When looking back on 2010, the best way I can describe it is a crazy roller coaster ride. It had a ton of high points and a few quick low dips but it all seemed to zip by at a lighting fast pace.
This past year started off with Ken Hunnemeder, Maeve Price and I taking a road trip down south for the release of Foothills Sexual Chocolate. It was one of those rare beers along the lines of 3 Floyds Dark Lord and Surly Brewing’s Darkness. Along the way we stopped at over six breweries and recorded each stop for a number of different Hop Cast episodes that got released in the following weeks. When the three of use rolled back into town on Super Bowl Sunday we jumped right into finishing the “Making of The Symposium Ale" video for the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference that was taking place in Chicago. Around the time of Craft Brewers Conference I took some time and finally re-did the Hop Castopening and graphics for the show. It needed a new look that would be more unique and showcased more of what we did. Sure 2010 wasn’t all about the Hop Cast but creating content every week for the last two years, you find that it really does take up a good portion of your time. Also without the Hop CastKen, Maeve and myself would have never been able to meet so many great people, many of them we now call friends.
On the motion graphics side of things (the side that pays the bills) it has been crazy, especially in the explainer video market. For me if 2009 was all about music videos then 2010 was all about explainer videos and I don’t see that changing too much either into the new year. I’ve been inspired by the startup community and I’ve been able to work with some great companies; Groupon, Sprout Social, Wamboo, Watermelon Express, Offermatic, Trial Pay, Buscan2 and Screenr. Some of these videos were created at Daily Planet ltd. and some where done on my own but either way I always tried to add my own spin onto them Both the work I’m doing on my own and the work that is happening at Daily Planet ltd. just continues to get better and better. A big accomplishment of 2010 came from the Money Money Money music video. It’s been played almost 200,000 times on vimeo, it made it onto the main feed of motionographer and got into issue 75 of Stash. All of these are a huge honor! I really never thought I’d see my work in Stash. Getting your work out there and seen by people is a hard thing to do sometimes. A few months ago I spoke at a Women In Film workshop on making connections via social media and that’s something I talk about here often on my site. Besides making connections with social media you need to turn some of those into real life connection and that’s one reason I’ve also been working with Mike Petrik on the Chicago Motion Artists Group. For some reason the community of Chicago motion graphics folks sort of fizzled out in the last few years. Sure there are small pockets here and there and Chicago Final Cut User Group is really large… But Mike and I both wanted a motion graphics focused group where we could gather everyone together and share a few beers. If our last meetup was a sign of what 2011 is going to bring, it’s only going to get better. The last meetup at Rock Bottom we had over 60 people and gave away some great raffle prizes.
On the personal side it’s always nice when you can say the family is on a whole doing very well. Unlike 2008, I didn’t travel anywhere too exotic this year but it was great being able to see so much of the US since it’s so big. I was able to visit Portland, OR three times for a number of different reasons. Two of those times for different friends and families weddings. Speaking of marriage, Maeve Price and I finally set a wedding day and chose a location to celebrate this moment in our life. It was a long time in the works and I’m sure there was a number of people who didn’t think we were ever going to get around to it.
Last year 2009 closed with new ideas, dreams and goals for the future and 2010 isn’t any different. I’ve got some great things planned for the new year including the release of the Invasion Of The B-Movie Posters iPhone application and a few new things that I can’t wait to share. To all the friends new and old and all my family members, thank you for making 2010 a huge success.
Here are my favorite 10 albums of 2010, it’s always hard to just pick 10 but these are the ones that I can see myself listening to for the next couple of years. As I put this list together, it was interesting to see that two of my favorite albums were freely released online.
Wale - More About Nothing This was a solid follow up to the 2008 Mixtape About Nothing, it didn’t back the same fire but I thoroughly enjoyed it. A few of the slower tracks you might skip, but there are a number of tracks on here that could have easily been on the studio released album, Attention Deficit.
Girl Talk - All Day Mash-ups arn’t dead yet, or if they are no one told Gregg Gillis because that dude is killing it with every new release. He transforms decades of pop music we all love and hate and crafts them into something entirely new that’s seamless and well-paced. I’m sorry to all the mash-up DJs out there but nobody does it better then Girl Talk.
The Black Keys - Brothers I’ve been know to listen to Black Keys all day at work. There is something about them that can just make a whole day better. This album has a different vibe then the previous Black Keys albums but as a whole meshes so well with that smooth calming effect.
Blu - Her Favorite Colo(u)r The Blu & Exile blew me away when it came out and I still play it often.. very often. This is Blu’s first solo EP, producing and rapping, and it is also more of a mature album. His lyrics and delivery are right on point. I don’t love the movie quotes during the album, they don’t nessairy help or hurt the album.
B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray This is an amazing complete album, there are no fillers or skits. It is 12 songs that blend well which each other and leave you wanting more. I can’t wait to see what else we hear from B.o.B. in the future.
Eminem - Recovery It’ great to see Eminem back and to see him rapping about real things. Gone are the immature pop hits that I drove out blasting in my car. The songs on this album show a different more personal side which was needed for him to raise the bar and return with something that reassured his fans that he was back and never really lost his game.
Vampire Weekend - Contra There are just some really fun songs on this album. It’s a strong follow up to the debut album and has a unique voice. Sadly with only 10 songs this album is done before you even realize it.
3OH!3 - Streets Of Gold I might of blew out some speakers listening to this album. There was a number of afternoons I was blasting this album at the Daily Planet ltd. office. I just don’t think this album disappoints, it have anything you want from a killer party album.
Black Milk - Album Of The Year To be honest I snoozed on this album when it first came out and am still just sinking my teeth into it. I was a big fan of Popular Demand when it came out in 2007. There have been a couple other albums released since then but this one really stood out this year for me. The addition of live instrumentation was great and really made it stand out in the world of over used drum machine and auto tuned voices.
Local Natives - Gorilla Manor I stumbled upon this little band entirely by accident while looking for some new music one afternoon. The lyrics are creative and fun. The band has a rock meets tribal thing going on that just works.
Ever since we did the explainer videos for Groupon at Daily Planet ltd. there has been a constant stream of other great companies contacting myself and Daily Planet ltd. to create a video for them. One of the videos we did this past year at Daily Planet ltd. was for Wamboo; a social networking service organization for non-profits, charities, police and fire departments to get help for individuals and families in need. Dori Gehling, the founder was looking for something that was heart warming and still had a funky, quirky vibe.
We decided to go with a hand drawn look for the video, there is something about those loose pencil lines and rougher edges that create a more personal feeling with the viewer. I started off by creating a group of characters that included people and wacky looking monsters too. Since most of the people were looking too child like, I did a second round of characters to add some more adults to group.
There was a lot to cover in this video and as a result we went through a lot of different storyboards and revisions to get all the components just right. And since each key part of the video was hand drawn it was a good amount of work. But in the end I was really happy with how it turned out.
Coming in at just under 4 minutes, this was the longest explainer video I’ve worked on.
I just got the latest build of my Invasion Of The B-Movie Posters app from the developer Rob Diel. We are getting close to finally submitting this to the app store and I thought I’d share some screen shots of the app and what we have going on. There are still a few bugs and a couple design things we are tweaking, but it’s close.
The Invasion Of The B-Movie Posters app allows you to turn one of your photos into your very own B-Movie Poster. When you first launch the screen you are given the option to take a new photo or choose from your library, instead of launching right into the camera function because we thought most users would probably be using a previously taken photo.
Inside the main menu you are given a few options to adjust your photo. The most important option in my opinion is the text option. This is a sub menu where you can add different wording on top of the photo. The first being titles, sorry you can not create you own titles. I’ve created a number of pre-designed options so hopefully there will be something that will work well for you. If for whatever reason you don’t see what you are looking for, send me a message and hopefully I can add it in for a future update. With the titles there are also custom straplines which are short secondary words attached to the titles to bring it to life. Finally, in the text menu is the option to add your own credits.
Back on the main menu you can add borders, graphics and some grime to the photo for that worn, beatup look.
Within the effects menu we added a few classic options to adjust your photo. I love to add a bit of vignette to the image and it’s neat to see how the photo looks inverted. If you don’t like what you did just hit the button on the right to reset the effects.
Once your poster is created hit save, up in the upper right hand corner. Your newly created posted is then saved and you are taken to a menu where you can upload it to Facebook or share with your friends on Twitter. If you don’t want to do either of those you can just choose to create a new poster which takes you back to the home screen.
There are few other options that might be added to the app before the release but hopefully we are submitting it to the Apple app store for review soon.
Week 77 of Type Tuesday. Each week I’m sharing five free fonts that I’ve come across for you to use and enjoy. I hope you like what I have picked out this time. Be sure to comeback next week for another great set.
Working More Hours Doesn't Always Mean More Work Getting Done
I’m sure we’ve all wished there were more hours in the day so we could get a little more done and be able to bill just a couple more hours. I find myself wishing this at least once a week with nearly every project I’m working on. I think if only I had time to do this or if I spend just a few more hours I can do it that way. Sometimes you can squeeze in a few more hours on a job but it’s not always going to make the project better. If you push yourself too far and stay up longer then you should, trying to take hours away from sleeping there is a good chance the following day isn’t going to be as productive as it could have been. Was that extra three hours of work worth the following day working at a slower pace? Recently, finishing up a few 15 plus hour work days at Daily Planet ltd. really proves this point. The project needed to get done and of course I was going to put in everything I could to accomplish this. There were a few moments during these long hours that I found myself staring at my computer screen moving the same couple of keyframes back and forth. No real work was getting done I was just putting in time. My brain needed to rest and recharge and I’ve said before how important it is to get away from your computer and take a break. But when the deadline looms and the clients sitting their waiting to see something that isn’t always an option. As many of you know, I put in a lot of hours practicing my craft, collaborating on new projects and looking for what my next great idea might be but there is a limit, even for me. As I was putting in more and more time each day on this recent project, I realized there was a limited number of hours that allow me to perform creative tasks. Sure, some of this project was waiting on 3D renders and then having to composite those into After Effects and it all wasn’t work, work, work but for the most part my mind wasn’t able to rest for more then an hour or so before I needed to jump back into it. It was a constant push and we were working longer hours. Of course we got it done and it shipped off to wherever it needed to go. The long hours and practically sleepless nights paid off for this project, but for me I was drained and pretty much exhausted. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one because I know a couple other people on the project put in even longer hours then I did. It took me several days to recover from this and as a result I didn’t want to work on a few other things I needed to accomplish.
In this case adding more hours of work to this project got more work done, but on the whole I ended up needing a long recovery time and that resulted in lost productivity in those following days when I was zapped of creative energy or any energy at all. This isn’t some sort of data entry job where the work is so second-nature that you don’t have to think about what you are doing. If you are doing creative work more time working does not necessarily equal more accomplished work. In the future when I find myself starting the day earlier and earlier and finishing later and later, often working more and more hours just to feel like I was accomplishing something; I have to stop and think if I’m really getting more done.
Week 75 of Type Tuesday. Each week I’m sharing five free fonts that I’ve come across for you to use and enjoy. I hope you like what I have picked out this time. Be sure to comeback next week for another great set.
Week 76 of Type Tuesday. Each week I’m sharing five free fonts that I’ve come across for you to use and enjoy. I hope you like what I have picked out this time. Be sure to comeback next week for another great set.
Extremely excited that Daily Planet Productions’ music video “Money Money Money” has been included in Stash 75, the DVD magazine of animation, VFX and motion graphics for advertising and broadcast. Stash 75 closes out 2010 with a bag-load of fun and motion genius. Each month there’s so much outstanding work and talented people and it’s a true honor to be recognized.
The idea behind this video was to make a tongue-in-cheek “nerdcore” rap video about the world of motion graphics. Daily Planet did everything from conception, production and graphics to post. It was picked up by Motionographer and went viral, reaching 34,000 hits on the first day and almost 200,000 since its initial posting on Vimeo 3 months ago.
There is just one week left for voting on the 2010 Podcast Awards. Ken Hunnemeder and I need your help to win. The Hop Cast is listed under the Food and Drinking category. This year the Hop Cast team have produced over 60 videos, that’s at least one video a week. It just takes a few seconds to vote and we can’t win without your support! If you have already voted, Thank You but don’t forget you can vote every day until December 15th!
Week 74 of Type Tuesday. Each week I’m sharing five free fonts that I’ve come across for you to use and enjoy. I hope you like what I have picked out this time. Be sure to comeback next week for another great set.
I know too many designers and animators that are not fans of producers, they think that the producers job is so easy. That all a producer has to do is send emails, talk on the phone and go to lunches or dinners with clients. They think this because it’s what they see producers doing, but a producers job is what you don’t see them doing. Its what all those emails, phone calls, and lunches accomplish. Most of the time it’s just keeping the clients away from you so you can work, be creative and do your thing. Besides getting the occasional lunch, as a designer I don’t want to be doing their kind of work… I’d rather be designing. Anyone who has ever freelanced knows how much time you put into meeting clients, handling project requests, getting paid and how little time you actually spend just doing the work compared to everything else that goes into it. I’ve worked on both sides, as a freelancer doing both the designing and the producing myself as well as being part of a team where I design and someone else does the producing. As a freelancer I’ve found that the positives of handling the producing myself is that I get to be in control of the entire project and I also build strong relationships with the client. I’ve also discovered an appreciation for the work that a producer does because when I have someone else figuring out the bid and dealing with all the clients requests, I have that extra time to focus and create better work. Being a great producer does require skill. Not only do you have to be highly organized, motivated and focused but you also have to be friendly, calm and understanding; both for the client and for the creatives that are doing the work. There are a lot of bad producers in this industry and that’s probably one reason I know so many designers and animators that don’t see their value. When a designer finishes a project they have something to show for it, they’ve created this piece of work, all that time amounted to an end product that you can see. For a producer, their time amounts to a smoothly run project. When you have a good producer as part of your team the machine runs much smoother and you may not realize that the producer has done anything at all. That’s the sign of a good producer, when the other people in a team can focus on their own jobs and not have to be bothered by all the tasks that a producer handles on a daily basis. Take some time to appreciate those good producers out there and the other members of your team, cause you’ll surely miss them when you work with the bad ones.