Elly Williams' Weblog

Caught Between Industries

And the Nominations Are…..

The Oscar Nominations are out.

Unsuprisingly Lord of the Rings is up for a whole load – Including Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, and Best Make-up….although it does have to compete with Johnny Depp’s eyeliner on the last one!

Other people’s thoughts:
Suprises at the Golden Globes – “I’m not from these parts… I’m from a little place called England. We used to run the world before you”
Nominations Overview – One Ring to Rule Them All? (I can’t believe I said that…..)
Brits in the Nominations – Jude Law, Samantha Morton, Ben Kingsley etc…

Old Interfaces, New Hardware and Sneaky SFX

Yet again I’m a bit lost for time for a proper entry so here’s a few things that caught my interest this morning.

OK/Cancel are talking about HCI and GUI design in games this week. Go and read…. at least to laugh at the comic.

Daniel Etherington has been comparing next generation consoles. And yet again I am stuck in a “do I get one now or wait for the new one which may or may not be out soon” loop. Oh well.

And this is just cute. A bit of an homage to movie animators who leave jokes and personal tags. I know we do this on my (architecture) course…. I have to put people in my drawings so there will invariably be movie stars, fictionaly characters, aliens and demonic babies. It makes the world a little less tedious.

Seeing Double

I don’t really have the time to write a proper entry at the moment but I thought this was quite interesting.

Nintendo have announced that they will soon be launching a handheld with two screens.

Seems like a pretty cool idea although it’s all very vague so far and noone appears to be quite sure how they’re planning on implementing it – or what added value you’d get for your extra screen.

The same topic on game girl advance.

“There is No Reason Anyone Would Want a Computer in Their Home.”

Or so said Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp in 1977.

A quarter of a century (ish) later and the question is not ‘why would “anyone would want a computer in their home.”‘ but ‘why wouldn’t you want a computer in your living room?’ or any other room in your house for that matter.

“The hard drive is moving from the computer room to every room in the house, to the car, even to your pocket,” said Gary Gentry, Vice President of Seagate.

This isn’t hugely surprising. I play music through my computer. I play DVD’s through my computer. I do have a hard drive I can fit in my pocket and play music off. I know people who use music CDs purely as a form of backup. My parents watch the TV and watch videos through computers. All these new “digital entertainment hubs” do is relocate from the computer to a series of boxes in you living room – and allow you to record.

The recording however might be a bit of an issue. How long is it going to be before someone figures out how to transfer “recorded to hard drive from TV” onto a something with a ‘net connection – and from there file shared across the web? Not long I suspect. And how long after that before Film and TV are following the lead of the music industry?

Something That Made my Morning

I have the same favorite smell as Neil Gaiman!!

Well, sort of. He likes the evening version and I like the sunrise version when there’s actually frost on the ground.

Gadgets for Girls

Following on from the piece a while back about marketing computer games at girls it appears there’s now a similar vein going on in consumer electronics.

I hope they can sort this out. I’ve been talked down to in electronics stores .The worst was one time in the gadget shop (with my girlfriend) when I was looking a rotary CD/DVD rack and an assistant told me it would be a great present for the man in my life……I HAVE NO MAN IN MY LIFE!!!

I seem to remeber the original premise of What Women Want (cringeworthy film with Mel Gibson) was something along these lines- in that if you don’t sell right to women you won’t sell – it would be nice for some of the more “boyish” industries to catch up.

Make your own Pop Art

Here’s a clever little technique I discovered/made up for creating Lichtenstein style images from other images using Photoshop.

  1. This technique works best with bold images – it really doesn’t work well with faces – I chose a picture of a big shiny motorbike.
    Original photograph of the bike
  2. The first thing you need to do is Duplicate layer

    You can either do this via the Layers menu, or by right clicking on the correct layer in the Layer Palette (If you don’t have the Layers Palette go to Windows > Layers)

  3. Hide this new layer (click on the eye next to it in the Layer Palette) – you won’t need it for a bit
  4. Bike with Colour Halftone Filter applied - lots of dots

  5. To create the pixels you need to use the Colour Halftone Filter: (Filter > Pixelate> Colour Halftone.

    The size you want your dots to be will depend on your image – for this image I used 4 pixels, but if that doesn’t work, try something else.

  6. You want all your screen angles at 45 degrees.

  7. Turn the duplicate layer back on again.
  8. Line version of Bike

  9. To create the lines you need to use the Find Edges Filter: (Filter > Stylize > Find Edges.)

    The lines this creates will probably be multi coloured – we want black lines.

  10. The first thing to do is Desaturate: (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate) – This will make the lines shades of grey.
  11. Then adjust Brigtness and Contrast (Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast)

    You need to put the Contrast up to Full (100) then play around with the Brightness slider until you get clean lines. Where this point is will depend on your image.

  12. Finally, set the Layer Style to Darken
  13. And Voila

    Bike as PopArt - Dots with lines overlaid

What’s in a Game?

Scott Miller from Game Matters is discussing the definition of a “game”……again

I like the definition that “A game is a structured set of fun problems”– I think it works quite well. It doesn’t exclude games without a “win” situation (like pretty much everything Maxis have every made) or games without conflict (so anything like Tetris or the daft stuff they have on PopCap) and, unlike so many other definitions – it mentions fun, which apparently is so obvious it’s been overlooked.

Icons and Things

I put a favicon on my site the other day and forgot to blog the tutorial I used.


How to Create a Favicon is a great little tutorial by PhotoMatt

Seeing as my festive season has been over since midweek when I got heavily bogged down in coursework I decided to take the decorations down. So the flower is back too (ironically the day I took the snow off my site was the first time it actually snowed all winter…. maybe next year I should put up summery decorations to temp the snow….)

is an Architecture Student and Web Designer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (UK)