Create User Interfaces- Class 6

Inspired by photos by emlyn and clarita from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3     Class 4      Class 5

Today’s Class

  • Talking About Inspiration and Good Design
  • Reflection Tutorial – Photoshop Workshop (in class)

Talking About Inspiration and Good Design

Following up on last week’s conversation about inspiration: I was extremely pleased with some of the works seen by students for student diary entries as well as the GUI workshop. It is good to see that you are being inspired by works that I introduced in class and that you take feedback on board.

It is important to question your work, to seek feedback and to refine it. It is never easy to produce work that will satisfy your own standard. You are actually lucky if you set a high standard for yourself, I often teach students who do not set a high standard and therefore just aim for mediocrity. Their work is generic and looks like something they have found on Google.

You want to aim to first understand a question.You can do this by looking at the design problem and creating a clear project outline, including a design brief, a close look at the target audience and the overall technical details.

Next you look at providing an answer, that suits the brief and that covers all the points of the project outline. If the answer reflects your style or has your signature, that is an added bonus.

Illustration by Kate Miller, found on DzineBlog.com

Illustration by Kate Miller, found on DzineBlog.com

As stated before you will find some inspirations in the artwork and design work of current practitioners and past masters. I have selected an inspiring post from Dzineblog for today:  Some Amazing Retro Style Illustrations Part 2

It looks at retro style illustrations and I appreciate the amount of texture and depth that can be found in a lot of the works.

Gary Neill

Below are illustrations by Gary Neill. His illustrations are rich in texture and show depth in the use of colour, tone and pattern. All his works are simple in shape and visually engaging. I like to look at his work, it makes me feel something, may this be happiness or a sense of wanting to explore the work in more detail. The orange and blue illustration is such a strong statement, it makes me think of online chatting, online dating or any form of digital interaction.

Gary Neill has created illustrations for impressive publications, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist, Business Week, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Independent, Saatchi & Saatchi, Mens Health, Wired, Sunday Telegraph, National Geographic, The Washington Post and many others. Explore his work in more detail on Gary Neill’s SiteGary Neill’s Tumblr SiteGoogle Image Search

Illustration by Gary Neill found on Dzineblog.com - http://garyneill.com/  http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

Illustration by Gary Neill found on Dzineblog.com – http://garyneill.com/ http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

The illustration below is a more sinister and serious work by Neill. It was used by The Economist and has a focus on torture applied by a government. We have all heard the saying an image says a thousand words and this illustration is a powerful attempt at raising awareness of torture happening nowadays and how different Western countries view it. I like the simplicity of the image and the use of only black and red. Red is always a strong colour to represent emotion and it is used here symbolic for blood. This is a link to the article The Dark Pursuit of the Truth – Spies, Torture and Terrorism.

Illustration by Gary Neill found on P.A.P.-Blog - http://garyneill.com/  http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

Illustration by Gary Neill found on P.A.P.-Bloghttp://garyneill.com/ http://garyneill.tumblr.com/

Tavis Coburn

The illustrations below are works by Tavis Coburn. His works look very retro and represent a style and feel often found in book cover illustrations and comics of the 1940s and 50s. The style is often referred to as Pulp Fiction – see this Google link for examples for Pulp Fiction book covers.

I find his work very appealing, the stylised use of halftone patterns can look cool – even though it has been overused in recent years. The image of the newly-weds has depth – the back ground is blue and white and mostly flat (except of a few scratch marks above her head), the couple are very textured in an over exposed halftone pattern, the dotted line and suitcase with money sit above it all and suggest that the bride is focusing on the money. The work is a dynamic play on figure/ground relation or negative and positive space.

Here are two links to video tutorials on how to create halftone patterns:

The images he uses look friendly as in the advertisments of the late 40s and 50s, but placed in our time they seem to criticise and poke fun at the consumerism of the 50s.  Explore Tavis Coburn’s work in more detail: Tavis Coburn’s Site, Google Image Search

Illustration by Tavis Coburn found on DzineBlog.com

Illustration by Tavis Coburn found on DzineBlog.com

The second illustration by Coburn is from an article predicting the future of iOS in 2011. What appeals to me is the bright colour scheme, the icons representing the infographic nature of mobile app design. Yet, the image looks like a SciFi take from the 1940s or 50s if not even earlier. I feel reminded of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Again, it seems that Coburn looks at our time through a mirror of the past.

Illustration: Tavis Coburn - Illustration for for an article predicting trends in Apple's mobile strategy. Found on: TavisCoburn.com

Illustration: Tavis Coburn – Illustration for for an article predicting trends in Apple’s mobile strategy. Found on: TavisCoburn.com

Jessie Ford

The illustrations by Jessie Ford have an appealing softness to them. Her work is retro and yet very contemporary. Her work looks very vector-based, it is rich in overlaying textures. I like how she uses dirty looking textures to add to an otherwise plain background. Her generous use of white space and rich textures with her vector graphic or stamped shapes is very attractive. It has depth and I always feel like looking at her work longer and a second time to see what it actually is.

Find her works at: Jessie Ford’s Site, Google Image Search

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

The second illustration has that simple texture that I described as dirt above. It is like rolling a drying roller brush with black paint over a rendered wall. The texture that she has applied to her illustration makes it more interesting and gives it depth. Without it it would look more digital and clean, maybe flat and polished. The grittier look of her work is strong.

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

Illustration by Jessie Ford, found on DzineBlog.com

Reflection Tutorial – Photoshop Workshop

This tutorial was listed in previous classes and will be presented today. It is a Photoshop tutorial that shows several easy to follow steps that will allow you to create the illusion of a glossy finish and reflections. This is very suitable for creating a glossy interface, buttons or logo, as well as adding a fold line to your work to make it look more realistic (as if scanned of a poster).

I suggest some alternative shortcuts to the steps used in the tutorial by Tutorial9.

Tutorial9 - Glossy Reflection

Tutorial9 – Reflection Tutorial

Follow the in-class presentation of this tutorial The 5 Essential Photoshop Reflections or complete it yourself.

1- Upload PSD

Upload the PSD file for the tutorial or use a PSD of your choice. You will need a basic button against a dark background.

2 – Create Basic Surface Reflection

  • Select Group 2, the layer with the cloud in it. Duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl+J (Cmd+J).
  • Press Ctrl+T (Cmd+T) to activate Free Transform. Right click on the selected cloud and select Flip Vertical. The cloud will have flipped over.
  • Drag the cloud down manually while holding shift (to keep it aligned) or use your arrow keys (with shift – to go in larger steps) to move the cloud down.
  • Complete the Free Transform by pressing Enter or double clicking on the cloud.
Image 1 - Add a Layer Mask

Image 1 – Add a Layer Mask

  • Add a layer mask (click the button for layer mask – see image 1)
  • Press D (to reset the standard foreground/background colours to White and Black)
Image 2 - Apply a Gradient Mask

Image 2 – Apply a Gradient Mask

  • Activate the gradient tool (press G) and drag (while still in the mask mode – the mask needs to be outlined) from point 1 to point 2 (see image 2). Your reflection should be partly invisible.
  •  Last steps: apply the layer mask(right click on the layer text and select apply layer mask) and change the layer opacity to suit (I chose 65%).
Image 3 - Change Layer Opacity

Image 3 – Change Layer Opacity

3 – Create Environment Reflection

The Environmental Reflection is white on top and gets lighter towards the bottom.

The Environmental Reflection is white on top and gets lighter towards the bottom.

This reflection works in 2 mayor steps:

Make the Selection

  • Select the cloud on the layer Group 2. The fastest way is to hold Ctrl while you click the layer thumbnail.
  • Make a round selection with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (Shortcut: M or Shift+M to toggle between Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee) and drag it over the top part of the selection of the cloud. Make sure to hold Shift+Alt (or pressing the Intersect with Selection button in the options panel) while dragging your round selection.
  • The result should be a top part selection of the cloud with a arch at the bottom.

Apply a Gradient Fill

  • Create a new layer on top of the cloud layer (Group 2). Call it Env Reflection.
  • Make sure to have white as foreground colour.
  • Fill the new layer with a white to transparent gradient. Select Gradient Tool (Shortcut: G) and choose the option: Foreground to Transparent (in options panel). Drag the cursor from above towards the selection. This will apply the white. Try it a few times until happy.

Adjustments

  • Reduce the Opacity setting in the Layers Panel to reduce the intensity of the gradient.
  • Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

4 – Create Glossy Reflection

The Glossy Reflection is transparent on top and gets whiter towards the bottom.

The Glossy Reflection is transparent on top and gets whiter towards the bottom.

Do everything as in the steps for the Environmental Reflection, except: call the layer Glossy Reflection and apply the gradient fill from the bottom up. This will make the cloud shape look like a glossy object.

Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

5 – Create a Fold Line

The Fold line is doubled up and the flare gives it a bit of depth. Look at the Tutorial9 link for the flare.

The Fold line is doubled up and the flare gives it a bit of depth. Look at the Tutorial9 link for the flare.

The fold line is a good way to create the illusion that your artwork is a poster that has been scanned in. The illusion of the fold looks like the shade in a photo or worn.

Make the Selection

  • Select the cloud on the layer Group 2. The fastest way is to hold Ctrl while you click the layer thumbnail.
  • Make a straight selection with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (Shortcut: M or Shift+M to toggle between Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee) and drag it over the lower half of the selection of the cloud. Make sure to hold Shift+Alt (or pressing the Intersect with Selection button in the options panel) while dragging your selection.
  • The result should be a lower half selection of the cloud.

Apply the Darkness

  • Create a new layer on top of the cloud layer (Group 2). Call it Fold Line.
  • Make sure to have black as foreground colour (or simply press D).
  • Select the Brush Tool (Shortcut: B) and a size of 170 or more with a hardness of 0% (this can be found in the Options Panel under the brush tip (called brush preset picker).
  • The next bit is important: Do NOT draw inside your selection but a bit above it. The thickness and softness of the brush will still provide a hint of black.

Adjustments

  • Reduce the Opacity setting in the Layers Panel to reduce the intensity of the colour.
  • Copy and move that layer to get a more natural and slightly overlapping or blurred fold.
  • Save your file for the Web: as a PNG.

Feedback

I hope that you have enjoyed the tutorial. Please leave me your feedback in form of a comment. If the tutorial did not make sense to you, I would like to find out about that, so that it can be made clearer. Thanks!

Implement Operational Plan – Class 3

Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com

Based on photo by hotblack from morgueFile.com

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 4

Introduction

In the previous 2 weeks we looked at the terms:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Operational Planning
  • VMB board
  • KPI – Key Performance Indicator

All these terms need to be seen in relation to applying an operational plan.

Today’s class is about contingency planning.

Contingency Planning

Contingency planning is an important part of operational planning. A contingency plan is basically an alternative plan or a ‘Plan B’, when events do not turn out as planned.

You could refer to it as Planning for Disaster by anticipating potential problems, or events that could have a negative impact if not dealt with (by using an alternative plan).

‘Events not turning out as planned’ could mean either an emergency or simply a change of events (leading to a change of plans). Life is really a lot about change, so life is in a sense about contingency plans.

Here are some examples:

  • (Events as planned) You were going to make Sticky Date Pudding for desert at a dinner party > (Emergency or problem) You realise too late that you have forgotten to buy an important ingredient, eg cream > (New or Contingency Plan) Your contingency plan may be to use an alternative or to quickly go to the 7/11 and buy cream at a higher price
  • (Events as planned) You are about to start a group assignment with 2 other students (Emergency or problem)  One students gets very sick and will not be able to meet you in person > (New or Contingency Plan) You decide to collaborate online, using Google or other online conference and sharing tools or You decide to drop that student from the group and approach someone else
  • (Events as planned) Rudi B has 3 children and and his wife is a full-time mother (Emergency or problem)  Rudi loses his job and monthly income. > (New or Contingency Plan) His Income Protection Insurance provides him with an ongoing income for 18 months. He has time to look for a new job.
  • (Events as planned) We are in class at Kangan. It is a beautiful day (Yong is sleeping, Lucine is not on Facebook and Adam is glad that Toni is back in class).  > (Emergency or problem)  The fire alarm rings! (New or Contingency Plan) We follow the Contingency Plan which is the Emergency Plan. We leave the class room, the teacher locks it and we assemble in the car park.
Photo by clarita on morgueFile

Photo by clarita on morgueFile

You see that all these examples are simple and easy to deal with. Each requires a different level of foresight and each emergency or change of events may be dealt with differently.

Contingency Plans are necessary on many levels:

  • Supplies of ingredients for a restaurant – it is worse to run out of an ingredient when someone pays for the food!
  • Anti Terror Laws and Measures are a form of contingency plan.
  • Increase of petrol prices will require transport businesses and suppliers to react (this may be an increase in their fees)
  • A cheaper competitor that undercuts the prices of an established brand and wins customers over will have an impact on the prices of the established brand.

Contingency Task

Think of 5 scenarios for something going wrong or not to plan in your life and write down:

  • the event as planned (eg driving to TAFE)
  • the change of events or emergency (eg the car breaks down)
  • the contingency plan (eg SMS Federico and come by Public Transport)

Keep it simple and have ready for next class. 😉

Here are some simple examples and explanations online:

Example of Contingency Planning for a student

Contingency Plan for Music Video

HTML Class 3

Link to Class 4   Class 2   Class 1

I am glad to announce that MyKangan is now fully functional. You will still be able to visit the content on this WordPress blog. Above are the links to previous classes.

Photo by clarita on www.morguefile.com

Photo by clarita on http://www.morguefile.com

So, you might feel like you are starting to get a feel for how to use HTML in TextEdit (or NotePad). HTML is reasonably easy as long as you approach it systematically. The content for today’s class is directly related to the chapters in W3Schools HTML Tutorials: HTML CSS, HTML Images, HTML Tables and HTML Lists. You can simply click on the links for each point below.

Always trial your HTML code in the TryIt Editor or even use the Real-time HTML editor (that we looked at in Class 1).

Content for today’s class:

Using External CSS Documents

Work with the W3Schools chapter: HTML CSS

Last week we looked at the three ways to include CSS styles in an HTML document. Today we will just look at external CSS documents (created in a text editor). By now you should be aware of the benefits of using external CSS documents:

  • It is easy and faster to create one CSS stylesheet and having the link to in each HTML document
  • It is faster to change one CSS stylesheet than changing the CSS code in numerous HTML documents

Obviously you have learned in last week’s class that you place a link to an external CSS style sheet into the head of a HTML document:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”styles.css”>
</head>

<body>
<h1>The text in this heading is formatted in an external stylesheet called styles.css</h1>
<p>The paragraph text is formatted by the same external stylesheet</p>
</body>

</html>

Please notice the difference between the Head and Body sections of the HTML file. The Head element includes only the link to the CSS stylesheet. Think for a moment and ask yourself what other components you could place in the Head section! (We covered that in last week’s class)

The Body section has all the visible parts of the website. The heading and the paragraph.

A CSS stylesheet uses different brackets:

[NOTE: This is code for an external CSS, created in a text editing program like TextEdit or NotePad and saved as styles.css]

body {background-color:#98FB98;}
h3 {color:#000080; text-align:center;}
p {color:#000080; text-align:center;font-family:”Garamond”; font-size:20px;}

This stylesheet specifies

  • the colour of the background
  • the text colour of the h3 heading
  • a central alignment for the h3 heading
  • the text colour of the paragraph
  • the alignment of the paragraph and
  • the font of the paragraph: Garamond at 20px

Please note that more properties can be added to a line with a semi colon in between, before the closing bracket place a semi colon.
Click on the image to view the syntax (style of writing) of a CSS document on W3Schools:
From W3Schools.com

From W3Schools.com

More information on CSS stylesheets: W3Schools-CSS

TASK:

  1. Please create a HTML document in TextEdit or Notepad for the text of the poem below
    Use h3 for the heading and p for all the other text.
  2. Create a Head section in the HTML document that links to your stylesheet called Heine
  3. Create a CSS document in TextEdit or Notepad called heine.css that has the specs as below

Text of poem:

Why the Roses are so Pale

Oh, dearest, canst thou tell me why
The rose should be so pale?
And why the azure violet
Should wither in the vale?

And why the lark should in the cloud
So sorrowfully sing?
And why from loveliest balsam-buds
A scent of death should spring?

And why the sun upon the mead
So chillingly should frown?
And why the earth should, like a grave,
Be moldering and brown?

And why it is that I myself
So languishing should be?
And why it is, my heart of hearts,
That thou forsakest me?

Poem by Heinrich Heine
(English translation by Richard Garnet)

Specs for CSS document:

Background colour: CCFF66
H3: font: Garamond colour: 330099
P: font:Geneva colour: 3333CC

Inserting an Image in HTML

Work with the W3Schools chapter: HTML Images

This section is looking at how to insert an image into a website.

In HTML you need to use an image tag: <img>

The <img> tag is empty which means that it does not need a closing or end tag. The reason is that you are only inserting one image per <img> tag, so there is no need for an end tag.

After the tag you will need to insert attributes:

  • src: this is the Source attribute, which defines where the browser will find the image to upload. This will be a url (web address) if your HTML, CSS  and image files have been uploaded to the url.
  • Example: <img src=”http://www.w3schools.com/images/boat.gif”&gt;

So, notice that the closing bracket is not placed right after img, but after all the attributes. It is smart to put all your images in an image folder. The example shows that the image is a GIF and it is placed in the images folder. Make sure to specify the path with a forward slash / and always check your spelling. If your images folder is called images and you mistakingly spell:   <img src=”http://www.w3schools.com/image/boat.gif”> the image will not display!

Besides the image you will want to display alternate text. Alternate text will show if the image does not load, the attribute is: alt=”image name”. See the revised example:

Let us also look at the option of you working from your computer. The website has not been uploaded, so it is still sitting on your computer. The reference to the image location is always relative to where you have the HTML file. All this means is if you have your HTML file on your USB in a folder called “HTML class” and your image in a folder called images (inside the HTML class folder) – do you follow?- this would be the src attibute:

  • <img src=”images/boat.gif” alt=”The Boat”>

Inserting a Table in HTML

Work with the W3Schools chapter: HTML Tables

Work through the chapter on how to insert a table. Ensure that you use the correct code.

Create a List in HTML

Work with the W3Schools chapter: HTML Lists

Work through the chapter on how to insert a list.

Task:

Complete the task above and upload to MyKangan.

Thanks! 🙂