Category Archives: interactive

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

Design Experience: Newegg

 The following is a short essay for my Design Experience class regarding good and bad experiences.

Our household has a fascination with hunting for electronic toys at the best price.  Though there are several sites that have provided good experiences, Newegg stands out for its page and navigation.  The Newegg webpage is easy to navigate and well categorized, making product selection an easier process.

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The main page of Newegg is neatly organized and different sections are easy to navigate.  There is little clutter and the type is easy to read. In the search feature, Newegg attempts to guess at what you are trying to locate, which is convenient for bad spellers like myself.  Once you have selected the item you wish to explore, all available items are listed.  The user can sort by price, brand, and so forth, but can also see upfront if shipping is free or additional.  May other filters are applicable and also tell you how many items fit that category, so you don’t waste your time searching in an area that doesn’t contain such a product.

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After a particular item is chosen, a summary of ratings appears, and reviews are listed in an easy to view column underneath.  The review summary is especially nice when trying to make a quick comparison between products.  Checkout is relatively hassle-free, and Newegg is prompt with its shipping.  So far, shopping with them has been successful, informative and cheaper than in a retail store.
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World Freedom Atlas

An interesting site, the World Freedom Atlas – see who’s doing well and not so well in the world of political choice and personal rights.  Of course, it can be rather predictable, but at least things look better in Mongolia than I assumed.

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…”designed for social scientists, journalists, NGO/IGO workers & others who wish to have a better understanding of issues of freedom, democracy, human rights & good governance between 1990 & 2006″

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IBM, protests, and….bananas?

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Thoughout time, science fiction writers have often portraid technology as a potential evil, having the ability to cause harm rather than help. Despite their creativity, I’m sure they never envisioned protesting bananas messing up the masses.

Take for instance the recent virtual protest against IBM, thanks to Second Life. Supposedly 1,850 protesters appeared for the event. And while there is dilema now on how Second Life will play in the role of virtual morality, realestate, and politics, there are still some other surprising things to be figured in…like, when having a protest and estimating the attendance count, do you count large objects of fruit and geometric shapes? I’m not sure past “real” protests had to take this into account, maybe I’m wrong. But I’m not here to judge. Bananas can be 100% human in cyberspace, if they are controlled by a human, no? Whether the triangle’s message has any relevance is another thought, but hey, he came out anyway.

So politicians, law enforcers and journalists beware, there are many oddities out there that will be finding their way into our world and fighting for a new way to fit into it.

For those like me who wish to view Second Life only from the sidelines right now, you can read more about it more in the blog New World Notes. Check out Newt Gingrich’s body guards while you’re at it.

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Michael Johnson: Life before, during and after PC

I always enjoy hearing the advice former or “upper-quartersmen” have to offer to the newer, struggling PC kiddies. This quarter I switched to a focus in Media Architecture with hopes of getting into interactive design someday. I am a little concerned what “Media Architecture” means at PC, how much attention it receives from the school, and that I will be prepared and take the right classes/instructors. I guess I don’t have a clear outline of what will happen in this program, but I also understand that the technology and field are new and changing every minute – so it’s hard to have a concrete outline.

Anyway, I was just reading an interview from Michael Johnson, who recently graduated from the Media Arts program. He offers advice for those in the program, as well as general commentary for design at PC. Print is not dying, and just because daddy didn’t love you doesn’t mean it will make a great design – these are interesting to hear from his perspective, especially the latter. Also, as the mystery of 8th quarter looms over my head even now, I greatly appreciate the insider look at this scary time.

Since Michael isn’t hanging around the basement of PC anyway, you’ll just have to read the interview here.

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