Virtual Gallery Reflection

Introduction
This is my reflection on the virtual gallery I created to show off the work I have done during this course. The virtual gallery can be seen in the video above and was created in the Unreal engine.

Skills
I have demonstrated many skills in creating my virtual gallery. I have shown 3D modelling skills as some of the objects in my virtual gallery were created using 3DS Max, such as the microwave and television. By including these objects in the gallery I am showing that I can use 3D modelling software. Other skills I have shown are recording, editing, and manipulating sounds including the voiceovers I have in the gallery that I recorded and the sounds I created for the Limbo paper dub that I recorded and edited. Also I manipulated sounds to create the Walla that is heard from the TV. These show that I am capable of basic editing and manipulation of sounds. I also demonstrate texturing skills as I applied textures to the rooms in the gallery and to objects in the gallery, including the microwave, TV, and the photo frames. I also show skills in scripting as I set it so the doors could be opened and closed by pressing E on the keyboard. The virtual gallery also demonstrates my Photoshop skills with the montage I made and the photo that I added a tilt shift effect to, as well as the logos I created for Facebook. I also demonstrate skills in Unreal engine as I placed the doors and set it so they could be opened and closed. I was also able to demonstrate skills in Premiere as that is the program I used to create the Limbo movie in my gallery. I also demonstrate skills in animation with the doors as I had to create the movement for them opening and closing. I also show photography skills with the photos that are on display in my gallery.

Industry sectors and Job roles
These skills are applicable to a wide range of industry sectors due to convergence making the sectors more similar. As Unreal engine is used to create a lot of triple-A games the skills I have obtained in Unreal would be very helpful in that sector, as would 3D modelling skills as games require 3D objects. Sound skills are applicable to all sectors as they all need sound, whether it be for a game or app sound is very important and my skills at being able to record, edit, and manipulate sounds will be useful. Animation skills also apply to all the sectors as games require animations and apps also have animations.
Game Developer is one of the jobs these skills prepare me for. The pros of this job role include, being able to use my various skills to create something people will like, being able to improve my skills as I work, be able to learn new skills in different pieces of software. The cons of this job include, possibly having to work unusual hours to fix any potential problems and meet deadlines.
Another job these skills prepare me for is Audio engineer. The pros of this job are getting to create different sound effects in order to create different moods. The cons of this job are not being able to work with anything but sound, and having to work to what the developers want so there isn’t much freedom to create different sounds.
Another job role is photographer. The pros of this job are I would be able to take photos of whatever I wanted and would be able to use my skills to take different kinds of photos and create different effects with those photos. The cons of this job are I will have to be looking out for a photo opportunity all the time and some photos may not appear the way I want them so it could take a while to get a photo I like.

Deadlines
I completed my work and met deadlines by managing my time well and making sure I finished any uncompleted work as soon as possible so that they did not start to pile up. I also had a checklist of work I needed to complete so that I could keep up to date and would know exactly what I needed to do and what I had already done.

Safe working practices
I ensured safe working practices when creating my gallery by taking regular breaks at one hour and fifteen minute intervals. I also did not sit too close to the computer when working so that I did not damage my eyes. I ensured the chair was adjusted correctly so that there wasn’t any unnecessary stress on my body. I also did not eat or drink near the computers so that I couldn’t damage them in a way that might damage me or someone else and I made sure that any wires from the computers were not in positions to trip anyone up.

Audio and visual language
With the lighting in my gallery I made the lights bright in the photo gallery, 2D room, and 3D room to create a calm, safe environment as that is how I wanted people to feel in those rooms. I also selected calm ambient music to play in those rooms and I used bright textures on the walls and floors. In the cinema room I used very little lighting and made the lights I did use dark to create the mood of being in an actual cinema, and I used colours you would normally see in cinemas, such as dark reds and black.
If I wanted to change the themes in the rooms I could use more intense ambient sound and have darker textures and lights in the room if I wanted people to feel slightly afraid while walking around.

Research
In preparing my virtual gallery I did secondary research and looked at real life examples of photo gallery’s and cinemas to get an idea of the mood they had and how I would set up my gallery. Using this information I created mood boards for each of the rooms showing the examples to give people an idea of the mood I wanted to create in my gallery and show what kind of colours and textures I would be using. I also crated an asset table and researched potential ambient sounds I could put into my gallery to help create the mood I wanted.
I used this research by using similar textures and colours in my gallery that are used in real life galleries and cinemas to create a similar mood to them. My sources were very useful in helping me complete my project as I already knew what textures and colours I wanted to use in each room and knew what ambient sounds I wanted which meant I was able to complete it quicker than if I had to search for textures and sounds while creating the gallery.

Evaluation

I would improve my research methods and preparation in the future by getting more variety of examples so that I have more of a choice and have more ideas for what I could do with my gallery.

 

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The best social media for interactive media studio

Wet Flame Studios Research

Introduction:
For this task we had to find out what the best social media would be to promote our design studios and also find a relevant job role related to social media marketing. Each member of our studio was tasked with a different type of research to do. Kallum did primary research and actually got in contact with an existing design studio and asked what social media they use, Sam did secondary research looking at articles about what people thought was the best social media, Joel did primary research and looked at what social media the big design companies use, Kieran did primary research and made a questionnaire that he then handed out to people around the college, and I created a survey on Survey Monkey and sent that out to various people, which is also primary research. The different questionnaires made by me and Kieran were also a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research as well as we got peoples opinions on why they chose what they did as well as the numbers of people who chose each social media and what they mainly use social media for.

My questions:
One of the questions I asked was “What social media site do you think would be best to promote a design studio?” to give me an idea of what sites people thought were best so that we could make a decision. Another question I asked was “Which social media site would you be more likely to use to find information on a company?” and also got people to explain why so that I could see what social media we could use that would be seen by the most people and know their reasons for their decision.

Results:
From our research we discovered that the most popular social media used by design studios is Facebook and Twitter. Every design studio we looked at used at least one of these. Also the majority of the people who answered the questionnaires said they would use Facebook and Twitter for promoting a design studio. Many design studios also use YouTube to promote as this is a good platform for showing off their creations. Therefore these are the three social media networks that we would use for our design studio.

Job role:
The job role we found for social media marketing is a Marketing PR and Social Media Manager. The responsibilities of this job include managing all the social media accounts of the studio, such as the Twitter and Facebook accounts, and managing the marketing budget.

Conclusion:
For this task primary research was very effective as we could actually find out what social media networks existing design studios used to promote themselves which meant we could make a clear decision on what social media would be best for us. Also this research allowed us to see why design studios used these social media. In this way secondary research was not quite as effective as we didn’t know the reasons why these social media were being used. The questions that we asked allowed us to understand why people used the social media they did and why they think certain social media sites will be better for promoting than others.

 

Virtual Gallery

For this task we were comparing the experience of actually visiting a museum or gallery to the experience of a virtual gallery and discuss the pros and cons of each. We did this task as it relates to the work we are doing which is creating a virtual gallery showing off our work so we need to know the pros and cons of a virtual gallery.

There are many pros and cons of visiting a museum or gallery in real life and of using a virtual gallery to view the artwork. When discussing these pros and cons it is important to consider all the factors, such as the scale of the object you are looking at.

Pros of visiting museum:

The pros of actually visiting a museum include you can actually see the scale of the pieces of art you are looking at, for example most people have only seen the Mona Lisa through pictures online and don’t know the actual scale of it, but by actually going to the Louvre you will be able to see the actual scale. This is the same for all pieces of art and you can’t tell the scale without actually seeing it in real life.

Another pro of visiting a museum in real life is you get the full visitor experience that is not available elsewhere. You can also see the curation of the exhibits when you go in real life which you can’t see in a virtual gallery. Actually seeing the object in real life offers a much better experience than looking at an image of it and your interpretation of the art can change depending on if you’re viewing it in real life or in a virtual environment as in real life you can see much more and it creates different feelings.

Also viewing art in real life means you can see all the finer details of it, such as the brush strokes on a painting, which gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for the art.

Cons of visiting museum:

However, there are also cons to visiting a museum in real life. These include;
The cost of visiting a museum can be quite high if you do not live close to it and have to travel a lot to get there. This could potentially keep people away from visiting museums and galleries.

Another con is some museums and galleries do not have disabled access, for example the Louvre does not have much wheelchair access and because it is so busy it would be hard for a person in a wheelchair to get around the museum and see the art pieces. This means that disabled people can not actually go to museums in real life and have to find other ways to experience the art.

Pros of virtual gallery:

One option for disabled people to view artwork is a virtual gallery. The pros of this include it is considerably cheaper than actually going to a museum. For example the Louvre guide for the Nintendo 3DS is only about £15 which is a lot cheaper than travelling to the Louvre and paying for admission, which would be quite a lot of money as you would have to pay for transport and accommodation as well as the admission fee.

Another pro of a virtual gallery is you can view a wide range of the exhibits in the comfort of your own home. This is much easier than going to the Louvre and can be available to everyone. This means that you can look at the exhibits without the huge crowds of people who could distract you or obscure your view of something.

Also a virtual gallery has detailed audio and video descriptions of what you are looking at, so you can learn more about the exhibits without having to go and see them in real life.

Cons of virtual gallery;

Virtual galleries also have cons. One of these is you can’t get any sense of scale when you are looking at a virtual image of an exhibit which can affect your interpretation of it.

Another con of virtual galleries is not all of the exhibits are available to view in them. For example the Louvre guide for Nintendo 3DS only has over 600 images of the exhibits compared to the 70,000 exhibits that are actually on display at the Louvre. This means that you are not seeing all the exhibits when you use a virtual gallery and the only way to see them all is to actually go to the Louvre museum.

Conclusion:

Going to a museum and using a virtual gallery both have their various pros and cons and there are benefits to using both but you are able to see much more and learn more by actually going to a museum in real life. From my experience of going to museums and galleries I think it is much better to go visit a museum in real life as you can get close to the objects and see all their details and you can see their scale much more accurately.

 

What techniques do developers use to create mood and atmosphere in digital environments?

Techniques developers use to create mood and atmosphere 22

Intro:
For this task we were researching the different techniques that are used to create mood and atmosphere in virtual environments (video games and films). We did this task to give us ideas on the techniques we would use in our virtual environments that we are creating to show off the work we have made so far.

The Last of US:
The darkness in the interior environment creates fear as it is difficult to see anything and any of the infected could be hiding.
Damaged textures make the building look old and abandoned, makes player feel uneasy.
There is a loud banging sound that the player doesn’t know the source of which creates fear.
The crashed and abandoned cars outside are rusting which gives a sense of panic when the infection started and people were in a rush to leave.

Alien Isolation:
Strobe lighting causes fear as one moment everything is illuminated and the next you are in complete darkness which makes the player anxious.
The alien noises are unsettling for the player as they can’t see the alien.
Jump scare which is typical of the horror genre.

Star Wars Episode III:
Used green screen to create Mustafar.
Its quite a dark environment with dark colours.
The lava is different shades of red and orange to show how hot it is.

Evaluation:
The presentation could have been better as I was nervous when doing it so I made some mistakes such as when I talked I faced the screen instead of my audience which meant they couldn’t always hear what I said. Also I rushed some parts of the presentation as I just wanted to finish it. This also meant that I did not mention some things that I should have, such as the textures when talking about Star Wars. Therefore if I were to do it again I would talk at the audience and talk slower so that I get to say everything I need to and my audience can hear me clearly.

Digital Media and User Generated Content debate

The statement that was put forward for this debate was “Digital media and user generated content has changed the production and consumption of media”.

For this debate the class was split into three separate groups, one group that argued in agreement of the statement, one group that argued against the statement, and one group that had the opportunity to question the two other groups on their statement. I was placed in the group arguing against the statement.

In my research in order to argue my point I discovered that although the amount of content being produced has increased the quality of it has decreased due to everyone being able to create what they want and there being no one to make sure the quality of content is of a certain standard. This strengthens one of the arguments made by the side against that Gatekeepers are still needed to check the quality of the content.

Another piece of information that I found during my research was that user generated content is becoming more like the old content made with old media as they all use advertisements to try and make money and the content that they make is made to make money.

The group that was arguing for the statement opened up their argument by saying that newspaper sales have been declining gradually over the last 10 years, in comparison to Twitter which in the last 5 years has gained around 300 million active accounts, and the group had the statistics to back this up. They also claimed that Twitter offers more unbiased viewpoints than newspapers because of the Gatekeepers that control the newspapers. They finished their opening argument by saying that the internet has become a much safer platform for viewing the news and other things that were formally viewed in old mediums.

The group against this statement started by saying that the old media is still around, such as newspapers and radios and the old Gatekeepers such as BBC are still the largest providers of content. They also argued that modern editing techniques on software such as Photoshop are techniques that were used before for editing in places like Dark Rooms, so the only thing that has changed is the platforms used for editing. Finally they argued that we still take in information in the same way suggesting that consumption hasn’t changed and that even in all the new ways of getting information bias still exists as its just peoples opinions instead of companies opinions.

After this the side arguing for had a chance to counter and they said that the BBC uses new media t get its information and even has a whole section dedicated to searching social media for news. They also said that digital media and user generated content has introduced the “many to many” communication option whereas before it was “one to one” or “one to many”.

Then the against side had a chance to counter and I argued that although anyone can become producers now the quality of the content being made has declined so we are getting more content but it is no longer as good as it used to be. I also argued that many of the older generations do not use social media and therefore still rely on old media such as newspapers, radio, and television for information. Another argument that was made was most Twitter accounts are inactive, meaning that those account don’t post anything or follow any other accounts.

After both sides had made their arguments and counter arguments the Floor had the opportunity to ask questions to both sides about what had just been discussed.

After both sides had had a chance to answer the questions we took a vote and 14 people voted in favour of the statement with 2 people voting against it. The end result was we all agreed that digital media and user generated content has changed the production and consumption for the better as everything can be accessed digitally it makes accessing them easier for everyone.

Evaluation
This task was difficult for me and my group as there was not a lot of information available about what we had to argue but there was a lot that the side arguing for could say so it was easier for them in the debate. However if I had searched a bit more I could have found more useful information that I could have used to strengthen our argument.

Research sources
http://www.copypress.com/blog/the-pitfalls-of-user-generated-content/ – Date accessed 5th November 2015
http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/04/28/user-generated-content – Date accessed 5th November 2015
http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/04/28/user-generated-content – Date accessed 5th November 2015

 

Applying Research Tools and Methods to Drawing

The first task was to draw kitchen appliances from my memory. The second task was to draw them again using a photo of them and knowing their exact dimensions. We did this task to improve our research skills as we had to use different methods of research to be able to produce an accurate drawing of the appliance.

The kitchen appliances I chose to draw were my microwave and washing machine. This was especially difficult for the washing machine drawing as I don’t look at it often as it is inside a cupboard so I did not know where any of the buttons were positioned. This meant I couldn’t accurately draw the washing machine. Also the microwave I do not look at very often and when I do I don’t pay attention to all of the buttons so that was also not a very accurate drawing. Also the scale was not correct of either appliances as I did not know how big they were when drawing from my memory.

microwave memorywashing machine memory

To find out what the microwave and washing machine actually looked like for the second task I took photos of them and measured their dimensions using a tape measure so I would be able to scale them accurately the second time I drew them.

Redrawing the appliances was much easier than drawing them from memory as after I had scaled them I knew exactly how long to make each line and because I had the pictures of them I knew where all the featured had to be placed and could draw them more accurately so that you can clearly see what they are meant to be.

microwave drawingmicrowave

Above is my re drawn microwave with all the features and scaled correctly next to the photo of the actual microwave.

Doing research before drawing an object allows you to draw it much more accurately which will improve the overall quality of the drawings and is much easier than trying to recreate something just from your memory when you might not know what the scale should be.

Evaluation:
Doing the research to know the exact dimensions of the microwave and having a picture to reference from meant that my drawing was improved as I was able to scale it so that it was accurate and I could accurately position all the buttons and the clock due to having the photo to reference from. This will help me in future as now I can research dimensions and accuracy when I’m drawing in the future so any drawings I do will be more accurate.

 

Reflecting on Feedback

For this task I took 3 photos, 1 abstract photo, one landscape photo, and one portrait photo. I then uploaded them onto Facebook in order to get feedback through the comments of the photos. This feedback gave me ideas on how I could improve the photos if I did this again in the future.

Most of the feedback I received was about improving the composition of the photos and the lighting of some of the photos could have been better, but the light quality was caused by the time of day I was taking the pictures. The feedback also said I should try and incorporate the rule of thirds into my images more, as that would improve them both in quality and would make them more interesting for people to look at. This feedback will help me with future projects as I will know what I should and shouldn’t do in order to take a good picture that uses the rule of thirds well.

Abstract feedback

Portrait feedback

Landscape feedback

This is primary research as I have taken photos and am getting feedback on them, so this is something I have done rather than me using what someone else has done. Also this is also qualitative research as I am getting peoples feedback and their personal opinions on the photos so they are telling me exactly what I can do differently in order to improve the photos.

Facebook is not a very effective research tool as many people will just click the like button on things you are doing research for and this will not tell you what you need to know, for example liking one of the photos that I posted doesn’t tell me how I can improve it or what I did well so for this task likes would have not been useful to me. Qualitative research is a very effective research method as the feedback you receive can help you in the future and you can find out what people want from your products as it is a more personal form of research as people can give their honest opinions on things. This makes qualitative research more effective than quantitative research as you are able to find out exactly what people like and don’t like about something and you can find out what you can do differently to make it better, however with quantitative research you can just find out how many people like or dislike something and you won’t know what they liked or what they didn’t like, which means you can’t use that data to help you improve.

Evaluation
This task has taught me a lot about what an abstract photo is and how I can take one, as well has portrait and landscape photos. I have also learnt how I can improve the photos that I take in the future. I have also discovered that Facebook is not a very good research tool and there are more effective ones.