Monday, November 30, 2009

Photo Sharpening tips

I came across a blog post on sharpening photos in photoshop.

It also has some tips on how to use the Unsharp Mask Filter... which I will admit I didn't understand how to use until reading this tutorial.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Photoshop Fire-Text Tutorial

As you can probably tell, I enjoy making my blog posts about Photoshop tutorials that I come across. A couple weeks ago, my sister was making a card for one of her friends – and wanted some interesting text effects. So, I went through some tutorials, and she really liked one I found that makes the text look like it’s on fire. Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact tutorial that I used – but this tutorial below is very similar. Like most of the tutorials I have posted, interesting effects can be created rather quickly and easily.

I have found many other tutorials that I think you will all like, so stayed tuned!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A love story about...industrial objects

German designer Konstantin Grcic is drawing worldwide acclaim for his design work, which just happens to focus on industrial objects.

He says all his design decisions are determined by what the project will do, not how it will look. An exhibition of his work, called "Design Real," focuses on the relationship of particular objects to daily life -- and how their design was influenced by industrial culture. His work is described as being similar to the approach of artists in the "Relational Aesthetics" movement.

The New York Times ran a story about the exhibition in its recent Arts section.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Motion graphics

Motion graphics are very cool tools that enable the designers to incorrupt motions in their websites.
There are many cool websites that discuss motion graphics and what could be used in a website.

In addition, there are really cool techniques that can be used to give a signature to any design.

One of them is:

This video is demonstrating what I mean by motion in design:

Also, if look at this page and how pictures are designed:

The other one is: Vector Meldrew

hopefully, you will enjoy these websites.

Principles of Design

I was searching on the internet to have a better understanding of the principles of design. I found an interesting article that explains these principles.

I thought it is a good idea to share it with you guys.

Here is the link to the article:

Hopefully, you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gettin' sloppy with it...

This is a good example of why you should ALWAYS check your work twice!

Anthony Citrano of BoingBoing states in his article, "In the interview she says she'd rather be a "puma" than a "cougar" - but apparently, the clumsy Photoshop artist decided she was looking too strong in the cover shots - and awkwardly chopped off part of her left thigh. Note how the upper part of her left thigh/hip is basically missing (our right). Did she have some sort of weird car accident that left a wedge of meat missing from it? The fabric even magically floats above the missing thigh. Ha!

Hard to believe that made it to the cover."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fonts in Hell

Keeping with the typographically-themed rut in which this blog seems to be, there is a design article in The Times which focuses on typographical gaffes. While I couldn't care less about fonts and type faces, evidently there are people who find walking down a city street virtually nightmarish due to all the different signs and labels to analyze (along with the occasional mistake).

Type in browsers

How Typefaces Will Look On The Web? - check out this blog.
Web Font Specimen- check out the website.

Find out how your typeface looks on the web. This free-to-use resource might be able to improve the overall look of type on your website.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009


With the test coming up next weekend, I thought this may help. Although I'm sure none of us will be cramming the night before...ahem...they do have a rather helpful section on that too! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Web Aesthetics

Two notes:

1. This story is a good follow up to Don Norman's ideas about processing and aesthetics that talks specifically about Web design.

2.This talks about web aesthetics of a different sort. It looks like we're not the only species for whom aesthetics and usability coalesce.

Thunder and...

Not sure if it's the gloomy day or what, but while searching the plethora of Photoshop animation tutorials, I came across a pretty cool one for creating lightning. In general though, I'm really surprised at all the options PS offers in terms of creating film-like animations, especially in regards to the time lapse video. As for another well known music video that used animation, how about Take on Me...classic. (of course this is the funny version)

Clipping Mask Tutorial

I was browsing through Photoshop tutorials and found one that I think the class will enjoy. This tutorial makes use of the clipping mask, showing how to make a background image appear inside the text. It’s a pretty simple process, but it allows for very creative, attractive text designs. I know we have finished text and are doing animations this week, but this is still a good thing to learn in Photoshop.

You can actually animate something like this if you wish. For example, you can have the background image move throughout the text, creating a pretty neat looking mask animation. I’ve done a bit of this type of stuff using Flash; applying gradients behind text and having them move back and forth. It adds a little flavor to text.

Here is the tutorial:
When we were learning how to use the animation feature in Photoshop I immediately thought of how useful this would be for a really good time lapse. I've done them with video before but I never imagined it would be possible in Photoshop. I'd really like do try to do one for my final project. I only wish I learned of it sooner because I'd like to do one with the leaves changing colors and as we can all see, it's practically winter. Oh well. I want to figure out another way to use it.

While I usually see time lapses for the changing of seasons or day to night, I found this time lapse which was different and pretty amazing.

Design, discovery and humor

I always listen to TED Talks on YouTube.I think that they are amazing.

I would like to share a great video with you. This video is from TED Talks and by: David Carson Enjoy it!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Hammer' time

While watching the Grizzly Bear music video that Bryan shared with us, I was reminded of the music video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" in 1986. The video, which uses a high amount of unorthodox animation with an array of visual effects, could have been considered ground-breaking when it came out.

Gabriel's face almost looks as if it's being as it's being animated. I don't tend to remember too many many music videos -- when MTV actually played music videos -- but this one always stuck with me. Besides being a catchy song, the intricate parts moving in rapid syncopation creates an extremely unique visual aesthetic that is still applicable today (for those who have lots of time to work on animation and are amazingly talented at the craft).

Enjoy. Also, can anyone else think of other music videos with highly memorable animation? And no, I don't think anything from the Gorillaz should count.

Emotional design

Don Norman is one of the pioneers who discussed the role of emotions in human life. The brain actually evaluates any design and responds to it.

While I was reading in the internet about emotions and its role in the design process, I came across an article that discusses the function of emotions in any design.

The article is: Emotional about design

In addition, in my blog for 501, I wrote about Design Attractiveness which mentions Don Norman and his design components.

I believe that Norman's criteria are phenomenal and should be totally considered in any design.

Who shot HDR?

Have you heard about High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging? Here is an interesting blog post which discusses this.

And yes, my headline was a reference to Dallas.

New Word Press Theme

So, many of us in 502 are also taking 501 and have taken to blogging like a duck to water. Well, here is a site to help us create a new theme for our Wordpress blogs.

I am too busy now to attempt it, but someday soon I hope to give it a whirl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I was in Barnes in Noble tonight looking for books on Braille to get myself acqianted on learning it so I can understand the process as someday my niece will be learning it. However, they didn't have any books on it. I continued to browse around and came across a book about post cards. That gave me a thought to bring to the table here. How many of us still write letters and postcards?

My two good friends from back home still write me letters - it's nice to get a picture in the mail and something handwritten. I try to send pictures and letters to my niece and nephew once a month - the last one I sent was a Halloween card along with the family picture that I did for class - granted the family wasn't too happy with it, my nephew (who will be 5 this month) thought it was the funniest thing ever. My brother said he laughed so hard that he almost wet his pants. I'm glad someone thought it was funny.

So even though we are slowing turning away from letter writing, there are still ways that we can incorporate our own visual aesthetics with it. (I made a few other pictures for the nephew for his birthday).

In fact - for my Christmas letter last year (and I will be doing the same this year) - I went month by month and put a picture of what I did that month along with my paragraph about what happened. The family back home loved it as they were able to see my story.

Staying Positive

Reading this weeks article on the how the creative process is not only affected by our visceral reaction to certain extraneous processes but also how it affects what we design (so that our audience has a positive visceral experience as well) was one aspect I hadn't considered.  Of course, I am well aware of how easy it is to end up focusing on your problems when you are anxious and stressed out, but sometimes I feel that even experiencing a positive occurrence during troubled times is not enough to lift the funk.  So what are we to do?  Perhaps we could all watch more videos like these:      

In the end though, at least for me, I've always been able to feel good by helping out others.  A time tested tradition with proven results.  I'm curious though, what put you in a good mood?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Extreme Photoshop Makeovers

Perusing around YouTube, I was surprised to find so many videos of people using Photoshop to turn an ugly person into a beautiful person, or vice versa.

This was one of the better ones, although I think he could have made the woman even hotter if he had spent some more time and effort on it (juat kidding...kind of). The best part is that it's set to Joe Cocker's heartbreaking version of the song 'You Are So Beautiful'! How fitting!

Another video I stumbled across that I found interesting was about how widely Photoshop is used nowadays in magazines. The video poses an good question:

With Photoshop retouching, have we "created an unobtainable image of perfection that is widely accepted as the standard of beauty?"

You decide.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dreamy Animation

Since we're looking at animation this week, I thought I'd share this interesting piece of work. What we're doing is nowhere near this elaborate. (It's a video, for one thing, and it's sophisticated claymation, I guess.) But still, if you haven't seen the video, it's just fun and beautiful to watch. It's a video for the band Grizzly Bear, and was created by the artist Alison Schulnik. I was impressed by her wild imagination and unique style.

Some interesting links

As some of you know, I took a one day photoshop class through my work last week. The instructor suggested a couple websites I thought I would pass along.

This website is filled with free resources for the web designer. Do a search for photoshop and see some brushes and other things you can download and use.

You know the guy who co-wrote our text? Ben Willmore has a website Digital Mastery.

He recommended Lynda, of course, for tutorials, as well as I have yet to have time to look around there, but there you go.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great Moments in Wheaties History

After the blaze orange Wheaties box burned holes into my brain this week, it made me wonder: who was the first person to ever appear on the front of the box?

But before I tell you the answer, a word from our sponsor:

Interestingly, the first athlete on the cover of a Wheaties box was not a professional. He was an Olympian: decathlon gold medalist Bob Richards in 1958.

Here's some other Wheaties trivia, which may or may not be helpful at a party sometime, according to the Wheaties website:

• First non-orange Wheaties box: It was a red-and-black package released in 1992 to honor the NBAChampion Chicago Bulls.

• First woman on the front of box: Gold medal gymnast Mary LouRetton in 1984.

• First team to appear on front of box: The 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins.

• First hockey team: The 1991 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

• First golfer: Lee Trevino in 1969.

• First football player: Walter Payton in 1986.

First race car driver: Dale Earnhardt in 1997.

• Athlete to appear on box most number of times: Michael Jordan – 18 times, including
appearances with the NBA champion Chicago Bulls in 1991, 1993 and 1995. Tiger Woods is second with 16 box appearances. Gee, I wonder if he'll pass Michael?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flash and usability- a study

Flash interfaces open new doors for designers. The level of interactivity has increased dramatically. However some people, like Jacob Nielson, claimed that Flash: 99% Bad . I believe that there is always a way to increase the level of interactivity, without murdering the usability of any website.

The designers' Dilemma is always: To Flash or Not To Flash?

I totally believe that there are another ways of using Flash without destroying the usability of the whole website.

I was looking for some information about this issue and I found a study that was conducted to prove that Flash is valuable. The study was conducted through a group called "BIT". Here is a link of the study:
I enjoyed reading this artcile and I agree the the Flash is a powerful tool.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Christmas Carol

Carrying on with the Disney theme, I thought I would read a few articles about the new Disney A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carey. I can't imagine all the computer animation that it took to make this film. - this is an interesting article about making a image into 3d - I wish there were 40 hours in the day then I could play around with this more.

Speaking of Flash...

I found this nugget of information to be rather disturbing, especially if this knowledge fell into the wrong hands. Apparently, Web developer Tvo Schaap found out that certain Flash applications could allow access to people's Facebook or MySpace data.

The brief article mentions that after Schaap alerted the two social networking giants that they both fixed the glitch, but such information certainly makes me a little weary of capabilities of Flash. Furthermore, as the article puts it: "The vulnerabilities do, however, once more illustrate that many social networking sites still have some work to do when it comes to security."

photoshop woes

I have actually been having a bit of trouble finding the right photoshop tutorials. Many of them are not showing me the specifics of what I am trying to do. I struggled with this last assignment. Mainly, I had trouble making it look authentic. I kept adjusting little elements in the hopes of making look less fake. I'm not sure if I'm happy with the end result but I tried my best.

On a good note, I finally got Photoshop on my own computer. After my 30 day trial was up, I resorted to using the computers on campus to do my assignments. This was extremely inconvenient, but I honestly didn't have the money to purchase it. This week a friend of mine put it on my computer for free. I'm excited to be able to use it at home now.

Photoshop Star Tutorial

It’s fun to check out random Photoshop tutorials in your free time… well at least for me it is. I’ve been doing it a lot lately, creating random pictures/applying effects to pictures just for fun. I recently came across this tutorial, which I think some people in the class may like. It’s relatively simple, but it adds realistic stars to photos. I created snow for one of my projects last week, using a somewhat similar technique; except I had to do more to the layers to get more shape and depth for snow. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

Vanishing Point

Came across this tutorial for using vanishing point. I found it helpful in breaking down the whole process.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Photoshop with Caution

A blog featuring a collection of apparent (and not so apparent) Photoshop gaffes. Receiving some press coverage lately for its feature of several drastically altered Ralph Lauren models, blog posts range from simple advertisement errors to entire missing limbs and a seeming ignorance of the laws of physics.

Online Business Card

Last week we all designed our business cards, but in retrospect, perhaps we should have designed an online business card instead.

This site talks about some online options to get your name out there.

The mother of all “Online Business Card” tools. This is almost too pretty…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I've noticed that many times sites either have too much or too little Flash incorporated in their sites.  In my opinion one should present a balanced mix of HTML and Flash in order to successfully distribute content, an idea also supported by the results presented in this week's reading.

You can also check out these links for some further reading about when to use Flash and why you should avoid it.   

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vanishing Point tutorail

Are you confused about using the Vanishing point in Photoshop?

Then, this tutorial is very useful for you.

I think that it really helpful, especially the part where he blends the picture into the building.

Check this video out!!

I Can't Get No Inspiration

Looking for some design inspiration? Don't know what to put on your Wheaties box assignment? The website for 10e20, a New York-based internet marketing company has put together a bunch of sources to get your creative synapses firing. Some of them you've seen from 501a, like BoingBoing and TED. But there are lots of other interesting sources, too. My favorite is, which has an extensive collection of urban ruins from all over the world. You don't see that every day. Well, at least I don't.

Just a few more typography links ...

Would you like to know more about your favorite fonts? (That statement presumes you have a favorite font, but this site is cool even if you don't!) Check out Awesome.

And if you see a neat font somewhere and want to know what font it actually is, just take a picture of it and let What the Font? do the work.

(Interesting fun fact: The font used on highway signs was developed during World War II by what is now the Federal Highway Administration. Officially known as the FHWA Series, the font is also referred to as Highway Gothic and is the inspiration for the Interstate font.)