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RMIT Design in Digital Media – WEEK 1

This is my first blog entry about my progress in Design in Digital Art In RMIT.

On Tuesday, our teacher was Adam Nash, and the first thing he lectured us on was about our specialisations that we will do for the rest of the semester, and the first one that we were going to study was interactivity.

I was forced into a team where we had to define what digital media is, and what parts of media were interactive (games) and non-interactive (TV, movies).

We were then being lectured about how certain designers can help bring usability and robustness to interactive designs.

I had to join another group for another task, where were had to design and wireframe a digital calendar interface. We all discussed different ideas for our calendar, like how it would accessible for computers, phones and tablets. I suggested that our calendar would have a background that has pretty pictures that you can interact with and change into a different picture. After we thought of those ideas, we made the wireframe of the calendar, and then we did an evaluation of what we learned. After that, it was the end of the class.

On Friday, we had a different teacher this time, named Tom Penney.

We were lectured about the elements of design, and how we use them in art.

I was then put into a different team once again, this time we had to recreate a famous painting using only one element of design. The painting was Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning,” and the element that my team had to work on was point (or dot).

The other members of my team were unsure what to do with using point, since it’s so minimal that it would be extremely difficult.

Luckily, I had a idea to place dots in different lines, to make them combine into shapes that resemble the buildings in the painting. Our class seemed to be impressed with what we did.

For my homework, we had to not only read up documents and watch videos about how to use the elements of design, but also try out a puzzle. The puzzle was to use four black squares and play with them to represent and convey an emotion, for the audience to understand.

In summary, my first week of the Design in Digital Art course was pretty good, and I’m interested to do more in the next couple of weeks.

 

blacksquaresjustinblackburnHere is my finished version of the “black squares” homework.

The Chili Contest: A Three Act Structure

ACT 1:

The Hook: Our main character has a nightmare about what happens if he embarrasses himself and loses the chili contest

Characters and setting: Karl is a guy who lives in modern suburbia, although there might be something supernatural nearby

The Complication: When Karl wakes up, he thinks about how his family always won the chili contest, and he has to live up to his legacy by hopefully winning

Plot Point 1: When going to library to find special cookbooks, Karl finds a old mystical book and realises it’s a wizard’s book

ACT 2:

First Part: Karl learns some spells from the wizard’s book, and he feels like he can use this to win the chili contest

Midpoint: It is now the chili contest, and Karl is determined to win. He doesn’t need book because it seems like he’s doing fine

Second Part: When it looks like he’s starting to lose, Karl starts using wizard’s book and accidentally mispronounces a spell

Point Point 2: Chili becomes a giant monster and starts wreaking havoc, and also destroys the wizard’s book in the process

ACT 3:

Recovery: Karl realises he has now achieved what he always feared: embarrassed his legacy. But he knows that he can take it back by saving everyone from the monster

Showdown: Karl uses all of the wizard’s spells he remembers and destroys the monster and saves the day

Growth of the Hero: The chili contest continues and Karl doesn’t win, because he learned that it’s okay to have your family legacy define you and that it’s okay if you don’t win as long as you participate

 

The Chili Contest by Justin Blackburn

ARCH DAVISON THE LONELY VAMPIRE

Name: Archibald “Arch” Davison

CHILDHOOD:

Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia

Date of birth: April 12th, 1938

Gender: Male

Family members: Mother and father, Arch is an only child

Family relationships: Friendly enough, warmed up to his mother more than his father

Family occupation: Dad is a photographer, while mother has no job

Family class: Middle class

Education: Learned well enough at school, got along with his teachers

Personality: Kind of an introvert, streetwise

Physical attributes: Medium health; he has gotten sick a few times

Obstacles: Has not made any friends at school

Challenges: Parents separated when he was 10 years old

TEENAGE YEARS:

Education: High school, university

Occupation: Interested in following his father’s footsteps and taking photography

Family relationships: Even though he still talks to his dad even after divorce, he slowly stops caring about his parents

Allegiance: Tried joining a peace movement group just so he could try to interact with more people

Other significant relationships: During university, he met a girl named Aria and they both loved each other

Psychology: Arch sometimes fears like he’s becoming more introverted and distant from people. He has been getting into philosophy, just so he can be interested in something.

Obstacles and challenges: His father later dies in a car crash, just when he and his mother were trying to possibly kickstart their relationships with him

PRESENT:

Age: 79 (24 when turned into vampire)

Location: Arch constantly moves into dark caves all over Melbourne

Professional: no job

Personal: single

Obstacles and challenges: When he was 24, his then girlfriend Aria takes him onto the beach where she later turns him into a vampire. Arch has never seen the girl ever since that event happened. Ever since Arch became a vampire, he had stopped ageing and became immortal enough to even see his mother die.

Private: Spends the day just hanging out in the cave; and in the night, he goes out to hang out at libraries and clubs, and also sometimes feeds on humans and animals when he really needs to.

Point-of-view: Arch has lived throughout many decades, but feels very isolated from the constant changes of fads and cultures. Since he is a vampire, he is very puzzled when it comes to interacting with the humans. He feels like he wants to talk to more people and get to know the current fads more, but because he’s a vampire, he feels like he’d rather keep himself in the dark.

Conflict: Arch does try to talk and hang out with some people sometimes, but most of the time, he leaves them alone without saying goodbye or he feeds on them when he gets really hungry.

Likes and dislikes: Likes eating cows and possums, Likes walking along the beach at night, Still likes philosophy, Dislikes trying to kill someone slowly and painfully, Dislikes trying to get into new fads, Likes old 60s music

Dramatic need/goal:

Arch has not met any other vampires like him ever since he was turned. So he travels all over the state to not just find what happened to the vampire girl who left him, but also see if there are other vampires around.

 

http://pin.it/w5-YsFp

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.17.50 pm

At 24, Arch had very long hair and a goatee. He didn’t care much about his tidiness and he never thought about cutting his hair.

 

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I feel this clothing fits Arch, because it feels like something an introverted 60s university student would wear.

 

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This peace necklace is something that Arch got from the 60s. He got when he tried joining a peace movement. He didn’t care about the movement, but he stills wear the necklace because it makes him feel cool.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.17.46 pm

These old looking books are the kinds of books that Arch would read. Arch really liked reading, especially philosophy books.

 

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This is the kind of camera that Arch would have been using in the 1960s. He wanted to follow his father’s footsteps by trying to be a photographer.

 

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While the years passed, even if Arch didn’t care much about new fads, he was always interested in reading new philosophy books.

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.17.37 pm

This cave feels like something Arch would live and hide in. The cave looks bright, but it is devoid of sunlight, which is good for the vampire.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.17.15 pm

Arch does try to get into the newest trends in photography sometimes, by actually having an iPhone and taking pictures.

 

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Arch even occasionally listens to music on his iPhone. He listens to old 60s music, because he still feels like that was a good musical era.

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I feel this clothing fits Arch, because it feels like something an introverted 60s university student would wear.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.17.32 pm

This is a train that Arch might use so he could Melbourne to find other vampires and even the girl who left him. Arch likes going on the train at night, because he likes going on moving transport that feels old-fashioned.

 

http://pin.it/w5-YsFp

ATTACK OF THE BOTS – Storyboard

IMG_0663

This is a storyboard for the game narrative that I’m working on. The game is called “Attack of the Bots,” and it is a console game that is made for people ages 15 to 30. The main objective of the game is that all of the robots in the futuristic city the game takes place in have gone insane, and the only one to put them out of their misery is a touch as nails mechanic; our main character. To control the mechanic, you can use the joystick to move him, the jump button to jump, the attack button to attack, and you can use other button to do special techniques while attacking. This scene takes place whenever you encounter an enemy robot. Once you’ve beaten the enemy, you can collect its spare parts in your inventory.

 

Magic Cat Academy Google Doodle by Justin Blackburn

Magic Cat Academy is a game that was created as a special Google Doodle, and to be played on the popular search engine Google. The purpose of this game was that it was made to celebrate Halloween, and therefore was published on the main Google web page on October 31st 2016. The story of Magic Cat Academy is that Momo the cat has to rescue her school of magic from evil ghosts. To destroy the ghosts, the player can use the computer mouse to draw different lines and shapes to create spells to protect yourself. Because the story is supposed to represent the holiday of Halloween, the game has these horrific themes and symbols of ghosts, black cats, dark magic, and also taking place in a stormy night.

The narrative is shortly told in a chronologically traditional structure that’s well known with adventure video games, where there are 5 levels, and at the end of each level, there is a boss that is more hard and difficult to defeat than the last. The pace of the game speeds ups more once you’re at the next level. The speeding pace is shown by having the ghosts go even faster towards you, and you have to quickly draw the shapes before they get you. The game’s ongoing difficulty is certainly familiar to the linear narrative that can be found in movies, plays, shows, and even some video games. The world of the game narrative is set up in the intro, which which takes place in a setting of a magical school and has characters that are anthropomorphic animals. The ghosts come out of the book Momo is reading, and tear up the school. This is the set up for the crisis that’s ongoing through the narrative. The protagonist of the game, Momo, is the person that has to resolve the crisis (the ghosts) that is occurring in the story. When you get to the final boss, it can be seen as the climax of the game. And once the boss is defeated, that’s when we get the happy ending. The only difference between the game and the linear narrative is that there’s no big turning point where the characters go through big changes beyond no return. Once Momo defeats all of the ghosts, the magic school is saved and everything goes back to normal. This kind of ending is very popular in classic video games.

The game is a combination of using visuals, gaming programmability and audio. Magic Cat Academy was made by different design groups, who worked on art design, engineering and production. The designers created the game to have a participatory narrative, where the player’s actions accommodate the gameplay. The visuals are important to the player because they need to see what actions they need to do to win the game. The player also needs the controls by using the mouse, which accelerates the gameplay and story. The audio is also important in that the game needs music and audio to help enhance the gaming experience. There is a blinking speaker icon in the intro, which is supposed to be a way to turn the player that the game requires you to listen to the sound, as it is important when playing.

The target audience for this game is clearly for all ages, but mostly children. Even though Google is a website that everyone in the whole world uses, it would make sense for the website to promote a game for young audiences, since it would possibly help promote the holiday it’s supposed to advertising, and even Google itself. One of the ways Magic Cat Academy appeals to children is that it has a very cute and childish art style, and even though it has spooky and supernatural themes and imagery, it was clearly made to not be too scary to children.

One of the biggest importances of this game’s relations to the digital format is that Google wanted this to get people interested in Halloween, and would want to search about the holiday on their website. If people lose or finish the game, people can share their high score results via social media or e-mail. By sharing on social media, this helps promote the game more to wider audiences. Another way Magic Cat Academy relates to the digital medium of a search engine is that at the end of the game, people can press a button where you can actually search on Google about Halloween. Magic Cat Academy does its job of being a browser video game that helps add to Google’s celebration of the Halloween holiday. The game tells its story and narrative in the traditional manner as any other short browser game on the internet, and is important accommodating two different digital formats of being simple entertainment programming, and being part of a promotion that’s part of a popular website.

References:

Burlacu, Alexandra (30 October 2016). “Trick Or Treat! Google Halloween Doodle 2016 Launches Cute Game With Ghosts And A Magic Cat”. Tech Times. Retrieved 30 October 2016.

Good, Owen S. (30 October 2016). “Google’s playable Halloween doodle is pretty neat”Polygon. Retrieved 30 October 2016.

DRAWING THE FUTURE – Evaluation

For my project, I made a video about how drawing new inventions and creations help us make a better future for technology and the world. In the video, I decided to use montages of different clips from Youtube, digitally created drawings, and text paragraphs that explain the theme of the project. The reason that I chose the topic was because I’m interested in drawing and futurism, so I decided to combine these ideas and create a visual presentation with them. I really liked how I used different eras of footage and font styles, because they make it feel like they’re showing the progression of envisioning what our future might be. I also think the hand-drawn looking pictures that I made on Photoshop make the video stand out more, because they add more variety. Another thing I liked while making this project is that I got to learn new editing and animating techniques, like making seamless text transitions and rendering images with transparent backgrounds, on different software. If I want to fix anything about this video, I would have loved to make the montages a lot shorter and quicker. But obviously I needed to show enough footage to have the audience understand what’s happening, so I decided not to use that option. While I don’t mind the text that much, I wondered if I could delete it so I could hopefully have the video be informative enough in its visuals and editing to explain the message for itself. Another thing I would fixed is that I would like to make the music and footage more synchronised, to help give the video more of a impact through visual and sound editing. Overall, I really like the video that I made, because it has a very positive message, and the way that the different footage is used really helps highlight the theme of drawing a better future.