Superhero Movie Bollocks

Anybody else sick of the flood of superhero movies coming over from America? Look, it was fun for awhile, and I liked Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies as much as the next person, but it’s gotten a bit much for me. “Batman V. Superman” certainly didn’t live up to the hype that I had expected. A bloke of mine actually cried during the movie because he was so hyped up for it and so disappointed by the actual results.

The one thing that is getting to me, in particular, is how serious they are getting. It was fun when Christopher Nolan got “gritty” (whatever that means) in his movies, but they take it too far. They crank it up to a level where Superman is killing people and Batman is shooting guns and…it gets comical, but not in a good way.

I’m also not afraid to say it, but so much of the CGI in the movies has been bollocks. It looks okay at first glance, but if you pause it and pay attention (as Lucy, my closest girl, and I did the other day with the DVD), you can see all kinds of flaws. Just a lack of detail and definition that might not seem like a big deal, but which creates a subtly artificial look that the mind unconsciously notices.

It’s times like this that I wish I would have stayed in that kind of work (I did a few freelance jobs with CGI, nothing more) and that I could bring my own sense of perfectionism to the table. Not trying to say I’m better than those designers, nor do I want to come across like I got a big head.

It’s just clear to me that they’re using CGI too much to do things that could be done with practical effects. I hate to keep going back to him, but when Christopher Nolan does an effect he keeps it practical and it looks amazing. By contrast, ones that use CGI to create spectacles that are technically a lot bigger end up looking more like a video game cut scene.

Don’t get me wrong: I love video game cut scenes, but if I want to see one, I’ll play a video game. Anyway, rant over. Do you think I’m way off base or is there any truth to what I’m saying? Drop me a line and let me know!

Adventures In Babysitting

Do any of you remember the daft yank comedy “Adventures In Babysitting” from the 80s? It was about these kids and their babysitters and their shenanigans in the big city. It was really dumb, but I used to get a laugh out of me, my sister Lauren and I particularly. But I had my own adventure when she decided to drop off her kids with me for the day.

My family, including Lauren, seems to think that, since I work at home, I do nothing all day. Lauren and her beau Luke wanted to go see a movie (“Suicide Squad,” I believe) and didn’t want to take the kids. So after much pleading, she dropped them off with me. Typically, I don’t mind because her kids, Jenny and Thomas, aren’t too bad.

But the full moon must have been out or something because they were wild. I told them right off the bat that I had some work to do (trying to get these animated graphics just right for a slot machine), and they promised to be quiet. After about half an hour, though, I noticed they were a bit too quiet. Like, “not even in the house” quiet.

In a panic, I opened the front door and stared up and down the street. Nowhere to be seen. Then, I raced to the back, where all the renters have access to a little backyard with a grill and all that. My heart leaped into my chest when I threw open the door and saw them.

Okay, so Lauren is going to kill me if and when she reads this, but here’s what happened. Jenny, who is about three, had “gone” in her pants and had pulled it out with her fists. That I could tell by the stains. Thomas, five, was covered in it and they were laughing, throwing it back and forth, and making a mess. Needless to say, it took me quite some time to get them clean and to make a silent vow: never again will I go on another adventure in babysitting!

I Need Some Help With Programming Languages

I program primarily in Java because it’s what I learned at university and its what most sites want us to use. However, I’ve lately heard of a lot of people switching over to Ruby. I haven’t worked with the language yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things. For example, I’ve heard it has a bunch of great tools that make it easier to design web apps, including a library of coding language.

I’ve heard it even has automatic testing and that it is more streamlined than Java and easier to program in and with. Those facts alone have me interested in trying it out, but I’m a little afraid to make the jump to a new language so quickly.

After all, learning new programming is a time investment, and as a freelancer, I have to manage my time carefully to make sure I’m not wasting it. Too much time puttering around learning Ruby could distract me from an important design job and cost me money.

So I’m asking those of you out there who have used Java and Ruby: is it worth making the switch? Or is Java still capable of handling many of the problems of modern day programming and graphic design? Remember, I’m not a heavy-duty programmer, but I do need to know a little bit when implementing graphics on-site, etc.

Try to think of it from that perspective when giving me advice. I would particularly like to hear from graphic designers who have already used Ruby and whether or not they found it worth the monetary and time investment. I’m not going to be programming mobile apps, here, but simply uploading stuff and making sure it runs properly.

I look forward to hearing from you all! I’m sure that you’ll have plenty of great advice to give me on this and could even point me towards an inexpensive Ruby teaching platform.

The Troubles With Freelancing

Freelancing is often more of a pain in the (you know what) than it is worth. Look, I love sitting at home in my skivvies and going to work when I want on what I want, and you’d think that would be true no matter what. But there are some downsides to this type of work and I have a little fiasco to tell you about. Don’t let it deter you from the freelance dream, but be prepared for this kind of disaster.

I was right in the middle of designing a series of banners for Karamba casino and Slots & Stripes. These were basically telling customers about great deals and encouraging them to spend their time at these websites. On a side note, I dig these guys and must also give a so called “shout out” to the great people at superlenny casino. They’ve all been great with me and always pay me on time. I only do work with sites that give me respect.

Anyway, I was taking one last look at the banners, making sure everything looked perfect, and was about to save when it happend: my computer clicked off. Panic hit me, but I wasn’t too worried, because it does have an auto-save feature. However, my computer wouldn’t turn back on and a trip to the shop told me the bad news: it was fried.

So now I’m waiting for them to pull the data off my dead hard drive so I can send it in and get paid. I got my little cheap laptop right now (hailing to you from its ailing form at the moment!) and I can do some work. But without the graphics I need, I’m a bit stuck.

Here’s some honest advice from one freelancer to another: constantly back up your work. Or you might end up staring at a black screen with nothing to do but start over again from the beginning.