Category Archives: flash

Brush in hand

I’ve been wanting to paint lately, but I feel a twang of guilt each time I get close to the canvas.

The fact that I have downtime is new to me. I’m not used to having this time for creative exploration, and since I don’t know how long it will last, I want to use it wisely. Or it may go on forever.

So, should I be spending this time learning new skills or refining current ones? By these, I mean sitting in front of a screen. This fall, I got a really nasty note from a big client regarding my programming skills for a Flash project. I never promised to have any, but alas I was called “uncommitted” among other things. I was urged to learn Action Script until my mind exploded. That, with my creativity, would get me writing tickets anywhere (stated as a compliment). I never set out to be a coding master, but no one wants just a creative – at least when it comes to bottom level Interactive (i.e., recent grads trying to get the most basic of jobs).

When I was in the Interactive program at PC, we were constantly told to focus on the concept, design, functionality, usability, etc…find the limitations and benefits of technology, but someone else will handle what goes on behind the curtain. Well, right now people want both, and it’s a big game of catch up.  So, when it comes to sitting in front of a canvas or a screen, I hear that angry voice yelling “YOU ARE UNCOMMITTED!” and it’s back to sleepy AS3 tutorials….with my creative energy scratching at the back of my brain, ever so distracting.

For me, a painting is a big commitment. I can spend weeks, months on one. I’ve already spent hours sketching and digitally composing. I want to take a projector and sketch my work on the canvas, for the sake of time, but I feel guilty doing that as well. Am I not missing out on beautiful mistakes that could take me in a new direction? Both art and design are about exploration, and my end is not concrete (the beauty of personal work). Yet technology fuels faster production. which can lead to more time spent on other things – like mastering dreaded AS3.

The ideal is a balance between the two, where upon I just might find myself stressed about both and tinkering with After Effects projects instead.

 

Last painting, completed fall ’06 before I started Portfolio Center. Oil on Canvas, 30×40 (no black bars)

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Filed under animation, atlanta, design, flash, interactive, Portfolio Center, portfoliocenter

ActionScript 3, completely mastered

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Yesssiree, after much time spent toiling my life away trying to master ActionScript3 and suck all the fun out of Flash, I’ve have completely mastered it. It aged me a bit, as you can see in the photo, but in all that code I think I’ve found a formula for the meaning of life.

I asked this cat what he thought of my accomplishments, and this was his reaction. Sigh.

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Perhaps he’s as enthused (jaded) as I am about learning code.

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Filed under design, flash, interactive, Portfolio Center

January brings a 5th quarter

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The new quarter started and the holidays seemed long forgotten, but leftover kharcho and hachipurri are nice to have around when the cold emptiness of this time of year can settle in. Well, not cold, it’s been around 70 here lately (though we had a few days in the 30s last week).

It’s always a bit hard to start back in after several weeks off – it takes a while after critique week to adjust to sleeping normally and not having constant pressure applied – I seriously felt like I was suffering Moscow jet lag the first week, falling asleep at 11pm and waking at 4am. Now I’m getting used to a schedule of night classes, which is very weird as I am alone most of the daytime hours. I do have a class and a seminar 2 mornings a week, but 4 nights I’m in class (taking extra this quarter). So, motivating myself in the quietness, especially in the morning, is quite difficult. I’m not very inspiried in the morning…I become active at night, and feel most productive then, but now that time is spent in partially class, and when I come home, some of that spent with Pig before he goes to barn.

My instructors do seem surprisingly enthusiastic this quarter, perhaps a more advanced level is more exciting to them. Last quarter I was worried that the Media Architecture was loosing steam, but I sense a lot more spirit this quarter and that this really might just go somewhere. I am dreading the more technical aspects of Actionscript 3.0, but alas I wanted to learn that for Flash II. Motion II should also be enjoyable if our school gets up to date on its software. I must say that After Effects is the most enjoyable program I’ve learned while at PC, and I’m am very excited about the combination of this program’s capabilities and my imagination. I also have Design Experience, which is more theory than technical – something I haven’t had yet for my MA experience, and felt was lacking last quarter…I’m looking forward to see where this is going, and meanwhile I’ll be posting some of my assignments here for class.

I also have a logos class taught by Stefan Kjartansson of Armchair Media. When I got my schedule I wasn’t excited about another logos class, but Stefan’s reputation quickly spread that this wasn’t a class to be dropped. I was so relieved that the first class wasn’t draw-100-logos-and-then-I’ll-tell-you-what-sucks-and-have-you-draw-another-100. If we end up doing that later I won’t mind, but I just needed a break from that formula from day one. It’s such a breath of fresh air to get a little insight on what makes a logo work, playing first with shapes, and taking a different approach to logo related exercises – all from a different, professional perspective. And I was glad to see that Stefan seemed like a fun quirky guy, as I feared that an ego might accompany his prestigious reputation. Anyway, I’ll be posting some of those assignments here too.

I am nervous about PC staple, Message and Content, as I feel the foundation I set for my projects in these early weeks will really set the tone for the rest of the quarter. Mapping a journey and/or narrative – it sounds wonderfully interesting, but I feel a little lost as to where to start! I love maps, collect them often, and am obsessed with journeys…So, I suppose I feel some pressure to get this right…

So while the pressure of a heavy workload hasn’t built yet, I feel much in choosing the right start for my projects. It’s ideas and steps that will determine if these projects are worthy of being reworked, improved and put into my portfolio. After this, only two more quarters of real classes…I really need to start putting out some decent work…

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Filed under animation, design, flash, Portfolio Center, travel

Flying Flash Duck

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My first Flash masterpiece!

I grew up with Peking Ducks, so I know they don’t fly too well… thus this little attempt at animation is fitting.

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Filed under animation, ducks, flash