Fresh start

I’ve gotten pretty far in terms of the redesign but decided to scrap it all, haha. I got into papervision and planned to make a website that’s a mixture of 2D and 3D, which would’ve allowed the use of fancy effects while still maintaining good usability. On first glance the website would look as if it’s a normal, two-dimensinal website, but during transitions and movement it’s revealed that everything is in fact just a projection of more complex three-dimensional objects (I suppose that exceeds the possibilities of written explanation).

The sitemap would’ve been rather minimal, with only a few pages, but each with a distinct look and feel and with all the effects and playfulness I could probably cramp into them. That sounded nice at first, but in the end also turned out to be the idea’s biggest flaw:

While the 2D/3D-mixture is a nice effect, it’s also “only an effect“. The whole website would have been nothing more than a compilation of what I’m able to do, much less a true idea. Still that could have maybe, maybe, maybe been enough for the Site of the Day award (just as mindless, effect-filled blockbusters like “Transformers” can be successful movies), but it would have lacked in spirit. Hence I gave up on it.

I’ve gotten a better idea in the meantime, one that involves that 3D-modeling I’ve written about earlier and which at least until now seems to be much better and much more funny and engaging. I’ve also decided to set up a new domain, to get an even more consistent package and to finally separate my professional work from my private life. After all I’ve used the the old blackspell domain since my schooldays and using it to to advertise my professional work wouldn’t feel right at all.

The new domain will be: —————–

Oh, how this alone opens up a whole new world full of ideas and possibilities… Well, I didn’t start working yet, but I will. Probably!

Papervision 3D

A while ago I wanted to broaden my horizon and two things came into my mind: Motion Graphics or 3D Modeling. At work I see others doing that frequently and I’m just as frequently awestruck by what those people can accomplish (Well, that feeling is mutual, but you know: the grass on the other side). And then there’s that talk about “Hypernurbs”! Now, if that doesn’t scream Sci-Fi, I don’t know what does.

Despite my best intentions, I failed miserably: I claim to have some basic understanding of both, Motion and 3D, but at the end of the day I’m just a total noob. It took me hours for the most basic things and the prospect of having to waste days and weeks before getting anywhere remotely OK was less than promising.

Cobbler, stick to thy last. For me, interactive and Flash-based 3D is the probably the only proper way to go.

Flash CS4 already provided some basic 3D functionality that Adobe tries to improve, but currently it mostly sucks. Those new motion tweens are already a major pain in the ass, but without z-sorting, cameras and lighting? As they are now, Flash’s internal 3D methods are at best appropriate for online banners. For interactive websites and 3D worlds? Not so much.

Some time ago I’ve already had some first experiences with Papervision3D (a 3D engine for flash) and fiddled with a few of Mr. Doob‘s sources – though what I achieved in the end was more due to endurance than skill. Even getting PV3D to run was already a mess of its own, because there’s still much development going on and different versions vary greatly enough to keep older tutorials and files from running.

Papervision3d Essentials

Without a rich pool of online tutorials found for other technologies, it’s quite hard to get into Papervision3D. Some months ago I was finally recommended the Papervision3D Essentials book, bought it and it’s a bliss. It’s like the missing tutorial you’ve always been looking for: from downloading sources to mere cubes and cones to more advanced problems like performance optimization; everyting is explained comprehensively and in detail (and at thirty-something bucks for both the book and pdf it’s a steal). If someone wants to get into 3D Flash, this is the proper way to start.

Aiming for the stars.

Summer is the season when I feel the necessity to take a cooling shower every five minutes and redesign my website, though I’m not sure if there’s a connection. Anyway: this summer is no exception. If I counted correctly, my website’s next version should be the eighteenth – quite the number.

My website was, to give a brief review, for many years supposed to showcase my drawings – only that I never had any, because I don’t draw. I make websites.

Whatever. The next version is supposed to be a bit more “mature” than previous versions; less experimental, easier to use and with a very reduced sitemap. A classic portfolio with anything you’d expect, though as good and sophisticated and complex and voluminous and fancy and creative as I am able to make it.

I’m feeling a bit awkward and embarrassed that I actually dare to say this, but I really want to get The FWA‘s Site of the Day award – the most prestigious online award and, in my opinion, the only one that matters. The technological and creative level of The FWA’s winners is incredibly high, they’re beyond any doubt the very vanguard of webdesign.

And even though I consider myself experienced enough to make good websites, I consider my chances to be rather slim. But failing won’t be a problem, because the next summer will come, without a doubt, and so will better skills :)

In any case, I’ll use this blog to keep track of this or other projects!