Update: The trip is now over and it was a total blast. To view my online gallery of around 500 pictures click here.
Well, I left on the 18th and have been traveling around Israel now for about three days so far. Lots of cool places I've been able to visit and I've been taking all kinds of photos. My internet access and speed has been somewhat problematic and not very reliable. When a hotel says they have internet it doesn't mean broadband so the photos I have posted are a very small sampling of what I've taken so far.
So I sit in the grand court of a hotel in old town Jerusalem typing this. Hebrew and Arabs talking all around and I am drinking some kind of grapefruit juice. The internet is cool in that I can somewhat share it with you via this blog. So enjoy a few Israeli interludes I have had the past few days.
'A beautiful flower at Caesarea.'
The first place we visited was the Roman city of Caesarea built on the coast of the Mediterranean. The ruins were awesome and since there is so many fragments of antiquity they don't mind if you take pieces as long as they do not have certain features, so I grabbed a few of those.
'On top of Mt. Carmel overlooking the Megiddo Valley.'
We traveled to the top of Mt. Carmel which overlooks the Megiddo Valley. The future location of the battle of armageddon. While we were there the Israeli air force was flying jets through the air space so that was cool too.
'Steep stairs going down into an underground tunnel.'
In the Megiddo Valley was the 'Tel Megiddo' an ancient city that has about 26 layers of various ages built one on top of the other over time. To get water to the top they had to build a tunnel going straight down and out to the natural spring below. The picture above shows this access way. Of course it would have been san stairs back then.
Met this Zimbabwe gentleman at Nazareth of all places. He was the founding pastor of a Church and their members were traveling in Israel right now. Very nice guy.
'Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee.'
Got up at about 5am to watch the eclipse then watched the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. Too cool.
'St. Peters fish for lunch.'
When in Galilee eat like the Galilians. I am not a big fish person but I had to try it. It tasted pretty good but was very bony.
'Ruins at Capernaum.'
Up on a hill overlooking the shore of Galilee is the ruins of the apostle Simon Peters home. Next to that is the ruins of the first century synagogue. Hard to take a bad picture at this place.
In between all the cool pictures of the various locations we are visiting I am also capturing a bunch of great ancient textures I'll be creating a set with. Of course I am getting all kinds of strange looks though when were at a famous location and everyone is taking a picture of the main attraction and I am standing facing a wall or bending over and taking a texture picture of a wall or cool mosaic floor etc. LOL
Will try to post more later in the trip.
Feb 8, 2008
'The classic, tired and poorly designed Gold's Gym logo.'
I really enjoy doing logo identity work for small business owners. Helping them kick-start their new business with a logo identity that'll equip them to play with the big boys.
A recent client of mine use to own three "Gold's Gym" franchises locally. Over the years the franchise fee they paid monthly continued to climb eating into their profit margin. This year they decided to sell all of their locations and open up one new location under their own brand name.
'The Fitness Experience logo. Two formats.'
I always try to provide two formats for a logo so as it will work in any context regardless of proportion. The top incarnation I have nested the core mark inside a nice shield shape. The shield graphic is an iconic representation of the human torso. Cut-in on the sides yet still strong and bold. Fit if you will.
The bottom version is more airy, fresh, healthy and vibrant.
'Business card design.'
One of the best ways for a small business to market itself is to have unique business cards that stand out in a sea of marginal cookie cutter cards normally distributed to the public. In essence a business card is more then passing along mere information it's also communicating and advertising your brand and over time just adds to the bottom line equity of a business.
'Interior poster design. 1 of 3.'
In addition to a new logo, identity pieces, building and street signage I suggested they produce a set of '3' posters they could display inside their facility. The clients budget wasn't huge but I worked with the print vendor and we agreed on a fair price to digitally print '30' of each poster at 18x24 inches for a very reasonable price.
'Interior poster design. 2 of 3.'
I will assisting a web developer to flesh out their online presence as well.
Working on projects like this make me realize that a designer can effectively play a part in changing their local design culture in a positive way. It happens one project at a time.
'Interior poster design. 3 of 3.'
My client likes the fact they no longer have to pay a monthly franchise fee and they now have a better logo as well.
Feb 2, 2008
Poster art for Adobe.
Well it's been just over a year since I switched to Illustrator. You can read all about the real-world design project (shown above) that led to my switch and the back story of the move from Macromedia FreeHand to Adobe Illustrator here.
My first official design job from beginning to end in Adobe Illustrator was the above poster design. I've given myself a year to get use to Illustrators methods and functionality. You can see my entire process of creating the art above and my struggles to use illustrator for the first time beginning to end on this project via a free tutorial on my other site IllustrationClass.com.
I've noticed a few nick-names former FreeHand users have given Illustrator since switching and all prove to be accurate ironically enough. Here are some I've heard. (Feel free to share more in your comments below)
See a trend developing?
Bubbling ideas. Or as I like to call it, "Slow Boiling."
I've had a lot of FreeHand users contact me about switching. So I decided to share a few plugins for AI that I use which helps building vectors go a lot smoother and faster in Illustrator. It is kind of sad that these tools exist if you think about it. If an application was adequate why would anyone be motivated to create essentially the same type of tools that already exist in the app for the most part? It's because Adobes are found wanting pure and simple.
Plugins I suggest for Illustrator
- XtreamPath: These tools work better then Adobes own tools which says a lot about Adobes lack of progression with their base tool set and improving upon it. They simply never do and it shows. These tools speed up my build times greatly so it was well worth the price.
- Point Control: Adobe promised with CS3 that point control would be added and improved. At best it's still hinky and clunky. This plugin works great and I use it all the time and avoid Illustrators lame and lacking point control tools.
- Better Handles: Another excellent plugin for Illustrator. The whole idea of point control is what this plugin does so well and makes so easy. Sad that Adobe refuses to realize how wanting their core tools are to the point (Pardon the pun) that it's inspired other software developers to step in and make them work the way they should. Well done Nineblock Software.
A replacement for "Collect For Output"
- Art Files: In FreeHand it was easy to gather content for final production you simply used the "Collect For Output" feature and it would gather everything into one folder. I still can't believe Adobe doesn't have this simple feature in it's app? That is just stupid. But thankfully a company offers a great little app called "Art Files" and it works the same way. Sure it'll take longer just because it's not integrated into Illustrator but hey everything will take longer now that you're using Illustrator so stop whining. (Sorry, kind of reflected Adobes attitude towards FreeHand users there)
Setting up Custom Keyboard Shortcuts to Mimic FreeHand Functions.
I have set up a bunch of my own custom keyboard commands to make building go faster in Illustrator. Below is a list of the ones I personally use. This makes running the function one key press rather then a combination of keys. It also helps me do what I did in FreeHand even though Illustrator wasn't set up to do it that way.
F1: Paste Inside (Have both mask shape and content selected)
F2: Cut Contents
F3: Clone (An action Copies, and Pastes in place))
F4: Send to Back
F5: Bring to Front
F7: Fix Compound Paths
F8: De-Select All
All of these plugins and custom keyboard shortcuts are merely workarounds for a poor user experience in Illustrator. Of course Adobe fan boys will now feel obligated to post but frankly they don't know any better. Sure they are use to it and don't see it as a problem then again they have nothing to compare it too either. Kind of frog in the kettle if you will.
Bottom line Adobe has neglected Illustrator over time, they continue to stuff it full of new feature bloat which makes Adobe marketing
Will they improve the base building of vector shapes? I doubt it so it's my hope that another company will create a better drawing application and thus encourage Adobe to do what they should. My vote is Apple, but I know I am dreaming.