The negative impact of “Cancel Culture” and how it affects our society

Should we cancel the “Cancel Culture”?

The term “Cancel Culture” isn’t new to us, but believe it or not, it only became universal after 2016, and all because of Twitter. When the singer Kanye West released a song that had a sex reference about Taylor Swift that she did not approve, his wife, Kim Kardashian, posted a video claiming the opposite, giving birth to the hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsCancelled, which would soon initiate the canceling wave.

That was the first of many similar cases, where someone, usually famous, says or does something that people do not agree with and the internet community decides that they should be “culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform” (Vox).

But how far is the “Cancel Culture” going and what is it doing to our society?

Can the “Cancel Culture” be beneficial?

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that the “cancel culture” is valid a lot of times and it is used as an important tool for political and cultural changes in our society. People that have committed irreparable mistakes should be punished and accountable for the consequences of their actions, and it is extremely important for us to be able to point out those errors and claim justice.

The problem begins when we start putting those people in the same category as people who have said or done something with no intention of harming anyone at all but innocently did. There should be a difference between the “call-out culture” and the “cancel culture”, and the lack of division between those groups of people can be very problematic and irresponsible. 

What are we doing wrong?

On the talk show “The View”, the actress and activist Jameela Jamil, who is known for criticizing the approaches of the “cancel culture” on the internet, said that “[…] we now just cancel everyone and what that’s going to do is, it’s going to devalue progress and stop people from wanting to change because they think they will forever be cast aside because of their one sin from the past that they want to improve from, and if we want people to change we have to show them that there is hope to be reaccepted into our society”.

What I think she means by that is that we end up making people afraid of asking questions, questions that might help them learn in the future and become a better person, because of our attitude towards people that have shared a similar behaviour, consequently slowing down our society’s development and scaring possible allies, which is almost the reverse effect that this culture is trying to achieve.

I believe all criticism is valid and necessary, but it’s essential that it comes with an opening for a dialogue or a discussion, not to justify the mistake, but to educate the person who has committed it. We all make mistakes, but there is always room for improvement and if someone demonstrates that they are actively trying to change, they should be given that option instead of getting shutted down.

How can we change it?

It’s safe to say that we are all more educated today than we were five years ago, and that’s completely normal, we’re constantly learning and evolving, and that’s what makes us human. As the progressive Aaron Rose pointed out to Vox, by rejecting the urge of canceling people, we’re not giving up on accountability, we’re just simply defending the idea that people are not incapable of compassion and change.

The way I see it, the issue is when someone is constantly unaccountable and has the privilege and opportunity to change but refuses to do so. With that, I do realize it’s easier to condemn people than ideas, especially ideas that are embedded in structures that we still have today, but I’m much more interested in the root causes as opposed to the symptoms. 

In the words of the television host Trevor Noah, for the Breakfast Club Power radio station, “as a society, what do we hope to do with people who have wronged us? Do we wish to banish them of civilization or do we wish to educate them, inform them, punish them when necessary, and then rehabilitate them and have them come back into our society?”

We often don’t realize the power that the internet has and how platforms like Twitter have given voice to many marginalized people around the world. The “cancel culture”, for a lot of those people, it’s a way of using the only power we have, the one of ignoring the other, to force the people who are in actual positions of power to do something, but we have to be very careful not to undermine it.

The Power of Twitter in the News World

(Picture by Roberto Baldwin / Engadget)

It’s no surprise that Twitter is one of the most powerful social media nowadays when it comes to sharing information with one another. But how did a website that wasn’t originally designed for the purpose of news become so reliable when it comes to verifying information?

First of all, due to its wide accessibility, Twitter has a much more practical way to consume news when compared to newspapers, for example. So, is that enough to make people use it as their main source of information? Let’s break it down a little.

Real or fake?

One of the biggest issues with getting your information from online platforms is that we are often not sure if the source we are using is trustworthy or not.  With Twitter, there are some tools that can help us manage that better, such as verified accounts, headlines, trends and hashtags.

Verified Accounts

Almost every single company will have an official Twitter account, especially big news organizations. Why? Well, it’s a fast and easy way to post any kind of content, and the ability of knowing if an account is verified or not allows you to identify the accuracy of that information.

Now, that’s easier illustrated with business once they don’t usually post fake content about their own brand, but with news that can be a little tricky. Thankfully, Twitter has around 25% of verified journalists, which can guide you through searching what information is real or fake.

In fact, 75% of Twitter users get their news from the platform, being the majority Millenials and Gen Z, who represent around 65% of all users. Being able to select the kind of content directed to you is something that the newer generations have found very suiting. 

On top of that, Twitter users are able to interact and to see other people’s interactions with a post when they click on it. Those interactions can be helpful for the public to collect more information about a determined subject and for the companies to analyse their response to it.

Headlines

Twitter is also well known for allowing a limited number of characters on a post. Some of you might be familiar with the term “clickbait”, which is used to define headlines that immediately catch the reader’s attention and make them want to click on the link to know more about it. 

On Twitter, headlines considered “clickbaits” end up being the most effective ones, due to the flow of engagement of the users when on the platform. But then again, if the clickbait is fake, that could ruin a company’s reputation, so you might want to be careful with that.

Trends and Hashtags

Another useful tool on Twitter is the tab located right beside your timeline, called “trends”. Trends are purposefully directed to your location, interests, and the accounts you follow, so that the user can easily find or search for anything at any given time.

When it comes to promoting news content, just like any other social media platform, Twitter takes advantage of the famous “hashtags”. Hashtags are probably the easiest way to get some extra attention to a certain post or subject people have been talking about lately.

According to the website Oberlo, Twitter users spend an average of 3.39 minutes per session on the platform, so the expectations are high when it comes to quickly finding what they are looking for. That’s why hashtags are so important for both the public and the companies in the business.

Other News Features

As pointed out by the website My GSC, Twitter “is now known for its up-to-the-minute communication from reputable “breaking news” accounts” due to features such as live news broadcasts and placing breaking news tweets at the top of user timelines (Forbes).

The Future of News

It is still early to say if Twitter will eventually overcome the traditional massive media communication platforms, such as Television and Radio, but its influence in the news world leaves no doubt that the competition will only get tougher with time. 

Point and Shoot Photography (How to capture incredible images)

The Capture

The best way to select a perfect photo is by deciding whats feels important to yourself. It can be a selfie, family portrait, wide landscapes, or even your pet dog. Choosing a photo is a personal choice, and that’s what makes a photo unique.

To capture the best photo, the camera that you need is in your pocket. The smartphone’s camera is one of the best commonly used devices to capture images.

The way to find out what the best camera is, you will need to know three categories:
-Capture Resolution
-Video Display
-Printing Size

Or you can visit TechRadar to find out more about cameras

Romania

Camera Angles

There are many different angles to capture an effective image. Each of these angle shots will give different contrasting effect to the image. The higher the camera is the stronger the contrasting effect will be. The lower the camera angle is the less contrasting effect will be.

Here are some examples of camera angles for your image:
-Birds Eye View/Aerial
-Eye Level
-Point Of View (POV)
-Overhead
-High Angle
-Low Angle
-Worms Eye View

marinauzelac

Shot Sizes

Now that you understand what type of camera angles there are. Next, we have shot sizes. There are many different types of shot sizes that can tell different narrative value.

Here are some examples of shot sizes for your image:
-Extreme Close-Up (ECU)
-Close-Up
-Medium Wide Shot
-Wide Shot (Full Shot)
-Extreme Wide Shot (Long Shot)

www.studiobinder.com

Lighting

One of the important elements of a camera is lighting. You can use any kind of lighting, but that depends on the mood you are going for.

Author: Broden Halcrow-Ducharme

eSports: A New Production Frontier

eSports in 2019 are still in their early stages of development here in the west but for some companies, the early stages are over.

The arena filled with people watching Overwatch

eSports is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers that either represent a country/city or even are just made-up teams. 

“Esports traces its origins back to 1972, when a Space Invaders Championship yielded 10,000 participants. Fast forward to 1998, and the legendary Starcraft 2 tournament on PC boasted more than 50 million online viewers, 17 million of those coming from Twitch.”

Now Overwatch, the biggest eSport in North America is also a game that came out in 2016 has hit a stride in the eSports scene for not only bringing people from all over the gaming community together but traditional sports fans as well.

Though the original intention when developing the game was to keep it from becoming a large competitive game and keep things very open to all players and player type. Now that mindset is still at the core of the game but things have changed over the last 4 years.

Now, some people don’t consider eSports a real sport even though players and fans would passionately argue that it is. The eSports website site states that “With USD $5 Million in prizes, thrilling storylines, guaranteed player salaries, and cutting-edge production value, the Overwatch League is the world’s premier eSports league”

So Why Watch Instead of Just Playing a Video Game?

The digital format of eSports offers something that traditional sports can’t offer–the player’s actual point-of-view. Being able to see everything from the character the player is currently playing.

This point-of-view feature is truly next-gen in the gaming world. In the Overwatch League series, there are multiple camera angles displayed for fans just like in a physical sports tournament.

Being able to be instantly transported to the action is something that simply can’t be done in sports like football or basketball since you as a viewer are put into the game visually. And it’s that total immersion that fans could only dream of.

So How Does This Work?

On top of having a camera crew in the stadium and a separate crew filming the analysts, the team behind the Overwatch League has implemented a faux crew in-game to help capture the action.

The crew play as a ‘spectator’ who cannot be seen by other spectators or by players and have no collision so they can get into positions and make camera movements of the like that you have seen already in live sports.

After that, they just use the switcher to change between shots. You can see examples of this below.

If it’s the behind the scenes thing that you’re are into might I suggest this video. Though not as in-depth can give great insight into how the operation is running.

So why eSports?

Since eSports have become very popular in the last few years a lot of companies have been trying to adapt to the viewer base it draws in.

Some are multicasting on their respective channels and live streaming. But even though some eSports are televised most are live-streamed for free on sites like youtube or twitch and dont require you to pay a cable company or the sites themselves.

But for some companies, it’s about keeping fans happy. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, companies like the NHL and F1 have been hosting simulated games that you can view on many different streaming platforms like Twitch.tv.

Now the push for this seems to indicate that without the progress that eSports has made, this way to view traditional sports would not be as common.

Lady typing on a laptop.

Standout Layouts by Using In-Design

InDesign is Adobe’s software which is used for creating Magazines or designing pages for print and web. Attractive typography and graphics can be created in InDesign. 

Ever since I beginning school, I was very fascinated by Magazine Layouts and wanted to know how these designs are created. But in my IMA program at ACC, I get to know about the techniques which are used to create attractive layouts. As well as some software which is used to make designs and one of the good software is InDesign which I liked the most.

After Photoshop and Illustrator, we learn InDesign which was part of our Digital Design program in IMA. I did some work on In-design such as magazine layouts, Facebook and Instagram covers. Not only in Digital Design but it is also used in the Visual Communication program. Nowadays, I am working and learning the InDesign software in Digital Imaging and Graphics Program.

With this software, users can learn about layers and how to work with layers, create and edit text frames, move, scale and crop graphics. Additionally, users can also learn how they can adjust the space between frames. InDesign is also useful for adding captions to graphics frames or shapes such as circle, square and others. Users can add not only text but also images into frames, adjust the text around the object. After that, they can resize the shape of the frame and content to fit as their choice.  

With the help of different tools in InDesign, users can create simple or basic shapes and convert the shapes into complex graphics. In-design allows the user to import, PNG, JPEG, PICT, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and EPS, and the user can set the transparency setting of images or other graphics.

InDesign works on spreads and master pages, which is helpful for creating Magazine layouts. InDesign also provides templates for different layouts like books, magazines, web pages as well. Users can select any of them because most are free provided and they just need to put their own text and images in those, which is very easy to use, and tutorials are also available.

Users can also make a margin and bleeds when printing at the end or beginning of the design. InDesign works on both either RGB or CMYK. Which are very useful for any format for web or printing. InDesign is very similar to Illustrator, but it may not be widely used as Illustrator used, while it is also an excellent software for creating Magazine layouts.

I love to work on InDesign. In many documents, it is very flexible and easy to use. I am just using the theory of ACC “Learn by doing” and getting experience.

AE

How to Place Video in Text or Shape in After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a creation of digital visual effects and motion graphics such as titles and animation or visual effects such as compositing, explosions, lightning, etc. In a video editor, you can cut things, rearrange things, adjust the audio, adjust the panning, etc.

In addition to using complex camera movements and unconventional angles, having stellar visual effects and eye-catching can also be very useful for capturing the attention of your audience. An interesting graphic technique commonly used by filmmakers is to play video within a form or block of text. As complicated as this trick may seem initially, it is actually very simple to do it within Adobe After Effects.

So, if you are someone who is looking to try this technique in one of your next projects, do not miss this video, which will guide us through the process of composing a video in the framework of a way or text.

To begin, you must create a new composition within After Effects according to your own project/video specifications. Then, continue adding a new solid layer while choosing a suitable color for the background.

Next, you’ll create a shape or text layer of your choice, just make sure that the item you created is on a separate track (that is, do not create a masked shape in your background layer). As a side note, if you want to align your newly created graphic to the center, go to the alignment panel on the right side where you can adjust the desired position accordingly. Once you’re done with your graphical element, import your video clip into After Effects and place it into the composition, positioned below your shape/text layer.

In the timeline, navigate to the Track Matte settings and click the drop-down menu on your video layer’s Track Matte Properties. Of the available options there, you’ll want to select the Alpha Matte (form layer name here). As a result, your footage will automatically take on the form of your shape & text layer. 

If you want to go further with this effect, you can experiment with other Track Matte options. 

Optionally, you can link all your layers using the Parent & Link function, which can be quite useful when you want to animate the graphics and make your video more visually appealing by adding movement to your entire composition. Just be patient, take your time, be creative and see what else you can bring to the table using this simple but extremely effective composition technique.


IMA’s Tools

The Interactive Media Arts program is a course at Assiniboine Community College. It covers a wide variety of material in many different applications that can achieve all kinds of results.

The majority of applications we use in the IMA program are all a part of Adobe Creative Cloud. So far the only exception is in Web Design. For creating images we use Photoshop and Illustrator, for creating videos/animations we use Premiere Pro and After Effects, for audio we use Audition, and for layouts we use InDesign.

Photoshop, in the most simple of terms, is a much more refined and complex version of Paint, but it has much more than just brush and eraser tools. There are dozens of tools and dozens more complicated features.

In Illustrator you can make images in a much different way than Photoshop. As you zoom in on an image, you will eventually zoom in far enough to see that the image is made up of squares. But images created in Illustrator are made of vectors and no matter how far you zoom in, they won’t blur until you export them. Illustrator does have less complicated filters and editing tools than Photoshop since working in vectors works a computer much harder than if it was using pixels.

Premiere Pro is meant for lengthier and more professional productions such as movies, shows, and documentaries. It has many tools, some in common with Adobe Audition but only the most basic. Since they are all a part of Adobe though, they all work well together and you can easily edit a sound in Premiere using Audition.

After Effects is meant for smaller animations or productions such as simple commercials and animations. It is simpler and easier to use than Premier Pro since in After Effects you are usually making the footage yourself where as in Premiere Pro you are primarily editing already acquired existing footage.

Audition is meant for all sorts of audio editing or creations. You can lengthen or shrink, cut or add, simplify or complicate any sounds you want. Programs like this are how movies create incredible roars for non-existent creatures by layering over and prioritizing aspects of similar real life creatures. You can also use Audition to turn certain sounds into something completely different than the original.

InDesign isn’t particularly meant for anything specific. You can use it to quickly put together a general layout for a website or brochure, or use it to make every page in a book look similar with the same formatting quickly.

The variety of applications we use is amazing and each of them are so incredibly complex with endless ways to utilize them.

Wait, that’s NOT me?!

A look at ‘Deepfakes’

“What even is a ‘Deepfake’?” people probably ask whenever one is mentioned, or “Did you see what *insert name here* said on this video?”. Chances are, you have a vague idea of what a Deepfake is, and if you do, likely it’s met with thoughts of disdain or bad intentions, however, as I hope to explore in this post, that is not always the case. This post will explore what a deepfake is, as well as try to combine facts and opinions into why its not as unethical as people may think, after all if it’s on the internet, it has to be true.

What IS a Deepfake?

A simplified definition of deepfakes is to superimpose a face onto another body, using A.I systems to gather information and compose several images of all angles to form a fluid movement and appearance. These can be almost photo-realistic if the right captures and movements are used.

The Controversy of Deepfakes

The first well known usage of a deepfake was surrounding a celebrity scandal, using a celebrities face imposed on a compromising body. It was proven to be fake but at the time it caught a lot of controversial opinion. They have since garnered a rough reputation and recently, Facebook has even banned most videos pertaining them, however a few exceptions are allowed.

The Exceptions:

While anything that would tarnish negative light on a persons image or reputation is banned from Facebook, hopefully soon other media platforms will follow suit. There are few cases that are deemed acceptable by the terms. These include anything made for satire or entertainment purposes, as long as it is pointed out that the face being used is a deepfake. It should also be noted that political reasons are still under question, and considering that other political ads are allowed to follow rules of parody, as well as lie during their ads, it should be assumed that political deepfaking would not count under this rule.

The Good of Deepfakes

Not all the controversy of deepfakes should be believed however, and they have even done some good for the entertainment industry. This could include probably the most popularized example of Carrie Fishers ‘Princess Leia’ in Disney’s ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’. This case includes the recreation of Carrie Fishers face from her younger years to be including in the telling of the story. Many other companies are moving into the Deepfaking scene, some have been using it for a while now, including Marvel (which has pretty much got it down by now), and other entertainment personalities such as YouTubers. As long as the use is ethical, and it is used in a meaningful context, I personally see little to no issue in the use of deepfakes.

a person sketching

Design Process For The Win

I know for a fact that whenever you are assigned a project that requires 10 sketches, you make them after. That doesn’t help you. In fact, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage, the other routes you could have explored likely would have resulted in a more refined final product. I am sharing with you my go to design process that will work for more than just assignments, but first of all, a story to emphasize the importance of having a design process. Enjoy!

There was an occasion in which I did not follow the design process, it was a mess. Once I heard the description of the assignment I had a semi-clear picture of what I wanted to do from the start. I didn’t sketch the idea or anything. Fast forward a couple days to where I’m about to start working, I try to make something, anything,  but nothing is working. The layout is wrong, some of the elements look off. It was a disaster, and I realized that so I tried to switch ideas a.k.a. disaster part 2. I eventually went back to my original idea, sketched some things out and got feedback. I never was pleased with the end result but long story short, follow your version of the design process described below.

My Process

Once I’ve heard the outline of the assignment I make a list of what I already know and start drawing, quick sketches to make sure none of my ideas get lost. You don’t need to draw the whole thing, elements that you plan to include are a great place to start. If you’re having trouble finding somewhere to get started check out my other blog post: How To Find Inspiration.

The more feedback the better. Photo Credit: StockSnap on Pixabay

Get some feedback on your sketches. When conducting surveys, the more replies you get the more accurate your results will be, something I’ve also found to be true with feedback.  I usually show one of my friends or a family members my sketches because I like to get a range of perspectives.

Take note of the feedback you were given and apply it in the next set of sketches you make. It’s good to get feedback but you have to use it effectively for it to be worth your time.

I combine all my sketches and feedback to make a final sketch so there’s no guesswork on my computer. It’s only once I’ve completed that final sketch that I will even open my computer. While I’m working, I keep my original inspiration close by and a mood-board if I have one.

Stay inspired. Photo Credits: Cottonbro from Pexels

You can use the design process for more than just school projects, it’s applicable to almost any situation that comes your way. It’s a form of problem solving.

I’ve included a link to interaction-design.org that includes a step by step design process and a worksheet you can follow.

I hope you found this helpful, thanks for reading!

Picture of Desktop space

My Design Process

Most designers have some sort of moral code that they use so they know where and when to start their work and how to create it productively. This is considered the ‘Design Process’ and it’s never really the same for everyone. So I’m going to tell you a little bit about mine, and how I am able to produce results in a relatively low time.

The Starting Phase

At the beginning of any sort of project that I’ve begin working on, I always try to ask as many questions as I possibly can. Not only does this provide me more information than what was originally given, but it helps support my ideas that I might have because I know the things I can and cannot do.

Additionally, while I’m first starting to work on my project, I tend to also create expectations and deadlines for myself so I know I won’t fall behind at all. If for whatever reason I do happen to, I have a back-up plan in place to help cushion that fall.

The Brainstorming Phase

Once when everything is set in stone, I begin the brainstorming phase. At this time, I usually have my sketch book and pencil with me so I can doodle and get the ideas I have out onto a piece of paper so I don’t loose track of them. To gather these ideas, I usually try finding inspiration on the subject and go from there.

In this field, a lot of work can either be completed independently or through group work. With that in mind, my methods may shift a little bit depending on how/ who I am working along side.

The Creation Phase

The creating phase is where most designers go crazy. This is where all your ideas become fully formed and all you need to do is create them. This could minutes, hours or even days, but it doesn’t matter because we enjoy the time to create things and like doing the best that we can. At least for me, that’s how it feels.

Revisions

Lastly, when everything is set in stone, most designers like to end quickly so they can move on to the next project. That’s not me. I push through that urge and look for the fine details that I may have missed because that’s what the client, instructor, etc… will be looking for.

To end, this is my design process. Most of the components of it can be used universally by other designers, but everybody does their work differently and that’s what allows us to have a wide range of creative freedom, and that’s what this world needs.

Adobe Creative Cloud Programs

Throughout my high school career, I never once considered going to design school. I never took any classes in school that had anything remotely related to this program so coming into this was a big change in gears for me. Sure I would attempt to draw doodles on the side and paint sunsets for paint night but other than that, my skills were very limited. Unless the KidPix program I played on in Elementary school counts?

Learning Adobe Illustrator has been one of my favourite tools that we have learned how to use, along with After Effects, and Photoshop. I often find myself in my spare time going into some of these programs and playing around with them. Finding new buttons to play with, since there’s so many. Testing out different secret brushes I find or new tools I discover. Adobe Illustrator is like your digital pencil and paper, though actual pencil and paper are always quicker to get your ideas out. It’s so fun to experiment with the different drawing techniques and effects to achieve the perfect look that you couldn’t do on paper. Adobe also has a neat feature where you can import your physical drawings as graphics to draw with digitally. 

After Effects is a designers key to start learning animation. While you probably can’t create Disney/Pixar level animation with it, it’s fun to try and it’s a great tool to start understanding how animation works. Creating title sequences for popular movies and tv shows can be recreated with After Effects and enough patience. It’s neat to see a finished product that you’ve made that people recognize, or a concept that you’ve originated yourself.

Photoshop being used on a Mac. Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexel

Photoshop is basically the definition of image manipulation. A cat head on a shark? Photoshopped. Unrealistic celebrity pictures? Probably photoshopped. It’s a great tool for photo editing, collage making, and image manipulation. Postcards, posters, birthday cards, just about anything can be made with the help of Photoshop. While I don’t think Photoshop is the most exciting of the programs, it is the most versatile out of the three I think that can be used for more things. 

Illustrator and Photoshop combined are a power house for graphic design. While Illustrator and After Effects are best for animation and titles. The skills I’ve learnt this far into the program are skills I never thought I’d learn to do. The old days of iMovie slideshows and iPod drawing apps are long gone with these programs and tools they all provide to create the best work.

Graphic Design Tools

Essential Gadgets for every IMA Student

Whether you’re new to the Interactive Media Arts program, or an esteemed second year student well on your way to escaping, there are a few neat gadgets and products that can help you with designing, editing and content creating. My eventual goal with this list is to help new and old IMA students know what tools are helpful for the program, and what they can be used for.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

1, A Drawing Tablet

Drawing tablets are helpful for more than just what the name suggests. Tablets are useful as they allow you to streamline your movements in applications in the Creative Cloud, and are also extremely useful for creating unique shapes and designs for various different results. What adds to the appeal of using a tablet over a mouse and keyboard, is that tablets allow for much more natural movements, and can make jobs like drawing assets and animating much easier than it would be with a keyboard and mouse.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

2. A Laptop

Laptops make college work a lot easier, as it allows for students to take their work on the move with them. Having a laptop means you can work with all of your files in multiple different locations without having to worry about cloud storage or external drives, and the transferring, uploading and downloading that comes with it. Having a laptop allows you to keep everything in one place, helping you be much more organized then if your files were spread out across multiple different storage’s, making files harder to find.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

3. A Sketchbook

While this one isn’t really a “gadget” by conventional standards, it’s an extremely useful tool when it comes to the design process. Having a sketchbook allows for students to make their ideas have a tangible, rough draft before heading onto the computer, where creative decisions can be a little hard to implement and change then when you’re working with traditional means. Being able to make drafts of designs before the actual design is implemented is extremely important for the design process as well, as an individual can come up with more ideas quicker than they could working on a computer.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

4. Headphones

Headphones are incredibly useful for being an IMA student for a variety of reasons. The most obvious being that they come in hand when dealing specifically with the audio courses, like Digital Audio or Digital Video. A good set of headphones will allow you to fine-tune your audio choices so much more and really deliver a clear, high-quality final result that you can be proud of. Another reason why headphones can be considered to be important to the IMA program is they allow you to listen to music, which can be a huge inspiration and motivator for the creative process. Music can help inspire designers in so many ways, from the overall feel of a product, or something smaller like the colour palette of a piece.

design on the computer

Affinity V.S. Adobe

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign… These are our Industry Standard programs for design illustration, and layouts… but why? There are so many alternatives out there for cheaper, and that have better features. There are several companies that are constantly developing and improving their programs. So the question is: will Adobe be able to keep up and keep their users invested even with the high monthly or yearly fee? Or will they get ran over by competitors in the next ten years?

Adobe programs are taught in design and art schools for good reason. A very large portion of the creative media industry makes use of these programs everyday. There is a major discount for students and teachers which influences the continued use of it in schools. Adobe is professional, and has many good related services for licensing fonts, choosing the right color palette, and stock images. They’re all at the fingertips of anyone with a Creative Cloud subscription. But there are many downsides to Adobe.

Issues with Adobe:

If you’re using older versions of Photoshop, Adobe can sue according to an email many users with older versions received. I highly doubt they will sue every person, but nevertheless the intent is there. Let people use their ancient CD’s man.

Subscriptions partially make sense. They prevent piracy, makes getting updates for programs much easier, and lowers the price overall compared to their old box set says Adi Agashe. But what will they do when a competitor offers a one time purchase for every update? Affinity is around the corner, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Here’s why Affinity is charging in like a ox:

Within five years, Affinity has been catching up to Adobe’s tail, and excelling in some ways. The price point is a huge deal. All of Affinity’s programs are a one time cost of $69.99 for each. They only have 3 programs out at the moment; Affinity Photo, Designer, and the newest one, Publisher. These three are all comparable with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign.

Affinity Designer Interface

Most of the IMA students are aware of the great capabilities of the Adobe programs, but there are many great things in Affinity’s software as well.

A few features Affinity has over Adobe from the help of Photography-Raw, and Affinity Revolution:

  • Affinity has the feature that saves your undo history even after the app is closed, so you can go back to a version if need be
  • Live brush preview; so when you hover your brush over something, you can see the changes it will make
  • Live previews for blend modes and gradients
  • More customizable interface
  • Cheaper

Affinity is constantly improving, but Adobe is still a powerhouse. Both are great in their own ways. I think Adobe needed this competition to hopefully push them further, but I hope to see Affinity take the crown some day.

What are your thoughts on emerging programs in our creative field?

The Exciting World of Virtual Reality

(The Oculus Rift S VR Headset – Image retrieved from www.Oculus.com)

The latest craze in technology has been on a steady rise in popularity since it’s conception in recent years. That’s right, I’m talking about virtual reality. Virtual reality (VR) is opening up entire avenues for online interaction that would’ve never been possible even 15 years ago.

Here are some of the ways that VR is impacting the modern world:

  • Medical Procedures – VR is being tested in the context of planning and practicing medical procedures in hopes of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical professionals worldwide. The medical community is looking for ways to be able to preform complex procedures in remote areas using robotics, which would be controlled by a professional using VR equipment.
  • Gaming – VR is making waves in the gaming industry by allowing gamers to take immersion to the next level and feel what it would be like to experience their favourite games as if they were the main character. Not only is it extremely immersive, but it has the most responsive controls ever made because it is as if the players are preforming the in-game actions themselves.
  • Business – Through VR, some businesses are able to conduct entire meetings and collaborate on projects with partners across the world. This allows for lower costs for businesses because they don’t have to fly employees across the world for meetings, which also cuts back on toxic emissions that harm the planet.
  • Entertainment – Since VR headsets have become easily accessible, many new avenues for entertainment have opened up, such as virtual reality podcasts that get streamed live to viewers across multiple platforms. Podcasts in virtual reality are able to be performed completely within the medium, with camera operators and sound engineers being able to create their own workspace within the set and change camera angles and adjust the volume of individual hosts, all without taking off their headsets.

VR is an extremely versatile tool that has expanded past a very niche group of users and hit the mainstream. Many technology experts firmly believe that VR is the future of life as we know it, even allowing users to work from home in a simulated office environment. Some users of VR have even built their own living spaces as 1-1 replicas in the virtual world, allowing them to experiment with different furniture layouts without the heavy lifting, sit on their couch to watch TV, or even live their lives within a virtual space.

VR looks to be the future of everything from work to play, and although it may not facilitate all of our everyday needs quite yet, I suspect that in the near future people could be able to live fully in VR, and never have to leave the comfort of their own homes. I also believe that in the near future, consumers will be able to use virtual reality to buy goods and do their shopping without stepping out of the house.

Photo Credit: Tech Radar

How AirPods Changed the Game

Remember the days before you would spot your fellow friends and acquaintances walking about their day with their ears stuffed with what looked like cotton balls?

Photo Credit: Digital Trends

Wireless Headphones Are A Thing!?

Or perhaps you’re one of the new additions to the club of wireless headphones falling out of your ears as you meander through life.  Whether you’re in the club or not, you’ve definitely noticed how Airpods have not only dominated the market but also make it a lot harder for you to tell if your friends are actually listening to you when you’re speaking to them. 😉

Photo Credit: Apple

I Feel So Fresh With These In!

Obnoxious looking but perhaps one of the most useful pieces of tech to change in recent years, if you have wireless headphones, you’re most likely never going back to the wired versions.  Airpods in particular by Apple have really taken off with their design and style. Not only did they dominate the market and set the standard, they’ve created a whole new market with their Airpods.  

Photo Credit: Apple Insider

A Market Within Itself

These AirPod cases are basically a whole new market that came out of the wireless headphones craze!  Even if you don’t own a pair of the coveted headphones, there’s a good chance you’ve seen many advertisements for the cases that store them.  From trendy and fashionable cases to the tacky and weird, there is a case out there that suits everyone or a case out there for every situation a person might want one for.  Essentially, you’re not just walking around with your hearing tools plugged in like you’re on a mission, you’re now accessorizing the handbag for your ear plugs to show off your style and give your little ear buddies a place to nestle in and call home.

Image result for airpods
Photo Credit: Marques Brownlee

Hmm.. How Much & Is It Worth It?

Now as cool as the Airpods are, the cost price has them at a place where not everyone can have easy accessibility to owning them.  At a price tag starting at $200, an average Joe may have to budget away a little in order to own a pair. Essentially as much as everyone who has ever tried them would want them, they aren’t a typical $40 pair of headphones that you can just shovel out some cash on and call it a day.  They are costly and there is no guarantee they’re going to last forever or you’re not going to break them (luckily you won’t have to worry about snagging a cord and ruining them anymore) but most owners will tell you they’re well worth the investment.

Image result for looking cool with airpods in
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Wear ‘Em Like A Champion.

Whether it’s going to the gym, participating in some sports event, toiling away at work, lounging around or just walking from one place to the other, you’ll notice just how comfortable the Airpods are.  They give the user a sense of satisfaction within themselves, an elite status feeling to some. So now there is another way to look dialed in to your friends and family while still giving off the sense you’re listening…  multitasking is cool.😎 

A logo for the Blog

The Top Five Things A Graphic Designer Needs!

Whether you are at the start of your career, or you are designing for fun, it can be hard to find a starting point to get into the proper work flow to excel and impress the people that you are doing it for. Below are the ‘Top 5 Things’ you should consider using if you are interested in becoming a Graphic Designer.

1. Sketchbook and Pencil

Image of a sketch book.
Credit to: Google Images

If you are considering doing any sort of design work, you should have a sketchbook with you. If you’re anything like me, and can’t draw for the life of you, don’t panic. A sketch book lets jot down those ideas that would take too long for you to do on a computer. This is important because if you are working with clients or are limited on time, you shouldn’t waste time waiting too long to come up with a concept that will work.

2. A Computer and Mouse

Having a device that is strong enough to handle your working tasks is always nice to have. Whether you are creating catalogues for your client or drawing new designs for a clothing brand, having a computer to be able to create these media files will be well worth it. The mouse controls your movement through the designs so that you can do them precisely.

3. System Software

Image of Adobe Creative Cloud Logo's
Image Courtesy to: Adobe Creative Cloud

As simple as it may seem, having software that enables you to create your designs. In terms of software that is out there, I personally suggest using Adobe Creative Cloud. The reasoning for this, is due to its simplicity but the functionality of what it provides for the user is incomparable to other software that are available. Some programs that may sound familiar are Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro.

4. A Thinking Space

With life as it is, being creative can have its hardships if it isn’t always practiced or is interrupted by others. So at number 4, having a thinking space allows for you to have time and pull 100% of your thoughts to achieving what you are wanting. The space doesn’t have to be large either, whether it’s your bedroom, in your living room, or if you do your best thinking in the shower, it’s all up to you, and that’s the best part of it. Once you do happen to find this space, make sure to use it. Actively practicing creative skills will help you in the long run!

5. Headphones

Having headphones allows you to focus on your work, and can have your own headspace in a busy environment. This is fantastic for designers because a lot of our work happens in our head and having that clear space to think about it allows for better efficiency when you work, which could eventually allow you to get more jobs.

Experiencing Interactive Media Arts

When it started for me, I wasn’t sure if this course was something I was going to be interested in for the rest of my two year student life.

I was out of the province and a days drive away when I received the text, followed by what felt like hundreds of emails confirming I had been enrolled in the Interactive Media Arts course at Assiniboine Community College. But once I had found a place to live, I realized it was too late to go into hiding and pretend post-secondary education didn’t exist.

A Packed Suitcase
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

The Start

Despite my doubt and anxiety I still decided to show up on the first day of classes (the orientation the week before didn’t really count). While getting to know my teachers was pretty simple, the people considered classmates took a bit longer to break the ice with.

The days quickly became weeks, and then evolved further more into months. As it stands I have now spent around 6 months in this program. While the coding work is a bit of a drag and struggle, the other courses have interested me enough to keep me invested and trying to succeed.

Code – From Pexels

The Work

Aside from some minor classes such as video editing and audio recording/manipulation, the main attraction of this course for anyone with an interest in design, would be the Adobe classes. Several classes are dedicated to teaching and experimenting with the Adobe suite of design tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and InDesign.

As stated above, this courses work load can be a bit of a struggle. Due to my lack of research into the materials and the workload, I had no idea this would involve as heavy work as coding. Coding is what I would describe as the bane of my courses workload. However, if it’s something that someone would want to pursue then I would recommend it, I personally know successful graduates of this program who excelled at it.

Photoshop Illustrator After Effects InDesign

Photo by Matan Segev from Pexels

The Outcome

Still enrolled, 6 months later, the doubts completely absent from the thoughts in my head, actually thinking I fit in for once in the education aspects of my life.

As someone who never sought out post-secondary I will wholeheartedly say it’s worth the experience, and you may end up enjoying yourself and the work given.

And best of all, you might get lucky like me and meet the friends you finally feel are worth keeping.

A Story from an IMA student

illustration design

Incredible Black & White Typography

Adobe Software Photoshop and illustrators are frequently employed by advertising companies, editorials and graphic design firms. Typical duties of an Adobe Photoshop & illustrator include ideas for brainstorming, sketches, creation of draft illustrations, discussion of ideas with co-workers and completion of illustrations.

If you are still learning the basics of design or want some quick and easy text ideas to improve your printed designs, these beginner tutorials will be very useful. In your lessons you will learn how to apply 3D textures and effects, create logos, use masks and other simple techniques to improve your text.

Creating art with words will never die, no matter how advanced our image-taking capabilities bring us. When paper with moving images such as a computer screen becomes common, designers will continue to use text to convey their message and create visual interest. Challenge yourself to design with impressive text and see where your creativity takes you.

The Movie Story page below features a nice layout with only one font, colors and two font sizes. Although only font faces are used, it’s harder to read, and the hierarchy is achieved using size and color.

Incredible Black & White Typography Poster

Research incredible typography posters.

Sketch out my ideas.

Think about the colour and layout. 

Review my files against the requirements.

There is no simple answer to this, but a good rule of thumb to use font selection is to stick to Impossible-500, Ebrima and Palace Script MT, all regular fonts or fonts by design. And the title of the title is used layer with mask, and I created the background within the white flow lines and color used Black and White. When it comes to font restrictions it is a good thing. Earn interest by choosing two contrasting fonts. For example, in my 11×17 paper, the Illustrator file uses a script or a dirty font for its headings and contrasts them with a sans-serif font for body text.

The contrast makes the text interesting and can help you communicate with ideas you want to emphasize. Variable size, typography, weight, color and style can give your designs a great impact and organize your ideas. Next, you can see how contrast helps you give your text an interesting, striking and even more meaningful appearance.

We couldn’t imagine anything better than to perceive what you can consider, so share instances of your best content impacts in the remarks beneath. Furthermore, on the off chance that you know other helpful Photoshop content instructional exercises or have made your very own instructional exercises, presently is your opportunity to impart them to the world.

Lightbulb on chalkboard

How To Find Inspiration

You walk into your first day of Interactive Media Arts, everything’s great, you meet new people, learn new things, it’s all a piece of cake. Then the assignments start coming and the inspiration and ideas don’t follow. I’ve compiled a list of my tried and true methods that I look to when my ideas just aren’t flowing.

Exploration To Ease Frustration

Go for a walk. Being in the same place for a long time can make it difficult to be creative. A fresh environment can help stimulate new thinking.

Observation is Key

Look at what others are doing, I find looking at designs can help as people have such varying perceptions of the world and they notice different things. Be careful not to copy someone’s ideas. Sites like designinspiration have a lot of great content. Another place I like to go to for inspiration is Pinterest, you can organize your different thoughts into boards, it’s a great resource for anyone.

Woman listening to music
Photo Credit: Bruce Mars from Pexels
Change Your Tune

Listen to music, and if you’re already doing that, listen to something completely different. According to Jill Suttie, music helps diversify your thinking, regardless of if you like what you’re listening to or not.

Speak is the New Chic

Talk to someone. Get their view on the task at hand, they might have an insight you never would have come up with. Sometimes just explaining the project to a friend may help, especially if they have less knowledge in the subject and you have to describe it in a more simplistic way.

notebook
Photo Credit: Ann H from Pexels
Don’t Forget It, You’ll Regret It

When creativity does hit write it down, NOW. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few keywords or a sketch, just get your idea onto something. I can almost guarantee you won’t remember it or at least not to its full capacity. Carry a little notebook with you or keep notes on your phone, make it as accessible as possible to store ideas.

Tried and True

This final tip is something I’m sure you’ve heard a million times but I included it because it’s true: find what works for you, there isn’t going to be any one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes your go-tos will change as you get older or work on different types of projects.

As Einstein once said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This is applicable to more than just physics. I get it, sometimes you’re stressed and time constraints don’t help. Just take it one step at a time and break the task into more attainable chunks. If you still are coming up with nothing, take a short break and start fresh.

If new ideas still feel like finding a needle in a haystack I’ve included some links to alternative sites with a different perspective that may help get the inspiration flowing for you. 

I hope you enjoyed my blog. Thanks for reading!

World reset button

The IMA switch: what it’s like to leave Media for Interactive

When you start college, you enter armed with a bunch of expectations, future plans, a vision for yourself. At least these were the things I was supposed to have to convince my parents it’s a good idea to send their child from a small village in Poland to the other side of the globe. So when the program started, I went all in, overlooking along the way every single thing telling me that I might actually be more of an “Interactive” than I’d thought.

Detour road sign
Detour road sign / Photo by Luan Oosthuizen from Pexels

“But why would you even switch?”

“And what about coding?” Yes, coding is supposedly the biggest reason not to switch programs. The fact that you barely do any web design on the Media side makes it harder to keep up with this big part of the Interactive program. Unless you’re the kind of person who’d learn this “excruciating” content in their own time just for fun…

For a long time that was the way I played this game: learning Media by day and coding by night (here, insert the rest of Fiona’s curse from Shrek). That was until I heard that, best-case scenario, I would end up working in the news anyway. It took some time, fear, thinking, research, and a good piece of advice about following my gut, but the decision was made: no more worries about ending up in the news (unless I’m the star of the news story) – I’m switching.

Boy with a backpack
A boy walking away (not an actual photo of me) / Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

First days as an “Interactive”

It was really weird at the beginning – really, really weird. And scary. I jumped from a talkative group of movie enthusiasts, who’d managed to become my new family, to a quiet bunch of strangers who already had their inside jokes and friend groups. The only comfort was that at least the instructors stayed the same. Mostly.

I got through the first weeks, spending every moment of free time with my old Media group. Until one day they didn’t show up for lunch. So I had my first lunch with the Interactive people and everything else is, probably, history. It took that and a few more group projects to realize that those strangers are actually not as scary and strange as they seemed the first day.

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” promotion materials

How it all turned out

The most important thing was that I was finally able to do what I enjoyed instead of something that just “looked cool.” Since the first coding class, I had no more doubts. It was still scary, it was, but I was reminded every day why I knew it was the right decision.

Looking back, I’d say you can’t always know what’s going to happen with your life and you can’t always be sure if you’re making the right decision. But then, you should probably follow your gut. Unless it leads you to the fridge at 1AM. Then maybe don’t.

logo design for self

IMA Beginning Experience

The Interactive Media Arts program is different than what I imagined in a lot of ways. There is a lot more writing, coding, and frustration than I had expected. If you come from a background of taking design or art classes in high school, a thought that might come up is should I be here? The first month was mostly for me was review for design principles, colour theory, and learning Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. It felt like a waste of time, and I was an angsty teen in high school. But I am glad all of our projects quickly kicked up, and honestly kicked my butt at the end of the semester. 

Coding requires a lot of effort. Luckily our teacher Malena had patience with us. It’s a lot of problem-solving. I see how it can easily irritate people when you try and fix something, and it just spirals, but it’s quite cool to create imagery from text to communicate with the computer. Figuring out a problem feels like a great achievement. It is quite a cool process that can be fun once you understand things.

Design is mostly what I came into the Interactive Media Arts program for. On top of the things I knew before I entered this program, I have gained so much more knowledge. From little bits in Adobe programs, to appreciating photography.  Taking photography for a design project and producing everything yourself makes it feel like much more of an extra accomplishment than grabbing royalty-free images. By taking the images yourself, you can capture the exact direction you want to go in. Not that there’s anything wrong with using free images, but it just adds to the project a lot more from what I’ve found; and it’s instantly more personal to the creator. One of the pieces I’ve created so far with photography, was a project creating a postcard with a picture taken of my cat for Halloween.

Halloween Postcard I photographed and edited for Derek Ford’s class, semester 1.

After Effects and Premiere Pro were two completely new programs to me. Once you grasp the concept of one, it’s easy to see how some elements are similar, and make understanding the other one easier. They’re both programs you learn in the IMA program that make it easier to create video content. Even though it is not what I came here for, I am glad to have learned Premiere Pro because it has already opened new direction I can go in with projects.

I have gained so much good experience so far and I find myself excited to learn when I show up. All of the teachers know how to make this program as enjoyable as can be and work hard to achieve that while still producing results in their students. That is why I decided to stick with it.