Archive for the ‘Graphics & Assorted Photographs’ Category

Lollipop, Anyone?

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs on May 18, 2011 at 9:47 am


A poster I made that cherishes the youth and innocence of candy (specifically the lollipop) and tries to bring back a nostalgic sense of the candy shop.


A Few Neat Things:

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Other on May 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

From Drawn.ca:

I thought this animation short by Matthias Hoegg was pretty neat.  The story is detailed and The animation is clear and inspiring, a job well done!

From Design Milk:

Veuve Clicquots collaboration with designer Mathias van de Wall produced this: an origami, foldable Champagne bucket for Milan Design Week:

Veuve Cliquot's Foldable Champagne Bucket

Something I saw for myself (in a hotel displaying art in Taiwan):

Fred Eerdeken’s play with the shadows to form words.  It’s quite interesting how this seemingly random twirl of metal coil can form words in it’s shadow!

Fred Eerdeken

Fred Eerdeken

From the Cool Hunter:

A unique piece of architecture made of “house prisms” by Herzog and de Meuron, named Vitra Haus.

Vitra Haus

Vitra Haus

Betty’s Kitchen, for a Mother’s Day Lunch, IFC

In Food - HK, Graphics & Assorted Photographs on May 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Betty’s Kitchen (Hong Kong) is a new western-style restaurant in IFC, opened by Alan Yau (who has previously opened restaurants in London).  As a party of 6 we went to try this new restaurant out.  It served brunch – normal meals as well as more breakfast-type meals.  The atmosphere was quite warm, and the whole stretch of it was against the window facing the harbor, which lit up the room.

Betty's Kitchen

The menu was a little pricey, but I thought the food was pretty good – and I would definitely go again.

There was a sunday 600g 21-day aged roast, for HKD $688 (sharing for two).  The meat was pink but not bloody at all, and the meat was very tender and juicy.  It was accompanied by a Yorkshire pudding, but I didn’t try it as I was told that it was too dry.

21-day aged roast, 600g

I ordered a stewed pork belly placed with lentils.  I really enjoyed my dish and thought it was the best of the meal, as the meat was tender and tasty, but not too salty.  With every bite I would add a little of the sweet raisin mustard sauce, and it would mix really well with the meat.  Though the bottom bit of meat is a little stringy, the taste of the dish was very good.  It is also nice if you are going for something a little more “interesting”, as I have not had a similar dish before.

Pork Belly in Slightly Creamy Lentils

I only tried a little of this “black pudding”, accompanied by a little baked apple and an egg.  This pudding is made of pork blood, and to me it just tasted like sausage, but I only tried a little bit.  My friend whose dish it was said the pudding was more of an “acquired taste”.

Black Pudding

There was also a plate of fish and chips, which had a crispy outside and was cooked well within.  It was a very good fish and chips, although a little ordinary.

Fish and Chips

The fish and chips also came with duck fat fries, which were excellent (from my point of view).  The taste of the fries were good, and served in a cute red pot.  The fries were a little soggy and not crispy at all – but I like soft fries (I think they have more taste), so really it’s how you prefer them.

Duck Fat Fries

I wouldn’t say Betty’s Kitchen is my favorite restaurant, but I think the food is pretty decent and some dishes (like the pork belly), outstanding.  The food was in no way bad or too ordinary, perhaps just not specialized enough.  I’m also hoping to see more variety on the menu next time I dine at this restaurant (and I will).

Adobe iPad Apps

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on April 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm

After getting the iPad (I have a mini review of it here: https://effli.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/new-ipad-2-review/) I realized that good apps on the iPad are surprisingly rare.  Sure, there are some fun games, some pretty apps, but once you put them on the iPad, not many of them are that useful or fun.  Good apps are hard to find! This post is going to be about Adobe iPad products.  I will post one on other iPad apps shortly.

I tend to buy a lot of Free Apps not because I’m cheap but because if it’s free, why not download it?  I always think it’s better to download and delete than to contemplate, because apps might be on sale!  One free app, Adobe Ideas, has quickly become my favorite. (I’m about to go on about Adobe products now, and if you aren’t interested in design you might want to skip down.)   Adobe Ideas is a sketching software, and allows you to adjust brush size, opacity, and color.  Unlike many applications where you have a limited choice of colors, Adobe Ideas gives you the whole range of web colors.  You do need to pay $4.99 USD if you want to buy layers, which is really useful.  A recommendation for improvement is to have a color picker when choosing colors so that when you have a non-white background, you can easily erase mistakes without having to buy layers. Another feature I also really like is how I can create color themes from pictures and work with them.  If you want your own color themes without having to take them from pictures, you can just make a color chart jpg (on your computer photoshop) and get the color themes from there.

Being Adobe, the Adobe Ideas interface is really sleek:

Adobe Ideas Interface

Here are some examples of what I’ve done with the program.

Afternoon Tea Set

Easter Chicken

Another Adobe app that is already out, Photoshop Express, is mediocre.  It is nothing like the actual photoshop in any respect, and its only useful features are adjusting saturation, contrast, and exposure (as well as rotating and cropping).  The other effects there are disastrous, they ruin your photo.

Photoshop Express interface: This photo was NOT taken by the iPad, and NOT entirely edited with Photoshop Express

Now, Adobe is rolling out a trio of iPad apps, coming out early May: Adobe Eazel, Nav, and Color Lava.  Eazel is much like Adobe Ideas, except you get more features (it costs $5) and your tools can be brought up by using all 5 fingers.  I’ve only looked at the commercials online, and it is a pretty cool design but does not differ so much in its function from Adobe Ideas, from what I can see.

Adobe Eazel

Adobe Nav is an iPad based navigator for toolbars on Adobe programs on your computer, such as Photoshop.  You can customize your own toolbar with tools from the Adobe program and work full screen on your computer.  I don’t think this is that useful, but $2 for an Adobe product might just be worth it.

Adobe Nav

The app I’m really interested in is Adobe Color Lava.  Color Lava is a digital artists palette.  You can mix colors, have colors bleed onto other colors, wet your brush and mix again on Color Lava.  I love to sort my colors and create color themes so this program is ideal.  It is also the coolest of all three apps, and it’s fun simply to go wild with colors!

Here’s a snapshot of it, but if you want to watch the video to see how it works, go here: http://www.photoshop.com/products/mobile/colorlava.

Adobe Color Lava

There is also another program that I have and would like to see in action – Adobe Content Viewer.  It’s free, as you need Adobe InDesign on your computer to use it.  Using InDesign, you can create special iPad books/magazines that are interactive.  On watching the tutorials online, the tools seem pretty self-explanatory, and watching the new features video I think I can do it.  There’s only one problem: no matter what button I press, I can’t get the toolbars to show up (I have Adobe CS5), which is extremely frustrating.  This also means I can’t do anything with InDesign, so I’m hoping to solve this problem.  But if this does work it would be really cool to create projects with!

Japan Earthquake Poster

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs on April 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

Walking around the city and surfing the web, I have come across a lot of posters for Japan and its recent earthquake (not the 7.4M one, the 9M one, though it could be for both of course).  Most of them include the classic symbol of Japan – the rising red sun.  I personally think that that sun, which is just a simple circle, is classical and not cliche, and so I used it in my poster as well.  Many of the posters I came across had the sun symbol on a white, or off white background, which is always very nice, but a little too common nowadays.

Crane Of Japan

My poster has a sun sinking into shallow waters – Japan is in a time of crisis but it is not too late to come back up.  The crane hidden amongst the buildings is a crane symbolizing hope.  The crane, at this moment of time, also represents the charity organizations that sell paper cranes and donate funds to help japan.

OmmWriter Dana

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am

OmmWriter Dana is a beautiful app for macs.  It is an app that allows you to write creatively in a calming atmosphere.  A picture covers the entire screen, so you don’t get distracted when you type.  OmmWriter also stops all notifications, such as the ones for Skype.  Different sounds go off as you type, including the classic “Type Writer” sound.  And it wouldn’t be the same without music.  There are 7 choices of music you can choose to listen to as you write to get your creative juices flowing.  Here are a few snapshots of OmmWriter below:

I bought this app for a cheap $4.99 USD on the Mac app store, and I simply love it.  Using it I don’t have to be distracted by facebook, skype, or other programs, and can finally concentrate on my writing.  This app is entirely worth the 5 dollars I paid.

Protected: Solution to a boring audio file?

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs on March 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

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CAN Republic

In Food - HK, Graphics & Assorted Photographs on March 24, 2011 at 1:01 am

On a recent trip to Taiwan, I bought a neat little can-shaped bottle. My friend (who I bought the can for) said she has seen it somewhere in Hong Kong as well. though I am not sure exactly where.  I no longer have the packaging and it is hard to find the website online (if there is one).  It claims to use environmentally-friendly materials, and also produces the reusable bottle-can in a way that is good for the environment.  Of course, the details of how exactly are written more in depth on the cool packaging.

The can that CAN Republic has produced also has many other admirable qualities:  it has double-layer insulation, which also protects the hand from burning as well as keeping the drink warm.  It comes in many unique “designer” designs that are really quite pretty.  My only concern is that it does not fit into most can/bottle stands, which is quite annoying, especially when you want to put it down in the car.

I bought the fish design below:


CAN Republic Fish Design

iPhone Photos

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on March 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Despite many tutorials on “how to take good photos with the iPhone” you never really learn how to use the bland iPhone’s camera.  In reality, though, the iPhone camera quality isn’t that bad (iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, that is).  It can take HD video – and it’s the same camera.  The real problem is the plain “Auto” mode the camera is in.  With the right apps, this can easily be fixed. So, here is a useful tutorial on how to make your pictures more exciting.  Not every picture has to have a professional look – everyday things can look better too!  All the camera apps I use are free, so there’s no reason not to try them out.

1. Classic TOY camera

This is one of my favorite camera apps out there.  It has 16 film types you can use as of now, as well as pinhole, squara, snapshot, and action lens.  The film type I would recommend using would be overexposed.  My favorite used to be negative film, but that was before they updated the app and what was a nice, warm filter became a disgusting green stain on my photos.  If you want to see the pictures I have taken with the negative film, you can see it at the bottom of this article.  When choosing the film there is also a setting at the bottom, and you should probably choose “original” otherwise the colors will be too strong and unrealistic.  My advice in using iPhone camera apps: take as many shots as you can, it’s easy to delete them if you don’t like them.

Here are some pictures I took with the classic lens mode and the overexposed film:

Okay, I’m not done with this app yet.  The pinhole lens is quite interesting.  It basically takes 2 pictures and merges them together, and if you move the slider to “M” for manual, you can choose which two pictures to merge (Just take 2 pictures!)  Still using the overexposed mode:

I feel so tempted to share all my pictures, but I have to move on to other apps.  If you want to see more pictures, I’ll post them at the bottom!



Many iPhone apps claim to have “lomo” settings, the popular toy camera which I personally have.  This particular app has a few filters, though I only like two: “Classic Lomo” and “Valentine Martini”.  I don’t use this app to often as it crops my pictures into squares and always adds a frame, which is annoying, because I have to go to Photoshop express and remove it.  Furthermore the picture filters that it has aren’t too special, especially if you keep using the same one.  Here are a few pictures I’ve taken using lomolomo:


3. Photoshop Express

Photoshop for the iPhone has many good as well as bad qualities.  You can use the effective adjustments of exposure, saturation, and contrast, but you can also put it through strange filters.  When you use Photoshop Express, you should really only use these functions: crop, rotate, exposure, saturation, and contrast (just don’t make it have too much contrast!).  As I said before, the iPhone camera isn’t that bad.  You just need good lighting and adjust the above mentioned things for a clear, bright, picture.  (Although of course for artistic reasons you can also have a fuzzy dark picture, I just wouldn’t recommend making it blurry on photoshop.)  Here are some pictures below:




4. More Beaute

Finally, we have MoreBeaute.  MoreBeaute increases 2 things: smoothness and brightness of a photo.  It works exceptionally well on people’s faces, and that’s all I have to say.  I don’t have particularly good examples, as the lighting in my room is very yellow, so I’ll leave you to try this app on your own.

I hope this helps make your quick, easy photos from your iPhone have quality as well!


Other Classic Toy pictures:

Negative Film:

Other film types:

Blogs and Other Sites

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs on March 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I have spent quite some time searching the internet in look of something truly, consistently, interesting.  In the end I have found 3 sites that I am continually attached to and keep going back to look at.  I will display one post or piece that I have found from each of these, and hopefully you have the chance to experience these blogs too.

From the animation shorts site: http://www.aniboom.com/
http://api.aniboom.com/e/469575 <–at this link.  Unfortunately it does not allow me to embed videos from this site.

I have watched many videos on aniboom, and found this to be the most entertaining.  The others are deep and meaningful, and some have beautiful graphics.  But most do not have the beautiful storyline that this short does.  Ok, so the animator did not write the script for this movie himself.  He used an old broadcasting for the voices, and fitted his animation to it.  This clip, though, is completely worth the watch.  It’s approximately 24 minutes long, and is thoroughly entertaining.  It is a classic, with new, simple (but not over-simplified) graphics.
The second site that I am going to show is Drawn, found at this site: http://blog.drawn.ca/

Help Japan Poster

Personally, I love the simplicity of this poster.  The classic blood orange rising sun is symbolic of Japan, and the cracks are done very well.  Although the website Drawn found it on was degrading such posters, I believe the contrary.  Of course we should help Japan, and hopefully they are better off now as the news report.  I personally was there when the Earthquake occurred, and felt it too, though I am ok.  We must help such a beautiful, orderly nation (which has such delicious food as well!).
The third site I am going to introduce to you is Gurafiku: http://gurafiku.tumblr.com/
This is a poster done by Taku Satoh in the year 2006 called “Surfer and Designer”  I first knew of Taku Satoh when I went to Kanazawa and visited the 21st century museum, and bought a small book of his works there.  His works are really quite unique, and that is why I have chosen this piece from Gurafiku, a Japanese graphics blog.
These are the three sites I always go on and check in my free time, I hope you go check them out too!
Other sites may include: http://psd.tutsplus.com/
Psd tuts has some cool graphics and also has some photoshop tutorials.
Japan Times is also one of my favorites, although it does not update too often.