Final Reflection

I always knew I was interested in stuff like this. I would edit photos in an app called “Picnick” for hours on end all throughout middle school. When I decided to go to school for graphic design my mom and dad bought me the Adobe CS6 creative suite, but for some reason that path stopped dead in its tracks. I’m not sure why I stopped doing work with digital images, etc. But, I am so happy that I took Communications Lab. It expanded my knowledge of the Adobe software, and taught me techniques you only learn after messing up and having a teacher show you the way.

This class was my first real taste of IMA and I could not be happier I changed my major. This is such a supportive and fun environment and the class was a blast every single time. I made friends in the class! Also, all of the skills learned in this class have already helped me in other areas of life. I made a mini animation of Mike Tyson for my GPC final! This class has helped me in my internship with HashtagNYU as well, because it helps me develop more “professional” looking content to publish on the site.

I thought the way the class flowed was very helpful. It was very gradual and it built up so nicely. I found myself dipping into tools I had previously learned to help me fulfill the next assignment. (Now to convince my mom to get me the Adobe products) I wish we applied HTML and CSS into our work more, but I see how that is hard. Hopefully I have enough of a basis to expand upon in the future, maybe I’ll even make it a summer goal to learn some computer coding.

Thank you for such an amazing class!

The Balloon: Animation Reflection by Maggie

I really loved this project! When I first started I knew I wanted to do something entirely on my own. I think working by myself was a good decision because it allowed me to try weird things with the animation that sometimes worked really well, or were very bad. This also meant that I not only had to animate on my own but I had to make my own characters and music. As time went on, the project got so big I had to make cuts in places. I realizes making my own music was a crazy idea, and I found some great royalty free tracks on the Youtube Audio Library. Making my own characters was something I could do though, and I really enjoyed it. I almost grew attached to my little blonde boy and Indian Man.

I wanted to pay a lot of attention to detail, and it was hard at times when I knew I could get the point across in an easier way. It was the secondary movements of the balloon, or maybe the character’s eyebrows, or the clouds that really tied my animation together. Although it was hard at times synching everything up with each other, it was worth it. I occasionally would play back a sequence I had just animated to find the arm on the other side of the screen rotating super fast. But, it was these funny mistakes that made me more proficient in the “language” of Adobe. I definitely think I have tuned up my Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Skills after this project.

I found out that I love animation, and I am thinking of taking a course in it when I go to NY in the spring. If I continue work on my animation I would add in sound effects, and refine body movements and secondary animation as well as some timing issues. All in all, I am very proud of my piece, and my mom is too. 🙂

 

Sita Sings the Blues Response- Maggie Walsh

I thought that was interesting. I REALLY liked the parts where the Indian people were trying to recall history, and the animator was illustrating what they were saying. I enjoyed all parts, especially the songs, but boy, especially that narrative part! It was so funny.

Also. I think it is weird how your mind just “accepts” some things when watching animation. Like, Sita’s body?

sita_rakshasha

That defies the laws of physics. But we don’t question it. Animation can take you to a place that typical film cannot. There is this abstract reality present in animation and you can really play with that. I mean, think of that acid-trippy part in the beginning and middle. You have no clue what is going on, but it is animation, so anything goes!

I’m excited to start my animation 🙂

July, Inez, and Maggie’s Adventures in Filmmaking

Rough Cut: 

We had a lot of fun doing the rough cut, although this doesn’t mean it was entirely without obstacles. These were some of our main difficulties.

  • Recruitment of cast members
  • scheduling of cast members
  • Lack of efficient lighting
  • Not knowing how to fully operate the microphone (and getting bad audio because of it)

In the process of editing the Rough Cut, we had to deal with some of our problems that came up while shooting. The main one was dealing with the audio. We had low levels in some scenes, and exponentially higher levels in others. We had to export sound to audition in order to smooth everything out and make it sound cohesive. Additionally we had to leave a few scenes out because we had not yet filmed them, due to casting conflicts.

Final Cut: 

The final cut was another obstacle, but we are very happy with our outcome. We worked with our audio and finally adjusted the noise reduction to a level we liked. We cleaned up the music to make the entire piece more fluid. All in all, we realized the importance of good audio when making a video, and it was what we struggled with the most.

Our Experiences:

We all took turns manning different positions. Whether it was sound, lighting, or camera we all got to handle the equipment at one point or another. This allowed us to practice and understand the difficulties of filmmaking, and all the effort that can go into just one shot.

In regard to the editing, we also divided this up. Although, we discovered that audio was the largest job and difficulty.

Many thanks to Leon, Roxanne, Saphaya, and the Campus Store!! 🙂

 

 

 

Maggie, Inez, July: Storyboard.

IMG_0511Scene 1-6. Closeup of teddy bear, until the purchase of the Teddy bear at the counter

IMG_0512Scene 7-12. Continual of purchase, and walk out onto the street while on the phone

IMG_0513Scene 13-18. Phone conversation, and pass off of the teddy bear to a friend

IMG_0514Scene 19-24. The “crazy” girl wraps the teddy bear, and the boy goes on a date with his girlfriend

IMG_0515Scene 25-30. The boy surprises his girlfriend, by giving her the wrapped teddy bear, the crazy girl walks into the store.

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Scene 31-36. Questions, madness, and “surprises” ensue!

ThereWhile this may qualify as some of the world’s worst drawing, it was immensely helpful.  We can already see how this saved us loads of time upon filming. It was extremely important for us to work out our differences in one spot before we headed out with all of the equipment. By going through this shot by shot process, we solidified our plot, and we are all now 100% on the same page as to where we want our video to go, and how we want it to look. It makes the filming process something we look forward to rather than are worried about. While we had quite a bit of conflict, it was healthy conflict, and it led to a better and more developed project. With 36 scenes to shoot, we are super excited to embark on this project.

As for the process, we cut out more than half of our original story, because we realized we were leaning toward the length of a feature film rather than a few minutes.

Besides basing out the simple characteristics of each shot, we used color to identify special effects. Whether it be illuminated red eyes, artistic lighting from the back, or an after effects filter we will need to apply in post production. (except in the first page where we got carried away with color in the hair, and on the teddy bear). Occasionally we used arrows to represent transition, or movement, but we left the scene vague enough to be up to artistic interpretation at the time of shooting. Now that we have a solid plot, the rest is more of a collaboration process where we are all (hopefully) on the same page 🙂

Oh! And we are excited to pick our cast.

Maggie and Stephanie’s Sound Piece

Stephanie:

First, Maggie and I decided to make a scary sound recording. We considered several settings of the scary story, and at last we decided to make a scary story about the way back to dorm. We thought it was well-related to our normal life and could best synthesize with our peers. We set the story line as the following. One night, a student was leaving the AB but missing the shuttle bus back to dorm, thus she had to walk back to dorm. On her way back, she first heard coin-dropping sound, and she stopped. Then she went into the Family Mart to see if the weird sound would disappear. When she continued to walk back, she heard the coin-dropping sound again and she asked “Hello”. She still went on walking, and she heard the sound once more, she was frightened, asking who the sound was. Then the sound “Sorry” haunted her when she was running away. In the end, the girl breathed heavily after a long run, and she heard one more “Sorry” and screamed. End of the story.

After we decided what to be our topic for the sound recording project, we started gathering recordings. We used TASCAM to record sound. I first recorded five sounds: footsteps on the stairs on the way out of AB, exiting the AB, the shuttle bus leaving, the traffic noise, and the Family Mart welcoming music. Then Maggie and I used Garage Band to set these recorded as background sound of the whole story. We downloaded “footstep”, “running”, “breath”, “scream”, “coin-dropping”, and “Sorry” from Internet. And we put these sounds into the Garage Band. We looped “footstep” when the main character started walking because we wanted to create a continuity of time and space. We used “coin-dropping” three times to create a horror atmosphere, with three different reaction of the main character. The first time she stopped, indicated by the stop of footstep. The second time she said “Hello” in suspicion, recorded by Maggie afterwards. The third time she asked who the sound was, also recorded by Maggie. After this, we added “Sorry”, looped and panned it to different channels. We wanted to make it sound like a person was chasing you, and saying “Sorry” to both of your ears. We also changed the footstep sound into running sound, and added heavy breathing sound as well. In the end, we saved only the breathing sound to create horror, and we ended it with one more “Sorry” and a scream, leaving the ending open. Thus we thought the listeners could engage themselves in the sound recording project and imagined the ending by themselves.

After we had the structure of the sound recording project down, we added many revisions. First, we recorded Maggie saying “Goodbye” to me to better indicate the setting and timing of the story. Second, we added Maggie’s reaction of missing the shuttle bus, because the original piece was hard to interpret her missing the bus. Third, we added fade-in and fade-out to different sound tracks, and we kept the volume of different sound in accordance, what’s more, we panned several tracks in order to provide the listener a better understanding of the space.

The most interesting part of creating a horror sound recording is that because Maggie and I have listened to it so many times, it no longer sounds horror to us. But we are really happy to find that others really like this piece. But we also recognize some problems in the recording project. First, wind in the background. When I recorded the traffic sound, I also recorded the sound of the wind. Maggie and I tried to lower the volume of that track so that the wind sound would be diminished. But that did not work out. After class we decide to add the volume of wind, and introduce one more track of wind to enhance the horror atmosphere. Second, the beginning of the project was too fast. We only had Maggie saying “Goodbye” to me, which may be incompatible in creating a whole setting of the story.

In all, I have learned how to use TASCAM field recorder and how to use Garage Band to create a sound project. And I think Maggie and I have created a really good sound recording project, which we name as “My Last Trip Back to Dorm”. But we also learn that it takes a lot to create a horror sound piece, and in the process of recording there could be many distraction and unnecessary noise.

Maggie: 

Since Stephanie covered the majority of our process I will focus on the revision aspect of our piece.

Based on feedback we noticed the wind was a bit distracting. We noticed this beforehand and lowered the wind down to quite a low level, but it didn’t seem to be enough. Therefore in the editing process we played with the pan of the sound of the wind. Hopefully, it added a bit more dimension to the piece. (Also, I think pan might be my favorite feature:))

We also adjusted the pan of the bus moving away so it sounded more like the bus was actually moving into the distance.

We tried to adjust the reaction to the first coin drop. We wanted the first reaction to be non-verbal because in real life, you would not automatically say something if you heard coins. We moved the coin drops a bit sooner, so it emphasized when the girl stops walking.

All in all, I really enjoyed this project!

Comic Revisions: Maggie, Luke, Inez, Isabella

Before:

A broken she:he

After:

comic draft (Revised)

 

Maggie:

After the presentation of Tuesday we took what everyone had to say, and tried to incorporate it into our comic:

  1. We attracted attention to the beginning of the comic by adding the red frame around the first panel. Now the attention is not drawn to the big black panel on the bottom
  2. We changed the positioning of the boy and and girl in the second panel, so that their body language points toward the right. We wanted it to push the story forward.
  3. We extended the red from the breakup scene across the whole comic to not only separate the boy and girl, but also to imply a parallel time progression. We aim to allow people to better understand the direction by which they read our comic.

Luke:

After the critique about our comic panels, I found out some basic elements of making comic which we didn’t think of before. Like how could you attract someone’s eyes from the very beginning and hoe could you make the comic in a easy way to be understood by the audience. These elements gives me a alert on how to make a great comic.  For what a really fabulous comic to me, first it must be meaningful and next it have to include the comic experience. last but not least, a great comic must have a great story line.

Inez:

With the critiques from class, I can feel the complex notion in the simple images. Comics seems to have more inspiration from people’s instinct.  Since people have an expectation of simple panels for comics, all the underlining emotion have to be obvious for reader to capture and logic should be set up when constructing the comics. The colour and image we used need to be well-designed to catch people’s eyes and arouse their attention all through the panels. For instance, we revise the direction of the character so that people can be led fro the beginning to the end of the story. Also, comics is to present multi-axis imagination by the 2-dimension world.
Isabella:
We got some good feedback for this comic. I definitely noticed the heaviness of the black computer panel after it was pointed out to us. We added in a red line from the first panel to both divide the boy and girl sections and draw the eye in the right direction of the comic. We also received an idea to make the boy and girl sections look as though they had been ripped, but opted not to implement this critique because it didn’t fit with they style that we wanted. I was pleased with how our comic came out in the first round, and doing these critiques is always really helpful to make the piece even better in ways the creators can’t really see.

Maggie’s Response to Everything is a Remix

Kirby Ferguson’s idea that innovation is not based on creativity should not have surprised me as much as it did. His ideas made such logical sense, that one would think they would have thought about it before. But, this is SO not true. When I thought of innovation, I thought of one super smart anomaly of a person, who happened to think differently than everyone else. But innovations occur out of the efforts of many, not of one. You start as someone copying the greats of others, and then through a process of efforts, you create a work that is “new.” But, is it really new? Of course not, it is an accumulation of everything you have learned, and nothing you learned was yours to begin with.

It is like imagining a new animal! Think of anything. Here is one to look at.

img-thing

The thing about this animal is that while it doesn’t necessarily exist, its component parts do. Its head is a fox, its body is a bird. While you think you can create a new animal, one that no one else has seen, well, this is true. But the parts, are not. Same with a song, with a movie. The product may be new, but its structure lies in years and years of history.

What I want to think about most is what our world would be like if the remixing of copyrighted material did not carry with it a “social taboo?” If everyone was encouraged to cooperate, communicate, and share all their ideas, discovers and information, what kind of incredible things would our world discover? Is the concept of intellectual property problematic and curbing the potential progress of the world? Or does it keep honesty, and credit in check?

Maggie’s Response to “Understanding Comics”

I found myself giggling as I turned the pages of this surprisingly entertaining read. Most pieces assigned in academic writing are not the epitome of fascinating, but I think the unique representation of hard facts was perfect to convey what a comic really is about.

I never thought about panel sizes in comics. How some blocks are smaller than others. But, now it really makes sense. One of my favorite quotes in the piece was in the very beginning on page 7.

Space does for comics what time does for film!”

The pauses between characters in movies create tremendous tension that is palpable to the audience chewing popcorn. In a comic, the size of the panel, the arrangement of words, the text size, are the mediums by which emotion is conveyed. A particularly sized panel, helps the reader understand the emotion of the character.

pg 3 panels 7-9

^ The varying sizes of the panels allow us to understand the sense of emotion the artist wants us to experience. It is represented through SPACE.

giphy (4)

^ Whereas the gif of a show, utilizes TIME. The repetitive word choice, and time spent yelling is the way the television show conveys its emotion and intention.

 

Maggie Walsh and Yu Zhou’s and Chloe Haddaway’s Photoshop Image

Documentation by Maggie and Yu Zhou only.

IMG_5481Maggie-Walsh,-Chloe-Haddaway,-Yu-Zhou

 

Yu Zhou First Turn:

I added the spaceship, the balloon and cloned a boat. I used quick selection tool to select the spaceship and the ballon, which are found online through goole picture search. For the boat, I used the stamp to clone it and placed it somewhere before a line(because when moving in the water, the boat always leaves a line behind it)
One thing that is clearly not good enough is that the light of the two objects I added to this picture does not seem very nature. I made them pretty small to kind of avoid this problem.
Yu Zhou Second Turn:
I added a Godzilla to this picture. This time I used the tool pen to select the region I want, because the color of the figure is pretty similar to the background. Again, this time the picture was from google and the problem of lighting appeared. However, because of this time the figure is rather big in this picture, the problem is more obvious. And the temperature of this picture was once cold, so I adjusted it to kind of warm(yellow) to fit it into the original picture which was taken when the sun is going down. Also, another problem appears is that due to adding another layer of Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which makes it seem unreal. I am not sure how to fix it by far.
Maggie Walsh First Turn: 
I wanted to do a picture of the Shanghai skyline, because I thought that had a lot of manipulation opportunity. I tried to add pictures of the London Eye, or the Burj Khalifa, but it was becoming quite difficult. I decided, finally, to add a picture of the Eiffel tower. I know in retrospect that I could have done a better job pasting it in, but it doesn’t look entirely awful from far away. (Obviously not the point of photoshop). I had trouble making the transition “flawless” because the Eiffel tower is quite a complex building.
Maggie Walsh Second Turn: 
Secondly, I added King Kong to the image. It was difficult to find an appropriate image, but it all worked out eventually. I had to use the clone tool to make some parts of him appear where they were cut off in the previous picture.

Maggie Walsh’s Response to On the Rights of Molotov Man

The most interesting quote in the piece was,

There is no denying in this digital age that images are increasingly dislocated and far more easily decontextualized [….] Indeed, it seems to me that if history is working against context, then we must, as artists, work all the harder to reclaim that context.

How does one just “reclaim context?” And even if you can reclaim such context, is it your right to limit the contexts in which your “subject” can be placed?

It leads me to ask, what constitutes art? Is any picture posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr considered “art.” Do we all have the rights to make sure no one goes on to reproduce nor tamper with the context of every selfie we have ever taken? 

I believe true art can be placed into many contexts, and it can lead to many interpretations. Art is a dialectic of sorts, and with everyone in communication with each other, to limit the ability of one artist to re-contextualize another artist’s piece, is limiting the communicable abilities of art.

Maggie Walsh’s Response to Walter Benjamin

This piece was not exactly the most riveting piece I have ever read, but it definitely had its points. I had an interesting time designing the webpage to accompany my reflection.

machine

I would like to point out how I used a particularly distracting gif, so that the reader had to concentrate on the information I put on the webpage. It was a symbolic metaphor, referring to Benjamin’s quote,

“Masses seek distraction, art demands concentration.”

If my website was meant for masses, they could very well become distracted by my mesmerizing gif. But, if they found the true “art” which, in this case would be my written interpretation of Benjamin’s text, they would have to truly “concentrate.”

It’s a bit of a stretch, but I found an abstract interpretation was easiest under the circumstances of limited coding ability.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 8.22.16 PM

The Machine Stops: But this blog post is just starting!

I am not sure what part of the story I want to talk about first, nor do I think I can manage to cover all I would like to in a simple response. What I would most like to say is, wow, that sure is relevant for something written in 1909.

First, it reminded me quite a bit of H.G Well’s Time Machine.

 

imgres

 

In the Time Machine, he underground apparatus of the Moorlocks, equipped with air vents is very reminiscent of the physical nature of “The Machine.” Not to mention, there is a continuous man v. nature conflict consistent throughout both novels. Man’s apparent triumph over nature, causes man to become lazy, ultimately leading in the re-triumph of nature, and man’s demise.

The Machine has “conquered Leviathan,” which is an allusion to Thomas Hobbes’ book demonstrating the brutality of living within a state of nature. The totalitarian government Hobbes’ calls for is provided by the Machine.

imgres-1

Secondly, it reminded my of The Circle, by Dave Eggers

In this novel, the corporate empire called “The Circle” creates and manages immense amounts of social media tools. The speaking tubes in The Machine Stops remind me of Mae, from The Circle. She has a job to answer continuous questions via headset, just as Vashti was asked her opinion on the food. Both have the ability to be constantly flooded with conversation and questions; yet, they can turn off these features when they need to focus on one thing. It is stressful just to imagine having so much on your mind at one time.

imgres-2

 

I would also like to point out the current relevance this piece plays in our school. As we transfer from a material to e-books, we can say we are departing the “Age of Litter,” mentioned in The Machine Stops. One thing I would like to say about books is that when the machine did stop, it is interesting that they found comfort in the physical and material book. I think the materiality of the book stands for something quite important in this story.

 

The documentary, Transcendent Man, follows the life of the technologist Ray Kurzweil, and it is interesting in relation to The Machine Stops. The idea of the “cyborg” or the half-human, half machine is prevalent in both pieces. But, what Kurzweil doesn’t cover is the essential question of the piece we read today. What happens if the machine stops? Can we put so much trust into a piece of machinery?

Transcendent_man_poster

 

Lastly I would like to compare this piece to the infamous Facebook. Facebook has its users in a chokehold. We can’t leave it, even if we wanted to. You would miss out on events, on the pictures, on your life! Friends I have without Facebook are much more difficult to contact. But, whenever Facebook makes a change people argue, but no one leaves. People don’t like the new messenger, but hey, we still use Facebook. This is just like The Machine Stops. People were readily adapting themselves to the defects of the machine. “This went from bad to worse unchallenged.”

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