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Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – Technical Guide 2019

Wow.  18 months later and this is my next post.  My day job and cycling appear to have been taking priority.  in 2017 the guide was a hack job with lots of cut and pasted images from an export of the 2016 guide. In the interim, I learned how to import formatted tables from Excel and how to alternate the colours in rows or columns.  The alternation was a basic little trick.

Alternating fills – a simple trick

With more time to create the technical guide, I could format it properly and insert/create lots of tables, rather than pdf export images.  I also had the time to convert all images from RGB to CYMK.  Rather than cutting images out of the previous guide, I was able to design things properly.  The front page was created in Illustrator and dropped into the InDesign project.

During this project I used “Dashboard” to plan and time tasks.  I provided an estimate on time based on all materials being provided (copy, logos, photos) and without (or partially).  I have further fine tuned my time estimates for brochure creation.  With everything provided, it takes ~10 mins a page from start to final QA check.  Without, it is ~20 minutes.

Project management using “Dashboard”

Throughout this project, I stayed in touch with the client via email and phone.

Having created the page template in 2017, the most time-consuming part this time around was formatting the race mocka and race entries.  With the mocka, I needed to get it to fit onto a series of pages.  For the race entries, I needed to source team jersey images, convert them and size them as consistently as possible before placing them into the document.  Here jersey designs were inconsistent – some were photos and most were various template designs.  That makes a designer groan, but we work with what we are given. With time, I could have created them all from scratch – that I did not have.

A few items I was asked to create from scratch.  Non convoy detours and feed station maps were some of these. As neither copy, images or direction was provided little tasks like these can take longer than expected: find images, size appropriately, determine where cars are to travel to avoid the race as much as possible, document the routes to travel.  Have this double checked after creation and amend as instructed.

Non convoy details “suggested” by me and then ratified by the client

This year, I designed the front and back pages in Illustrator, the social media informative footers, the race signs, the course elevation, the green and gold stripes on the NRS banner, the key for the finish line photo, the race number / transponder placement image and the directional arrows.  I created a spreadsheet in Excel and then imported tables of the mocka, the sprint and KOM points and non convoy vehicle routes into InDesign.  I tried this with the race entries, but it did not work (it looked bad).  Some elements were ditched due to the need to apply style guide rules for logos.

Incorporating my own photos #1

With the exception of the winner photo on the front page and the Minister for Sport, all the photos, including the one in the front page NRS fade banner were taken by me with my own equipment.

Incorporating my own photos #2

The estimate for this project was 9-10 hours with logos, maps and copy provided.  Without, I estimated 12.5 which was a fairly bad underestimate.  What blew the time out was determining and documenting non convoy routes, sourcing satellite images of feed station zones, importing and them tweaking the race mocka and setting out the race entries nicely (in 2017 and in the 106 documents, I always felt this looked a bit cramped).

The mocka took time to create, check and format

Tables formatted in MS Excel were imported into InDesign

Changes after the client proof read the document were not billed.  This is one thing that jars between my science background and graphic design.  In science, I’d spell check and proof read documents.  In graphic design, the client’s supposed to provide the copy and the designer is just supposed to whack in into the document as is, errors an all.  I guess I value add here by correcting errors if I see them.  Conducting quality assurance on a document of this size adds 2-3 hours to the project.  Some clients would be willing to pay that, some would baulk.

Despite doing everything “properly”, the preflight feature of InDesign complained about non CMYK colour spaces in some imported tables and a number of low resolution images.  The colours could be cleaned up with about an extra 90 mins of checking.  That’s likely down to needing to prepare my Excel tabled in CMYK and not RGB (perhaps). The low resolution images were a result of needing to source them from the Internet myself and not having time allocated to recreating them in Illustrator.

At the end of the project, four files were provided.  Two 2 up saddle stitch files (one with printers marks, one without), and two web suitable documents.  One a page to a page, and the other in spread format

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Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – Technical Guide 2017

I was contacted late Sunday afternoon by Cycling Australia and asked if I could produce the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic Technical Guide for 2017.

Sure thing I said.

I stayed tuned for some emails which provided logos (mostly large jpg’s), last year’s guide and text. I did not possess the Univers typeface much of the document was written in.  To keep costs down, rather than spent $35 for each of the 3 fonts I lacked, the Helvetica group was used instead.

After a couple of phone calls to discuss the minor details, I got started.

The most time-consuming part was setting up the page template.  From last year’s guide I was able to extract the images relating to maps, mocka and signage.  A few 2016 dates needed changing to 2017.  It had been a while since I’d used InDesign, so it was good to take it for a spin.

The main page needed some logos changed and the footer on all pages needed a 2016 changed to a 2017.  Blanking out the old logos using a white box in Illustrator allowed me to hide them and add the new ones, rather than fiddle with layer extraction.  Importing last year’s pdf into Illustrator and creating an art board around the footer and changing the year allowed me to import that into the InDesign template I created.

InDesign did not like me when I did my high quality pdf export – lots of images at the wrong resolution and using RBG, not CMYK, however the final result does the job and the print out renders well.

I could have charged for the “late notice, rush job” though waived this fee and charged standard rates.  Why was this?  I was a little rusty so could not produce my best work (though one can argue that could be the case with all rush jobs).

The winning rider image from 2016, I grabbed from Rob Gunstone’s Twitter post from last year and advised the Cycling Australia to double-check that the use of the image was approved by the photographer.

Excluding some cleanup, the project took me 8 hours.

This is v1a of the #M2W17 Technical guide (there might have been slight changes between this and the distributed file).

2017 M2W TechGuide v1.2a

2017 M2W TechGuide v1.2a #M2W17.

 

Mememememe Memes

The font is imact.  These tend to be white with a black stroke and one or two font sizes.

I dabble now and then. Nothing’s taken off.

Twitter Banner Evolution

Social media is apparently a great way to network and display one’s skills.  I’ve never sourced work through it but I do like to play around with my various social media account banners from time to time so show my skills or align the imagery with current little projects I have running.

Here’s my historical twitter banners.

 

Bashing away in C++

When learning code, pundits say one of the best things you can do is modify existing code to make it do something you want it to do.

For the last few day’s I’ve been going through the The Complete Idiots Complete Guide to a Career in Computer Programming (Jessie Liberty 1999). On page 124-125 it talks about using functions and local variables and includes the code to convert a user entered Farenheit temperature into a Celsius temperature which is then output to screen.

Here’s the original code.

// demonstrates using functions and local variables

#include <iostream>

float Convert(float);
int main()
{
float TempFer;
float TempCel;

std::cout << “Please enter the temperature in Fahrenheit: “;
std::cin >> TempFer;
TempCel = Convert(TempFer);
std::cout << “\nHere’s the temperature in Celsius: “;
std::cout << TempCel << std::endl;
return 0;

}
float Convert(float TempFer)
{
float TempCel;
TempCel = ((TempFer – 32) * 5) / 9;
return TempCel;
}

My cycle computer calculates my energy expenditure in Calories (no idea why it will not show this in kJ, despite being able to configure the system to display metric or imperial during set-up),  I thought I’d modify the program to take a Calorie value and output a kJ value.   As my training log automatically displays energy used in kJ, so the only practical aspect to my code modification is to learn to make software do what I want.  The modified code follows:

// demonstrates using functions and local variables

// modified on 15-05-2104 by Paul Yeatman to convert Calories to kilojoules
#include <iostream>

float Convert(float);
int main()
{
float TempCal;
float TempKjs;

std::cout << “Please enter the energy used in calories (Cal): “;
std::cin >> TempCal;
TempKjs = Convert(TempCal);
std::cout << “\nHere’s the energy used in kilojoules (kJ): “;
std::cout << TempKjs << std::endl;
return 0;

}
float Convert(float TempCal)
{
float TempKjs;
TempKjs = TempCal * 4.1858;
return TempKjs;
}

Of course, once the code is written it needs to be compiled and output to a new file and then run.  To do this, I’m telnetting into a headless server I’ve set up running ubuntu, coding in the nano text editor (it has colour coded hints, but no line numbering) and then compiling and running things using the command line.  I’ve set up my main computer with a compiler as well, but that’s for if I want to port anything into windows.  The beauty of C++ is I only have to write the code once and then use an OS specific compiler to port it to a new system.

*Update 20170309*

Looking at the code, the output’s actually in Joules!  To produce KJ, I needed to add a /1000 to TempKjs = TempCal * 4.1858; making it TempKjs = (TempCal * 4.1858)/1000;

 

*Update 20170728*

While preparing for Stanford’s CS106B as part of my Poor Humans Bachelor of Computer Science, I installed Qt-Creator, a modern IDE.  That’s much better than the round about what I was doing it with my server.  The server might still be good for compiling (I’m yet to check out many of the IDE’s features).