Nike placed the following ad in the New York Times in celebration of Black History Month. It simply reads “Honor those who stepped forward when others were thinking backwards”.
Naturally- the ad was produced by Wieden+Kennedy (in our home town of Portland, OR).
I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not, boy howdy are you in for a treat! Someone took “Machine” by the Buddy Rich Big Band (it’s on “The New One” available at iTunes), added it to some Saul Bass design sensibility, and Star Wars, mixed it all up and created a very happy treat indeed. Especially for me, because I think a lot of Saul Bass design is pretty fantastic, and because Star Wars is one of my favorite things ever ever ever. Ask anyone who’s spent more than 10 minutes in the same room with me. So let’s get to it, I’ll catch you after the video:
And what’s even cooler is you can end up down the rabbit hole of Bass opening credits. I love those credits! We’ve discussed credits before, and what’s funny is that Amanda talks about how she loves the Hitchcock credits and that’s all Saul, baby! So I looked up a bit more about Saul Bass and here’s some interesting bits of info:At the Design Museum you can read about how Saul Bass virtually invented the awesome opening credit sequence with “Man With The Golden Arm”. I had no idea! A lot of movies try really hard with them now, so it was odd to consider not seeing ANY credits. But then they also say the curtain used to actually open, revealing the screen, and I can’t remember the last time I saw that either!
Did you know that you might be a secret Saul Bass fan? Well odds are good. Have you ever seen the logo on Kleenexes or Girl Scout Cookies or even the logo for the phone company (back when there was only one)? All Saul. In fact, The Looniverse (which has a great name) has a whole section dedicated to the man and his work. If you want to just look at all the pretty pictures, you can check out NotComing for galleries of stills from his title sequences.
You can also read about his life on the AIGA Medalist website. What an interesting guy! I think seeing these credits and seeing credits inspired by his credits has definitely informed my personal aesthetic. Whenever a home decor choice is being made and I don’t like something my husband just chalks it up to me being a Mac user and demanding that other things in my world look nice like my computer does. Yeah, he’s right, but I think Saul Bass and credits probably contribute their fair share as well.
Now, if my blog post were a film, I’d put Bass-style closing credits here…
So, the typical bane of all writers, what do I write? What do I have to say that people want to know, what is WORTHY of an RSS feed…
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Portfolio NetPublish and THE WATERMARK!!
With the release of Portfolio NetPublish 8.5 you can add an electronic watermark to your images that you display on your web site. I’m sure most everybody knows what an electronic watermark is (a semi-transparent image that overlays an image). Digital watermarking is to be barely visible, not interfering with the user experience of the content
The type of watermark that NetPublish will place on a target image is considered “destructive” (it becomes part of the file) to the downloaded file. It’s important to note that the watermark ONLY affects the file that is downloaded by web users and it does NOT alter, in any way, your original assets
To create a watermark image to be used with Portfolio NetPublish choose any non-animated GIF image to use as a watermark. In general, a high-contrast, simple image (such as those containing text) will perform better than complex, low-contrast images. Place this file in a location that is easily accessible (or even better, local) to the NetPublish server.
Windows: C:\Program Files\Extensis\Portfolio NetPublish Server\Web Root\watermarks
Macintosh: /Applications/Portfolio NetPublish Server/Web Root/watermarks
Portfolio NetPublish can apply a watermark to all image file types that can be dynamically scaled by NetPublish, including JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP.
To use this feature, you need to edit the site.properties file using a text editor (such as BBEdit, Notepad, TextEdit, or even vi).
KEEP IN MIND, the site.properties file MUST retain the UTF-8 encoding format. This file is generated by the NetPublish Assistant whenever a site is published to the NetPublish web server.
The default location for this file on Windows is:
C:\Program Files\Extensis\Portfolio NetPublish Server\Web Root\site\<site name>\site.properties
The default location for this file on Macintosh is:
/Applications/Portfolio NetPublish Server/Web Root/site/<site name>/site.properties
The process of enabling Watermarking and asset download protection involves appending the necessary parameters to this file, selecting the options that you desire.
Now listen up, here’s the tricky part!
The watermark transparency pixel
The transparency of the watermark is determined by the upper-left corner pixel of the watermark GIF. The color of that pixel determines what is considered the “background” and thus transparent part of the watermark. It’s important to note that any alpha channels are ignored, and transparency is entirely determined by the upper left pixel.
Ok, now in English. Say you want to have a nice watermark that say ‘Copyright 2008, keep your grubby mitts off’ you need to create that file, in GIF format but make sure the upper left corner pixel is blank, or transparent. When Portfolio NetPublish looks at the image to be used as the watermark it knows to pick that pixel as the sample of the parts to knock out of the image when overlaying the watermark. Think of it like the blue screen process that they use in movies or on the nightly news with the weather map.
The easiest way to do this is to create a new image in an image editor (like Photoshop), create a new transparent GIF image. Slap whatever you want your watermark to say on the watermark image, and save the GIF. ONLY GIF’s work, don’t try a PNG, JPG or EPS.
You can set the alignment of where you want your watermark, as well as the opacity level. These are covered in depth in the Portfolio 8.5 User Guide update document. The opacity value can be any value from 0-100, and has a default setting of 50. This determines how opaque or transparent the watermark appears on the target image — from 0% where only the target image is visible (pointless) to 100% where only the watermark image is visible (pointless, again).
I usually shoot for about 40-60% tops for my opacity.
One other important thing to know, when you setup or change any part of your watermarking setup, you MUST clear the NetPublish site cache directory. This prevents NetPublish from inadvertently using previously generated (and possibly non-watermarked) images on the site.
So, there it is, it will take you a few times to get the hang of it, but soon, you’ll be watermarking with the best of them.
In other news, I did ride the scooter in again today, had to pile on the layers to stay warm, but it gave me time to think and come up with this blog post. With gas hitting $100+ a barrel, I think we’ll all be seeing more people on 2 wheels. I was asked by 2 people today at the gas station about my scooter. So, think about it, but whatever you do, get a good helmet and stay alert
- Jean-Michel Laurent is our new Systems Engineer for France
- Kevin Lamb is our new EMEA Channel Sales Manager
You may remember Jean-Michel from his recent interview with TiViPro.tv.
A hearty welcome to both Kevin and Jean-Michel. Click here for the full press release.
A lot of peole don’t know this- but creativepro.com (years ago) was spawned from Extensis. They took (I kid you not) some of our best inhouse talent and applied their skills to this new venture. That was…1999? 2000? We coexisted in the same office space for a few years. Then business happens, they were sold and we parted ways (sniff sniff).
Anyhoo, since then the site has grown in popularity and in content, but the basic site designed remained pretty much the same. Until today, when they launched a shiny new site. Editor extraordinaire Terry Stone wrote a piece about the site design. I like the section on the right that features the most popular articles as well as the editor’s picks.
This has always been a great resource for creatives. Now it is also a beautiful one, as well. Check it out.
Here’s a fun little time waster that falls into the category of “Why didn’t I think of that!”
When buildings become fonts, who will manage them?
Send your own greeting here.
Much like Adobe’s Kuler site, the COLOURlovers site allows you to explore color palettes on your own, as well as browse those created by others. It’s a pretty cool site with all of the nifty Web 2.0 features that we’ve all come to expect, including embeddable color and pattern samples. For example, I created this color pattern within minutes. (Yeah, yeah, no snide comments about my lack of mad color skills, please.)
The site also includes an entire section that does some trendspotting in current magazine covers. Ever wonder which colors O: The Oprah Magazine is using on the cover this month? You can get the scoop here.
Just remember, for those of you not in the UK, Colourlovers is spelled with a ‘u’.