Some of My Recent Forbes Articles & Visual Design for You

D29060C3-703A-4C7B-B244-05FC92209022As you may know from my last few, or so, posts, I have been writing for Forbes as a contributor on various aspects of technology: from robotics to AI, chatbots and cloud storage providers. This is a great niche or topic area for me because it also lets me practice my graphic design skills or gives me an excuse to keep working on the idea of mastering Adobe Illustrator (in addition to iPad apps like Procreate for pure raster work).

Yesterday, I decided to write again about gadgets because I figured it is part of my topic area of innovations because the coverage included foldable phones —- yes I know, the hot topic right now regarding mobile tech. However, I was told to calm down a bit from my main editor in covering too many different topic areas. Apparently, my main niche is security now although I am in talks with that same editor in letting me just cover innovations as a whole — we’ll see how this goes although I am not holding my breath particularly in the world of online journalism.

Either way, the article is published and it is among those that reached over 1k views. It also shows my multimedia skills and the ability to switch coverage of a wide range of topics within tech at a whim. You may remember, I started this site some years back after getting an iPad as a gift and this motivated me to focus a lot of my writing efforts as well as gaming, graphic design, etc. On mobile and the iPad in particular; I am actually writing this blog post on an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard.

Thus, despite not updating my mobile OS, iOS to be exact, for quite a while and having a 2017 iPad when I wrote the piece yesterday, it felt natural for me to cover foldable phones. Note, I actually may have an up-to-date iPad today (one day after writing this article) as a family member came to see me here in Poland with an iPad Pro (although no stylus). I am trying to encourage them to return it and switch for just a regular 2018 iPad with APple Pencil support, either way it is looking like I can finally do some illustrations and graphic design with a pencil soon.

The reason that I decided to cover this topic, and try my hand and gadgets again, was due to the fact I kept seeing various coverage of these upcoming phones when flipping through tech news on Flipboard And Google.  I also felt it was a good idea to do such a piece in case I want to get into publications such as Wired, Ars Technica or others over time since this is a huge topic area that gets a lot of eyeballs rolling and clicks as a whole.

The article I wrote yesterday that I started actually writing in a bathtab on my iPad and finished on my Macbook Air is here:

Here is some graphic design I created for it:

I also would like to add some graphic design for an article I wrote a couple days ago about branding and marketing.  The article can be found here:

Here are some graphics that I created for it:

Hope you enjoyed some of these ideas I created and my articles and I look forward to sharing future updates to you. If you work for a company that can use any branding., marketing, writing, graphic design, or multimedia work just send me a message and we can talk.

Hopefully it isn’t just me that is seeing the results on Google:
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Updated My Avernun 7 Storyline Idea & Creating Game Art

I have decided to rescan and try maybe continuing to work on my story idea for the beginning of a new indy game, possibly Avernun 7. I have previously tried to take pictures of the old hand-written stuff I came up with one afternoon on a whim for a game idea and the scanning, or images created from the notes, didn’t turn out well. However, I highlighted some of the key ideas along with some art and marketing writing for such games, particularly Spiderweb Software’s, in this blog post.

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Taken from SpiderwebSoftware.com

As many of you know who have been reading this blog, I am a huge fan of Jeff Vogel’s Spiderweb Software and its games, particularly Avernun: Escape from the Pit. This game has a strong message behind it that I would summarize with the nouns exile, anguish, survival, rebellion, and above all else, triumph.

I originally played this game on an iPad Mini on a plane ride and trip to Poland from the U.S. and got hooked. It felt like the true WRPG or CRPG that the iPad at the time lacked and had no alternatives (even Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition hasn’t come out back then on iOS or mobile). So it reminded me of one of my favorite genres of games: titles like Divine Divinity, Diablo and the Infnite Engine games (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planetscape Torment).

 

 

Images are taken from Spiderweb Software’s website and based on in-game art 

Although I have not played any of the proceeding games in the series — the latest remake series now offers three of them already released although Avernun 3has not been released for iPad yet — I have read, researched and analyzed them. I have read many of the latest reviews of Avernun 3 and it, along with the initial Exile 3 release back in the 90s, seems to be the most ambitious title in the series. I have also been following Jeff Vogel’s recent interviews and he said that in his youth when Exile 3 came out he had many crazy ideas he liked to implement in his game design, and he recreated the title faithfully with the latest remake.

I was not able to complete my initial Avernun Escape from the Pit game run due to my iPad Mini being stolen along with the save data being wiped. This is why I have decided to replay it before purchasing both Avernun 2 and 3when it is released on the iPad (hopefully soon). I actually got almost to the end, or where I had different paths I could have taken like chose to fight the guardian dragon and escape to the surface. However, due to my saved data being wiped, I never got to properly see any of the possible endings.

Right now I am about a half way through the game now and enjoying it immersely. It is a living, breahting world, full of wonders and surprises. There are caves to esplore, huge number of towns to navigate as well as various quests to complete; There are magical orbs that spak to you in the game to find, various artifacts, weapons and items to salvage; and a variety of ways to upgrade the characters in your party. The Avernun series are a complete RPG package and you can play them co fortably on any of the iPad’s touchscreens.

This brings me back to my initial point I wrote this blog post about. I wanted to showcase my ideas for Avernun 7, or a similar game in that veil of storytelling. Thus, I have decided to rescan my hand-written pages I used to started the introduction. This is because the previously taken with my iPad camera pages did not show up very defined, as any readers of my previous blog post may attest.

So here is the latest scan using HP Scan software from my printer. The HP scanning software (HP Smart) seems to work a lot better than Adobe Scan app (I previously tried this as well) or just using my iPad camera, which is interesting that HP has such good scanning software that can use that same camera and make more light of what it scans).

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Screenshots:

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As you see, this is just an idea and gave me an ides to continue with descriptive writing because it is fun and creative. I would love to work for a game company or an indy dev studio on such writing ideas, marketing ads, or even do some artwork and visual design (or concept art as I prefer to work with scenes or landscapes rather than people). I may continue on this idea and refine it further by also typing it up.

Speaking of which, here is some digital art I created that could be used for scenery, or in-game title screens or even intro art to indy RPG titles where you enter a nee location for instance.

 

 

 

All my images, visuals or art added on here or anywhere on this site is my copyright and if you want to work with me, commission me or hire me for additional work or to use any of my work — whether wrt, graphics or writing — we can work together. I can also create multimedia content for your brand by combining my writing, art, marketing or video productions into something interesting.

Another Evolution Concept of Drawing Digitally

As you guys may have recently seen, I posted a blog post about using the iPad and a stylus to digitally restore or enhance pencil drawings from black and white to color. You may also have noticed the various interpretations that can result from each piece as there are so many different ways to accomplish this: from different filters to brushes and layered effects.

I wanted to add another project here as unlike my previous blog post about the pencil drawing turning into a digital piece, this one I mostly started digital from the get go — outside of photography I added and the two soldiers from the previous piece I worked on. This project started out from a basic concept of a cloaked warrior or wizard standing in front of a gate; this being similar to how many computer games or RPGs, in particular, have as either a box art or in game title screen art. However, over time somethings got worse while other things improved in the pieces you will see below. Either way, it was an interesting learning experience.

Here was the very basic outline concept as I worked my way down into something completely different using photographs for pillars I took (on iPad) and inserting them into the digital image along with a door I took as a photo in Barcelona Spain (also with an iPad).

(Oh and by the way, I mentioned how I started working on this piece at the end of my last blog post.)

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I am thinking of working out the concept further with the last piece, but including the solders as ai recently reanimated them or some other additions. I also do not know id the metallic or artificial-looking pillars are cooler looking than the photograph-based versions. It is in the eye of the beholder to judge.

Here are some ideas for cover art or marketing ads that could be done (Obviously instead of “Welcome to Mike-Lata.com”, it would say something like “Welcome to Spiderweb Software”).

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[Heavy Edit]: And after all that, here is something else I created:
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Here I tried to make the cloaked figure more into a wizard:

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The mouse seemed to big so I changed it along with a glitch near left side of ghost soldier where vapor or mist is hitting:

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Some ad ideas I created, or potential marketing pitches (before last revision though, which could be done to it or any of these revisions):

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All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

 

Continuing My Idea of “Out of This World Computing”

So, you may have read my recent post about minimalism and a concept I created using Artstudio on the iPad with a theme of “out of this world computing” built into the idea. You also may have read that I created the whole art from scratch and used various Artstudio for iPad tools such as line drawing mode and various brush samples, such as watercolor to get the background star-like effect. Well I have been playing with what I created and have taken it out of the minimalism category of art.

Part of the reason why I have been doing this was because I recently ended up purchasing the pro edition of Artstudio on the iPad. This is really a great app and what is very ironic and interesting is that it is designed by a Polish group from Lods, called Lucky Clan. I have actually been talking with the main guy behind the company that produced and continues to update this app and may be working with him on a technical manual in the future.

Artstudio Pro comes with a nice variety of changes and additions from the base app. For one, there are very interesting filters or effects now that I got to play with and implement into the many variations of my latest piece. Yes, there are many versions and you will soon see below the variations I have done using various effects and designs in Artstudio Pro.

There are also many more brushes available from the get go and an option to both import and export brush designs. The program is really becoming an iOS solution to Photoshop in my opinion and combined with a stylus has really come into its own as a serious graphic design tool. Even the way it grips the standard stylus or the Apple Pencil, I have been told, is superb. The way you can add masks, use layers, import photos, add filters and just get busy creating things, Artstudio Pro is really an awesome app to have on the iPad or Mac. I myself enjoy combining photography with free-hand art and this app is perfect for this.

With all that said, here is what I have been working on as of late and the base concept is taking my previous minimnalism design of “out of this world computing” and inputting it into a 3D supercomputer of sorts with a metallic filter. I actually was able to combine two flat images together into the supercomputer that I superimposed on top of another layer of content that I ended up creating by playing around with the swirl effect and others such as bumpmap. Here it is below:

 

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As you can see the designs vary depending on the use of bumpmap and other effects on the shadow and the overall background layer. The last image above, which is the  image showing the shadow with a thick pumpmap, is I think the best version of this design. This is because the blue section looks almost like a lake or water around the structure and the metallic object in the back almost looks like a pin. It has a vary surreal vibe to it and it came out pretty well I think.

If anyone is interested in using any of my art here or anywhere else on the site I created let me know, or if you are interested in purchasing any screen or silk prints I can make, please also let me know. With that said, I will continue to use my previous designs and ideas and run with them to create new content.

Entirely Hand-Crafted from iPad Digital Image Related to iPad & This Site

So I’ve decided to work a bit more on that entirely-from-scratch iPad created digital image that I created its first rough draft wuite a while back (maybe a few years). And I’ve decided — due to being bored at a pub and a bit tipsy — turn it into something related to the site. So here is my creation, mostly using Art Studio for iPad as the app of choice and layers:

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One thing I’ve learned doing this project is that instead of doing sometimes many layers or revisions of an aspect of an image, such as in my case the cursive writing, it’s better to just go for it and doing it in one sitting. If you see something that doesn’t look right, just redo it from scratch instead of trying to perfect every minor detail.