what did we animate: message received

Message Received from charis poon on Vimeo.
A little girl discovers something magical. (Alternative title: Old School Texting)
Created in Adobe After Effects.

Just completed my Motion Graphics 2 Final. Hurrah! A little sad I won't be taking an animation class next semester — hope I retain my knowledge of After Effects...


what did we not order: caramel brulee latte

I was questioning the Starbucks menu at the Los Angeles Airport; either I couldn’t see it properly or what I was looking for just wasn’t there. My eyesight is poor and I have owned the same glasses for about 5 years now despite my continuously increasing stigmatism. My contact lenses are up to date, but I make a point of wearing my glasses on flights longer than two hours so I don’t wake up from a nap with my eyes glued shut. Waiting in line, the seasonal drinks were tempting, but I would have been content with my regular coffee. The Caramel Brulee Latte in particular both looked and sounded promising; the promotional image showed it with plenty of whipped cream and caramel drizzled generously on top. Squinting, I could just make out that a tall Caramel Brulee was $4.05. Anything at the airport costs almost double what it should. Not quite convinced I should make the purchase, I began hunting for the calorie count when the cashier asked for the next in line.
Now closer to the menu, I continued my search for the elusive number that would tell me how much that latte was going to contribute to my daily calorie intake. Not wanting to hold up the line, I had just opened my mouth to ask the cashier, who was waiting patiently for my order, what the drink’s calorie amount was when I remembered my location. I remembered something about a law that food and beverage stores in New York had to follow. A Starbucks on the West Coast was in every way just like the ones on the East Coast except minus some surplus information: how many calories you were consuming per Starbucks product purchased.
It was not my failing eyesight and inaccurate glasses that were hindering me from finding what I needed to know in order to make the decision on my order, it was the unavailability of the information. Without the knowledge of what my holiday drink might contain, I ended up saying, “Just a tall coffee, please.” 


what did we attend: mumford & sons

     “Shall we have a dance?” Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons asked before strumming the opening of their debut album’s first single “Little Lion Man.” The light bulbs strung above the audience flickered on and 3,000 voices roared in approval. On November 16, Mumford and Sons played the final sold-out gig of their US and Canada fall tour, “Gentlemen of the Road,” at Terminal 5 in New York. Accompanying them on this 20-date tour were King Charles, who is a Londoner with a full mane of dreads, and Cadillac Sky, a five man Texan band with a sound that is a unique blend of bluegrass, rock ‘n roll and country.
With the house lights dimmed and to the cheers of the audience, Mumford and Sons stepped into the spotlight and began their first song, “Sigh, No More.” The four members of the band were standing in a row across the stage, each with their respective instruments: keyboard, guitar, dobro and string bass. Their voices were sincere and by the end of the first song, they had the crowd entranced.
Before beginning the quietest song on their album and of the set that night, “Timshel”, Marcus bantered a bit with the concertgoers. He asked them quite politely whether they were enjoying themselves and then suggested, “Let’s go fucking mental.” To Mumford and Sons, going mental clearly meant closing their tour in North America with as much effort and passion as possible. By the end of the song, both Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett had tears streaming down their cheeks. The look on their faces as they gazed at the crowd was one of amazement and proud achievement. It was evident to them that they had made it and that tonight was proof of their success. Going “mental” also meant ending the night by inviting both of the opening bands back out to play a spirited rendition of King Charles’ song “Lady on the River.” In the middle of the encore, King Charles declared that he had something to say, and after the other 13 musicians had quieted down, announced that he was giving his song to Mumford and Sons. It was a well-received gift.
The people packed together on the ground floor and lining the two balconies contributed to the exuberant energy of the concert. Many songs were transformed into massive sing-a-longs. Accompanying the band’s earnest vocals were the voices of many fans in love with what they were hearing. At the end of “Dust Bowl Dance,” the final song of their set, Marcus sings, “You haven’t met me, I am the only—” and the audience finishes the line—"son."
This tour has been evidence of the band’s popularity globally and not just in their home country of England. It has also clearly been encouragement for them to press on and go even further: produce another album and tour the world again. Most of Mumford and Sons’s debut album “Sigh No More” was played that night at Terminal 5, but so were three new songs, two of which are entitled “Lover of the Light” and “Below My Feet” which are expected to be recorded sometime next year. Shortly before closing the night, Ben Lovett told the audience, “We would love to come back next year.” New York would love that too.


what did we watch / listen to: skyence

Skyence – INSCT 
Collaboration between Skyence (Hamburg) and Johannes Timpernagel (Berlin).  

The animation for this video is great. I particularly enjoy the colors and intricate patterns that you only get tiny glimpses of as they pulse and you begin to wish they were on screen longer just so you could enjoy the detail in them. It's also an example of abstract motion graphics that's well done and not just flashy speedy lights and explosions.

And it's a perfect combination with the sound — which in my opinion is pretty cool stuff on its own. In fact I liked the sound design of this video so much that I've now been listening to Skyence on SoundCloud for the last hour. I don't usually listen to music without words (yeah, I realize that sometimes I'm quite musically close-minded) and I'm okay with my lyric driven songs most of the time. Discovering skyence and finding it compelling to listen to and interesting in its composition is my musical highlight of the week. Hurrah for expanding musical horizons!


what did we read: i was told there'd be cake

I have just begun reading I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley's debut book published in 2008. And by just begun I mean that I have only finished reading the first essay "The Pony Problem" and almost all of the second essay. This means I'm not yet qualified to write a review of the collection and not even really certified to voice an opinion. After all, it's a collection and not just one story.

Extrapolating from what I've read so far—I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

At the same time, I'm realizing the dangers of picking up a book because of really good reviews of it... Having expectations before diving into something isn't my typical approach to things, but that's how this book ended up in my Amazon cart.

The book was a best seller and, of course, on her site, there's only glowing praise. The Los Angeles Times calls it "exquisite" and Details declares it "truly well crafted and genuinely funny." Her recent second book, How Did You Get This Number?, has also accumulated solid reviews as well.

I suppose with no one saying bad things, I began this book hoping for the best and wary of being disappointed. With any luck, I'll find myself ordering How Did You Get This Number? by the end of the week.


what did we attend: mumford & sons

In a curious combination of coincidental timing and similar good taste, this fall provides me with a real life story for all long distance couples. Earlier this year, my boyfriend introduced me to the band Mumford & Sons—he really enjoys their music and I immediately loved them too. We do not often agree on what good music is. This fall, my boyfriend is currently working in LA while I'm in NYC. Tonight he is attending the first show of Mumford & Sons' tour across the States. On Tuesday, November 16 I will be attending their last show of the tour at Terminal 5 in New York.


what did we make: felt blog tracker

Blogging can be extraordinarily stressful and discouraging at times. Any one with multiple social networking platforms knows how it hectic it can be posting on a blog, a tumblr, tweeting, uploading photos on flickr, maintaining a myspace...or any of those hundreds of websites out there that can be personalized. It's crazy enough finding enough good material to put out there, making sure each one gets equal attention is pure insanity.

Which is why I've come up with this handy (and fun!) post counting calendar. All you need are a few simple materials you can get at most arts and crafts stores and a little bit of time. You'll end up with a great looking cloth and felt board that will help you visually understand your posting trends and remind yourself to post when and where. Let's get started.

Materials Needed:
  • felt in the colors of the blogging platforms you want to keep track of
  • felt in red and black for your weekday x's (I find red particularly reminds you to cover it up!) and yellow for your weekend x's (if you blog less on Saturdays and Sundays)
  • sticky back Velcro in a strip
  • wall hangers
  • 2 18" stretcher bars and 2 12" stretcher bars (or whatever dimensions you want your final board to be)
  • a piece of cloth large enough to cover your entire frame and have an extra 1 1/2" to fold over the frame. The piece of cloth shown here is about 22" x 15"  


what did we attend: TIRED PONY


I'm sorry these photos are such poor quality. The people at the door were checking bags and made me bag check my DSLR so no luck in taking the awesome photos that I knew would've come out of this night. Ah well - learning to detach myself from my digital gadgets is good too. And this meant i really had a full experience.

Last night my roommate and I attended the Tired Pony concert in New York. Tired Pony is Gary Lightbody, Richard Colburn, Iain Archer, Jacknife Lee, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Troy Stewart. Gary Lightbody is the lead vocalist of Snow Patrol (one of my all-time favorite bands since about 6 - 7 years ago). This was Tired Pony's first gig in the United States (they'll be playing in LA on this Monday October 4) and their second in the world (the first was in London this summer). As a result of our inability to get tickets to the Snow Patrol concert sometime a little over a year ago, we immediately jumped at the chance to see Gary Lightbody in the flesh playing with Tired Pony, one of his many collaborative efforts with other amazing artists.

The concert was a great deal of solid fun. It wasn't music to get your heart pumping and feet jumping, but music to feel moved by, listen intently to and let your body move instinctively. The vocalists were entrancing, the mood dreamy and the musicians pulled off the craziest amount of instrument changes. (At any time on stage there would be somewhere between 9 - 12 different performers.) Songs were sincere and though not executed perfectly all the time, more real for the touch and go quality the performance gave it. They all had fun with each other too, really interacting and enjoying what they were doing.

Gary Lightbody exudes charisma. The man isn't actually handsome but his magnetic appeal and ability to persuade the audience to become emotionally involved with his music makes him incredibly attractive. His attitude and communication with the venue full of people was at ease and joking while his treatment of the set was serious and his singing honestly an act of complete effort and intention.

Though I entered the venue not terribly excited by the actual tunes I would be hearing, I left feeling more enthused about Tired Pony and their newly released album The Place We Ran From. The group gives off the aura that they're all in it mostly for the chance to be creative together and make good music. Their energy is definitely what still remains in my mind. I also left feeling good without any easily identifiable explanation and that sort of easy-going happy feeling is always a nice indication that the music I've just been immersed in was an experience worth trying.

I hope and hope and hope that Snow Patrol tours the United States again or that by some magic I will happen to be wherever they are performing (and have tickets).


what did we want: the quick brown fox


this is too good to not get. typeface recognition game? my cup of tea. 
my communication design friends: this is the kind of thing that gets our hearts beating. it's like having fun and doing what we do best at the same time.

technically it wouldn't be terribly hard to make my own.
"This very attractively finished typographic memory game includes 25 variations of the letter ‘A’, each in a different letter type. Players attempt to find the matching A’s in the same letter type. The player who has the highest number of matching letters wins the game.
Typographic information about the letter is included on the card, and a separate folder provides a general history of the typography. This is an enjoyable and instructive game for graphic designers and anyone who is fascinated by letter types."
created by BIS publishers found via swiss miss


what did we animate

For my Motion Graphics 2 class this week we were asked to create an imaginary creature of some sort and practice parenting and expressions in Adobe After Effects while animating our creations. What I came up with was a mystical squid-fish-bird-human hybrid of some sort (tentacles, gills, wings, hands respectively) and the resulting 20 second video above of it flying quietly.

I really enjoyed character creation and would love to dabble into it more. Also, nailing parenting and expressions in AE brought me large amounts of satisfaction. Especially since before figuring it out I spent a good 4 - 5 hours not knowing at all what wasn't working.

(Parenting is the act of linking one elements movements to another - think of it as a child following his / her parent. Expressions is the same thing but with the inclusion of some intuitive "extra" movements AE tacks on to the children elements. That's how those tentacles sway without me going in and animating each individual section.)

Hope you enjoyed the video.


what did we smile because of: Yum Yum London

This video is absolutely great. It makes you smile, is incredibly cute and filled with tiny details. plus you have no idea what's coming.

Which all combines together to make Yum Yum London a studio to watch out for:
"Yum Yum are Beth Algieri and Jonny Plummer, two directors / designers with a common passion for creating new and exciting things."

i'm also in love with this toy series of heroes and villains they recently conceived and are in the works of making available for purchase. i would definitely like to have that octopus sitting on my desk.

no, their illustration style isn't completely unheard of. reminds me in general of the vinyl toy genre and friends with you because of the adorably imagined creatures - but it's all so fun and smiley. check out more images of their work on their flickr or follow them on twitter.


what did we try not to do

This project THIS YEAR I WILL TRY NOT TO was created by Elliot Scott and Christopher Doyle (two designers I didn't previously know but will now be watching out for) in an attempt to defy the popularity of certain trends on the internet and challenge themselves as designers to do new things. To not just give in to what people are comfortable with and like.

Wholly admirable and I love it for it's truth, humor and the creator's abilities to make fun of themselves. I also feel kind of shamed because even though I recognize the need to break down the typical and expand our collective comfort bubbles...I still love the things that this publication (in a very manifesto way) declares avoidance of.

And I particularly like it when designers include their process (you can view the video on their site, but not embed). It's 28 pages printed on newsprint stock - only 1000 copies and for sale for AUD $10.00 (but plus $5 for shipping to the US)


what did we feature: my instructable

Wow, so recognition online can make you feel pretty good about yourself. My instructable (which is the post below this one on this blog) was chosen to be featured on the site!

You can find "Put Insightful Text Into Your Life" on the landing page of the site or more prominently in the Living / Art channel.

Thanks Instructables Editors!


what did we make: words imposed on real life

In my travels across the Internet I invariably come across really meaningful text that someone has come up with superimposed on (typically using the font Helvetica) some very pretty, abstract image of nature, city lights, a beautiful girl or otherwise gentle and mysterious photo. I can’t imagine a better way to fuse the words in your head and the things you see then by putting the two exactly on top of each other to express your deep, throbbing emotions.

Thus I decided I had to have words in real life too. How could anyone know a photo would look nice with text on it unless you were able to test it out first? Here's how you can go about putting words into your everyday lives and make them even more insightful.

All you need are:
- a couple of transparencies
- an Ikea photoframe (or any photoframe) – even multiple photoframes if you like!
- sticker letters. Make sure they’re Helvetica!
- a black sharpie. Your words don’t need color to ooze feeling.
- a pencil and scissors

1. Trace the plastic in your frame on your transparency with a pencil.

2. Have your meaningful insight ready!

3. Using your sharpie or sticker letters express your thought on the transparency however you like.

4. Cut out the transparency, put it in the frame and take as many photos with it as you please. Or just use it to make sure what you’re about to take a photo of really does look good with text placed on top of it. Bonus points for using a DSLR. Extra bonus points for using a lomography camera and then scanning it into your computer. Incredibly extra bonus points for using a polaroid camera to capture your text on the photo.

Now go see your own deep thoughts in reality and imposed on images!

If you like what I had to write on my transparencies you may purchase the set of 5 for the unbeatable price of $10! If you think I’m better at this than you are then drop me an email and I’ll create your own customized set of 5 with whatever words you want!

Check out more photos on Flickr.


what did we feel compelled by: brian w. ferry

brian w. ferry is a photographer who previously resided in brooklyn and currently lives in london. his photos are fantastically mesmerizing.

i first came across his work on kitsune noir where danica describes his work as the "sort of images that pull you out of the attention deficit disorder-induced habit of compulsive clicking and compel you to pause, inhale and quietly gaze"

i agree entirely and personally think that what makes his photography so compelling is the atmosphere felt within those locations, created by half eaten plates of food and possessions - there is a quiet quality and all the things associated with that word: peace, calm, silence. however, more than being about the presence of these attributes it's the lack of frenzy, clutter and anxiety that pulls me in.

and personal. stockphotos have their place in company quarterlies and as website place holders, but this is the level of intimacy i love. a specific breakfast and someone's weekend trip.

check out his portfolio and find more images on his online journal.


what did we love: les monstris

these are the cutest handmade plushies -  the artist, Ninon, who makes them calls them "Les Monstris"

not only cute, they're definitely unique from your typical stuffed toy and despite having made hundreds and hundreds of them each one remains different from the rest. it's also particularly interesting to see her go through "phases" of ideas in her craft. i wonder where she gets  her abundance of fabric and materials from. it would be a nice touch to see a video or images of "les monstris in the making." summer project anyone?

in her words: "I just love making stuff with fabric and creating new little creatures. I have been doing it almost everyday since 2004. I don't really like making 2 things the same.....I am interested in failures, imperfections and in what is possible to obtain after some "mistakes". I believe that sometimes a couple of button eyes can be a lot more expressive than the eyes of many human beings..."

Ninon's flickr account contains images of all these lovely creations over the years. her blog also contains interesting photos and you can purchase them if you're interested here!

AND she makes other things! the creativity doens't end...


what did we catch up

 post #276.

(#300 including non-published posts hah)

things going on with me: 

i left nylon magazine the week before finals...

and i currently work in this building on the 7th floor. for the greater part of the week. 

ive been listening to these albums,


and spending all my web surfing time on google reader.

i've been munching on teddy grahams and beef jerky for snacks. (not together and i do continue to eat real meals)


and im going to a sunny sunny place this weekend! (illustration by ben javens for 8th continent soy milk via lovely packaging)


what did we love: oh, snap!

the oh, snap! project

combining photography and tee shirts in one awesome project started in december 2008, amateur and professional photographers are all welcome to submit their photos for consideration to be made into shirts. some of them are pretty awesome though $30 is a bit pricey in my opinion. it is a small project however, there are currently 9 different women's tees and 25 men's tees. they also sell photozines.

check em out - perhaps buy one or submit a photo that could become one!


what did we love: KMR

led to KMR by ffffound...
and put up four consecutive tumblr posts of her work, i'm newly in love with this Japanese graphic artist KMR. i still don't know anymore about her yet. also because i can't read japanese and maybe her site would provide me with more information if i could.

at any rate. her pieces are gorgeous, the colors are magnificent, the line work so delicate and right. and there are just so many to look at so even if you don't like some you're bound to like at least one. i also love how she chose to post huge images of her work online.

definitely will keep looking at her work for more inspiration and to continue admiring it.