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 ( 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.


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.



How to Create Matte Effect

So I was thinking about a tutorial that might actually be useful for these particular projects.  Most of us are doing family and will probably be using old family photos, so I thought it might be kinda cool if we all learned how to create a matte effect on images.  This effect works best on photos that do not have a face in them, but still show people, such as the image below.  I’ve seen this effect added to war photos, wedding shots, and baby portraits.  Hopefully you’ll find this trick helpful!

1) To begin, choose your image that you think will work best for a matte effect and open it into Photoshop.

2) Go to this side bar and click on the middle button on the top row.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.03.44 PM

3) It will look like this, it is called CURVES:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.06.16 PM

4) This box will pop-up:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.07.01 PM

5) This is where things start to get tricky.  Your image hasn’t been changed yet,  so the line will be straight going from the bottom left corner to the top right corner in a straight line.  From here, you’ll click into the properties box and drag the small white box from the white line up until you are satisfied with the effect.  (You’ll be able to change it again if you decide later you want it to be more dramatic, etc.).

Original: Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.08.56 PM

As you raise the bottom left corner up, the image will become lighter and more matte:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.11.03 PM

6) Once you are happy with the level you raised the bottom corner to, next you will go to the middle of the white line and pull downward on it to create a dip.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.13.58 PM

This will add to the effect, and the deeper you pull on the line, the more contrast will appear and dramatize your image. If you choose to leave it more airy, only pull down on the line slightly.

7) If you so wish to, you can also lighten the photo to a bright matte by pullin up on the line to create a whitening effect that still appears matte:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.15.48 PM

8) Once you are happy with the level you’ve created so far, the next step is to create an additional layer by clicking on the Levels button which looks like this: Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.18.16 PM

And this box will pop-up:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.18.53 PM

9) Now you will go to the little white glob/knob (on the right) underneath the weird bar graph looking thing (sorry I don’t know the correct language!) and slowly drag the knob towards the center until you are happy. Do this on the black knob as well (left side).

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.20.16 PM

10) if the contrast becomes too intense or too weak,  (this sometimes happens when you do the above step) move the knob on the bar underneath that to adjust the levels of contrast:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.23.26 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.23.44 PM

And then you are done! Yay!

Here’s a look at the original versus the new matte finish:

pink_wedding_shoesScreen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.25.20 PM

Good luck,


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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.31.39 PM


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

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.32.26 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.32.11 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.32.44 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.34.06 PM


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

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.33.37 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.31.56 PM


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!


Luma Blending Effect: Adobe Premier Pro

The Luma Blending Effect is a more advanced version of a concept we discussed briefly in class. Professor Campbell showed us how to have two different videos playing simultaneously next to each other on the screen. We also learned how to lowering the clarity of an image/ clip. However, this effect takes it to the next level. My project deals with a lot of inanimate objects. I have been trying to find a nice blend of my two subjects (Kayla and shoes), but I have had trouble finding a balance. For this problem, the Luma Blending Effect can prove to be very beneficial.

I found this tutorial on YouTube that walks you through the way to perfect this technique. It starts focusing on this method a little after the 5-minute mark. However, to save you some time (and so I could get more practice with this skill) I outlined the steps of this technique.

  1. Drag a luma matte jpg to the editing screen
  2. Extend the length so it corresponds with desired clip
  3. Go to select control panel –> Motion tab
  4. Adjust the scale until it fills the entire screen
  5. Do a marque select on your clips in track 2
  6. Go to the effects browser and type “track matte”
  7. Select the track matte key and drag it to your selection
  8. Select the first clip in track 2
  9. Control panel –> select Track Matte Key
  10. Change the matte from none to video 3
  11. Change the composite from matte alpha to mate luma


I think this is a very useful thing to learn because it can help you incorporate different shots into the frame. In movies, you have probably seen this most when it is highlighting portions of clips over a span of time. It has the ability to show multiple meaningful scenes within a matter of seconds. In my case, it will be more of a highlighting montage because I plan on mixing videos and pictures. I think it will be able to help make the pictures more captivating by adding an element of motion to them.

– TS