rant Spinrants Blog

Another Happy Client Speaks Out

  • January 8, 2016

Tooting my own horn here, but that's sort of what "marketing your business" is, non? Just received this testimonial from one of my recent clients: We recently worked with Mark and Spinland Studios to develop a series of animated narratives that demonstrated our modular precast concrete roadway system and the construction techniques used in its installation. There was limited video footage of the product’s application to assist Mark with the animation’s development. Mark embraced the challenge of learning a new technology and the construction equipment/techniques used in the product's...

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Another “Welcome to my world” Musing

  • January 2, 2016

First things first: this is not a whine. Oh, no. I love what I do and when it gets challenging life just gets better (if a wee stressful at times). That disclaimer out of the way, some 3D geek musings on tweaking my Wakely model. First issue: I had already built the head and was playing around with the features and stuff when the client dropped the bombshell right before (as in, one day before) Xmas: they really wanted the first animated promo piece by the following Wednesday night to support a New Year's Eve party. The original plan was the first piece wouldn't be needed until Valentine's...

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A Buzzword-Laden Musing on the “New Economy”

  • December 23, 2015

I've had an interesting long-term gig that doesn't pay top dollar (far from it) but can be rather satisfying. See, a major pillar of my business model is teaming up ad hoc with other solopreneurs to synergize (oooh, lookit at me using buzzwords like a big girl!) our respective skill sets to tackle clients' pain points (oh, oh, I'm getting excited here) and deliver an effective product without needing to form a long-term company for that specific offering. Agile, baby (I might need to lie down soon)! One such collaborator is a kick ass designer but her coding skills aren't her forte. I've been...

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Explainer Videos: Show, Don’t Tell

  • December 4, 2015

// ViewContent // Track key page views (ex: product page, landing page or article) fbq('track', 'ViewContent'); It's a timeworn saying from Creative Writing 101: "Show, don't tell." Invoke the senses of your reader through vivid phrasing rather than simply serving up exposition. People who craft ad copy need to be especially sensitive to the need for creating clear and compelling product images in the minds of their readers. Well, what if you could side-step prose altogether and literally show them what you're trying to describe? Sort of finesses the whole issue, doesn't it? I'll see your...

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Sure, you have a brand image—but is it doing anything?

  • November 19, 2015

// ViewContent // Track key page views (ex: product page, landing page or article) fbq('track', 'ViewContent'); So, your business already has a logo? Maybe even a mascot or associated character? That is most cool, indeed—but are they doing anything? Does your logo fly and dance? Do your brand's characters move, speak, and engage your audience to tell your story? Well, that's where we come in. Here's a fun little case study for your entertainment and edification. In the 1950s the F. X. Matt Brewing Company got it: Schultz & Dooley (as puppets) were the stars of several video commercials...

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Version control: yes, even solo developers need it!

  • November 14, 2015

True geek confessions time, and you experienced developers can point and laugh at me as you please. The other day a web app I wrote and support started behaving differently than I expected. I looked into it and realized the hosting company had somehow restored from an old backup and the deployed version wasn't the most current. Let's not go into the the evils of that, it's between me and them. So, I went to grab my latest copy to restore from and, to my horror, realized I had no easy way to get my hands on the latest versions of the various (and numerous) files involved. In my extreme knuckle...

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Spinland Workstation Upgrade

  • October 22, 2015

New doin's at Spinland! Got the new monitor installed this morning! Now my (formerly) main 27" Apple display is the secondary to replace that dinky 20" one that was not even close to what I needed for what I do. Making room for decently-sized monitors was the main driving force behind my losing the hutch from my desk. I went with a 32" Dell because Apple is way behind the power curve right now in monitor tech. I get why: they are holding out for releasing new 5K displays, they are all in with Thunderbolt to feed them, and Thunderbolt 1.0 can't handle the needed bandwidth. When the newer Thunderbolt...

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Welcome to the Glamorous Life of the Solopreneur.

  • October 14, 2015

First things first: this is not a whine (or a whinge). I love what I do, I love my current situation, I have not once had second thoughts about quitting my "day job" and starting my own business, and I am happy. I am also a realist and, as someone who has gone through the process of transitioning from an employee to a solopreneur, maybe now and then my insights could be useful to others contemplating taking the same road. So, this is just a little glimpse into one potentially negative aspect of the lifestyle of being self employed and calling your own shots: cash flow stress. When you're an employee,...

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Theme Song for 3D Computer Artists

  • September 29, 2015

Steve Martin wrote our theme song several years ago. Here's the transcript: Here we go. [plays a steady rhythmic riff] Hey, this guy's good. [sings] "Well, I'm renderin', renderin' 'round, I'm a renderin' guy, I'm renderin', oh, yes, oh, yes!" [whistles poorly, shrugs, speaks] Free to get in. [sings] "I'm a renderin' guy - R-E-N-D-E-R-I-N apostrophe, oh yes, I'm renderin' — renderin' to New York City, N-Y-C! Rent a car, get a hotel, for only two hundred dollars a day. Oh, yes." [speaks] Okay, everybody! "I'm a ren-" Come on! Sing with me! Come on, have some fun, come on! "renderin' ..." Are you people...

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“Dammit, Jim! I’m an animator, not a marketer!”

  • August 26, 2015

From the very first day I created and textured some 3D objects in graduate school (my major was computer science but I was interested in taking some of the computer graphics electives available back in the day) using Designer's Workbench on a Silicone Graphics computer, I realized that's what I wanted to do when I grew up. As the years rolled by, and the hardware/software barriers to entry to a serious 3D computer graphics career became ever easier to overcome, I began spending the disposable income available to me (first as a USAF officer and then as a software engineer for a major defense contractor)...

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