Creating Chronos - a futuristic interface kit for After Effects

I’ve always loved sci-fi, it’s my favourite genre by far. The world building, the rules, the foresight, just the wonderful creativity involved in creating something out of this world is what fascinates me the most.

As a motion designer, I've always wanted to have a go at creating a futuristic project in After Effects, creating my own little sci-fi world, a project that could have been pulled from the pages of William Gibson or Phillip K. Dick.

Glitch effect presets for After Effects

Fragment is the latest project I've made for Loop - a set of 15 glitchy transitions and presets for After Effects.

Had a lot of fun making the promo for this one too:

Microphone setup for voice over work

Following on from my post about starting voice over work as part of my motion design projects I thought I'd do a quick run down of the setup I use:

voiceover work mircophone setup

Before I started I did quite a bit of research into the different microphones available and the best setup for recording high quality audio. Here's what I went with:

Handicons icon pack

Throughout a lot of my motion design work I find myself needing different hand icons; perhaps a hand pointing to something, or swiping on a phone screen.

That's why I've made Handicons! A set of 30 different hand icons, take a look at the preview:

A set of 30 hand icons

The set is available to buy from Gumroad - as a special treat use the code thomas10 for 10% off!

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.

Tracking link clicks with Google Analytics

When I released Skylights a few months ago, I wanted to track how many people actually clicked the download link to give me a rough idea of how many people were trying them out.

Luckily, Google Analytics lets you track particular interactions on your site using 'Events'. Setting up an event to be logged is pretty straightforward, all you need to do is add a tiny bit of code to the onClick attribute of a link like so:

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:

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:

Moving Brands & their creative process

Mat Heinl gave a great talk at the Northern Digitals BLAB event yesterday in which he showcased some of the various projects Moving Brands have worked on recently.

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.

Wunderlist: the fantastic task management app

If you're trying to find a decent to-do list app then you really need to checkout the task management tool: Wunderlist. As well as a web app, wunderlist is also available for a wide variety of devices and perhaps the best thing about it: it's absolutely free. Incredible really when you look at the key features the app has to offer:

Quickly resize a lot of images in Photoshop

Over the weekend I needed to resize an entire folder full of photos from my brothers graduation so I could upload them to the web without it taking 100 years to complete. I could have simply opened up each image in Photoshop, resized & re-saved them however that would have probably taken longer than the upload so I did a little research into automating the process.

Website overhaul: new design and development

Last week I released the latest version of designedbythomas.co.uk. If you ever visited the old site then you will see there has been quite a drastic change to the overall theme and structure.

Qwiki: the information experience

A couple of months ago I discovered Qwiki.com, a site which aims to transform the way in which people consume information on web by offering 'information experiences'. The site aims to do this by allowing users to search for information on a particular topic, much like conventional sites although; rather than simply returning a list of results the user is given a short presentation or 'Qwiki' which contains a variety of different panels with all sorts of information in various different formats depending on what you searched for.

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.

Incorrect password error using GMail on the iPhone

Whenever an "enter password" message box pops up on my iPhone I immediately enter my iTunes password, it's pretty much a an immediate action and I don't tend to look at what the message is saying once I see the word: "Password" I just zone out and enter it.

So when the familiar message box below popped up I proceeded to enter my iTunes password as per usual!

passwordError

Website design inspiration: designfridge.co.uk

I think we all need a bit of inspiration once in a while, regardless of the field you work in! It is always useful to find a consistent source of inspiration which you can admire whenever a creative block forms over your head.

Not long ago I came across designfridge - a brilliant collection of various different websites and website designers all packaged into a cool clean site.

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.

The real beauty of the Apple iPad

After months of speculation and a plethora of "is this the new Apple Tablet?" images, Apple finally revealed to the world: The iPad.

Is this is it for Internet Explorer?

In my previous blog post on website design & cross-browser support , I brought up the issue of cross-browser support and the main challenges for website designers trying to acheive the same site in all browsers - most notable Internet Explorer 6. Now, it seems that problem may be about to be resolved.

A useful tool for website development & cross-browser support

A major aspect of website design & development is cross-browser support: making sure your website looks and feels 'roughly' the same in different web browsers running on different operating systems.

Visualization of RFID

In my blog post on the nabaztags, I talked about the RFID rabbits known as nano:ztags bringing a relatively new and emerging technology to the public in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

I then remembered a site which I had come across a couple of months ago: nearfield.org - the site relates to the research project: "touch" which investigates Near Field Communications.

Nabaztag: the wireless rabbit

OK, now you may look at the title of this post and think that I have lost it but keep with me!

I am infact talking about this little critter:

Real-time search from Google

Google have just released a video of their real-time search function.

So what does this mean? Well, if someone was searching for an article on the new realtime search function in Google at around 8pm on the 7th of December 2009 then my blog post and all the related blog posts will show within the real-time results.

Basically, it gives users access to up-to-the-minute results from a wide variety of sources and from the video it seems twitter will play a big role in the real-time searches.

Visually stunning: Gorey Castle besieged by projection

Now this is how you attack a castle in the 21st Century!

The effect was achieved by mapping out the castle and then creating the various animations to fit the map - it was then projected onto the castle using a very high intensity projecter: the Christie 25K projector.

The end result is truly magnificent, especially the final 5 seconds!

The project by Seeper, was displayed at the Jersey Branchage Festival 2009.

Google Wave: Initial thoughts

For those of you who don't know what Google Wave is - check out this guide to google wave from Mashable.com.

At approximately 8am on the 30th October 2009, I received an invite to Google Wave!

I had been informed that an invite was heading my way from a twitter contact (@BruceElrick), but the invite process is not instant and for me it was 3 days from being put in the invite queue to getting my invite!

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!