Playlist Project: Jay Gatsby - The American Shame
To revise my playlist, I followed very precisely along the lines of the feedback I received. I felt like this assignment was very straight forwarded and required three things: an aesthetically pleasing and organized layout, a focus upon the personality traits and changes in character (rather than the plot line of the Great Gatsby), and a solid tie to the sonic elements of the songs in the playlist. Therefore, these were my three main focuses when I went back to edit my playlist. I identified the songs that lacked in the identification of sonic elements: "American Life" and "I'm a Loser." I added this level of analysis and moved on to see which sections that might need tweaking to shift from a plot summary to a character inspection. The main section that needed help in this area was the song "Turn Down for What." All of my songs had a strong tie to Jay Gatsby's personality, so I didn't have to replace any. Finally, I polished the aesthetic layout of the playlist by consolidating the analysis text into scrollboxes with some new code I learned from browsing the web. I also used Adobe Photoshop to create the header image of Jay Gatsby with the title of my playlist on the side.
Although this project was quite simple, it was a good jumpstart into the projects that I would create later on. I became more comfortable with presenting analyses I would typically write on a simple, plain piece of paper onto a vibrant, adjustable computer screen. There were so many more dimensions I could add to my analysis in this format: sound, visuals, formatting, and formatting. The focus on the sonic layer through the construction of this playlist helped me later to choose pieces of music for my Trailer and ePoem.
- Further mastery of Adobe Photoshop (header image)
- Adaption of a more critically thinking mindset into the personalities of characters in literature rather than a surface-level plot understanding
- Using sonic elements to emphasis character traits and evoke different moods
- HTML coding basics for coloring, scrollboxes, embedding media, and formatting text
Twine Story: First Year Tarheel Guide
To revise my Twine project, I first made all the edits my revisers suggested. I added links to all the pages on the bottom of every page, sharpened up the grammar and spelling, and added background pictures to everyone of the main pages. I used Adobe Photoshop to reduce the opacity on these pictures, uploaded the photos to Flickr, copied the image link, and used these as backgrounds so the text on top would be more clear and readable. I also added a few more pages including one about Sup Dogs and added a few more bits of advice. I am proud of the way this project turned out and I am sure that this guide would help many incoming students navigate around campus. My biggest struggle with this project was navigating around the restricted code that the Twine applications allows. I found myself attempting to implement complex CSS code that Twine would not use properly.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the turnout of my Twine project. It was quite different from many of the other student's Twine projects that often told a multifaceted, creative story rather than a nonfiction walk through UNC's campus life. However, I found that my Twine came in handy during many real-life situations. I have had a few incoming freshmen from my former high school message me to ask me for advice and tips, and I have sent them a link to this project. I believe it is an extremely useful and easily digestible guide for a first-year student. I wish this Twine had been available to me before I started my first year here.
- Further HTML and CSS coding mastery, including the editing of a stylesheet for a webpage, embedding images as backgrounds, using the "a href" hyperlink to create display text (utilized in the creation of this portfolio)
- Continued expansion of creative thought and digital savviness for presenting literature virtually
- New exploration into UNC campus life and the creation of a tool to pass along for incoming first-years
Gone Home Review
To revise my Gone Home video, I began by fixing various parts of the script, clipping some portions to shorten the video length, and completely rerecording my voice in the Audio Lab in the Undergraduate Library. I used Adobe Premiere to edit my video this time and was able to add some new titles and animations to my video. I also made the on-screen visuals match with the subject matter that I was discussing at all times. For instance, when talking about the game producer, I now have a clip of him included to supplement my discussion. Much of the feedback that I received suggested that I make this revision. I also played a bit more with the arrangement of different pictures or videos on the canvas (see 3:45), since the beginning scene with the various reviews was noted as one of the most successful components of my review.
This project was a bit different for me than all the others. Instead of creating a digital literary analysis, I was giving an opinionated game review. I felt like my audience was different - I catered this video towards a fellow gamer or a potential buyer. I also used Adobe Spark Video for the first time in the creation of this review video to create the segmented transitions that introduced the "good" and the "bad." This skill came in handy later in the Watchmen project, since I was already familiar with Adobe Spark, and in my portfolio videos when I also wanted to segment my talking points.
- Adobe Spark Video editing
- Camtasia clipping, recording, and animating
- New understanding of the criteria of video games and how literature can be implemented into this interactive digital world
E-Poem: All Nature Has a Feeling
After revising this e-Poem, I was very pleased with the results and I even posted it on some of my social media. I truly feel that this revised project is a culmination of many of the skills that have learned in this course.
I began with a sub-par lyric video for a song and ended with a beautiful visual representation of an elegant poem about nature. I completely restarted my project using the skills that I utilized in my successful trailer for the Road. I successfully used Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects to animate each line of text in the new poem I chose. I played with blending modes and masks to layer text behind the video. This resulted in the creation of a beautiful personification of the nature scenes I found on Vimeo because of the animated text layered on top of the visuals. I took more time analyzing the meaning of the poem and conveying this message in my video than I did in my first version that simply restated the story of the song. In the end, I not only created a more appealing project aesthetically, but I was able to better emphasize the literary components of this beautiful poem about nature by John Clare.
I even chose to share this video with my parents the other day. It was a very special moment for my mom to watch this ePoem because her mother, and my grandmother, just passed away on May 1st, 2017. She said that the video brought her to tears because it was very symbolic of my grandmother's passing away. One particular line, "their decay is the green life of change to pass away and come again in blooms revivified," resonated with me. When plants die or decay, they become compost in the soil for new, revivified flowers to grow from. My grandmother may have passed away, but she left behind so many "blooms" in her journey.
(see Portfolio Video 2 for more commentary on this project)
- Introduction to Adobe Premiere and mastery of the application after the completion of the revision
- Introduction to animations in Adobe After Effects
- Learning to dissect poetry line by line to capture the meaning, mood, and theme of the text
The Road Trailer
This project truly encompasses my progress through this course of this semester. I was able to create an awesome trailer that captured the symbolism and conflicts in the book, The Road. It successfully combines a text layer that pulls from quotes in the book, a visual layer of many important scenes and symbols in the novel, and an audio layer that sets a thrilling and dangerous mood. I could never had created the same effect and message about this book that I did with this trailer with a simple block of text.
I chose not to make any edits to this project. After showing it to a few people and looking over it a few times myself, I noticed no editing errors and I was able to get a consistent positive reaction and understanding of the premise of the novel, even for the viewers who had not read the book.
To compose this project, I began by pulling a few quotes and symbols that I felt captured some of the most important components of the Road. The philosophical question of what becomes moral after all justice systems and typical order is gone was one consistent conflict throughout the entire novel. I worked this theme into my trailer when I posed the text "What morals remain...in a world where everything else is gone?" and at the end when the child stares at the gun and the text "We are the good guys...and always will be" appears. The second symbol and theme that I highlighted in this video was the trout and loss of meaning behind words that are associated with typical things in a normal world after they are destroyed in this post-apocalyptic world. The quote from the novel, "The last of the thing...takes the class with it" exemplifies this theme perfectly. The symbol of the trout in the video that is layered behind that text illustrates a typical word that loses all meaning when the animal goes extinct. Finally, the beginning quote, "Perhaps in the world's destruction...we might finally see how it was made," set the post-apocalyptic world that this novel plays out, an essential mood piece for the trailer.
The next steps of creating this project were primarily technical. I animated the text to curve along the road using a motion path in Adobe Premiere and played with timestamps on the text position and size to grow or move the text across the screen. The next step was to stitch together the videos and text with smooth transitions that I created by fading out the opacity of the objects. I also used the masking tool on the opacity in the opening scene with the fire that seems to flare up on top of the text. I used the pen tool to create an adjustable 0% opacity mask on top of the title text so that it would show the video of the fire underneath. I moved frame by frame to adjust the position and shape of this mask to create this effect seen in the opening. Finally, I found a song that match the apprehensive, thrilling, and dangerous mood I hope to create in my trailer.
- Masking opacity using the pen tool and Animation paths in Adobe Premiere
- Creating a short visual clip that brings together the symbolism and conflicts of an entire novel
- Learning to successfully layer and transition text and videos to create a fluid and elegant video composition
Watchmen Spark Project
Watchmen was my favorite assigned reading in this course. I had never read a graphic novel, nevertheless one with such an in-depth plot and multifaceted themes. Creating this Adobe Spark page to discuss the persistent conflict between isolation and companionship in the novel seemed very fitting. The layout of the Spark page closely resembled the layout of the graphic novel and allowed for the manipulation of images to supplement my textual discussion, despite the slight complications in the flexibility of the application. I was very pleased with the movement through the images using the "glideshow" feature that highlighted the conflict between isolation and companionship that I introduced in the beginning. Then, the collage feature allowed me to simulate the arrange of a graphic novel when I inserted the screenshots of certain parts of the novel that I discussed. As I looked back over my completed Spark Page, I felt like I successfully introduced a common conflict that repeated throughout the course of the novel, discussed how the characters experienced both utter loneliness and tearful embrace, and finally made a claim about the conclusion or moral of this theme.
- Mastery of the Adobe Spark Pages application
- Introduction into examining themes and conflicts of graphic novels
- Presentation of a theme analysis in an easily digestible and appealing format
Video One: Playlist Revisions
Playlist Two: Revising my E-Poem Based Upon my Trailer for the Road