Sunday, November 30, 2008

Science of Sleep - Movie Site Review

Science of Sleep (http://wip.warnerbros.com/scienceofsleep/site.html)

The Science of Sleep site employs the film's sense of playfulness and imagination by incorporating dreamlike animations and a tactile appearance (cardboard, tape, handwritten text, etc.) The site also creates interaction opportunities that exist solely for the user to play with. In other words... there's stuff that has no purpose other than to entertain the easily entertained. Nice!

Overall it exactly captures the mood of its story with just its design. No further reading necessary.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Design for reality

Though I tried to be ON MTV's Engine Room - I never actually caught an episode. I have no idea what it was like or how it operated and frankly the site they have is a little odd and lame (the way they operate their profile pages). But alas - I did actually try to be on a reality show including making one of those dumb audition tapes and all that. (Which no one will ever see.)

Just caught wind of a new design-related reality show (thanks to a tweet on twitter) called CMYK America. It's gonna be a reality show for graphic designers (which I am not). But if you think you are here you go: http://www.cmykamerica.com/index.html


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Transparent PNGs

PNGs are beautiful things ... except when it comes to IE6. Bleh! Here they are - so pretty and beautiful... and then you open up your damn site in IE6 and you get that ugly grey box. Well thanks to a friend at school I now know the solution and that solution lives here: http://www.twinhelix.com/css/iepngfix . I cannot even BEGIN to tell you what the hell is going on in that code that that generous person has coded for general use but I know that it is revolutionary and magical (for me). (FYI - as of this moment, 2492 other people have bookmarked that link on Delicious.)

(Not as revolutionary and magical as when I learned how to make transparent backgrounds in Flash but still it opens up whole new worlds.)

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Photography is something that I've been progressing on since I was little (always posing for my Dad, the amateur photographer). I've owned a wide variety of cameras in my lifetime and decided way back in the day that I wanted to learn more. I even had my father set up assignments for me just for play. The first one he gave me was "still life" and I spent one summer day just thinking up a wide range of items and placements. He let me use his tripod and his fancy camera and it was a great day of play.

But then I went to college and had my first film classes... oh wow. I had no idea that there would be so many numbers involved. So much math! I just wanted to see things and capture them the way I see them with MY eyes. But the math stopped me. Confused me. Bewildered me. (Plus it was expensive!) But still - back then and up until now, getting my second degree, I've continuously given myself more and more photo projects just to try and beat the math stuff into my brain (including an interface redesign of the Canon S3 IS camera for "Interface Design" class). (If you actually click on that link, note that the camera is an image map and you're supposed to click on the camera buttons to make it work.)

Someone told me there was a quote.. he didn't know where it was from and so I can't relay it properly. But he said something about "when you take photos you either see things as a window or a mirror." My father definitely sees things as a window. His photos always look like fantastical views and he's forever pointing out all the shapes and figures he sees in them. For me - it's a mirror. Everything reminds me of me and a feeling or an emotion that I have.

So studying photography has been tough. Trying to juggle all the logic/math/light with the image I see is tough. And though I'll continue to try and display what I see, now that I've taken a "REAL" photography class (with real film stocks and black and white enlargers and chemicals and all) I know that professional photography is probably not for me. Though I do keep getting better - I must admit. I'm not to the level of the general JPG Magazine user yet but better than I used to be. (The best compliment I got was when my Videography teacher, a professional, thought I was using stock footage for one of my assignments.)


This was an assignment I completed in Photography 1 class at the Art Institute. We were to interpret song lyrics with photos.

The final project for that same class was our own choice. I decided to take photos of movie theaters while trying to portray them as "my churches."

(In this class I first started to realize that I am really attracted to VIVID color in my art and design. And also that I prefer to take pictures of structures, architecture and landscapes. No people!)

This is a rough version of the project in which the teacher thought I was using stock video. But no! All shot by moi!


Thursday, November 20, 2008


As I've been worshipping the genius of the JohnnyHollow.com and MyPetSkeleton.com sites since before I started at web school (which was one of the reasons I went... "please oh school, teach me the geniusness of Vincent Marcone") - I was very thrilled to learn today that Vincent has just started a new blog of his own.

Check it out and put it on your watch list. He'll be adding art and tutorials from time to time. http://www.theartofmypetskeleton.com/

As I write this post I'm listening to the free Johnny Hollow radio page: http://www.thishollowworld.net/

Oh and btw - turns out - you can't be taught geniusness. You're just born with it.

On a completely unrelated note, I have been having a plethora of problems with my WACOM tablet lately. For some reason my mouse double clicks everything ... this is ANNOYING. As I was cussing at it yesterday my mother came into the room and said, "What's the matter? Having problems with your WICCAN?" HA!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Juno - Movie Site Review


The site for the Fox Searchlight release, JUNO, is on the cusp of new interaction design for the current era. It combines traditional Flash movie site design (to present cast and crew bios and story information) with Web 2.0 features like widgets, slide shows, blogs and a social “Junoverse” to connect with the current Internet users.

While the Flash aspect of the site carries the story of the film and its character, the rest of the site keeps users coming back for updated information and connection with other fans. It is a well-designed hybrid and a piece of the larger Fox Searchlight social network.

I really think Fox Searchlight came up with this awesome back end universe for all of its new releases! Joining the FSL network gives you access to all of its movie site releases and allows them to create their own little MySpace-styled "personal home page" for each film. The only downer is that you sacrifice the all-encompassing environment that movie sites usually offer in exchange for the easier update management. The environment is still there though. The hybridization works because the flash environment is above the fold.

Other movies using the Fox Searchlight management/network include:

If you want to see a "Before and After" of sorts regarding the new style and old style of Fox Searchlight sites - compare the sites for Night Watch and the sequel Day Watch.



I had a whole bunch of ideas for "not that funny but kind of chuckle-worthy if you're really tired and loopy" comic strips that I was going to call "Punnery." For some reason I was storing them in an MSN Group... and then I promptly ignored all emails from MSN Groups telling me that they were going to shut down my space (and their whole service) and delete everything. So poof - they're all gone. But a few of them were retained in my brain RAM so I might share them later. I still don't know what style they should be in. Polished? Really shiny and Web 2.0? My current thought is "lazy-assed Erin" style ... hey it might be interesting. Sort of like Cyanide and Happiness!

Punnery... is out the window. It wasn't the "right" title for something that was simply going to be REALLY DUMB humor about web design and programming. My new title is more along the right track.

So here's my first attempt at "addChild'sPlay":


Monday, November 17, 2008

Idea Books (and their gaping holes)

When I was a little kid my parents would sometimes take me to the Santa Monica mall (for typical mall shopping things). Then afterward my father would cross us over to the shops outside of the mall so that he could visit Hennessey and Ingalls "Art and Architecture" bookstore. I hhhhhhhated it. I was soooo bored surrounded by big tomes full of boring art history things. He loved it.

Eventually they developed those dingy shops and dirty streets into the 3rd Street Promenade and Hennessey and Ingalls moved around the corner (now it's on Wilshire between 2nd and 3rd streets).

Earlier this year I found myself at the Promenade with my father and I graciously granted him the trip into H&I. To my SHOCK and SURPRISE - H&I now had a huuge selection of effin' cool books (to geeks like me) about web, package, poster, graphic, graffiti, logo (and etc.) DESIGN. (Don't ask me why some art bores me and some art thrills me... I guess it's just my taste.)

My first stop was to look for the Logo Lounge series (which is flippin' cool) before I then pored through all the web design idea books. We didn't spend much time there but, now excited, I soon drug my friend back and we sat and browsed their selections for a while.

The golden find was this book - The Web Designer's Idea Book:

The book is chock full of photos of sites based on general ideas about their design styles (i.e. "sites that are pink", "sites that collage", etc.). I NEEDED THIS BOOK when I started in my major!! I decided to buy it then and there! And then remembered that I was a cheap bastard and went home and found it on Better World Books for less $ and with free shipping. It's now full of little post-it tabs.

Turns out the book is based on the author's website - DesignMeltdown.com

There is, however, one big MISSING for me in this book and site - the "Movie Site" under site types. Where is it? It's a distinct genre of its own! I'd even accept "Radio, TV & Film" if they wanted to break it out further. (Music & Bands already has a category!) But really... I only care about the movie sites and how they carry across their concept from screen to monitor.

So I decided that from time to time I'm going to feature some movie sites in this blog - to fill this huge gap in the DesignMeltdown/Web Designer's Idea Book's world. Just to give credit where credit is sometimes due. They're already giving Emmys away for TV websites. I'm hoping Movie sites will soon qualify for tech Oscars. (So I can still hope for an Oscar in my life.)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The obligatory first post

RavenWolf Productions is the umbrella term for everything creative that Erin Lillis (blog writer) produces or has produced. It's not a business but more like a basket full of goodies. Sometimes the goodies are bright and cheery and filled with scrumptious humor. Sometimes the goodies are darker, gooier and suspiciously re-wrapped in store-bought plastic wrap. But put simply - RavenWolf Productions are nouns. And this blog is about the everyday elements (the interactive media and web designerly things) that sometimes go into the recipes for these nouns.