Progress on the Stargate…
I have been working on my portfolio site for what seems like years… although it has only been a few months. The idea is to have this stargate like device the floats in the midst of planets, the planets making up the “artsy” links for the different sections of my site. This works out pretty well. Using HTML5 and CSS3 I am able to get a quarter gate, in the bottom left corner, with planets positioned around it to look awesome! In 1920 x 1080…
The problem is with a Liquid Layout as soon as it is re-sized… everything goes to shit. Well not everything, using some CSS3 trickery I was able to back the background starscape and the gate itself re-size and maintain relative position, but the planets go all to hell and back. An unfortunate reality that modern web-designers have to take into account is that most people still prefer to view a webpage at 1024 x 768, whether that is their default screen-size or they prefer to browse in windowed mode so their boss doesn’t catch them.
What this really means is that I am gonna repaint the gate… as I am now centering the navigation page in a 1020px box, rather than having it adhere to the rules of a traditional liquid layout. For those of you new to Worldcrafter, here is the original gate:
And here is step one of the revision:
Wheee!!! Painting time!
One of these days I will get down to doing a real tutorial again… possibly on how to use Photoshop to make planet and space art. I am still working on resources for my resume and portfolio website, mainly the planets that will become the hover over links that will serve as main navigation icons.
The planets I made last month were… okay, but I wanted to push myself and see if I could get back into the swing of things and make planets that really make my jaw drop. I will admit it has been a few years since I did Space-Art…
Here is the first of the newest set of planets I am working on, this one I am really happy with.
More to come!
I have been trying to figure out how to finish thegrav.com. I need planets, in two sizes, I know that much… after that I will need to sit back and think once again. This means I need to paint a few planets. So I set out to paint 6 planets in total. I figured this time around I would try to reach out with social media and poll some of the people that follow my art page, in order to pick which planets I was gonna use.
The six choices I have given my fan are: A Metal World, Ice World, Living World, Desert World, Volcanic World, and a Dead World. I however don’t get off easy, I still have to paint all 6 before I can really ask anyone to vote! So far I have finished three! Check em’ out!
Head on over to my Facebook Artist page! Throw me a Like, and vote for your favorite!
Unemployment sucks, well kinda. I have been able to begin to make the contacts I may be able to use to become self-employed again, and I have had time to look into going back to school. Actually with the help of my lovely girl, I have a plan in place now for school stuff. I have also managed to spend a lot of time sketching, playing video games, and writing.
However I have also kept an eye out for potential employment opportunities, and as such I have had to re-evaluate my resumes. Conventional wisdom suggest I keep a standard up -to-date resume, detailing at least the last 6 years of employment, design standards suggest that I also keep a design resume… and the fact that at least the last 2-3 years of my life have been spent working on websites and web-development, I should have a website myself. This last one, I don’t “really” have.
In reality I have a few. I host a website for myself, as well as one for an old client, plus I own 3 or 4 that are sitting here and there for pet projects, and of course I also own City7themovie.com. For most of the past 10 years I have used ravenhorde.com to house most of my work, however a few months ago I purchased thegrav.com, and I have decided to make this, at least temporarily, the home of my Website Portfolio and Design Resume.
Here is the start. I code by hand, I don’t use Dreamweaver or Flash, if there is an effect I want to use I learn how to do it right, the old fashioned way. Now I do this for a good reason, I am sure most of you have at least heard of SEO, its really important and it is a lot easier to do when a website is not bogged down under garbage code.
Some of you might ask why a Graphic Designer and painter knows how to code by hand, the answer is simple, I design websites. 10 years ago I designed them with the help of Dreamweaver, 9 year ago I reached the limit of what Dreamweaver could do for me, and 8 years ago I started to learn to code right. It may take a little longer, or seem too(Honestly I think I code about as fast as most people can use a visual design system like Dreamweaver), but its done once, and done right. Plus a lot of the same concepts apply, and if you know how to code, you can do a lot more complex effects.
Most of the time I use a few sheets of notebook paper to design out my entire site in pen or pencil. I detail where I want images and elements, and then breakdown how I will need to build the css and html code. I do this to make sure the idea will even work, before I spend anytime doing art work.
This layout all set, and tested, I have moved to creating the art bits! One of these days I might actually blog a bit into the fundamentals of writing code, but eh its my job, not my hobby! This is all about the art!
Back to the design bits, my idea is to have a warp gate floating through space as the main image of my website. The “Navigation” links becoming either planets, or objects that float around the gate. Using Photoshop I have laid down the basic shape of my warp gate. I used the marque tools to create the shapes I wanted, and working in layer arranged them into the above composition.
I also positioned the gate in the “frame” so it would be cropped into the final design. When working on an image that will become a background to a website, it is important to work at the highest targeted resolution, or even larger, so when and if the website or image is viewed full screen, you don’t have “empty space” around the images. In this case I am working at 1920 x 1080, sure some people may have a bigger screen, or multiple screen display, but I am counting on a HD widescreen monitor being my upper limit.
My websites are normally built to have a “liquid layout“, meaning that I want my elements to shrink, expand and conform to many different screen resolutions without losing to much in the process. 1024 x 768 – 1920 x 1080 is a very healthy range of commonly used screen resolutions, so I will focus on making the site work within that range.
I know some people still used 800 x 600, but I have made a decision to not cater to that small percentage of the web-going public, or order to focus more on HD style images and design. Now I will move with this basic compassion into Painter, in order to finish the warp gate.
Follow along with the development over the next few days.
I often joke that I went to school to become and illustrator, but go to work to be a web-developer. While true this doesn’t really say much about any of my experience. Right after High School my big dream was to write novels, something I still have up there in the ranks of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” but then I looked into real careers, and decided I didn’t want to be an English Teacher.
After that I flirted with computer science, history, graphic design, and finally illustration as potential majors, but never really finished any of them. I am one of those “Some College” guys, but in my case it’s a bit more like “a lot of college, that has little to do with anything” guys. Illustration, painting, and digital art is where I am headed though, and as I get deeper into those fields as a freelance artist the idea of going back to school and finishing a degree seems better and better.
So how did I end up sitting in a pile of web-development? Well in late 2005 a buddy and I were sitting around complaining about clothing, and how not enough cool stuff was made for guys, and how we could make better stuff. So we spent the next several months doing research and collecting data to the end of opening a clothing company. In Mid-2006 that happened, and we launched Ravenhorde Studios form my garage.
Over the next 8 months we learned the hard-way, made a lot of shirts and decided it was time to go big. We moved into a business park and ran Ravenhorde Studios as a small business to business t-shirt company until 2010. Now that wasn’t the original dream, we had wanted to sell our own designs.. but due to lack of planning and lack of time, our own e-commerce website fell to the wayside as we focused on doing business to business sales.
T-shirts could not sustain us however, and along the way we also began doing marketing design, web design and development, and wide format printing as well. It was here that what had been a hobby in high school and college became a skill I realized I was good at and could market. From there I ended up realizing that there were a hundred other skills to learn and grow upon, and I saw that for a long time I had been acting as an unpaid Information Architect consultant with family and some business friends.
The Market crash was pretty hard, and left our business in the dust and in Early 2010 we had to close our doors, although I continued as a freelance web designer. A brief 9 months spent in the hell that is known as Starbucks Coffee as a Shift Supervisor, and finally I find myself where I should have been 10 years ago.
Still a freelancer in the art, design, and web-development world I have found myself being one of two developers for a Real Estate company, and the head designer for most of the same companies marketing materials. What the future holds however is yet to be seen.