Monday, July 22, 2013

Election Night in America: Part 3

Arkansas can be called for Rubio. No surprise here as it votes solidly Republican in presidential elections, and Huntsman posed little of a threat here.
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Kansas will also be won by Rubio, despite a large second-place showing from Huntsman.
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Michigan will be won by Gillibrand. Little of a surprise, but the GOP has been getting incrementally stronger here over the course of the past few elections.
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Montana can be called fairly easily for Huntsman. Montana has been leaning Huntsman for a while, but it is still surprising to be able to call the state this early.
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Wyoming will also be won by Rubio. Another second-place showing for Huntsman, too.
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North Dakota is the fourth state called for Huntsman tonight, and yet another surprise to call this early. Huntsman has really had an unprecedented turnout so far.
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Nebraska’s 3rd district has remained strongly loyal to the GOP through a strong Huntsman performance in the state.
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Texas can also be called for Rubio. It is looking like the turnout in the state is around 56% based on exit polls, showing the voter initiative programs are working.
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South Dakota can be called for Huntsman as well. The Dakotas stick together as set by historical precedent.
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The first really big call of the night is New Mexico for Huntsman. Polls were pointing to the state being more competitive than usual, but not an early Huuntsman victory. Another sign Huntsman has had unprecedented turnout tonight.
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Huntsman will also wrestle Maine at-large away from Gillibrand. Maine’s 1st district will remain blue, however.
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Louisiana is too close to call at this hour. It is a neck and neck race between Rubio and Huntsman for the state.
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Wisconsin is too close to call. The state is usually reliably Democratic, but Republicans and now Huntsman have been making waves in the state and turning it into a battleground.
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Minnesota is too close to call. Yet another reliably blue state now thrown up for grabs by Huntsman.
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Colorado is too close to call. It has been looking like a Democratic lean, but the historic battleground state it not giving up its status so soon.
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Iowa is also too close to call. Another state where we can see a three way race in action.
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Nebraska at-large is too close to call. Yet another surprise.
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Arizona is also too close to call. Arizona has been increasingly shifting towards the Democratic side, but Rubio and Huntsman's efforts to reach out to Hispanics have stopped it from going easily.
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Here is the electoral map. Gillibrand maintains a slight lead of 10 electoral votes. Huntsman has already won more electors than projected at some of the final polls before election day. Reports are already showing a massive turnout of 64% from the states already called, and a huge turnout of women and hispanics. A lot of these Hispanics are going for Huntsman. It is looking like we are going to be going over the exit poll data for the next few weeks as we attempt to comprehend Huntsman’s stunning performance.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Radioactive: Election Night in America (Part 2)

Welcome back to ANN's coverage of election night in America. 

First off, We can easily call the state of West Virginia for Rubio.
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Antother easy victory tonight is Connecticut, which will go for Gillibrand.
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Alabama will contribute its 9 electoral votes to Rubio’s total, as expected.
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Illinois is another state which can be called for Gillibrand. It has voted solidly Democrat and will continue to do so tonight.
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Maryland is yet another solid victory for Gillibrand.
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Mississippi is another easy victory, this one for Rubio and the GOP.
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We can also call Massachusetts, voting solidly Democratic as expected.
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New York, Gillibrand's home state, will remain solidly in her column.
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Delaware will remain solidly Democratic tonight as well.
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Oklahoma will also remain solidly GOP, as expected. No possible threat from Huntsman since third parties are not allowed on the ballot here.
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Tennessee is another fairly easy victory for Rubio. Interesting however is the fact that Huntsman will likely pull second place.
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Our first big call of the night is a rather easy Huntsman victory in the state of New Hampshire. He will win the first electoral votes for any non Democrat or Republican since George Wallace in 1968.
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New Jersey and its 14 electoral votes will go for Gillibrand tonight. Huntsman has had a decent showing, and it is yet to be seen if he will beat out the GOP for a second place finish in the state.
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At this time, we can also call Virginia for the Democrats. This was somewhat expected, but the GOP still put up a decent fight in the state.
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The final call for this round of poll closings will be Maine’s 2nd district going for Huntsman. This was relatively expected, but it still makes history by being the first time Maine has had to split its electoral vote based on district.
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Rhode Island is too close to call. The race was always between Gillibrand and Huntsman for the state, but it is somewhat of a surprise to see Huntsman do this well.
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Florida is too close to call at this time. Rubio is popular in his home state, but it has voted Democratic in the past three elections and Huntsman, while he can’t win in the state, could spoil it.
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North Carolina is also too close to call. Gillibrand has been campaigning heavily to flip the state and the Democrats have hoped that her campaign was not in vain.
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Ohio is too close to call. A three way fight guarantees no call until rather late tonight.
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Maine At-Large is too close to call, a close fight between Huntsman and Gillibrand.
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The last state for this round of closings, Pennsylvania, is too close to call. The GOP historically has decent turnout that prevents an easy Democratic victory in the state.

Here is the electoral map. Gillibrand has pulled a lead, but the night is still young.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tutorial Follow-Up

I was playing around some more with the graphics this morning, and I came up with some that I like better. Here is the Canadian graphic you saw yesterday. I changed the rectangle to a golden rectangle (1 to 1.68). I changed the text size just slightly smaller in the headline, and changed the background color to red for contrast. I also decreased the saturation of the lighter end of the gradient to 60% behind the headline and to 75% behind the logo. After uploading the one yesterday, I could tell it was too weak to be noticeable on most computer screens.


I also made very skinny rectangle that emulates shining metal, which was an accent inspired by the graphics in Jay/Noravea's joint TL. This is how it was done:


The gray was 175-175-175. Multi point gradients are an easy way to really spice stuff up. I also put a very light drop shadow (Effect/Stylize/Drop Shadow) below the CBC text. These are the setting I used for the drop shadow. Usually, the best drop shadow is a very light one with a dark gray instead of black color.



I liked the Canadian graphics so much that I applied it to ANN in Radioactive. This might be showing up soon. :D


Saturday, July 13, 2013

News Graphic Tutorial

A lot of people have recently inquired about my news graphics. Finally, I have gotten myself into action and have made a tutorial to get everyone to make their very own imaginary news station to report on news from your alternate (or future) world!

In this tutorial, I will be using Illustrator. For those of you who want free vector program, you can download Inkscape. It will do most of the same things that Illustrator will for things like this, and most of the things I will be explaining are universal and not limited to Illustrator in its scope of use.

First things first, fire up your vector illustration software, and go to File / New. Ideally, you would use the golden ratio (1 to 1.68) to make something like this, but that is not feasible due to the fact that most pictures are closer to square. Therefore, I use a ratio of about 1 to 1.45. That usually works the best for pleasing to the eye and still able to fit pictures well.

You should open up to a blank canvas. First thing to do is to slap down a few rectangles. You can find these under the shapes tool. Once you select rectangle, all you have to do is drag on your artboard to make a rectangle. Make a skinny one at the bottom, and one about twice as thick just above it. These will be your ticker and main headline sections once the graphic is complete.

Step two is getting your rectangles gradients. A solid color looks boring and amateurish, but the tasteful use of gradients (and drop shadows, which I will get to another time) is really what could separate you from the rest of people who can't use them properly. On the right side of the screen toolbar, there is a small rectangle with a gradient. Click on that icon, and it will bring you to a small popout that shows a large gradient. You can add "handles" (extra color stops) by pressing just below, but we don't need to do that right now. Just double click inside of a handle to bring you to the small popup below. Click on the small button in the corner to pull up a list like the one below, and select RGB as your palette type.
Grayscale could work just fine, but only if you wanted it to be black and white. In RGB, you can pull the tabs or type in numbers to get a color. For today, I wanted a nice light gray, which is a RGB value of 175-175-175. Whenever all three numbers are the same, the color will be a shade of gray. For now, we will leave the other handle white. Here is what your canvas should look like at the moment.

Now, select the gradient tool on the left side of the screen. It will pop up with a bar over the shape, showing the gradient. Get close to the square on one end, and you will see a circle at 270 degrees, and this is to turn the gradient. We want to turn ours straight up, with white on top and gray on bottom. Push in on the square size to decrease the length of the gradient. We want the white to start right on top of the rectangle and the gray to end on the bottom of the rectangle. I apologize, but whenever I took a screenshot, the gradient bar went away for a reason unbeknownst to me.

Now, you can add in preliminary text. In this shot, I chose Verdana font at bold 30 pt. I like Verdana and Arial the most, but sometimes Impact can look good in types of news graphics. It doesn't matter to much what your text is like now, but it is important just to get some on the page to start getting into the nitty gritty of the layout.

Next thing we want to look at is a logo. It might seem like a lot of work, but if there is something you want in your logo, then there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Look up your object you want with the term svg at the end. This is a vector file, and the type you want when editing in a vector program. Usually the first link will be a Wikipedia one, and if not, find the Wikipedia one. Most vetcor files on Wikipedia are open source as long as you do not claim the work as your own, which is why it is my first stop. In this case, I searched "Canadian flag svg", and this is what I got.

 Click directly on the image, and it will open in a new tab. Right click, save, and open in your vector program. Make sure objects are selected by clicking and dragging over the entire thing. Copy (Ctrl-C or Cmd-C) and paste (Ctrl-V or Cmd-V) on your news graphic. Grab the corner and resize while holding the shift key down. This maintains perfect proportions from the original.


The logo almost always includes the abbreviations, with the BC or NN suffix. This requires creative discretion based on what you want your logo to look like, but in my case, I wanted it to mesh with the flag. Press the text tool and drag a small box over the logo, and then type. I put extra spaces in mine to fit the flag.

 The logo should be clean, but is too boring and stiff right now. The perfect way to fix it and make it look professional is with a gradient. Check the shapes solid RGB value, and insert that as the color of the first gradient handle.

Next is the important part. Switch to the second gradient handle, and then switch from RGB to HSB from the dropdown menu in the upper right corner like I showed earlier. This gives you three bars: Hue, saturation, and blend. Decrease the saturation of the first color to around 80%. This gives you a soft gradient. Now, fix it with the gradient tool on the left bar to make the lighter color on top and darker on bottom.
You can't quite get the feel of what the final result will look like without a picture, so I put in a random picture of the Canadian Rockies. This is the point where you will have to start taking a lot of artistic liberty and make it your own. What I did was decrease the length of the ticker and extend the logo. I also made a straight line with 2pt stroke and 150-150-150 color to divide the ticker and headline. It is subtle, but would look much more plain without it. I also made the headline text smaller and decreased the size of the bar behind it. I also made a breaking news symbol by copying the logo rectangle and the ticker text. You can use the eyedropper tool when the text is selected and pressing on any other object to make it that color. Usually, your ticker text starts at the far left while the main headline has a decent amount of buffer room. The headline should also line up as close as possible with the breaking news icon.

 At this point, the logo still looked off and I was missing some sort of time. I put the date in the empty space at the bottom of the logo by making a rounded rectangle (under the shapes bar menu) and making Verdana bold-italic size 10 text.

For some situations, you want to show live and the place just for some pizzaz. Copy the headline rectangle and the breaking news rectangle and place them adjacent to eachother. A dark grey divider does wonders in this part as well. To top it off, I changed the  "LIVE" color to white and added the dark gray bar at the top of the headline to finish things off. I also decreased text sizes for the second time in the ticker.

To get your finalized graphic out, just go to File / Export. Make sure it is a .png, and save. You can then go to Finder and double click to open it in Preview. There you can crop any straggling parts left from the export.

























Here is the final product! It can still be refined I think by making the headline text smaller and adding gradients to some of the text. Overall, I hoped you found this tutorial informative and helpful. Ask me any questions below, I will be happy to answer them.