Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:02:26 AM by Gordon Mackay
In my quest to learn how to draw with more skill in Fireworks I think I have found the perfect method. What I have been doing is selecting a simple object to draw on a daily basis.
Some of the things I have been attempting are:
- Simple three dimensional shapes, like cubes and cylinders
- Cartoon faces
- Cartoon penguins :)
- Ugly looking houses :(
These experiments have gone rather well, and through my attempts I have picked up some rather nifty imaging techniques that I will be able to apply to more advanced drawings at a later stage in my development.
I said that the experiments have gone rather well, but unfortunately a lot (maybe most) of them would be embarrassing to show here. So I will stick to presenting you with only the PNG files that I'm most proud of :)
Last night I attempted to draw a flower, one that doesn't actually exist in nature :P I managed to easily get the flower looking pretty darn good, and in turn I felt pretty darn good too. So much so that I got carried away and added some sky, then some clouds, then some more clouds, then some grass and ground to plant my flower in.
The amazing thing about starting off simple is that your highly unlikely to be completely disappointed with the fruits of your labor. In fact, in my case it made me more enthusiastic.
So much so that I don't find this picture embarrassing enough to make me want to hide my face for a year if I show you it:
If you're really serious about designing web sites you should consider learning to draw in Fireworks. It's a lot of fun and it's also a great way to create graphics that are unique to your own designs.
I hope that some of these posts I have been making are enough to whet your appetite.
Have fun :)
Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 6:20:36 PM by Gordon Mackay
When I'm bored I sometimes watch TV, I sometimes read a book, but most of the time I switch on my computer and fire-up Fireworks, then iTunes and then start drawing things.
For me boredom generates productivity and ideas. The need to do something during those times normally leads to a PNG with a doodle planted slap-bang in the middle of it.
The images folder on my Mac contains around 500 Fireworks PNG files that consist mainly of random ideas that have poured out of my head and onto a blank canvas. Not all of them are good, and some of them are downright ugly, but that's not the point, the point is that I can go back to them at some time in the future and maybe use them for a project, or for something to tutorialize here at CMX.
Boredom led me to make this post, so I will share with you the product of that boredom.
Here it is:
(Right click to save the PNG to your desktop)
I don't know about you guys, but there is something about penguins (maybe it's a Linux thing, hehe) that makes me happy.
Anyway, please feel free to tear the PNG apart, edit it... use it... do whatever you want with it... just have fun :)
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 2:13:45 PM by Kim
Hey! We have a meme going! Our worst presentation moments.
OK, I have several, including the time I reset the clock on my laptop and lost the trial software I was going to demo, as well as the time the "network guys" decided to unplug the router to the room where I was presenting to over 200 people. Oh those were good alright.
But my first disaster goes back to my college days. I was in ROTC at the time, not because I wanted to be an Army officer necessarily, but mostly to get a little $$$ to help me finish college. So, in one of our courses we were tasked to provide an executive briefing. Hey, no problem. I'm not afraid of public speaking.
In addition to ROTC I was also working in the university cafeteria in the morning, also to help pay my way through school. That tended to leave me ready for a nap after work and classes, and on the day of my first big presentation that's exactly what I did. I had plenty of time before my late afternoon ROTC class.
Until I overslept.
Then it was a mad dash to throw on some clothes, jump on my bike, and pedal over to the ROTC building. Whew! Just in time, and with all my notes in hand I took a deep breath, gave my presentation, and was actually quite proud of myself. It's not easy to go from a dead sleep to a 30 minute formal presentation like that, but I thought I did quite well, thank you.
At the end of my presentation the instuctor sat me down and reviewed my performance.
"OK, your speaking skills are strong, you did a good job of maintaining eye contact, and your handouts were good. You seemed to understand the topic and your research was solid. I just have one question."
"Uh, what's that?"
"Who dressed you today?"
"Dressed me? I don't think I understand."
"Well, your shirt is on inside-out. I'm guessing you didn't do that for dramatic effect."
Sure enough, as I looked down at my shirt I could see the pockets hanging out, the seams for my shirt, and well, just about everything you'd expect to see when the wrong side of a shirt is facing out.
Yeah, I survived that one, but I still keep that experience in the back of my mind anytime I go to do a presentation. Handouts? Check! Training materials? Check!
Clothing on correctly?
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:52:28 PM by Heidi Bautista
Cast your memories back to the early 80's when guitar music was all the rage in midwestern Catholic churches. I'm around 12 years old and not nearly as good with my guitar as my older brother and sister. Nonetheless, I get roped into playing during mass. Our priest was from the "old school." Definitely liked old fashioned organ music better. Anyway, it's spring in Michigan. In fact, it's time to spring-forward. You know what that means, right? Yeah, yeah, reset all the clocks. Not in my family, though. We always forgot to reset them. So, of course, our family gets to the church late. The priest has already begun and is singing the old fashioned organ music - a capella, no less! My parents "encourage" me to get up there and do my guitar thing. I do. Some of the people out there in the pews respond but the priest doesn't. I don't think he intentionally ignored me. But he was really old! So after a few half-hearted attempts, I slink back down to join my family in the front pew. We never spoke of it again.
Oh, and I'm still scared of public speaking. I did perform music in public again. Never guitar, though. That was it for me.
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 10:20:17 PM by Joseph Balderson
Looking over the Top 10 Worst Presentation Moments on some Microsoft blog, brings back memories... reminding me of a Worst Presentation Moment of mine. Boy was it a doozy.
It's the early 90's, and back then I was big into space advocacy, because it seemed like the next best thing to being an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle. I'm 21, and doing a major presentation of the latest findings of some unmanned spacecraft, I forget the name now, on behalf of the Mars Society, York University Chapter in Toronto. My co-presenter was a recent astrophysics graduate or something. I've got no university degree, no formal scientific training, but being self taught, what I lacked in education I made up for in enthusiasm as a volunteer for the society, so they gave me a prime presenting spot. Now I knew I could do it, because at the time I managed a small sales force selling security services door-to-door, so I was not shy in front of people, even if it was my first big presentation of this kind.
In the audience were physicists, teachers, students, astronomers, financial supporters for the society, and a few deans of the university. And they were all waiting for the latest juicy scientific details, because we got our info straight from JPL in Pasadena (this was before the internet, so you had to either subscribe to a journal or go to a lecture to get the latest news on this kind of stuff).
I got up to present, confident in my ability to deliver a presentation I knew by heart. But I had spent so much time the previous night absorbing the material, getting all the scientific details down, so nervous about the presentation, that I got almost no sleep. And the next evening, I was so hyped up on coffee and nerves, all that came out of my mouth was:
uh... ummm... and this is the ummm... uhhh...
My mind went completely blank. Three weeks of straight astronomy research completely down the tubes. I froze. I even got heckled to get off the stage by the sixth slide or so.
It was THE most embarrassing moment in my life. I so crashed and burned...
Luckily my colleagues sitting in the front row took pity on me and someone relieved me and did an impromptu presentation in my place, to this day I don't remember who it was, maybe the chapter president.
Prior to this I was involved in the society in a big way, and did a lot of volunteering with them. My embarrassment after that incident was so total that next month I resigned from the society's activities and never went back to a single meeting.
The good thing that came out of it was, I realized years later, I got over my fear of public speaking, for good. To this day I have absolutely ZERO fear of speaking in public, because I know, no matter how badly I screw up, nothing could be anywhere near as bad as that presentation.
What I learned is that no amount of preparation will ever make up for a good night's sleep. And until you screw up real bad, at least once, you never get any good at public speaking.
Posted Wednesday, August 02, 2006 3:08:11 PM by Kim Dudley
Well this is it, my first blog entry. I feel a bit ashamed and a bit slow on the draw, I've been hanging around here at CMX for almost two years and am just now getting around to my first entry. So what was the hold up? Well it certainly wasn't because I had nothing to say, ask my friends and family I have lots of opinions and comments about lots of stuff. I also love checking out other blog entries but sitting down and actually putting pen to paper was just one of those things that I kept putting off until tomorrow. I guess I've just had quite a lot going on in my life the last couple of years and at times have been a bit overwhelmed by it all. It was just about four years ago that my life was all about technology and the latest inventions. My life centered around my job and I never missed trying out the latest application or high tech gadgets. Since then I've gotten married, left my job due to my husband's career change, had two kids, moved 6000km to a very small town in the middle of the mountains and started a small design business. Now, I tend to see technology as a way to get my job done. Instead of looking for the coolness factor, I look for technologies that can make my life easier and get my work done faster.
In addition to this change of view many great things have come into my life due to these changes. Three years ago I wrote my letter of resignation for my job of 8 years with a lot of anxiety and apprehension. I doubted that I would ever find a job I liked as much, I guess I am not the type of person that welcomes change. But I have to admit that change can be good. I've learned a lot about myself and have done things I never imagined I would. I went from being a confident, focussed, career driven women to a worried, unsure, sleep deprived Mom. I've discovered there are some benefits of working for yourself. I've gotten to work with and learn from some really great people here at CMX and I am living in a beautiful little town where I have made life-long friends. Of course, I still miss "home" but that's what vacations are for and hopefully someday we will be closer again. I also miss having endless hours to "play" with the latest digital cameras, applications or laptops but I do have the joy of being able to watch my kids grow up since I am able to work my schedule around them.
So tomorrow has finally come and writing my first blog entry allows me to cross another new task off my list-thanks Zoe. I expect my life will continue to be a bit crazy but I am going to work hard at keeping my blog up to date with the things I find interesting and beneficial to getting the job done and hopefully you can join me from time to time.
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006 8:17:52 PM by Jim Babbage
I finally downloaded and installed the much anticipated Windows Beta of Adobe Lightroom. I've only been playing with it for a while, but the first word that comes to mind is "slick." Overall the interface has a very polished look to it and I am enjoying some of the features such as one-touch zoom and drag and drop keywords. I loved the fact that I didn't have to download any updates in order for the software to recognize my Fuji S9000 RAW files.
I plan to write a more detailed overview of this beta quite soon, but for now I encourage all you digital shooters to take a few minutes and give the beta a test run. Yes, there are flaws, but it's not ready for shipping yet either, and Adobe wants your feedback.
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:53:58 PM by Big John
Burnout is a very ugly thing. That's why I have taken the decision this summer to accompany my brother and his friends on their annual excursion into the high Sierra Nevada wilderness.
It's really neat. 75 miles in 11 days, over hill and dale, flirting with hypoxia at 10000ft and above. Not to mention a planned 20 mile detour cross-country, if you can call a solid rock landscape above 11 grand a "country." At least there are glaciers and former glaciers (called "lakes") scattered about, to break up the rather intimidating mineral scenery.
Of course, death marching isn't our only goal, there's eating too. A whopping 1500 calories a day! Yum. Also there's sleeping, one of my favorite things after a rousing day of death-marching in the statosphere. Technically it's called "comatosing," but that's a quibble.
I suspect that after a day or so I will welcome the attentions of any bears that happen along, altho they may be put off by all that moaning and groaning. Still, the camera will be happy, and that what really matters, right?
Heck, after a few days of far too few calories, those bears may have to look pretty sharp themselves. Even the marmots could be at risk.