Analysis of Built By Buffalo

I love four things in a website—something that’s crisp, easy to navigate, multidimensional, and pretty. At least, those are the four things that stuck out to me as amazing on the website I decided to analyze for blog post #8. I found a website to write about (builtbybuffalo.com) through googling web design galleries per Dr. Campbell’s advice. The page is for a company of web designers, so it makes sense that their website showcases their best work. Everything about it, from the color scheme to the graphics and menu options is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. I felt the designers also artfully crafted the website, mindfully keeping their company ethos in mind, so clients and other visitors to their site instantly get a feel for their staff and services.

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The colors are very simple—blue orange and gray. They are used tastefully and sparingly throughout the website. They also put a lot of white space on their site to keep it looking modern and clutter-free. The white space helped keep me from feeling overwhelmed by all the information contained throughout their site.

Their home page draws beautifully on our website literacy and familiarity with logos and image/text relationships to convey a lot with very few words. At the top the site says “Built by” and then a picture of a buffalo—the company logo. I instantly recognized this to mean the website was a company website called something along the lines of “Built by Buffalo”. Drawing on the buffalo analogy, a simple black headline reads “A Higher Plain”, metaphorically alluding to their superior talent and work. From the front page, I don’t know exactly what the company does, but I can see they are professional, modern, clever, and talented. I also do not feel frustrated by not knowing exactly what they do because a simple navigation menu at the top of the homepage makes it very easily for me to visit their “About”, “Work”, and “Contact” pages.

The navigation tools of the website really made it great for me. Instead of using cheap looking “next” navigation links, they use colorful circles, buttons that light up when you scroll over them, and disappearing text that reveals photos beneath to guide visitors through the site.

The site uses simple fonts and no chintzy stylization tricks (such as italics or bolding) to grab reader attention. They allow their stellar graphics and photos to do the communicating. This is what makes their website great—they allow its many elements to cohesively collide, so that none of them are overwhelming to us. They use a balanced mix of photos, text, and graphics to convey their messages.

The main message I took away from analyzing this website is that you cannot convince a visitor to your site how great your site or company is simply through words. A simple and artistic presentation of the contents of your website are the best way to convey your professionalism and credibility as a website creator. This also in turn makes your website easy to navigate and makes visitors want to continue clicking through your links. Before writing my code, I will decide on a simple color palette to use throughout my site. I also feel very motivated to create some graphics for my site in Photoshop after seeing the awesome graphics on Built by Buffalo. They bring such a creative and unique element to a website, that sets it apart. Their website also has a distinct persona, with writing of one single voice throughout the site. This is also something I will definitely keep in mind when making my website, making sure to use a voice that will appeal to my audience.

ao

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The Power of a Link

The website I chose to analyze is http://www.urbotip.com/#!/city/257/pittsburgh. I was really impressed by the entire composition of the website for many reasons. I think the main thing that appealed to be is the uniformity of sites yet the way the scene seems to change as you scroll. I plan on analyzing the home page in three different sections for this review.

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Initially, the background and scheme of the web is very basic. The pink brings different aspects of the site together, and all of them are interactive. This makes the navigation easy to find. The bottom left corner looks like a page turning, which is a neat idea.

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The second section has links to different sub-pages. I really enjoy the rounded font and the way it flows with the circular links. When you drag the mouse over the circles, they raise up, which adds to its appeal. The designer did a great job ordering the links in chronological order and providing visual similarities between every aspect.

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The last part resembles the tab of a folder. It, too, has the circular links with intriguing pictures. I like the darker grey of the background, because it contrasts well with the white lettering.

Overall, I think the consistency of the site is what makes it so appealing. It is meant to be a fun design aimed at an informal audience. Its purpose is to provide as much information in possible in an organized manner. The extensive use of links helps achieve this goal. One suggestion I have for this site would be to not have so much scrolling because there is a good chance the viewer wouldn’t scroll all the way down. From this site I plan on using the high level of interaction and the neutral main colors with some bright colors incorporated to help the organization of the site.

– TS

How to tone down, up, or change colors in your picture.

Say you have an incredibly bright picture like this:

bright_flowers

Pretty, right? But not if the theme of your photo essay has an nice antique-y look to it. Or if it happens to have an even brighter, more eye-assaulting color scheme than this original picture.

So how can you dial down/up the color and make it fit into the theme of your essay? Easy-peazy!

1. First, open your picture in PhotoShop. Don’t forget to save it as a .psd!

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2. Locate the Hue/Saturation button in your sidebar and click it. It is highlighted in green in the picture below.

Hi-lite

3. This slider tool bar should pop out of the basic toolbar on the right:

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With this toolbar, you can play around with three different effects: Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. I will be focusing on Hue and Saturation.

Hue: Changing the hue means that you can change all the colors in the picture to different variations of the original colors at the same time. It changes the colors at the same intervals, so the integrity of the color relationships remains.

For example:

Moving the Hue slider +50 changes the colors like this:

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Original                                                                    

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Edited

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Notice how the flowers have changed shade, not their actual color. See what happens if I take the slider the other direction, to -50:

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Original

bright_flowers

Edited

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Moving the slider in the other direction creates different variations of color.

Saturation: This is my favorite PhotoShop effect, mostly because of how simple it is. With this slider, you are able to change how bright and heavy the colors appear.

For example: 

Moving the Saturation slider to +100 produces a picture positively sopping with color:

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Original

bright_flowers

Edited

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Moving the Saturation slider in the other direction creates the opposite effect:

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Original

bright_flowers

Edited

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Instead of making the picture incredibly color-heavy, the color is completely taken out of it. This is an easy way to make black and white photos without worrying about destroying pixels; These edits are completely undoable.

With this slider, you can also give your pictures a colorized aged look by playing around with the Saturation:

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Original

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Edited

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Now you know how to non-destructively play with and change the colors and color saturation of your photos! Have fun playing with this!

-EP

Get a flawless face in Photoshop.

If you’re anything like me, one of the most annoying things about closeup photos is seeing all of your pores, blemishes, and shiny parts around your face. Luckily, it is super easy to get hide those flaws using the eyedropper and brush tools in Photoshop.

This is the photo before editing. Ew shiny.

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The first step is to use the eyedropper tool to select an area that you like (aka an area without shiny sweat).

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Then select the brush tool and paint over the shiny skin with that color – but here’s the real trick, set the opacity of that color to 15%. This creates the perfect coverup.

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This picture I have used the brush tool on the left side of my face, clear difference, way less shine.

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Make sure that you are doing all of this work on a blank layer. If not, you won’t be able to control the opacity and how much of the effect that you want to add.

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The final product should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.34.12 PM Way better than –> Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.31.39 PM

Happy Photoshopping!

SG

What hurts more: bad going worse or good going bad?

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What hurts more:  bad going badder or good going bad?

The very first contextual element I noticed about this photo was the viewpoint. Personally, going the dentist is something I dread more than anything else and seeing this photo reminded me of when I stand at the threshold between the hall and that damned room and feel chills crawling up my spine. I also noticed the various depths and layers in the photo. First you take in the machinery jutting out from the walls, the chair, sink, and prep table. Then you see the window, air unit and heater peaking through from behind. Amidst these layers are the decaying textures of the moldy yellow walls and equipment. The lighting seems dreary to me because the window is opaque, giving the room a suffocating sort of feel. The walls act as a framing tool for the photo and give the viewer an idea of the small size of the room (get me out!). Since part of the machinery is jutting out from the left wall our eyes follow the picture in a way that mimics the western-culture manner of reading left to right.

This dentist’s cabinet looks like it has been decaying for quite some time. The floor is covered with debris and the walls are peeling away like someone’s skin who has had a few doses too much of sun. While taking in each photo of “The Ruins of Detroit” I found that this one fit in especially well with portraying that eerie feeling that came with each click. The dentist usually isn’t a happy and cheery place to begin with, even if it’s fully intact with a friendly hygienist waiting to scrape away at your sensitive and frightened gums. This photo takes the feeling of going to the dentist to a whole new level of horror. It adds another element of creepiness to “The Ruins of Detroit” and works rather well with conveying the state that Detroit has been left in.

The photo succeeds in evoking strong emotion from the viewer regarding the abandonment of Detroit by showing a setting many of us are so familiar with in a state that we have not seen before. What would be more emotionally provoking and disturbing to the viewer? Seeing a setting that we typically think negatively of become even worse or seeing a setting that usually brings us feelings of joy and happiness become abandoned and essentially destroyed?

ADW

Color Correcting: Creating a Professional Look for Your Films

So many elements go into the making of a film. Audio, lighting, color, action, and the camera angles all come together to create a cohesive professional look. There are many techniques that Hollywood studios employ to get the specific look we have come to associate with professionally made films. While we as amateur filmmakers don’t have million dollar budgets at our disposal, we can rack the Hollywood tool kit of tricks to make our films look as professional as the feature films we watch at the movies.

 

Film is chiefly a visual medium—even if your audio sounds great and your actors are fantastic no one’s going to be convinced that your production is legit unless it looks good. The best way to make a good-looking film is with color correction. Color correcting for film is like the Instagram of movies. It makes your colors pop or creates a soft look. Basic color correcting can be very easy. After you’ve created a rough cut of your film (so as not to waste time color correcting all of the footage you shot) simply click the clip you want to color correct. Then, within the video effects folder on the left hand side of the screen there will be a folder marked color correction. Inside that folder you will find all the tools you need to take your footage from good to spectacular.

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The first thing you want to do when color correcting a clip is to achieve the correct exposure. This can usually be done by either upping the shadows or lowering the highlights if the clip is overexposed or lowering the shadows or upping the highlights if the clip is underexposed. Once your film has a correct exposure you can begin playing around with the colors through the use of a number of tools in the color correction folder. One of the most useful tools that Adobe offers is the three-way color corrector. It allows you to independently play around with the lower, middle, and upper hues of your footage until you achieve the color palette you want.

 

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Remember, there is no “correct” way to color your footage. Oftentimes filmmakers will color their films hyper realistically to help convey a certain mood or theme. If your film is about hope and inspiration, you can color correct to create warm footage. If your film is sad or melodramatic you can color correct to blue hues. It’s all about communicating your message to the audience and color correction is just one more tool you can use to do just that!

 

ao