Architecture remix (roughly)

Here you go! I like my audio, but I plan to change the video up a bit. I think it’s a little boring.



The Wild World of .gifs!

I know that as I’ve been working on my Independent Project, I’ve come across the need for .gifs. And I though, “if I need them, maybe you guys do too?”
They’re actually incredibly easy to make (but very hard to master) in Adobe Photoshop. But a lot of people aren’t aware that Photoshop can be used to make .gifs or if they are they aren’t aware of how to go about doing it.

Your first step:

Create your first frame. Every element that is going to move independently needs to be a separate layer, but that’s as technical as this step gets. Just draw/create/paste some stuff.

Your second step:

Go up to the top. Way up at the top, up in the menu, and select Window. From that list you’re going to select Animation. Did the animation palette pop up near the bottom? Good. If not, it’s probably somewhere else on the screen.

Your third step:

Click on that fancy Add New Frame button.  It should slap your fancy picture, layers and all, into the first frame.

Your fourth step:

Do step three again. Change whatever you want to change. Rinse repeat. Don’t worry about making it really gradual and specific. Photoshop will handle that.

Your fifth step:

Do you have all of the keypoints worked out in your frames? Good. Now you’re going to click on the pop out menu that should be in the top right hand corner of the animation palette. From this, you want to choose tween. Then select the amount of extra frames you want. For the love of God, don’t make the number too large. It’ll take forever for your .gif to load. Now your .gif should have quite a few nice frames.

Your sixth step:

You need to save this masterpiece. Go up to that menu again. The one way at the top. Click File. And then Save For Web & Devices. Make sure you select .gif as the file type. If you don’t, it’s not gonna be a .gif.

Your seventh step:

Show that masterpiece off.

More advanced After Effects Tutorials

Have you found yourself wanting to do more with your video?

Not sure how to do it with Premier?

That’s because you probably can’t.

Adobe After Effects is where all of the cool stuff is at. And if you familiarize yourself with it, you can do some incredibly impressive things. I’m not going to pretend that I understand all of it well enough to explain it to you, so I’ll give you an awesome link instead:

That’ll show you how to do almost everything you could ever want to do with After Effects. Some of them are quite advanced and might take a while to get worked out, but it can also help you to better understand the basics and how to apply them (I know that’s what I’ve been using them for).

Have fun!

Video Transitions and You!

A good video narrative needs some transitions much like a good written narrative needs transitions. Without them you’re video and your writing will be bland and seem monotonous. I’m going to focus on five different types of transitions, and hopefully I’ll be able to explain when and where to use them.

1: The Cut (Or Jump Cut)

This is your basic run of the mill transition. Some people may argue that a cut isn’t truly a transition, but it is. This is simply when you go straight from one clip to another. Clip one. Clip two. Just like that.
This is a good choice when you don’t want to give the idea of passing time such as when combining two clips of one monologue or when two scenes are happening at parallel times. The only great concern that must be faced when using a cut is that you shouldn’t go from a scene with sound to one with silence or vice versa. If your first clip ends with someone talking the next should begin with someone talking. If your first clip ends with music your second clip should begin with music. Etc.
2: The Crossfade (Dissolve/Mix)

As you may have guessed, this is a fade between two clips.  Crossfades tend to be relaxing and slow, so they lend themselves to videos that are going for a contemplative or melancholy mood. As with cuts you must also be conscious of audio changes between clips in a crossfade, but to a lesser extent. The crossfade will allow you to transition smoothly between clashing audio, but using crossfades to often to rectify clashing audio tends to make a video seem disjointed.

3: The Fade

This is something like the crossfade, but instead of fading into another clip the fade fades into a single color. This is usually used to begin or end separate scenes. Since the scene fades out to a color the problem of clashing audio is completely avoided with the fade.

4: The Wipe

The wipe is related to the crossfade, but it uses a geometric pattern to switch clips. A wipe tends to signify a change in location, and they work well as powerful transitions, but they tend to look like a gimmick if they appear to often throughout a video.

5: Digital Effects

The digital transition is a very broad category. It’s anything that hasn’t fallen into one of the previous four. They are called digital effects, because they were incredibly difficult to utilize before the advent of digital film. These can be used however they can be, and it is up to you to decide what is right and wrong.

I hope that this made transitions a little clearer, and at least helped to explain the terminology.

Minute Narrative

A narrative can be many things. All that is required of it is that it connect events. This made it both exceedingly difficult and exceeding easy to find one to write about. Easy, because everywhere I looked I was finding narrative videos, but difficult, because I had to choose one of them.

In the end I decided to stick with my stick figures and go over to minutephysics on Youtube. If you haven’t watched any of his stuff before, you really should. He does exactly what it sounds like he does. He teaches physics in a concise (minute to a couple of minutes) format. The video I chose was the first one that Youtube showed me, because it doesn’t particularly matter which I go with. They have the same components, style, and are all narratives. Here it is:

What I think makes his videos  good examples of narrative is that they are concise and entertaining. He doesn’t get caught up in trappings and effects and just presents his point. This is something that is especially important in an educational video as extra speaking tends to only confuse the viewer. He blends a little bit of humor with simple graphics and a clearly spoken monologue to make something that is difficult and technical seem accessible to someone that may not have understood it before.

Want A Search Bar?

If you have a large website or just want a searchable index of some sort, you may have considered adding a search box. This is relatively simple, and it comes with a few extra perks as well.

There are essentially three steps to setting up your search bar. I will show you where to do these, but since I don’t have a website to use as an example I can’t show you each step.


Your first step is to head over to the Google webmasters feature.  You’ll need an account, but you can use it to index your site. That’s important. If it’s not indexed the next steps won’t work. While you’re there you can get statistics on your site: which pages are most visited, problems you may have, how to get started with Google adverts, etc.


Back to Google! This time it’s the CSE (Custom Search Engine). The CSE is still in beta development, so it isn’t perfect, but it is one of the easiest ways to implement a search feature on your site. The steps are rather self explanatory. You need a name, a website(s) to be searched (the websites must be indexed), and you have to decide whether to allow Google to display ads or pay $100 to do away with ads.

3.) The code!

At the end of your journey on CSE you will be presented with some code. Paste that code in wherever you want a search box. All of the processes  are done in Google’s own server, but the interface will be on your site.


Happy Searching! and Website Layout

Last week I wrote a bit about one of xkcd‘s comics. This week I’ll continue the xkcd theme, but I’ll examine his website layout instead of an individual comic. uses a simple and easily navigable layout.


The colors aren’t exciting, but they don’t distract you from the clear focus of the page, the comic. His title is concise and gives you all of the information you would need about his page in a condensed space. The links are all stored in one place, and navigation is simple and intuitive.

His layout is successful, because he presents all of the information and links needed, and he doesn’t get so caught up in making his page flashy that you forget to pay attention to the important things. He keeps the page updated, displaying his newest comic on the homepage and the older ones in an archive. The archive is simple to get to, you can either click the arrows above and below the comic to see them individually or click the archive link to see them listed chronologically.

He also has a search feature which is a must for any website that is going to display a large volume of work. They’re simple and elegant, and if the visitor knows what they want they’re much more efficient than an archive page.