It was a pleasure to meet up with people and cats from the GNOME and FOSS community again. This time things took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Good food, fun conversations, awesome pear cider and too much cheap candy. Most of FSCONS also went by with either staying around the GNOME booth or holding talks.
Thanks to Tobias we had a humungous amount of swag and sass for the GNOME booth. That event box and that box of t-shirts is heavy duty. I can easily imagine what trouble he must have had, bringing that all the way to FSCONS! With the booth set up and everything we quickly had GNOME 3.14 running for the curious folk to try. Most of my time at the booth was spent either showing off some of GNOME’s awesome features or talking about GNOME as a community.
FSCONS was also a great opportunity to meet other GNOMEers. I had a chat with both Jonas and Mathias who contribute to the Maps project. Sounded like there was some awesome things coming in the future and I might be contributing with some interaction design there too. It was also great to meet Andreas, Fabiana, Mimi and Zeeshan whom I stayed with during the conference.
Sometime during Saturday a person came over to me and asked me for an interview. It was Kenneth and I found out he was from “Hacker Public Radio”. So I spent 20 minutes answering questions related to a lighting talk I did about my student life as a linux user and the promotional videos I create. If you want to hear it, you might have to wait a month or two, though..
Oh yes, and I did a workshop. One of the long ones. Sadly there was quite some turbulence in the FSCONS schedule during Sunday due to some very long lighting talks. After a bit of moving around I managed to get through it with an audience and everything, though. The workshop was about promotional videos. I focused on how you create them practically – the whole pipeline, what software you need to learn and why they can be important for your favorite free software project. Everything from this workshop is available online. The materials I have prepared include:
- The slides themselves, explaining the process.
- A set of video tutorials which covers the basics, if you want to create promotional videos the way I do.
You can download everything right here. It is also very likely that I will be holding this workshop again.
Things are going at a fast pace at Medialogy these days, but I’ll have a bit of time to do GNOME Engagement again soon. FSCONS is coming up and I plan to bring posters, brochures and myself to Sweden from Thursday the 30th October till Monday the 3rd. If anyone is interested in meeting up, I’ll be around the whole weekend at the conference.
Also! Also! I’m doing a workshop on promotional videos. It will be interesting as I haven’t quite held a talk on this subject before. It’s scheduled around 18.45 on Sunday in Room 6. My plan is to give tips on creating promotional videos, especially:
- Planning out a promotional video
- Using a possible pipeline of FOSS tools for creating these videos.
- Sharing my own collection of ressources I have used to learn the tools.
I’m curious if there’s anything else you feel I should touch upon during this workshop. Feel free to tell me on beforehand. (-:|>
3.14 is out and holy gnome it is awesome. Even though I came under a bit of a time pressure in the end, it has been such a pleasure to create a video surrounding this release. I’d like to thank GNOME Foundation and Alexander Larsson for providing me the Chromebook pixel, which made room for some awesome animations this cycle. Furthermore, Karen Sandler and her husband Mike has once again created an outstanding voice-over, taking the video to a whole new level. Lastly, the GNOME Design team deserves huge credit for all the assets I use in my videos. Making them myself would take have taken me ages!
Do come with feedback. I’d be particularly interested in your thoughts on the new animation experiments I’m making. Happy release day!
The release of GNOME 3.14 is getting closer and closer and I’m trying my best to have the a video ready for release. The manuscript is still open for revision but is at its final stages. Voice-over should finish around next week or so. And in the meantime I am testing a new workflow in Blender.
Alexander Larsson sent me a Chromebook Pixel a few weeks ago. What is really cool about a Pixel for me, is its 2560x1700px screen. All my source material for the GNOME 3.14 release video can now recorded in high resolution. That opens up some cool animation possibilities.
The picture below is a snapshot from a video, which as you might notice is very high resolution. This is all possible thanks to GNOME’s Hi-DPI support (which rocks!). What you can see in the background, is a very green wallpaper. That’s a virtual “green screen” which I will remove from the video material afterwards with Blender (see below).
And now is where the magic happens. Because the video is so high resolution, it means I can import the video as a texture onto an animatable plane in 3D space. On low resolution video this would turn the video into a blurry mess, but the high resolution video looks unaffected. It means I get some new animation possibilities. The screenshot below is a demonstration.
..I’m definitely excited to make this release video. :)
The GNOME Documentation Video has now been released on youtube and as a download (Ogg Theora + Vorbis). This is something I have been waiting for since I finished working on it a few weeks ago. A big thanks to Karen for providing a great voice-over for the second time! Translated subtitles are not online just yet for the video, but should come within the next few days (thanks to pmkovar and claude for setting this up!).
I’m looking forward to see the response from the community. I read every comment made and try to collect and direct them to the right people.
Next upcoming GNOME video from me would be the 3.14 Release Video. Since the release date is approaching I’m already working on the manuscript and hopefully I can send it off to Karen soon for voice-over. Alexander Larsson was also kind enough to send over one of GNOME’s Chromebook Pixels I had signed up for. Provided that I can get Fedora 21 with 3.13 installed on it, I might be able to record video in a 2560×1700 resolution. This has some technical advantages like green-screening video and throwing it into Blender’s 3D space and other crazy things ( woohoo!).
In the meantime I’m also messing around with some design for Polari and a GNOME flyer I intend to hand out to the new students at my university. I’m predicting September to be a busy but fun month.
I have now made my way home with a lot news to bring you about my experiences at GUADEC 2014.
I gave a lighting talk! I showed briefly the steps to go through when making promotional videos and gave a sneak peak of the soon-to-be-released documentation video. I also had a good talk with Petr about translating video subtitles. This had lead to a git repository called “video-subtitles” in which I’ll upload subtitles for the translation team to translate. The last days of GUADEC I began to work on some animation templates for recycling and I plan to expand this collection. During the conference I received a lot of positive remarks on the 3.12 release video. It makes me very happy that so many people appreciate the promotional videos! I’m definitely motivated to do more.
An idea for a future promotional video: A passive repeatable video which can run on computer screens at GNOME booths during conferences. Original Image by Tobias Muellner.
Karen’s talk inspired me to do some design concepts for our website. I made a mockup for our donation page and for “Getting involved”. During the Engagement BoF we discussed how these pages and the front page could be improved. Allan, Fabiana and Andreas began working on a mockup for the front page on the whiteboard, structuring the information based on importance. Hopefully we’ll begin to see site improvements within the coming months.
My proposed concept design for “Getting Involved”. Note that the concept represents my own personal idea, not the consensus of the engagement team.
Before I left I was working a bit on the design of the generated avatars as they needed revision. I updated the tentative design with a second revision, simplifying them a bit. I asked Allan for feedback and he began a journey to find a more suiting font to write the generated initials with than the one I had found. The tricky part in this is to find a suiting font which also has a large coverage of unicode characters, for free. I had to leave before Allan settled on any final font, though, but I heard that him and Garett worked further on the revamping the font and colors.
My initial generated avatar proposal, which since then has been revamped by Allan and Garret in terms of font, colors and style.
I made some great experiences while volunteering at GUADEC. I was volunteering Friday, Saturday and partly Sunday as backup. I have also volunteered for doing video editing of the GUADEC talks in collaboration with Alexander Franke, so expect to see them up on guadec.org soon! GUADEC was a great opportunity to meet other members and friends of the GNOME community. I met a lot of interns while volunteering and met many other new faces when going for dinner in the Strasbourg. I also had a chance to meet with designers from gnome-design and members of the engagement team. The venue was located very centrally in Strasbourg with many restaurants, bars and shops nearby. Furthermore, the GUADEC organizers had organized events in the evenings such as a picnic and playing snooker.
Now I am exhausted. It is nice to be home again and I am bringing a lot of experiences with me. I’ve put faces on a lot of names I only have encountered in IRC. I’ll probably be sending a mail or pinging one or two of you in the coming weeks. A big hug goes to GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me. Thank you!
I am going to GUADEC and it will be a first timer. GNOME Foundation has been kind enough to sponsor me and I’d like to thank them for doing so. It will be an adventure for me for sure!
I’ll let most things flow, but there is a few things I have in mind for GUADEC:
- I’ll be volunteering as runner and session chair on at least Sunday, Monday and probably more.
- I’ll be participating in Engagement’s Birds of a Feather session.
- I plan to perform a lighting talk around these promotional videos I tinker with.
Most importantly I’ll be meeting a lot of people, both new and known. It will be interesting, inspiring and motivating. A nice learning opportunity I’d say.
A month ago my group’s semesterproject ended and with extremely positive feedback. At the 2nd semester Medialogy study me and six other students have been working on Social Circle, a question-based game where players can get to know each other and have fun.
Link to A/V Production of Social Circle (YouTube)
Particularly interesting was the different topics within media technology I got to work with in relation to Social Circle. Working with the user through a contextual inquiry was insightful and inspired a lot of designs which we kept testing and improving. This project also gave me a hands-on experience with programming the virtual interface in Processing using Eclipse. I really enjoyed working with the interaction design and visuals. Organizing the semesterproject was also less of a hassle for me this time but I plan to continue exploring different tools for this.
First semester introduced us to programming using Processing and Eclipse, second semester introduced us to electronics prototyping via Arduino.
The prototype we created of the designed solution, is composed of an Arduino controlling six player boards with voting buttons and LEDs which it reads. The Arduino is connected to a virtual interface showed on a 19″ screen in the middle of the table. Players receive harmless question such as “Which player would be the best superhero?” and everyone then place a vote on each other using the player boards. Votes are then revealed and points are given to the agreeing majority. If players votes indicate disagreement, a discussion round is started where players have to persuade each other to vote differently.
Final prototype used to evaluate the game design’s ability to let players socialize.
This semester has stirred my curiosity about designing interaction, which I plan to stimulate by working with the GNOME Design Team. Another long-term goal for me is to learn more about programming graphical user interfaces, particularly using GTK 3 as well as on the web. First I have a promotional video to finish and a GNOME conference to attend to, however. Looking forward to both!
Title: Promotional Video about GNOMEs Documentation
Started: April 21st 2014
Deadline: July 26th 2014
Status: All animations finished, first draft rendered and being revised.
Today I reached a new milestone. The last animations has been finished and I can now render out a full-fledged video about GNOME’s documentation efforts.
60-70% of the 1:48 minute long video consist of animation (the purple blocks) with a few screencasts here and there (blue blocks) This is because I’ve used this project as a learning opportunity for animating. This also means that the video contains some experiments in terms of style, mixing 2D and 3D, color and silhouettes in various ways.
This project was also an opportunity for me to learn how to organize myself within Blender. I’ve gained some nice experiences under the way:
– All scenes are named with a number in front, and all objects & materials of each scene are named with the scenes number. A camera in the “01_intro” scene would be called “01_Camera”. This makes it easy to filter the items in Blender’s dropdown lists (just search for the scene number).
– All scenes are kept in one blender file. All external files are kept in sub-folders next to the blender file with self-explanatory names.
– All animations are rendered to PNG and their folder inside “Animation” is called the same as the scene they were rendered from.
– All generic tools, templates and master scenes use “00” in front of their name so they always appear in the top.
– Common RGB colors and textures can be shared across scenes through node groups if they re-occur. They are then easily changeable and easy to add to any new scene when needed.
This means I’m starting the process of revision. I’ll be looking through the video, fix bugs, holes, glitches and send it around for feedback on the timing, sound and animations. Loooking forward to show this project, nice, clean and polished.
One day while hanging around at the #gnome-design IRC channel, Allan Day made me aware of the fact that default avatars in GNOME could use a revamp. Sounded like a nice adventure, so I began following an exciting yet challenging path, aiming to find the treasure that is good avatar conceptual design.
A typical example of a context which these default avatars would appear in.
First step for the conceptual design was to define an avatar’s purpose based on the context which the avatar(s) would appear in (see figure above). My main thoughts were that:
- An avatar should be unique to each user, to make the user distinguishable from other users on the system.
- The avatar is the only colorful asset on the grey background.
- The default avatar should be formal and personal at the same time, to fit on everything from your laptop at home to your workstation at work.
After some experimentation and a bit of discussion on #gnome-design, I came up with the idea of utilizing the great symbolic footer-art seen in GNOME on the web, to create a default set of avatars that could meet these criteria. The avatars’ personal yet simple and clean look makes for a nice balance to fit in both personal and formal contexts in my opinion. The picture below displays the majority of the avatar motives (colors not final). More information can be found on the design page for avatars.
More avatars can be found at the design page for GNOME avatars.
Based on this, Allan Day came up with a design of an avatar chooser (it rocks!). The picture below is one out of six interfaces which the avatar chooser consists of.
Source: /gnome-design-team/gnome-mockups/avatar-chooser/ by Allan Day
Next up I’ll be focusing on the default avatars for Empathy, which for now will follow a more ‘generated’ approach. However, most of my time still goes towards the documentation video. More on that in a future blog post of mine.