My goals at the beginning of this semester for Composing Digital Media were to sharpen my skills in design and layout, as well as HTML and CSS. I also hoped to gain a few more skills in other aspects of digital media to create a well-rounded portfolio to share with future employers.
The first project of the course was the visual unit where I created an invitation to a New Year’s party (GitHub: https://github.com/ADoctrow/Visual-Project-1 and https://github.com/ADoctrow/Project-1-Final-Draft ). This was by far the project I was most comfortable working on this semester. My overall goal for this specific project was to create flyer that would attract millennials, while maintaining a level of mysteriousness and exclusivity. After finalizing a color scheme that I felt fit this, the hardest part came for me when I used GIMP to overlay the picture I had chosen. Since I was more comfortable with Adobe Photoshop, making this change to GIMP was challenging. It ended up being very user friendly, and worked well for me, but it took some adjustment period to be able to do what I had envisioned for the flyer.
I workshopped this project, and the most useful advice I received was about the emphasis of colors I had in my first draft (See here: https://github.com/ADoctrow/Visual-Project-1/blob/master/Project%201%20Composing%20Digital%20Media.pdf). I forget the exact person who told me, or if it was a combination of a few people, but they said to really decide what the most important part of the message is, and that is what should stand out most. Since the fact that it was a New Year’s party was most important, and not necessarily the time, I changed the colors in my final project to highlight that phrase more than the background information. I also added a back to provide more details of the event to make it more realistic. I think I successfully accomplished my goals for this project.
The audio unit was a completely different story. I was very nervous since I had never done anything with audio manipulation in the past. First, it was hard to find music that worked well together, as well as with my writing I recorded. Audacity was very easy to use, so that made this project a little easier to work with. After my first draft, I liked the music I chose more, and thought it gave my writing the feel of a promotional recording that I was looking for. Still, it was scratchy and hard to make the transitions between music feel seamless and natural. Even though I did not have time to revise this project because of all of the confusion with submission, I still feel I made a tremendous improvement with this type of digital media, considering I had no past experience. (GitHub: https://github.com/ADoctrow/Audio-Unit )
Moving into the project pitch, I had some of my comfort back. I had previous experience with HTML and CSS being used to create a website. The challenges came when I tried to move more into the aspirational criteria. Attempting to use Flexbox was very different from the other styles of design I had used in the past. I also began my site at workshop using tables, which is an outdated method. By transforming my site into ‘divs’, it made it much easier to design all of the aspects of my site, so that advice worked out well for me. Overall, it was a simple site because I had my pitch spread across three pages, but the way I organized it and the colors I used to highlight information helped to fill the website, and make it creative past the pitch itself. (GitHub: https://github.com/ADoctrow/Project-Pitch )
I probably had the most fun with our group project because instead of sitting at home on the computer, we had to opportunity to go out and take pictures of and film our content for the Instagram page. Also, getting to know my groupmates was fun, and I think we all had a lot of creative ideas to bring to the project. I think we all worked well together and were good at listening to others opinions and even taking criticism from each other. Even though my main part of the project was creating the logo, I touched base with my groupmates every step up the way, from the design itself to choosing the colors to include in the sunrise.
One of the things we struggled with the most since we had an Instagram and Twitter page was timing (Twitter link here since I link to the Instagram through the thumbnail: https://twitter.com/pghmornings?lang=en ). It was hard to decide if we should flood the page at first to give it more content before we started following people, or if we should post of thing each day so we didn’t annoy the people who chose to follow us. Also, since we had to visit breakfast and coffee shops in Pittsburgh, there was a slight delay in gathering content when we all went home for Thanksgiving break. However, when we got back, we all put in a great effort to go to a few more places before the project was due and we succeeded. We solved the timing issue by putting the logo on the accounts, and posting a few images before trying to follow people to gain more followers, and I believe this worked. Having content encouraged others to follow us more so than it would have with no content and no information. I think this project was extremely successful in terms of creating a social media campaign, since Coffee Tree ended up following us and reposting one of our images, which ultimately led to gaining more followers.
What surprised me the most about this course was that I was able to learn very quickly. Even though technology can be tricky sometimes, the workshops and free time in class to discuss the programs we used and our projects in class benefitted me tremendously. The tutorials also didn’t hinder the process, but I really think asking questions of my peers and watching them do certain things like navigate GIMP and Audacity helped me learn this skills much faster than I would have on my own.
I am happy I was able to sharpen a lot of my digital media skills through this course, and even gain a new skill in our audio unit. I will definitely continue to improve upon the skills from all of our units, but I do hope to learn more about audio projects in the future because I can see the added benefit that sound gives to any digital media project I might create in the future.