How to Embed a StoryMap

So, for this tutorial, I am more interested in embedding the StoryMap on a WordPress site than on creating the storymap itself. This is something that I spent a bit of time investigating, so I just wanted to simplify the process for anyone interested. I tried the plugin, and it did a lot of really odd things, none of which were successfully embedding my storymap. So, if you would like embed your storymap, you can do the following:

1. Go to your Dashboard on your WordPress site.

2. Click the link in the tab on the left to go to “plugins.”

3. Click add new, then search for “iframe” and you will see a plugin called iframe shortcode.

4. Click install, then click activate.
5. Now, the once forbidden iframe codes can be displayed on your site. (this means more than just storymap embedding, by the way.)
6. So, for the plugin, you replace <iframe     > </iframe> with [iframe   ] The final version of your url will look like this,

iframe src=”your full url, do not remove the quotes” frameborder=”0″ width=”100%” height=”800″

Yours will need brackets around it, though. I had to remove them here so it would not try to embed here.  The final product will look like this,  although your storymap is likely must prettier than mine.

Journey Out West

So, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get this map to embed. I eventually gave up and decided the best way to go about it was to just share via twitter and embed that. Even the tweet, sadly, does not display a thumbnail or anything. So, for this assignment, I made a story map with a twist. I was looking for ways to incorporate other characters and this seems like a pretty good idea. I created a journey out west where I encounter several ds106 characters along the way. To create the assignment, I just opened several tabs with characters and organized them in a way that made some geographical sense. That I have been all over the country certainly helped there… After that, I just made a story out of simple interactions with the characters. The upshot of it all is that I am not more familiar with ds106 characters. I may have to use that familiarity to create a far more extensive “which character are you” buzzfeed quiz in the future.

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.

Fun with fonts

So, for this assignment, I decided to take my newly downloaded Brady Bunch font abroad. The assignment was to recreate a popular logo using a new font. I searched around for silly and crazy fonts for a bit before deciding to use the Brady font I downloaded for another assignment, but I just didn’t find anything that appealed to me. After completing it, I think it would have looked more interesting with a more outlandish font, however. What I did here was create the new text and get the correct size, outlined it using this method, then I shifted the baseline on the bottom text to match the original. I placed the original and my new one on top of one another to juxtapose them to see the contrast. Another observation that I had while competing this assignment was that a plurality of logos use incredible plain, san serif fonts. Very few logos I saw when I was picking one had done anything else.

Drawing Babies

For this 2 star assignment, I was supposed to take an image and turn it into a pencil drawing.
I made two attempts at it because I did not like the first one. I didn’t care much for the second one either. I chose this assignment because it involved manipulating images in ways that I have not before. I sometimes mod custom textures and appearances for games, and now I wonder how it would look if I turned those textures into drawings.  Anyhow, for the first image, I chose this tutorial on youtube. The results looked more like I had turned the image black and white rather than into a drawing.


The next image I created using this tutorial was for a soft color pencil drawing instead of  plain black and white. The result in this case looks more like a grainy photo than a drawing. I did notice some elements form each that I might be able to combine in the future if I want to perfect this technique. The interesting thing to note here is that in each of tutorials, they had spectacular results with the photos they chose. The takeaway here is that the editing process for this, and probably for other manipulations depends quite heavily on the characteristics of the photo being manipulated: no one size fits all. 

The Hiser Bunch

This assignment was to create a Brady Bunch image using family or friends. Picked people for this one was a breeze because my family is already sort of a Brady Bunch. I have one child from a previous marriage, in the bottom right, my wife has three, all on the left, and we have one child together. We also have two cats, Shadow and Flame. (know the reference?)
Putting the photo together was fairly simple. I chose  photos of each of us, it was at this time that I realized I have almost no good photos and that maybe it is time to actually invest in an SLR camera. Cell phone tech, at least in my phone, just isn’t cutting it yet. After choosing the photos, I just had to crop, remove the background, and place them into the image. I used the natural angles of the photos to make them look as proper as possible in the boxes and chose a family arrangement that made sense like the original Brady Bunch. The font, although not as good as my apple original I used for something yesterday, was a pretty good Brady imitation. There are thousands upon thousands of fonts out there and searching for something like Brady Bunch font is sure to return some results.
So, what I took from this is that I need to spend time getting better photos that can stand as photos for their own sake rather than just poorly shot visual representations of memories.Since I learned about the basics of photography a visual design class, I have always wanted to get more into it, but I still have not done so. Canon Rebel, here I come… maybe.


Tools of the Gambler Trade

Merrell, the savvy gambler that he is, has a few necessities that he carries with him on the trail. For this assignment, I created an image of the overturned contents of Merrell’s saddle bag.

The first step was, obviously, to give some thought to the sort of items he might carry, starting with a the saddle and bags that overturned in the first place. Obviously a gambler would carry around a deck of cards and a pair of dice, so those there easy. The next item I chose was an old western style pistol, being in the west without one is a dangerous prospect for any man, but especially so for one who makes his living by winning bets against other men. Everyone in a while a cheat, a sore loser, or a plain ol mangy varmint might want to test their mettle to get back what they lost or to take what they never had. A traveling man that he is, Merrell gets quite a bit of use out of his old compass and map as well, looking for new spots to travel and make his way. Obviously all the swanky saloons are marked, and there is a coded addition to help him locate his buried loot. Banks are none too useful out on the frontier. Last, but certainly not least, is his luck rabbits foot given to him by his father when he set out on the road. It is both a token of the hard work and sacrifice that his father underwent to raise him proper, and a trinket to bring him good luck when his outstanding wits and skills aren’t quite enough.
Afterward, I had to find images in the commons that I was allowed to manipulate to create the image. The challenge here was finding places to search images and using search terms that would lead me to the things I want.
Finally, I compiled it all into the image seen below. Each of the items was put on their own layer with an old wood grain table as the background image. Not that it looks entirely realistic, but putting the pieces together requires some rearranging and consideration to make it look like a coherent image rather than a bunch of scattered items posted on a background. I did not go so far as to add the shadows to make the image look more realistic, but looking at it now I wish I had. Maybe I will update it if there is some time.

Merrell’s Gear

What is a country that I have heard of…

For this assignment, creep on a movie scene, I originally thought it would be a good idea to put myself in a horror movie, maybe even cover myself in blood or something. Although this was admittedly easier, it is, to me, somewhat more entertaining. After I decided against a horror film, I thought a Tarantino movie would be a good idea. I was going to make myself into the cop in the trunk in Reservoir Dogs, but none of the images contain both the characters and the officer. So, I went with this iconic image instead. Imagine, if you will, that Samuel L. Jackson just came along with a gun and an armed compatriot and started eating your Big Kahuna burger. I tried for a look of apprehension in the photo, which I had to take specifically for this image because of the angle, but I think the angle obscures the wonderful face acting that I had done.

Process wise, it was all rather simple. I found the image, took note of the angle of the character in the picture, and had someone snap a photo from the appropriate angle. I added the scared look for a nice touch. There was one take of the photo where I looked more scared, but the angle was bad so I discarded it. It was harder to recreate that look than I imagined. After that, I added the face image to gimp, added a transparent background, cropped it around my face and saved it as a layer. Then, I added the face layer to the scene image, resized it, flattened it, and voila!
I am entertained enough with the results that I think I will make this my facebook profile pic for a while…