Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

I hope that all your dreams and wishes come true in 2009! May peace and happiness be your guides throughout the new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Strange Singles Ad

I've been on Facebook for several months now. Generally I ignore any ads on it. However, it finally started to dawn on me that all the ads were singles ads. I assumed this was because my status of "single" in my profile. So I turned off my relationship status and looking for, yet I continue to get the singles ads on the right-hand column. Most are "Over 30 & Looking?" and feature a photo of an attractive woman who is nowhere near 30. This is the strangest one I've seen, and I'm still scratching my head over it:
What the?! I don't even know what to say about this, other than how the heck did a photo of a dog replace a human in a singles ad? What are they really advertising here? Needless to say, I'm never going to use this dating service, as you might get a real dog for a date. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas! 

Here's a cool link from the folks over at Mental Floss on about the first Christmas Card.

Want to give a meaningful gift this Christmas Day? You could always donate to one of my favorite causes and donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (I don't work for 'em, but I believe in what they're doing.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Holiday Card - O Christmas Tree

So I've been planning this year's holiday card since last year. I had a few too many sketches from last year that I felt were cool enough, so I made life easy for myself this year and started from these sketches from last year:

I decided to "zoom in" on the what I call the "swirly" Christmas tree and use that as my base. At first, I envisioned my standard workflow of digitally inking my sketch and laying out flat color in Illustrator then taking that into Photoshop where I add lighting and texture. I reached my usual point of having all the flat colors laid out and I even made a Photoshop version of the file:

But something just didn't feel right (yes, the blue and purple, but I typically change my mind on colors in Photoshop, so that wasn't a big concern for me at this point). I set it aside and let the idea marinate a bit. I came back to it and added some more elements and details in Illustrator. And then more. And then I played with some of the filters to create a parchment-ish texture for the background.

Inspired by my success with the background texture, I attempted several versions of texture for the tree. However, after much experimentation, I couldn't develop a texture that worked for the tree (nor that matched my vision in my head). So I decided to continue the swirls inside the tree as its texture which unified the design better.

My previous 2 cards featured a dove and I decided to add it in to this card to keep with my tradition and to reinforce my wish for peace for the new year.

While I was skeptical of just leaving everything in Illustrator at first, especially since my work usually includes many different textures, I think the illustration is much better for it, and I might experiment more with creating those textures in Illustrator for future work.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Agile Design Tips

Eric Karjaluoto from smashLAB has an interesting essay on his ideas on ideas blog about how to streamline your creative process to be less rigid and more agile while keeping it efficient and productive. While the changes he suggests are small, I believe they make sense for the most part and I'm willing to give some of his ideas a go-round. What do you think? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just what they didn't want for Christmas!

I was out shopping the other day with a friend and we were looking at the Christmas stuff. Along with the typical Christmas lights, candy, and displays there was this:

I call him "Gansta Rappa Spuds Mackenzie", and he sings and lights up. He has either a gold or silver plated "grill" in addition to his way cool pimp-dog metal. Woo. Just want I didn't want for Christmas. I wonder how this one got past the suits and onto shelves.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cool Last Minute Christmas Gift Idears for the Designer in Your Life

Are you a procrastinator? Me too, that's why Santa Nick's got ya covered on some cool gift idears:

For those last minute shoppers with some dough, here are some way cool gifts:
Vertical Blinds Lamp (very clever design and technology)

Gesture-Based Interface (Ok, this one's not out yet, but this is too cool, it could be the future of how we interact with electronics)

Flying Car! (Ah, my dream is nearly a reality! Too bad it's not a Delorean... :)

Oh, and if you do have money to spend, consider building a secret room in your house! I've got a buddy who has the skill. He did one for a friend's parents and it rocks! If you're interested, lemme know and I'll connect ya (serious inquiries only please).

And some more practical ideas:

And if none of those strike your fancy, you could always try something from Core 77's Ultimate Gift Guide

Good luck! This is the last weekend to shop before Christmas, so if you celebrate, this is your last shot to get that perfect give for the ones you love. Or you could hand make them something special, or fake it with a gift from an Etsy shop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today is the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The folks over at Design Observer have a great article about it. Basically, UDHR is the new "Bill of Rights" for anyone, no matter what country they live in, for the 21st Century. Alas, its adoption is at an incredibly slow pace. Instead of bailouts, this is the issue every person on earth should be making noise about.

Improve Your Looks with Software!

Don't like the way you look? Want to have the perfect photo for your profile on Facebook or Match? Just use this brand-spanking new software developed in Israel!

Apparently these fine folks have figured out algorithms to "idealize" most anyone's face. Right now, it only works with hi-res, head on shots, so the technology has a ways to go. And while the software doesn't try to "enhance" every imperfection, I'm skeptical of the whole concept, and after seeing the sample image, I still prefer the original.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great End Titles

I saw Madagascar over the Thanksgiving weekend. The original movie was good, not great, but it was entertaining. So I figured the second could be fun to see. I think it is one of the rare cases where the sequel is as good as, or in some ways, is better than the original. I really enjoyed this movie and was pleasantly surprised by the end titles. 

So few movies take the time to really make the end titles special. With animation in particular, I feel it is important to recognize all the hard work that goes into making a feature-length animated film. Kudos to Jamie Caliri  and his team at DUCK Studios on a job well done! Watch Madagascar 2 end titles here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Poopy Packaging Idea

I was in Wal-Mart the other day buying Christmas gifts and I wanted to buy some chocolate for my dad. I went over to the holiday candy section and was browsing the selection when I came across this:
(apologies on image quality, I only had my cell phone camera handy)

What the heck? Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea? Eating "poo"? Really? I just can't see this leading anywhere good. Now Wal-Mart critics may be tempted to say "well it is Wal-Mart after all"… sadly, I found more of these poo'ing jelly bean farm animals on Amazon! Ug. I hope this is one trend that doesn't catch on.