Random musings from the PaperDemon admin.
Polls system is still a work in progress
But I've finally got the poll working (hopefully). All I really have left to do is the backend and adding the polls to the groups system. I've planned ahead for adding this to groups so the polls php class is all ready to work with groups. It should make it especially handy for when we have contests and want to poll the PD members on which contest entry should win.
I must say though, it's looking a lot nicer than the old one did. I hope to have it all finished this weekend. More updates to come. Hooray for cleaning up old decrepid code!
Animating and Coding
This past weekend was spent animating. I have almost an entire scene from our new anime spoof show fully animated. It still needs some revisions but it is close to final. However, there are still 13 other scenes to the episode... oh wait.. and we just added a couple more to the episode... well at least its coming along! I'm excited about it.
It's getting me thinking about Surviving Together and I'm starting to think that perhaps I really am ready to take it on. But can I really handle working on both the new anime show AND Surviving Together? Perhaps I would be MORE productive if I worked on multiple projects because I'd enjoy flip flopping. I'm not sure what I want to do about the animation style for it though. I am thinking about possibly doing it in the same style as the new anime spoof show which is flash like. It's faster to do and easier. But I feel like it may be too stiff. We'll see.
I'm also getting the inkling to revising some old decrepid code on PD. I haven't done much yet this year with programming but I think the first thing I want to tackle is this horrible polling system I wrote back in the day. I want to change it to CSS Div layout instead of tables and have it as a feature for groups and premium accounts. The poll can blend with the users profile skin too It wouldn't take much work to get this thing updated and in better shape. I could have it ready for betas to test within a few days probably. I'm looking forward to working on it.
I also want to tackle rewriting the code for handling member accounts. It's all a big mess. It's like the oldest code on PD and its messy and hard to read. And I want to make it more exportable so I can use it on other projects. It's just plain poorly written. Gah...
I'm tired. I had a very unproductive evening. I was chatting with a friend the whole night about various web development stuff and though it was neat and interesting to talk about all those different things, if at the end of the day I can't see any sort of sign of having completed something or making progress on something, I sort of go to bed feeling a little depressed. I kind of want to stay up late and work on something just to feel better. But it's 1am here and I have to get up for work at 8:45ish.
I think I'll decide to sleep. This forum post is my last 20 minutes of my day to make an effort at something constructive.... some how I don't feel that much better...but tomorrow is a new day!
2007 Reflections, 2008 Goals
I figure my first blog entry of the new year should be about reflecting back on the good times in 2007. Overall, I feel this was a pretty satisfying year. Particularly the second half of the year.
In the first half of the year I was going to school and interning at my company full time at the same time. Whenever I wasn't at work I was working on an independent project for my senior class, the club website forShrunkenHeadMan. I completed almost everything that I set out to complete with that site. Then finished up a few more things in the summer.
In June 2007 I graduated from San Jose State University after 6 strait years of school there with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration/Animation. Then, I transitioned from an intern to a permanent employee at my company and its a great company too.
I took two weeks off to celebrate my graduation and spent a few days at Disneyland. EvilBunnySlippers and I met up in person for the first time at the Magic Kingdom. Mike, EvilbunnySlippers, and I had a blast there. It was cool to meet a good friend that I had known for so long through the internet in person for the first time. Mike and I intend to go every summer now. I hadn't been there since I was like 10 years old and at that time I was too chicken to go on any of the roller coasters. Going as an adult the rides weren't scary like the ones I'm used to now but they were some how more fun. I think its because of the themed aspect. Space Mountain was my favorite. I didn't know much about it and was blown away by it. I had never been on anything like it before.
All of my free time from September and October I sacrificed to working on my Twilight Princess Link costume. I said that I was going to go back to it and make the chain-mail, boots, possibly another sword and other improvements. I haven't worked on it since October but I'm thinking I might start working on it in February. My costume came out fantastic though I am not yet satisfied with the photos I have of it. Once my costume is completed I might hire a professional photographer to do some nice shots. I'd like to have the costume completed by Fanime but I'm not sure if that will happen. Depends on a lot of factors. Even though it's incomplete, it doesn't look incomplete. It's at a stage where its good enough to wear to Halloween and Fanime and it is still my greatest cosplay achievement to date.
This hasn't been such a great year for the PaperDemonMedia's website, but it has been a good past couple months for the PDM staff. In about November we started to commit to working on our new Anime Spoof show. We've been meeting at least once a week to brainstorm ideas, work out scripts, character designs, storyboards, and voicing. No one on the team cares too much about recording the final episode for ZMT so I'm afraid that it might never get done. But we are making a lot of progress on the new show. The first episode is 95% finished with voicing and storyboards. I'm about 90% done with theanimatic which I'll have completed by the end of tonight. Tomorrow I will start working on backgrounds and animation. I'm not quite sure about the sprites for the main characters. I want to make some more changes because they aren't perfect yet but part of me thinks I should just move forward. I am going to make lots of these throughout the course of the season and I don't have to commit to the same sprites the whole show. So I think I'll just go with it. It's not likeZMT where each character only has one body and 3 or 4 mouths. This show each character will have different symbols for different angles. I only have two characters drawn out so far in illustrator.
It's kind of funny. It used to be that I couldn't draw in Illustrator for crap and I used Flash for all of my vector drawings. But now that I've been using Illustrator so much at work I can't even do any vectors in Flash and I much rather prefer Illustrator. So for all of the drawings in the new show they will be done in Illustrator and imported into Flash.
The PDM team decided that we were going to release our episodes for the new show in video format rather than flash format. I've been concerned that the Flash animation would get off sync with the sound. We had that problem withZMT at about the 5-7 minute mark and ZMT had the most basic of animation. Since this show is much more complex, I figured that I'd do each scene of an episode in a separate Flash movie. Then export it without the sound. Then bring together the voicing, music, and movie files into Adobe Premiere and use Premiere for all of the editing, transition effects, credits, etc. Doing these movies in video format will allow us to showcase the episodes onYoutube where we think we'll probably have greater success than we did at Newgrounds. We may still post short clips at Newgrounds to include that audience but our focus will be Youtube.
Also its important to note that we decided that we are not going to start releasing the episodes until the first season is completed. As we are working on episodes for season two we will release episodes from season one. I predict that we will get around 6 episodes done per year. I could be wrong on that. It's too early to tell at this point. The first episode obviously takes the longest to make because all the characters have to be drawn out and designed and sprited. We have not yet decided on a name for the show yet. As soon as we do a new section will be created on the PDM site for it. We'll also have some finished footage by then and should be able to put together a nice trailer for it. Something far more fulfilling than the teaser for Surviving Together I'm sure.
Speaking of Surviving Together, I intend to return to that this year. The progress I'm making on the Anime Spoof show is great motivation to work on Surviving Together project. Since PDM staff are having regular meetings every week it will be easier for me to show them story boards and bounce around ideas for that project in between working on episodes for the Anime spoof show, though they are far more excited about the spoof show than Surviving Together. They are more into comedy, not romance.
This has also been a great year for PaperDemon.com. In the summer we saw a lot of popular artists who were fed up with DeviantArt join PD and bring along all of their friends. Ever since then our site has been very active. Our traffic has been up to around 30,000 unique hits per month. We also upgraded to a better server because of memory issues and other problems possibly related to the traffic flow. I was very excited to see that we were finally starting to get back the kind of traffic that we had in early 2006. Some how once I started my job in summer 2006PD's traffic went down the drain, perhaps because I wasn't there as often to keep it going? I actually don't know what happened.
But anyway, we got that nice boost in traffic. We had to recruit several more moderators to keep up with the pace. In November the moderators and I started to seriously fall behind in reviewing the artwork. Our "queue" was often above 100 entries. By mid December it reached over 300 artwork entries and we had to lower the submission limit from 15 per day to 8 per day. I didn't really want to do it but I felt it was necessary because of how behind we were. Then within the past two weeks two new Junior Mods, arkillian and cruffins started and helped the other moderators pound through the queue. At the time of the writing of this blog post, the queue forunreviewed artwork is at ZERO. Of course, now the Senior Mod queue is as high as its ever been with 148 entries. I'm going to give the Senior mods and I a chance to catch up before increasing the daily submission limit back to 15.
This hasn't been a very big year for PD as far as site improvements and feature additions as compared to years past. Mostly because I've been very busy with work and now the new show. Also throughout September and October I was busy with my costume and didn't work on PD much then. But we did do a few major improvements. One, we released the blog feature in time for Christmas, introduced a new menu system for browsing galleries in Art and Writing, created a new interface for selecting galleries in the members area, and the Comics section launched. We also changed the site design in April to a theme inspired by The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. The design is my favorite design we've had so far and I have no intentions of changing it in 2008. Though I may feel different by the time April rolls around. Usually I try and update the design template at thebeginning of each year to keep things fresh looking. But I think I'd rather make changes to other parts of the site to make it fit better with the current design. There are still some areas that have things based on the design template from 2006 that need to be updated.
Which leads me to my focus for 2008. This year I would like to spend time refining the site, fixing the little things here and there that don't match and are legacy code from back in the day. There are a lot of things that could use improvement. There are also things that were started and never completed, such as the Groups section. I'd like to finish up the feature and make it open so that anyone can create a group and create galleries for it. But in its current state its so incomplete that its virtually impossible for anyone to really run a group unless its me because it involves a lot of manual data entry in the database. The little bars that appear aboveevery one's profile I think will probably end up being revamped (you know those things that show your avatar, username , and links to your art, writing, etc). I also want to make profile skins reflected across more areas of a user's content. Like when you are viewing their gallery and writing submissions. But it means it will end up being more work to create new skins. Oh well I'll figure something out. There are things in the members area that could be more user friendly as well that I intend to fix. In addition to that I want to improve the exportability of my code so that it can more easily be used for other projects. Page loading time is also of concern as it seems many of the pages are taking longer than they should to load, so benchmarking and improving speed are goals for me in 2008.
I have done a few drawings lately. I find that pencil and paper still gives me the best line art for most of my personal art. I have a few entries that I still need to finish up and color. I'm glad to be back and drawing again.
So in my personal life, back in September I moved out of my Mom's house and into an apartment with my boyfriend Mike. Things have been going pretty well. I'm learning to cook. Last night I made roast chicken for the first time, all by myself! And underneath the rack with the chicken was potatoes, carrots, and onions getting flavor from the chicken drippings. Oh my, it was delish! I wish I had taken pictures. Mike likes that I'm taking on some of the domestic duties. His mom is also a lot of help. She's Italian and often gives me recipes and advice. Which works for me because Italian is my favorite type of food. I hate cleaning though so I let Mike handle a lot of those duties. If I cook, he has to do the dishes afterward. I think that's pretty fair. I also handle all of the grocery shopping. We're working it out.
My music stinks right now. I haven't been playing piano lately and I'm starting to forget some of the songs I used to play all the time. It's been like this for over a year now. I just sort of lost interest. I think its because I haven't been trying to learn new music. I also wasn't listening to new music.
So now I'm buying more music. I'm getting really into Kelly Sweet. My favorite song of hers is Giorno Dopo Giorno. I think I've listened to it like 10 times today. I can't get it out of my head. I also recently got Sasha Lazard's Myth of Red and I'm enjoying that quite a bit. I hope to record some new tunes by the end of this month. I'll certainly be needing music for the new show and I've alsocommitted to working on an OCR project. So hopefully I'll have some new music up on BogusRed.net by March.
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