Category:Digital Artifacts

QR Codes

What times we live in. QR codes have gone from being something pretty fiddly that is a nuisance to use to becoming something that we see and need to scan every time we walk into somewhere new (track and trace anyone?)

Now the world is moving towards a new digital age, ushered in faster than we thought due to covid, QR codes are something we’ve all had to get used to.

As it turns out, QR codes are a fantastic way to allow people to view your content quickly. They don’t have to copy a webpage down, type anything out, photograph your card for later etc… All they have to do is to point their camera on their phone at the QR code and click the link that appears. Simple!

QR codes are so great because of their versatility. As mentioned before, we use them to check into locations, we can use them instead of physical menus, have our profiles linked to them or, as I saw the other day, just have a picture of a dog with a moustache linked to a QR code.

When designing my business card, I’ve decided that it was simpler and, in my eyes, more impressive, to have a QR code on the back with a small slogan, instead of trying to cramp everything onto the back of the card. The fact that QR codes work in any colour (provided the background has a high contrast) means that, for a designer, the options are limitless.

Some websites even provide you with different styles of QR codes to choose from. Ones with rounder edges, ones with logos in the middle and more ‘traditionally’ looking ones. There is a great deal of many websites that provide you with QR codes, but InDesign also has an inbuilt feature that you can use to link to your published work.

All you have to do to access the QR maker on InDesign is navigate to the menu then click object. On the submenu, click ‘Generate QR code’. From there, pick what type you want and then insert it into your document. You can choose colours, choose to update your code and many other things from within InDesign.

My favourite thing about InDesign is that if it links to a website, you can update and change the website and providing the URL doesn’t change, the code will always link to the most updated version of the site. A clear advantage over having anything in print.

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to present information and can be used in nearly all aspects of society, from school to business meetings. It helps breaks up the monotomy of date in a fun and visual way.

To make my infographic, I first decided on what it was that I wanted to talk about which was easy enough. I have a big thing for space and had been learning about a star called Betleguise recently so decided to make it about that.

I then decided what kind of layout I wanted, portrait or landscape, square, thin and long or fat and short. I opted for a long and thin layout as my vision was to have a rocket ship heading towards the star, with the star at the top and the rocket at the bottom.

For the background, I used the gradient tool in PaintShop to graduate from a. lighter colour to a darker colour (like when you leave earth to go to space), and then used a scatter painter brush to add effects to it.

The line that goes from the rocket to the star is modelled on what a light sabre looks like because of space.

My Font

Desigining a Font is much easier than I expected, although a good font takes time and hardwork and many follow specific mathmatical structures.

For my font, I used indesign, a tool that I’m still getting used too. This powerful application is great though and as I’ve got more comfortable using it, I’ve found making my font easier.

I decided that my font was going to be kina abstract as well as being relatively simple in that I chose to only use straight lines.

The font is based on an equalitrial triangle, as I think this is the best shape for reasons unknown. Each letter began life as a series of triangles. I slowly changed their size, added more triangles as needed, and eventually subtracted lines from the sides of the triangles that I didn’t need. The end result is something that I’m pretty happy with. Here is some of what I’ve been working on…

Podcast

I’ve never made a podcast before and was much more interested in the production side of things rather than actually hosting it becuase I hate the sound of my own voice (who doesn’t, right?).

I watched somebody on youtube that shared his creative process for making sweepers and intros and I used his concept to apply it to my own podcast.

I first decided on what i wanted the podcast to be about and then went on a quick fact finding mission. I knew it was going to be about space and with so much news recently about the new missions to the moon and to Mars, and with the anniversay of the moon landing only a couple of years ago, that seemed like tha most logical place to start.

I went to Nasa’s website who have an absolute wealth of free to use digital media to use, ranging from winds on mars, to historic messages sent to and from command, to more abstract things like turning a deep space picture into sound. Some of the stuff their really is out of this world.

I found several sounds that i liked and layered them in Logic Pro with a beat behind it. I then added a fade to a boom that would then lead into me talking. I’m actually really happy with the result which you can find in my portfolio.

Once i had my intro and my sweepers sorted, I imported them into Final cut pro, which I find much easier to work and edit with (even if it just is voice).

I had some facts and a direction I wanted to go in but then winged the speech to allow it to flow more freely. I actually ended up speaking for more than 3 minutes and had to cut it down.

The end result was what I would call a really good first attempt and look forward to making more if given the opportunity.

Animated Banner Ad

The advert I made for my portfolio used many copyright-free things from nasa and other things that I had a licence for. I downloaded all the materials that I wanted and kept them in a folder, editing them to create the desired effect.

I knew I was going to have to edit this together on final cut pro, as photoshop is useful for GIFS, and I see it can be used for video, but I’d rather use a purpose-built tool rather than trying to get PS to be a video editor too.

I sized picked the banner size I wanted, created a quick mock-up of how I expected it to look on some paper, and then set to work. First, I opened several artboards up and sized them to double the size I was planning on having my finished product. This would enable me to have more space to work with whilst keeping the aspect ratio the same.

Once I had resized all my elements to the right size, I opened final cut and started adding everything in. I used the ken burns effect to create movement within the image, some brilliant title animations with some added drop shadows and some text beneath that.

I think it’s my favourite thing in my portfolio and it probably took me the least time. big shout out to nasa for all the royalty free images!

Business Cards

Why do people have business cards? What purpose do they serve and what does that card say about you and your brand? Designing a good business card will take into account many factors. Many times, it’s a person’s first impression of your brand, whether personal or professional and potential customers will hang on to it, coming back to it (hopefully) when they need it.

So not only an eye-catching design but you also want to make sure all the information a person needs to contact you is there too. However, with ever-evolving technology, a QR code can be just as powerful, but audience considerations must be thought of. QR codes probably won’t go down so well if you’re target market is older generations but would go down great if you’re looking to break into a tech market. I’ve written about QR codes in another post so I won’t go too in-depth here, but know they’re great.

I thought long and hard about my card and what I wanted it to say about me.
I looked at different designs on google images and found out what stood out to me and those cards that just seemed to corporate.

I wanted my card to represent my personal brand, something I’m growing throughout uni. Making notes of what I wanted my brand to be like, I kept coming back to the idea of honesty, simplicity and calmness. I want people to have the impression of openness and for it to seem approachable.

Drawing from the inspiration of the cards I had favourited, I started to build. I first built my card in Canva as it’s simple and easy to use for mock-ups. I got a great idea of what I wanted everything to look like and booted up InDesign.

I had chosen a photo from a Magnolia tree I had climbed earlier that day, tweaked it until I was happy with it in photoshop and imported it into my InDesign project. Next, I added a second artboard so I could design the back as well as the front.

Once my background picture was in place, I added a white border to both artboards. This is to create to the illusion of space and calmness. I next added two rectangles, one inside of each other, bought down the opacity a little and added my text to the front.

I toyed around with many different fonts and finally settled on one I liked the look of. I also thought alot about my brand name. I played with acronyms of my middle names, mixed and matched names and a bunch of other stuff, but I thought that simply THOMAS would be great. Not only it enphaises the stripped back nature I want to portray but it’s also my name. Bonus.

On the reverse side of the card, I created a square place holder that I’ll be putting my QR code on when I have it ready. This will allow the potential customer to easily access all the information they need and also allow them to easily contact me.

I felt like I didn’t need much text on the back as the QR code will offer all the information. I get that if they don’t have their phone, they wouldn’t be able to access my details, but without a phone, they wouldn’t be able to call me either and I’d prefer emails or PMs over phone calls as you can be more professional and curate answers better.

here’s the result…

thomas busniess cards

For presentation, I used colour theory to pick the two gradient colours and added a drop shadow to provide a little depth to the cards.

Parallax Animation

I’m starting to get to grips with these new programs. Whilst Joel, my tutor, focuses on adobe suite, I find his instructions translate well over to Final Cut Pro, which I’m using on my Mac.

The task was simple enough, to create a parallax animation using the ken burns effect. I had only used parallax in terms of background and scrolling before, so whilst the concept wasn’t new to me, the methodology was.

I started by sketching out a rough idea of what I wanted my frame to contain. I settled with a mountainous forest scene at night. I planned to have different levels of mountains, a canoeist, a beautiful night sky and some other subjects. On my sketch, I wrote down what order the layers in and jotted down some notes on how I wanted the individual layers to move in relation to each other.

From Paper to Digital

To get from my sketch pad to a parallax animation, I first found the images I wanted to use on the internet. I used a mixture of royalty-free images and images I could find no copyright for.

For the sky, I used the Hubble Deep Field image. This was taken back in 2004 when scientists instructed the famous telescope to stare at the darkest spot in the sky to see what was there. This is the resulting image. It always gives me a sense of awe and wonder so I was keen to use it.

I found the other images, cut them away from their respective backgrounds and layered them up in photoshop. This would give me a good sense of size and what order the layers need to be in once imported into FCP.

Once sizes and layers were figured out, it was time to import and animate. It took me several minutes of resizing, moving around and cropping before everything was right for me to begin animating.

Accessing the Ken Burns effect was a little trickier than expected and initially, every time I applied the effect it would resize the layer. I persevered and eventually got the hang of applying the effect. I had fun experimenting with the effect to see what would happen.

After settling on the animations and making sure nothing was being too blown out or moving too much, I exported to google drive and watched it on my phone. The one thing I noticed was how dark everything seemed. This is probably in part to the colour I added to the mountains and decreasing the light in the trees to match the darkness of the sky. It was much to dark to be viewed on my phone however, and so I opened the file back up on my computer and ran the exposure up a little.

In the end, I’m really happy with the result. It makes you focus on the sky as everything else begins to shrink away and the sky gradually grows bigger. It’s a serene scene, putting one within touching distance of the cosmos and nature. The surreal colour of the mountains gives the scene a dream like quality and the sole boat on the lake makes one feel at peace.

gif header

Animated GIF

For this project, I had to use my new-found skills that I gained in class to make a GIF.
I’m familiar with Facebook but this was a new concept to me. Once Joel had shown us the basics, I got down to making my very first GIF. I animated a firework, here it is…

My very first GIF

For our project, the GIF that we made had to have a concept behind it. I thought long and hard, started a couple of GIFS and then decided against them until I settled on my design. Through hours of mistakes, do-overs, learning, frustration and relief, I finally have a GIF.

I feel like 2020 has been crazy for so many different reasons, not least to mention Covid. Even though Covid is the issue of our time, I feel like a bigger issue, which impedes progress on issues like climate change, world hunger, international cooperation, is the rise of fascism and the erasing of democracy around the world.

With Bolsarno ravaging the rainforest, Andrej Duda ripping right away from women and replacing Judges with his allies, and Trump doing everything possible to subvert the democratic process, we have to tread carefully. We have a climate emergency which is going to affect everybody, in times of need, humanity looks for “strong leaders” to help pull them through. My fear is that fascism will be embraced by so many countries around the world as the earth becomes more hostile to us. Resources will become more and more precious as droughts, floods, extreme weather hit almost everywhere…


The bad people don’t come looking all gruesome and hideous looking, that’s only in the movies. The bad people come dressed smart, driving swish cars and have people chanting their name

header

A Before and After

unedited picture of susanedited picture of susan