2014 Was My Year of People

If the year had a theme, 2014 was a year of people for me. It was a very busy year with lots of travel and interesting challenges. I saw many new places, made a lot of new friends and I learned a lot. It was a really good year!

Here’s what happened:

I traveled, spoke, and taught a lot of people about web animation

ValHead on stage at AEA Seattle

In 2014 I visited Whistler, Vancouver, Orlando, Disney (aka Orlando again), Providence, Austin, Amsterdam, Kortrijk, Brussels, London, Brighton, Oxford, Bath, Seattle and New York.

Most of these trips were to speak at conferences or teach workshops on interface animation. It’s been such a pleasure to have met so many great people and had so many conversations about web animation. I’m so excited about web animation, I love getting the chance to share what I know with so many enthusiastic people.

One of the highlights was live coding on stage at An Event Apart Disney. The audience was full of some very intimidating people but it went smoothly and they laughed at my cat jokes. Yay! I also had some really lovely sketch notes from my talks this year, like this one from Drew Powers.

Val Head AEA Orlando Sketch Notes

I collaborated on two digital art installations

Smashing Conference invited me and Seb to create two special digital art pieces for their conferences this year. The first was an animation and laser show for Smashing Conf Oxford and the second was an interactive piece that turned the audience into a band for Smashing Conf New York and Whistler.

These were both crazy and hugely rewarding projects. For Oxford I had to learn C++ to design the animations and we were coding up till the last second getting everything just right for the historic space we were filling.

The core functionality and design of the New York intro done in a day the Lighthouse in Brighton, followed by weeks of working together remotely. I lead the New York audience in their debut as the Smashing Conference band and everyone in the room was so into it. It was so much fun!

These projects are my favourite kind to work on. They’re challenging and full of unknowns, but hugely rewarding to pull off.Here’s a shot of me and Seb looking far too serious as we finish up the Oxford intro just before the conference starts.

Val Head and Seb Lee-Delisle at Smashing Conf Oxford

I moved… again

2014 was split nearly in the middle with time spent living in Philadelphia and time spent living in Pittsburgh. Thanks to that I’ve gotten to know the PA Turnpike better than anyone should and I emphatically hold the unpopular view of loving both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Both cities are fully of amazing people, tons of character, and kick-ass web communities.

I got hooked on laser cutting and metalsmithing

Lasers and wood, metal and heat. Such fun materials to play with! I’ve been making some jewelry both in laser cut wood and metal this year. It’s been super fun and I’m excited to do it more!


I took over the Pittsburgh Girl Develop It chapter

In a strange convergence of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh friends, I was asked to take over the Pittsburgh GDI chapter near the end of the year. I was honored to be asked. I’ve taught classes for GDI in the past and I’m a huge fan of what the chapters are doing. Marylou and Kate and I have big plans for what to do with GDI Pittsburgh in 2015.

For 2015

Thinking ahead to this year, one of my goals is to make more. I got to work on a couple of big challenging installation projects this year, but it was tough to find time to finish my own projects. I want to finish and share more of them in the coming year.

I’m also writing a new book, this time on interface animation for the web. Yay! I’m exited to get everything I know about web animation and interface animation down in one place to share even more.

So, that’s where I’m starting 2015. It’s going to be a great year!

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