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.
When thinking of how to personally define the American Dream, I keep coming up blank. I keep seeing the idyllic 1950s scene with the suburban houses, flamingo lawn decor, bright poofy dresses, and sunny skies. Back then I would define the dream and having a nice family, house, steady job, with not a worry in the world. On the other hand, the is most definitely not the case anymore. Sure, many aspects to it can be desirable but more pressing issues have shown. When researching other’s definitions, three, in particular, have stood aside from the rest.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the American Dream as “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful”. This one is, by far, my favorite. This open-ended definition allows everyone to interpret it based on their prior history and goals for the future.
In contrast, according to the New York Times, the general ideas of the dream have shifted. Back in the 1930s, the themes were primarily freedom, mutual respect, and equal opportunity. However, when talking with a few politicians in our government today, the themes have turned to “owning a beautiful home and a successful business”. The Times state that the 1930s definition “had more to do with morality than material success”. I find this extremely concerning. If the people who are leading our country have this material mindset, what does that mean for the rest of us?
Investopedia’s defines it as “the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone”. This definition is super important. My take is how they suggest that just because someone wasn’t born here, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't have the same opportunities and you and me.
All of these definitions have the overall theme of success and just living the life that you want. If I actually had to define my idea “American Dream” it would simply be “a way of living your best life with the resources to do so at your fingertips”.
I created this piece to embody some of the themes of my “American Dream”. I had posters show through the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty all in front of the American flag. I used vintage posters showcasing popular states and topics in our country. I placed them in the Statue of Liberty because I appreciate what it stands for. The torch on the statue represents enlightenment and showing the way to freedom. Freedom and equality are topics that I value a lot in life. I muted the flag because I don't necessarily feel strongly about what I associate it with. I feel that while patriotism can be a good thing, but it's just not one of my top priorities. Personally, I don’t like to identify just a single definition of the “American Dream”. However, I believe this piece showcases one of the many takes on the historically known ideals of anyone who lives in the United States.
Even though women are affected by societal expectations on a day to day basis, they defy those expectations just the same. They do this by simply living their lives. Women can very easily go with society’s expectations. However, we are own people. We make our own decisions.
A great example of this is the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. In the narrative, the author goes through the hour in which a grieving widow learns of her husband's death. Once the truth is unveiled, she grieves, as someone would expect. After some time she asks for some time to herself. During this time, at first, she thinks this is the end of her life because she doesn’t see the point without her beloved husband. As time goes on, she recalls all of the hard times he caused her. She becomes excited and empowered by her new found freedom.
Another example of women defying societal expectations is embodied by Miss Emily from the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Miss Emily defied all expectations on a daily basis. She refused to adhere to simple systematic expectations, such as leaving her house every now and then, paying taxes and murdering people. However, she did not stop there. She then went on and made the townsfolk believe that her suitor (the person that she poisoned) was still alive and well. She then went even farther as to keep the body and in her room. In a nutshell, Miss Emily defied almost every societal expectation in the book.
Both these women defied the societal standards that were bestowed upon them. Look around you or take a look at yourself and really think about societies expectations for women. We defy them.
Social Expectations affect women in countless ways and it needs to stop. Our society is constantly putting down women or adding yet another standard to which we judge them. Different cultures have different expectations, however, they all that too many.
In the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins, the author touches on many of these absurd expectations. The Protagonist is a serious condition and because she is a woman no one is taking it seriously. The two main men in her life, her husband and her bother, are just going along with it but don’t think anything of it. They are both physicians, therefore, they believe they know everything and are the pinnacle of knowledge. The author portrays them to believe that because she is simply a woman she doesn't know if she is sick or not and if by chance she is, they, of course, should lock her in her house and take away everything that keeps her sane.
Alleged old beliefs, such as “women can’t possibly handle knowledge” shows a lot within this story. Her brother and husband believe this and unfortunately, there are still people in our society that also feel this way. This has been disproven countless times but still. Nothing.
Societal expectations affect woman every day, in all environments. The social standards of woman have been built up throughout the years. This must end.
This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to do an internship at Adobe! Every day I would drive the 30 minute trip to the ferry building, ride the hour-long ferry, then ride a bike 3 miles to the Adobe offices in San Francisco. It was quite a trip and all worth it! Although it was only a week, it was one of the best experiences in my life. I had the privilege of working with a small development team.
During my time in the city, I learned countless skills that can directly improve my performance and set me up for future experiences associated with my education and career. I researched potential users, similar applications, and what the demand is for the product. I sat in and participated in the team’s meetings and helped orchestrate focus groups. I was interviewed many times and was trained in how to interview others for them. Doing all of these things was extremely beneficial and interesting, however, this was not the highlight of my week. My favorite part of the week was without a doubt being able to test their product. I was able to create new pieces each day and give my feedback directly to the engineers of the product.
This incredible experience was absolutely life-changing. Being at Adobe was such a valuable experience and I loved every second of it!
2018 Tech lends a hand was one to remember. To start out, I was able to go to my top choice: Connolly Ranch. As a kid I remember spending all my summers attending the camp to garden, play with animals and make fairy houses around the logs. To help out preparing for that summer camp was very fun! We helped out with weeding, putting down mulch, cleaning out the chicken coop, cleaning out the branches from the duck pond and my favorite, preparing for the summer crafts. This experience was so much fun and it was great to help out to create an amazing experience for others that I once had.