Category Archives: Graphics Design

Shades of Cool

Cool Guy

Here's a photograph I took of a pair of sunglasses and altered the saturation, contrast, brightness, etc. for effect. Simply another one of my many photographic experiments! I like this one for the reflections and shadows. Note: the "shades" are from Europe, as many of my photographic subjects.

This post will be sent "back in time" to fill in calendar space after an hour or so.
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Gaming in the Third Dimension [3DS Series Finale]

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Nintendo 3DS Logo displayed on 3DS System

The Nintendo 3DS is the latest handheld console released by Nintendo, and it has certainly made it into the limelight – introducing a revolutionary console with 3-D gaming and photography capabilities, promising titles in games (such as Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright), as well as a variety of included applications.

The system has however, sparked quite a bit of controversy over its 3D effects – this controversy does not regard the legitimacy of these effects (as legitimacy has already been established by thousands of “eyewitnesses” [aka gamers]), but rather the alledged harmful effects and ensuing downsides of it. Some owners of the 3DS have reported dizziness and nausea after playing for a short period of time, or even a simple case of having to strain their eyes consistently. Many others, however, have reported no symptoms or complaints whatsoever – jumping into the world of the Nintendo 3DS without a care. More details on 3DS effects and possible solutions for discomfort may be found in issue #001 of my 3DS series.

Various critical reviews highlighted points seen below:

“The 3-D screen is amazing and totally draws you into the games / Once you’ve tried a 3DS for yourself, you’ll be hooked/ …the Nintendo 3DS will blow your mind, and make 3-D gaming a reality for everyone.” -Fox News: Gamer’s Weekly

“Despite its shortcomings, the 3DS is a genuine joy to behold and pleasure to play. Whether you’ll want to shell out for one, or borrow a more affluent friend’s system is another story, however.” –CNN Tech

The Nintendo 3DS requires a hefty price, which isn’t too shocking considering the dramatic changes between the 3DS and previous DS consoles (See: Nintendo DSi vs 3DS for further details). In the United States, the price is set at $250, though many distributors such as Amazon ($25 3DS game credit for select games, as well as trade-in’s), GameStop (bundles and trade-in’s), and Target (5$ gift cards for consumers who purchased 1$ pre-order cards, followed by the 3DS & trade-in’s) have offered perks to lighten the load.

The key to making the 3DS in and of itself worth the big $250 is by using what many critics have referred to as “gimmicks” – many of which aren’t available until an update in May. With this updates, users will be able to begin utilizing the 3-D movies feature on their system, including a Netflix interface – as well as an upgraded 3DS Browser, which may tap into AT&T hotspots and Wi-Fi enabled locations.

The only available “gimmicks” as of April 2011 are the primary features of the Nintendo 3DS – Mii Plaza, AR Games, Nintendo 3DS Sound and some other new features which are explained in detail below.

Your Guide to the Nintendo 3DS: All we’ve discussed & more

OK-Go 3D Music Video: The only available 3D movie until may, which

The first 3D movie clip available on the Nintendo 3DS!

arrived on Nintendo 3DS systems with an update developed in mid-May. The video features trained animals doing a variety of tricks alongside the band – it is only a slight demonstration of the ability of the 3D’s graphics. It certainly quite amusing, and the 3D effect adds a life-like depth to all that is involved. If nothing else, its a quaint little music video for anyone who enjoys watching dogs doing silly tricks.

Activity Log: This app made its debut on the Nintendo 3DS, included with

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Making it a healthy video game experience! ...right.

other preinstalled applications – no update required! With it, you can monitor the steps you take each day, and earn rewards called Play Coins! That is, if you take your 3DS wherever you go (which is why 3DS cases and mini backpacks are invaluable for on the go). You may earn a total of ten play coins a day, one for every hundred steps you make – which really isn’t too hard! Play coins are spent by hiring warriors at Mii Plaza (as well as purchasing puzzle pieces), unlocking additional mini-games and mini-apps on AR Games, and possibly on additional applications that appear with future updates (Read my Activity Log review for more details on this application!). Have to include some incentive to exercise after all that gaming! For more information on Mii Plaza, keep reading!

Mii Creator & Mii Plaza: For Nintendo Wii owners, Mii should be nothing

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An app that keeps on giving, by utilizing Street Pass.

new. Now the wonderful world of Mii is available to owners of the Nintendo 3DS! Take a picture of yourself, choose a few options, and let the Mii creator figure out the rest! Or develop everything manually yourself. Once your Mii avatar is created, you can participate in the preinstalled 3DS game, Mii Plaza.Here you may gather other Mii’s into your plaza via street pass, and trade your Mii with others through Street Pass as well – think of it as the New York Stock Exchange, except with Mii’s… and no fee’s… okay, maybe not like the NYSE. You may further spread the joy

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QR Code for Mii!

of Mii with friends by a share feature available under the QR Code menu. Simply save your Mii as a QR Code, and you share let your friends bask in the coolness of their very own copy of a Mii of your choosing (provides the opportunity of trading Mii’s, or the development of Mii artists who provide custom made Mii’s for people to use). See the QR Code of one of my Mii’s at the right – simply select the QR Code menu from your 3DS, tap “Scan QR Code,” and place the image with your 3DS’s focus (click on the image for full size) – there’s Mii!

Although Mii trading can be fun, there’s another feature, or rather features, even better! Once you’ve collected enough Mii’s via StreetPass, you can participate in the puzzle game (through which you collect puzzle pieces from play tokens and Mii’s which have visited your plaza)- or my favorite, Find Mii.

Find Miiis a mini-game within a mini-game, with somewhat of a story to

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A Hero Emerges!

go along with it. Your Mii – which you worked so hard to create, has been kidnapped! Hire heroes with Play Coins (coins earned from jogging/walking with your Nintendo 3ds – while in sleep mode,up to 10 per day. Earn one every 100 steps) to fight off the ghosts holding your Mii, or invite visiting Mii’s from your plaza to join the fight! As hired heroes will be your primary asset in this game, you should no doubt look into their abilities! Each colored hero (shirt color) has a different power, such

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Hero attack fails!

as – purple for poison, white for light, green for strength, etc. As well as special abilities, heroes are also organized into ranks – Rank 1 & 2. Rank 2 are the most powerful, and should be saved for last. Rank 1 heroes should be used for magic and risky attacks. As a sound note of strategy, I’d recommend using a purple warrior immediately when you begin your battle, to navigate to one, simply select “Next Hero!” Then use his poison magic! This will damage the ghosts each turn during the fight – very handy. Using a brown hero’s magic is also something to consider, by using its “Strength” magic, you can “level up” the warrior immediately after the brown Hero. Another tip! Never attack an armored ghost with the sword of a Level 1 Hero, otherwise the attack with simply bounce off the armor, instead use

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Find Mii Treasure Chest

magic or level up your heroes! Save up your play coins for two days and you’ll have the maximum number of 10 warriors which you may control. More heroes means more variety, so I’d recommend this approach! At the end of every few levels, your hero will discover a treasure chest which contains an item for your Mii! This item may be equipped on the main page of the Mii Plaza application – simply move your cursor onto your Mii, select it, then visit Mii Settings, from there it’s as easy as choosing select hat going customization crazy!

There’s dozens of hats to collect, all of them [from Find Mii I] are listed below (you’ll need to play the game through twice through to earn them all. Then in Find Mii II, you will have to play it through multiple times as well to earn the additional hats. This list is “obtaining comprehensiveness” in regards to Find Mii 2 [II], and will be updated until the last hat is achieved [in chronological order]):

  • Mario Hat
  • Luigi’s Cap
  • ???
  • ???
  • Yoshi Hat
  • ???
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  • ???
  • Toad Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Bowser Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Warp Pipe Hat
  • ???
  • Red Pikmin Hat
  • Blue Pikmin Hat
  • Yellow Pikmin Hat
  • Link’s Cap
  • ???
  • Epona Hat
  • Samus’s Helment
  • Metroid Hat
  • Kirby Hat
  • Donkey Kong Hat
  • Arwing Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Lacy Headband
  • ???
  • Floral Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Pirate Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Panda Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Cat Hat
  • Dog Ears
  • Bunny Ears
  • Regal Crown (Finish  Find Mii I 1-time through)
  • Prince’s Crown (Finish  Find Mii II 1-time through)
  • ??? (Princess’ Crown)
  • Ultimate Helmet (Finish  Find Mii I 2-times through)
  • ???
  • ???
BEST TIP: If you have a pink warrior, use their magic at the beginning of the battle – all your warriors will suddenly become much more powerful (x2 [4/5-pt. attack], x5 [10/11-pt. attack], and greater attacks [use a light blue warrior to freeze the ghost/s, then try upgrading a lvl. 2 warrior to lvl. 4 with a green warrior while the pink and blue magic is in effect,  you’ll be able to destroy even powerful enemies like the Ultimate Ghost quickly) UPDATE: In Find Mii II, pair the pink & green warrior tip with the strengthen potion (20 play coins) and teams to have the ultimate combo!

AR Games: The Augmented Reality Games feature could have been marketed

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The famous AR Games mascot!

as a separate video game entirely – featuring six primary applications and additional bonus applications, which are unlocked after each of the primary are engaged and completed. Face against powerful bosses, test your skill in a game of AR golf (AR Shoot), make Mario a model with Star Picks, or unleash your creative side with AR Graffiti – so many possibilities, so little time. When I first got my hands on the 3DS, AR Games was my favorite app, though after a while the excitement tends to die down. Its a great game for displaying the capabilities of the 3DS system, and unlocks new possibilities with the 3DS Camera.

Primary Applications:

  • Graffiti:In graffiti, users may scribble on virtually any environment.
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    AR Games Shooting Gallery

    Try placing your AR Card on a table and use the rainbow pen to liven things up, or even hand it over to a friend, and cover them in virtual dog prints!

  • Star Picks: Set your favorite video game characters in any environment, then snap a pic with the integrated 3DS camera feature! For example, check out my 3DS Photography post!
  • Mii Picks: Same as Star Picks, though this time with your own personal Mii!
  • AR Shot: Think pool, except in a 3D environment with an ever-
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    Catching the elusive dragon of AR Fishing earns you an extra 200 points! And the satisfaction of completing another mini game.

    changing landscape! …and a monster that makes an appearance in just about every AR Game (Archery & Fishing).

  • Archery: Bombs… er, darts away! Navigate your console around the 3D environment locating and firing upon every target you see. As a bonus, try your hand at slaying a dragon!
  • Fishing: Nothing like good old fishing! Whenever you catch a fish, it’ll be added to your “collection,” along with its name and point value. One you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find yourself fishing for sea dragons!

Nintendo 3DS Sound: For players familiar with the Nintendo DSi, they may

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With additional features, such as the "Shuffle All" and "Parakeets Pick of the Day" feature - if youre a music fan, this is sure to be one of your favorite applications.

find all the old features of DSi Sound and many new additions! Now you can organize your music into individual play lists, shuffle your music, let your 3D parakeet companion pick a song for the day, and more!

Nintendo 3DS Camera: With all the fun features of the Nintendo DSi camera comes the 3DS camera! Now with the ability to take 3-D photography, and linked to dozens of applications such as AR Games, this app dominates its predecessor!
Face Raiders: Face Raiders is another fun, interactive game, like that of AR Games. This time, however, instead of playing with imaginary objects, you can take pictures of friends and family and fit them into a cozy battle helmet. Players may be further entertained by blasting the 3-dimensional likeness of the photographed person (or objects! I took a shot of a shampoo bottle logo and had a fairly interesting result… refer to the second screenshot for details.) into oblivion in the Face Raiders mini-game, which has been further brought to life with various animations and moments of maniacal laughter.

Nintendo DSi vs 3DS: How does it match up?


Nintendo DSi
Image via Wikipedia
Flipnote Studio logo Refernces Previous logo: ...
Image via Wikipedia

The Nintendo DSi
The Nintendo DSi, and it’s XL Version as well, brought about a large change to the Nintendo DS line. It started with the simple DS system, and the slightly improved Lite, which enhanced visual capabilities with it’s brightness level feature. Then comes the DSi – the first in its line to introduce duo built-in cameras with corresponding software, a voice-record system with alteration features (such as pitch or echo), and even going so far as to make available the option of a built-in, Opera-based internet browser, along with the animation program Flipnote and its Hatena sharing capabilities – further allowing a SD Card Slot for additional memory. The DSi was certainly developed for personal use, complimented with fun, socially interactive features.

Opera Browser 2.0
Image by Jorge glеz via Flickr

Fun Fact: I’ve recently noticed an increase in web searches relating to DSi Flash player inquiries which have been redirected to this blog. The Nintendo DSi does not support Flash Player on its web browser, nor any other add-on’s. Therefore many online sites such as YouTube, or MMORPG game sites like Club Penguin or Adventure Quest are rendered useless and incapable of operation. This is unavoidable and cannot be fixed.

English: Nintendo 3DS Deutsch: Nintendo 3DS
Image via Wikipedia

The Nintendo 3DS
The Nintendo 3DS features (as Wikipedia words most technically) “push-buttons, D-pad (which operates with similar purpose to the control pad. Allows users to pan through environments, scroll through menu’s, etc.), analog stick, touchscreen, volume slider, 3D depth slider, wireless communications switch, 3DS/DSi/DS and SD Card Slots,” and a variety of programs, including Wii-based features, such as 3DS Sound , Mii Studio, PictoChat, Street Pass Mii Plaza, Face Shooting, Download Service, 3DS Camera, Augmented reality games, 3DS Shop, Internet Browser, an Activity Log, and 3D movie playback capability (with movies by Warner BrosDisney, and DreamWorks). As it’s main attraction, the Nintendo 3DS enables 3-D game play for select games, including a slider to adjust the 3-D graphics at any time. The dramatic effects of 3-D gameplay requires no special glasses or additional equipment as it operates on the concept of autostereoscopy. It certainly ups the ante!

The Nintendo 3DS Update

…has been a most anticipated one, since the system’s launch March 25th 2011. The June 6th update, which was released barely an hour ago, contained a few programs and system tweaks – most importantly, the Nintendo 3DS Shop and Nintendo 3DS Browser.

The Nintendo 3DS Browser is certainly quite impressive, far outclassing its DSi predecessor. As I tap out this post, the browser provides possible words that I may intend to use, much like Google’s suggested search functionality – both checking my spelling and saving valuable time typing, not to mention it is, aside from English, available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The browser has a sleek design, and easy to navigate features, available even when you’re in the middle of a 3DS game or application. Utilizing the SD card and 3DS camera, upload and download functionalities are also available – allowing users to both share their 3DS pictures online, and download images from anywhere on the web for viewing in their 3DS camera gallery. Not too shabby, huh? Unfortunately, the browser does not support YouTube or any other online video or music viewing service for that matter, as popular rumor had us previously suppose. A sad outcome, yet one that can be looked over in light of the drastically improved browser. Now I can finally make decent WordPress entries, tags and all (upload script isn’t supported however).

The Nintendo 3DS shop, which stands currently under maintenance and inaccessible, features two free-for-download applications: a classic 3D racing game, and a 3D Pokedex. Organization is also slightly

Overall, a duely made update.

Check the Adventure Writer Blog for constant updates on the system! For all my 3DS posts so far, check: The Nintendo Series [3DS/DSi] category, which is where all  Nintendo 3DS [and related DSi] posts have been added.

If you liked this, be sure to check out…

Upcoming Nintendo 3DS Games

Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney {Level-5 & Capcom}

Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle

Nintendogs + Cats

Mario Kart 3DS

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Questions & Answers

Is it fairly light? And is the 3D toggle really as much of an eye-sore as people have said?

The 3DS is much bulkier, which goes to say heavier, than previous DS systems. As one BBC reporter describes it, “it’s build like a rock!”  Although it isn’t a tremendous weight, the difference is evident – so no, not fairly light at all! And yes, I would say the 3D toggle is quite an eye-sore. Imagine focusing and refocusing binoculars over and over again – a bit disorienting? Same with the 3DS. If you want to switch from 2-D to 3-D instantly, I suggest closing your eyes, moving the toggle to maximum, then opening your eyes and look at the 3DS straight on – works like a charm.

Submit your own question in the comments below and I’ll answer it here!

The Art of Forum Making

Space Technology 5

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, not exactly an art, but it makes for a catchy title.

This tutorial has been created upon the request of Roddy15, a fellow blogger and administrator on my forum, Creativity Network – The Rebuild.

Let’s start with a simple Top 10 list of things you should know to kick this off!

Example forum view, from PhpBB.

Image via Wikipedia

1. Choosing a Provider: There’s all sorts of Forum Providers on the net. Some better than others. I personally use Forumotion.com, a French company that produces highly customizable forums, abounding with features, for your use. No money is required unless you would like to remove ads for everyone on your forum (you can remove them for your members without paying a fee), having a personalized domain name (which is hardly necessary with their plethora of extensions), or adding more space (in addition to the fairly apt 20MB provided for free). Yet let’s say you do not wish to purchase credits – you can always win a contest! Forumotion hosts frequent credit-winning contests for forums, and they aren’t too hard to win, I even managed to score third place at my first try.

2. Invite some Friends: Before marketing your forum try inviting some friends over to your forum. They’ll be able to give you feedback and add to your post count!

3. Make Your Revisions: Add all the forum categories you need, start out fairly frugal (with the main topics that center around your forum’s theme) then expand as you deem necessary.

4. Do it Right: If you want people to join your site, you’ll need to look like a pro. Sometimes this may be done by visiting your forum host’s help forum. There’s all sorts of help topics, and useful hints – even people willing to join and help you out! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once this is done, I’d recommend creating a eye-catching homepage, with attractive (yet not overdone or with eye-straining colors like bright red or hot pink, go for easy-eye tones) graphics and a general idea of what your forum is about. Do the same to your forum!

5. Build Your Team: Get a group of people together. Graphics designers, programmers, and forum moderators. If you pick the right people, you certainly won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid to recruit your members if they’ve gained your trust and you’ve noticed they excel in a particular area that would prove useful.

Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

Free twitter bar

Image via Wikipedia

6. Get the Word Out: Some forum providers give you pre-installed features to reach out to dozens of Social Networks in a few simple steps. If you don’t have that luxury, and have chosen a forum without this feature, you can always do it manually! Make updates about your site on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and ask your friends to do the same!

7. Be Active: It’s your forum, so post on it! If you interact with your members, it’ll create a much tighter-knit community.

8. Enforce the Rules: Don’t put up with stealing (like the all too common plagiarism and resulting copyright infringement), cursing, or obscene graphics and media. This could result in the deletion of your forum, and legal involvement.

9. Follow the Law: I cannot prove legal advice, as I am not in a position to do so. Yet I can express the importance of common sense. If you’re starting a forum, you need to keep in mind there’s a long list of rules and regulations to follow. Both from the forum provider and your country. The United States has online regulations such as COPPA which protect children, and require certain procedures. Do the research!

The hierarchical domain name system, organized...

Image via Wikipedia

10. Making your Domain Name: Let us suppose you have gained enough credits, or purchased them manually, to purchase a customizable domain name. DO NOT take a company’s name and use it as your domain name. Some names are universal in meaning, and able to be reused. Others like “MyLegoForum” or “LegoStuff” or anything involving the company name of “Lego” could result in an unwanted lawsuit. Once again, I cannot prove legal advice in these matters – be sure to consult reliable resources, even http://copyright.gov/ could help.

From Scratch

One day I decided to mess around with gradients on some other features on Paint.net. My end result is what you’ll see below. It’s not exactly the best graphic ever – I do not expect any “Wow’s” or “Great Job’s!” But it’s an example of what you can accomplish with a few minutes filled with creativity, gradients, and cutting/pasting [and of course, Paint.net! Not to say you can’t do it without].

A Few Minutes of Creativity

A Splash of Red, a Transition of Black and White - The Birth of a World all It's Own

The X-Structure

The nucleus of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). The...

Image via Wikipedia

I found out about the X-Structure, located at the center of the Whirlpool Galaxy, from Louie Giglio’s sermon: Indescribable and How Great Is Our God.

Inspired by the message, I continued to use the NASA image for a variety of purposes – include my forum avatar. Then I went into graphic design with it, messing around with Paint.net, I came up with this: (using NASA’s public domain image of the X-Structure as my basis and structure)

The X-Structure

The X-Structure, artistically altered with Paint.net. Glory be to God!

Artificial Graphics aka Electronic Designs

I will now begin the posting of… artificial graphics.  Which sound quite cold and foreboding if you think about it. So we will not think about it! Instead, we will simply change the genre of these tasteful pictures into… “Electronic Designs.”

My first design (lowermost) was created with Paint.net and GIMP (and in the case of the first graphic [uppermost], Microsoft Office Picture Manager as well) . And unlike many artists, I do not use graphics from Google, and prefer to typically make them “from scratch,” or alternatively, only settling for public domain graphics if I wish  to use the colors inside the photo’s.

The Sequel to Scientific Inversion A Graphic of Dramatic Proportions! 

~The Original~

Much calmer than it's sequel... made with GIMP and Paint.net