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:

Websites

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.

iPhone

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.

Yogscast

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

hi5tou2

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

Logos

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

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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?

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.

OUT

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

A/V IN

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

IN

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

USB

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!

How I record gaming commentaries.

I have used many screen capture programs to record my YouTube videos. Most of my videos are gaming commentaries, but a couple are mod-spotlights, or how-to install mod videos. If you have not seen my YouTube channel please check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/hi5tou2 .

The recording is done mainly with Fraps or Screenflow. Fraps is a screen capture software meant for video games and programs that run at a high Frames Per Second (FPS). You can get Fraps to record at up to 60.0 FPS and 1080p. But with such high frame-rate and quality a 8 minute video lands at about 1.4 Gb, which will require you to either record in small amounts, compress, then delete the original film or like me, buy a 1-2 Tb External Hard Drive and not worry about space. Fraps is a Windows only program and, for me, works best. Fraps runs about $35 from the site.

For you Mac users… There is Screenflow. Screenflow is a fairly expensive, runs about $99, but works great for gaming and screen capture on Macs. The only problem with Screenflow is it doesnt capture at more than 20-25 FPS, which doesnt make for great gameplay footage. There is a solution though. When you finalize your film, under the export settings make sure it is set to keyframe at every 24 frames. Also, be sure to export it as h.264. Do this, and your quality will greatly improve.

As for audio, I use a TurtleBeach gaming headset and just set it to export as stereo and best quality.

I hope this helped,

Henry