Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 7 Reflection

Making a site map was a little difficult for me, and it's changed slightly as I've added certain things to my HTML pages. The image shown is the current set-up. Some links are hidden in images and some pages are meant to look like dead-ends, however they all link to at least two pages. The theme of the site revolves around synthesizers. Many of the backgrounds are being made with InDesign.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Response to “Digital Materiality of GIFs”

The Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, has been an open platform since its creation. While not originally intended to be used for animation, many implement the platform for just that purpose. Many companies continue attempting to create a similar platform that is limited to each company’s specific constraints. These constraints aren’t meant to challenge artists into creating different material, but rather to gain more control over a medium not meant to be controlled. The GIF, in all its simplicity, is meant to be a guideline for artists to constantly expand through creative thinking and experimentation. To further limit these guidelines for corporate gain goes against everything the GIF has come to represent.
The GIF Specification limits color palettes to 256 colors, and must store the pixels that have changed for every frame of animation. While these limits are not ideal for content the size of movies, they are very efficient for smaller visual content. The looping mechanism of the GIF allows for endless remixing and reinterpretation. Upload limitations have only furthered the drive of artists to find new techniques and expand the use of the GIF.

Response to “In Memory of Chuck Poynter, user and GIF maker”

                Finding the original author of an animated GIF is usually difficult because the artist either chooses to remain anonymous or, unfortunately, has their signature removed from the original drawing by users wanting to save space. With more limitations being set by companies online it is becoming more common for artist’s signatures to be removed during the remixing and reuse process. When an artist does decide to leave their signature in the original file of an animated GIF, they typically write it in a comment along with a description of the animation, a title, and a date. Leaving out one’s signature in an animated GIF file has its advantages, such as perpetuating the message of open sources that the GIF represents and maintaining anonymity if the animated GIF becomes popular.
                The Dancing Girl animation is a very popular, very early, GIF that was used on many websites during the late 90s and is available today on every free animated GIF collection. Many have speculated the author of the original drawing since it’s debut, but the mystery remains unsolved. At one point the animation was thought to be part of Chuck Poynter’s collection of original GIFs, however; after more extensive research the animation was found in a set of sample animations from an old black-and-white Macintosh application that predated the application used by Poynter. While it is possible that the author of the original animation chose to remain anonymous, this is a prime example of loss of credit for an animation through its reuse and reinterpretation. The original animation, in its entirety, consisted of three figures dancing with their shadows moving along underneath them. Poynter’s reinterpretation removed the other two figures and all shadows, all except for one pixel at the bottom right that is. He signed this remix as an original in the comments of his files, leading researches to believe he was the original author.
                Animated GIF authors choose between anonymity and possible infamy each time they publish a GIF. By deciding to leave a signature an artist can personally identify with a cause, promote their work, or associate themselves with certain companies. On the other hand, leaving a signature off the original animation perpetuates the open-source platform that GIFs have come to represent as well as promoting shared content in the art community. Either way an artist decides, the possibility of their signature becoming removed, or an internet stranger’s being added, will always remain. Safekeeping original files of original Animated GIFs is the only way to verify and maintain credit for a drawing. Having multiple drives and backup storage is the best method of file maintenance and will ensure multiple ways to access the drawing’s original file information.

Project 1

Dracon. After taking a picture of Coal, my kitten, sleeping, I was inspired to turn him into a dragon. By isolating just the image of Coal, I was able to move that portion of the picture onto a volcanic rock background. Searching for images online of a dragon/winged creature in a similar position reminded me to add tiny horns at the top of Coal's head. After combining all of the elements I adjusted the color-balance of the photo to be black-and-white with dark shadows, which I felt would blend the image overall.
Inspired by South Park's creation of the ManBearPig, I wanted to bring a slightly more realistic aspect to the idea. After cutting many images of men, bears, and pigs, I assembled the individual elements and began trying to blend the colors. The transition from human to animal elements was difficult for me to smooth out, and I'm continuing to work on my techniques. Adding the forest background helps the composition look more cohesive and the shadows of the trees work well with the shading of the figure. 

Puffer-fish and naval mines have always had humorous similarities, in my opinion. Some puffer-fish look angry enough to explode, and their body shape somewhat resembles a naval mine. By isolating the chain element from a larger photo, I was able to copy and paste to the length I needed for each puffer-fish. I also made some very small chained puffer-fish with an opaque blue layer over them, to give the illusion that they are farther back in the water.