Mammoth Snow Trip with the Family!

December 27th, 2012 by Matt

Mammoth Snow Trip!

This is the first White Christmas we’ve had in awhile, and it was awesome! We had blizzard conditions for the first two days, so there was plenty of “play in the snow fun” to be had!

I’m also displaying a test of Picasa Web Album’s “Embed Slideshow” feature. (If you’re looked at a nice blank box, you’re using an iPhone or iPad. Sorry! Here’s a link to the images.) Basically, you can easily set up Flash slideshows from the photo albums you’ve uploaded to your Google account. Pretty nice! There are multiple size options for the shows (This is the 600 x 400 pixel size) and you can even have it display the captions you’ve set up in your albums, as I’ve done here. (I do wish you could change the basic background color to something other than black, though. Having a white background would really blend into most websites better. It would also be cool to be able to adjust the font attributes, too.)

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WWII Historical Account “Will They Return”

March 15th, 2010 by Matt

Will They Return Book Cover

This was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on. I was given complete creative freedom to do the cover and book design for a WWII non–fiction book called “Will They Return.” This is a terrific true story, with the names changed, of a young sergeant leading his buddies through harrowing battles in northern France and southern Germany towards the end of the war.

The author, Gilbert Rivera, was an amazing man, someone I am privileged to have known. He had some truly amazing (and harrowing!) experiences as a staff sergeant in Company A of the 71st Infantry Regiment in the U. S. Army in France and Germany during the last year or so of the war. Unlike many “war stories,” this book is written from the viewpoint of the common soldier, what he experienced on a day–to–day basis, the hardships, the horror, the camaraderie, the lighter moments. It is all there. If you are at all interested in World War II history, and specifically the war in Europe, go to LuLu.com and buy the book. You won’t be disappointed!

Posted in Good Reads, Graphic Design, The Web | 1 Comment »

John Whitney Motion Graphics

March 15th, 2010 by Matt

Remarkable and mesmerizing Flash motion graphics by Jim Bumgardner of coverpop.com. These animations are a digital realization and homage to the early work of John Whitney, famed motion graphics pioneer of the 1940’s through the 1990’s. Amazing!

And while we’re at it, take a look at coverpop.com…What an amazing interface! You can spend some serious time browsing through just a few of these great magazine and book covers! This guy really knows his Flash actionscript!

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Krazy Dad

March 12th, 2010 by Matt

Jim Bumgardner is an amazing guy. His website, krazydad.com, is filled with a bunch of Flash–based games and “software toys”(his term)…my kind of guy! His mazes (in his Fun and Games area) and “springy titles” are awesome! He is also the author of my favorite screensaver ever…MetaScope! It is a virtual kaleidoscope on your pc that searches the internet for images of your choosing, automatically creating a kaleidoscope on your desktop. If you thought those fishtank screensavers were cool, what until you see this…totally mesmerizing!

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The Art of Roger Bradfield

March 9th, 2010 by Matt

Trix

Trix are for Kids…Not!

“Who’s Roger Bradfield, you say?” Anyone who has eaten Kix, Trix, or Wheaties cereals should know! He created the great graphic art for the cereal boxes in the 1960’s, among many other projects. For a great blog post on Mr. Bradfield, see this article by Dan Goodsell. Very cool. Gimme some Trix!

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Hope Garden

March 8th, 2010 by Matt

The Hope Garden

The Hope Garden…Beautiful!

What a beautiful website and a great cause. The Hope Garden is an inspirational website focussing on people with cancer, their families, and friends. In this beautiful Flash–based “garden”, you can “plant” a beautiful flower with an inspirational message for a loved one that is battling this implacable disease. Visitors can also browse through the garden and read messages left by others. What a beautiful, thoughtful, and well–executed website. Kudos, Paul!

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Indiana Jones Trilogy Pixelmashes!

February 10th, 2010 by Matt

Here are links to David Court’s great work on the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Enjoy everyone!

Raiders of the Lost Ark Animated GIF

Raiders of the Lost Ark

The new year started off really well when I received a nice e-mail from David Court, of Star Wars Pixelmash fame. In a previous post, I said that I hadn’t figured out who the creator of these great Star Wars animated GIFs was. Well, David was kind enough to let me know, and now you do too!

Temple of Doom Animated GIF

Temple of Doom

David also let me know about his new Pixelmash collaborations…Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade! The Indiana Jones animations are in the same familiar, although slightly taller 129 x 94 pixel format as the Star Wars offerings, and if anything, they are even cooler and more detailed in their animations. There are tons of small animated figures and even more detailed facial expressions. The opening “Raiders” scene where Indy is being chased by the natives had me cracking up!

The Last Crusade Animated GIF

The Last Crusade

Finishing the Indiana Jones Trilogy, we have the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade pixelmash, “live and and in living color!” I love the zeppelin! Awesome job, David!

Needless to say, I’ve really been impressed with David’s efforts. Who knows what great stuff he’ll come up with next? Thanks again for the “heads up,” David!

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Star Wars Trilogy Animated GIFs!

February 8th, 2010 by Matt

Back in 2005, David Court created a sensation on the web by recreating the Star Wars Trilogy in animated GIF form. These are works of art and deserve to be kept out there for everyone’s viewing enjoyment. In that spirit, here are links to the original Trilogy, as well as some I am housing here on my website, in the spirit keeping this great web–based art available to everyone.

I’ve corresponded with David from time to time and have enjoyed our brief conversations. He is a nice guy with a delightfully sardonic sense of humor. I wish him well.

Star Wars Animated GIF

A New Hope

This is too cool for words! I found a link to this on another blog and just had to mention it. This animated GIF file contains all of the main scenes from Star Wars IV: A New Hope, all in a 168k file! Awesome! My kudos to the designer, David Court!

Empire Strikes Back Animated GIF

The Empire Strikes Back!

Another fantastic GIF animation, this time it’s Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back! Man, it takes a lot of work to animate something like this, especially to do it this well!

Return of the Jedi Animated GIF

The Return of the Jedi!

The final piece of the puzzle! And once again, a fantastic GIF animation, Star Wars VI: The Revenge of the Jedi! Awesome!

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Time-saving List Examples!

January 28th, 2010 by Matt

This is a great html/css list how–to I used back in 2005. It still is a great tutorial and set of examples.

I have to mention a great article and set of examples that really helped me tame a list navigation problem I was having on a website design I was working on at the time. I was trying to set apart a “current” item on a list as a visual cue as to what page the viewer is on. For example, if a viewer is on your home page, make the “Home” bullet on the list white with a white bar. I was able to come up with a solution, but ran into problems with, of all browsers, Camino. (This used to be a Mac–only browser that compete with Firefox.) Anyway, with my method, it set all visited bullets on the list as white with a white bar! I visited Digital Web Magazine (great site) which led me to CSSVault (another cool site). Finally, following a link from CSSVault, I came across the perfect solution to my problem on Max Design’s Listamatic. This solution, authored by Project Seven, worked perfectly with Camino, as well as with all of my other testing browsers. Thanks a lot Project Seven! And thanks a lot Listamatic!

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For Better Type Display On PCs Using XP–ClearType

January 27th, 2010 by Matt

As a dedicated Mac user, I’m used to (i.e. spoiled by) the superior display technology that OSX gives me. And, as a web designer, I’ve always been frustrated by the pixelated, “jaggy” display of italic type on PC-based displays running Windows XP. Well, for those less familiar with the PC, here is a helpful (built–in!) little software utility by, gasp, Microsoft called ClearType that will help ban “the jaggies!”

Although this utility is built into Windows, it is set off by default. It also seems to me to be accessed in an almost “hidden” way, so you’re unlikely to run across it unless you are actually looking for it. To activate ClearType, access this FAQ and follow the instructions under “How do I turn it on?” The caveat is that you are not actually able to adjust ClearType settings with this method of activation. Its either on or off. Kind of bogus if you ask me.

Two better methods of ClearType activation that allow “tuning” of the settings are:

I personally prefer the latter. ClearType anti–aliases text, making “the jaggies” appear much smoother. Although designed primarily for laptop users with LCD displays, it also does a decent job at improving displays using traditional CRT (tube) displays. Be aware, though, that this is accomplished by decreasing edge sharpness, (i.e. blurring the edges of the characters) so try it and see if you like it. To me, the better display of italics outweighs the decrease in crispness.

As I stated before, I much prefer downloading and installing ClearType as a windows control panel. Why should you have to access a website to change your settings? I also had some problems on a couple of windows machines where ClearType wouldn’t activate via the website. Downloading and using it as a control panel worked like a charm. My big question is, why doesn’t Microsoft make this software completely accessible, in terms of both activation and tuning, in the first place?

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