Adults Photoshopped Like Toddlers

Young Zeh

A few weeks back, I came across this article on Mashable and shared it with my friend, Zeh. I thought Cristian Girotto, the guy responsible, was pretty talented and wondered if I could do it. Zeh’s response was that we could probably figure it out, but it would take a ton of time. And so, I challenged him. Zeh, being Zeh, naturally accepted. We swapped photos and got to work.

He was right. It took a ton of time. And I don’t think the product is close to the quality of Mr. Girotto’s work. But here’s my version of Young Zeh. Needless to say, I’m excited (and a bit frightened) to see how Zeh’s toddler photo of me comes out.

Some of Cristian’s work is below, for your amusement.  Read more

The do’s and don’ts of Flash

This article was originally published on the Firstborn site on July 1, 2011, and is written by my buddy and Flash guru, Zeh Fernando:

The do’s and don’ts of Flash

Zeh Fernando, senior developer at Firstborn, rounds up the ultimate do’s and don’ts of Flash to explain how we can improve our workflow to create powerful, rich online experiences more efficiently.

Developing fully interactive websites is an amazing experience whose technology is in a current state of change.  We’re not only seeing big changes in terms of platforms used for that purpose – HTML5 anyone? – but also in the workflow employed when developing those (so called) rich websites.I think that Flash is a particularly acute example of the latter.  The platform has evolved a lot through the years, not only in regards to what it can do, but in how one should do it.  In that sense, the rich online experiences we create can now be more powerful than ever, so here’s a few pointers on how to get it done a little more efficiently.

Read more…

4G in NYC

This is the first day my HTC Evo has allowed me to connect to the 4G network in both Manhattan and Hoboken. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited, though I haven’t seen much of a difference yet. So far, my favorite part was to be able to rub it in Zeh‘s face as his Nexxus One isn’t 4G capable.

Goodbye Windows Mobile

This weekend, I picked up the new HTC Evo 4G, which has been sold out of Sprint stores for the last month. And while I’ve only performed a cursory evaluation of the OS, I’m worlds happier than I was with Windows Mobile 6.1. The operating system isn’t new to me, however, as I spent nearly a day-long barbecue stealing Itay‘s Nexxus One and spent the last year looking over Zeh‘s shoulder as he fiddled with his MyTouch. Needless to say, I liked what I saw. My geekiest of friends had given Android 2.2 two international thumbs up, so my purchase was clear.

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Flash Video Smoothing

While working on a new project for era//404, I received a great tip from Zeh, my Flash Obi Wan whom you’ve no doubt read me gushing about in the past. The site (which will be launched at the top of 2010) is centered around a video loop. The loop began as a 208MB raw Quicktime video clip shot by one of era//404’s video directors/editors, Greg Stadnik (you may remember his work from our Beautiful Children viral video that was featured in Gawker and AdRants last year). The clip was then scaled in 1/2, compressed using the On2 VP6 codec, imported into flash and then manipulated manually.  The final SWF was 3.12MB, but the quality suffered terribly.

This is when Zeh clued me in to video smoothing. It’s the same principle as bitmap smoothing, since embedded video clips are technically just an image sequence. The result was night and day. The left half of the below screenshot shows video smoothing set to true, where the right shows smoothing set to false.

smoothingFigure 1. Video Smoothing – Click image for larger/detailed version

Note that this is just the beginning of this site with the radial gradient and scanlines stripped away to accentuate the smoothing detail. Overall, it’s an easy way to preserve quality without increasing loadtime, memory or processor demand. Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was by the result.