Web Multimedia Blog

Multimedia Web Design Advice, Photography, Video, music, Mobile Websites, and Company News.

New 3D Web Page: My Portfolio

joel reinke - Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A new portfolio page has now been launched.  The Mountain MultiMedia portfolio page was in need of an update since the new web page design was launched.  I really wanted to keep working with the 3D Flash package that I used for Carousel: Papervision3D.  This was a great opportunity to utilize it.

I've seen many basic 3D portfolios using a rotating carousel (way more basic than the Carousel web site), and many fading slideshows.  I wanted to try something new and exciting, and I came up with the 'Floating Cloud Portfolio'.



Check it out at: http://www.mountainmultimedia.biz/portfolio

What inspired this? I love landscape photography and landscape painting.  This is kind of the Multimedia equivalent of the two.  The web design is similar to the other new web pages, with the mountain locked to the bottom of the browser and it resizes to fit any screen.  Overlaid on top of that is the clouds and portfolio pictures that move as the mouse moves.  Its like a constantly evolving painting!

It utilizes the particle system to keep the massive number of floating objects efficient.  Clicking on the pictures expands them and gives a description of the design work I did for them. 

It is also easy to update as it uses XML to handle the data.  This program is very easily adaptable for many styles.

If you are interested in using this for your own website, let me know and I'll put something together for you.

Wordpress as C.M.S. (Content Management System) - Pros and Cons

joel reinke - Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Blog Popularity has led to an evolution for Wordpress:

If you don't know about Blogging: Wordpress has taken a lead in creating an easy to use platform for serving-up content.  So much so that their easy to use Dashboard/Control Panel can also be used as a way to keep the rest of your website up to date.  In addition, there is a simple way to adjust Wordpress so that the blog page doesn't come up first: your 'Home Page' does.  You can make a menu system so the whole blog-run website looks and feels like a website with a blog, not just a blog with some extra pages tacked on.

This means Wordpress can be your complete, C.M.S. (Content Management System)
(Not Client Management System - at one point this got me too)
If CMS still means nothing to you, this is a simple way to think of it: you can edit your own webpage easily with no coding needed (at least after it's initially set up)

Now I'm not going to go into how to set that up, there are many other blogs online about how that works.  What this blog will focus on is how I've implemented this for some of my clients and the PROs and CONs of using Wordpress as your CMS.


What are you looking for in a web authoring platform? AND How tech savvy are you?

 

First obvious thing: You want a Blog.  If you don't, there are some better options out there for CMS's
 
These questions can be a good start for helping determine if Wordpress will work for your website.  For example, there are a lot of free templates out there for Wordpress.  I think these would work fine for a casual blog but a blog for a serious business would want to customize the template (or theme) or start from scratch and build a completely new theme.  Skills required: CSS, php, graphic Design, etc.

Another positive: many hosting companies are offering Wordpress as an easy to install addition to your website.  So you don't need to worry about a complicated installation.  If your host does not provide this easy option, we can evaluate what it would take to install it on your host.

The next important thing is the content you plan to put into Blog Posts and Web Pages.   Aside from the nicely formatted header, footer, and (optional) sidebar, and cool backgrounds and designs that will be on your page: There is that content section of each page.  Like for this post, it is just the text and images for this 'article'.  Not the graphics up at the top for the menu, etc.  For just the posts or pages, will you need any special formatting?  If so, maybe Wordpress isn't right for you.  Most of the special formatting can be designed for the rest of the page, but the content section should be kept simple - text, images, movies, and whatever else you can add in - in a straight forward layout. 

WHY?  If you put special formatting into the Wordpress page using their editor, sometimes it can strip it out and you're left with a broken design until you fix it.  It especially can have problems with CSS added in (div's especially).  If you code in HTML directly you can avoid this, but if you switch back over to the graphic editor it often strips it out. 

But, you really shouldn't need special formatting in your post or page.  Design or hire someone to design the wordpress theme so it looks great with simple posts/pages and then when you're writing your posts you can go quickly and not worry about special formatting, just content.

A bit more on 'How tech savvy are you?'  - If you can use email and have ever uploaded a photo onto anything online, you can use Wordpress.  The only exceptions are if you want to customize the look and feel of your blog, you need skills in HTML, CSS, PHP, and graphic design skills or ready to use graphics.  Contact Us if you need assistance here.

There are exceptions to the 'rule' mentioned above about special formatting on pages.  See www.bodyspaonline.com for examples.  If you notice the background changes for each section and there are other formatting changes as well.  All of this was done with specialized design with PHP and CSS but the client doesn't need to worry about that.  She just makes changes or additions to pages - doesn't mess with any special formatting - and the formatting is handled behind the scenes.  The only thing that can throw a monkey wrench into it is if <div>'s get added in and/or tags don't get closed.  The point is: use the theme/design to do special formatting.


There is a lot more to it, but in summary:

Pros:

  • Free
  • Has a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) = easy to use tool for anyone to edit web pages
  • Some hosting services provide easy install
  • Many Free Themes/Templates that can be a good starting point (Hire us to customize them or from scratch)
  • Can easily insert images, movies, links, and much more

Cons:

  • Customization requires technical skills
  • Special Formatting in content section can cause problems
  • Won't do everything for you (Online Store, E-mail Marketing, Social Networking, :) cook for you)

Thanks for checking in.  In a future post I'll talk more about other C.M.S. options that can provide some of the things Wordpress is limited on.

Still, Wordpress is great!  It's doing way more than it was originally intended for.

Contact Mountain Multimedia if you need a custom designed Wordpress Theme or Plug-in.

3D Web Design

joel reinke - Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Just launched our first 3D Web Design
www.carouselcafeandicecream.com

3D Web Design ShotIt was a very in-depth process but was a lot of fun.  I hope to do many more designs in 3D.  I think making a game is in order, though I don't know if I'll have the time to do it.  At the very least I will revamp my own web design to incorporate 3D in the coming month or so.

I don't want to go into the technicals on it but just wanted to mention that I learned 3D modeling in the process.  I almost was able to design the whole thing without it, utilizing the base functions of flash Papervision3D,  but the client requested horses be added to the carousel - which made perfect sense.  This was a great opportunity to dive into 3D modeling and I feel confident I could now model all sorts of animals, creatures, buildings, and more.  To keep the load time of the horses managable, I kept the design of the horse to a low polygon count.  I look forward to posting a more elaborate horse model in its own flash page where there are not so many other items eating up processing.

UPDATE, October 27: I went back in to try and develop the horse 3D model more elaborately.  I found that because of some of the efficiency choices I made to make it load faster, it was hard to get that back to where I needed it to be for efficient modeling.  Part of that was, like many have mentioned, because when you get out of quads into triangles, it becomes a workflow issue. Now, seeing that play out, I couldn't agree more.  Triangle dominant models are tough to work with, however, to keep a model managable for 3D Web site design, you need to creatively break it down into a triangle-based model.  Why? Because every quad requires 2 triangles in Papervision3D.  And just to put it in context, you only get about 3000 triangles in Papervision before performance suffers.  If this seems low its because internet browsers only give a smaller portion of memory to Flash processing and some other issues. Anyway, I digress:

The point I was trying to make is I've ditched the idea of continuing work on the horse model in favor of making a 3D Dragon!  I've always loved dragon art and have had difficulty painting one.  So I'm 3D modeling one and so far its looking quite good.  It's going to be a pretty high-polygon count model so it may not be able to display online in flash, but we'll see.  I will at least post some high res renders of it from Blender, etc.
-----END UPDATE-------

(BTW: If you'd like a more in-depth guide to 3D Web Design let me know)

So please go and check out Carousel, they have great ice cream, donuts, sandwiches, and more!

If you're considering a 3D web design, I'd highly encourage it for the right creative application/presentation.

Thanks,

-Joel Reinke

Art, Plein Air, and Cameras

joel reinke - Friday, March 19, 2010
So I went out and did some Plein Air painting about a week ago and realized some things.
(Plein Air is painting outside in a rather quick manner to capture the light as it is)

I was at Green Lake (Seattle) and had a great time - though I got a bit sunburnt.  It was a nice day. 
NOTE: Painted in Acrylic on Watercolor Paper.

It is nice to get out there and paint rather than working from a photo because the photo has limits.  You can't turn your head a bit and see what's going on around you in a photo.  With plein air you can really pull in the whole environment and work in things that wouldn't fit into a photo and it doesn't look all warped. 

Next, you can be selective, in fact you have to.  Some of the crud that ruins a photo you can just leave out.  This will focus the painting on what you want and creates a great final scene.  Now I'm also getting really into photography so I also really like to work on framing up a shot just right, but that's a different story.

Plein Air is also nice because you can loosen up a bit and go free on the canvas.  More impressionistic.  Relax. :)

OK, so the point that ties into photography is this:

If you are an artist and want to take photos to paint from you need to do this:
Get an ultra-wide lens.
This is a multimedia lesson, coming from someone who is exploring a range of different mediums.
Why do you want an ultra-wide lens?
Because one of the biggest take aways I had from doing Plein Air is that a big benefit is having the ability to look around and see the big picture.

If you don't have the luxury of doing this, then an ultrawide lens is a must.  It is a lens for an SLR or digital SLR camera that allows you to "zoom way out" and take in everything around you.  Then you can use this as reference for your painting.  I still recommend just going outside and doing Plein Air.  It will probably be less expensive and its a different experience.  But working with an Ultra-Wide lens, compared to other lenses (like a telephoto) feels very artistic because you really want to work to find a nice spot where everything is just right and then work with the manual settings to get different effects.  Also, an ultra-wide is great for creating photos with interest because you can create a scene with a striking foreground subject, a mid-ground, and a sprawlingly broad background - all in one photo!

Summary:
-Get outside to live art
-Utilize Ultra-wide Lenses for great photos

-Joel Reinke

Welcome to the Web Multimedia Blog

joel reinke - Thursday, February 25, 2010
Hello,

Welcome to Mountain MultiMedia Web Design's new blog!  We offer complete online solutions with online business functionality.  Its not just online Store software, its a complete package to help you build online success.

Located in Edmonds Web Design this blog is a resource for you for many needs: advice on web design, entertainment and photographs,  news about new offerings from us, and other educational resources related to online design.

Explore the rest of this website to learn about the features of this platform. Here, I wanted to point out were some great ideas about uses for online businesses:
  • Turn your idea into a business: One of the solutions offered by Mountain Multimedia Web Design is a great Online Store Platform and it is really for anyone who has an idea, hobby, full business,or passion that has marketable potential.  You could take this and have a real money stream on your hands.  Whether this is a full time job for you or something you want to run on the side, Mountain Multimedia's Joel Reinke can consult with you to make your idea hammer out into a real business.
  • You can sell e-products with this (online products with no shipping like files and programs)!  You could make your own iTunes for example.  or maybe sell photos, software (shareware), etc. 
  • Make your own subscription based service - like a monthly fee for stock photography.

    I hope I've given you some food for thought.

    Thanks, Until Next time.

    -Joel Reinke
     Certified Web Developer