I have spent the last couple of days registering a domain name, getting a web host and transfering my blog and files across to here. There is a lot of work involved, the blog sotware that I was using before was different to this one so I had to do a lot of manual editing, lucky I swapped over before the blog got big.
Spent part of today changing the look of the blog, I am happy with it now, the animation thumbs on the side are working and I am thinking about putting little life drawing and painting thumbs on the side too.
The last week or so has been pretty technical, installing this and configuring that, so it was good to get away from it all and do some life drawing.
I have been going through some of the old animations that I did at VanArts when I attended the Summer camp program and posting them here. I have managed to put 3 of them up, you should be able to see them as 3 icons on the side bar. Unfortunately I couldn’t upload some of them because the free file host that I am using says they are too big (even though they are less than 10Mb).
That started me off on a whole new tangent, I need to have a little bit more space to put my stuff and expand, right now I am scrounging some space here and some space there and it doesnt feel organized and if I want to move things around then I think it would be a bit of a nightmare with all the links and stuff. So I started looking at different web hosts, the ones in Australia seem to be pretty expensive compared to the US ones. The best one in the US that I found is BlueHost but they dont do .com.au domain names. So I started learning about Domain Registeration in Australia and found that I could register a .com.au domain for $12 a year at intaServ. This way I can register a .com.au domain in Australia and then use a US based host to serve it out.
For a while now I have been thinking about getting my photos organized on the computer but it is such a daunting task that I have been putting it off and off. A couple of days ago I ran into a website which mentioned a photo library written in PHP for MySQL which could be used to catalogue photos and search through them.I did a wider search on the net and found a large number of other Open Source projects which were doing the same thing,so I sorted through them by looking for the ones which had been regularly updated and had the ability to store and search EXIF data and I ended up with the following candidates: Zoph, OSIC and LinPHA.
I started with LinPHA which looks quite good but had a lot of troubles after the installation. I am running Suse 10.1 on the Linux box and I think LinPHA was not developed under that platform, there seemed to be a problem with some of the files which needed to be included for PHP to connect to the database. Anyway after banging my head against this problem for a couple of hours I moved onto Zoph.
I had some login issues but eventually got it working only to find that the importing of the photos was very strange and not very nice to use. So I moved on to OSIC. It got this one working without too much trouble (probably because of the experience gained from the other installs) and it looks more organized than Zoph but it is still a young project and didn’t have all the EXIF features that I needed so after hours of wrestling with the Linux box I decided to get some sleep and to go back to LinPHA tomorrow and try to fix whatever it was that was breaking it.
It is amazing how some problems don’t look as daunting with a fresh mind. I did some searching on the LinPHA forum and found that someone else was having the same problem and there was a fix. Just uncommenting a line in that PHP file and commenting one in this PHP file and LinPHA was ALIVE! For a while anyway, it broke again when I tried uploading some images but this time I was better prepared, did some searching for include files and made sure they were all going from the TOPDIR of the web server and that fixed the problem.
Now I have started the huge task of going through all the photos, categorizing them and adding keywords to them, once this is done I will be a able to search through the photos by just typing a keyword and LinPHA will search the filenname, description and the EXIF data for a match. It will be great for my partner H as well, she is studying Graphic Design and they use photos all the time and it would be great to have her own searchable photo library. I want to use this database to make a travel website that I have been thinking about since we came back from India, but that will take a while…
Drawing with the tablet is quite tricky and a bit frustrating, I keep wanting to pickup a pencil which responds so much more predictably. I have been doing more cartooning exercises in flash and using the undo button alot because the lines just dont come out looking right and going over them creates some jagged edges which I then have to erase which can be alot of work so I use the undo and try to draw the line again.
I could use the pen tool instead of the brush tool but I find the perfection of the pen tool’s line a bit lifeless.
I am sure after a while I will get used to the new tool, does anyone have any tips for me?
I have been meaning to improve my cartooning ability for a long time now. A couple of months ago my partner and I purchased a Mac, a tablet and the adobe web creative suite package which now includes flash and all the other goodies, so I didnt have any excuses any more. I started following a teach-yourself cartooning book by Christopher Hart who is an ex Disney animator hence the Disney style, eventually I want to develop my own style but for now this will suffice to teach me the basics and get me into regular drawing again.
While doing this I am also thinking ahead to animation, I want to be able to eventually animate the different parts of the characters so I am making a Symbol from each part in Flash and saving it in the library. I have done a little flash example which shows how the symbols are combined together to create the whole.
I have spent the last couple of days working on a flash web site for an online bicycle store, specializing in touring bicycles. You can have a look here: 2Pi Cycles
I am really happy with the birds, they are a swarm using flocking algorithm. The program is not that complicated but I decided to write it in an Object Oriented form in actionscript so I ended up spending a lot of time figuring things out about new stuff in flash.
The other thing that caused a lot of headaches for me was the TextArea component of flash. This component is meant to allow you to display HTML code in a scrollable window inside flash but there seems to be a lot of bugs in it. I used this component to display the various conent pages on the web site, thinking that it would be easier to have the content in HTML instead of hard-coded in flash but the whole thing turned into a big ordeal and right now I want to spend more time preparing my application to RMIT than banging my head against Flash bugs so ended up having to fudge the html until it looked right inside flash.
For the preloader I want to animate a little cyclist going around until till the movie is fully loaded when he finally find his way out.
I went to life drawing again this week, still a bit rusty but I am slowly getting back into it. Here are some samples from the last 2 weeks.
I am still going through the AIM site looking at the links, the staff, the students and the alumini. While looking at David Atkinson’s site I found Mr Felix being mentioned! Mr Felix is responsible for the Mr Pumpy site
which inspired me to go bicycle touring in South East Asia. Previously
to that I had cycle toured in Tasmania and New Zealand for 3 months and
enjoyed it very much but cycling in a foreign culture and not knowing
the language was beyond my comfort zone. It was Mr Pumpy’s web site
with its quirky humour which inspired me (and my partner) to take the
plunge and spend 4 months cycling in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And
now I find that Mr Felix was an ex student of AIM!
I enjoyed looking at David Atkinson’s web site…great photos and writing. Maybe one day I will get around to putting my travel photos together in a web site.
Did some more work on the 2Pi Cycles web page, wrote a basic version of the content. I’m not the best person to write sales blurbs but it will have to do. H is going to translate some of the German brochures for me to fill in the content. I have to start looking around for a web host.
2Pi Cycles is a small online shop that I want to setup for supplying quality German made touring bicycles to the Australian market. Good touring bikes are so hard to find in Australia, while when I was in Germany I could pick from a number of good quality touring bikes by just walking into the local bike shop. Anyway the market is very small so I am not really expecting anything to come of it but it has been a nice learning experience building the web site.
My partner H saw an ad in the MX for mid-year intake to the AIM MA course at RMIT. I went to the info night and it looks very inspiring. Starting mid-year would mean doing the research part of the course first which could be a bit strange but it might be good in terms of seeing the current students working.
I am going to apply and see what happens, it is all a bit rushed, originally I was looking at applying for next year but not that this has come up I have to quickly get a portfolio together and get ready for doing the selection test.
I have been looking at the AIM site and following some of the links from peoples pages. There is a lot of amazing work out there that I never knew about. I really enjoyed the Strange Attractors
and Winged Sandals (it’s a kids educational site but the animation is great).