December 28, 2009 - 12:00 PM
For some people a box, a bag, or a bottle is just trash, but for me its inspiration. Now I don't want to sound like a pack rat, but I tend to collect things that other people would consider throwing away. Cool looking boxes, bottles, and bags. Stuff that I would love to design and make. I love package designs, and if there was such a major that specified in that, I would be the first to sign up. Of course my major in digital arts would help me cover the graphic aspects in such work.
I for one have great admiration for the designs in packaging, and I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who appreciates it. Yesterday, while my siblings eagerly ripped open their boxes of green tea flavored Kit Kat bars from Japan, I took great care in opening the box, and peeling the wrapper so that I could save it. Crazy? Maybe I'm a little over obsessive, but I've never seen such a beautifully packaged Kit Kat bar, let alone a flavor other than chocolate. If the flavor was wasabi I'd probably still buy it just because of the packaging. This brings up the point of why packaging is so important. For me, the quality of the design enhances the item and the opening experience by a thousand times. It makes the item special, just like a wrapped present with a bow.
One of the best box designs I have in my collection has got to be from Apple. The first generation Ipod Nano came in a square black box, the name and logo printed in silver. A front and profile image of the product on either side. Sleek and simple. Just from looking at the cover you know something special is inside. The cover box slides off to reveal another box that opens like a book to reveal nothing but a smooth black surface and an Ipod nicely fitted into its own slot. The item is also neatly wrapped in thick clear plastic. The Instructions and cables were hidden on the side of one of the box's "pages" so that when first opened, the main product is revealed without the jumbles of wires and papers. Opening that package, to find the then thinnest Ipod, was a beautiful experience. There is probably no better packaged Ipod than the first generation Nano. The iTouch and other recent ipods have come in small simple plastic cases. It's still nicely packaged, but it's just not the same.
If I want to design boxes, bottles, or bags, I might need to consider adding a major or minor in product design as well. The material, the shape, how it's opened, and how it's put together is something one would consider in a package design. If I were to design a new water bottle, it would fall into physical objects and product design would seem to be a valuable thing to learn if I consider getting into that field. In the meantime I will need to reconsider how long I want to stay in college and what I really want to do in the future. The traditional four years may not be enough for me...we'll see.
December 27, 2009 - 4:30 PM
I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Christmas Day surprisingly brought good weather. Sunny skies, but very strong winds in Portland. I used to wish for snow, but I've had my fair share of winter already and I am looking forward to warmer weather. Speaking of wishes, I wonder if Santa heard me. No, I didn't ask for presents, though I am still dreaming about that SRL camera. What I am hoping for is some changes. Changes for a better economy. It's a no brainer, everyone knows what's wrong. I see the outcomes of a slumped economy in the news, on the streets, even in my own family. What will happen in the next two years? What will happen when I graduate? Will I be able to find a job? I wonder, I hope, I asked Santa if the next year could be better?
What I hope and look forward to every Christmas is different year after year. Perhaps this is what maturing feels like. I no longer expect gifts, though I do enjoy giving and receiving them. When asked what I want for Christmas, I don't really have a reply, I've kinda grown out of it. Over the years I have realized it's the thought that counts, asking for certain things just feels selfish at times. I'm not a little kid anymore who wants a bazillion things. Family and security mean a lot more to me than it ever has.
I read an article in the Oregonian recently regarding the changes in children's letters to Santa. You know the ones that are written and addressed to "Santa, North Pole," with no stamp. Apparently people collect them and read them. What they found was not always toys, ponies, and puppies. One of the letter's had asked for a Mommy, so that the kid's Dad doesn't have to work so hard to take care of the family. Christmas is marketed as a material holiday, but it's these little stories that make you remember what matters the most. I'm fortunate to have a family that cares about me. I don't need presents on Christmas, but I am grateful for those who gave them. Really, I love the new clothes! As far as that Camera, I've been saving up. That's how I've been raised. If it's something I really want, I'm the one who buy's it.
December 20, 2009 - 11:30 PM
I was shocked when I logged onto Duck Web to check my grades. I definitely did better than I had thought!!! Especially since this was my first term taking upper division courses. I did exceptionally well in my Digital Imaging course, which was exciting since my teacher said one would really have to do well in order to reach it. As for the two A- in Geology and Programming, I was expecting nothing more than a B, so an A- was more than I had hoped for. Those two classes were really difficult for me, especially since I thought I didn't do too well on the final. I pulled all nighters on the last week of fall term and It really felt like it was all a daze. So much that near the end I just didn't care anymore, just as long as I can pass, but since I did better I can't help but smile.... I may have jumped and danced for a while as well......
2009 Fall Term Grades:
A+ Digital Imaging
A Animal Behaviors
A- NW Geology
A- Programing for artists
December 19, 2009 - 6:30 PM
In this second part of my "Art Finals" segment, I will be discussing my Digital Imaging final (ARTD 360). For the final project, we were allowed to do whatever we wanted, as long as it related to the class, and is approved by the professor. I decided to do a CD cover because I wanted to do something that related to packaging and graphic design, and what better way than to capture the image of another artist, a cellist.
Although my friend insisted that she was not good enough to have her own album, I insisted that she should be the main image of my cover. With only a week to work on the project, my original idea of having a rock band composed of classical musicians fell apart since I was unable to get a group together. Instead I asked my friend Candace for help. A musician herself, I gathered photos of her and composed this mock CD album. I really wanted to relate the design to her personality which was hip, silly, yet serious at the same time.
I retouched some of the photos, adjusted the colors as well as adding a filter glow. On the back cover of the CD, I added "Candace Chin" on the Portland sign which I thought was a funny and personal touch. The titles of the pieces are personal quotes that relate to her life, and the title, " Reinventing the Cello," fitted perfectly with what I was trying to portray and that is a different kind of classical musician. One that is not tied down with the stereotypical classical image, rather a sort of rugged, punkish cellist.
For the entire design of the album, I downloaded some paint splatter brushes to use in photoshop to tie in with the rugged idea I wanted, adding it to the fonts as well as the musical notes. The base clef was the one thing that Candace wanted to be included in the cover, so I took that image and redesigned it. I also thought that the image of the base clef complimented the shape of the actual CD very well, and made it the main logo of the album. The cello is mainly a base instrument and what better way to represent it than this musical symbol.
ARTD 360 is probably my most favorite digital arts class so far. Not only is this class more focused on what I am interested in, but it was taught in a way that allowed me to choose what and how I wanted to express my works. When I first came into this class, I was expecting an advanced photoshop lesson, but the class soon learned that the grading and work were to do is more based on the idea and the visual interpretation. I would've love to learn more about the software, but developing my ideas and my own skills is just as important as well. I've been asked by other students whether ARTD 360 teaches students how to use Photoshop, and unfortunately it doesn't. Even the prerequisite courses I took last year went over the tools just barely enough to get by in the class. If students are interested in learning the program they should take a course that teaches them how to use the software such as Photoshop, or Illustrator. Unfortunately these courses are usually taught at night, for 4 hour, and is only worth one credit. If any student is interested in digital arts, I suggest learning the programs through tutorials online before getting into one of these classes. Most of the time, I find students who are more advance than what the class is teaching, and one of the ways to stand out is to be familiar with the tools your using. For me, learning how to use the program is not an issue, but learning how to be unique among those who are familiar with the tool is my main goal as a student and an artist.
December 14, 2009 - 12:00 PM
Yes, art students have finals, and sometimes we work as much and as long as any other student. Just because I'm drawing, painting or thinking about colors, doesn't mean I have it easy. It takes time to create a piece, and in order for one to truly present something that is acceptable, it can take up many hours and even days. For me I am never finished. I always seem to find something that needs to be added or changed. I tend to be a perfectionist and I always try to find ways to better my work. This is probably why I always doubt the quality of my work when others see nothing wrong.
For my last two digital arts projects, we did critiques instead of tests. Students would present their projects, and the entire class would give comments and feedback. I had two digital arts classes this term, Programming for Artists, and Digital Imaging. In this blog I will talk about my programming class first. Programming is like a new language for me. I am still having trouble picking it up. There is a lot of programming for those who are unfamiliar with digital arts. Artists who are interested in web design, animation, or interactive art would need to know how to write codes. I myself am more interested in illustration and print design which makes this class somewhat irrelevant in my focus, but still very interesting to take. For the final, the main objective in our project was to create something with what we learned in class involving Arduinos.We programmed Arduinos, a sort of chip (that can have parts attached) in order to make motors move, or lights flash. One would than connect the Arduino through an USB cable to their computer, and from there you can feed information on what you want your creation to do, as well as providing it a source of power.
My partner and I decided to make a ball maze contraption with an accelerometer and two servo motors. The accelerometer is a small device that detects movement, and can be directly attached to the board. For our project, it reads the angle of the tilt which in turn controls the tilt of our servo motors. Depending on the x and y axes of the controls, one servo motor moves one of the boxes according to the x coordinate, and the outer box the y coordinate. This helps move the ping pong ball move up, down, left or right into a hole at the end. We also built the maze out of foam board, and rubber cement, giving the actual form durability as well as a light body. Please check out a video of our project here:
While we did a maze, other students brought in some very interesting creations. One student hacked a Wii remote and incorporated it into his gloves to control lights. Another made a fortune teller with a display screen based on the amount of pressure you push on the device. There was also a car that can be controlled by sensing the presence of your hand, moving itself in the opposite direction. This class is great for those who are interested in building and programming. I myself found it enjoyable despite my lack of interests in writing codes. I will end part one of my blog here and call it a night. I am eager to show off my CD cover design in my next blog. Until then, stay warm and goodnight!