Author Archives: Margo DePorter

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Some things I like

Some things I like

I set out to create a self-portrait of sorts- a piece reflecting my desire for visual aesthetic, in response to a stream of consciousness on the topic of “things I like”. I wanted to implement elements of hand draw animation inspired by some of the work I created at the start of my semester in Digital Tools for Artists. Illustrations I made for the GIF assignment would be utilized both as elements for the sequence and as a source of stylistic inspiration for my piece, “Some things I like”.

Sketch

“Some things I like” was inspired by Wes Anderson’s aesthetic mixed with a minimalist approach to pleasing pastels and clean design. I think I was effective in evoking a minimalist, aesthetically pleasing piece. I’m particularly happy with my use of color, font and minimalist design. Though there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve the kind of sophistication I hope to express in the finished product, I’m happy with the place I’m at now, a kind of halfway point, as I’ve created a nice backbone for the piece and started working on some of the more intricate details. There is still plenty of work to be done in order to expand on some of the themes articulated in the piece. Specifically, I hope to implement smoother transitions, including fade ins and outs for all of the hand drawn elements. I also hope to enhance the playfullsness of the piece, to really take it all the way in terms of utilizing any and all opportunities to express my abilities as an editor, abilities I’ve acquired through out my time in Angela’s class.

Pencils

The challenges I faced throughout this conference project include the issue of having big ideas that I was unable to express given the amount of time I allotted myself to complete the project. I really wanted to have my pencil and lipstick elements write out text, but I quickly realized that would require a time commitment I wasn’t able to commit to. I also would have liked to accomplish more specific animations for each element, specifically related to the movements I experimented with at the start of the piece.

My conference project remained pretty consistent from the beginning. I’d say the biggest change happened during the middle of the piece. During the creation of the middle content, the pieces that came after the intro and before the conclusion, I struggled with implementing further technique and detail. I had a similar experience to some of the challenges I’ve faced throughout this course, hitting a wall at the one-minute mark and struggling to keep up the momentum.

I’m definitely happy with the look of the piece at this point in time. I feel there is a lot to be done in order to achieve a piece I hope to include in my professional reel, but I am very happy with what I have to work with at this point. I’m specifically happy with how the piece works in relation to the body of work I have developed this semester. The Davi character I created during the GIF assignment resurfaced in my “Davi Has Problems” kinetic text piece, a piece I improved upon as a part of my conference work. Davi appears again in “Some things I like” as a sort of passive tour guide. I’m happy with the way he casually exists in the world I have created for this piece.

Davi

My goal for this semester was to create a cohesive body of work, and I feel like I have achieved that when considering the work I’ve done for conference as well as the individual assignments and studio prompts. I think “Some things I like” articulates the aesthetic I was hoping to achieve. I look forward to continuing my work on this piece, as well as “Davi Has Problems”. I think they will be great additions to my professional portfolio. I look forward to sending future drafts of both pieces to Angela for feedback in the future.

Coffee

Kinetic Text: Davi Has Problems

Davi Has Problems

As I was searching for the words to include in my kinetic text project, I scrolled through the many notes saved to my computer. I wanted the text to read in the style of a diary entry. As my notes have always been very sporadic and personal, I felt that I would be able to find a suitable collection of text within that selection. A note I’d made in regards to the many problems my dog Davi has, with the goal of reading it off at the vet, stuck out as a nice contrast between the comedic element I was hoping to convey and the personal anecdote. Throughout my piece of kinetic text, I list off the various issues I had discussed with Davi’s vet, as well as other identifying factors I tell people when discussing Davi’s personal narrative.

He Cries

For the design of this project I was very interested in creating an aesthetic that would be attractive and engaging, something that could be appreciated on it’s own, if one weren’t paying attention to the text. For the look of the piece and the aesthetic of the text, I was inspired by the title sequence that appeared at the start of HBO’s Girls. I chose my usual color scheme of pale pinks and pastels. I felt it complemented the playful nature of the next while satisfying my need to create something visually appealing. It was very hard for me to decide whether or not to create the whole piece in different shades of pink or to work along the color spectrum. I frequently rely on shades of pink as a color palette, as I find it to be so aesthetically pleasing and have grown to see it at as a constant in my work.

Davi_1Movement

I struggled with motion. I was very certain of the text I would use and the aesthetic I wanted to achieve, but I found my engagement with motion was less inspired than the rest of the content of the piece. I would’ve liked to have created more intriguing motion, motion that could be appreciated outside of the text.

Davi_2

Choosing fonts for this piece was very difficult. It would have been very beneficial to do some research ahead of time, gathering a list of fonts I found to be aesthetically pleasing and unified. Instead, I scrolled through the option of fonts in After Effects upon the addition of each section of text. I found it difficult to choose fonts that were complimentary but not too similar. I find it can be distracting to have two fonts, one after the other, so similar they become almost indistinguishable. I was eager to utilize simple and modern fonts that would be both complimentary to one another, while remaining distinguishable. I am not sure I succeeded, but I found I am a big fan of Pt Sans Narrow.   Transition

As always, I had some trouble with maintaining momentum throughout the whole piece. I found the first minute to be very instinctual, while the last three minutes were somewhat difficult to maneuver. When dealing with something as delicate and simple as text, it can be daunting to try and create an engaging piece without being overly repetitive. I had to remember that some elements of repetition can be appreciated when they are conscious decisions that aim to encourage a sense of design.

I had trouble with restricting my use of preset text effects. As tempting as they were, I found that they were easy to fall reliant on. This led me to experiment with font, size, placement and movement to create my own sort of effects. I found it was difficult to distinguish when the text had enough going for it and when it could benefit from a few more elements to make it more engaging.

Cutting to music is always tricky. I find great satisfaction in rhythmic editing, but I can become easily distracted when cutting to the tune of a song and I tend to start cutting to different beats and tempos rather than keeping with one rhythm. I found that working with the 3-second rule encouraged a more uniform rhthym. This was a very helpful discovery that I will be sure to utilize in future projects. Going about rhythmic editing it in a mathematical way can save time and can ensure a more cohesive rhythm.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience creating this piece.  Though it was strenuous at times, I feel this studio prompt really tested my hand at After Effects, while challenging my ability to engage with text in video, resulting in a stronger understanding of both skills. Although there are some elements of the piece that I feel could be improved upon, such as my use of color and my implementation of motion and change, I am very happy with what I came up with.Ow

Space Oddity



Stars

The first song I downloaded for this class, with the goal of using it in an After Effects sequence, was Debussy’s Claire De Lune. I find Claire De Lune to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I also have an emotional attachment to the piece, as I once had a professor recommend it to me during a conference. It wasn’t the recommendation that struck me, it was the fact that he recommended a song I had loved all my life but never knew the name of.

I chose to use Claire De Lune for my Space Oddity studio prompt as I felt it exemplifies the feeling of movement through time and space. The emotion that runs through the notes of the piano mimics the feeling of wind and evolution, of travel and growth, loss and struggle. The song is booming with inspiration. This was both a gift and a curse, as the song articulates so much emotion and movement, I found it difficult to do the piece justice. I found I wasn’t creating images and articulating movements that could adequately express the emotion that exudes through the piece. I had an idea in my head of what this sequence could look like and unfortunately my final result does not necessarily encompass what I had hoped to achieve. Sketch 02

Sketch 01 I started off with a rough idea of what my sequence would contain. I knew I wanted to have a piece that traveled from the earth towards the sky. I also knew I would use flowers as a kind of guide throughout the journey. I was thinking about the way a lost balloon floats up into the sky, seemingly on an endless journey through space. I wanted to achieve that concept with flowers, earth’s creation, as the balloon, continuously appearing throughout the journey.

Flowers

I was happy with the environment I created at the start of the piece. I was especially pleased with the end result of the clouds and the sun. I chose to go with a very geometrical look, inspired by the PBS cartoons I watched as a child. This was both influenced by my love of early 2000s children’s shows and the fact that geometrical shapes are very approachable for a relatively new user of After Effects.

Clouds

Things got bumpy as I added more content to my sequence. I became overwhelmed with the delayed playback. I had never worked with such a dense After Effects composition. This delayed playback made it difficult for me to get a sense of timing and movement. Going back, I should have been more diligent about utilizing my music markers. I used them at the beginning of the project and then started cutting by ear, but once my playback got so delayed it became difficult to cut to the notes of the song.

I am satisfied with the way the piece comes to a close. I wanted to create the illusion of an alternate universe mimicking reality with subtle differences. I replaced the sun with my Photoshop illustration of an orange planet. I am also happy with the way the magnified fractal combined with the kaleidoscope, gives the illusion of evolving static, I found this to be a nice reiteration of the space theme.

Static



I struggled to incorporate the loop command. I used it towards the end of the sequence when the flowers bob back up into frame. The challenge I found in the loop tool adequately sums up the struggle I experienced throughout this project. I found myself planning out the piece in accordance to the effects I had to incorporate rather than create with a plan to implement the required effects at the end. For future studio prompts, I will be sure to look at the requirements as elements I need to include in the end result, rather than aspects that dictate the sequence. I wish I could have created something with a little more emotion. I think if I had gone further with my storyboarding and stayed closer to the beats of the music I might have achieved a more emotional piece.

Digital Tools: The Art of The GIF

Wink

My plan for the animated GIF assignment, as it has been for all of my assignments thus far in Digital Tools, was to create cohesive content, digital art with an aesthetic that carries from one style of digital media to the next. As I discovered early on this semester, through the wallpaper assignment, I am very much inspired by the Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade aesthetic. This came as quite a surprise to me as I certainly do not adhere to this aesthetic in my own fashion choices or interior design, but I find I am attracted to this colorful, preppy, clean look of playful design mixed with attractive color schemes.

The three GIFs I have chosen to include in this post are pieces I created with an audience in mind. I wanted to create GIFs I could imagine Millennials sending to friends or loved ones via Facebook, Email or text. I made GIFs that contain universal themes, with messages that can be expressed through imagery rather than text. I chose to create a wink, a kiss and a birthday cake.

Kiss

As I created these GIFs, one by one, I found I grew more confident in my drawing abilities on Photoshop. I had always felt I lacked skill in the drawing department, and with the introduction of the pen tool I’ve found a world of opportunity I didn’t realize existed.

I am most satisfied with the color scheme I have included throughout my GIFs. I’ve had a lot of fun utilizing my favorite pale shade of pink and finding other colors that work well alongside it. I am also very happy with the cohesion of these pieces.   I feel like they work well alongside one another, which has continued to be my hope for all of my work produced in digital tools.

If I were to change anything about these GIFs, I would have utilized a background other than white in my wink.   I also would have created the second frame of the kiss to have a more pursed lip detail. Overall I am very happy with my animated GIFs. I’ve already sent out the birthday cake in a happy birthday message. I have a feeling I will use it again soon.

Birthday Cake

System: RosieRose

RosieRose

RosieRose

When I first set out to code a system, I was lacking in inspiration. I knew I wanted to create something that I could have an emotional connection with, but I was uncertain that I would be able to code a system with a narrative. As I considered the possibilities, I began playing around with the afc_25_system_01_05. I found the simplicity of the system approachable. I appreciated the ellipses and the subtle movements of the particles. As I became familiar with the code, I found myself considering systems in relation to the Internet. I considered Wi-Fi in general, and then I considered my own Wi-Fi, “RosieRose”. It became clear to me then, I would create a visual representation of a Wi-Fi I have carried with me from one apartment to the next.

Inspiration

Inspiration 01

My Wi-Fi, “RosieRose”, is named after my recently deceased, beloved family dog, Rosie.  My Wi-Fi, and Rosie Rose herself, inspired my system of the same name. Rosie passed away one year ago, but I like to think she lives on through the waves of my Wi-Fi. I connect with her on a daily basis, I share her with others. My RosieRose Wi-Fi is a space I have carved out for the dog I loved, so she could live on through the waves of the internet. I have created a visual representation of this space through my system. As I began to code my system, I knew I wanted to utilize a similar color scheme to the ones that I had been implementing in my pieces throughout the course of the semester. I like to experiment with different shades of pink to create a visually appealing atmosphere.  I utilized three different shades of pale to rouge pink in my system, in the effort to evoke the detail of a pink rose. After determining my color scheme, I did some research to figure out how to portray a rose through simple shapes. I decided on a circular pattern of overlapping ellipses.  I was satisfied with the design, as it would allow for further experimentation with color by utilizing different degrees of transparency.

Inspiration 02

Inspiration 02

Initial Color Scheme

Initial Color Scheme and layout

  As I continued with my code, my class suggested a wrap function would be more effective than the bounce function I had been utilizing initially. Switching from the bounce function to the wrap function allowed for my representation of falling petals to come across more effectively to the viewer. Out of all of the elements in my system, I am most pleased with the visual of the falling petals. I carefully set their speed and position to encourage a sense of density in the space. I wanted the smaller petals to fall slowly, the bigger falling faster, to give the viewer a better understanding of the environment and the delicate nature of the rose.   Throughout my experience of coding this system I experimented with utilizing visuals and text to communicate the narrative to the viewer. I considered using Rosie’s face as the center of the rose, utilizing photoshop to create a useable outline. I also considered inserting the Wi-Fi’s name into the system, but I found both of these approaches would be too obvious.

Images and Text

Images and Text

After some experimentation, I decided to incorporate Rosie’s image into just one of the falling petals.   I placed Rosie’s face inside the smallest petal to create a delicate visual, evoking the meaning of the piece. As the last petal to fall out off screen, I found this emphasized the emotion I was trying to convey.   I continue to struggle with making the code interactive. I have been trying to achieve incorporating the KeyPressed function into the system so the viewer can interact with the code, encouraging the space to be more spontaneous. I have not yet been able to successfully incorporate the KeyPressed function; I hope to get some input from my peers so that I may include this function in my final product.   Overall, I am very happy with this piece.  I am most satisfied with the color scheme and the movement.  I was initially uncertain if I would be able to capture the emotion I feel towards this intangible environment through coding, but I feel like I have accomplished just that.  My hopes for the final product would be to take it a step further with the KeyPressed function, but if I were not able to implement that function into my code, I would still be very happy with what I have created. I found the experience of coding this system, in honor of Rosie, to be very emotional, as I was finally able to create a visual representation of the space I had initially created to keep her with me.  RosieRose is a piece I thoroughly enjoyed creating and am very happy to have had the chance to do so.

RosieRose

RosieRose

   

Circling Pink

 
Circling Pink

“Circling Pink”

I began the process of creating my scrolling wallpaper by setting up the initial elements I would utilize for the final product. I was inspired by a 70’s aesthetic of looping circles. As a fan of the French New Wave, I set out to create a wallpaper I might find in a Jean-Luc Godard film.

Initial sketch

Being that the interiors of his films typically include solid colored walls, I wanted to create what I imagined to be a wallpaper one might find in Ana Karina’s kitchen.
Initial Wallpaper

Initial wallpaper

I was drawn to the idea of circular repetition and created a moving wheel to compliment the flow of the existing circular pattern.
Wheel on wallpaper

Wheel on wallpaper

As I added the code of the wheel to my sketch containing the initial pattern, I had the idea to add motion to the background in order to create a more unified visual. I utilized the random tool, creating a tie-dye like pattern.
Randomized wallpaper

Randomized wallpaper

This inspired my later use of the random tool in my placement of shapes. As I felt drawn to the circular aesthetic, I wanted the rest of the shapes to blend into the background, initially appearing to be a part of the circular pattern and at further glance taking their true shape. I struggled with integrating the wrap and bounce function into the overall sketch.   At first I used a simple ellipse, then morphed it into a triangular shape composed of randomized lines. This shape, in addition to the wheel, suggested a ferris wheel visual, which I found distracting from the overall piece.  I then reverted back to the ellipse, utilizing the random tool to create a spherical motion.
Image 5

Ferris wheel

I had a very positive experience creating this wallpaper. Through the prompt, I was encouraged to put to use many different tools I’ve acquired throughout the course thus far. I feel I’ve gained a better understanding of how the various functions work in relation to one another, resulting in a stronger grasp on the basics of coding. I was also able to express my interest in the color pink, experimenting with different shades and combinations to produce my scrolling wallpaper “Circling Pink” .
Circling Pink

“Circling Pink”

The L Words

The L Words

I’ve made many collages in my life. I’ve always enjoyed cutting out images from magazines or flyers, taping them to the lid of a shoebox and finding satisfaction in the collection of visuals. Making collages always felt very personal, I was unknowingly trying to represent a part of myself through the images I was cutting and pasting.

As a student of media, my life has been a path woven together by the television and films I’ve consumed. I’ve always looked to digital story telling to inform my own narrative. Out of the hundreds of series’ and films I have watched throughout my life, nothing has made as big of an impact on me as Showtime’s The L Word. This is not a unique narrative; many people attribute The L Word to their own coming out stories, as many people, like myself, need references when beginning their road to self-discovery.

Initial plans

Initial sketch



Graphics sketch

Graphics sketch



Considering the fact that The L Word (2004-2009) was and remains to be the only American television series with a cast of lesbian characters, it has played an enormous role in the lesbian community. Though I cherish The L Word, I also find extreme disappointment in the fact that this affection I hold towards the show stems from the reality that it is the only one of its kind.

Initial layout

Initial layout



My collage is simple. I’ve included portraits of the main characters, symbols of the central themes, and recognizable sounds and dialogue from the series.   I’ve approached the aesthetic with an early 2000’s lens to mimic the visuals found in The L Word.  My collage reads as obvious and straight forward because unfortunately, in 2017, this is the extent of lesbian representation on television. I wanted to highlight the absurdity in the fact that this is all there is. These few women, these representations of the “l words”, are the only ones the lesbian community has to identify with on television. These women, these terms, hold so much meaning because of their extreme rarity in media.

I juxtaposed the smiling faces of The L Word cast members with an image of traditional lesbian representation on television. So often do we find queer representations of women through the male gaze, something The L Word addresses and successfully avoids. I also emphasized lesbian hashtags, a concept that both unites and devalues.

Traditional representations

Traditional representations



Throughout this process, I’ve found the creative elements, the selecting of sounds and images to be very straightforward and satisfying, while the construction of the collage itself has been more of a challenge. As this is the first project I’ve attempted to code without a direct reference, I’ve struggled with taking the tools I’ve learned through the readings and in class exercises and putting them to use without an outline. While this has been a struggle, it has also been a great learning experience. I’ve had to exercise problem-solving strategies, spending time testing different methods to reach my end goal.

Flag by vertex drawing

Flag by vertex drawing



Though I managed to solve most of the issues that arose with coding this piece, I have yet to be able to get rotations to work. I was unable to get the three animated elements to follow a center rotation. Every time I tested different rotation examples, my entire collage rotated along with the element I was trying to isolate. This is something I hope to address in class.

Issues with rotation

Issues with rotation



The L Words is a collage I’ve made to showcase the few lesbians on television, both in disappointment for their lack of company and deep appreciation for their existence.

The L Words

The L Words

Self Portrait

A Girl and Her Dog, A Dog and His Girl                                                                              

    Image 4

I find I have the most success in code when I follow an outline in order to then deviate from the initial structure. For this project, I chose to follow a code from a past student’s self-portrait to secure an outline. I then simplified it, as I am new to coding and am still looking to hone my basic skills.   (Image 1) shows my initial portrait, based on an outline provided by the example piece. At this point in time, I had started to experiment with my color palette and indentifying details. I knew I wanted to approach the portrait from a straightforward point of view, I’m looking to hone in on detail and precision before I branch out towards the abstract.



Image 1(Image 1)

After getting a feel for the outline of the portrait, I quickly structured the code to fit my necessities. I decided on a static image, utilizing realism for color and basic geometry for shape. By (Image 2), I’d created a visual representing my literal portrait. I then wanted to add some more detail to further represent my “self”.

Image 2

(Image 2)

As a passionate dog lover and mother to three-and-a-half year old Chinese Crested Davi, I knew I must include his image in my portrait. Being that Davi is my greatest love, I wanted to represent our bond through a kind of melting image, a blurred line between where I end and where he begins.Image 3

(Image 3)

As I’ve begun to experiment with coding, I find my most consistent interest lies in the use of color. Through the digital color meter tool, I colored myself and Davi using photographs as references. As I am not yet able to form exact shapes to replicate reality, I enjoy utilizing exact color temperatures.

  My self-portrait represents both my idea of self and my experience as a new coder.   Through the consistent color palate and basic geometry, I feel I am able to express what I hope to convey, a literal portrait with blurred lines between reality and imagination.

 

 Image 4

(Image 4)