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This guy is awesome. JQuery really took a hold of me this year. There are a lot of good resources out there — namely Stack Overflow (which I usually end up hitting via Google), and even the JQuery reference itself (kind of rare for a web API *cough* W3C *cough)

But this guy! Oh my gosh… THIS GUY IS AWESOME. He’ll make you love code. Just… try one screencast and you’ll melt, and feel the power travelling up through your fingertips in to your imagination. Seriously.

JQuery For Designers

(I also couldn’t help but notice that he took special attention to make sure that his site is fully browsable on Flash-hating-devices. And no, I’m not going to link you to what I mean if you don’t already know. It’s tiring.)

I’m really excited to share this one. It’s called Sculptris. It’s a 3 meg application that I think wins over ZBrush in its simplicity, elegance, and moreover in its maths which take care of your mesh topology through a process called adaptive subdivision.

..and the guy who came up with this stuff, DrPetters, is totally crazy! You can’t even imagine, but I can say that Sculptris was something he seemed to consider a personal project he was just fooling around with, and the rest of his work has a similar feel that makes me go “You do this for fun!? Holy $#*%!”

Also, considering the nature of his bizarre software, it does not surprise me that Eskil Steenberg is one of the few people following him on Twitter. More on him later…

Photoshop: The order of the layer effects don’t match the true compositing order, BradEllis has provided us with a handy diagram explaining the confusion. Why can’t we reorder the compositing order? Why can’t we stack effects? Why isn’t Gaussian Blur a layer effect considering its the most used filter ever and Smart Objects is a clunky hacky solution.

I couldn’t have said it better. Adobe UI Gripes is a blog all about epic Adobe failures, and just started making all posts about CS5. It’s the little things that count…


So there’s this new thing called Aviary. It’s a suite of web apps that aim to rival the Adobe suite. All together, none of it seems to converge in to a supreme replacement for the real McCoy. However, the most-used features have surfaced without too many more Adobe’s more obscure features that 99% of graphic artists never use. So far there’s a Photoshop-esque image editor complete with layer fx and masking, a node-based image filtering and compositing tool not unlike Blender’s compositor, a basic vector image illustration app that outputs to SVG and takes advantage of Flash’s unique off-center gradients, a quick photo-edit app for cropping and adding text (think Picasa), an audio mixer that comes with fairly decent looping and automation, and a color picker and swatch manager that even comes with color-blind previews. It’s a nice set of tools that offers some refreshingly different options. I’ll keep Aviary in the back of my mind for the next time I’m in a situation where I can’t install the Adobe suite on a computer (which might be never).

Most of the stuff being made with it right now isn’t all that spectacular… Then again, I was saying the same thing about Facebook Graffiti, and then it just sort of exploded.

I mocked up this little data-destructor in Processing last night.  Hope you guys like it.

//image destroyer
//works for movie files too!
//load files into same directory as program.
//sometimes it doesn't work.

String img = “ronaldreagan”; //file name
String ext = “.jpg”; //file extension

for(int num = 1; num <= 10; num++) { //10 iterations
byte[] data=loadBytes(img+ext);
for(int i=0;i<100;i++) //100 changes
{
int loc=(int)random(128,data.length);
data[loc]=(byte)random(255);
}
saveBytes(img+num+ext,data); //won’t overwrite
}

exit();

I could start this post by pointing out that there’s a new Kanye West music video that uses this technique, but I won’t because it’s been in america’s mothers’ basements for years. In fact, me and my friend Adam through of it nearly five years ago. What made the phenomena popular was Evident Utensil which was up for best music video for MTV’s Music Video Awards back in August.

Since the song is protected by copyright, here it is backwards.

In October I saw a fellow who had data moshed a lot of old movies together with great success and was doing it as a video installation. This is two months later, and it’s being used by a celebrity, so it’s rapidly going to becoming a played out effect just like auto-tuning. Surely back in 2004 it only entertained me and my friends for a short while before we ran out of ideas. Oh how short-sighted we were…

So far it’s proved itself as being just another tool in everyone’s box. In any case, if you’re interested, just watch this tutorial and then you’ll be a data moshing rock star.

I’ve seen some crazy web tool sites in the past, but this one takes the cake. Fontstruct is everything that’s good about competitive design constraints, and none of the scary pricing which plagues most of the font world (with the exception of dafont). Let me put this in bold: Fonts have never been this exciting.

  • Fonts are creative commons by default. The site is already designed for you to clone someone else’s font, make additions or changes, and resubmit it as your own.
  • The font building tool is impressively good for making contemporary typefaces. Really creative people have even made contemporary twists on traditional fonts as a byproduct of the strange building tools provided with excitingly fresh results.
  • Once you’re done building, FontStruct generates high-quality TrueType fonts, ready to use in any Mac or Windows application.

Really you could do all this with any program that strikes your fancy. If you have twenty minutes to spare, watch this!

Used in this video: The GIMP, Alchemy, & MyPaint. I wonder if David would like Rhonda

For most graphics programs in the Adobe suite the operating system’s color picker goes unused. Flash, still holding on to a lot of its Macromedia-isms still has a button to pick colors in this old fashioned way. Normally, particularly on windows, this would be a bad thing. But oh, what’s this? That ugly color spectrum can be replaced with another image?!

color palette

this menu lets you import a 198x184 image as your color palette

Yep. That’s pretty cool, and I can already think of a few (im)practical uses! I’d be interested in seeing anyone else trying this. Attach a screenshot with Command+Shift+4

Unsuspectingly I learned what a Bezier curve truly is by attending a talk on four dimensional math. Though the Bezier, which you might know better as the “curve tool” or as the “pen tool” or as its proper pronunciation the “beh-zee-aye” is a heck of a lot simpler than you ever would have guessed.

One bezier curve is nothing more than a quarter circle inside of a trapezoid where the handles are 5/9ths (or 55%) out.
bezier2
Really you can sort of imagine that curves follow a “half” rule if you imagine a box that envelopes each quarter circle, but it’s useful to know that you need to push those handles just a little further to get the full effect.
bezier1
It might seem terribly nerdy at this point, but the next time you start drawing with curves, this information really comes in handy. The model is only an artistic tool however. Bezier curves are actually much uglier in their mechanics, and give me a flashback to 3rd grade graph paper exercises.

Personally, I prefer the quarter-circle model. Though the above diagram is mathematically correct, it’s a lot harder to come to terms with a curve that seems so hard to imagine as circular. The circle, after all, is a powerful design element that we all push towards and like to think about.

bezier 3

With any luck, the newer and easier Spiro Curve will soon be overtaking the place of the bezier, but that’s another blog post.

Actionscript 3 is nearly three years old now, and though CS4 hasn’t done much to help the fact that code and art are still very strictly separated, it hasn’t seemed to stop crafty multimedia artists from taking the language by the horns. Papervision has blossomed in to a respectable 3D engine and every day more sites are using it meaning that plenty of artists are willing to take the dive in to hard core programming to keep up. In other words, so should you, and the department too. Actionscript 3 isn’t going to wait around for anyone, and before you know it, it will be 4.0

Papervision 1

Papervision 2

Papervision 3

Compared to your Playstation, these graphics might seem familiar, or not even that impressive, but considering that 3D in flash is nothing but a huge open source hack, and that documentation is terribly verbose and online tutorials a few and far between, it’s pretty amazing that it’s come this far in the past few years. As with any cheap technological upgrade, corporate websites have already jumped on to the bleeding Flash edge, meaning that design firms are too, meaning that coming out college … you get the idea.

Papervision 4

Oh, and I’ll have to think up something snazzy for the 4th.

VisualPV3D is nothing but an swf file, and a few folders of XML and Actionscript 3. What it can do is pretty unheard of. Just as you’d think from the picture below, it does full 3D modeling and texturing, but what’s crazier is it’s output. Not only are the visuals within VPV3D running in Papervision, but it’s a 1-to-1 editor for Papervision files. Essentially, a bunch of Actionscript 3 that writes Actionscript 3. Or to put it another way: Flash 3D, done in Flash.