Archive for the 'Interactive Media Design' Category

How to Create a Great Website Portfolio

If you have or are planning to build a website portfolio, there are definitely some things you’ll want to include. While attending the Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh, I came across a wide gamut of student portfolios. Some stuck out as amazing and were immediately bookmarked…while the others…well, let’s just say they weren’t bookmarked. I had created a folder of portfolio & inspirational sites that I’d turn to and keep track of when needing some ideas. I never really put a finger on what caught my eye about these sites, but an article was just written on Smashing Magazine’s website called “10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website” by Lee Munroe. It’s amazing and I highly suggest you drop what you’re doing and head over there to check out this article. It not only gives you some great advice, but it also includes a ginormous list of websites for some inspiration.

So go check it out!
10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website

PHP & mySQL Ecommerce Software

I’ve worked on quite a few ecommerce and have used numerous software packages to set them up such as miva, candypress, zen cart, osCommerce, etc. What has frustrated me to no end is that there has never been a solid php & mysql shopping cart available…that I could find and be happy with. Well…it looks like my search is coming to an end! I’ve been tracking a new shopping cart software by Interspire that looks to be everything I have been looking for in a shopping cart package. It is currently in beta, but they constantly update their StoreSuite Blog with updates, videos, feedback, and all sorts of stuff that has me itchin’ like a kid counting down to Christmas.

Some of the features I’m stoked about are:

  • php & mysql!
  • Sweet Drag & Drop design mode
  • Shipping integration
  • Template driven to separate the content from design
  • SEO Friendly!!!! The URLs it generate are simply…yummy
  • AJAX used to enhance experience
  • Even the default layout they show blows away just about every other shopping cart software package I’ve ever seen

StoreSuite Shopping Cart Software
If you have an Ecommerce project coming up, I highly suggest you bookmark the StoreSuite shopping cart software by Interspire. You’ll be seeing a lot of websites using this in the near future. I can’t wait to set some of my own projects up with this!

How to Promote Your Web Design Services

So you just received your Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media Design from The Art Institute Online and are wondering how to promote your services. Maybe this web designer’s self-promotional video will inspire you. (tongue in cheek)

I saw this video over at Smiley Cat, which is an excellent web design blog. Although the video may be funny and being spread all across the web as a joke, there is an important lesson here – viral marketing. It is being spread like wildfire and is in-turn building traffic to his website. All of the links and traffic will increase his web popularity, which will result in better search engine results…regardless of how silly the video is. So while you laugh at the video, just think about this guy might actually know what he’s doing…at least that’s what I like to think.

Search Engine Optimization Glossary

There are many times that I might throw out terms like SEO, CPC, 301 redirect, RSS, SERP, etc in my posts, which might leave you scratching your head. I just came across a nice SEO Glossary that defines practically all of the terms used in search engine marketing. It’s worth a bookmark as you will more than likely run into some terms you don’t recognize if you’re new to interactive media design. Hopefully this will save you some googling!

Animator vs Animation

For anyone that has every used Flash or seen the popular stick figure animations you will enjoy the animation below. Animator vs Animation was created by Alan Becker and shows what happens when an animation starts fighting back against the animator. Here’s what Alan Becker has to say about it:

An animator faces his own animation in deadly combat. The battlefield? The Flash interface itself.
A stick figure is created by an animator with the intent to torture. The stick figure drawn by the animator will be using everything he can find – the brush tool, the eraser tool – to get back at his tormentor. It’s resourcefulness versus power. Who will win? You can find out yourself.

Continue reading ‘Animator vs Animation’

Easily Convert Movies and Videos on a Mac

Visual HubSometimes it can be a pain to convert videos and movies on a mac as there are many programs, scripts, codecs, etc. Luckily, this issue has been addressed with a sweet new program called VisualHub. It makes it incredibly easy to convert videos to just about any format on a mac. Here is the list of features taken directly from their site:


  • * Fast conversion from nearly every video format to iPod, PSP, DV, DVD, AVI, MP4, WMV, MPEG and Flash.
  • * Convert any file in three steps. Click, drag, click.
  • * Fit up to 18 hours of video on one DVD. Play it in any standalone DVD player.
  • * Xgrid support. Use the power of every Mac on your network for batch encoding.
  • * QuickTime Pro or special plugins not required.
  • * DivX/XviD AVIs, all forms of MPEG video, and many other formats QuickTime struggles with are supported.
  • * Batch Processing of multiple files. Save in-place, or to a different folder.
  • * Very comprehensive Advanced panel to modify every aspect of encoding.
  • * Dynamic Preview – See results before beginning a long encode.
  • * Stitch multiple files together to combine videos.
  • * Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Head on over to the VisualHub website to try out the demo. If you like it, it’s only $23.32. If you convert videos on a mac a lot, it seems to be the best program for the job.

Free Video Clips to Use in Your Projects

Since most of you deal with some sort of multimedia there is bound to be a time when you will need random video clips and stock footage to use in a project. Luckily for you there is a growing archive of free video clips that you can browse for free and use however you like. Here is what they have to say about using the clips:

This collection is free and open for everyone to use.

Our goal in digitizing these movies and putting them online is to provide easy access to a rich and fascinating core collection of archival films.

By providing near-unrestricted access to these films, we hope to encourage widespread use of moving images in new contexts by people who might not have used them before.

So there you have it…absolutely free video clips and stock footage for you to use in your projects. Just visit: and enjoy!

Custom CSS Based on Author in WordPress

I had been trying to figure out how to change the text (colors and such) of posts in WordPress based on the author and saw quite a few different ways of doing it…none of which I thought were easy. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere before, because I couldn’t find it…so here is my two-step version. Yes…two steps.

Now, this is going to describe how to do it with the default theme in WordPress 2.0, but I use it with the K2 theme over at to make my posts blue and Crystal’s posts pink .

  1. Open index.php in the /wp-content/themes/default folder and find the line that says:


    Replace it with:

    class=”< ?php the_author() ?>

  2. Open the style.css in the same folder and add styles based on the authors’ names. Here is how I use it for Shane and Crystal:
    .Shane {
    font-size: 1.4em;
    line-height: 1.2em;
    color: #393B79;

    .Crystal {
    font-size: 1.4em;
    line-height: 1.2em;
    color: #9C4976;

    Just save & upload those 2 files and you now have custom CSS styles based on the author’s name!

So there you have it…a simple and quick way to have completely custom CSS based on the author of a WordPress blog. I’m sure there are just as simple ways to do it with TextPattern, Moveable Type, etc but I have only used WordPress. Check out the final results of the above example at .

Text Link Ads Money Calculator for Your Website

Text Link Ads CalculatorYou might find this little tool useful if you want to make money from your website. It’s a calculator for seeing how much money you could make from posting Text-Link-Ads on your website. All you do is type in your web address, select the category that your website targets, how many ads you are willing to place on your site, and then click on the different zones on the webpage that you will post the ads. It will then give you an estimate of how much you can make per ad and per month total.

Text Link Ads Calculator

This is a pretty neat little tool to see how much money you could make from simple advertisements on your website. Even a small amount would pay hosting fees and maybe even leave enough for a burrito!

Do any of you have any experience with Text-Link-Ads? I only use Google AdSense, so I can’t say either way about them, but I’ve seen quite a few people with their advertisements on their sites and blogs.

The Website Marketing Bible

Website Marketing BibleThose of you that know me, trust that I would not feed you a bunch of junk to waste your time and money. So please trust me as I checked this out thoroughly before posting it. Having gone through the bachelor program of Interactive Media Design at The Art Institute Online, I felt like they left one key ingredient out of their curriculum: Marketing. Some classes may have an assignment or two that touch on it, but there just was not enough information to really create successful websites. I’ve somewhat learned on my own through the years with the help of websites, books, forums, friends, etc, but there was always a lack of one really good source of information it seemed. I came across something this week that I wish I had seen years ago. It’s called the Website Marketing Bible and was created by Michael Cheney (a wiry, British guy who knows his stuff). I’m one of the biggest skeptics in the world (especially when it comes to products online), but I have to give this guy and his products a hand…they contain a lot of killer information…if you can ignore the design of his loooooong home pages.

The best part of it is, a lot of it is free! He has seven free videos that you can watch online and all of them are worth your time if you’re serious about creating successful websites. He even has AdSense videos available if you’re into that as well!

I’m not the “know-it-all” type of guy, but I really thought I knew most of the basics for website marketing. I watched his videos, though, and walked away humbled and energized about the possibilities of what I’ve been missing out on. I’ve immediately applied some of the information he offers to the websites for my employer and have already seen an increase in traffic. This is simply something that should be included in a class at The Art Institute Online, because this is arguably some of the most valuable information for any successful website.

Here are some topics that are covered:

  • Search Engine Optimization (Keywords, Content, etc)
  • Reciprocal Links (The importance of having websites link to you)
  • Monetizing Your Website
  • Marketing Trends

As basic as those sound, they have tons of small details in each that you probably don’t know about (I didn’t). The free videos are a taste of his Website Marketing Bible that he sells for $97. That’s less than 10% of a single Art Institute Online class and it has a ton of much more useful information about marketing! Believe me…I’ve experienced both! If you’re creating any website, you really can’t afford to not watch the free videos. It’s the perfect compliment to the Interactive Media Design program…and is a perfect tool for anyone working with website marketing.