I created this stop motion animation in honor of the two greatest moms I know. Happy Mother’s Day, Keri and mom. I’m forever grateful for your love and kindness!
Category » Graphics and Web
Every once in a while, my two oldest kids and I will sit down and have a “drawing party” together. Sometimes it’s coloring, and other times it’s freehand. Today was a freehand day, and since the sketch turned out nice enough, I decided to go ahead and ink it in. Maybe I’ll add some color digitally, like I did with the Wild Thing last year.
By the way, if you haven’t heard yet, my wife and kids are dressing up in Star Wars costumes for Halloween. I’m building my own Boba Fett costume, and I’ve become completely obsessed with the project. Maybe I’ll share a few pics sometime soon. :)
This is just an example of some current communications at Faith Promise and our effort to provide consistency in our visual identity.
Since I’ve pretty much phased out all my online portfolios, this blog serves as a place where I can send people who are looking to hire me to do freelance work. Since several of my favorite websites that I’ve done weren’t mentioned on this blog, I decided to add them here.
Each of the site designs below were built on top of the WordPress framework for easy updates. You can view each of the sites below by clicking on the image.
FederalAppeals – Asheville, SC
A Touch of Vintage – Fort Worth, TX
AllStar Party – Fort Worth, TX
I love developing blogs and websites on the WordPress platform, so I was totally stoked when I got a call from a friend of mine, Chris Kimball, who is a designer at Scripps Networks (the parent company of Food Network, HGTV, The Travel Channel, DIY Networks, and a few others). They had recently launched their corporate blog and were looking for a quick turnaround on implementing the design Chris had put together for the blog.
A couple of days ago, after several late nights and a busy Memorial Day weekend, we launched the updated blog. Although we still have a few loose ends to tie up, things are looking great! It was a real pleasure to work with the team at Scripps, and I hope I have the opportunity to do freelance work with them again in the future.
You can view the thumbnails below or take a look at the finished project here.
Any time I’m working on a design project – whether it’s a website, a postcard, or creating a logo, finding the right fonts is an important part of the process. If you’re like me, and you’ve amassed a large number of fonts on your computer, finding the right ones can sometimes be a daunting task. Fortunately, there’s a website that I’ve been using for a few months that really helps with the process.
The site is called, WordMark.it, and it’s one of the best free design tools that I use on a regular basis.
All you do is enter part of a word or phrase to preview and then load your fonts. The site will check the fonts you have installed on your computer and will let you preview those fonts all at once.
From there, you can select your favorites and even preview the fonts on a black background. It’s very quick, simple, and helpful.
Check it out: WordMark.It
Late last week we rolled out a brand new look to the website and blog of Dr. Chris Stephens, my Senior Pastor. I felt that it was time to simplify the navigation of the site, bring the blog to the forefront, and implement more of a minimalistic design.
The design was created by Ryan Myers at uberdm.com, who also did the design work for the 2011 LIT Conference site. From his designs, I built out the site using WordPress.
I’m very pleased with the final result. You can check it out here.
From time to time I get emails and phone calls regarding our Internet Campus setup at Faith Promise Church, so I decided to put together a post to serve as a starting point for people who are interested.
Video Encoding & Broadcast
- We simultaneously capture and encode the service in real-time using Flash Media Encoder on a couple of PC workstations (one to capture the regular video feed, and one to capture the sign language video feed).
- Files are captured via BlackMagic Design DeckLink cards being fed an SDI signal from our switcher (thanks to Matt James, and the rest of our awesome tech team).
- Encoding settings: 720 x 486 pixels at 500 Kbps
29.97 frame rate
quality: best with lower framerate
keyframe: 5 seconds
- PC specs: Win XP, Dual Core 2.19 GHz with 2 GB RAM
- From there, we upload the video files to LightCast Media.
- From our own Internet Campus backend, we update the LightCast consoles to the current week’s date, time, and video file.
- Our website and Internet Campus are both built on ColdFusion & MySQL.
- I’m not a coder, so all the heavy lifting has been done by my great friend and volunteer at Faith Promise, Brad Roberts.
- I add upcoming sermons and series directly through our MySQL database.
- We tried a ton of third-party chat solutions, but every option had significant drawbacks, so we ended up just developing our own chat room. It runs on AJAX and ColdFusion, so it doesn’t require plugins, and it’s built so that the admin can log in through the chat window.
- Prayer support occurs through PhpLive! support software that we’ve installed on one of our servers. Using this, logged-in volunteers can connect one-on-one with people who need someone to pray and encourage them.
- Although I personally coordinate several services each weekend, we also have a couple of volunteer service coordinators who oversee particular service times online each week. As we expand to additional services, my plan is to continue using volunteers to head those up.
- We also have prayer volunteers each service (see above) and volunteer greeters who help keep the conversation in the chat room lively and who greet everyone as they enter.
- We faced several challenges with regard to incorporating new features while still maintaining a clean interface, so we hired LiftUX to help us create the current design. Honestly, I couldn’t be more pleased with their work.
- One of my biggest regrets has been that we didn’t launch our Internet Campus with online groups from the beginning. We’re late to the game, but I’m committed to quickly building up opportunities for people who attend online to connect into online small groups.
- Our groups use Tokbox.com to see each other as they connect via webcam.
- Because of the challenge of webcam microphones and the propensity for feedback, we opt to mute our webcams and call in to a free conference call line instead. A few services we’ve used are FreeConferenceCall.com, Rondee.com, and Google Voice.
- We track our attendance through LightCast’s live viewers panel.
- Attendance is recorded by the maximum number of simultaneous connections per service.
- We maintain our weekly online attendance figures in a Google Docs spreadsheet that is shared with our service coordinators, Internet Campus volunteers, and Executive Team.
And while I’m at it, here’s some info on the rest of our website:
- Since each of our campuses has the same approach and philosophy of ministry, we decided to use class tags in the HTML to show and hide content based on the campus selection. We’ve not been using this for very long, but at least for now, it feels like the right approach.
- We use FellowshipOne Technologies for our church management software, and we utilize their online giving module to make this happen.
- FellowshipOne Technologies also powers our groups directory. We’ve already migrated a few of our groups to their very cool Groups 2.0 module.
- We use EventU to schedule resources across our campuses, and we use their API to pull calendar data to our website.
- Featured events are added manually to the home page and events pages of the site, and they feature start and expiration dates, so we never have out-of-date events. We coordinate these events with our weekly printed worship guide, which we limit to five things each week.
Maybe this information will be helpful to someone. If it is, or if you’d like more info, I’d love to hear from you.
One of my goals for this year was to start learning cartoon illustration, and this weekend I decided to take the first step towards that endeavor.
I really didn’t know where to start, so I started with a Internet search. After reading up on some suggestions and looking at examples, I decided to give it a try.
After a few really bad attempts, I drew the following without using a pencil sketch. (I was sitting with my kids, and we only had Crayola markers.)
Then, I did something I never thought I’d ever do. I drove to Best Buy and purchased a Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch Pad.
Oh, yeah. I think I’m going to like this new toy.
(This is a repost from my guest post over on the Faith Promise Blog earlier this morning.)
Over the past few months, we’ve made plans for a major update to the Faith Promise Church website as we prepare for the launch of our Blount County Campus in October. As Brad Roberts and I worked through the process, here are a few things we had in mind:
Let’s help people easily find information that is accurate for their campus.
While the vision, direction, teaching, and core ministries will be consistent across campuses, there are many small variations between campuses, such as different location and contact info, different service times, and different ways of getting integrated into groups. We set out to make sure that people get the correct information based on the campus they attend or plan on attending. This means that depending on your campus, certain page contents, graphics, and menu options will be different.
Once people have chosen a campus, don’t make them pick again.
Rather than the annoyance of having to choose your campus every time you visit the site, we’ll store that information for you and take you straight into the site.
Make it easy and intuitive to switch between campuses.
Forced selections on a website make us feel like we’ve stepped into a choose-your-own-adventure book. (One bad choice, and you’re trapped inside a spooky house or dragged off into the woods by Big Foot.) Instead, we tried to make the campus selection feel like a light choice that can be easily switched at any time.
Provide a solution that scales well with additional campuses.
Rather than build a system that will only accommodate three campuses (Pellissippi, Internet, and Bount), we’ve built a system that will scale as we continue to add new campuses in the future.
While we were at it, we also enabled mobile video and overhauled the blog.
When you visit the Series Media page on your HTML5 web-enabled mobile device, you can now watch sermon videos. In addition, our church blog got a significant facelift.
As of this evening, we’ve rolled out the update. We’re still in the tweaking process, but you can check it out!