Monthly Archives: January 2016

Paper Riders

Sticky Note Animation

Welcome to a tiny bull chase, featuring two inked-in cowboys and a round little bull. This GIF assignment, which has you draw an animation sticky note style and convert it into a GIF, gave room for plenty of creativity. In my own version, I wanted to capture something like the cowboy’s biggest issue in the Wild West — keeping the cattle calm and in line with one another. Moving them across the wide regions of the southwest to the railroads up north was dangerous, and the effort and risk necessary to do it made for great stories. Chasing down the loose cattle and making sure nothing else went wrong was a real struggle. I made an effort to capture a simplified version of this kind of scene in my sticky note animation, which was a lot of fun to create! It was also a lot of editing, picture-taking, and GIF-creating which my computer admittedly did not enjoy as much.

The assignment prompt’s request was simple, and despite my limited understanding of GIFs and photo editing, I really wanted to try it out. After putting together this simple little western-inspired scene on my sticky notes, I had to take pictures. The sticky notes were all too happy to curl up at the bottom, hence the pencil in each shot (sorry, I know it looks a little messy). Once I got the notes under control and the camera settings just right, I had to switch out the scenes shot-by-shot without moving the camera around too much. Almost everything shifted between each picture.

So, once I uploaded all of the photos, I had to adjust and crop them so that they aligned better. This probably took the longest — mostly because my computer was not happy with me trying to move and save photos all within the same Paint.Net document. Once all of that was complete, I had to switch over to a GIF-making program. After extensive research, I used GIMP according to the how-to guide this course’s handbook graciously provided. It was a long and confusing process, but I came out knowing a lot more about GIFs than I thought I ever could.

This process was a great learning experience, and aside from trying to navigate programs for the first time, it was a great deal of fun.

Clint Pixelwood

Pixelwood

Everyone, meet Clint Pixelwood, a pixel rendition of one of Clint Eastwood’s most famous Western images. I made Mr. Pixelwood during the completion of an assignment that encouraged the making of a pixel image with only a 16×16 resolution. Since I’ve never made pixel art before, this proved to be a bit of a challenge. I don’t know much about shading and colors in such limited space, but I think Pixelwood came out pretty well. I used Paint.Net, which is a free drawing program that allows the use of layers and editing tools, though its brush functions are limited. I had to resize it in MS Paint in order to prevent it from getting fuzzy around the edges of the pixels.

In order to create my image, I referenced this photo of Clint Eastwood:

Eastwood

This photo is iconic to me, and since the assignment prompt encourages you to put as much detail in the limited space as possible, I figured what better way to test the limits of my abilities than to use an actual photo, background and all? Despite not being able to recreate his facial expression, I’m pretty proud of what came out of the assignment. I learned that pixel art has everything to do with colors, less so with shapes and lines.

Clint Eastwood had a big impact on Western film (and on film in general). I admire the work he’s done as an actor and director, and his older films are still incredibly enticing to watch. The image that I attempted to pixelate is from his iconic role in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The image alone speaks volumes of his character and of how Western film is remembered — rugged, rough, dirty, and quiet. The very essence of this image is difficult to describe, but it is certainly fun to rework.

Week 1: Hardy Introductions

This week was filled with grasping at what this course is about. I spent most of my time pondering what I should do for each social media aspect — Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, soundcloud, and the very subject of the course — and didn’t save too much time putting down what I was picking up along the way, which led to a bit of a rocky start. I built a website, which is subject to go through many, many other changes before the end of this semester; I have a barren YouTube channel, which will get some videos soon; and a few tweets, as well as some photos of trees that I thought looked kind of cool.

Barren trees

I read the articles that were assigned and perused through some of the films offered to us, and I admit I was surprised by the sheer depth of ideology and themes within Western film. Like many others, I took the genre as little more than cowboys and saloons and bandits, but the real, thoughtful stories and characters in these classic films show much more than they get credit for. Hopefully we can capture at least the essence of such in-depth storytelling as the Western producers and actors had created in the past.

Next week the real work begins! I really can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

A Rocky Start

I admit, I don’t do much with digital media aside from consume and observe, and this is my first fully online course, so this week has been more or less of a rocky start.

I’ve been trying to keep up by researching, reading, and thinking, only to realize that today, Friday, I haven’t gotten around to really producing anything. I’ve taken some pictures here and there, tried to make my website look decent for starters, but I’m missing the all-important drive to put what I’ve done online right away. My presence does need to be more available to this class, especially in the starting days and weeks of adapting to a fully virtual environment. I hope to meet a lot of people here; honestly I can’t wait to see what everyone else does for their projects and works, simply because there is so much to do in digital media. Still, I need to start producing works myself.

So, why not start by doing what I do best and break the ice through writing? Here’s a little about myself:

My name is Lindsey. I’m a sophomore at UMW and an American Studies major. I hope to go into a Digital Studies minor soon, which is one of the reasons I’m in this class! I also chose to take this course because I have an affinity for digital works and I’ve always wanted to create online stories myself. Knowing how to create all kinds of different media will also help with my major and potentially my future career. My life goal is to educate through a digital presence so that ideas and perspectives are more readily available for those who may not have access to a quality education. I don’t know how far I will be able to go with that dream, but this class is certainly a first step for me.

I grew up out West, but I’m not very steeped in Westerns or the culture behind it (or, at least, I’m not fully aware of it). I still have family out there, though, as well as distinct memories of tumbleweeds, dust, and a couple rattlesnakes we had to actively avoid. Granted, I’ve only ridden a horse once and I’ve never lived near any dusty old saloons, but I’m excited to explore how we can see those images of the Old West digitally.

Like I’ve said before, I’m not very well versed in making digital stories of any kind. I have experience making a couple of websites for classes (Cup of Culture, Women of the Freedom Rides), but that is about as far as my background goes. I fully intend on expanding my horizons and venturing into whatever comes out of this class, regardless of my current knowledge.

Anyway, I hope that during this course we learn to create a great many things and that we strive toward the Ol’ West like the storytellers before! I’ll see you at Sundown.

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