Hello, my name is Ciera and I am a shadow alien. Don’t worry, I come in peace.

You and Your Shadow – could have been easier to capture if I was smarter and wore shoes onto my hot driveway. No matter what I did I looked like a giant lump but you know, I added some peace sign flare, so that’s good.

Ah, the sounds of music! Or is it just a preteen whining? Read this for cliche two for the day.

Sounds Effects – “This is a short and simple assignment. Most everyone uses freesound for various audio assignments, but sometimes, you cannot find quite what you are looking for. This assignment is to upload your own sound or sound effect to freesound, preferably something which is lacking.”

Tutorial:

  1. The very first thing to do is go on freesound and try to be creative about which sound effect hasn’t been made
  2. Then I went to SoundCloud and click “Upload”
  3. Then you want to “start a new recording”
  4. Click the big red circle that says “REC”
  5. Tell your sister to do a bunch of weird noises and stuff for your recording so she will just moan and groan and whine for your recording
  6. Then you just upload the recording and fill out the following info
  7. Then head over to the aforementioned freesound to upload your new sound there
  8. “Add file”, “upload”, and then “describe sound” in order for it to actually show up
  9. DONE! Your new sound effect is now on SoundCloud and freesound for the world to hear

So I decided to try a creative out-of-the-box kind of audio assignment and decided on the sounds effects. I originally wanted my sister to make some weird noises, animal impressions, sing, whatever she wanted so I could record it and make some story about her interesting noise. Instead this is what I get: whining. Plain old preteen angst-y moaning and groaning. Thanks Loren. This is the story about every cliche angst-y preteen ever shown in a movie.

“She’s sitting in the backseat of a minivan, headphones in and rock music blaring. She goes a little too heavy on the eyeliner to look rebellious, even though it’s just that she hasn’t perfected a technique yet. She’s scowling at something, or maybe everything, outside the window. A band tee and ripped jeans is her style today. Her parents speak to her but she either doesn’t care or can’t hear anything over her music. The older sister rolls her eyes at her younger sister, while secretly acknowledging that they’re extremely similar. So here they all are on a “super fun” road trip. The entire 3 hour car ride the youngest sister doesn’t even open her mouth or remove her gaze from whatever is so fascinating about the millions of trees they pass. Suddenly the iPod she was listening to dies and the first words are spoken from this angst-y preteen that leaves her family shocked: “uuuuuuuuugggghhhh”. That’s it?”

The bangs are gone but the sass isn’t.

It’s weird to me that I used to have bangs and wear sunglasses allll the time because now I hate both. Also I used to do this cute scrunchy face thing but when I tried to recreate it I looked like I was just in pain so I stuck to something safer.

Week two was five times easier than week one

So week one was super hard because I am not a technology person AT ALL which means setting up a website was quite the challenge. This week I knew more of what to expect so it ran much smoother (plus less work hours equals more time and less rushing). I think what surprised me most was that I was able to reflect and story-tell easily. I say this but I did run into a few rough patches, however the whole reflecting and storytelling processes were much more fluid.

Sadly, the trouble I ran into was with my designblitz. No matter how hard I would try to find ads and signs with the different concepts, most of the concept photos I liked were with objects. Personally, each photo did represent the noted concept but I’m not sure others would agree with me. The subjectivity here gives me anxiety because I wanted to pass the assignment with flying colors while following instruction and being creative about it. I hope my reflections were enough to show my perspective of each photo.

I tried out my first daily create for week two. I wanted to make a collage but I found a picture of a bunch of carrots together already and had the idea for the daily create just pop into my head! I also showed it to some of my friends and my family and they all loved it (mostly the pun) so I was happy with it. I learned here that the twitter daily create page usually has less instruction than the online daily create page. I took note of this and found the next few daily creates on the online page so I was sure to know the full instruction.

The next day I tried out daily create number two. This was a fun one because I had so many puns I wanted to use. I decided to use one in the dialogue and one for the title to satisfy my pun needs. Looking back I wish I did a little more but I didn’t want to edit the photo itself in case it somehow changed the meaning/contents of the original photo.

The same day I tried out the required reading assignment. This was easier to get through than I thought! Well, parts of it. I really learned about timelessness/texture/color/white space and the to-dos and not to-dos about design. I learned that designs are the best when they are timeless because if it is long-lasting then they don’t have to change. I also learned about the effects of texture and color on a photo and how primary colors are the most used (also due to timelessness). I also never knew that the white space of a design was so important! That was probably the most surprising find of the read for me.  I was also really happy to hear from someone that my summary of The Vignelli Canon was a “good write up” and “in depth”! I also learned something interesting about myself from this assignment. I am usually a very logical person, but when it comes to the logical part of art, my mind is like, “What? Art is meant to be creative.” So my brain automatically is thrown off because I am trying to find the rational part of art. But the logical part of me loves the history and challenge and psychology of art. Why primary colors? They’re timeless. Why white space? It’s a frame. These are just a few examples of what I mean but man is that cool.

Next I tried the Are We There Yet? assignment. This is another one of those times where I am so grateful that I actually remember something from my high school computer art class. I figured out how to pull the picture of my sister and me and place it on a new background to make it look somewhat realistic that we weren’t in Virginia anymore. OH and I finally figured out how to take screenshots and make a somewhat okay tutorial. I tried to do the whole narration while doing the assignment thing but I mess up so many times and it makes me nervous to record myself so I mess up even more so I just stuck to screenshots and a typed up narration under it.

The first few daily creates confused me because I thought we were supposed to make a story with them, instead of the assignments, to I struggled with that. But after the first assignment I was able to come up with a story for anything and my old self, the one that tried to make books and was in creative writing club in high school, arose within me and had a great time storytelling! FINALLY!

Then I tried a four star assignment, but I’m guessing I did it wrong because it did not feel like a four star assignment. I had to take out words from a movie poster for Taken 3, changed all the words to something punny, and was finished. I immediately was freaking out because I was confused as to why this was four stars but I couldn’t really figure out why through the comments. But I did it! Maybe this just means I’m super good at this now!! Or not.

Next day I did my third assignment for the week. This one was harder than the four stars! I had to find a good font AND a good picture AND try to select and separate the picture AND had to resize it so it fit AND had to add a pun because they are my favorite. BUT the challenge was what made it fun and plus it was so cute that I almost wanted to make it on Custom Ink or something so I can keep it.

So assignment four was a night assignment which means the creativity and feelings are going full blast. This one took a lot out of me. There was a lot of bravery and courage involved here because I have never made public such a personal story. It was at first just going to be assignment four but when I couldn’t think of a story, I thought, “Well why not the true story? My story?” So after an agonizing, heart wrenching, summary from like 5 years ago, I did it. This is an accomplishment I probably would have never gotten to do if not for this class. Also the fact it was night time when I made the piece also helped the emotions flow.

To make up for the sad post, I made my first GIF a hilarious one. I knew I wanted one involving a cat fail because those are what I watch when I’m feeling down. I also was totally confused at first trying to find a good GIF generator, but once I found https://makeagif.com/ everything ran smooth. I have never made a GIF before this so I learned how through this class, but it was also a lot easier than I imagined! I liked it so much I even made an assignment out of a GIF.

The next day was like a movie day. First I did the third daily create. This involved making hints for a movie for people to guess (sadly no one tried). I used Deadpool for my Daily Create because that’s my current favorite movie, but I just realized how depressing his story is. 🙁 Poor Ryan Reynolds. This one was surprisingly easy for me to do! I wish it was that easy to break down my essays for school.

I also did my second GIF that day, which was also a movie (The Notebook). This was not hard for me (I love making GIFs now) but the story was hard for me to come up with because I couldn’t think of any other story than the actual movie plot. Time to think outside the box. So what I did was use the characters features (the guy’s facial hair and the girl’s facial expression) to come up with the story: a werewolf and a vampire. How cliche.

For assignment number five I also did a GIF since I figured out how to do them AND used a third movie for the day (Spirited Away). As a psych major I would say the availability heuristic is definitely taking place here. I think I am earning back some of my creativity that I used to have because storytelling for the last few assignments has been a cinch! This time was even harder than the last assignment when it came to storytelling! I eventually figured it out but using a movie or a book as a prompt to write a story on is very challenging to do. Like I can’t just summarize what is actually happening so I have to make up something completely different based on what they are doing or what their expressions are.

Friday I made my most frustrating and dissatisfying Daily Create. Making the font and colors match was AWFUL. WORST TIME EVER. I tried sooo many fonts and colors the thing lasted at least an hour to do. It was such a funny idea too. I’m from the very bottom right of Virginia so anything above Richmond is considered NOVA and my friends and I like to call Hampton Roads SOVA to be funny. I’m also from Newport News and sometimes the nicer places around me call us Bad News. So I just put all this together into one postcard to make one very unsatisfying Daily Create.

Last but not least, I made my designblitz. I probably wrote 1000 words of reflection in like 5 minutes because all I had to do was write out all the things I was thinking while taking the specific photos. I’m not even sure what else to talk about for this one because I already reflected sooo much. This was difficult for me because I took pictures of things that I thought reflected the concept but a few pictures definitely needed explanation on exactly how it reflected the concept in my own mind. Because I am sure others would look at them and not see what I see and wonder why the heck I put them in the slideshow to begin with. But generally I was pretty happy with this blitz because it took a lot of creativity and searching in public areas to finally find these photos.

Overall, I feel that I completed the assignments to the best of my ability. Some of them missed the mark that I was going for but that’s to be expected every once in awhile. I mentally picture one thing and then I try it out and it doesn’t translate how I wanted it. I also really enjoyed the fact that storytelling was so much easier this week. And the tutorials weren’t as bad as I thought either! I kind of wished that I didn’t overthink so many assignments. I feel like I overthink things too much and then just mess up my hard work. I also am confused on whether or not I need to add anything to the Daily Create posts when I put them on here??? Looking all the way back, I think Vignelli really highlighted a lot of the societal implications. For example, how companies will use the “long-lasting” primary colors or not following the fads because they will be “uncool” soon enough and need change.

 

 

Don’t carrot all about what they think!

Carrot people! “What would Carrot People look like?” http://daily.ds106.us/

Not sure if this counts as a collage or not but these are just two different races of the many races of carrot people: purple carrots and orange carrots. Many people may think the purple carrots are weird because they aren’t the stereotypical orange carrot. BUT that doesn’t matter in the carrot world! To them: it’s carrots versus the world!

Week one has been quite the journey

What a crazy week! I have learned so much the past few days my head is spinning. When I read it would be a lot of work I wasn’t sure why but now I really think the effort is all in the reflections. And being a naturally lazy person I thought that reflecting would be a dreadful task but in reality it really makes me open up my mind and think about why I do the things I do and how I feel about my own work.

So the only real trouble I ran into was setting up my website in general and linking it to the media. This took A LOT more time than I anticipated but eventually I got through it using different websites and advice articles from past students (and just studying the website in general). When that was finished I tried out my first daily create with little success. Photoshop wouldn’t download for me so I decided to hand write a quote on paper, which I regret now because my handwriting plus the graininess created a pretty awful photo. I did like the idea of going through different wording because I feel like everyone goes through that trial and error when attempting to be creative.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CieraCentral

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-691819929-409122412

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/144442195@N05/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ograpepopsilceso

Then I did a little reflection on my progress.

I did a second daily create where I had the idea to walk with my dog instead of just alone (which I was proud of until I saw others do it on twitter). This was interesting because I never really realized that I rarely record things on my cell phone. Then I found out I could edit the video and post it all on my phone! This daily create was super fun for me and made me realize what a photographers eye I was getting. I say this because I was constantly searching for things to capture or take in a fun lighting or something. Anything. BUT I took the tip of being picky and not taking too many pictures of random things.

Next I did my slightly stressful photo safari . Here I was pretty anxious that I just wasn’t going to have enough time so I ran around like a mad woman. This assignment made me realize how much I freaking love my dog and how much of an influence she has on my world. I have used her for many photos and I am pretty sure it is because she is always by my side, has a range of emotions nearly equivalent to a humans’, and is honestly just always in my way. I wish I could go back and try a little harder for this assignment but I am pretty content with it, for I show all my friends and family what techniques I tried.

I tried my first visual assignment and was surprised at how easy the effect was to create on my little green pond. I think because of this I started to LOVE editing things. I think I even did an extra visual assignment just because I wanted to manipulate an image and practice my editing skills. I also got a few compliments on this one which gave me the confidence that I can actually use technology! Yay!

I immediately tried a second visual assignment involving cats because they are extremely interesting creatures. I was a little disappointed in how the text showed up because of the app but you live and you learn. I learned to NOT use that app again for text! BUT I did like how fast it was to find a Shakespearean quote for my cat picture. I also liked trying to make a story out of a picture.

My third visual assignment was probably my favorite visual assignment. I feel like I did a pretty good job and I got to study Photoshop a bit more, which I needed to do. What I wish I did differently here was try out the different colors and fonts more. This assignment is really what made me excited about using Photoshop (which I thought was going to be impossible to work with). I also realized I actually remember some of my computer art class from high school which I believe will help me in the future.

Next was the famous spubble ! I actually had a LOT of trouble finding an app with a good looking thought bubble. This is the assignment that made me get a bunch of photoshop apps and such on both my laptop and my phone. Then once I found a decent app I had trouble thinking of something clever (which never happens). This made me have to take a break because I knew I couldn’t force sassiness. When I came back to it I had something but it wasn’t as great as I wanted it.

I did this visual assignment for fun because, for the hundredth time, I love my dog. I think this was the first assignment that I was really able to come up with a good story for. Which I am very proud of though it is really short. But honestly I just wanted to use this cute picture of her and then practice my editing skills along with story skills. I think it’s pretty A-OK.

My third daily create was one that was very simple because it was already so beautiful. All I had to do was sharpen it a little because my phone has such awful quality at times. I also got a lot of compliments on how this really followed the guidelines/storyline for the daily create. I was nervous I would forget to take a picture at sunset so I used an old one, which by old is really like a few weeks old.

For my photo reflection I decided to go outside because the pictures in my house weren’t quite what I wanted. I was able to use all my favorite techniques based on tips I found, which was really fun. I even stepped out of my comfort zone by taking pictures in weird positions and probably looking like a complete creep/weirdo in my yard. The next few days I went out to an arcade and a zoo (for my birthday) and probably annoyed the crap out of my boyfriend because I kept stopping to take pictures every five minutes. And then trying out different angles and lighting and focuses. What has this class done to me?? I see art everywhere! IT’S AMAZING.

I really really had trouble coming up with stories for my visual assignments. This is where I felt I lacked in my assignments. When looking at art I usually like pictures that make me wonder what the story is, not tell it’s own story. I mean yeah, I want my photos to make sense but I want the viewer to wonder so instead of telling a direct story I like to give questions as prompts. BUT seeing as this is something needed for the assignment (and the class is Digital Storytelling), next week I will need to create my pictures in a way that I know I can come up with a story for them. That way I can be sure to do my best in this class!

I also really really enjoy the process of editing pictures on the different apps. I feel I am strongest at this, but hopefully will become stronger at taking pictures. I even practice taking pictures every where I go now (I’m always ready for a photoshoot, yet another tip). I have yet to memorize which app has what but expect to figure this all out by doing more visual assignments. FUN! Also by doing more I hope to get tons better at reflecting and therefore better at analyzing in general for a life skill.

What I learned: how to make a website, how to use different media, I really like the more difficult editing assignments, I love my dog, that lighting is extremely important, that there is always an opportunity to take pictures, BE PATIENT, I like changing perspective/emotional pictures/taking pictures of items that have their own mystical story. I also learned that I don’t like to take pictures of things that can move or blur! UGH! I can be patient but humans/animals/anything that moves really tests my patience.

What I would do differently is try to take pictures of things I can easily give a story instead of making the viewer wonder it. I would also ask to have less hours at the beginning of the week because working 12 hours three days in a row really took a toll on my blog this week, which really sucks, but I guess it was a learning opportunity for me to really understand the time it takes for this class. I would also try to comment more and post more because looking back I am not sure I did as much as I felt I did.

Questions: do I need to tag my comments with something so they are noted? How in depth do my stories need to be?

I think the biggest societal issue I found was the human impact on the environment. The cones and machines near the plants held a plethora of emotion: pity, disappointment, sadness. It is just a huge symbol for how much destruction humans cause our ecosystem.

Some summarized pics: use of blur, selective focus, change of perspective, contrast of colors, converging lines, foreground/background, geometrical scenes, and finally an in the moment photo.

 

 

 

My own photo adventure ft. my sister Loren

So at the end of all my assignments I decided to go out (literally) and attempt to use a combination of all my newly acquired skills without looking at my references (but oh did I study them). I watched the Jason Eskenazi (https://vimeo.com/73824631) video at least twice and what is forever imprinted on my brain are the tips to use geometry and emotion. THEREFORE I challenged myself to use inanimate objects to convey emotion along with finding geometry in nature (which unfortunately ended up being man made objects). But I mostly studied these tips ( http://www.slideshare.net/robwall ) and ended up trying Pattern, Low Angle, Selective Focus and Foreground/Background.

The first picture I tried the blurring/motion-like effect. I had a tumblr for a long time and saw a lot of grunge-y photos with the blurring of flowers so when I saw these clovers I thought, why not try it? It took me 3 tries because at first you couldn’t even tell what I took a picture of until I finally got this picture where it is super blurred on the edges but only slightly blurred in the middle so you can tell they are flowers. I really enjoyed the trippy effect of the blurred clovers. I think I will try this effect on something more random one day to see if there is a different conclusion (for example, a sign or mailbox or something).

The second picture is probably one of my favorites. It is a mixture of things that do not belong together plus some inanimate object emotion. To me I saw this in my backyard and felt sadness. Why is this here? And why does it look so sad? And then I got the idea that it does not belong here amidst the plants and flowers. This is just a symbol for how much humans interfere with nature. This is also emotional because the cone looks so dejected like it knows what it stands for and doesn’t want to be there. I personally love this photo. I also wanted to brighten the colors at first (it was cloudy out/sprinkling = awful lighting) but then decided that the grayish hue fits the scene.

The third picture was quite a surprise for me, which is awesome considering I was horizontal on previously rained on grass. I saw the tip about changing perspective and just decided to take a near vertical picture of the bottom of my shed. The focus was so great and the image nearly abstract that when I showed this to my father he couldn’t even tell me what it was but said it looked cool. Not only did I change perspective but I chose a Low Angle like on the robwall slideshow. Being a selfie queen I know all about the positive effects of a high angle but knew virtually nothing about the effects of a low angle so I decided to try it out. The effects are actually pretty neat! My perspective was that of a bunny and I never would have seen this or tried this if not for this assignment.

The fourth picture I originally tried to focus on the vine/plant tunnel and this little vine kept swinging in the wind and hitting me in the face. It was almost tapping my shoulder and asking me to focus on it so I did. I tried a little Foreground/Background action along with selective focus also suggested by robwall. It is great because the background is just as important/beautiful as the foreground. I also had a lot of trouble focusing on such a small vine so I had to move around A LOT. I learned that it takes some serious patience to take pictures in nature or of things that move.

The fifth picture is a pattern picture, from both robwall and our photo safari. It is a picture of the siding of my house on a dreary day, which because it was so dreary, actually made my house look as gray as the sky. I honestly would not have noticed this until I started seeing everything as a potential picture. I also took a picture of my neighbors fence (picture 8- hopefully they didn’t see me) which was probably my favorite pattern. To me this represents a typical white picket fence scenario with the typical parents with two kids and two cars and two dogs. Or even a suburb, with the houses that all look similar with the same trees and mowed grass.

The sixth picture is my adorable 11 year old sister Loren who is upset at me for posting so many pictures of my dog before her. This picture is completely candid, which to me shows the typical emotion of a preteen (“ugh” and “blah”). But still beautiful. And those curls! I also adopted the reverse of picture 3, the high angle. It of course looks good but with my phone quality plus the awful lighting it just looks blurry. I also love the fact that I can make fancy comments about lighting now. Lighting really is an important aspect.

The seventh picture is my other favorite, a lone daisy by our mailbox that Loren planted. I used selective focus (thanks robwall) which has always been one of my favorite techniques. I was so thrilled that I was able to pull this off and in one try!

The ninth picture was similar to picture two, where you look at this and feel a little sad because they are taking down trees. The lighting was actually key in this because if it was a beautiful sunny day then the emotion would be more muffled and confused. In addition, this is a Pay Attention To The Moment kind of thing. There isn’t actually any action going on but you can tell the past and future of the story without it. (Just waiting for the Lorax to pop out and sing about how important trees are to the environment). I also like the fact the machine is in the far back, so as not the focus so much as the broken down path.But the machine is still key to the photo’s story. Without the machine, all there would be is a mystical path in my backyard.

 

A sunset is twice as romantic in Paris

“Make a dramatic photo at sunrise or sunset.” http://daily.ds106.us/tdc1629/

I was going to use a picture I took at sunset by my house, but I think the view here (the top of Paris’ largest building) is much more appealing. I took this a few weeks ago on my Europe trip and just had to use it. Seems pretty dramatic to me. Could be from some chick flick/ romance movie about a group of girls traveling to Paris to find the love of their lives on the top of this tall building and holding champagne. Of course there has to be a happy ending and they all get married and have babies and live in Paris the rest of their lives. All I really did to this image was sharpen it a little so the buildings below weren’t so blurry and instead were part of the whole image instead of just a focus on the Eiffel Tower. I like this effect because it isn’t SUPER obvious where I was at first (the Tower is the focus but there’s more going on than just the tower).

My house in mostly black and white in 17 pictures.

So I really enjoyed running around looking for things to take pictures of! Of course using a phone as a camera always makes the pictures look less defined and more a blurry chaos so I had to try to find a way around that (good lighting is key here!). Anyways, I picked my house ( downstairs specifically) for my pictures because the lighting is better and every room has different things so I knew I would have variety. It was actually a lot easier than I thought to find what I needed, but was still tough because I was running around thinking about how I would run out of time and my dog kept getting all excited and blocking my way. I originally wanted to take pictures outside but I wasn’t quite sure what all was out there plus it was super sunny that morning and I wasn’t sure how to handle the brightness. Since I am not a huge photography person, some of my pictures (abstract, converging lines, etc.) sort of felt like improv. Which made me realize I should probably research some common photography terms. I think the pictures with the white walls as a background made really nice pictures while the pictures with my dog are messy and complex. Which is annoying because the pics with my dog are the hardest to take. I was really only proud of finding a cool ceiling picture. If I didn’t want to take a picture of my chandelier then I probably wouldn’t have even realized there was a beautiful spiral in the ceiling! In addition, it was disappointing to take a picture where it looks like my dog is moving, considering she moves for about 80% of my pictures. Overall this was a really cool experience!

What I learned about this is how my own personal experiences have influenced how I see the world. For example, I LOVE my dog so I add her into many pictures I take, whereas if a random person wanted to do this same assignment in my house they may not use her at all. I also noted that when I saw the word “complex” for the last photo I immediately thought of all the technology we own because to me technology is a giant symbol of complexity. Then when I saw these chaotic cords behind my TV it was like double the complexity because cords ARE complex (ever try untangling them?). Through taking these photos and searching for things to photograph, I also realized just how many objects are in one room and how different they look in a variety of lighting and their different shadows. I also noticed the shape of each room and the walls themselves. My eyes were drawn to more detail than to just barely grazing the surface.

Another thing I learned is that I like a complex photo. I liked the 20 attempts to take pictures of my dog with other objects and framing the hummingbird with the leaves to try to make it look more realistic. I liked the effort it takes to take a good photo compared to just taking a picture of a pattern. The difficult pictures are the ones that make me use my brain a little.