Happy 50th Birthday to Mark!

I was recently asked by the wife of my good friend and business partner, Mark Reeves, to put together a short video to surprise him for his 50th birthday. I knew immediately that I was going to do something fun since his birthday was in the middle of the pandemic, and we could all use a good laugh about now. I also knew that I wanted to stretch my wings a bit with my recent Adobe After Effects training. I found a tutorial on YouTube explaining how to create those silly Monty Python animations where the mouth moves up and down timed to someone talking. This is the result. Happy 50th birthday to Mark!

WordPress Plugin Training Course

I’ve been steadily going through the WordPress: Plugin Development training course by Jeff Starr on LinkedIn Learning. I’m really impressed with the quality of instruction in this entire set of videos. I’ve learned a lot and it’s really helped me fully understand how to plan, design, develop, and publish a complete WordPress plugin. If you’ve wanted to dig down deep in the subject, I’d recommend taking a look. There are a couple free introductory videos, as well as a course outline, that will give you a good idea of what the course is all about.

View Course >

Guitar: Allman Brothers – Melissa

I’ve known this song for many years, but only just recently learned how to play it on the guitar. It has a really good feel to it and I enjoy playing along to various covers on YouTube. The original recording is a bit faster, but I like playing it slower like some other folks do when they cover it. Maybe someday in the future I’ll learn how to sing along with it.

Guitar: Kings of Leon – Use Somebody

I’ve been playing “campfire chords” on an acoustic guitar since I was about 21 years old… but today I learned how to play power chords on my electric guitar. I feel like Neo from The Matrix when he tells Morpheus, “I know kung fu.” I have a lot of practicing ahead of me to smooth out the chord transitions, but it’s a start!

I guess I never got the concept that the index finger is always on the root note and you’re just sliding the same simple 1st/5th shape up and down the fretboard on the E and A strings. I feel like a whole new world of standard rock songs has opened up to me. So much fun! I added a drum backing track using an old iPad app called AmpliTube by IK Multimedia.

Follow Me on Letterboxd

My brother told me about this fun social media platform dedicated to cataloging, rating, and reviewing all of the movies that you’ve ever watched. You can even make a list of movies you want to watch in the future. I’ve gone through and added and rated hundreds of movies that I’ve enjoyed over the years. I might write a few simple reviews at some point too.

Michael on Letterboxd >

Guitar: Pink Floyd – Dogs (Intro)

While learning the song “Dogs” by Pink Floyd today, I broke one of my guitar strings (and yes, it was the G-string). I’m pretty sure I broke a string the last time I tried to learn this song. Maybe I need to work on faster—but much lighter—strumming techniques. Anyway, I can now roughly play the song, but there’s no guarantee on the integrity of my guitar. Again, I need more time with the metronome.

Rotoscoping in Adobe After Effects

I’ve been learning how to do rotoscoping in the latest version of Adobe After Effects. Here’s a simple example I put together tonight. I’m looking forward to experimenting a lot more with it. The stock video footage is courtesy of Pexels and the music track is “Dub Trippin” by MK2 from the YouTube Audio Library.

Mandalas in Adobe Illustrator

I’m finally getting serious about learning how to use Adobe Illustrator properly. I’ve been using it off and on for years, but never really spent the time to get good at it since it’s so vast. I’ve been watching some videos on drawing mandalas, so I decided to see if I could create one with vector shapes. It was a fun and relaxing way to spend a couple hours. Also, I feel a lot more comfortable in Illustrator now. I added some color gradients with Photoshop.