Hear Sally Run

To complete this first assignment for the week, I decided to start with the story before exploring the sounds. I thought about a story that I wanted to convey through sound, and wanted to incorporate something that everyone could relate to. I thought about how I am often running from work to meet friends for dinner and the obstacles I often face along the way. I then built a story spine around that concept.

Once upon a time, Sally worked as a administrative assistant in Washington, DC. 

Every Tuesday she met her friends for dinner across town. 

But one day Sally realized that she was running late and had to rush to make it on time for dinner. 

Because of that, she quickly closed her computer and grabbed her keys to go, but the phone rang one last time. 

Because of that, she had to run to catch her train. 

Until finally, she made it onto the train and was able to relax on her way to dinner.

And ever since then, she set an alarm to remind herself to start getting packed up on time on Tuesdays.

Once I decided on the story, I began exploring sounds that might fit in this story.

I began my audio story with the sound of a busy office, then overlapped the sound of a gasp as Sally realized the time. I then added in the sound of Sally grabbing her keys to go, but then the phone ringing and her answering. I then included the sound of Sally running down the hall to catch the metro.  I layered the sound of a metro station with the sound of a metro announcement (I could only find the old WMATA announcement in audio file). Finally I added in a sigh of relief from Sally as she sat back and listened to some music in her headphones.

I saved the files as I downloaded them to a folder on my computer and was able to drag the files right into Audacity for editing. I renamed the files once they were in Audacity so I could better track them. After that, it was pretty easy to cut and paste the pieces of audio I wanted across the one minute clip. Many of the sound files were longer than I needed for this project, so I simply cut the length I did not need. I added in a face out effect to the longer sounds for a smoother transition. I then exported the project into an MP3 for uploading onto SoundCloud and embedding into this post.

Hear Sally Run

This was my first time using Audacity and I found it relatively easy to pick up. I would like to continue to learn more about the sound effects available through the program and find unique ways to use them to add depth to my tracks.

More of a Consumer

I actually already had a SoundCloud account before this assignment, but have never uploaded anything to my account. I had created it a while ago to listen to some of my friend’s music, but never really felt like I had much to contribute to that world.

I changed my avatar to match that which is on my blog and started to think about what my first post should be. I recalled a beautiful quote a friend of mine recently posted to Facebook and decided to do share it via spoken word on SoundCloud.

Here’s how it turned out.

“Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. All human destiny is this dilemma. This dilemma, destruction or salvation, no fate proposes more inexorably than love. Love is life, if it is not death. Cradle; coffin, too. The same sentiment says yes and no in the human heart. Of all the things God has made, the human heart is the one that sheds most light, and alas! most night.”

–Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

I look forward to experimenting further with the site and incorporating other Audio editing tools!

Stories Have Taken Over

As I’ve mentioned, stories have taken over my life, in a good way. I think as a consultant I always want to look for new approaches or streamlined ways of doing things, and storifying has officially been added to my tool belt!

This week I went hunting for designs that caught my eye. I found three very different examples of design that illustrated very different elements of design and were created for very different purposes. This opened my eyes to how much design is a part of our lives. In looking around my house for the Design Safari, I realized that I have designed much of what is around me, down to the organization of my cups and plates in the cupboard.

I then turned my attention to two design assignments. The first was a four icon summary of a movie. I decided to stick with a classic movie and experimented with the use of icons and color.

I also completed the Word assignment and put a word to life by communicating its essence without color or symbols but rather the text of the word itself. I created a lightning bolt, two words but one item, by breaking the word into shapes and re-sizing text. It took some trial and error, but I’m happy with the word I settled on.

This week I added to my final project options with an idea centered around the complicated process of college applications. At the start of the class I thought coming up with new ideas for our final project would get harder as the weeks went on, but as I learn more about various elements of storification, I am seeing more opportunities pop up.

Viewing and commenting on other blogs and assignment posts has been very interesting. As we are introduced to new design principles, I think we try to incorporate the new with something we’re familiar with (our house, past vacations, pets, etc.) to tie it all together. The incorporation of personal interests into the class assignments provide entertaining posts that are fun to read! I’ve had some very encouraging comments on my posts that have helped me open up to taking more risks in my commentary and designs.

One area I’d like to focus more on in the second half of the class is the sense of disruptive wonder. Not only observing design elements in every day life, but reinventing the design of things that have been the same for ages. I am excited to learn more as we dive into audio and video medias!

Remember Back When?

Due to this reoccurring assignment, I find myself thinking about stories all the time now and in every interaction I have. Perhaps that’s the point? 🙂 There is no doubt that there are needs for stories all around us. This week my inspiration comes from a friend of mine who is a college counselor at a school in the area. She often comments on the difficulty of the college application process. One large struggle is the fact that it involves not only the student, but also the parents of the student. I think it would be great to storify this process in two ways, one from the viewpoint of the student, and one from the viewpoint of the parent. Perhaps seeing the whole process outline in front of them, with the end goal of accepting admittance into a great college, will help relieve some of the stress put on these students and parents during this time. Looking back at when I was applying to colleges, I think this would have been a great help. It could also be a great recruiting tool for universities!

In a Flash

For my second Design Assignment of the week, I decided to tackle Word. I love using color and images as symbols, so I knew this would be a challenge for me. I tried creating something around the word “Sunshine” in the spring time theme of my blog, but discovered very quickly why most of the previous examples of this assignment were created around longer words. Longer words, or phrases, make for a larger canvas, as you have more letters to work with. I finally decided on “Lightning Bolt” keeping in the weather motif.

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After I decided on my word, I did a quick Google search for Lightning Bolt for some shape inspiration. I then used PowerPoint for my design. I created three shapes without any borders or fill color and typed “light” in one of the shapes, “ning” in the second shape, and “bolt” in the third. I wanted to use a sans serif font with a wider look and settled on Verdana When looking at examples of a lightning bolt, I noticed that the two ends of the bolt taper off, so I created this effect by re-sizing each of the letters to gradually grow larger and smaller at each end. Because these were shapes, I was able to adjust the angle of the images to fit into on another and create the final shape. Once I achieved the look I was going for by moving the pieces around one another, I grouped the shapes and saved as a JPEG to embed in this blog.

While it made for a great subject of this assignment, I hope we don’t see any of these any time soon!

Fourth Time’s the Charm

For my first Design Assignment I decided to do the One Story / Four Icons challenge. I think the hardest part of this assignment was deciding which movie to use! I love movies and love the idea of taking a new approach to classics in society, so I knew I wanted to choose an old classic movie (hint #1) in order to modernize it through the use of solid color icons. Once I decided on the movie, I went back and forth on how to represent it. Did I want my icons to demonstrate various plot sections of the movie? Did I want them to represent characters in the movie? I ultimately decided that the point of the assignment was to represent the essence of the movie, so I decided to go with themes and elements of the movie that have stood the test of time (hint #2), in other words, what you would draw when trying to represent the movie in a game of Pictionary.

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I used Flat Icon for all of my images and chose the Mask, CatTypewriter, and Present icons for the assignment. I downloaded these images for free, and inserted them into a PowerPoint slide for editing. I re-sized the images so that they were all the same height and width for symmetry, and aligned them so they fell on the same line. I spaced them out using the “distribute horizontally” tool so that they were evenly spread. I then put a border around them, added in elements of color (hint #3) by layering shapes behind the images, and grouped the images all together. I then selected the grouping and saved as an jpeg image for embedding into this post. I may have been a little too obvious in my design, but I was having way too much fun with colors and themes.

Happy guessing!

Design Huntin’

This week I had the opportunity to search for and observe various designs though the eyes of the design elements document.

The first design element I found was Typography in this adorable invitation for a baby shower hanging on my fridge.

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I thought this was the perfect example of typography as it used multiple styles of fonts and colors as part of it’s design. The top part of the invitation is all in serif font with the words “Baby Girl” significantly larger than the rest of the text. I’ve cut off the details of the location and time of the party, but you can see that the text below the words “Baby Girl” are small and sans serif, a nice contrast to the more general information above. I also loved the use of color against a dark background to provide a unique take to a baby shower for a girl. Our attention is drawn to the fact that our friends are having a baby girl without the invitation having to be pastel pink with images of rattles and strollers.

The second design element I found on my safari was Rhythm in the poster below. I didn’t actually take this picture, but rather found it on Pinterest on what I think is a Japanese blog.

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I’m not sure the context around this poster since the blog is all in Japanese, but I did think it was an excellent portrayal of Rhythm and most of the Principles of Design. This poster demonstrates both repetition and the alternation of elements. The way the legs flow in and out of being a male or female leg in the mind force the viewer to take a second to pause to contemplate the image. It establishes a pattern using bold and contrasting black and white, perhaps indicating the uniformity of men and women in society or demonstrating the stark contrast between them.

The third design element I found was Minimalism and Use of Space.

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This is a book cover for a book called The Story. The cover uses a simple white background, limited text, and one symbolic image to illustrate it’s point. The book is based off of the Bible which is well known for having a long and somewhat confusing history, so I think it was a smart design choice to keep this book cover simple and minimalist. I am personally a huge fan of white space and think it adds a lot of power, and can evoke many emotions when used in design.

And It Finally Feels Like Spring

As we wrap up a week in which we enjoyed some beautiful spring DC weather, and anxiously await the cherry blossoms while dodging tourists, I reflect on quite a week in the ds106 world.

I took full advantage of the weather with a photo shoot on my deck as I experimented with various photography tips and techniques and realized that my deck garden had taken a beating in the rough winter months. My favorite tip was to take pictures of ugly things which gave me a new perspective when taking photos.

I then went on a Photo Safari in the Mason Arlington campus library as I tried to capture as many scavenger photos from the list as possible. I elicited some interesting looks as I took pictures from the floor and climbed on chairs, but I had a great time and definitely went out of my photography comfort zone.

When creating my Five Card Flickr Story I pulled together images taken by strangers and turned them into a story about a curious girl and her mother in a restaurant. This was a tough task as I feel like my mind was flushed with so many ideas I wasn’t sure where to start. I decided to see if I could find a cycle in the images and saw it in the plant to ocean to bay to faucet back to restaurant circle.

I learned some new photo editing techniques as I had some fun creating my Balloon and Rain images as visual assignments for the week. It was great looking through the assignments to see which of the techniques I wanted to focus on for the week. I struggled a bit with Pixlr, but definitely made some great learning progress through these assignments.

Finally, I continued my brainstorming for a final project as I dreamed of a garden to enjoy as the seasons change. In reading and seeing how Dorothea Lange documented her stories in her journal (the original blog) I pictured sharing this story though a series of captioned images that demonstrate the progress of the garden throughout the season.

I look forward to the next ds106 challenge!

A Garden for Spring

Every year I struggle with my deck garden. In the theme of my blog, an idea I had of something that would be better represented in a story, would be the growth of my garden.

This is a bit risky, as I have yet to make it through a spring with a successful garden established, but I think in general the premise makes sense. The life of plants and the seasons of spring and summer are stories in themselves, and my tiny little deck garden could be a metaphor for personal growth found in these seasons while combating obstacles of growth (i.e. too much rain, wind, bugs) along the way.

This could be represented in photographs taken throughout the season at each stage of garden growth, and would hopefully end in a beautiful deck garden to enjoy during summer!

I Love It When It Rains Quotes

I love it when it rains quotes

 

For my second visual assignment of the week, I decided to complete the Illustrating Odd Auto-completes challenge. When I Googled “I love…”  I didn’t come up with much. I continued to add to the search until I came across “I love it when it rains quotes.” I thought it strange at first and tried to imagine quotes raining.

auto complete

I then realized what the auto-complete really meant was “‘I love it when it rains’ quotes.” In the spirit of this fun-spirited class, I decided to take the auto-complete literally for the purposes of this assignment. Thus, my image of it literally raining quotes.

For this assignment I utilized the Pixlr online editor. As I mentioned in the previous assignment post, I found it more user friendly than Photoshop, but had the same re-sizing issue.  I suppose it made sense for the quotes to be partial in each of the rain drops, as we can imagine them wrapping around the rain drop, but I would have liked to figure out how to re-size. Another issue I had with the online tool was the lack of accuracy in the eraser tool. In PowerPoint you can crop images to a shape which was what I originally wanted to do. In using the eraser tool in Pixlr, I had a hard time getting a sharp edge. I also used the blur tool to give the effect of rain on the images of the quotes.

The rain image was pulled from the Karlaslayouts and the quote images were pulled from the Pinterest Quotes page.