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50/50 #mograph #loop #3D #footage #selfportrait #cinema4D #3Dtrack #design #art #kidmograph

A video posted by KIDMOGRAPH™ (@kidmograph) on

Welcome to the second installment of the “Eye on Design” series where I’ll highlight amazing artists that you need to keep an eye on!  For this month I’ll be highlighting one of the most well known and respected GIF artists, Gustavo Torres (AKA KidMograph).   Gustavo is on the cutting edge of experimental motion graphics, making killer visuals 3 loopable seconds at a time!  His aesthetic is a mixture of 80’s & sci-fi design with a surreal spin.  Let’s get to know more about the man behind Kidmograph!


I’m pretty sure most of the Internet knows KidMograph but for those out there who live under a rock, can you tell us a little bit about the man behind KidMograph?

I’m a middle aged guy living and working from Argentina. Me and my wife Clara (@render_fruit) work together in our studio and have an amazing almost 11 years old daughter 🙂


Your work has a totally tubular 80s vibe to them.  What inspired you to get into design and what artists/styles influence your artwork?

Yes.  I used my 80’s growing childhood and remixed some of the concepts that were so great in that decade.  Always really moved me is that way to look at the future in a nostalgic and literal manner. It’s very descriptive.  It resumes very well what you want to say, and how. It’s concrete. Also, the technologic limited resources of that time, and the mixture between traditional art. All mixed with the beginning of the home computer.  Because that was happening to me in the process of trying to be an illustrator.  Always been caught by the amazing video game posters and publicity.  Comics.  The advertising art that is not relevant but takes concepts from surrealism and mix them with futuristic concepts. The 80’s has that feeling of an endless happiness trip, and at the same time I think it worked really well with people.  Even more than then newest technologies of today.  The lack of resources is always a good resource.  Sometimes a bit cheesy and shallow, but beautiful, nostalgic and literal. It is fantasy, but based on reality.  My most important task making art is trying to leave an impression on the viewer, and the end of 80’s, early 90’s has this impact on me.  I can really relate to that age with the works of Hajime Sorayama and Patrick Nagel to name a few.


You’re very well known for your GIFs on Tumblr.  How did you get into the GIF game and what do you enjoy most about the medium?

I remember around the end of 2011, where I finished a big stage on my work making tons of paid work doing music videos, that I felt the need of making side projects. Projects that I really wanted to do without anyone telling me about notes and changes and styles.  It was a very hard time for me in the emotional and economic fields, and decided to start making simple things almost everyday (in a non orthodox way).  Some days I was doing 3 GIFs in a row, others just thinking about scenes.  But the thought was giving all my ideas a shape.  That’s where I thought a blog could help me to achieve it, and Tumblr came into my life.  Over 4 years, I have uploaded more than 1000 GIFs there.  After all this time, I’m part of the Tumblr Creators initiative, which different artists can link with brands around the globe for online campaigns.  I only can say I love them.

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You’re quite the Renaissance man designing for multiple mediums;  You’re making GIFs, concert visuals, now you’re experimenting with 3D tracking.  You mentioned you want to get into VR.  Can you talk to the benefits of trying out all these different outlets?

Yes.  Only through diversity do you acquire and refine your taste.  Adding diversity into your work is a very healthy way to get better at what you do.  It’s like eating, you might have 3-4 favorite meals, but you need to taste several to see what you like most.  Combinations are almost endless.  Art is not much different on that regard.  One day I feel the need to do an endless/timeless loop about a certain idea.  Others, I dive deep into longer scenes.  Everything gives you new feelings & experiences that you can learn from.


Staying on the subject of those different mediums, what was the most challenging and which did you enjoy the most?

Well, music videos can be very challenging.  You have to combine several techniques in 3-4 minutes without losing the subject, and without losing the people attention.  Tons of things involved.  Footage/compositing/fx/audio-video sync…3 minutes looks like nothing to the spectator.  But for you can be endless.  Passing from the angry to the joy to deception.  B ut I’ve learnt a lot like in no other field.

But for sure what I enjoy the most is making live visual packages for DJs and musicians.  I’m at a point that I’ve transformed all my personal works and motive into my actual work, and people reference my current work/style as examples of the types of projects they want me to create for them.  And that’s priceless.  I’m very grateful.

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What’s one of your favorite pieces of artwork you’ve done and why?

I have so many animations that represent me and my work, but this one in particular does it very well.

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Done 2 years ago, and in about half hour.  It has all I need for a GIF.  Speed, the lo-fi feeling, the travelings.  City landscapes in a retro-future highway.  Sometimes it’s the shorter amount of time you spend creating images that the more accurate and powerful it gets.  Keep the mind focused, and don’t waste time.


Did you start out as a 2D designer before you got into 3D and if so, what was the most difficult thing for you jumping into 3D?

Yes, like i guess the majority who has my age did.  First of all, I’m an illustrator/painter.  Did my Bachelor in beauty arts from 13 to 19 years old and you can imagine the most advanced thing was taking photocopies.  When I started working in After Effects in 2003 i thought that was it. It was a really key moment in my pairing career.  But always felt the flatter work (or 2.5D) like a limit.  That’s where I’ve discovered Cinema 4D and boom, my brain changed the way to create and understood that the limits were only in my mind.  It enhanced my perspective 1000X.  But it wasn’t easy.  Even today I have lots of things to learn and trying to use both 2D/3D in a way they can coexists nicely.  Pipelines can be hard, but you must search for a method that works for you regardless which software you use.


What’s the one thing in C4D you couldn’t live without?

Cloner Object and the Displacement Deformer are two of my main tools.  I use them everyday.


Tell us more about the music videos you made for The Strokes.

Those projects were pretty much straight forward.  They loved all the GIF animation I have been doing and asked me to make 2 lyric videos and a few presentations that appeared in the streets in form of loop-able videos.  The lo-fi and nostalgic feeling of this pieces, plus their amazing sounds and lyrics were joined and we think they accomplished their objective. Plus, lots of people in my country who don’t know me were able to find my work 🙂

 

Keep an eye on Kidmograph’s work by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and on his website.


More of KidMograph’s work:

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Fishies0000

Welcome to the first installment of the “Eye on Design” series where I’ll highlight amazing artists that you need to keep an eye on!  The first artist I’ll be highlighting is one of my favorites, Stuart Wade, who has a very unique 3D style that I absolutely love.  The compositions he creates using simple 3D shapes are brilliant!  Recently, he’s been doing live streams on Youtube that allow you to get a peek into his process!  Let’s see what makes Stuart tick in this short interview I had with him.


Introduce yourself to the interwebs!  Who’s this Stuart guy?

Hello webs! I’m Stuart Wade, but you may also know me by my online moniker, DLGNCE. (Like diligence, but spelled all fancy.) I’m a digital artist, designer and illustrator currently residing in San Francisco. I was born in New York City, grew up in the Philadelphia area, and moved to SF after marrying my amazing wife Jackie about 3 years ago. She’s also a graphic designer, and the opportunities for creatives in the Bay Area are pretty awesome. 

When my nose isn’t 6 inches from a monitor, I also really enjoy hiking, jogging and getting outside. I’m also frequently found in the kitchen, whipping up some tasty dishes for the wife and myself.


Describe your journey getting into design & 3D.

I suppose the whole journey started way back in my childhood. I grew up in the 80s, the son of some fairly creative parents. My Dad is a musician and amateur theater actor, and my Mom is an amazing painter working in traditional mediums. I always loved to draw and read comic books and I was lucky enough to grow up in an era replete with video games, Nickelodeon and the burgeoning internet. 

I’m fairly confident that immersing myself in these highly visual mediums lead me towards my current career path. I can distinctly remember making images in MS Word on my dad’s work laptop some 25 years ago. I wish I still had those files…

I realized in high school that it was possible to earn a living in the visual arts—and there was no way in hell I wanted to be an accountant! This led me to study graphic design and illustration at university. 

Always looking to experiment and grow my skill set, I started toying with 3d applications while working at my first job at a small agency in Pennsylvania. At first it was Google Sketchup, then Blender, but when I discovered Cinema 4D I really began to dive in and fully incorporate it into my workflow


What’s your favorite part about designing for the GIF medium?

I love the simplicity and share-ability of it all. Growing up alongside the internet, it feels like a medium that is truly our generations’. Years ago, gifs were considered the low-brow dregs of the internet. (Think cheesy rotating text and glittering MySpace backgrounds.) As bandwidth has gone up, and as mobile devices are more capable of handling animations, gifs are becoming a ubiquitous and well loved part of the digital landscape.

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You have a very unique style, can you tell us some of your influences?

I try to draw my inspiration from all over. There is obviously more cool stuff on the internet than any one person could possibly look at. Social media provides a constant pipeline of eye candy and inspiration for me to stare at. Some of my favorite contemporary artists are AJ Fosik, Aryz, Ferris Plock, Raymond Lemstra, Grand Chamaco, Boy Kong and Sam Rodriguez. 

I also draw a ton of inspiration from nature and natural forms. There is a ton of beauty to be seen in the hills and water and foliage in the bay area. I have a collection of small succulent plants behind my workstation that keep me company while I peck away at 3d models, and they are a constant reminder of natures beauty. You’ve probably seen versions of them in some of my renderings!


What’s the one thing in Cinema 4D you couldn’t live without?

Great question… and a tough one to answer. These days, I suppose the Capsule primitive… It’s about as basic as it gets and I use it a lot!

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You’re a great example of not needing to know much about modeling to create some amazing 3D artwork.  I love how you utilize basic shapes and forms to create your GIFs.  Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into 3D but may be too intimidated by 3D modeling?

Thanks!  I’ve always been a fan of playing to the medium, and allowing constraints to inform the final outcome (That’s why I also enjoy working with limited color palettes.) I believe composition and other visual fundamentals are far more important to the quality of the image than fancy geometry or lighting setups.  Not to mention the fact that I do all of my rendering from my laptop, so I try to keep my lighting and geometry fairly simple to cut down on render times. 

My advice would be to start out by playing and experimenting and learning the types of things C4D is good at, and how you can use it as a supplement to your existing work stream. After some initial exploration, I would take a more tactical approach. Figure out specific things you want to make, and learn how to make them.  The internet is FULL of amazing resources—like eyedesyn.com—that will teach you how to approach certain challenges you may be having with your projects. I’ve been working with C4D for about 6 or 7 years at this point, and I can say the times I’ve learned the most are when I’ve had to overcome specific roadblocks to achieve a particular result I had in mind. 

Lastly, I would also encourage folks to enjoy the process. Cinema 4D is a complex program and it’s going to take a long time to get good at it. So grab a drink, put on some tunes, and have fun digging in!


More of Stuart’s work:

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Keep an eye on Stuart’s work by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and on his website.

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Gone Fishing.

The Fleeting Nature of The Stream Of Consciousness & Importance of Saving Every Idea

Intellectual capital is the economic capital of the new economy.

It happens all the time, you enter a room and forget why you went there in the first place. Thoughts can be easily lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. We live in an age of constantly being connected, always checking our mobile devices, and being awash in a flood of notifications. With so many distractions, it’s no wonder we forget why we walked in a room or can’t remember what that one amazing idea was that you had.

They call it the stream of consciousness for a reason; a stream is always moving.

They call it the stream of consciousness for a reason; a stream is always moving. Thoughts are always flowing in and out of your noggin. When you hook your next big idea, be sure to reel it in and store it somewhere or risk that marlin of an idea flopping right back into the stream never to be seen again.

We’re bombarded with so much noise, mass media, technology, and information on a daily basis that we are more and more susceptible to sensory overload and forgetting our ideas.

As someone working in the creative field, it’s our job to come up with unique perspectives and ideas. We are living in a changing economy where intellectual property is increasingly becoming the way people make money. Content creation is king! It’s for this reason why it’s so crucial that you make sure not a single one of those ideas gets lost. The brain is an amazing thing, but it’s also working fast to decide which thoughts to keep and which to purge. We’re bombarded with so much noise, mass media, technology, and information on a daily basis that we are more and more susceptible to sensory overload and forgetting our ideas.

There’s no such thing as too much intellectual capital.

When an idea comes to me, I write it down immediately no matter how obscure, no matter if it’s about a project I’m currently working on or for one that has yet to or may never come to exist. It’s important to record every potentially useful thought. I know if I don’t write down my idea right when it comes to me, there’s a 50/50 chance that I will ever remember it again. Just like the mental exercise of creating a mind map, inside many unconnected thoughts may lie the key to your next big idea so be sure to write them all down! There’s no such thing as too much intellectual capital! Your phone is the perfect device to jot down your every stroke of genius. You don’t need to buy some fancy note app as most mobile devices come preloaded with a free note app that will back up all your notes to the cloud. This gives this method a leg up on a notebook or writing it on a napkin. This also helps so you don’t accidentally blow your nose into your next amazing idea.

Your “eureka” moment can occur at the most unlikely times (I always seem to get them right before I fall asleep or in the middle of a jog), so this is one instance where always being connected and attached to your phone is actually beneficial. Type down that idea quick before you forget why you picked up your phone in the first place.  That stream of consciousness can be a torrent!

Happy fishing!

If you’re looking for free note apps other than the ones built into standard mobile OS’s, I recommend both Evernote and Google Keep.  Evernote has a limited free version while Google’s Keep is completely free.  Both are great as they both sync between all devices.


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Tips to ensure your work gets seen and you get hired!

Whether you’re trying to land your first design job or striving to move on up to a better one, the process of applying to jobs can be a shot in the dark. With hundreds and hundreds of people applying to the same job, you need to make sure you have the edge and stand out amongst the crowd. Here are some ways to increase your odds of being seen and getting hired!


1. Crafting Your Online Presence

Whether your line of work is illustration, web design, or animation, the most important thing is not just solely having a collection of great work but making sure it gets seen. These days it’s very easy to set up your own blog or website, but you can also draw eyes to your site and your work by posting your portfolio pieces on creative sites like Behance, Dribbble, Tumblr, Instagram, or Vimeo. A good rule of thumb is to be very active on these sites by not only posting your work, but by following other artists and commenting on their work. And a word of advice, avoid randomly posting your own work in other artists comment sections to get views or feedback as this is universally frowned upon and considered a pretty spammy practice. You may be asking how often should you post your work onto these sites. I try to post a piece of work once a week, whether it’s your behind the scenes process (which a lot of people enjoy seeing), a still, or a short snippet from an animation. Ensuring you post often helps to maintain a constant presence on the feeds of these sites. If you’re not creating enough client work to post enough content weekly, make it a point to work on a small personal project every week. We live in a time where GIF’s are a viable platform to show off your work in the form of short 3–5 second clips. Dribbble and Tumblr are great online communities of creative folks constantly sharing these tiny bits and pieces of their work in GIF form. These sites are also perfect venues for getting feedback on your work and learning how you can improve. I can attest to the benefits of creating often and sharing your work to the point that it inspired me to host an entire series on lynda.com on the importance and benefits of creating and learning everyday. Not only does posting and sharing your work on these sites allow more chances of your work being seen, it also helps you…


2. Network

Being active in the design community sharing your work not only increases your online presence but simultaneously allows you to meet other creative folks that can inspire you or give you feedback on your work. The people you develop relationships with can help introduce you to the right people. Twitter and LinkedIn are good places to plant your online flag and cultivate your professional network. Getting to know people and develop relationships takes time but it’s a great investment that can pay off big, so make sure this is something you allow yourself to work on so you can organically meet the right people throughout your career. Start by following creatives who inspire you, comment on their work, share their work with your followers, and get to know them. A great way to gain followers is by sharing useful articles, tips, or tutorials relevant to your field, artists work you enjoy, and anything else you think your ideal audience would find interesting. Companies get hundreds and hundreds of inquires so just having your work out there is not enough. Sometimes it’s all about who you know and by building your online presence and reputation, it will ensure you have a leg up on getting hired if you have a recommendation by someone close to the company you want to work at.


3. Allow Your Individuality to Shine

Distinguish yourself from the pack! When reaching out to potential employers, don’t craft generic emails that could be sent to multiple companies at once. And when reaching out to a company, don’t just drone on about yourself and your accomplishments. Companies want to know what you can do for them so frame everything you say in terms of how you can help that company. Be sure do your research and know the ins and out of that company so you’ll be able to talk specifically about why you like their company (whether it’s their style of design or the quality in general) and what you can do for them. We work in a creative field so be creative with how you craft your e-mail. On Dribbble and Twitter, many companies place ads in GIF form that attracts attention, why shouldn’t you do the same when looking for work? By adding some imagery or humor, whether it’s by making a fun animated GIF about the company or yourself or cracking a (appropriate) joke about your skill set, it can help make you stand out and form a lasting impression.


Crafting an interesting GIF to send along with your e-mail helps you get noticed. (Credit: https://dribbble.com/Motion)


4. Learning from Failure

If you don’t hear back from a company, don’t hesitate to be persistent and reach out a couple of times to check in and ask about the status of the position to show your maintained interest. If you get rejected, your job is far from over. Politely ask the company if they can give you constructive criticism on your work or your interview so that you can be more effective in the future. Some clients may be open to this and appreciate the initiative you’re taking, some may not. Putting in the effort to try to learn how you could improve is always a good trait to exhibit to a company. And listen, we’ve all been rejected at some point. It’s the necessary consequence of putting yourself out there, so don’t be discouraged by rejection. You have to keep in mind that while there will be people better than you, there will be people worse than you too. The difference between the designers who are good and those who are bad are that the good designers worked past their bad work to get to the good stuff, so keep striving to get better!


5. Commitment to Improvement

Always be learning new things and adding new skills to your skill set. Aim to learn something new everyday, no matter how little that thing may be. Step back and review your portfolio. If your current portfolio of work isn’t relevant to the job you’re trying to get, make sure your creating the type of work that you want to work on! A company will never hire you for work/skills you’ve never shown. Have weaknesses? Work on them! There’s so much free information online in the form of tutorials or articles on how improve at literally anything! There are also some great resources for structured learning provided by numerous online schools and subscription based learning sites like lynda.com that can help you if you’re lacking in fundamental skills like design, animation, or any other business related topic. And finally…read! There are some amazing books out there like ‘Show Your Work that can give you great insight on how to grow as a creative and how to get noticed.

It’s always good to be honest with yourself about your own skills. The sooner you address your weaknesses, the sooner you can improve your portfolio and the chances of getting hired!


By EJ Hassenfratz. If you have any tips or questions on how to get hired, or topics you’d like to see me write about, feel free to email me at ej@eyedesyn.com. You can also find me on Twitter or on my website.


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The importance of communicating to clients that they get what they pay for.

We’ve all been there, a client wants to hire you for an animation that has a “needed this yesterday” deadline and a “loose change in my couch” type of budget. You can politely decline the gig, suck it up and take it knowing full well you’ll most likely be severely underpaid and severely overworked, or you can try to educate your client on why their demands aren’t realistic nor fair to ask someone to work for what could potentially amount to below minimum wage. One phrase that is jokingly tossed around a lot regarding client expectations, and is very true is: “Pick 2: Cheap, Fast, or Good.” When a client expects all 3 is when trouble arises.

Show up to a car dealership with $500 to spend and you’re walking out with a busted up golf cart.

As freelance designers, we work in the world of visual communication but we tend to forget the importance of communicating to clients what your services and skills cost and most importantly why they cost what they do. The difference between a budget of $500 vs $5000 is massive but for an uninformed client they may not understand why you should cost so much. Here are a few important things you need to communicate to your client to justify why you cost what you do:

1. When you talk about budget you talk about time and cost.

Clients with limited budgets need to understand that hiring a designer is like hiring any other expert in any other field. There’s this perception in many creative fields that due to the fact that many of us love our jobs that we don’t want to get paid for it properly. If they have limited budget that client has to be honest with themselves about scope and expectations. A client won’t get a talented, experienced designer with a very small budget. Sometimes a client is faced with having to rethink what’s more important, adjusting project scope and budget to be able to afford someone to get the job done right or risk hiring someone who may or may not get the job done. With a low budget, they can only afford someone with no or very little experience and they may not deliver to expectation. Show up to a car dealership with $500 to spend and you’re walking out with a busted up golf cart.

You wouldn’t hire an architect right out of school to build the Golden Gate Bridge.

2. In many instances, designers estimate project cost based on a day rate.

Sometimes that rate may be as much as $500 a day, so that means that for a client whose budget is only $500 they’re only going to get a day or 2 of work in order for you to make a fair wage. It’s really simple, the bigger the budget the bigger the scope, and the more experienced a designer they probably want to hire to handle such a large important job. You wouldn’t hire an architect right out of school to build the Golden Gate Bridge, nor should they hire an inexperienced designer when a company or brand’s image is on the line.

If a client goes cheap on hiring a designer, they run a great risk in not getting the job done to satisfaction and that will end up costing them more money in the long run if they need to hire someone else to finish or fix the job.

3. Many clients may ask “Well why is it so expensive, what am I paying for?”

Well why does anyone get paid any amount of money for anything anyone does? You’re paying for quality, expertise & experience. You’re paying for all the years of a designers experience in fulfilling clients needs and the experience in learning design, in animation and in learning the software to create a final product. You’re paying for the time cost that designer will be working on that job. If you ask a builder to build a house, it’ll be more time and money than if you asked to build a shed, and a lot more expensive and a lot more time if you wanted a mansion. And you want that builder to be trustworthy and to have built many houses before with success. If a client goes lowest common denominator on hiring a designer they run a great risk in not getting the job done to satisfaction. And if that does happen, it may end up costing them more money in the long run if they need to hire someone else to finish or fix the job. Better they pay someone fairly who will get the job done professionally the first time and allow them to sleep better at night knowing they hired an expert in their field that will meet & succeed expectations…that expert is you!

4. Visual branding or advertising is how the world sees a brand.

Will your client want the world to see them in a soiled t-shirt and sweatpants or will they invest in their image by buying a designer suit? There’s a reason why people try to dress their best when meeting new people or for a job interview. Your image is THE thing that communicates to people who they are and what they do and it’s also why large companies spend millions of dollars on a logo or ad campaign.

Just because a clients’ budget is unrealistic doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to let them know what they can afford.

5. Being Upfront About Costs Allows You to Be Flexible and Negotiate

When your client understands everything that goes into your rates, you can then be in the position of finding a middle ground with your client about what a certain budget can get them. They wanted a 90 second animation but their budget realistically might get them only 30 seconds of animation. Pitch how you could communicate what they need in a shorter amount of time. Explain why a shorter and more concise animation may even communicate what they want to convey to a viewer even better due to most people’s attention span. Just because a clients’ budget is unrealistic doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to let them know what they can afford.

Backing up your rates with justification will help ensure you get paid what you’re worth. After all, an amazing animator with mediocre business acumen will be paid like a mediocre animator.

What are some experiences you’ve had with clients regarding rates?  Have you ever had to explain to a client that their expectations don’t match their budget?


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I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Jared Walker from Super Giant Ninja at NAB last year.  We talked about how I got started as a designer on Quantel Paintboxes and how I struggled starting out being self taught, how I began teaching, and some of the things I’ve learned along the way in my career thus far.

Be sure to check out all the other interviews from Super Giant Ninja including Chris Schmidt, Nick Campbell, and Jeremy Cox!


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I just sat down with the man, the myth, the Gorilla, Nick Campbell when I was in town for HalfRez this year.  You can listen to our chat in the latest episode of the GreyscaleGorilla podcast.  I talk to Nick about my career and how I got started as a Motion Designer.

Show Notes
Sketch And Toon Model Pack
EJ’s Tutorials
Eyedesyn

Subscribe to the Greyscalegorilla Podcast At iTunes