Nomadhouse - freelancing from Budapest

After trying out freelancing from Berlin and Lisbon, I was searching for a new place to explore and freelance from. Then a couple of months ago, in one of those strange serendipitous moments life throws up every now and then: I discovered NomadHouse.

The concept was simple: 10 days in a Budapest, co-living, working and exploring a new place with 16 other freelancers/entrepreneurs/remote workers.

Voiceover work

If you take a look at a couple of my most recent motion design projects, you may notice the voice is actually the same:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Quick freelancing update

Following on from my freelance adventure in Berlin I decided to check out Lisbon back at the beginning of May, again taking a week and working from out there while exploring the city.

I decided to repeat what I’d done in Berlin and get an Airbnb, at the very least this could be somewhere to work from, a home office away from home if you will.

Freelancing from Berlin

As a freelancer I’m always saying to people I can theoretically work from anywhere; all I need is a decent internet connection and I’m sorted.

Up until now I’d never properly tried it though, so I decided to book a trip to Berlin and give it a try. A bit of an experiment to see if it’s actually possible.

Here’s some of the good stuff:

Berlin has some excellent co-working spaces

A new website design

Well it's more of a design refresh than anything else! If you haven't visited the site for a while you may notice some slight design changes here and there, I thought I'd write a quick post to run through the changes.

Let's start with the portfolio design - there's only a few small changes here, primarily in the width of the overall portfolio. The project tiles will now extend further across the page to make better use of larger screen sizes and help showcase my design and development work.

Freelance Tip #2 - Office Space

Following on from freelance tip #1 - here's the second tip I thought I'd share:

Consider getting some office space

When I first started freelancing I did what most freelancers do: I worked from home. It was great at first, no more commuting! I could jump into work straight away and once the day was over I didn't need to travel anywhere to get home.

Freelance Tip #1 - Side Projects

I've been freelancing full-time for a couple of years now (I freelanced part-time while at Uni so I've actually been doing it for quite a while!) and in that time there's been a fair few ups and downs. As a result I've decided to put together a couple of blog posts on freelancing, nothing major just a few tips that I've found useful while working freelance.

Tutorial for the Computer Arts Photoshop magazine

I was recently asked to create a short tutorial for the new Computer Arts Photoshop Studio Training magazine.

video timeline tutorial

The tutorial aims to provide a basic overview of the video timeline feature in Photoshop. As well as covering how to import and work with video footage, I also look at how you can create simple animations using keyframes.

Animating a still photograph in After Effects

I was looking through some of the pictures on my phone from last summer and decided to have a go at creating a short animation from a still photograph. Here's the result:

Here's the original photograph:

speckled wood butterfly for animation

Shapes - animation

Another little motion graphics piece I've created, this time to experiment with a couple of different techniques when animating 2D shapes in After Effects.

Motion graphics promotional video

To go along with my website redesign I thought it was time for a brand new promotional video as well. Here's the finished video:

Once again the music was provided by my good friend Andy - http://andyhudsonmusic.com

Introducing: Block - a simple tumblr theme

Today I submitted my first Tumblr theme: 'Block' for review. (I named it 'block' because the main navigation is quite block-like as is the general structure of the overall theme.)

Who's tweeting the most?

In an effort to learn a bit more about the Twitter API I decided to set myself a little weekend project to try and create something with the data available.

I'm used to working with PHP and found this pretty solid PHP library which gave me a good base with which to get started on. If you use another programming language, the Twitter developers site has a comprehensive list of other libraries available.

GrammarTime JavaScript word clock

As a little side project I decided it might be pretty cool to create an online word clock which shows the time as you might speak it.

So, I created: GrammarTime.

I'm pretty pleased with the result, looks pretty nice in full screen mode too.

I also learned a nifty little trick for hiding the navigation bar in Safari on the iPhone, just use the following bit of JavaScript on page load:

A photo of the Moon taken from my iPhone

I took the photograph below by lining up my iPhone to the eyepiece of a telescope. It was slightly tricky to get lined up but I think the end result was pretty great:

The Moon taken from an iPhone by Thomas Davis

Pretty cool huh?

Using ifttt to archive your tweets

UPDATE: unfortunately due to recent changes in the Twitter API it seems IFTTT has to remove the Twitter triggers which means the following technique will no longer work. Thanks Twitter.

I’ve been seeing quite a few tweets about not being able to search back through your own tweets, with some users even offering to pay twitter for such a service:

Planning a project pie chart

Today I have yet again been faced with this:

Planning a project pie chart

Personally, I think something needs to change with regards to domain name registrations. Perhaps if a domain isn't put to good use within 6 months it should be put up for sale again?

At least the ordeal inspired me to make something!

GotBrief - a site to fuel your creativity.

Over the past couple of months I've been working on a self initiated project: GotBrief.

After attending Build 2011 I was inspired, truly inspired by the various talks and events which took place over the course of the conference. So inspired infact I decided to actually go out and build something, something which would hopefully inspire and help others to go out and create something too.

Level Up

I've been working on the following design recently:

level up poster design by thomas

I'm quite happy with the final result, I did have the chevrons of the military insignia as solid colour rather than the vertical lines but I find they add a slight illusion to the piece; can you see the three floating platforms?

The lone vagabond

I've been playing about with the idea of a design involving the outline of a person, much like the style of the Mad Men opening titles, however I have been a bit too busy lately to actually design anything!

I managed to play around with some of the ideas today and I came up with the following:

2010 - A year to remember

Captains log, star date December 31st 2010.

I find myself writing a blog post looking back on the year that has seemingly flown by and I can't help but smile.
At the start of 2010 I was heading into the second term of my final year at Lancaster University and I was part way through my dissertation.

Fast forward to the 22nd June - Results Day! On this day I found out that 4 years of hard work had finally paid off, I was awarded a First Class MSci degree in I.T & Media Communications! This was perhaps one of the happiest days of my entire life.

Motion graphics: kinetic titles.

With the phase 1 changes to my site now live, I finally had the chance to work on some motion design work.

To get back into the swing of using After Effects I created the video below, it showcases some 'kinetic titles' as well as some other cool visuals, check it out & let me know what you think:

My time at Lancaster University draws to a close.

On the 22nd June 2010 : I received the results of my four year degree. I am absolutely delighted to reveal: I achieved a first class Msci degree in I.T & Media Communications and as an added bonus I have also been nominated by the board of examiners to receive the IEEE Prize for outstanding performance on my final year project. I really couldn't have asked for a better end to my academic career!

My New Business Card Design

Over the past couple of months I've been busy working on my final year project & dissertation and as a result the blog has suffered slightly!

Fear not my faithful reader(s), I am back!

As an initial post I would like to showcase my new business card designs I had printed recently as part of the new brand design and the designedbythomas.co.uk URL change.

designedbythomas - the new URL.

Just a quick note, I have now added a new domain to my site: http://designedbythomas.co.uk - you will see exactly the same thing as if you were visiting the site from: http://thomasedavis.co.uk so there is no massive change going on with the working of the site.

designedbythomas.co.uk provides a slightly clearer url than thomasEdavis.co.uk - people can often miss out the E or spell Davis: davies.

Motion graphics: textured title fade

I recently wrote about the visual design within games and how I am inspired by the visual aesthetics of certain game environments & landscapes.

Following the post, I decided to have a play around with some of the aesthetic elements seen in one of the games I mentioned: Fallout 3.

Here is what I came up with:

The end of a few busy weeks...

Phew! The past couple of weeks have been properly busy for me; finishing various projects, revising for exams and finishing coursework. Today however: I am finished. At precisely 11.19am today I finished the last exam of my Msc and quite possibly the last exam of my academic career!

If you are following me on twitter then you will probably be glad to hear that my exams are over as I do tend to tweet about revision quite a bit!

My new Behance profile

I recently came across the site: behance.net - the site showcases creative portfolios and work from various people all over the world.

At the moment you cannot simply signup to the site, I am not sure whether or not this will change in the future but at the moment you can register interest in the site then be invited to join it. I registered my interest in the site and within a few hours was invited to join so it was quite a quick process.

New: Motion Graphics Promotional Video

I recently completed a new promotional motion graphics piece to advertise my services in a fun and exciting way. The music used in the video was produced by my good friend Andy Hudson.

The video makes use of the new Video Copilot Sure Target 2 plugin.

The video will take pride of place on the front page as a short description of what I do.

Check out the video below and feel free to leave your comments!

Looking to the future: 2010

As 2009 draws to a close I find myself looking ahead to the future, making plans and setting myself personal and professional goals.

2009 brought many changes to my website; the most notable change is the design of the site, the new design fit into the new direction of the site. A site more focussed on design and not just development.

As well as the new design, 2009 brought new areas of work: print and motion graphics both of which I am keen to expand on within 2010.

URL Change: Blog

Just a quick announcement: I recently changed the base URL for my blog from "blogs" to "blog" - this shouldn't really affect anything too much but if you have come across a page not found error when trying to reach the blog from an external link then this is why.

Graphic design portfolio section

Yes I have now increased my portfolio section to include my previous graphic design work.

This section will contain all graphics work (not website design) and will be updated very soon with all my previous work.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy checking out the: awesome new graphic design portfolio

(and remember if you need any graphic design work doing then contact me)

Student? Jobless? Enter: Student Gems

I have had a such a good experience with this site that I thought it deserved a blog post:

About a year ago I was introduced to a wonderful site: studentgems.com - a brilliant site for all students looking for part time work.

The site is so good because it allows students to advertise their own individual skills to employers and allows employers to search for students based on the skills they need!

Completely New Site

Welcome to the new site design!

I recently updated my site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 and to go with it I created the new theme you see before you.

Instead of upgrading from D5 to D6 I decided to make a fresh start. My old site had a lot of unnecessary modules & themes installed as well as unwanted content from when I first created the site. For all of these reasons I decided simply to create a whole new site, delete the old database and content and start with a new fresh install of Drupal 6.