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Mountain Multimedia

Edmonds Web Design and Services

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 POS Integration30-Oct-2012

Wondering about Point Of Sale integration with your Online Store? I have multiple options to get yo..

 Mobile Apps20-Jun-2012

MMM has just created some exciting new Apps. If you need a smartphone App for Android and iPhon..

 SEO Coaching06-Jul-2011

Benefit Long run from Training in SEO Search Engine Optimization...I can help you get your SEO tuned..

 New You Tube Channel02-Jun-2011

Mountain Multimedia has launched a new You Tube Channel on Web Education and resources for learning ..

 New Web Design Mountain23-May-2011

Visit the Newly Updated "Web Design Mountain" site for Designers and Developers of all things web. ..

Web Multimedia Blog

Last Posted: 20-Jun-2012 | Total Posts: 15

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Flash XML loops and accessing data

Joel Reinke - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I was reading a bunch of articles on how to work with XML in Flash to refresh my memory and there were a lot of misleading pages.

I found this one to be the most helpful:

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/ActionScript/3.0_ProgrammingAS3/WS5b3ccc516d4fbf351e63e3d118a9b90204-7e6b.html

It gave more direct ways to get at the data and it was a quicker method of getting my work done.

Thanks!  I'll be using it in my new app Photo Paint to allow saving and accessing settings.

The Latest: Apps & PHP customization

Joel Reinke - Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So what's been going on lately?

Been making some exciting 3D Apps.  Starting with Android but I can get this over to iPhone quickly.  Using Flash CS6 to make Apps better and faster.  I thought they would be bloated and take long download times but so far that is definitely not the case.  The apps are quite efficient and clean.  I think I can offer this because I do most of the design in code (actionscript 3) and this produces SWF files that are much leaner than if you use the Flash GUI to make Apps.  So I'd have to say I'm liking developing apps with Flash.  We'll see - keep you posted as I go farther.

PHP Development: Making a lot of sites using Wordpress and Magento.  Getting into some pretty deep PHP to customize them heavily to the clients wishes.  Also using XML, JQuery, CSS, AJAX.

 

The Latest: Apps & PHP customization

Joel Reinke - Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So what's been going on lately?

Been making some exciting 3D Apps.  Starting with Android but I can get this over to iPhone quickly.  Using Flash CS6 to make Apps better and faster.  I thought they would be bloated and take long download times but so far that is definitely not the case.  The apps are quite efficient and clean.  I think I can offer this because I do most of the design in code (actionscript 3) and this produces SWF files that are much leaner than if you use the Flash GUI to make Apps.  So I'd have to say I'm liking developing apps with Flash.  We'll see - keep you posted as I go farther.

PHP Development: Making a lot of sites using Wordpress and Magento.  Getting into some pretty deep PHP to customize them heavily to the clients wishes.  Also using XML, JQuery, CSS, AJAX.

 

Important Magento Resources - links

Joel Reinke - Monday, May 14, 2012

Here is a collection of important links for Magento that I personally use as my bookmarks/favorites.  They are meant more for designers and developers and are a handy bunch of resources:

  • Web Design
    • Magento
      • Important Note: I've been using Business Catalyst for longer than I've been using Magento.  The main reason I started using Magento is because I took on a client who was using Magento and I was able to customize it for him based on my knowledge of PHP.  Business Catalyst has proven to be much more easily designable than Magento but I have found various situations where a client will want some deep customization that can't be done in BizCat and that's where Magento can come in.  So each has its place. :) Also eCommerce for Wordpress can be nice for some simpler store setups (more later)
      • Make Magento Theme from Scratch - this is probably the best written guide to getting started with designing in Magento
      • Customer Groups Extention for Magento - this unlocks a lot of Magento's potential by allowing access to only certain user groups (like Wholesalers vs. General Public)
      • Importing Newsletter Subscribers - points out that this is just like importing Customers, which is different from previous versions of Magento
      • Intro to Magento Development - a good start
      • Creating Custom Fields - without any development, you can add new Fields to products in Magento, this is a nice feature that makes a difference over other eCommerce systems.
      • Moving the Site (Test to Live) - please note, this didn't work very well.  I find it hard to move the site in Magento which is a detractor.  It would be better to create a test site and a production site and modularly move components over and then move over data... this is my point in bringing this link up for now, hopefully better info/methods will come along.
      • Magento: How to show products on Home page - it is not the default so knowing how to do this is good.  Fairly easy.
      • Move Magento to another Server - using SSH, not just a lite move.  This is the better way to try to move Magento, but still wasn't adaptable to moving it from one directory to another.  Still working on that.
      • Affordable Magento Hosting with an Upgrade Path - looks to be a good way to go (Please note: I have not worked with this company at this point and do not vouch for them - it just seems like a logical type of host for Magento)
      • Magento Cloud Hosting - add cloud flexibility to the equation. Also have not tried but looks good.
      • Another Magento Host - read the subtext: Magento should probably not be run on a shared hosting type account, its too memory/processor intensive!  Unless its just a casual store, get a good host! (VPS/VDS or DS or cloud?)
      • Display Category/Subcategory List - I used this as a basis for starting to build a cool, unique navigation structure on a site.  You'd think this stuff would be more natural for a system but its not with Magento.  Not to be down on it, just giving you a realistic impression on what you have to look forward to on Magento. :)
      • Max File Upload Size - one really nice thing on Magento is you can have File Uploads on products sold.  So, for example, someone could send a picture with their purchase and that could be printed on a mug, etc.  I haven't seen this as a standard thing for other eCommerce systems (I haven't tried them all of course).  This link will talk about how to limit the size of the uploads to avoid someone trying to crash the server, etc.  Wow, there's a can of worms.

DSLR vs. Camcorder for Video

Joel Reinke - Thursday, January 05, 2012

Comparing HD Video of DSLR to Camcorders

Being a big DSLR user myself, I see the marketing hype towards using Digital SLRs for HD Video. It is true, they do provide many benefits, but the excitement surrounding this may make you miss the fact that today’s HD Camcorders have a contrasting set of features that may better serve your needs (or not). I hope to address the strengths of each in this article so you can decide what is best for you (or use both in the right applications).

In the past few years there have been many HD Camcorders from entry-level to mid-prosumer that have sullied the name of the quality of HD. This has definitely fueled the push towards DSLRs being looked upon as the go-to for semi-affordable quality HD Video. Issues such as abysmal low-light performance and noise in the video quality have made people think of HD Camcorders as poor substitutes for strength of DSLR’s video.

But in the last year or so, some new Camcorders (in the entry to mid level) have arrived that are leveling the playing field for these issues. So now the real comparison can begin! How does the core aspect of using a DSLR for video compare to using a Camcorder for video?

Using a DSLR for video is more comparable to the experience a film maker would have. It has a more cinematic feel and quality. Depth of Field is more controllable and you are still more likely to be able to have the best low-light performance due to larger sensors. However, you may be stuck with manual focus. A Camcorder will definitely handle better for action, less pre-planned shots, much easier auto-focusing, walking around without bumps (with the right Image Stabilization), easier to zoom in while shooting, and a ton of other convenient features.

[Side Topic: Yah, well doesn’t the Sony A55, A65, and A77 solve those DSLR issues?!?]

Here is a more in depth comparison chart on the pros and cons of each and what scenarios each could be best for: 

Topic

DSLR

HD Camcorder

Controllable Focus, Depth of Field (useful in Cinematic presentation)

A clear winner in this category. Deferent lenses can further enhance this

Not as good. Some have focus rings but not any entry level. Plus smaller sensor size makes the shallowest depth of field impossible. On the flip side, if you like everything in focus then this is the way to go.

Low Light Performance

Used to be the only way to go but now Camcorders are much better and may have even caught up

This used to be a deal breaker but now depending on the unit, many have exceptional low-light

Noise

Still a winner, but even some earlier DSLRs with Video have bad/moderate noise.

Much better than ever for Camcorders. Depends on model. Smaller sensor size can cause issue but many models have totally fixed this

Auto Focus

Really bad. You just need to use Manual, except on Sony’s dSLTs but even those have a slight issue. For DSLRs with some Auto Focus in Video - they use Contrast Based Auto Focus which hunts a bit and would be unusable for real video (more below)

Very Good. Even though some use contrast based detection, with the smaller sensor size the focusing can happen quickly and accurately. Many camcorders also have an autofocus sensor by the lens which works great.

Zoom During Video

Depends on your lens. A Quality lens will give a nice smooth zoom ring but a cheap one can have a sticky, plastic feel that makes smooth zooms impossible. Other issue: Focusing while zooming can be a problem, whereas many Camcorders can handle this

Most have a comfortable lever switch. The level of resistance varies and good ones have a slow zoom and fast zoom depending on how far you make the lever go. Also, settings can adjust the speed of the zoom.

Image Stabilization

You may think if your lens has Image Stabilization you’ll be ok for video but Lens Based Image Stabilization wasn’t meant for video, it was meant for making one photo at a time better able to account for hand shake. So if you are walking around doing video and expect it to be free of bumps, you will be disappointed. Sony’s dSLTs are better for this because the I.S. is in the camera but it still is built around being a photo camera. Best get a rigging system or steady cam ($$$)

The best kind of Image Stabilization for Video is built into Camcorders. It can make a video where you are walking around carefully free of bumps. Add a little rigging and it can be extremely smooth.

Motion

There can be issues with motion in panning and other fast moving objects, called the Jello Effect, which I won’t get into here.

Sharp, super smooth motion - but some are better than others.

Lens Consideration

DSLRs give you access to a range of lenses that give you flexibility and will help convince you to part with your money J

You better be happy with the lens in your camcorder ‘cause you won’t get another. A major thing to look for is how wide-angle the lens goes (usually quoted in 35mm terms). A 28mm Wide Angle lens in a Camcorder is about as wide as it will go. Many more like 43mm which may not get everything into the picture without excessive panning. One nice advantage of many camcorder lenses is that they have a F1.8 aperture (the lower the larger the hole to let light in). It would be ridiculously expensive to get a DSLR lens with F1.8 and 20 times optical zoom, but affordable in a Camcorder.

Best Uses

-Photos in Motion

-Cinematic Clips where shallow depth of field is a priority

-Action Video

-Everyday Video (don’t miss your kids first…)

-Sharp, Crispy Videos where everything’s in focus

More about Auto Focus - Why can’t DSLRs just autofocus? Its because they use the mirror inside to focus using Phase Detection for photos. When they shoot video, the mirror locks up to constantly let the sensor “see things“, so the regular autofocus can’t work. Newer models use the sensor and contrast based auto-detection, but I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work very well. So why don’t they fix that? My idea is they should add a sensor like camcorders have for autofocus as a plug-in attachment to sit on the end of the lens for Canon or Nikon DSLRs (or make Translucent Mirror cameras like Sony).
Another point - I’ve heard the argument that: Just use Manual Focus like they do in the movies… Ok, in the movies they have a guy called a Focus Puller and all he does is focus on the subject and they usually preplan all shots taking measurements for reference. Does that sound realistic for everyday shots? Years ago Nikon lost the format war to Canon when Canon introduced quality AutoFocus lenses and Nikon sat back for some years. This is video, not photo, but its possible something like this could happen with Sony now. We will see. Using Sony’s Digital SLT cameras, the auto focus is very good, the only issue is that the focus happens so quickly that it is quite an abrupt change in video to see focus shift from one subject to another this way (kind of jerky).

Contrastingly, Camcorders have nice, fast auto focus built in and it is very easy to use. Some high-end models have a focus ring which allows some creative techniques that may give their videos a cinematic quality. Even more have touch screens that allow you to touch what you want to be in focus - which may be a better option still.

In Summary: for most Video purposes, HD Camcorders seem to be the winner. New improvements in the technology in the past year have made the old objections to Camcorders a thing of the past. However, DSLRs can be better for cinematic work, artistic work, and photos in motion. The best option is to have one of each to cover all applications, but HD Camcorders can cover the bulk of your video needs.

[ There are definitely still a lot of bad camcorders out there. I’m not saying they’re all good. Find out the few, the proud that changed the game in my opinion HERE]

 

 

Photoshop Tree Tutorial

Joel Reinke - Monday, November 07, 2011

This ones a keeper!

My more simple "Water Bubble" tutorial gets a lot of traffic (and it kind of makes sense), but I feel that this is the first art-grade video tutorial I've created.  The art of making a tree in Photoshop is something I feel there has been a void on YouTube.  This is a quality tutorial that draws from both my years of Photoshop experience and my real painting experience.

I have squeezed a lot into the 5 minute tutorial.  It is also just step 1 of 3 on how to complete the tree.  Part 2 will be shading and texturing.  Part 3 will be adding leaves.

Check it out at: http://youtu.be/cNKOt1MwDoU 

Edmonds Online News

Joel Reinke - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I wanted to share some resources that are new or updated for Edmonds that are online:

  • Cynderellie's Closet - has a new bridal web site that I designed that features 3D Design using Flash Papervision3D and Wordpress.  This is a good resource for any soon to be bride in the area for dresses, accessories, bridesmaid dresses, and good advice.
  • Wellness 4 Ever - provides info and resources on products to help your health long run.  Also focuses on Weight Loss, and energy supplements that are healthy.
  • Edmonds Sport Academy - I have begun working with the ESA to provide content management services and developing deeper and better functionality for their Sports Website.  This is a good resource for anyone in or around Edmonds looking to get more involved in sports.
  • Arista Wine Cellars - continuing to build their web presence and online efforts.  There's always something new going on at Arista and their Events Calendar is always adding new, fun events.

Many more Edmonds Online resources coming soon.

Developer Resource - Papervision3D

joel reinke - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've finally added the first Developer Resource to this site.  I was working with Papervision3D in Flash and was finding an obvious limitation in the Cylinder primitive.  It took the same surface and used it for the ends of the tube and the tube itself.

I'm pretty sure most often, no one wants that.  So I designed a fix that makes 2 materials for the cylinder: one for the "tube" and one for the top and bottom.  Now you can have an easy way to make more realistic Cylinder type objects to build your 3D "world". 

3D Flash Resource for Papervision 

Web Activity Cycle

joel reinke - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If you want to have traffic and results online you need Web Activity.  An active site, not a dead one.  It can be hard to know exactly what to do and have reminders to actually do it.  I've thought about this a lot and studied many resources to come up with the "Web Activity Cycle".

It is a resource of knowledge and advice, and its also a mousepad that I designed for keeping these important tasks top-of-mind.  Check it out in my Online Store.

I've put together easy reminders for 10 Weekly and 10 Monthly activities that if done right will grow your online presence.  Some of the suggestions are more standard and others are more advanced and specialized.  In the picture of the product I've blanked out the advice squares so people can't just print it out.  Besides, it works better as a mousepad because its more permanent and is on your desk where you need it.

My advice to you is to order one of these mousepads if you want to keep your existing website or blog getting great traffic.  If you allow it to be a coaching device you can make progress online.

Photoshop Landscape Painting Expanded

Joel Reinke - Friday, September 09, 2011

Just expanded upon: Photoshop Landscape Painting article with tons of new helpful tutorials on how to paint the Sea, Lakes, Oceans, and other bodies of water.  A little more on the art of Mountain Painting in Photoshop.  This is becoming a big resource on the topic and it keeps expanding for you.  Free, useful info.

Includes step by step instructions (unlike many tutorials).  I forsee a Video Tutorial connected to this in the future, but no time right now.  Click here to go to the Article.

Enjoy!