On this page, I will post my assignments for my Communications Lab class.

Interactive Documentary Final (5/13)

Concept 

This semester has occurred under unprecedented circumstances which, I thought, would be a great reason to reflect upon the activities I have revisited and the personal relationships I have restrengthended over the course of the last few months. This all occurred most notably with my sister who has been quarantined with me. She is also a a university student so we had not seen each other in some time. This project allowed to showcase a few things we had been doing together and for one another that we had previously really enjoyed doing when we were children living at home.

Development process / methodology 

I made an interactive website linking to several other websites that held my interactive videos.

I first new I wanted a soothing documentary style video that followed my sister and completely activities. The goal of these videos was to relax the viewer with what is referred to Lo-fi hip hop accompanied by footage that is cut together to complement it.

On the first HTML page the viewer is greeted by three choices in the form of images that represent the videos that lay beyond them. I utilized a lot the skills and knowledge I learned through the Interactive webiste project and repurposed them for this project.

Analysis of tools used 

Adobe Premiere was heavily utilized in this project in order to create the visual experience desired. Adobe premiere, which we used mostly in our soundscape project, was also used as a way to ensure that the sound experience was also enjoyable and added to the experience of the viewer.

Having some background in video editing already I was really excited to expand upon my knowledge using a more a formal editing application.

Critical Reflection 

The accumulation of skills, both coding and use of applications, can clearly be seen over the course of the semester. From zero knowledge of any kind of coding to being able to plan and execute website projects that I am incredibly proud of I would say that my performance this semester has exceeded my own expectations. This class has also taught me more than I had anticipated learning. I was very pleased with my own ability to adapt to the online learning given our circumstances and hope to be able to continue to use this knowledge in the future.

Link to project

 

Interactive Documentary Idea (4/23)

For this final project I would like to explore and document the social distancing occurring at this time. Specfically, I would like to use this as an opportunity to explore how my sister and I have reconnected through activities we used to do together when we we were kids.

Because of the unique social situation most of the world has found itself in due to COVID-19, I’ve seen much conversation online about how people are using this time to revisit old hobbies and try new ones. For my family in particular, this is the firs time in quite some times we have all been under the same roof for more than a month at a time. We have utilized this time to reconnect. My sister and I especially have begun to revisit old activities we used to do together as kids such as, riding bikes around our neighborhood, gardening, and baking. I want to use this project to document, on a more micro level what quarantine and social distancing has looked like for our relationship.

I find this to be an interesting way to take on a documentary about two people as we can still accomplish this goal while partaking in the social distancing and quarantine that created the scenario possible for this kind of creative endeavor in the first place. It would also be a chance to include some creative, almost child-like, or home movie style editing to the footage that would add a nice effect to subject matter.

My time line for shooting would mostly consist of shooting on weekends the majority happening this weekend and next, of my sister and I do these listed activities above. This would allow for ample time of editing to the desired style.

Below I have included a flow chart for the tentative project structure.

interactive documentary flowchart

Documentary Response (4/22)

For Monday’s homework, I watched a documentary titled Manufactured Landscapes that followed a film photographer that was traveling and photographing different manmade landscapes. These landscapes consisted of mines, quarries, shipyards, manufacturing plants, and even recycling yards.

What I was most interested in was the film’s use of long single-take shots, still photos, and minimal voiceover to tell this story. The narrators of this film take more of a back seat approach, letting the visuals carry most of the storytelling load of this film rather than what they have to say. While I found this interesting in contrast to many of the other documentaries I have seen in the past, I also found this to make the film quite monotonous and sometimes boring. I enjoyed seeing the incredible photographs produced by the photographer but ultimately wish there was more engagement with the audience.

Overall I was really interested in the play on words of the title of the film. Manufactured, referring to what the landscapes he was photographing were ultimately used for, and landscapes, I supposed, having the ability to be used for any wide expanse of land. The long single-take shots served their purpose well in showing the scale of the manufacturing plants or the landscape being photographed. Many times though they are only accompanied by the ambient noise occurring in the warehouse itself which left me unsure of the point of a certain shot. The use of still photos in place of video to tell the story at points I thought was clever, especially when paired with the audio from the moment. As I said before I really noticed the minimal voiceover in comparison to other documentaries I have watched and there were moments where I wondered if it was actually undermining the purpose of this story.

Final Soundscape Project (4/18)

Concept

The concept for this project was to create a soundscape that depicted a walk through the woods. This was assisted by my visual interaction component which showed all of the objects the viewer can interact with and hear the sound of. All of the objects and sounds are ones you might hear or see in the woods. The reason I chose this concept is that I enjoyed that my last project was also set in the woods, and the entire time I was making that project I couldn’t help but think how much better it would be if it had sound to go with it. So my goal for this project was to represent some of my favorite visual and sound experiences when I have taken walks in the woods in the past.

Development process / methodology

I made one HTML doc that has the background of a beautiful forest that has PNG objects in it that you can hover your cursor over to hear the sound of that object. The objects also turn gray when you hover over them to indicate you are hovering over a sound object and not just a part of the background. Using Photoshop I made my PNG objects by cropping them out of images from http://www.pixabay.com. All of the images I have used for this project come from that website. I then used HTML to get all of my assets into the project page and also organize then in <div> containers. I then used CSS to style my background and objects to the correct size and location on my page. I also used CSS to create the gray out effect when your cursor hovers over the object. I used adobe audition and my back yard to create my audio tracks. Lastly, I used Javascript to create the interaction of hovering over an image and hearing the sound associated with it.

Analysis of tools used 

The biggest problem I face during the project was the capturing of my sounds. My sounds heavily relied on nature and the sounds of a few wild animals. As you can guess wild animals do not want to cooperate with you and I had to get creative a few times. Originally I wanted to include the sound of the woodpecker that lives in my backyard but every time I got close enough to record she flew away so I had to give up on including that sound. I also had to create the sound that would represent a butterfly in my project. I took some creative liberty and decided to create the sound of soft flapping wings to represent a butterfly. I used a bed sheet to create that sound and enlisted the help of my sister to get the flapping sound.

Critical Reflection 

I am actually really happy with my final work. Its very simple but I wouldn’t change it. I think I accomplished my vision quite well and am very proud of the work I have done.

View my project here

Concept Draft of Project 3 (4/9)

My idea for a soundscape in this third project is to recreate a forest in a digital setting. Ideally, I would have one background picture serving as the setting for my forest soundscape and my idea is to have the view be able to interact with the project by being able to hover their cursor over different parts of the forest in order to hear the sound I have recreated.

My goal is for this project to feel as though the viewer is on a relaxing stroll through the woods rather than a part of a scary interactive narrative. I will strive to recreate sounds that promote a relaxing ambiance and keep the viewer engaged.

Below I have provided a visual of what I hope this project will look like as well as a mood board.

 

Podcast Response (4/5)

I chose to listen to the episode of Serial as I have already listened to this podcast series in full and thought that revisiting it might add to my already existing understanding of the composition of the podcast as a whole. It was also interesting to listen to this episode through a different lens. Before, I was entirely focused on the content being laid out by the host, but the second time around I was more focused on the auditory experience.

This time  I was really caught up with the use of music as a complement to the mood of what Sarah was talking about, at a moment in time. Similarly, I was thinking about movies and TV shows do the same thing. Most notably, Christopher Nolan is known for incredible scores in his films that are almost living entities on their own and survive within the lives of his fans even after the film has handed.

Overall, listening to this podcast episode again made me remember why I enjoyed it so much the first time. You can tell there was a lot of thought that went into the sound editing and the complementary music chosen was incredibly intentional and really did assist in both driving the narrative but at the same time added some much-needed comedic relief at times when the content becomes unsettling.

Reflection on Barry Truax Excerpt (4/5)

Overall, I found the Truax excerpt to be incredibly dense and hard to absorb all in one go. I read it maybe two times and find that a lot of the concepts he brought up are still not sinking in as well as they should be. There was an interesting line toward the end of the excerpt that talked about the annoyance of listening, and I found it incredibly ironic as he was thinking so critically about one sense of experiencing external stimuli but was less focused on the way the readers would experience what he was writing.

That being said my experience with the excerpt wasn’t all bad. I’m interested in this idea that as our society progresses and becomes more advanced that doesn’t necessarily mean the same for acoustic sound. I would also like to think about this quote a little more:

“Complexity in music as a system of communication derives from its organization and not just from its sound material, and therefore music in early times seemed to channel the complexity of the natural acoustic world, and the supernatural power people ascribed to it, into an ordered and purely human form.”

When I read this quote I also thought about how it could also be referring to storytelling. How long ago history wasn’t written down but instead passed on through legends and songs to continue with generations. These sounds wouldn’t be mass-produced but instead incredibly nuanced based on the setting they were made in and each time they were recreated they would be different which would then add to their place with a more natural acoustic soundscape.

Final Interactive Story Documentation (4/3)

The concept of this interactive story is a blending of the fairytales Little Red Riding Hood and Sleep Beauty. Instead of Sleeping Beauty relying on her true love’s kiss to wake her up from her sleeping curse, Little Red instead sets out on a quest to find a cure. The viewer moves through the story in the POV of Little Red and makes decisions as her. I was heavily inspired by “choose your own adventure” games but kept heavy storytelling elements as was required by the project. I wanted the viewer to feel like they were actually inside of the woods so I kept with a much darker aesthetic with little to no bright colors. Mostly black, green, and other darker neutral colors. In conclusion, I chose this specific combination of stories because I thought the “quest’ aspect would make for a good interactive story and I particularly enjoyed the idea of a princess not being saved by a princess but another female protagonist who also was seen as more of mercenary or adventurer rather than a damsel in distress.

In terms of my development process, I knew from the beginning I would be utilizing photoshop pretty heavily for this project. I am no great artist, so my visual assets were all created from PNGs and JPGs in photoshop into pieces that would allow me to better tell this story.

The story itself was created through the use of HTML, CSS, and Javascript. HTML was utilized to create the story pages themselves with the styling done in CSS and Javascript providing the interaction on individual pages as well as inbetween pages. Almost every page had all three aspects attached to it in order to create the story experience I desired.

It was pretty clear from the beginning of this project (at least to myself) that my skills in this kind of coding were not where I wanted them to be. I found myself going back and looking at my class resources constantly trying to remember how to do some of the most simple things because I just wasn’t quite sure. This, in turn, made completing the project take much longer than I had initially anticipated.

The largest problem I faced was definitely my entire project being deleted on the day it was originally due just hours before the deadline. I felt completely crushed and honestly as if the world was ending. I had had a wonderful meeting in class with my professor about how to go about attacking this project and I was finally feeling more confident in myself. For the entire project to then be deleted after all of my hard work, I felt like I had not only let my self down but my entire class. The worst part was actually how excited I was to present it in class the next day. That was a feeling I had never had before and then suddenly it was just ripped out from under me.

I went about trying to solve this issue by spending a lot of time trying to recover my lost files only to discover that they all came back corrupted and were not salvageable. So I set out creating the project again from the beginning. This second time around was much more smooth as I obviously knew exactly what I was doing.

Beyond the project deletion the hardest problem I faced in this project was actually not a coding issue but far more personal. This project reinforced to me that it’s okay to ask for help. I’m an incredibly independent person who doesn’t like to admit when they need help and so to have all of these issues really taught me the importance of reaching out to your support system. In this case my professor and the learning assistants.

Setting out to complete this project I felt incredibly overwhelmed and like I had bitten off way more than I could chew. I especially felt incredibly insecure in the knowledge I had learned in class during this process. I found myself comparing myself to my classmates quite a bit. I was in awe of the fantastic work they were producing and felt like I was not going to be able to create something of that level.

That being said I know my work isn’t as good as some of my classmates but It hasn’t stopped me from feeling this immense sense of pride in what I have accomplished with this project. I went from feeling like I was never going to be able to complete it to completing it twice.

On a more technical note, there are a few things I would probably go back and change or explore more options for. My project is very “click” heavy. While I like the way it works for the dialogue and moving through the story in that way I think it would have been nice to add in some scrolling elements to make the visuals a bit more dynamic. Right now they will a bit stagnant. And while it moves a bit like an old fairy tale book I think the scrolling element would have really brought into the digital modern age and not make it seem still so stuck in time.

In conclusion, I am really proud of my ability to overcome such an awful occurrence and still be able to look back on this project fondly. I am also so much more confident in my ability to code and look forward to challenging myself further in the next project.

You can view my project here

Developing Interactive Story Idea More (3/21)

After some further work on my initial story idea, I have decided that I will be sticking with the combination of the Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty Fairytales. I plan on having the interactive story told in the POV on Little Red Riding Hood. This story will utilize scrolling through the webpage and also buttons with different choices in order to move the story along.

The idea is that the narrative will take place mostly in the woods. Red will find a Royal Decree tacked to a tree asking for help throughout the kingdom to help find a cure for Princess Aurora’s sleeping curse with a very generous reward for the person that brings the cure that works. This is the beginning of the choices. The player can choose to read the decree and ignore it or decide to help. If they decide to ignore it, then the interaction stops and the story is over. If they decide to help then the story continues. Red then can choose to go to her grandmother’s house like in her original fairytale or go to see a witch she knows of in the woods. If she chooses to go to her grandmother’s she notices that she looks different and has two options: 1. to question her about her appearance or 2. ignore it and ask for information about the curse. If Red questions her grandmother about her strange appearance the wolf disguised as her grandmother then exposes himself and kills Red. That trail ends there. If Red decides to ignore the strange appearance Red never finds out about the wolf but she lives and is pointed in the direction of the Witch in the Woods. Once with the Witch in the Woods, Red is able to obtain the cure for the sleeping curse through a deal with the Witch. The cure is a potion called “True Love’s Kiss” and will wake the Princess up from her curse. After handing over the potion at the palace the princess wakes up and the interactive story ends.

As I am not a very skilled artist I will be relying heavily on creating art in Photoshop to bring this story to life. Below I have added a visual map of how this story will play out. This is still a rough layout of the story and I will still need to further decide on prompting pages and title and end cards. Not to mention the vast amount of coding to bring this interactive story to life.

Interactive Story Map

Recitation Five Assignment (3/19)

This week we began learning how to use JavaScript in our web building. In this week’s recitation, we put what we have learned to the test in a small project. This assignment was really fun for me as I got to play around with some silly elements.

I have linked mine here: Click Here

Initial Interactive Story Idea (3/18)

With regard to my upcoming Communications lab project, I have been tasked with coming up with a preliminary idea for my interactive story idea. When I first think of interactive story ideas, especially in a web format, I think of video games with lots of puzzles and multiple endings. I am very intrigued by the story of Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty. I think for this project I will attempt to intertwine both storylines and come up with several interactive twist endings to their original fairytales.

Reflection for (3/18)

For today I was asked to read a wonderful comic that was, in fact, discussing comics. The first chapter attempted to define exactly what a comic is and its relation to our current perceptions of what comics are. It then went on to describe the history of illustrated language and art as storytelling. I found this especially interesting because I had always thought that Egyptian hieroglyphics would be the prime example of this. Come to find out they actually represent sounds rather than illustrating a scene or story and would more accurately represent the written word.

Chapter two outlined the vocabulary of comics. First, the word Icon was discussed and all of the different things within comics that can fall under the word Icon. The most interesting idea to me within this chapter was that of the word as an icon. The word is an interesting icon because it in no way resembles the thing that it is describing whereas an illustration of said thing can be of varying levels of resemblance. McCloud also describes making certain illustration decisions within comics to evoke certain emotions within his readers.

Chapter three discusses the importance of closure in sequential art. McCloud describes six different types of closure that work within the reader’s experience to help them piece together the story the comic has created for them. McCloud then goes on to compare and contrast the American style and Japanese style comics. This was mostly to highlight the Japanese style comics utilize aspect to aspect closure more than their American counterparts in order to set the mood of the comic as well. This is interesting to me when considering what details to keep and which to leave out as an artist. I really enjoy fiction writing and often find myself wondering if I am handing over too much to my reader. So I can only imagine how difficult the decision must be when deciding which panels to keep and which to eliminate.

Chapter four covers the use of time and space in panels in comics. McCloud covers how motion is conveyed in a single panel or how a single action can be stretched out across panels to give the reader the perception of the action being slowed down and possibly creating suspense.

It was super interesting to read many chapters on the issues that are presented in an art medium I am not very familiar with. I really hope that this knowledge will be helpful in my upcoming project.

Mini Project Three Final Draft (3/16)

Today the final project our HTML and CSS collage was due and I for one am very proud of mine. I think it displays what I was going for and I am very excited to share it. I have linked it below.

Click Here

 

Recitation Four Assignment (3/12)

In this week’s recitation, we played around with our new knowledge of flex boxes in CSS and how to manipulate them. I have linked my assignment below.

Click Here

Final Mini Project First Draft (3/11)

For the first draft of the final mini-project, I was tasked with planning out how I will create my final collage that utilizes photoshop, HTML, and finally CSS. In the planning stage I found fonts that I felt would work nicely in my collage, existing collages I planned to use as inspiration, and I created new PNG objects that I would ultimately like to use in my final collage.

With the theme of Manifesto being the pursuit of happiness I set out to gather fonts and images that I thought would accurately depict happiness. We talked a lot about surrealism and the cut and paste style of collage art, so I decided that I was going to try and stick between these guidelines as best as I could.

On my hunt for inspiring art, I found that I was really attracted to bright colors and flowers. These pieces also heavily featured smiling women. To me, this most accurately represented my vision of happiness so it is what I have decided to base my own project around.

I have opted to not make a webpage just yet as I wanted to focus on getting these initial elements exactly the way I wanted them first. My idea is to make a collage that has all of its elements filled with flowers. These flowers will represent the happiness we are in search of per my manifesto axioms.

Below I have added the aspects I already discussed and an initial mockup of my final design.

The inspiration:

The Fonts I intend to use:

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 9.59.59 PM

My PNG Objects:

Adding CSS Styling to My Manifesto (3/4)

The first homework assignment for this week was to familiarize ourselves with CSS styling. We were to use the Manifesto we had already created with HTML as our foundation and add on from there. I first used Adobe Color to find a color palette I wanted to work with, and then built on more styling from there. I decided since my Manifesto was about happiness I want to keep the colors calm, yet feminine from my own personal tastes. I then played around with borders and emphasizing certain words in my manifesto that I deemed important. Finally, I wanted to add images that evoked some sort of whimsy to the piece as a whole. I decided on a .gif that showed twinkling blue sparkles to act a bottom border. The overall look of the styling is very simple, but I am happy with the way it turned out. I think it accurately depicts the emotion and spirit of the Manifesto.

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~amm1429/Week-3/mini-manifesto/index%20copy.html

Photoshop Collage Project (3/2)

For this week’s project, I was tasked with creating a full collage that captured the spirit of my manifesto. My thinking going into this project was that I wanted to keep it simple as the tenets of my manifesto were simple and straightforward as well. It felt inappropriate to try and weave some sort of mystery or wonder into the collage as it wouldn’t be a true representation of the manifesto. At the same time, this piece is supposed to be an homage to surrealist artists that employ the cut and paste collage technique. While I don’t think I am anywhere near as skilled or clever as the artists, I did try my best to try and replicate their style while staying true to the work that this art is supposed to be based upon.

I found this project to be slightly more difficult than the previous assignment. Most likely because this needed to be one cohesive piece rather than three separate ones. But I am glad to say that this project enabled me to become far more comfortable with my Photoshop ability and I look forward to the project next week that will involve the collage aspect, HTML, and additionally CSS. I’m sure as the semester progresses this page will become a nice timeline of the work I have done and you will be able to see very clearly how well I have progressed.

Here is a link to the collage: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~amm1429/Week-2/Collage.html

Attributions:

https://pngtree.com/so/energy

https://favpng.com/

 

Three Surrealist Works By Yours Truly (2/26)

All images for this project were provided by https://pixabay.com/

surreal-object-2FINAL

“Time Spilled Over Puzzles” Inspired by my Manifesto axiom that references puzzles as an energy management tool.

Surreal-object-3

“I Absorption” Inspired by my Manifesto principle encouraging you to read more.

surrreal-object-1

“Happiness Flows” This was inspired by the spirit of my Manifesto as a whole.

A Reflection on Surrealism (2/26)

The cultural movement of surrealism in art began in the 1920s. This does not feel like any small coincidence. World War I had just ended and the age that is now known as the roaring twenties was about to be ushered in. The surrealist art movement, which is grounded in the exploration of the subconscious, seems to be meaning to explore what wasn’t outwardly being observed about this time period. From the upswing of a war ending, and an economic boom that fueled consumerism, this decade was inside the perfect storm to produce many cultural movements. Surrealism became a way to comment on post-war life for Americans and Europeans and even provided news ways of looking at a possible society in a more imaginative way.

The creation of cohesive yet completely fictional scenes in surrealist art is what sets the movement apart from other collage styles of art. This exploration of the completely unknown through art provides for a new lens through which an issue or possibly a society as a whole can be looked through.

Mini Project one: HTML Manifesto (2/23)

link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~amm1429/manifesto-wesbite/index.html

For most people, myself included, happiness is an ever-evolving target with an immeasurable limit to reach it.

  1. Find comfort within yourself. You are the only person that is guaranteed to be with you your entire life. Whatever you need to forgive yourself for, do it now.
  2. Create boundaries. Whether it be for yourself or others they will come in handy.
  3. Ask questions. Especially to yourself. Idling breeds contempt.
  4. Travel. Either to a new grocery store across town or halfway across the world. Getting out of your comfort zone will add years to your life.
  5. Write. It can be on a blog, in a journal, or in a planner but being able to physically see your thoughts adds a new dimension to your self-reflection.
  6. Read. Anything and everything you can get your hands on. As if every book is the last book.
  7. Go outside. The sun heals.
  8. Do a puzzle. It may not sound fun but they teach an important lesson in energy expenditure. You are not an energizer bunny. Not everything is worth your energy.
  9. Stop apologizing.
  10. Hug an animal. They just get it.

In Pursuit of Happiness: A Manifesto (First Draft 2/17)

For most people, myself included, happiness is an ever-evolving target with an immeasurable limit to reach it.

  1. Find comfort within yourself. You are the only person that is guaranteed to be with you your entire life. Whatever you need to forgive yourself for, do it now.
  2. Create boundaries. Whether it be for yourself or others they will come in handy.
  3. Ask questions. Especially to yourself. Idling breeds contempt.
  4. Travel. Either to a new grocery store across town or halfway across the world. Getting out of your comfort zone will add years to your life.
  5. Write. It can be on a blog, in a journal, or in a planner but being able to physically see your thoughts adds a new dimension to your self-reflection.
  6. Read. Anything and everything you can get your hands on. As if every book is the last book.
  7. Go outside. The sun heals.
  8. Do a puzzle. It may not sound fun but they teach an important lesson in energy expenditure. You are not an energizer bunny. Not everything is worth your energy.
  9. Stop apologizing. 
  10. Hug an animal. They just get it.

 

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