web design i: week 9

The momentum is picking up! I am currently starting some serious groundwork for my final web project! Right now I am currently going with making a portfolio website, and created a temporary mock-up and style tile for the page. I also worked on completing my Design Document, which contains the previously worked project profiler, along with the mock-up, flowchart, and style tile. A link to my Design Document can be found here

Here is a picture of my style tile, which will get modified during the following week:

 

style-tile

 

The font I’m currently using is from Google Fonts, and it has all my needs. A thin, a thick, and an inbetween font. There are various other styles, so this font is locked with a ton of options. The various colors are for use for the various pages, each set of 5 from left to right is for a page, utilizing a monochromatic color scheme for each page, while sticking with a RGB color set.

My layout needs to be re-tweeked as well, as it does not follow either the 960 or the 1000 grid correctly, and much like the style tile, will get re-worked during the week.

Wireframe

 

I did it in the moment, going with what ideas were in my head at the time. I didn’t have time to fine tune it, to make sure it works well within the 1000px grid (as I want to work with the responsive grid), and properly define my margins.

 

flickr pickr: Snowonmt

flickr pickr

Hand

Snowonmt

http://www.flickr.com/photos/81853756@N03/

Why you may just like this Flickr:

  • variety of subjects, ranging from archtiecture to nature 
  • colors that are augmented by lighting
  • non-traditional portraits

A small amount of photos that feel like a grab bag you are ALWAYS winning, Snowonmt has a little be for everyone, and I found him when I looking for people who aren’t restricted to just one subject matter.

web design i: week 8

THIS HAS BEEN AN EXCITING WEEK. NOT JUST BECAUSE OF SPRING BREAK. BECAUSE CSS NOW HAS ALL SORTS OF NEW THINGS

  • DROP SHADOWS ON EVERYTHING
  • GRADIENTS
  • TRANSPARCY
  • ROUNDED CORNERS

I DO NOT THINK I HAVE BEEN THIS EXCITED IN AGES.

Ok I’m done expressing my joy in this knowledge. This week we went over what was said above, and how they are now possible in CSS. While some are a tad bit experimental still (transparancy primarily), they are extremely great additions. Most of these where done by me before by implimenting imagery, adding more load time to a webpage. It also added alot of extra footwork in other programs such as Photoshop and Fireworks to create and export the images for use. All this has been negated by easy to use code that can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be.

In my resume site I added only drop shadows for now, as I think if I went crazy now I wouldn’t have the project done in time. Knowing about these new functions does enable me to problem-solve a great deal of issues I feel I would have run into with my final web project, which is designing a website. I will be doing a portfolio site. While I already have one I use, being able to create one with my own code and tell people “Hey, I made my own person portfolio site own my own” is much better looking across the board.

flickr pickr: Arni J.M.

flickr pickr

Heart of Glass

Arni J.M.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/-ajm/

Why you may just like this Flickr:

  • More architecture!
  • More color!
  • More patterns!

He is another architecture photography floating around on Flickr. He is different from last weeks Christian Beirle Gonzalez in many ways and also similar, so Arni is also worth a look if you enjoyed Christian.

video gaming: i beat something omg

POSSIBLY GOING TO SPOIL STUFF, AS USUAL, HERE IS YOUR BRIGHT RED WARNING

Tomb Raiding and fighting Samurai. Allday. Everyday

Tomb Raider 2013

I beat Tomb Raider today! A week or so ago I put up a post about the game, talking a bit about how god damn awesome it is. Unsurprisingly, it still was pretty awesome in the end. Here is a quick overview of what I enjoyed the most about it.

Pros

  • Lara is constantly having bad luck, making you as  player look at a new area and get a “oh fuck” feeling, in a great way
  • All the weapons get limelight and used often, and melee isn’t as overpowered as I thought it was going to be
  • Getting collectibles is actually fun, as I get to hear more of that great voice acting
  • Platforming is done well, and action scenes aren’t too auto-pilot.
  • You feel for Lara, you feel real god damn bad for the girl
  • Music is spot on, and keeps up with the pace between the slower moments and the faster ones

The game is not without its problems, though

Cons

  • While weapons get a lot of limelight in combat, gadgets don’t nearly as much. Fire & Rope arrow get limited uses aside from when they are first introduced
  • I know its Lara’s show, but other than maybe Roth you don’t care all THAT much for the other characters. Their journals do help a bit, but not enough
  • Oni appear WAY too late to be as awesome as they could have been. Wanted to have some three-way fights with them and the normal enemies
  • Last upgraded bow can shoot into rocks, but can’t shoot into wood and stuff? What? Excuse me? (Ok this is REAL minor)

The cons aren’t really awful though, the pros more than make up for it. Also Lara dual-wielding pistols during the last QTE was kinda awesome for fans. Should have unlocked as a weapon after you cleared the game though. I still have the remaining collectibles to get, and actually intend on doubling back and getting all that done sometime soon. Will never try multiplayer because I just don’t care for it. For now I started playing SOME GOD DAMN METAL GEAR RISING.

CRAZY. CRAY. CRUZAY. craZAY.

metalgearrising

It is fun as hell. Before anyone goes “OF COURSE IT IS, ITS MADE BY PLATINUM,” I’ve only liked Bayonetta out of them, the rest is meh. I was worried this wouldn’t be good at all. This game is so far filling the void that the latest Devil May Cry left for me. It’s CRAZY, and the game knows it. I get into fights and I feel like a bad-ass  Cliche, yeah, but look at me care. I’M FIGHTING METAL GEAR RAY WITH A SWORD. WHEN I WAS A KID I HAD TO SHOOT IT WITH MISSILES AND SHIT.

Also the music, the MUSIC. In any other game I would say it is downright awful, but it work in this game really well. It’s crazy rock inside a CRAZY game. I bet the lyrics are stupid as hell in the boss tracks. Also again, look at me care, I sure don’t when things are this CRAZY. Currently I’m right after the Monsoon fight, which I loved the idea of him being made of small pieces. Fight was a change of pace in comparison to the Minstrel fight, I was actually getting wrecked for a bit. I’m happy and sort of shocked I’m enjoying it as much as I am, hope I won’t take forever to beat it!

And it has a cat boss that no one has manage to topple as of yet. Yeah, CRAZY.

video gaming: cavia and drakengard

Cavia

I love Cavia. Perhaps not as much as my brother, but I’m a close second. Cavia was a small video game company that was established in 2000 and dissolved into AQ interactive around 2012, and helped to make a few games here and there. Their most well know stuff (which is even a cult hit for the most part) is their Drakengard series. So hot on the heels of a Drakengard 3 announcement leak (HOLY SHIT, by the way), I give a bit of a story on Cavia’s baby.I bought the first game on a whim almost 6 years about for about 12 bucks at a GameStop. I bought it mainly because it looked Anime as all hell (gimme a break, I was a kid), and had SquareEnix on the cover.

I did not know what I got myself into with this series.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS ABOUND. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Drakengard Cover

The gameplay is nothing to write home about, it played like a beat-em-up, the best way to describe it was close to Dynasty Warriors + Panzer Dragoon with the dragon sections. What made an impression was the plotline, which went from kinda crazy to CRAZZZZZZZZYYYYYYYYYYYY really quick. Reading all the back text was required, there was just so much going on they didn’t tell you up front.

Drakengard gameplay

Nothing to write home about gameplay-wise.

The plot is simple as this, our lead, Caim, wants power and is close to death when a dragon (Angelus) offers him a pact, that he would be granted life and power for exchange of being bound to dragon and losing something. For Caim, his pact causes him to lose his voice, and mark his tongue. From here he goes on a quest to save his sister from a man who was formally his best friend and a crazy empire, and acquires a few teammates in the process. These teammates are about as crazy as they get.

Main playable characters aside from Caim

Arioch – An elf mother who became a insane murderer after witnessing the death of her family. Her pact gave up her fertility. It’s implied in various writings for the game that she also murdered and cannibalized children.

Seere – Brother of Manah (one of the main villians). Pact gave up the boy’s ability to age, fixing him at the age of 6

Leonard – A man whose hatred of war caused him to constant be tormented by his mistakes. Made blind by his pact. Implied to be pedophile (an act he was committing during the murder of his family)

Other characters

Inuart – Best friend of Caim who slowly loses it because Caim is better than him at everything, which then turns into a jealous rage.

Manah – Twin sister of Seere, abused by her mother and driven slightly crazy. Main reason the world is in the terrible state it is in during the first game.

Oh yeah, this is a group I want to be behind all the time. The game also had equally crazy endings, ranging from Giant Floating Grotesqueries are stopped by Seere, to Dragonsthings?? appearing to Caim flying into an alternate world which happens to be modern Tokyo.

The last ending is an alternate plotline which leads into the world of Nier. When I found out this tidbit my mind was BLOWN. If you have some time I would recommend lurking for a wiki and reading up on the story of this, Drakengard 2, and Nier. They are worth a read, playing them…ehhh (though Drakengard 2 and Nier play LEAGUES better). I’ll post about those two later, if I put it all in one post it would a whole lot of reading.

On a side-note, I wish they stuck with Drag-On Dragoon as the US name, its so much cooler.

i heart art: spring break #2

In my last art post, I posted an image showing my progress on a trace. After another hour or two, I finally finished it!

START:

Violet Before

FINISH:

Violet After

The longest part was the fluff of hair on the glasses, as in the original graphic they were strands of hair. I instead opted to just make it a solid piece, which worked out pretty well. The hair overall is a bit different, but I don’t think it turned out awful. The gradient was another tricky part. Originally was just going to make it a solid fill, but decided to take a chance on getting the gradient and make it a bit closer to the original.

Doing a vector trace on an image takes fucking a while. There I said it. I just finished working on another one, which was easily harder than the last one for a few reasons:

  • A lot more stuff to trace (all them armor pieces = UGH)
  • Color matching was also annoying, just made some changes instead
  • The pattern on the mask (NOPE.png)

I did the pattern on the mask by copying a animal texture within Illustrator, then editing the hell out of it to suit my needs. It took a minute because the first time I tried to edit I attempted too much at once and Illustrator flat out crashed on me. Thankfully, I saved right before I tried it, so it wasn’t a loss, just meant I would have to take it REALLY slow in comparison to how fast I wanted to go. You can see the color differences below. Also decided to omit the shadow on his right shoulder-plate and just use his skin color instead.

BEFORE:

Armor-King2

AFTER:

Armor-King

It is really good practice in Illustrator doing this, not just with the Pen tool, but problem solving with colors and overlaying graphics. I ran into issues with my layer order quite a bit once I got to the lower end, but some tricks I picked up by watching them Lynda tutorials helped out. Also two for two with Lynda videos, next up is Dreamweaver possibly, or AfterEffects, haven’t decided quite yet.

i ain’t a film major: 24

24 Logo

So I’ve been sneaking in some good old 24. I love this series for many reasons, namely being Jack Bauer being one of the angriest men on television. Even Japan knew it at the time.

While the last two seasons were OK at best (but I still loved Renee walker’s character), seasons 1-6 linked so well together in a way I hadn’t seen other full series do.

Why I liked this series;

  • Characters come back season to season in a way that makes sense.
  • On a related note, they aren’t afraid to kill people, even characters people liked
  • Every episode had one or more “Oh shit” moments
  • You knew every episode wasn’t going to go smoothly, but didn’t know how it, which kept you at the edge
  • Did I mention I like angry Jack Bauer?
  • FANTASTIC audio tracks/cues.
  • One of the better uses of split screens in television.
  • The idea of events happening in “real time” added to that on the edge feeling. Did they say that bomb was going off in 5 minutes? Most tense 5 minutes EVER

Did it get repetitive?  To some yes, to me, sorta. It did in the fact you knew things would never go according to plan, but watching how it DID go bad was almost always exciting. Season 7 and 8 had the fault of changing too much and not linking back to previous seasons nearly as well as 1-6 did. They wanted to try something new and it just didn’t have quite have the flare previous seasons had. Still I’d watch the first six at the minimum because that is how you do a great action/thriller series.

i heart art: spring break #1

I’m a few days into my Spring Break, and I’m feeling sort of accomplished currently. Current list of done deeds:

  • Finished a Lynda course on InDesign
  • Started and got half-way in a Lynda course on Illustrator
  • Fixed up my Flickr, Tumblr, and portfolio website (shameless link here).
  • Finished a bulk of pictures I scanned into two parts and had to put back together for my brother’s new arcade stick design.
  • Submitted some works for an art competition
  • Studied more of Aaron Siskind’s works and essays
  • Mapped out possible darkroom setups

For two days in, that ain’t too shabby, actually a bit further on the Lynda stuff than expected. The reason for that is because I have a bit less film left than expected (4 rolls!) so I decided to not go out to shoot today and do more Lynda instead. With two rolls every day, Tuesday and Wednesday should be covered, and I get my film Thursday. Today’s weather was awful to say the least, so shooting would have been un-fun. Tomorrow will be much better.

Now I work on some minimalist wallpapers, since by tinkering around with it, I know how to use the damn Pen tool properly in Illustrator so I don’t make 20 million anchor points with a single shape. Looks so much smoother than previous works I did. I did forget how time consuming it can be though.

Violet Trace

Also I am digging my “new” desk, its lovely to work at, mixed in with this studio light that has been just sitting in plain sight for years, I finally have a little area that I can work on stuff comfortably. I say “new” because we have owned this thing for easily 20 years, and my brother took it once we moved about six years ago. I looked into buying a new desk when he decided to just to give me the desk he had instead, if I cleaned it off for him. Was worth it.

Break time over! Back to working on this image until I feel sleepy. The only wrong thing I’ve done so far this break is ruin my sleep schedule even further. Gahhhhhh.

bus reader: the wind up bird chronicle

The Wind Up Bird Chronicals

So I’ve just finished reading  Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’m not entirely sure how I felt about it. Just so you know I’ve been slowly reading Murakami’s works after reading Sputnik Sweetheart on my brother’s recommendation. Murakami is known for dabbling in some bizarre and strange subjects, but relating them to very real world concepts, which in turn, make them quite close to reality no matter how unrealistic it is. This book predates Kafka on the Shore by almost a decade, which was his next larger novel after this one.

The basis of the plot is this; Toru Okada is a young man who has recently just quick his rather unimpressive (to him) job at a law firm. While in the process of try to find out what to do next, he is pressured by his wife Kumiko to look for there lost cat, Noboru Wataya. The cat, named after Kumiko’s elder brother that is about as close to a villian as you get in this story, disappeared nights prior. On this journey, we again get lead into another of Murakami crazy metaphysical worlds just as Okada does himself.

I read Kafka before this, which lead me to notice a sort of evolution in style from this to Kafka. One thing is that information is relayed in a not so straightforward manner than in Kafka. That isn’t bad, but it doesn’t give me an “OHHHHHHH” feeling, but instead an “oh…” when I realize a link between information. It just wasn’t all that impressive. The “twist” itself was also unimpressive to me, I was hoping for something a bit…crazier? I dunno, it just feels like I read so much and got very little reward for it. The theme of the metaphysical/dream world also wasn’t thrilling, I felt After Dark even did a better job with it, and that’s saying something since After Dark’s dream was really not that interesting.

I think overall it is still worth a read, but if you had to choose a few of Murakami’s works to skip, this would be one of them. Also not that great of a starting place unless you don’t want to start with his better stuff.  On the brightside, I’m almost done with Murakami’s works for the moment, just one more longer book to go (1Q84), then his short stories.

Shame I already want to re-read Sputnik Sweetheart again because I should keep reading new stuff and not just going backwards, ITS NOT MY FAULT IT WAS SO GOOD.