Check out my portfolio and contact me.

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

My First SIGGRAPH

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by Redd No Comments

siggraphI recently returned from my first SIGGRAPH and I know it’s been a while since my last post. I got to see some very interesting papers, though when they brought up math I promptly lost interest, and some spectacular presentations on the making of Monsters University, Epic, and a host of really cool things as well.

 

Experience

My overall experience was great at SIGGRAPH, though California’s weather through me for a new since I’m from Texas and if it’s not above 85 degrees towards the end of July there’s just something wrong.

It was a breath of fresh air getting to meet new people from around the industry and to just sit down and have a conversation with someone that can understand you. The people were friendly to meet and it  was relatively easy to strike a conversation with someone you didn’t know.

Job Fair

SIGGRAPH also had a job fair, which from hearing from others was rather small. It was nice having a place where I could speak to an actual person from companies that you respect, instead of some online form. Though there were some companies there that I would question why they even had a booth to begin with since the only thing the people seemed to be able to do is lip service or in one case to just sign your name on their website.

Disney Animation studios took it one step further and had there on hall where they had team leads looking at people’s portfolio’s and giving feed back. It was a pretty awesome thing to be able to get direct feed back face to face on my portfolio from someone at a company that I highly respect.

siggraph_pixar_teapot

SIGGRAPH Show Room

The show room was a rather interesting place, ranging from Cinema4D’s live demo’s where they were also streaming live, to Pixar’s RenderMan, and to all the small booths that where located throughout the floor. One company was showing off their motion capture abilities with a skateboard ramp where they people skate boarding or roller skating and showing a live push of the information onto a game character on the TV screens around the booth.

There was also a very large number of 3D printing booths with some very cool things as well. I did wait in line for my tea pot from Pixar’s which is a rather cute version of Mike from Monsters University, but I did miss out on the poster they were handing out.

 

The Studio

There was also another interesting area as well called the studio where it was less about businesses trying to promote themselves and more about cool things being done with CG. They had things ranging from playing a game where you dipped your arms into water and used your fingers to shoot down monsters that were projected onto the surface of the pool.

There was also a really cool 3D scanner that I sat in line for and managed to take home the files. Unfortunately the .obj file was horribly low res and can’t be used. I’ll be looking around here soon to see if I can’t find any other any other importers for Maya since I have two other file formats that I was given as well.

 

Web Development

Posted on: February 15th, 2013 by Redd No Comments

So I recently started the journey of learning web development. To start out I decided to go ahead and rebuild my personal portfolio site, since it need to be done anyways I figured why not kill two birds with one stone. To accomplish this task I used Foundation 3 and WordPress, where I developed my site and then converted it into a custom WordPress template.

 

To start out it was rather interesting to have to install all the support software on my machine just to even begin to start developing my. I had to install Homebrew, Ruby on Rails, Foundation, and MAMP (which I already had installed). But once I got all the software in place the development speed was incredible.

 

Working within a web framework infinitely increase the web development speed, I wish I had started learning this years ago. Sass is also a pretty interesting way to develop as well, I really like how it’s setup to write CSS where I can nest classes within classes. The only thing I had to really adjust to was the fact that hierarchy really matters when it comes to CSS in Sass. Also adjusting to grid based web page layout was interesting to get use to as well. But overall my experience was overwhelmingly positive while learning a new way to develop websites.

Converting my site into a WordPress template was a rather interesting and difficult task. To start this next step I setup a sub domain on my website and installed WordPress. I then took a blank theme and started copying and pasting my code into the appropriate pages. To say I didn’t know what I was doing was pretty accurate. I’m not exactly familiar with php, I can read it and get an idea of what some things do as long as they are named appropriately, but for the most part I was in the dark. Needless to say my first time uploaded my theme to the test sever yielded some pretty broken results. But I would honestly say that learning to do this the hard way was probably the best. I’m one of those people that learns best by doing and by doing it a lot. Needless to say with the slow start in implementing my site into the template it was overall a very interesting and educational experience.

 

Once I was finally happy with my theme I had to recreate all of my content from my old site and port it into the test site, since I planned to start fresh with my old site by deleting the root directory of all assets. This included bringing over all of my SEO as well which wasn’t exactly difficult. I also had to remake 60+ thumbnail images for my portfolio which I can say isn’t exactly the most interesting task to do. I was introduced to fancybox for displaying all my images and videos, I’ve fallen in love with this tool with how elegant and simple it is.

 

Once I had all of my content created and ported over, I bit the bullet and deleted all of the information in domains public html folder, except for my test websites domain. There was something interesting just watching my website being deleted through my ftp client. After that I installed a fresh version of WordPress and within 2 hours I had my new portfolio site up and running with SEO in toe as well.

Overall I really enjoyed the experience in getting my hands dirty and tinkering with the creation of my portfolio site. I hope to continue learning and growing with web development along with my fledgling python and javascript skills.

 

Redd

Optimizing My Website

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by Redd No Comments

So I recently took a new job working sales at a start up web company. I figured this would work out well since I already have some knowledge of HTML/CSS and I know how to use some CMS systems like WordPress and joomla, so i’d be able to tell what websites are failing and which ones are successful. The caveat to this whole experience is that i’ve been learning about optimization for the major search engines as well so that I can tell who has bad optimization and who’s optimization is successful. So with the knowledge I’ve learned to help me sell websites i’ve gone ahead and applied this towards optimizing my website.

So far the experience has been pretty interesting. My first attempt where I just added some optimization for my title tag and the meta description with keywords yielded me 5th page results when searching for my name Jason Redd in google. My second attempt where I refined my description tag and title tag’s with stronger focus on my name plus adding title and alt tags to all of the links and images on my index page. I also went and added my websites url to all of the videos i’ve published through vimeo, to increase my back links. This ended up giving me second page results. I was rather surprised since going from 5th to second was rather nice.

On my third try I’ve gone through and cleaned up my code some to make it cleaner. Fixed links up to be prettier and added some more into the code with the proper tags associated with them. Getting my name into the body text in an h1 tag and an h2 tag was also my goal. I also published all of the videos i’ve created to a channel on youtube and added my websites url to the description in them as well. I went ahead and finally created a google+ account as well and made sure my site was listed on there too. I also went ahead and optimized all of the secondary pages on my site too.

If this last bit of optimization doesn’t yield first page results I think I’ll yield and finally put some text on my portfolio pages so that google will see that I have some content on my pages besides just links to my videos. This isn’t ideal but I’d like for some to at least when searching my name to be able to find my portfolio site. I might just also finally learn how to create a site map and submit that to the search engines as well.

Overall this has been a rather fun and educational experience. I hope to learn a great deal more and to eventually pull one of the top 3 listings for my name. Thanks for reading about me optimizing my website! Special thanks to my boss, without him I wouldn’t of been able to do this!

Redd