Friday, January 30, 2009

Blasted 404 Page Errors!

I think most everyone is familiar with the 404 errors you tend to run into at the worst possible times, while browsing the internet. Say you are doing a research project and you finally find a link that describes exactly what you are looking for, so naturally, you click it with excitement! "Yes, I finally found it," you say. The computer responds, "Actually Josh, you can't look at this page because it was no found. Haha! Sucks for you!" You then proceed to pull your hair out.

I've seen it a thousand times!

Nobody likes them, but yet us designers find a way to make them pretty, funny, and worthwhile. You think it to be impossible, but designers rest at nothing when solving problems. In a sense, that is what we are: problem solvers. These next few images are just a few from a great article I found highlighting some of the better designed 404 errors scattered over the internet.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Ol' Mom

Don't you just love your mom?! Me too. She is great! This comic I have just made is an indirect way of me saying, "Thanks mom, for bringing me to the movie theater when I thought it was really cool to meet girls there. Thanks for supporting my endeavors out of diapers. And thanks for letting me know it was not alright to eat dog biscuits."

Stripgenerator is a great website where you can make your own comics with pre-made templates of characters, objects, humans, and other resources you need to publish your own simple comic. I say this because the comic you see above was created on that site and it was extremely easy. Comics have never really been my forte, if you will, so the discovery of this generator will mean more stupid comics such as this one for your viewing pleasure.

(Click the picture to enlarge.) It's not brain surgery folks!


I want
To write
A story
That captures you
And catches
Off guard.
I need to
A lyric
That explains who I am.
Have to
Write me back,
So I can
In you
And forgive myself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Insight On Obama's Branding

I finally have an excuse to touch on the topic of Obama and his branding! There is a great website called Obamicon that lets you create a poster similar to Obama's Hope posters simply by uploading a picture of yourself, or anything for that matter, and adjusting the colors a bit. Below is how mine turned out. I thought it was pretty decent! I could probably run for president.

Now, I'd like to speak on the branding of Obama. Many say that this was a major player in his campaign for president, and I could not agree more. No matter where you go in this world, you are constantly bombarded with visual identities, branding, and design that indeed influences your decisions. Bilboards, cereal boxes, magazine covers, websites, you name it and it has elements of design embedded in it, unless it is poorly designed or not created by a designer, then it will not.

Looks familiar, doesn't it? Of course it does! That is because it was designed well, with great concept and design decisions written all over it. I read an interesting article about these posters just today, which struck me as very surprising. Shepard Fairy is a very well known and respected illustrator and has been for quite some time. In fact, some of you may be wearing one of his designs right now! He is the guy who produces all of the Obey shirts. Well, from this article, I found that he believed in Obama so much that he illustrated these posters for free! An acclaimed artist producing something this important for free really speaks to his beliefs because this is not a normal circumstance.

Conrgatulations to Barak Obama on a well run and designed campaign!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finished Character Concept Of Taylor

In my recent character concept post, I showed some very early sketches of what I wanted my character, Taylor, to look like. I also mentioned that there would be revisions to give him more unique characteristics to bring out the emotion he has been given during the story. He now has very simple features, but those of which will be able to visualize all of the emotion necessary for my animation.

As for a texture and how he will look as a 3D model, rather than a sketch, Taylor will have a smooth, plastic look to his outermost surfaces. The hinges and rods connecting his extremities will probably end up having metal or steel textures. Yes, he is a simple character. But, considering this is my first animation, I feel the need to stay simplistic is important. I will be focusing very hard on the story and character animation to elicit emotion from my audience.

Stay tuned for the soon to be completed storyboards! These will completely visualize, through 2D sketches, the entire animation from start to finish.

Oh, and I apologize for the not-so-great scans of my sketches. That is what happens when you get a free scanner/printer combo with your computer, so thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday Macintosh

25 years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the world. This was an absolute turning point in the technology and engineering fields, which defined the way we use computers now. Apple engineers put in 90 hour work weeks to develop this amazing new technology, and I wish I could thank each and every one of them for it. It paid off! Who knows where computers would be today, if something had been different? This is an interesting topic to think about.

I can proudly say that watching the video of Steve Jobs introducing the computer in 1984 excited me, even though it is extremely hard to really appreciate the simple tasks that the machine was computing considering we can do so much with current technology. To the audience, at that time, this was unbelievable, and that is what I focus on.

Thanks to The Pixar Touch blog for the information. And to the innovators and creative thinkers, I thank you for shaping technology forever.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Salvation Run

So, the semester is kicking into full gear and the projects are under way! Why do I use an exclamation mark after that sentence? I don't know. All that means is my stress levels will shoot through the roof, like usual. I guess one of these days I'll just get used to it. Anyways, I am taking yet another illustration class to increase my graphic knowledge.

This class is based around comics and illustrating them, which should be really fun because it's not everyday your textbook is one big comic. You don't believe me? Click that link. Yeah, pretty cool huh? I know. That is why I love what I study! To the point of this blog post though. Our first assignment is quite simple. Recreate a comic book cover of your choice. I chose this Salvation Run cover because I fell in love with the expression and limited color pallet, although I have never read Salvation Run. Expect to see my illustration of this within the next couple of weeks!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Sneak Peak At Early Character Concepts

I will be starting my endeavor into the tough part of my Introduction to Animation class very soon. Learning a new program in the span of a very short time is going to be very hard on me, but I have been trying to stay ahead of the deadlines and have been doing well so far! I would like to release some extremely simple concept sketches I have created of my character, Taylor.

I decided to keep the character very simple because I am not a very good character designer and I would much rather focus attention on the story and animation more than anything. This way, the audience may be drawn to those aspects more. The future will probably consist of some changes to this initial character, so you will be seeing revisions throughout my blog posts. Many of these changes will consist of giving Taylor more unique characteristics.

And yes, those are some hairs that were caught in the scan of my artwork. If you know me, you usually expect some hair in just about everything I do. That sounds wrong, but truthfully, I am a neat freak when it comes to my hygiene!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Inspirations

Lately, I have been reading quite a few books and experienced things that have given me more inspiration than I ever thought possible. I felt the need to address what gives me the inspiration and why it does, in fact, inspire me because I believe it can relate to anyone in most any industry. Here is a brief list of some of the many things that inspire me:

-Others: This includes designers, friends, family, homeless people, and whoever else gives me courage to keep going.
-Books: Lately it has been The Pixar Touch, A Sad American Mythology, and Ideas for the Animated Short. Three books I would highly recommend. And yes, I am reading all three at the same time.
-Design Blogs: There is no better way to stay updated on the happenings of the computer graphics world as well as other's work than following blogs. This may be my new religion!
-SIGGRAPH: Many of you read this and say, "Huh?" This is a society of graphic designers, a group for the passionate, motivated, and talented designers. I credit this organization to my success thus far.
-Good Color Schemes: It always gives me hope, when I see color used well in any medium. But, it goes the other way too. When I see terrible color usage, my stomach drops and a piece of my soul flakes off.
-Movies: Since I love telling stories, film and animation hold a special place in my heart. You will know when I am inspired by a movie because I will not shut up about it for a good week. Don't even get me started.
-The Day: Any given day, I may walk outside and just think about anything I can. There is so much inspiration in just our surroundings and many do not even realize it. A series of unfortunate events.

There are so many other inspirations that I have not listed here mainly because it would just be way too long of a blog post, so I'll end it with a question, and I expect answers!

What inspires you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Air And Simple Gifts

Today, the inauguration of Barak Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America is a milestone in history. People from all over the world, not just America, watched as Obama was sworn into office. Yes, that was nice and sweet, but my attention was soon diverted to the wonderful orchestral piece.

Maestro John Williams arranged a piece based on Aaron Copeland's arrangement of the old Shaker Tune "Simple Gifts" as "Variations on a Shaker Melody". Yo-Yo Ma performs along with Itzhak Perlman on violin, Gabriela Montero on piano and Anthony McGill on clarinet. I will admit, when I was watching this, I think a tear dropped from my eye. This is a beautiful piece that I am determined to find a download for. I assume iTunes will be releasing it sooner or later!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Magnet, Indiana

This past weekend, I went on an annual trip, with 8 of my best friends. It was a weekend of relaxation, beautiful scenery, and more relaxation! The cabin we stayed in was called "The Bonnie Pearl," in Magnet, Indiana, which is only a stones throw away from Kentucky. In fact, the Ohio River was right in our backyard! And yes, I waved to all the barges that went by.

Below, you will see just a small compilation of photos that were taken, mostly from my iPhone, minus a few. There are many others posted on Facebook, so you can check more out there. I decided to take the pictures that I thought had good composition, color, or other decent photography techniques incorporated in them. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Indian Giver

If I let it
Once, and wanted it
Would you
Call me an
Indian giver?
I've never
That saying means,
But I know I'm
Not like
the Indian.
Not the same
As the others.
And it's not a
And build a
Around my

Thursday, January 15, 2009

E Is For...

Is for the
It takes me
To keep this up.
I have
Breathes partially
For you,
In every case.
Even acting becomes
And I'm ready
For it to

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ask The Blog

There is a new blog that has just recently been started up. It's hilarious, fun, and entertaining. And the best part is, you can be a part of it!

Visit and email any question to, with this format:


And it could be featured as the "Question of the Day," which is apparently a pretty big deal around these parts. So, you ask, how does my question get picked? Simple. It says to be creative. Ask questions that you wouldn't normally hear! They assure you that the answer that follows will be nothing less than amusing.

Try it now!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I feel obligated to congratulate the cast and crew of Slumdog Millionaire on 4 well deserved Golden Globe awards! This movie, along with Wall-E, was the best of the year bar none, in not just my opinion, but many others as well. This film and contributors won the following awards:

Best Motion Picture - Drama by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Warner Bros.
Best Director - Motion Picture by Danny Boyle
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture by Simon Beaufoy
Best Original Score - Motion Picture by A. R. Rahman

For those of you reading this who have not seen this movie, I want to promise you that, if you go watch this movie today, you will be nothing less than impressed. The story is enthralling and entertaining, keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I would also like to touch on the cultural outcomes of this film.

With my recent traveling in mind, I take a new vision to everything I see. I watch the world from two sets of eyes now, one through my American eyes and the other from the Asian, Indian, and European cultures I have met. Granted, I am still very uneducated about each, I feel that I know enough to at least imagine what they would think of certain things and I love it! This movie is truly an accomplishment for the Indian culture, as well as the world around it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Know You're A Graphic Designer When...

This is the most accurate list I have ever read! And one that I can relate 100% or more to. It has also made me realize how much of a loser I really am! I have not included the entire list, but rather ones that most everyone can understand or get a laugh out of. But, I do apologize for some of these things that many of you will not understand, if you are not a designer or artist of the sort. The original link can be found here. Enjoy!

1. Your friends and family won’t watch movies or TV with you because you make too many comments about the poor lighting or bad composition.

2. You are pro-Facebook because 95% of the MySpace pages burn your retinas.

3. You refuse to purchase products that have poorly designed packaging.

4. You buy dog food based on the bag’s use of color and typography.

5. You critique every piece of design you see without realizing it (ex: “That is a horrible Photoshop mask!” or “I wouldn’t use that color scheme. A softer blue would do just nicely.”)

6. You’re in the sun and you look around for a Drop Shadow to sit under.

7. Seeing someone use Lens Flare and Comic Sans adversely affects your blood-pressure.

8. You maintain a grid system for your refrigerator magnets.

9. You’re up ‘til 5 am because you came up with the best idea ever while brushing your teeth.

10. You can name more than 200 fonts in under five minutes.

11. When you know what “kerning” is and you really, really like it.

12. You use words about fonts you dislike that other normal people reserve for fascist dictators and serial killers.

13. If you could go back in time you wouldn’t go back to see the rise and fall of civilizations, you’d go back in time to destroy the creators of Comic Sans and Papyrus.

14. Looking at a restaurant menu make you go “hmmm, ITC Baskerville italic” rather than “mmmm, lunch!”

15. Cmd+Z is the first thing that goes through your mind if you break something.

16. You can understand everything on this list and relate to almost all of it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Taylor's Temptation

Below is the short story I have written as a back story to the animation I will be creating this spring for class. I wanted to get a very confused feeling out of the reader, leave them in the dark, and keep them asking questions. I enjoy reading stories that constantly make my thoughts swarm, so I tried to project that into my own. Personally, I am happy with this story considering I am just starting to write. Comments are most welcome!

Taylor's Temptation

“Where the hell am I? What is this place? I’ve never seen anything like it before!” Taylor thought. “Where do I go from here?”
These questions would continue to run through his mind for days, keeping him confused and out of place, wondering how he had gotten where he was and what he was expected to do in this awkward situation. Not one person could help him; he was on his own, like an aimlessly roaming drifter, lost at sea. His only help was himself and that was not going to do him much.

“Is this a different world?” he asked, “These people have cruel intentions! I can tell. I don’t want to be a part of this. How could you live with yourself?”
Taylor noticed. He began to learn about culture, about conversation, about relationships, love, and death. Soon, he became scared.

Afraid of what may happen to him, he began to close himself away from the world he was in. At all costs, Taylor would avoid confrontation and conversation, all because he did not want to turn into what he saw in others, pessimists and backstabbers. All Taylor wanted was a home. Somewhere he could find himself alone and secluded from others. But, that was just not possible here, so he learned to live with a world unlike his imagination had intended.

He slowly began to find himself becoming a part of a community he did not want to be a part of and there was nothing to stop it. What more could he do? He had to get by. And his only chance for that was to fit in, become a part of the world, and accept his surroundings, something he was not so fond of.

“Someone please get me out of this hell hole!” Taylor exclaimed. The days wore on and Taylor soon noticed that he had been walking in the same tracks day after day. Nothing changed and every sunrise seemed the same as the last, until one particular night, he noticed an unattended door that had always been guarded before now. As anyone with curiosity would, Taylor approached the entrance, with a light step, so he would not be noticed. He heard no sound from the inside and nothing jumped out at him that screamed danger, so Taylor ever so slowly cracked open the door, just enough to fit his right eye.

A pure white room, with absolutely nothing in it, sat in front of him. For a moment, he felt a calm and tranquil sensation, something Taylor had not felt in a long time. Exploration of the room was expected. Taylor approached every wall, blank and bleached white, with curiosity, prepared to discover a flaw. The imperfection could not have come sooner. The last, uncharted section of the room brought a surprise and shock to him.

“What the?” Taylor pondered. It was clear he had never been exposed to anything quite like this before. A blanket of interest covered him. In front of Taylor, hovered a small button, with the words “Do Not Push” scribed directly above. An impulse of temptation crowded his every thought, taking control of his judgment second by second. “Why shouldn’t this button be pushed?” Taylor thought to himself. “What could possibly happen?”

Unwanted desire is something Taylor had never thought in depth about, until now. A burden now rested on top of his shoulders, like a heavy rain beating on his body, waiting to be taken care of. Taylor found himself slowly conceding to this urge, although fighting it. He was unable to stop his limbs from moving forward with a soon-to-be regretted decision. The hint of surrender was made known and there was no way for Taylor to turn back! He was in shame, before he had even pressed the button. The act had finally been done and Taylor was now an object of the masked room full of a seduction that has yet to loose.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I lassoed the sun
To bring it close
Because I was not
Until now.
Did I bring it too near?
So now it is
You and I
And anyone who
Too close.
Why though?
Is it because
This ball is warm
Or just burning with
Unstoppable for a
Good while?
And we take a
To protect ourselves.
Some did not
They got sucked
From the heat of
Burning desire.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yes, you heard right! We now have a blog, and it is amazing! SIGGRAPH IUPUI's new blog is dedicated to spreading the word about inspiration, new jobs, techniques, upcoming events, and anything related to the computer graphics community that you should be aware of. There is no excuse not to bookmark or follow this blog!

Right now, there are already posts containing career advice for the animator, an interview with Andrew Stanton, and a behind the scenes look at the newest Pixar animated short, Presto! So, spread the word, tell your friends, involve yourself in the wonderful world of computer graphics even more! You won't regret it.

SIGGRAPH IUPUI: Promoting computer graphics and interactive techniques in Indianapolis since your grandma can remember!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Vanilla Sky

Over the course of my college career thus far, I have been noticing more and more filming techniques due to my graphic design knowledge and my film studies class. It is extremely hard for me to just watch a movie and not pick it apart now, because of this new knowledge. With that being said, I notice the good movies and I notice the amazing movies that are composed with so much care it is sick! Vanilla Sky happens to be one of these movies.

Vanilla Sky is in my top five movies right now. I have yet to find many other strong stories that are original like this one and that of which are produced with such an impressive sense of creativity that it makes you want to watch the film over and over again! I cannot say how many times I've seen this now, but it is quite a bit. Last year, I was assigned a small project to pick apart a movie and find examples of the elements of design in it. The following are shots I captured from the movie that I thought to be accurate.

I posted this to make aware just a fraction of the thought that goes into creating a movie of such impact like Vanilla Sky. Look for this in other movies because you will see these techniques used. If I were to do this now, I think much more thought would go into it and I would choose completely different shots, but these definitely do the trick. Below each shot is the element of design, which explains it.

Asymmetric Balance




Symmetric Balance


Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Book

An open
Now lay on the table,
With blank pages
And no tears,
To be filled.
When you pick it
The writing will
Like a majestic
Flooding each page
With the truth of
Your actions.
That will be
I'll write it,
If you don't,
Because this I
To remember
And won't let you