Explanation Graphic

For this sketch I chose to improve the water cycle graphic that I came across.  I felt there were way to many arrows to follow, and in order to understand the process fully I felt it necessary to cut out information and clean it up.  The illustrations behind the text in the original graphic is well done and detailed, however the information on top is what causes confusion.  The difficulty I found in recreating my own was knowing what information to cut out.  I decided the easiest way to show the process, in the littlest amount of space, with the least amount of ink, was to just use the key terms that make up the process: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration.  Although the other words in the original graphic added detail to the illustration, such as freshwater storage, snow melt run off, etc, I felt they also added confusion as to what exactly the water cycle really is.

I stuck with the same circular flow of information when drawing out the process.  I felt a circular flow was the best way to show this process, as it allows the viewer to start anywhere in the image and follow through the course of events.  Since the water cycle is a continuous thing, working with a linear graphic would not be wise.  There is no start, and there is no end.  I decided to keep my illustrations more simplistic than the original.  First reason being, my artistic skills are not that great; but besides that, I felt that keeping the illustrations simple and the information simple, it allows the viewer to get the most information out of the graphic in a short amount of time, rather than studying it in confusion.  That being said, I still used colors that are most recognizable in depicting the elements of the graphic: yellow for the sun, blue for the water, brown for the rock.  I also chose to use green arrows to go through the process, because most times green means go and it just reinforces the idea that you follow the arrow in that direction.  I decided to just stick with black for the text as it stands out and is clearly read by the viewer.

In doing this assignment, I found that explanation graphics are rather complex and difficult to assemble.  While on the hunt for a graphic I could reinvent or improve, many were extremely detailed with a lot of work put in.  I knew about the water cycle before this graphic, but was amazed to see how many renditions of the process were out there; some great, some not so great.  Recreating this graphic was a good experience and I give a lot of credit to those who create them as a career.  More difficult graphics I came across were those that included instructions on complex pieces of technology such as parts of a camera, cell phone, or computer.  Depending on what process or information you are trying to get out of a graphic, the complexity and detail will vary.

 

How To Make A Pizza

This assignment was challenging in that we had to think of how this visual would be understand universally.  How to make a pizza is a rather simplistic task, however using visuals to portray the message was difficult.  I first sketched out the things that needed to be included in the process such as the dough, sauce, and cheese.  Last class when we dealt with how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we discussed certain symbols that may not be understood by individuals of a certain age group, such as the addition sign.  Here we did not have to worry about age groups, however international symbols were harder to pin point and work with.  A large portion of this deals with the fact that I am not an expert on other cultures or other regions around the world in what is understood visually or in writing.  I chose to use the arrow in showing sequences of events because I felt it was the most universal way.  The images themselves I think can be easily deciphered.  The only one that I had difficulty showing was the dough.  All of the main ingredients and tools begin the top of a new column, then works down to what they are to be used for.  Working in a top down way I felt would be universally understood as well.  Again, I do not know much about other cultures and regions but from my understanding all read material from the top down.

This assignment was interesting in that it was our first time working with visuals.  We had been working with words mostly, especially through the mind maps.  In my collage even, I used only words to express myself.  Other students used images, but this was my first time incorporating images into a visual.  Being a graphic design major I am use to using images to enhance a piece or complement words.  We did this with our mind maps as well.  Using no words at all in this assignment was different for me and definitely stretched my imagination.  Some images that I know would be understood by me might not be understood by other viewers.  This process was definitely more complicated than the how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that we did in class.

Like I stated earlier, this was one of my first times strictly working with images in this way.  Just like working on the computer in my graphic design programs to create images, sketching out the visuals needed to be detailed enough to be understood, yet still simplistic enough not to cause confusion.  I think I portrayed the ingredients and materials clearly, however the steps to take in the process may be able to be conveyed in a better way.  It took me multiple tries to find a way to express the process in the best way.  This definitely made me realize how difficult information graphics can be, and how creative the designers of them have to be.  I often take the information graphics you may see in products for granted, but looking at them more closely I have begun to see how helpful they can really be.

Photographic Analysis

V-J Day in Times Square

I believe the photograph, V-J Day in Times Square, is iconic for several reasons. The photograph, taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was captured in 1945 when it was announced that the war on Japan was over. The photo was candid and the subjects did not know they were photographed. I find it to be iconic because it has been around for many decades, and has shown up in various locations in the media as a popular photograph. Many people have been exposed to it, and it is instilled on the memory because of this. Recreations and references to it have occurred over the years appearing in many feature films and television shows, such as Night at the Museum, Watchmen, Letters to Juliette, and The Simpsons.

When analyzing the photograph, one could use Lester’s 6 Perspectives, the first being personal. When I first saw this photograph I had no idea the history or story behind it, but liked it as a photograph because of the composition and feeling it gave. The capture of a kiss is romantic, and I liked the overall composition of the photograph. The historical perspective goes along with what was described earlier. The timeline of this photograph was in 1945 when Japan had surrendered. A lot of celebration was happening in the streets of major cities, including New York, when President Truman announced the news. You can get the feel of this timeline through the navy and nurse attire the subjects are wearing, as well as the fact that it is black and white photography. This brings me to the next perspective, technical. The photograph is in black and white which gives strong contrasts between light and dark. The photograph was presented in many magazines and newspapers as news about the war ending spread across the US. It is also presented in many posters that people still purchase over 65 years later. The fourth perspective, ethical, is very interesting regarding this photograph. As stated earlier, the photo was candid, and in the bustle of the streets in NYC the photographer never took down the names of the subjects. They are hard to identify through the image, and for many years, the photographer got many letters from people claiming to be the subjects of his photo. The photographer chose to document and use this captured moment to represent the happy time of celebrating the end of the war. In terms of the cultural perspective, one can gather it is American by examining the location and symbols in the photograph. One maybe could identify the street as being a part of NYC, and the clothing of the people as being American. Determining these symbols can explain the society in which the photo was taken. The sixth and final perspective, critical, can be discussed as well. This photo mainly pertains to those in favor of the war ending with Japan. The US in particular looks to this photo as an icon of the era and celebration of the event, where as Japan may not view it as such. It may be viewed by other cultures with a different meaning, or just simply a nice photograph, where as in the US there is a deeper understanding and appreciation.

One could analyze this photograph aesthetically as well. It is clear to see the subjects are directly in the center for maximum attention. The buildings and surrounding people balance out the rest of the photograph. The buildings in particular seem to correspond to the Rule of Thirds as they fill the background of the image. As a candid photograph, this worked out nicely while still having all the attention being on the two kissing. Another image that follows this same principle is the image of Marilyn Monroe in the white dress. Also a black and white image, the contrast between light and dark is strong. The structure of the V-J Day in Times Square is very elongated by the two standing figures. The man dipping the woman in the kiss allows the eye to follow the angles and examine the other areas of the photograph. This ‘Z’ pattern is evident in other popular images as well including the ‘Gone with the Wind’ film posters, where Rhett Butler is either dipping or holding Scarlett O’Hara on an angle. These various structure techniques give the photograph its aesthetically pleasing composition. The V-J Day in Times Square is an iconic image for the reasons stated above and is a memorable moment in history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-J_Day_in_Times_Square

 

Collage

Some themes and patterns I gathered from my collage without realizing it during the creation process was lifestyles, healthy living, and vibrant colors.  Creating this collage was an interesting process since we had to move quick in tearing things from the magazines we brought to class.  I was immediately drawn to typography and did not use any images or photographs.  I of course was drawn to the words that stood out on the page, may it be the color or size of the type in comparison to other text in the spread.  I also chose words that spoke to me in relation to my interests, such as working out and staying healthy in a physical and emotional sense.  When it came time to paste all the words into a collage, I just wanted to create something that showed how these words were all grouped and encompassed a lifestyle that I like and work for.  I tore some of the words and cleaned up some of the edges to fit it all together like a puzzle.  We had a few minutes left and I had finished creating my cluster, so I used the scraps to embellish and balance out the color usage.  I had unconsciously created a sort of circle/oval to show the grouping of all these words.  It is interesting to realize that things with rounded edges appear softer and less harsh, as opposed to if I had made these words into a rectangle of sorts and had not created this flow.  The patterns of the idea of healthy living came about mostly because the magazine I was picking from was a fitness magazine since that is what I am into.  So choosing these types of words were not really a surprise since it has importance to me.  The color aspect is also important to me because it is what grabs my attention and gives this sense of positiveness to this lifestyle.  Majoring in graphic design has me looking at colors and the messages it can send.

Most of my peers who had commented on my collage had similar insights about the themes and patterns present.  A few that I had not thought of was the fact that my collage looked like an eye.  I had not intended this, but do see where it looks that way.  I had mindlessly embellished with the scraps, but found the comments about the eye very interesting.  Other words that were expressed were confidence and beauty, and I can see where these fit in as well.  Another comment that I found interesting dealt with the composition and placement of the words.  I seemed to have clustered all the words relating to gym and fitness in the center, and the extraneous words such as men, citrus, and  the brand name, Pandora, fall off the surrounding border.  I can see how this relates as well and feel that maybe I had done so in a sort of hierarchical sense; what is most important to me in life and what may fall to the wayside.

What was interesting in this assignment that I was not use to was just doing things out of impulse.  Being a graphic design major, and always having an interest in the arts, I always meticulously plan out a project or piece beforehand and then work at the execution.  Especially in graphic design courses, we do a lot of process work developing a concept and working toward the best way at expressing an idea, but here we worked in reverse which felt so different for me.  I was a little stressed while working thinking I was doing something wrong, or would mess up in some way, but really there is no right or wrong.  The final product came out rather interesting and revealed a lot about me.

Concept Map

For this second map we were to create I chose to make a concept map.  I was very unsure how to begin and looked at a lot of links and examples to get a better idea on how to go about creating it.  I did not exactly know where to start for a focal point since I wanted to do something I was knowledgeable about, but could still explore the inner workings of.  I also did not want to choose something that I incorporated into my mind maps from the previous assignment, so decided to use school as the focus.

Being a college student, I could think of many things to build off of this central theme that related to me, my experiences, and struggles as a college student.  I started working with the key terms to branch out from the central focus and realized I could work through it multiple ways.  College offers so much through the experiences in and out of the classroom, as well as the struggles such as money and looking toward the future.  I began to really think of all the things I have experienced during my first three years in college, and coming upon graduation in a year, it made me realize how the future is fast approaching.  Thinking about my past three years and what I have been through was taken into account, but then it turned to more about the future and where I am headed.  School is just a chapter in my life and sitting down and actually analyzing it in this way was an eye opener.

I do believe it is important to live in the moment and take things one day at a time, but it is also important to be prepared for what is to come and keep an open mind as to what is to come.  Unlike a mind map where it mostly came down to word association, the concept map I created had a deeper meaning to me.  Had I had a larger sheet of paper I am sure I could have kept building it further and further, analyzing and breaking down things more and more.  Seeing as how school is such a broad topic that can be broken down and thought about in many different ways, it would be interesting to see one of the branches really take off.  It is also interesting to realize that even if everyone made a concept map focusing on school they would come out completely different.

Although concept maps could be used to review for exams and such, I found this experience more exciting as it was more personal and really racked my brain to think about me, my life, and my school.  I learned how to make a concept map, which I had never done, and also learned more about myself in terms of my life and schooling.  I am pleased with how it came out, and look forward to using this technique more often when looking to resolve a problem, explore a concept, or even as review for an exam.

Mind Map

My first mind map built off of the concept ‘spring break’ as this was suggested in class so I decided to run with it.  I could think of a few key words off the top of my head which associated to this central concept, but did not anticipate filling the entire page with words branching outward.  The doodling portion was my favorite, as I am a graphic design major and interested in the arts.  The visual portion to this intrigued me as this form of mapping was different than what I may have done in other courses.  Simply making  a list of terms that grew from a central idea could better be explored through this technique.  The mind map not only turned out to be educational in pushing my thoughts and ideas further with each association, but it also turned out to be a rather aesthetically pleasing design.

The second mind map built from the word ‘tennis’ that appeared in my first mind map.  Choosing a branch from the first mind map to create a second mind map made me nervous.  Since I had already branched that ray out and associated words with that a bit, I did not expect to be able to create an entire new mind map with that word as the focus.  Since we were to allow ideas to flow freely without judgement, I wrote down every word or thing that came to mind.  I did not hesitate or second guess my word as it all seemed to work together.  The farther out from the central focus I got, you could still see how it could be brought back to and associated with the beginning focus.  Again, the doodling was fun and being able to illustrate certain terms or ideas for emphasis made the mind map visually pleasing.

Creating these mind maps were a lot of fun and an interesting experience.  I did not expect to have so many associated words to build off of my starting concept in the center.  The twenty minutes of mind mapping went by really fast.  When I came back to each mind map after the hour, I did not expect to add words.  It is amazing to see how much each concept could build and grow outwards so much.  I was excited about exploring this visual concept we learned about in class last week and through our readings.  I had never heard of mind mapping so was worried at first about whether or not I was doing it correctly.  I looked at more examples online about what mind maps were and what they looked like and discovered that no two will be alike.  When creating my second mind map, I wanted to make it visually different and not employ a lot of the same doodles or illustrations.  All in all, I enjoyed the experience and look forward to using this technique for other assignments or classes when looking to further explore a concept or idea.

Tennis

“Hello mister racket; how do you do mister racket.”  This is how I was taught to hold my tennis racket.   Shaking its hand as I began to form a bond.  I was only 4 when my mom forced one into my hands, hoping I would come to love the game as much as she had growing up; playing all through high school and all through college.  She would take me to the courts along with my sisters and we’d go through the basics.  This is how you hold a racket.  This is how you swing a forehand, a backhand, how about some volleys?  Slowly I got the hang of it, grew to love it, and the game is my passion.

“I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their racquets and their courage as their weapons.”  ~Yannick Noah

Time is irrelevant out on the court.  There are no time limits, halves, periods, quarters.  The lines on the ground bar no connection to the hands of a clock.  The grid pattern of the net have no reference to a digital clock.  Your racket?  No, that’s not the round face of a clock either.  Everything stands still as you battle point after point; seeing who will back down first.  You’re in the moment taking one stroke at a time, one point at a time, one game at a time.  The court is your world, in this moment, and nothing else going on outside matters.  Your mind must be in the game. They say ‘love means nothing in tennis.’  Although this is true, as it is the zero, the bagels, and zip of any score, love also means everything.  Giving your heart to the game, your strokes, and shots, is what will produce success.  Winning isn’t the ultimate goal.  But walking off the court knowing you left it all out there, that’s the best victory. Leave it on the court.  I tell this to myself every time I step out to play a match.  Giving it all I got, playing my heart out, this is what I came to do.  Love may mean nothing in tennis, but how about this one, “Tennis begins with Love” –author unknown.

For this final project I tried to utilize multiple programs we had learned about from the semester.  To start, I brought all of my images into Photoshop and changed them to grayscale.  I decided to put all my images in grayscale for my presentation because I like the look of it as being clean and polished, and the colors (or lack of) are consistent to each other.  I felt it tied all the images together rather than having random colors on each.  I had to change the contrast on a few to get the desired effect as well.  For a few, I created a vignette edge as well.  I had used PowerPoint to create my storyboard and it was helpful to layout the images in the order I wanted before dragging them into iMovie.  Once I brought the images into iMovie I had to utilize all the settings in there as well to create blends, fades, and Ken Burns effects.  I like the way Ken Burns looks and it allowed me to emphasize on a portion of the photograph when needed, such as my first image where I wanted to emphasize the hand holding the racket, since that is my opening line.  After I fidgeted with the image clips for a while, I worked with the audio.  The audio is not my favorite to work with.  I recorded my voice in iMovie two separate times.  At one point in my video there is a pause for a quotation on the screen, so created an audio portion for before and after this, rather than physically pausing during recording.  I had gotten song clips off of the website provided and brought them into Audacity to blend them together to fit the allotted time.  Being a design major, I enjoyed playing with the images more so than messing with audio and movie settings, however it is a good tool to learn.  All in all, I am pleased with the final product and am impressed with all the programs I have learned this semester.