The very first layout for my very first domain, suteki-yume.org, opened April 22, 2004. I actually still love this, even if it’s another meshy brush kinda disaster, and lol Scriptina font. I was 13, give me a break. I think this was the first time I did that stretchy stripey background, may not be, but it’s the first layout I still have that uses that so I’ll say yes. For all intents and purposes. This is just very special to me because it was my first website, the first I paid for, with a domain name and everything. I was so happy, and even though it’s huge and impractical, I still remember looking at it and being so proud.
Anything For You
In the vein of a layout for my blog, also rainbow vomit with Evanescence lyrics, is the very first layout I made with this particular design. You can’t actually tell what the design of the layout is with just this image, but basically when paired with the background, the content flowed out of the table under the image, while the sidebar content flowed from the top and down the right of it. I still use this particular layout design today, because I just like how it looks and it’s pretty easy to do when I don’t know how to format a header for another layout type. So this was the first and I was pretty proud of it. Even if it is a rainbow mess.
Since I didn’t appear to use version numbers on these layouts, or I just can’t read them, I don’t know, we’ll go in alphabetical order. So here’s one of many layouts I made featuring Tidus and Yuna kissing with Evanescence – Anywhere lyrics on it. Oh, the memories. This is pretty basic and probably a much later one than ones I’m about to document, considering the lack of “meshy brush” and the more skilled blending, and the use of layer masking. But we’ll see.
More Tidus and Yuna kissy layouts. I was obsessed with that scene, I found it so romantic. Still do, but I digress. This is similar to the last, not sure which was first, but this one is very messy. I don’t know what I was going for but I think I made them around the same time, considering the similar fonts and layer masking, the colors, etc. Probably happened aroun the same time. I received heavy criticism for this, too, which is understandable but I regret nothing. I was a kid having fun with my favorite things.
I, uh. Hmm. I was angry when I made this. Lots of pre-teen angsty drama, criticism, “betrayal”, so I think I made this as a rebuttal to all the ‘stop doing your meshy brush thing do something D I F F E R E N T’ comments I got. I have no real remarks to give, just that I was angry and Evanescence was the only thing that spoke to me at the time.
A throwback to the old Faded Beauty blog layouts I’d made, where I said I thought the layout design overall was a good idea. The header, not so much. But I tried, and I can see what my plan was, but I didn’t have the skills to execute it quite well. Still, at the time I was proud and I still remember how it looked.
Not sure what to say about this one because I barely remember it. I just liked that official art of Yuna and, well, meshy brush with broken glass brushes and making a halo for Yuna was fun. Eh.
Close to You
This says ‘version 5’ so, well. Version five, more hugeness, more Tidus and Yuna, more meshy brush. Seems legit. It’s a mess, I can’t lie, I don’t even think I liked it much then. I just had nothing else to do with my time and I wasn’t super creative with my ideas.
This is a much later layout in Suteki-Yume.org history, I know that because it took much more technique. I guess we’ll see. I had Photoshop by this point, I believe, so I was messing around with making vortexes and tried to be all professional with ‘Suteki Yume Organization’. Despite that, it’s kind of boring and the colorization is very poor. I hadn’t learned the benefits of the Color blending mode yet.
No idea. I was trying to go for something dreamy and surreal and it just looks kinda sloppy–as most of my layouts do, let’s be real. I don’t even know what lyrics these are, truth be told. I have little to say about it because my memory is shot. I don’t have anything to say other than it was an idea that went awry.
Version 20, okay, I don’t know what order these are meant to go in anymore, so bear with me. An Edea layout. No doubt inspired by my first playthrough of FFVIII, and… more Evanescence lyrics. Again no idea what to say, but it’s funny how similar it is to the last and how they’re next to each other in the folder. I don’t know if I made them around the same time or if one was inspired by the other. We’ll never know.
Uh. This. Is a mess. A hot mess. To be blunt about it. I think I knew that even then but still went with it because I commit to everything I do even if it’s terrible. Again, the web layout design was and will remain a good choice, but the header design is so bad. So bad. I don’t know what I was thinking but okay.
Okay now, version 31. We are so out of order and I do not care because this is one of my old favorites. Vivi is my all-time favorite FF character and this layout was my first homage to him. Evanescence lyrics, of course, but they apply nicely to Vivi. It’s sloppy and brushy and I was obviously very bad at putting text on layouts. Very bad. But I love this layout, I consider it a milestone in my growth as a designer. And it reminded me of warm maple syrup in the fall.
Version 14. Welp. I don’t know but this isn’t too bad but really, how many times could I use Going Under lyrics and actually defend it… I wonder. But this was pretty okay. I also noticed I used those same Kanji characters for literally no reason other than they mean heaven, love, and moon, and I thought that was cool. I don’t know. But it was pretty clean for my layouts at the time.
These are lyrics to some really good Ayumi Hamasaki song I can’t remember the name of, it’s like gnawing on the edge of my cerebral cortex but I can’t remember. In any event, again, the web layout design was a good choice. The header, eh, it wasn’t bad, wasn’t good, I’m laughing at the STEAL AND DIE!! at the top but I remember I had drama at the time with people stealing my stuff, so… well. How do pre-teens deal with these things.
Give Unto Me
I made this in response to some more drama that involved criticism of my ‘only making FFX layouts with meshy brush on it’ thing. So I was mad, made this to appease people, and I don’t know. It wasn’t up for long, I still kind of hate it because it’s not me and if I had been more inspired I could’ve done so much more with this beautiful image.
Give Unto Me pt.2
The only thing I can really criticize myself for is always using Evanescence lyrics, why. Why. But anyway. This wasn’t bad, it was obviously a later layout as I had developed a lot more from earlier ones. Better blending and nicer, cleaner techniques, no brushes, font placement makes more sense, and the colors are nice. I remember it fondly.
Hadashi no Kiseki
Version 8. Ahhhhhhhhhh okay well, I remember this as a milestone in my development. I was challenged to make a layout without using any brushes. So I did. And this was the result. And I was proud of it and it shut people up because they thought I couldn’t do anything but one thing. Well, no, I can do lots of things, and I learned that about myself through this layout. So in a way, all that harsh criticism helped me grow and learn a lot about myself. I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have if people didn’t challenge and criticize me, though they could’ve been nicer but, eh, kids. In any case, this layout is still messy but it’s a lot cleaner than layouts prior to this one. Also, Rikku tended to be my experimental layout subject, somehow. Still is, without conscious effort. I think because these images of her are so clean and easy to work into anything, it makes experimentation a lot easier.
Here On My Own
Version 30. As you can see, from version 8 to version 30, I did a little bit of growing. A little. I remember making this one, actually, I was up all night in Photoshop and it took about 5 years straight of working on it, playing with filters, blending, putting in the text, etc. And I was really proud of it. Now that I’ve done better it’s not something I’m proud of, per se, but I do like it and it meant a lot to me at the time. I felt like I worked really hard on it, because I did.
…More. Evanescence. Lyrics. Ah. Well, anyway, Tidus and Yuna and Evanescence and me. Probably an earlier one. I started using more than one font type, so there’s that, and nicer colors, blending was subpar but that’s okay. It wasn’t my best layout, but not my worst?
I’m not even going to say it. But in either case, blue layouts were very common, as was the use of these screencaps. Those Kanji aren’t even correct, though, I don’t think. I’m not sure but I don’t think so, ha, but oh well. I tried.
This is actually pretty cool, no version number though, but that’s fine. I was messing around with Al Bhed since I had just learned it (yht E cdemm ghuf ed…) so there’s that. I like the dreary look but the artwork of Rikku didn’t need to be there. Not sure what my reasoning behind that was but that’s okay.
Holy moly a Kingdom Hearts layout, wow, this is so not a trend you’ll see later. But anyway. This isn’t that great but I liked the art and just went to town. Meshy brush is very evident so you know it’s early, and the use of a layer mask–in the shape of a heart, to boot. Stretchy stripe background, yeah, I’d say it’s pretty early on in Suteki-Yume.org history. Strangely, people liked this one. Eh.
The first of what will become many layouts with the ripped paper edges–because I still do it. It was easier and prettier to do in PSP8 but whatever. I don’t have much to say, but I see the pixelized overlay and it makes me giggle. I did that a lot, starting with that one Rikku layout challenge, I think, so in place of brushes I used standalone filters to give texture. Not much else to say.
No idea what was going on with that name but all right then. Version 27. Wish I could figure out the order of things but we see ripped paper edges and a throwback to my old blog layout design. And lyrics to… something, who knows. I always used these pictures of Lulu to practice blending because they were really good tools to do so, but make my kinda okay skills at the time very obvious.
I Hear Your Voice
Version 34 is Ayumi Hamasaki from the Free & Easy video, hey. And now for something completely different. And still kinda sloppy and it all blends together TOO MUCH but it’s nice, I guess. I don’t have many memories of it or much to say, but it has that warm maple syrup in the fall feeling to it which I guess I liked a lot since I could make a category of that, in itself, and have quite a few layouts under it.
I don’t know whta I was doing, trying to be edgy, especially with those selection tool edges around the tables. Heh heh. Edgy, see. And the red is much more vibrant on my new monitor than it was on the one I had at the time, probably. Otherwise I dont think I would’ve gone with quite as loud of a fire engine siren red but welp.