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Video & audio

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at 9:44

What’s great about Adobe’s Creative Cloud is that I now have access to a lot more tools than before. I bought Design Premium when I started freelancing, giving me access to Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. Now I can play with Premiere, Audition, After Effects and more.

A few days ago I posted this to Twitter:

Click for larger image

I was busy making a promo video for ConcertWall. We (me and Kristof) are trying to get more eyes on the app. It’s very hard to promote your app in a crowded app store. There’s many people trying to do the same and only a few featured spots.

Here’s the video:

Some things I learned:

  1. It’s better to record audio while you’re explaining, syncing is a *****.
  2. Adobe Audition is a pretty cool audio recording app
  3. TheMusicBed is a good site to grab stock audio tracks
  4. Editing video is sloo-oo-ow. If this was my day job I’d probably want a very specific setup to do it fast (a fast machine w/ fast external hard drives)
  5. YouTube transcripts are awesome: I uploaded a transcript (just a .txt file containing what I said( and it automatically made the subtitles for me.

I’m pretty happy with the result, I have some ideas for a next promo video to make it shorter and more ad-like. Next up, I want to brush up my After Effects skills so I’ll be able to do stuff like this.

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Open Goldberg Variations

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at 8:54

You probably know of Johann Sebastian Bach. He lived from 1685 to 1750. So one would imagine his work is in the public domain now? Well, not quite. As the Kickstarter project launched to alleviate this problem mentions: “Bach wrote his seminal work over 270 years ago, yet public domain scores and recordings are hard or impossible to find. Until now!“.

You might be wondering why I’m blogging about classical music. Well, the Open Goldberg team (which I previously worked with on hired me to work on the Open Goldberg Variations iPad application.

Design for the Open Goldberg Variations app. Click to enlarge.

The app has been released yesterday. You can download it for free here. If you don’t have an iPad, you can also listen to the variations on the website. Hurray for open sourcing Bach!

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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 at 8:34

The designer must be the gestaltingenieur or creative engineer. They synthesise
the completed product from the various elements that make up its design. Their
work is largely rational, meaning that aesthetic decisions are justified by an
understanding of the product’s purpose.

From: Design by Vitsoe, a speech by Dieter Rams (1976) (PDF link)

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ConcertWall released

Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 13:17

ConcertWall, the subject of my iOS design presentation is now released.

ConcertWall is a free application to find concerts in your neighborhood. It lets you create a list of upcoming concerts. You can view the details on these concerts. Optionally, based on your profile, you’ll get concert recommendations.

Check out the website or view the app in the App Store.


Illustrator stability should be fixed

Monday, May 14th, 2012 at 17:49

My main complaint about Illustrator (CS5) is that it’s unstable. Apparently, CS6 should be much more stable:

In order to make Illustrator 64bit, Adobe had to rewrite a LOT of code. Tons of memory leaks were fixed, which results in a much more stable environment. This, coupled with the fact that Illustrator can use all of the memory in your computer, translates to a far more reliable experience. So in this case, a 64bit version of Illustrator will likely mean you’ll no longer see random crashes or out of memory errors. So while it may not always be faster, it is stable and reliable.

I haven’t experienced any crashes so far, but then again I haven’t done any hardcore wireframing work since CS6 released on Friday. Let’s wait and see. More here.

P.S. I am rearranging some things, this site is now available at while I work on the 4th version. A temporary homepage is up at If you see anything weird/broken, it would be nice to tell me :).

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Windows Phone design – setup and resources

Monday, May 7th, 2012 at 12:35

In the post I’ll be sharing some information about designing for Windows Phone (7) that might help other designers.

First, a bit about the hardware. In order to use the Microsoft Windows Windows Phone SDK I need a physical Windows machine. Not visible in the picture is the PC under my desk.

I use my 27″ iMac and switch between the PC and iMac using target display mode (Command+F2) (this only works on older iMacs).

I use the Nokia Lumia 800 as a reference device, but since I can’t take any screenshots I mostly use it to check out the interaction design.

There are some design resources I found, like the aforementioned grid.

Microsoft has a set of PSDs and some other resources on MSDN. You’re going to need the SegoeWP font installed on your system (not the same as Segoe UI!). That font comes with the PSD download.

Unfortunately, the Microsoft provided PSDs are largely incomplete. The icons are made of bitmap shapes. The panorama PSD mentions something about a new version coming soon, and some of parts exist out of 1 layer (instead of being fully layered).

Most online resources are pretty crappy. There’s one vector based resource by Clarity Consulting worth downloading.

I use Illustrator on the Mac to make wireframes. For an application flow that looks sort of like this (anonimized) it makes sense to work with vector shapes. Especially if there’s going to be different Windows Phone screen sizes in the future.

Since there are no good vector design resources out there I set out to create my own. Here’s a sample of what I have so far:

The first version of this resource can be downloaded here. It’s not 100% yet but provides some base shapes for wireframing and/or designing. Make you sure have the SegoeWP font installed (the fonts are not outlined on purpose).

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Windows Phone & screenshots

Monday, May 7th, 2012 at 11:52

In order to create better designs for Windows Phone I have to be able to take screenshots. Apparently there is a screenshot application out there (why is there no offical way to make screenshots?) To be able to install applications on your phone, you need to register your device as a developer device.

First you need an app hub account. When I try to register, I get this nondescript error:

When I then try to contact support, I’m greeted with a screen about €299 one-off support contracts:

Welcome to the world of Micro$oft? All I wanted is to take screenshots of the official apps. I’m not a big company that needs a Microsoft support contract.

One can start to wonder why there are so few quality applications in the marketplace.

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Windows Phone emulator

Friday, May 4th, 2012 at 22:19

If you install the Windows Phone SDK, an emulator is included:

Will probably be reporting more when I learn more. Designing for a new platform is always exciting.

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Windows Phone grid

Friday, May 4th, 2012 at 11:30


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Setting boundaries

Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 13:26

“The most important thing a creative per­son can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.”

—Hugh MacLeod (via SwissMiss)

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