Articles, Tutorials and Updates
2012 was a rough year for me. I won't sugar coat it. I was laid off in February and spent most of this year trying to get back to a place where I'm comfortable. I accepted a position as a photographer for now but I'm still looking for a way back into Web development. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I've launched 3 Websites this year and re-designed Alluring to be mobile and tablet friendly. I'm happy to report that my latest client is a repeat spender and I've given him some discounts because of the scope of the project.
Fletcher2013.com is a site for Reverend Darrion Fletcher from Atlanta who is running for City Councilman of the 3rd District. I used a red, white and blue theme and I repeated this element in the design of his campaign tee-shirt. I would love to be there when they are handed out. I am also looking at bumper stickers, flyers and road signs; time to call some local printers.
So I'm hoping for 2013 to be a year that will have me back on my feet. I'm also waiting for my second son to be born in April!
Artwork for Church
I wanted to share some work I've been involved with for the past couple of weeks with some wonderful people at the Citadel City Christian Center. I was given the task of creating a new logo to incorporate into an existing emblem. There were some adjustments to the shield and the color scheme was also kept. I used Adobe Illustrator to bring in raster images and convert into vector format. This gives the design the ability to look good at any size. The baroque illustrations on either side of it are new along with the "C4/cross" inside of the globe in the upper right hand corner. This took more time than I initially planned and that's usually how it works with art. I sent PNGs to the church today with an approval so now I get to move onto the next project.
High Definition Rendering
How do we go from a really good digital image to an amazing, jaw-dropping, knock out image? Some pictures actually are shot well enough to stand up on their own with proper lighting, backdrop and flash equipment in portraiture studios.
These tools are rendered useless outside in nature photography or off site locations. All this aside, we're going for the best image possible and to get that you should be shooting in RAW.
If you're serious enough about your photography, you should shoot in RAW. Here is some background information about RAW
and an explanation for the reasoning
. I shoot with RAW+JPEG. The jpegs are good for immediate viewing purposes so I don't shoot in just RAW.
After you've got "the shot," which looks better than the others you took (I'm alluding to taking more than one shot of your subject and getting different perspectives, angles and exposures) you are now at a point to alter or edit your image.
Please use Photoshop responsibly.
Remember; you already have "the shot." All you need to do now is use a critical eye, take out unwanted things that distract and slightly adjust the HDR in Photoshop. I recommend properly adjusting blacks, contrast and clarity settings in Photoshop RAW but don't go overboard
. There is a thick fat line between a dynamic and powerful HDR image and an over processed image. A lot of the images in that link loose depth. Some of them look like they're lit by neon light. Some of them have way too much detail.
In summary, they are unnatural. One of the tricks of Photoshop is to accomplish fixing the photo/image without someone figuring out how it's done or even noticing it was edited at all.
I'm happy to announce a new logo/branding scheme for sale to any upstarts or existing entities that would like to make this their own.
I used Illustrator to create an outline of a fish with a more traditional shape that more accurately displays a small fish. That approach was good but just not great so I adjusted the shape to fit inside of the "o" of the name. The new shape was less clumsy and easier to identify as an icon or logo. After the font and logo was finished, the tag line was easy to invent. Converting from black and white; I used a 2 color option including a purple gradient.
The font choice compliments the simplicity of the logo / smooth lines and round symmetrical curves produced from a custom version of the Myriad Pro font.
Flash and the Future
I wanted to comment on an old topic that started in April of last year. Steve Jobs basically outlined the reasons why Flash shouldn't be a major player on the internet. Here's the article.
In the article, a strong case is presented why Flash is bad for Adobe products and how HTML5 and the future will deprecate Flash.
It's kind of sad really.
Like I mentioned above, there's a really good case here and Steve's points are valid and good. However, they mostly pertain to all of Apple products. I agree to a point but I can't afford an Apple computer so logically that argument doesn't pertain to me. On the other hand there is a lot of horrible content on the internet that has Flash written all over it. Flash is a tool and it can be used for really bad reasons on the internet.
One of the most important things that pops into my head is the two monsters in Flash that can take down a browser. The first one is the script. Not everyone can write a good program and the same is true with Actionscript. I went to college with no clue what Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash was and I struggled with the script part of the program. After a few books and 6+ years troubleshooting and writing scripts in AS 2.0 and 3.0 I have a really good grip on what should and shouldn't be in a Flash application.
The second beast is two headed. Animation and graphic handling. Flash supports both vector and raster images so .jpegs are a go. The problem (and I'm willing to bet a farm on this) that I think is probably the worst is beginning and intermediate Flash developers who import bad .jpegs. By bad I mean 300 rez. It's so incredibly bad that I can't find the right phrase to explain my frustration. Everything you see on a computer or device should be 72 rez. End of topic. I'm aware of iPhone's awesome 200 rez and other really cool features but 72 rez is a standard and will still look good on a hand held.
The other head to that beast is trying to animate those .jpegs or using video that just isn't properly set up for the internet. There are a number of things that can go wrong with video; like the frame rate for example. Let's say Sally Soandso gets her high quality video (28fps) and decides to import it into flash and do all the tedious things it takes to make cool player buttons. Well, she's wrong. Naughty Sally. Actually she's not naughty, she just doesn't know. 28fps (frames per second) is horrible for the internet. Especially for hand helds.
So much can go wrong with Flash. I agree with the majority of Steve's comments. I agree to the point where I think Flash should be overhauled by Adobe or sold to another company. There are too many sites out there with dumb games that crash a user's browser faster than a horse on rollerskates. I don't want to hyperlink them because I value you and the fact that you've read all this.
In summary I conclude that Flash has a lot of features that make it great but it will be undone by designers and developers who don't know how to properly harness it. HTML 5 is the future but perhaps there is room for Flash as well. I hope it's left in the hands of those who use it correctly.