Today’s internet is becoming more and more social. There are innumerable things you can do on the internet and a vast supply of information that is just waiting for you to find it. Social media may, at times, be seen as purely a social service, and maybe it is, but I find that it has a unique ability to surface interesting content that I would never otherwise find on my own.
Today I found some of the most incredible images I have ever seen. Taken from an open airplane door four miles from the Earth’s surface. And now here I sit, just having stumbled across a Wikipedia article that I thoroughly enjoyed while doing some research on a topic for a book I have been working on… then I looked for the +1 (Google+) or Like (Facebook) button… there isn’t one. I was immediately disappointed, because I would have LOVED to have easily shared it with a friend. I still can, by manually adding the URL, but I like those quick little buttons that let me tell certain people “Hey this is awesome, and you probably won’t find it unless I tell you.”
I’ve been reworking my personal site and expanding it to cover a series of things I love to do. You can find my design work at http://design.jedgrant.com and my photography blog at http://photography.jedgrant.com. I’ll be updating this portion of my website in the near future, primarily as a portal to the other sections of my site.
So I’ve never really used this blog for any reason except to establish my presence on the web and have a portfolio for potential employers to look at. That’s going to change. For the last couple of weeks I have been spending a lot of time reading and taking pictures of all kinds of things. I tried my kids and my wife, but the kids won’t hold still and my wife is 8 months pregnant and not feeling photogenic so I moved on to dolls and stuffed animals, not nearly as interesting, but they hold still and stay quiet!
I spent a couple of weeks two months ago trying to figure out After Effects and some of the plugins associated with it. I found a couple of great sites that were really helpful. Video Copilot was one of the best I came across. With the plgun demos and the 30 day trial this was my first attempt at an After Effects sequence.
Recently, I was contacted by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHRM) to create a series of characters for their “Kid’s Ranch” program. This program is a series of 5 stages of ski/snowboard training that helps any age of individual learn at their specific skill level. Each of the five characters associated with each training stage has a specific marketing objective and is intended to appeal equally to adults and the target age group.
Stage one is targeted to 3-5 year old children. This group rides a conveyor belt, commonly called the “Magic Carpet,” up a shallow slope and then skis back down. Maggie was the most difficult character to create because she does not have real form or depth in the real world; she is just a rubber sheet. Maggie is meant to relate to small children and indicate the intended age group for the stage.
Billy is the representative for stage two. Skiers are pulled in a trailer up a slightly larger hill by Billy, the friendly snowmobile. Billy is supposed to be an unassuming happy guy. JHMR requested that he have the attitude of the Luigi character in Pixar’s Cars feature film. Many of these characters’ expressions were actually influenced by the exceptional work in Cars. Billy is the most geometrically complex of any of the characters and thus the most interesting to many.
Stage three is Sky, a typical chairlift. Riding the chairlift is a daunting new experience for many, especially those with a fear of heights. Our goal was to make Sky a reassuring, welcoming, and even motherly character that would make skiers feel a little more comfortable in the new found freedom provided by the greater access the chairlifts provide. The Tie Dye headband and Flower were also intended to hint at stereotypical “hippy” ideals of “freedom, peace, and love.” Sky’s main objective is to provide reassurance at a stage where young skiers may be experiencing some apprehension.
Stage four is for kids 10-13 years of age. These are the kids who are beginning to develop a bit of an attitude as indicated by both the expression and the ski hat. Apparently these hats are quite popular among adolescent skiers. JHMR did insist on using this particular hat despite my misgivings that the hat obscured details of the real world Gondola that Gordo is representative of. Since Gordo is intended to appeal to a slightly older crowd, we felt it was essential to give him a certain amount of attitude. The Gondola provides access to slopes that are challenging for the invincible teen, while not quite as demanding as the slopes accessible via stage five.
The final stage is represented by the Tram named Jackson. Jackson provides access to the most rugged, exciting slopes that JHMR has to offer. This age group consists of the most advanced skiers, ranging in age from 14-40. Our intention is that Jackson can convey a sense of confidence and surety to the younger members of the Kid’s Ranch Gang. He is the cool kid that everyone else wishes they were like. He is sporting a trendy Arctic Camo beanie and two-tone paint.
Pardon the dust. I’m currently rebuilding my portfolio and adding some new elements to provide useful content to an increasingly interconnect field of artists. If you do visit in the next few weeks or month I would love to hear your thoughts on the function and design of this site. I’ve never tried to create a site based entirely based on WordPress. For that matter I’ve never tried to create a custom WordPress blog.
If you have something useful to share I would appreciate it.
I’ve been doing design for a while now. One of those kids who misspent their youth teaching themselves some piece of software. In my case that software was Photoshop and Frontpage and when I say Frontpage I mean the old version that was free, barely worked, had tons of bugs, and when web standards were only an after thought. I made my first web page in the early 90s. Made money from web design for the first time when I was fourteen.
Today I’m a graphic designer with primarily web design experience who got a degree in Speech Communication and now works as an interface artist for a video game development company. The worlds a funny place. This blog is intended to provide useful information for aspiring artists who may or may not come from unconventional backgrounds but aspire to similar quality in work.