1.1 Apply understanding of a range of processes to support media activities.

Raster and Vector Images

Raster and vector imagery can be made using Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, respectively. They are used to create certain graphics, such as sprites or logos.

Raster graphics are made up of visible pixels to create shapes, making the image much more square but allowing precision as the pixels are easy to line up. The pixel’s colours can also be used to blend different coloured shapes together to build an image.

Vector graphics are made up of smoother looking shapes and do not pixelate when enlarged. Each shape’s colours are much more solid although specific modification it is possible to change the properties of them to allow effects such as shading.

As a task, I was asked to recreate the “Android” logo using both Photoshop (using rasters) and Illustrator (using vectors) and doing this I achieved the following:

The left (vector) appears to resemble the logo closer than the right (raster) as Illustrator allows more precise creation and alignment. I feel that knowing this can help me as it shows that Illustrator is more effective to use for smoother graphics while Photoshop focuses more on manipulating these images.

Photographic Manipulation

Manipulation of photography can be achieved using software such as Adobe Photoshop, by using images that have been collected. This allows images to be made that would not be able to be created by just simply taking pictures.

Framing

Framing is important as it helps the viewer know what parts of the picture they should be looking at as well as giving a setting to them.

Rule of thirds is used in photography to divide a picture up into three rows and/or columns and to help get a sense of intentional positioning with the objects in focus. Doing this creates a sense of movement to draw more attention to the desired areas and less focus to the unimportant areas.

In photography, when using the rule of thirds, there are two forms of compositions that can be achieved:

  • Static compositions have the image set out with more horizontal and/or vertical imagery. This can be used for photography involving landscapes or portraits as it gives the audience an easy direction to perceive the image at, such as a picture of a horizon that is intended to be looked at from left to right.
  • Dynamic compositions have the parts of the image that are not points of interest at a diagonal angle for a different effect. This can make the audience look at the image without a sense of direction so a more unorganised feel can be perceived. (The rule of thirds grid remains the same however).

Composition

Compositing is the process of putting images together. Each part of an image like this is a composite.

After the pictures have been obtained, more modifications to the composition can be applied using Photoshop or certain printing techniques (which a big part of Photoshop’s tools are based on) such as:

Juxta Position shows two images that wouldn’t usually be seen in the same place to portray a meaning (such as a polar bear in a desert to imply global warming).

Photomontage is the result of cutting and pasting together some images and then re-photographing to create a new image. This is done to make it look as though the image is genuine, as it is presented as one flat image, intending to make it look as though it is a somewhat realistic image.

Multi-Exposures are used by “masking the lens” of the camera (or projector if using photographic printing) to multiply the different exposed areas of an image, bringing out highlights where there may not have been before or even to help an image where the light is behind the subject so it doesn’t just appear as a silhouette.

Combination Printing can be used to combine two areas of an image together to improve the overall exposure by overlaying a higher exposed image (to lighten the dark parts) and placing it over a less exposed image (to get the natural colour of parts that don’t need as much exposure).

Overpainting allows images to have colour pigments added to them so the feel of the image can be altered.

Retouching is using chemicals to fade or get rid of unwanted parts of an image.

Manipulation Tools

Using certain tools in Photoshop and a darkroom (for printing), it is possible to manipulate images so they can have these compositions. Some of these tools include:

  • Dodging
  • Burning
  • Gradation
  • Focusing (Sharpening)
  • Masking
  • Feathering
  • “White Washing”

By manipulating the binary code digital photographs, parts of the images can be distorted to get glitchy effects.

As a task, we were asked to create an incongruous image (meaning an image with composites that shouldn’t go together) using DCR camera to get a photograph of a background and of myself reacting to something as well as an image from the web that I am reacting to and achieved the following:

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Because of this task I am more aware of the different potential compositions that I can include in my work as well as the different tools, and what they do, in greater details.

Icon Challenge

For this task, I was asked to recreate pictures of digital media related items as logos, using knowledge learnt from using Adobe Illustrator:

After doing this, I became familiar with a few of the tools the software features and using this in future I can use Illustrator to create high quality graphical content.

Little Red Riding Hood Interactive E-book Practice

When designing websites, apps and other media, such as E-Books, a certain design process must be achieved called “information architecture” which targets the plans for these three criteria:

  • Users – To consider specific needs that they may have in as to improve user experience.
  • Content – To decide what should be included in the product so it is known what assets should be collected and which formats should be used.
  • Context – To choose the way the users perceive the product by picking a certain platform and target audience.

User interface is important to consider as it is how the user will be able to interact with the product, in this case an interactive e-book might require buttons to turn the pages meaning a touch screen based platform might be preferred as it gives more of an illusion to turning pages.

While using information architecture to design products, task flows, wireframes and mood boards are created to build on ideas and often multiple are made to ensure the concepts have a range of ideas built into them.

Task flows are the equivalent of a step by step map of the potential directions for the final product. For example, if designing an App, a task flows are often used to show how to navigate the pages and explain how certain functions might behave. These also show local and global navigation meaning it shows how to travel to related pages and other categorised pages, respectively.

Wire-frames, like task flows, show visual concept for final task but in the form of what media is to be placed where. For instance, if a website is being designed then a wire-frame can be used to decide what media content belongs where on each page. The media content included have specific wire-frames that imply what form of media it is such as:

Mood boards are an image that is made up from lots of different images to compile a rough sense of feeling that the final product could convey. Images can be from the internet or of more original sources such as photography. This is important as it can help with deciding on colour, textures and overall style(s).

As to practice for the final project, I designed an interactive e-book using the steps of information architecture and even created some of the interactive elements using Adobe InDesign.

Using these skills I am able to create the navigation for InDesign documents along with being capable of making buttons, multi-state objects and overlays in future.

1.2 Apply media processes and skills safely and appropriately.

Sound for Digital Design and Animation

When collecting audio assets for a product, there is a lot to consider to achieve the highest quality of sound and recordings for the desired purpose.

Process and Techniques

Collecting sounds involves using a microphone to record the preferred audio without any background noise (which can be adjusted by using the levels on the mic itself) while wearing headphones to listen and ensure this. Different microphones have different “pick up patterns” to allow sounds from specific areas around the mic to be collected and used:

  • Omnidirectional microphones pick up noise from all around them so they are good to use for recording what might be used as background noise as they can pick up all the sounds in a room.
  • Bidirectional microphones pick up sounds from both sides of the mic evenly and can be used efficiently to record conversations between two people.
  • Cardioid microphones record sounds they are directed at on a small scale while also picking up sound around the mic except from the back (where the person recording would be stood). These can be used for recording one person’s speech for uses like narration as it prevents picking up most unwanted sounds along as well as it not being so sensitive as to cause the person to clip the mic.
  • Hyper cardioid microphones pick up noises from further away, having a longer and more directed range and pick up a small amount directly from the back of the mic. This mic is used to record sound effects and longer distance speech (such as for scenes of a movie using a boom mic) as it allows room between the mic and the object creating the noise as to not overwhelm the recording with the noise from it, while not picking up much noise from anywhere else.

Types of Sound

When collecting the sound, it is important to know which type of sound it is that is needed so that the appropriate microphone can be used for recording and collecting it. These types of sound are:

  • Foley – The sound that emulates from a performance, being a term that comes from live musical performances. This is achieved by having people re-enact the sound of certain objects in a sequence to coincide with what is happening onscreen. It can be used to perform the sound for scenes in film that could not be recorded on set and put emphasis on actions in the film to build the world around them. They are recorded live using hyper cardioid microphones so that the noise from the performers is not picked up.
  • Ambience – Sound that gives a sense of location, making the audience feel as though they are there by giving the background of the created world acknowledgement. This can be recorded by using a omnidirectional mic as it records using all the space around it. It can also be pieced together using multiple sounds or it can also be downloaded from sound libraries (with permission to do so). It is often used in film scenes like in forests or cafés without drawing attention away from what is happening in these locations.
  • Music – Sound that is conducted to create a melody or tune to accompany the context it is being used in. This can influence how the audience feel and implies the mood of the place it is used, for instance in games, harder levels may have more intense feeling music to imply that it is more difficult than a level with calmer music
  • Voice – The process of talking and recording can be used to add to or tell a story, convey emotions and inform the audience of details through means such as narration. This is recorded in a studio with either cardioid or hyper cardioid microphones as to make sure only wanted noise is recorded. This requires the speaker to be clear and consider the placement of their mouth as to not have their breath hit the microphone as it can affect the audio negatively.
  • SFX – Sound effects that are made artificially that can be made up of other recorded sounds that are edited together to give objects or movement character like in cartoons that have unrealistic sounding noises when characters interact with things.
  • Hard FX – For more solid sounding things that can’t be collected through practical means (like a dinosaur’s roar), multiple other sounds from a library can be complied to create a sound that gives the impression that it is a genuine noise that the thing is generating.
  • Design FX – Software created sounds that indicate something has been interacted with such as the sound a PC makes when being switched on.

Sound can be used to connote or denote in media as the audience’s perception and feelings can be changed to help them enjoy products better. When using other techniques (like Colour Theory), it can be used to add to the emotion being already portrayed or even contrast it to get different responses from the audience. Sound is important in the media industry as it is the only other sense that can be interacted with digitally other than visually. I can use sound in my work to show that interactive elements are responding and to help build a world out of what I create.

Reflective Evaluation

2.2 Critically compare a range of communication methods used to convey meaning in creative media production.

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