25 February 2010

[design] KWHSS: A Logo and Website Header For A Medieval Club's Conference

2330.The Society for Creative Anachronism's College of Heralds – the group within the society that does work announcing at tournaments and events, researches and documents names and designs for coats of arms – in my not-so-humble opinion, the closest thing America has to a true Heraldic college, one that grants coats of arms and such in the manner of the English College of Arms – is having a symposium coming up in June, the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, or KWHSS. I've spent a bit of time designing for that effort (disclaimer: The Wife™ is the "autocrat") and I'm going to spring this on her, this combination of header image and insular uncial-style font that I've just bashed together:

The logo – gold crossed trumpets behind a a dragon's head emerging from a red quill pen – combines three essentials. The trumpets are the traditional SCA emblem for the College of Heralds, the quill represents the scribes, and the dragon's head represents the Shire of Dragon's Mist – the hosting branch. In the SCA, the membership is organized into nineteen territories or "Kingdoms": "An Tir" is the Kingdom comprising Oregon, Washington, the Idaho Panhandle, and a great swath of western Canada (from BC all the way over to Saskatchwan).

The character of the An Tirian lands has long been compared to that of Ireland, specifically the area the conference is being held in (Dragon's Mist comprises Washington County) so the Irish-style Uncial type seemed a natural. I was fortunate to find the font at FontSpace, it's called Irish Unci Alphabet, and while all the Gaelic-themed fonts there are very good, very few of them have numerals in the set. This one does, and I recommend it. It's free (as in beer), by the way, and the license allows for commercial use.
* No Relation

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[design] The Museum of Forgotten Art Materials

2329.I'm a little dismayed. I thought that art materials were evergreen. I mean, an eraser doesn't stop erasing just because you do all your design and art work on a computer. And these:

… rule, baby. You just don't know! In the meantime, scoff if you will, but if The Change happens, or it gets past peak-whatever, I'll still be happy drawing, and you'll be crying about it. Oh, yeah, laugh while you still have electric power, bee-yotches!

In the meantime, the entire museum is very charming, and it's here:

Enjoy, seriously.

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19 February 2010

[web] A Great Website Design – Marred By Comic Sans

2328.It's easy to complain about Comic Sans, I know, but when you see a website that could have hit it out of the park without it … well, you cry and die a little inside. Something must be said.

I give you the front page for Short Run Cards, one of the many purveyors of fast, inexpensive and (we assume) quality business cards you find today. There is nothing not to like about the website … almost.

Use the link in the previous graf to get a good close look in your browser. But, really, the graphic style is a home-run winner. Retro style, limited palette working it like a champ … and if you watch it long enough, the capital R in the dead-clever sign flickers. The message on the drive-in screen (a clever reference to the name, drawn from the world of movies) flickers and changes.

So, you move down to the text – and there it is. Comic Sans. Overused so much that it's tired even where appropriate.

Now, I don't have a specific beef against Comic Sans except that it's overused. It was originally developed by Vincent Connare for the late, rather unlamented Microsoft BOB user environment (the one which, famously, Melinda Gates was project manager on before she married Teh Bill), it was, as legend has, inspired directly by comic lettering for an appropriate application (one meant to make a user-friendly front end program all that much more chummy and cozy).

Comic Sans has been used in circulars, flyers, warning signs … in as much as this isn't such an inappropriate use, it's fine, but in this context, what it says to me is that the design stopped at the site layout. Every part of a website communicates, and if a little more care were chosen in choosing the font to support the design, this would have been completely kicked up to the next level, rather than almost made it.

So, suggestions. It's one thing to carp, it's another thing to offer an alternative. Happily, there are alternatives for Comic Sans out there! A few of them are even free!
  • Visit:  Ban Comic Sans for this list of free fonts for both Mac and Windows. BCS has adopted a kind of Vandal-storm-the-castle approach, but they do offer alternatives for the overused font. Many of them are quite pretty and are designed well.
  • Visit: Blambot http://www.blambot.com/. Blambot is nothing but comic-style fonts. There is a range of free fonts amongst the even-larger range of retail fonts. There's a lot to like here too.
  • Visit: Fontscape Comic Sans Alternatives at http://www.fontscape.com/explore?9BU. The top three alone are more than able alternatives to CS that look good, have about the same approach, and by simply not being CS send the message that "hey, the designer thought about the font and didn't just go with the default.
  • Visit and Read: Chris Barr's "The Comic Sans Effect" at http://chris-barr.com/entry/the_comic_sans_effect/. Also writes about Papyrus, the thinking man's Comic Sans. And suggests alternatives.
Point is, even where it's appropriately used, CS can communicate a lack of imagination, and on a website as good-looking as Short Run Cards's is, that's a pity. It makes a great website just a teensy bit less great.

(hat tip to DesignThatRocks, who pointed me to this website via one of his tweets)

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18 February 2010

[logo] Gaijin 4komo KIRO-FM

2327.The Reaction Guys on the KIRO FM logo rework:

They like it … they really like it.

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[web] Advisory: Firefox 3.6 Doesn't Do Preview From Dreamweaver CS3

2326.This is something that may impact your workflow if you use Adobe Dreamwever CS3 (and maybe CS4).

Dreamweaver designers are well-familiar with the quick-preview button on the Dreamweaver interface, and with the increasing presence of Firefox in the browser market, more and more web designers have a reason to have it point at Firefox.app.

I had just installed FF 3.6 earlier tonight and was designing along, working on a website, and clicked for the preview ... nothing. Firefox came to the front but no web page loaded.

I tried re-pointing the preview in Preferences – still no joy. I tried repairing permissions – nothing. The edited HTML file was there, all right – but Firefox wouldn't quick-preview from DWCS3. Searching teh Google showed me that it wasn't just me: a fair number of Web designers had turne up the exact same thing.

Right now the solution that works the best is just downgrading to Firefox 3.5.8. Skinnable Firefox is nifty, but it isn't a deal-breaker. I'm going to watch to see if Mozilla can give us a workaround that's less work than pointing the web browser at "file://Sundial_Four/Websites/Whatever".
Or, if you're not bothered by this problem, just Dreamweaver CS3-away. Just remember, if you want a preview in Firefox 3.6 (which is otherwise quite sweet) then you'll have to work around.

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[logo] KIRO-FM Updates That Logo …

2325.… and it's better. Still not great, but better.

Lest you think I'm simply belittling it, let's take a tour … A three-logo tour.

Some time back, Seattle's KIRO was AM talk radio, and they had this logo:

… and I fairly rhapsodized about it. And why not? To align the slanted end of the red stripe with the leg on the front of the R is cleverness of the highest order. The well-done Space Needle icon is just icing on the cake here: the alignment trick sets up an internal structure that makes the whole thing hang together just on the alignment alone. This was a logo done right.

Well, KIRO moved to FM, and debuted this:

Which I took a dislike to for two reasons: First, the stacked FM just makes the thing ring with discord, and the rejiggering of the numbers and the type in the red stripe knocked the slanted end completely out of alignment with the leg of the R. The nifty in the logo had been killed and the body hidden somewhere, maybe on Mercer Island, who knows.

Well, our Seattle correspondent Ben alerted me to a new alignment of the parts – and here we have it:

They've applied some textual healing. And, like I said, it's better. Not great but better.

On The Upside:
  1. The stacked type is gone, gone, gone. The problem with the stacked type, even for something as minor as two letters FM, is that it brings your eyes up short. You're reading, left to right, and then ZANG you have to jink upward. It's unnatural. Eyeflow is, as far as I'm concerned, as important in a typographic logo as it is in any textual context.
  2. The black type – red stripe – black type makes for a stable, ordered logo. Business-like. Presents a sober, serious image for a news-talk station, which is appropriate.
  3. I've not said too much about it before, but I like the Space Needle drawing. Or maybe I did say something about it, I don't know, but I can see why they'd be reluctant to let that go.
  4. The way the Space Needle graphic breaks out of the boundaries keeps the logo serious without becoming too locked-down and boring.
Of course, a logo watcher and aspiring designer is never ever satisfied. We can find fault literally anywhere.

On The Downside:
  1. Is it just me, or does that 7 look a little too thick to be with the 9, 3, and decimal point on the top?
  2. I still miss the dead-cleverness of the original logo. I admit it. Maybe I love these things a little too much.
So, kudos to KIRO for recognizing the problem with the stacked type and going with this approach. It's a logo that does the job that it was meant to do and doesn't make the eye regret looking at it and, in logo design as I know it, two outta three ain't bad.

Sometime soon I might redesign this logo just as a something-to-do, hypothetical project. I have wondered if I could do it better, in case anyone wonders.

H/t to Ben for the headsup.
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17 February 2010

[logo] Iconic Logo = A Ton Of Money? Depends.

2324.In an article at Logo Design Love I saw today, the blogger asks the following question:
Can we create a truly iconic logo without the backing of a very fat wallet?
And I'd say it depends on what you mean by create.

One of the most well-known and iconic logos from out of Oregon is, of course, the fabled Nike swoosh. Its creation is the stuff of serendipitous legend. The designer who created it, Carolyn Davidson was, as the record shows, a design student at PSU at the time who was billing Nike as a design consultant at the rate of $2/hour (remember that this was in Nike's "Blue Ribbon Sports" era, and the year was 1971. Even $2 went rather a bit further then than now).

The famous logo itself cost the embyonic Nike all of $35 – once again, in 1971 dollars (Using the neato-mosquito calculator at http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/, this is, by the CPI measurement, about $182 – still a bargain). Later, when Nike finally strode the Earth like Colossus, they had Carolyn to a company lunch where she was given a nifty ring with the Swoosh and a bunch of stock (the amount and value of which remain a secret, but I don't think it's presumptuous to assume that the amount was $A Whole Lot).

So, one world-renowned logo was obtained, at the front end, for $35 and the mad skills of one young designer.

Or did Nike's relationship with Weiden+Kenney and Michael Jordan – where a metric ass-ton of money was spent, rather profitably – create the icon? Or, if the Swoosh wasn't simple genius from the start, would it have been iconic from that point on? Or did that deft move merely give the icon its power?

It's a little like lightning striking. But I think as long as you have a solid design, lightning's more likely to strike. I'm sure anyone reading this can think of a handful of icons that had money and talent helicoptered in just to debut to a "meh" from the zeitgeist.

No matter how much money you spend, if you got a solid design, you just might go far. You've certainly improved your chances.

My advice: If you get your design work at a bargain – make sure you go back and thank the designer appropriately if it turns out that you make it big.

(I need not point out that the Nike logo is copyright Nike, yes?)

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[cartoon art] Everywhere I Look, I See Your Face ...

2323.One thing I remember Scott McCloud hinting on in one of his amazing books on comics is demonstrated very well here, with this picture from a blog I stumbled on, Emilia's Illustrated Blog (used with permission):

There's a lot to like about the illustration. The ladies thereon are simply very very pretty. The outfits are stylish and executed well. The drawings are, dare one says, sexy. But there's one surprising thing that might not stick out, and I'll give you all a closeup so you can see (if this missive's title didn't give it away):

You've caught it now if you've noticed that, aside from a different set of eyebrows on one and a redder shade of lips on same that the four faces are, in fact the same face. The girls are quadruplets!

This can be a very effective shortcut for the illustrator wanting to 'people' an illustration. I don't know about anyone else viewing the complete illustration, there's enough going on in the illustration that the similarities in the faces aren't immediately apparent.

This of course doesn't take away from the fact that the illustrator is rather talented. If you look around on her blog, you will see that she has the mad skillz. If you think of it as a tool, then there's simply an appropriate use, and this is the epitome of an appropriate use. I wouldn't base a comic strip on it, for instance, but as an illustrator's tool, it's magnificent.

The whole point is that the prospect of drawing multiple people – and a person is about the hardest thing you can draw realistically – can be intimidating. McCloud pointed out in one of his books (Making Comics, I think it was), essentially, that the range of things a face can do can be represented with a limited set of things. An open mouth can mean talking, yelling, yawning, and it kind of depends on the context. The four ladies above seem entirely different people – but it all has to do with the context: the hairstyles, the dresses, even the attitudes one reads into them.

Moreover, Emilia's use of this tool shows an understanding of the fundamentals of illustration design that only a true pro would aspire to.

Understand your context, and the proper tool will usually present itself.

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14 February 2010

[comic art] Why I Admire Barry Deutsch

2322.This illustration of Mirka's family from Hereville is a good example of why I admire his work so much:

It's hard to argue that there's true talent when such simple lines can weave such an emotional story in one single panel.

It doesn't matter what kind of family you grew up in … if you grew up in a family, and that includes most of us, this will resonate with you. It's human.

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11 February 2010

[branding] Quietus: Why It's Not Selling Well Amongst Film Buffs and PD James Fans

2321.NOTA BENE, 12 March 2010: I noticed getting linkage from this discussion thread at Newtek.com, and I'm flattered. Thanks very much! If you care to, hang about a while, leave a comment … I enjoy getting visitors, and I'm always out to make new friends, especially as perrcepive as you folks are. Moreover, despite the title, I don't know for sure how many units "Quietus" sells anywhere, so imagine the word "probably" in there. Judging by the quality of the discussion at the source of this link, you guys Get It™, however! 

Also check out my public bookmarks on delicious (http://delicious.com/zehnkatzen) and consider adding me to your network! Thanks!

So many things could be settled with a simple web search really.

If you listen to talk radio as much as I do (too much, according to The Wife™), you've heard of an OTC homeopathic home remedy for tinnitus called "Quietus".

Now, if there's anyone in the audience who saw the Curarón fillum Children of Men or the PD James novel The Children of Men, could you tell me what Quietus was in the movie?

It's not just me that's saying that:

But savvy film buffs and avid readers may recall that Quietus was a key element of both P.D. James' dystopian novel Children of Men, and the 2006 film adaptation by Alfonso Cuarón. In the book, Quiteus refers to government-sanctioned mass drownings that are available as an option to elderly citizens who can't afford nursing homes. In Cuarón's film, Quietus is a suicide pill that's freely advertised to residents of an overpopulated, financially disadvantaged future world. The drug's cheery ad line is "You decide when."

Now, I'm not saying I'm some marketing genius, and, as far as I know, the Quietus tinnitus OTC product is selling just fine. But I can't hear one of their commercials without thinking of the drug in Children of Men. And it's not so embarrassing, I suppose; the market seems to be quite forgiving; I remember Quark's rebranding about four years back, and the great one back in 2004 where Google didn't check to see if the mark "Gmail" wasn't already being used by a British financial firm (scroll to end of this article: http://www.pcworld.com/article/115586/googles_gmail_already_under_fire.html)

It's the power of branding, and why you should be ever-so-careful. And do at least one web search – and see what else comes up.

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[type] Shavian, An Alternative English Alphabet

2320.I've been doing a great deal of reading about shorthand scripts, and have found out a great deal about them. The biggest revelation is that shorthand, to work, has to – to some degree – abandon the alphabetic sytem of writing in favor of phonetic symbols.

What that means, of course, is that each glyph, character, or symbol might represent a sound instead of a letter with which you construct them. Gregg shorthand is, in my opinion, a very good illustrative example of this. When you write via Gregg, you put what you hear through two filters; the first discriminates the sounds, the second maps them to squiggly glyphs representing phonetic atoms rather than decodes them into the letter combinations which create the sounds. Speed is gained by efficiency in writing; the sound-based glyphs and brief forms dash down an entire word in a squiggle, loop, and dot.

Phonetic sounds are not just the province of the shorthand writer, however. Something that seems to fit between the glyphic discreteness of Latinate script and the squiggles of pure shorthand is something called the Shavian alphabet. This system, developed in the late 1950s-early 1960s, depends on new glyph forms having little if anything to do with the 26-character Latin alphabet we all know intimately. Moreover, each letterform maps to an individual English sound.

The legend seems to have it that, in his will, the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw left a monetary prize to be granted to the person who developed a phonetic alphabetic system for the writing of English that, since it was to depend on sounds rather than letters, would be a more efficient and economic way to write English and, since it was based on sounds, easier for the English learner to pick up the language. Originally it was to be developed by Sir Isaac Pitman, developer of the Pitman Shorthand system, but due to disuptes the Trustee opened it up to a worldwide competition. This was won by a Ronald Kingsley Read, who developed the first Shavian alphabet and was appointed its sole designer.

The Shavian alphabet is characterized by an inherent sense of order and logic. This (source) is the system that Kingsley Read developed and is known as the original Shavian script:

The Shavian alphabet comes in three basic types and a fourth auxiliary type. The first two types cover the consonants, and are called Tall (for unvoiced consonants) and Deep (for voiced consonants). The third time are Short letters, and cover the vowel sounds. The Compound (called "ah", "awe", "are", "or", "air", "err", "array", "ear", "ian", and "yew") are blends of two short sounds (except that last one there), and provide for what they call "rhotic" speakers, that is, those dialects that voice the "r" in the word "hard", for a fast example.

The eye will probably pick up right away that the Deep letters are 180-degree rotation of the Tall letters, and the short letters have mostly graphically reflective pairs. These sounds (with a few exceptions) are the voice-unvoiced versions of the same sound. Note also the pairs of tick marks between the letter pairs: they are all the height of a Short letter, or, as a typographer might say, "x-height". The graphical definition of a Tall letter is one which starts on the baseline and goes to ascender height; the graphical definition of a Deep letter is one which goes to the descender.

The real fun of Shavian (anything having to do with the playwright Shaw was called Shavian) is that, even though it's sounding out English, it looks so delightfully extraterrastrial. From Omniglot, here's the text of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

The translation of which is:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Another thing about Shavian which is a great deal of fun is the letter names. You might have noticed that, in the letter list, a word typifing the sound made by each letter is displayed. That is the actual name of the letter. Reciting Shavian would go Peep, bib, tot, dead, kick, gig, fee, vow … all the way through to ian, yew.
That makes me feel kind of antic inside, in the good way.

The apparent hope of Shaw was that a library of publications would obtain after his death but challenges to the will assured that only one mass-market Shaw script publication would ever happen: A Shavian-Latin edition of Shaw's Androcles and the Lion. But there is some interest in Shavian and it's infected me a little; I'd like to learn this along with any other shorthand system I take up – which will most likely be an attempt at Gregg.

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10 February 2010

[design] With This Business Card, Your Brand Will Be Locked 'n' Loaded

2319.(via) Ready to make your business card something James Bond might enjoy?

There seemingly is about half-a-million ways to make your business card memorable. As a graphic designer, even a rather unsuccessful one, I try to keep abreast of as many as I can, but I've never seen anything like this … A business-card penny-gun, with a 10-round magazine …

The thing is actually a card sandwich, with the middle layer (the impeller) being the thickness of a penny, and the outer layers being thicker for structural strength. The magazine is formed by a designed set of cuts which, when pressed up, form a place to hold the stack.

View Demo: at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KNZZ9qDJtQ
Visit the Designer's Website: http://cardnetics.com/randd/pennyshooter.html for more angles and downloadable plans.

Sometimes self-promotional collateral is a labor-intensive proposition, but sometimes its worth it. I'll bet anyone you give this bit to will remember you.

This is a business card that will leave an impression … if you are reckless about it.

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[comics] Phil Foglio: "Girl Genius" Free Via The Web?

2318.Well, it is something that many might do, and some might succeed at, but of all the comic artists I've liked over the years, only Phil Foglio can do it as though he always knew the way it was supposed to be done, as he highlights here, in conversation with Brigid Alverson at the Robot 6 division of the Comic Book Resources website:

Girl Genius was an established book. We put out 14 issues as a comic book periodical. It came out on a regular basis, and as an independent comic book goes, it was doing pretty darn well: We were selling, like 9,000 copies. About a third of them we were selling retail, off of our website or at conventions, the other two-thirds we were selling through distributors like Diamond. In 2005 we just stopped printing the comics, and we took this already established property that we had been selling for money and put it online for free and said no firewall, no subscriptions, no nothing—we are giving it away.

First of all, printing comic books is expensive. I figured that by not having to do the comic book we were saving close to $20,000 a year. When you lay out a comic book and then lay out a graphic novel, it’s two entirely different jobs. You have to do it all over again. All we do now is sell the collections. Also, printing the comic was really expensive, and we were in a cash crunch at a particular time and we were like, “Is this really worth it?”

And thirdly, for years people had been coming up to me and saying “I would like to get into comics” and I had been saying “Screw comics. Do a webcomic. It’s the wave of the future and your production costs are super low,” and eventually I realized that instead of just giving this advice I should take it.

A lot of the success of Girl Genius I think could only have been done by a person like myself who had a long career building up an established name and being in independent publishing, because that meant I was publishing my own books. So when Girl Genius went online, we were able to sell people Girl Genius books from day one, whereas almost everybody, who starts a webcomic has to collect material before they get a book. It takes them sometimes up to two years before they can begin to monetize our core product. We went in with a functioning store, and all we had to do was say “Like it? Buy it now.”

I've seen a lot of opinion (and mockery) of those who choose the web comic route. There is one thing, however; as divine as I think printed 'zines are, the economics of web comics are such that all you need is an online connection and they're up. There are some costs, but when you look at it as a value-based proposition rather than from a price POV (not that that isn't important but someties it's a flawed perspective) it can stand to be a huge winner.

Phil's got something on all of us aspiring web-comickers though, and it's not just an undoubted talent – it's the strength of a brand. Phil's famous for wry, clever humor, a delicious visual style, and an sense of adventure that's taken him credibly from role-playing gaming (What's New with Phil and Dixie, sometimes the only reason to pick up the late TSR's periodical Dragon Magazine), through fantasy (Asprin's Myth Adventures), satirical Pythonesque SF (Buck Godot) and to a comic that, for me, redefines steampunk (Girl Genius). When you get something with Phil Foglio on the cover, you simply know you're going to be entertained. When you combine that with the Studio Foglio's aggregate talent, Phil and Kaja's publishing knowledge and his history, you've got an unbeatable brand. It almost can't lose.

If you want to become famous and make a few bucks from your comics, then, start making your reputation now, if you haven't already, and if all you can do is put 'em on the web, put 'em on the web. We have to make some step.

Read: Girl Genius by surfing to http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/
Visit: Studio Foglio by surfing to http://www.studiofoglio.com/

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03 February 2010

[design] Just What IS "Basic Photoshop"?

2317.In exploring and using Photoshop, I find that people I know who have little experience and have acquired a copy of their own, say, an older version – Photoshop 7, CS, or CS2 – and want to start using them right away.

I've never pretended to guru status, but I do have a bit of training and experience in Photoshop and have always said that Photoshop is the pixel editing king for some very good reasons – most of which are hard to say but which unfold under use, one by one, like the petals of a blooming flower.

A couple of readers have recently asked me where an online place could be found to get beginners skills – they'd found a copy of Photoshop 7 and installed it but their eyes glazed over when they saw all the goodies. So I wondered, what would be the best things to let a tyro Photoshopper in on, the basic skills that would enable them to bootstrap themselves into basic Photoshoppery and thus the ability to explore the interface and use what they will?

The way I see it, the tyro Photoshopper needs to go in with the following toolkit:

  1. The Basic Paradigm of Photoshop: "Select it, then affect it". 99 per cent of what you're going to do in Photoshop reduces to this (well, if it's not 99 per cent, then it's a pretty good deal of it). Photoshop includes an armful of ways to select out what you want to change, and a seemingly unlimited bag of things you can do to those selections. A lot of the time you'll find yourself deciding what to do with a graphic, and excluding out the areas you don't want to mess up.
  2. Layers … Layers is what separates the pros (or wannabe pros) from the amateurs. Layers allow you to save copies of things you don't want to destroy, blend things with other layers, and non-destructively alter other parts of the photo or graphic. At the very least, layers allow you to orgranize parts informatively, and with the sprawling nature of some projects, the value there can't be ignored.
  3. The Basic Tools. To me, these are any thing that selects, in this case, anything that creates a marquee, brushes, and the path tool. Coming out of the "select is and effect it" paradigm then it follows that, out of the toolbox, your best friend is anything that will create a marquee – the basic selection medium. Knowing about marquees equips you to understand what you're doing with quick-masking and the Magic Wand, to use two examples, and the brush, being the basic tool for making marks, transfers into other tools (quick-mask uses a brush-approach). The Path tool, illustrated like a pen, works just like the pen in Illustrator, and paths can be converted into selections, saved – I love paths.
  4. How To Select Colors. You came to Photoshop to work in color, or most of you did. Understanding how colors are selected and saved should be considered a basic skill
Those are my basics. I wonder what other Photoshoppers consider basic?

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02 February 2010

[pdx] Jabari Wants Matt Zaffino's Job

He's coming for you, Zaffino:

You might have years of forecasting experience and a college degree, but Jabari is adorable.

He's on your heels, Matt!

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[design] 20 Years Of Photoshop, In Pictures

We're, the most of us, so used to how Adobe Photoshop is, that we, the some of us, wonder how it was. While the interface has remained constant in the gestalt, it's changed in presentation details and, of course, looks. From then:

To now:

And each release inbetween. To take a trip down Photoshop Memory Lane, visit http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/02/20-years-of-adobe-photoshop/

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[liff] What Will You Find Under A Bridge, But Troll Avenue? (Seattle)

2314.Tipped off by an offhand comment Benjamin Lukoff left on the César E Chávez Blvd, I paid a virtual visit to That City Up North to see if I could see something.

Legend has it, trolls live under bridges. Seattle, like PDX, has many bridges; and like PDX, in more than a few cases, the approach to the bridge is as a viaduct built over the street it debouches onto, creating a sort of "under-street" over which the bridge forms a ceiling. There are five blocks of this under the east approaches to the Morrison and Hawthorne Bridges, for instance, and SE Morrison, SE Belmont, SE Hawthorne Blvd, and SE Madison St run beneath them as streets open to traffic.

The George Washington Memorial Bridge, or the Aurora Bridge in the local parlance because it unites the sections of Aurora Avenue north and south of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, has several blocks of Aurora Avenue N under the bridge on the north side. It's said the Fremont Troll lived or lives there, and a great amazing statue of him (clutching a real VW Beetle) was constructed there in his honor.

So, too, was the street under the bridge so named, apparently in 2005, Troll Avenue N.

Google Maps Street View, looking west on N. 34th Street:

Right in the middle of the bridge, at the pier foot there, is the sign:

Once again, I do like the design of the Seattle street blades, though they aren't using Clearview. No time like the present, New York Alki!

Keep it weird, Seattle. That's why we love you.

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01 February 2010

[aaaa] Aaaa Aa Aaaaaa - A!

2313.A Aaaaa aaaa a aaaaa aaa aaa. Aaaaa aaaa a aaaaaa aa aaaa a aaa! Aaaa. Aaaaaa aaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaa aaa aa, aaaaa – aaaa AaaaAaa – aaaa, Aaaa. Aaaa? Aaaa. Aaa aaaa aaaaaa aaa aaa aaaa aaaa aaaaaaaaa aa aaaaa aaa. Aaaa aaaa aaa aaaaaaaa! Aaaaa (aaaa, aaaaaa, aaa) aaaa aaaaaa … aaaaa? AAAAAAA. Aaaa, aaaaa aaaaaa, aaaa, aaaaaaa aaa aaa. aaaa.

Aaaaa aaa aaaaa aaaaa aaaa a aaaaaa. A.A.A.A. aaa aaaaaa aa aaa aaaaaaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaaa aaa aaaaaaa aaaa. Aaaaaa aaa aaaaaa aa. Aaaaaa:

Aaaaa, aaaa. Aaaaaa – aaaaaa – Aaaaaaaa. Aaaaa, aaaa a aaaaaaa aaaa aaaaa. Aaaaaaa aaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaaa aaa aaaa aaaaa aaa a Aaaaa A Aaaaa, AA Aaaaaa, aaa Aaa Aa'Aaaa. AAA! Aaaaa aaa, aaaa … aaaa. AAAA, AAA, AAAAA. Aa aaaa aaaa aa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaa AaaaAaaaa.

Aaaa, aaaa aaaa. Aaaa. Aaaaa aaaa aaaa aa:
  1. AAAAA. Aaaa aaa aaaaaa aaa – aaaa aaaa aaa Aaaaaa.
  2. AAAA AAA AAAA. Aaaaa aaa aaa, aaa aa aaaaaa – aaaaaa.
  3. AAAA AA A'AAAA. AAAA. Aaaaa, aaaa aaa aaaaaaa aaa aaaa.
A, aaaa aaaa aaaaa aaa aa a aaaaaaaaaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaaaa a aaaaa aa aaaaaaaa aaa. A.A.A.A. aaaaaaaa, aaaa, aaa, aa aaaaa! Aaa, aaaaaa. Aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaaaaaaa, aaaaaaa aaa aaa. Aaaaa aaaa a aaaaaa aa aaaa a aaa! A aaaa aaaa aaaaa aaa. Aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaaaaaaa, aaaa aaaa aaaa.

… aaaaaa aa aaaa a aaa! Aaaaa:

Aaaaa (aaaa, aaaaaa, aaa) aaaa aaaaaa … aaaaa? AAAAAAA. Aaaa, aaaaa aaaaaa, aaaa, aaaaaaa aaa aaa. aaaa.


Aaaaa aaaa a aaaaa aaa aaa. Aaaaa aaaa a aaaaaa aa aaaa a aaa! Aaaa. Aaaaaa aaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaa aaa aa, aaaaa. Aaaaa aaa aaaaa aaaaa aaaa a aaaaaa. A.A.A.A. aaa aaaaaa aa aaa aaaaaaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaaa aaa aaaaaaa aaaa. Aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaaaaaaa, aaaaaaa aaa aaa.

Aaaaa: aaa, aaaa aaaa Aaaa? Aaaaa:

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