Trial and Error. Signed, your best friend

With the ability to share our knowledge and inspirations with others around the world: how do we come up something that is fresh, new and exciting? Collaboration. If you find yourself stuck in a rut unable to come up with an idea; Feedback from others is amazing. Will you always agree with that person? Probably not. Although, it never hurts to receive feedback. We will all have moments where we will fail miserably but, those failures will end up teaching us a lesson in time.

Trial and error is crucial step in order to succeed. There will be days where your mind will be blank or you didn’t present your best work but there is always a lesson to be learned with each experience. I know that I have. After I graduated high school I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I enrolled at Brandon University under a Bachelor of Fine Arts hoping to get into the Education program. I knew within a few months that university was not for me. The hardest part was realizing how disappointed I felt in myself for not succeeding. I worked different jobs and held a steady position with a great company in Brandon for almost four years but I was also very unsatisfied with the way my life was. I felt that at my age of 24, I should have been finished my post secondary education already.

I often found myself expressing my ideas in creative ways and would admire digital art that I’ve seen online. I had a flashback to my grade 12 year, right before I graduated. My art teacher suggested that I take a look into the Interactive Media Arts program. I ended up doing a spend a day here but at the age of 17. With not much life experience, paired along with immaturity, I decided to go to BU instead. I often wondered if I chose the program here, would I have followed the same path of becoming a dropout? It took me a lot of failures, hard work, and perseverance to become the person who I am today. There still will be moments where I am sure that I may fail and question myself. Despite this I am also reminded of the woman who already got through so much and will continue to keep fighting in order to be the person I want to be.  

For the Emperor

First, there’s a multitude of factions, ranging from the the Imperial Guard and Space Marines, to the  Sisters of Battle and the  Inquisition. Chaos Space Marines, Eldar and Dark Eldar, the Tau Empire… to name some.

With the essentials out of the way, I’m going to focus on the Imperial Guard, or Astra Militarum as Games Workshop has renamed them.

With hundreds of planets in the Imperium, it can be said that a handful of notable regiments stem from the vast millions. The Cadian Shock Trooper and Catachan Jungle Fighters, as well as the Tanith First and Only, as made popular by the Gaunt’s Ghost series of books, are only the tiniest handful to be named. Each regiment varies in strength. Some only number in the hundreds at their founding, while others will number in the tens of thousands. In the digital world, you will find the Guardsmen of Cadia in several of the Dawn of War titles as well as in Warhammer 40K: Space Marine.

Like any real world military, there is an absolute command structure with a Colonel often being at the highest rank of command. Within each Guardsman regiment is attached a Commissar, making the military structure something similar to that of World War 2 era Russia. These political officers function as moral boosters even though that, more often than not, moral is boosted by the terror of being shot for cowardice..

Further, regiments are then formed into a variation of types. From the heavily armored tank regiments to the more lightly equipped light infantry regiments.

A running joke within the Warhammer community, because of the Guardsman’s standard issue Lasgun being nothing more than glorified flashlights, is that ‘when in doubt, fix bayonets’.

Taking that in, a person using an Astra Militarum army for the tabletop game should never employ such tactics as, without armored support… Guardsmen are just so squishy, or in other words, easily overwhelmed by a superior force. Especially against Space Marines and their chaotic counterparts.

There is a lot to go over and so little time,  all I can suggest is that if you found yourself interested, check out OneMindedSyndicate on YouTube or any of the books from Black Library Fiction.

Creativity is the Future

There is a fear, a rumour, a nagging feeling perhaps, that robots will one day take over most of our jobs. Technology is advancing, and as machine learning comes into the spotlight, we start to wonder, are our jobs really in danger?

Machines have already started doing technical tasks in certain industries (and doing them much better than humans). Does this mean that as humans we no longer have a job at the company? Joseph Pistrui of the Harvard Business Review states that many knowledge jobs (such as lawyers and accountants) will soon be automated and that accountants have a 95% chance of losing their jobs. Scary, right?

But there is hope for us creatives. After all, what can we do that robots can’t (yet)? Think for ourselves, make decisions, DESIGN. Joseph says, “Humans are strategic; Machines are tactical.” They do not have an imagination. They do not have the capacity for creative analysis. They do not have emotions.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Seymour Adler and Robert B. Kaiser of Harvard Business Review say we can make ourselves valuable as employees by having a strong work ethic, drive and motivation to complete jobs no matter what it takes. Ambition and eagerness for more responsibility goes a long way in making yourself valuable. Social skills is another thing we have over machines (at least most of us). The ability to meet clients face to face, show emotion, have a conversation. To manage people and build relationships, be influential and read audiences. These things we go a long way in business (and life) and cannot be replaced so easily by robots.


Image Source: http://metropolis.scienze.univr.it/altair/events/ias13tutorial/

Therefore, companies should be strategizing about how to incorporate these automations into their businesses by looking at Artificial Intelligence as a way to augment and increase their production, instead of replace employees. Some of our new job descriptions may be to look after these new technologies. After all, someone will have to take care of the machines. But it will give us opportunities to look beyond the mechanical tasks in the workforce and better ourselves for more meaningful and creative positions.

Save the creatives! We are the future. xo M.

Forget Millennial Shorthand; Get Grammarly

Have you ever hit the send button, only to realize that your phone had auto-corrected into complete nonsense? What about writing a quick social media post and accidentally using their instead of there?

In today’s world with chat speak and millennial shorthand, it is important to use proper grammar. As an Interactive Student in the IMA program at Assiniboine Community College, I find it essential to be on top of the language I am using, as to keep a professional persona; Therefore, I downloaded Grammarly.

Grammarly is available as a mobile app, a browser extension and a software add-in. They also have an amazing website with added perks. Although the different versions of the application have the same goal, they are all presented in a unique way, maximizing their use on each platform.

 

Mobile App

The mobile app; A personal editor you can take wherever you go. This application not only checks the spelling of singular words, but it also checks for contextual spelling errors, giving you the option to view a short and sweet explanation for the correction. To encourage mistake-free writing, the Grammarly app is presented as a keyboard that integrates smoothly across all other apps on your mobile device.

An intriguing part of the keyboard is the option to add words to your dictionary with a simple touch of the + sign. Another bonus feature is the auto-correct notification: A little teal box pops up on the top of your keyboard every time it auto-corrects, letting you know, just in case.

Browser Extension

Grammarly is also available on your Mac or PC. The browser extension works across the web and is compatible with:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • MacOS

Grammarly’s extension harmonizes with your browser, allowing you to use it across the web. From writing important emails to posting a comment on a blog, you’ll eliminate the worry of making mistakes.

Grammarly.com

Signing in to Grammarly.com allows you access to a world of grammatically correct fun. The website allows you to personalize your account for more relevant checks. This includes setting your primary language, your preferred English vocabulary (i.e. United States English vs. Canadian English), and the level of your grammar skills.

As an application, Grammarly has a lot to offer and has become a successful addition to my tool belt as a graphic/web design student.

This post was edited with Grammarly.

Download the app here!

When Inspiration Hits

Inspiration. Ideas. Where do they come from? How do you know when they’re going to hit? How do you know if the idea that just hit you is a good one?

As design students, we are presented with the challenge of coming up with new ideas and concepts daily. With each now exercise, assignment and project, our minds race to find inspiration. What if inspiration doesn’t come? What then? Our instructors say, just run with the first idea you have. Don’t overthink it. So i have been trying to put this into practice (which is easier said than done).

So where do we go for inspiration? Some designers have epic Pinterest  boards, or search popular sites like Behance, Designspiration and Flickr. The problem with this, according to Smashing Magazine, is when taking ideas from similar mediums, there is a fine line between ‘inspired by’ and ‘copied’. So their suggestion is to look beyond design galleries, into the wide and awe-inspiring real world. Industries such as fashion, architecture, even music can help you visualize images which you can translate into your project. There are design playlists on Spotify! Did you know? Smashing Magazine has some links to said playlists. Like this one or this one.

 

The other morning as I was driving to school, stopped at a stoplight I looked to the sky. The rising sun hadn’t yet peaked above the horizon line, yet the colours emanating from the east were something else. The perfect gradient. The sky is an ever-changing canvas that never ceases to inspire me.

I believe it is important for us as aspiring designers and creators to keep our eyes open. Keep our childlike wonder and tap into our curiosity often. Try to look at things from another perspective. And when we have found that ‘other perspective’, look again.

Keep it real my darlings. Eyes to the sky.
xo M.

Smartphone cameras then vs now

DSLR cameras have come a long way since 2008. Sony, Canon, Nikon were just a few that were wildly popular back then. The cameras costed anywhere from $300-$1000. Even the best compact digital camera couldn’t compete. Cell phone cameras were minuscule and most couldn’t afford to spend so much money on a huge camera.

With the demand for quality smartphones that do more than just the basic call, text and picture message; companies started paying more attention to the quality of the camera. Camera quality can also be one of the main selling points to customers. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are all heavily media based content. This allows users to quickly snap a picture, edit it quickly and post it within minutes. Instagram was released in 2010 for iPhone users. When the app began to explode in popularity there was demand for an Android version, but it wasn’t released until nearly two years later in 2012. The app gained popularity among young users, photographers, and many types of other people who wanted to share their creativity with the world.

When the HTC One M8 was released in 2013, it boasted an impressive dual lens camera which hadn’t been seen before. Users also had access to manual controls. This function allowed people to express their creativity more freely within smartphone photography. The freedom of being able to carry a tiny powerful camera that fits into your pocket is more convenient rather than lugging around a heavy and expensive camera along with its accessories. Reaching for a smartphone to capture special moments is almost second nature to many of us.

Fast forward to 2018 almost every smartphone has the ability to capture raw images, manual camera controls, and dual lenses. Companies also developed small camera accessories that have a similar function to DSLR accessories. It is hard to imagine what smartphone cameras will be able to do in the future. Will the cost of the camera drive up the price of the smartphone? Are exposure settings that of full frame DSLR? I’m excited to see what will be coming out in the years to come and I will probably base my next smartphone choice on the camera it features.

Something New and Fun!

I am a student attending Assiniboine Community College (ACC), taking Interactive Media Arts (IMA) course. Everyone I know and run into always asks me “So are you attending school? What course are you taking?”. My exact words for that is “I am taking a course called IMA.” Every single person will look at me with a confused look, my response to that is “IMA stands for Interactive Media Arts, it has to do with a lot of graphic design.” This is just an easy way to explain to them what the course is about. The program is a two year course, no pre-requirements acquired. This course is much more than just designing, it’s about learning more and improving your skills on what you already know. A lot of the things that we do in this course is preparing ourselves for future jobs, and how we present ourselves to a client.

You’re probably wondering who can take this course and how would someone find out about this. Anyone can take this course whether you like designing, video games, or you just came across it and want to check it out. A majority of the other students in my class are computer game savvy. They like the graphics of video games they all play such as, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Battlefield, Skyrim etc. Then there are ones like me, I have never played a complex video game (if you consider any of the ones I’ve listed complex) I am more of a Wii person, I like my Mario Kart. I never thought about video games being in the graphic design field for some reason, it never crossed my mind. I was just interested in Photoshop and Illustrator when I was in grade 10.

When I found out about this course I was interested in it, it fit into what I enjoyed doing. I went for a spend a day with who is now a second year IMA student and I got to see what this course was actually about. It was sure an eye opener. It was different than what I thought it was going to be. You get to do things like creating small icons, posters, design your own personal website, and you do some writing as well. There are so much stuff you get to learn and do everyday.

If you’re a gamer, or have a creative mind and a love for technology this is a course I will recommend. Even if you just want something new and fun to do. I assure you, you will enjoy this course, especially if you are doing something you like. You learn something new everyday, why not try something new?

 

Top 5 Design Trends for 2018

As designers, we all have certain styles we love, and once we find our own signature style, we tend not to stray too far from our comfort zone. But staying in one place for long, my friends, is not so comfortable after a while. You may start to feel left behind, or obsolete in certain areas. Interactive design is constantly changing, and as this new year starts, we are all probably looking for inspiration and new avenues to explore. There is no longer any excuse for not creating user friendly, interactive and visually stunning websites. So here are some insider tips from Digital Synopsis and 99 Designs on trends to start incorporating into your work now.

1. Bold Typography / Intersecting Elements

With web coding technology so far advanced these days, it is easy to use more than just the basic web fonts. Custom fonts are very widely used on many websites now, creating strong visual tones for your page and to help portray the overall feeling of your site. Now start playing around with these fonts and types – break them up in different ways and use intersecting elements of type and graphics to create interest.

2. Vibrant Colours / Duotone

Many large companies, such as Spotify, have pushed trends such as duotone to the spotlight. A trend that started last year and will continue on into 2018. Vibrant tones online are breaking out of those web safe colours. Technology is allowing us to use thousands of colours, so why not take advantage. Bright colours are sure to attract attention.

3. Split Page / Asymmetrical Layouts

Image Source: sitepoint.com

Grids are made to be broken in 2018. Splitting your page and grid layouts to create asymmetrical sections on your page is distinct and unconventional, and will set your site apart from traditional sites. It’s risky for certain markets or brands, but very striking when pulled off correctly.

4. Custom Retro-Modern Illustrations


Image Source: dribble.com

Gone are the days of clip art. Trending now are simple, line images, which combines sleek, modern lines with retro colour schemes to keep things playful and friendly. Customizable to fit any concept or business.

5. Thoughtful / Interactive Animations

Animations have come a long way and in 2018 will focus more on intentional movements and directions. Signalling interactive content to engage users, helping them move through your site with ease and purpose.

Now give it a go! Explore! Create! Be wild and free my dears.

xo M.

The Movement of Air

The Cirque du Soleil of Holograms

Since 2004, Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne, and their company Adrien M / Claire B  have been exploring the digital arts in unique, creative ways.  Through performances in dance and exhibitions, they harmonise reality and virtuality in visual poetry, and play with the imagination.  Most of all, they specialise in using technology that they customise for their stories—that is, they use light.  But before you begin to think that this is just an ordinary dance, consider this:

They use the light as holograms.

Holograms have been around for a long time—going back as early as 1893 in Jules Verne’s novel The Carpathian Castle.   Holography—real holography—has been theorised and developed since 1947, where scientist Dennis Gabor first coined the term from the Greek words holos, meaning “whole”, and gramma, meaning “message”.

However, light sources that were necessary to create such a thing were not available at that time.  In 1962, the development of the laser enabled the first practical optical holograms that recorded 3D objects—such as a bullet in flight.  The first hologram of a person wasn’t created until 1967.

The technology has been around for decades now, but I didn’t get my first real taste of it until Homer from The Simpsons made an appearance at the San Diego Comic Con in 2014.  And the technology is still evolving: BBC created an experimental ‘holographic’ TV to see how we might watch our shows and movies in the future.

When I stumbled across Adrien M / Claire B ’s collaboration of “Pixel” (2014), it sparked my curiosity and my imagination.  The duo and their technical staff managed to use holograms in such a way that they seemed influenced by the dancers in the film.  Someone unaware of the technicalities of the film wouldn’t realise that the dancers were simply well-choreographed in time to the holography.  This was what made the holograms so real.

Aside from several other performances, such as “Le movement de l’air” (The Movement of Air) , “Hakanaï”, and “Cinématique”—which are still travelling around Europe—there is also an exhibition named “XYZT: Les paysages abstraits” (Abstract Landscapes).  XYZT featured ten interactive installations to physically engage audiences via holograms.

The company’s newest upcoming exhibition, titled “Mirages & Miracles” is to embrace a much larger scale of installations like those found in XYZT.  It will be opening in the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (Italy) in October 2017.

I encourage you to check out Adrien M/Claire B’s work on Vimeo and at their website!

2020 Olympic Medals

Since 2016 members of Japan’s Olympic organizing committee came up with the idea to start using recycled smartphones for the Olympic medals.

Japan will now be asking the Japanese public to start donating old phones and/or small appliances to gather around eight ton of gold, silver, and bronze for the 5,000 medals given in the Olympics.  Since Japan has an absence in its own mineral resources, they thought that donating old smartphones would not only be good for the environment but would also allow the people of Japan to take part in actually creating the medals. Also it will reduce a lot of waste.

In the past the medals have usually been made out of, well, metal.  They would ask mining companies to donate whatever material necessary.

As of April of this year Mobile giant NTT Docomo will have 2400 collection boxes in stores, and to reach the 8-ton goal of metals be will need millions of phones.

So how does electronic waste (e-waste) work?  Used consumer electronics (tablets and smartphones) contain little amounts of rare earth metals.  This includes platinum, palladium, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt, and nickel.  Other electronics (home appliances and scrap cars) also contain these metals, along with iron, base metals, copper, lead, and zinc.  Then the refining and/or recycling companies will collect all of the e-waste.  They will then use a chemical process to separate the metals.  This work is usually done in China, India, and Indonesia.

In my opinion using old smartphones and tablets for used metals is great.  With there being a limit to resources on Earth, it’s amazing to be recycling these products and it makes us think more about how we’re affecting the environment.  I think Japan is making a step in the right direction with making the Olympic medals out of scrap metal, and hopefully this will inspire all countries to start recycling and reusing these materials.

Microsoft Surface Book

As a student studying design in IMA, the idea of drawing tablets has always been appealing. Sure, I have a ‘drawing tablet’, but it’s a traditional, cheap, drawing-pad type with no digital display. While it is handy, the slight disconnect that occurs while drawing on the pad and looking at the screen leaves the user wanting more. I dreamed of the day I could afford a professional drawing tablet, the kind where the tablet is built into the screen. I imagined it would feel more natural to see the lines show up where you touch with the pen.

On our first day, we were shown the beautiful Cintiq monitors at the back of room 422. I know I wasn’t alone in that my instant thought was, “I NEED to try that!” After trying out the screen, my next thought was, “I NEED one of these!” Unfortunately as students, none of us really have the extra 3 Grand available just to purchase a monitor, never mind the tower with all the hardware capable of running the programs we use for designing. Most of us were just concerned with getting a laptop so that we can complete all our work and coding.

There is a product, produced by Microsoft, that offers a (somewhat) more affordable compromise of the two; the Surface Book.

This product functions as both a laptop and a tablet. The keyboard and screen detach at the hinge, allowing the user to use just the tablet portion, and then reattach to use as a functional laptop. The screen can also be attached ‘backwards’, creating a clipboard style drawing surface without losing battery life by detaching the screen. The screen carries about 25% of the Surface Book’s total battery power, allowing about 3 hours of use on its own.

Image result for surface book clipboard

 

The keyboard contains the other 75% of the battery, as well as the graphics card and processor. This means that when in ‘laptop mode’, the Surface Book is capable of gaming and rendering. The tablet portion is still capable of completing the drawing tasks in programs like Photoshop or Gimp. The stylus for the tablet is also magnetic and attaches conveniently to the side of the screen for storage and quick access.

Some people say that the gap between the keyboard and the tablet, when closed, is unsightly. I rather like this, however, because it creates a slightly angled surface. This would act as a small easel to tilt the screen towards the user when it’s laying on a table.

While it’s not exactly cheap, the Surface Book is about $1500, half the price of the Cintiq monitor. Personally I would love something like this down the road. This model came out in 2015, and I can only imagine what improvements will be made by the time I graduate/ can afford one!

Interactivity vs “Interactivity”for Children

The way technology is evolving may be overstepping its boundaries when considering child learning and education.

What do I mean by this?

More and more children nowadays are on screens than they were several years ago, and they are getting younger and younger.  They use phones and games and computers almost as much as adults do.  Because of how common we are seeing these devices in their hands, many developers find that this would be the most attractive way to give them their education.

They’re not entirely wrong: many younger minds are finding that with the fast-paced demands of society, screens provide the means of getting them the information they need.  Plus, it can gives great distractions that can leave parents’ hands free.

However, how old do they have to be for this to be effective?  Not only does this discourage children from physical activity, but the screen-time becomes an addiction that keeps them away from learning proper social activity.  Children’s brains at different developmental stages process information in specific ways in relation to that technology.  Essentially, they think like adults, but have less experience, and need to move more.

There have been several studies of interactive children exhibits in museums that suggest there needs to be more than just touch screens to give them information.  It’s widely accepted that interactive attractions are more engaging and connect more deeply in the minds of children that have been raised on computers, tablets, and smartphones—but what does “interactive” mean to make children’s exhibits effective?  You can’t simply replace traditional signage with iPads and call it “interactive”.

It’s not like technology is ineffective—but it’s been shown that exhibit designers need to move beyond the surface touches of technology and make something truly interactive.  “Interactive” should be defined as “concepts like hands-on play, experimentation, role-play, and environments that stimulate the kind of play that helps children understand and integrate ideas”.

Consider this: many people learn better by doing, but children have to learn this way.  They learn via example, and develop important problem-solving skills by learning themselves.  Of course, not every child’s mind is the same.  It may be in the future that children’s minds will evolve to think different as technology and social issues influences us to change the way we teach them.  Until  then, it may be beneficial to give them what works best.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  What’s interactive to you?

Internet Penetration In Africa

The internet has spurred the economic and social growth of most developed nations and the same effects are being seen in many developing nations in Africa. But as reported by Internet world stats, Internet penetration in Africa stands at only 37.5 percent. The growth of Internet in Africa is limited, compared to what is obtainable in developed countries. According to recent surveys conducted,listed bellow  are some of the obstacles I think is hindering information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet growth in Africa.

1.) HIGH LEVEL OF (ICT) ILLITERACY – The high rate of illiteracy in the continent is hindering the growth of internet use and this has contributed to the decline in the use of this super facility. People are ignorant of what the internet is all about, it’s uses, applications and benefits in solving their problems. Most people have not seen a computer before, not to talk of understanding internet concepts. Although it must be said that ICT knowledge in Africa is growing and being embraced, yet there remain a large majority of rural population that has not seen firsthand, the immense benefits of the internet.

2.) HIGH COST OF GETTING INTERNET – Internet doesn’t come cheap in Africa. One of the reasons for the high cost of connecting to the internet is the costs involved in using satellites due to a lack of cable infrastructure. Most Internet traffic in Africa often times needs to be routed by satellite via North America and Europe Website.

3.) POVERTY – There is high cost of feeding, education, and health in Africa. The poor will rather not waste their little income to access the internet when they have their priority as food, clothing and shelter. Many cannot afford to own a PC at home, even the fairly used ones being shipped from developed countries; talk less of engagement in internet connectivity

Emerging Technology For 2017

The technology industry is one of the most dynamic industries in the world. It keeps changing and improving on a daily basis. So, which trends should we pay attention to this new year? There are uncountable tech trends but these are my top four tech trends for the year 2017.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Jacob Morgan regards IoT as a concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet. This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. There will be more research into IoT this year. Today, we have smart homes equipped with connected products that turns our home to a smart home.Artificial Intelligence

Simply put, Artificial Intelligence is intelligence exhibited or shown by machines. Many tech companies are aggressively investing in the development of AI which is set to become the next big thing. A good example of AI was when Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system defeated Korean grand-master Lee Sedol in the final game of their historic match, finishing the best-of-five series with four wins and one loss. This is interesting but the more AI becomes part of our daily lives, the more robots can take over human jobs. But lets be assured that AI is something to look forward to this year.

3 Dimensional printing for everyone

According to Wikipedia, 3D printing, refers to processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. Although 3D printing has been around for years, the price of 3D printing is very expensive. But according to projections, the price is expected to become pocket-friendly.

Innovative wearable’s

Wearable’s are gadgets that can be worn on our body as an implant or accessory. This year, it is expected that there will be more innovative and amazing wearable’s produced.

Play the Game!

It doesn’t matter if you want to be an illustrator, a typographer, a web designer, or a digital designer among all the things you can be after finishing you study program; you will need to keep your skills as sharp as possible.

At Method.ac, they created a few games that will help every designer test and improve some if the most crucial technical abilities as they play.

 

The Bézier Game

The Bézier Game will help you getting better and mastering the Bezier tool – only one of the MOST important in the design world – and successfully naturalise the way the pen tool works.

When playing, remember to use as little anchor points as possible to get a better score!

 


SHAPETYPE a letter shaping game

The SHAPETYPE game has some of the functionality of the Bézier Game but applied to a more precise matter: Here you will adjust the letter curves. They will display different letters of various fonts so that you can get a better understanding of typeface creation. The closer you get to the original character shape, the higher score you will get.
This game is ideal for all those interested in lettering and typography, generally speaking.

 

KERNTYPE a kerning game

Kerning is one of the most important qualities about fonts, and it is also one of the most frequently forgotten features to check. A proper kerning can be the difference between a great typographic design and a mediocre one.

What is kerning anyways?
It is the space between the letters. The trick here is that no all pairs of letters have the same space because they are all different, and when you try to space letters by using software; it won’t take into account this fundamental fact. The good news is that there is not tool more accurate than the designer’s eye for this task!

Keep in mind that for body or texts, a high-quality font will work just fine. However, you need to be extra careful when you are working on designs with bigger letters because here everyone will be able to see easier the odd spaces.

 

COLOR a color matching game

This game will help you improve you colour vision and accuracy. It is also a great game to better understand how to create colour schemes for future projects!

 

 

 

 

Share your scores on the comments!

Summer Break…or Bust?

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I should do over the summer break. We have a solid 4 months of vacation till school starts again and I was looking at some of the options out there. The most obvious choice would be to relax and enjoy the summer off to catch up with friends and family that have been neglected during our crazy first year. Then I got to thinking…I will probably forget some of the useful information I’ve learned over the last year, and I don’t want that. So I started googling, and I found an amazing program called Codecadamy, I am sure many of you have heard of this website. (I’ve inserted a link https://www.codecademy.com/) Codecadamy teaches you coding! online! for free!  This will be very helpful while away from school because starting September we will probably dive right in where we left off in April. If you don’t want to take the tests and schooling Codecadamy teaches you, and would rather fool around and try out different things on your own, then I would suggest the W3. The W3School has online web tutorials and can help you create a beautiful code. The JQuery Website also has a learning activity section that can help you apply many effects to whatever it is you are creating.

You could get a summer job working and gain precious industry knowledge, and new contacts that could possible help you when you are done school the following year. Whatever it is you do I highly recommend keeping your current knowledge up-to-date, even sprucing up your Portfolio over the summer with the new tricks we have learned over the last few weeks would be beneficial.

I know it can be tempting to just throw your books up in the air, or computers in our case, and just be free this summer!! but keep in mind September will come and loosing even some of the knowledge we have all worked so hard for would be disappointing.
Balance is the key to life, find yours! balance1

I-MMA Smash

A couple months ago I heard that the second years were making a Virtual Reality game as a project. Yes it appears I’ve come back to my first post about VR, but I started thinking about how we might end up doing the same thing in our second year. As I kept pondering the subject and mulling it over and over, I had an idea that we could do something of the sort; albeit maybe a little more mentally tasking as a class.

My proposal is this.. We create a game for PC or console (if possible), that is based off the all time favorite, Super Smash Bros. Now first off you might think that VR would be a bigger challenge, and in certain aspects you would be correct. What I believe would be the bigger challenge, would be inputting the physics, the damage calculators, and all of the game’s rules and logistics that would allow it to run and play just like a typical game of Smash. I don’t think we could pull off anything as amazing as the newer versions of the game at all, but I believe we could still make an older version and still have it work.

I feel as if this would give us big test of our skills, not only the developers, but also the designers who would have to make all the concept art and graphics for the game. This would not only give us a good project to focus on and hone our skills with, but it would also give us a good opportunity to add something we created from scratch to our portfolios. I believe it would be very beneficial to add to a resume, especially if we managed to get some writes to publish it as an indie game on PC or Console.

Although publishing it is a bit of a leap, I think it would still be a great idea for a final project in the course. Even if we managed to get the basics set, it would make for a class project to work on at a later date. We could even use it as a project and try to fund the work through Kickstarter.

So my question for you is what do you think? Do you think having this as a project for next year is a good idea?

Where Will We All Be?

I think many of us can agree that the IMA program has been a life changing event for us. And it’s not really surprising, I mean, college is usually a time of big transition and growth. We’ve learnt so much over the last 5 months, and I mean that in more ways than one, not only the technical skills, and design theory. We’ve learnt about each other and from each other. We’ve learnt who each person is, what their strengths are, what they like to do, and what they don’t like to do. Really, we’ve become a family, as cheesy as it sounds. We spend 8 hours together, every single day, that’s more time than I spend with my own family. We’ve learnt to work together and help each other, and we’ve all become quite close.

New friendships have been made, and even old ones have been strengthened. I’ll be the first to admit, when the course first started I had no idea I would be so close with the people in the class, and to be honest I’m glad I am. I think, and hope that the friendships we make in these 2 years will be life long relationships. At this point in time we’re at the peak of the first year and we’re too busy getting the work done for the deadline to sit and think, that in a year and a half, we’ll be graduating.

It’s crazy to think this much time has already gone by, and the rest is also going to fly by. It makes me wonder, what paths will we all take? what specializations will each of us choose? what cities will we move to? what goals will change from now till then?. It’ll be an interesting time, when we graduate and say goodbye, and each of us move on to continue living our lives and chasing our dreams. I can’t help but wonder, in 5 years time, where will we all be?

The Value of Perseverance

Missing school because of personal problems outside of school is a problem in itself: you miss class because of external problems in your social life, an illness, being up too late, or even just straight-up irresponsibility… but be what it might, you must learn to adapt and persevere or fail. Everyone has issues, and everyone handles their issues differently, but if you don’t at least try to keep up with what’s important – and I mean truly important – you’re going to have an even harder time as the stress piles up because of your neglected responsibilities located outside of your problems.

Take me, for example: I missed class all week last week because I had bronchitis. However, I stayed in contact with the instructors and got extensions where they were needed, and even worked from home to get some assignments finished. If you inform your instructors of what you’re up to, they’re more than happy to accomodate you and help you when you ask. Persevering through your problems goes a long way, and although it may be painful to try and wrack your brain with everything else jumbling it up, it really adds up in the long run. Getting that high mark at the end of such a struggle is a huge boost to your self-esteem, work ethic, and your GPA, of course.

When evaluated at the end of the year, you will hear about how you were absent so often and that your attendance might have been better, but at the same time, they will comment about how hard you worked despite your demons trying to drag you two steps backward when you took a step forward. When you’re applying for a job in the future and they look at your transcript, the employer might not be impressed with your attendance, but your grades might convince them to give you an interview regardless. It really matters in the end, even though it doesn’t seem like much now. The value of perseverance is one of the golden virtues, just like patience and kindness: each of those takes a lot more heart and courage than it would to give into the temptation of it’s opposite.

Procrastination

Errands, doctor’s appointments, presentations and projects; we all put these things off from time to time, focusing on other things and convincing ourselves that we can get what we need done in time. Soon enough though, those due dates or pressing issues seem to draw closer and closer and you’re left struggling and stressed and wondering what you can do to complete your tasks. Most of us can relate to the concept of procrastination, especially when it comes to our various assignments in the IMA course. With all of the classes we have, it’s not surprising that we can have such a heavy workload. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to manage and prioritize what we need to do and sometimes, procrastination is impossible to avoid. Once you leave the school and are on your own free time, there are many distractions that can take you away from the homework that needs to be finished by the end of the week.

ahh-procrastination

I think we can all agree that the IMA course can get pretty stressful and overwhelming at times, but with enough focus and determination, our projects can almost always be completed by the desired due dates. In fact, it’s quite satisfying to be completed before or on time, as you can use your free time as an opportunity to work on other outstanding projects and further your progress. In the long run, this takes a big weight off of your shoulders and once everything is completed, you can actually enjoy those distractions that were so tempting to go to during work periods.

Just like those tedious errands and pesky appointments, it’s always better to get things done and over with so they aren’t a lingering worry in the back of your mind. Even if the work isn’t something your particularly enjoy, it can be completed sooner than later and will not become a present dread in your mind. Don’t let your work pile up! Just do it!  Manage your time and utilize the classes you are given. If you’re having problems or have questions, ask the teacher or ask your peers. When you’re given an assignment, relax, take it in steps and make a plan. You can be successful without the stress!

Development or Design?

Many of us in the first year IMA program, started with an idea of where we wanted our focus to be during the first few days of us starting this program. I for one, wanted to become a graphic designer and make the concept art for game companies. After going through the first term and into the second, I can still say that I would love to become that graphic designer, but in reality, I know that I am a much better developer. I can see my career going further if I took to focusing directly on the coding than if I tried to keep my focus on the design aspect. To those that might still be having questions about where they should have their focus, here is a few ideas to consider.

First of all, if you are an amazing artist, and you can replicate and use the tools for Photoshop & Illustrator, I highly recommend keeping focused on the design aspect. Your talent will be of big use to you in the design side and it will make it a lot easier for you in the long run. However, if you have a gnack for coding, even though it can be extremely frustrating at times, at least consider focusing on the development side. Sure it is painstakingly repetitive and at times excruciatingly aggravating but your expertise with the code will give you an easier time.

If you are having qualms about choosing either or, consider focusing on one that you enjoy the most. As a wise person once said, “If you enjoy what you are doing, you will never work a day in your life.” And just remember to keep your head up, there will be times in which the work will be very cumbersome and it will drag you down. Just keep striving to do the best you can and it will pay off in the long run.

 

Developing your Originality

As a student in the Interactive Media Arts program at Assiniboine Community College, we are taught how to use our creativity in our commercial design projects while trying to keep our originality. I find this extremely difficult to do, why? Because I don’t know who I am as a designer yet. I’ve heard it takes years to be able to find your niche and what sets you apart from other designers, however I have a few tips to help that process along.

When you first sit down to design, whether it be a logo for a school project, or art you produce in your spare time (students don’t have much of that) you should always start by sketching your ideas. Our teachers are very fond of thumbnail sketches. Which at first can seem tedious and time consuming, but it works! It seems to focus your brain on what is important and filtering those ideas down on something tangible, like paper, gives you the ability to really zero in on the good ideas and the bad.

Experimentation is another good practice. For example if you wanted to recreate a picture with fire what better way than to see fire. I’m not suggesting you start a fire by any means, I’m saying you could watch a video or look at images and see the unique ways in which a fire acts like a living creature. It will give you a better understanding of how to create your designs.

The last piece of advice I would give is to PRACTICE. Using the proper program for the job and knowing how to master that program  will give you to tools you need to create your original works of art. It will not directly help with originality but your options will be limitless when it comes to creating them on your program of choice. Branding yourself is huge part of becoming a design or developer and we all start somewhere. Hopefully these tips will help you feel more confident in your work.

Is the future now? People connecting minds to computers.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a new technology that could allow us to harness a computer with nothing but our minds.  The tech used is supposed to read you mind as you send commands to the computer.  The tech itself is expected to be only one cubic centimeter and be able to read the brains electrochemical signals in order to translate it into commands for the computer to read, allowing for better control over the machine.

This is a great idea! Linking somebodies mind with a computer, what could ever go wrong?  I mean, it’s not like there has ever been a movie that was based solely around the premise of people being taken over by a chip on the brain.  In all seriousness, this could lead to some serious problems with people getting hurt or even killed by having the chip implanted in their mind.  Not to mention conspiracy  theorists will just have a hay-day at the mention of the military inserting chips into their brains.

After saying that about it, it could also lead to great things.  Being able to control drones with just a thought, being able to fly supplies from point A to point B without risk of lives lost while crashing and being able command it without the use of a keyboard and mouse will make for an amazing breakthrough in this age of technology, that is of course it makes it through.  On Feburary 2nd, DARPA will be meeting up with the US government to discuss whether or not they may continue with their experiment as there is a good bit of controversy surrounding its ethics and uses, feel free to discuss this in the comments section!