Brianne Elliott's Blog 10/8/08

 

 

Keeping Up With Technology In The Classroom: Response
By Brianne Elliott

Including emerging and current technologies such as the material taught in the GrC 452 class (Emerging Topics in Print and Digital Media: Motion Graphics) in our Graphic Communications curriculum is not only pertinent to the industry, but is necessary for students to receive total knowledge about what the industry involves. Professor Antl gives a great argument as to why this emerging media is important to teach in the curriculum. That being said, I too believe it is wise to incorporate these new emerging technologies into our Graphic Communications curriculum. Continuing to be a college that keeps up with emerging media will keep Cal Poly the top Graphic Communication school with our graduating students that are current with technology. There are many job opportunities involving the aspects of growing technology that we learned in class and should continue to learn about in other classes.


Professor Antl begins his discussion by stating that print will not become obselete in our time. I agree with him in this statement, mainly because people enjoy having tangible ojects that they can touch, hold and discard rather than just look at. I for one much rather enjoy flipping through a magazine rather than scrolling through pages online. Print, as Professor Antl continues, will remain a significant form of media. He also goes on to say how print will evolve to collaborate with emerging technologies. This is an obvious true statement, as in the past fifty years print has evolved from typewriters to computers as new technology emerges. Therefore, even though technology is always changing, print finds a way to mold with the changes and continue to be an important use of media and collateral.


The evolution of print and its collaboration with emerging technologies is why implementing more classes such as Motion Graphics into the Graphic Communications curriculum would be very beneficial to our program. We already have other classes that are centered on other forms of graphic technology, such in GrC 203 (Image Capture and Manipulation) in which Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, and Camera Raw are featured. This class creates the union of print media and a different type of media: photography. Having this core class in our curriculum is a step towards the emerging media that is present in the industry today. While photography is not a relatively new media, it bridges nicely to other forms of digital media, including film and motion graphics created in our class. The next step would be to add more classes centered on specific emerging media.
Although this course gave myself and the other students in my class a feel for the different emerging technologies and programs, I think that having a class surrounding each of the computer programs (ie, Flash) and its capabilities would be cohesive with the Graphic Communication curriculum. Having a class about learning Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver and HTML or Final Cut or Adobe Premier would be interesting classes many students, including myself, would want to take. On the first day of 452, there were many students crashing the class that could not add because of the high demand and lack of space. This  supports the case that students are interested in a class such as Motion Graphics and that there is a high demand for an interesting, previously untouched subject about emerging media. Adding more classes on Flash, Final Cut, and other programs would broaden the horizon for many students and could fit in with the major and concentration classes.


The way this course was conducted was also beneficial and made it easy for student to learn from the instructor and from each other. Professor Antl was available for questions during and outside of class time, making it easy for any problems (including my excessively long list…) to be answered. Although the questions the students had made the projects have a bit of lag as everyone was trying to catch up with each other, it allowed for the students to interact and learn from each other. The blog page was a great tool this class offered that allowed students to learn from each other. Our completed projects were to be put up on our individual blog pages when completed for the class to see. Because of this, myself along with the rest of the students in the class were sure to put our best effort forward to show off our highest quality work. Students were able to look at each others work and judge it next to their own, and see the procedure other students took in completing their projects. The blog page was definitely a great idea that was implemented into the class that allowed for more learning and also fit into the topic of “Emerging Media.”


Overall, I feel good having completed this course. The knowledge built in this class is cutting edge and a useful skill set. Being able to create a custom flash player or a 10 second splash page for a streaming video will be very valuable in whatever job direction I choose to go. The Internet has become so mainstream that every company now has a webpage, and to possess to knowledge to add digital assests to the page would be a very valuable trait for an employee to have. In this class, we have learned more than just how to piece together a piece of film. We have learned how to update a blog page using Html, Dreamweaver, and Transport. We have learned how to create a Flash advertisement using a Photoshop image and adding motion to make it look like ads that one sees all over the internet. We have learned how to create a public service announcement using raw footage, background music, and a voice over and making it our own. All of these projects we have created in this class are paralleled to real life jobs we may have to work on after college. To me, taking this class and learning about these new technologies was a great choice and will help me out in the future with different projects may put me a step ahead of other candidates for a job.

Lab Write-up #1


Working with digital photos & stock video in FCE


Objectives
The objective of this assignment was to get familiar with Final Cut Express and make a 30 second public service announcement for San Luis Obispo County Creek Clean-Up Day. This was to be done by using and arranging audio, video, and graphic clips provided as well as adding titles and transitions. This project was meant to be an introduction to video editing as well as Final Cut Express.
Procedure
My procedure in making this video was selecting video clips that went with the dialogue. I began by watching each clip to see what shots I liked and didn’t likeI then locked in the audio clip and added video clips that corresponded to what the narrator was saying. For example, I added clips of the trash in the creek when the dialogue said “trash and debris”. I also experimented with different kinds of transitions. Since this is a public service announcement, I wanted to keep the transitions need and clean, using a simple dissolve or fade in and fade out. I used the slice tool to cut each clip into the section I wanted to use, and then rearrange them to make a cohesive presentation. I then created an account on Vimeo and uploaded my video so it could be live on the web!

Creek Clean Up Day from Brianne Elliott on Vimeo.
Summary & conclusions
This project helped me to gain a better understanding of Final Cut Express, a program I had previously never used before. The program seems like it is complex, however, I think I am grasping the basics of how to use it. The public service announcement was a great was to ease into the program in order to get more comfortable using it. I wish I had been able to be more creative with the project, so I am getting excited for future assignments. If I could change anything about my project, I would make smoother transitions. A couple of the transitions are a bit fast or choppy. Overall, I like the way my project turned out.
Project significance
This project was great project to begin and learn on. The project was simple, but at the same time allowed me to add my own creative edge. I learned how to piece together a 30 second public service announcement using the audio and video and graphics clips provided and was able to follow the guidelines in doing so. Now, I will feel more comfortable moving on to something more complex because I know the basics of the program.
Closing thoughts
I had fun making this project and am excited to learn more about Final Cut Express! I’ve worked with Adobe Premiere before when I took a class on it in high school, but it is really interesting to learn a new program that I am excited to use. It’s cool seeing a video I created online and I am excited to see what else this program has to offer and what else I can learn how to create.

Wihire Splash Video
Objective
The objective of this assignment was to create an interesting piece in a short amount of time. The assignment began with two men introducing their company to us. I was very interested to hear about the successes of former Cal Poly students so I definitely looked at their website, Wihire.com, as soon as they told us about it. Their company is basically a website for out of college job seekers to find a job for themselves. This company is definitely a tool I may use in the future, so I was excited to work with them and make a splash page for their videos.
Procedure
I begin by looking at the graphics that were supplied to me. My vision was to do something simple with a song that had a beat. Because of that, I chose to use the simple WiHire graphic along with their slogan, “Connect. Inspire. Succeed.” After choosing my graphics I was going to work with and piecing them apart in Photoshop, I decided to choose my music before starting to edit the video. I went with a clip that was on the hard drive that had a cool and professional sounding beat. It was difficult to cut the clip to a good length that was suitable for the splash page as well as keeping to the beat, which is why my clip is only about 4.5 seconds. I was really interested in making my splash page very simple, like I said. I used a lot of movement, including the movement of the WiHire graphic “bouncing” and the slogan scrolling across the screen. I also added a fade on the WiHire graphic during the scroll of the slogan. Finally, I added an ending transition of a page peel.

WiHire Splash from Brianne Elliott on Vimeo.
Summary & Conculsions
My main goal in this project was to create a splash page that I liked and that was kept pretty simplistic. My reasoning behind this is because whenever I watch a video on a website, I always get really annoying with long splashes before the clip I want to watch. I think my splash is the perfect length to put before a video that people will be interested to watch, looks professional, and is quick and to the point. However, I do not like the way the scrolling slogan ended up looking after it was updated; I’m not sure if this is a logistical problem because it did not look like that when played from the Final Cut Express program on my computer. Another thing I would have changed about my splash is maybe adding more to it. I wanted it to be simple, but it may be too simple for what the client wanted. I need to learn how to do what the client likes, not just what I like. Project Significance
I think this project was significant in getting to learn more with Final Cut Express. Even though we have been working with the program for awhile now, I am still uneasy about using it and am not picking up the different things that can be done with it as fast as I thought I would, or as fast as I would like to.
Final Thoughts:This project allowed my own creativity and overall I am pleased with the final product. I am also really impressed with the videos of my colleagues and am excited to hear who has won!


UGS Promo Video

Objective This week, our project was to create a promo video for University Graphic Systems. This video is for them to have on their website for potential customers to get a grasp of what UGS is all about.
Procedure I began by inputting the music that we were supposed to use, “L’Estasi Dell’Oro Bandini remix.” I then began to create my intro. Doing this kind of reminded me of last week’s project, the splash page, so I used similar ideas in creating my intro. I used the UGS logo in the intro and made it a very calm opening with the logo being zoomed in on and then fading out. I then created a more upbeat rhythm by choosing many different clips and quickly switching between them to the beat of the music. The next step I took was to select the interview clips I wanted to use. This was not difficult because I felt like the interviewers each only said two or three line, making it so there was not an excess of material to choose from. An annoyance on this step was that one of the gentlemen that was interviewed was very fidgety, so a lot of his sound bites were too full of static to use. After choosing my interview clips, I began to scroll through the Press Room and UGS room footage to choose usable clips. After getting familiar with the video that was available, I individually added clips from the workroom and office to each interviewer’s voice. I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to wrap it up, so I just added an effect to the UGS logo at the end of my video.

UGS Promo Video from Brianne Elliott on Vimeo.
Summary & Conclusions
This was one of my favorite projects to work on so far, because it allowed me to be creative, step out of my comfort zone with the ideas I used, and I feel like was the most practical and applicable to a real-life assignment. One thing that got me kind of anxious about this project was finding footage that worked with what each interviewer was saying. I ended up using video clips that had little to do with each audio clip, but I think the effect of what UGS is all about was still achieved. I was also frustrated with mixing and figuring out how to make the audio all flow smoothly. At first my project was a little choppy, but I think I was able to create and smooth finish.
Project Significance I think this project helped begin the wrap up Final Cut Express and all of the things that one can do with it. Although I would still consider myself a beginner at Final Cut Express, this project definitely helped to boost my confidence in using the program and got me excited to work on next week’s project. Spending more time out of class working on this project definitely aided in my Final Cut knowledge because if I didn’t know how to do something I tried to figure it out myself.
Final Thoughts:Overall, I would say this was one of my favorite projects because of its versatility and freedom for creativity.

Week 5 Flash Project

Objective
The objective of this project was to get an introduction to Flash. Our project was to create our own flash player to play our videos off of.
Procedure
We began the project by importing our video to the canvas to begin working around. We imported it out of Final Cut Express by using Quicktime Conversion. When importing our video into flash, we fit it to a custom size to work with. After importing, we then played around with some of the default skins that were available in the program as Kevin gave us a mini tutorial. After we played around with the different defaults, it was time to make our own skin. Being sure to keep each item on a different layer, I began by making an outline box around my video. I then added many different components to my canvas. I added custom colored play/pause button (to start/pause the video), seek bar (to track to different points in the video), and volume bar (to adjust the volume of the video). It was tricky to keep remembering to switch to different layers when working with each different component- I kept getting frustrated and forgetting! I then added my initials, BLE, to the bottom right corner of my custom flash player to prove it was my work. Next, Kevin showed us a new and unfamiliar part of the process: the action script. We named each button (ex: play_pause_button) and then matched it was the action we wanted it to do when clicked. It was a little confusing, but all of my buttons ended up working just fine. I then later, with the help of Stephanie, uploaded my video to my blog page.

Summary & conclusions
Flash was a program that was very unfamiliar to me. Kevin was very helpful in clearly explaining the steps and reasoning behind each step, which aided me to complete the project. I did have some difficulty figuring out some of the steps, but was definitely still able to successfully complete my project. I had a lot of fun customizing my player! I love bright colors, pink being my favorite, so I made sure to target my video around that. I used hot pink for the background, lime green for the buttons, and black and hot pink for accent colors. I think that my player turned out to look pretty cute!
Project Significance
This project is significant to this class because it involved working with a program that I, along with many of my classmates, had never used before. It was really interesting to learn how to use this program and, with more training, would definitely be supplemental skill to have in any job.
Closing thoughts
Overall, I had fun completing this project. Although I had some difficulty with the logistics of the project and figuring out how to upload it, I see this project as a success. I would enjoy learned more about flash now that I see how simple it is to create a custom flash video player.

Week 6 AT&T flash

Objective
The objective of this assignment was to create an animated advertisement. We created this ad using flash and a photo shop document containing the different elements of the ad


Procedure

Since I was unable to make it during the actual lab period, Kevin and Tom were able to meet me during open lab hours. Before we began the project, Kevin gave me a demonstration on some aspects of flash and how important it is to work in layers. He showed me how pasted one item on top of another item on the same layer, and then deleting the top item, results in the bottom item losing the part of the top item also. We then began the project by opening the photo shop file and saving each layer as a different file. We then set the flash canvas to be the same size as the dimensions in the photoshop file and imported and named each layer. We then added motion to each “key frame”, or each different component of the advertisement. The top words were supposed to fly from left to right or right to left onto the stage, the bottom words were supposed to float up from off the canvas, and then the “learn more” button flashed a different color. The orange backround, beige background, and at&t symbol were all left without motion in the background. We were able to add motion to each different part by using the tween on the timeline: adding 15 frames in between each key frame to incorporate the motion. It was a little complicated, but Kevin walked me through it with the help of Tom and I quickly caught on to the concept. The button was a little tricky since it was done differently than the rest of the items. We used the “Convert to Symbol” option in flash. We used action script to add the hover and to stop the “flashing” of the button so the animation would only go on in the beginning and when hovered over. We checked the ad after each step and I was very pleased when it was completed


Summary and Conclusions
I was disappointed that I was unable to make it to this lab session with the rest of the class because of my eye infection, but I was really excited to be able to work one on one with Tom and Kevin. We worked very intensively and were able to complete the project much quicker than it was probaley completed in class. Working closely with 2 two experienced flash users was really fun and they both made the project easier to understand and made me less intimidated about using Flash.

Project Significance
Since I have zero experience with Flash besides this class, it was definitely interesting to learn about. This project is definitely relatable to a real-life job because it looks just like ads that you see all over the internet.

Closing Thoughts
I enjoyed working with Flash and learning more about the program. I am interested in learning even more about it and how to make other cool, creative things!

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