Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In[SPIRE]

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I was part of the in[SPIRE] creative process. After a month of hard work and the tireless energy from Martha, Linda, and the rest of the ds106 clan the grand masterpiece is finally finished.

Initially, when developing my final project for ds106, I wanted to tell its story. I wanted to do this because ds06 had taken over my life, my twitter feed, and my homework. Yet, few people knew what I was talking about and never seemed to fully understand the jokes (ds106 newbs).

That’s when I had the idea to create a simplified way to share the connections, stories and inspirations from and within the ds106 community.

 

The design process snapped together quickly. I met with Linda who had the genius idea to design an interactive part cyborg, part human brain. However, we needed this idea to leave our brains and communicate it with the rest of the world or at least the rest of ds106.

Immediately the ds106 clan saw gold. Specifically they envisioned an independant site to feature the work of other ds106 pioneers and create a space for people to interact. BAM. In[SPIRE] was born.

From there, most of our meeting were figuring out the technical aspects of it. And when I say we, I really mean I watched Martha in awe as she buzzed around complex code until everything was just right. Without Martha, the submission form would still be a tedious and inaccessible.

For the last week I have been reliving good art and submitting my own inspirations. Now, the story of ds106 will unfold and continue to do so for future classes.

 

My Hero, Indiana Groom?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I went there. I may or may not have hit the re-generate button 80 times in order to get this perfect storm combination of mashing-up Jim Groom art. I’m sorry but it did technically appear so let’s call it naturally occurring or fate or never letting a good thing pass you by. Whatever.

There are soo many excellent examples of Jim Groom art that it was hard to choose but I got my inspiration from Giulia’s work. Considering my task was to add a side-kick I decided that though Raiders of the Lost Art was indeed an excellent film it didn’t have the  sick-kick. There was no Robin to this Batman.

Until, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was born. Possibly one of the worse movies I have ever seen and I like to pretend that Spielberg did not ruin the Indiana Jones series by forgetting this movie ever existed. What’s up with evil Russians trying to find an alien skull, a crystal alien skull? Alien skull that gives you power. It’s like Final Fantasy met Lord of Rings at a really awkward family reunion. I mean, it’s an alien skull!

Whatever, I made it better. Meet Indiana Groom and Mutt Levine:

 

Cat(s) Make Better Art

Friday, April 13th, 2012

My first try with the new generator hit gold. Add Dr. Seuss to Fat Cat art. However, I was nervous about messing other ds106 pioneers’ work. So I went with what was safe, and I decided to play with Cogdog’s work as seen here:

It nice and all but it was missing something, like some Dr. Seuss action.

 

 

 

 

BAM! Cat in the Hat making a come back.

Now, I could have stopped here and said, ta-da, my first mash-up and be done with it. However, the narrative is still the same as what Cogdog created except there are a few additions to the cast.

That’s when I noticed that the cat’s line of sight is directly at the fish bowl (didn’t plan that). So, by adjusting the saturation levels and adding a little paint. I made a NCIS-esque crime scene photo.

 

 

 

Maybe the red, evil eyes thing is a bit cheesy but I think its warranted considering the original dog poker painting is a cultural cliche.

 

Coffee Is, My

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Inspiration is a fickle woman. If she calls you at 7am for with an awesome idea for an assignment, then you just have to follow it. Plus, your alarm is set for that time and you should get up anyway.

The goal of this assignment was to create a narrative without dialogue. My inspiration was to dramatize my daily routine. The order to my morning is like clock work: get up, open blinds, make coffee, drink the coffee, water plants, check email, shower. The most important part is the coffee, always the coffee.

The Process:

Since it actually was 7am, I had to play cameraman, director, and actress. I experimented with camera angles, lighting and framing. Please note the really cool coffeepot handle moment. In iMovie, I edited down the 30 minutes of film into 2 minutes. Which was difficult considering I tweaking out on five cups of coffee. The fun part was picking out the song I wanted to incorporate. I finally settled on ‘Her Disappearing Theme’ from Broken Social Scene.

Overall, I loved working on this project and I am little attached to what I created. So be nice and enjoy!

A Walk to REALLY Remember

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

And that’s a wrap folk. Thirty stars are finally finished. For my last video assignment I decide to tackle ‘Redub the Audio‘ but give it a twist.

Sure, I could have recorded my own voice over the video but that’s too easy and I’m not funny. Who is funny, Quentin Tarantino. I decided to rip the audio from the opening scene of Pulp Fiction and apply it to a less appropriate video. Say, a religious romance film like A Walk to Remember. Suddenly, a sweet flirty conversation on a school bus is now debating the ontological crisis to robbing people of a living.

The Process:

First, I ripped the audio using MPEG from a video clip that I downloaded from da Youtube. Next I uploaded the video of the bus scene in Walk to Remember to iMovie with the newly ripped audio from Pulp Fiction.

Next, I spent time cutting up the scene to match the audio better. There are a few weird spots but at least no one is moving their mouth when they are not speaking.

Most of my time was spent matching audio to video. It was especially difficult considering  Jamie, the female lead, only talks twice during the entire scene, but in the audio clip I needed her to speak three times.

This is No Cat Fight

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

This is a 5 second drama. It starts and finishes before you have time to think about what you are seeing.  This is the fastest narrative ever, not counting Maura’s 1 second simile.

For this assignment I decided that the more successful 5 second films would be the ones that are quickly understood. I filmed myself watering plants. Not only is this something I do frequently (I do have a lot of houseplants), but we have all seen a watering can, plants, and understand the concept of watering plants. It does not take a lot of mental energy to figure out the setting and props. This ensures that no one will be lost during the super short drama sequence.

I shot five minutes of film and from that I picked out two 2.5 second clips: Filling up the watering can, emptying the watering can. In iMovie, I deleted the original soundtrack, add a quick music track from Broken Social Scene, and adjusted the saturation to black and white. Film in black and white always looks more elegant.

Overall, I think the clip at the faucet can be cleaner but it is all one complete narrative in only five seconds. Who knew that my plants would one day be famous?

Kinetic Dangerfield

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

I hate this assignment. Worse, I hate the finished project but considering I spent nearly 8 hours on this assignment I needed to show something for it.

I should have know when I saw that no one had completed this project that something was up, like its a pain in ass. I was fooled in the beginning into thinking that I could do this.

The Process:

First, I downloaded a Caddyshack clip from da Youtube using PwnYouTube. Next, I opened it in MPEG in order to rip the audio from the clip. Next, I listened to the clip and typed out a transcript of Rodney Dangerfield making snarly comments about the Club’s food.

Now, it gets tedious.

At first I thought I wanted to make individual images for each word in Pincik then upload them in iMovie. However, while creating the first word ‘hey,’ I realized that it would look lame and decided to change directions.

Next, I got the horrible-not-so-brilliant-idea-in-hindsight idea to use Prezi. I needed to be stopped. I never used Prezi before because I think it is a horrible tool for oral presentation and I refuse to use it. So, while I was learning to use Prezi I was also creating a framework for the transcript.

Then, after completing my ‘presentation’ I tried to use Jing to capture the presentation. One huge flaw, it also captured my mouse moving around and the quality was poor. Boo.

After spending hours trying to make Prezi work, I decided it was time to move on. So, I cheated. I was angry and frustrated and I hated the project.

I used the command->shift->4 technique to capture the images from the Prezi and uploaded them into iMovie. Next, I timed the images with audio clip until it was seamless.

So there it is. The short summery of how my ambition crashed and burned in front of my eyes. I am sure there is an on-line tool that is better suited for this, but I did not find it. Ugh.

Boys Like Beatles and…

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t lie. My music library has not changed since high school. I happily listen to the album, Dark was the Night on repeat for hours.  Yet, when I saw this assignment, I knew I wanted to poke fun at famous Beatles’ album cover, 1. Maybe it’s because I don’t get, or maybe it’s because they seem a little egotistical. Nevertheless, I called back to my high school days when Boys Like Girls ruled the hallways and music diehards wore the ‘1’ album like a badge.

This is what the original albums looked like:

In Gimp I edited the two albums together. Good-bye  weird dripping rainbow and hello bleeding Beatles.

This just feels right.

 

 

Our Top 5 Sidekicks

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The goal of this assignment was to identify a type of archetype in TV shows/movie and represent it in a quick video. I believe that sidekicks are poorly represented. They are neglected, forgotten, and taken advantage of, yet, without them the story would not be as rich. What’s Batman without Robin? Simon without Garfunkel? So, I wanted to pay tribute to the sidekick.

The Process:

I downloaded the video clips from da Youtube. I did not want just smash a bunch of clips together and call it done. Rather, I wanted to create a dialogue. Next, I added a music clip to add a bit of drama. Overall, once I had my vision and the clips I wanted to use, it was a snap!

 

Play-by-Play: The Hangover

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Bam! I finally stopped tweaking and posted this play-by-play humor analysis of the Wolfpack Speech scene in The Hangover. This go around I stated playing with transitions and incorporating music.

The Process:

First, I downloaded the video from da Youtube and opened it in iMovie. Next, I added my analysis via the voiceover by pushing the microphone button in iMovie.

 

During this process I noticed that the longer narratives were dull and needed a little spice. So, I added some mood music. In order to ensure that the music did not fight with my voiceover I tweaked the music settings.

Click the box next the ‘Ducking’ while the audio that you want dominant is selected as well. This is will allow the other audio file to be present but play in the background.

Last, click on the ‘Normalize Clip Volume’ button to mitigate the feedback noise.

 

 

 

The main challenge for this assignment was making the audio seamless and clear. Overall, I enjoyed working on this assignment and hopefully Youtube will not mind that I ‘borrowed’ some of my material.

Taxi Driver: Film Essay

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Taxi Driver is a Scorsese masterpiece with one of film’s most powerful protagonists, Travis. It’s Travis’s many contradictions that makes him one of the great characters in film history. In my film essay, we will be watching the final shootout scene in the brothel. During this scene we will be discussing how editing techniques reveals Travis’s disjointed state and decent into psychosis.

The Process:

I ripped the film from Youtube. I have the original DVD but I could never get MPEG to convert the files into .mp4 or any form really. Next, in iMovie, I was able to add my voiceover audio with a push of a button! I drew up a script and recored myself.

The main difficulty was normalizing the audio. The is a strange echo during the scene with Travis talking to the Pimp. I struggled for hours trying to play with audio settings but I was only successful in mitigating it but not fixing it. For the other scenes it seems to be fine but those scene already had distorted sound.

Real movie editors have tough jobs. Hours of tedious work that only realizes small successes. It’s tough work and I cannot say I will be applying for any of those positions any time soon. or ever.

 

in[SPIRE]

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

My fascination with electronic literature started when I accidently stumbled upon Dr. Whalen’s blog for his E-Lit class. I discovered a whole new world of narratives in the form of hypertext stories. So, for my final project for DS106 I want to create my own e-lit masterpiece.

A key part of the DS106 community is the connections between all of the pioneers. We have knitted together an intimate community that is not only participating in its structure but also creating it. However, to the outsider it’s a group a crazy people shouting out strange acronyms (e.g. TDC) and laughing at complex inside jokes.

To mitigate our esoteric nature, I want to create an interconnecting diagram that will highlight connections, stories, and dialogues between members of the DS106 community. Ideally, a person can map another pioneer’s creative journey and progress in DS106.

In regards to the visual element, I envisioned a cyborg brain with circuits and semiconductors. Then when a person clicks on a resonator or capacitor there will be a story.

My hope is that this project will be carried on by future DS106 pioneers and the web of connections will continue to grow and become more complex.

 

 

PREproduction: Play-by-Play

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Fact: Jokes are only funny when you explain the punch line in explicit detail. The more detail, the better.

Fact: I watch a lot of documentaries.

Goal: For the Play-by-Play assignment, I will analyze a pivotal scene in the movie The Hangover and explain why it’s funny.

Specifically, I will be analyzing the scene above, because honestly, it was the only hearty chuckle this movie got out me, so it must be funny. In addition, I will utilize ground-breaking humor theory in order to fully examine it’s hilarity.

Coming soon to a computer near you.

Kill Bill in 1932

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Film editing is difficult. Anyone to tell you otherwise is just showing off. I have worked on this project for far too long and I am beginning to hate it. The goal of this assignment was to transform a modern film into a silent film.

 

 

First, I decided to take on Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill vol. 1. I felt that this film was an appropriate choice because it portrayed archetype characters, typical  for silent films. Plus, I just really like the film too.

The Process:

My first hurdle was learning how to download videos from Youtube. Initially, my research revealed a program called, Youtube downloader. However, to get the program for free you had to sign-up for another on-line service (e.g. Netflix). I knew there was something better so I called upon the DS106 community, and my friend Tim Owens showed me a bookmarking tool that was super easy to use. (Sorry Alan, but I have clue what to do with script text.)

Next, I downloaded the official Movie trailer for Kill Bill. Originally, I tried to make my own trailer but I soon realized that it was a formidable task and not necessary (3 hours later). Then, I needed to mitigate its 21st century feel.

The original music was hip and cool. So it needed to go. In iMovie, I muted the original soundtrack then added my own with iTunes. I picked a sassy jazz piece that fit perfectly with the time frame. Yes, technically the song is from 1938 and not 1932 but let’s play pretend.

Next, I need to do away with the shiny colors and HD quality pictures. First, I muted the saturation to zero. Good-bye color. Next, I messed with the brightness and contrast levels to make it look more grainy.

Last, I uploaded it to Youtube. Ten minutes later, I was ready to upload it to Artisfier, but I was unable to make it work. I tried various privacy and quality settings and Artisfier still could not upload my clip. So, back to the drawing board.

Once again in iMovie, I tweaked the color setting to make it look more silent film-esque. There is a slight issue with some of the actresses’ black hair blending with the dark background but I figured it’s 1932 and we can’t win all of the fights with movie editing.

I tried creating a more time period appropriate credits intro, so I designed a minimalist poster and added it to the beginning of the trailer. However, after doing so, I worried that I was infringing copyright laws so I deleted it. It did give me the opportunity to play with transitions between scenes. So, one point for learning!

Overall, after struggling with different aspects of film editing, I feel that this was a great way to introduce myself to the art of editing. There are still a lot of things I want to do better with, like making it look more grainy and less shadow-y but I am excited with how it turned out.

 

 

Life Lessons

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Life Lessons is a powerful film.

First, it’s a Martin Scorsese film, and who doesn’t love Marty?

Second, it’s an eighties film (1989), the best era for film.

It is also a provocative film about a middle-age painter and his young, discontented girlfriend, Paulette. From the very first scene we rarely get the feeling that there is anything still and contented in the soul of our hero, Lionel.

He is verbally clever but emotionally uncertain. It is not a story of love. It is a story of power and discontentment.

 

Here is a shot-by-shot analysis of the second chapter the best reveal the nature of Lionel.

 Shot 1

I. Mise-en-scene

A. Setting: Onset in Lionel’s studio apartment.

1. Props: cassette, cassette player with paint stains, and some pieces of                                            plastic are missing, suggesting the tape player is well-used and old.

B. Lighting:

1. Ration: low ratio/high-key lighting.

2. Quality: soft, less detail.

3. Direction: There is an overall illumination of the cassette player, as a result it is difficult to discern the exact location of light, however, we can assume a standard 45 degrees, considering there is no specific effect created on the cassette.

C. Costume: Only evidence of main character is his hands, which have long, dirty                                                 fingernails.

D. Behavior of Figures:

1. Lionel’s hand appears from the left-hand side of the screen. He inserts the                                     cassette then hits the play button on the cassette player.

2. Cassette tape rolling.

II. Cinematography

A. Framing

1. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

2. Camera position: Straight on, tilted to the left.

               3. Framing distance: Extreme close-up on cassette and cassette player.

4. Camera Movement: Steady/ no movement.

III. Editing:

Shot 1 ends with a close-up of the cassette player then cuts to Lionel standing in front of the large canvas. We can assume that there is a time lapse from when Lionel inserted the cassette tape to him standing in front of the canvas, because we do not witness him walking away from the player to his position in shot 2. It is also an establishing shot because every time Lionel begins to paint he plays music fitting his mood.

IV. Sound

B. Noise: We hear the sound of the cassette being inserted into the player. Then, the             sound of Lionel pressing the play button on the player.

        C. Music: Diegetic music from the tape player.

Shot 2

I. Mise-en-scene

A. Setting: Lionel’s studio apartment.

 1. Tables with paints, buckets of brushes, canvas, painting in the background, basketball hoop, stacks of books, stacks of sketchpads, extension cord, kitchen chairs, lamps, easels, mirror, paint buckets, paint stained newspaper, magazines, large white stretched canvas with black sketching.

B. Lighting

1. Ratio: Low ratio/high key.

                        2. Quality: Soft, less detailed.

 3. Direction: Brighter back light illuminating his hair and his right arm and right pant leg, left rim of his glasses with standard 45 degree angle.

C. Costume

1. Dirty, loose-fitting blue thin striped button-up collared shirt with paint stains, top few buttons undone.

                                    i. Loose fitting beige cords with some paint stains.

ii. Greasy medium long graying hair.

iii. Large rimmed glasses.

iv. Old, worn black sneakers stained with paint.

D. Behavior of Figures:

1. Lionel stands a few feet away from the large stretch canvas with the black                                     markings.

i. Looks in awe and concentration onto the canvas with his head                                                             slightly tilted to the right

 ii. Moves his right arm twice, as an attempt to move it towards                                                            the canvas.

II. Cinematography

A. Framing

1. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

               2. Camera position: Straight on.

3. Framing distance: Starts as long shot, eventually moves into a medium                                                close-up.

               4. Camera Movement: Tracking shot to the right and circling around Lionel.

III. Editing: Shot 2 ends with Lionel standing then it cuts to a longer shot of Lionel standing. These shots show continuity of action.

IV. Sound

A. Speech: N/A

            B. Noise: N/A

C. Music: Music from the tape player.

Martin Scorsese utilizes the first five shots of chapter two in Life Lessons as establishing shots into Lionel’s character. Key elements of mise-en-scene create drama and tension, emphasizing Lionel’s repressed sexuality towards Paulette. This is demonstrated by the low-key illumination and backlight in the scenes. This lighting creates darker shadows and establishes an intensity and anxiety in Lionel. This intensity is witnessed in Lionel’s actions as he stares deeply at the large, empty canvas. Lionel attempts to move his hand toward the canvas but as the camera changes position to a long shot of him at a high angle and downward, it emphasizes the long distance between Lionel and the canvas. This adds to the audience’s understanding that Lionel is overwhelmed. This suggests that Lionel is preoccupied with thoughts of Paulette, as a results it crates a link between Lionel’s anxiety and the aloof Paulette.

 


The Making of AMCX

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

After working on the DS106 radio show assignment, I have a new appreciation for the work that NPR interns do everyday. It’s tedious piecing together a radio show.

First, you have to write the script. But make sure it follows a logical and intuitive order. If not, you risk recording several versions where you mix up what time of day it is throughout. Uhhh Oops.

(Photo Credit)

Next, you need to record yourself reading the script you just spent an hour tweaking. Remember to repeat this to yourself: What Would Morgan Freeman Do?

Third, edit, edit, edit.

Last, do not feel discouraged because you just spent the last four hours working on only four minutes of your radio piece. At least, all of this was true for my group, AMCX. Slowly, slowly it is all coming together. So far we have accomplished several items from our never-ending to-do list:

1) 2 commercials (check and check)

2) radio bumpers (mos def)

3) political debate piece (still waiting on Handgela but let’s just check it for morale)

4) Linda’s investigative report (YES. Linda the superstar, as usual)

5) One smooth edited radio show (what am I? magic?)

Keep your fingers crossed but the goal is to have a completed radio show by Friday. Bless the news interns, I have no idea how they do everything so fast.

Rap Battle

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

(Skip to minute 4:00 for the best example that smart kids are cool too.)

For those of you lucky enough to be in DuPont this evening you will have the chance to hear me rap too.

A key part of the A-MC-X radio show or any radio show are their commercials like the Super Bow(els). To keep things fresh on A-MC-X we are honoring our Alan Levine with a rap promoting his work and DS106.

First, we needed to find words that rhymed with Levine (at least he is not named orange). Here is our first list:

green
lean
mean
bean
cuisine
automatic teller machine

This proved two things: 1) I am not Dirt Mcgirt 2) The online rhyming dictionary is a blessing. Though, I did try to find a way to include automatic teller machine in our rap.

Here is a small preview:

Mr. Alan Levine the DS machine,

He is steppin’ out into da scene,

Later tonight we will be pairing my rap with the glorious Annie Belle’s beat boxing. It’s only day three but already we have a commercial. Slowly, Slowly, A-MC-X is weaving together an awesome radio show!

 

UPDATE:

I present to you the final cut of a rap battle beat down.

 

Raging Bull Radio

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

This week I wanted to challenge myself with this awesome assignment for DS106 radio which turns a movie into a good radio show. In essence, my goal was to transform a movie’s soundtrack (music, dialogue, sound effects) into a condensed abstract version of the film. Ever since I read the details of this assignment I have been eager to tackle Martin Scorsese’s film Raging Bull.

 

The Process:

At first, I tried to learn how to rip audio from a video. After watching several tutorial and playing around with iMovie for far too long, I admitted defeat.

Next, I found high quality recordings of the film and used my computer’s internal recorder to capture the audio. I did struggle with trying to reduce the horrendous feedback noise. I succeed in mitigating some of the feedback but not all of it- whatever. After a few tedious hours I had all of the audio I needed.

My goal was to capture the artist feel of the film, and the contradictions of the main character, Jake LaMotte’s identity . For those of you who have not seen this film 1) shame on you 2) it will change your perspective on Robert De Niro’s skillz as an actor (damn you Meet the Parents).

Jake LaMotte is a famous boxer that is emotionally self-destructive. He is violent with a hot temper, which makes him successful in the ring but destroys his life outside of the ring.

A key element I wanted to focus on what the role of Cavalleria Rusticana’s song Intermezzo in the film. This song is played throughout the film and is implemented during high emotional moments.

Overall, if you have seen the film then the narrative will remind you of different aspects of film, however, if you have not then you might be a little confused, all the more reason to finally go and see this film!

So without further to do- Raging Bull in four minutes:

A Week in Review: TDC

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Monday: Unusual Food

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Toys                                                        Wednesday: Our Youth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Birds                                                                  Friday: Re-Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Prized Possession                                   Sunday: Former Jobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s a wrap for more detail check out my Flickr account!

 

 

I Read Birds

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Here is my take on the I Can Read assignment. I created a cover of the first horror movie I ever saw, The Birds. If you haven’t seen the film it’s an Alfred Hitchcock classic about a costal town in California being attacked by ordinary birds-not birds of prey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie: Have you ever seen so many gulls? What do you suppose it is?

Mrs. MacGruder: Well, there must be a storm at sea. That can drive them inland, you know.

 

The cover captures the theme of the movie that thousands of birds are always chillin’ everywhere. The sheer number of the birds makes this film eerie and unsettling.

The Process

I mimicked the format of Spacesick’s design. First, I uploaded one of his designs in GIMP, and cut out his work. I was left with a clean slate. Next, I found the bird icon in the NounProject. I used the cloning tool to stamp out each bird. Then I painted each bird with the paint bucket.

It was an easy process but it was time consuming. If I had the time I would create a different design, but instead I used my free time to fiddle with the minimalist poster (see yesterday’s post).

Dead Man’s Chest Movie Poster

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

I’ll be honest: I don’t know much about graphic art. I’ve seen it. I’ve spent a lot time wandering the rooms of the MoMa looking pensive, and ds106 is currently producing a lot of hot art. But nothing has made me appreciate graphic art more than designing a minimalist movie poster.

With this assignment I wanted to experiment with texture and shape. It took me a while to figure out what movie I wanted to do, but I finally settled on the Pirates’ movie Dead Man’s Chest. Second, I needed to watch the movie again (very necessary). While I was watching the film, I was drawn to the character Jack Sparrow’s face painting as the Cannibal King.

It is a key scene to the film. The character Jack Sparrow is found on a remote island but is in a bit of a tight spot. This plot twist means that the character Will Turner (Orlando) must not only escape from the island himself but must also rescue Jack from the Cannibals.

The Design

I wanted to poster to look like a ghostly pirate treasure map. First, I search for an image in The Google for a photo of tea stained paper. I found one easily and downloaded the imaged into GIMP.

Next, I found an icon of an eye in the NounProject. In GIMP I altered the color of the eyes from black to brown. Next, I needed to draw the lines. In order to draw straight lines in GIMP select the paint brush tool, hold down shift key, and click the spot where you want to line to end (keep holding that shift key).

Next, I added the text to the poster. Last, I uploaded the image to Picnik in order to alter the tint of the color. I added a green color filter to achieve to the ghostly effect.

The Results

DS106 has produced a lot of fantastic designs for this assignment. Some examples can to found here, here and here. I did fret for a long time trying to get the lines in the design to be perfectly symmetrical. There are close, but not perfect. Overall, I am pleased with my work.

Iconic MC

Friday, February 17th, 2012

To quote another DS106 pioneer, I spent entirely too much time on this assignment. In fact, I created several different potential icons for myself, but I was never fully satisfied with any outcome. I can’t even say that I am fully pleased with this outcome, but at some point you have to concede the fight.

It is incredibly difficult to summarize oneself let alone into a singular image. However, I like to identify myself as an MC. Not only is it my name but also I like the idea of poking fun at the notion of being a Mic Controller.

The Process

I found the icon of the two speech bubbles on the NounProject. In GIMP, I used the magical lasso and selected the conjoined speech bubbles. I experimented with different fonts in different colors until I settled on the teal color. It was that easy and it was that hard.

1 Narrative/ 4 Small Icons

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

I have some news. I am in love. With the NounProject. It is a fantastic site full of simple yet dynamic icons that are for public use. It has inspired me to start designing my own icons but my roommate likes to remind me that I still have real homework pending.

So, I indulge myself with ds106 ‘homework.’ I became fascinated with this assignment, which called for creating a narrative with only four icons. It’s a brilliant challenge!

The Clues

I focused on a movie that was iconic to my childhood, because it seemed appropriate. And no it’s not those films of wizard boy wonder. I remember this film once terrified me when I was young(er) but now I just laugh at the cheesy 80’s special effects. It’s raw adventure, and promotes that smart people can be cool too.

The Process

I wanted each icon to represent a key climatic moment in the film that followed an intuitive chronological order. Or in other words, the first icon is for the first quarter of the film, etc. Next, I hunted in NounProject’s site for a symbol that matched to what I wanted to communicate. Next I uploaded the images into Chogger, because it such an easy site to get access to neat, little boxes.

 

Now it’s your turn, name that movie!

Comic Wars, the Animation

Monday, February 13th, 2012

 

Due to other ds106 pioneers success with GIFs, I wanted to challenge myself with this assignment. It took me a while to figure out what cover I wanted to do, but I finally settled on this provocative comic cover. Honestly, I do not know anything about Marvel/DC characters or comic book history, but I loved the blood on the shield, the fierce looking characters, and the refined details of this one.

On the technical side, making the GIF was a very involved process, without too much to show for it. I am still experimenting with the tools and features in GIMP, so the technical skill behind this GIF is low. First, I need to figure out the basics to creating a GIF, while hunting in The Google I found this tutorial. The guy is a little sporadic and probably 14 but he provides a solid foundation for a basic GIF.

Next, I decided to create a modest GIF by focusing on making the shield spin. First I created a duplicate layer of the original image. Next, I cropped the shield from the second layer away from the background.

 

Next, I clicked on the ‘rotate’ tool (the one of the two blue squares), and rotated the image by 90 degrees.

Then, I saved the image. Next, I isolated the newly rotated shield then cut/pasted it into the original layer. Last, I dragged the rotated shield into position. I repeated this process two more times until I created four separate images with the shield in four different positions.

To learn how to save the new creation, I followed the tutorial posted above. This is where it gets tricky: embedding the GIF into WordPress. To successfully embed a GIF click on New Post -> Upload/Insert -> (select your GIF file) -> Insert. Be mindful to keep the GIF in its original size. Do not be tempted to size it down, because it will not animate in your post.

Overall, this was a simple, clean animated GIF. It also marks my journey/struggle with GIMP. Soon I aspire to make a GIF like this one, it’s the dream.

Don’t Try Too Hard

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

 

I have never heard of the demotivational poster meme before I saw this assignment. This assignment was easy once you found the right site like this one. My goal was to take a traditionally valued quality and turn it on its head.  

Despair, Inc. is a nifty site and is super user friendly. This site enables you to upload images straight from your computer and type into a prefab template.

I selected a photo that I took over the summer. My favorite part of ‘old school’ motivational posters were the National Geographic quality photos. They always featured a stunning shot of some type of wildlife juxtaposed with some insipid catchphrase. So instead of cliche I made it real.

Tattoos

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Flickr Challenge: ‘Take a photo of a tattoo”                 I may not have any tattoos to brag about but these are my beauty marks!

The Scene of the Crime

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flikr Challenge: “Take a photo that emphases the human hand.

 

Our hands handle a lot every day, and it’s easy to forget how important they are. Especially when you are burning yourself trying to kill a kitchen fire. Then you suddenly you have a really get idea for the Daily Create Challenge.

Cat Nap

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Like the rest of ds106, I participated in the Fat Cats Make Better Art Assignment.  However, to be fair, I did start this assignment last Tuesday when fellow ds106 pioneer Annie posted it. And to be fair I never touched any photo editing software before, ever. And to be fair, just telling someone to alter layers is not actually helpful (darn you Photoshop tutorials from hell!).

Thanks to Alan, and his GIMPing Layers tutorial I was able to figure out a few of the techniques I had been struggling with, like copying and pasting the cat straight onto the original art work. It was so easy and yet soooo difficult.

The Process:

I did cheat and uploaded the image to Picnik first. I needed to resize the image smaller so it would not look like Cat Godzilla napping on some girl’s poor back. Next, I added the ‘Dots and Dots’ filter in order to make the cat look more like an oil painting and less like a digital photo (which it is). I am sure Gimp has these tools too, but I already sent days playing with the program and I just needed to admit defeat.

On Gimp, I used the magical lasso to cut out just the cat’s head, front paws, and a portion of its back. Next, I click on Select -> INvert -> and then Cut. Then like magic the background and the rest of cat disappeared!

Since I already manipulated the image of the cat in Picnik I only needed to move him into the perfect spot. Then Bam! Fat cat takes a nap on art.

Overall, this is not one of the more successful conceptualization of this assignment. Some example of really cool fat cat art can be found here, here and here. And I cheated too. However, completing this assignment marks my triumph over a long struggle with Gimp. So there.

It Wasn’t Funny at the Time

Friday, February 10th, 2012

This is my version of the Comic Book Effect! I jumped on the bandwagon and I thought I would give this assignment a spin.

The Process:

First, I went into Picnik and used the ‘Dots and Dots’ filter to achieve the comic book pixel effect. Next, I altered the exposure by 30% to create the distinct comic book coloring.

Next, I uploaded my photo onto Chogger to add the two speech bubbles. There might be a better site for this aspect of the project but it’s the site I know best. In Chogger, you have four basic speech bubble options, but you can manipulate and distort each one until you have achieved your desired effect.

Last, as I mentioned in my previous post, there is no explicit embed option on the Chogger site but you can just grab the image straight from the site.

This is a fun, easy assignment and I recommend that everyone give this assignment a try!

False Hope…

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Flikr Challenge: “Take a photo that represents confusion

Walking home from work today and saw these beauties out and blooming! Seems like someone is a little confused as to what month it is!

 

The Daily Challenge: Blog Post Style

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I have decided that the widget was no longer an effective tool for the TDC, so I’m starting the blogz now. All of my past TDC can be found under the menu option labeled ‘DS106’. word.

Today’s Challenge calls for a photo that represents something you aspire to do or be. Let’s be honest, I’m a college kid, that answer is far to big and real for me right now. However, I do have one, small, and reasonable aspiration…. I want my motherf&#$% Peace Lily to bloom again. That’s all I ask. But that dang thing has not bloomed again since the day I bought her. It’s not fair. I nurture her like a child and instead I have a plant suffering from fertilizer burns sans blooms.

Also, I did cheat and use an old photo, but I wanted to share with you the goal, the dream.

Don’t Call Me a Hipster!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The goal of this assignment was to recreate a famous painting and give it a modern twist. Without any hesitation, I knew I was going to do this assignment on the infamous Frida Kahlo.

The Process:

I settled on Frida’s more famous self-portrait. It was clean, colorful, and spoke to the very essence of Frida. Next, I rounded up my friend Amanda to be my muse. Considering she was Frida for Halloween I knew she would not object to the unibrow.

When concerning the composition, I wanted to portray Frida as a modern American. She was political rebel, feminist, and Surrealist or in other words, a hipster. So I designed the costume to reflect what I image a person at Occupy Wall Street might look like. However, I did want to maintain the integrity of Frida’s unibrow, because it was a critical element of her identity (modern hipsters have discovered tweezers).

During the photo shoot I captured the perfect shot on my first try. But for good measure I took 10 more just in case.

On my computer I cropped the photo, so it would be a little tighter, and adjusted the exposure by 10%. All of this was accomplished in Picnik. Below is master creation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ta-da!

 

 

OneShotStory

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Enchanted

 

The goal of this assignment is to take a photo that can be chopped up, rearranged, and formatted to tell a story. I wanted to tell the story of two lovers (re)encountering each other.

The Process:

I took this photo while hiking on a very bright afternoon. First, I used a black and white filter to suggest a dream-like narrative. I altered the exposure on the image of the trees to create the ‘tension’ of a nightmarish state. Last, I used the cropping tool to focus on different aspects of the photo. All of this was accomplished with simple editing tools featured on iphoto.

I used the tool Chogger to achieve the comic book feel. However, finding Chogger was my biggest challenge. When I first approached this assignment I knew I want to use PikiStrips but I soon discovered that site is down. Boo PikiStrips. However, I persevered aka used the Google till I stumbled upon Chogger. This site requires you to register for an account but it is freeeeee.

After I register I clicked the green ‘Build A Comic Now’ Button.

 This brought me to its main set up page.

 

To add images you can either draw one into the white boxes, take a photo from your webcam, or upload a photo from you computer. I already had my altered images to use so I clicked on the ‘upload’ button. I did not like the size of the default boxes but thankfully Chogger enables you move, add, and delete boxes, so did not have to distort my images.

 

This is where it gets tricky. After you publish your comic its filed away into Chogger’s database of doom (think of a less organized Flikr). To find your photo again you will have to search its title. In addition, there is no explicit embed feature but you can just grab the image straight from the site.

Let me know what you think! For those of you who are curious about the original assignment, check out the ds106 site under visual assignments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day in the life of a DS106 student. word.

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The above link is a comic I made after the Bryan Alexander lecture, it was a great night. Please note the cat.

 

I used the site Pixton . Sign-up is free ad you are given a lot of options to personalize your comic. I had a lot of fun playing with all of the different settings, and it was easy.

42

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Our professors are beginning a new romance. As young people continue to use emerging technologies in their personal lives, a large number of educators are finding ways to meaningfully integrate technologies in the classroom, and are falling in love. And why shouldn’t they?

There is soo many shiny, pretty tools including blogs, Wikipedia, podcasts, Twitter, and Youboodtube. What makes these tools so compelling is the nature of communication on the web. As our friend Bryan Alexander writes, “Web 2.0 has led to an explosion of user-generated content” or as our other friend Tim O’Reilly says,  “[Web 2.0] harnesses collective intelligence.” Global interaction never felt so good.

Our infatuated friend Bryan shows us different techniques of storytelling and what makes a successful story. With the web, storytelling has expanding beyond our traditional definitions. A single photo is as rich of a story as Dickinson, and you don’t need to be Dickinson to have your story heard. The web enables us to share and create our own stories with anyone, including our professors.

Moreover, digital storytelling (hey ds106) extends beyond the classroom. This creative work provides students a foundation for what we’ll call 21st century literacy, which includes digital literacy (e.g. blogz), technological literacy (e.g. code), visual literacy, informational literacy, etc. Digital storytelling is exactly what students want to learn, because so much of what we do in ‘real world’ involves these skills. The situation is analogous to the education shift to using software programs in the classroom back in the mid-90’s.

Now we just need more professors to get bit by this love bug.

Das Maverick

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Professor Gardner Campbell a self-proclaimed maverick calls  our attention to a pressing matter. The Internet. For  most of us, we use the Internet to passively check-in on friends’ statuses and the LOL cats.  However, Campbell uses it as a tool of innovation, and he  asks for us to ‘create and connect our own personal cyber infrastructures” too. The Internet is our tool to begin to engage and learn with new communities of people and ideas. He demands of us that we use the Internet to innovate, create, and communicate. It sounds awesome. However, I question, what does it mean to create our own Internet identities?

By creating our own corner in the information super-highway, we are also given the opportunity to create who we are. Eula Biss, author of Nobody Knows Your Name and other awesome essays, challenges our notion of identity claiming “you must define [it] so that it does not define you.”

From this perspective,  can we also change our identity?  If we are tired of that odd caricature of ourselves that dances in front of us, then we can recreate ourselves!  We can be our own defined selves thru the Internet. Oh the possibilities.

At some level, we all do this all the time when we engage with the Internet. For example, do you always use your real birthday on the innocuous website or survey? Is your username actually your legal name? Is my name really MC? …NNahh dawg (Bonus Round: would I say this in real life?)

This freedom is empowering, invigorating and scary. Yet, do we risk losing something? Do we threaten authentic connection and communication with others that Campbell idealizes so much? Or do we begin a more real experience?

 

 

Slowly, Slowly I Embrace the Internet

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I like to keep the Internet at a distance. I like to watch it at a safe distance and hope my ‘fight-or-flight’ instincts do not start to kick in. However, this semester I sought to change this behavior.

So, I enrolled in Digital Storytelling  (DS106) with instructor Jim Groom for my final semester of undergrad. I expected to learn a few tips and tricks about blogging and that’s about it. Honestly, I was expecting an easy ‘A’. What I did not expect was being left on an Internet island of doom with a domain name and no map.

Now, I am in the driver seat with a steep learning curve ahead. In the last week I was able to successfully connect my domain name (mc-guirk.us) with a webhost, installed WordPress (most proud of that one), and successfully installed a WordPress theme. Easy.

Not easy: learning why the next day it all disappeared. Network caching is a horrible, horrible thing, but my to-do list is slowly getting accomplished.

To Do:

1. Install Akismet API key, check.

2. Subscribe to Comments, check.

3. Install Titter Tools, check but still working on it too.

4. Get JetPack, check, still need to learn more about what it does.

Currently, I’m working on the sites look, how to customize its font, and where my blog posts go (don’t judge). In short, Jim Groom, fellow ds106 pioneers and my parents, I look forward to embracing this new challenge and seriously would love any tips you can throw my direction.