Moon Graffiti presented an excellent example of using sound as an integral part of storytelling. The producers effectively used recorded audio, sound effects, and background music woven with a compelling narrative of mixed fact and fantasy.
The audio pushes the imagination, bringing the adventure of a lunar visit and subsequent crash to life in the listener’s mind, just as Jad Abumrad describes in the first video.
Along with realistic (perhaps mixed with early recording from the actual mission) voice acting simulating the flight, the producers bring in tense background music and sound effects to heighten suspense. The writers increase the tension with dialogue, adding realistic emotion when one astronaut becomes fascinated with the moonscape in the face of their impending death while the other remains concerned about practicalities of their situation. They argue about fixing the radio instead of completing their mission. The sound effects and music throughout immerse the listener in the story.
Overall, Moon Graffiti is very well-done both technically and from a storytelling standpoint. But can I make something like this?
It didn’t help Friday, though, when I jumped back in head-first.
Began with the alternate history book cover design. I immediately thought text book, and started in. In keeping with the idea that we’d all speak Spanish, I kept the book title in that language. Probably put way too much time into it, but think I did a good job demonstrating some concepts from the reading and watching.
Then I took up the alternate history assignment from the bank. Had a hard time coming up with a concept, but when my wife said there’d be Taco Bells everywhere I knew what I’d do. When I found the image with flags all over it, that sealed the deal.
Going through some of the potentials in the Assignment Bank, I chose the Triple Rocktroll Lyrics (2 stars) and Messing with the McGuffin (2 stars), both of which were fun to do. I used Photoshop to create these in layers, applying the Canva tutorial lessons where possible.
Started checking out some of the other students’ blogs and was relieved to see I’m not the only one struggling with a few things when they commented about the rough start. But I have to say that as an antisocial introvert, commenting on others’ posts may be the hardest part of the course. I made some comments, but don’t know how to go back to find them after they’ve been moderated to link them here.
Following the alternate history of ‘if the Spanish Armada had conquered England,’ I made this textbook cover (in Spanish because that’s what we’d all speak).
Using tips from the Canva tutorial on fonts and weight, I started with the title, “La Armada Espanola.” I knew I wanted it large, the most dominant feature. I chose a fitting font style and increased the size to fit the page.
The sub-title, “Historia de la invasion que selló el destino de un imperio” (History of the invasion that sealed the fate of an empire), I originally kept the same font but much smaller and with an extra space between the words for legibility. I later changed the sub-title font style to contrast with the title style, per Canva tutorial instructions.
I went online to find an image of the British Empire, which would likely not have risen if the Spanish had won. I imported it into Photoshop, highlighted all the Spanish Empire countries with the magic wand tool and made them all the same color with the Fill option. I then changed the color to a gradient with the colors of the Spanish flag.
I found fitting images and copied/pasted them onto the cover. I started with the ships at the top. I wanted the title font to match the colors of the Spanish flag, but it blended in too well with the golden hues of the armada image. Black was also too hard to read. I tried other colors, but settled on white. I experimented with inner and outer glows using red and gold, but discarded these in favor of a bevel (though I did keep the glows for the sub-title).
I kept importing images to support the ‘story,’ but the first version I made for this book cover was too busy.
I took a step back and reviewed some design fundamentals from the Canva and Adobe sites, de-cluttering the look by removing some of the images. I added an image of Elizabeth I (defeated by Philip in this alternate history), but made her much smaller than Philip and beneath him on the page. I also nudged the background ship image to the right to make it look like it (and Philip) was running her over.
I zoomed out and looked at the image as a whole, thinking perhaps the muted colors of the map unbalanced the image. So I went in and intensified the colors a little, adding a gradient color to the oceans.
¿Y si la Armada Española hubiera sido derrotada? ¡Qué diferente sería el mundo! Si de alguna manera Dios hubiera considerado adecuado permitir que esa maldita Elizabeth ganara en lugar de la poderosa España, el mundo entero sería un lugar diferente.
¿Quién hubiera colonizado América del Norte? ¿El Holandés? ¿El Inglés? ¿Qué idioma hablaríamos hoy? En lugar de Isabellia, ¿cuál sería nuestro nombre de estado? Elizabethia? ¿Cuál sería el lema del estado en lugar de “Isabellia es para amantes”?
Afortunadamente, no tenemos que preocuparnos por eso. Sabemos que nuestros poderosos antepasados, losespañoles, conquistaron Inglaterra, lo que eventualmente llevó a la conquista o colonización española de gran parte del mundo,extendiendo la cultura española por todas partes. No has vivido hasta que hayas tenido tacos australianos. Nuestro lenguaje es la lingua franca, engrasando las ruedas de comercio internacionales y creando hilarantes híbridos. Puedo reírme durante horas escuchando el español con acento Escocés o Indio.
También afortunadamente, pasaron invadiendo Irlanda. Nadie quiere salsa en sus papas.
What if the Spanish Armada had been defeated? How different the world would be! If somehow God had seen fit to allow that cur Elizabeth to win instead of mighty Spain, the whole world would be a different place.
Who would have colonized North America? The Dutch? The English? What language would we speak today? Instead of Isabellia, what would our state name be? Elizabethia? What would the state motto be instead of “Isabellia is for lovers”?
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that. We know that our mighty ancestors, the Spanish, did conquer England, eventually leading to Spanish conquest or colonization of much of the world, spreading Spanish culture far and wide. You haven’t lived until you’ve had Australian tacos. Our language is the lingua franca, greasing international wheels of commerce and creating hilarious hybrids. I can laugh for hours listening to Spanish with a Scottish or Indian accent.
Also thankfully, they passed on invading Ireland. No one wants salsa on their potatoes.
There are always speed bumps on the paths of starting something new. And as an old dog learning new tricks, I found this week particularly bumpy. Hopefully, as we get rolling things will even out a little and I’ll get my sea legs.
I started the week by printing and reviewing the syllabus. I also reviewed the first and second assignments, picking the Introductions as the first sub-assignment to check off the list.
I took a drink from the fire hose on the weekly summary, losing points for writing it in stream of consciousness style (I also had some profanity in there, which, in hindsight was a poor decision but did reflect my mood, now edited out) but hitting all the wickets when it came to linking, tagging and writing a dynamic, fun post.
After much time reviewing the videos and instructions, I tried my hand at the Photoblitz. I recruited the help of my lovely assistant and we traipsed outside to shoot the cat (I wish). Only mildly uncooperative (which is unusual for her), the cat finally acquiesced to my paparazzi attempts to document a simple brushing. Done with the shoot, I posted the ordeal on Instagram, then writing a blog post, pointing out techniques I used (or tried to) from the reading.
Finally (for about the third or fourth time), I went back through the Week 2 instructions to see if there was anything I missed. Have to admit I’m confused about the Daily Creates. The assignment says to make 2 but on the Slack page the professor said to do one by Wednesday and then three more by Sunday. I’ll err on the side of caution and do more.
You ever see those old — like Renaissance old — paintings set side by side with famous people of today and the person in the painting looks exactly like the celebrity? Yeah, that’s because it is the celebrity. Okay here’s my admission. There’s a small group of immortals roaming the Earth. We tend to become famous because immortality can get really, really monotonous, and we like doing exciting things that attract attention. But we’re starting to encounter problems. At first, like in the 1800s, photography was just an interesting novelty. As it became more popular, some of us started showing up in the paper periodically. This was my first encounter with that situation. So there I was, in the hallway trying to catch a glimpse of that assassin, Oswald they called him. Then some nut job jumped out and shot him. The photographer caught his (and my) reaction right as the bullet struck. What are the chances?
So, how’d I do it?
First, I selected the images, importing them into Photoshop. The one you know, I’m sure. Here’s the other:
It’s me holding my friend’s baby (pretending she made a stinky). First, I discarded the color information, then selected the copy portion using the magnetic lasso tool with feathering set to 5. I copied and pasted the selection onto the Oswald image, then sized and positioned it using the transform tool. I darkened it and added some pixelation using the noise tool to better match pixelation in the image. I trimmed the neck to make it fit into the man’s collar and also used the clone stamp tool to remove a little of his chin and nose. Finally, I used the smudge tool around the edged of the pasted selection to smooth out the edges.
Anne Rice and Mr. Patrick Whiskers are in a heated legal battle over the rights. There’s a lot of $$ at stake, but such is life in Hollywood!
How’d I do it?
I started by finding the highest-resolution image of the original movie poster, copied it and pasted it into a new Adobe Photoshop document.
I shot a selfie of Mr. Patrick Whiskers and then loaded it into photoshop, using the polygon lasso tool with feathering set to 20 to capture the mustache, which I copied and pasted onto the movie poster.
I used the transform tool to resize and position the mustache on Tom Cruise’s face.
For the fonts, I tried several and ended up using plain old Times New Roman, which most closely resembled the poster’s font. I made a new text layer right overtop of “VAMPIRE” and typed “MUSTACHE,” then adjusting the size, kerning, and height to best match the original. Matching the color was trickier, and I used the eyedropper tool to match a color in “VAMPIRE.” Something still wasn’t right. Looking closely at the original, there appeared to be a slight darkness added to the original poster’s font edges, which I duplicated by adding an outer glow effect on low settings.
To erase “VAMPIRE,” I made my text layer invisible by clicking the eye icon in the layers queue, then used the clone stamp tool to overwrite the poster’s font with its surrounding colors. I cleaned this up with a wipe of the spot healing brush tool, then made my text layer visible again and was pleased with the result.
Now that I had a template for the font, I duplicated that layer and repeated the process above for the line “THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES.” However, I discovered that both the font color and kerning are a little bit different on that line, so I adjusted the kerning to better match and used the eye dropper tool again to select a more matching font color. Obviously, the font size needed adjustment, and I settled on 9.
Then I repeated this process again to replace Brad Pitt’s name with my own, increasing the font size to 15 (though nothing matched perfectly) also bolding it to better match the poster.
And there you have it: Mr. Patrick Whiskers’ blockbuster hit!
Wait! Who’s Mr. Patrick Whiskers, you ask?
Once, during a deployment, I became obsessed with my new ‘stache. I held a Facebook naming contest. While I had many, incredibly good suggestions, my children ultimately won out. One wanted to name the mustache “Patrick” while the other wanted “Mr. Whiskers.” Well, there you have it.
For my first mid-weekly post, I’d like to present a little stream of consciousness when you try to teach an old dog new tricks.
Okay, let’s get started here. All right, what’s this? Sign up for my own domain name. That’s interesting. Oh, there’s a helpful guide. Hmm… Well, that was helpful, I suppose. Okay, let’s sign up. Oh, it went back to that page. Okay, here’s sign up instructions. Oh, that’s the same page I just looked at. Dang. Let’s try this again. Sign up for your own domain name. There. Log in or sign up, let’s try that. UMW sign in. Blah, blah, blah. Oh. What the heck is this? UMW Domains? Now what? Let’s go back to the instructions and see if that helps …
2 hours later …
Well, here we are. New website created. New accounts on Instagram, Soundcloud and YouTube. And I’m a Twit now. Fine. What’s next? Where were those instructions? Okay. Brief Intro to cPanel? They make it sound so easy. Create subdomains? Dangit. I’m lucky to have made one.
What’s next? Install WordPress? No. I don’t want to install software on my computer. Okay, it’s for a class, so … so … so it put the ap on the webpage and not the computer? How does that work? Okay, who cares? Moving on.WordPress Basics. They may as well have written it in Greek. And now Aski-what and JetPack? Start with aski-whoever. Okay … hmm … Where the Heck is this Aski-whosit? Install it? Where is it? What the Heck?
3 hours later …
WHAT THE ACTUAL __? HOW THE HECK DO THESE PEOPLE GET ANYTHING DONE? ***DANGIIT! YOU KNOW WHAT? DROPPING THIS CLASS WILL NOT BE ENOUGH. I NEED TO DOUSE THIS LAPTOP IN KEROSENE, LIGHT IT ON FIRE AND SLOWLY WALK AWAY. JUST DO SUCH-AND-SUCH! YEAH, RIGHT …
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What’s my favorite type of story? How about all of the above? Except Romance maybe. Still, some of those graphic scenes can get interesting …
Narrow the list down to just one? That’s crazy!
I love all genres, as long as it’s a good story. What makes a good story? Good plot. Good, multidimensional characters. A text that says something more than just the words. Something with theme and symbolism and metaphor all woven in so subtly I don’t catch them on first glance.
That’s tough these days. The “story” gets shorter and shorter as the years go by. I blame the wave top nature of media today. It used to be headlines. If the headline didn’t pull the reader in, they didn’t read the story. Today the headline is the story. Did you know there’s a trend now to try to write complete stories in just a few words? I’d like to say it’s Twitter’s fault, but Hemmingway (allegedly) did it a century ago.
So, if I had to pick a single genre, it would be yes.