Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Not posting for a few days

Hey Jammers! Sorry, this isn't a real post with actually interesting content. It's just a notice asking you to excuse my absence over the last couple days and to tell you that... well, I won't be posting for another few days either.

I'm not going to talk about why, because I want to keep this blog a positive place, but even though I'd really like to I can't go on AJ for (what I hope will only be) a few days. If I can't go on AJ, I can't really post about the same stuff I always do.

...But just because I can't be on AJ doesn't mean I can't be on this blog! I won't post, but I'll publish and answer any comment or question you have. Maybe we could chat in the comment section a little? I'd be up for that. XD

I could also make some posts that involve me digging up old screenshots, or ranting about something that doesn't involve me having to go online and collect screenshots. Maybe some more info posts about wildlife? Hmm...

I'm sorry if this is disappointing, that after me not posting for a few days I finally wrote something up but it's about me not posting AGAIN for another few days. I'm just as disappointed as you are that I won't get to go online, I'll miss all my buddies and I really need to talk to them! 

Before I end off this quick post, here's someone's bee on AJ whose name made me laugh:

Well, that's all for right now I guess. I won't see you in Jamaa very soon, but I will see you on Animal Jam Stream! DoomyPanda, signing off... :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How I Make My Blog Pretty

Hey Jammers! A tutorial of what I do to make my blog layout was requested, and I thought it would be a great idea to show y'all what I do instead of keeping it a ~mystery~

Keep in mind that I am NO professional and I mostly piece together just what I already know and snippets from articles I read and apply it to my blog. I tried making a "Blogger resources" post a while ago and have learned so much since then. I really need to update you!

So this post is all about what I do personally to make my blog look pretty. If you're curious, read on and ask any questions in the comments!

Here's how this post will be organized:

1. Planning & Inspiration
2. Getting graphics and fonts
3. Making/editing graphics

What you need:

1. Perseverance
2. Computer time
3. Google or any other reliable search engine
4. An image editor (I use Photoshop for this, but many free ones are online and can be just as helpful)
5. (OPTIONAL) Someone's help

Section 1: Planning

This will also make everything a whole lot easier. What do you want your blog to look like? Draw it out!

I personally just use my notebook, but anything you're comfortable with using is fine. This is not supposed to be a detailed sketch, by the way! It's just supposed to show WHERE you want things. For example, do you want your banner at the top at the center? Do you want it more to the left? Write BANNER where you want it to be on your blog. How it looks will come later...

TIP: If you have no idea what you want your blog to look like, then look around the internet if you can for inspiration. Or maybe just Google image search "cool blog layout" or something.

Now, once you're sure you have a good idea of what you want everything to look like, get a little more detailed. Draw and/or label specific elements of your blog and how you want them to look– again, don't get too detailed with the actual drawing if you don't want to! All you need is an idea of what you want.

For example, here's what I wanted my banner to look like:

It's hard to draw with a mouse, so I just labelled. Remember, it's ok to change what you want along the way! This isn't a plan for you to stick to, this is just to give you some direction.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

How do you want your posts to look like, round-edged or sharp-edged? Color?

How do you want your pictures to look like, border or no border?

Do you want your header to be massive, tiny, or medium?

What gadgets/widgets would you want to add to your blog?

Do you want your pages listed on a bar, or one at a time separate from each other?

Again, if you're unsure at any time, explore the internet for inspiration! You could look at other Animal Jam blogs, or Animal Jam itself for layout ideas. 

Section 2: Finding Graphics & Fonts

Finding graphics (images) and fonts to use for your blog can be a big pain if you don't know where to find them. Luckily, there are many easy ways to get them!

Have you noticed that Animal Jam is just... beautiful? It's one of the most visually pleasing kids games on the planet. That's why I and many other AJ bloggers use only graphics from Animal Jam!

Graphics are best when they're transparent, which means that the image in question that you want on your blog doesn't have its own background. For example, this:

I downloaded it from the top left corner of a Daily Explorer post, another excellent source for AJ graphics. Drag it across the screen with your mouse and see that it doesn't have its own background behind it– just a ladybug, no white or yellow or any color background! That's what I mean when I say transparent.

TIP: If you don't know how to download images, ask a parent for help or follow what I do. To download images, I first try to drag an image to see if I CAN download it. AJ's website and the Daily Explorer have a lot of images that you can't directly download. If it does drag, then you can download it! To download images, I click them with the right button on my mouse and a menu comes up. I look for the option "Save image to downloads" and click it. Your image is now downloaded!

You can't directly download a lot of AJ graphics from the website, but some people (and you, but we'll get to that later) make it so you can from their own site!

"Making" AJ graphics isn't really drawing them from scratch. To simplify what will be explained later, you screenshot it, erase the background, and post it. It's pretty easy and fun and I do it all the time!

☆ A FANTASTIC source for user-made Animal Jam graphics is a specific blog called Animal Jam Graphic Central. They have big sections of graphics for anything you could ever need for your blog! And no, I'm not associated with this blog and wanted an opportunity to advertise it. It's genuinely a great site, no lie! Check it out in the link above. ☆

TIP: Graphics can be used as icons or images for pages, sidebars, or extras to add onto banners. If you'd like to, you could also learn how to add graphics as icons to each of your posts. How? Google it. Search up "[BLOGGING PLATFORM NAME HERE] icons post" or something general like that. A hundred helpful articles will pop up and you can browse through all of them to see what you can do to add icons to each of your posts. Keep in mind the date the articles were published because older methods won't always work!

☆ For finding fonts you could use Google to look up what you're interested, but here are some links to download fonts that Animal Jam itself uses!:

If you don't feel like downloading fonts and just want quick header text, is the best site EVER. It's perfect for beginners!

To learn how to download and use fonts, click here to go to my older Blogger resources post. It could also help you with other technical stuff, too.

Section 3: Making Your Own Graphics

This part is surprisingly easy! As I kind of outlined before, here are the steps to making your own graphics:

1. Screenshot something in Jamaa that you want to turn into a graphic. I suggest things that are easy to distinguish from their background, like this:

This is the small house den. What I want is a picture of the small house, and what I want to erase is the light green background. Luckily, the house is woody, dark, and close together while the background is a semi-solid color. Easily distinguishable from the background!

TIP: Good things to make into graphics are bigger things like this rather than teeny tiny things, because when you magnify teeny tiny things they look all pixel-y. 

2. Open up any image editor that lets you erase backgrounds/make things transparent. I use photoshop, but some good free web-based image editors are LunaPic and Online Image Editor. Look around for buttons that have names with "transparent" or "erase background"!

Here's what I do in photoshop:

I open up my screenshot.

I right click the regular eraser button on the left side and click "Magic Eraser"

Then, I start "magic erasing" the parts I don't want. It can be messy and difficult depending on the image– if you think there will be tiny pockets within what you want that you need to erase, you'll need to be more precise and use a bit of the regular eraser (at a small size) to carefully remove what you don't want. I hope that made sense.

Thats the process up there. It may not all go away at once, just keep erasing.

When I'm satisfied enough with the product, I save for web and devices.

And here is my finished example:

Pretty easy, right? You could use a combination of AJ graphics made by someone else (credit them!) and graphics you made yourself. That's what I do!

Another thing I do is edit stuff. For example, the background for my pages bar was originally a stubby small plank I made transparent and using photoshop, I stretched it!

If you're curious about anything you can do in photoshop or any blogging platform, Google is your best friend. Google's my best friend and it taught me all the stuff I needed to know about blog layouts! Remember to specify your blogging platform, but describe simply what you want to do to get maximum relevant results. 

Example: You wanna know how to stretch images in Photoshop? Search up "photoshop stretch image" and click some articles. You wanna know how to put images on top of each other in Online Image Editor? Search up "online image editor overlay image" and click some articles.

Simplifying search queries was actually something I struggled with at first, so while simple it's very helpful to know.

I was planning on talking about what I do in Photoshop to overlay images and stuff, but because I think the majority of you won't be able to buy Photoshop here's how you can figure that stuff out fast: Google.

I'm not trying to be lazy, I'm just being realistic because Google is literally the almighty oracle for making a blog pretty whether you use Blogger or Wordpress or anything else. Googling every single problem or question I ever had about my layout has made me struggle less and learn more about Blogging!

When you want to put everything together, Google is a great place to look for any special CSS or HTML code you need. (Don't know what CSS or HTML is? Google it.)

• • • •

Okay, making this post late at night was a big mistake. XD

I'm sorry if I sound weird or didn't make sense at any point– please comment any question you have and I WILL answer it ASAP! 

So the main points I really want you to take away from this are...

1. Stay organized, go one step at a time.

2. Think about or write down a list of everything you don't know, and Google it. If you wrote a list, write the solution next to each question once you learn it.

Aside from the links to graphics and fonts in this post, that's literally all I do to make my blog pretty. I used a billion websites to do stuff like put multiple links in an image, format my background... But I couldn't possibly list them all, I have no definite record of them. Instead, Google whatever questions or problems come your way. There's always an instant answer if you use the right query. Sounds lazy, but it's EXACTLY what I do and this is all about how I myself make my blog pretty, so yeah.

I'm going to bed now before this post becomes the longest piece of literature in human history– which by the way, is actually a Super Smash Bros Fanfiction. Don't believe me? Google it. IT'S TRUE.

Goodnight, and see you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda

Another Drawing + Future Back-to-school Items

Hey Jammers! This morning I made another drawing hoping to get featured in the gallery:

There are about 26 days until the official Fall equinox! An equinox means "equal night" which is a day where day and night are the same length, at least that's what I remember from science class. If I'm wrong, then...

So yeah, the equinox also marks the official switch between seasons! There are also solstices, like the Summer soltice and Winter Solstice. 

Anyway, the new item of today is the Apple Rug sold in the Back-to-school Party shop:

The items being released at this party are all from its surroundings, so using that bit of information I can definitely say that the next items being sold will be...

And because there's only one nonmember item right now, at least one of the following items will be nonmember. That item looks like it will be the globe, but I can still dream about the easel...

In other news, theres a post on the Daily Explorer that says it was taken in the Summer Carnival, but it was really taken in Crystal Sands:

I didn't know that many people could fit in Crystal Sands. XD

That's all for now, see you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Art Studio Drawing

Hey Jammers! A couple days ago I was in the Art Studio and I wanted to draw something, and I actually kind of liked what turned out so I wanted to show it to ya! ^_^

I'm not too crazy about AJ wolves, but they can be pretty fun to draw sometimes. This took me around 15 minutes because I had no idea how to make tree bark. XD

I submitted it, but because the gallery is mostly full of contest-related things I probably won't get my drawing in. Oh well, at least I can still share it with you! (>^-^)> ♥ <(^-^<)

The new item of today is sold in Jam Mart Clothing:

As you can see, I'm broke on Animal Jam right now. Now I'm missing the gems that would just pile up when I was nonmember! XD

I'm so sorry for the incredibly short post today! I'm trying bit by bit to limit my own screen time and do more stuff offline. I still love AJ and blogging as always! I just don't like being glued to a chair 100% of the time, so I hope you understand. 

See you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

9 Fall Inspired NM Clothing Ideas

Hey Jammers! After much searching throughout the shops of Jamaa, I finally determined that the new item was hidden in a party. The Back To School Party to be exact!

Click on the bottle of vinegar to pour it into the volcano to make it erupt! Did you know that if a volcano creates enough smoke it can form clouds and make lightning shoot out of them? Scary. Scary but cool.

Also, today while desperately searching for the new item I found a rather glitchy koala in Sarepia Forest:

Where is that balloon's string? Is Blossom Cutebuddy a balloon-whisperer? Can she take balloons on walks without needing a string to guide them along? Amazing.

• • • •

Because I haven't posted a list of nonmember clothing ideas in a while, I thought I might make one with the upcoming season in mind: Autumn. 

In the Northern Hemisphere as things start to get chilly, the leaves begin falling in Jamaa, too. Here are some small nonmember outfit ideas that anyone can use!

(Note: I like to make up corny names for each outfit. Brace yourself.)

"Mauve Moonlight"

Items you need for this outfit:

Purple/pink Eagle Hat – 500 Gems, Museum Shop

Pink Necklace – 45 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

TOTAL: 545 Gems

"Tea Shop Owner"

Items you need for this outfit:

Fez – 450 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

Magenta Tie – 100 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

Old Blanket – 200 Gems, Shiveer Shoppe

TOTAL: 750 Gems

"Fallen Oak"

Items you need for this outfit:

Red Bee Antennae – 650 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

TOTAL: 650 Gems

"Late September"

Items you need for this outfit:

Straw Crown – 75 bamboo and 75 straw, Graham's Workshop

Green Star Cape – 200 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

TOTAL: 75 bamboo, 75 straw, and 200 Gems

"Poisoned Apple"

Items you need for this outfit:

Red Bee Antennae – 650 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

Rare Heart Locket – N/A, trade for it

TOTAL: 650 Gems

"October Morning"

Items you need for this outfit:

Yellow Old Hood – 80 Gems, Shiveer Shoppe

Yellow Old Blanket – 200 Gems, Shiveer Shoppe

TOTAL: 280 Gems

"Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream"

Items you need for this outfit:

White Butterfly Hair Bow – 500 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

White Rare Bow And Arrows – N/A, trade for it

TOTAL: 500 Gems

"Chocolate Strawberry"

Items you need for this outfit:

Red Bee Antennae – 650 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

Rare Heart Locket – N/A, trade for it

TOTAL: 650 Gems

"Chrysanthemum Cat"

Items you need for this outfit:

Rare Scary Cat Hat – N/A, trade for it

Rare Mech Angel Wings – N/A, trade for it

Orange Necklace – 45 Gems, Jam Mart Clothing

TOTAL: 45 Gems

What's your favorite thing about Fall, or do you not like Fall? Comment what you think! :)

DoomyPanda, signing off...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bao Bao!

Hey Jammers! Even though this is a blog about digital animals, I do like to sometimes talk about the real animals in the world today. 

I will talk about the new item, but first I'd like to wish Bao Bao of the Smithsonian National Zoo a really happy 2nd birthday!

Some of you may have heard the amazing news that Bao Bao's mother Mei Xiang has given birth to twin babies on Sunday and Saturday, the third captive female panda in history to do that! Mei Xiang's keepers have reported that both of her new babies are doing well so far, but while signs are good let's keep our fingers crossed! <3

It's a wonderful cause to celebrate, but let's not leave Bao Bao's birthday out of the mix of good news! (>^-^)>

According to the Smithsonian's IG caption, Bao Bao's birthday fruitsicle cake was created out of all her favorite treats: honey, apple juice, apple sauce, bamboo, carrots, and beet juice! Yum...

It's a bit difficult becoming a big sister on your own birthday, so let's wish this growing family of wonderful bears good luck, health, and happiness– to them, and to all panda kind! :)

• • • •

Okay, here we are back in Jamaa with the new item sold in Jam Mart Clothing:

It's sold around the last pages of the "catalog", so if you want it go get it there!

I recently started playing Play Wild and so far I love it. It could never replace computer AJ, but I love how detailed and pretty it is!

I recently stopped being a New Jammer, so if you want to add me just search up DoomyPanda and I'll accept!

Here are some things I've learned while playing:

• Animal prices double every day
• Dance with 3 other people by the Mira Statue in Jamaa Township
• Things easy (like getting a smoothie or earning gems) on the computer are incredibly hard on Play Wild
• The Wolves Only room in Coral Canyons is wonderful and detailed while the Monkeys Only room in Sarepia is just a boring level of wood. Maybe it's in construction?
• There are lots of different sound effects in Play Wild Jamaa. Go by the Mira Statue and hear birds chirp!

That's all for now, see you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Paper Toys + Clearance

Hey Jammers! The new item of today is a member's only rerelease sold in Jam Mart Clothing:

The only reason I know this is a rerelease is that I've been looking at the older pages of my blog from Summer 2012. Here's how a blue version looks on my old penguin:

I've noticed that a lot of things look better on penguins. Gloves, necklaces, wings... maybe that's because they have a more humanoid shape and a lot of these accessories are ultimately designed for humans.

Another thing I've noticed is that pretty much everything looks awful on pandas. Heart lockets? They're hanging out of the panda's mouth for some reason. Wings of any kind? Too tiny to even dream of flying with. Striped socks? Weird looking and glitchy no matter what you do. 

And don't even get me started on binoculars...

Anyway, for a reason I've since forgotten I looked up "paper" on the Daily Explorer. At the bottom of the first results page was a fun activity that I must have missed:

These look really fun to do. I wanna make the entire Sarepia Forest! <3

Before I wrap up this post I've compiled pictures of every Jamaa item on clearance as of today, August 23rd! Luckily, there's not that much on clearance and it's all in Jam Mart Furniture and Epic Wonders. 

Jam Mart Furniture

Epic Wonders

That's all for now, see you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Snow Leopard Stickers + Future Tutorial

Hey Jammers! The new item of today is sold in the aquamarine den item orb of the mysterious Epic Wonders:

This lil' guy runs on a treadmill when you click him. You'd think with all that exercise he would have some muscular robot legs, but no... maybe he needs to try harder.

A commenter notified me that the sticker sheet that was leaked early on is on the second to last page of the Snow Leopard mini book!

Throughout the pages, little pictures of items are scattered for you to click to add to your sticker book "inventory"

You can arrange them along with the snow leopard friends to create a scene in Jamaa! Unrealistic, yes, because snow leopards don't typically wear hats, but cute nonetheless. It would be cool if there could be sticker pages for other animals, too. :D

These sticker arrangements can be saved, by the way!

• • • •

Another little commenter shout-out: Thank you so much for the kind complement, Januaryy Jamaa! It really means a ton to me. ^-^

Thanks also for the suggestion to make a tutorial on making layouts! I think that's a great idea because even though a long time ago I made a "Blogger Resources" post, I know a lot more now and I love teaching people stuff!!!

So at some point (perhaps in later August or early September?) I'm definitely going to make a tutorial about my process in creating a blog layout. :)

The only question is, should I do the tutorial in the form of a video or make a big long post? Posting would be easier for me, but I'm willing to try video. What do you guys think? ^_^

Before I go, I made a few AJ graphics that anyone can use:

That's all for now, see you in Jamaa!

– DoomyPanda
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