First Brief!

Today is the day we received our first brief! Our task? To create an A3 poster using the skills from the past weeks’ lectures and workshops including four or more of the following techniques:

  • Photography
  • Drawing
  • Collage
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator

After painstakingly deciding on a word from the museum project, I finally settled on the theme of ‘Comfort’. We were encouraged to think of a vast range of ideas before putting any ideas into a final layout, by using mind maps and small, quickly drawn sketches. This allowed me to not get tied down to any one idea before they had all been explored.

I began by listing all the words that in my opinion portrayed comfort, I started off quite literal with the words but then started to think outside the box by questioning what is meant by the word comfort: ‘to soothe in time of affliction or distress’. Maybe by showing the other side of comfort and representing the word almost as a narrative it would create more of an impact. With this in mind, I considered the idea of creating the scene of comfort using two characters hugging; one filled with a collage of comforting objects.

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After a few more days to generate ideas, we had a layout review session to talk about our work with our course mates. We had the opportunity to look around and interpret our groups briefs, seeing how other people had documented their ideas was so useful and will help me in future projects.  I found the session reallyScreen Shot 2014-10-14 at 17.50.40 helpful as people were really positive about the work but were still able to make critical points to help with the development of ideas. I was more comfortable than I thought talking about my own work, normally the thought terrifies me! However, I felt passionate about what I had worked on and wanted to share my thoughts with the group and hear what they had to say about it.

To create the collage section of my final poster, I scanned all of my sketch drawings into photoshop to edit and adjust the colour and contrast. I used warm tonal colours of purples and pinks because to me, that is what I feel when I think of comfort. There were suggestions of using reds however I felt the colours would be quite harsh and fiery rather than cosy and warm. I used the eraser tool to cut out the section of image I wanted to collage within and placed the collage within. By editing the photograph to black and white, it enabled the main theme of comfort (portrayed by the hugging figure) to stand out boldly. I was really happy with my outcome and thought it fit the brief well whilst not being to overpowering and still maintaining a simplistic layout.

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Post-Perspective

Today’s constellation lecture challenged my thoughts about perspective greatly. What counts as a realistic representation of a subject? Does a change in perspective give a fuller knowledge of a subject than reality?

There are so many questions to answer, but the idea of whether a change in perspective shows more or less realism than the eye can see itself is something that really drew me in. The work below is of the artist Etienne-Jules Marey- ‘Analysis of the Flight of a Seagull’, really made me want to question what is known as realism. In my opinion the sculpture is more objective as it’s not just isolating a specific frame of movement, but is showing the whole scene, you can gather a sense of time and action that would be impossible to obtain in any other way other than say film or animation. We think we know what things look like until we see them in a new perspective and suddenly in a flurry of thoughts our eyes are opened to a whole new world of motion in a solid form.

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In comparison to that of Marey, the piece ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’ by Marcel Duchamp is two dimensional in form however still portrays the same sense of movement and progression of time. With influences from artists such as Muybridge and Picasso, it is clear to see when he found inspiration from within his work. Duchamp- nude descending a staircase 09.10.14Although the piece is abstract, it is quite possible to see the way the body is being viewed from different perspectives and moulded together to generate a greater sense of understanding from the original viewpoint. What I mean is that looking at a person by eye only enables you to see one singular frame at a time, whereas combining all the information of movement and angles together and merging them into one, the reality is that you are seeing more information in an image than you would firsthand. It is depicting the form of dynamism in an image.

The four techniques of post perspective I gained greater understanding of were:

  • The multiplication of view and viewpoints
  • Adopting a non-human viewpoint
  • Doubling and repetition
  • Historical perspectives

One thing they all have in common is viewing more in an artwork than can be seen by a photograph or eye. Experimenting with vanishing points and viewpoints changes the perspective of an image by making almost an unrealistic representation of what is actually seen. The artist Clive Head uses clashing viewpoints to expand the extent of knowledge that we can see creating a really fascinating effect. Is it more realistic than human sight?

The idea of producing artwork that shows different perspectives or is from an unrealistic perspective, is something that differs from the idea of an artwork being seen from a specific perspective. An amazing process of using MRI scans printed or drawn into a three dimensional sculpture, is an example of this. Marilene Oliver and Angela Palmer have used this technique with the result of the viewer only being able to see the images from a certain perspective. From far away the figures can be seen in whole, but step close and the image disappears! It’s a technique I have never seen used before and I find the idea incredibly fascinating.

In conclusion, I think that perspective is not only the way you view something simply by looking at it, but more importantly how an artist can change your perception of a subject by altering the way the perspective is represented.

Photography Workshop

As part of our ‘Workshop Wednesdays’ as I like to call them, my small group were able to gather first hand experience using the photographic equipment on offer to us at the university. We began by recapping on the basics of photography, learning about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and file formats. We then moved on to a quick tour of the equipment rooms including the film developing dark room; something I would love to try my hands on in the near future. Playing around with the tripods and lighting was fascinating and we were able to capture some really effective shots using the DSLR cameras. Unfortunately I was unable to get my hands on any of the shots but you can take my word for it!

Something I have never had the chance to use before is an infinity background, used for photographing work or commercial products etc. By experimenting with the composition of objects such as a bike helmet, conker and watch, really professional quality images were created. I was very proud if I say so myself.

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Our final aspect of the day was entering the green screen studio. We kindly had offers from my group to be models for the occasion and were able to play around using different angles and composition to create different effects within the shot. To ensure a portrait doesn’t end up bland and boring, simply try placing the model to the far edge of a landscape shot and suddenly the portrait is transformed! Technicality issues stopped us from testing out the portrait flash but we were able to hook up the large green screen flash to ensure great lighting on our shoot.

All in all a very enjoyable day!

Semiotics

I had the pleasure of attending a semiotics lecture with Olwen and it opened my eyes to the meanings of words and images.

Sign– anything that describes a thing (word, image, sound)
Signifier– physical forms of a sign, such as a sound, word or image that create a communication.
Signified– meaning or thoughts a sign portrays.
Denotation– physical object that we actually see, that makes up a form of communication.
Connotation– key to how we understand things, being built on our experiences, ideologies and expectations, often meaning people react differently to the same thing.
Icon– something with physical resemblance to the signified (for example a moustache).
Symbol- a mark/representation that doesn’t necessarily represent the real image (an exclamation mark on a danger sign for example has no real likeness to a dangerous object or item).
Index– describes physical connection between signifier and signified (if we see smoke we automatically assume fire).

We then split ourselves into groups and began to discuss and analyse an image in the attempt to find it’s meaning. The image our group chose was from the cover of a student union freshers magazine. We all seemed to agree on the majority of the features of the image but still found ideas flying about that we hadn’t thought of before. Even though we found it quite cliche, there were still points that gave it meaning.

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What is it? Advertisment

How is it made? Computer Graphics

Why? To persuade people to go to freshers events

What’s the context, what is around it? To advertise commercial events for freshers starting university life

Who made it? Motivation? Student from Cardiff Met SU, for students by students!

When was it made? Over summer 2014 (probably)

For whom was it made? What for? Freshers students of Cardiff Met, 2 weeks of events

Is it a concept? The image is scientific collaboration of some kind. To appeal to as many students as possible to come to the events. The target or camera focus vibe of the image is as though the students are themselves being targeted.

What’s the message? Encouraging people to start their university future with freshers at Cardiff Met. “Your future starts here” is the main focus and the futuristic lines and typography all give the feel of technicality and targeting the student audience directly.

What’s the signifier? Words over image as their purpose is to convey a message, where as the image aspect of it is a secondary decoration aspect.

What’s the signified? The elements of the design reminds us of all the people directed into the event. All the lines are going into the centre which is where the words ‘FRESHERS 2014’ have been placed.

Quick Drawing

Step back from the computer, it’s time will come! One of the most important things in graphic communication is ideas, and the first step to documenting any thoughts is by putting pen to paper with quick drawing. Our class exercises not only helped us bond with the group but allowed us to experiment with basic drawing skills to put this theory into practice. IMAG2303 IMAG2304

Our main task was to create a 16 image storyboard to show our morning routine; from waking up, to the journey to campus. Thinking about layout and close-up/long shot frames added variation to my quick little doodles and gave the ability to show the key stages of my morning without getting bored! I dedicated many of my frames to my favourite past time of sleeping, but was able to create differences without being monotonous and repetitive.

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Collage Workshop

Our first workshop in the studio was collage. We were set the task of changing the meaning of an image by using an array of contrasting newspaper and magazine cuttings. For my piece below, I originally chose an image of a woman resting her head on her hand as though thinIMAG2280king reflectively. What made me inquisitive about the woman was imagining what she was thinking about, I wanted to explore deeper into her thoughts. By using the starry night sky as a background, my aim was to create a sense of awe and vastness in her mind which I think worked quite effectively. The expression of the face was originally positive, however it was almost as though she was hiding behind her smile; by using a magazine cutting of the eyes of a screaming face I tried to portray her inner thoughts of maybe wanting to be let loose. I used hot, vibrant colours to create an explosion of thoughts around the page which is a contrast to the peaceful original image. There is something quite disconcerting and uneasy about the clashing patterns but I feel that it adds to the effect of the mind being out of our control. It was fascinating to see the outcomes from the rest of the group after displaying them on the wall. Each and every one had unique and powerful meaning and it was so amazing to try and interpret the ideas that had been floating around in everybody’s heads.IMAG2287

Museum Project

Our first task as graphic communication students was to visit the National Cardiff Museum. After a welcoming induction lecture with the entire CSAD student body, we were split up into small groups of two or three and given a word to base our first project around. The brief you ask? After being allocated a word, each group set about finding a photograph, drawn image and a written piece of no longer than 200 words; inspired by exhibits in the museum itself.

My group were lucky enough to be tasked with the word ‘Energy’. Ideas were buzzing, but we managed to quickly decide on our three pieces after a short walk around the floors. We wanted to stay away from common connatations such as a lightbulb or the sun, and felt that an ariel photograph showing the energy of the bustling museum floor would fit perfectly to the brief. To gain the full effect we obtained special permission to take our photograph from the highest floor of the museum hall, and used a slow shutter speed when taking the image to show the fast paced energy of the walkers below.

Our drawing for ‘Energy’ was inspired by one of the gallery pieces upstairs, showing industrial workers in a factory. The image showed an explosion of fiery molten metal and even though the piece was only expressed using black and white, the energy still showed through in a powerful way.

For our final task, the written piece took us all by surprise. We started off almost creating an annotated description of an exhibit, however after an inspiring chat with our lecturer; came out with a completely new spin on the brief. Thinking about the feeling of the word and what we wanted to portray, our group made a list off all the energy around us in the museum ‘lights, heat, walking, friction, wind’. Simple and straight to the point we ended up communicating the word in an interesting way. Not only did it help us to think out of the box for our museum task, but I believe not being afraid to work against the grain and experiment with ideas is a lesson that will greatly benefit future projects in every way.

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After discussing everybody’s work in the studio the next day we gained the knowledge that every piece seemed to be interpreted in a different way, whether personally or culturally. Interestingly people found different meanings in images, for example one group drew an image of a fluffy cow with the majority of the class interpreting the word ‘Comfort’ as though the soft fur made them feel comfortable and safe. In fact, the reason the group chose to draw the animal was due to the fact that they felt uncomfortable around knowing that the animal once used to be alive, roaming the earth and was now stuffed and on display for people to stare at. It made the group realise how many meanings words and images can portray and gave us all an insight into the minds of a graphic communicator.