Wednesday, 23 April 2008

I was mentioned on Pop17

One of my blog posts over on my Tumblr blog has been reposted and linked back to me

I am hoping that this re-post will drive more traffic to my blog and in turn give me more exposure as a digital designer

Pop17 are also following me on various other 2.0 social sites, I would encourage them if they are reading this to get in-contact with me as I would be happy to work with them in any way, shape or form.

Maybe this is the start of a very bright future (or maybe not lol :) )

Mobile Phone Upgrade

I just upgraded my mobile phone. Im up grading from a Nokia N80 (great phone awful battery life) to a LG Viewty (I have no experience of LG Phones, I hope i havent picked a heap of junk)

lg viewty

I opted for the LG Viewty for a few reasons

1. I am a technology g33k and this phone fits the bill with lots of cool features, touchscreen UI, 5 MP camera, 120fps video recording and more

2. I can afford an iPhone (as much as I would like one)

3. I always buy mobile phones with the best camera available for 2 reasons

I cant justify buying a new digital camera

If i was to buy a digital camera i would not take it everywhere with me where as a mobile phone i will, meaning i am able to capture more with the mobile phone camera

4. Being someone who text quite alot I like the touch screen qwerty keyboad it has to offer

Here are some links to video i chopped up from youtube videos

Keyboard Mode

Handwriting Mode


The above videos were edited from this source

Now i know with iPhones (once they are jail broken) are capable of mobile blogging through the likes of twitter clients, being able to upload pictures and being able to surf the internet.

I also opted take advantage of a months free trial of the mobile internet, I opted to trial as I want to evaluate wether it will facilitate me to be able to blog on the move. I am considering setting new youtube blogger and flickr test accounts so i can see how good the Viewty is at blogging on the move.

There have been situations in the past when something has caught my eye and i have wanted to blog it there and then, (like when the flight were playing a free gig in the middle of Newcastle city centre, i had my N80 with me at the time so shot some video, by the time i had uploaded it to my mac and edited it (24 hours later) it seemed a bit pointless posting it as the moment had passed

(A bit of topic but HERE is that video)

Perhaps another good point to make about that video is it was recorded on my Nokia N80 as i hadn't taken my Mini DV camera out with me as I really wasn't expecting to see this.

lg viewty

Anyway I looking forward to receiving my new phone, and will be hoping to write up a follow up post detailing what i think to the handset and also commenting on if I found mobile internet for the use of blogging on the move ne use

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Aesops Fable Further Research : Brainstorming and Ideas Development

Today i decided that to push my work forward with the Aesop's Fable Brief

I need to have a solid idea of what direction I was planning on taking the interactive book.

For weeks (since we got the breif,) I have been racking my brain trying to think of a good idea of how and why i may create an interactive book

The only think that keeps springing in to my brain is; to create an iteractive reading aid (not very imaginative i know, but i know i will be able to work with that idea)

Working along the lines of "interactive reading aid" i began to brain storm what interactive elements i could include

Taking the three ideas of Video, Sound, and Animation I began to further investigate how i could include these elements into an "interactive reading aid"

1.) Story teller mode (Video)

The "Story Teller Mode" utilizes video. The picture below explains what I am aiming for in more detail

2.) Read With Me (Audio)

The "Read With Me Mode" utilizes audio. The picture below explains what I am aiming for in more detail

3.) Unassisted (Animation)

The "Unassisted Mode" utilizes animation. The picture below explains what I am aiming for in more detail

After quickly making the above notes in my sketchbook/notepad I knew I had a solid idea that would meet the criteria for the brief. I liked the idea so to develop it further i created a PowerPoint demo to enable me to get a better feel of what i am thinking about achiveing

Below is the PowerPoint Presentation I created

Read this doc on Scribd: Proposal for Aesops Fable Breif

*Note Clicking the square in the top right hand corner of the embedded powerpoint will take you into fullscreen mode so you can see more clearly*,

Finally I talked to Annabeth, showing her my PowerPoint presentation and talking her through the direction in which i plan on taking this brief.

She told me that taking the brief in this direction is a good approach to take. Annabeth told me to see more examples of this kind of work I should head over to the Cbeebies Website

While on the cbeebies website i noted a few web addresses that i plan on revisiting or that maybe useful for me to learn from

My aims for the next time I approach this breif are;

Short Term Goal

1) Continue researching how the Cbeebies website present there interactive stories what interactive elements are they using to engage the user with the stories being told?

Mid Term Goals

2) Create some characters in illustrator that I can import into flash

3. Create a "test" Scene in Flash using the characters created in illustrator. Make sure they are suitable for animating

Monday, 14 April 2008

Aesops Fable Flash Tutorials Fundamentals of Interactive Design

Today at uni we had a flash tutorial

I have used Flash quite a lot before (but would not consider my self to be a pro by an means) so some of the stuff we covered was just a refresher for me, which was good as I havent used flash extensivly since june last year.

We covered how to motion tween something i am very familiar with (for a very simple guide to tweening CLICK HERE)

We also looked at animating to a path, this again was something I have done prviously in flash. I find being able to animate to a path a useful technique, and was defiantly in need of a refresher to remember how to do it.

Below is my example of my path animation

For a simple guide to path animation CLICK HERE

The final and most important thing that i learnt to day was how to animate a walk cycle (something i have not done before)

As you can see below I have the very basics of a walk cycle begining to take shape, I know if i take what i have learnt to day, with more time and attention to detail i would be able to create a more realistic looking walk cycle

I have often thought about making small animations in flash before (generally for my own and friends entertainment) Not knowing how to create a walking character often prevented me from doing so. Now I have this skill under my belt i feel it will open new avenues for me and help me to take my ideas and flash creations in many different directions :)

Friday, 11 April 2008

Aesops Fable Intial Reseach for Fundamentals of Interactive Design

I commented on my tumblr that i was going to try and work 1 or two hours a day on the Aesops Fables brief.

Unfortunately i haven't quite stuck to that plan, but tonight i have commenced researching.

In this brief i am hoping to concentrate a lot of the work in to researching and prototyping, as from previous briefs i have found that if i research, then prototype, i provide loads of work that contributes to the marking scheme, if i just set out and create something i have less work to hand in at then end of the brief. Also in previous briefs where i have research then prototyped i have been happy with the final piece of work and i also think it has been of a better standard. So for this brief i am hoping to get a lot of research done, then blog my findings

Tonight I looked on wikipedia to refresh my memory about each fable. wikipedia only had brief outlines of each story so i am planning on visiting my local library to get out a book of Aesop Fables as although i know the outline of each fable when i am creating my piece of work i went something i can reference back to to make sure i am on the right track.

I have used flash before and am aware that you can create a page turning effect where the user, use's there mouse pointer to 'grab' the edge of the page and turn it over to reveal the next page.

Having not used flash for a while i set out to look at some examples of this, and came across this

In the above video* you can see an interactive book made in flash where as well as being text and pictures there is also video embedded (see 24 seconds in) also on one page you can choose the characters to view in more detail all on one page (see 1 minute in)

For this brief (this is not set in concrete and is just an initial idea) i am considering using the flip page method using The Tortoise and The Hare story. I am considering telling the story from the perspective of the hare and from the perspective of the tortoise. I am considering Using the dual character selection method shown in the video above, to let the user select who's perspective they wish to read from.

To achieve this method i would use externally loading pictures so when the user chose the tortoise it would external load a jpeg and clicking a next button would take the user to the story starting from the tortoise perspective

I would use the action script event handler

On (press)
Goto and play;

or take it to a new scene using

gotoAndPlay("Scene 2", 1);

My aims for my next pieces of research are to

1) Get out the book Aseops Fables from the library
2) use youtube to look at video's of Aseops fables
3) Continue to gather and research flash techniques which may be useful for this brief

* Just a quick note regarding the video above. It is showing a .swf embedded on a web page. I used the screen capture program ScreenFlow. ScreenFlow is a powerful screen capturing program that lets you resize and edit the video aswell as using various techniques and methods of highlighting what you are doing. For my video above after capturing i have zoomed the video in two areas that I wanted to highlight to people reading this blog. The first is at 24 seconds I have zoomed in to show that there is video embedded into the page. The second zoom is at 1m 10sec to show the selecting of different characters from multiple pages. This is my first time using a screen capture program, and it proved to be very useful, as it was not possible to place the .swf into the blog (i couldn't find the url in the source code to embed, nor could i download it and upload it to my blog page)

I feel the video makes the page more media rich with out having to click an external link to go and view another page. I hope i will get more use from ScreenFlow as it seems to be a very neat and handy program

Another tweak to my blog

I have been editing the design of this blog again and have now added a fav icon

I have added it as another useful way to build my blog brand.

I am hoping if my blog has lots of recognizable features, that people are able to easily recognize and relate to it will keep them coming back

I came across THIS website that details the benefits of using fav icons on your websites

I made this fav icon using an online editor, so at some point (in the near future) i am hoping to use Photoshop to create somthing a little more profesional

Friday, 4 April 2008

Editing Blogger

Yesterday i experimented with editing the look of my blog using these tools

Mac Digital Colour Meter

Adobe Kuler

I used Adobe kuler to find colour schemes, then using the Apple Mac utility Digital Colour Meter I measured the RGB values. I then feed the RGB values in to to get the hex value of the colour. Once i had the hex value of the colour, I then placed it into the HTML template of blogger.

This is probably the most convoluted way to this but it is the only way i know how to get my colour from kuler to hex value.

Getting to look at the HTML in the template has really helped me understand what all the elements in the template do. At some point i am wishing to edit the template (maybe adding an extra column, exclusively for links of tech websites and blogs that i enjoy reading)

Here are some of the colours I experimented with

Above is a picture of the blog with the original colours, i picked this template as i really liked the two column layout, but i was never a big fan of the colours

I then experimented with making things a bit brighter (more friendly and web 2.0-ish) I though i liked the brighter feel, i didn't think the colours suited each other, so i decided not to stick with this.

I next used Adobe Kuler and found a NES related colour scheme, (red, white, black and grey) at the time this colour scheme didn't appeal to me i thought i was a bit boring and not very exciting. Looking back now, i quite like it the colours they seem to fit well together and all though they are dark, i feel they lend a professional feel to the blog

I final choose to use the colour scheme shown in the picture above, again i feel it has a slightly web 2.0 feel, and the colours seem to compliment each other quite well

I would encourage anyone reading this post to comment it and let me know which colour scheme they thinks works best

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

OS X Anyone ?

Whilst on the bus home from uni today, the license plate of this car caught my eye

I quickly whipped out my mobile phone and took a quick picture (i would of tried to get a better picture but the bus got caught at the traffic lights and the car infront got through so I didnt get the chance)

Yet another OS X (iTunes) Discovery

Earlier today I was writing something up in TextEdit and was feeling a little uninspired, so i thought i would look through my iTunes library, as i went to click at the music icon to have a flick through my music, the radio icon caught my attention, with out thinking i clicked on it and saw different genres listed.
Still without really thinking. I clicked on one of them (i thought it would be empty and you would need to download your own content, like you you choose your podcast content) to my suprised each genre has a number of channels listed

I didnt even realize the the radio feature existed until now !!! Yet another nice touch from apple.

I would also imagine that you can add radio feeds. If any one knows if this is possible and if the larger stations such as The BBC and local stations such as 96.3 Radio Aire have feeds please let me know by leaving a comment

I would also be interested to here what feed people have added and what there favourite station feeds are

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

mini dv camera - firewire - photobooth

Just a quick post

I haven't been a mac user for a great deal of time (maybe three years?) I have only been using Leopard since December 2007, before that i was using Panther and things have changed vastly since then)

I am still constantly learning things about OS X

Anyway the point of this post was to say i have just discovered that by hooking up a mini dv camera with a firewire cable to your Mac it is possible to take pictures with it using the built in app photobooth.

Although i am not sure what quality a mini dv camera takes pictures at i would imagine it to be a higher resolution than the built in isight camera, which could come in useful.

Pinch Punch First Of The Month

i dont normally post risky videos like this on here but this one is real funny!

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