In my Digital Design Lab class, we have undergone a Personal Passion Project. In the beginning, I had a lot of trouble finding which project I wanted to spend over a month on. Everything I could come up with was either going to take a week or 6 months. The main problem was how broad my interests were. I rarely have time to do the things I want to do, so these things have piled up extensively. Eventually, I just had to make a list of all that I wanted to do. This list ended up being 12 items long:
In my animation, I will create a dancer doing a grand jete (leap) loop. To do this, I will be using a new feature in ProCreate. Essentially, it is using onion skinning animation. I first found a video of a principal dancer doing it. I then took about 10 screenshots to capture her general movements. I used these images as references and started drawing each of the 10 frames with the onion skinning so she wouldn’t be jumping all over the screen and would have all the same proportions in each frame. Once I created all 10 frames, I noticed it wasn’t a true loop. The video I used ended before the came fully out of the movement. From there, I noted where she left off and used the first frame as where I should have her end up. I used my personal experience (15 years of ballet) to fill in the large chunk of time which was missing. Once I have each frame sketched, I will begin finalizing what she will look like and add colors and detail. Next, I will apply this base to each frame and manipulate it to fit the movement and make sure all the shadows and details work and are cohesive.
For this project, we also have to incorporate an additional discipline and apply those principles to whatever you are doing. Since my main topic is animation, I thought I would use this element to focus on body movement so I can make sure that what I’ making my dancer do is actually accurate. Some of the principles of body movement in animation are as follows:
With all that I’ve learned and done so far, I keep getting more and more excited about this project. Each time I sit down and work on it, it gets harder and harder to stop.
OVERVIEW OF THE EVENT:
This year, my Digital Design (DDL) Lab class put on our second Create-a-thon which is essentially a school-wide design challenge. For this event, students were asked to get into pre-made teams to create an art piece. This piece was shown at the end of our class’ video in the Napa Lighted Arts Festival. Throughout the day, we held workshops on Adobe products put on by actual Adobe employees. Thankfully, the day went even better than the year before and we are already talking about how we can make it even better for next year.
Last year I was one of the Project managers in charge of 5 other people and was right below the Product Manager. This year, I was honored to be one of the two Product Managers. This title came with a lot of responsibility and pressure. In a nutshell, we “designed” the day. We created the curriculum, branding/the logo, schedule, student teams, and kept a communicated pathway with Adobe. Each class the Product Managers for the Create-a-thon (my friend and I) and the Lighted Arts Festival (my other two friends) meet and share updates, bounce ideas off each other, and get our work done. This role was so much more than I originally thought, but at the end of the day, it was all worth it and I learned so much.
WORKING WITH ADOBE:
This year we continued our partnership with Adobe. Roughly every month we could connect with the team we were working with sharing updates, changes, and addressed questions and more. I and my co-product manager would tune into video conference meetings with almost the entire team. I and four other students from our class traveled to San Fransisco to the Adobe Offices to have a lunchtime booth recruiting employees to come up to Napa on the day of the Create-a-thon. On that day, we had about 10-15 people from Adobe come up and help that day. Some simply wanted to see the festivities, some helped out with technical questions and some lead workshops. We had 3 workshops with ranging attendance levels but none the less extremely special, helpful, informative, and fun. In the end, this event would not have been possible without the amazing help from the Adobe, the education team and specifically, our main contact, Clara Galan.
TAKING THE DAY GLOBAL:
This year, we decided to take this event global and to other schools. This summer, my teacher, Lisa Gottfried, and I presented to the Adobe Education Leaders Summit about what we did last year and our intentions for this year. This proved very effective with schools from all over the world showing interest in participating. We had two ways they could get involved:
1. Host their own Create-a-thon and submit to our global showcase submissions.
2. Video conference in and participate with us on the day of the event.
We had people are all over the world participate with us. People from Finland, Switzerland, Maine and more submitted to the global showcase submission. We also had four schools call in on the day of. We had Nitro High School from West Virginia, San Marino High School from Los Angeles, Fredrick Community College in Maryland, and George Brown University Design School from Toronto.
PLAY-BY-PLAY OF THE DAY:
The day started bright and early with me having to be at school at 5:45 with a coffee in hand. I started by giving a 30 minutes introduction to a class in West Virginia about how the day will work and answered any questions they had. Once they were on their way, I proceeded to go around and make sure our school was properly set up and all ready for the students to arrive at 8 am. As everyone was arriving, one of my classmates and I made sure to stand by the front office welcoming the Adobe employees making sure they get settled and knew where to go.
At around 8:15, my co-product manager and I started the Roll-out of the day to all 400 student who were participating in person. We went through how the day would go and what we were asking of them in depth. We also went through all the four other schools that participated in the event with us through a video call. Once we wrapped up the introduction, the students went to their assigned rooms and the day officially started.
During the work sessions, the DDL students (including me) went through classes. We helped groups brainstorm, overcome challenges and tried to answer any questions they had. While doing this, I was also going about checking in the with folks from Adobe, my class members and our school’s teachers/admin. I also made sure to go around and remind people of the Adobe workshops while also taking a few minutes to pop into some of them.
At the end of the day, we had a closing meeting (much like the roll-out’s set up). For that, we gave shoutouts to community partners, gave out prizes to students who went above and beyond with the day’s activities, and showed some of our submissions.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
If you would like to read more about all this day was, we were lucky enough to have a couple of articles written about the event. One source is from HundrED.org. We were actually chosen as one of the Top 100 Global Innovations in Education by HundrEd. Another great source is by our local paper, the Napa Register. One of their reporters was actually able to come to the event!
One of the DDL Students, Gavin Armendariz focused on documenting the entire event. He went from the very beginning all the way to filming the day. If you want to see a brief but informative 2-minute video, here is it:
Last year, our school created an all-school design challenge which we call the Create-a-thon. This year, we chose to go further and open it up to other schools. Once we announced this, more and more schools wanted to get involved and so it became the Global Create-a-thon.
Two summers ago, my teacher, Lisa Gottfried, and I were at Adobe. I was interning and she was at the Adobe Education Leaders Summit. There, she learned about a Hack-a-thon. After some meetings and altering, the create-a-thon was born.
The entire event over the past two years has educated me so much in many aspects. First and foremost, it has given me insight into the field I will possibly go with. It has also strengthened my logistics and planning skills. I have planned events in the past but this one was on an entirely new level. I had to communicate with professionals, educators, 400+ students. I had to plan the curriculum, teams, schedule, rollout, and think of all the little things that put it over the edge.
The Global Create-a-thon is providing an outlet for students to simply create. This day and age, students are under so much stress and many don’t have a method to relieve it. With this environment, artists and non-artists have no time or motivation to create. This is a place where they can let their creativity run free and explore new realms.
In the future, we can only hope to go bigger. Even though I am a graduating senior this year and this January was my last, I have every intention to help in any way I can next year seeing what I have helped establish.
I believe the create-a-thon would be a great event to replicate anywhere. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want. They are completely customizable. This is what’s so great. Schools, Organizations or even Communities can recreate this event with the magnitude they wish.
I am so unbelievably fortunate to have been apart of this incredible groundbreaking event. I will forever carry this experience with me.
This past semester in my leadership class, I have done and learned a lot. For starters, at the beginning of the year, a few other students and I were asked to redevelop the curriculum. We took a look at what has happened in the last couple of years and what could be improved. From there, we set up a curriculum and grading system. We did this by creating a grading rubric for all of our learning outcomes (agency, collaboration, knowledge & thinking, and written/oral communication). This entire process was surprisingly fun. Since this class was quite frustrating last year mainly due to the lack of structure and participation from my peers. With this, we could develop a class that would be productive and cohesive.
I believe I have been an active member of Leadership Class. This was demonstrated through the many projects I have led and the times I have helped lead the class. For me, though I do learn a lot, it doesn’t really feel like a “class”. It’s fun. This class lets me explore different leadership styles as well as putting it in a way where its fun and engaging. With all of this, I have also been able to plan a lot of projects and events. Some skills I learned while creating events were working out logistics, organizing volunteers, managing the marketing side of things, and being able to turn a vision into reality.
This class has taught me so much in terms of myself and lifelong skills.
This past project in my Digital Design class surrounded the idea of individually driven learning using HitRecord. HitRecord is an online collaborative production company founded by Joseph Gorden-Levitt. You are able to post or complete projects within your personal interests. My interests took me to the Illustration/ Graphic Design/ Photography projects. From there I found a few tasks that I might want to be a part of.
I ended up choosing a project that involved creating designs for motivational coasters. I then narrowed that down to adding the theme of Disney. I did this because when you just search “motivational quotes” thousands of results appear, and within that, there are hundreds of categories. I chose Disney because I have always been interested in this company and their work.
Once I decided on the Disney Theme, my mind instantly went to Finding Nemo and the infamous quote of “Just Keep Swimming” sung by Dory. This was my first coaster so I wasn’t exactly sure what direction I wanted to go with the rest. I played around a little in sketching my ideas but I ended up with the look of waves. To achieve the simplistic look I wanted, I needed to go beyond what I previously knew in Illustrator. The main tool I needed to learn was how to curve and customize how my words look. For this, I discovered the type on path tool. Once I found it, it was pretty straight forward in learning.
From there, I looked for other Disney quotes and landed on this one from Pocahontas. For this coaster, the vision was definitely not instant. I played around with a couple I ideas I had rolling around my brain and eventually landed on the scene of a path outlines with draping trees. However, as I developed this idea more and more in illustrator it looked worse and worse. About 2 days before the project was due, I ended up deleting the entire background. From there, I played around with gradient and blurring. I learned a lot with the gradient tool from the last two coasters so that wasn’t much of a challenge anymore. However, I don’t believe I have ever used the blurring effect in Illustrator so finding then playing around with it was interesting. I ended up doing very rough brush strokes then using the radial blur tool. This helped me immensely with achieving a windy fall feel.
This coaster is definitely my favorite. I have always loved the phrase Hukuna Matata. For this, the color pallet was a given to me: warm sunsets. To achieve the look I wanted, I had to learn more about how to use the gradient tool. This was a challenge for me but now I know it forward and backward. From there I wanted to do something the letters so it wouldn’t be too boring to look at. I then made the phrase into an arc (now knowing how to curve text) but it still looked empty. I then added the definition as it states in the song. Once I had that, the top was fun and interesting but I just had the bottom as there the gradient all came together. My solution to this is drawing inspiration from the movie and creating a silhouette of the three characters who sing the song. This was very straight forward and in my realm of knowledge.
For my fourth and final coaster, I wanted to tie all of them back together and do a quote from the man that started it all. One of Walt Disney’s most famous quotes is “If you can dream it, you can do it.” For this one, I wanted to draw on the word “dream” and my initial vision was of a soft galaxy. Using the gradient tool of which I had just learned, I played around with the freeform aspect. From there, I needed to create the look of starts. This was a big challenge for me. Not knowing what to do I started just making two dots, one bigger with a lower opacity and the other smaller in the core of the larger with full opacity. This looked terrible. Then, I discover the life-saving flare tool. It took a little bit of time to understand it, but I eventually got it. I started off creating the look I wanted with one and then continued to copy and past it randomly. After that, I pasted another but made it increasingly smaller and copy and pasted than MANY times. For the text, I wanted “dream” and “do it” to stand out. After deciding this, I played around a lot with different fonts and how to make it look like they are supposed to go together.
With all of these coasters, there was not one single design that went perfectly smooth. For each one, I just kept revising. For the Finding Nemo coaster, I got the base done and keep going back to change the flowing likes or to play around with the background. For the Pocahontas one, I played around a lot wit the first idea and ended up doing an entirely different one. For the Lion King one, I played around with the gradient and different colors for a good amount of time and at first didn’t include the silhouette. With the Walt Disney coaster, I tried different colors and at first didn’t change up the fonts. Revision is the key to making your work the best it can be.
When asked what I would do differently for next time, I instantly had an answer. Next time, I would like to take out a piece of paper, draw the four circles, and brainstorm. I would have liked to choose ALL of the quotes beforehand then play around with different visuals that way they all look cohesive.
Overall, This project was very interesting. In terms of my education with digital design, I learned a lot. Specifically, in Adobe Illustrator, I learned various skills across the board. This project has also taught me a lot about how I work. I have noticed that when working on an individually driven project, my experience with group projects has set me of for this. I find it surprisingly easy to divide up work and deciding what I should get done when. I think this project turned out to be reasonably successful.
One of the larger events in the Napa Valley is the Lighted Art Festival in the winters. My Digital Design Lab Class had the privilege of being one of the featured artists this year. We were tasked with creating a piece to be projected onto a 70-foot wall in the heart of downtown Napa. This production was generously sponsored by Adobe.
The process for this was surprisingly complex. The first step was a class discussion about overall themes, we ended up landing on “Beyond Imagination”. From there, we prototyped and identified sub-themes/design styles to use. We chose Geometric Shapes, Dreamscapes, Pet Wars Storytelling and Cityscapes for the transitions. From there the styles were divided among the groups. Each group, with the exception of the Cityscapes, would create a clip around two minutes long.
The amazing group I led was tasked with the Geometric Shapes. Once we were assigned this style we went into more prototyping. From there we narrowed down the specific look we wanted. After this, we went into brainstorming and started to form a storyboard. Looking back, the first storyboard compared to our finished video is complete opposites! I believe there is just one section that was planned from our original idea. Once we had our idea, we divided the sections and made a base design in Adobe Illustrator that we would all work off of in Adobe After Effects. A couple classes into that, we realized that our original storyboard was just not going to be able to get done within the month we had to finish. We got in what we could and improvised based on what we had to work with. Once the After Effects animations were finished we started piecing the clips together in Adobe Premiere. Within the first class of putting all of the clips into the program, we noticed some discrepancies. Some files were larger or smaller than the other or some were offset a couple of points. After going back and fixing them in After Effects and a large amount of effort, the clips flowed together as if they were never apart in the first place.
Thought out this process, we were lucky enough to have been connected with a mentor from London who also had a piece in the Lighted Art Festival. Every other week we would have a check-in and feedback call. This was extremely helpful because it was nice to have goals to keep us on track.
After we completed the final video with every group’s piece, submitted it to the festival and it had been running for a couple weekends we were invited to present a panel for the festival. For the panel, every group presented on their process and their takeaways. After we presented, our entire class went down to our projection. This was the perfect ending for a three-month project.
Our next project in my Digital Design Lab class is based around HitRecord. HitRecord is an online collaborative production company founded by Joseph Gorden-Levitt. You are able to post or complete projects within your personal interests. You can choose projects based on writing, illustration, film, voice, photography and so much more. My interests took me to the Illustration/ Graphic Design/ Photography projects. From there I found a few tasks that I might want to be a part of.
The first one I am interested in is for a book. The project entails creating a title for a book called The Lonely Flower. For this, I need to create a font and a layout. I believe it won't take long but it sounds interesting.
The second one is creating a logo for a band. The band name is Space Pirates so from just that, I have some ideas. My plan is to create a simplistic illustration and I will have their band name surrounding it. This one shouldn’t take too long but it sounds relatively interesting.
The third option is requesting concept art for drink coasters. The theme for the coaster set is for them to be motivational. This one might take a little longer because I want to create a few options. I am looking forward to playing with different programs and shapes for the coaster.
Overall, I don't necessarily think it will take longer than a month to complete all three projects within class time. I hope to complete all three projects and then submitting them to HitRecord. However, I worry that I might lose motivation or interest half way through the process. I am very intrigued to see how this project will turn out in the end.
This past week my school had the privilege of hosting our first Create-a-thon. The Create-a-thon was essentially an all-school design challenge which my Digital Design Lab class put on. This event was generously sponsored by Adobe.
This event was a student-run event with support from our teacher, Adobe and a film crew. My class designed the curriculum, agenda, signage, merchandise and provided tech support. A select group of students and I were able to drive down to the Adobe office in San Francisco to promote this event. There, we recruited employees to come up to help out for the day and participated in meetings. The Saturday before the big day, a few of us came into school for half the day in order to set up and prepare for the event. Hours and hours of preparation went into this event and personally, I believe it all paid off in the end.
The Create-a-thon turned out to be a stressful but fun day in the end. There was a lot that had to be done in order to achieve the result we accomplished. I was one of the three head students in charge. I was able to see first hand what it is like to plan and run a 700 person event. I went into logistics, planning, making sure everything was working and helping participant’s and helper’s satisfaction. Saying that this was a challenge is an understatement. However, no matter how difficult it may have been, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.