Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Multimedia Experience: Reading response #4

The Screen and The Body
This chapter taught me that the only limitation of the screen is its rectangular shape, which serves as a cut to reality. The paragraphs about the imprisonment of the human body, also known as the user, made it clear that the computer screen is, in an essence, a medium that is limited by its physical existence. In the vast history of the screen that is described, the general trend has always been that, in order for it to be viewed, the body has to remain still. In early photography, the process of capturing an image or subject matter was limited by the exposure rate. For example, in the daguerreotype process, living things had to be immobilized or held still with clamps in order to capture a clear photograph. Eventually, cinema introduced a screen that allowed audiences to "take a journey through different spaces without leaving their seats." The body was intended to remain still, while the images on screen moved in order to present constantly changing frames of a simulated reality.

The cinema screen could also be viewed as a setting for a stationary camera to capture a virtual space that moves and changes its position with each shot. With this theory, the spectator and the camera are immobile while the presentation of imagery is doing all the work.

The introduction of virtual reality, which enabled the screen through which the virtual world of imagery is being viewed moves simultaneously as the viewer does (with limited motion), paves way to the same function of the computer mouse. The user becomes connected to the computer via this "joystick" that allows for interactivity and control of what is being viewed. This applies to my current M.X. project because the viewer of my portfolio site is controlling what they are looking at as they navigate the given content through using the mouse. The information on screen is a result of what they desire to view and when they desire to view it.

As a graphic designer, I haven't ever considered the history of the screen and how it's design actually influences, restricts or supports my personal design process. While working in Adobe software and using the mouse and keyboard as my connection to what I am seeing on the virtual window of information, I have never been conscious of the screen as such a dynamic medium before. Since the computer interface has become such an invisible, yet valuable part of my life and my design experience, this article opened my eyes to the importance of recognizing its existence and how its developed over time.

Multimedia Experience: Reading response #3

The Screen and the User
The screen is one of technology's oldest tools to present visual information through, where as the computer itself has only been around for a couple decades now. Today, the screen basically runs our world, whether it be on a computer, a phone, a television, etc.,  offering the flexibility to present every single type of information available.

I like the paragraph about the "dynamic screen" that discusses the representation that we are trained to focus on within the boundaries of the screen. As a window to a limitless world of dimension and possibilities, our eyes concentrate on what is shown on screen...instead of what exists beyond the physical space the window provides. The screen is filled with an image, creating an illusion that our eyes are not conscious of while navigating the computer interface.

With this in mind, I would like my portfolio website to break this illusion that we so often lose track of because of the ability to seamlessly sift through information and imagery with a simple scroll of the mouse. By making the user participate in accessing my portfolio's content by dragging and dropping what exists beyond the frame, or in other words, the image that is cut off or bleeding beyond the screen's immediate surface, I will be forcing the user to be more conscious of the screen's boundaries. I want the user to be presented with an interactive and innovative option of dragging something into view, instead of simply scrolling beneath the fold of a window.  In fact, I don't plan on my flash site having any scrolling at all– in order to really place emphasize on the way I have consciously chosen my provided information to be viewed.

In some cases, such as through virtual reality, the screen disappears altogether because of the way it is circumstances of how it is viewed and because of the illusion of being in an entirely different, yet believable, virtual space. I don't see this being useful for anything that I have designed thus far, or anything that I am interested in designing. The idea of simulating a new world that the user becomes part of through seeing only through the window of a screen seems far beyond what I want to do as a graphic designer. I want my users and viewers, whether of my portfolio site or any other design projects, to be conscious of the medium I am working on. I do appreciate the beauty of technology, but in a rational and functional way.

The history and evolution of the screen, as it progressed through classical, dynamic, VR, real time and beyond, is extremely fascinating. The fact that the screen was invented for military surveillance and was applied through the use of radar and is now being used by practically every human being in the world, makes me think about the invention and evolution of other critical elements of modern technology. The internet wasn't invented for entertainment, yet now it is what connects all forms of life and provides us with information far beyond what it was originally intended for. We are dependent on live, constantly updating frames of images to provide us with the most factual, up to the minute information...whether it be through news feeds on Facebook, weather forecasts, news headlines, stock market updates, etc. On top of this, we now have real-time interactive screens that involve the user on a whole new level. I think the screen still has so much evolvement in store, as we become even more dependent on the advancements and needs of a society ran by technology.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Multimedia Experience: Portfolio Directions- Revised!

Idea # 1. Individual triangles reveal work connected at the corner and the whole mountain of work can be dragged around the screen to view the work. The navigation exists as white peaks to the mountain..example shown is "about me."

Idea # 2. Similar idea, where the individual triangles reveal work connected at the corner, but this time, they can each be dragged around the screen separately to view the work at fairly large scale. The white triangle at each peak is linked to the 6 main navigation options.

Idea # 3. I narrowed my portfolio content down for this final direction and now have 21 pieces of work. The mountain of triangles is still working visually, but now each opens up (at the corner) a medium sized image of the project with a blurb about it. The triangle changes from a cropped image to a full color sample from the piece of work to indicate that it is opened. Hover over instructions tell the user to click the image to view it in full screen. This allows them the option of viewing the work at different sizes. The main navigation opens up as a full screen overlay that can be clicked to close out of.
I REALLY like this direction!

Multimedia Experience: Portfolio Content

This is a rough list of the content I want to use for my online portfolio. Eventually, I'll need to reduce the number of projects down to a solid group of about 15 strong pieces of work.

1. April Greiman Lecture Posters (2)
2. Ora Ito Lamp Posters (2)
3. Vote Poster (1)
4. "Yes We Can" Poster (1)
5. Body Modification Community Poster (1)

1. Winker
2. Wetmap

1. Good Design is For Everyone Book Mockup (8)
2. Watersports Book Covers (6)
3. Shuttlecocks Wayfinding Map (14)
4. 6 Degrees Book Cover (6)
5. Bike Tire Repair Manual (4)
6. Body Sculpting Magazine Spread/Icon set (3)

1. Text Me Brand Identity
2. TypeCon Project/Experiments/Artifacts
3. Dead Guy Ale
4. Ziba Vodka Package design and Website Mockup
5. HIV Awareness Campaign (8)

1. Sculpt Your Body Placards animation
2. Dental hygiene nonlinear Narrative
3. Bathroom hygiene data presentation
4. Floss animation

1. Beer coaster Collection website
2. Design Education P.O.V. website

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Illustration Ellective: Project 6

This is a children's book cover that I illustrated using color pencil.

Multimedia Experience: Reading response #2

Cinema, HCI: Representation vs. Control
People who use computers are able to interact with the computer in a more active way than people who watch movies can interact with the movies. This is because computer users understand the language of the interface and actively use it to perform tasks. People are able to learn new cultural interfaces because they are always based on a previous and commonly understood form.

The traditional use of a rectangular frame in the cinematic interface stems from Western painting, where the frame "acted as a window onto a larger space that is assumed to extend beyond the frame." This rectangular shaped screen is used at movie theaters, wide screen televisions, etc. and has carried over into the computer screen. The rectangular computer monitor screen acts as a window to the content within the computer. By being able to scroll through the window's contents, we are doing what is done in cinema- moving through frames.

This idea of the rectangular frame of the screen limiting what can be seen made me think about how i could work this "cutting off" idea to my advantage. While designing my portfolio website, I've been keeping in mind that in order to use a function that seems unique and playful, it needs to have a purpose...or else it might just raise the question, "ok, this is neat, but WHY do I have to drag these triangles around? What's the point of it?" answer this, I decided that I would make the work that is attached to each triangle flirt with the edge of the screen (depending on the location of the triangle) so that way, if for example the furthest triangle to the right reveals a box that is bleeding off the screen, the drag and drop function allows the user to pull that box into full view. Now, the playful nature of dragging and dropping serves a legitimate purpose in a subtle, unconscious way by allowing the user to control what they are seeing and how much of it.

Cinema has heavily influenced the computer interface and what we do as users interacting with the content presented to us. I will probably start designing with the user and experience in mind, pushing the limits of what can be done with the tools that cinema has provided. It would not be enough to just mimic the existing conventions of older cultural forms found in the printed word and in cinema, because the capabilities and technological advancements provided by the computer are important to explore and embrace.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Multimedia Experience: Reading response #1

The Interface, Cultural Interfaces, & Printed Word
In the first part of "The Interface"(pages 63-78), Graphical User Interface (GUI) is introduced as a comparison to the "postmodern" vision of the movie Blade Runner. The relationship between human and computers is discussed and the author points out that once a user purposely deletes a file on a computer, it can usually be recovered. He says "Thus, if in 'meatspace' we have to work to remember, in cyberspace we have to work to forget." This concept is interesting because in the physical world, we have to store information in our brains in order to remember it...we have to really learn that info or else it will be or can be forgotten. Computers remember that information for us automatically and even when we try to delete it or remove it, it is usually still there somewhere within the hard drive.

On page 64, he writes, "In semiotic terms, the computer interface acts as a code that carries cultural messages in a variety of media." Everything we view on screen, whether it be text, music, video, websites, video games, etc., is ran through the interface that computer designer has set up for communicating the content to us. These interfaces have an affect on the way we see things and how the messages are transmitted to the user. The interface organizes computer data and cultural information in specific ways, providing set models of the world. In other words, "far from being a transparent window into the data inside a computer, the interface brings with it strong messages of its own."

The interface plays a huge role on how messages are transcribed on screen to the user, just as the presentation of information through print, language and other forms of visual communication do. In artwork, such as new media, the relationship between content and interface is unified and combined as one entity, and is meant to be viewed transparently.

On page 67, he talks about how "in a menu-based interactive multimedia application or a static web site, all data exists before the use accesses it.." This is compared to the "dynamic new media artworks" where the data is created at "run time." This made me think about my current portfolio website design project because, while the actual information and content I am providing to the user is set and predetermined (project imagery and descriptions), I have the ability to make it a more user influenced and non linear experience. In the direction I chose to pursue, the data is not being created "on the fly," but the presentation of it can be manipulated and is not static. The initial content is hidden through my design, but when the user interacts with the portfolio, they are collaborating with the computer interface, the web browser and myself, while expanding and exploring the possibilities of what can happen and how they can make my work appear on screen.

I was introduced to the term human-computer interface, which "describes the ways in which the user interacts with a computer. HCI includes physical input and output devices...It also consists of metaphors used to conceptualize the organization of computer data." The computer has transformed from a tool for work into a commonplace for not just information finding/sharing, but for leisure, social networking, creating, designing and countless other activities. On page 70, he uses the term "culteral interface" to describe the "ways in which computers present and allow us to interact with cultural data." The possibilities of how things appear on screen are based on a computer language that can be compared to all kinds of cultural languages. It is up to the designer to decide how things are going to look for the computer user, despite the unlimited options of manipulating numbers and characters to make the screen appear any way possible.

The traditions of cinema, the printed word and the HCI "has developed its own unique way of organizing information, presenting it to the user, correlating space and time, and structuring human experience in the process of accessing information" The virtual recreation of the book shows many similarities to the original use of the printed text. Websites have tables of contents that exist as navigation  and content that exists like the pages of text in books...which can be scrolled through rather than flipped through. The similarities are also supported through many new applications introduced that don't exist so directly in paper book form...such as the use of hyperlinks to connect the reader to similar websites or pages that may be of use, reference or citation (compared to footnotes at the bottom of the page in a book).

In the last paragraph, the concept of spatial wandering is mentioned as a way to navigate through time as a "flat image or a landscape" such as in a video game. I compared this to surfing the web and getting lost in a virtual sea of information, content, websites and media. On a daily basis, I find myself with 10 or more windows/tabs open at once as I am trying to multi-task on different websites at the same time. I'll be logged into myspace or facebook in a couple windows, updating my blog in another, reading an article in another, listening to a youtube video or song in another, checking my email in another and checking my bank statement in another. I wander through all of these windows randomly, sometimes being overwhelmed by too many things going on at once. Despite the chaos that I create for myself, my mind has become used to the ability to do all of these things at once. In essence, the internet allows you to create a nonlinear experience filled with many different types of content.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Multimedia Experience: Concept Wireframing

I came up with the idea of a drag and drop portfolio that is made up of a bunch of tiny cropped triangle or square images of my work that start off as a collage and when they are clicked, a large image pops up that can be dragged around in order to view it. I played around with where the "large" image comes up...if it is attached to the small thumbnail button that opens it, where it is attached (corner or base) or if it opens in a fixed spot or according to where the small thumbnail is located. Here are a few of my directions that I came up with. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Visual Advocacy: New Posters!

So far, I've received some really awesome feedback for this project...and each time someone contacts me to thank me for what I am doing or to tell me that my posters really opened their eyes, I can't help but smile. It's an incredible feeling to know that something I designed has the power to actually ignite change. I plan to continue pushing this campaign as far as I can.
This is one of the emails I received that totally made my day:
"whats up man? I don't think we have ever actually met, but I want you to know that it was your postings on facebook concerning HIV testing that gave me the final push to get a test done. I am proud to say as of last week I am HIV neg and clean all around. If it wasn't for you I prolly would have waiting longer to verify my status. What I really wanted to say is thank you."

Thank You Ryan Wibawa for your awesome photography!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Illustration Ellective: Project 5

3 Thumbnail Size (3/4") Portraits using stippling.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Visual Advocacy: Degree Project Proposal

Since its discovery in 1981, AIDS has killed more than 27 million people. The infection rate is continuing to grow, making HIV/AIDS a serious public health issue that affects the entire world, both heterosexuals and homosexuals.  Furthermore, studies show that young gay men are more affected by HIV and AIDS than any other group of people.
For my Visual Advocacy project this semester, I chose to focus on the local young gay community in Kansas City. My research showed me that the majority of my audience knows about HIV, how it is contracted, where to get tested and where to find more information about it, but the resources available have become outdated and just aren’t making an impact. Young gay men have the tendency to feel like they are invincible or invulnerable, so my goal was to use a new strategy that would infect them with the fear of HIV. To do this, I created a visual campaign that forces powerful statistics and imagery into the minds of young gay men in situations where they are most vulnerable to bad decision-making. I found support from local bars, organizations, and community members who were interested in helping me spread my message.
I explored several outlets to reach my target audience at critical and effective times, including bathroom posters, car fliers, a typographic projection and several different websites. Although my prototypes proved to be highly successful and brought me an incredible amount of positive feedback from members of the Kansas City gay community, I would like to make an even greater impact. For my Senior Degree Project I would like to continue my efforts to wake up my peers and make them realize that they aren’t invincible to contracting HIV.
I would like to take the work I have done so far to the next level by using technology and my design skills to create a website that serves as an outlet to encourage safe sex. I am very interested in screen-based design, especially motion graphics and interactive website design, so this would be an excellent addition to my portfolio. I believe my HIV awareness campaign has the strength to make a difference on a larger scale, allowing me to help “spread the truth, not the disease.”