Saturday, January 31, 2009

Picturing the Other

This is my first attempt at the Picturing the Other assignment. The above is a photo of Willy. I met Willy today on the playground at Lithia Park, and asked his dad if I might take his photo. He was a very cheerful, but somewhat shy subject. His dad tried to get him to smile, but I think that the half-smile in this photo captures Willy's personality a bit better. I had a couple problems when shooting. The first and main one was the shadowing. Today I set out to take some pictures thinking that it would be fun on such a sunny day. I forgot that overcast days can be much more helpful when taking pictures. I would have liked to put Willy in a different place, but his father seemed intent on letting him play freely. I loved that he was in a natural setting, but the shadows are pretty drastic, especially the one that crosses his face. I tried to work with it on my own in Photoshop, but I will need some help in lab. I also had some trouble with the shutter speed on my camera. This is the first digital camera I have owned, and I am still getting used to it. I bought it for DMF, because I did not already own one, so it is taking some adjusting on my part. In the short time that I had with Willy, I took a few pictures, but many of them were incredibly blurry, so this is the only one that I really had to work with. I feel like there are so many things that I still need to learn about my photographer's eye in order to create a photo that tells a story while keeping in mind lighting and positioning and doing it all in a short amount of time if necessary. I did like that, in Photoshop, I was able to adjust the background so that Willy stands out more. I still feel like the picture could use some tweaking though. I would also like to try taking some more pictures with different subjects so that I can work on my camera skills.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Visual Culture 1 & 2, Week 4

In DMF this week, we were discussing hue, saturation and value. I went searching specifically for an image with high value contrast and found the above photo. I was drawn into it by two things: the high contrast of the silhouette against the sky and the point of view used in order to achieve fantastic lines. All of the lines draw the eye right to the top center of the tower and it makes you feel like you are standing right there beneath it. With the direction of the light coming mostly from one side of the frame, the bridge has a very majestic feel. I also like that, while cars are included, the street is not the focal point of the picture. Also, the camera was tilted a bit to add interest to the lines of the tower while nothing has been done to draw too much attention to the activity that is actually on the bridge.

Building (temple)
Close-up branch
Distant trees
My next search was for a photo with a specific hue, and I found the above. Obviously it has been adjusted to contain mainly a yellow hue, which contrasts nicely with the black. The light seems to be issuing from the building itself. That, in combination with the fact that the building is placed at the center of the photo, draws the eye immediately to the building (which I think is a temple of some kind). Then, the audience may allow the eye to wander, and notice the reflection of the building and the lovely silhouette effect of the branch in the foreground. This photo reminded me a lot of one that I posted earlier with sailboat in it that has a mainly blue hue. To me, the yellow hue conveys excitement. It seems that the world outside the building is dull and black, but a whole new world awaits once you enter it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alphabet Soup, Edited

Last week I posted several letters for my alphabet soup project. However, I had not really done much to adjust them to make the letters stand out more. Today I picked my five favorites and worked with them in Photo Shop. I mainly used adjustment layers to change the contrast, hue, saturation, and lightness. I also used the curves layer on a couple of them to adjust the contrast to a higher extent. I think the photos are more appealing now and also have more of an artistic flavor. I also feel that playing around with layer adjustments in this project will help me when I begin to work on the next assignment, Picturing the Other.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interactivity and Pixar

The other day I was exploring the Pixar website. Pixar is a company that I greatly admire and I like to keep myself updated on their projects. I clicked on a link to see the movie trailer for their upcoming film UP. I was impressed simply by the UP homepage. It took a while to load, but there was a nifty little animation. There was a sky background and a house with balloons attached to it that floated up and down across the page. I noticed the detail of the house and how the balloons would shift to indicate the effects of the wind. Then, at the bottom there was an option to view either the trailer or the teaser. A compass was placed in between the two options, and when you moved the cursor, the compass would change direction. This to me was an example of how simple interactivity can be very pleasing. I kept moving my cursor back and forth just to see the compass move, knowing all the time that it would do the same thing. It was just so darn entertaining! Life really is all about the simple pleasures...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New, Not So Fun, Place

Last week I got to go to see a new doctor for the first time. It was not for anything serious, but I am graduating next year and I thought it might be good to start seeing a regular doctor in town since the school heath center will no longer be available to me. My first time going to the doctor's office was rather nerve-racking. There is no reason it should have been, I think it is just part of going to the doctor. Once again, I found that being in a new place greatly increases my awareness of surroundings. I also think that when one is at the doctor, one tries to avoid looking at the other people there because it somehow seems rude or nosy. As a result, one struggles to look anywhere around the room except at the other people. I noticed the typical use of green walls (green is supposed to be calming) and the very clean carpet. I also took note of the fake plants and the variety of magazines strewn across the end-tables. Basically a typical medical waiting room. There was also a kind of nervous energy circulating through the area, which is something interesting about being in a place that you do not want to be and knowing that no one else (except the doctors) really want to be there either. The office itself was not aesthetically unpleasant, but, all in all, I was not unhappy to leave.

Visual Culture Weeks 2 and 3

I realized that I forgot to post some comments on visual imagery last week for DMF, so I am including extra images this week.
Above photo:
Big oak tree
Distant mountains
This picture originally caught my attention because of the tranquility it suggests. It is a photo that was taken and then adjusted using Photoshop. The eye is immediately drawn to the boat for a few reasons. First, an area of light surrounds the boat, which creates a silhouette. Also, the boat is more or less at the center of the photo. Finally, the boat is the only real object in a very natural setting. I love how the giant oak tree creates a heavy frame, as if offering protection for the serenity of the view behind it. I appreciate that the only colors are a variety of blue shades. I also like how the blades of grass all move in one direction to show the invisible wind that moves the boat along the glassy lake. All in all I find this picture to be very calming.

My first reaction to this photo was actually "gross" but I decided to take a moment to study it, and I started to realize its beauty. Obviously this eye belongs to a reptile of some kind. I feel that the eye of a reptile can be quite alarming, especially in this magnitude. I believe this is mainly due to the fact that the pupil is a slit instead of being round, and the shape is associated with something more demonic than a normal animal. Yet I love how the sharp jagged edges of the pupil, along with the pure black color, contrast with the marbled yellow of the eye itself. I like how the small reflection of light in the eye is the only indication of a spherical shape. Once a viewer focuses on this picture, it is difficult to look away; it is almost hypnotic. The photographer chose an animal with orange and white coloring instead of green, which I think adds to the intensity of the piece. The orange scales surround the eye and move in a spiraling direction, which really adds a certain kind of depth to the picture.

Wood wall
Brick wall
As I continue to write about visual imagery, I realize that the pictures with the fewest recognizable objects in them tend to be the ones that are the most appealing. I just love the above photo...the kid is so charismatic without even saying a word. Using the rule of thirds, his face is placed in the right spot to draw the eye in. His body positioning is great because, while it is a pose, it says something about his personality. The best part is the way he holds his fingers in a peace sign, in a perfect way of creating a small frame below his eye. The audience would already be drawn to his eye, but the peace sign completes the attraction. The gesture, in combination with the lack of a smile says to me "I got attitude, and life is cool."

Another photo that has probably been through some Photoshop adjustments. Of course, the transparent butterfly was the first thing to grab my attention. It is placed at the center of the photo, and the dramatic lines of the wings against the busy background make it a good focal point. I like how the bottom of the wings have retained some color, and I wonder how the artist achieved that specific affect. I also like that the cityscape background has a fishbowl effect on it, so that you see the city more through the eyes of the butterfly than the photographer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alphabet Soup

For this project I was hoping to capture the entire alphabet. However I have been sick recently and not inclined to go out searching too much. Hopefully I will be able to continue to add to what I already have. I liked that the project allowed me to look at objects I do not normally pay attention to. I found that, even when I did not have my camera with me, I would slow down my walk and be looking for the letters anywhere that I could. This project forced me (in a good way) to take the time and opportunity to be more observant.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flash Post

Best Flash Sites
This is a link to a page that allows people to vote on the best websites that use Flash. This page also has many links to Flash tutorials and Flash downloads.

Interactive Music

I am majoring in Music-Business, and part of the major is learning how to improve Aural Skills. This meant being able to take dictation, recognize chords/rhythms, write down melodies, etc. One of the programs we used was galled MacGamut, and it was interactive software specifically designed to help improve the way we, as music students, listen. I will sheepishly admit that I hated working on MacGamut, simply because it was obligatory weekly homework. However, I would be lying if I did not say that it was the best way to practice. The only other way to work on dictation would be to listen to a CD and handwrite the notes, which involves playing one track on the CD over and over again, and can be very tedious. I appreciated the interactivity that MacGamut offered because it really helped me to practice Aural Skills in a much more efficient way.

Advent Calendar Cont'd

I have been thinking some more about my calendar. I decided that making one that has a door for every day during the month of March might be a bit much, especially because I want each door to be unique and well-done. So, instead, I am making one door for each week of this term, because once I complete this term, it will be time for the trip to Disney World. I will be making ten doors. I have decided to use the Mickey Mouse head as the button shape. I have picked out ten classic Disney films to base the doors on. When the button is clicked, there will be the title of the film (some titles will be animated, some not) and there will also be a symbol that represents the film with a small animation on the symbol. For example, Mickey Mouse head number one, when clicked on, will open up to reveal an apple, which is a representation of Snow White. Snow White was the first Disney full-length animated feature, so I think it is appropriate for the first week. Then a bite will be taken out of the apple, and the Snow White title will appear. If I learn how to add sound to a button, I would love to throw in a clip of "Someday My Prince Will Come" just to make it a bit more entertaining. Another example is a Beauty and the Beast door, which would contain a rose, with a petal falling off, and then the title. I have already started working on some mock-up sketches for the symbols that represent each of the films that I have chosen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Button 2

Elaborate Button
This is my newest button. I have not learned how to embed it yet, so until then I am posting it as a link.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scratch 2

For my second scratch project, I decided to play around with some shapes. My first scratch was done freehand, so I wanted to be able to experiment some more in Photoshop. I began with the blue star, and then threw in the checkerboard pattern. I suddenly realized that the perfect name for this piece would be "Tribute to the 80's." I continued with this theme, trying to use the bright neon colors in effect with the black background. The image above is the final result.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Visual Culture Week 1

List of objects

Window shutters
Transparent curtains
Night sky
Distant Island

This poster, designed by John Alvin for the film Hook, takes me immediately to my childhood and the wonder that was inspired by the story of Peter Pan. It combines all the elements of youth; dreams, mystery, the pretense of adventure, and even a twinge of fear.
The sharp lines and angles of the window shutters, which indicate the containment and safety of reality, allow the eye to travel to the world that awaits outside. The pale yellow of the moon contrasting against the darkening blue of the sky immediately draws attention to the center of the piece, where the ominous shadow of the hook reminds the audience of the ever-present danger in Neverland. However, because the hook is merely a shadow, there is not enough fear to completely discourage a journey outside the nursery. All the light comes from that place in the distance, which initiates a desire to be closer to the light.

This art has a way of combining all the themes from the original Pan story, in addition to advertising for Hook, without the use of any characters or text. Simply a collage of symbols and use of limited "dream-like" colors, this poster is enough to draw the audience in and convince
the people that Hook will be a continuation of the adventure that they have all come to know
and love.

List of Objects

Display Cube
Apple Logo

I think that this photo initially drew me in because of the Apple logo- I am a Mac fan. Then I started to notice the lines and the overall geometrical aspects to the picture. Instead of taking the photo directly in front of the display, the photographer chose to shoot so that the audience can see a corner of the cube and really get an idea of ingenuity of the building's design. The light issues from the display itself, and it is especially concentrated close to the ground and within the logo. Of course, the Apple logo is placed right in the center of the photo, almost acting as a heart for the picture. I love the way the lines of the three different buildings connect with each other. I also like the drastic angle that is created by the corner of the cube. I believe that this is a photo intended for an audience that, like me, is a Mac fan, or enjoys architecture, or is interested in scenes of New York. The photo functions as an ad for Apple by showing how advanced Apple is with its technology, even when creating a building.


My new profile picture was created using Flash. These are some of the other simple symbols that I made.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Place

Early this morning, I took a little trip to the SOU Fitness Center, which, I am ashamed to say, I had never been to before. My boyfriend went with me to help me do an easy workout. As soon as I walked in the building I felt intimidated. I knew that the people who were already there probably came on a regular basis and were athletes. I noticed things about the environment, such as upbeat music playing and the walls painted in school spirit colors. Everyone there seemed intent on his or her own mission for the day. There was very little verbal communication amongst the people working out. There was some non-verbal interaction though, such as people giving each other looks that said "I am finished on this machine" or "Ow this really hurts." What I mostly observed was intense focus. People were there to accomplish something, and I suddenly realized that no one would really even notice that I was at a loss in this unknown environment. I gradually became more at ease and started to enjoy the feeling of health that comes with good exercise. I was pleased to see signs posted that reminded people to wipe off their machines and asked them to not spit on the walls or in the trash can as part of "weight room etiquette." By the end of my work out, I felt energized and ready for more. I am planning to start making my visits to the Fitness Center a bit more regular.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ideas for Advent Calendar

I have been brainstorming about ideas to use for the Advent Calendar assignment. The biggest event that I am looking forward to this year is my trip to Disney World during Spring Break. I guess I am still a kid at heart. This gives me a perfect theme for the calendar as well. I am considering having a different Disney character behind each door, and maybe having some theme music or a character phrase to accompany it. I might just have a written quote for each character if the sound effects would be too complicated. The calendar would be for the month of March, and each door would be either a castle or the classic Mickey Mouse head shape.

Scratch 1

This is my first scratch project for Digital Media Foundations.
When looking over the requirements for this assignment, such as using flat color and simple shapes, I thought of clown make-up. My favorite kinds of clowns are the old Vaudeville performers. I found a picture of simple Vaudeville-looking make-up online, and it inspired me. I like how the scratch turned out, with simple colors and lines. I am a fan of using the black-
white-red combination, so I feel that this piece also says a bit about my own personality.

Monday, January 5, 2009


What I have recently learned about interactivity is that the basic function is to make a person feel that what he or she does matters. When first discussing interactivity, my thoughts flew to Guitar Hero, which happens to be the only video game that I play frequently. I thought about what makes the game enjoyable for me, and my first idea was that I liked getting high scores and accumulating points. Then we talked about the fact that pleasure can be much simpler than earning points. I think that I can be satisfied by Guitar Hero simply when I hit the right button at the right time so that the sound is correct. Guitar Hero incorporates all the components of interactivity; sound, visuals, and kinetics. The simplicity of colored buttons and musical notes that match is enough to make a person happy. In this blog I have included a couple pictures that make me think about interactivity. The first is a Rubik's Cube, which involves a personal interaction with an object. There is a goal in mind, and a puzzle to solve. I have never had the patience to complete the puzzle myself, but I have always enjoyed trying to make at least one side the same color. The second picture made me think of cultural interaction, and what a person experiences when traveling to a new place. There can be interactions with new food, new music, new architecture, new language, the list goes on and on. Travel is something that can make one easily more aware of the types of interactions that occur on a daily basis. Below I have posted a link about interactive art that I found on the web.