Blog of Dane

Sunday, June 11, 2006

WK13/14 - Finale

Yes as I am writing this it is all at an end. The animation finished, the portfolio site finished. Phew.

There were many changes and moments of frustration with both assessment items since my last post, so many that I doubt I will cover them all here. But I'll do my best...

First off were the memory logs in the animation. I just couldn't record a realistic sounding 'old person' voice. So the alternative was to spread little books, similar to diary entries, scattered all over the house. The viewer can hover over them, and a close up of the book addressing a particular memory will be displayed. And voila, that was finished.

The online performance...Sdrawkcabbing just fell through, both from my inability to find a place that even wanted it, and also my efforts in writing a decent article on my probably not so original idea. So, hence 'Breezey' was born.
'Breezey' basically follows the idea of an ongoing animation. I started a short flash animation in which an old man sitting on a park bench experiences a sudden gust of wind, shortly followed by a flying object. Here the animation pauses, right before said object impacts, and allows the viewer to see the same animation with a different flying object. After this, they are lead to m forum post in which they are suggested to vote on which outcome they want. When there are enough votes, I will extend the animation with the outcome voted on, and then present a further three possible outcomes that happen shortly thereafter in the animation. Phew again. So far so good too, hopefully the votes will keep on coming in - don't really want to extend the animation based on votes...

The flashsite was erm...not so fun, but more time consuming. Here I thought a flashsite would be cool and not take too much time. Well, I was wrong to say the least, but I guess it still does look cool. Maybe to people who haven't been staring at it for the last week.

The one last thing I can think of that I really learnt was sound in Flash. It is quite urgently vital to run any audio file with Flash's mp3 compression in order to keep the filesize of the swf file down. The other thing with audio is that damned Adobe Audition. For many hours I attempted to rectify a problem that kept reaccurring with the audio clips - some 'silent' seconds of audio added to the beginnings and ends of every clip I was making. Little did I know that this problem was actually occuring with Audition, a problem that I never solved. Instead I worked my way around the deal by simply saving each audio clip in wav instead of mp3. Worked like a charm.

Well that's the last 2 weeks in a overly small nutshell. On the most part here I am simply repeating the process notes in my flashsite. So if you are still here, reading this, chances are you are very keen to know me, or you are marking me. Either way, I'm flattered, so go ahead and learn more at

for the last time...


Monday, May 29, 2006

WK11/12 - Patent Nonsense

Well, according to, Sdrawkcabbing is patent nonsense. After wiki's first feeble attempt to take down my article, I simply reposted the damn thing. I think they got themselves a new record in response to! Last time it had to be at least a few hours, however this time I refreshed the page after about 10 minutes. And boom, 'patent nonsense'. Good news though - uncyclopedia doesn't seem too unhappy after all with my article. They still think it's ugly, but they don't mess with it. It just sits there now, being ugly. Without response too...which is most likely from lack of spreading the word of sdrawkcabbing amongst various forums. To be completely honest, my attention to the portfolio website and the flash project have dominated my time recently, and amongst all that the online performance was literally forgotten about until recent. I really want to get something with more substance than wiki or uncyclopedia articles, something that I can possibly continue after the course. Other classmates' ideas have inspired me to do so, as they arequite funny and entertaining. Particularly the protectiveness of these forum frequenters. Hehe.

With that comment on the portfolio site I'll take my queue here. I have scrapped html completely, on all levels now for both my major project and now my portfolio website which is now a flashsite. Yes, everything is flashy now.
It began with a completely new banner that was flash based so that the links could be animated. Successfully - gif sucks balls, and shall never be used for animation again. Viva la flash.
Anyways, it turned out really well. The initial idea was to have the content html based though, but it sucked no matter what I tried. The best I could get was using tables, but even then it looked quite clunky and uncreative. With exception of the banner. So I decided to focus on what made the banner so successful and implement it across the site. And hence the flashsite.
This choice has very much been for the better. What I'm working on now is something far more creative and interesting than html. Although a lot of it could easily be html based, the size alone of the flash file (so far only 89kb, inlcuding thumbs of pics) makes it an easy choice over html. I am aware that this means updating is a little harder, but updates will only really be necessary every 6 months, so that's not really such a big problem.

Lastly I might mention my flash project. Sound is still horribly painful to record successfully, but it's one step at a time. I added some extra animation to my earlier, establishing shots within the retirement hme, but the thing still looks lame. I'm going to keep to the idea of leaving it that way to make the difference between reality and memory more obvious. It may seem like the easy way out, but I consider it to be the more creative way out. It really wouldn't take that long to recreate the retirement home with a better look, but it will blur that line between reality and memory more. Which isn't a good thing.
Also, the traffic track I created by blending car and truck audio tracks from royalty free websites is quite effective. Just thought I'd let you know...

I might take this moment to comment on how extremely helpful this course has been for me. Although I'm still going into film, I am still very eager to maintain work in the multimedia field of work. Hopefully even take on my own small business to create small projects for others. Or even start up my own mutimedia site with animations, or cartoon strip. Possibilities are still stirring around, but this course has left those open. Before it was something I had one day hoped to do, but today it is a possiblity. Learning flash and upping my knowledge on dreamweaver means, for me, a world of creaive opportunity. And it's great.

WK10 - Marching on

Well, first thing to note is the revamp of the Mouchette essay, which was touched up with things like different colours for hyperlinks and what not. Fized up the one link that didn't work in the sources page which, by chance, was the one link tested during the class presentation.

Second, and most time consuming point is the sound for Flash. Going through the process of using sound in Flash during class made the whole scenario seem less daunting, but low and behold that's not the problem. It's the actual recording part that's hard. If there's one thing I've learnt, it's that I will most likely never be a voice actor.
Ambient sound too is quite difficult to recreate. The mic picks up static if the sound is recorded too far from it, but becomes crazily distorted when recorded slightly too close. Damn temperamental microphones.
With that said, things like doors closing and fire crackling are getting done, or are done (somewhat). Things specifically haiving troubles withy - traffic, crickets chirping, cats....purring, meowing, whatever. The next step in consideration here I suppose is royalty free audio on the net.
One thing that has turned out nicely was rambling on about nothing while sitting about 2 metres away from the mic, recording about 3 or 4 of these sessions, and mixing these layers through Adobe Audition. What resulted was a nice and effective background noise for the retirement home.

Oh yeah, the online performance...well first of all, seems unimpressed with my attempt at making a parody of wikipedia. Seems that the page is too "ugly". Obviously I haven't put the desired amount of time into this article that people would when posting one in wiki, and hence it's quite dodgy. I am also aware though that if I one, want to keep it there and two, want people to reply, I will most likely need to heed uncyclopedia's 'revamping' recommendations.

Last but not least I've been considering sites to create for my online portfolio. At the moment I'm just working on a banner, the overall style of the site is yet to be determined. Gots to be cool, can't settle for something lame. This is, after all, where people will most likely be looking to see how creative or talented I may be in various fields. Don't want to dissapoint!

Friday, May 12, 2006

WK9 - Old men and other hassles

Yes that is correct, this old man is driving me nuts. And not because I'm having difficulty or don't want to do it - quite the opposite. I can't find time to do it! All this other crap I got, including some lame essay (kidding, essay is highly educational) are driving me nuts. All these inspirations are swelling in my head but I don't have the time to bring them to life. Well, in any case, I will outline the high's and low's that this animation has brought me thus far...

Firstly, I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my own ability to draw within Flash. This was the first and biggest obstacle I had come across using Flash, as mentioned numerous times in past posts. Initially I couldn't really draw anything because the layers were driving me insane. Secondly, when I figured it out to an acceptable point, my drawings were quite basic, uninteresting, etc. Looking at those drawings though as they progressed from scene to scene, its easy to see a definite improvement from one to the other, a very significant difference. I've said before how much I expected Flash to be like Photoshop, and in retrospect it is. There's layers, same basic tools etc. Flash is just picky about what it wants you to do with it, and wants you to do everything on new layers. It likes layers. The more the merrier, and the more easier it is on me the user.

I am glad though that that hurdle has come and gone, because now the nitty gritty of artistic expression lays ahead for a bulldozing path of scene and environment creation. This is something that will be begun and not stopped until sometime in the far future. Hopefully I can get through all the scenes and give myself the basic spine of the animation so I can then go back through and lay in new animations, interactivity, sounds etc.

At the moment I am very happy with the way the animation is looking. Even though the first scene or two does appear quite sterile compared to the cartoonish appearance of the later scenes, I'm gonna keep it that way. Although kind of corny, it maintains that element of reality jumping into surrealism, imagination, and memory.

Just to wrap it up, I did want to make mention of the essay. Now that I have completed the written part of it, I have to admit I disagree with my own argument. But that's between you and me. Analysing something like this lets you learn about different sides of the argument, gives a more open opinion about things that one may have been closed minded to or unaware of. Such is the case with me and net art. I have respected, loved it even at times, but that Mouchette site did creep me out when considering the possible visitors the site could have been getting. I still maintain my opinion that the site may be somewhat dangerous to minors, and that restricting access to the forums on age would definately be an option. I do not however agree that the internet or especially not net art should have some sort of regulation. I think for those who are reading this, they would understand that this opinion is held by myself and net artists for obvious reasons that I won't divulge in. But I was once blind, and now I can see. Needless to say, I finished the essay. Now for the animation.


WK8 - Performing the Sdrawkcabbing

Well, since I couldn't make it to the lecture this week, I'm hoping - no, assuming that what I've done is correct. Although, to label what I've done as correct is pretty backwards altogether. Ha, pun!

To create something that all peoples would embrace in, interwebbingly, the first thing that came to my not-so-funny brain was a language. 'Sdrawkcabbing'. If your real quick you would have figured it out already. Essentially its writing backwards, and I'm sure it's been done before. I just gave it a name. Or, quite possibly, a new name.

Seeing as I have no idea what all these online encyclopeadia, uncyclopedia, wikipedia - WHATEVER are, I hit the first on the list, wiki. Happily, I typed up my description of Sdrawkcabbing, hinted as to how others could engage in the description by adding random sentences using the language through excercises which increase your adaptability to using it. It was literally 30 minutes later (if that), that I had a reply. Needless to say, they felt it was "neologism" and had it deleted.

Since then I have made an even better topic on the subject of Sdrawkcabbing on which i believe can be found here. So far it's still a new born baby, untainted by random members of the interweb, but I plan to spread the word of Sdrawkcabbing and get all friends and family to experience this joy I have created. Hopefully it will spawn into the massive success I envision for it.

I hate to cut things to a stop here, but to tell you the truth there wasn't much hassle in it. Maybe I'll be returning here on a later date to add an edit on how successful the term has become, how the beast has evolved. Until then...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

WK7 - Flashiness

The 'angry' flash project was relatively easy as I've been tinkering with MX 2004 for the past few weeks now. Maybe I should've extended the concept of it, but I've been trying to dedicate more time to the essay/major work.
Essentially the angry flash asnimation was a smiley face that acted as a button, which when clicked on would trigger a movie. Woot. And success was abound... with a couple of mishaps along the way.

There was frustration abound with the animation, but I will go into that shortly. Essentially the button was created with some shapes and paintbrush in Flash, converted to button, whatever. Then I just created a different image on the 'down' variable within that button, created a new layer with some squiggle on it that sat behind the new angry face, then converted the squiggle to a movie. That movie comprised of just 3 frames of random psychotic squiggles. Although it's easy, it's effective. Which, really, is Flash in a nutshell.

If there's one thing I will say about Flash, and one thing that I and other have mentioned numerous times before, it's the damned things sensitivity. If I'm not clicking somehting enough times to make it do the funky thing I want it to, then I'm pressing it too many times and making it do a funky thing I don't want it to.
The most frustrating thing for me coming from Adobe Photoshop and developing an art style there, is recreating that style in Flash. The main cause of this is the difference in layering between Flash and Photoshop. Photoshop to me is much more versatile - merging layers and seamlessly integrating layers is A LOT more easier. For something that would take me 5 layers in Photoshop, it's taking me 15 in Flash.
The other thing is the look I get from Photoshop compared to Flash. With the vector shapes in Flash, everything is quite absolute (here's hoping you understand what I mean by that...), whereas Photoshop achieves a much more softer animated look which I much prefer.
Because of these reasons I have become very tempted to just create everything in Photoshop and import it into Flash to simply animate certain areas. However, I have persisted with Flash and, although it may not look as nice as my Photoshop stuff, I'm learning from it.

Now, as I missed the tute (with good reason of course), I decided I'd make an attempt at throwing the thing in here somewhere. So here goes - wish me luck! (I still don't understand the workings of a blog...)
(Edit - it seems like is anal retundant, so I am so far unsuccessful in uploading this swf file...grumble,grumble)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

WK6 - Now with 5% more death

After much searching and typing and reading, I present to you my 'semi outline' for the essay...

'Who is the artist, and who is watching him?'

The focus of the essay is to define audience and identity in relation to net art, explore the relationship between author and their audience, then argue the effects the author has through identity on the audience through this medium.
Discussion will include the following: issues of identity (including false and anonymous identity), freedom of expression, net regulation through law, issues of audience (including size and target audience), and also the intimacy between net art content and its audience. The argument will be arranged into a conclusion on the previous discussions.

Possible Sources:

‘Bare Code: Net Art and the Free Software Movement’ by Josephine Berry
On identity in file sharing, eg corporate vs inidividual

‘Identity Swap Database’ by Heath Bunting and Olia Lialina
A net art project (in German?) that allows you to donate your identity or search through the database to find a new one of your own

‘Human, all too Posthuman? Net Art and its Critics’ by Josephine Berry
Discusses the for and against as well as evolution of identity in net art and the unlimited artist potential. Also discusses net art's large audience.

Numerous responses to Berry’s article

‘Defining digital multimedia’ by Ken Jordan
Writing on definition restricting net art, and regulation as part of definition (defends net art as individual expression)

‘New York Judge Prohibits State Regulation of Internet’ by American Civil Liberties Union
Addresses internet regulation by law and the judges reasoning for passing on net regulation (‘more important for business than civil’)

transcript of lecture by David Ross, San Jose State university
a lecture that discusses qualities of net art, including the intimacy of its audience, transformation of audience (size)

8. The guy with the email you can use to send to people using his identity

(Edit: 9. Mouchette, of course!


Now, to further on this, I hope to find some more net art projects that relate to the above topics so that they can be used to exemplify what I might be talking about.

The other thing is our own net art ideas. 4 possibilities... well, one is obviously the animation I have previously discussed - the old man, his mind as a house, then dieing. In Flash.
A second idea is a HTML adaptation - an interactive house that allows you to explore this man's brain, delve deeper into the depths of his evilness at your own discretion.
Now, a third and fourth...
I'm enjoying this idea of a deeper 'evil' that resides in people, whether it be tame thoughts on how much one may despise someone they meet, to the darker thoughts of meditated actions one may consider that goes beyond the regular behaviours of their little world. A way this could be explored to my liking is through some abstract creation, Flash or HTML, where graphics, comments etc that may relate to this inner evil can become links that pull the user deeper and deeper into a self discovery they may begin to fear. Almost like a game of limbo with your mind, how deep can you go.
A fourth, well, I'll return to a distant thought I had at the beginning of this net art madness. When I was first considering Flash and animation, one of the first ideas I had was a turtle moving to the city. Though the animation may be comedic in its appearance as the turtle becomes a target of humiliation, rejected by society in various ways (job rejection/firing, discrimination, or just dealing with daily chores), the content would essentially be exploring how corrupt the 'system' really is by taking a simpler look at how people make it in this world and who are the ones left trodden on and left to rot. The ones who are too innocent, like our turtle, to simply adjust to the ways we live.

Phew. I admire you for making it through this far. Let's see how much more blog you can take! (starting next week of course)

Dane out.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

WK5 - I am a 13 yr old French girl.... apparently

Looking into what net art is, where it came from, who does it, all that great stuff, I inevitably came across Reading through presented a bunch of history and examples, but one caught my attention -
This link was simply described as 'web art project by 13 year-old French girl', and as gullible as I am I believed them (but I also believed Blair Witch was real... for a little while). Here was basically this crazy (not necessarily well done) site that was seemingly created by this young girl. The more I explored, the more darker the content seemed to become.
Finally I hit this online form ( that can be updated by anyone visiting it. This form, titled 'What is the best way to commit suicide when you're under 13?', addressed suicide - experiences people have had with it, ways to accomplish it, and people's general opinions on it. Responses varied greatly (as the site comments on, dividing the comments into catagories), including people seeking help, people offering help, people joking on it, people offering solutions to the question, and some with aggressive responses directed towards the site's author.
Of course, the site has not been created by the author who claims to be a 13 year old French girl, but instead some unidentified person who has taken the identity of a movie character who was involved in abuse, rape, and eventual suicide.

In relation to the essay, this site offered many points of argument about net art. The most obvious one is content regulation of net art.
Art that is displayed in a gallery for example is generally directed to older audiences that are in a more mature state of mind, and that can understand and appreciate an artwork's content on suicide at an artistic level. The work that is displayed in a gallery is also regulated, so any works that may address something such as suicide at a tasteless level will not be seen by the public. Here, as net art, the content of suicide is open to all people - any audience of any age of any state of mind (not to say that the site is tasteless though). The biggest issue with this site is younger audiences finding this page and taking the content seriously. People responding in the form go so far as to describe events of suicide that they have been related to and affected by, which could greatly affect younger children and also their outlook on life and the subject of suicide.
In short, the argument here is basically the regulation of net art, and what possible effect it could be having on its wide audience.

The other argument that can be seen in 'Mouchette' could be identity. Taking the form of a young girl can have a great impact on the way people perceive the content. I myself as a previously mentioned gullible viewer was quite disturbed for a while searching through this content of death and suicide. A part of the web site, however, indicated that the site had been asked to close down due to copyright reasons ( Here the character 'Mouchette' is revealed as a movie character, and hence a false identity.
What makes this interesting is that for someone to act on behalf of an adolescant and create such content I believe greatly changes the outlook of the site and what it has to say about the topics covered. If it were say a 40 year old American male, the site's audience would accept the content at a more mature level, or possibly not even take it seriously at all. The simple claim that it is created by a young girl makes the content more accessible to younger audiences as I believe they would possibly feel a relation to it.

Well those are the two main points anyway. Seeing as they kind of relate to each other, I'm considering covering both together, bounce the points between the arguments. Like a beach ball.

Now, FLASH! Dammit I wanna be playing with it more, but sadly I'm deep in other work, but it seems there is a break ahead for me to get right into it. In the mean time, ideas continue to flood my brain. This animation of mine seems to continually evolve each day, but with this inability to play with Flash I have been concerned about actually achieving it. If it proves to be too difficult, i have some ideas on how to manipulate it into html.
Anyways, I've gone back to the animation idea. I think if I am going well with the project then I may consider manipulating it into something that is interactive.... but that comes later.
I can't fully recall where my idea was last week, but now it's focussed on this old man. I have a vision of this old man, sitting at a retirement home looking one breath away from death, and staring in a sleepy thought. The concept of the animation is to read his brain as he contemplates relationships, experiences, and thoughts he has had throughout his life.
I still want to stay with the house idea, and delve deeper into the basement and beyond, getting deeper into his more darker thoughts and memories as we travel down. The man in this respect comes to terms with what he has done wrong and why is somewhat evil, even if he has the facade of just a normal, gentle person. Eventually he finds death amongst the darkest of his recollections, and we come back to the man slumped in his chair.

Ok, well I think that's more than enough thoughts for one day. Enough death for one day too.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

WK4 - Busy in Turtle World

As the title suggests, I've been doing a lot of thinking and not much writing recently, so I'm making up for it at 11pm.

Ideas for the major net art project are flowing around like crazy unrelated.....things. I came to this course primarily seeking knowledge of Flash, so I really want to go in that direction. Nothing teaches you a program like immersing yourself in it as a major assessment (it's how I learnt Photoshop).
With this said, I realise there is distinctly two different ways to go - an animation, or an interactive piece. Well, this was my original perspective, but since then I have realised 'hey, why no both?' (Ed- yes I realise the typo, but it was funny, so I left it. Heh). So yeah, an interactive animation.

Ok backing up a bit... my first thought was an animation. Then Jason mentions 'characters'. It's only until later I realise we are talking about 'characters' as fully fleshed out, voices and personality characters, not just funny looking people I sketch. The look I can do, the personality? Not so sure about.
Although my Photoshop stuff has been kinda cartoonish, I do artistically dominate in a more surreal, sort of humanistic perspective - looking at people in ways that aren't necessarily thought about. Or probably are, just not as often. People's more darker personalities and auras, everyone's got them. So I'm looking at this for content possibility.

With cartoon, it's easy to see a more light-hearted concept. Such is 'Turtle World' - an animation in which a turtle attempts to live amongst the great, malicious and corrupt civilians of a great, polluted and decayed city. He finds bunker in a nice, run down, 30th floor dump of a flat where he attempts to live his life honestly and with untainted politeness. Unsuccessfully.
Similarly, for the tasteless joke on war veterans, I envisioned an ex-medic from some war, from somewhere, adapting back to the city. Uniform and all, including a med pack around his belly and the defribulators (spellcheck?).

These were cool at first, but it's not really me. Since then, and hence my interactive animation thought, I have come up with a new idea. I'm thinking of something more surreal, an interactive exploration of a man's brain as a house. The house has a nice exterior, and at first the rooms seem nice and pretty...but this man has secrets, evil thoughts, desires that await to be explored. So far it's very visionary, I can see it but can't say it. That's surreal though I suppose. I'm really enjoying this idea, and I can see many ways in which Flash can bring these thoughts to fruition.

The last comment I will make is on Flash actually. I have only just started with it, and initially had a lot of grief and confusion. Since Monday's class, plus a quick lesson on animation, I have made leaps and bounds. I am completely confident that I can reach this goal. So I'm gonna go for it.


*Note: I have to give credit where credit is due. This place - is great for tutorials in Flash, especially for animation. The one thing that sucks sort of is that they didn't have any animation tutes for Macromedia Flash MX 2004, but the Flash MX tute did the same job.