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Jack Mulligan Reflection and Final Portfolio


Composing digital media is an extremely vague term as we progress further and further into the digital age. Nearly all of the media we consume is digital. When I began this course, I was unsure of the different types of digital media we would be exploring. Through all of the units, I was impressed by the technology that we used. While it may not have been the most user friendly, all of the programs were free and allowed for maximum control. The use of low context software like Gimp and Audacity is definitely something I will carry into the future media I compose. At first it did not make sense that we were using these admittedly unattractive programs when we are so inundated with programs like Photoshop. Over the course of the semester I began to understand the importance of utilizing free and open software. In addition to Github's version control, I am now able to envision working on collaborative open source visual project. The power of version control, though initially complicated, is undeniable. It was also extremely accessible for students as many of us do not have Photoshop or other high context editing software.

I felt the most challenged in this course with the amount of programs we learned. We were challenged to be creative and innovative on top of figuring out several pieces of software. Learning how to manage this course in relation to WordPress, Github, Audacity, Gimp, HTML, and social media was definitely the most challenging part of the course. I think everyone in the class was able to bring really great creative ideas in our presentations, but were sometimes hindered by our inexperience. However, this course was merely an introduction. Now that I am familiar with these programs, I will be able to further explore and play around with these different types of software. I am looking forward to a professional position where I am allowed to experiment with these programs again.

I was surprised by the creativity of my peers in this course. Technology is often super isolated, and sitting in front of a screen does not foster a lot of good group discussion. However, this course focused heavily on group collaboration. This was definitely the most collaborative course I took this semester. Because of this, I was able to gain insight on the thought process and ideas of almost everyone in the class. Because we took time out of the course to stop and collaborate, it made the course much more enriching. By watching the presentations, I was consistently surprised by the different perspectives and interests everyone has outside of the course. There are a lot of courses that do not allow for personal creative expression, but this definitely allowed us to play to our own strengths and interests. It is always great to see students presenting projects they are passionate about. I was surprised and grateful for the opportunity to see so many diverse creative projects.


My visual project was one of my favorites to complete. I enjoy capturing a body of work in a single image. I chose to re work one of my favorite album covers to commemorate its 10th anniversary. I had a good time working with this image because it doesn't pull anything literal from the original album cover. I started simply with a full color image of a Vegas casino, and manipulated it into a believable commemorative album cover. Since Gimp is free and open source, I had some experience editing photos when I was first discovering the internet. Opening up gimp for this course was similar to opening up Rollercoaster Tycoon after 10 years. I remembered a lot, but I also forgot most of the tricks I had learned when I was very young. The visual project worked as a great refresher for this cool program.


I also experimented with audacity when I was very young. Because of this I was able to remember how to use some of the features. I personally find audacity to be much more complicated than Gimp, but still very effective. I think I am much more visually dominant, which made this slightly challenging for me. In Audacity, you are able to view the visual of the sound through the blue sound waves, but it is difficult to asses how sound will translate through different speakers and headphones. I think it is fairly easy to produce a professional looking visual project, but audio takes much more training. I though my audio project was slightly rough, but I am still proud of it. Audio is interesting because it usually ends up sounding much different than I had originally intended. This project was definitely about discovery and playing around with Audacity until something works.


I think for the majority of people, this was by far the most challenging project. It was challenging in terms of learning the HTML and CSS language, as well as being our most creatively challenging project. I struggled with HTML, but I look forward to using the base I gained from this course to extend to other projects. My idea for the website was a locator and review site for vintage clothing. Ideally, it would have been a combination of Pinterest and Yelp that would allow people to share their favorite vintage clothes/stores. I knew this would be too difficult to tackle as a group project, but I really liked my idea. I think this site would be especially useful for people who have never gone to a vintage store before to get an good idea of the scene. The HTML was a little rough, but this was a great learning experience.


This project was by far the most fun to work on. As I mentioned before, the amount of collaboration in this course was amazing and led to a lot of great ideas. Our group was able to collaborate on an Instagram and Twitter project. I enjoy using social media in a professional way, since it is so important to out culture. Now, some of the most important news is broken via tweet. We were able to settle on an original idea and get a perfect twitter handle. From there, we provided content with a consistent tone and visual template. This was effective as we amassed a good amount of followers and were even contacted by one of the businesses we featured. This project was much more of a success than I originally imagined, and I couldn't be happier with the group contributions.