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Exit ArchiveArchive for December 15th, 2005

One of the work projects that was keeping me too busy to post much of anything—at least, before I took the hour to carefully construct a self evaluation—was designing our company’s holiday e-card. The quote from the usual team who designs and posts these cards was exorbitant, and I was tapped to do it on the cheap.

To me, “on the cheap” does not mean “crappy,” so I spent days working on the graphic for the e-card. I chose to use the teaser key art from Narnia, since that was gonna be our big holiday release.

Below is the original key art, with my finished design next to it (or under it if your browser window is too small (that’s not in any way passive–aggressive, is it?)). You can click on each to see a bigger version.

The Original ArtMy Holiday Card

To do what I wanted on the card, I needed to learn some stuff. The Photoshop work was the easiest: removing the dark castle and lightening the sky and enhancing the glow from the sun. The thing I was not sure how to do was create and add the 3D version of our logo castle. So I tinkered with an inexpensive 3D program called Carrara 3D Basics 2 (version 4.1.2… Huh?). I discovered its infuriating limitations and bugs, but got a nice-looking ice castle out of the thing. For the Happy Holidays text, though, Carrara’s bugs could not be overcome, and I had to rely on an After Effects plug-in called Zaxwerks Invigorator Pro. Invigorator creates some great-looking stuff, but its interface is tedious to use.

After a week, I had a good graphic that I was mostly proud of. The next step was figuring out how to serve the graphic via an online interface, where BVHE employees could go to enter e-mail addresses and greeting text and have that all combined together with the graphic and mailed to the recipients. This took another week, not because the coding was hard to do, but for many other reasons that I won’t get into. Though I usually like to dwell on such details, that’s not the point of this whole post. The point is, after figuring everything out and having a nice graphic to use, the project was canceled.

Yup. All that work, and no go. It seems that the point was made, that it could be done on the cheap without spending $10,000. Oops. Did I reveal that amount? Oh, well. Bad me. We would have spent under $2,000 had we completed the project. And the parts of that that did not include hiring our own vendor to program the PHP e-mailing code are going to be useful for other projects in the future.

One gets used to that kind of waste of effort in this business. What actually bothered me most is that no one would get to see my graphic. Which is really the reason for this post. So I can show off my work. I added all this text so my selfish puffery could be swathed in an illusion of legitimacy!