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This description of the exquisite corpse parlor game is taken from Chapter 9 of the open source textbook “Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with adobe Creative Suite” – link: http://is.gd/0KDvsj “Exquisite corpseā€ is a parlor game that the Surrealists developed in 1925. In this game, each player submits images (drawings, paintings, photographs) of heads, torsos, and legs, and they are combined to produce surprising new bodies. We have played this game with students using images of each other that we captured in class on a digital camera, as well as by using images from pop culture, found on the web. Collaging celebrity and politician body parts can provoke thoughtful discussion. Images of students are on the wiki, but it’s more fun to try this with pictures of your friends or family! For this assignment you can work with friends, family or just yourself. Make photos of body parts like face, hands, ears, arms, legs, torso (front or back), etc. Use an image editor with layers to combine the separate parts into a surprising new body. If you need help you can follow the tutorial here – http://is.gd/0KDvsj – which includes example files you can practice with, but afterward make your own Exquisite Corpse and share it on your blog.

Our fifth, and final, Design Assignment this week is another mandatory option, the “exactly what it says on the tin” four-star challenge. My selection was a 1920s parlor game, played between Surrealists of the era, known as the Exquisite Corpse.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/21937970772/

As you can see, I decided to get a little festive with this particular entry, given that October is the month of Halloween, a night of tricks, treats, and, if you’re in a horror movie, traps. Since the festival formerly known as Samhain is essentially one giant freak show, without the big top, I decided to create my own creature, straight out of the morgue, for your screaming and staring pleasure.

Bits and pieces were swept off the cutting-room floor and strewn together to make this monstrosity, including a severed hand for all of its limbs, a collection of exposed guts with a familiar face sewn on for its torso, an ear here, an ear there, and the head of an evil dust-bunny come to life!

Once the rest of the nuts and bolts were disposed of, I hit the switch, sent ten thousand volts of electricity through my corpse’s soul, and could only watch in manic glee, as my monster now walks, and talks, with thee!

With this, I conclude my weekly labors with a grand total of fifteen-and-a-half stars.

Posted in Digital Storytelling (#ds106), DS106 Assignments Tagged with: , ,

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Create a design assignment that includes a least 3 things in the picture, and at least one of those things has to be inside another. The example, for instance, includes a black magnet and a microchip inside a small black box and these together were all put together and then added into the photo of old video games.

This was, oddly enough, the easiest Design Assignment I had this week, at two-and-a-half stars, with the irony being that, when I selected this, it was actually worth four stars. Nonetheless, I actually liked the movie, Inception, so much so that I actually waited until after I saw the film, in its entirety, before watching Doug Walker’s “Bum Review” of it. However, it wasn’t the only thing I liked for turning the standard concepts of science-fiction on their collective head. So, given that we’re basically playing Russian dolls with household objects, it didn’t take long to come up with a fitting design for the piece.

"In Dreams"

This one was done with a shot from my cameraphone, of my copy of the anime, To Aru Majutsu no Index, or A Certain Magical Index, on DVD and Blu-Ray, hovering over a container of various coins, with a silver cross pendant, reading, “Jesus saves,” across the sides, inside it. The first step towards making this photo work, was setting up the box set’s artwork, to serve as the backdrop, as I needed it to provide the illusion of two kids standing near a wishing well, represented by my next object of choice.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/22161145791/

My coin collection, which makes up the false well, symbolizes the expensive life that one of the show’s central characters, Touma Kamijou – the spiky-haired high-school boy on the cover – lives at the start of the series. You see, this show takes place in a world where supernatural abilities are a reality, and schools are built for the sole purpose of teaching students to control these powers; while Touma is one of the weakest “espers” in one of these schools, in the town of Academy City, he does have a secret ability, “Imagine Breaker,” which can negate any opponent’s power during combat, at the cost of his own luck, hence the coins representing every time things took a turn for the worse for him in his life.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/22124765106/

For my final step, I placed the aforementioned “Jesus saves” pendant inside the container of coins, in such a manner as to blend in, and stand out, simultaneously; this is to symbolize the female lead, and title character of the franchise, who is literally named Index Librorum Prohibitorum. She’s the one in the white and gold habit, which she calls the “Walking Church,” as she starts off as a member of the Church of England’s Necessarius branch – the Church of Necessary Evil – at the start of the show; while I may have joked about her name, the reasoning behind it isn’t something to laugh at, as she’s memorized 103,000 grimoires of magic by the time the series begins, so it’s safe to say she can hold her own in a fight.

Turn the Page 3

Thankfully, this photo session was easy for me, as the lighting put enough emphasis on the cross to draw people’s attention to it, while the grainy quality of the overall product keeps their interest, by getting them to think that this photo, taken hours before this entry was posted, may be older, and grungier, than it is. To me, I think this aesthetic works here, as it provides a feeling of dark mysticism between the box set, the coins, and the cross, which is fitting, considering what actually happens in the show. Note the lack of spoilers.

Sadly, this means I have one challenge left to complete, and with only eleven-and-a-half stars out of a possible twelve, it means I’m going to have to bring out the big guns to get me through this week. Wish me luck, ladies and gentlemen, for when next we meet, I will raise the dead.

Posted in Digital Storytelling (#ds106), DS106 Assignments Tagged with: , ,

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Have you ever seen those crime shows that organize a case using a suspect board? Like Scandal or Blacklist? Well, that’s exactly what this assignment is. You will create a suspect board (or a board that connects different characters) to show interaction between the people. Feel free to add text, objects, and locations that connect to the people/characters to develop the story even more. Make sure that the board clearly shows how the pieces are connected, and in your post, explain the story behind it.

"Leave It To Beaver"

This was our mandatory assignment for the week, also worth three stars. Having never watched a single episode of Gravity Falls, and only really getting bits and pieces of what’s going on via hearsay, I decided to make my suspect board look like Stan Pines, the grandfather/uncle of Dipper and Mabel Pines, was knocked unconscious after the gravity manipulator was “accidentally” turned on, like it tends to do in the intro to the show.

There were paw marks on the ground – cue the artist rendering in lieu of actual beaver tracks – leading up to the switch that powers the manipulator, which would have gnaw marks on it. Suffice it to say, Dipper and Mabel would be the prime suspects, since they actually saw Stan get injured, were using his lucky fez to hide the wound until it could be properly cleaned, and would’ve noticed that the switch had been turned on, albeit temporarily, because some mechanical contraptions tend to stay warm for a while after they’re turned off.

Stan, however, would’ve noticed both the paw marks on the ground, as well as – cue the decisive clue that nobody else notices until the very last act of the piece – a series of sticks with bite marks on them, as if someone, or something, was whittling them down so they could use them to make a home for themselves. Yes, it seems one of the local beavers was the one to accidentally turn on the gravity manipulator; shut it off out of shock, thus causing the bump on Stan’s head in the first place; and all because it was the time of the year for beavers to build shelters from the bears, and other predators, of Gravity Falls.

This was not as quick of an editing job as I would’ve suspected, but I’m still satisfied with what I have, given all of the necessary pictures I needed to upload, to complete the needed effect of a suspect board. Once they fit into their respective squares, I connected the pictures together with the spray paint feature of Photoshop, in lieu of string, as a cost-cutting measure. After that, I saved everything on my computer, and finally uploaded the finished file onto Flickr; this gives me a new score of nine stars, out of a possible twelve, and with two challenges left.

Posted in Digital Storytelling (#ds106), DS106 Assignments Tagged with: , ,

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Design an Atari 2600 Cartridge based on a Twilight Zone epsiode. The idea is to get the right font (Atari Age is great for this) based on the classic Atari 2600 box covers. What’s more, there are some great templates for the Atari cartridges available online. Also, be sure to create a graphic of what the Atari game might look like.

My second assignment of this most recent GIMP blitz is worth an additional three stars, despite the fact that it was worth three-and-a-half stars during the preparation phase. Ergo, submitted for your approval is this cover for a video game follow-up, to the Season One Twilight Zone episode, “People Are Alike All Over.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/21735870760/

The object of this game is as straightforward as it gets, as players try to get Roddy McDowall’s character from this episode, Sam Conrad, back to Earth from his cage on Mars, making sure to find his partner, revive him, and ultimately save his life at the end, hence the title, “Save Marcusson!” The reason behind the name change is that in the original episode, Warren Marcusson, played by Paul Comi, dies when his spaceship reaches Mars, leaving only Conrad to become the “Earth creature in its native habitat” by episode’s end; at the start of the game, Conrad finds out that Marcusson didn’t die after all, hence the race against the clock to save both Marcusson, and Conrad, from the Martians.

2220_atari-2600-prev

This was the template for an Atari 2600 game pack, which I based my project on, to begin with…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/21920017655/

this snapshot of the climactic scene from “People Are Alike All Over,” was used for the front cover image…

Solaris-Screenshot-527x346

…and this was stretched out for the back cover. Before we continue, I would like to mention that, at the time of downloading, all three pictures were in the public domain, according to Bing Images.

As for how I made the cover for this, it was basically a matter of cut and paste. It was easy enough to find the necessary template to make an Atari 2600 game cover, to say nothing of the cover image, taken from the episode itself, or the title font, chosen because I wanted this game to stand out a bit differently, compared to normal Atari releases of the time; my research indicated that not all of Atari’s releases followed their templates exactly, after all. In all honesty, I believe that if a product can’t be sold on its own merits, let alone those of others, it doesn’t deserve to be made, at all.

The graphics on the back cover were easy to find on the public domain, thanks to Bing Images, and I uploaded it just as fast as the rest of my source material. As soon as everything was uploaded, I edited them to fit each section, accordingly. I adjusted the gameplay snapshot to fill out the back cover without overlapping anything else, and made sure that the episode image could fit over the blank space underneath the title, completing the assignment from there. Once I was satisfied with the final product, I uploaded it onto Flickr, for a new total of six stars, out of twelve for the week.

Posted in Digital Storytelling (#ds106), DS106 Assignments Tagged with: , ,

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“Create a signuature symbol that can represent your personality type. Upload the symbol using jpg or png. Tell us about your signature symbol and what does it means to you. If there is any thing superstitious about your signature, share it with us.”

All this week, we had to take part in five different Design Assignments, worth up to twelve stars. My first entry, worth three stars, allowed me to create my own signature, and in my case, I decided to sum up my personality with another minimalist work.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchelleubank/21897672236/

The design for my personal symbol is essentially my Zodiac sign, Virgo, laid over a drawing of a four-leaf clover, with the entire design reflecting shades of green throughout. As one site notes, the clover, itself, is considered a good-luck charm in several parts of the world, including America, to the point that, next to the butterfly, it’s one of the most common tattoo designs in the world, as well. Western cultures believe that each leaf of the clover symbolizes a common theme: hope, faith, love, and, of course, luck; in Ireland, however, the first three leaves represent the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – with the fourth leaf designated to “bring God’s grace,” according to traditional folklore.

As for the Virgo half of my symbol, that one’s as academic as it gets: The logo already looks like a stylized version of my first and last initials, and I am, in fact, a Virgo, as I was born on September 10, 1990. According to the website, mysticalblaze.com, which specializes in astrology, “The Virgo personality is a complex mix of intelligence, common sense, attention to detail, and commitment.” The fact that I’m even in the University of Mary Washington, at all, is probably the best evidence there is, at the moment, regarding that statement.

This leaves us with the consistent use of the color, green, in the final product. If my memory of color symbolism serves me correctly, green can be used to reference some rather opposing characteristics; this can include mixing good luck with misfortune, service with inexperience, and generosity and fertility with jealousy and envy. Naturally, with all of that in mind, the goal is to show the audience that opposites can, in fact, attract.

For that to happen, I made my background a bright lime green, while darker shades were used for the clover and, even more so, for the Virgo symbol. As it happens, I went with a lime-green background, to catch the audience’s attention, and darker shades on the main logo, to ensure their focus is maintained. This tells people that while I am as “trendy, whimsical, and lively” as a young up-and-comer in my chosen field, I can also be as “traditional, trustworthy, and well-balanced” as a veteran in the craft. The end result of this experiment was something that was quick to make on GIMP, and even quicker to upload onto Flickr.

Posted in Digital Storytelling (#ds106), DS106 Assignments Tagged with: , ,

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