Archive for category Graphic Design
I finally had a chance to add some 3D models to my Marlton collection. I get a few minutes here and there to add a wall or roof profile, edit out a tree so don’t judge too harshly. Included here is Doreens, Dog Days, and the huge fire station.
One of the lead developers of Inkscape, Jon Cruz has been advocating for better color management in the Libre Graphics projects a lot recently. According to a post on Jon’s blog today, Inkscape is going to grow its support for swatches and swatch books. If it includes strong support for spot (solid) colors these changes will definitely affect graphic designers quite a bit. Some of the efforts listed include enhancing the swatch UI including more drag and drop, including gradients in swatches, and support for swatch book swapping and sharing. The description seems to indicate that switching a swatch book/set will replace the color on all objects that used swatches. The would allow a designer to explore and present different versions of the same work without any change to the objects at all. Sweet.
Freshmeat.net has updated its site after many years of stagnation. It is such a shame because they were very well positioned to have really good marketshare any they mostly sat on their laurels. For example they should have been on top of the code search business. Maybe they will take over the extension/addon business from dysfunctional services like Addons Mozilla Org (AMO) [shakes fist]. AMO is a very well designed site/service with a crappy moderation process behind it (and I have personal experience).
The old design was an example of good design at the time with a not overcrowded feeling and convenient but mellow quick link icons. I In any case, my biggest dislike with the old site was the search. It may have been ok in a pre-Google world but if you cannot beat Googles search you need to embed it.
In this new design the listings are nice and compact. Textual buttons appear on mouse over to remove some clutter (I kind of liked the icons as opposed to text for repetition). Unfortunately they have removed a quick way to visit the homepage or full change log. They replaced some of the info effectively with a more modern tag construct but other info is missing. The search is much better but the language of a listing does not display in the results. The language was pretty important to me when browsing for a library. I have not seen if there is a good set of syntax for the search. Google codesearch like
lang:c license:MIT syntax would be nice.
I dabble in graphic design and I of course love OSS applications because of the enthusiasm and practicality that is typical of their design. Inkscape started as a fork from Sodipodi by a group of programmers who were bent on C++. I personally was fine with this because the main Sodipodi author brought his personal politics into the project website and sample art. After sinking a load of time into converting the Sodipodi core to C++ from C, Inkscape started to develop some new features. Sodipodi quickly became the “Popular People’s Front” of one and Inkscape took off like wild fire. Inkscape is hands down easier to use than any other professional vector graphics software I have ever used including Illustrator.
For the second summer in a row now Inkscape has benefited from the Google Summer of Code. However this year there were some very significant features that resulted. I have been using a pre-release of Inkscape with these features on a new website for Fairmount Printers and I am very impressed.
The new docking system improves MS Windows window focusing issues. The bitmap to path tool seems much faster although the SIOX selection is not fixed yet. They have added a number of raster filters so you don’t have to switch back and forth from The GIMP or Photoshop. They have a lot of aesthetics to work on in the Effect area though. Text manipulation has not been improved much on the surface yet. You still have to adjust letter spacing and manual kerning from key combos.
I saved the best for last. Inkscape can now import PDF directly which means that it can import a large number of formats indirectly. The resultant SVG is surprising cohesive. For those who have tried to open a PDF or PS file intended for a printer before you will be pleasantly surprised.
One of the nice features of Google Sketchup is the use of abstract human billboards as a size gauge. Someone added a set of figures that has earned quite a few style points in my estimation. Here they are in front of my house:
This news release just in from the IAEA, SFIP and the EWAD (Everybody Wants to be an Art Director). I know how this played out. Stan the stick figure sketcher’s hand was forced by an ignorant manager. Initially Stan started with an illustration of the radiation symbol and skull and crossbones. However Stan’s manager did not feel that imminent death (implied by the skull and crossbones) was sufficient to get people to leave. So Stan was asked to add the universal symbol for run away.
This is too awesome not to post. You must check it out. link
My place of work is seriously looking at a catalog generation software to take the place of the current system (me). That is not to say that they are going to fire me, they are really pleased with the work that I do. I will be doing other cool stuff instead.
Currently, they pick the products, I research them and gather images to populate the catalog.
Then I proceed to lay it all out in Quark. This is no small task. We’re talking thousands of products over many months. As tedious as this sounds, and it is, I like doing it. Call me a masochist, and maybe I am, but if I didn’t like to do it, why would I base my professional career on something that I can’t stand. Sure the catalog generation software could do the same job in weeks, but it wouldn’t look anywhere near as cool. I like taking something ordinary like HVAC equipment and making it fun and creative. Sure, I could layout the products in a plain grid, and it still gets the information across, but how is that fun and interesting? I want those HVAC contractors to think, “Damn, this is a nice looking catalog.” Whose to say that contractors don’t appreciate art. My father father falls into said category, and he likes to sculpt. He also happens to be my 2nd toughest critic. Why does everything have to be so dull and generic?
To be honest, I do think that it will cut production time in half. They should definitely get it. It would be foolish not to. Besides, it will free me up to do more creative projects. I just have a hard time letting go, even if it is in my best interest. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a creative control freak. Not completely unbending, but pretty damn rigid when it comes to artistic compromise. I tell the person what they’ve just suggested isn’t really what they want. They really want what I told them they should want 9 times out of 10, I’m right. Mostly I argue with them until they cave. In the end, they really do like what I’ve done. Here’s my reasoning: those who aren’t the “creator” may not see the full picture, they only see one snapshot, and are too quick to judge. They can’t see the final product when 25% of the final piece is still in my head. If I am wrong, I back down. If I feel I am right I’ll fight tooth and nail to prove it. Besides, I make it my job to watch the market see what’s the latest trend in art and advertising. Just like CPA’s make it a point to know all of the latest tax codes. They should have a little faith that I want to do the best job I possibly can to produce quality creative work.
I think I may have gone off roading a little, and for that I apologize. I just feel passionately about what I do. The creativity part is what makes my job fun. I’m not willing to be plain “vanilla”, I was always the coffee heath bar crunch kinda’ girl.