ACD Blog

The Ahimsa Creative Design Blog. This has information about design, how to make your own website, things to make your life easier, and technology updates in many fields, as well as nutritional information and healthy living, which are as important a part of technology as anything.

Fix Epic Games Launcher for UE4

I have no idea why this worked and what the problem was, but for anyone out there using UE4 (Unreal engine 4) who suddenly cant get it to connect to the internet add this in the target path area of the “Epic Games Launcher”
Found this in the internet and it worked a treat.

Gotta love UE4. Its Unreal! and so fun and easy for designers.

unreal_engine_4_apt_0cnxbs

 

So to fix the problem

Just add

-http=wininet

to the launcher alias

“C:\Program Files\Epic Games\Launcher\Engine\Binaries\Win64\EpicGamesLauncer.exe”

epic launcher

 

add  -http=wininet
“C:\Program Files\Epic Games\Launcher\Engine\Binaries\Win64\EpicGamesLauncer.exe -http=wininet”

sorry to everyone else to whom this means nothing but it was really bugging me and might help other people.

 

Will be back to normal after that. Download all the massive updates (and there seem to be a lot)

Hopefully the Zelda vbimeo video will link, if not check it out. I didnt make it but it shows of UE4 nicely

https://vimeo.com/93897087

Amplify your Creativity

   
Adobe creative event
Today, May the 14th was the Adobe amplify your creativity event in Sydney, Australia. Here are my thoughts on it as it went down.
Adobe seems to be really pushing the integration of the mobile device as an everyday tool, which, is no longer considered a dumbed down version of the main app, but an essential part of the process. 

It’s quite amazing that diversity of new apps coming out that are part of the creative process. From storyboarding, to sound recording on the fly, you can easily see how Adobe has absorbed many other smaller companies with niche applications.

One particularly exciting addition, is that you can use the creative cloud for high end processing. For example, if you need to apply a filter to a large image, which Wijk be impossible on iPad, then you can send it to the cloud for processing and it send you back the processed image


I was very happy to see the onus shifted from technology to creativity, where many peoples speeches accentuated the importance of creativity and the importance of storytelling over anything else.
To many of us, Lightroom always seems like it was designed for mobile. Well now it is a fully functional iOS app, which for me makes much more sense in this format. The only thing we need now is iOS to run on higher end photographic devices.
Another main focus of the new apps, is creating color tables. Using photos or video, either live or pre saved, you can create color tables for design projects and also for video (also called a LUT). It’s all pretty dry stuff but essential to any successful project and unlike image capture, which is often not good enough on mobile, color palettes need to be mobile, and cloud synced , so your design team can all reference the same color theme simultaneously.
For those who like little animatics of their holidays, or need a simple parallax style presentation, Adobe slate will be your go. It’s actually quite a nice way to make a little storyboard. It’s not revolutionary, but nice that it’s built into the creative cloud as you can access all you online assets.  That’s basically the main reason people will drop their current apps for these same jobs, and move to the Adobe version. It will also homogenize the way we see projects delivered from now on.

Overall, I think the most significant changes for desktop apps were for video editing and production. Lots of very powerful tools from speed grade and prelude are woven into premiere pro. As I have been doing a lot of video work lately I was very excited by these. Unfortunately not a lot of new information about photoshop.
Another pants creamer for video peeps will be real time feedback for after fx. You no longer need to render video when you make changes. Even live compositing. It’s incredibly powerful and a major time saver. In face that’s the reason I stopped working mainly with video and 3d, is wasted time during rendering. Can’t wait until 3d gets the same, although there are many tools for that in.  3d too.
The new Adobe character animator that will be built into after effects is possibly the most mind blowing. I can see a lot of animators out of a job with this one. You can make any 2d character animations as long as you can use photoshop.And morph cuts will also change interviews forever. After fx and premiere have never been in a better place.  
There were a few image changes like haze reduction and mock ups that instantly export to your desktop versions of photoshop, Indesign and illustrator.Many of the tools were not integrated into any app yet, but were test versions, which will be integrated in the future. 
So that’s my round up. Hope that shows a little of what was on show.i will add links this after the fact.

Another important understanding

I think for many people, the final frontier will be, “can I publish from a mobile device?”. This blog post was written on the fly as I saw things at the conference, but even I was thinking that I need to upload the draft, fix the images and  get it moving. 

After seeing the upgrades to all the mobile apps and the future, I am dedicated to finishing and uploading this blog post on mobile, and I hope everyone else now understands that the mobile revolution is truly coming.

Installing Bootcamp on your new 5k retina iMac

Technically installing bootcamp on any recent Mac should be the same, so other of you using the new retina Macbook Pro or even the Mac Pro can follow these instructions.

You would think that is ts a simple process, but I found it to be quite confusing and annoying, so i decided to make a little guide.

 

In your Applications>Utilities folder you will find Boot Camp Assistant.
like any form of Boot Camp, its a pretty “no frills” affair and they dont make it any more exciting than it needs to be.

bootcamp_retina_0

 

You will need 2 things

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.38.21 pm

1.Copy of Windows 7 or 8 in an ISO format.

This somehow stands for “International Organization for Standardization”, but forget that ( plus the letters are in the wrong order) . Its just what is known as a “disk image” and usually looks like a small round thing on your desktop once mounted or a file with a picture of a hard disk.

You can create that using “Disk Utility” (which is on your mac already) or other DVD copying software if you have the original, or be sneaky and download it you little devil. Bill Gates is probably in Africa and won’t notice. YOU CAN ONLY USE WINDOWS 7 or 8 as the new imac runs only  64-bit architecture. If you think this is some sort of small lego set, then pipe down and just remember the numbers 7 or 8 (if you can).

lustige-usb-sticks-mit-bewegung

2. A small usb 2.0 thumb drive which is at least 8GB in size.

which will hold the installation. Seems pretty redundant to have to get the installation made twice, but hey, I didn’t design the process. Once this is done you can reuse that USB if you need to install bootcamp on other machines.
Generally I would recommend a funny USB stick that makes it look like a dog is getting busy with your USB port, but as the USB ports are on the back of your imac you may use a boring looking one if you like.

 

3. (optional) An empty external hard disk… if you want your windows to be on an external disk.
or you can use your main hard disk which will be automatically partitioned. 

For most of us, its just easier to use the same hard drive, so its always there when you need it, not that most of us will take our iMacs with us (although it is light enough to and i will probably do that sometimes). One thing to be aware of, is that, in the case of the iMac retina, you will be partitioning a “fusion” drive (25%SSD and 75% HDD), and I’m pretty sure none of the SSD will be part of your partition. I dont have the resources to test this theory but seems very likely than any partitioned area will be from the “furthest” part of the HDD, which allows you to partition and unpartition easily without losing Mac system data.

bootcamp_retina_1

 

I suggest leaving all the options on. Some people say partition your hard disk first and skip the first step. I say they are very silly, or possibly know something I dont. Anyway this is the easiest way I feel.

Before you start this process, MAKE SURE you have the CD KEY for windows handy. If it is in a file on your mac, you WILL NOT be able to access it once your computer reboots in windows. This will greatly affect your happiness and you may have to start again. Just write it on a piece of paper or if you have a second computer please have it readily available

It will give you a warning saying it will erase your USB stick. Throw caution to the wind and let that happen. Then it will go to this screen….. for LOOOONG time. Go have a cup of coffee or other beverage of your choice.

bootcamp_retina_3
This is doing what it says I imagine. Let it do its thing. Go and play with your kids, or if you dont have kids, then go play with your girlfriend, and one day you may be able to play with your kids.

bootcamp_retina_4b

After reboot

Ok, it gets a little confusing here, so just copy what I did. It will show your hard disk with 4 separate partitions. 2 of the are quite small. Ignore them.

I told my mac to partition my hard drive with 225Gb for windows… seems some is lost in the conversion and it went down to 160.6GB. Make sure to check thew sizes of the disks to find the right one. It will also have in capital letter “BOOTCAMP” next to it.Now the next part baffles me. It WILL NOT allow you to install windows on there as it says it is not formatted in NTFS format. How Apple managed to include this flaw is beyond me and so strange as that is the sole purpose of this software. Very silly Apple!

To fix this, just click the “Format” button just below, it will warn you about erasing data. Just say yes and it will only take about 10 seconds to complete.

IMG_0500

Now it still referenced as “Drive 0 Partition 4” but loses its bootcamp name.
Note: when you open the computer up again in OS X when all this is finished, it will still be called “BOOTCAMP” and  will be slightly larger than shown here. Also you OSX partition will recuperate the space… Its all very confusing and I’m pretty sure that it because of the fusion drive. That being said I’m glad I’m chose a fairly large space for it (chose 225GB and ended up with 172GB) as i want me PC drive to be fairly large so as to not come into space issues further down the track and I advise you add 20% more on to what you want to end up with.

IMG_0501

 

The Setup Process

It will reboot and a tiny windows logo will appear… actually you will realise soon that everything is small on the Windows side.

IMG_0495

The next phase will be to enter your windows PRODUCT KEY. As i recommended before if you have a digital version of it, you had better have it written down somewhere (like I didn’t), or if you have two computers, search it that way. (which I had to do)

IMG_0498

After that you are basically home free. It will install and then go into setup mode.

IMG_0502

After reboot you choose language

IMG_0497

Yes, this is truly how Microsoft see me. Some faceless idiot on a dangerously blue screen.

IMG_0505

And suddenly that allow you to personalise with pretty colors.

IMG_0504

It says many things, and eventually “almost ready” for about 30 mins. It truly is NOT almost ready, but the cycling colors are quite mesmerising.

IMG_0510

 YOU MADE IT

Good on you!!  You successfully installed windows on you iMac.

Further viewing

Here is a really blurry video that some guy called diego made. Its totally different to the method I used as he does each stage separately. Anyway seems to work and may be a good backup for some of you that get stuck somewhere in the middle and need to start over. My technique I feel is more simple for the general user.

An easy way to free up space in OSX Yosemite

So for those of us out there using SSD drives (Solid State Drives) to boot up our macs, which is most of us these days, at the very least for our Startup Disks, you generally have less space than the good old days, so really need to make sure that you don’t waste any space on redundant items.

The average is a 256GB SSD, and as a general rule you need at least 10% free to run at full capacity, and I would generally recommend at least 20% to guarantee performance, especially if you use large Photoshop files, or even use a lot of web browsers with a lot of tabs open.

I was looking through my hard drive for large files and this got my attention immediately as it was the largest folder in my Library folder.

BLOG---save-space-osx-speech-fodlersize

DICTATION & TEXT TO SPEECH

One of the interesting new features of OSX Yosemite is the “Dictation & Speech” function which allows you to either talk  to your computer and it be converted into text, or it reads text to you. Unless you have a visual impairment, you will be excited by the first one initially, nut in actually fact will probably play with the second option more, at least once when you first get your new OS (it is actually quite fun).

You may forget about that day and carry on with your life never to use it again in many cases.

You can find the “Dictation & Speech” preferences in the “System Preferences” Control Panel.

BLOG-save-space-osx-speech_system_prefs1

 

DICTATION

Dictation allows you to talk to your mac and have it write down what you say. You can choose to do it live over the internet or allow it to download fully and

TEXT TO SPEECH

This is generally for the hearing impaired, but its always fun to play around with these. You may not realize that each one you use can take up to 400Mb on your hard drive.

BLOG-save-space-osx-speech_system_prefs2

BLOG-save-space-osx-speech_system_prefs3

 

DELETING DICTATION VOICES

This will delete the accents the computer understands. Its about your voice here. im guessing you only need 1, unless you like to talk in silly voices to your computer.

BLOG---save-space-osx-speech-speech-window-delete

DELETING SPEECH VOICES

You can turn off the voices, which will then ask you to delete them, but in my experience it did not actually do so. Please see the next section to find out how to manually delete and check how much space you can retrieve.

BLOG---save-space-osx-speech-diable-voices-delete

 WHERE IS THIS DATA SAVED

You can either use the System Preferences area to delete them, but this doesn’t always work. To make sure, you should check this folder

/System/Library/Speech/

You can see the path at the bottom of the window. Voices are the ones that read to you and will be the most significant in size. I completely deleted the recognizer as it was also large, and its easy to re-download anytime by enabling dictation at a later date. I find that method of writing less eloquent than my typing method. I like the “Lee” voice so i left that one available, so in the end it takes up only 421.7Mb, a total saving of over 2.5GB.

BLOG---save-space-osx-speech-speech-window

I managed to get about 2.5GB back, as i had experimented with about 10 different voices. Now to find something else to delete.

BLOG---save-space-osx-speech-much-space-left

Thanks for reading, and food luck freeing up more space.

Oculus Rift for OSX users

So last week my Oculus Rift DK2 arrived. I was exceptionally excited as I had to wait over 3 months for it to ship. I am going to explain the basics of VR, and how i got my setup to work, the websites you need to visit to get good demos and how to set it up on an OSX machine.

I have been a designer and music producer for many years, so I am a Mac Addict, so I have an iMac, iPad, Macbook, iPhone, and iPod… but was any of these going to be able to run the Oculus properly…? I also have a Leap Motion controller, and bought an Oculus Rift mount long before my HMD arrived. I have a pretty old Macbook (model 5,1) with only a 256MB nvidia graphics card, which works fine for most applications and even games, but the Oculus, with its 75Hz frame rate will certainly push it to its limits.

oculus-on-OSX_1

BASICS OF VR

Basically to make VR an immersive experience, you need to:

  • See in a VR environment with head tracking to simulate regular eye vision
  • A way to manipulate objects around you (touch, pick up, reposition)
  • A way to navigate (move around, otherwise you are just like a head in a jar)

Ideally you would get feedback from items (also know as haptic feedback), so object would create simulated weight in your hand, or in the case of Newtons 3rd law, exert as much pressure on you as you are on it. See Newtons laws of motion. The rest of his laws apply for realistic motion, and will need to be considered in the future to create realistic worlds. The next would be environmental feedback, for example radiated heat from the sun, wind on your face etc. Then other sensory devices like smell, or textural qualities, like water on your skin, or rough bitumen.

Haptic feedback items get super expensive, so for the first part, lets assume everyone gets the pieces to use VR in the same order as stated above

  • HMD (Head Mounted Display) aka Oculus Rift
  • Mouse ( which simulates your hands,often with left click (pick up) and right click (drop) functionality or some similar
  • Keyboard  the old forward, back ,strafe left ,strafe right)

There are much better ways to use your hands and move around in VR, but this is the starting point for everyone. If you are interested in researching more, please check out these links or just search on Google. Undoubtably it will be the biggest growing industry surrounding VR:
Hand tracking in VRLeap MotionSixenseControl VRNimble
Moving in VROmniinfinte treadmills

Basically the less you have to wear the better and more realistic the experience (and more convenient). You also don’t want to be afraid that you will hurt yourself , by falling off something,as that will also dampen your virtual experience by keeping your mind in the physical world. Of course, without hijacking your bodies nervous system, it would be very hard to give haptic feedback without something actually touching your body (for example you will probably need gloves to get sensations on your hand).

I looked online and really I found only very basic disjointed information about how to set it all up, so thought id share what I did and the sites I found to help you all along your OSX Oculus Rift journey in Virtual Reality paradise.

 

oculus-on-OSX_2

The above pic is my current mini studio, the two left screens run off my Macbook where i use the Oculus and the right is my iMac where I do audio. You will soon learn that if you have an external monitor you have to constantly unplug it and plug the Oculus in . I tried a splitter but it didn’t work. There might be some out there that do which will make life easier but for now i recommend these tips below.

 

HOW TO SETUP YOUR OCULUS RIFT

Download the Oculus Runtime and demos from developer.oculus.com/downloads (need an Oculus dev account which is free which you will setup the first time you make the site)

To get the Oculus to run, you only really need the Runtime to get the Oculus ready for action. If you are a developer, or plan to play around, get the SDK (software developer kit) and the Tuscany demo (this is generally the first demo people try and has been used millions of times. I also recommend at least trying it as it will be one of the easiest scenes for any computer to play. If you have time, download all 3 as they do link to each other and will provide a more robust set of tools in the future.

oculus-on-OSX3

You can skip the Tuscany Demo if you are feeling like you want to try something more adventurous and know you system can handle it. To initialize to Oculus, I always use the OculusConfigUtility before using any other program as it initializes the headset and generally makes it resize to the DK2 headset size more efficiently. Continue reading to work out how to do this effectively.

DISPLAY PREFERENCES & OCULUSCONFIGUTIL

Another very important thing to note is that you must setup your Display preferences.

1. Make the Oculus the “main” screen. You can do this in the “Display” section of “System Preferences” by dragging the tiny white bar to the Oculus display. I also recommend keeping it on the left. It will generally display quite large when running at 1080p. most likely larger than your other monitor (seen on the right). As it is on the left, you should keep your dock on the right. Down the bottom is ok too but i find right is more stable.

oculus-on-OSX5

One you do this all your open windows will disappear and migrate to the Oculus window.

2. So once you have connected the Oculus headset, you will need to open the OculusConfigUtil – Its has an ugly name and a no icon currently (which i’m sure will be fixed later) but is an extremely important tool, and will tell you that your device is ready for action. Now that you have activated the Oculus as the Main Screen (aka Display 1) you need to right click on it , go to “Options” and click “Desktop on Display 2” which will bring it back to your screen.

oculus-on-OSX9

You will see a blue light on the Oculus HMD (it is orange when inactive) and an image of the Oculus will appear at the top of the OculusConfigUtil as well as serial numbers of your devices. (This could also be handy if you ever have to repair it). Now you know it is active. You monitor mounted Oculus camera also has a blue light but will generally not turn on until you have opened some software to run it, so do not be alarmed.

oculus-on-OSX6

3. If you look at the image floating behind on the right, you will see what happens when you click “gather windows” in the bottom right. Its a very handy function to bring the setting windows for BOTH monitors onto the same screen so you can adjust the settings. This is an invaluable tool as be default they appear on their respective screens, making the Oculus settings a little hard to navigate.

You will need to make sure the Rift Headset (HMD) is running at 1080p and is also Rotated to 90degrees. You can choose 60Hertz or 75Hertz, the limit for the DK2 is 70Hz but a Macbook will generally not be able to keep up with the game frame rate so the refresh rate is not that important. The games will tell you if they only support 60Hz also. Keep overscan turned ON.

oculus-on-OSX4

Finally, start your Demo. If you are using steam it will default to the Oculus as it is defined as the main screen. In case the Steam opens on your computer monitor (Display 2), you can always make it open on the Oculus HMD but doing the same process as before, but choosing “Desktop on Display 1” for steam.

oculus-on-OSX8

 

You should open the game from the Oculus HMD, by shutting one eye and choosing “Play with Oculus Rift”. Of course some games do not have Oculus rift support,so be careful and do your research. I have included many links below to get you started. I also made this video of a game I recommend called “Qbeh 1 – the Atlas Cube” (available for $9.99) but you can choose nay game you want. It is an awesome way to learn how to navigate in a VR environment. I also bought a game which would be amazing called “World Of Diving” (available for $19.99) but my computer was way too slow to run it.

oculus-on-OSX13

Here is my video. Sorry its not very professional. Its my first attempt at videoing an Oculus session, and you can hear the fan on my old Macbook really spinning to run the software. That and the load times, but believe me its much faster when i dotn have all that excess software running. To get best results, restart your computer before you play a game if you can. The link to the game is below in the Recommended section.

 

OCULUS DEMOS and GAMES

Where Possible I will put the Mac link, but PC versions are of course available

FREE

Oculus Share – Official Oculusvr testbed area. Nice site for finding all osrts of demos, games and just weird experiments.
https://share.oculus.com/category/all?platform=mac

Rift Enabled (the Top 10 list)
http://www.riftenabled.com/page/top10/
and their full game demo list
http://www.riftenabled.com/admin/apps/

 

FREE DEMOS PLUS PAYED CONTENT

The Rift Arcade – So far my favorite site for finding content with its steam like store  (of which many games are free)
http://theriftarcade.com/market/downloads/tag/os-x/

VR Supported games from STEAM – OSX versions
http://store.steampowered.com/search/?category2=3#sort_by=_ASC&category2=31&os=mac&page=1

Rift List – You can narrow by OSX titles easily
http://theriftlist.com/

There are only about 10 title that have native support (including Google maps if – Extreme direction finding is your thing) plus OSX capability but this will expand soon. The site just has links to the original site, so not as comprehensive as the sites above in my eyes. Many would disagree as it was one of the first sites like this.

oculus-on-OSX10

RECOMMENDED TO TRY

darfield
Dark Field
(Space flying shooter. Looks awesome and made by 3 guys in Australia) – this is the direct link to the download.
https://mega.co.nz/#!LEdQCaSK!YVnab10NKcBrEsSMDM9cAHHxqLGCk3twA6S3Ikt9djk
runs extremely slowly on my machine but looks like it would be fun. You cannot support this game on Kickstarter anymore, but I contacted them and they said to play this for now. I will definitely  be trying it as soon as I get the chance.

qbeh-the-atlas-cube
Qbeh 1 – the Atlas Cube 
(as seen in my video above) Walking  around and moving blocks. Good for all ages, except those who have block phobias. Also heights. Fine for slower older Macs.
http://steamcommunity.com/games/252550/announcements/detail/234506502094830839

guided-meditation
Guided Meditation – This is truly amazing and run quite well on a slower machine. Also promotes one of my favorite parts of VR being relaxation. You will be blown away at how relaxing it is to sit on the beach, forest or other location and just “be”. Voice over is sometimes a bit cheesy but is also fine and does coax you into a relaxed state. Goes to show that you dont need too much interaction or movement to make an immersive experience.

Download here – http://guidedmeditationvr.com
More info about it here – http://cubicleninjas.com/guided-meditation-app-oculus-rift

Here is a video to check it out

Guided Meditation for Oculus Rift from cubicleninjas on Vimeo.

 

ADDING THE LEAP MOTION to Oculus Rift

oculus-on-OSX11

I was super excited to add the Leap Motion to the Oculus Rift, but actually as it turns out there were not as many things to use as I had imagined.Yet. of course everythign is in development. Im sure it will be good. But will it be better than some of the otehr technologies i linked to at the start of this article. Only time will tell

This is just some links for now, but I will write another blog post about the Options for Leap Motion once i have had more time to research them.

Info about it (https://www.leapmotion.com/product/vr)
attach your leap motion to your ocular HMD (head mounted display)
then go here and download the V2 tracking
https://developer.leapmotion.com/vr

Then follow these steps
https://developer.leapmotion.com/getting-started

Intro into VR with the leap
https://developer.leapmotion.com/gallery/leap-motion-vr-intro

Simple game with leap – very simple but will work on any system im sure.
http://theriftlist.com/Home/Game?name=Rift+Mounted+Leap+Motion

An interesting demo coupled with Shpongle music.

google maps with leap motion
http://theriftlist.com/Home/Game?name=Google%20Maps

VR collage (requires firefox nightly)
First get firefox nightly builds
http://vrhelloworld.com/builds/osx/
this is the page you visit once downloading the nightly browser
http://leapmotion.github.io/VRCollage/
recommend that you lock your Oculus display to 60Hz, as this is what Firefox currently supports

 

 

Also of course: Oculus Porn

oculus-on-OSX12
Yippee!!

http://www.oculusriftporn.com

(update – file was moved to here – http://www.vrsmash.com/view/16/Still_Girls_VR_in_Skirts)

There are loads of other demos there, but it though this was a fun place to start. You can continue the journey on your own.

How to start a WordPress blog/site

So i’m guessing most of you know what a blog is, and almost the same amount know what WordPress is.here is a brief description of what it is and why it is the platform of choice for most bloggers in the world.

WordPress is a CMS, a Content Management System. It is a group of code (PHP) that basically allows you to write content which is saved into a database and regurgitated into pages in the order of your choosing. The most powerful function of this kind of systems that you can constantly change your website by knowing a password, and need no backend knowledge of what the code is doing and why. This means anyone anywhere can have a blog if they want to,if they have access to the Internet.

On the other hand, if you have the skills and needs you can modify the code to suit your needs easily, to customize the design and user interaction experience. For novices there are handy ways to do this using plugins to add funtionality and themes to change the appearance and layout. Basically it puts the power in your hands of making your own website and making it to suit your changing styles and needs over time without having to re-write any content when you do.

Ok. I could go into it all day, but here I want to teach you how to set up your own site. In the past few years I have setup so many WordPress sites that’s is almost uncountable. They are free to install, as long as you have a web server, and if you don’t there are options available for you too. If you have no money but want a site it’s the way to go. If you have special needs, then that is where someone like me can step in and make a set for you and then you take over and run it. Either way at the end it’s your site and you make the content, and that’s the point of it, and that’s the future of web communication.

There are 4 methods of starting a WordPress site.

1. Hosted on WordPress.com

2. DIY – Hosted on your own server (auto install)

3. DIY – Hosted on your own server (manual install)

4. Get a professional to get it started then take it over (on your server or theirs)

They second two work exactly the same, the first one is the easiest but has limitations that the other two do not. The last is for those with more money than time or require something better than basic.

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Is it personal… or private? just for fun… or for business?

Is the domain name important (aka URL, the www.yournamehere.com)

Do people need to bookmark pages in your blog or the top page is fine?

Is it advantageous to look “homemade” or more “professional”?

The least “professional”, or should I say “personalized” is the one hosted on www.wordpress.com. The URL will be something like www.yourblog.wordpress.com and the styling options, although fairly impressive are limited. When you host it on your own server you have three options.

For Hosting methods, see further down this post, This is extremely important, but for now lets focus on how to install WordPress.

Install methods

1. Hosted on WordPress.com – this happens automatically and as long as you can remember your own email and password you should be fine. Enough said.

2. Hosted on your own server (auto install) – Many web hosts will have WordPress built in. Remember you must have the ability to use databases with your account. You need at least (and generally at most) one database to run your WordPress. So I use godaddy and I can install them with the greatest of ease. I also often do it manually and you can name your databases nicer names when you do it manually, but for most people this is the easiest. Log into your account, choose hosted account, choose applications, choose WordPress and put the folder directory and POW! Bobs your uncle/ill be a monkey’s uncle, a new blank slate website appears in 30 mins or so. See pics.

3. Hosted on your own server (manual install) – This is not that hard, but a little more complicated. I actually like this method but its not necessary for you one time website users. This method, you first make a database and write down it’s details. Then, using an FTP program, copy the WordPress files into place. You must change the wp-config.php file to have all the right details of the database as well as the location of the blog files. It’s pretty easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. You really get to know WordPress by interacting with the files through an FTP program, for example, in the “wp-content” folder you can see the themes and urging folder and you can manually install and modify files here to customize your site. All pro WordPress users will spend a lot of time in this folder, usually updating the CSS files to style themes.

See pics below. Open in your favorite FTP program. you will need your login details to your server and password

Then go to your hosting server and create a databsse.

You must edit the wp-config.php file t0 point to your database.

This may be complicae for some, so if you have any questions, please message Ahimsa Creative on Facebook.

4. Get a professional to make it. This is easy. Call up me or someone with similar skills and they will do it. If they don’t know how then tell them to look at this blog.

Hosting Options

1.Make that a hosted domain on a server so that the www.yourblog.com points to the WordPress installation and if you click a page link, it becomes www.yourblog.com/category/ or somethign like that. This is the most professional but most expensive. Everyone needs one hosted domain, so if you only have one site then it’s perfect for you. I have many so I use that page as a portal to my other sites.

See the example of www.ahimsa-creative.com which is my hosted domain

2.If you put it in a folder on someone else’s (or another of your own) hosted domain and then buy a cheap domain which points to it, they can type in your URL, but will get taken to the real URL,which they will see, unless you mask the domain.

For example the domain will now be www.your2ndblog.com/this blog/category/ or similar. You can see the difference but for many it’s too small to care. Depends what the first blog is. If you sell babies rattles and host it on a server which hosts a porn site you own it could end up www.ilovebigtits.com/babyrattlesRUs/category and that’s probably not good for business

See the examples of www.ahimsa-creative.com/blog and www.ahimsa-creative.com/portfolio

These I have forwarded, so you can see the real URL when you click them.Fine for me as they are all part if what I call the Ahimsa Collective and are in the family of Ahimsa Creative.

3. Solution- MASK YOUR DOMAIN. Masking your domain means that it hides where it is actually going. S it will always say www.babyrattlesRus.com even if hosted on your other porn site hosted account. PERFECT …you may think and for most of us this is fine, but they will not be able to bookmark any pages on your site except the very top page as the URL will never change. For most of us this is actually advantageous, us if you were Wikipedia that would really suck ass as the would redefine the term research into “re-search” and be pointless.

You should note that it slightly affects your google rank, but not significantly enough for most people to care. So let’s skip that. If you are setting a website up on the cheap I’m guessing you’re not a multinational corporation and word of mouth, your business cards, social media and direct links will be your main source of traffic.

See the example of www.ahimsalove.com which is also hosted on ahimsa-creative.com. It’s real address is [note to self:please insert here when I remember some thing like www.ahimsa-creative.com/ahimsa_collective/ahimsalove]. (You can check and see its the same) but I have masked the domain so it always stays that address, even if you click a link to another server. You can impress your friends by having a link to google.com on your website and pretend that you made it (it will still have your web address until you close that window or tab)

Holy shit. I never thought this blog post would be so detailed. It’s amazing how long it takes to type things that I can explain in a few minutes. Now yu should know the all your options when it comes to setting up your new blog.

As always, please ask any questions you have below and I will respond as soon as I can.

The roundup

Hope this sheds some light on how to setup a WordPress blog, and what options are available to you.

So why give it all away?? You might think its a bad idea for a web designer to give these secrets away, but im in the business of helping others live their dreams and reach their goals. We sell information, we sell freedom, and everyone deserves freedom and a chance to reach others with their art, ideas or whatever they want to share. So get out there and share….

There will be more WordPress page tutorials coming up on this blog, with how to improve the look of your site one you have it. Don’t be too picky in the beginning (unless you chose option 4 and are getting it designed). It’s much better to have good information on a shit looking site than no information on a non existent site. Unless you are a designer,photographer,artist or someone in the visual design/arts field the main reason people will come to your site is for the information.

Y-U-M! – Improve your food pics

So being a Photoshop professional makes you sensitive to bad quality imagery. Being a living creature also gives you an unnerving feeling when you see something you perceive as food look unappealing. I suffer from both of these situations, so instead of cringing I’m goin to show you a super easy way to get your food pics looking spot on.

So basically here, I’m going to show you how to make your food pictures look bright and bubbly and make people’s mouths water when they see them.

Lets face it. There are so many camera apps on our devices these day, some of which are designed for food. This will show you what they attempt to do, and give you an easy way to do it yourself. I’m going to explain it for Photoshop users, as I know many people use it, whether bought or not. You can do this same technique in any software, but I made this acronym to help you remember, which is designed for Photoshop’s shortcut commands.

It’s Y-U-M,

or +Y,+U,+M

Thats Command on a Mac and Control on a PC.

So you have a photo of your food. That’s the first step. A friend of mine took this pic, which i noticed on Facebook, and I came up with the idea that this is a skill that almost everyone can benefit from, as food photography is very popular these days, and even more so in Japan where I was living for the previous 7 years.

Now to be honest for those working on the web, you don’t need the Y-step, so skip this step if you are using it for Facebook or your blog.

Step 1

Y – Proof Colors.

So pressing Command-Y will turn on your proof colors, which are a digital representation of how your document will print. Some colors that can be displayed on screen do not exist in print (as they use additive color as opposed to subtractive color). These colors are know as out-of-gamut colors. So if you plan to print your picture, turn this on. Vibrant foods like tomatoes will often look disappointing when you print them out as they are too vibrant to be represented with conventional inks. Also notice the sub-menu and make sure its on “Working CMYK”, as this represent most home printers.

Step 2

U – add Saturation

Next, press Command-U and the HSL dialog box will come up. The only one here you want to touch is Saturation. Like Saturation suggests, using the metaphor of the sponge, it will hold more color, like a sponge full of liquid. Food always looks better with a bit of extra color added.I would say add anywhere between +10 and +35. Any more and it will start to look too unrealistic. (see more info at the end of this blog post)

Now click “OK” to lock this stage in.

Step 3

M – Curves

Next is Curves. Curves technically bend the light spectrum to elongate the middle tones of an image. If that sounds like bullshit then just forget that and just remember than in a RBG (additive color which all web images are) image, moving the curves up will add more light into the image.

The first step is to color balance, and the easiest way is to set a grey point.Look at my arrows in the image above. there are 3 eye droppers there. Choose the middle one. Next you must click on an area that you think contains absolutely no color,or as little as possible, and is also 50% between black and white. of course in any shadow, radiant colors do bounce but for most situations, you can find a shadow that is far enough away from the object to be almost perfect grey. A grey balance is almost the same as a white balance, which you may have heard of, but i think gives you more options to choose from and gives better results.

If your image goes crazy and really wrong looking, don’t worry, you most likely just hit a colored pixel by mistake. Just try it again until it looks well balanced.

Before clicking “OK”, then look at point 2 on the image. You can drag the middle point of the colors slightly towards the top left. this will stretch the mid tones in the image and add light, without destroying the black or white tones.

Now click “OK”

And now you are done

Within about 2 minutes, you can have a primo looking image of your food.

The proof is in the pudding…. or Cucumber Stick as the case may be
Here is a comparison of before and after with the photos

And there you have it. Actually i got a light feathered white brush and sprayed the edge so it blends to pure white, instead of increasing the brightness, because it much more important the food looks realistic, not the table. Of course you can manipulate more if you like. But These steps are all you need to make your food look YUM!

As a side note, you should always try to use the original uncompressed image to manipulate, as the compression artifacts (like the pattern you see in the tomato) will often be enhanced. Also for food coloring there is a big difference between real color, and perceived real color. You probably wont find too many tomatoes like the above picture, but it is in harmony with the color enhanced imagery we see on the internet these days. What you want to bring out with food is the emotional response of the excitement of the great taste and freshness of the food.

Another chance for ANOTHER WORLD

Golden rules of game design.

What makes a game good?

Many things. Shutup.

What is a good way to increase game value?

a) make the game longer, b) make the graphics better, or more realistic (not necessarily the same thing), c) make the gameplay more engrossing, more believable within its own context. d) Intuitive controls

What is a bad way to increase game value?

Elongate the game by making it either a) too hard, or b) make it easy to make mistakes, or c) make the game controls slightly unpredictable so you can’t make correctly forumlated choices of what your next step will be.

In the past, games were generally pretty short by today’s standards. That’s because the game cartridges could hold so much less data. Remember when every tree in a game was the same sprite used over and over again (Zelda is a great example). There was a predictability in that and in many cases it did nothing to detract from the gameplay at all. Good games don’t necessarily need good graphics

Original graphics

New graphics. It’s exactly what they would have done before if they had the technology. looks like they had bloody chem-trails on this planet also. Damn government!

So here is a game I bought the other day. One of those. “Shit, I must be old.” moments when a game you used to love has its 20th anniversary. The game is “another world” aka “out of this world” (of which flashback was the sequel). They have given it a graphic overhaul, which is done very nicely, very frugally, band very tastefully, paying homage to the original graphics(which you can see at any time by swiping down with 2 fingers).

While this is a nice touch, it’s one of the few predictable finger movements of the game. The best websites, games or interactive devices don’t require instructions as they are designed based on human intuition. I think this game has tried to elevate itself to a higher level by assuming the controls are much easier than they are.

Let me just say. I love this game. I did before and I do now, so if I seem a bit harsh it’s only tough love and I want to use it as an example of what to do, and also of what not to do.

The gameplay

Although you are a gun wielding scientist is an extra-terrestrial world, it’s not a shooter. It’s a puzzle game. Logic is the general driving force of the game. Doing exactly the right thing, in the right order, at the right time is how this game works. If you dont, you die, and then respawn to try again, and again, and again, and again. Yes, some bits will drive you bonkers, but when you work it out, although you want to, it’s hard to say that the solution doesn’t make sense in the end.well, sort of(ignoring the pretty random tank level plus a few bits here and there that just have their own special rules)

Every page or two you will automatically update your respawn point, so when you die, you always hope you don’t have to go back too far.

The controls

Admittedly, going from a superNES to the ipad is a difficult task as it had 6 buttons and a d-pad, where the ipad has none. Undoubtably you will die many times due to the fact that you will miss the button or get confused what finger movement you need to do. It’s ok. Makes the game last and teaches you control, well finger control. Makes me fu#%king mad is what it does really. I can appreciate that too I guess. Generally the controls are completely invisible and you kind guess your way through the commands. In some places they are on screen but in one level (the Christian sacrifice tank level I like to call it) it took me about 20 goes to even see one of the buttons. That’s not great design really.

The verdict

While there are many things that drove me crazy about this game, some personal and some breaking the golden rules of game design as I see them, ultimately it’s still a great game which deserves to be played. It’s incredibly short, but most games were back then, and it’s simple but futuristic look still holds up. The way they have improved the graphics and allow you to compare between them without destroying any of the experience is impressive as it would have been easy to overwork it.in fact often I I thought I had accidentally switched the graphics, swiped again and realized how simple the original graphics were.

Besides cheapening the experience by elongating gameplay by unnecessarily confusing the player, if you put this game as a platform puzzler, somewhat similar to the gameplay of “Abe’s odyssey” you will realize its value. If only it was a little longer. I guarantee you will get stuck at least a couple of times and put it down for days at a time, coming back to it later after an idea hits you. I’m sure they will release “Flashback”, which was its sequel soon enough to continue the journey. I just wonder how that game will hold up. I’m willing to spend the $2 to find out.

In fact, when I was in Australia last year, I found a poster I used to have on my wall for flash back. Here it is.

Here a pretty hot scene with naked whatchamacallit’s sitting around nude

Compared to original

This is an interesting scene. You will find out why later.

Amazing Flying Action

This is such a beautiful flying game. I guess its been a while since i have researched flight simulators. i bet they will be absolutely amazing visually on the new PS4 and X-BoxOne, but the PCS still have the advantage for having awesomely realistic flight joysticks.

I have to get into the game a bit more before I can do a full review, but i have watched a couple of hours of gameplay and im very impressed at the realism of the gameplay as well as the pretty graphics… You decide. Its free to join up and start playing. its still in Beta version so your chance to try something before everyone does!

click here to join for free:

http://ahimsa-creative.com/games/war_thunder

MMOBOMB version and review

Sidestrafe review/mission walkthrough

if you start playing, please leave your comments below, so other people can decide whether it is the right game for them.

PS, if you like old school war style games, try World of tanks, which is just as realistic but viewed from the ground and loads of realistic tanks

http://ahimsa-creative.com/games/world_of_tanks

They have a forum:
This guy even made one of the planes
http://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/27036-p47-d-thunderbolt-tribute/

Two recent iPad game favorites – Oct 2013

Ok, so the way I judge a good game is whether at one stage, i realise that i’ve devoted such a large amount of time to it, without ever planning to, not in one long session but cumulatively over a long time. Of course there are other factors, but like a TV series, it’s the ones that keep you coming back that you develop that warm fuzzy feeling for.

These two games are fairly commercially viable, and not as left field as some of the games I usually play, but they really stood out from the crowd for various reasons.

Too often these days games either make you “Share” on Facebook or pay to buy some kind of “internal currency” to make the game bareable. While these two games I’m going to introduce have these features built in (what iPad game doesn’t these days?) they make it still fantastically playable without using those options which impressed me.

While my next review will be a little more eclectic, these games are what you’d call traditional games in the sense that. You main goal is to either destroy or go faster than the other guy. They both excel in their field for almost opposite reasons, which make them good for me to rotate between.

So let’s get into it!

Battle Nations

This is an amazingly addictive RPG that I got about two months ago. What drew me to the game, was a promotion video I saw with a chess style grid, and its turn by turn attack system. I absolutely love these games, as they provide just the right level of adrenaline fighting but you can also take a break at any time, and so it’s good for travelling or playing at home. Another awesome factor in these games is that you can only do so much in one gameplay so it doesn’t take up your whole day (although you may be coming back a lot!).

Gameplay

Ok so I’ll make this easier to understand for you. You basically start with limited resources, and this is certainly a resource driven game. You are guided through they whole first part of the game. Characters keep popping up on your screen and telling you what to do and by doing so quite nicely teach you all the menus and concepts in the game. These characters are pretty hilarious and quite loveable and if nothing else their evolving story will keep you hooked.

As you progress, your tasks to complete get slowly harder and take longer. You must develop your characters and town to make sure you can continually keep up wth resource demands. Your enemies slowly get harder and harder as you also develop your skills. Like most of these games, eventually the game gets hard enough that you really, really wish you had more resources. Bing! It’s done, you can at any time in the game buy “nano pods” which either can be used to trade for resources (but it’s heavily overpriced if you do that) or speed the game up (which is the normal use of them and much more economical). These are actually in game purchases you can get, but you can also get them from watching a promotional video now and then. although this is a slow way to go. The good thing, is that, if you are patient, you can play this game totally for free.

Here you can see the battle field. The backgrounds change, but the grid is always the same. It’s quite handy as you really get to know each characters strengths and weaknesses. You do tend towards the same players each time and sometimes the battles are a tad monotonous if you have just done 3 or 4 with the same configuration but overall it’s very well designed.

The game is non-linear, up to a point. You can choose what you do but there is no point getting into battles you can’t win as that will just lose you time by having to send your characters to hospital all the time. Besides the storyline, you can battle other players in the game, which helps your players level up faster than in game battles. A great tactic to encourage real time battles between people. Interestingly, once you have battled someone, you can become their “friend” and they can visit your playing area and give you the gift of time by furthering your goals.

Downsides

One major downside to this game is you must be connected to the Internet at all times. That is such a pain in the arse if you don’t have mobile Internet. In Tokyo it is pretty rare to find Internet outside your house so it’s not a great game for cities like that. Another location based disadvantage is that outside of America and Canada you cannot watch movies to get free nano pods (which is another way you can play this game, by getting them advertising credits in place of actually paying them). This is true for many games, which means these games will lose popularity in some countries.

You may see a lot of spinning circles if your wifi connection is not too great.

.

Conclusion

This is a great game which has good gameplay, witty characters and very addictive gameplay. It also has elements of time management in there as you need to do things in the right order to avoid lots of waiting around. If you get seriously into it, you will at some point buy some nano pods, even a small purchase of 2 dollars will help you quite a bit, and you can also play the game successfully without the extra credits. That takes some great game design, and at the moment, this is my number one game. This company “z2″ makes a bunch if games, but I’m too scared to look as this one has been too addictively time consuming.

Real Racing 3

This game is completely different from the last in almost every way, but it many ways just as enjoyable. The first thing that will blow you away are the graphics. It’s one of the best looking games I’ve seen on the iPad. With real time shading and realistic reflections it will make you feel like you are controlling a TV car race just by holding it. The gameplay is awesome and has never skipped (on my iPad 3 at least) a frame as far as I can tell.

As with most games like this, you are given the lowest class vehicle and have to make your way to the top, upgrading your driving skills and car at the same time. I have no idea about this style of racing car but I believe the choices are extremely accurate also. This game is made by EA, who have the reputation of being the most realistic in any sports category and this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

As you can see the graphics are irresistible. The texture mapping and actually real word geometry has very few seams and moves fast enough to make you believe you are driving.

Gameplay

In a race, you actually don’t need to accelerate as it happens automatically. You can manually brake but that can be made automatic also. While this sounds a bit too easy it has a realistic feel and you can concentrate on steerig your car into the “racing line” where you will save valuable secods on a course. I really like this as you get to see the whole picture on screen rather than being obscured with your hands. The steering is done with the accelerometer and is very sensitive, but not in excess. You will certainly get sore arms playing this game excessively, but actually feels quite comfortable and works fine either in front of you or angled towards the ground.

Like “Battle Nations” this game can be played non-linearly, but has a fairly distinct direction, and you would be well advised not to jump ahead or you will just lose all the races. There are also quite a few class races and if you have not earned enough to buy the next car you cannot race on those races. There are a few modes, to keep you interested. Time trials, drag races, class races, or just plain old racing. Each has a different difficulty level which you are rewarded for proportionately.

While it looks completely realistic, you can quite easily push drivers off the road, which is basically my driving tactic in this game. You still have to do it fairly graceful as if you damage your car too much it’s expensive to keep repairing it. As you level up, you do see subtle but obvious improvements to your performance which makes you always want to do just one more race.

There are some classic courses in there too which may take you back to your childhood if you ever watched racing. As someone who grew up in Adelaide, Australia; I went to the formula one races every year and got to feel the excitement of car racing. While I rarely watch it now, I still love the electricity of a racing game. It’s very “here and now” and unlike the last game , you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second while in the middle of a race, or other event.

As with many games, it now has a “Share” function, which gives you little gold coins, which can be used in place of cash as well as speed up the game. These are quite essential as sometimes you must wait 1 hour between races to upgrade your transmission or something similar , so you can skip that by spending coins. Of curse this also means that you must be online to do that. Truthfully I would never ever share something like this on Facebook as I’m very particular what I put on there so I just need to wait sometimes. It’s not every time so doesn’t negatively affect the game, at least in the beginning , as you also receive coins for completing levels, s0, like Battle Nations you can also play this game without having to conform to their in-game monetary system.

Conclusion

While I find any game that encourages you to share on Facebook to be annoying (and I hope and pray that we will get sick of this trend) this game does it in a fairly non-aggressive way which I can handle it on screen now and then. The feel of driving is truly fantastic and they made a good decision to make it the way they did. Of course if you don’t like to look a bit mental in public,or get sore arms easily, you can switch the controls to more traditional. In fact there are 7 variations to the controls. How’s that for customizeable.

All in all, if you are not a racing fan, it probably won’t convert you, but will more than satisfy all racing game fans on many levels. Everyone will be amazed by the graphics no doubt. While for me this game doesn’t create the (pardon the pun) “drive” to play it every day, I’m glad it’s in my iPad for when I need to get immersed in a different world and just tear around a famous circuit from around the world.