Project 3 was to work in a group and 3D print an object that pieced together and interlocked in some way. I worked with Seth, and Jack. Our idea was to create a skyscraper. We split the tower into three equal cubes and each of us got creative freedom regarding what we wanted to do with our own cubes. We agreed that we would interlock them by printing a pole and skewering each of our pieces through the center from top to bottom. The bottom of one cube would have small square extrusions while the top of another cube would have matching square inlets that would receive the extrusions. This would prevent cubes from spinning and non aligning with others.
We thought we had planned well enough for our cubes to be the same dimensions as well as holes, extrusions, inlets, etc. And in fact, we had. They were all the same size. Hooray!
But they were all roughly 1/6th the scale we wanted. Something had occurred between us making half our components in Maya, the other in 123D Design, and porting it all into the Form Labs printing software. While we agreed on dimensions we should of also agreed on a set of tools to use. In addition similar tools at that.
The execution of our idea is where we struggled. With the small scale came also printing inaccuracies, support issues, bent bases, and worst of all our interlocking mechanisms (the extrusions and inlets) were so small and the quality so bad that they didn’t work at all. Other project teams also struggled with the small size of their connections. Not many people want to wait 5 + hours as their print finishes so they go small instead of going big and end up suffering. The Formlabs printer scheduled time slots was divided up into 3 hour blocks as well so we had limitations as to how long we could spend printing.
I enjoyed the 3D modeling aspect of the project, though I wish I could of spent more time doing it. Due to a busy schedule as well as trying to get the printing done as earlier as possible to avoid conflicts I couldn’t commit as much time to modeling. I am curious as to if I will be able to incorporate 3D modeling or laser cutting in my final project. I really don’t need to use either, but incorporating an aspect of that would add to the ‘home-brew’ feeling of things. The more I can personally craft of my final project, as opposed to purchasing kits and preassembled parts, the better i’d feel.
I’ve now had a chance to experience the 3D printing process, as well as laser cutting process. Where I can I would rather utilize laser cutting. I have found it to be faster, and thus less damaging if errors occur. If I cut a sheet of wood the wrong size I can throw in another and press play. There is no 3 hour waiting period to first see it if would come out alright. It is also cheaper ‘time wise’, meaning its less of a time investment. Time is money! While 3D printing does have many advantages, I believe for now laser cutting best fits my needs.
Project 2, while it may be over for me, my process will continue.
Project 2 gave me an opportunity to create a dedication to my late uncle David. He was a wood sculptor, he would carve grand tiki-totems. Utilizing the laser cutter allows me to engrave wood with depictions of some of his carvings. I chose specifically to engrave a photo of a family of tigers standing tall next to each other. I learned better how to use Illustrator through applying different image trace filters to the actual photograph of the tigers to then break them up into basic colors and shapes. I did not want the engraving to be as detailed as the photo, nor did I want to capture the photo. I wanted to depict the tiger’s shapes, specifically the strokes and arches my uncle had carved himself. I also learned how to mask which is a very important and powerful tool to take advantage of. I chose to break the tigers into 3 different shades of the grey scale. White, black, and grey. The laser cutter interpreted these different levels of the grey scale to be 3 different depths of engraving. The issue though with how my piece came out was that the grey and black were not that different. Even though they seemed far apart and that the contrasted enough, according to the computer it was much closer to black than white. Because of this any portion of my image traced and masked tigers that was black and grey almost ended up blurring together. For example, the tiger’s stripes do not very much contrast with the tiger’s regular fur.
Going back to what I said before, my process hasn’t ended yet. I want this dedication to eventually be a gift to my father when I go to see him in Toronto in December, and I want it to be a lot bigger. 18x24in would be a size I am happy with. I would like the wood to be about 1 inch thick, have rounded edges and corners on the front side, and be stained a mahogany color.
I will have to be very careful with certain parts of my project. One of many is how I draw contrast between the three tigers. If I choose to overlay them again, then I will have to make sure that some of them have some sort of outline or border to draw them in front of/behind one another. Otherwise they would merge together into a blob. Secondly, I may not be able to rely on the black-grey-white method of engraving. The difference in depth from white to black is only maybe 4 millimeters, and that is hardly taking advantage of the 1 inch thick piece of wood I hope to be working with.
The importance of project 2 was not in the piece I produced but the door it opened for me into new creative applications I am capable of taking advantage of to produce meaningful results in my personal life.
One of the most popular ways of learning or practicing programming is through making video games. The reason for this is that it allows you a way of expression, or choice while learning. It very much so collides with the traditional Computer Science method of learning, packets, packets, packets, do this, do that, do this. Almost any differentiation and you get marked wrong. That’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t stand CS and had to stick with New Media. I want to express myself, I don’t want to be trapped and only learn what others tell me to learn.
Anyways, in NMD 104 we really got into programming. I loved it, i love creating things. You had to both mimic the original game, but with your own methods, because you certainly can’t go get the original creator’s code and use it for your project.
The first larger project we had to do was Frogger, as the picture above depicts. It was hard, for many, but everyone in the class pulled through. You could also expand upon it as much as yo wanted. Whether that means more vehicles, different types of vehicles, or more levels, that was all fine. Programming by nature can be interpreted at the start as a very rigid practice. There’s one way to do things, and that’s it. Though, teaching programming through more of an expressive nature can first show someone there are many different things you can do, and then, through practice, that you can do each in so many different ways.
The second project we did was a house simulation. We had to create a house scene where when people entered the house the lights would turn on, the sun would set, lights turn off, essentially a whole day and night cycle for the house. On top of that it also had to sync up with the actual weather utilizing web scraping methods. Both projects were great, as they allowed us to learn programming but in a way we would be able to express ourselves. For many, that is what turns them off from programming and it’s initial rigid interpretations.
Beyond learning Illustrator another platform that was taught in NMD 160 was Photoshop. Before this I have never used Photoshop. Usually I am very explorative and have a head start over other people because I’ve had experience in a lot of different things, though Photoshop is not one of them. It was a bad, but definitely teaching experience to be on the exact opposite spectrum when it came to being good at something. Though, that is something I will need to get better at being if I ever want to learn something entirely new to me.
This project, to try and create the impossible, was a chance to try and learn on a platform I had no previous experience on. I looked at online learning materials such as videos, articles, and anything I could get my hands on. I only had a couple days but wanted to make this as best as I could. That is another concept that I can tell will be occurring quite a bit in my future New Media career. Entering new fields with close to no experience, and trying to squeeze every once of value I can out of it in a short amount of time. Doing that in itself will not only benefit me in those specific fields, but also give me a skill that will help me interpret new things faster, and better. Its hard to explain, but there is such a thing as getting better at doing things for the first time. Not after long, you can get the hang of all sorts of things pretty quickly. NMD 160 was a class that encompassed pretty much that. Here’s a new platform, dive into it, and create the best thing you can. An iterative process of learning and growth.
The large portion of NMD 160 was taken up learning many of the products within the Adobe Creative Cloud such as Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and more. For me the most beneficial skill to learn was Illustrator with its vector graphic capabilities. One of the final projects for NMD 104 allowed me to create my own logo for another previous project. Using illustrator and what skill I had acquired during the course I made a logo I am quite proud of. It looks very smooth, and most importantly of all, can be scaled to any size and keep its resolution and detail.
Illustrator, beyond logos, can also be used for wire frames and storyboards, another important part of design and ultimately New Media. Illustrator is a very important tool as with New Media we are creating, modifying, and dealing with emerging ideas. Regarding our society today and its huge investment into the digital world, a digital tool is exactly what we need to communicate our intention and purpose.
I knew hardly anything about HTML, JS, and CSS before entering New Media. I had coded quite a bit, but never touched anything in regards to web development. My first project in NMD was to create a website with some basic content on it such as a photograph of ourselves and a personal statement. While the picture and short paragraph were there, they weren’t the main value of this project. Through this I was able to finally get my feet wet with web development for the first time. The course provided a lot of the resources I wouldn’t have on my own that are required for web development such as a web host, server, and domain name. Through that provision of resources and a place to learn I was able to begin recording some of my work through this website, such as more photos, methods of picture compression on the web, and how to best present your work on the web despite many of the difficulties such as internet speeds, browsers, and such.
This NMD 200 project encompasses the project I have probably put the most work into since being a New Media student. It required a lot of research, help, and determination.
During NMD 200 I learned a lot of prototyping skills, though I wanted to use them in conjunction with something else. Since prototyping is a piece of a project, I thought it would be weird if I did a project that was on and only on prototyping.
I decided to try and replicate a feeling of bewilderment that I would sometimes get staring up at a star or plane hurtling through the sky. That just for a second I would understand the magnitude of what I was viewing. I attempted to take this feeling, and replicate it not only within myself but others, but with satellites.
I designed a small mobile box with a Raspberry Pi that would hook up into the wifi and pull data on satellites including their position and velocity and display them on shuffle on a screen.
To replicate the feeling I was going for I first made the information on satellites accessible to those viewing. Then I tried to personify the satellites with a poem on the front, (I personify them automatically in my head but I thought It may be a way to get others to do it who wouldn’t normally.) Lastly I was going to try and get the user to interact with the satellites in some way, whether or not that was just going to be by navigating between satellites with some buttons or something else, I am not sure. I never got that far, sadly because of time constraints. I would rather it be because I tried and failed than ran out of time, sorta lack luster.
Regardless i am really glad on how this project to its form and what I was able to accomplish. I believe it encompasses everything I have learned so far as a NMD student, everything from learning Adobe Illustrator to User Experience.
And the start of my NMD 442 User Experience class we had to choose an experience, not a product, to remodel and redesign. The experience I wanted to redesigned was when you forget whether or not you left the stove on. My solution was a stove that you do not turn on, therefor never have to worry about whether or not you left it on.
Part of the user experience class was to prototype our idea and actually conduct user testing to see if it was interpreted and used how we thought it would be.
Again I was skeptical because I knew I couldn’t create that high fidelity of a prototype in such a short amount of time. I did not think I would really be able to get anything out of it. Though, throughout showing people the stove, how to use it, and seeing if they interacted with it how I expected them to, I actually got a lot out of it. Everything I needed actually. The crux of my project is how people would interpret the dials, and the information they communicated. I found out what was difficult about it, what was done well, and if i had time to make another, I’d know exactly what to pursue and try to fix. This was definitely a class that benefited be, and I believe it would be best if taken earlier in the NMD curriculum.
I’ve never had to blog for a class before, so I was skeptical. For NMD 442, User Experience, we read a lot of things, responded to a lot, and sketched a lot. At first we just needed a place to store all of this, a repo of sorts, and that’s what the blog initially was for. But then it started to take on a different shape. It began to be a text book of sorts. It had its own chapters, sections, topics, categories, and presented information on each in short, information dense posts. Many of these topics ranged from understanding how people think, how people see, how people are motivated, all the way to more corporate skills such as wire framing, conducting user tests, and story boarding. Each of these topics are very important for the classes topic, User Experience, but also for New Media as a whole. You could literally print out our blog, staple it together, and have a decent New Media textbook of sorts. I really do not see how not.
New media shapes the future through User Experience. That is its tool and primary means of interacting with the future. What is easiest to use and best molds with the current social state of society is what will survive and persist. For us to understand User Experience is to understand how to mold how people will interact with their environment in the future.
Here’s a link to the blog if you would like to take a look.
The largest portion of NMD 100 was taken up with a style of presentation called ‘Pechakuchas’. They are slide-style presentations where each slide lasts 20 seconds, and there are 20 slides. It is meant to provide short batches of information, and quickly. It is best for both the presenter and audience because the presenter is allowed to compile their ideas in a condensed, coherent order, and the audience get the short and quick version. Its best for the presenter to gather their ideas, and the audience doesn’t waste their time.
Particularly, our largest Pechakucha in NMD 100 was in regards to predicting the future. We were each given a technology to research its origin, what its current state is, and what it may evolve into in the near future. NMD revolves around the future, and shaping your own path in it. How will current technologies shape our lives in the coming years, and how can I take that into a malleable situation.