days in Bed with Howard about a man who stayed in bed for 70 days straight as an experiment for NASA and space exploration. This particular episode is more interesting than instructive, but like 99% Invisible, How to Do Everything sheds light on topics most people never think about but affect our everyday lives.

Science Friday-Another one from NPR, every Friday Ira Flatow serves up interesting news from the world of science. You don’t have to get the podcast, NPR brodcasts this show on their radio stations, but I like being able to choose which topics I want to learn about and I can pause it if my kid needs my attention.

Stuff You Should Know-Josh and Chuck provide another resource for interesting information you may not even know you can’t live without. Want to know what makes a one-hit wonder, or how CPR works? Stuff You Should Know has you covered and then some, brought to you by HowStuffWorks.com.

For home brewing:
The Sunday Session-About once a week The Brewing Network presents a long podcast (2-4+ hours) featuring tips and tricks for home brewing and interviews with professional brewers. One of the better episodes is the live broadcast from Celebrator’s 25th Anniversary Bash, but most episodes are entertaining and educational.

That’s all for now, I’m sure as I wade through the vast ocean of information encoded as podcasts I will find more to share and if you’re following my blog you’ll be the first to know.

Details matter

Color is a powerful element in design and can even have physiological effects on the viewer. Red can increase heart rate, red and yellow together can induce hunger.
A new book by Alan Alter called Drunk Tank Pink presents new information about how color effects human perception. Alter also says other seemingly benign influences effect our perception of the world.
I have not picked up a copy yet, but this Science Friday podcast piqued my interest.
What really sold it for me were the findings about donations to relief efforts after a huge catastrophic storm. Supposedly people who share an initial with the name of the storm donate more to relief efforts.
Drunk Tank Pink sounds like an awesome book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
I’ll post a review when I finish the book.

C’est Magnifique

I’ve never had a desire to know French until now. Jean Francois Rauzier is an artist who uses thousands of images to create what he calls ‘hyperphoto’. The images he creates are stunning, collage is not even in the same category with the blended image masterpieces created by this artist.

I’ve mentioned my bibliophilia before so it should be no surprise I particularly enjoyed the ideal libraries.

I endeavored to find more info about J.F. Rauzier but his whole web presence is in French which makes sense because he is from France but makes it hard for me to gather information. Chrome will translate the French for me but I don’t think it’s really conveying the message.

Fortunately for me his images are beautiful in any language and inspire me to hone my Photoshop skills.

Gamers Rejoice

I don’t have the time these days to play video games, but I still consider myself a gamer. I’ve played on almost every system put out since the Atari, but when Final Fantasy 7 came out I knew they would someday create realistic graphics. Photo-realistic.
Well here’s a great video from You Tube about Activision’s new demo. I don’t know when consumers could expect to see this on a console near them. I don’t mean the bald guy, but the 3D realistic graphics.
When the next gen consoles come out I may have to find some time to see for myself how far gaming has come.

Good lookin’ out Science

Starting at the edge of the galaxy.
Voyager I and II, something humans launched in 1977 are rapidly approaching interstellar space. Rocketing out at 38,000 miles per hour, the Voyager spacecrafts are 11.5 billion miles away from earth.
According to NASA we will be able to maintain radio contact for several more years.

Closer to home, from the space station.
Later this year UrtheCast will begin broadcasting streaming video of earth from twin cameras mounted on the space station. In High-Definition. Supposedly users will be able to see actual people in real time and will be able to send video clips to friends.
Besides the obvious privacy/Big Brother issues this raises, what a great idea. Zoom in on sporting events or Mardi Gras, protests or war zones, survey natural disaster areas.
Whether we like it or not we are moving into a brave new world and like any tool it will be up to us to decide how to use our technologies for good instead of evil.

On that note, new rumors from Cupertino.
Apple rumors are notorious and don’t always pan out. But with the impending launch of Google Glass later this year it would not be surprising if Apple was throwing it’s hat in the augmented reality ring. It appears to run on social networking allowing users to share images and videos from their location with friends or colleagues in their network who can see the notes and tags overlaid on the real world.

I’ve heard of a bar already banning Google Glass to protect the privacy of its patrons but as it becomes possible to capture any and every moment the very idea of privacy may need a reboot, or at the very least an upgrade.
We are a curious species by nature and I doubt we’ll stop looking at the world, galaxy, and universe around us anytime soon.

SXSpring Break!

SXSW seems to trump Spring Break for those of us who stay in town during the annual madness. I’m not participating this year but maybe next year…

For this week I have a medley with a heavy dose of SXSW stuff.

If you’re not sure what SXSW is, here is a look at what it is now for technology.

For the pool sharks out there, OpenPool has a great new way to enjoy shooting pool in the dark. This is still in the development stage but they will show it off at SXSW.

I like Apple, I like Matt Groening, who knew they worked together!

Coolhunting has a great Link About It this week.

They couldn’t ignore south by, 30 under 30 for SXSW

My favorites from the list are:

Matt Groening for Apple. Pre-Simpsons, subversive creator of Life is Hell appealing to college kids to get on the computer bandwagon. Certainly doesn’t take as much convincing now.

And the NYC/IO which is a competition to design a modern version of a NYC pay phone. Some smart people came up with some excellent designs, but it all feels too much like 1984. Maybe our future landscape is covered in screens.

If you’re in Austin this week enjoy our city and eat at Z’Tejas, in the bar.

March Midterm Madness!

I missed a day and I’m late but in my defense, not only have midterms been kicking my ass, but I have a real, paying client. Yeah, he’s a friend of mine, but I am designing collateral for him and his non profit is using it to promote events.

Today I am posting the results of the midterm project for my Design Communication I class which ties together everything else I’ve been learning since I’ve been in school.

The project is to design a book jacket for a book from a list of books provided. I chose The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I have a copy but I lost the jacket years ago so I thought this would be a great opportunity to make a jacket for my book and get a good grade.

These are the original sketches I made to get the creation process going. I was aiming at a tablet look because the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at the center of the book is a fictional electronic book from MegaDodo Publications on Ursa Minor Beta.

ImageImageImage

 

After the sketches I did two rounds of digital comps of the front cover and revisions of the digital comps, then two round of comps for the full jacket.

In the end I like the result. I made a unique and eye catching book jacket and I stayed true to the H2G2 fanbase but didn’t get too cliche with the design. My jacket would fit in with other versions made by other designers, and it would stand out.

 

ImageThe only thing I did not like about this project was trying to get it printed. It is too big to print on the laser printer at school and the print shop I took it to had problems printing it at full size. In the end the physical jacket was about 1/4 to small for the book so I know I didn’t get an A, but I did learn valuable lessons about dealing with a print shop and the difficulties of designing a book cover which is perfectly aligned and actually fits the book.

I’ve got a few more things to do before Spring Break and then I can relax.

Stay tuned, next week I’ve got something new in the works.