It's time for a new project. Actually, i've already started on January 1st, but kept it under wraps until now. I wanted to get a feel for it first myself, because it is a rather daunting project, and i didn't want to blabber about it before it got off the ground.
But now, after about 3 weeks, i feel confident enough to tell you about it.
So here's the deal: I'm trying to shoot one photo a day throughout 2015 and upload them here. Well, not here here, but on a new account that i've created specifically for this purpose: rotane365.
Other than this simple idea of "one photo a day", there are no plans. No themes, no restrictions, no limits. Anything goes. And i'm quit curious myself where things are going – even if they end up not going anywhere. Right now, i'm feeling more challenged by the daily push to find a subject and to think about a way to frame it. But who knows what's going to happen a few weeks or months down the road.
Anyway, here's a little teaser:
First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who liked this, +fav’d it, mentioned it, and thanked me personally; you seriously made my day! And to those of you who don’t like it and prefer deviantART’s new design, that’s totally fine too!
Now. I don’t “hate” the new features that got released just now, the navbar included. I don’t think they will “ruin” deviantART. None of that nonsense. In fact, i see a vision of dA that looks more modern, and i see a lot of potential. (The new Today page in particular is a godsend compared to the old one.) But i also think that there is room for improvement, and that’s the reason i made this.
I could have easily just made a visual suggestion, but instead i wrote this style – mainly because it was the easiest route for me, especially to iterate. Initially i made it only for myself, because this is how i would have it. But then i released it to the public, because people have asked me to, and to give people a choice. A choice that dA cannot offer, not in this case. There simply is no way to support 2 different pieces of UI. Not from a technical standpoint, but more importantly, deviantART has to have one identity, and stick to it.
Furthermore, i’m not asking dA to copy this exactly the way i made it (i’m sure there’s plenty of reasoning behind their decisions that i can’t see), but i nonetheless do think my points are valid – at the very least from an end-user’s perspective; from a user who has been an active member on this site for over a decade; from someone who knows a thing or two when it comes to interface design (yes, this was part of my studies at uni). Let’s break them down, shall we?
Message count and user menu back to the left
I read about spyed’s intention behind this: “let’s group things together that belong together”. [source] Makes sense, right? I agree. The problem is, however, that in doing so, you inadvertently made the message count a second class citizen, simply by “moving it out of the way” over to the far right. Larger screens are quite common today, and the larger the screen the larger the issue. But even on a small 13” laptop it’s still not optimal. And despite the obvious problem (“the message count is so far away that i actively have to go looking for it”), it creates an interesting second one: With the addition of the Watch Feed, it appears that the Message Centre itself has become a second class citizen, and no-one knows if or when it will be removed altogether. (It has since been clarified that the Message Centre is going to stay, but still, that queasy feeling was/is there.)
Slightly darker background and brighter text
That’s an easy one, it’s called accessibility. The navbar simply doesn’t have enough contrast to be comfortably legible on all kinds of monitors (no monitor displays colours the exact same way). It can easily be fixed by slightly toning down the background and brightening up the text and giving it a faint text-shadow. Which is exactly what i did. It’s very subtle, but the effect goes a long way.
Update: Read this article for more info on low contrast: www.nngroup.com/articles/low-c…
Mouseover effect for deviantART logo, Friends, and Favourites links
If you know me, i’m a sucker for mouseover effects (also called hovers). It’s simple usability: If a site employs hovers on their links, it should do so consistently across the board. Why? Because when you come across one link that has no hover, the link seems broken. And if not broken, at least it appears laggy, because you were expecting a hover effect. In short: The site doesn’t feel snappy enough when hovers are missing here and there.
“Submit” button blends in with the rest of the menu
I do get the intention behind that one, it’s as clear as day. The button practically screams: “Come on, click me! I need your submissions!” And of course, dA without art would be no dA. The flipside lies again with the UI: The button is, simply put, obnoxious. It’s too much in your face. Even when you’re not directly looking at the menu bar and instead focussing on the content, you can still notice it in the corner of your eye. That’s why i blended it down. But there is a downside to this, too: With my style active you now have 3 links in succession (Shop, More, Submit) that all look very samey, nearly indistinguishable from each other at a quick glance. This slows you down when you want to navigate this site. Unfortunately, i couldn’t fix this without putting a lot more thought and time into this.
The changes i made there are again very subtle. Basically, all i added was yet another hover effect, as well as making the input text smaller. On Windows machines in particular the text is ridiculously large. And bold. It’s not as glaring on OS X (fonts in OS X usually appear a bit bolder than their Windows counterpart), yet even there it was a bit too big for my taste compared to the rest of the navbar.
So there you have it, my analysis of the new navbar on the basis of my style. Thank you for your time. Discussions welcome
Let's begin with Winamp skins. It was because of wallpapers and skins that i discovered dA all these years ago. Nucleo (the one on the left) was a skin i've used for a couple of years, and ASCII-Amp (right) is just too cool not to share.
But Winamp skins wasn't the only fascinating thing about dA back then; icons was another. The Dent icons (left) was one of the first sets i've used for quite a while – and even made my own ones. And i've been using Buuf (right) pretty much non-stop and on every computer i owned since i stumbled upon it – i just love it so much that i still can't seem to get rid of it.
I've been drawing my whole life, but never anything quite as elaborate as this. dA opened my eyes and showed me what was possible, and i finally had to try stuff like this myself.
Over the years, people have dedicated stuff to me, and even drawn things specifically for me. Drawings like these:
And finally, there are a few pieces that i've collected over the years that continue to blow my mind whenever i look at them. Here's a small selection:
(Contains: strong language)
You should all know by now that i quite like music. I've previously posted my favourite tracks from film and game soundtracks; but soundtracks aren't the only passion of mine. Electronic music would be a close second.
This time around, i want to do things a little differently, and actually talk about the music a bit, rather than just post a collection of album art. And today i want to talk about remixes. Why remixes? Simple enough, there are some real gems out there that nobody knows about. Here are some of my personal favourites. Be mindful though, many of them are quite abrasive and don't qualify as easy-listening. But maybe you'll enjoy some of them regardless – or because of that.
Also, i decided against ranking them. Instead you'll find an arrangement that has a certain flow to it. This is supposed to be a mixtape after all. I tried to keep its runtime shorter than last time, as to not overload you. (This could mean, of course, that i might post a b-side or something in another journal…)
And finally, you'll again find direct links to a YouTube video for each remix – and the original – but if you want to listen to the whole thing, here's a playlist. Enjoy!
Good speakers or headphones can't hurt, by the way.
Six Days (Remix) (feat. Mos Def)
from "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift", 2006
This is the title track from the second "Fast and Furious" movie, but don't let that scare you away! It's a remix full of action and power (which is quite appropriate for a racing movie), and it should do the job of starting off this mixtape with a punch. It's the only track that has hip-hop elements in it, so let's get it out of the way before moving on to more electronic stuff.
Round Round (Soulwax Remix)
from "Most of the Remixes…", 2007
When an album has an insanely long title like this, you can expect all kinds of weird things from it. And this one delivers. It features artists that come from all over the musical spectrum – from pop over progressive rock to post-industrial. The result is an intense album that smashes and trashes the originals, many with very little respect. But it makes for a few very intersting remixes; this one from the Sugababes in particular. The fact that it was a pop song to begin with helps a lot in making this song quite catchy – even catchier than the original – albeit quite heavy.
Tricks (The Rogue Element Remix)
from "Rogue Rock: Special Delivery", 2007
Ben Medcalf, a.k.a. The Rogue Element, is a largely unknown and woefully underrated breakbeat producer from the UK, and Culprit 1 is even lesser known than him. But this resulting remix right here could pass for one of The Prodigy's or The Crystal Method's finest songs at the best of times: it's loud, peppy, and has an incredible drive. If you like breaks, the whole album might be something for you.
Omen (Noisia Remix)
from "Invaders Must Die (Remixes & Bonus Tracks)", 2009
Speaking of The Prodigy, for the longest time there really was no need to remix these guys. Nothing good could ever come from remixing their 1997 hallmark album "The Fat of the Land", because it is that good. (If you listen to the 15th anniversary edition of that album, you know what i mean.) "Luckily", their later records weren't quite as stellar, so Noisia (a drum'n'base trio from the Netherlands) took it upon themselves to make a mediocre track quite cool.
Caspa & The Others
from "FabricLive.37", 2007
I don't even know if this is a remix of an existing song or just something fresh thrown together for that issue of "FabricLive" (a series of mix albums released by London nightclub Fabric), but this track is so neat that it doesn't matter anyway. It's an abomination of a song, but soooo badass. All i'll say is: dubstep, grime, and vocal samples like "Geezer was so hard even his fucking nightmares were scared of him".
It Was Written (Chasing Shadows Remix)
from "It Was Written / Flashing Lights", 2009
Speaking of dubstep, this is one of the better tracks of this genre i've heard. It's not the dark/minimal kind à la Burial, but neither is it the "brostep" kind à la Skrillex. It's also not as crazy as the previous song. I don't want to open up a discussion when i say "this is the good kind of dubstep", but… This is the good kind of dubstep. And yes, the original is from one of Bob Marley's many sons, which isn't half bad to begin with.
Dirty Snow (Trentemøller Remix)
from "Reworked/Remixed", 2011
If you like synthpop, the original by Giana Factory is decent. It has a nice dark vibe to it that Trentemøller brings out to the fullest. I'd say this version could be classified as a darkwave/minimal techno hybrid.
I couldn't find the original on YouTube, sorry!
Flamingo (Trentemøller Remix)
from "The Trentemøller Chronicles", 2007
2 Trentemøller remixes in a row? Boy, this dude has to be special – and he bloody hell is. The original song by Tomboy is a synthpoppy track that isn't the worst in the world, but Trentemøller brings it to another level. Several levels, in fact. This resulting remix is a 9 minute epic that fuses so many genres so effortlessly that it's hard to keep up – but it's so much fun to try!
It's in Our Hands (Soft Pink Truth Mix)
from "It's in Our Hands", 2002
Time to get a bit "old school" with this one. While the original isn't a bad song (if you happen to like Björk), this is one of her best remixes.
To Be Free (múm Remix)
from "E2 (e:rmx)", 2000
When Icelandic singer/songwriter Emilíana Torrini started making music in the late 90s, her dream was that one day one of her albums would get the "remix treatment". That was a time before the internet of today, when things like that didn't really happen all that often. A year after her breakthrough album "Love in a Time of Science", she had her wish granted – and we got an incredible series of remix EPs, dubbed e:rmx. Fellow music act from Iceland múm contributed this little gem. Very subdued, very chill.
Scoop (ISAN Remix)
from "Putting the Morr Back in Morrissey", 2000
A remix that isn't all that different from the original at first glance – both have a similar laid back feel to it. But i think this remix improves upon it in almost every area. It makes the song feel a lot more mature – like a good Scotch Whisky compared to Moonshine Schnapps.
from "Zelda: A Link to the Past", 2002
Ah, OverClocked ReMix, the go-to place for video game remixes. Quality and diversity have declined somewhat in recent years, however, or i'm just becoming sick of the same music being submitted there every day. Regardless, this remix is one of the edgiest stuff i've ever heard. It's not a melodious song any longer, not by any stretch, but it highlights the remixers talent in deconstructing the original and piecing it back together in a really tight fashion. I love the incredibly controlled distortion and beat/fx work of this piece. It's a real shame that it has been removed from OCRemix, because it's my favourite track from that site.
Headphones (Ø Remix)
from "Telegram", 1996
Time to end this mixtape; time to end it with the classic "calm and peaceful ending song". The original track concludes Björk's album "Post" on an experimental and hypnotic note, but this remix (made by Mika Vainio from Finland) works even better as a closing track.
Let me correct that: Reading Wikipedia is aweful.
The guys over at 1910 seem to agree with me. Instead of repeating everything they have said, let me highlight one or two things:
"While big parts of the internet have gone through an amazing journey in terms of typography these last years, Wikipedia’s reading experience is still stuck in the 90’s."
"The text is too small, the lines are too long and the leading is too tight. Pictures are tiny and the general layout includes a lot of visual noise that distracts you from the actual reading."
Here's the full article, which i highly recommend reading: blog.weare1910.com/post/755763…
Anyway, it inspired me. And if you know me, you know what i'm getting at: I wrote a userstyle. And of course i'm going to share it with you.
(Mockup by 1910.)
I used this design as a starting point, but had to (and wanted to) make a few modifications. For example, i could not get their grid to work properly; Wikipedia's articles are too dissimilar (and messy in general) for a grid like that to work. Instead, i decided to follow Wikipedia's current layout, but apply a set of more general/sensible rules: have a maximum width, make the text bigger, and reduce the clutter.
In fact, i ended up going so minimal, that other than the article itself, there's only the searchbar left; everything else of the UI is hidden or removed completely. (But unless you are a hardcore Wikipedia editor, you'll hardly miss them.)
Also, there are practically no embellishments present: no drop shadows, no round corners, no gradients; nothing of that sort. By doing away with all this, you can focus completely on the content without distraction.
As you can see, it's quite a bit darker than 1910's mockup (almost deviantART colours!), but this shouldn't surprise you if you know me at all: I just can't stand white designs. Not only do i find them ugly, but they also hurt my rather sensitive eyes, once i stare at the monitor for more than a few minutes.
(As always, you'll need something like Stylish for Firefox or Chrome.)
PS: As i said, most of the UI is hidden. There's only 2 things you need to know: In order to access the left menu, simply move your mouse over to the left edge of the screen and the menu will appear. (Although, i've hidden a lot of unneccessary stuff from it as well, so it's shorter than you'd expect.) And secondly, to get to the controls on top of the page (that holds the edit links and user menu), move your mouse over the darker area around the logo and searchbar.
Enjoy! And of course, feel free to tell me what you think (or if you found any bugs).
Update: I took your comments to heart and have been playing around with more colour-schemes. The one by AndyGassner served as a starting point, becasue i really liked his sepia-ish version. Only it was a tad too bright for my taste.
Furthermore, i removed even more stuff, like the darker-coloured margins around the article, as well as the 1px-borders around most of the lighter-coloured boxes, which brings it closer to 1910's mockup as well. (This last bit is still a work-in-progress, but it should cover most of the boxes already.)
The download link is the same as above (click), but your Stylish should auto-update it anyway. Hope you dig it!
- 1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4.
"The function of typography, as i understand it, is neither to further the power of witches nor to bolster the defences of those, like this unfortunate parliamentarian, who live in terror of being tempted and deceived."
- 2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.
… and it hit thin air!
- 3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Since i don't have an actual TV, that's a tricky question. When you consider my USB-dongle to be a TV, then probably some alpine ski downhill sports event a few days ago. When you consider "content made for TV", then Game of Thrones last night.
- 4. Without looking, guess what time it is:
- 5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?
- 6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
Music from my speakers. (The soundtrack to Unreal Tournament 3, right now.)
- 7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
Yesterday, when i went out for a hike.
- 8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
A blank sta.sh page.
- 9. What are you wearing?
T-shirt, sweatpants, socks.
- 10. Did you dream last night?
Yes. If i recall correctly, i went bungee jumping with Keira Knightley…
- 11. When did you last laugh?
Just before doing this quiz, when i saw some funny pic on facebook.
- 12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
An Australian flag/towel, a Ukulele, movie posters of The Empre Strikes Back and Bridge to Terabithia, and this drawing.
- 13. Seen anything weird lately?
- 14. What do you think of this quiz?
It's haunting me! Let's just hope it won't come back in another 8 years time.
- 15. What is the last film you saw?
- 16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
That cabin up a mountain that i dreamed of last time still sounds very tempting.
- 17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I just tried to call my eye specialist for an appointment, but he didn't pick up his phone.
- 18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
Again, make things easier.
- 19. Do you like to dance?
- 20. George Bush:
Yeah, he's not the president anymore.
- 21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
I have a few ideas, but i'm still not sure i ever want kids.
- 23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Do 6 months in Australia count? In fact, i'm actually considering something like this again.
- 24. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
"Let me show you…"
- 25. 4 people who must also do this in THEIR journal:
Ok, i pressed the random deviant button 4 times and came up with these 4 people. Consider yourself "lucky", if it hit you:
- Hobbit Name: Fosco Brambleburr of Bindbale Wood
- Elf Name: Lenwë Silimaurë
- Mafia Name: Shaky the Fella
- Band Name: The Lush Wolverines
- Medieval Name: Godfrey Everstone
- Old School DJ Name: Slip-Wizard Bronx
- Rap Name: Baby Dogg
- Porn Star Name: Orel Jiggler
- Pirate Name: Smilin' Butch Cutler
- Mexican Wrestler Name: Cubano Gris
- Pet Name: Puppy Nooks
And there you have it. Feel free to do them yourselves. No, wait, i tag you! All of you who read this!
Alternatively, just link me to your favourite name generator!
Anyway, here's the original video:
… Oh Dodger ^^
I’ve been on deviantART for 11 years – today! (That’s about a third of my life. If you can believe that.) Which means a couple of things. First and foremost, i wanted to make something nice for my dAnniversary. (Something like this deviation for my 3rd, or this journal for my 5th.) But it also means, 11 years is a hell of a long time, so it’s hard to keep track of things. But all this played right into the following:
I have always wanted my own timeline. Similar to facebook, but not limited to facebook. Filled with things that really matter. Milestones, if you will. With the introduction of Folders within Folders, i got there one step closer. But since this Folder in my Gallery isn’t easy to find, nor visually appealing, i figured, why not go the whole way and make an actual timeline?
And here it is: My timeline – my artistic endeavours, spanning the last 11 years. Feel free to click around – each thumbnail strip will open the corresponding Folder in my Gallery, while clicking on a thumbnail will open the deviation itself. I’ve also added a few links here and there, most of which will take you to other parts of my Gallery or older Journals. Plus, i threw in some of the avatars that i've used over the years. And finally, as a loose guideline, my artistic stuff (read: deviations) is located on the left, while more personal things are located on the right. Enjoy!
PS: If you want to know more about "the rotane", check out this old journal.
New camera: Olympus C1-Zoom.
~Joined deviantART! And this here was my very first avatar.
New OS: Windows XP. Upgraded from Windows 98.
Moved out of my parents'.
New tool: Adobe Photoshop 7. Upgraded from Corel Photopaint.
New toy: Creative Jukebox ZEN.
Updated version of my original avatar.
New avatar, dubbed LifeLine.
New camera: Minolta Z1.
October — December
Internship in Italy.
On deviantART: *Subscribed for the first time, thanks to majah.
On deviantART: became a =Beta Tester.
New tool: Adobe Photoshop CS2.
Graduated from college.
New avatar. Thanks to ebonred for letting me use her LCD design!
New toy: iPad nano 1G.
April — October
6-month-trip to Australia.
Updated my LifeLine avatar to match my Bullseye devID that i used at the time.
New avatar to match my ClearDisk iconset.
New toy: iPhone.
New camera: Canon EOS 400D.
New avatar, dubbed Enso.
New lens: Sigma 18–200mm 3.5–6.3 DC OS.
Broke my collarbone.
New avatar, dubbed RCUBE. The one i'm using right now in its basic form.
On deviantART: joined the ¢Creative Staff.
New OS: Windows 7.
New tool: Adobe Photoshop CS4.
New tool: Wacom Intuos4.
New camera and toy: iPhone 4.
On deviantART: left Creative and became a `Senior Member.
Latest variant of my RCUBE avatar.
New camera: Sony RX100.
New toy: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
On deviantART: Became an Alpha Tester.
Making this journal was quite the adventure. I started back in December 2012 and was working on it for the last 4 or 5 months – on and off. First on an offline prototype, then on sta.sh. One of the biggest challenges was to create a fluid layout, one that would expand nicely when viewed on a journal page but would also neatly contract when viewed on my profile (or on smaller monitors), where horizontal space is limited. The solution was actually incredibly simple: a large list with lots of
clearproperties, and one containing div with
max-widthinformation. And it worked in Firefox, Chrome, and even IE right out of the box. So after i had cracked this, i started filling it, which took the majority of work, as you can imagine: Stuff like deciding what to show, finding out when things happened, and creating all the images. But i’m quite happy with the result, and maybe you found it interesting too.
And finally, i’d like to thank you all for your continuous support over the years. Your comments, +favs, and +watches meant a lot and were the most important part of what made me stay on dA. Thanks!
You may have noticed a definite lack of photos from me in recent months/years. That was mainly due to my latest camera – the Canon EOS 400D. It was too big and clunky, and as such it was never on me. When I look at my gallery, I count 11 photos that I took with this camera (not counting some devIDs or community projects). And I've had this camera for over 4 years now! (Compare this to the countless of photos that I took with my previous one, the Minolta Z1 that I've also had for roughly 4 years.) I took way more photos with my iPhone 4, but almost none of those ended up here on dA – picture quality never was up to my standards. In fact, I got frustrating just by looking at all the photos I took with it. Nope, something had to change – and here it is: The Sony RX100:
I got this camera a couple of days ago, and I already love it. And man, is it tiny! Here, compare it to my 400D. Yes, definitely pocketable.
Here are some shots that I took with it, minutes after I got it: I walked out of the shop and started shooting, with practically no prior knowledge of how to use the little devil. So what you see here is just a preview. You can click on any of them and view them bigger. Not full-size though, as I had no intentions of uploading over 100MB of photos. (In case you don't know, the RX100 shoots at 20 megapixels – pretty impressive for such a small camera. Also, other than resizing them down to 1600px, no further edits were made; no sharpening, no colour corrections, no noise reductions, no nothing.)
As you can see, it got night-time pretty quickly, but the camera had no problems with that. And I didn't even use a tripod!
Some more examples of the greatness that is this camera. This is a shot against my window:
And here a 100% crop. Looks like I've got fractals in my window!
And later at night, same window:
Take a look at this shot (again, a 100% crop) that I took of my monitor:
(This was on this page, in case you're wondering.)
The next day:
To sum up, oh yes, this camera is a keeper! I wasn't sure if it was worth the money when I bought it, but now I'm convinced. And most importantly, shooting pictures is fun again!
But, I'll be honest with you, I'm going to miss my little ¢ next to my username. Mainly because it was so unique. ;] Anyway, I want to thank Ryan in particular, but also the others on the creative team for giving me the chance to work with them for a couple years. I had fun and it always worked well, so I'm not leaving on bad terms.
And rest assured, I'm not going to leave dA any time soon!
Either way, and to cut a long rant short, I've written a userstyle. I do that with a lot of sites (yep, you guessed, the ones with white backgrounds) but I usually don't share them with anybody else. Why? Because usually it's too much of a hassle to keep them all updated. I've made an exception this time though and thought I'd share it, because maybe someone else is interested. And also for having a reason for this journal (aka: rant).
Go here to grab it: userstyles.org/styles/36943
FYI: I've written the style in a mere half hour, so obviously it's not bug-free or even complete. I applied it only to the 2 redesigned page types, but parts of it swap over to the other sub pages - so at least they're darker now, too, but not as pretty. I will try to keep it updated though, since after a while of browsing the site I'm starting to dig parts of the redesign, I have to admit. ;]
* OK, what I mean is, simply put, I don't like bright white backgrounds. I keep my room dim lit since it's easier on my eyes, and when staring at the screen for a prolonged period of time (which I have to do for work and stuff) white backgrounds tend to hurt my eyes.