Friday, May 4, 2012

From the Garden

Now that we have a proper backyard, we have a garden full of little plants that give us hope for future bountiful meals. The first plants to be harvested is SPINACH. Tyler has been craving my creamy spinach dip, so I gathered some dark leaves of spinach and melted them into creamy dip.

Creamy Spinach Dip (Half Recipethis is good for 24 people)
1/2 onion (diced)
1 clove of garlic
1 lb of spinach (cleaned and trimmed)
1/4 cup milk
3 oz of cream cheese
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
(chips, bread-sticks, baguettes to serve with)

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly oil (with olive oil) a shallow baking dish. In a pot on medium ad onion and garlic til lightly browned (58 min.)  Add spinach in additions. Let batches wilt before adding the next. Cook until completely wilted (5‒9 min.) Drain, pressing out all the excess liquid. In that emptied pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese (3 min.) Add spinach mixture, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella, stir and seas with salt and pepper. Pour into the oiled pan. Bake until bubbly about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

GIF is Making a Comeback

Now that GIFs are retro, they are coming by and style. In reality it is Apple's decision to not support flash that have forced people to find new ways to add motion to their websites. It turns out the best way is the old way (cir. 1984 ‒ 90s). Photoshop's animation integration has made it easier than ever to animate your gifs and try to optimize them best for web, without annoying pixelation. There will be some in most cases, since you are limited to 256 colors. The animation panel now has an animation timeline to Adobe's AfterEffects timeline with position, opacity, and style  settings.

Best advice for animated gifs is too simplify images and color palette. You can do this by using simple shapes and color fields. I avoid using human faces because the face has so many gradations it is difficult to make anyone look good in a limited palette.
Photoshop also has tools such as posterize to help simplify the layers of color in an image. (This is a life saver for my online ads). Also always using save for web optimization will help insure you get the file right.