Final Reflection - Updated 12/12/2008

With the growing need for convenience, the globalization of companies, and the constant advancements in technology, many people question whether or not print and paper will cease to exist.  While it seems like the need for print continues to diminish, it will not completely disappear; rather, it will probably become a specialized field within graphic communication.  Many people still hold sentimental value in the birthday cards and holiday cards they receive from their loved ones; wrapping paper decorates the gift in a more attractive manner.  However, when it comes to printing magazines, newspapers, books, or other products with massive amounts of text, the younger generations, as well as generations to come, will value convenience more than the physical product.  Besides, kids these days seem to be more technologically savvy, in that they can search for information on the web faster than going to the library and gathering the relevant books. 

The idea of a library itself is changing as society becomes more technologically advanced.  For example, here at Cal Poly, we cleared out over 1,000 books on the second floor in the Kennedy Library, and in its place, we built the new media center presented in one of the GrC 452 final projects.  We also moved Julian’s Patisserie to the same floor as the new media center to encourage students to come to the library and study comfortably.  More students now go to the library to study, alone or with their peers, rather than to read or research the books located on the multiple levels of the library.  They feel that, on a broad range of topics, they can find much of the information they need on various online databases.  But who creates and maintains these databases?  This is where we students are needed.

Technology is always changing, and there are always new things to learn about computers, programming, design, etc.  We as citizens of this country and future workers in the real world drive the direction of technology. Thus, we must have that drive to learn more and break new ground in technology.  The media platforms we work with will constantly change, and while we can teach ourselves, it is best to have more experienced people teach the foundation. Professors and lecturers alike at Cal Poly can aid us students by not only teaching these students content, but also strengthening our drive to learn.

A strong foundation does not come from touching on various subjects throughout a 10-week course, especially when it comes to getting acquainted with the various programs used in video, web design, print, etc.  These programs run so deep that it is impossible to really get a taste of the program until you dive head first and dig deeper into the program.  This is one of the reasons why I enjoy the higher level Graphic Communications classes, especially this class, Graphics in Motion.  In the classes that I have taken for the GrC minor, I have become rather acquainted with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.  In this class, I was able to learn something completely new.  We delved into the wonders of Final Cut and making videos. One of the things that made it difficult for this class was only meeting once a week for three hours, but the time constraint only inspired me more to focus and learn as much as I could.  Often times I would come into open EPL hours, which gave me more time to develop my knowledge of Final Cut and creating videos.

The projects we were assigned in this class gave us a good amount of experience with the program.  Although the first project gave us troubles since none of us were familiar with the buttons or anything, the subsequent projects came with more ease as the quarter progressed. Tom’s eagerness to teach this course inspired a desire to learn more about the program.  Often times it is the teacher’s interest and excitement in teaching that impacts the students the most, and the teacher’s knowledge adds to that impact when students coming away with more knowledge than they began with.

A class that I wish we had was one focusing on Adobe Flash. Flash is becoming so prominent these days, especially in the web design aspect, that students should be aware and learn the basics of the program.  While we incorporated a two-part Flash introduction, it would be more beneficial to have a separate upper division course that created the foundation for such a significant part of the Adobe Suite.  It is important for students to diversify their knowledge so that they can be versatile in the Graphic Communication industry.  This is why I have enjoyed taking Graphics in Motion this quarter and look forward to more classes that expand my knowledge of the entire Graphic Communication industry.

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UGS Promo - Updated 11/19/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

:::PROCEDURE:::

:::VIDEO:::


UGS Promo from Ashleigh on Vimeo.

:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

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WiHire Splash Branding Video - Updated 11/12/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

The objective of this lab was to work with a client - in this case, WiHire - and create a splash video to brand videos coming from their website. We could use any program we wanted to complete this project. I chose to use Final Cut Express to enhance my knowledge in creating videos.

:::PROCEDURE:::

WiHire came into class and briefed us on their company and their goals. They showed us their current website, and we were given a file of graphics, as well as brochures and pamphlets, to get an idea of what kind of atmosphere the client wanted to portray. They wanted a professional yet user friendly look to appeal to both employers and college undergraduate & graduate students.

In putting together the actual video, I altered the images of the people in Photoshop, and then put them together in Final Cut Express. I made it so a solid color silohuette cross faded into the color graphic of the person to the actual image of the person, while the important words of "Connect", "Inspire", and "Succeed" came into view. I ended the video with the company logo and added music to the whole video that would enhance the transitions and the overall feel of the video. The end result is what follows in the next section of this blog.

:::VIDEO:::


WiHire Splash Branding Video from Ashleigh on Vimeo.

:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

This project served as a real life application of the skills we have learned so far throughout the quarter, and gave us an opportunity to explore a bit more with the program of our choice. I was debating whether or not to use Flash for this project, but I figured working with Final Cut Express would be more interesting since I do not get to work with it a lot. Final Cut Express posed more of a challenge for me, which I like because then I feel like I actually learn accomplished something after I complete a project. I understand that this project was also part of a competition, but I was more interested in learning more about the program than actually winning the competition.

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

WiHire requested our class to create a splash branding video for them, which was a great opportunity to add something to my portfolio. I spent a decent amount of time on this project because I wanted to learn more about Final Cut Express, as well as create an intriguing video that had maybe some chance of winning the competition. All in all, this was an exercise to apply the skills we acquired in class.

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

If I had more hours in a day, I think it would have been fun to make a different splash video in Flash. This project was fun because it allowed more room for creativity, but of course had some guidelines we had to follow. This experience has been fun, and I'm excited to see who will win the competition! I am proud of my video, and as I watch at the other students' videos, it looks like it might be a tough call for WiHire to choose a winner!

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AT&T Flash Ad - Updated 10/30/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

The objective of this lab was to learn more about the animation aspect of Flash. We used various graphics and text to create an AT&T Ad. Originally, we were going to do this and complete our own project, but time did not allow us to do the latter.

:::PROCEDURE:::

We started out with what looked like the finished image of the ad, with all of the separate layers. We separated the layers into basic images we would need for the Flash presentation. One image was just the background for the whole ad, another was just the "Learn More" button. We saved them in a compatible format for the web. Then we imported these graphics into Flash, as well as made text boxes that were seen in the Photoshop component. With staggered motion tweens, we were able to bring in the text at the right time in the right direction of travel. Then we added some ActionScript for the "Learn More" button so that it not only changed when a user rolled over it with his mouse, it also led to a link when it was clicked. Then after we finished with the animation, we previewed it in a browser, copied the embed coding, and pasted it in our website.

:::VIDEO:::

:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

The process of learning these animation techniques took a lot of time, but once you repeated the process a few times, it did not take as long. The animation of this ad is so simple, yet it gives the audience just enough interaction they need to stay interested in the ad. This was a great learning experience and I wish we could have gotten to our individual projects. At least now, I have some basic knowledge of Flash to put together an interactive ad or video.

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

This project taught us important skills, especially now that websites need to be more interactive with the user. For viewers to stay interested, there needs to be some sort of animation, otherwise it will be too bland, especially compared to other sites that use animation. A lot of viewers take animation for granted, so when there is no animation, it is quite apparent to the viewer.

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

I definitely want to learn more about Flash, so that I can enhance the website I created and am maintaining for my senior project. I'm not sure what kind of animation I could include, but I'm sure with some brainstorming I could come up with something that is classy and professional and applicable to my senior project.

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My Flash Video Skin - Updated 10/23/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

This week was the first of 2 sessions with Adobe Flash CS3. This lab was to get acquainted with some of the design features and the ActionScript language in Flash. The goal of this class was to create and brand our own Flash video player.

:::PROCEDURE:::

We had the choice of manipulating a ready-made player or creating one from scratch. We first learned how to edit the standard players that came with the application. This required zero ActionScript language, just some knowledge of how change colors and the basic features of Flash - the timeline, layers, etc. The second half of class we used to create our own player from scratch using basic shapes and the buttons that came with the application. Then we got a taste of ActionScript 2.0, the scripting language to activate the buttons.

:::VIDEO:::

:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

Flash is an awesome application to learn, especially now that websites are requiring more customer interaction. The basic concepts we learned in class were not too difficult to grasp and the ActionScript language seemed pretty straightfoward, though I'm sure there is definitely more complicated things out there to create pretty impressive projects.

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

Creating and branding our own Flash player is a great way to sell ourselves, especially when trying to get a job in the graphic communication industry.

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

I am thoroughly enjoying this class, and I can't wait to learn more about Flash! I would like to do more animation and learn what else Flash has to offer.



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Hip Hop iPod Commercial - Updated 10/16/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

This week's project was to get in touch with more of the effects that Final Cut Express offers and emulate an iPod commercial using raw video of dances from the Hip Hop Congress.


:::PROCEDURE:::

Using raw video of multiple dancers, I sliced it up to cover the 30-second commercial. I focused on one dancer for the majority of the commercial, playing with effects and transitions. To get black out the green screen that was the backdrop for these dancers, we used a video effect called Chroma Keyer. It blacked out most of the green. To clean the image up a bit more, I softened thinned the edges a little bit. Then to get the actual dancer into a solid black or white, I used an effect called Sepia under the Video Generators tab. Then I added a track for the solid color background that the dancer was going to move around on and added multiple color matte clips. I also played around with the motion tweens to move and scale the dancer around, and at one point even make a double of him. By the end, I just applied what I learned with the first dancer to 3 other dancers and closed out the commercial with all of them rockin' out to the music. Of course, I took out the raw audio track and added an actual .mp3 song.

:::VIDEO:::


Hip Hop iPod Video from Ashleigh on Vimeo.


:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

This project definitely built on the skills we learned in the last project. It was a good review on how to do motion tweens and add video transitions as well as do some cool tricks with the green screen. Overall, I had fun doing this project, and if I had more time, I'm sure I could have had a much better end result.

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

This project gave us a taste of the many features Final Cut has to offer. It served as a learning tool on how to add depth to the graphics as well as work with a green screen. We had freedom to slice and put together clips of our choice from the raw video, as well as add any effects and transitions that enhanced our videos.

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

This project further piqued my interest in the Final Cut Pro software. I wish to further enhance this video, even though it is past the official "due" date, and to familiarize myself more with the Final Cut features. These projects are really fun; I only wish I could put more time into making these videos. Getting the software to use on my computer would be so convenient, so I might do that soon. All in all, I am thoroughly enjoying this class, the projects, and everything we're learning with Final Cut Pro.

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Creek Day Commercial Project - Updated 10/9/2008

:::OBJECTIVE:::

In week two of this class, we used Final Cut Express to create a 30-second commercial for the annual Creek Clean Up Day. After learning the basics in week one, we applied that knowledge and had the opportunity to experiment with the transitions and effects that Final Cut Express can do.


:::PROCEDURE:::

We started out with multiple clips of raw video that our professor had so nicely split up for us. I then listened to the 30-second voiceover that we had to incorporate in this project. I carefully selected clips that emphasized what the voiceover was narrating. The first few clips when the narrator was talking about trash in the creek, I did not put in any transition effects because it makes the emphasis on the trash more dramatic, like something needs to be done. Then when I incorporated the clips of the families cleaning the creek, I added the fade-in/fade-out effect to have a smoother, more welcoming transition. I also created text slides in the beginning and at the end of the video to make the audio information visual and easy to remember. Finally, I added music that best suit the mood I wanted to portray in the commercial.

:::VIDEO:::


Creek Clean Up Day Commercial from Ashleigh on Vimeo.


:::SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:::

This project was a great starter project to apply the basic skills we learned in the first lab. I had fun working with the various clips we had to choose from as well as the audio we had to include. It was helpful to have the voiceover because it gave me a feel for what needed to be emphasized. There is so much more to learn in Final Cut Pro, and it is so different from other video-editing software I have worked with briefly in the past.

:::PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:::

This commercial was meant for us to apply the skills we learned in Week 1, as well as play around with the audio and video clips we had to find the best mix. It definitely helps when you go into the project knowing what you want to do, what kind of mood you want to portray, etc. This is building the foundation upon which other projects will be based on.

:::CLOSING THOUGHTS::

This project definitely piqued my interest in the Final Cut Pro software. It is different from other video-editing software, and there is so much more to learn! I am definitely interested in getting the Express suite so that I can play around with the software on my own time rather than relying on class and open lab times to familiarize myself with the software. If only there was enough time in the day and enough money in the bank to invest in this software!

Official Creek Clean Up Day Commercial


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