Examples of Great Graphic Design

We are coming up on our last month in Digital Media and have been focusing on critiquing spreads and different graphic designs. I have found 4 great examples of graphic design. Two of which, are websites, and the other two are logos. I had some magazines that I was going to use, but I think I recycled them on accident. Anyway, here are some good forms of graphic designs:


1) Apple
Apple is one of the most successful businesses in the world, and they are good at what they do. They are known for visually amazing products and advertisements. If you have ever bought an Apple product, you may notice the perfection and precision in their manufacturing. Putting their products aside, their ads and websites match what they make beautifully. I am going to make this short since I could write and entire blog about Apple, but if you just look at their advertisements and website, you notice one thing, WHITE SPACE. It is one of the many things we have learned about graphic design, and it is very important too. White space fills in and directs you toward the primary element on the page. Apple uses white space like no ones business. With all the white space, it brings your entire focus on the big picture, which is what they are trying to sell you.


The white space is soooo perfect.

2) BlueXephos YouTube Page

BlueXephos, better known as The Yogscast, is one of the world’s most popular gaming commentators. The Yogscast consists of Simon and Lewis from the United Kingdom. Not only are they hilarious, but their YouTube’s Channel art is amazing. Although it was probably the work of devoted fans, it is still my favorite channel art ever. I have spent more than 8 hours on a YouTube background myself, and it can’t compare to theirs. If you are a fan of their videos, you will understand some of the art. Those of you who don’t, your missing out.


I want whoever did this to be my mentor....


This is what I made in PhotoShop... 8 hours


1) Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla has a very interesting logo. I have always liked it because of the colors and quality of such a small logo. I really like putting a lot of visual effects into something small, its gives a great result. Back in 2002, their logo was much more rustic and looked mainly hand drawn, then again they were not the #2 web browser, so they have an excuse.

Mozilla Time-Line

Years of the Firefo-... is that a Phoenix in 2002?

2) Starbucks

Recently Starbucks has changed its logo. That means, new cups, new napkins, new signs/billboards, etc. in all of its stores. I hadn’t really noticed anything different in the effect of the new design, other than the fact that they removed the text. After the lesson in digital media on emphasis and balance, it caught my eye and I understood why they did this now. They are trying to force less emphasis on the “Starbucks Coffee” and more on their original logo. That way, you notice the logo more and it gives it more emphasis. An example of another company doing this would be Nike. In their original logo, it said “nike” across their famous whoosh, but now it is removed. If you think about it, when you see an athlete sponsoring Nike, you immediately recognize its Nike because of their signature logo, not the text. That is exactly what Starbucks is doing here.

Starbucks Logo 2011

Starbucks Logo 2011


My Servers and Admins

Recently my YouTube channel has been going through many popularity spikes and changes, and with that I thought I decided to start promoting something that I spend a bit more time on than anything else, my gaming servers.

If you do not know this already, I am a pretty big gamer. I mean, I have to put that computer I built to some use, right? But, yes, I am a gamer, but I am a bit more interactive in the actual up-keep of the gaming community. Instead of spending countless hours of playing the games, I decided to start managing servers for games I love. For example, Minecraft.

As you can see in my background, I very much do love Minecraft. Minecraft is a first-person sandbox style game in which you mine for materials and place blocks to create amazing creations. To me, its Legos with a twist. Anyway, the game is very popular and just sold its 4 millionth copy, which is VERY impressive for an Indie game. My favorite part about this game is the capability to run servers, in which, your friends and any other players can join and build in a world with you.

Setting up servers is not easy though, and either you pay a company to host a server for you, or you go out and purchase a server with RAID and plenty of memory to be sure it can handle 10+ people at once. Now, unless you are really into it, and are willing to put a lot of money into a powerful machine, I would recommend getting a hosted server, which is what I do. I pay a monthly fee to maintain a server that my members play on every day. Now, don’t think I am taking a shortcut. If I had a server to host at my own home, I would, but I don’t. I know how to set up the server files and port-forward the IP and blah blah blah… but it is just very expensive to manage that kind of thing, and I much rather have a company who houses hundreds of powerful machines do it for me.

Anyway, I run this server. On my server I am known as Hobojoe, or Hobo, as everyone calls me (I made it up years ago, I know its silly). All my servers are a part of HoboServers and we have a website and everything. Check out www.hoboservers.com and we have a Facebook page, the whole deal. The website is currently a wix.com site, just because I am still working on the final site in Dreamweaver and it is taking forever.

My servers are become quite popular these days and with our upgrade from 10 open server slots, to 20 slots, we have gained about 7 active members, to our, 8 members. Our staff is made up of 5 people, including me. Our admins: Cafgeo (George), 15, lives in North Carolina and is the head Admin. Lalli87 (Larus), 15 years old and lives in Iceland. Gamergabo (Gabe), 13 years old and lives in Nevada. IN7OMNIA (Abbie), 14 years old, she lives in the UK. Lastly, Apple Crack (Edan), 14 and lives in California. These are all our admins and they constantly manage the server during the week and whenever I cannot get on. As you have noticed, they live in very different places. We have Larus and Abbie who are about 5 hours ahead of central time, and they manage the server on a different shift from Edan and Gabe, who are pacific time zone. George is on Mountain time, so we are pretty close in time zones. I didn’t mean to set it up this way, but it is very convenient on how we are in different times, and it is good that someone is on most of the time, because it is difficult to keep up with all the people. I have talked with these people very much and I trust them. Some, I have know since the begging of my server, and others are new, almost as of 2 months.

I don’t want to go into too much depth on how we manage the server, but depending on how active it is, we are typically very busy in helping new members or fixing problems, etc. You could almost consider us a tech support service for the game. Because of all the admins we have, they can almost run the server without me, which is why they are so awesome.

I plan to keep the server running as long as I can fund it and I encourage all of my active members to donate on the site. We do many server-wide weekend events and people can win prizes and other things. Most of the time I film the events and put them on my channel, but recently I have been letting the other admins put them on their channels.

Running a server is a great experience if you like meeting random people who might actually be cool, and other than that I just consider it a weekend job, like running my own business.

Ultime Game Servers

Hosted Server control panel

It Runs!

This post is continued from my recent post on “The Computer I am Building.”

So after about a month, I have finally got my computer running. I spent around 2 weekends messing around with it, trying almost everything to get it to work, I eventually returned my motherboard. I read on one of the 50 forums I browsed over those 2 weeks that I may have fried my motherboard because I had used magnetic-tipped screw drivers. I returned the motherboard and got a new one that arrived last Tuesday, the 4th of October. I rebuilt the entire machine that Saturday with my dad this time. We figured I may have done one small thing wrong, and 2 minds are better than one, right? Wrong.

When we powered it on after meticulously looking over it for about and hour, it did the EXACT same thing as before… all noises, beeps, fans spinning, but no picture on the screen. At this point we about had it. I had just gotten a brand new motherboard, 12 some-odd dollars for shipping. Well one good thing came out of it, we knew the problem wasn’t the motherboard. Together we sighed, and after 30 minutes we called a computer technician my dad has done a lot of business with over the past years. We brought it over and they took it for the afternoon to check it out.

Later that evening we came to pick it up. They agreed that it was difficult to find what the problem was, but they got it. The problem of the matter was an incompatible power supply. Right when we heard this we were just completely shocked. For one, who would’ve thought? And another, how could the company, Tiger Direct, not have noticed this? I mean, don’t they build these to make sure everything works and it actually runs? The man said that the power supply that came with the kit had a 6 pin power connect for the motherboard, not the required 6 pin with a detachable 4 pin that connected to another slot on the motherboard. Apparently, the reason nothing was showing on the screen was because that the motherboard was not getting enough power from the power supply. During the assembly, we had noticed that there was a slot that we didn’t have a cable for, but there were so many ports on the motherboard that we knew we didn’t need, we kind of just passed over it and thought that the motherboard was fine without it. I still need to talk to Tiger about this.

I got home and powered it up. We set up the BIOS and I began formatting the 2TB hard drive to NTFS. I began this process at 8:22 p.m. on Saturday night. The formatting ended at 1:42 a.m. Sunday morning. When I woke up Sunday, I installed the spare copy of Windows XP Professional 2003 32 bit. This process was painfully slow, just like waiting for it to format. I got some homework done in the mean time. After it was complete, I had to install the XFX HD Radeon 5570 1GB graphics. Talk about annoying. For some reason, the stupid driver was not installing. I had it downloaded and everything. So again, I went back to the forums. One forum told me I had to look at the requirements on the card, and somehow I was taken to my specifications on my computer. I read that only 4GB of the RAM was being used. At this point I slapped myself for not remembering that a 32 bit OS can only handle 4GB of memory, I wasn’t even accessing the other 4GB of perfectly good RAM that was just wasting away in one of the slots on my motherboard. About now I had almost had it. I turned off the machine and finished my homework that day, putting it out of my mind.

The next day, to my surprise, my kind father took my computer the the gentlemen at the Computer House and ,not only did they install Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit (thank you dad), but they fixed the graphics driver and everything. It was the perfect way to end a slow Monday.

So now, I have a powerful machine that I have always wanted. It does everything I can imagine at faster than I can handle. The powerful processor and the massive amount of memory is letting me write this blog, have a game open, about 15 tabs in FireFox running, iTunes playing, a video processing to be ready to upload, and I am downloading music and yet, I feel it has enough in it to run more at the same time. This is my dream machine and I plan to enjoy it over my upcoming fall break. That is when I will be able to test its graphic ability and see how well it runs in graphic intense situations. I plan to upgrade this machine over the next few months, depending on what new technology comes around.

I am not done with Tiger Direct. They can expect a call from a very unhappy customer sometime Friday afternoon. I feel it is unnecessary that my dad and I had to put so much time and money into this just because Tiger didn’t include the compatible power supply. Over all we paid $55 for the technician fee, $48 for the correct power supply, and $12 for the shipping on the new motherboard. Total, I am asking for $115 back from Tiger, but I highly doubt that they will pay for the technician fee. But I would gladly take $60 back for what I have been through.

But this doesn’t stop me. I have some friends that have heard good things about my machine and are considering buying parts for me to assemble for them. I plan to keep working with computers my entire life. Hey, Michael Dell started out building computers from his dorm, who says I can’t try?

The Computer I Am Building

For a long time I have wanted to build my own machine. I wanted something powerful, a beast. The computer I would build could “run NASA” and design jumbo-jets… and this summer, I saved up enough to just do that.

Unfortunately, my budget didn’t cover NASA’s specs and Boeing had to reconsider, but it is still a monster. At the time I knew little about building computers, but I knew the basics. It started when I wanted something that could actually process a video and upload it quickly. I was really into my YouTube Channel at the time and nothing was powerful that I had my hands on. I decided to check out TigerDirect for some cheap powerhouses. The only thing I could find was a little shy of $700, a goal that might take a couple of summers at my rates. Then I came across “barebones PCs” that you build on your own. A barebones PC is a little PC kit that comes with most of the parts in building a desktop computer. Fully customizable, this was just what I wanted. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was stepping in a big puddle and the water was coming through my shoes.

This is all I wanted, a barebones PC that I could equip with an arsenal of parts. You have the motherboard, the processor, the CPU fan, the RAM, the graphics card, the hard drive, the disc drive, etc., I was in heaven. To give it to you straight, I had myself focused on certain specs that could do anything I wanted. As time passes I can upgrade all these parts and keep my monster angry and hungry for more power.

After working an entire summer, 4 days a week, 3-4 hours a day, I came up with around $500. I know that is not that much for working the ENTIRE summer, but I did what any person would do, and try to enjoy their summer while they could. So, NO, I did not work everyday. Back to my point… With this money I had purchase the following parts:

1. GIGABYTE M68MT nForce 630a Socket AM3 Motherboard
2. AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition OEM Processor (3.10 Ghz)
3. Thermaltake CL-P0503 70mm CPU Cooler
4. Lite-On Internal 24X DVD Writer
5. ADATA 4GB DDR3-1333MHz Premier Series Desktop RAM (x2)
6. Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Hard Drive (3.5″)
7. XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 PCIe 2.1 DirectX 11
8. DiabloTek Elite 450W PSU ATX Mid Tower Case

I ordered the parts Saturday, September 10, 2011. They arrived Tuesday night, around 6:15 pm. Sadly, I was sick Tuesday and Wednesday and did not get to touch it until Wednesday night. I put all the parts together, solving this hog of a puzzle, in about 2 hours (keep in mind this was my first time putting a computer together). I followed the motherboard and mid tower case instructions and had wired everything to exact details. I took it upstairs to my room to connect it to my monitor. The moment of truth…

I plugged in the power supply and connected the VGA to the back. Flipped the switch, hit power. My beast lit up in bright blue and red on the front, cheering with joy… but blank monitor. (insert sadface)

I immediately shut it off, hoping it wouldn’t explode. I grabbed the manual and briskly flipped through it. I power-read for a good 15 minutes and couldn’t figure it out. By about now it was almost 7:30 and I had a lot of homework still. I decided to put it out of my mind and figure it out this weekend.

This is where I stand. I couldn’t stop thinking about it this entire day and I will probably tweak with it tonight. I don’t want to, but if there is no solution, I may I have to accept defeat and take it to professional help. Which (1) I can’t afford (which means having to pay back my dad) and (2) WOULD BE SO WEAK OF ME!

I will look at it again tonight and pray to the gods of “Motherboard Manual” that there is one silly thing I missed that is kicking me in the shins.

If I figure anything out I will post a weekend blog post on what’s going on.

Thanks, Henry

My Barebones PC

Yeah I know the wires are messy... SHHHHhhh

XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 PCIe 2.1 DirectX 11

My Graphics Card (XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB)

How To Properly Livestream Your PC or Console

Something new is roaming around on the web these days in the general area of commentaries and Let’s Play videos…. LIVESTREAMING! Livestreaming is VERY popular and there are many sites who host livestream channels. The most well known is Justin.tv. Justin.tv has a constant livestream of anything you can imagine, from gaming to news reports. I know a couple people, and I have done so myself, who livestream about once a week to Justin.tv. The one thing that surprises me when they livestream are the programs they use and the quality they get out of their streaming software.

The most popular livestreaming software is Dyyno broadcaster. Dyyno is a sponsored software that you can get 10 free broadcasts from and it is available straight from the Justin.tv site. The quality is choppy, not meant for casting gaming content, and keeps asking if you would like to pay. Plus, there are very little customization options with Dyyno. There are many other programs out there that are JUST like Dyyno, all wanting you to buy their license, but take my word and don’t use their product. There is a nifty little program I found that was recommended to me from a very famous YouTuber/Gaming Broadcaster, TotalBiscuit (a.k.a CynicalBrit). He told me about Xsplit.

Xsplit is a free HD livestreaming software meant for PC gaming, but it works well with Capture Cards (see my previous blog post on capture cards for more info). Xsplit is still a freeware since it is beta and it works beautifully. When first starting Xsplit you need to make an account. With that account you can download the Xsplit software and begin broadcasting.

Xsplit Log In

The Xsplit log in screen

Once you log in you will be given a screen with “Scenes” that you can broadcast things on. First, you need to set up your broadcast. Start this by selecting “Broadcast” at the top and select “Edit Channels.” From here you need to click “Add” and sign into your Justin.tv account. See below for the screenshot of my Xsplit screen.


My Xsplit Screen

Once you have added a channel, click the “Add” in the bottom left corner to add a source of video or audio to your scene. On that selected menu, you can add a file (picture/video from your hard drive/file), screen region (quality is great on high FPS under the settings), and plenty other options. This is where you can set up your console through the USB driver or your Screen Region for your PC livestream. The audio and video settings are fairly easy and you shouldn’t have many problems with them.

The highest quality I have gotten out of Xsplit is 1080p, but the audio was not working correctly. I would strongly recommend doing this on a computer with at least 4gb of RAM because running this and a graphic intense game eats up your CPU very quickly.

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll reply back to you. Thanks!

Setting up your capture card and recording your gaming console

Hello! Today I am going to be giving you a guided tour on how to set up a capture card/device and record or livestream your gaming console. A capture card is used to, hence the name, “capture” the footage of your gaming console and import it to your computer via USB. Making these kinds of videos is very popular and makes up almost half of the videos on YouTube. There are a couple steps you will need to do to get started.

Getting started:

1. Purchase some sort of capture device/card. There are many out there but the #1 I would recommend is the Pinnacle Dazzle. The Dazzle is one of the most popular standard definition capture cards. Pinnacle has a High Definition version of their Dazzle, but if you are looking for an HD capture card the Hauppauge HD PVR is by far, the best HD capture card. It captures at a high frame rate and 1080p quality with very minimum motion blur. Well back to the point, you need to get a capture card to be able to do this. You can see my capture card below. I use a Blitzcast Blitzbox B1. I would NOT recommend this capture card, very much motion blur and horrible quality even for stand definition.

Capture Card

2. Depending on what quality your capture card records at you will need to get certain wires. For standard definition you will need a normal Audio/Video cable (see below), but if you are using HD capture card you will need the HD red/green/blue cable extender. You can get these cables at any local Radio Shack or Best Buy, but your capture card might already come with this important cable.

A/V Cables

3. The last thing you will need is a gaming console. You probably wont need to get one if these if you already have a capture card, but if you do I would recommend a Xbox 360. Its the most popular console and if your video looks good you are guaranteed to get some hits on YouTube. But yeah, you need one of these to actually use your capture card to its full extent, FILMING GAMEPLAY!

Make sure your console comes with a set of these:

Standard Definition Console A/V cables

Now you are ready to set up your capture card. This very easy if you follow my simple instructions.

Setting up your capture card:

1. Plug A/V extender cables into OUT on your capture card.


2. Plug the other end of the A/V extender into your television.


3. Next, plug your gaming console A/V cables into your capture card into the IN.


4. Finally, connect the USB cord from capture card to your computer.


From here you should be mostly set. The only thing you may need to do is install some drivers for your capture card and install software that came with your device. Depending on your capture card, the software to ACTUALLY record from your capture card will come with your device. If you like to livestream on programs like Dyyno, or Xsplit just select “Camera” and add find the name of your capture card. It will either say “USB *****” or “(brand name) Capture Card” and from there select it as a camera. As for audio, you can use the game audio which will have a driver name similar to the capture card.

Thank you and I hope this helped!