Keynote Motion Graphic Experiment

I was experimenting with Keynote's animation tools and decided for fun to make a short animated motion graphic to showcase what the app can do. It's pretty impressive how much Keynote can stand up to pro animation apps like After Effects and Motion and how fast it makes process. Honestly the most time consuming part of this was trying to get an adequate screen recording (video codecs blah).

I've always been a huge advocate of using Keynote for basic prototyping because there are a lot of great animation/drawing goodies hidden in this app and it's so easy to set a scene up. Same thing goes with motion graphics. Even if you're not planning on making your final animation in Keynote, it's an incredibly fast way to audition different effects and narratives.

The available animations may seem basic, but they can get you through most situations. I primarily used default Keynote transitions for this video and very rarely had to set up custom animation paths. Using the Magic Move feature and some clever masking can get you through most complex transitions. Here are some tips for making your own motion piece:

Keynote doesn't let you change the anchor point of an animation (like rotating around a point), but by adding in some invisible shapes you can achieve that same effect.

Keynote doesn't let you change the anchor point of an animation (like rotating around a point), but by adding in some invisible shapes you can achieve that same effect.

There's also the ability to subtract, unite, intersect, and exclude shapes. This makes custom shapes much easier so you don't have to rely on masks. You can find these options hidden in the Format > Shapes and Lines menu.

There's also the ability to subtract, unite, intersect, and exclude shapes. This makes custom shapes much easier so you don't have to rely on masks. You can find these options hidden in the Format > Shapes and Lines menu.

One last lesser-known tip is that there's a "Make Motion Path from Shape" feature so you can draw out a complex path for a shape to follow without needing to commit to the animation first.

One last lesser-known tip is that there's a "Make Motion Path from Shape" feature so you can draw out a complex path for a shape to follow without needing to commit to the animation first.

A Crash Course in Japanese Beauty

Of the many things I research obsessively, asian skincare and cosmetics ranks up at the top. I'm currently sitting here writing this with a cherry blossom sheet mask slapped on my face. Japanese and US beauty trends are like polar opposites to one another so I thought I'd share what all the girls (and guys) are doing here:

The Skincare Routine of All Skincare Routines
Skincare > makeup in Japan. TV commercials focus on lotions and cleansers, not lipsticks and foundations. Having naturally flawless skin is the pinnacle of beauty here and holy crap is the routine to achieve that complicated. A basic schedule consists of: (Night) Oil Cleanser > Foaming Cleanser > Lotion > Spot Treatment > Essence > Sleeping Pack > Sheet Mask > (Day) Foaming Cleanser > Lotion > Serum > Sunscreen > BB Cream. Yup.

This aisle represents 1/4 of the options for foaming cleansers in my local Don Quixote

This aisle represents 1/4 of the options for foaming cleansers in my local Don Quixote

Sheet Masks
A staple of the skincare routine: they are serum-soaked white clothes that you can wear to terrify your significant other. You put them on for 15-60min about twice a week. Each one boasts different abilities like firming, brightening, or calming skin and can be made from ingredients like rice, avocado, pearl, or even placenta (yup). They're also FREEZING so they help with inflammation and dealing with the crazy hot summer. Everyone should be using these, they are amazing.

And you can become a tiger.

And you can become a tiger.

Doing anything to protect your pale skin 👻
Asians love the pale. This means sunscreen every hour, parasols, gloves, and long sleeves and pants in the middle of summer. All cosmetic are labelled with "whitening" benefits and SPF. I have naturally tan skin so I couldn't care less about most of this stuff, but I do concede that Japanese sunscreen is vastly superior to what we have in the US. Instead of being super thick, chalky and white, Japanese sunscreen is watery, has better UV protection, and is way cheaper. 

Makeup = ✨👛🎀💞PINK PINK PINK 💞🎀👛✨
With Japanese makeup there's two options: hot pink and light pink. Oh and glitter, lots of glitter. Whereas US makeup aims to make you look more mature, Japanese makeup is all about looking child-like, adorable, and delicate. So lots of blushing baby cheeks, pouty lips, and glittery under-eye makeup to make you look like you're sad puppy dog who's about to cry. 

My fashion magazines depicting the diverse color choices offered in Japanese makeup (+ bonus pink eyebrows).

My fashion magazines depicting the diverse color choices offered in Japanese makeup (+ bonus pink eyebrows).

Puffy Eye Bags are the new Eye Crease
Speaking of puppy eyes, it seems that accentuating the bags underneath your eyes is the new trend for making your eyes appear bigger. You can do it through make-up, or even get plastic surgery to inject fat deposits underneath your eyes for a permanent pouty look. 

False Eyelashes
And not just for going out. Falsies for the office, falsies for school, false eyelashes everywhere. Asian eyelashes (including mine) are notoriously stumpy and straight, so putting on a pair of falsies is like instant mascara. They can range from very natural to full blown feathers-gems-glitter. I am still willing the nerve to wear mine out in public, but it seems like they're as normal as eyeliner here.

And you will never run out of options

And you will never run out of options

Colored Contact Lenses
I was pretty surprised at how common it is to wear these. They can serve to enlarge your pupils (for a kawaii-anime look), turn them into cat slit eyes, or to make you look well... more like a white person.

Examples of what your pupils could look like suspended in test tube liquid.

Examples of what your pupils could look like suspended in test tube liquid.

Lastly: Foot Peels
Satisfying and disgusting. You basically put your feet into baggies, pour some lactic acid into them, and wait for an hour. Then after a week of feeling like you wasted your money, your whole freakin' foot starts shedding like mad and the outcome is beautiful soft baby feet. Google search has some images, but click at your own risk.

Design Festa 2015

This is your city's annual craft fair on steroids. MAJOR steroids. Design Festa labels itself as a "celebration of the arts at which anyone regardless of age, nationality, talents or language can exhibit". It is the largest art festival in Asia, with over 12,000 exhibitors, and is not for the feint of heart. We arrived late so we only had 3hrs to look around, and this is not a convention you want to rush through. Towards the end I stopped taking photos and just wandered around dazed and confused, but here are a few snapshots I managed to grab:

First off it's hosted in *this* building, very aptly-named the Tokyo Big Sight.

First off it's hosted in *this* building, very aptly-named the Tokyo Big Sight.

Throughout both (giant) floors of the space there are artists doing live art murals.

Throughout both (giant) floors of the space there are artists doing live art murals.

We really like Jane Lee's illustration wall. You can see more of her work here.

We really like Jane Lee's illustration wall. You can see more of her work here.

This frog was selling custom steam-punk bath tubs because that's what you do.

This frog was selling custom steam-punk bath tubs because that's what you do.

Imagine 10,000 of these booths over and over. 

Imagine 10,000 of these booths over and over. 

I think the gist of this event was that if you're going to sell art, you better damn look like the art you're selling. Case in point: Sticker Shoe Man & Sad Goth Girl.

I think the gist of this event was that if you're going to sell art, you better damn look like the art you're selling. Case in point: Sticker Shoe Man & Sad Goth Girl.

I didn't come out with too many souvenirs (because after purging all of our stuff from SF the last thing I need is more knick-knacks). I did buy a cute leather pig for ¥ 100 yen to keep the other pig in our apartment company.

I didn't come out with too many souvenirs (because after purging all of our stuff from SF the last thing I need is more knick-knacks). I did buy a cute leather pig for ¥ 100 yen to keep the other pig in our apartment company.

Also, it turns out that Design Festa will be hosting a Student version of the same event in August.

Also, it turns out that Design Festa will be hosting a Student version of the same event in August.

Measuring Exhibition

This weekend we decided to visit the 21_21 Design Sight museum in Roppongi to see the exhibit "Measuring: This Much, That Much, How Much?". It is quite literally an exhibition devoted to anything measurement-related: units and conversions, the history of measurement devices, and clever forms of comparison. I don't know if it's true for all Japanese museum-experience, but the whole exhibition was incredibly interactive. In contrast to most US museums you could touch and play with a lot of the stations, photographs were encouraged, and there was a lot of chatter. The exhibit runs until May 31st if you happen to be in the Tokyo-area. 

The tickets were measuring tape that people were using to measure pieces in the exhibit.

The tickets were measuring tape that people were using to measure pieces in the exhibit.

There were actually "help wanted" gaps where they couldn't find objects that were precisely that size.

There were actually "help wanted" gaps where they couldn't find objects that were precisely that size.

The weights of different Japanese characters.

The weights of different Japanese characters.

Different book-binding ratios.

Different book-binding ratios.

In the museum shop, you could purchase random bulk material by weight.

In the museum shop, you could purchase random bulk material by weight.

21_21 Design Sight reading space.

21_21 Design Sight reading space.

Traveling with the Apple Watch

I was lucky to have received my Apple Watch before flying off to Tokyo and have been using it daily for the last three weeks. I was firmly in the skeptic camp when it arrived, thinking the novelty would wear off in a few days and then it could keep my fitbit company in storage. Now that I'm abroad and in unknown territory, it's a whole new story. Here are my reactions to traveling with the watch:

Having a hand free is awesome, who'da guessed? 👋
As obvious as this sounds, it's huge for traveling. I'm one of those people who clings to their phone so often it might as well be a wearable. I didn't realize how impactful the watch would be until I was lugging multiple suitcases and a dog through LAX while trying to keep up with flight updates and an untimely deluge of twitter chatter. It actually gives me great peace of mind to be able to stow my phone away and has genuinely helped me enjoy my surroundings more.  As a nice side-effect, the watch has also helped subside my fears of pickpocketing. While Tokyo is a very safe place, I'm a lot less nervous when my data is snugly attached to my wrist vs. my pocket.

World clocks are cool now. 🌐
I used to associate world clocks with SkyMall and mid-level corporate managers, but it's so nice to not have to constantly pick up my phone to check if it's an okay time to contact friends and family in the states.  

It's almost impossible to miss an appointment. 🕒
This is really important in Japan, where being late is a *huge* no-no. I constantly used to miss texts and alarms on my phone, but the haptic feedback on the watch makes catching notifications possible even in loud venues and crowded streets. 

Activity monitoring is a fun archive of your trip. 🏃
I was pretty much a sedentary potato before I began my trip so activity data was pretty useless. Now that I'm sight-seeing around the city everyday it's actually really fun to review just how much I was rushing around throughout the day. The motivation goals are also a great incentive to push me to explore more parts of the city. 

Maps...is not that helpful.  😕
Maps on my phone is my lifeline when exploring a new locale or navigating public transportation in a different language. However, I've found it incredibly difficult to integrate the Maps watch app into my routine. It's slow-loading, very hard to zoom and pan, and adding directions is a pain whether manually or through Siri. It just makes me that weird foreigner yelling repeatedly into her watch as I butcher the pronunciation of Japanese locations. It's a shame, as maps would appear to be the most obviously useful feature for travel.

Most 3rd-party travel apps are just for novelty. 🍭 
I've yet to find a useful watch app aimed at traveling. Airline apps don't add more value to their existing notifications, hotel room key apps are cute and useless, and translation apps are appealing until you actually converse with a person IRL and realize it's really awkward to start speaking to your wrist mid-convo or, even weirder, asking them to speak into your wrist. The one exception is currency conversion, which feels fantastic as a watch app and is actually practical. Hopefully as the watch market matures, these apps will move on from gimmicky features to more serious functionality. 

So far, the Apple watch has been a real luxury to have with me as I travel, and it really is just that: a luxury. You won't *need* one for traveling but wow does it add a lot of convenience on to my trip. No way I'm parting with it unless you pry it from my cold dead wrists.