DIGITAL FOCUS FINAL REFLECTION

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eRevolution

Media: Storyboards mocked up by hand, then created in Adobe Photoshop. Animation created in Adobe After Effects and rendered as mov. files.

Size & Format: Six digital storyboards with dimensions of 480x720px along with a 1-minute short animation in a mov. file with a screen size of 480x720px.

Subject: Egypt's revolution and shift of power, along with the role that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter had in influence with the events that took place.

Process: Some of the problems that occurred during the overall process of achieving a visual piece were all of technical standpoints, having to do with my level of understanding with After Effects. During the beginning of the process-work, it was also hard for me to pick a final format. I knew that I wanted to do a piece on the eRevolution in Egypt, I just wasn't sure what type of media I wanted to go with and what audience I was reaching to. Had I figured that out earlier, things would have gone a lot smoother and the process work would have gone by a lot faster instead of changing up formats for the first few weeks. I discovered that After Effects is a very useful, but very drawn-out program to use for short animations. You can really make a beautiful piece using that tool, but if you are not familiar with the program it could take some time. In retrospect, I would research different tutorials for my ideas and really get a good technique down for presenting this project.

Evaluation: I am pretty happy with the result. I know that there are things I need to change and fix, but that is all technical. Conceptional, I am happy with what I was trying to achieve and I know that after this class I will go back into After Effects and do some "touching up" of the project to really bring everything together and make it look beautiful.

Presentation: Ideally I would like this to be something you would see on a documentary as some sort of a short beginning title sequence. Or a commercial, but you don't really see commercials for revolutions. I want this to be some what of an inspiration to people, that when they see it they actually know what was going through some of the minds of the people in Egypt and how the events took fold.

Continuation: If I were to continue with this project, I would make it another minute longer, adding more detail and more tweets from the sources I have compiled. Also, I would have a segment that included Facebook and the important position it took when the events first started taking place.

Art Education as Indicator of Change

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with Anne-Susanna Lindström


The study of contemporary Nordic and Baltic visual education from the perspective of curriculum studies, aesthetic education, and art teacher training.

What we perceived from Anne's lecture was that her and the Estonian Academy of Arts would like to figure out and compare differences between Finnish and Estonian art even though both educational programs are very similar.

Through the 50's on up through the 90's, Finland was known to having art teachers teaching art 1st through 5th grade, and then after that the students were allowed to choose if they wanted to continue taking art classes until the 9th grade. Estonia differed in that the students were required to study art non-stop through the 9th grade. The Soviet Union had much to do with the division of art education standards between Estonia and Finland. When they took over Estonia, Finland kept its independence, and the Soviets started to unify their school standards and system throughout their federation; meaning that Estonia was now a part of this federation, which by the 1970's was emphasized by the German Labor School ideology.

As with every new act, there are positives and negatives. By the 80's the integrated curriculum of arts and crafts became permanent in Estonian elementary schools. However, by the 90's they abandoned that integration of arts and crafts and to this day they are implementing new curriculum. As for the Finnish, their curriculum remained independent throughout the 90's. Being that Estonia was more teacher-centered, and Finland was more student-centered, the Estonia Art Education curriculum was written rather normatively rather then the Finnish curriculum, which was rather a frame of principles. One outcome of these standards was the style of implementation of art classes for each system; Estonia art classes being obligatory until the end of high school, and Finland's being optional.

Up until now, the role of the teacher and student have not differed much for Estonia, but currently they are undergoing change. Studies show that they are less teacher-centered and more student-centered, and the new curriculum is less formative and gives teachers more options to adjust. It has gone from techniques-oriented to content-centered, and requires more thinking and understanding. These new standards help the student understand and learn by doing, and they are now using art as a method to think.

Progress

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Storyboards.jpg

These are the digital storyboards. Each image (Tweet) will pop into the screen with a little puff or wisp of smoke emitting from where it appeared. The camera will move and as it is moving a few more Tweets will pop in; also with smokey wisps. The camera will keep moving and eventually, it will start zooming out. As it zooms out the Tweets will all be popping into the picture to fill in all the gaps, making an image of Egypt. And to end I use an ending title sequence. There's that! Now to get back to animating :0

Recent

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storyboard.jpg

So with this new idea, I am looking to construct the animation somewhat like this with Tweets popping onto the screen, one after the other, and the screen gradually zooming out for the full view of what the Tweets will be constructing. Which is an outline image of Egypt.

Inspiration

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I have been researching some different styles to make this video. I found some useful examples here, the artists in these are all make infography pieces, which I think might be a good way to display my work.

Edward Tufte has been an inspiration for me as well, his teachings about evoking a cognitive sense of meaning and aspiration are what what of my pieces are based upon.

Some of his work.

Progress

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This is a clip of a video that I am working on about the revolution in Egypt. It's going to be a bunch of Tweets and Facebook comments I have collected since the beginning of the revolution. Not much yet, this is just one idea of where it could go.

eRevolution Clip

I am also working on a different idea with the comments and tweets I have found. I will have the storyboards for those posted in a few days.

Material

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I have been doing research on where to find tweets from start of Egypt's revolution till now. I found a pretty good resource online at OR Books.com called Tweets from Tahrir. It's a book that describes Egypt's revolution as it unfolded, in the words of the people who made it.

I will primarily base my project on these tweets, and also on some I have found on my own via Twitter and Facebook.

Screenshot of the book I purchased:
Tweets-web.jpeg

eRevolution Project

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There has been a lot of speculation/thoughts/ideas surrounding the events that have/are taking place in Egypt right now. How can we know what it is like to be in an Egyptians shoes? The truth is, we can't. The project I am doing for my digital studio class is not about trying to describe the events that have been taking place, nor to try to depict an outsider's aspect on what WE think is going through everyone's head in Egypt. My goal is to simply display tweets and posts that I have collected since the start of the revolution.

The medium I will be using is video. I will be constructing images and then bringing them in to Adobe After Effects.

Here is a rough mock-up of one of the images, I haven't decided if I want to do the text in Arabic or English yet. I'm thinking I will do both.

Screenshot.jpg

Recent Work

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Short movie, kind of how I want my after effects video to look like. The final video will have a lot more style and effects to it, this is just preliminary.

Comp 1_4.mov

My Past Work in After Effects

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Some of the things I've done in After Effects, which is the program I will be using to construct the eRevolution video I'm in the process of making. They're all terrible, but so far, this is all I have.

MG Short Animation.mov

Snickers Rough_2(1).mov

finalcutBIGKERN.mov

Project 2.mov

Inspiration

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Some inspiration that I have found online regarding the eRevolution and documentary construction. The styles of some of these documentaries is, in a glimpse, how I would like my version of Egypt's revolution to be told.

Documentary of 5 Day Protests

Egypt...The Story of Revolution

The Story of the Egyptian Revolution

Egyptian Revolution 2011 Fight for Freedom

Demonstrators vs. Police

r-EGYPT-FACEBOOK-REVOLUTION-large570.jpg

Ghonim, a marketing manager for Google, played a key role in organizing the January 25 protest by reaching out to Egyptian youths on Facebook. Shortly after that first protest, Ghonim was arrested in Cairo and imprisoned for 12 days.

Ghonim thanks Facebook for Freedom

Facebook Group for Egyptian Revolution

169038_149511598438474_148173115238989_275242_5824422_n.jpg


The eRevolution

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The events of Jan 25th, 2011, is much more than a revolution to liberate Egypt from its dictator, but a new phase of what so called e-revolution.

On Jan 25th, 2011, the world has witnessed its very first e-revolution. A simple call for demonstrations on the famous social media face book was the wake-up call for millions and millions around Egypt to finally stand up for their rights. Suddenly, the people have discovered their long forgotten power, the power to overrule a regime and bring back their lost freedom.

>The Spark of The eRevolution

The eRevolution was sparked by a group of young activists on Facebook calling for nationwide demonstrations to restore people's dignity and ask for reform, freedom and social justice. Through the initiation of different Facebook groups, but mainly the "We are all Khalid Saed" Facebook group that attracted about 80,000 participants, citizens coordinated their ideas and demonstration logistics via group posts, and comments, while communicating heavily on twitter and sometimes cell phone SMS services. Khaled Saed is a young Egyptian who is widely believed to have been murdered by police.

Other Facebook groups were initiated before, during, and after Jan 25th, 2011 to support the logistics and the massive demonstrations that erupted all over Egypt. The "Rasd News Network (R.N.N)" Facebook group was one of the main contributors to the revolution, sending protest updates, news updates and politicians and media reaction.

Any Facebook user whose been part of any of these Facebook Egyptian activist groups or even a Facebook friend of someone who has been part of these groups could see that the revolution started virtually on Facebook a few days prior to the actual physical start of Jan 25th Revolution. The large number of the group posts, user comments, message exchanges, and clear human mobilization were more than enough to indicate the kind and size of protests that would take place later on the 25th.

The Generation Gap

Young protestors During the early Egyptian demonstrations
The members of the Egyptian regime had a serious generation gap with the young generation of social networkers. While the average age of the Egyptian Facebook activists was in the 20s, the regime members were in their 60s and 70s and ruled by an 83 years old president. The regime, therefore, was seriously under-qualified to fight a battle it didn't even comprehend or to even form proper decisions in handling the situation. The government IT workers were mainly hired based on "loyalty" and nepotism, not based on qualifications. Accordingly, the regime with a limited mindset thought that blocking twitter, SMS services and later Facebook access, would cut the communication lines between protestors and the movement organizers.

Getting Around The Internet Filters

Using third party proxies, the young organizers didn't take long to figure out ways to bypass the Egyptian Internet filters and to be able to once again access Facebook, twitter, YouTube and other Internet sites. The regime did not know what to do next. On the afternoon of Jan 28th, local officials extended their tactics to include cutting all cell phone communication in major cities in Egypt, thinking that this would curb the growing support and flooding of people into the streets of Egypt.

By late evening of Friday Jan 28th, and in another desperate move to stop the massive flood of people into the streets, the Egyptian regime shutdown all Internet access in Egypt; the first Internet blackout of such magnitude in the history of Internet. Unfortunately for the regime however, protesters were already in the streets, flyers were already printed and being handed over to people, and the revolution was forming rapidly. There was not a big need for the Internet for the revolution to gain any more momentum. People in the streets were already aware of where to go and how. The Tahrir Square (or Liberation Square) became the central gathering point for protestors in Cairo. The Al Qaed Ibrahim Mosque was a central point in Alexandria (the second largest city in Egypt), and many other spots around the different Egyptian cities were also recognized as other central gathering points.

Despite the Internet blackout, landline communication was never blocked; Egyptians found another way to access the Internet through old school landlines dial-up Internet services and fax services. Egyptians living outside Egypt would receive faxes through regular landline phones, use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies to convert the fax image into text contents, and post the contents, news and updates into Facebook, twitter and different blogs.

Google in the meantime launched a new service called "speak2tweet", which allowed Egyptians to call a regular landline number in Cairo and speak their tweet to an IVR/Voice recognition system. The speak2tweet system would then convert the caller voice message into a text tweet.

The Role of TV Media

Satellite channels like Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN and others played a major role in the revolution by broadcasting live images from Tahrir square, sending live updates and clear messages to protestors on the critical gathering points. That drove the regime into a more desperate situation. The regime started banning journalists from entering the square through the use of thugs and secret police that chased, attacked, and banned journalists from entering the Square or staying in any nearby hotel that could have a camera view to the crowd in Tahrir Square. Little by little, police, with the help of thugs, were able to stop all live feeds from Tahrir Square for a period of time until Al-Jazeera TV channel managed later to sneak a camera to broadcast another feed showing the Square; the regime responded by shutting down all of Al-Jazeera broadcasts from Nilesat (The Egyptian Satellite) and attempting to jam Al-Jazeera signal on other satellites with a footprint coverage in Egypt.

Protestors continued to gain momentum day after day by insisting that they would not leave the Square until the entire Egyptian regime resigns. Close to five million people were in the streets of Egypt (and some other news sources estimate the protestors number closer to eight million), three million protestors were in Cairo alone.

Due to the continuous pressure of protestors, the regime yielded to some of the demands of the crowd, although many believed that the regime was only playing delay tactics and only portrayed a reform. A vice president was appointed, and a new government took over and restored cell phone communication and Internet access as an indication of goodwill.

Restoring back the Internet, however, seemed to have backfired. Egyptians now were able to upload on Facebook and Youtube some of the pictures and video clips showing the massacres conducted by the central police forces and thugs on civilians during the early days of protests; live bullets, snipers, people run by cars, others beaten to death, thugs with machetes, Molotov cocktails thrown on protestors and many other indescribable atrocities.

The Collapse of the Regime

After a few more days of the increasing number of protestors, high national and international pressures, and a total of 18 days of protesting, Omar Suleiman (the recently appointed Egyptian vice president) at 16:02 GMT of Friday Feb 11, 2011 in a 28 seconds statement on state TV said:

"My fellow citizens, in this difficult time that the country is going through, President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the Supreme Military Council has taken control of the state's affairs. May God protect us".

Egypt has spoken; no more tyranny, no more autocracy, no more injustice and no more oppression. The history has been written not only in Egypt, but in the world of social networking as well; the first revolution sparked, managed and orchestrated by social networking, by Facebook, twitter, blogs and YouTube. For the first time in history the eRevolution was born, and for the first time in history the eRevolution became a reality.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" - Gandhi

A Two-Edge Sword?

The January 25th Egyptian revolution and the resignation of Mubarak on Feb 11 created a new revolution model; an eRevolution. This eRevolution poses a few important questions that could take awhile to answer.


Augmented Reality with Caitlyn Fisher

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We had a guest speaker on campus, Caitlyn Fisher, who taught us the uses of augmented reality.

BUILDING SMALL WORLDS, NEW STORIES FOR NEW SCREENS

For the past 7 years, the Augmented Reality Lab at York University has been offering artists and designers the opportunity to learn about new screen technologies through the use of merging real and virtual image streams. The first uses of the technology that their lab now holds were initially for industrial application (military). What the application does, it uses three planes of images to create 3d realistic image with a rotating sphere along an axis.

In her discussion she talks about different uses of the application, some of which are pathways to AR through hypermedia, fiction and nonfiction, visualization and epistemology (philosophies we can walk through). I notices that she was mainly focused and interested in spatial narrative.

Most of the students at her lab come from a moving image background (mostly film), and as a result they do not have many designers and sound techies. Recently, the students at her lab have constructed works which involve the uses of Spatial Hyper-fictions that we can walk through; stories that we can hold in our hands and future cinema.

Here is a wonderful video I found which basically explains where we are all headed with this. Enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/8569187

Mardi Gras!

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Well, I don't think there is any way we didn't enjoy this assignment. We were asked to write a response to our collaborative assignment, which for us was orchestrating a flash mob Mardi Gras event on campus in the Kirby Lounge. I really enjoyed being a part of this event, and I think that this was the first time that I have seen so many art & design students and teachers in one place!

My contributions to this assignment were of moderate detail. I was not the leader of the group, but I tried my hardest to pitch in. The first day after our group met I went down to the Kirby Lounge booking room a week before our event and talked with the head of their department (who decides which groups and associations get to speak or reserve parts of the room), she was very kind and excited about what we were doing and immediately agreed to give us the go ahead after filling out some forms. I then went to the Environmental Health & Safety office so that we would be able to serve some sort of food or beverage at the Mardi Gras event. I filled out all the necessary forms and then turned them back in to their correct offices, then back at the Kirby Lounge and then gave a copy to my teacher. I also went and talked to KUMD, because we weren't exactly sure at that point what sort of music would be playing, and talked with them about possibly helping us out with music detail. They gave me a big fat NO due to their block scheduling, which was fine because we found alternative sources. I then proceeded to construct masks-to be handed out-and also designing a few different posters and flyers which would be later handed out and hung up around campus. Besides the obvious hard copies of each of these proceeding, our group was a whirlpool of ideas and brainstorming sessions in terms of how we could positively follow through with this project.

I think overall, that the event was a success. I have seen a flash mob before and, given the correct amount of time, I think we successfully completed this assignment and I would recommend doing something along these lines in the future.

Here are a few examples of the work that I helped with, starting with; the poster design I came up with, then the handouts, then some pictures of some of the masks I constructed, and lastly a few clips of some of the video I shot with my camera at the event. Enjoy!

So, today was our first day and you asked us to talk about what we have been noticing in todays digital art cultures/movements in design and social networking. I guess over winter break I noticed how looking for a job has become ever increasingly online. I joined a web community called oDesk that does online contracting for employers, it's a great way to build a portfolio of real work if you don't have much experience in the field. For instance, I'm in the process of working on a template and logo for a guy from New York. The work is entirely online; the employer interviews you online, he checks out your online profile via oDesk and if he likes what he sees then you get the job! The way they pay out is that you download this oDesk application via the website after signing up and it keeps track of your work every time you sign in and start working on it. I think it takes random screen shots of your progress and remotely sends what work you've done back to the employer so that he can see you are really working on his project instead of slacking around.

After you're all done with the work, oDesk adds up all the time that you've spent on the job and , depending on how much your bid was, you get payed hourly. It's probably the coolest job board I've found so far! It lets you take all these tests that see how good you are at applications such as photoshop and illustrator, and you get certified via oDesk. Now I, Steve Miller, am a certified contractor according to oDesk.

Just one thing that I thought was cool in how our social networking has been becoming increasingly important in the search for employers, or employees.

Here's a link to my oDesk profile, feel free to take a look! I still have some work to do on it though, enjoy!

http://www.odesk.com/users/Graphic-Design_~~1c3ae59804f28ac4

Copy WRONG

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For this assignment we are required to pick a piece of artwork from the Tweed Museum of Art and "reinvent" it. I chose to reconstruct a piece by Phylip Evergood entitled Pittsburgh Family.

One of the reasons behind my choice surrounds the ideal that people thought Evergood's work was consistently a sustained study of relationships between people and the environments and actions in which he so closely and thoughtfully observed them. My aim is to show how Evergood was not merely a satirist, but an artist who's meaning behind his work was reformed from the social and political ideals of his time.

Here is a picture of Evergood's Pittsburgh Family:

16.jpg

My plan is to take certain images and elements from this piece, adding text and elements of my own, to show an introverted speculation of the artist.


First Set of Images

Pittsburgh Family.jpg

Pittsburgh Family2.jpg

Here is one of my final concepts!

Pittsburgh-Family-4.jpg

These are my PDF's that we are supposed to have hard copies for in class! I just thought I would post them up here for anyone that wants to see what I did.

Winter Remix

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We were assigned to take some pictures of random but collaborative winter themed scenes. This was our first project assignment and it's purpose, I think, is to see how creative and innovative our class can be in some of the proposals we come up with.

http://www.d.umn.edu/~mill3600/dStudio_SMiller/

Here is one of my images that I meshed together from our class:

Winter_SteveMiller3.jpg

And here is a proposal; I wanted the snowy part of the picture to be in the foreground on the front of the glass. Then the panoramic of the meshed school in the background.

Proposal For Installation.jpg

Proposal Part 2.jpg

Proposal Part 3.jpg

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