[Dog portraits and fostering] Updates on progress

Dog Portraits

As we had lots of difficulties with our contacts, especially with some of them being unresponsive, or cancelling last minute, Nora and I decided to change our focus for this interactive project. Originally, we wanted to shoot something like ‘a day in the life of a foster’ so that people could experience what it is like to be a foster parent for an animal. We wanted to promote animal fostering and rescuing, and feature the experience of foster parents, as well as rescuers, and veterinaries.  Continue reading

Week 9 assignment: Randomization

For this week’s assignment, I decided to work with one of the Olivetti posters, and I chose the one below.

What attracted me to this poster was the geometric shapes, and the boldness of the three colours used (orange, white and black). We had looked at drawing shapes using vectors and directions in class, and I wanted to continue practising those techniques for the assignment, and get more familiar working with vectors.

Continue reading

Ploop, The Ice Cream Cone

Ploop, The Ice Cream Cone, is my 3D model for a toy that I want to make. I decided on the name ploop, because I think this is the sound that an ice cream makes as it falls to the ground. I didn’t want to make my ice cream cone the normal one, so I decided to make it upside down and melting on the ground.

I started off with the front view and added the side views.

It is my first time using Illustrator to make anything, so it took me some time to play around and figure out what was happening, and I am still getting used to it. I couldn’t figure out how to colour in the object without having some of my outline colour disappear especially for the criss-cross lines on the cone, so I decided instead to just colour the strokes different colours for different flavours. I also made a triangular packaging for my toy displaying the 4 available colours. Caution: It melts in the sun 🙂

Manakamana Blog Post

At first, I had no idea that the producers were staying in the cable car the whole time shooting in the same position, as the cable car went from the bottom station to the temple at Manakamana. I also didn’t expect to be watching the people riding the cable car for an entire 10 minutes at least. The first two people, the old man and the boy, did not really move much apart from their heads, and after some time, I thought to myself that it would be tedious to keep staring at the same people, and wondered if the rest of the movie was like that. And the rest of the scenes were also a full ten minutes of the same people.

Beyond watching the same passengers, my eyes then wandered and focused on the expressions of the individuals, as well as clothing style and the changing scenery as the cable car went up or down. The first little boy’s expression looked so concerned and scared. The second Nepali lady was really cute and funny, she started by sitting on one side of the cable car, and then slowly made her way to be positioned in the middle of the cable car.

The movie made me think how many times do the people have to ride the cable car everyday, and the immensity of the trek. Another interesting aspect from those encounters with different passengers is that no one really looked straight into the camera, and it felt that they were either just ignoring the camera or we were just part of the cable car scene. This was especially powerful in the scenes where passengers were eating ice cream for example, because the audience felt that they were sort of peeping on the way that other people ate ice cream.

One moment that I liked was the sudden revelation of the live chicken when a couple was riding the cable car. This same couple also came back on the cable car towards the end for a return journey, and somehow the chicken seemed not alive anymore then.  It was the couple with the chicken that I for the first time knew they were headed to a temple. I think that apart from the fact that watching the same people in a cable car for that long was sometimes tiring, the tension built between still and non-talkative people was also something worth noting. I feel that this tension released everytime someone said something such as “manakamana my ears popping” or the individuals were interacting with each other in the cable car.

I think that this is an interesting piece of documentary, although, because of how small attention span people usually have, I often lost concentration in the movie.

Illustrator exercises Tuesday

This Tuesday, we got started on how to use Adobe Illustrator. Having never worked with Illustrator before, I thought that it was a very useful class and it gave me a good introduction on how to navigate the software.

My favourite part of the lesson was the ability to grab two objects, and then using the ‘path’ window, either merge them together, or delete extra parts, or grab the intersection. I thought that this is a pretty useful tool, and I can see how one can create so many different objects with this function.

From what we started in class, I continued to work a bit on the broken LED model and completed the front view so far.

Miu Miu, the Yogi Cat

My aim was: knitting a cat as my soft toy gift to my friend Leidy. I listed in previous posts her likes and the research process that I went through to decide to make a yogi cat for my friend. More in the ppt presentation below:

https://docs.google.com/a/nyu.edu/presentation/d/1iCHuHo04dYt682BjNHv0LxgZfldydTiUSdYbgWdtOPA/edit?usp=sharing

Because she loves cats, and because we share a story with kittens on the street, this is why I chose my toy to be a cat. I also wanted to explore the field of knitting and become better at it becuase I really liked the class on amirugumi toys, so I took on the challenge of knitting an entire cat.

Sketching Process

After researching online about cats, cat toys, and yoga accessories, I sketched out a few drawings, and placed my cat drawings on yoga mats to decide the dimensions I wanted to have it in. Then I also tried to see them in different poses doing different things, such as ‘eating’.

Progress and Challenges

I was looking online at how to crochet cats and looked back at the ball pattern that Marcela had showed us in her presentation.

I chose the colour of the cat to be blue because my friend’s favourite colour is blue, so I thought that blue would be an appropriate colour for the gift. From there, I had forgotten how to make the magic ring, and this was the most important because it is the starting point of any of the cat parts! I asked Marcela for the first time to teach me again, but then I forgot it again at home. I then looked up on YouTube how to make the magic ring, and I think I watched the video at least 10 times. Here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUaywX0-WE

The magic ring was one of the initial challenges, but now I am confident that I can make a magic ring anytime I want (which is great). And from there, it was knitting, knitting, knitting all day all night.

I was really happy when I managed to finish the head of the cat. Picture below! Through the process of knitting, I learnt how to better read knitting stitches instructions, especially the symbols for single stitch, double stitch, increasing and decreasing stitches, as well as the X and V on instruction diagrams. One of the main difficulties that I faced while knitting is staying concentrated on the task at hand, because it was so easy to get distracted and forget how many stitches I had done or which row of stitches I had reached. The pin that Marcela gave me to keep track of my starting point all the time was really helpful, but it was still up to me to keep track of how many times I had done already. Therefore, through this process, I think that I became more diligent, patient and attentive to detail. To do something well, one has to spend time, and also take care of the tasks that is being done, so that it becomes good.

As I was knitting the paws of the cat, it was pretty complicated because the circle was so small and because it was small, it was hard to keep the shape nice and tight. What I realised after knitting for some time was that it was helpful to slip my finger into the paw, and then use the crochet needle to make the stitch and twist the paw around the finger to continue the stitches.

The finished parts separately looks like the below picture:

After making every part, I realised that the head was really big hole and compared to the small hole of the body. So, Marcela suggested we add another row of decreasing stitches to make it fit more, and I think that helped a lot. Then I was deciding what to stuff my toy with. I used the white stuffing material, but I also needed some weight in the body and paws of my cat. As I was thinking what could be used, the idea of rice came up, but I did not have any rice at home. I then settled on red lentils, because that is what I had at home available to me. Thus, my cat is stuffed with red lentils. I think it is a very healthy cat! Plus pooping red lentils, lots of fiber, great for the Yoga cat theme.

Then I learnt how to stitch all the parts to each other. What was important here was how to close off with a knot and then hid the knot and the rest of the string of yarn. I learnt how to camouflage the yarn by pulling it inside of the body of the cat, then pulling it tight and cutting off just the extra so that when released the yarn would automatically go back into the body of the cat, but there would be less chance of it untying. I thought that was pretty cool!

I also wanted to add special features to my cat, so I knitted on the eyes and a mouth for the cat:

And of course, Mr Yogi cat wouldn’t be a Yoga cat without the posture and accessories. Thus I made a headband out of yarn, cut out a piece of felt for the yoga mat, and turned lollipops into dumbbells. And I present Mr Yogi Cat.

I had one of my classmates play with the cat toy before class, but then when I gave it to Leidy, my friend, she really loved it!

Pictures of Leidy when I presented her with the toy. She was really excited and really happy. Leidy named the cat Miu Miu. So now it is Miu Miu the yogi cat. I also have a short video of Leidy playing with Miu Miu below:

Conclusion and Improvements

I was really happy with the reaction of my friend, and also of the work I managed to do and achieve. I really do want to knit something for myself now, and I feel that I will be able to do more things, and that I have the power to create a lot of toys with just string.

For improvements on my toy, I would want to make a cleaner job with some of my stitches, especially when sewing one piece to the other. I also think that I would have really liked being able to customize more of the cats face features, potentially adding make-up to the eyes or cheeks, because my friend really likes make-up. For the Yoga accessories, for improving, it would be nice to be able to be able to make a nicer yoga mat, maybe by sewing felt together with some stuffing in the middle for padding.

Overall, I was really happy making this toy. It was also ironic that a stress relief activity such as knitting can turn into stressful activity when in a time crunch (haha).

3 designs for 3 tarts

Links:

Banana tart: http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/mhf273/sketches/SkWTmtmAW

Coconut cream tart:http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/mhf273/sketches/ryV4StQCW

Almond tart: http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/mhf273/sketches/B1OdNKmR-

For my midterm project, I wanted to design a logo for three tarts from my parents bakery business, and potentially have them on brown/white pastry paper bags. I chose tarts because they have similar circular shape, but different fillings and flavours and taste and smell. This the challenge for me was how to have three variations of a tart that would capture three different flavours, look, taste and smell. The pastries that I chose to work with are also local Mauritian delights which are: coconut cream custard tart (puits d’amour), banana tart (tartes bananes), and almond tart (mirliton).

I started by sketching out different designs on paper, and then just started designing shapes on p5 to see how things would look like. I realised that by looking at the shapes and trying to picture the shapes, I was at the beginning less focused on what the computer could do better computationally, and my initial drawings captured more of the actual shapes and look, which made it seem like things that could be better done in Illustrator instead. So then, I went into trying to sketch out what would change from one tart to the other, and how to use random and code to do things to the tart fillings.

Initial sketches: I was distinguishing what changed from one tart to the other, the flavors coconut topping, almond, and bananas, and looking into colours and appearance of the different pastries.

In p5, my initial sketches looked like, trying to map flavours and looking at colours, as well as trying to place something in the oven, but it looked more like Illustrator or Photoshop designs. and then I started thinking of how to make it more fun. I really liked the top view open face of the tart, so that is how I started pursuing top face designs and how to make variations on it.

So this is the sketching that followed with advice from Professor, about how to think of my designs more procedurally, and sketching ways in which something would change from one tart to the other.

As I had difficulties in the ideation process, apart from the website pictures, I also researched a lot online on different tarts, how they look like and how to play/represent different toppings to see how other people make it:

Afterwards, I got some advice from classmates “just start doing it” and so I just started designing the tarts on p5, and this advice really helped because I think I was focused on being settled with my design first, but this opened me to the idea of making as I went with the project and being open to feedback and changes.

I started with the banana tart, and thinking of bananas, I sketched out the shape of the bananas and tried to make it look like bananas with the colour and stroke(). I was thinking of separating the bananas and make it more spread out, but it did not look too good, and because my center point was not the tip of the banana, I could see that it was difficult to work with the rotate() function as the origin was not the tip of the banana.

For my tart designs, I was really focused on colours and trying to capture the original colours of the tarts, because I think that was what I am used to seeing and them looking like, so for myself, I would find it easy to relate and recognise them.

I was tackling the almond tart next, and then I spent some time designing almonds and researching how almonds looked like, and then using beginShape() and endShape() to make the almonds. I tried to be very attentive to detail, and also sketched out an almond flake and used for loops to change the gradient colour of the almond flake.

My first trials:

Then I used the random function to scatter the almonds all around the tart. I found it difficult to have them go inside the sphere and not be outside of the sphere boundary, but I didn’t know how to do that yet.

Following this, another of my friend suggested that I should make layers in the tart – so that it looked like a dome shaped, therefore playing with darker colours in the middle of the tart and lighter at the sides. I also decided to align the almonds in the middle so they would form a flower shape, and made a bunch of ellipses to represent icing sugar.

For the coconut covered cream tart, I also followed the same principle of trying to add texture and volume to my design by having a gradient of colours in a for () loop. I also wanted to try making coconut flakes instead of shreds so it would look more like coconut, but after thinking over it, coconut shreds still looked better.

For my banana tart, I was considering adding the pie criss-crossed dough so that it represented the tart that we see on pictures, or some caramel sauce, but after consulting with Professor, it might be more tricky to make and I would have to learn how to create masks (this for later though!) Here is what I was thinking of:

One of the things that took a lot of time for me was to think about colours and shapes to convey meanings. I spent a lot of time deciding colours and experimenting with different sets of colours. I also asked several people for opinions and researched a lot on different tarts. More pictures of research below:

   

My challenge and take-away from this is that I don’t have to do a lot of complicated things to capture an idea. After talking with Professor, he advised me to have a common aesthetic and style for my designs.

I think that I wanted to apply all the knowledge that I had accumulated so far, and wanted to do too many complicated things that made my designs not identify with each other. There were solid shapes and contrasting colours and others had gradients and were less distinguishable. In my quest to trying to represent the pastries exactly the way they looked, I neglected some of the simpler aspects and simple things I could do to create meaning.

Therefore, I re visited all my designs, and based on the banana tart, I tried to re make the other two tarts (coconut and almonds) to be more bold in colour and although still capturing their own flavours, but be more fit with my style. For the almond tart, I made it simpler, and made the almonds smaller, have a singular colour and based on research determined that it could be nice to have them scattered because this is usually how they are sold with the flakes. As for the coconut covered cream tart, I decided to tint the cream into a custard like colour to make it more stand out, and also looked at a lot of different pictures. Here are some pictures of the final result:

Other challenges and questions that I spent time trying to figure out were how to use vectors in my case to store values from vertexes on a sphere, which I am not sure whether that was possible. I also know that my design could be more procedural and that I can make more use of for loops, and therefore, would love to take these designs further to implement these.

Working on this for the future, I think that I could improve on the designs themselves as well, I received some feedback on making the banana tart with banana slices instead of bananas and that would make it more stand out as well and fit the previous design of my almond tart.

I think as I learn more things from the class, and become better at understanding what is happening and how to code, I want to be able to implement more of the computational aspects, as well as potentially having writing and letters with the sketch.

Overall, I really did enjoy spending time coming up with those designs and I am content with what I am able to produce so far.

Fair use readings, Sita Sings the Blues, Eyeo 2016

At the start of the reading, it was amusing that the text quoted “we concede certain limited individual property rights to ensure the benefits of creativity to a living culture”, because it gave me the impression that as a society, we are not very creative, and that all we do is copy on others, which is probably very true in retrospect. However, I do believe that it is necessary to be able to recognise and reward original authors, and that acts such as “fair use”, are able to help mitigate this.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that there is a need to make sure that our work is in regulations with “fair use”. Any little piece of data used to create a work must be credited for, and it is very pressurizing to make sure that we won’t get any difficulties with the law after our work is released. Even as a student at school, students are taught how to reference, and we are punished for the slightest quote that “we thought of” but was actually used by someone else beforehand. It feels that there is no space for creativity unless one is constructing on top of each other’s works (which is fine too), but there is limited space for people to come up with anything new, especially when the world has become so small with the internet.

After reading the texts, it is impressive the amount of care and caution that filmmakers have to have so that they avoid any repercussions later. This is probably why credit pages are so long after movies. Although the laws are strict concerning references and credit pages, it is ironic that most of the audience do not stay long enough to watch the credits, and as such why have credits? If credit pages were at the beginning of movies, that would have probably been more effective to have people know about the contributions to a certain piece of work, while at the same time, the popularity of movies would probably drop, and watching online, people usually skip those moments.

It’s nice that “fair use” enables documentary film makers to have more leeway with giving their material credits, because they cannot avoid situations where posters and radio appear in their shoot. There are so many rules put in place to protect authors and their work, and this is important, however, with the rising internet and media age, sharing of knowledge and ability of people to be creative conflicts with those established copyright laws.

Sita Sings the Blues is an amazing piece of work, it is so intricate, driving 3 parallel stories forwards. Somehow the combination of three different styles of narration works well in this animation project, and it was not tiring for me as an audience to jump between those different view points and aesthetics. The whole narration is also hilarious and entertaining, I won’t forget the comical scene where the King dies 10 times in the background as the narrators are deciding whether he dies or not. Looking back at the copyright subject of this week’s reading, I think that it is particularly interesting that Sita Sings the blues is completely free to the audience and that the author gives full access to the audience to share, copy, broadcast, archive, and even make money from it. This is really impressive, because contrary to being protective of the work, the author allows the audience to appropriate it freely, and I think this is great, because the audience can have the freedom and creativity to create new things with the already designed assets. Additionally, I feel that the audience can feel more greatful towards the author and acknowledge the author’s work more easily. Sometimes, when a work is unaccessible, people find ways to “pirate” the things they want to get because there is more of a need to challenge what we don’t have, and I think this generates less of an ackowledgement of the author.

I think that Sita Sings the blues does a great job of taking historical stories and characters, and making the audience connect with the animation on an emotional level, something that Josh Begley brings up in his talk on Eyeo, and the iphone app he has worked on to track US drone strikes. Something that struck me particularly from his talk was that at the end, he poses the question of when will data move beyond just images, but will convey feelings to the audience.

 

 

 

The Three Little Peeps

Link to Fairy Tale: https://drive.google.com/a/nyu.edu/file/d/0B1dCW_EJYJpsaXpybW5FY2lQNDQ/view?usp=sharing

Idea

The fairy tale that I chose to work with was The Three Little Pigs because my father used to tell me and my siblings the story when we were young. I would always remember how he would tell it to us and imitate the whooshing sounds with his mouth. One funny aspect for me to go back to the fairy tale was to look at it again and explain it in English, because at home we speak french and so the story was told to me in French.

From this fairy tale, I re-imagined my own which was about three siblings, which I decided to name “The Three Little Peeps” because it was close to the original name of the tale, and these three little peeps were living in the city of Shenzhen in China. The three little peeps were to build their own house security system in order to protect themselves. In my story, a robot turns evil and wants to build an army of robots by kidnapping children. The robot goes to each little peep’s home. The robot manages to break into the first two houses but at the third, he gets stopped by Mr. Teddy. The robot, who does not have the emotions or imagination that humans have, does not know that a Teddy bear needs love and to be treated like a friend, thus is not able to pass this challenge. Eventually, the robot runs out of batteries and is dying. The Three Little Peeps decide to save the robot and to make little robot a good robot again by replacing its bad parts with the rest of Mr. Teddy. And they lived happily ever after.

Process

To make my fairy tale, I made use of Fuse for the creation of my characters. I attributed them more pig-like characteristics in their faces and the proportions of their hands and feet so that it could unify the three siblings together as well as reflect the original story.

For the other props and backgrounds, I hand-drew most of my assets, and a few of them I looked at city backgrounds on the internet and corrected them to the way I wanted to using Photoshop. This took a lot of time to draw and then colouring using colouring pencils, but I believe that this captured a bit of my own aesthetics and things that I enjoy doing. I think that through this project, I really wanted to explore new types of technology and this is why I also did a lot of work in software rather than doing everything manually using my hands.

For this project, I saved my characters from Fuse to the CC library (which was also a long story to be able to use it) and then imported the characters in Photoshop in order to animate them. From there I exported and imported back into Aftereffects to create the animations. It was my first time working in Aftereffects and trying to do animation, so I tried my best to learn the software as I was going along with the project.

After creating multiple compositions in Aftereffects of the different scenes, I then exported everything again into Adobe Premiere to be able to combine the clips to make my movie and add story titles. Now that I am writing about the project, I realise that I had many different types of assets and was working transitioning between many software.

Work in progress

We started off boiling down our stories to a few situations, and making a story board.

For many of my assets, especially the hand drawn ones, I had to use Photoshop in order to separate them into many layers to be able to animate the parts that I wanted. For example, here are a few shots of the different teddy bear parts I took apart from my original drawing in photoshop – which I then animated for the scene where the robot tears apart Mr. Teddy.

What I enjoyed the most in the process of making my work were the photoshop animations of my characters, because some of them just made me laugh. For instance, the bend over animation:

As I was making initial progress on my work, Marianne had suggested to me to add some animations to my own drawings so that it would fit with my 3D elements in the piece, and not look ‘flat’. I started out by animating the smoke in the house that I made as well as the backgrounds changing with the time of the day. I also animated my “Game Over” scene so that it could flash and be more alive. Those were one of the first steps I took in using Aftereffects animation. I had first separated the layers in my drawing in Photoshop and added the animation part in Aftereffects.

Progression in Aftereffects of my work flow and adding compositions:

Challenges

One of the main challenges that I faced was time, because it demanded a lot of time to work in all the different mediums that I used. But as I was also not familiar with the software, it took me some time to research more into using them as well invest time into making use of them. I did really like the fact that I was allowed to explore a new medium and challenge myself in this way. I do think that I learnt a lot by doing, and applying the things learnt during class demo, and I hope to be able to make more things using these programs in the future!

A challenge was that sometimes I forgot to save my work in aftereffects, and when the program stopped responding at times, it made me really sad, especially at the start ~ this is also why I have so many versions of the compositions and the progressions as shown above because I then started ‘save as’ to keep old versions as well as new versions.

Another challenge that I had was using Photoshop to place animations on my Fuse characters. For some reason, Photoshop was really slow to playback the animated characters, and so I found that what was easiest was just to export the short movies in order to watch the animations afterwards and see whether I liked them or not, and start again.

As much as I thought it was challenging to work with all my different assets, it was interesting for me to see the progress that I was making, and how I could turn simple drawings into 3D objects and animated beings that could interact with other 3D objects. I think that the amazing amount of possibilities that one is able to do with technology is impressive.

Improvements

Moving forward with this fairy tale project, I definitely think that there is a lot of room to play with sound effects and integrate the sound more smoothly to the entire piece. I think that voice over would also be nice in the story-telling parts (reading out the text). One part that could definitely be expanded on is the introduction of the characters and their security system, because I only had them in the building stage, but I definitely would like to draw more assets and include scenes where each one’s security system is more visible, especially for the character who has the all-in-one face, fingerprint and voice recognition system. In that way, I do also want to have another scene rather than the “game over” for that particular character.

Another supplement that I would like to add to my fairy tale would be the movement of the camera, because at the moment it is static shots, but I want to be able to play with where the camera is positioned to capture my scenes differently and change the perspective from which the audience watches the fairy tale.

A last addition to the fairy tale that I want to include is the credits page that I didn’t get to include yet, but which would have the credits to the football ball that I used, as well as music from Freesound.com.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed taking this class and I was really happy to be able to see how everyone’s story had changed and progressed through the course of the class. Everybody’s stories are so different and the storytelling directions taken by everyone is very varied, it was very cool to see how hard everyone was working.

Even though my own fairy tale is not quite complete, or not yet reached the quality I want it to be, I do think that I am pleased so far with what I have been able to make and I want to continue to improve on it to make it better and better.

The Exiles : Response

The documentation of how “The Exiles” was produced from idea, to research, to production, to editing is impressive. The author has really detailed everything out in the thesis document. It is really interesting the process through which this film came about, from not having a lot of money to shoot, to staging scenes and editing a lot of different soundtracks to the movie as a whole. The Exiles seems to edge towards the theatrical plot rather than traditional documentary. Another point that was interesting was that the author said that he had to spend a “great number of hours” with the subjects that he was going to shoot about – and the author began to identify with them, walk like them, drink what they drank, and have their desires. Ultimately, it seems that in order to produce this film, he had fully immersed himself into the shoes of his subjects and understand them. However, the author’s indecisiveness and ‘not knowing’ what the film itself was about when he was shooting is sort of reflected in the film because as an audience, I did not really understand what was going on in the movie. How much this movie was staged and rehearsed is also quite distinct in the movie.

When I was watching The Exiles, I did not quite understand how the audio or voice over was laid onto the clips because they sometimes did not seem to reflect what was happening in the scene. I understood that there were interviews taken of the people in the movie, and then some scenes had their own audio recording to them. Another point that put me off was that the voice over, and even the audio in the scenes happening at the bar or between friends did not seem to match the actors mouths, so it confused me as to whether the movie was in another language previously or it was just some sort of “bad lip reading” style.

One scene that did not make sense to me was the one where the main protagonist (husband) looks into a photograph of his parents and we cut to the memory he seems to have of his parents and what they are doing for a while, then cut back to reality. However, those two scenes, the aesthetic of it did not quite match in my opinion, and made me even more wonder what was the movie about.

I am not entirely sure that I like the movie because I do not think I understood it. It seemed to be portraying the life of this American Indian couple, but their lifestyles seemed very different – the husband’s life and the wife’s life seemed completely unrelated and very different from each other. It almost did not seem that they were husband and wife. Personally, The Exiles did not really arouse my interest, and I am left confused about it.