The Creative Desire

When DJ Spooky refers to “the changing same,” I think essentially he’s talking about the essence of the remix. In the beginning of the semester, we watched a video about how a remix doesn’t mean that something is the same as it was originally, but it is instead a variation of an old concept. It is changing the same.

People find comfort in familiarity. We hear songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and think of when we were infants. We hear Vitamin C’s “Friends Forever” and think of graduation. These songs are comforting reminders of our past. Whether it is obvious or not, using variations of the old or the “same” is what we need in order to find a creative balance.

The quotes selected to be on the colorful pages, which seem to be artwork more than literature, are essentially a remix of this very book. DJ Spooky selected phrases that were prominent, just like musicians pick out the most compelling parts of a song to accentuate in their remix.

On page 29, DJ Spooky writes, “If I internalize the environment around me, who is going to control how the information eventually resurfaces? It’s an uncanny situation; the creative act becomes a dispersion of self.” Restricting yourself and your ideas deprives the world of yourself, and deprives you of your freedom to express your own ideas. The idea of remixing and rhythm science seems to be about controlling your ideas and allowing the world to experience everything that everyone has to offer.

Do you feel as though internalizing the environment harms the world, or does it provide more opportunities for others to flourish? The essence of a person doesn’t have to be expressed through a unique idea or creation, but is this what we need to feel accomplished. Basically, I wonder if “the changing same” is enough to satisfy the human desire to create.

– TS

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Telephone Effect

The effect I chose to do on audacity was to make it sound like a telephone call. I was looking at tricks on the internet and couldn’t find anything too exciting, but this one stood out to me. It’s a simple way to enhance the listener’s experience. In my project, this effect isn’t essential, but some of the projects we listened to in class might benefit from this tip.

  1. Pick the clip you want to work with.
    I chose a selection from my conversation with my mom
  2. Go to effects and choose Equilization
    The equalizer window will pop up. It looks like this:

    Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 11.39.06 AM

  3. Select the radio button: Graphic EQ
    The screen changes to this:

    Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 11.40.23 AM

  4. Adjust the levels so they’re all at their minimum, except for the ones in the range between 500 Hz and 2000 Hz

    Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 11.42.29 AM

  5. Click OK
  6. Select Amplify from the Effects menu
  7. Leave the default settings, and hit OK

That’s all there is to it! You now how a “telephonized” voice recording. This could set the scene, without you having to explain anything! I hope this was helpful!

TS

The Parts that make up Superpowers!

I chose to listen to Superpowers and I made a lot of observations. In order to accurately analyze this piece, I broke it down into volume, pace, and tone, narration, music, and organization.

Volume, Pace, and Tone:

In the beginning, Chris Ware (the comic artist) speaks slowly and quietly, which makes his insecurities clear. He is very conversational when talking about his past and the hardships of his childhood. This contrasts Ira, who speaks confidently and with purpose. Ira doesn’t include words like “um” and “uh,” but Chris does. Chris also takes deep, loud breaths that express his anguish. This is fitting and was probably purposefully left in the audio for the reason of developing a mood. While both men are conversational, Ira is quicker and, to some degree, rehearsed. The woman talking about Zora is the most rehearsed, yet this adds to the dramatic aspect of the story.

Narration:

The narrator changes often throughout this piece. There is Ira, who tries to paint a visual picture in the listeners mind. The woman talking about Zora does this as well. Both of these people seem to be reading loose scripts, so the wording is carefully thought out. When different people are interviewed, they are very unrehearsed. Multiple people are interviewed to prove a point. After a topic is introduce, these additional points of view are added to enhance the piece. While everyone doesn’t have very different voices, you can tell who is who by different cues. Chris and Ira talk in different volumes and paces, as was mentioned before. There is one man interviewed who is in a loud environment, maybe a bar or restaurant, and that is what differentiates him from the others. The women sound very similar, but they’re interviewed in different ways. They both speak slowly, but in only Christine’s interview can you hear Ira asking questions. Ira rarely is heard asking questions, but prying was the only way to capture Christine’s elusiveness. I think it proves the point she’s saying, that she would choose to be invisible because of the shame she has, because she basically refuses to answer some of Ira’s questions. I suspect this is a reason why his questioning is included in this portion.

Music:

In class, we talked about how it makes sense to not have lyrical music in our audio project. In general, this rule is followed in this piece and the music is simply there to set the mood. It differs between light music, a heavy beat, typical comic book soundtracks, and dramatic, string instruments that portray the mood. These are played both on its own and lightly in the background while someone is speaking. However, there are occasionally lyrical numbers that are used to separate different acts. This draws a clear divide between one segment and the next.

Organization:

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of where you are when simply listening to something, but this piece does a great job helping the listener. The program is broken down into both acts and stages. The stages are used to describe the process of emotions one may feel through different struggles (for example, when they speak about the process of deciding if one would chose to be invisible or have the ability to fly is chronicled through five clearly marked stages. The acts, as mentioned before, are separated using music.

The organization of the topics is note-worthy as well. This piece starts off with a light topic including using your invisibility to see women naked in the shower or using the power of flight to fly your baby to a doctors appointment. However, the piece goes into much deeper topics, like how people’s self-image and “guileness” influences their choice of superpower. This format gives the listener time to become comfortable with the flow of the story and not feel immediately overwhelmed by the heaviness of the piece.

Together, these different components work to create a comprehensive, interesting audio piece. I will be sure to keep each aspect in mind when I make my own project.

– TS

Personalize your page with interactive pop up windows

Initially, I was going to do my blog post on the roll over effect but, after seeing that a lot of other people did that, I decided to choose something else. So, after doing some more Googling I came across a cool, simple trick. I found that making pop up windows is surprisingly easy, and it can add a personalized feel to your website. For example, upon clicking on the link to go to your photo recovery story, you can add have a message pop up that says “You’re going to love this!” or “Good choice!” It just adds a human-like aspect to your website because of the quick interactions that are possible.

You’re going to want a pop up message to come up and perform the task at hand.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 10.26.12 PM

In your css file, you’ll write:

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 10.12.30 PM

In your html code, you’ll make a div calling the class “message.” Within the body of the div, you’ll write the message that you’d like to be displayed in the pop up window. The code will look like this:
<div class=”message”> Get ready for the greatest web page ever! </div>

That’s all there is to it! I would suggest reading some other classmates tutorials in order to perfectly implement this. It could be cool to blur out the back when your message pops up, and then just insert a button at the bottom so the user can continue on. Both of these are explained in detail in previous posts, so I won’t go into detail about them. By knowing the basics behind adding an interactive pop up window, you can combine a bunch of techniques to add a really cool aspect to your webpage.

What’s nice about Dreamweaver is that there are a lot of different ways to make a popup message, so choose whichever makes the most sense to you! Another way to do it is to first highlight the text or image that you want to trigger the popup message when clicked on. This could be an option in your menu, or just a random component of your webpage. Go to the “Behaviors” window and click “+” then choose “Pop-up message.” This will show you a screen where you type in the message you want displayed, then click OK. Now, whenever your trigger is clicked the pop-up message will appear.

Below are some websites where you can find more information about prompt boxes. When I was researching this method, I found a lot of information about how to do this in Javascript. While this is not what I was looking for, it did help me understand the process behind the technique. There are “if-statements” and “else if statements” implemented, which explains the concept well. To me, the Java code worked more like my brain does then the Dreamweaver method did, so it helped me a lot. I included places to find information about the Javascript as well.

http://www.kgv.ac.uk/intranet/it/cer/Unit7Web/unit%207%20ELT/create/dreamweaver/popup/intro2.htm
http://www.webdesign.org/html-and-css/tutorials/creating-a-pop-up-message-with-dreamweaver-cs3.20303.html
http://www.w3schools.com/js/js_popup.asp

Good luck!

– TS

 

The Power of a Link

The website I chose to analyze is http://www.urbotip.com/#!/city/257/pittsburgh. I was really impressed by the entire composition of the website for many reasons. I think the main thing that appealed to be is the uniformity of sites yet the way the scene seems to change as you scroll. I plan on analyzing the home page in three different sections for this review.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 7.30.04 PM

Initially, the background and scheme of the web is very basic. The pink brings different aspects of the site together, and all of them are interactive. This makes the navigation easy to find. The bottom left corner looks like a page turning, which is a neat idea.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 7.30.17 PM

The second section has links to different sub-pages. I really enjoy the rounded font and the way it flows with the circular links. When you drag the mouse over the circles, they raise up, which adds to its appeal. The designer did a great job ordering the links in chronological order and providing visual similarities between every aspect.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 7.30.31 PM

The last part resembles the tab of a folder. It, too, has the circular links with intriguing pictures. I like the darker grey of the background, because it contrasts well with the white lettering.

Overall, I think the consistency of the site is what makes it so appealing. It is meant to be a fun design aimed at an informal audience. Its purpose is to provide as much information in possible in an organized manner. The extensive use of links helps achieve this goal. One suggestion I have for this site would be to not have so much scrolling because there is a good chance the viewer wouldn’t scroll all the way down. From this site I plan on using the high level of interaction and the neutral main colors with some bright colors incorporated to help the organization of the site.

– TS

Photoshop tutorial: Dispersion

I’ve never really used photoshop before so I’m blown away by all of the cool ways you can manipulate and enhance pictures through it. After watching a bunch of random tutorials, I decided that I wanted to teach the class how to use the dispersion effect. I don’t have photoshop on my computer so I haven’t been able to try it myself, but that might make my instructions more detailed since I’ll be sure to write down every little detail necessary to perfect this technique.

Okay so first of all, I just looked up the definition of “dispersion” because I didn’t want to sound stupid and use it in the wrong context or anything like that. According to dictionary.com, dispersion is “the separation of white or compound light into its respective colors, as in the formation of a spectrum by a prism.” This sounds great to me, since the images that have stuck with me most from class so far are the ones of the “underworld.” Those pictures were so intriguing because of the lighting, so learning how to work with light and colors could be really beneficial.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 7.16.56 PM

So let’s start dispersing!

  1. Take any jpg that seems like it can be enhanced by manipulating the light on a portion of the image. This might just take some minor adjustments, such as increasing the contrast.
  2. Cut out the image that you want to disperse (it doesn’t need to be perfect, especially in the places you plan to focus on)
  3. Copy this cut out image and place it right behind the original one. Make this copy darker.
  4. Make a third copy, and pull it behind the image (this will become the dispersed part)
  5. Focus on the back copy. Take a white brush with maximum flow capacity and tap with different splatter sizes/ brushes.
  6. Focus on the darker version. Do the same spotting/ splattering method
  7. Make all layers visible. If you want to make it more extreme, use black splatters of paint on top of the white.
  8. It looks best to add a white background to enhance the effect.
  9. Add some vibrance, curves (to make it lighter in the background), and “paint with light”

10. “Paint with light” is a custom layer that you can add a highlight or burn effect with your black or white brush. Make sure you use a new layer for this and are in the overlay mode. This is good to use on skin areas.

Well there it is! This technique is also referred to as the “coming undone effect.” So hopefully this will be useful to enhance the lighting and bring excitement to your photos.  I provided a bunch of links for extra clarification.

– TS