A3 Draft Three – The final chapter

Alas, this will be my last post.

To continue off of Draft Two, I have found a filter that works for the first image. See below:

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I used the noise filter for each of the images. I also forgot to add in my last post that to place the spear in the image to seem like it was being held, I had to select the front part of the hand of the figure using the quick selector tool and again, make a new layer via copy. Just in case you are wondering why I choose layer via copy instead of layer via cut, it is because layer via copy creates a copy of the selection and places it above the original in the layer hierarchy, consequently leaving a flawless edit. Layer via cut, cuts out the selection, and I have found that there are sometimes gaps this way. Also, if I have selected too much and need to trim the copy, I can do that while keeping the original underneath to fill in the gaps I erase – layer via cut would be that section is lost.

Now, back to the filter: I chose to leave the tools out of the filter this time to again, highlight that they are the focus of the image, not the people using them. However, I wanted to still show the figure on the left (henceforth known as Figure 1) looking down and that his eyes on the device of the figure on the right (now Figure 2). So I made a new layer via copy of the head of Figure 2 before applying the noise filter and lessened the intensity for the head layer – I tried it with just the eyes first, but it looked more like a noise mask with eye holes and new crimefighting hero had been born which is not at all the impression I wanted to give.

And all that is left is to add the background. I wanted a natural looking landscape so that Figure 2’s caption made more sense. If it were a city landscape, the first comment would have been, “with deliveroo ya *********” – insert insult of choice. The natural landscape would hopefully leave a little bit to the imagination. Perhaps they are entering a post-apocalyptic world where phones are useless. Maybe they got lost hiking and now the guy who brought his phone is going to have to bargain to be able to eat. The possibilities of scenarios are wide and vast. And that’s what I want my images to do; I want them to make people think. I want them to think about technology in particular. Is it be all and end all of your life? What if you didn’t have it? Or, if you don’t have it, could it be of use to you? (I guess if you don’t have access to the internet you won’t see this post and be none the wiser though).

To help line up where I wanted the background to go, I had to work out where I wanted to figures to be standing within the frame. I did this in the old school way of 3D lines from year 2:

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And to skip forward to the final image. BEHOLD!

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I would have loved a cow or sheep in the background to represent “dinner”, but couldn’t find one in the right setting. I then had to use outer glow to the text to make it stand out against the background and reposition the images a bit to get them to better compliment each other.

 

 

——————— Intermission ————————

 

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Woohoo! The image is coming together! I took pictures of all the devices I had in my room. Horrendous, right?! Maybe the model sitting down should have been me. Anyway, I used outer glow on each of the devices which were on their own layer. I then created a new blank layer where I drew in the cables and added the same outer glow to that layer. I put the “cables” layer underneath the seated figure and the devices, because otherwise it looked like the cables sat in front of everything rather than being connected to them.

The next change was adjusting the colour overlay of the standing figure (who by the way is poking the seated figure to see if they are alive/conscious/human). I wanted to make it look as though they were being lit up by the glow of devices so I added Cyan and Blue to the midtones and highlights and left the shadows alone.

 

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The green shirt was an issue again, so I went back and made the figure grayscale and then readded the colour overlay. And then the text came. I wanted something catchy and simple to make the view reflect on the figure that is “plugged in”. Again outer glow was applied to the text.

I then fiddled with text placement, colour and size. I also got distracted by the reflection of myself in the tv and the white doona that was highlighted, so I darkened the tv until it was reflection was barely visible. And, VIOLA!

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Thanks for sticking with me through this journey of creation, manipulation, and discovery.

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A3 Draft Two

After consulting with Stephen, we decided it would look MUCH better to have taken photos of people. Drawing is not my strong suit. The above are my models for the image below (the second one from Draft One).

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As you can see I still have some bits to clear up. I have taken out the background of each image so I can create my own background to fit the context.

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Next, the spear and text were added. I used the colour picker to choose the text to match the spear to highlight that the use of tools was the important part of the image, not so much the figure holding them. Spear from: http://703-org-network.wikia.com/wiki/File:The_Spear_Of_Despair.jpg (see full reference below).untitled-2-v3

Following the addition of the spear, I wanted to hide the figures. It doesn’t matter what either figures skin colour, size, body shop, or wardrobe were – they were just symbolic of people. I wanted to emphasise the humanoid shape rather than any other feature, so I experimented with photoshop’s filters. The above is Emboss. However, I’m not thrilled with this one. The people look robotic, or more like Han Solo in the carbonite fridge. I will keep trying. Big things to come here.

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This was the first image from Draft One.

I have inserted models in place of the drawings and the second person is there now. I used an outer glow to get the seated model to glow blue. To do the eyes, I used to quick selector tool and selected one eye at a time and made it a new layer via copy. I then placed those above the model in the layer hierarchy and also added an outer glow to each. To match the background I darkened the entire seated model. The shirt was still a big bright and green, which detracted from the effect I wanted, so I made the figure grayscale. Great, one done, one to go. My next step will be to take photos of the devices I want to add in around the seated figure, add text as Crystal suggested, and change the standing figure to match the image as required.

Stay tuned.

 

Reference

fandom.wikia.com 2016, The Spear Of Despair.jpg, wikia USA, viewed 16 October 2016, <http://703-org-network.wikia.com/wiki/File:The_Spear_Of_Despair.jpg>

A3 Draft One

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BEHOLD! Above are the image drafts for the final assessment. The top will be Image A and the bottom will be Image B.

I have used Access/Divide as my inspiration for both images. These are quite rough images.

Image A is a person sitting, “plugged in”. They have cables coming out of them that will eventually go to devices of all shapes and sizes. They have great access, but are they switched on to the world? There will be a person next to them who is not “plugged in” and the person will be perplexed at the one who is plugged in. I’m not sure what to have the caption be yet, but something along of the lines of being plugged in and switched on. The subtext being that being online is not all there is to life. I have given the image a gradient background going from a dark grey to white. The dark grey represents the nocturnal state of a lot of the people who are addicted to technology and how it takes us out of the sunlight and into unnaturally lit, or dark rooms. The cables have blue around them that I want to give a glowing effect to but am yet to experiment with that.

 

Image B has a man with sun-kissed skin holding a spear or weapon, and a pale man holding a phone. I haven’t drawn the eyes yet, mostly because I’m not good at drawing and need to work out how to get them to look in the direction I want. The eyes of the man with the spear will be looking at the phone, and as the text reads, “How are you going to catch dinner with that?” implying our reliance on such devices may be our downfall, should there be a worldwide network failure or disturbance. I like the concept of this image a lot because I think it is open to debate and I would love to hear peoples thoughts on it. However, my delivery definitely needs work. I have handwritten the text so far to match the image, but I may yet take a photo instead if I can’t achieve what I’m hoping for in other ways.

 

Both images were constructed from a blank canvas using a wacom tablet to draw and are 100% my own drawings.

 

Stay tuned for more.

What do you think of when you see this picture?

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Ignoring the half-smile of my model, what do you see in this picture? What does that make you think?

The above is my original photo, completely unaltered, as I took it. To give some context, Simone – the female model -, is being held by Sam – the male model -, a man she just met. Sam is a friend of mine from another class that was helping out. So the smile is more of awkward amusement than intention.

Ignoring this, look at the next iteration, where the image has been cropped, brighten, blurred in parts, and text has been added and skewed to match the bench:img_0952-class-edit

Does the text match that vibes you were getting from the picture?

In staging the photo, I had an idea in mind that Simone was being dragged away from her phone, and she responded like it was her child and she just couldn’t leave it alone in this cruel, dark world. It can’t fend for itself; it needs her.
Or does she need it? That is the message I wanted to convey: dependence on technology, namely our mobile phones. It’s sweeping the nation, and it seems to be contagious. If you’re in a group of friends all on their phones, you’re naturally going to pull yours out too. The word ‘natural’ is eery to use. It’s now a ‘natural’ response to pull out a device we weren’t born with and didn’t have growing up. We probably didn’t even have this model or brand a year or two ago, but now it clings to our body – hip or hand – capturing our attention at all hours of the day, and night.

Without explanation, I felt like that image wasn’t clear enough, so I made another attempt:

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Mm, that one is worse. So overdramatic.

Let’s try again:

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In this iteration, I had trouble skewing the text because of the slant of the higher planks of the bench. So I broke the text up into two boxes. It still isn’t quite right. I think the different colour and fonts take away from the impact. There aren’t keywords that stand out more on their own than altogether that help to convey my message.

In fact, I think I like the first alteration the best after all, just for its simplicity.

‘Professionals’ of media, information, and digital literacies

So we’ve assessed what digital literacies are, and the digital divide (those lacking access or skills). Now, what about the masters of digital literacies, the professionals? There are many professions that now require media, information, and digital literacy. Starting at software developers and going down the ranks of programmers, animation artists, audio programmers, consultants, journalists, all the way down to teachers at a primary school level using SmartBoards. So for instance, audio programmers, programming sound for games, or animation. After all, being a career prospect for my major, I am the most interested in it. They have to be able to source or create music to fit their project.

Maxwell (2015) mentions a few audio programmers essays throughout his work, one of which discusses her choice of music was used to give authenticity to a historical context as it was sourced rather than created (Johnson 2012). Maxwell also goes on to discuss how music for videogames from monophonic beeps to complete orchestral pieces. There can be in-game music coming from the virtual environment, as well as out-of-game music that is fabricated for entertainment and accompaniment while playing, and even the cohesion of the two (Maxwell 2015).

The entire videogame industry could not be possible without an extensive knowledge of digital literacy – knowing how to use technology and be critical in that use. And even though Maxwell talks about all the successes, what about the issues Abraham (2011) raises? When the professionals just get lucky if they don’t have the answers. What about the creation of “happy accidents”, “forced marriage” (Abraham 2011) or the eventual attempt of the shower scene from Psycho in a videogame? Even though, Abraham talks about the sound designer/audio programmer, Martin O’Donnell, being proficient and having an overall comprehensive knowledge of sound, it seems as though even the professionals have their limits with technology. Despite their abundance of access, willingness to learn and emersion into it, digital literacies are still being developed – in this sense, music within videogames, as there is still clearly more to be learned as Abraham concludes (Abraham 2011) – and expanded and will continue until there don’t have to be happy coincidences to turn failure into success.

 

Abraham, B. 2011, ‘Halo and Music’, in L. Cuddy (ed.), Halo and Philosophy, Open Court, Chicago, pp. 61-70.

Johnson, S. 2012, Choosing the Soundtrack for Civ 4, Designer Notes, viewed 26/08/2016 2016, <http://www.designer-notes.com/?p=449>.

Maxwell, R. 2015, ‘A Review of KJ Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner’s Music in Video Games: Studying Play’, Critical Voices: The University of Guelph Book Review Project, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 64-71.

The digital divide (and climate change) is real!

As mentioned in my first post, the levels of digital literacies have an impact on our consumption. So do our access levels. However, just having access, does not make us digitally literate. To the same effect, not having access, doesn’t mean you don’t possess the skills, it just means having no use for them. And this is where the “digital divide” is born. As it sounds, the digital divide is essentially the gap between those with access and those without. So what happens when someone who is not digitally literate and has not had access to the digital or online world before, suddenly becomes introduced to it? They are lost and have no idea what to do. They become susceptible to, and influenced by, everything online. So not only do we need better education about digital literacies, but also to identify and bridge the gap (where it is warranted) of the digital divide.

 

The baby boomers make a great example of a demographic that struggles with the online world. Friemel refers to this as the “grey divide”, a term coined by Morris and Brading (2016) during his study of internet in the elderly in Switzerland. It is common knowledge that, in general, seniors lack the competency to operate many of the newest forms of technology. While they may possess the other skills required to be digitally literate, if they cannot work a search engine or aren’t aware of viruses, the rest isn’t useful online. I would also just like to state, that I know this is not true of everyone in the baby boomer generation, but it is my experience of working in a printing shop that about 75% of people over sixty-five require constant attention and help with printing photos and documents.

Baby boomers are not the only group that live within the digital divide. Indigenous Australians are also among the higher population of those not online. Rennie et al. (2016) conduct research in their book “Internet on the Outstation: The Digital Divide and Remote Aboriginal Communities” specifically about the use of technology and the internet in rural communities. They were curious to see if particular areas that were subject to the digital divide was due to lack of access, or lack of interest. For the senior demographic, location and access are not primary factors for exclusion, whereas for Indigenous (some at least), it is.

Another key demographic hidden in the digital divide are refugee migrants. Alam (2015) details some of the struggles for refugees regarding access to the internet and a medium through which to use it. And again, it is not just a case of access, but also then training of users.

 

The digital divide is complex problem for Australian’s that does not receive enough attention, because those who are most affected by it, are the ones who are denied what we use a right – the right to consume and produce. They cannot assert their voice to the audience that we can, or the audience that they need to be heard. So it is our responsibility as digitally literate citizens to help in their stead.

 

Alam, K. & Imran, S. 2015, ‘The digital divide and social inclusion among refugee migrants: A case in regional Australia’, Information Technology & People, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 344-65.

Friemel, T.N. 2016, ‘The digital divide has grown old: Determinants of a digital divide among seniors’, new media & society, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 313-31.

Rennie, E., Hogan, E., Gregory, R., Crouch, A., Wright, A. & Thomas, J. 2016, ‘Introduction’, Internet on the Outstation: The Digital Divide and Remote Aboriginal Communities, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, pp. 13-27

 

There is more to being digitally literate than turning on a computer…

In today’s world, being digitally literate is something I take for granted. Being raised by an enthusiastic IT professional, I consider myself highly proficient with technology; a skill not everyone possesses.

So what does it mean to be digitally literate? Is it a measure of competence with technology – sending an email, downloading an app on your phone? These are components, yes, but it is more complicated than that. Firstly, as with anything, there are different levels of competency, literacy, followed by fluency, and finally, mastery. Secondly, subsequent to Lankshear and Knobel’s idea in Martin’s (2008) book that digital literacy would benefit if referred to in the plural form – digital literacies – and would hold a wider definition. Kotlay (2011) categorises ‘media literacy’ – being an active user of media, while having a critical approach to content (essentially performing a minor C.R.A.P. test whilst consuming); using media creatively; and being conscious of copyright infringement – and ‘information literacy’ – knowing when information is needed; and what information best suits the purpose via critical evaluation and problem-solving – alongside digital literacy, which encompasses this wider definition. Digital literacies contain more than technological know-how, and refers also to our consumption of online content, and media. As Hartley (2009) suggests, we are becoming consumers and well as producers, therefore we must be literate in what we produce.

With the age of social networking upon us, Hartley is right: “’Writing’ is catching up with ‘reading’” (2009). For those of us that know how, we post our thoughts, well wishes and current events online. But how many do we read of others? Or how many articles do we read? We are becoming more concerned with what we can put out and less so with what we can take in. And just the ability to post alone does not mean we are digitally literate. It is the combination of being able to sift through what is relevant, current, and accurate using a tool as dense as the internet. It is finding information when we need it. It is also about the competency level of using technological tools, but most importantly it is the critical approach to consumption as well as production of content.

 

 

Hartley, J. 2009, ‘Repurposing Literacy’, The Uses of Digital Literacy, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, QLD, pp. 1-38.

Koltay, T. 2011, ‘The media and the literacies: media literacy, information literacy, digital literacy’, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 211-21.

Martin, A. 2008, ‘Digital literacy and the ‘digital society’’, Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices, vol. 30, pp. 151-76.