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25 December 2009
02 December 2009
01 December 2009
TriFury, a club for triathletes in Massachusetts (USA) has hire me for remaking the team web site. It is still missing some archival information and the forum is not yet ready but the site itself is done. Because of possible changes in the menus and the need to update certain sections easily, I've used spry menus and spry html databases in the coding.
28 November 2009
11 November 2009
Well it arrived and did nothing to fix my issues with Dreamweaver or the Flash plugin.. other issues I had managed to work around with help from all the forums. The Dreamweaver issue is the worst. I have to open the computer in "Safe mode" to use it (The flash plugin also works in this mode... but many other things do not). I am pretty sure the problem is with Adobe at this point and sent in a request for support. I don't have much confidence they will help, but it's always worth a try.
So now, I'm stuck waiting for Adobe. Sadly issues with their stuff is a lot harder to work around than with MAC.
re-installed Dreamweaver CS3 and it works fine. Of course i am not getting any use of the CS4 features I paid so much for, but i can get some work done in a reasonable period of time now. Hopefully something will happen that sheds some light on this issue and I can just get back to doing my work and not researching fixes for broken software all day!
25 October 2009
04 October 2009
01 October 2009
Forums are, in many cases, the best way to get help when oyu have a problem, especially a computer problem. Big companies like Apple, Microsoft, Abobe and the like are not exactly forthcoming all the time when there are problems with their products and prefer not to talk about it. end users, on the other hand, nick pick every issue and in many cases find work arounds and solutions. My recent on going problems after installing Snow Leopard on my new tower highlighted some of the best and worst and the do’s and don’ts of using forums.
Asking for help:
Be clear what the problem is or as clear as possible. Make sure to state what you have done already to solve it. Don’t demand that you get an answer in 5 seconds... the other users are no different than you and are not sitting at thier computers hoping to answer your question. No matter how big a company is, they can not just write a solution to your problem and send out a new release that afternoon... it may takes months so be prepared to wait!
READ the question and the other responses. I can’t tell you how many people tell you to «fix permissions» on your MAC... a 1st step most people take and mostly does nothing. It’s npt a bad suggestion, but once it’s been suggested and it always is, saying it the 5th time is not helpful. Do not blame the victim... maybe the computer came with the software already on it, in any case, while it’s often good to wait, it’s these early adopters that are finding the bugs before you get the nerve to update yourself. Not everyone is a computer genius so be clear enough that a typical end user can understand your response.
Ask for help and give your advice on the forums, if something works, let others know it did.
Blame people for having a problem or knowing less than you do or expect an answer and solution right away, if at all.
My pet «help» peeves:
Software companies too cheap or lazy to make a MAC version now assume you will be willing to run out but a copy of windows and run «Boot Camp» just to use thier product. Others save important bug fixes for the next point upgrade and expect you to pay for something they should have got right in the first place.
In summary... respect the people asking the question and the people taking the time to give a solution, whether is works or not. Read the responces before adding your own and try the solutions before complaining nothing is working!
21 September 2009
14 September 2009
07 September 2009
Yes more udate:
19 August 2009
14 August 2009
Recently I’ve been able to start using Adobe Premiere Pro (version CS3) on my MAC. I’ve long been curious about it in comparison to Final Cut Pro, especially recently since Premiere has been adding useful features by leaps and bounds while Final Cut seems to be stuck in a cave. It’s too soon for a real review, but I do have some first impressions.
It’s slow in many ways. Some of this might be I am not accustomed to how it works, but just simple cuts, rendering ect are certainly slower than Final Cut. Using the razor tool is a little annoying becuase of this.
Importing from tape was no problem at all. Even the sync was good which is a big problem still with FInal Cut Pro with my Sony deck and Sony cameras.
Overall... it’s pretty easy to transition from one software to the other. I am looking forward to trying the tight intergration between After Effects and Premiere. Intergration is truly essential these days and round trip editing between software is not just nice, but truly a timesaver on complicated projects.
I can see that Premiere is not on the multi-editor/ collaborative level as Final Cut... but I work alone in the editing room so that’s not really an issue for me.
As a quick impression. I can see myself using this software more and more for my personal work anyway. I still need to try exporting setting out ect... as I said it’s too early for a real review, but I can see why many independent productions are not shying away from using Premiere these days.
29 July 2009
The new Final Cut Pro... should I update or not?
The real question is if can I even get the update now if I wanted to? Apple is not very helpful with Final Cut Pro issues, even simple ones like my serial number never works and hasn’t for several versions now. I’ve tried to get email, phone and snail mail help the last 2 years, but no one even responds to my requests except for the «you need to get the extended service plan for 800$» line... really? To fix a serial number issue? I am sorry, it’s the companies responsibility to support it’s product especially on such a simple, basic level. I did get some help more recently (because I had just spent 5 grand on a new system) but nothing they told me worked, they should have just offered me a new set of disks to avoid the issue from coming up again.
Another issue is the update itself. Apple has really dropped the ball on all it’s pro products and this update does very little to make me feel otherwise. Sure it’s a lot cheaper now, but it’s still way behind Adobe premiere in features! DVD Pro is so out of date it’s becoming useless as an authoring tool and this update ignores the product completely. Only Motion seems to get any attention worth mentioning these days. If updating to Premiere wasn’t so expensive, I’d drop Final Cut to tell the truth. There isn’t enough professional editing work that requires Final Cut coming my way, in fact most projects these days (they are few and far between in this economy) are easily handled by my older version of Final Cut or even Imovie.
I’d love some of the newer features, the colour correction software and whatever bug fixes came along with the updates, but I think it will be a long time before I can afford to update and there really seems to be no pressing need.
26 July 2009
08 July 2009
Je vais mettre en jour le site web principal pour Behemoth Media bientôt. En effet le concept c'est la même, mais moins compliqué en navigation. En plus, je vais ajouter les nouveaux clips de démonstration (showreels) et les sections pour expliquer tout les travaux je fais pour certains les clients. (Client en vedette).
I will be updating the main site for Behemoth media soon. It will not change much but will easier to navigate. Also look for new showreels and "client focus" links that better display all the things I do with a single client.
02 July 2009
23 June 2009
On YouTube I have the completed longer version of my documentary about one of Boston's greatest bars from the days when Boston actually had 30 or so gay bars at one time. I made a shorter more concise version for a festival but this one has stuff many of the people interviewed liked in it. It was the third of 3 films I made about gay history (maybe 3 and 1/2 if you count "46 Years" to "50 Years" as separate films). It took 3 years to get the research done and the interviews set up and 8 months to edit and get the graphics done.
I tried to get the History project in Boston interested but they were pretty cold and unresponsive (as they have always been when I've tried to contact them to tell the truth). In fact, while many people showed up to see it and were happy it was made, in general not many people, particularly younger gay people, seem to not care at all where their roots are. I am glad at someone, even if it was only me, managed to get something done before no one remembers Boston's quite interesting gay past.
14 June 2009
I find children's play parks really creepy. The play"animals" always look like something (to me) that should give kids nightmares and complexes. So of course I feel the need to photograph them whenever possible.
07 June 2009
The inspirations for "Nomi et Chog" are both gone now. Chog was a little joy his whole life. His owner, Tobias Allen was with him.
Les inspirations pour "Nomi et Chog" sont morts maintenant. Tobias Allen, son maître était à côté le petit Chog à la fin.
04 June 2009
Lentement, je vais faire une grande collection des photos de murales de Montréal. Quand je trouve le temps, je sors avec mon appareil de photos numérique et pris quelques photos et après, j’enlève les lampadaires et les arbres qui bloquent l’art pour une vue claire et sans obstruction.
01 June 2009
This post stems from a nice conversation I had with a poster in the commentary section. This is a conversation I’ve had in various forms with clients as well so I thought it might be good to bring up.
Many people are under the impression that a site is more “advanced” if it has more stuff on it, moving stuff.... stuff that links you to other places... sound effects... animated buttons.. CSS, PHP ASP any number of letter combinations will do. Fact is unless you have a reason, and it better be a good one, to load a site down with anything but basic html,you are just making a crappy site. “Advanced” is not technology, or not just technology I should say. “Advanced” means fast functional and easy to use and find things.
EVERYONE wants animation on their sites again, after a decade of shying away after the flash heavy sites of the mid-90’s. The reason is simple... most people don’t know what FLASH is anymore, even though they see examples of it all the time, modems are so much faster, you don’t wait for 10 minutes to see a 700K animation that only tells you, in the most round-about way possible, you’ve reached the site you were looking for. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
I am all for animations where they work well, and I’m all for programming solutions where they do the best job getting the info to the browser faster. But too many people start their list of needs now with I want “a flash intro” or an “animated gallery” before they even know what the content of the site will be.
It’s the content that decides what the site needs, not the tech. Otherwise you are just making a version of Homer Simspon’s web page, which was so bogged down with animated gifs and no content, that it crashed the internet. (Old episode.. if you’ve seen it you know what I mean!)
As in science, the simplest solution is almost always the correct one.
24 May 2009
In about a year I will start a short animated film based on a H.P. Lovecraft story. I've been slowly taking photos for reference and textures, plus I've come a long way building the outdoor sets. I have another short film to do before this, but this one will be the most complicated effort to date, with full sets, lighting and multiple human characters. These photos are a quick preview.
13 May 2009
I started my tech love not with computers, but with cameras. I loved photographs and photography. I had a super 8 Bell and Howell to make films (I really miss that thing) and a series of cameras. While I embraced digital photography from the start, I have to admit... it misses something. The real fun of taking photos was in the processing, the waiting to see how it turned out and then seeing what you could do in a darkroom to make it better.
A darkroom could be anywhere you could shut out all the light, in my case it was almost always a bathroom in my apartment. At the end of my “film” career I actually had a darkroom set up permanently in my studio... always ready to be used at a moment’s notice.
It’s hard to believe that an enlarger at one time was high tech... but it was. There were all sorts of upgrades and accessories you could get.. all sort so papers and lights and chemicals to choose from. All that was nothing compared to seeing an image appear, like magic on paper right before your eyes, however. All the new digital tech in the world can’t compare to that sensation. One that, sadly is lost pretty much forever. The new way of doing things is simply too efficient, too convenient, too easy to makes corrections with and simply too cheap to go back to now.
I’ve always felt that it was the limitations you work with rather than the advantages that make great art. So, while in many ways I am doing thing now I could only dream of before, there is something lacking I can’t put my finger on. Maybe something will replace that feeling... only time and progress will tell.
10 May 2009
Less and less companies and software developers are including manuals or any form of documentation with their products. Personally, I think this is a big mistake. How on earth anyone is supposed to actually learn the software or research something they have a question about is a complete mystery. For the prices they are charging for software these days, the least they can do is include a book telling you how to use it! If you do get a book (even a small “quickstart quide”) you’ll find as a rule, they are no help at all. Often they are poorly written or merely excuses to sell you additional software, which you won’t be able to figure out how to use either.
Luckily for those of us not able to hire private tutors or pay for extended and expensive courses provided by some software companies, the internet has been filling in the learning gaps with forums, online tutorials done by users and podcasts. These are great resources for information, to ask questions and to connect with fellow, frustrated end users struggling to find out what/how and when to use certain features in their preferred computer programs.
Podcasts require the free i-tunes program from Apple and that you make an account, but a vast majority of podcasts are free. Not all are created equal... some are terrible some are wonderful.. some are just ego venues for people who think they know more than they do so take what you hear with a grain of salt.
Forums, can easily be given the same cautions and offer additional interactivity and resources. You can actually ask specific questions on things that are making you pull your hair out. Another benefit of forums is you tend to find out which problems are really lack of knowledge and which are merely limitations in the software or worse... undocumented bugs. I can’t say how many times I’ve discovered in forums crippling bugs and work arounds to avoid them. Some forum members are quite generous with their programming skills and will even offer fixes they’ve made free to anyone who wants to risk using them. Virtually all the major companies have user forums now and they are usually not monitored so as a rule, you can get good, information without marketing spin.
Online tutorials give in depth, function specific instruction. Sometimes they are downloadable for free, sometimes you have to buy a dvd (which can be quite pricey). It’s hard to assess how helpful they might be before you buy them. Forums can help as fellow members are more than happy to share problems they had with things they wasted money on.
Some podcasts I use:
Photoshop User TV
A couple of forums I use:
26 April 2009
Technology has made my job and millions of others, possible. It’s become a trap for many who live off contract work like me.
One thing we have the advantage over a big company for example, is we can usually crank out projects in record time. A big department of designers/artists will almost always be slower as there are a lot more people to satisfy. As a contractor you usually only need to satisfy the clients you dealing with. The other advantage is also the trap. The technology we use to get it done so fast.
Many bigger companies wait until 3 versions and many years have past before they finally shell out a huge amount to upgrade their software or hardware, all at once. Contractors depend on those upgrades to keep ahead of the competition. More efficient software and hardware saves time and for an hourly contractor, time is literally money. So, oddly, the people with the least money buy the most expensive stuff to stay competitive while the big boys who can well afford regular upgrades do it in big chunks and are always years behind what can be done technically. Of course some places keep up to date but that’s not exactly common. On any project I work on alone, the client gets very up to date features and functions older versions didn’t have while almost every time I work with an established partner business, I have to hope I have an old version to re-install (or in some cases I have buy the old one again) and try to make up for the lack of functionality I’ve come to expect for the last 2 or 3 years. Yet they land the big and more important, stable clients. Seems unfair, and it is, but that’s the world we live in.
So if we don’t keep up, we lose our edge and if we do.. we stay poor. I often wonder if suddenly, Behemoth became one of those huge companies with 100’s of artists working for it... would I still insist on staying so up to date and would that be avoiding one trap, for another? And as tech loving geeks.. do we want to escape in the first place?
16 April 2009
I made this model of a camera I owned at the time in version 9 of Cinema 4D and rendered it a variety of ways. Global Illumination was called something else then... I forget what as was ambient occlusion, but either was a little out of my processor range. As it was It took 20-40 minutes to render a single image.
With version 11 and my new computer set-up, this was a still along render (10 minutes). But, to be fair, I used all bells and whistles and really see a big difference. No matter what I did with lighting before, the camera always seems to be “floating” above the surface. No such problem with my current settings. I almost put back in the 80’s 3D render standard... the black and white checker board floor but it was just too embarrassing.
This model is quite complicated, I really tried to get in as much real detail as possible. With the new lighting and render engine, that detail pays off in very real looking image.. in my opinion!
12 April 2009
As my old dual G-5 was not cutting it anymore, I needed to upgrade my tower sooner than later. I keep hearing how expensive these new towers are, but honestly, I paid double for the G-5 than I paid for this dual quad core with 6 gigs of ram and a much better graphic card, not to mention the new LED screen which blows the old one out of the water. It seems a great deal from my perspective! Could I afford it in this bad job market...no. But I could afford less to be without a tower if things pick up suddenly. Oddly after setting it up and using it a couple days, I realize it’s basically my dream office now.
For now the old computer is networked into the new, giving me the extra rendering power for larger projects in Cinema 4D. The transition went better than expected with the computers doing basically all the work transferring all the software automatically. There were a few glitches, like re-installing adobe media encoder and now I must run Photoshop in Rosetta mode if I want to integrate the scanner. Apparently the twain driver only works in the PPC version of Photoshop. The largest software issue is my French grammar and correction program, “Antidote”. Every time I get a new computer, I seem to need to buy a new copy as there is no way to de-activate the old to re-install on the new. That is literally the only thing I can’t recommend about that software, however. It might be one of the best done programs I’ve ever used. They update frequently for integration with just about everything that you type into. Customer service is beyond amazing and even more appealing to me, it’s made locally.
As with most MAC computers, ease of everything is everywhere. Putting in extra hard drives (up to 4) is even easier than before. You could literally eat off the inside of one of these machines. I’ve never seen the inside of something so organized and just plain clean looking. It has space for two burners, I opted for the one for price reasons, but it would be nice to get another as I am often caught needing a back up disk while I am burning a DVD or 10 for a client. The speed is amazing. Much better than I hoped. My last animation was a 2-3 minute per image render job. On this it was 20 seconds (!) and I experienced none of the screen refresh problems that have plagued me since I started learning character animation. The new graphics card showed it’s worth within minutes of opening my favourite software.
I have now two monitors... something I have quickly become accustomed to. The new Apple LED 24” is a big improvement from what I had, which was a pretty great monitor itself. I love having a microphone, video cam and speakers in the monitor (the sound is not half bad btw), something Apple should have been doing for years to make up for the prices they charge for these things.
Not everything is perfect. It seems ridiculous that new machine has a ton of ports and not one of them is a standard firewire! Hello, Apple! This is a Pro machine, non? We are not all going to run out and replace every video deck, camera and the rest on top of paying a minimum of 5000$ for a new computer! I was able to daisy chain a firewire hub from my Lacie external disk drive, but I really should not have to do that for a basic functionality.
The other big disappointment was the service at the Apple store. There must have been 100 service people and it took 40 minutes just to get one over to us and the first two that tried seemed to know nothing about computers or disappeared, never to be seen again. I know Ipods and Iphones are popular, but you might think giving service to a customer who knew exactly what he wanted and was willing to shell out a few thousand on the spot might be a higher priority.
08 April 2009
The International Association of Artists for Architects and Designers web site is now online for evaluation. Be sure to contact the director, David Levine through the site if you have any projects you would like them to do for you.
The International Association of Artists for Architects and Designers est maintenant activé pour votre évaluation. N’hésite pas pour contacter le directeur, David Levine, si vous a besoins des services offerts.