My Book Recommendations for Inspiration.

31 07 2009

As designers we’re visual people, we conceptualize and we’ve always got that daydream stare going on for us. It doesn’t mean that I don’t readily enjoy the conversation you’re having with me, it’s more so I’m looking at the colors of your sunglasses perched upon your head and I’m trying to figure out how I can use them in one of my latest designs.

For the most part we’re all sponges, soaking up as much information as possible. Though for me, information doesn’t just lie in a big book of 12 point times new roman font that’s flush left, that has no pictures. Information for me lies in all things visual. Whether that be magazines, motion graphics, picture books, cartoons, things in nature. Anything and everything has some appeal one way or another.

Though one of my number one resources I go to when I need inspiration are books. Any type of book for that matter – hell I’m rereading Interview with a Vampire and I kid you not I got inspired to design based on the plot alone. Creativity is everywhere and sometimes when we’re stressed we don’t always seem to find it, and other times it just finds us unexpectedly. Though to help ease those of you who don’t find it as often as most of us would like, I’ve compiled a list of books that seem to get my mind turning. I’ve also got a couple of suggestions for where to pull creativity from, it doesn’t always have to be in book form, but we need a starting point.

1. Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to wake up your brain.
This book is by far one of the most helpful resources as a designer that I personally enjoy. It’s a book where you can literally just open it up and whatever page you’re on you can go from there. It’s jam packed with exercises that may sound childish, but that’s what it’s suppose to be like. I think for the most part it’s trying to tap into your inner child’s way of thinking. Remember as a kid when we use to make stuff without boundaries? This is the book with no boundaries, it’s also a book to help you break away from the boundaries we set when we’re in that designer state of mind.

2. The Non-Designer’s Design Book.
Wait, before you bombard me with ‘Hey DEF, what gives? I thought you were a designer!’ I am. Though this is always a good reference when I forget certain design elements. It’s a good visual representation of what good/bad design is. Even though it may be more focused on typography (I’ve taken 5 typography courses it’s pretty much programmed into me) it teaches you about C.R.A.P – though you’ll have to read the book to figure out what C.R.A.P is. Pretty awesome acronym to remember basic design principals.

3. Design Basics Index
This book is basically the rules of design and you know the saying that once you know all the design rules you can break them. This one has lots of visuals of how to – from composition to typography, to layout. This is an overall view on design. I like it for the visuals and for the reminder of making bold design, because let’s face it we’ve all designed something crappy because we didn’t know what to do with it and it just didn’t look right.

4. Forms, Folds, Sizes
If you’re like me, remembering certain sizes for different projects can be a tedious thing. Mind you I don’t really remember all the sizes for certain pieces, I mean I usually design on 8 1/2 x 11, unless otherwise stated. So if you’re like me and you can’t remember how big a business card is, or certain abbreviations that are vital in design – this book is definitely for you. It talks about typography, mailing labels, different sizes and dimensions, packaging, substrates, and printing. Things that some if not most of us didn’t learn in design school. This book is serious if you don’t want to end up with a headache for being a couple centimeters off.

5. Graphic Design: A Concise History
Let’s face it, history repeats itself. That being said, this book goes through the history of graphic design. From Japanese woodblock printing to Bauhaus, Art Noveau, The Arts and Crafts Movement, Surrealism, etc this book is taking all that history and condensing it down with visuals. What better way than to borrow from the past? Who knows you could always end up making your own movement of Noveau Surrealism (hm, I like that term, definitely gonna coin it) it’s the past that helps us design today, where we draw inspiration from as well. It’s how we reinvent what is given to us.

6. How to Make Books
If you’re like me and can’t sit at the computer for very long without wanting to be tactile, this is the book for you. Not only does it give you a new way to construct books, I believe it is offset pressed which gives it that handmade feel to it, which I personally like. It teaches you different techniques from your basic saddle stitch to making books with one piece of paper. It’s great stuff to spark creativity.

7. Breaking Into Graphic Design
This book is basically taking into account of what employers are looking for and how to obtain work. It’s more so on a Q and A basis, but it has real vital information that I happened to find useful. How to go about searching for a job, getting yourself out there, etc.

8. Time Management for the Creative Person
I’ve already done a review on this book alone, but I think I’ll emphasis again how much time one can save if just reading this book. I’m personally still working on this, it’s a book to read more than once and it doesn’t give you that left brain approach to time management. It’s more so creative and tailored towards the artistic way of thinking. It’s filled with a bunch of quizzes and tests, which kept me entertained as well as learning more about the way I do things and why I do them that way. Real good book if you want to save yourself the headache of being a procrastinator.

9. The Art of Looking Sideways
All right, so this book could probably injure someone if they were trying to jack your laptop, but nonetheless it’s filled with a ton of visuals. Every time I open this book I’m usually brought to something new, seeing as you can’t merely just flip from page to page (or well you could if you really wanted to). It’s just one of those books where you can jump in from any page and go with that.

10. How to be an Explorer of The World
This one was a pretty ironic find for me. I happened to be browsing through the children’s section of the bookstore (what better way to get inspired by trying to relive your childhood?) nonetheless, I found this book and figured I’d take a gander at it. At first it made me wonder what this book was doing in a children’s section of a bookstore, for one it seems exactly like something a graphic designer could be asking for. Then I figured the whimsical aspect of being a gatherer/explorer does tap into being a kid. Then I figured it out, I’ve never stopped collecting things since I was a child, and maybe that’s where the two meshed together. Though if you’re looking for a renewed sense of fun (you do remember what fun is right?) then definitely pick this book up, you’ll be happy you did.

Networking: Fun Fun For Everyone

29 04 2009

So you’re headed out the door almost finished with your degree and the mentality you have is ‘I’m on top of the world, now what?’ Yeah, believe me, I’m almost at the point and I kinda ask myself ‘What am I going to do?’

Though don’t fear, I mean you have made friends in design school, right?

‘Wait, how does DEF know I haven’t made friends?, I mean I have acquaintances, but I’m an art kid, I can get through this by myself, I don’t need no stinkin’ friends, specially the ones who are going to steal concepts from me!’

Wrong, well I mean you probably could if you were really that headstrong, but unlike the rest of us (or the ones who pretty much got kicked off their high horse -myself included) you gotta have friends. I also mean you have to have friends that know the business oriented part of you as well.

I know for many designers the word ‘business’ and the word ‘friends’ don’t sound like a mix we’d really like to compromise, but I’m sure the friends you made in design school are in fact going to be your ‘business friends’ later.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a design student – yes that’s right student. I also work as a freelancer on the side while in design school, meaning I’m surrounded by designers every day I’m at school. I know, not a real new concept. Though I know there are some people who blast through design school not making an effort to get to know someone who has ‘really sick’ design skills and/or someone who doesn’t have the skills, but has the potential to be better. There’s always that crazy paranoia that someone else is going to steal your concepts and that you don’t make friends in design school you make enemies and they’re all out to get you. Wrong. This is so wrong.

You are there to learn and you’re there to share. Unless you’re ‘The shit’ designer in school and has everything going for them and has their own business… welcome to reality kids you better start making friends with the kid who’s socially awkward, but knows a hell of a lot in illustrator. Mind you, our designer mentality (somewhat) likes to say “I’m large and in charge and I don’t need anyone’s help” when really you’re thinking “God if I only remembered how to do this” or “if someone could help me”

I think we all share the common ground of feeling good from helping people. I know I do. I like sharing for the better part of me, I especially like sharing and elaborating on stuff I know a lot about. So if you wish for me to tell you about your astrological sign (yes, even if you don’t believe in it or anything I still think it’s fun) or if you need help getting through an interface, I kind of find that more important than the ‘I’m large and in charge’ ego.

So I’m sure you’re asking ‘But DEF how do I do that? I’ve never done that’ first off I’d like to say ‘How many people do you know?’ – give it some thought. All right, out of those people who many people do they know that can help you? Am I starting to get the ball rolling?

Networking in the most part is about who you know, if you don’t know anyone, I guess you should start getting to know some people. Mind you if you’re a douche, people aren’t going to want to get to know you, so don’t be one and there will be no problem with that.

1. You should share information.
Great things when it comes to this aspect of networking is possibly twitter. I’m not going to lie, it helps a lot and you can get feedback from people in your field who have been there done that, will tell you like it is. This is no sugar coated pat on the head, you want a serious critique, they’ll give you one. You need help on trying to write a contract? They’ll direct you in the way to get there. They’re there to help you and to socialize. Saying hello to someone new usually makes that person feel pretty good and more willing to help. But being insincere and a jerk, well doesn’t really get you anything.

2. Don’t know something? Don’t be afraid to ask.
I’m still working on this aspect of being a designer, and I know many of us don’t like asking for help. The truth of the matter is, if you don’t ask then you won’t know, and if you don’t know then where does that leave you? Sometimes often frustrated. – Sure google can help you, but that’s spending endless hours on stuff to be learned (mind you learning is always a good thing), but why not ask someone who has the experience? Question and be questioned.

3. Be taught and teach others.
In a sense we’re all somewhat teachers, and we pretty much didn’t have to get a masters in education to do it either. That’s right, all of us harbor knowledge. There are things we know that others don’t, we are mentors and peers and being able to teach someone something also feels rewarding in the end. Also being taught something is a reward, it’s all a win win situation.

But most of all Don’t be someone who knows it all and puts others down I know you’re probably saying ‘That’s a no-brainer DEF’ , but to be truthfully honest some people have really big heads. I’ve lost a lot of friends because of that trait, and even if they were good people to network with, dealing with that doesn’t help. So don’t get too much of a big head or someone might just pop you.


The Newbie Mistake – Hard drives.

25 04 2009

I’ve recently got enlightened by the fact that designers whom I go to school with do not know how to format their hard drives to be both PC and Mac compatible. Then again I also figured I didn’t know how to do that either for awhile – so I guess I’ll shed some light on how to.

Mind you I’ve probably gone through about 3 hard drives and a couple thumb drives. You can do the same for both. I am a Mac user , go ahead and snicker. So I will show you how to do this on a Mac.

If your design school is like mine (or you have clientele that work with PCs/Macs and you are either or) where you work in both labs it’s quite useful and it saves you the stress of wondering ‘Where the hell did my files go?!’

First open Disk Utilities. You can do that by going to Applications – Utilities – Disk Utilities. Thus it will bring you to this screen.

From this screen locate the hard drive/thumb drive you wish to format. For me I’m going to erase (hopefully if you have a new hard drive/thumb drive you don’t have to erase anything) what’s on it. So thus go to the left hand side and select the name of your hard drive/thumb drive.

As you can see there are 4 different tabs labeled First Aid, Erase, Raid, Restore for me, I’ve only personally used Erase so I can’t get into detail about the others since I’ve never used them. So, click on the Erase tab and it will bring you into this interface.

You will thus then see the Volume Format tab as well as the Name: field for your hard drive / thumb drive. For me, my thumb drive is already set for PC/Mac compatibility. Though if yours isn’t go to the drop down menu and set it for MS-DOS File System. I know for a fact that on a PC the format is FAT-32 and I am sure with leopard (though I could be wrong) that it does say FAT-32, but none the less we’re gonna go with MS-DOS File System.

Now you can rename your hard drive/ thumb drive anything you want. Thus making it easier to locate when uploading to different computers. NOTE: Remember to back up your files before proceeding. It not only saves your butt, it’s a sure fire way to know you have it on your hard drive if you seemed to have lost a copy.

I don’t usually mess with the Erase Free Space or the Security Options button. I usually go straight for the Erase button. Mind you this is why backing up those files on your actual hard drive is important. Anyways we’ll proceed to hit the erase button. Don’t worry if this interface shows up:

You want to only proceed after you’ve copied the files to the desktop you’ve been working on so you have a hard copy. So then click Erase and wait for it to mount your hard drive again. This could take some time depending on how much you’re storing on it. I usually like to empty my thumb drives when they get pretty much to full.

After the time is spent erasing you will now see the available usage of your hard drive/ thumb drive at the bottom of the interface.

It will tell you the name of your hard drive/thumb drive, the format (oh hey look there you got FAT-32) and everything else you needed to know such as Capactity, Available, Used, and Number of Files.

Now if you’re like me and you want to know this without the pictures etc this is what you do:
1. Open Disk Utilities.
2. Click on the hard drive/ thumb drive you want to wipe.
3. Click on the Erase tab up top.
4. NOTE: Make sure to back up your files before proceeding with erasing. (If there are any to begin with)
5. For PC/Mac compatibility go to Volume Format and use MS-DOS File System.
6. Click Erase at the bottom.
7. Confirm that you want to erase what is on your hard drive/ thumb drive.
8. Wait for the hard drive/ thumb drive to mount back to your computer.

Now you’ve got a hard drive/thumb drive ready to switch over from macs to pcs without the headache of going ‘Where the hell did all my stuff go?’ and ‘Why doesn’t this work on this computer?!’ Hoped I saved you from a headache. Until next time guys.


DEF’s Book Review: Time Management For The Creative Person.

17 04 2009

I guess I should be starting off this blog knowing that I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks. This all has to due with being on Spring break and putting my graphic design pursuits on the back burner and just having some down time. Nonetheless, I’m back with some useful information and a book us designers can turn to. I know there are some of us asking ‘If I only had the time to do this’ or ‘If I did less of that I would get that done’ – All right already, knock it off. I’m sure we all don’t have the time to read books. I know I don’t, but having to read Time Management for the Creative Person for my design classes, I figured it was worth a shot.

To my surprise, it’s actually written by someone who knows our ‘creative thought process’ and who is actually creative himself. This isn’t written for some suit and tie business attire wearing, left brain thinking, papyrus using loonie – this is in fact a book written for us. For those who sometimes think unconventional, who design all the time, who are up til 4 AM knowing that if you tweak something to your design, anything your muse will come along and help you. That’s right, it’s written with us in mind.

Lee Silber (the author) wrote the book to better handle our time. (Well duh, it’s called Time Management for a reason) – and to be truthfully honest it’s not a book where it says ‘first you have to clean off your desk and start with a clean slate’ it’s nothing like that at all. It’s a book that pertains to all creatives, whether we’re painters, artists, dancers, musicians. It’s a book that helps us become effective for us as well as our own clients. To not seem so scatter brained that we’re pretty much dead before we even get the design brief. Best part of it all, it’s written in a creative way with pull out quotes and humorous sections that you can’t help but laugh at it, that draws you in making you want to read it more often and kind of sit back and evaluate how you do spend your time.

Cause I can tell you, being a designer is rough. Hands down, I’m sure we all know that. Though wasting time while you’re designing (oh, don’t worry it’ll point out these things to you which I didn’t even know until reading the book) is possibly the death of us all from time to time.

The best part of it all, is that the book is relatively cheap. If you’re feeling like you want the new shiny version it’s about $10 USD or if you want it use it’s anywhere from $2 USD. You can find it here.

The book itself has helped a lot in understanding why I (and many creatives) do the things we do and how to break those bad habits. I’m sure if you pick up the book it won’t let you down.


The Creative Challenge: Phase One.

14 03 2009

So, aside from tutorials and lists about how to keep track of things – I happened to be reading an awesome book called Caffeine For The Creative Mind 250 Exercises to wake up your brain.

It got me to thinking, half the stuff in it is based off things that sound pretty fun. I mean let’s face it, as creatives I’m sure as kids we all had an imagination , but as we got older it kind of went poof, or we overshadowed it with real life things we didn’t have to care about as kids.

So readers, my challenge for you (and you can pick any one out of the list) is for you to go out and tap into your inner child and have fun. Since we all need refreshing on what we use to think was fun/still is; here’s an infamous list:

DEF’s List of Fun!

1. Read your favorite childhood book.

2. Watch some childhood cartoon shows, the ones you died to wake up for on Saturday morning and would not miss for the world.

3. Blow bubbles – seriously. Remember how fun that use to be? Kudo points if they’re colored.

4. Buy a coloring book and crayons and freaking color. I know we could probably design the coloring pages, but no! No designing! That’s right, I said it. You need an old fashion coloring book and crayons. Kudos if you get the 96 pack crayons.

5. Make smores. Those are always fun and still taste good.

6. I’m sure we all have childhood toys that are collecting dust, bring em out and remember exactly what made it special.

7. Finger paint.

8. Build that tree house you swore you’d build and be the king/queen of. Remember building forts? Who says adults can’t have fun?

9. Relive the days where you took a sheet and two chairs and made a tent and slept in it.

10. Question everything – are you starting to remember when your mother told you to shut up?

11. Draw a treasure map and have someone else find the treasures. – I know, sounds kiddish, but hey we’re being kids again, not adults. I don’t care if you think it’s silly, at a point in time we didn’t care what everyone use to think when we were kids.

12. Watch your favorite child movies. Remember what you enjoy about doing that? Do it! I dig it. To be truthfully honest, my favorite movie is Lilo and Stitch, if it makes you feel better.

I’m sure there are more I could list, which I will. Though for now Go out and have some fun guys, and set aside the designing for another day. Who says you can’t act like a kid every now and then? If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, then you’re not having fun and I say go have some fun. Right now.

After Effects: Making Text 3D.

5 03 2009

In my previous post we learned how to make text transition into different colors. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you read up on it because we’re going to be moving slightly faster now. You can find that post here.

With that, let’s open up After Effects and make a:

1. New Composition (cmd+N for Mac, ctrl+N for PC). It will be black at first.

2. The go up to Layer – New – Solid and choose whatever color you want.

3. Then go back up to Layer – New – Text. You can then change the text in the character palette. (Like in Photoshop) if you don’t see it then go up to workspace (in the upper right hand corner) and go to “reset standard” in the drop down menu.

If you followed those steps correctly you’ll have something like this (minus the word DEFgraphics).


All right, since we got the hard part over with, it’s now time for the fun part. Making it move in space. With that we’re going to look at the comp window below where you see your layers. In the layers palette there are several different things – but the one we’re focusing on is the 3D tool. (If you don’t see this, then at the very bottom there should be a bar that says “Toggle Switches/Modes”, click it and you will see what I have) It looks like this:

With the picture above you want to click on that 3D box, thus making your text now 3D. You will notice that when it is in 3D space your text looks like this:

The green arrow represents your Y axis, the red arrow represents your X axis, and the blue arrow represents your Z axis (I like to call it zoom, since it pushes your text farther back or forward).

Now for the fun part. Go back into your layers palette and click on your text layer (mine is DEFgraphics). Click on the drop down arrow (to the left of your layer name, right next to the colored box). Go down to Transform and click that drop down arrow. You can now see there are more options for 3D text than there was for 2D Text in the previous tutorial.

For this tutorial we’re mainly going to focus on the Orientation more than anything. So you can forget about the rest of the intimidating stuff, which I’ll cover later. – For right now, go ahead and play with it without hitting the stop watch and see how your text moves. Pretty cool stuff huh?

I’m just going to do a simple 360 rotation. So if your text is all in a weird place just go back up to where it says Transform and to the right of it, it should say Reset and reset it. There, now everything is back to normal.

First off we want to hit our stop watch next to Orientation – don’t change anything right now. Then we want to go to our blue: 0;00;00;00 which is to the left and click on it. We want to move 2 seconds in time, so type in 0;00;02;00.

It should look like this right now. Though if you didn’t specify a time you can always go into Composition – Composition Settings – and then change the time. For this tutorial I made mine 4 seconds. That would be written 0;00;04;00. Then click OK.

All right, so in the Orientation part you want to click on the middle figure and type in 180.You will see your text appears backwards. Then move ahead in your blue 0;00;00;00 1 second in time. So therefore, you would write 0;00;03;00. Then you want to go back to that middle figure and type in 359. Now your text rotates like this.

Rotating 3D Text

So I added what we learned in the previous tutorial with this one. Though if you forgot, this is how we make our movie.

How to make it a movie:
Now you want to go up and click on Composition – Make Movie. Mind you if you haven’t saved your project I’d recommend saving it now. All right so once you click on Make Movie (cmd+M for mac, ctrl+M for PC) your Render Queue will open up. This will be next to the comp window you were working on earlier. So With the settings you want to go down to Render Settings and make sure that Best Settings is showing. Now you want to go to Output Module: and click on Lossless

You then want to go to Format Options then go to Compression Type and change it to Sorenson Video 3 (What I’ve been using and have been taught). You want the Quality to be at Best then click OK. Make sure that your Format in Main Options area is a Quicktime Movie. Then hit OK again. Now you can name your movie by clicking on the Output To: area and naming it. This is where you can choose where to save it to.

After that you want to hit the Render Button – Now depending on your Ram it could take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple mins. Mind you my video is only 3 seconds long so it shouldn’t be that bad. Once you hit Render wait for it and it should playing a ‘bringing’ type of noise, meaning your video is finished. Now double click and enjoy.

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment. Anyways hope it was helpful guys.

After Effects: Simple Text Transition.

23 02 2009

So, today I was chilling with one of my good friends who asked me for After Effects advice. If you’re not familiar with After Effects itself, it’s another program by Adobe which sets things in motion, mainly used for motion graphics. Well, today I’m going to take you through a couple basics for After Effects, like transitioning as well as color changing, fading, scaling, things that most users would raise an eyebrow at, but like most we were all beginners at one point in time so for those who need some brushing up or want to get your feet wet we’re going through some basics.

After Effects

This is what you see first when you first open up after effects. It’s a little intimidating. Though if your screen does not look like this, in the upper right hand corner you will see the word workspace click on that and go to reset standard and you should see what is shown above.

All right if you’ve made it this far then you should give yourself a pat on the back. All right so we’re going to start a New Composition so do to that, go up to Composition then go to New Composition or you can press cmd+N (for PC users ctrl+N should do it for you)

After Effects 2

For tutorial purposes we’ll go with the default setting, which for me is 720×480. The duration of your movie is up to you but this is how you would read it 0;01;30;00 means that it is 1 minute and 30 seconds the 0 at the front stands for hours the 2 zeros at the back stands for frames . So therefore 0;01;30;15 = 1 minute, 30 seconds, and 15 frames. For the purpose of this tutorial I’m going to set it at 2 seconds. For whatever reason you wish to shorten the length of your movie you can go to to Composition – Composition Settings and change the duration. So instead of a minute 30, you can change it to 2 minutes which will look like this 0;00;02;00

Don’t be afraid, you’ll see a black work area. Mind you if you toggle the transparency (will be below the black box to the left of the words “Active Camera” – it looks like a grid) you will see that there is nothing there. You’re probably asking why, and it’s because we haven’t put anything in there. So the next step is we’re going to make a New Solid.

To do this go up to:

Layer – New – Solid. It will bring up a screen that was somewhat similar to the one we saw previously. At the bottom you can choose what color you wish, for the purpose of this tutorial I’m going to choose white, but you can choose whatever color you wish. After you do that you will see your screen turn white, it’s what we wanted to do. Now when you toggle the transparency it won’t be blank.

We’re going to make text transition into different colors for this part of the tutorial.
To do that go up to:
Layer – New – Text. Now start typing what you want, for this I’ll type in DEFgraphics. You may be wondering “What the hell why is my text white?!” or “I don’t see it! You’ve failed me!” Never fear, If your After Effects window to the right hand side has effects and presets visable, there should be a tab next to it, click it. It shall bring up your text tab. You will find the effects and presets tab under the Time control tab, if not it should be the 3rd one down.
For purposes I’m keeping it black and I’m going to make it transition into green (hence my icon colors) but if you want to start out with a different color you can it in the character window along with the font you want to use. For me I’m going to use Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold.


All right, for the next part we’re going to animate our text, but before that we’re going to set it up.
In the bottom of the comp window (should have a white (or whatever color you picked) as the bottom layer then it should have the text you typed) click the text layer, then there will be a drop down arrow to the left right next to the lock sign, click it. You will then see the “Text” and “Transform” pop up under it, leave those alone and go to Animate which is to the right hand right of “Text” and click the arrow which will bring up a new fly off menu. You want to go down to Fill Color then go to RGB


To your surprise it turned your text red. To change the color if it go to the fill color that is to the left hand side and pick a color. Again for purposes I’m choosing green, but you can chose whatever you like.

All right, to make this bad boy transition into a different color you want to hit the Range Selector arrow/drop down. If you want to go from Black (or the color you originally picked) to Green (or the color you picked) you will first start off with the End marker and decrease it to 0%. If you want to go from Green to Black you will start with Start at 100% and End at 0%.

Here I’ll explain both techniques:

Going from Black to Green.
Start off with End being at 0%. You will then have to hit the stop watch (to the left of End) and move the playhead (the line with the blue pick looking device that is at the start ahead to above 2 seconds or as many seconds as you’d like the transition to occur) – You can also do this by clicking the blue 0;00;00;00 and changing it to 0;00;02;00 to move ahead 2 seconds. at that point move the percentage of the end marker to 100%. Thus it will make your text transition to Green.

Going from Black to Green Video

Going from Green to Black
Start off with Start Being at 100%. Then hit the stop watch next to Start. You will also need to hit the stop watch for End being at 0%. Now you may be asking “Why DEF?” It’s because you want to go from Green to Black and you want the text to move forwards not backwards. So therefore now click on the blue 0;00;00;00 and change it to 0;00;02;00 then bring End up to 100%. – Thus going from Green to Black.

Going from Green to Black Video

All right, so the hard part is now over, so I’m guessing by now you’re asking “DEF how the hell do we make it into a movie?” – Never fear, I’ll show. Now you want to go up and click on Composition – Make Movie. Mind you if you haven’t saved your project I’d recommend saving it now. All right so once you click on Make Movie (cmd+M for mac, ctrl+M for PC) your Render Queue will open up. This will be next to the comp window you were working on earlier. So With the settings you want to go down to Render Settings and make sure that Best Settings is showing. Now you want to go to Output Module: and click on Lossless


You then want to go to Format Options then go to Compression Type and change it to Sorenson Video 3 (What I’ve been using and have been taught). You want the Quality to be at Best then click OK. Make sure that your Format in Main Options area is a Quicktime Movie. Then hit OK again. Now you can name your movie by clicking on the Output To: area and naming it. This is where you can choose where to save it to.

After that you want to hit the Render Button – Now depending on your Ram it could take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple mins. Mind you my video is only 2 seconds long so it shouldn’t be that bad. Once you hit Render wait for it and it should playing a ‘bringing’ type of noise, meaning your video is finished. Now double click and enjoy.

Oh yes, before I forget: This will save you a whole lot of time in knowing where your files are. Go up to File – Collect Files. Click OK. Then the collect files window will open then click OK again. It should compile all your files into 1 folder. If the screen says None (Project Only) – change it to All. (This would be beneficial if you had multiple effects etc) if not then just select None (Project Only) – if it is just text files and it should save it up for you into a folder. Now if you start adding other elements the All will appear when you collect your files. This will save you the time and hassle of trying to figure out where all your files went if you move them around.

Hopefully I was thorough with you guys on how to make a simple text transition and you didn’t get lost along the way. Mind you this is my first tutorial – so I hope I did a good job for you guys. If there’s any flaws please feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll make changes as soon as possible.
So until next time, have fun doing what you’re doing.

File Organization and Organization in general.

17 02 2009

If you’re a creative you’ve probably heard that organization is key. For the most part it is and ironically I usually find myself with clutter on my desk. Though how many of you can have a desk full of clutter yet know where everything is? – I’m one of those people and cleaning the big eye sore kind of throws me off from time to time, but it must get done.

Though minus being a semi-mess my files are usually key when it comes to my organizational skills. I’m sure most of you (if not all) have some form of doing this. Which is completely fine, I’m going to give a run down of how I organize my own for those of you who might not have a system. In the end it saves a lot of time and frustration from pulling your hair out and trying to find files. Also I’ll give general tips on how to make sure all your files are where they should be in several different programs so you and your printer won’t be smacking yourself over the head.

I’m notorious for lists, but for the better of me I’ve decided to implement graphs and charts. We’re visual people and I’m determined to add more visuals along my posts.

DEFgraphics key to organizing files:


All right, so the diagram seems a bit smashed so I’ll explain it, it goes:

Step 1:
Project Name
Well, I think this one is self explanatory, but for those of you who want an explanation here it is. This will be the folder of which all your contents for the current project you’re working on goes. Therefore if I were working on a book about dogs I’d probably name the folder The title name or “Dog Book”.

Step 2:

This will thus be a folder within the folder of your project folder. I suppose I’ll go off of the whole Dog Book thing because I brought it up. Here sketches that are pertaining to the book will go, maybe some quick layouts. Nothing too fine rendered just yet. Just your brain throwing up idea. Possible brain mapping (I will write about that in a later post) as well as a brief of your current design.

Step 3:

The stage where we are first working in programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. This folder is going to need to be broken up into more sub-folders. I know, I know, you’re asking “DEF! Why so many damn folders?!” and I’m telling you why right now because it’s easier to find and access things than have them scattered all around – that and I’m possibly a little OCD, but that’s besides the point. So in this stage there will be folders such as:
– Stock/Reference
– PSDs (Your Photoshop files)
– Ai Files (Your Illustrator files)
– Pre Deliverables ( Comps before your final comp, ready to show the clients etc)

Step 4:
Final Project

Where all the magic happens. If you’ve ever found yourself rushing to figure out where you left what file, then here is the perfect folder for you. This is pretty much where all the finalized pieces go, go you will see similar sub-folders here, which are:
– PSDs (The final version of your PSDs)
– Ai Files (The final Ai files)
– Deliverables (The files that are ready to be sent off to the printers, the final project)

There you have it my friends, how I, DEF, organize my files. Now my question to you is how do you organize your files and/or do you have a system of how you do. Feel free to leave your commentos, I’d love to hear your feedback on this.

Social Media: My Friend Twitter

7 02 2009

To me, I believe most things are good and bad. I mean most things have either a positive or negative response with the actions you take. Then again you’re only as good as you are responding. – This thus leads me to the whole meat and potatoes of this post, social networking and social media.

To me, the whole reason for the social networking/media sphere is to communicate not blast me with ads to try and sell me something. I guess turning off ads to me is second nature, unless of course you catch my attention, but that’s a whole entire blog post in itself (Which I’ll possibly elaborate on).

As far as communication goes it’s usually between two people, though with modern technology it can be with several different people all at the same time. Thus this is where the social networking sphere evolves. Networking sites such as Twitter are usually a good place to start. I for one am on twitter and there are people who I enjoy talking with. Though there are some people who I wonder what their sole purpose of using it is?

So I’m usually notorious for lists, and I suppose I’ll list some things that I’ve learned from other people as well as being social in general. I think the main focus is going to be on my favorite networking system which is Twitter, so here we go.

1. Communication is the sole purpose of how we connect.
If you start up a conversation with me, I for one am likely to talk back with you. Most of my fellow twitter people could vouch for me on that one. The way for social media/networking to work is for you to actually socialize with your crowd. Really sometimes a simple hello is enough to strike up a conversation. The more you engage the more information you’re going to gain, the more knowledgeable you’ll be, and well you’ll potentially earn friends who keep you entertained as well as informed.

2. Don’t be a douche bag/asshole.
Just because you have a couple thousand followers, if you’re a real jerk about certain things you’ll be losing them just as fast as you’ve gotten them. Remember these people follow you because they either a) find you a valuable person with valuable resources b) everyone else follows you (or so it seems that way) or c) they’re mooching off your friends list. – I’d go with A, but the other options are also possible. Be nice, you make a lot more friends that way.

3. Stop trying to sell me things.
I know that Twitter is a potential market, but it doesn’t mean I want to buy anything from you. For one if you’re there just to blast spam the likelihood of me following you back is slim to none. There’s a huge difference between spam and valuable link resources within your close knit circle. No I don’t want to see how I can make $5000 dollars in a week and retire at 21, but I do want to see valuable resources on package design, logo design, and things that are going to appeal to me.

4. Interact.
It sort of goes hand in hand with number one. Interaction is key, ask questions and answer questions. Ask for help and there’s a likelihood someone is going to help you. The more you interact and engage with your audience the more positive of an image you have. Now, as reference to number 3, if you’re a douche bag people are just going to think you’re a douche bag, if you’re nice and valuable and talk with people then I’m sure they will pass along the word that you are indeed someone who personally gets back to people and does not ignore them. No one likes being ignored.

5. Be Helpful.
If you’ve ever had someone tell you that there’s no such thing as a stupid question then they were probably right. Unless you’ve tried really hard to form a question that is stupid (which I’m sure is possible for some people). Mind you, you don’t have to know everything or even pretend you do. Everyone has valuable knowledge to share with other people and keeping that knowledge to yourself is kind of selfish if you think about it (I mean really think about it). Besides being helpful makes most people feel good. It’s better to be helpful than useless.

6. Quality over Quantity.
This issue could be debatable, but on my terms I value quality over quantity when it comes to socializing. I respect being dedicated to answering questions and listening to what others have to say. There are people I know who have few friends on twitter, but make a difference, then there are people I know who have thousands of friends on twitter and can’t simply reply to all of them. To me, I’m there to build relationships with people not try and see how many followers I can get because I want to be number one. Ironically I do actually listen to the people I talk to and respond back. I’m not in it for numbers or ranking, I’m in it to be helpful and useful for the folks who I do consider my friends as well as the people who do follow me.

Hope this post was helpful to you and feel free to add any more things that you think are useful in the comments below.

Harvesting Creativeness/Inspiration

4 02 2009

Harvesting Creativeness and Inspiration.
Usually I’m plagued with the question of ‘How do you do it?’ Usually stated with another question of ‘How do I do what?’ thus leading into the real question of how I harvest my creativeness and inspiration. To be truthfully honest it’s really quiet simple.

To me, my creative process never stops working. Yes there are times where it feels a little stagnant and I’ve got to prod it with a stick and try and come up with something, but when I do get that lucky strike things just happen. Though I never know exactly when those things are happening. . Which thus leads me to my list of things that I personally do to harvest my creativity/inspiration. So here we go.

1. I usually carry a sketchbook and pen with me.
Really I do, but then again sometimes sketchbooks are quite tedious to lug around especially if you get that strike and you have to pull it out etc. Though small sketchbooks are relatively easy to conceal and they get the point across. I usually doodle ideas or words etc. Which soon leads to other words and doodles and brain mapping and then sparking new ideas that I have to jot down before I forget.

2. If my sketchbook isn’t handy and/or I don’t have anything to carry it in I bring a notepad
Same concept with the idea stated above. I usually just shove them in my pockets and go on my merry way. These are usually ideal when I’m shooting photography and come up with a quick idea to just jot it down that or I’m busy with other things where a normal sketchbook would not suffice for me. – Mind you don’t forget to take it out of your pants pocket or it mind end up destroyed by the local washing machine. Really, it’s happened to me.

3. Collect something.
It could be anything honestly. For instance I have a real bad habit of collecting things I like design wise, such as brochures and magazines and calenders, books are also another good one. I like having them as reference material when I can’t think of anything. Since we are visual people looking at visuals usually helps spark something creatively for myself. Mind you my collecting has upgraded from rocks and seashells, but if that’s your thing I don’t judge.

4. Listen to music.
Art and music go hand in hand like when the dish ran away with the spoon. I usually like setting my itunes on shuffle and going from there, but if you’re like me and listen to any type of genre of music you will come to understand why a minute ago you were listening to ABBA then suddenly Ill Nino starts playing. Usually if I’m trying to design clean looking pieces I’ll listen to peaceful calming music, if I’m designing for something more non-conformist I’ll break out the heavy stuff. Though it always puts me in the mood/zone.

5. Do something other than designing.
I for the life of me can not paint to save my life, though I do rather enjoy water colors and being tactile and making books of that sort of nature. Remember those times when you were a kid and you’d finger paint – yeah you know what I’m talking about, and yes I’m telling you to go finger paint. Seriously once you do it you’ll remember why you had fun doing it when you were a kid. Honestly I find that the key to my success half the time is tapping into that inner child we all have. Yes, some of us have probably shut it out and shut it up, but it’s time to relive certain things. Remember when board games were fun? I know you probably now want to go play monopoly even if it takes forever and somehow someone cheats and they get the boardwalk – but you know something? Least you’re having fun right?

6. Stop being practical and realistic.
Remember that thing called imagination? Remember the crazy things you use to be able to come up with on a whim because you didn’t care what other people thought about it as long as it made you happy? I say screw being realistic when it comes to creativity, who hinders how you create? Clients? Screw clients! (not literally). Creativity is about you and what you like doing, sure clients want something on a whim and what not, but meshing clients and raw creativeness kind of dampens how much potential to creativity you’ve got. Thus this is why keeping a notepad is important when that evil client won’t let you design comfortably, you can always design it for yourself later.

7. Relive a day when you were a kid.
Seriously? Break out the damn crayons on construction paper along with the Elmer’s glue and scissors. You know what I’m talking about, Arts and Crafts. Come on there was a whole Arts and Crafts movement! Who’s to say someone won’t still like making macaroni pictures? Hell I do, that is when I have the time to make pictures.

8. Have fun.
I figured when I’m having fun I’m not really thinking about anything else and I’m not stressed and I’m not trying to pull my hair out. My mind is clear of any stress at that very moment which leads to more creative function etc.

Hopefully those tips have helped you somewhat in trying to harvest your own creativity/inspiration or have lead you to want to play a board game or two. That or make arts and crafts and doodle. Whatever it is I hope you enjoy what you’re doing. Remember if what you love doing isn’t what you love to do anymore then why are you doing it? – Have fun.