Header and Blogroll.

I’m going to postpone the Kannagi post, probably to tomorrow, perhaps to tonight, we’ll see, and instead talk a bit about this blog :)

I’ll begin with the “Blogroll policy”. As you can see, I’ve yet to add a single link to my blogroll, and while I follow several blogs, I don’t link to them yet. This blog isn’t mono-focused on anime, and I fear anime/figure links will overflow.
I am also not always comfortable with a “Link Exchange” as a policy, so I’ll say this simply: If you think my blog is worth linking to it, link to it (and let me know). If I think your blog is worth linking to, I might link to it, I might start another page for the blogroll, we’ll see, and I’ll let you know – without expecting you to recirprocate or getting hurt if you don’t.

Links are an act on the part of the one providing the link; and the “Reciprocacity of Links” makes it feel weird; if you don’t want to link back to me, do I then stop linking to you? Only if you’re a big name like Danny Choo?
I will provide links, I’m undecided on when yet. I think the main site will only link to big and somewhat impersonal pages, with the endless list of blogs getting their own page, where I could also describe the links and categorize them in a manner that will leave me content.

Anyway, you might notice that my blog has a new header, and it took over 6 hours to get to the final version you see above, so now we’ll discuss its various incarnations and some of the work done on it.

The final header

The final header

I’d like to thank Keith Senkowski and Matt Snyder for their help with the graphical design of the image, I’d like to thank Jason Petrasko for his help with Photoshop, Bret Gillan for providing some assistance with GIMP.
Program used for the main part of this exercise was Photo Impact 8 by ULead, GIMP was attempted and then put aside, PhotoShop 9 pro was used to give a shadow border to the letters. Font is Times and Times again from Dafont.com. Base image is how one of my RPG shelves looked in June 06, on it are a Final Fantasy wallpaper of Yuna and a blank expanse from an Exalted: Fair Folk wallpaper, because the colour was right.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let us discuss some of the attempts:

There were some proto attempts. Where I’ve had a shelf, and then added images of a bunny girl archer from Final Fantasy Tactics to both sides of the center looking at the center, but it was a bit too “Blocky”. Then I tried with more images, including anime eyes, and a Warhammer 40K fire and grit to use as background, but it obscured more than it showed. Tried a character sheet and some roleplaying dice, but I wasn’t too fond of it.
It was necessary that the blog convey that it’s not just about books, or just about anime. So while I’m not a big fan of transparent pictures for multilayers, I didn’t really see another option.

The following is the first real attempt. As I dealt with the transparency each time anew instead of saving the settings when I had it saved as JPEG, the brightness of the image changes. This still has the Fair Folk Noble’s head, which is very Kaluta style, but with two images, it kinda ended up looking like a 16 year old’s blog, and as Keith pointed out, it was too dark. The text is one of the basic MS fonts, and was a bit too boring.

First real attempt

First real attempt

Keith suggested axing the illustrations altogether, but I felt that just the books with the fade effect was not enough. It might have looked good, but it wasn’t indicative of this blog, so I kept on looking.
So the “Elf”‘s face had gone, and the whole thing was made lighter. To the following image various fonts had been added, you can check the attempts on the Flickr Set.

Moving forward

Moving forward

Matt told me that it wasn’t really clear what her back was, and then I thought to myself, and realized that Yuna has a beautiful face (she does), so we’ve moved there, after we had already chosen a font. The following picture is an example of that, but the font is not the right one, I didn’t notice I was using a similar font.

Another step forward

Another step forward

At this point we decided to play some with the text. I don’t like three-tier text, like steps, so that went out, so we thought of having only the last line have some indent. But eventually, we’ve had the two first lines occupy one line, with the “A Media Blog” underneath, and all of it farther to the right.
This is also where the real headache began. The letters needed to have a small border to make them clearer and easier to read. Photo Impact lacked that feature, and as far as I could tell, in GIMP I’d have had to have done it manually with the “Pencil” tool, which wasn’t going to happen… (Could be that GIMP can do it easily, but I’ve only had GIMP for two days, so I’m far from mastering it). So off to Jason who has Photoshop it went, and then back and forth between three people (Jason, myself, and Matt who advised me).

And well, you’ve seen the final version, but I’ll link it again for comparison:

The final header

The final header

 Check the Flickr Set to see the different images used, the different fonts and variations of it all. And I hope this helps you realize, making art is a time-consuming process, especially when you take typography into consideration.

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6 comments on “Header and Blogroll.

  1. Gunstray says:

    Heheh lovely Banner. I barely do link exchanges, ussualy I just let the creator of the blog decide if Im worthy in the list^^;

    And um sorry for not letting you know that Ive linked your blog in my list, Im a 2nd class stalker anyway

    • Guy says:

      Ah, thanks! I wondered how come I’ve got links from you and not from the anime backlog post :)

      I’m gearing up to watch the second episode of “Element Hunters”, the first was one of the worst things I’ve seen lately. I might have liked it 15 years ago, or even 10, but I’m not there anymore.

  2. Ninjovee says:

    Good work on the banner, I think that the text should be a little bit more centered (vertically) so the bottom part doesn’t look empty.

    Speaking of links, I’m adding a your blog to my blogroll — your entries are well worth reading :)

  3. Zoe MacLean says:

    Wow, looks pretty good :)

    • Guy says:

      Thanks :)

      I think it might be easier to link your username to your WordPress account. Yes, the Google profile has more information, but maybe a bit too much :)

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