Thursday, November 30, 2006

Getting to grips with Photoshop!!!

This week has been quite productive and I feel that as we are now past the half way mark of the assignments I am quite happy to see that some aspects are coming together.

The web content section for the back to basics project was finally completed this week and although it was quite a repetitive task and proved to take much longer than I expected it seems to be the last piece of heavy written work for a while. I feel that it was a beneficial exercise as it allowed me to research into things that I would not necessarily have looked at otherwise. To improve on this I could have spent more time researching into a wider range of definitions but this may have taken up too much valuable time. If I were to do this again I feel that I would be much more confident as I now have a wider knowledge of these terms so will not have to do as much research into them.

I had my first real detailed experience with Adobe Photoshop this week as on Thursday we were handed the Image Restoration task. When Steve was going through what we would be doing I was thinking that this would be a nice creative task to do and that it should not be too difficult. This could not have been further form the truth however as I found some aspects of it quite a struggle and it proved to be a very monotonous and quite time consuming task. Steve also stated that some people may have to start this again when he has a look at these next week, this may not be such a bad thing though as hopefully he will be able to give me some advice on how I can improve it and my work should be better as a result.

I feel that as I have never really done anything like this before I was always going to find it difficult but I did not understand just how much time and effort it would take to do this exercise. I am however confident that as I progress through the course I will become much more familiar with the program and if I were to do this task again I would not find it so complicated.

Friday, November 24, 2006

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow”

This week involved making my first presentation which up until now was something that I had not given much thought to. When Steve informed us that we had from 10am until 2pm to research, prepare and rehearse a 2-3 minute presentation on any given colour my first thoughts were that this would not be possible. As I had never done anything like this before I was apprehensive about doing this and just wanted to get it out of the way.

When we were put into different groups and each given a separate colour I was quite happy with the outcome. I was placed with Drew and given the colour orange. Because I get on well with Drew I was confident that we would be able to prepare well enough to be able to produce a decent presentation. I was also quite happy with the colour orange as there were several associations that I thought of straight away such as Holland, the mobile phone company Orange and EasyJet.

I enjoyed researching into everything that we would be putting into our visual aid (PowerPoint presentation) as I learnt many interesting things such as the origins of Holland’s relationship with orange. As we had created a list of ideas which seemed to be getting longer by the minute we were quite worried that we may not have enough time to cover them all. We resolved this by splitting the task in half with Drew making the visual aid with me creating the fact sheet and this seemed to work well.

When it got to 1pm it was time to rehearse, we decided to go to the car for this as there would be no distractions. However this proved to build up my nerves even more! The more times I rehearsed the presentation the more mistakes I seemed to be making. I even confused orange with yellow! I did though find that rehearsing with somebody in a quiet place without any distractions was a big help and I feel that if I were to do this again I would certainly use this method.

After sitting in the canteen waiting for my turn for what seemed like an eternity but was more like 2 hours it was my turn to give my talk. By this point I was incredibly nervous. I did feel though that the lecture that we had been given that morning was a huge help as it went through what different emotions we may be feeling and in a way this acted as a tool to calm me down a bit.

The presentation was not perfect but I was pleased that I did not make such a mess as I had thought! I think that we definitely created too much work for ourselves and this resulted in not having much time to cover each section of content we had written about. This was also a hindrance when it came to rehearsing as I seemed to forget some parts. If I were to do this again I would certainly make life easier for myself by making the visual aids shorter and simpler which will allow me to focus on other aspects which I struggled on such as my body language.

So overall I feel that the presentation was a quite a helpful exercise. I think that getting the first one out of the way will remove any fear of the unknown and the whole process will be extremely beneficial to me as I progress through the course and perform other presentations

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The importance of the blog!!!

After recently receiving an e-mail from Steve regarding the use of my blog entries and what should and should not be included in them I decided to take a look through what I have done so far.

I feel that as I had never even heard of a blog before I started this course I am pretty pleased with what I have been doing so far. If I look back at my early posts and more recent posts I can definitely see an improvement. I feel that this is down to "The Reflective Cycle" [Gibbs 1988] (see image at end of post) which I often use when I am stuck on where to start!

I think that this is also proven with the fact that I only received my first comment on my blog 3 weeks ago and I have had a further 11 since then so I hope that this proves that my entries are improving. However I think that this is also to do with the fact that I have myself started to come out of my shell a bit and started commenting on other people’s blogs. As Steve has stated several times “feedback is an excellent way of accessing higher level grades” so I think you start to pay more attention to it when you hear that!

From now on though I am going to pay much more attention to my blog and make sure that I am using it properly and making sure that I give constructive feedback to my peers.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photoshop arrives!!!

This week I had my first real experience with Adobe Photoshop and so far it seems to be quite a good and efficient package to use. It is really interesting to see how simply changing a file format and optimising an image makes such an impact on the file size.

As this is the industry standard application and is a program that is going to be used quite a lot throughout this course I am quite apprehensive about using it and hope that I will be able to use it to the required standard. However judging by what I have done on it so far which is more or less limited to this afternoon I am quite confident that I will be able to handle it.

The Image Compression Report was also introduced this week and this has proved to be an extremely time consuming task, bearing in mind the word limit of 500-1000 words it has also proved to be quite a difficult task and one currently that I cannot wait to get out of the way!

In our group feedback sessions this week we talked about where everybody was at and I was quite relieved to see that I seem to be keeping on top of everything. This was one of my key aims when we changed to doing two assignments at the same time. As we are now fast approaching the half way mark of the assignments I am happy that I have been able to juggle the workload efficiently so far and hope that I will be able to do this until the deadline.

As I have planned to complete the dreaded compression report by this time next week I am certainly going to have a lot to do in the coming week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity!!!

This week has been quite hectic because along with doing the two assignments I also managed to resubmit my A2 assignment. I was quite relieved to get this out of the way so that I could concentrate more on the other two assignments but I just hope that I have got everything to the correct standard. I certainly will be pretty nervous over this next week leading up to receiving my final mark for the project. For these next two assignments I hope that I will be able to hand them in to the required standard first time round so I do not have to worry as much!

On Wednesday morning we had a lecture about CRAP, this was however quite an important lecture and I will have to make sure that I can remember Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity as these are key principals which I will need to take into consideration as I progress through the course. I think that it will be quite a challenge to start using terms such as these commonly but I feel that it will eventually all sink in and I will be able to be confident in using these terms.

Our group feedback meeting was also beneficial on Thursday as there were quite a few things that I was worrying about and wanted clarification on. It turns out that I have not made such a mess on The Designers Republic essay as I had thought! Steve also seemed impressed that all of us had our time plans and were able to say what we would be doing in any given week. I think that we do work well as a group as we do talk about things together not only in the feedback sessions but also in lesson as well. I feel that we are all helping each other along and this can only be beneficial as we progress through each assignment.

Deadlines are coming thick and fast and with competitive analysis and delivery requirements to be completed by this time next week there is certainly a lot to be getting on with!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Double Trouble!!!

This week has certainly been eventful with the introduction of two new assignments, receiving feedback about my previous assignment and the fact that I fainted and fell on Marc during Thursday morning’s lesson! This was quite worrying at the time as I didn’t have a clue what had just happened when I got up but I am feeling fine again now though.

On Wednesday morning the results for the previous assignment were posted on the wall and I was quite disappointed that although I had passed one of the units I had a referral for the other. When I received feedback from Steve and realised that it was only a small thing that I did not do I was even more disappointed with myself and I will certainly not be making the same mistake twice! I think that the whole experience has brought me back down to earth a little bit after having last week off to relax and will definitely be beneficial for future assignments.

The introduction of the two new assignments also occurred this week and with the amount of time given to complete them my time management skills are certainly going to be put to the test. As last term was just solely concentrating on one assignment this is certainly going to be a bit of a juggling act but I am quite optimistic that I will be able to cope efficiently with this.

The fact that we will be studying assignments on separate days will undoubtedly lead to less class time on each project than I am used to, bearing this in mind I am going to have to really try hard with my self study but I am however looking forward to the challenge. On Wednesday’s we are now going to be concentrating on “A3 Back to BASICS” which is pretty similar to our previous assignment and on Thursday’s we will be concentrating on “A4 Picture This”, this involves predominantly using Adobe Photoshop which is an application that I have very little experience in. I am however sure that as before with Adobe PageMaker Steve will give us sufficient knowledge about the program so that we can complete the tasks effectively. I am also eager to learn how to use this piece of software as Steve has stated that this is recognised by industry professionals as the tool that is most commonly used.

This week’s group feedback session was also helpful as we are now in new groups. This has allowed me to interact more with different people who I may not have done so if they were not in my group. It also allowed me to see just what is needed to be done in terms of improving my sketchbook and creating a broader planning form encapsulating the whole of the two assignments. I feel that this will be advantageous as I progress through the project as I will be able to see if I am keeping up to date with the workload.