PSYCHE! I’m back – with more explosions

After that final, poetic send-off in my last post, you probably thought I was gone forever, right? Yeah, well, me too. But nope! I’m back, with one for-real FINAL post for you, my most dedicated reader! (Also known as Santosh Issac – thanks for sticking with it, Santosh!!)

It’s… my book trailer! With great trial and tribulation that lovely collection of images from about two posts back is now a lovely moving sequence WITH sound effects! And I made it happen, on my computer! I just love the 21st century, don’t you???

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO! I present my final motion graphic and Artist’s Statement.

For my motion graphics assignment, I created a book trailer for one of my favorite novels, Apocalypse for Beginners by Nicolas Dickner. This book was my introduction to sophisticated, low-key teen angst though the characters of Hope Randall and Micky Bauerman and their suburban wanderings, philosophical conversations and nightly news viewings in Micky’s basement. I wanted to capture this feeling in my trailer so I relied greatly on muted colours, a suburban setting and a somewhat spare landscape.

I drew all of the elements on Photoshop and then brought them into After Effects to animate. I used the camera tool to create a zoom effect and to create distance between the elements. I also key-framed changes in colour, size and opacity. I liked the effect of starting the video starting out a street level before delving below the surface to illuminate the subterranean-dwelling teenage protagonists. It enhances the notion of them being ensconced in their own little world down there, while watching history unfurl on the small screen.

An important thematic element in the novel is the slightly foreboding threat of the ever-pending apocalypse as predicted by various members of the Randall family, and I chose colours and settings to reflect this feeling. All the houses on the street used the same 6 or 7 seven colours, many of which were slightly shady, off-colour variations on primary colours, chosen because that relates to the “for Beginners” part of the title – primary colours are typically related to youth, kindergarten, and that sort of thing, and I liked the effect of slightly altering this motif. They also stand out nicely against the sky when it fades to black. Then, of course, there’s the mushroom cloud on TV. Although this never actually happens in the book, it was important to me to visually capture the apocalypse in some sense because it is such a huge plot and thematic element. To make the cloud appear to be growing on the TV screen, I imported a series of drawings I did into After Effects to create a stop-motion animation. The apocalypse image on the screen almost appears more realistic than any of the surroundings, which is an effect I liked because it enhances the idea that ‘real life’ is happening out in the world outside of Hope and Micky’s small Montreal suburb, while in the basement they’re still waiting for their ‘real life’ to start.

For typography, I “wrote” my title by hand on Photoshop. I chose this as opposed to a professionally done font because I liked the how it looked a bit playful, which both juxtaposes with the darker elements of the trailer and relates to the sweet, quirky rom-com side of the book. I also wanted the sound to reflect that – it starts with birds chirping, which morph to crickets as it gets dark, with traffic underneath, reflecting the mundane, pleasant side of suburbia, before this is interrupted by the sound of the explosion on TV; much in the same way that the coming of the apocalypse will disrupt their dull but comfortable routine.

As a first time user of After Effects I’m pretty happy with my finished product! The transitions and animations worked quite similarly to how I envisioned them working, so I was really satisfied with that. The main thing I would change if I could do it again would be the images that I created on Photoshop and animated. They looked approximately how I wanted, but I would have preferred them to be a bit more stylized – that’s probably more of a Photoshop issue than an After Effects one, though. I also had some challenges maintaining image quality when I changed the scale of various elements. In several cases I had to swap in a clearer image from Photoshop because I couldn’t figure out how to bring the element up to the image quality that I was hoping for. Finally, the time constraint was a good challenge to have to work around, and I made it a goal of mine to make a 5 second trailer, but it does feel to me perhaps just a touch rushed. I know ten seconds would have been unnecessarily long, so I am content with my choice, but maybe like 6 to 7 seconds would have been truly ideal. However, when I consider all the effort, sleep deprivation and work that went into creating my final product, I am pretty darn happy with it!!

* * *

Well, that’s well and truly it for me! Thanks for reading – it’s been a slice.

PEACE OUT

I am writing this on a bus home to Kingston, so this feels oddly symbolic. I mean, I’m literally just going home for the weekend, to hang out with my fam and my dog, eat some good food, and sleep on a decent mattress for a couple of nights – it would be much more profound if I was like doing my last blog post and also leaving Toronto, like, ~forever~… but then that would also mean I was dropping out of school, which I’m definitely NOT planning on doing anytime soon. Regardless, a bus is a pretty good place to wrap up this blog – they’re places of transition, taking people from one place to another – and as fall semester wraps up I’m feeling kind of “in transition” myself.

Self-reflection is a beautiful but difficult thing, so forgive me as I clumsily attempt to articulate it with some semblance of style. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world through this semester, and especially this class. It’s the class that I struggle with the most, but also the class whose challenges I find the most engaging. I don’t mind saying that I’m a super type-A high achiever type at times, and it kind of bummed me out to be so flummoxed by all the software and processes we used. Why couldn’t I just be NATURALLY good at it?! (I AM aware that that’s just the way the world works but that doesn’t mean I can’t resent it!) However, my initial confusion meant that the pride I felt when I figured out how to do something or made something that looked cool was that much more satisfying.

So yeah, I’ve learned some stuff. My Photoshop-ing abilities have increased by about 200%. My motion graphic stills aren’t still anymore and it truly feels so good that I made that!! (Even if the assistance of lab instructors, lab assistants, and some incredibly talented pals of mine can be largely credited for the fact that they now move. S/O to them for their patience!!) I spent some loooong nights in the lab at the RCC because doing good work takes time! And at the end of the day, I’m pretty proud of most of what I’ve cooked up. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is a bit more about the way I need to tackle new things. When I started using Photoshop and AfterEffects, I tried reading tutorials and watching videos on Lynda but then I would just forget everything right away. I really need to just jump in and start trying stuff if I want to learn anything!

In the future there’s definitely a lot more I’d like to learn. I’d like to develop my artistic style a bit, and figure out what works for onscreen, because I’m finding out that although I have a pretty comfortable and established artistic style when I draw and paint, it’s not necessarily best-suited for the work I want to make when I translate it to the screen. I want to try some stop-motion using photography, to learn how to do things that look really 3D. Mostly I just want to keep experimenting and exploring and failing and then trying again – struggling towards success! RTA 103, it’s been swell.

 

 

MOTION GRAPHICS: be STILL my beating heart

For my After Effects project, I am creating a book trailer for Apocalypse for Beginners by Nicholas Dickner. Set (predominantly) in 1989, the book tells the story of Mickey Bauermann, who’s quiet existence in the small town of Rivière-du-Loup is disrupted when Hope Randall and her mother move to town. The Randall family has a history of receiving prophetic visions of the date of the apocalypse, and, when the end of days fails to arrive, slowly going crazy. Set against this somewhat foreboding backdrop, however, the heart of the story is really about two strange, lonely young people brought together by common feelings of isolation and longing, who together are a little less lonely.

My goal for this trailer is for it to capture this feeling. For the first still I chose to create a suburban streetscape, conceivably one that either Hope or Mickey could live on. It’s somewhat sparse with muted colours, and it’s nighttime, because I think these elements mirror the sparse, lonely mood. In the first still there is a single illuminated window to create a sense of isolation: the only lit up window on a dark street. In the second still the light has gone out and we zoom in on the basement below that house, where the glow of a now-illuminated TV screen shows the silhouette of two people sitting on the couch in front of it. In Apocalypse for Beginners Hope and Mickey spend a lot of time together in Mickey’s basement watching the news, and so by showing this after the solitary light I wanted to show how they are brought together by their “unusual” mutual interest and find solace in each other. In the final still it has zoomed in past the couch to the television screen to show that they’re watching a mushroom cloud overlaid with the text “Apocalypse for Beginners”. It was important to me to include some apocalypse imagery, the mushroom cloud being the most ubiquitous, because although it isn’t the most important element in the book (despite the fact that it IS in the title), it nevertheless undercuts the whole novel with a constant sense of unease.

I am sure by now you are DYING to see these prototype stills! Well, here they are:

Still #1

Still #1

Still #2

Still #2

Still #3

Still #3

For these images I was inspired by the work of artists such as Chris Turnham, who does some really beautiful, spare images of suburban spaces…

… as well as Douglas Coupland, whose considerable body of work often tackles similar feelings of isolation, identity, and the effect technology can have in society. A lot of his visual art work is features bold colours and shapes, which I tried to emulate a bit here.

To animate this, I am mainly planning on using the scale effect and the parallax effect. A lot of the transitions that I want to occur are movement such as panning down or zooming in. I kept a lot of elements layered so that I can create the feeling of 3D motion, with the camera zooming in past the couch and closing in on the TV screen. I am also planning on animating the mushroom cloud, making it grow to the size seen in the final still, and will maybe do so using stop motion animation.

I’m excited to take on the challenge of animating my stills, but I am a little nervous, partly because I somehow lost most of the layers that built up my first still. Overall though I’m stoked and optimistic about how it will turn out!!

Telephone in the Toilet: Seeing the World Through a Transmedia Lense!

A couple of days ago I was hanging out in the Pitman caf, eating some sub-par soup, when my sister came bursting in with an odd set of demands: “I need your vacuum, your watch, and to download Tinder onto your phone.” Mysterious, no?!

In fact, not quite! She had simply dropped her phone in the toilet. (Tragically L) BUT alternatively this could be an intriguing start to a transmedia property! It’s like the start of a mystery: get all your twitter followers guessing what the items are for. If they find her Tinder profile there will be a secret clue waiting there (Saying that if you want to meet up with her, she’ll be at Metro buying rice. Because that’s where she went next: to Metro to buy some rice to put her phone in). And once they figure it out they can send messages and post YouTube videos to suggest what, if anything, they have done to revive their phones after subjecting them to water damage! This could perhaps be done to raise awareness about responsible phone ownership and the importance of not dropping your phone in the toilet.

P.S. Can YOU figure out the importance of the three items? Add your guesses to the comments!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

As for my thoughts on transmedia? Well, I LOVE the following things:

  • Board games
  • Treasure hunts
  • Pop culture
  • Mysteries

SO it stands to reason that I would LOVE transmedia! And I DO! But only sometimes. Sometimes it full-on creeps me out. When the line between reality and virtual spaces blurs to the point where participants can no longer distinguish between the two, I get increeeeedibly uneasy! Some transmedia projects take players down the rabbit hole to the point of no return and to me that is super incredibly disturbing.

HOWEVER, although there are definitely some pretty wack transmedia properties out there, there are WAY more super awesome examples! One of my faves is Arcade Fire’s roll-out campaign for their latest album Reflektor. I remember my older sister going to Osheaga and randomly noticing a five-second video clip of someone spray painting a mysterious logo on a wall. Then it started showing up all around the world as chalk graffiti, with the date 9/9/9. WHAT DID IT MEAN?! By the end of August, Arcade Fire took responsibility for the graffiti and on September 9th at 9am they launched a website featuring an interactive music video for the album’s first single. They also began advertising through more traditional platforms, like a guest appearance on SNL and a half-hour special afterwards (featuring Michael Cera?!). They also put on a secret show, advertised as The Reflektors and only admitting people dressed in costumes or fancy clothes. When the album was finally released the hype was REAL. How cool? So cool!! There’s definitely some that are a bit more extensive or interactive but I’m pretty sure this is one that I was the most engaged in.

This week’s lecture is forcing me to re-evaluate my life. Between my difficulties with digital media, my love for audio AND film and also the aforementioned unease that I sometimes feel related to transmedia, I was thinking I probably wouldn’t choose it as an area of focus for next year. BUT there is so much creativity in transmedia! I just really love the whole story-building, interactive, cross-platform approach. It’s definitely something to think about.

The Place Where Ideas Go To DIE

Today’s blog marks one week past this blog’s eighth week of existence! It also marks the first time I’ve ever been able to blog about WHATEVER I want. Which is a bit daunting, actually – having to come up with a new idea every week would be a STRUGGLE. And incidentally, this is kind of what I want to talk about this week: the relationship between inspiration, ideas and creation! In each Digital Media Lecture we talk about all sorts of interesting aspects of the creative process and view lots of lovely examples of the concepts we’re discussing. Every Tuesday morning after the RTA 102 and 103 double whammy, I leave feeling totally FULL of motivation to create things. And then, usually… I don’t. And it’s not for lack of ideas, because I feel like at any given moment I’m full of 100. It’s just that I get stuck when I come to that natural next step of actually executing the idea; making something out of it. And I think a lot of people have the same problem.

Why is this? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. At the root of every rad piece of digital media we view or experience, there’s a great idea. If I want to improve in this field (which I do), and get more experience producing media (ditto), and enjoy making things (yup), then what’s stopping me from taking my ideas and turning them into something?

I think there’s a couple things:

  1. Most of my “ideas” are really more like shadows of ideas – they have decent potential, but they’re not really fleshed out. It takes work to make a sub-par idea really great, and time and dedication that a lot of people aren’t wiling to put in.
  2. On which note, the classic “time” excuse: we just don’t have enough! This is maybe a little true, actually – most people are trying to succeed in school and/or work, have a social life, and some time left over to actually relax and SLEEP. Still, most of us (ME) are totally guilty of wasting time – time that could be put to better use on creative projects?
  3. And finally, it can be hard to have faith in your ideas! I definitely get a bit (totally) intimidated by all the madly skilled people I’m surrounded by; like, “There’s no way anything I make could ever be as good!” It’s actually a really exciting place to be, because, what a totally swell opportunity to learn from people! But intimidating, because it can be hard to have faith in your creative voice when you’re feeling your skills are wildly inadequate to those around you. HOWEVER, what I and all my similarly plagued comrades have to remember is that if you DON’T practice, you NEVER get better. Have you ever had that fantasy when you discover you’re a natural talent at something? ’Cause I totally do. Sadly, THAT’S NOT REALITY, FOLKS!

So, how does one overcome this kind of creative blockage? There’s the totally obvious answer, of course, which is, JUST START. But personally, I’ve always found that advice to be kind of obnoxious because YEAH YEAH YEAH whatever, whoever’s giving that advice is obviously now quite successful, so easy for THEM to say! But not so easy for whoever’s staring at a blank Photoshop page, despairing how they’re ever going to fill it up, and what’s more, in a way they can be relatively proud of! So I’m going to attempt to give myself some superior advice:

  • When you have an idea, write it down, even if you think it’s awful. It might have potential!!
  • Let your ideas just chill for a while, and then come back, and work on them.
  • Make a plan: HOW are you going to execute your idea? What skills might you need to acquire, and how will you do that (Can I get a Lynda.com??)? When?
  • If you fail, give up for a while – drown your sorrows how you see fit, etc. – but try not to give up forever.
  • Ask all the cool talented people you know for help. Try to avoid the ones who will ridicule you. (PSA: actually, if you think they’ll ridicule you, they’re probably not all that cool and you should leave them some passive-aggressive post-it notes to communicate this.)
  • HAVE FAITH, BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN YOU!! Cool? Cool.

DON’T JUDGE A BLOG BY IT’S BANNER…

… But DO judge a film by it’s opening credits!! Or a least, judge the opening credits, period. Because good opening credits, and, more broadly, good motion graphics in GENERAL can be SUPER RAD. There are about a thousand super cool things you can do using motion graphics and most of the time, you probably don’t even 100% realize that they’re going on! If you actually consider the many, many steps that go into making a cool motion graphics sequence, it’s pretty mind-blowing.

SPEAKING OF COOL MOTION GRAPHICS SEQUENCES! Here are some examples!!

I love the opening credits of Juno (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20PQBtyfNZY). I debated putting them here, because I did struggle with the question of, is this truly a good example of motion graphics? But actually, I do think that it is. (Do you disagree? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!!) I did some reading on the difference between the two because I wasn’t totally clear, and this is what I came up with:

“Animation is something where a non existing character is created by the modelling artists with a computer and a story is framed by several other artists…

…Whereas, Motion Graphics or Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the setting of a live action shot…” (http://www.editingcorp.com/difference-between-animation-and-motion-graphics-or-visual-effects/)

So, Juno is definitely more the latter! Though the footage looks as though it may be original animation, it’s probably live-action film that’s been edited and altered, with text and effects overlaid on top.  As for WHY this sequence is so effective: it’s so quirky and playful, really setting the tone for the entire movie. It grabs and holds your attention and makes you curious about the character you’re seeing. And the fonts and the music all work together cohesively to further set the mood. It just makes you feel good!! You want to keep watching because it’s so delightful!

I am also quite fond of the opening sequence of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbEsSsiozNU). It’s sort of pulpy and full of poppy, intense colour, all of which really nicely riffs on the film’s comic book origins. The frenetic movement of the text follows the beats of the music, which accentuates its role as an important element in the film. I especially like the way that the graphics that appear next to each actor’s name relates to their character in some way. It’s like a cool subtle little bit of foreshadowing without giving too much away in the way of plot.

Watching all these motions graphics clips get me very excited to make my own, but, I must be honest, I haven’t the FOGGIEST what I want to do. There’s just SO MANY OPTIONS!!!! And so little time!!! I always feel a lot of pressure at the start of a new project: I want to learn the software and I want to make something AWESOME, so I better not waste all that time making something uninteresting and sub-par. It’s a bit like reverse artist’s block: we’ve watched so many cool, beautiful videos and I’m just feeling inspired from so many directions that I don’t know which way I want to go!!

I do really like the examples of movie opening credits I’ve seen, so although obviously I don’t have that much time to work with, I think I may do something with typography showing a short quote from the film and then the title. One example that I’m thinking of is, for the film “Bottle Rocket”, having the line “On the run from Johnny Law… Ain’t no trip to Cleveland” pop up on the horizon over an empty road. Then a car shooting fireworks out the window drives up the road, kind of “knocking over” the text. Then it zooms in on the car’s back license plate, which reads “Bottle Rocket”. Of course the big hitch with this idea is that I have NO IDEA how I would execute it!!! Perhaps by drawing some of the elements, like the horizon and the car, on paper, and using a combination of the scanner and photos, kind of stop-motioning them? Well, you know, one step at a time. I really like the idea giving the viewer a good sense of the film in a very short, concise clip. It’s a cool challenge. And I love “Bottle Rocket”, which is such a weird, dry film, so I’d get a kick out of using it for this project. Right now, it’s just exciting to consider all my options!

Dear Digital Diary… + Bonus Infographics!!!

Keeping a digital diary was rough. Usually, you know, if you have like 2 minutes to kill while you’re waiting for a friend or something, you just check Facebook. But then WAIT! You have to WRITE IT DOWN: October 6, 10:05am, checked Facebook for 2 minutes. Right away, I noticed a lot of those “checked Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/email” entries showing up. Which is not exactly surprising to me. I KNOW I do it a lot. I notice it every time I go on Instagram and am like “There’s nothing new to look at!!!!” and then realize that it’s because the last time I looked at it was only 30 minutes ago. OOPS. Time to unplug perhaps?!?

Having said that, realistically, probably not! Unplugging isn’t really practical or realistic, and that’s not necessarily a BAD thing, that’s just reality.

Another common activity in my digital diary was “Logged into D2L” because I need to use it to stay on top of classes, get information and review lectures. The internet in general is also basically the most useful resource ever and it’s accessible with just the click of a button.

I also text and/or phone people very very frequently. Real talk: how am I supposed to be social without texting?? I know that’s a very MILLENIAL attitude, but seriously. That’s how it’s done nowadays! I didn’t text all that much in high school, because I went to school with all my friends so I knew exactly where to find them for 5 days of every week and if we wanted to make plans we could usually just do it in person. But now, everyone has different schedules, and, especially with friends who don’t live in my building and aren’t in my program, they can be very difficult to track down! And if you meet someone, but God forbid, FORGET to get their number, it is quite possible that you will NEVER see them again! How tragic! I present to you this hypothetical but entirely possible situation: It’s Saturday night and I’m at a party. I go into the hall for a breather, because it is quite hot inside and smells like LeBron James’s gym bag. I strike up a conversation with the girl standing next to me in the hall and it turns out we both share a love for Montreal bagels and the films of Bill Murray. What an amazing coincidence!!! Clearly our friendship was meant to be, so we decide to meet up the next afternoon at the Bagel House. Then her friend, who signed her in for the night, shows up and drags her off to another party, so we part without swapping numbers. The next day I arrive at the Bagel House on Yonge Street at the prescribed hour. After half an hour she still hasn’t arrived. I am feeling quite indignant. Then my indignation morphs into shame and annoyance as I realize that we never agreed upon WHICH Bagel House to meet at and she could be at either of the two other locations!! And by the time I get to either of them she will probably have already given up and left!! Or maybe she DID just decide to stand me up??? I’ll just have to text her and… ALAS NO!!! I NEVER GOT HER NUMBER!!! And she doesn’t live in res and I never learned her program and I have no recollection of who her friend was! I will never find her again!!! My potential soul mate!!! Shaken by this distressing realization, I go purchase myself a poppy seed bagel and wander morosely along  Yonge street, wailing her name and crying salty tears into my delicious snack.

the end.

This is a CULTURAL AFFLICTION!!! Texting and other social medias make life SO MUCH easier, but also a lot more stressful! Unless you are a very self-assured, self-actualized person (in which case GO YOU) it can be hard to spend more than like four or five hours all by yourself, just doing stuff, before getting a bit freaky: Why has no one texted you?? What’s going on with everybody?? There’s no way everyone is just doing their own thing too?! Everyone is probably hanging out without you!!! But then, on the flip side, it’s really nice that it’s super easy to connect and share your life with your people! It makes staying in touch with the people you care simple, and when something sad or exciting or weird happens to you and you want to share it, you can.

This has gotten quite lengthy, but I’m not quite finished yet. Before I go and leave you once again to your sad, caps lock-void existences, I will share with you some lovely infographics I found specially for your viewing pleasure!!!

This first one was done by Copenhagen-based graphic designer Peter Orntoft (all his work is very cool and you can check it out here!!).

The project, ‘Infographics in context’, was created for the Danish company Selfinitiated to compare social interests of Danish people. He used an expertly composed photograph to demonstrate his data in a way that immediately catches the viewer’s attention and is very easy to understand. The image beautifully relates to the data and the story it is telling and the issue related in the image is extremely topical and relevant in many parts of the world, not just Denmark, making it very shareable.

I’m also really fond of this “Where We Live” infographic, which illustrates population density in the United States in a way that is instantly understandable and eye-catching. It communicates large amounts of data very quickly.

If you want to learn more and go into detail, there are captions to read, but you can still take a lot away with just a quick glance. It tells a story of growth is pleasing to the eye, as well as relaying relevant and interesting data!

A Poster for a Music Festival that I Have Always Wanted to Go To

But alas!!! So it goes that I have never quite been able to attend. But over the years, I have heard lots about it and been most enchanted by the lovely descriptions and whimsical name. However now having created this poster, it’s almost as if I have attended in spirit!! And I’ve read enough about it over time/researched it thoroughly enough to validate that all my previous suspicions about it were correct that I feel quite confident presenting to you my poster as a good representation of this lovely event. And who knows, maybe this summer I’ll finally go! It kind of seems like I have to now…

qbradshaw_poster

The following is the poster’s accompanying artist statement! (To clarify, that is to say: me. I am the artist. You’re welcome.)

This poster is for Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Sudbury, Ontario’s annual music and arts festival. I tried to create a design that would capture the spirit of the place and the event and appeal to the target audience. This festival has a strong focus on independent Canadian art so I created an image of pine trees because they quintessentially northern Canadian. As they are found in boreal forest they also relate to the name Festival Boreal. It was important to me that my design had a whimsical, aesthetically pleasing look because this festival is a community-focused and family friendly event, and I wanted my design to communicate this – I didn’t want it to be something that would ONLY appeal to teens who like partying, or parents looking for a mellow family outing. As this event is marketed to people of all ages I wanted my design to be something that would appeal to a wide range of individuals, so I settled on a “Nature” theme because it is something that all people can relate to on some level. It is also an important feature of this festival, which is outdoors on the shores of Lake Ramsay, so I thought it was an important element to include. I put the trees on a dark background to evoke the night sky because I wanted to connect the design to the “Northern Lights” part of the name. It also contrasts really well with the light-coloured text and the yellow sky above the trees. The colour choices were important to me. The bold, bright colours contrast and stand out nicely against each other but don’t clash or overwhelm the viewer. I also tried to make use of complimentary colours – for example, the red underneath the green trees. I painted the trees to get brushstroke texture because, as this is an arts festival, I wanted to appeal to people who enjoy art. The font I chose, River Drive, similarly has a painted texture, again because I wanted to create that connection and also because I wanted to repeat the brushstrokes texture of the trees. I tried to repeat elements where possible, such as using the same simple font, Futura, centered at the very top and bottom of the poster to communicate event details. I chose to use a second, cleaner font because if I had written everything in River Drive, it would have been too hard to read as in a smaller size and taken away the impact of the event title.

To assemble this poster, I started by painting and scanning the trees. Then, using masks, I created a multi-layered effect. I also used several effects and tools such as the blur tool, paintbrushes erasers to smooth out edges, enhance colours, and add in additional. My ultimate goal with this poster is that it will draw people’s initial attention, attract a wide spectrum of people to the event, and communicate the pro-art, nature and community tone of the event to viewers.

(Don’t) Put Your Foot In It

You just made a digital footprint on my blog – OH MY GOD I PAID LIKE $2000 FOR THAT COMPUTER I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST STEPPED ON IT!!!!!

Chilllll.

I’m KIDDING!

Allow me to introduce me to the concept of a digital footprint. Everything you do online, like visiting websites or Googling or logging in to Facebook or watching funny cat videos on YouTube, contributes to your digital footprint. So, by visiting my humble lil’ blog, that’s become a part of your digital footprint. Neat-o! My personal digital footprint is probably like at least 75% composed of social media activity: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and also, perhaps kind of shamefully in this ~modern age~, email. I also do my fair share of Google searching, Netflix watching, and I like to read food blogs in my spare time like a 30-something year old woman.

I have a pretty low-key online presence. In the past when you image-searched my name, a photo of my Dad would appear a good four or five rows above the single picture of me that would turn up. Since getting Twitter, a tiny image of my profile picture will come up higher up in the results, but that’s about the extent of it. Meanwhile, a generic web search of “Quinton Bradshaw” turns up the typical lists of possible Facebook profile matches, none of who are me, and my Vimeo page, which, given my program and the fact that I’m not embarrassed of any of the videos on it, I’m pretty happy about.

My take on digital identities is probably somewhat different than most people my age, because my mom runs a business (shameless promo: www.bizpixplus.com! Check it out people!) focused on helping people create a professional online identity. So I’ve definitely always been fairly aware of the value of being careful of how I come across online and trying to monitor that. Because of that, I’ve never really posted anything stupid or embarrassing or gotten involved in any vicious Internet feuds.

That’s not to say that I think we should all be Internet hermits and never put ourselves out there, because I definitely see the value in that, especially as an artist or a creator. Sharing your work online is a great way to gain a following and build your reputation. Having a visible online presence also allows you to network and meet other like-minded individuals. As long as you’re smart and mindful bout what you’re putting out into the world, then if you want to, you should go for it!! From a personal standpoint, as a creative person hoping to enter the media industry, I wish I had a stronger online presence!

In the meantime I’ll settle for this blog and my expertly curated insta, though – baby steps, right??

O-Positive (that is to say typography!!)

I want to kick off this post by saying that for a really long time – like, until my lecture on Wednesday – I wasn’t even aware that there was a difference between a font and a typeface. I just kind of figured that they were interchangeable. So clearly that lecture was a learning experience. Consider me educated!!! (And, in case now YOU’RE wondering, “Just what IS the difference??”: The typeface is the design of each letter in the alphabet. So like, Times New Roman, Comic Sans, etcetera. Once you get in to using italic, or bolding, or variations like Calibri Light, then you’re talking about fonts. Who knew?!) Despite it’s prevalence in our everyday lives, I am relatively unfamiliar with the wonderful world of typography. I feel like this is largely due to the fact that we’re pretty used to seeing a wide variety of typefaces ALL THE TIME: on posters, in books, on your computer screen, everywhere. And if the design is good, usually we don’t even really notice it, apart from reading the text. It’s only when typography is poorly done, like if it’s ugly or out of place or hard to read, that we take note. So when I was trying to consider successful examples of typography – or just examples of typography to analyze in general – despite the fact that it’s EVERYWHERE, I really had to wrack my brain to think of some! I did finally come up with the resulting list though, so I hope you enjoy it! It contains two examples that I really like, one that I find fairly effective albeit not particularly attractive, and one that I’m not so into.

BOY “Mutual Friends” album cover

I am a big fan of this use of typography!! Because the image is so simple and muted, I feel like it would have been a mistake to chose an energetic, in-your-face typeface. By picking something bold but minimalistic and clean, the type co-exists nicely with the image instead of overpowering it. Having listened to this album, I can attest to the fact that the overall vibe cultivated by this text and image pairing – mellow, spare, warm – is really in line with BOY’s sound. Looking at the album art and listening to the music leave produce the same feelings in the consumer, if you know what I mean. I’m not confident but I would guess that the typeface being used here is Futura (or something quite like it), which can most commonly be found in the films of Wes Anderson! SPEAKING OF WHICH!

Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”

I know, I know: Wes Anderson is a cliched and uncreative choice to discuss because it’s SO DONE. But when I was trying to think of typography that I liked, his choices came immediately to mind because he work is so stylized and lovely that it stands to reason that of course his typography choices would be too. I find that they almost always succeed in capturing or adding to the mood that he is trying to create. The font he uses in this credit sequence in his film “Moonrise Kingdom” is really lovely and whimsical, which is also the pervasive mood throughout the film. This font also evokes the seventies through the bold capital letters and retro colour, and this is accurate because the film is set in the seventies! Additionally, the music during this section of the film is sort of bright, charming instrumental music, and this is a cheery font! I also really like the way the text is positioned and aligned. It is nicely centered and I like the way that the “Wes Anderson” text lines on the line created by the sand. The tone of this film is eccentric, dreamy and comical and this font reflects that with it’s loopy letters and big swirls. I also really like how the colour of the type matches the colour of the suitcase on the right!! For anyone who’s curious, the font in use here is called “Tilda” (I wish I could claim to know that off the top of my head, but it actually came up as a part of the Google results.)

Rice Krispies cereal box

Frankly, from a personal standpoint I am not a fan of the majority of cereal box typography I see. I find a lot of it mildly tacky and unattractive. HAVING SAID THAT, it does work for the product it’s selling. The bold, bright font works to grab the attention of the casual grocery shopper, and even more important, the CHILDREN of the casual grocery shopper! Because generally that seems to be the demographic that most cereal ads are trying to appeal to. They want the product to seem fun and exciting so children will try to convince their parents to buy it for them. In this respect the typography is largely succeeding because the rounded bubbly letters with their rounded edges and blue shadows suggest “child friendly!!!”. However, (while this isn’t a direct commentary on the typeface) I feel like the text would be more appealing to kids if it was more colourful. That might actually weaken the overall box design, but from a purely typographic standpoint, based on the demographic I feel like it would be an improvement.

Mystic Muffin signage

Picture1

This is an interesting REAL LIFE example of typography because I took this photo at Mystic Muffin down on Jarvis Street! In terms of food I really love it because it is cheap and the signage does not lie – the apple cake is REALLY good. However tragically I’m not really digging the typography they’ve got going on. It’s kind of a wild jumble of fonts and none of them match. The main sign that says “Mystic Muffin” in red, doesn’t really work – based on the “mystic” part of the name, you might expect the letters to be kind of swirly and whimsical, to evoke a sense of “mysticism”, I suppose, but instead they are big and bubbly and kind of goofy looking. Then, underneath that, there is a smaller sign containing not one or two but THREE – count ’em, three – typefaces, all completely different and none-complimentary to each other. One is blocky and bold, one is kind of whirly-curly, and the third is an italic kind of deal that looks like it’s imitating real hand writing. I don’t know WHAT they’re trying to evoke through all these fonts because they’re all completely different! Perhaps they were just fond of all three and didn’t want to choose? Likewise, the apple cake sign to the left boasts another completely different font. It’s at least somewhat similar to the main sign in it’s boldness but it’s still pretty different. Altogether, the typography doesn’t evoke anything or add to the design of the restaurant’s exterior at all. It’s just random and ineffective. (Having said that, if you ever want good cheap food and friendly service I would highly recommend it!!!)