Your Room is a Mess

Activity Time Lapse-Make a time lapse video of yourself doing a task.

The Story Behind the Story-

When I was in elementary school, we were often given an assignment in which we had to come up with an idea for an invention, something not necessarily practical but definitely useful. I always invented some variation on a machine that cleans your room for you.
My machine often took on those classic names like “the amazing clean-o-matic.” There were modiels that were like mechanical fishing poles, programmed to hook objects lying on the ground and identify their proper location. Even more spectacular was the model that made you more efficient as a cleaner, you would work at super sonic speed, racing around the room, folding socks in a blur. I remember so many summer days foiled by my mothers demands that I clean up my pig sty of a room, she would shout that it looked like a tornado had come through, that it was a fire hazard. It always got so treacherous in the summertime when there was much to be done. During the school year, there is plenty to procrastinate on and my bedroom was typically clean and tidy. But in the summers, as my room slowly descended into chaos, I could always sense when my mother’s breaking point would hit, and eventually the tension that only clutter can cause would boil over and I’d be ordered to clean. As I spent what could have been time outside playing kick the can and capture the flag with the neighborhood kids, I lamented in my torture wishing that my inventions could just become reality. I vowed to one day become an inventor who could actually create a room-cleaning machine to rescue the summer days of the children of the future.
Years later, and my room still becomes consumed by clutter in the summers. This summer, I have a roommate and he and I are particularly unkempt. We each work more than 40 hours a week and try to pack as much adventure into our days as we can, so our extremely small bedroom is easily overrun by dirty clothes, stained coffee mugs and sandy beach towels. I chose to complete a time lapse video of us cleaning up our room, to try and satisfy my past self who always wished she could clean her room at super sonic speed.I was inspired now, and as a kid, by Loonette’s Ten Second Tidies from the children’s show The Big Comfy Couch:

Tutorial-

All of the footage for this video was taken on the iPhone 7 using the time-lapse setting. We had to create a mount on the wall using electrical tape so that we could get a vantage point that showed the messy floor of the room. The timelapse was then uploaded to a macbook computer and uploaded to iMovie.

The entire video was shot in a single take, so no editing of the footage was necessary.

Music was then added to the clip in the background, the original video did not have any audio.

The music used was “Camp Song (reprise)” by Fantastic Swimmers from the website Free Music Archive a site that provides music free for download with no copyright infringement.

The movie was then exported to a file acceptable for upload, although the file was too large to be uploaded to Vimeo or to be directly uploaded to my WordPress blog, so it was uploaded to my YouTube account.

Once the video was uploaded to YouTube, it was embedded in this WordPress blog post.

Summer Camp Matters

Self Documentary-Make a mini documentary about something in your life.

The Story Behind the Story-

When I first got my job as a summer camp counselor, I was worried about a few things. First of all, I don’t like kids. Even as a kid I didn’t really like kids. I could be found on the bench at the playground talking to the parents of all the other kids who were playing tag or hide and seek. I just don’t quite understand kids, so they make me nervous. I try to recognize the agency and individuality they possess but in all honesty they seem like very tiny, intoxicated monsters. In their eyes, you can either be a fun punching bag or the evil teacher out to ruin foil their summer adventures, there is no in between.
My secondary worry in taking on this summer camp was that I would be working with extremely privileged children. Not that I don’t want to work with privileged kids, but I feel a little guilty that I am not devoting my time to some kind of “cause.” I figure that if I’m going to work with children, maybe it should be with children who need summer camp. But who is it that needs summer camp? There are plenty of kids out in the world who don’t receive enough love and attention and positivity in their lives, if I’m going to be spending all my time with children, I may as well work as a force to improve the lives of a few of them.
But I’ve found that despite this affluent location and the number of kids that are dropped off each morning in a Range Rover by their French au pair, many of the children I work with still suffer some serious deficit in their lives. For a lot of kids, this is the only place they don’t get bullied. Others don’t receive any attention from their parents or are watching their family become fractured by divorce. I have spoken to one mother who said that summer camp is the only place her daughter has found a positive male role model, a young boy walked me through the horror of watching his grandmother succumb to ALS. Several children are experiencing the beginning of a brand new life having been taken in by foster parents with vacation homes in Tahoe, a stark contrast to the lives of many children in the foster care system.
All of the children at camp, even the ones that might be a little spoiled, are reaping something great from this. I can’t help but feel amazed that I am watching these kids find their way, even if they’re only in my care for a week. Children are malleable, they’re changing from day to day, so even in the small time I have with them I see them grow. So many children go from being shy and invisible the first day, to outgoing and borderline obnoxious by the end of the week. No child is ever what I expect them to be on first sight, I always try to guess which kids will be the most mischievous and I’m nearly always wrong.
Summer camp matters for a lot of reasons. It’s more than just fun, it’s where kids get to be a little less self conscious, maybe try something they’ve never done before. But it’s just as important for me as it is for the children. Since becoming a counselor, I’ve started seeing children differently. They don’t roam in packs like wild animals without conscious thought. They are autonomous individuals with agency and even though they often lack to resources to carry out the plans they make, they’re undoubtedly moving through the world with a plan. Even though they can be cruel, exhausting and unmanageable, they have also given me some of the most profound lessons I have learned in my entire life. When we camped out on the beach under the stars, I got to hear their excited whispers and see the brilliant night stars reflecting off their glossy, wide eyes. I’ve been able to sit in the last rays of the setting sun and watch the kids dance and sing and play, a scene that was so perfect I was unwilling to let it go, so I recorded it here:

via GIPHY

Summer camp has mattered so much to me, I can only hope that these kids will go on feeling as connected to this place and time as I have been.

The Tutorial-

All the footage from this mini documentary was shot on the iPhone 7 and then uploaded onto a macbook for editing using iMovie.

Once uploaded to iMovie, the frames were edited to exclude any unwanted footage and music was added.

Using the ds106 Handbook, I was able to find a site that had free music that could legally be downloaded without copyright infringement.

The music used was “Old Ways” by John Armistead from the website Free Music Archive .

The movie was then exported to a file acceptable for upload, although the file was too large to be uploaded to Vimeo or to be directly uploaded to my WordPress blog, so it was uploaded to my YouTube channel.

Once the video was uploaded to YouTube, it was embedded in this WordPress blog post.

It’s Alright, It’s Alright

Theme Verse-combine verses of songs to create a new verse.

The Story Behind the Story

I rarely hear song lyrics. I am fully consumed by how fluid the melody is, the way the notes float seamlessly together. Words flit in and out of my perception, usually I’ll only catch a few here or there. I can’t really sing along, but I always try. The words are somewhat of an interruption to what is already there. The music can captivate me with or without language. And yet, a song without lyrics seems strikingly incomplete. So when I break up that fluidity I have always adored, I become painfully aware of the lyrics.
Each word falls like a hammer, nailing down notes and pinning up harmonies. They are blunt interruptions, wreaking havoc on delicately intertwined threads of music. But I hear them, I can hear each word clearly. And each word was chosen as carefully as each note, joining this perfectly coordinate symphony to create something beautiful. The words come together like a poem, a broken ballad with imperfectly cut edges that sit unevenly on top of each other. Their textured fringes cling to one another, mending themselves into a cry for healing.

The poem reads as follows:

Listen to your body you can never see it, you know how I’m feeling, you can never fake it, listen to your heart break

I don’t wanna see you waste another day, your heart break, your heart break

Get up get down, get up get down feel the general attention and stop

You should get a ride cause you cant control the heart that beats under the bone come on my comeback chameleon

You keep on askin for help but nobody knows how

Its alright, its alright, you see the fault lines, started panicking you confide in the low light, you’re so kind you’re caught up in the crossfire its alright its alright.

I was inspired to create a poem through lyrics by black out poetry. In this method, you take a book and black out certain portions of the text, leaving only a few words legible. Those words are then stitched together to create a poem. Not only do these often result in beautiful language, but the broken text is beautiful in itself. I’m particularly fond of Austin Kleon’s Poetry.

The Tutorial

To create this new verse, I first selected the songs that I wanted to use and then located them on YouTube. I then used a website called Convert2mp3 to convert the videos into downloadable audio files.

Once these songs were converted, I imported them to audacity where I selected the portions of the song that I wanted to be in the final clip. I then aligned the clips into one fluid sound bit.

Outside

Emotions Through Sound-Tryto convey a certain emotion by combining sound effects

Maybe it’s cliché that I chose to replicate happiness through the sounds of nature. But I thought for a very long time about what sounds make me happy, and they are the sounds of being outdoors. The sounds that bring me closer to the world I’ve always wished was a bigger part of me. The sounds of gentle breezes and rushing water and buzzing insects will always comfort me. When I hear the sound of a dove cooing, I am instantly transported to childhood summers where I laid my back against sun-warmed pavement and let soft breezes glance just slightly off of the surface of my skin.
And the sound of soft breezes as they swirl through leaves, causing them to rattle and shiver, will always be far more impressive than a strong gust of wind. These sounds make me feel warm as if sunlight is kissing my skin, even as I type away at this in a dark room. These are sounds of freedom from obligation and the gift of simplicity. And I do think everyday would be better if it ended with a thunderstorm.
I chose this assignment because it was truly a challenge, no sense alone is truly sufficient to convey emotion. Through sound, emotion would best be recreated using dialogue or at least human sounds. But I wanted to try and do this in a slightly abstract way. Because human emotion is an abstraction in itself. Once again the power of sound has impressed me. When I close my eyes and listen to this track I am instantly relieved, I am transported. These sound effects, low in quality and inexpertly mixed are enough to move me.

I took inspiration from this video which is centered heavily around the sounds of the woods of Georgia. Even though it is a video, I would argue that the sense that is most targeted by this content is hearing.


The Tutorial-

To create this sound clip, I first downloaded sounds from Free Sound.

 

Once the clips were downloaded, I opened a list of them in a separate clipboard to keep track of each one that I used in order to properly acknowledge credit.

The sound clips used in this project include:

Bansemer: birds morning dove song birds st Augustine april
Lebcraftlp: heavy rain
Soundkrampf: creek
Duck duck pony: foliage rustling
Le-abbaye-noirlac: tree rustling

I then opened the sound clips using audacity and merged them, overlapping some of them to generate a new combination of sounds. I used the fade in and fade out effects in several positions along the sound bits. When the project was finished, I exported it and uploaded it to my SoundCloud account to be published and then embedded in this post.

Move

Sound Effects Story: Tell a story using nothing but sound effects.

The Story Behind the Story

These days were Adam’s favorite. The rain fell gently, and the air was crisp with chilled humidity making the pavement of the carport feel damp. He sat with his legs splayed out in a V formation before him, toe to toe with his brother Andrew. They were gingerly rolling a foam ball back and forth between. Each time the ball came to Andrew, he left deep depressions in the shape of his small hand and watched the ball grow slowly back into its original form. Adam barely let the pads of his finger tips make any impression on the ball, rather allowing the smooth outer covering to slide under his fingers. He always wanted to feel as much as he could, with every moment. Right now he could feel the thick air resting on his skin more than anything, but he also felt the dull sensation of small pebbles slowly indenting themselves into the back of his calves as they rested on the pavement. He felt a subtle ache in his lower back, he had been sitting stiffly for what felt like hours. Andrew had begged him to help him reach the arts and craft bin from the upper shelf in the carport, but Adam wanted to sit with his brother and watch the storm brew, he promised to pull the bin down later.
There hadn’t been any lightning but soft rolling thunder undulated in the distance, like a soft warning that something bigger was on its way. As Adam slid his fingers off the smooth surface of the ball, again sending it spinning slowly towards Andrew, a bright light began to claim the horizon. It happened slowly at first, and then all at once, a consuming and powerful rush struck his face slapping him with invisible heat making his skin warm to the touch. Overhead, something large and foreign soared fiercely towards the two boys, and suddenly their world was in motion. There was no flame, no bomb was dropped.
An invisible force struck them, and around their feet the carport crumbled, in the distance were screams. Sound continued to pummel what was once a proud town. Disaster had gripped every living soul, had wrapped itself around everything that could have once been cherished and crushed it. Adam lay beneath the rubble of the carport, toys were scattered like casualties among fallen shelves and torn drywall. Andrew stood mostly unscathed, the arts and crafts bin had tumbled right to his feet, spilling only a few of its contents. His eyes darted around the ruins, looking for his brother. The sounds in the distance started to grow louder, he thought of his most recent science class. They had talked about the Doppler effect. He shouted to his brother to move, he shouted to himself to move. He didn’t move.

The Doppler Effect, an extremely recognizable and well-known phenomenon reminds me that the physics of sound are powerful.

The Tutorial

To complete this assignment, I downloaded sound effects from a sound effect website called Free Sound. I simply searched for the sounds that I wanted to use to generate my story and then downloaded them, and imported them into audacity.

Once in audacity, I was able to organize the sound bits in the order that would generate the story I wanted to portray. I edited the sound bites by cutting a few sections out in a few effects and using the “fade in” and “fade out” effects. Once completed I exported the clip and uploaded it to my SoundCloud account. The effects that I used include:

Timbre: loud jet-ish fly by
Design dean: Kids “WOAH”
Scream Studio: Scary Horn
Wjoojooo: Stan Throwing a Fit
Jgrzinich: Rain Storm
Scream Studio: Ambient one shot
Klankbeeld: Horror Insects
Starscade: distant fireworks
Klankbeeld: thunder suburb
Tommccan: explosion
Allanz10d: explosion simulation
Rhonturn: people on carnival rides

Putting the Day-to-Day on Shuffle

What’s The Story Morning Glory: Limit the dialogue, walk us through your daily morning routine using sound alone.

The Story Behind the Story

Routine is something we desire, it is an evolutionarily-sculpted advantage. We can organize our daily lives into sequence and let the hands on the clock take hold of our own and guide us. Usually I dread but accept these routines, as they are pervasive. I see no reason to attempt to avoid them, and I wonder if maybe the way that I quickly take a liking to routine is simply another evolutionary mechanism. Perhaps I only feel so comfortable in routine because if I were left in discomfort, the routine would be abandoned before any benefit were seen.

However, routines can be broken in completely non-chronological manners. To see your day-to-day in a different light, a change of perspective is the only essential. This alteration could be visual, as is often the dominant sense for most people. Changes in taste and touch are often imperceptible or insignificant. But a alteration in audio could be quite compelling. The sound need not be changed, but isolated, as I did in this assignment. Here, my morning routine is reduced to the simplicity of the sounds that greet me on a daily basis. These are not the sounds I hear, rather the wavelengths produced by the actions I both feel and carry out. It is not coffee brewing, or the sound of campers searching for me in a game of “Hide the Counselor.” These are the sounds of each moment of a life unfolding, unaltered and authentic.
I chose this project because I have always deeply valued my mornings, but usually for its sights, smells and tastes. The bitter-sweet tinge that rolls off my tongue with each sip of coffee and the dim, purple-tinted light of each sunrise are sufficient to capture my attention. What might be heard in my mornings is often reduced to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist. This assignment allows me to focus on the organic sound effects that make up my life. This audio clip is representative of a typical day for me: I wake up, drink my coffee and eat my breakfast, brush my teeth and get dressed to go to camp where we play games and shout with total abandoned. My days sound so sweet when I just listen.

The Tutorial-

I recorded all the audio material for this assignment using the Voice Memos app on my iphone and uploaded it to my PC. Once on my computer, I opened the audio files using iTunes, and converted them to MP3 files by selecting the song, clicking File<Convert<Convert to Mp3

Once converted to the proper format, I opened the audio file in Audacity, a program for audio editing. I followed this procedure to cut out background noise and come up with clear, focused audio content.

The Good, the Bad and the Accidental

DesignBlitz-

To see my DesignBlitz album, visit my Flickr.

Color is my favorite concept to consider in design. I’ve always been fascinated by the physics of light and light energy as well as the biological and chemical significance of color. In nature, color is never random. Trinidadian Guppies demonstrate evolving colors and patterns on their scales with every generation. Unwittingly, these little fish are the product of the most successfully designed fish of the previous generation. There are two major consequences of color: attraction of a mate and attraction of a predator. Too bright and the fish will be a quick snack for the Killifish far before it is able to reproduce. Too dull, and the fish will live a long but lonely life. Thus, many generations of guppies show greatest fitness among the fish who are an intermediate display of attractive spots and duller, camouflaging colors.
This delicate balance of color and pattern is the unconscious task of organisms all over our diverse planet, but it is also the goal in advertisement. The right color scheme can give a lot of power to advertisers, but strike the wrong notes and you will turn people off of your product. It’s a battle between subtlety and attention-grabbing. Your design must flaunt itself without being too garish and obnoxious, it is a delicate balance between attraction and detraction. I wonder where on earth we could have possible been inspired….
Though I could have captured the concept of color in a much more appealing or artistic capacity, I decided that I wanted to discuss this concept with a photo I captured at a grocery store. Living on the other side of the country for the summer has made being a consumer a little more exciting for a few reasons. The first one being that my pulse is a little faster simply due to the stress of how much more expensive everything is, and also because of all the regional products that are brand new to me (and yes that pun was absolutely intended). Some products, though new to me, are iconic such as In-N’-Out Burger. But others are foreign to me, their packaging catches my eye easily among the other far more familiar options.

I noticed the packaging of the pictured Yerba Mate from several aisles over and was instantly drawn to the cans. The design is very compelling, not because it is beautiful but because it is so brightly colored and to be quite frank, a little ugly. Vignelli mentions that color is representative, it holds meaning and symbolism but it is also very much entwined with appropriateness. Which made me wonder: was the color scheme of this can designed for this exact purpose of drawing me in from a far, even though I was no further enticed by what I discovered? If so, then these colors are very appropriate for the goal of the design, and the creators are relying on other elements such as the name of the drink, descriptions, typography and so on, to attract consumers.
However, as a consumer, I was utterly distracted by this design. I was examining the can and looking at the small details of the green elements. They clash with the bright yellow background of the can, but not too harshly. There are tints of green in the yellow which relieve some of the harshness. The green, while metallic and bright is a cool green and the yellow seems to be a somewhat intermediate temperature being neither too warm nor too cool. The color of the text is a cool red that comes as an afterthought because of how striking the other colors are. I even sat there wondering if this was a can of soda or beer because I was so preoccupied with examining the other colors of the can that I didn’t even look for the fine print to identify the beverage (which turned out to be a type of tea). Karen Kavett’s video about color theory was most useful in dissecting what it is about this color scheme that is so unsettling for me. Based on her short video, I think the green and yellow of these cans are analogous colors, they appear next to each other on the color wheel. They have similar hues which make them a little intense to look at, although there is some relief because the yellow is not quite as saturated as the red text is.
Nevertheless, the eyes are not drawn towards the red text at all because of the glaring yellow which then contrasts strongly enough with the green that my eyes are always drawn towards the places where green and yellow meet. This seems like a bit of a failure in the use of color in advertisement, I think the intense design is successful in catching the attention of a consumer, but fails to complete the more important task of enticing the customer to pull it off the shelf.

I chose the photo above to consider the element of typography. I think of typography as analogous to diction in literature. It is a subtle but powerful tool that can completely alter the message we are sending to our audience. In the case of this packet of Oreos, the lettering is curved and off-center, written to appear only on the cream-filled center of the cookie on the packaging. There is only enough space on the Oreo to write “Double Stuf” with one “f” rather than two. When I saw this in the store, my friend Nils pointed to the packaging and said, “Look, these Oreos are so full of cream they only had room for one “f.” Nils was kind of joking but I began to wonder if maybe he was right. The orientation of the lettering makes the cookie seem overfilled, the spacing between letters is tight and resembles that slightly flufflier appearance characteristic of Double Stuf oreos. This really is a clever use of lettering if it is the case. As the words appear on the cookie, they letters themself appear more delectable as if they could be eaten right off the package. In my minds eye, I can imagine walking around the rotund cookie and finding that extra “f” that I known ought to be there
However, with a little research, I found that this was not the motivation behind dubbing these cookies “Double Stuf.” In an article found on Time.com, it is revealed that the typographic choice on the packaging was in order to avoid certain liabilities. These oreos, apparently, are not technically double-stuffed. There is nowhere near twice as much creme in these cookies as compared to the originals. At first, I found this rather disappointing. I figured that I had read too far into the packaging and that I had let my recent readings on typography make me overzealous, imagining design where no credit is really due. But then I thought back to Vignelli, who spoke of the importance of pragmatic design. Whether intentional or not, this typographic choice by Nabisco creates an elevated visual experience. I can bite into these sweet letters and feel thick folds of cream slicing into strands between my teeth. I can imagine the too-fat cookie overflowing in my hand, just like the elephantine letters sit plumply on the packaging.

 

The design above was chosen to represent minimalism. This tapestry is very plain from its characters, to its color scheme, to its overall threading design. The most extravagant component of the rug is the fringes on either end and even those appear sparse and under-done. This is not a particularly appealing decor, but it is some kind of Swedish symbol. Though I was unable to determine exactly what that symbol is, I believe that the rug is in accordance with the “Less is More” principle mentioned in this Smashing Magazine Article. The design does not jump out at you or demand your attention, rather it waits for you to notice it on your own.
With so few components, the design does not tell you much, every conclusion about its meaning would have to be speculative. However, there’s not a lot of room to speculate so the simple rug can always tell a simple story.

This final photo is emblematic of balance and symmetry. The objects on the mantel seem to cause the shelf to tilt slightly to the left. The larger horse and the tin on the left side pull weight in their direction. However, the two vases on either end are identical and re-establish a sense of symmetry along the mantel. On the right side, the smaller horse, while identical in size the the two horses in the middle, appears dwarfed in its contrast with the biggest horse. The absence of a tin container on the right side of the mantel makes the entire display appear incomplete and lopsided. However, the right side does appear to be weighed down by the small iron pot that hangs from the underside of the shelf. The presence of the large circular emblem on the stones gives a sense of density that is shared by both the right and left mantel.
Although the sides of the mantel are not equal, they do display some sense of abstract symmetry in the ways that they contrast. There is a sense of equality despite their differences. Neither one has more or less of anything, they are simply different. I don’t find this design particularly appealing, not that it is a bad design, just that it is a little unsettling. It shifts the implied balance of the entire room so that the left side of the building seems to tilt with the same subtlety of a see-saw. Perhaps I’ll rearrange things when my hosts aren’t looking….

We Were Already There

Are We There Yet?-Changing the concept of a photo by altering the background of the image.

The Story Behind the Story-

The kinds of adventures you have with your high school buddies are often not really adventures at all. Limited by funds; legality and transportation, the range of possible activities are dwarfed compared to your weekend aspirations. But if you’re cast among a group of people with the exact right chemistry, these non-adventures become something else entirely. In my junior year of high school I alienated myself. School was hard, AP chemistry was making me feel stupid and I wanted to hide from the world. I began spending most of my time alone, making up excuses as to why I would unavailable for yet another weekend plan. But as senior year came around, I was plucked somewhat reluctantly from my solitude and landed somewhere strange.
I had always had friends in school, I was on plenty of sports teams and was inherently social. But something about my junior year had taken all of that out of me, and suddenly I was being coaxed into socializing every weekend. This group of friends were not innovative in their hangouts. There was nothing truly unique about our plans, but everything felt unusual. We placed ourselves in the same basement doing the same activities each night. We played Super Smash Bros and classic card games, we listened to new music and talked about politics. New people filtered in and out of our weekend get-togethers, but the core of the group rarely changed.
I usually felt like more of an observer than a participant at these gatherings, but I felt wanted there. Even if I didn’t have much to say, there was always a place for me. I felt like an ethnographer, diligently taking in the antics of a group I was only just becoming familiar with. I watched freestyle rap battles and listened to the guys of the group as they formed a circle to talk about their emotions, all with Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Our time together was never really based on creating fun or experience. There was no desperation to enjoy a moment or give the impression to onlookers that we were having the time of our lives. It was always about conversation, debate and not being alone. We didn’t feel like we had to manipulate our surroundings or circumstances to have a good time together. The original photo in this gallery was taken during one of the truly adventurous events of our time together. We began a tradition of renting an Airbnb during summer and winter breaks to keep in touch throughout college, this photo was captured on Skyline Drive in Luray, Virginia. No matter what backdrop I place behind to original cutout, the photo is such a clear representation of what we have always been as a group: Simply taking it all in, wherever we go, whenever we get there.

The Tutorial-

This project was relatively straight forward, although I definitely ran into a few issues. To begin, I selected the photo that I wanted to use and opened GIMP. I then used the free select tool to cut out the people in the photo:

Once I had completed the selection process, outlining the portion of the photo I wanted to remove, I clicked Edit>Cut.

From there, I opened another photo in a new GIMP page. I got all of my photos from StockExchange.

With the new background open, I clicked Edit>Paste and the picture I had recently cut appeared over this background photo. I moved the picture around to position it, however I could not figure out how to shrink this pasted image.

Additionally, I was having trouble finding the “move” tool at first and had to re-do the image several times because I kept accidentally cutting out portions of the new photo. I eventually found the “move” tool under Tools>Transform Tools>Move. After many frustrating attempts to resolve the issue, I settled on simply showing a portion of the cut out image in the final product.

Ferrous Wheel

Creating a T-shirt- design your very own t-shirt

The Story Behind the Story-

I love puns, inside jokes and chemistry. This is a T-shirt that I would wear with pride, extremely nerdy pride. This past semester in biochemistry, we discussed a large number of co-factors, more commonly known as vitamins. These are the functional portions of enzymes, the proteins that carry out all of our metabolic reactions. One of the enzymes we discussed, Aconitase, a key component of cellular respiration during the Tricarboxylic acid Cycle (Krebs Cycle).

Aconitase is responsible for the hydration and subsequent dehydration of citric acid to produce iso-citrate, an intermediate of the cycle. Aconitase has a unique iron-sulfur cluster at the center of its active site that is able to coordinate the substrate of its chemical reaction, positioning it precisely so that the resultant product has a specific form of stereochemistry (the way the atoms of the molecule are positioned around each other.)
Prior to the discover of the iron-sulfur cluster, it was believed that aconitase functioned through a ring of iron atoms coordinated with some electronegative non-metal like oxygen or sulfur, this theorized structure was dubbed the “Ferrous Wheel” given that Iron with two valance electrons is named a ferrous atom. This proposed structure was eventually disproved, however I have always thought it would make for an excellent t-shirt. It would only make sense to a chemist or biochemist, so I chose not to include any text so as to make the joke somewhat exclusive. I have been planning to create this shirt for several months, so this project was a perfect choice for me.

The Tutorial-

To make this t-shirt, I used the CustomInk design lab program. CustomInk is a relatively new company that makes custom t-shirts. The tool was incredibly easy to use. I simply uploaded the photo I wanted to use, and then began using the tools of the site to reposition the image on the shirt. I also took advantage of the many style and color options available on the site.

Beware of the Failed Franchise

WARNING-create a warning poster for a fictional hazard.

The Story Behind the Story-

You would think, that after six films, that if the characters did not adapt to be able to more intelligently navigate a world overrun with horrifying aliens, then at least the creators of these abominations would find the means to create a new plot. I have seen almost all of the movies in the Aliens Franchise, and they are startlingly similar. I do have to admit that the first and second installments of these movies were very much enjoyable, but they have repeated their story lines each and every time.
I have witnessed impassioned debates over the meaning and symbolism of the elements of each new installment of these films, but I fail to see how either one differs from the other, except for the very clear disparity in quality. The original movies staring Sigourney Weaver were far more entertaining and well-crafted. I can’t help but think that she makes the iconic face pictured in the warning above with each additional sequel. In the initial stages of producing this design, I intended to create a warning for Xenomorph sightings, but as I worked on this orginial design my mind was swayed for two reasons. The first being that my original content was quite ugly, lacking many of the aspects of color, typography and use of space that I had researched in Vignelli’s cannon earlier this week. The second being that I felt I was betraying my own feelings of annoyance to this undying franchise. This is a necessary warning to all those who can still be spared: watch the first and second installments of the Aliens franchise, and then never (ever) look back.

The Tutorial-

To begin this process, I downloaded the image I wanted to use and opened it in GIMP.

Then I selected Color>Colorize and decided to use the default blue hue that the program selected. I thought this tint would soften the original image a little more, making it less obvious that it had been cut from a different background.

Next, I selected Tools>Selection Tools>Free Select and cut out Sigourney Weaver’s face.

I then copied and pasted the image to a blue background in a PowerPoint and began adding the text I wanted and repositioning the images to make hide the sharp edges of the face that had been cut out.