In tackling my portfolio site, there are a lot of elements to consider. What design aesthetic do I want to portray? Should I write my own code, or do I use a CMS? What projects should I include in my portfolio?
In getting inspiration for my site, I’ve been browsing portfolios on the internet. Some site are clean, and some sites are busy. Other sites are professional, while other sites embody pure professionalism.
I have made a list of things to regard when creating my own portfolio site. One, I want my career focus to be clear. I want my goals and interests to be clear in both my text and site design. Also, I want the projects I include in my portfolio to reflect the kind of work I want to continue to do. Second, I want my site to have a clean design. The first step of my site sketching will be picking a color scheme, and then I will draw out every page I plan to include in my site. This will begin with an outline planning the logical structure/flow of my site.
Most importantly, however, portfolio sites are a reflection of one’s self. It’s important to be inspired, and include personal interests. Whether this is reflected with text including personal interests or innovative style, I see it as a positive to reflect personal style and humanity in a portfolio site.
I have mixed feelings about leaving Flash behind this week. At the beginning of the semester, Flash was the tool I dreaded using the most. Some people took to it quickly by excitedly delving into basic animation. However, after eleven weeks with Flash I realized I began to love Flash for a different reason: it made me slow down and appreciate design. I thoroughly enjoyed my second Flash project, because I took my time while planning a color scheme, illustrations, textures, etc.
Picking up some jQuery skills this week, I’m excited to start planning for my portfolio site. I spent a day scanning various sites, paintings, photographs, for visual inspiration. Going into designing my portfolio site, I want to have a clear plan. I’m now able to view the skills I learn as skills, while still getting help from my professors, and it’s important to remember the importance of planning.
I completed my second project this week, executing my idea of a drag and drop dress-up game. As I have repeated throughout my blog posts, I’ve tried to remain cognizant of the purpose behind executing my various projects. With this project, I wanted to create a project appropriate for young children. In order to learn their seasons, and how it is appropriate to dress for weather of the seasons, I created four female cartoons. They are all featured on my game’s main interface.
Players of the game may select a girl or season by clicking on either. When one is selected, players are redirected to an interface prompting players to dress girls appropriate for the season’s weather. For example, the spring interface shows rain outside. If players dress the cartoon appropriately, with a rain jacket, denim skirt, and rain boots, then they win!
When players dress the cartoons correctly, they are redirected to an interface showing the cartoon enjoying the weather outside. If the player is having trouble, however, they may click on the “Need Help” which leads to a page with educational information pertaining to the season and how the cartoon should be dressed.
How did I use the internet in 1999? I remember when my family first got the internet at my house. Thrilled, I remember emailing friends from school, setting up my AIM screen name, and playing games online. At school, the game market was owned by Oregon Trail. My classmates and I would embark in our wagons and head to the West, only to lose members to disease, hunger, and snake bites along the way.
At home, however, I opted to play more “girly” games. As a young child, I dressed up my Barbie dolls in different outfits. With the birth of the internet, I was able to find games that allowed me to dress up a virtual Barbie with endless wardrobes. Perusing through the internet today, I see that this is still a popular game among children today. There is an entire site, dedicated to various games with the same premise of dressing up.
For my second Flash project, I am going to create a similar game. This idea emerged from a suggestion from my classmate, Alan. He said that I could make my Audrey character from my previous project and make dressing her up a game. I am going to create four new cartoons, and have them against background of the four seasons. To implement game techniques we’ve learned in class, I’m going to have a timer on each page and users have to dress each season’s cartoon based on the appropriate season. If the user dresses the cartoon in the appropriate clothes on time, they win!
I am thoroughly impressed by my classmate’s first Flash projects. During our first critique, we were asked to grade the work of our peers. I could see the heard work everyone put into their projects, and I was happy that I was able to give everyone positive critiques.
Although there are things I would add to my Audrey Hepburn infographic, I am pleased by the aesthetics of my project. I wanted my project to be different that a traditional infographic, and I envisioned an Audrey cartoon in a scene. I worked on making a 3D wall in Illustrator, and I am pleased with how my 2D Audrey cartoon looks in front of the wall.
My classmates were helpful in critiquing one another, and my favorite suggestion regarding my project came from Alan Spears. He thought it would be great to implement a game with my cartoon. As my project is, Audrey’s starring roles information appears, along with pieces of her costume, as I move the slider. Alana suggested I make my project more interactive by allowing the audience to dress my cartoon Audrey in order for more information to appear. I loved this idea, and it is indeed innovative.
I am impressed with the work all my classmates put into their projects, and I am excited about seeing all the things they continue to create!
Each week, I relate better to Flash as a tool. What I mean is I’m not always proud of the aesthetic value of my Flash assignments. Rather, the feeling of accomplishment comes when my ActionScript is correct, and my intended animation or interactivity functions.
However, tackling my first project has allowed the time for a creative process. Part of the overwhelming nature of Flash creation, for me, is staring at the blank canvas in a document. How will I ever get this canvas to reflect the ideas in my head? When creative writing, I never start my process staring at a blank Word document. I take out a notebook and pencil, and I write. I scribble, cross out, erase, rewrite, until I have something worthy of typing.
I decided to go about my Audrey infographic timeline in the same manner. I don’t want to trace an image created by someone else, because I want my content to reflect my ideas. My idea is to create a plain Audrey, with no accessories. Every time I move the slider on the timeline, information on one of Audrey’s movies will appear along with the salary she earned. To add an interactive element, an accessory will be added to my cartoon Audrey as her salary increases.
I scanned my Audrey sketches onto my computer, and I traced them in Illustrator with the “live trace” feature. I spent time picking each color and typeface for my project, with consideration for using an aesthetic theme. I have most of my content together, and I have mapped out my plan for ActionScript. This includes which images will be movie clips, buttons, etc. My next step, to focus on the ActionScript functionality, is now not so overwhelming. Focusing on the aesthetics, I appreciate the messages that can be expressed with Flash as it is merely a means to an aesthetic end.
Johnny Depp made a reported $40 million dollars last year for his role as the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland, making him the second highest paid actor of the year.
In 1961, Audrey Hepburn earned $750,000 for her starring role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, making her the second highest paid actress per film behind Elizabeth. A $40 million dollar salary at this time would seem ludicrous, unattainable. Researching Ms. Hepburn for my first Flash project has exposed me to her optimistic words and made me contemplate the state of the world during her era.
In 1961 Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space, the First inflight movie was shown on TWA, the first electric toothbrush was produced by Squibb Co., Alan Shepard made first US Space Flight, Niagra Falls started producing hydroelectric power, the first quasar is discovered by Allan Sandage at Mt Palomar, California, and IBM introduced the Selectric typewriter Golfball.
Audrey Hepburn’s words of optimism from the 1960s are now published across the internet. As the 1960s were such a radical time of change politically and technologically, I wonder if anyone could imagine the means which we communicate with today.
With the advancement occurring within the last half of a century, it’s hard to fathom what technology will be used when I one day have children. The future is exciting, and I agree with Audrey believing “Nothing is impossible!”
We will be graded in comparison to our peers.
Hearing the grading system of our first Flash project made me think of one thing: law school. Up to this point, we’ve had weekly assignments. Our assignments are expected to meet specific criteria and if so, we pass. However, my classmates and I are now faced with our first competitive Flash project.
The project leaves room for creative interpretation. Our only stipulation is to create an “Interactive Infographic-Interactive Timeline”. We learned the basic mechanics, but aesthetics are now up to us. Execution of original thought is necessary.
After getting this project description, I was overwhelmed. We will be evaluated by our peers, and receive grades based on where out projects fall in the pack. This led my thoughts to law school grading as it means two of us will receive an H, three will receive a P+, five will receive a P, etc.
But once I got past this, I realized the excitement of challenge. I don’t have an art background, but this gives me the power to create. With three weeks, I have some time for planning. This is something which has not really gone into my past Flash creations. With limited time and other classes, my focus has been on learning Flash mechanics.
Time enables planning, and it will also hopefully lead to innovation. I’m ready to see what I’m capable of doing with Adobe Flash.
I can see a light of hope. This week Flash was not the main source of my frustrations. With due dates, a job search, and a capstone project in my foreseeable future, I began to view my classes in a new way. Flash is a tool.
I know, this is simple. Why would I view Adobe Flash as anything other than a production tool? But after brainstorming potential topics for my Theory and Audience analysis course research and my capstone project, my mind became cluttered with ideas.
A popular topic among my classmates and me is to discuss our failures with Flash.
“My buttons won’t work. What’s wrong with my ActionScript?”
Human beings fear the unknown, and there is a lot I don’t know when it comes to Flash. Why, I have asked myself, am I learning Flash? It is a valuable skill set for the work force, true. But a further point is that it may give me the ability to execute my ideas.
I often think of myself as a writer. But if I don’t have means of recording my thoughts, can I still be considered writer? The same can be said for Flash. My goal is to pursue a career in marketing. In our interactive age, tools like Flash are essential for creation.
Projects can be consuming. When it comes to Flash assignments, however, I’m telling myself to bring on the mistakes. Frustration will come from sorting through ideas, if emphasis is placed on content. When we are young, we learn how to write through practice with pencils and paper. Flash is the same, and only through its reinforcement will I learn how execute my ideas.
“Add the classic tween, double-check your ActionScript 3.0, embed all .swf files and add them to your project folder!”
Staring at a blank Adobe Flash document can be one of two things: daunting or liberating. With Professor Sang’s lessons from iMedia’s Digital Media Workshop running through my head, I embark on my first assignment of the semester for my Producing Interactive Media course. A month ago, I wouldn’t know where to begin hearing Flash vernacular. I have a background in Philosophy and English, and can hardly say I have had academic instruction in technological skills.
I begin to realize, however, that the challenge of becoming proficient in Flash production parallels to to the challenges of the rest of my life. I implement the basic skills I was taught by Professor Sang during the Digital Media Workshop. After I finish each step, I am frustrated by my lack of technical knowledge or my original aesthetic choices. Although my comfort level with Flash has risen, the reality of a steep learning curve is reinforced with each creative idea I fail to execute. But I complete the assignment. I have five flash movies, and they all contribute to illustrating a stage in my life up until now.
I contemplate what I will say while presenting my assignment. When I start thinking about my current stage in life, I realize the uncertainty. In a year from now, I hope to be employed. I hope to be pursuing my passions, and I hope to maintain good relationships with my friends and family. Starting the iMedia program, my classmates and I have constantly been asked about our career goals. I respond by saying I have a passion for writing, and I have a business-oriented drive. I would love to always be able to write, but I would also love to have a fast paced career in interactive marketing.
Starting the iMedia program, the idea of Flash production seemed daunting, because it forces me out of my comfort zone. Working for hours and not getting my ActionScript to correctly function is frightening. But like the rest of my life, my flash document can always be a blank slate. I have a steep learning curve, and it will be up to me to commit to my goals and soak in all that I can. With that mentality, the first Producing Interactive Media Production project has been liberating. I may not love what I produced, but I can see what experiences I have to look forward to. In iMedia’s program and in the rest of my life, I’m committing to being optimistic about my future and I’m excited about what’s to come!