Featured

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.

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.

WEEK 10 (RE)

On Tuesday, I fixed up some errors in my project. When I did that, I finally decided that my video was now ready for rendering.

The video that I had finished was around 10 minutes long. When my teacher noticed this, he said that if I’m going to show my video in a presentation to everyone, I have to make it  a bit smaller, so it doesn’t feel too long. He also told me to keep the original version when I need to upload it on Blackboard. So I cut the video down to around 6 minutes, and rendered it again.

 

On Wednesday, I had continued doing work on the Assignment 3 presentation on Illustrator. I already started making the presentation at home, so I had to finish it today, so I can have time to do a written word piece about the project as well. For the presentation, I added details about what I had previously done on my project throughout the semester, what I had learned, and I possibly could have done better on.

Week 9 (RE)

On Tuesday, I had some trouble trying to upload my stuff from Google Drive onto another computer. Some of the clips were too big that it was difficult to try and upload them all at once. It took me an hour until I finally got everything that I needed on the computer.

After that, I talked to my teacher about the music problem I was having last week, and he told me that the best idea is to edit and duplicate parts of the music to make it longer. I tried it out, and I thought it worked much better. The repeated parts of the music are not entirely seamless, but they’re good enough to feel like they’re not completely choppy.

 

On Wednesday, I worked on placing and editing the rest of the clips onto Premiere Pro.

Week 8 (RE)

I had just been off last week for Easter holidays, and I spent some of it finishing the five scenes on After Effects.

I was ready to export them at Uni, but my teacher told me that I shouldn’t upload and edit videos from my USB, since that would take too much time and storage. I placed all my work on Google Drive instead.

After that, I exported the scenes, and started editing my project on Premiere Pro.

A problem I noticed during editing was the scenes were so long that they were almost going to be longer than the music that I needed for the entirety of the video. I have different options of either replacing the music with a longer song, or editing the clips to make them shorter.