Coming Soon

Whoa! I know it’s been a while since my last post. A lot has happened: summer ended, fall started, the government shut down, I got a full-time job, and I resigned from said job. Sometimes things just don’t work out, but I sure learned a lot during the process. That’s why you keep calm and carry on. So I keep plugging away, working on my design skills.

One of my main focuses will be web design and I’ll be home schooling myself. I love to see progression. I remember my first website from high school, complete with flaming dragons and HTML4 (cheesy, I know). I was so proud that I completed that project; I look back later and realize how much better it could be. I constantly go through this process and then work to in fact make my work better. As a result, I’m redesigning my website again. I’m not sure what I want yet, but I’m studying HTML5 and CSS3. Then I’ll move onto Javascript and WordPress.

Currently, I have up a placement holder aka coming soon page. I found this sleek template on WeGraphics called Avenir – A Free Coming Soon HTML Template. It’s easy to customize, if you are familiar with HTML and CSS. You don’t really have to touch the Javascript unless you want to. There are some issues with the code. There are three “pages” to the site, but it’s really a fancy switch of the content using id’s. When the page first loads (which you can see in the demo) the links on the home page are not clickable, As a matter of fact, you can see shadows of other links from the other “pages.” Essentially the content from each page “rests on top of each other” and the opacity is switched on and off depending on which page is active.

It took me a while to figure out a workaround to this, since I haven’t gotten to Javascript yet, but I have used Actionscript before and the theory is similar. I move the content that isn’t visible off screen to the left, so that nothing interferes with the current content on screen making all links clickable. I’ve included my code fix below, but first here are screenshots of my coming soon page.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CSS Fix – styles.css file
.show{
display: block;
left: 5px;
}
.hide{opacity: 0;
left:-900px;
}

Javascript Fix – main.js file (also note that I have changed the duration of the animation to 0 because I didn’t like having the text ease in from the left. It was too busy for me)
if ( !jQuery('section.content.show, section#' + link).is(':animated') ) {
jQuery('.main-nav ul li a').removeClass('active'); //remove active
jQuery('section.content.show').addClass('show').animate({'opacity' : 0, 'left': -900}, {queue: false, duration: 0,
complete: function() {
jQuery('a[href="#'+link+'"]').addClass('active'); // add active
jQuery('section#' + link).addClass('show').animate({'opacity' : 1, 'left': 5}, {queue: false, duration: 0});
}
});
}

2013 Free Wallpaper & the Best of 2012

2013wallpaper_screenshot_crop2

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m excited for the year 2013 and I hope you are too. Thanks goes out to my new subscribers and to the ones that have stuck with me for the past 3 years. 2012 was a major year for me filled with highs and some powerful lows, but I’ve learned that it’s how you respond to those lows that makes a difference. I accomplished some of my goals from last year and some will be a continuous effort, like blogging more (at least once a week) and producing a monthly wallpaper. Here’s my design for the month of January celebrating the new year. I wanted something strong and dark, but at the same time pops. I also wanted something that both genders could appreciate. My wallpapers so far have leaned toward the feminine. The font I used was Old English Text MT and the outlines were constructed in Illustrator and brought into Photoshop.

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

Whether it’s due to color profiles, some system setup, or the fact that I’m working at different scales, the image in my psd file is slightly different from the final result. I’ve included a screenshot. I like the stronger red tones.

2013wallpaper_screenshot

A new year triggers a review of the previous in a culmination of “Best of” lists. Here are a few “Best of 2012” from some blogs I follow:

From up North – Best of Digital Art & Typography
bestof2012_fundigitalbestof2012_funtypography

Line25 – Best Web Designs of 2012
bestof2012_line25

Good.is – The Best Smart Products of 2012
bestof2012_goodis

Architnect’s Top 12 for 2012
bestof2012_archinect

Blogspoon Graphics – Greatest Tutorial Hits of 2012
bestof2012_spoon

Digital Arts – Best Creative Tech for 2012

JUST Creative – Popular Posts of 2012

Wising Everyone a Bright
and Prosperous New Year!!!

 

 

Website Redesign and Oh I Have Lupus

Ever since I decided to switch from Architecture to Graphic Design, I’ve needed a website to reflect it. Figuring out the concept and then development has been in the works for months and the result is now online! My desire was to have a website that is bright, engaging, polished, and simple to navigate and update. The old website that I built was flash based, but this time I used only html and css. It was a challenge since I hadn’t utilized those skills in a while, but it’s so exciting to see a finished product. I can’t wait to delve deeper into coding. I of course would love to hear your feedback. Please tell me what you think of the new site.

Screenshot of my old website’s homepage

I very rarely write about my personal life here on this blog, but some things are too major not to mention. On October 19, 2012 I was officially diagnosed with lupus. For those of  you who don’t know, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Instead of protecting the body, the immune system gets confused and starts attacking healthy cells. At the moment there is no cure for lupus and no known cause.

The symptoms started small. About a year ago I began experiencing pain off and on in my knees, but I just figured it was a result of work or over-exercising. Over time the knee pain became constant. Then my fingers started swelling off and on. This made me think maybe arthritis, but I’m 25! I’ve never had a primary doctor. Usually a visit to a physician was to be treated for a sinus infection. Well I continued on without seeking help (big mistake). I had learned how to live with the constant pain, could still function (kind of, I really felt like I was 80), and I was secretly hoping that it all would go away. Then things got serious. My ankles started swelling and normal daily activity would cause these blood spots called petechiae to develop on my legs. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. It was time to get checked out.

This turned out to be a lengthy process (especially when you don’t have health insurance). Finding a doctor > getting an appointment > blood-work/tests > getting an appointment to discuss the test results/referring me to a specialist > getting an appointment with the specialist > seeing the specialist to confirm what’s wrong. My body was on a different timeline however. Symptoms got worse and when it was hard to even breathe, it was time to go to the emergency room. I didn’t quite make it to the seeing the specialist part. I was admitted into the hospital. I had to have two blood transfusions and test results revealed that the lupus had caused anemia and affected not only my joints, but my heart and kidneys as well.

Sounds devastating, but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, this was serious, but I had a deep sense of calm. I was happy to finally have a diagnosis and I knew that God had been watching over me in spite of my ignorance. Things could have been much worse, like slip into a coma and die worse. The calm is also due to the support and prayers of wonderful family and friends. Words can’t express how thankful I am for the people in my life. I also had the best care in the hospital. The nurses and doctors were attentive, friendly, and made sure I understood what was going on. I may have lupus, but I’m blessed.

Life after the diagnosis: Right now my treatment consists of intravenous chemotherapy once a month and daily steroids. I’m feeling a lot better. The pain and swelling are gone, kidney function is improving, and I’m slowly getting my energy back. It’s a process. Sometimes I get so excited about being able to move freely that I over exert myself and then subsequently crash. I realize now that before treatment I would strategically plan how to move around the house because of the pain and effort it took. Due to the chemo and my body’s need to recover, I’ve been in a weird kind of isolation. My immune system is being suppressed to fight the lupus, which makes me vulnerable. It’s recommended to avoid large groups of people and of course individuals who are sick, so I mostly stay home. I’m hoping that this will last only for a couple months, but I’m determined to come out of this better than ever. When my body allows it, I’m going to keep learning and sharpening my skills to become a kick-butt designer! I also want to resume my weekly posting goal. I may be down for now but I’m not out.

Links:
For more information about lupus visit the Lupus Foundation of America

For those of you interested in the web design part of this post, here are some of the sites I used to create my website:
Codrops CSS3 Lightbox

Codrops Original Hover Effects with CSS3

Line25 Create a Stylish Contact Form with HTML5 and CSS3

Get It While It’s Hot – Artist Neopen

Available for free for 24 hours starting now is the PSD file of this image above, done by artist Nicolas “Neopen” André,. Fotolia, the stock imaging site, hosts the Ten Collection for which they’ve asked 10 French artists to create a unique high quality piece using images found on their site.  Their photoshop file is then offered for free for a day, after it costs $9. This month’s artist Neopen is a French art director, who was enthralled with design at at a young age. Many people agree that education is important and aspire to excel in traditional learning institutions. However education comes in many forms and “school” isn’t for everyone. This certainly applies to Neopen. He is an artist who removed himself from school and teaches himself, quite successfully, with freedom to work on what moves him. He’s done some of everything and has had clientele such as Sean John, Warner music, and EMI. By the way, if you want to learn about a pretty dope non-traditional design institution click here.

At the moment, Neopen has a film making and motion graphics collaboration called Das Schloss with fellow Ten Collection artist Damien “Elroy” Vignaux. So do check out his videos on Vimeo. Also watch his Ten Collection interview below and view examples of his graphic/web design work.

 

“TEN Collection – a unique educational and community outreach initiative, showcasing digital art unlike any other.”

Students Teach Themselves? That’s Crazy!

Or is it? One of my favorite movies is called Accepted, starring an ensemble cast including Justin Long and Jonah Hill. Bartleby, played by Justin, has been rejected by every college he’s applied to (even his safety school), much to his parent’s dismay. So he implements an elaborate plan to make one up. Congratulations, he’s been accepted to South Harmon Institute of Technology! Only problem is, several hundred other kids were accidentally accepted to South Harmon too. Ooops! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, STOP and watch the trailer below, the rest of this article depends on it (not really, but it would be nice if you did).

 

What does Bartleby do in the face of this academic dilemma? He visits an actual college and decides that South Harmon should be nothing like a traditional institution. He asks his students, “What do you want to learn?” He lets them set their schedules and decide the curriculum. They become the teachers and they figure out what projects they would like to spend their time on. Yes, it’s a smart and funny work of fiction, but what if I told you there’s a real place where these ideals exist.

Welcome to Hyper Island, a place where the students teach themselves. Hyper Island is an English-based program created in 1995, by 3 media professionals who were concerned about the quality of knowledge that recent graduates possessed when entering the workplace. They believed the problem was a result of traditional mainstream education in which students had little influence over what they are taught and their learning experience was controlled by a teacher. At Hyper Island there are no tests and no homework. Students work on real life projects with actual clients, solving real industry needs. Their methodology is that you “Learn by Doing.”  To quote their website Hyper Island is about:

– Active participation, driven by passion
– Learning by experiencing, doing and reflecting
– Being open to the idea of failure; it is often our most powerful learning tool
– Working and developing as part of a team, both as a leader and a player
– Using interactive media as a tool for implementing growth and change
– Developing the capacity of people to be self aware
– Understanding group dynamics
– Real clients, real needs and real lifelong learning

Hyper Island currently offers the following programs: Learning Designer & Facilitator, Digital Media, Mobile Applications, Interactive Art Director, Ecommerce Business, Motion Graphics, and Interactive Media Design & Management. They have locations in Sweden, but they encourage applicants from all around the world. Here is Hyper Island in A Nutshell

 

Don’t feel like this type of methodology has merit? Here are some Hyper Island Statistics:

 

Everytime I watch Accepted I find myself cheering for South Harmon Institute of Technology. Granted it was originally created for all the wrong reasons, but the end result was people who were excited about learning and had the passion to increase their knowledge and skills  in subjects that were important to them, hands-on. In parallel, I cheer for Hyper Island. Their unorthodox (yet sensible) methods may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to know you have the option.

 

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