Thursday, October 30, 2008

Personal identity

Reading through KJE's blog post about having a specific identity got me thinking about what my personal visual aesthetic identity would be. I agree with her that many people have their own specific design. I watched Corpse Bride the other day and you cannot ignore the fact that the movie screams Tim Burton even if you don't know he is responsible for the movie. I really enjoy working with vibrant colors and soft colors, I try to blend them together. Maybe that is my identity, blending contrasting colors...hmmm it's definitely something to think about. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nightmare is a Nightmare

I think one of the best examples to define aesthetics is Tim Burton's vision. His designs in his work are so very specific to his sense of style that its easy to pick out threads of distinction in his work. When I saw a preview for Sweeny Todd with Johnny Depp, I didn't need anyone to tell me this was a Tim Burton piece.
This is both good and bad I think. One one hand, its good to stand out. People know who you are and know your work when they see it. Then again, sticking to one style sometimes feels old and restricted. With the Tim Burton example, if you don't like his aesthetic, you won't be drawn to view his work.
So on one hand, is it better to stand out and be distinctive? Or is it better to broad and expand your designs?

A visual aesthetic TED talk

For those of you in ICM 501 who have come to love the material displayed in the TED talks, check out this video of perception and cognitive thinking through patterns. Michael Shermer provides some good comparisons of how we perceive images and makes you think twice about what you've seen. The Virgin Mary seems to be the common image that people from all over the world search for and see!

How many passes can you count in the basketball passing? Once you see this you'll see how many people in the audience were truly fooled by obvious sights. How do you miss that? It all depends on how you think and how our mind can be fixed on a certain extraordinary image. These images convince us that this is something from out of this world, literally.

So are you a skeptic? To each his own.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ethics of Altering Pictures

I was reading through some of the earlier posts, and came across Feeling Through Pictures from 10/10. It was a response to the warped photos of Wall Street brokers as a way of expressing emotion via photos. Then below there was a comment which spoke of the belief that it is unethical for a news organization to alter or skew any photos. I agree - news organizations should not alter photos. In fact, I used to be dead-against altering even personal photos.

My feeling was that if you took a picture and it came out badly, you took a bad shot and that was a bloody shame. Had you wanted a better shot, you'd have taken the time to set it up, make it square, adjust settings, etc. Then I started doing a lot of traveling. And some of my on-the-go photos were, well, bad. Unfortunately, I do not have the funds to fly back over to Europe, Central America, Africa of Australia to retake a picture. The desire to have a clear, beautiful picture overpowered my feeling that the alteration of a picture ended before the shutter closed. Here are some pictures that I altered my second day ever with Photoshop, when I finally got over my stigma of altering photos.

PS - Photoblog is actually a pretty fun site to be a part of, if you're in the market for a photo sharing site.

SOS: Need inspiration

Creativity is not a free flowing operation. As a writer I struggle with the 'writer's block' issue; but I find I also get this block when working on other creative projects such as our final project. I am lacking inspiration. I don't have anyone in mind that I could design a functioning website for so I decided to go with a hobby of mine-yoga. I have been doing yoga for the past two years and it has changed the way I live. Though I must admit I don't know a whole lot about it. I know the prose for our website doesn't have to be extensive hence why I am sticking to the basics. But in a moment of panic I googled inspiration for web design and found some cool websites. Check them out if you do have a 'road block':

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nest Girl

One of my high school friends and I were catching up on news about old friends, and she mentioned to me that one of our friends lived in a nest. I found that hard to believe, but sure enough, she created a nest! She has a website (aptly called Nest Girl) that is filled with interesting photos and/or QT clips of installations, apparel, and habitats that she created -- including the buzzworthy nest. Have a look! I got lost in the work for hours. And Dwyer, if this post ever gets to you, congrats on being the most creative person that I know!

Help assembling webpage elements

If you haven't taken ICM512 yet, you might have to brush up on web development elements. However, if you're already familiar with the essential parts for good user interface on the web, this is a website which can help you come up with ideas on how to put those elements into your class web page designs.

Patterntap organizes different site components (like backgrounds, menu bars, breadcrumbs, comments boxes, etc) into different samples of styles. You can browse through the site and tag the pieces that you like or the effects that they have. And then you can try to recreate them in Photoshop on your own, or find some way to bring them into your own web page designs.

More color pickers

This one has a nice feature on the top right of the page. If you find a website with colors that you like, you can just enter the URL there and will return the swatches of color with values so you can adopt the palette as your own, or as a starting point for a new color palette.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Take Great Halloween Pictures

I'm a bit of a loser, and I have all my travel photos posted online at I think it's a great site - it's free, unless you need the "premium" album with far too much storage capacity, you can view your albums as a slide show, and other people can follow your photos just like they would a blog. Using webshots, you also receive "Pro Tip" emails, telling you how to take great night shots, action shots, you name it. I don't mean this to sound like a promotion for webshots... but I just got sent a link on How to Create Ghostly Images for Halloween, and the use of Photoshop is a requirement. In case anyone was interested I thought I'd send it along. Also feel free to check out the archives on the blog - there are some pretty handy photography tips in there. Happy Halloween (in advance)!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Assistance from ICM 508

508 is a required course: Media Imaging and Sound Design. The book, Making Media by Jan Roberts-Breslin, is actually not a painful read. Some of the topics mentioned within the chapters have been put on their companion website - some of the exercises apply to exactly what we're doing in this course with color and such. Some of the suggestions are more helpful for photography and filming: things like look space and headroom. But I thought maybe people might find the points useful, so here's the companion site for the book. Hope it helps.

Friday, October 10, 2008

web design

I know the course is about to get interesting as we are getting ready to embark on designing our very own websites. I've been doing some perusing to get some inspiration. Check out CommArts - its a professional website that highlights some of the best websites out there. It also has job listings and contests for professionals looking to submit their work.

ICM And Me

A few weeks in and I said to myself, "wow we are getting good at this." I said this after looking on the wiki at everyones words, texts and business cards. I laughed a little because I thought back to our Khandinski replications. 

Not only in ICM 502 but in all my classes, this program forces you to learn so quickly and efficiently that it only takes a small amount of time to catch up on new technologies. 

This program truly is efficient and useful for anyone, anywhere. I have two blogs (soon I will be involved in three), I am using photoshop at a substantial level (with no prior knowledge), and I am learning all these new ways to create websites and fun programs (i.e. delicious/zotero/mibbit).

I cannot wait to see what else is going to be offered, I feel as if this just keeps getting better and better.  

Feelings through pictures

Looking at the updated news today on CNN's site, I noticed how they distort their pictures to fit the headlining story. This picture showing "Dow's Wild Ride" shows how crazy the market has been just by looking at the image. The reader can get the feeling of what is happening just by looking at this warped image. It looked like it might have been shot with a fish eye lens or warped using Photoshop. I thought it was very cool that they not only lured you into the story with this headlining image, but made you feel a sense of what's going on with the economy through the use of imagery.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I have always liked the Google home page. I like how it is simple, uncomplex with just the Google name and search bar. We talked about fonts the last class, and the Google font works in its simplicity but sleekness I guess would be the word.

So for Google's 10th birthday, they brought back (for old times sake) Google circa 2001. Which, I don't really get, why not for the 10th birthday go back 10 years? Anyways, Google has kept the same basic look, with just a font change, since 2001! that's kinda crazy if you think about it. Especially since Google has been so successful. I wonder what Yahoo looked like 2001 style?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pretty little tree

I had to take a moment to recognize a truly great and entertaining artist. He is none other than Bob Ross. Although his works are close to impossible to recreate in Photoshop, his attention to detail combined with his spunky personality makes him and his artwork very unique. His coined terms "let's put a nice little cabin" or "a happy little cloud" is a wonderful example of depth and perfect combinations of colors that we covered in class. This site displays his works of art as well as a dedication to his impact on the art world.

The Agency Attitude

If you ever get a chance to work for an agency, give it a shot. The atmosphere is uptempo, frenetic, work hard/play hard, zany & crazy. You've got lots of creatives wandering the halls (they're the ones in ripped jeans and cool t-shirts). Mad Men this is decidedly not. In fact, I have never seen a realistic representation of a marketing/ad agency (at least not a modern one).

Irreverence is a big part of the overall attitude. Take this example found on top of our vending machines here. The sign on the left was the obvious original warning. The sign on the right appeared recently. Enjoy the chuckle.

A Vlog That Matters

Video logs or vlogs are a newer addition to the media. With the rise in popularity of volgs, there are many videos being posted that have value and importance. In terms of mainstream television, they usually cover topics in a few seconds and leave out much detail, for some reason I find them to leave out more detail about the war. In terms of volgs, it seems that there is a gap they have begun to fill, that the mainstream news just does not cover. This gap is on war reporting. Seems so simple, yet this is so important. Here is a link to a the PBS website called Media Shift. This particular article discuses how this gap is filled in vlogs and how there are some vlogs that ‘do it right,’ or use the medium well.
The example that Media Shift gives is how there is a citizen journal called Alive in Baghdad. It takes shape as a blog but serves as a political project as well. Considering that mainstream television only shows a small part of what is actually going on in Iraq, this journal/vlog shows all the details and serves to inform people. This is truly a vlog that matters.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This site,, creates images using colored binary code on a black backround. I thought it was pretty cool and good inspiration for the first part of our assignment. check it out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Typography Kicks @$$!

There is a website called Typography Kicks Ass that was started by a typography enthusiast. The site visitor writes a message and when they click "submit", it generates a collage-style message using fonts from Flickr images. Here is my message for our class (click here if you can't see image below):

Some of the type can get very creative. For example, a lamp post was used as a "1" in one of the versions of my message. Have fun with it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Creative Toilets

Foreword: Oh dear! I didn't realize that we had a communal blog to post on. If you would like to see my previous posts, you can find them here. Sorry about that.

I did some research for a response on my 501 blog and came across this blog posting about public bathroom design. These bathrooms perform all of the basics, but there's so much more to them. They range from cool to funny to overdone and crazy. No matter how crazy they get though, the color schemes flow together nicely. You'll notice some styles are complementary, analogous, etc. and the various textures convey different emotions (ex: compare the bar bathroom with the flowery one).

The designs alone would certainly be reason enough to excuse yourself to the loo!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pre-Conceived Colors

The cartoon assignment was thoroughly enjoyable - who doesn't love cartoons? I chose a classic character: Garfield. I was a little surprised that I had a hard time painting him anything other than shades of orange. Garfield has always been (and should always be) a fat, orangish feline. Having been presented with an image in a certain way for such a long time, it was hard to try to break away from the pre-conceived image that I had in my mind. I wondered if anyone else felt that way coloring their cartoon.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Web 2.0 Resource

There's some great stuff up on this website. It's called Feed My App, and it's a portal site with links to all different Web 2.0 sites for a variety of uses, most of which are free or at least offer free trials. There's everything from business applications to social networks.