Spatial Awareness

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15/12/2016 – 28/11/2016

Brief: To produce 20 sketches expressing emotions/feelings/sensations through the composition of black and white geometric shapes (the shapes pictured above). These shapes may be repeated, just use the outline, cropped using cropping tools, black on white or white on black. The 5 best compositions should then be rendered on A3 paper. The aim of this brief is to enhance my understanding of spatial awareness, create strong visual statements in a simple manner, and to explore visual language with minimal iconography.

I began by brainstorming 100 emotions, I did this to help me collect emotions that aren’t simple, such as worried, but were more in depth and allowed for more creative play, such as anxiety or apprehension. Once I had done this I selected the 20 most intriguing emotions and began to thumbnail out some designs for them. Whilst thumbnails I discovered that some designs were more applicable to other emotions and not the emotions I initially started with, therefore this process was very fluid and my designs were not concrete.

Furthermore I decided to make sure my designs for positive emotions were primarily white and the designs for negative emotions were primarily black, this was due to the positive and negative connotations associated with each colour. However once again this rule was not concrete and some designs due not follow it, for example my design for Tranquility as soon below. I chose to make this design primarily black as the outlines of the circles were very harsh when viewed on a bright white background, so a black background was more soothing to the eye.

Once I had my thumbnails in place I started to physically cut out the geometric shapes in various sizes out of black and white paper and began to experiment with using the cropping tools. I did not do this with all of my designs, only with those that I thought needed improvement or could be aided by cropping.

Below are my five final designs that I digitally rendered.

spatial-awareness-tranquility-pdf-no-clip

Tranquility – Outlines of circles which are placed on top of each other and increasing in size. They meet in the middle and appear to be radiating out calm pulsating waves.

spatial-awareness-stressed

Stressed – The negative space between two circles creating a form that appears to be stretched out and under a lot of pressure and force.

spatial-awareness-inquisitive

Inquisitive – Circles of alternating tone placed on top of each other increasingly reducing in size to create depth, as if peering into something unknown.

spatial-awareness-boredom

Bored – A straight continuous line that does not change representing the monotony of boredom.

spatial-awareness-alienated

Alienated – A single shape in the corner surrounded by negative space highlighting how distanced it is.

Feedback

The feedback I received during the group critique was very positive, the tutors could all correctly identify roughly what each emotion was and supported my reasoning behind the design choices that I made. They also found the fact that I used mainly black designs refreshing as many other students had primarily white designs.

Introduction to InDesign

11/11/2016

Adobe InDesign is important in graphic design and illustration for producing publications and other printed material. This workshop not only equips me for producing my own publications and printed material in the future but also helps me in producing the  ‘Learning the Ropes’ typography archive that I am currently working on and which has to be produced in Adobe InDesign.

We started by setting up a new document and becoming familiar with the different options that can be adjusted; intent, facing pages, columns, gutter, margins, bleed and slug. Once the document was set up we became familiar with the pasteboard and adding, moving pages and placing images. To add content to the pages we first looked at type which has many different options available, more than the other Adobe softwares. For producing typography you have control over the font, font size, colour etc. like most design software however you also have control over the leading, tracking, kerning, vertical scale, baseline shift, skew, overrunning text and paragraph formatting.

Colours are another important part of the software as you can mix and add colours to the swatches palette , however for more accurate colours you can use the Pantone system which is mainly for text or large blocks of text. To use the system you can purchase different swatches books from Pantone for different stocks of paper, you can then select the colour you want from the book and enter the Pantone number into InDesign which will then select that exact colour on screen. This ensures that when you print your work it will be the same colour as it was in the Pantone colour swatch book.

Out of all the software introductions I have been to so far I have found this one to be the most useful. I started this introduction with no knowledge of the software, where as with the other introductions I was already familiar with them to some degree, and left feeling confident with using the software independently to produce work which is essential considering its importance to my course.

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator

04/11/2016

Photoshop uses pixels to create imagery which can be used to describe fine detail whereas Illustrator use vectors, these are mathematically plotted points which means quality isn’t lost when the image is blown up to a large scale. This is useful for producing graphics for brands and companies where the imagery needs to be used at a variety of scales, such as billboards. Vector images are also useful as they have smaller file sizes than images consisting of pixels. In conclusion Adobe Illustrator is a very important software for me to learn due to how useful it is within graphic design.

We covered selection, placing images, tracing images, creating paths, joining and editing paths, paintbrush tool, pencil tool, blob brush, geometric shapes, expanding objects, shape builder tool, gradients, appearance panel, type, templates, the pen tool and creating patterns. Adobe Illustrator offers a lot of features unique or vastly different to other Adobe softwares, such as the pen tool, although present in other software it is primarily used in Illustrator. Previously I had tried to self teach myself the software but found this difficult due to the large amount of new tools to learn, where as the workshop allowed me to not only have it explained to me in a way I could understand but to also try it for myself and have my progress reviewed.

Introduction to Motion

14/10/2016

Using some copyright free video and sound clips from the internet and Adobe Premier Pro we experimented with video editing during this workshop. Video editing had always been something that had interested me however finding time to make films had always been a problem, therefore experimenting with copyright free resources was a great way to expand my skill set without the pressure of creating resources and producing a polished final outcome. However we were given some tips to bear in mind in case we did want to produce a film in the future;

  • Save all components into one folder
  • Always back up, invest in an external hard drive
  • Be aware of how it will be be displayed e.g. projection, monitor, online
  • Components to control – tripod, light and sound

In Adobe Premier Pro we imported our assets (keeping in mind that the first asset we moved onto the timeline would determine what dimensions the whole project is set to). With these assets we played with unlinking the video and audio tracks, applying effects, adjusting audio, creating titles and exporting.

In the future I do not see myself producing films as they require a lot of time and effort and are not something I particularly want to specialise in but this workshop has allowed me to gain skills which may be useful in my future projects. As well as making videos Adobe Premier Pro could also be used to create animated graphic pieces, by putting still imagery and type into the software and then animating them I could create short dynamic pieces, this may be more applicable to my work as I can still produce motion work without the time and effort required to make film.

Introduction to Web Design

14/10/2016

Web Design doesn’t just cover designing websites to be used on PC screens, it also covers other formats like Apple Mac screens, laptops, tablets and phones. You can design a website using Tumblr (free), WordPress (costs a fee but is professional), Squarespace (subscription based), WIX (free), Weebly (free) and other online sources, however during this workshop we used the software Adobe Muse.

This software can be used to create simple websites very quickly and effectively. In the software we created a one scroll website, these are particularly useful for phones as there is not much content to work with. On this website we added images, text and hyperlinks which were linked to anchor points. We also experimented with editing the content and creating breaking points so that the website would work on various sized platforms.

Before this workshop I had created two websites in the past using Adobe Dreamweaver, these were sites with several pages and included complex technical devices. When producing the websites I also played with HTML and CSS code. Although far more technical than the website we produced in Adobe Muse I still found the workshop extremely useful. The workshop was more tailored towards creating well design websites quickly which would be more applicable to my coursework, instead of spending ages producing a technical full working website which would not be as focused on the actual design.

Introduction to Adobe Photoshop

7/10/2016

Although before attending this workshop I was confident in using the Adobe Photoshop software I still found it to be very informative and helpful as I learnt shortcuts and techniques which would allow me to produce my work more efficiently and with a higher quality outcome.

We began the workshop by covering the basic principles of screen and print based media, looking at selecting the appropriate resolution and colour mode for each. With print based media needing to be 300 dpi/ppi and in CMYK, and screen based media needing to be 72 dpi/ppi and in RGB. We then moved onto exploring the tools and features available to you within the software such as cropping, colour adjustments, filters, selection tools and blend modes. All of this I already knew however an aspect of Adobe Photoshop I had previously struggled with understanding was layer masks.

Before layer mask

After layer mask

Throughout the workshop we covered how to use a layer mask to apply a texture, how to edit a layer mask and how to make more complex selections. This was extremely useful to me as previously to make complex selections I had been using the magic wand tool set to varying tolerances, however this would never make an accurate selection or produce a refined edge, so now being able to make selections with layer masks will allow me to produce more slick and professional outcomes.