Don’t leave your catchphrases out in the elements.

For this assignment, I started by picking a character with a catchphrase from a show that I enjoy. It took a minute to come up with one, but once I thought about this line, I knew it was perfect. I made a few changes in my initial design decision, but the basic theme remained the same.
After I had the idea, it was simply a matter of creating it in Gimp. I try, every week, to use software to do something I have never done. I am glad this course is inspiring me to expend my GIMP repertoire. So, this week, I used this tutorial from youtube to learn how to create ice text. I downloaded a copy of the front front the show, and I got to work. There were several steps in the process, and I won’t go through them all because the tutorial explains it all much better than I can. After I completed that, it was a matter of adding the necessary context to the text to make the catchphrase, which I did by adding a thought bubble. I like this one enough, I think I will share it on facebook. Here is the result.

On a side note, I just realized that Flickr is turning my .png’s into .jpgs and reducing the quality. I guess they don’t like the image data size. I will go back to exporting jpg’s, but of larger sizes to preserve at least some of the lost quality, even though .jpg is a lossy format.

One additional realization here…. I made a mistake and had to edit it out, and because I had not paid careful attention the kerning of the text, there is actually a place where the letters had overlapped that is, to me at least, a bit of an eyesore. Every element of text matters.

Primary Characters.

So, for this assignment there were two basic elements that went into completing it. The first, and by far the most difficult was thinking up the content. I had the idea to put Tyrion in the center right from the beginning, but I had some trouble thinking of ways to describe him that let me come up with other characters. In particular, short and rich gave me trouble until I thought of Scrooge and the whole thing came together. I tried at first to keep it to just Game of Thrones characters, but I couldn’t think of any way to get the content. I may do this assignment again in the future if I think of something for it.
The next aspect of the assignment, however, was to design it and put it together. I chose the primary color mix because I felt like the mixtures are familiar and understandable. It took a few methods to get the colors to mix the way I wanted, and in the end, I had to lay other colors over the top in a few spots. I just created the three circles on their own layers and dropped the opacity to 50 percent. I then duplicated each colored ring and put them over but in a different order to blend the colors better. I layered the text of the same font but two different sizes over the top of it all, and tried to position is uniformly. This is the result.

Not quite a mirror…

So, for this assignment, I decided that I would add a couple layers and do it slightly different than the two people before me. They both used xbox avatars to complete the assignment, but it didn’t expressly say to do so. I started to make an avatar of myself elsewhere, but I figured that it would be better to pull one from something I actually use. So, I loaded up the old game that I have been playing recently, Dragon Age Origins, and made the best copy of myself that I could. I had to use a photo for some it it, though, because I don’t know that i have ever tried to imitate my face so closely. The limited options in the engine prohibited a perfect match, but I think I got fairly close, anyhow. I made the angle of the photo and the angle of the character screen shot the same to illustrate that they are intended to be the same. And for the background, I chose a similar dark gray that the people previously had, except I used layers and transparency to make overlapping boxes behind the avatar and my to demonstrate how the digital me and the real me overlap one another.

Movies? What do I know about Movies?

So, when I saw this assignment, I knew exactly what movie I would pick and I knew for sure the first icon. I will leave it at that so that I don’t ruin the fun of guessing. Probably anyone who has seen the movie will recognize it, but I will provide a few additional clues… First of all, the boxer should have bare knuckles. Second, the gun should say the name of a very specific highly recognizable gun manufacturer and a rather large caliber on the side. It is not an old movie really, unless you are really young… then you might consider it old.  This assignment was really fun; it was interesting to boil down the entire movie to 4 icons. I chose the simplistic comic strip style to help show that the icons are intended to tell a whole story, but not break away from the simplicity of the icons themselves.  There were a couple others I thought about for a minute, but I think these isolated the essence of the movie. To anyone that happens by to actually guess, Good Luck! If you show up and absolutely cannot figure it out, the answer is here.

 

 

Slooooooowwwwmmmmmetal

This assignment was to slow down a song using audio editing software. I used the Paulstretch effect in audacity for the slowing part. The song I chose was Poor Millionaire by August Burns Red. It is pretty heavy metal-core, I thought the rapid shifts in pitch and tone would make the result interesting. The idea is to make it sound like ambient music, but I don’t know that my final result reflects that very well. I tried a number of effects, pitch shifting, compression, reverb, so on and so forth and found very little that moved it in the direction that I liked. What I did do, in the final product, was cut out non vocal sections, split the audio tracks, added different echos to each track, and reversed the left track so they sounded different from one another. The result has some of the qualities that I wanted, but there is too much hum in each track; that is the best way I can describe it. I tried noise reduction to remove some of it, its effect was moderate at best. Perhaps metal-core was not a good genre of music for this assignment. Anyhow, this is the final product, for better or worse.

Daddy Daughter Dancing

For this assignment, I thought for a second about a song with really strong, attached memories. The song I chose isn’t a song I really listen to on my own, so when I thought of it, it was perfect for the assignment.

 

As far as the assignment portion, it was rather straight forward. I just recorded myself reflecting on the song. I let a black spot to get a noise reduction profile. I made sure to put long paused after mistakes and I let the recording stream. I realized after my take that I did not name the song, so I made a second recording where I said the name of the song and spliced it into the original. Audacity takes quite a bit of the trial and error out of recording a voice audio file. Mistakes are easily removed or corrected, so I did not have to start over every time I messed up. I have rarely, if ever, recorded myself for any reason, but if and when I do in the future, I will remember that audacity is an indispensable tool for doing so. Anyhow, here is my recording.

One final realization I had while making this assignment was that embedding files is easier than I though. For both soundcloud and youtube, all I had to do was make sure that in the ext editor, they were on a line entirely their own. No more adding the
embed and /embed markup to get things to appear.

Effect sound effects

I created this assignment because I was impressed with what a wonderful utility freesound is, and felt like inspiring people to not only utilize the sounds there, but also to contribute wherever they could. I was actually inspired to do this assignment originally because a particular sound that I needed for another assignment was just not available. I just set my mic in a decent place, hit record on audacity, and recorded several takes of myself throwing a handful of cards down onto a table. I edited out the bad ones and kept the best few, then uploaded them all to freesound.org for other people to use if they ever find it useful or necessary.

As a side note, as of the time of this posting, my sound effect still had not been moderated, and I think it is causing the embeded post above to fail to load properly. My sound effect is also posted here.

Bad Deal

A man playing against the infamous Merrell Shale decides that it will be better to try his luck with a pistol after seeing his hand. I don’t think he knew what sort of place he was in, though, and the barkeep made short time of him.

This assignment was quite a bit of fun actually. I used all of my newly acquired audacity skills, and a few I acquired just for this, and put together a western audio story. First things first, I needed looped background and ambient sounds. I found some crickets chirping and country sounds that I had to cut down to remove traffic sounds. I collapsed the track into mono and found spots at the beginning and end where the wave crossed the zero line to clip the audio. Then, I fused several sections of it together over and over to make sure it was long enough for my whole story.
I repeated that process basically with my bar sounds, but I had to keep it in stereo and find places where both tracks crossed the zero line at the same time to splice those. It didn’t sounds the same in mono, it lost the feeling that you were surrounded by the sound. Then, I imported the following sounds which I had edited, amplification and cutting mostly, to suit my purposes: shuffling cards, cards being dealt, a chair sliding, a revolver cocking, a glass dropping, a punch, a body thudding on the ground, a body being drug from the bar, and saloon doors opening. I also created an assignment and made my own sound effect for the cards being throw on the table. I put them all together in that order and created an envelope for the bar sounds so that you could hear the crickets chirp and glass fall when the man who was angry about his hand pulled out his gun. After he is thrown out of the bar, people resume chatting and the shuffling starts over again. The interesting part of this assignment was that as I was putting it together, my ears were constantly telling me what was missing… what seemed out of place, what needed to be louder or quieter. It was as though, without my knowledge, they had become accustomed to listening to audio stories all along. I think it really highlighted the importance of audio in stories that employ it.

Update: I think every time I listen to it, I notice something that I need to fix. My latest update was to turn down the crickets a bit so they don’t sound like foreground music during the part where the man is being dragged out of the bar.

DS106 Radio Bumper: Puns and Guitars

So, after learning the basic of audio editing from audacity, I started this assignment. I searched around on freesound after reading about its existence from a fellow ds106 participant on her radio bumper post. It was a fairly straight forward process after I watched the tutorial. I just found a guitar bit I liked to go behind it on freesound.org. Then, I wrote a short script, puns included. I took a few tries as recording it in a somewhat western accent. Then, I used a few methods I found for noise reduction and to take out a couple of pops and ssss sounds. After that, I stuck the pieces together, created an envelope for my voice over part so that the music would quiet down while I was speaking. I threw on a fade in and fade out, and exported it to mp3 format. Maybe I am just lazy, but I preferred the simplicity here that I employed. I added in a couple other sounds and such, but I don’t think they added anything to it so I took them out.

 

Lifetime of love, after a few misfortunes.

 

So, for this assignment, I had to locate a photo of a couple and provide a back story. I looked in this case for an older couple because I feel like they have more noteworthy love stories. When I selected the image, it was odd to see where it originated because the story it was from is not at all the story I had in mind when I saw it, so don’t click the link unless you want to spoil the fun. Other than being an older couple, that it was shot from behind makes the subjects someone nondescript, and to me, that means that their story is far more open ended than a photo where facial expressions and looks are included. Faces tell stories all their own, so I wanted different elements of this story to speak to me.
William, his friends call him Bill, and his wife Margaret, who refuses to allow her name to be shortened, have been married since their early twenties. They met at a gathering of Bill’s brother, and after a shot bit of conversation, realized that she was a nurse at an army medic camp in Vietnam where he had stayed for several weeks recovering from a military career ending injury, and that he had been there once prior for another injury that won him a purple heart but had recovered and gone back to his unity. She treated him on both occasions, but he was out when she had and he did not recall. They still joke that if he had just woke up and seen her the first time, he wouldn’t have had to lose the use of his left arm when God decided to play matchmaker a second time, and that if had woke up the second time, they wouldn’t have had to endure Bill’s Brother’s wife’s cooking at that party.
This assignment was useful because it caused me to think about the way in which images have lives and stories of their own. Like some more abstract poetry or music, they don’t necessarily have a concrete meaning to convey. Images can mean a million things to a million people, and accordingly, good photographs have their own merit outside of what they literally depict.