Final Project

In order to begin my final project, I wanted to choose something that I was deeply interested in. I decided on painting, because it has been keeping me extremely busy during quarantine, between painting for my own pleasure and commissions. It keeps me from thinking about negative things, mostly because I just zone out for hours.

I first wrote my script, and I repeatedly rehearsed it, timing it on my phone and figuring out how much I had to write in relation to the length of my video. I then found pictures that related to my script on Unsplash and Pixabay, and put them into my video, making sure to give credit where credit was due. After that, I went onto ccMixter and found a copyright-free song called All Fifth’s Chill by Javolenus. It took me a very long time to select a song. There were so many options, and I honestly just had a hard time picking. I was surprised at how many resources there were for music, and they were all very helpful.

After that, I transferred the song over to iMovie by dragging and dropping the downloaded file. I dragged and dropped my selected pictures as well in the order that I wanted them to be in. Once that was all set, I recorded over my video with my script, and changed the volumes of all the audio files so you could hear my voice as well as the music. I changed around the pictures to fit the script a little better after I finished recording.

I added an intro and outro clip by first screen recording me typing the words into microsoft word on top of a black square with white type. I used helvetica bold, because I wanted a more modern look. In order to add a bit more effect to the clips, I decided to add typing noises over them. I looked up keyboard typing sounds and found two that best matched the clip I took. The first one was a rapid typing sound which went over me typing the sentence, and the second one was one button click sound that went over me typing the period. For the “Thank You!”, I decided to keep the music in the background because it was super harsh and not that fun to listen to when I tried to overlay the sounds.

To make the credits, I just chose the credits option under the Title Page, and filled in the information accordingly.

I have used iMovie before, so I did not have too much difficulty, but when I did, I simply just looked up the information that I needed to. This also took me way longer than anticipated, becuase of finding the audio, pictures, and trying to record my script without messing up. This project was super interesting to do, and I feel like I learned a lot more about the programs that I used. I feel like it represents a little piece of me that I want to share with the world, and I am proud of it.

Music PowerPoint

For my PowerPoint, I decided to do Frank Ocean. He is one of my all time favorite artists, and has inspired the way I think and do things.

In the first slide, I imported my favorite song by Frank Ocean, Self Control, into Audacity. I then highlighted a minute and ten seconds of what I wanted from the song. After that, I copied and pasted it into a new Audacity window. I saved that file, and imported it through Keynote. I did this by clicking the insert tab, and then scrolling down to choose, where I selected the file that I created in audacity. In order to get the music to start on its own, I clicked the icon in the middle of the presentation that represented the audio file, and I unchecked the box that said “Start audio on click”. I definitely had a little bit of trouble using Audacity, considering it was my first time using it and I am learning remotely. Other than that, I did not have many issues pertaining to the first slide.

In the second slide, I made the bullets come in one by one by making a bulleted list within a text box. I then clicked Animate on the righthand side menu. After that I clicked Animate under the dropdown menu, and in order them to come in one at a time, I clicked “By Bullet” under the Delivery tab. I could not figure out how to make each bulletpoint disappear so that it was showing one at a time. This, however, is an important method in presentation because it allows the viewer to focus on one thing at a time, rather than being overwhelmed with a bunch of text. It makes it much easier for the person watching the presentation to only think about the one point that the presenter is speaking about, rather than past or future points.

In the third slide, I lined up the text by setting the paragraphs to line up to the left for the song titles, the paragraph was lined up to the right for the track times.

In the fourth slide, I was not sure how to compare the songs, so I decided to make four categories: Title, Time, Album, and how much I could cry if I listened to each song. To make the table, I first clicked Insert and then selected “Table” in the drop down Menu. After that, a basic table appeared, and I changed the dimensions so it would fit my needs, making it a 4 by 5 section grid. Instead of writing the album name, I wanted to insert an image of the actual album cover in order to create more of a sense of where and when the song came from. I personally do not identify albums by name, but by what is depicted on them. I also wanted to make my 1-5 “cryability” scale a bit more fun, so I used crying emojis as my unit of measurement, making sure they were all lined up.

On the final slide, I went into photoshop and cut out each of the three images I selected. The backgrounds were very similar, so to fix any of the color imperfections, I used the clone stamp tool. I wanted to create a sense of movement along the image, so I put the smallest image on the left, and the largest on the right, overlapping each one. I copied and pasted the link to Frank Ocean’s website over a rounded rectangle that I inserted in Keynote. I then highlighted the link, clicked on the text color menu, and selected another color.

Overall, this was a super tedious process. I misread a lot of the instructions, and I am not used to using Keynote or Audacity, so it took some getting used to. I enjoyed that I could make this Powerpoint about something that I was interested in, so when I got aggravated, listening to his music on a constant loop kept my spirits up.

E-Collage

My font poem/quote was “Life can only be understood backwards, but lived forwards.” I really enjoyed this quote, because it not only applied to my life, but everyone else’s as well. It did not just fit some specific group’s interests. I enjoyed how broad it was.

I had a tough time figuring how exactly to interpret this quote. However, when I first read it, my mind immediately went to books or diaries. We are all writing this “book”, and we can read it over whenever we please, which is a blessing and a curse. We can learn from our mistakes by analyzing exactly what we did wrong. I wanted each of the covers to reflect different emotions: happiness and despair. I chose the woman covered in burning candles as my image because I did not want to choose a cheesy stock image of someone crying. The image shows how someone can really get hurt in life, whether or not it is their fault. I chose the older woman throwing leaves as the image to represent happiness because I wanted to show that we can achieve this feeling after going through the bad things in life, which means time passes, and we get older. Personally, my one main goal in life is to get to the end of it with minimal regrets and being content or proud of who I am. The older we get, the wiser we become when it comes to our own well being. I chose the clock to represent time passing, and the scrabble letters that say reflect were chosen because I wanted to do something that looked a bit more random. I was looking for magazine letters for more of a ransom note kind of effect, but these letters were the next best thing. I chose the word reflect to make the message I was trying to spread a bit clearer.

I positioned all of the images around the woman reading the book based on my message, and also what looked better. I used the quick selection tool to select the images and the eraser for some of the softer areas that needed more blending. For example, I used the eraser on the bottom part of the clock, so the line would not be as harsh to look at, and the white would blend a bit more with the light gray. I kept the letters looking a bit choppy because I think it looks better that way, and I like the rugged homemade collage effect where nothing is completely perfect. I erased around the hands to make it look as if the images were part of the cover, and I erased around the book as well. I also adjusted the coloring of the images and the opacity was decreased to make it blend a bit better into the cover. I used the clone stamp tool to get rid of the title that was already on the book, so I could put a word on the binding without the texts clashing.

I am most proud of how generally cohesive it all looks. It looks like a collage without totally overwhelming the viewer when they are looking at it. If I had more time, I would have tried to find better, more related images, or even just images that I like more. My weaknesses when working with photoshop are definitely related to cutting out images seamlessly as well as understanding the rasterization of an image, and why sometimes the settings do not work. I am usually a bit better with vector art, and I enjoy using Illustrator and InDesign lot more. I definitely need more practice with photoshop as a whole, but I feel like I have a pretty decent grasp on it because of skills I have learned in other programs and even other art classes.

Concert Poster

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When creating my poster, I decided to focus mostly on the rule of thirds. In the red and black poster, all of the subject matter is focused on the bottom left and top right intersections of the imaginary “grid”. The viewers eyes should be lead from the picture of Frank to the words, or the words to Frank. In the second image, the picture of Frank Ocean is not completely in the center. I did this for the sake of the rule of thirds, but also because none of the words would fit unless he was positioned slightly to one side. The direction of his body positioning helped me to determine what side he would be on. He is leaning towards our right, but his arm is outstretched towards our left, causing us to pay more attention to the words.

For both posters, I decided to stick with sans serif type. Frank Ocean is a very modern, different, but not very flashy artist, so I wanted to reflect that in the posters. The first poster includes “Coolvetica”, a typeface that I found on Dafont.com. This is one of my favorite typefaces, and I use it whenever I need to create something simple and modern. To put a fun twist on the simple type, I drew thin black lines over his name to create a bit of texture and dimension. I left the bottom text untouched because it was informative, and much smaller, so I wanted it to be legible. I positioned the words around the picture to create a nice curved line of negative space down the middle, leading your eyes down the page. The second poster had a funkier typeface called “Lakers”. I really liked the slight diagonal features to each letter, and the type was super long skinny, creating a beautiful column of Frank Ocean’s name. I chose to highlight one of the names to make my message a bit clearer, and I ended up really liking the result.

The image I chose for the top poster completely filled my requirements for the look I was going for. The picture was very exciting, so I decided to go with a black background for a bit more balance. I also added a grain filter, which I think worked out really well. I believe it adds a lot more to the image, without making it super overwhelming to look at. The second poster’s image attracted me because of Frank Ocean’s outfit. Right when I saw his shirt, I knew I could sample a lot of colors out of it in order to make a cohesive image. I used the cutout feature over the image, because I feel like it still highlights the shirt. I also added a drop shadow to distinguish the picture of Frank Ocean a bit more. I sampled colors from the shirt for all of the type and other shapes included. My goal for this was to make something a bit more monotone, and I believe that I did that well.

Some problems I faced when making these was first picking an artist to create a poster around. I wanted to choose an artist I really enjoyed listening to, but also one that had their own unique style that I could highlight through my designs. Another was picking the right fonts to match the design. This just took me a lot of time to figure out, but I solved my problem through trial and error. The last problem was when I looked at each poster, something always looked a little bit off, but I could not figure out what it was. I ended up asking my friends from my design class and they helped me tremendously.

This project was very enjoyable, because it was centered around all of the things that I am interested in. Although the flexibility of the assignment was a bit overwhelming, I had fun creating these posters.

Altered Images

In the TV Guide magazine cover, Oprah’s face was photoshopped onto the body of Ann-Margaret, a 1960’s movie star. Neither party was informed of the superimposition, and no one noticed until Ann-Margaret’s fashion designer identified the dress Oprah was wearing as hers. Neither of the subjects gave consent to the production of the image. I do not think it was ethical to alter this image. It reminds me of the extreme photoshopping of the bodies and faces of models and celebrities on magazines covers and advertisements today. It is unnecessary, and it looks very unnatural. A lot of these images look very normal, like they were not photoshopped in the first place, but this one is definitely an exception. There was no point to making it in the first place, it was probably produced because someone did not see Oprah’s body type as ideal. This specific type of image alteration always seem to be controversial. The idealization of a skinny, perfect body is something that women do not want themselves or future generations to deal with. It makes sense that there was backlash over this image.

The second image was on the cover of the San Antonio Observer. It was a story in response to a number of police shootings that occured within the city. The hood and the weapon were imposed onto a regular image of a San Antonio police officer. The officer that was depicted reacted negatively, which is understandable. This was not meant to be a personal attack, but the officer’s badge number was visible. Police brutality is an issue that needs to be acknowledged, but not in this way. The creator of this image went way too far in my opinion. I do not think this was called for. This is obviously supporting a generalization that all police officers are racist, and they believe that all people of color are out to get them. This stigma still exists today, because of the commonality of police brutality. I understand where the idea for this image came from, but this was not the time and place to share it. Even if it was appropriate to share this image, it is important to not show the badge number of the police officer. This could have ruined his reputation or even his career, even if it was not meant to be a direct attack towards that specific person.

The third photo depicts Mary Ann Vecchio crying over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, a 20 year old who was shot in the 1970 Kent State Massacre. This was an ethical way to alter a photo, because it does not take away from the message being spread, or spread an unnecessary message by superimposing something else on top of it. This is an important event in history, rather than an opinionated piece. The only part that was altered was the fence that was above Vecchio’s head. Having it there takes away from the subject matter of the image, so it is ethical to perform the alteration. It is understandable that there would be negative backlash because it is not a completely raw image, but I do not think a fence post being erased will change the course of history. I do not see this as being very controversial, but I understand how people would.

Font Poem

For my font poem project, I decided to find a quote that highlighted the ways that I live my life. I ended up settling on “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” by Soren Kierkegaard. I find myself constantly overanalyzing everything that happens to me in my life, always thinking of ways to either fix what I did wrong, or make what I did right even better. This specific quote makes me think of when you’re in a fight with someone, and then think of a ton of clever things to say after the fight is over. We do not realize how we can improve our perception of ourselves until we live through tough events and make mistakes.

This was my rough draft for the quote. I opened up Photoshop, made the background black, and typed in each word in a separate text box in the default font. This is because it will make altering the visual qualities of each word much easier. I was very stuck on how I should even begin, so I went on dafont.com to try to find inspiration. Beginning was the worst part; it took me four or five tries to create something I didn’t completely hate. I took inspiration from each word in order to create a visual representation of that word while still trying to create something tasteful.

I do not like how this turned out at all. I understand the point of the assignment was to play around with the different features of photoshop, but I just do not feel like it is cohesive at all. I got about half of my typefaces from dafont.com, and the other ones were just simple serif fonts that were already on photoshop. To create the word life, I just typed it twice, made one a slightly darker shade of green, and layered them on top of each other. To create the “only be understood” I individually warped the text boxes and made them arch, then just played around with the settings to make the words curve around the word “life” and still look like they were flowing. I added an outer glow to the word “understood” as well. The “backwards” and “forwards” were created by using a font from dafont.com, copying the text box, then mirroring that copy. I added a satin effect to make one of the words more prominent than the other. The words “must” and “lived” were made by adding a burgundy and white gradient, outer shadow, and texture was added as well. I kept some of the other words plain to keep some sort of balance within the font poem design, and to make it a bit easier to follow.

Overall I did learn a lot more about Photoshop, as well as how difficult visually representing something is using only a basic knowledge of typography and the Adobe Suite.

Favorite Fonts

Helvetica

Helvetica was created by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger. His goal was to develop a neutral typeface that could be used for anything, given it has no additional meaning. Originally known as Neue Hass Grotesk, but was later changed to Helvetica, which means ‘Swiss’ in Latin. I recently watched a documentary about Helvetica for my Typography class, and even though many people percieve it as boring, I now see it as something that has universal uses and is mathematically perfect. It has a monotone stroke weight, meaning that it has a uniform thickness throughout, differing from many serif fonts such as Trajan or Didot, where the arms, legs, ascenders, descenders, etc. are a completey different strokeweight than the feet or serifs of the letterforms. I believe that this font has a very modern style, and has been used a lot for many ‘trendy’ businesses, such as vegan restaurants or minimalistic clothing stores. It is popular for a lot of graphic designers because of is simplicity and the countless amount of uses it does have. In 2020, simplicity is something that is in style, and I find that Helvetica is something that will always be pleasing to the eye and used on anything from Subway signs to popular logos to IRS tax forms. I would use this typeface when creating a design for a new business that maybe had younger owners, or possibly for something more universal, such as signs at an airport or large business building. It is also a typeface that can be easily read while the viewer is moving, so it works well for branding and stationary advertisements such as billboards and flyers. It is a font that is given the appreciation it deserves.

Didot

Didot is a typeface created by Didot family, a French printing and type producing family during the Enlightenment. The Didot family dominated the printing industry and deeply influenced direction of typeface design. Although it is much older, this was created during society’s transition into more modern , refined typeface styles. There is a huge difference in stroke weight throughout each character, which adds a sense of dramatacism whatever it is included in. It is widely known for being used in Vogue as well as countless other French advertisements. I love this font because it looks very elegant, but also carries a rich history with it. I have a strange fascination with the development of type over time, and how designers are inspired by what came before them as well as the world around them. I am also extremely interested by the process of printing with moveable type. The fact that Didot began as something that was created in such an intricate fashion, and now it is all digitized, so nobody values it for what it really is. I am not a huge fan of most serif fonts, because they remind me of writing countless essays at twelve point font in MLA format, but Didot has a sense of glamour and style that I really enjoy. I would use this typeface for magazine design, or basically anything that has to do with style, including hair and makeup as well. People are often attracted to this design becuause it is sleek and stylish, and I believe it has potential to be used for much more.

Visual Artifact Homework

My drawing depicts a human hand squeezing planet Earth like a stress ball. I was inspired by all of the social media coverage about the Earth’s quick demise, and how humans are the only ones to blame. My goal was to show the impact that we have on the Earth without using any graphic images of suffering animals or melting ice caps. I also wanted to show the sense of urgency often adopted by the human race. We are always looking to be more innovative, and grow more technologically, mechanically, and politically. We rarely take a step back and appreciate the life that we were given, the natural world around us is simply used for resources that only pollute what we are given. This is a very general image, but I feel as though it does have a strong impact on the viewer. I wanted to depict the hand to look very large and powerful, hence the strong, fiery colors used to color and shade it in with. The Earth was made to look helpless and small, as if it is being swallowed by the hand. It also helps that the earth is generally colored with cooler tones, improving the contrast between itself and the large hand gripping onto it. If I were to show this to another person, I do believe that they could understand the message behind it. Many of the classes I have taken in high school involve analyzing text and posters, but my peers and I have been left speechless, simply because the message trying to be spread by that specific form of media is very vague and only extremely intellectual people can understand it. The point of my image is very clear, and the viewer should not need an extensive amount of educational experience to comprehend the important message I am attempting to spread. 

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