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Grids, grids and more grids

Under - Design, My Musings, Resources

A while ago I mentioned Grid Designer for web page layouts that I used as Photoshop overlay. I just discovered two more apps that can do the same with some advance features.

Gridmaker

Developed by Paul Holliday, Gridmaker is a free plugin to create grid layers within Photoshop CS4. Gridmaker offers almost the same functionalities as Grid Designer apart from grid export to CSS. With real-time grid formation (online only) and export to a PNG, this utility is quite handy for web layouts.

Gridmaker by Paul Holliday

Gridmaker by Paul Holliday

In my tests the online version appears to be more flexible as Photoshop plugin simply adds a new layer every time you update grid and render it. The best way to work with this tool is to layout grid online and exports it as PNG to use in Photoshop.

Boks

This visual grid editor based on blueprint CSS appears to be the most advance grid solution yet. Built by Quentin T with Adobe Air, the application has a very simple interface to layout grid with PNG and CSS export. You can in fact create a basic HTML structure in Boks and it generates the script for you.

It handles grid configuration, baseline rhythm pimpin’, CSS (with or without compression) and grid.png export, HTML layout and much more goodie-goodie!

Boks by Quentin T

Boks by Quentin T

Learning from an Institution

Under - Design, My Musings, Usability

After my graduation from NCA in 1998 in Graphic Design, I decided to build my career around interactive media rather than following the mainstream. Having decided that, I found it quite difficult to find inspirational and motivational work within ‘New Media’ locally and/or regionally. At that time things within digital media space were taking shape and the industry itself was without a clear identity. I had done my very first website design project a year earlier in 1997 for a Lahore based IT firm called Techlogix, this was my entry point into interactive media design. My relationship with computer graphics actually started in 1992 with Harvard Graphics, Corel Draw (that I still prefer to use over Illustrator), layer-less Photoshop (that I initially didn’t like) and when we used to run Windows 3.1 from DOS to be able to run all those graphic applications!

Back then in Pakistan the IT industry itself was very small and scattered, and was mostly around hard-core software development than anything else. Pursuing my interest abroad wasn’t an option back then so what I left with was – Internet.

Oregon TimeWeb  by Second Story, © Second Story

Oregon TimeWeb - Second Story

Things changed around the time when dot com bubble burst but, by that time, I was on solid grounds within digital media and that’s where I owe a ‘thank you’ note to two design studios – ‘Second Story’ and ‘Terra Incognita’. Their work inspired me to keep going within interactive media when I felt creatively trapped. Both studios specialise in online storytelling and building engaging user experience within a carefully chosen segment of digital marketplace, where I hardly find any mainstream digital agency’s presence. That might be because you need to have a kind of technical and design intellectual edge over others to be able to churn out the kind of projects these studios specialise in. I indeed learnt from their online projects, half a world away, that what a ‘user experience’ is actually like – when most of the design studios at that time were busy building fancy Flash intros.

Music Genres Table - Second Story

Music Genres Table - Second Story

Gettysburg Address - Second Story

Gettysburg Address - Second Story

Their contribution to interactive media design is deeper than skin – away from commercial glitter, design nonsense and digital media clichés. They are those who took user interaction design to another level and pioneered online storytelling. It has been over 10 years since I first visited their websites and portfolios, but I still have the same level of respect to their work which even grows when every time I visit their new projects. These two studios formed an inspirational institution for me at a time when I was in a real need to look at something. They are like Bauhaus to me.

Brad Johnson (Second Story) and Bart Marable (Terra Incognita), thank you very much for the wonderful and inspiring work!

Churchill and the Great Republic

Churchill and the Great Republic - Terra Incognita

23 July 2
Comments

The best movie and TV show title sequences

Under - Design, Media, Motion Graphics

Creative Review blog lists the best film titles ever. Interesting to see how intro titles evolved over the time. Smashing Magazine also featured some inspiring movie and TV show title sequences few months ago.

Watch something different this weekend!

Under - Art, Media, My Musings

If you are planning to watch something different this weekend then I have three movie recommendations for you.

Le scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

This intense and moving French movie is based on the memoirs of Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke at the age of 43, paralyzing his entire body except his left eye. Being trapped in his body he blinked out his entire experience in a book.

Le scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Le scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Excellent photography by Janusz Kaminski would make you feel as being part of Bauby in his experience of life within confinement of his own body. Having watched this movie you would only appreciate and understand simple pleasures in life that we take for granted.

I haven’t seen many French movies but this appears to be an excellent piece of French cinematography to me and one of the best movies in years I watched.

The Story of the Weeping Camel

The very first thing I wanted to know when looked at this movie’s title was what made my wife to recommend this! But, having seen it, I have no problem recommending it to everyone, everyone who wants to appreciate simplicity of life.

The Story of the Weeping Camel

The Story of the Weeping Camel

Gobi desert (Mongolia) is one of the least known places in the world and this documentary drama is around a family of nomadic shepherds who wanted to save life of a rare white camel calf that was rejected by its mother. Better summarised by TNS at IMDb:

A family of nomadic shepherds assists the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has an excruciatingly difficult delivery but, with help from the family, out comes a rare white colt. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, refusing it her milk and her motherly love. When any hope for the little one seems to have vanished, the nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert, to a backwater town in search of a musician who is their only hope for saving the colt’s life.

The movie tempo is quite slow (so as life in desert) with quite an emotional ending.

Dancer in the dark

I’ve been listening Björk since ‘Play Dead’. Never knew this Icelandic signer is also gifted with acting talent that was truly evident in her only movie (so far) ‘Dancer in the Dark’ wining her several Best Actress awards. The movie might be a bit grim and depressing for some. It is a musical around an East European immigrant to United States in early 1960s, which was going blind with a 12 years old son.

Selma (Björk) is a Czechoslovakian immigrant, a single mother working in a factory in rural America. Her salvation is her passion for music, specifically, the all-singing, all-dancing numbers found in classic Hollywood musicals. Selma harbors a sad secret: she is losing her eyesight and her son Gene stands to suffer the same fate if she can’t put away enough money to secure him an operation. When a desperate neighbor falsely accuses Selma of stealing his savings, the drama of her life escalates to a tragic finale. (Summary from IMDb)

Dancer in the dark

Dancer in the dark

FF Seria Arabic

Under - Resources, Typography

FF Seria Arabic

Based on Arabic Nasekh style, Fontshop adds their first Arabic typeface FF Seria Arabic to their ever growing collection of fonts called ‘FontFont’. Designed by Martin Majoor and Pascal Zoghbi, FF Seria Arabic is an improved version of Sada.

The best part is:

FF Seria Arabic supports Arabic, Farsi and Urdu Languages and offers the choice between Arabic hanging figures, Indic figures, Farsi figures and Urdu Figures.

Read the interesting article at the Fontfeed.