FINAL-LY (The Final Project Template)

And our semester is approaching its end… The only homework you have left is to kick the final’s @ss!  To do this you’ll need the following link:


Thank you all for a great semester, and good luck in your future endeavors.  I hope each of you will get something out of the skills we’ve honed together over the past few months.  I had a great time.  I hope you did too!


End Screen from the SNES Game, Porky Pig’s Haunted Holiday

UPDATE:  I know a few of you are doing paper-based submissions, especially the software archeologists.  For you all I’ve constructed another template that will act as a guide for how I want your final projects submitted.

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HW: Using Vocat

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.58.19 PM

This week we discussed VOCAT.  I spoke about the tool’s history, contextualized its construction in relation to the techniques we’ve been using in class, and demonstrated how one uses it.

For homework I want you to find a YouTube (or Vimeo) tutorial on a subject you are interested in.  I want this tutorial to have something to do with Social Media.  The wisest choice to make would be finding a tutorial that will show you how to do something that could enhance your final.  Here are some keywords to try searching for:

* Social Media
* html tutorial
* installing ruby tutorial
* css tutorial
* atom tutorial
* blender video tutorial
* blender animation tutorial
* gimp tutorial
* twitter api tutorial

and so on.  Don’t feel restricted to these searches, but the video must be a  tutorial. It should be at least 10 minutes long.

After you’ve found a tutorial, I want you to make three 140-character annotations describing successes, failures, critiques, and/or responses to the tutorial you have selected.

“This is where I get lost, this instructor needs to give me more
information to understand where he’s going with this”
“I was able to reproduce this for the most part, except the background of my webpage is still white, and not blue”
etc etc…

Then in the discussion section I want you to write 150 words about
the video you found, whether you were able to reproduce the results, what you thought about the lesson the instructor was giving, one strength of the tutorial, and one weakness.

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HW and DEMO: Blender or Ruby/Git/Middleman

HW: For Thursday, November 20th: You can either

* take a screenshot of your Blender interface where you have replicated the green screen based node canvas from last week (See last blog post for screenshot of suggested setup, for in-depth video tutorial see THIS LINK)

* or you can take a screenshot of a terminal screen in which you can show the Ruby version you have installed, show that Git is installed, and show that you can install the middleman gem.


For those of you with Windows computers that want to try some of the class demos that are Mac/Linux specific, I suggest installing Ubuntu Linux on a thumb drive.  The following link and video will help you accomplish this:

That said, I’m not sure how capable Linux will be if you only run it from the flash drive.  I know many of you will not be interested in using Linux after this class is over, so unless you just really enjoy it, just try using it off the flash drive (Don’t partition hard-drive space on your computer).  If any of you do try this, I will be interested to hear if it was simple for you to accomplish or if you run into any problems.

As far as our in class demo of Git, Ruby, and Middleman for static site deployment, here are some resources worth checking out:

Installing Git:

Installing Ruby:

Installing Middleman:


I know this demo is particularly challenging, and remember you are free to choose the other homework option (Recreating this screenshot).  I just want to give those of you interested in free hosting of your website some resources to experiment with and explore.

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DEMO: Green Screen Compositing with Blender

On Thursday we took a look at chroma key compositing in Blender.  For more information on green screen compositing take a look at this wikipedia page and this Art of Keying article.  For review of the process we looked at in class, this video linked to in an earlier post is a great resource.  I’ve included a screenshot below that clearly illustrates a working node map within Blender’s compositing interface.  See if you can replicate what I’ve done on your own.  If you need an image with a green screen background, there’s always this image of Superman.

Right click and find “Open Image in New Tab” to see full-size version of this image.

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HW: Feminist Frequency & #Gamergate

Tweeting this meme pushed angered/anonymous male gamers to threaten game developer Brianna Wu with violence and to share Ms. Wu’s home address on messageboards.

Yesterday in class we talked about the multifaceted #Gamergate, and the problems facing women in the video/computer gaming space.  We watched some news footage and a few interviews with female game developers that have been under attack by a niche segment of males in the gaming community, and we also watched part one of Feminist Frequency’s Damsels in Distress video series hosted by Anita Sarkeesian.  Beyond merely contextualizing the sociological disruption happening in gaming culture illustrated by brave females fighting for their right (and their digital protagonists’ rights) to empowerment,  Sarkeesian’s video presents a superb example high level video production, and appropriate use of high quality copyrighted assets for purposes of education (fair use).  Thursday we will be learning how to frame similar video posts using a green screen, Gimp-constructed assets, and Blender.




Write a 200 word response and include one screenshot that contextualizes your commentary.  Submit as an HTML file by midnight on Tuesday.

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HTML/CSS Video Tutorial Playlist

I want some of you, especially those of you that have had struggled with learning HTML and CSS, to take some time and follow this video tutorial playlist. I think the author does a good job of moving from very simple concepts to more difficult concepts. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A VIDEO PLAYLIST WITH 47 DIFFERENT TUTORIALS, NOT JUST ONE VIDEO! Feel free to skip some of the earlier videos if you feel you have a specific technique down.

Your Midterm Proposals will be returned to you soon, and many of you will be directed specifically to this blog post. In the past I have said that I wouldn’t necessarily set universal requirements for your final deliverables, but it is important to me that you are demonstrating skills that we’ve discussed and covered in class. I don’t want to stifle your creativity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t expect you to be creative.

Just because there are services that can make more advanced or more aesthetically pleasing layouts without requiring you to know any html or css, that doesn’t mean these skills are no longer important. So far we’ve seen how we can extend html and css usage by using things like tumblr’s ‘Blocks & Variables’ theme design techniques, and we’ve seen how we can customize our assets more precisely than most CMS systems allow for (sizing images would be an example of this).

In the world of web development I think of learning basic html like I think about learning to swim. Just because you can take a nice boat from one side of the stream to the other doesn’t mean there is no value in learning to doggy paddle. Once you are comfortable doggy paddling then you will be able to take another step toward learning things like the breaststroke, the backstroke, and the butterfly. If you learn to swim you might one day choose to take up water polo, or diving… things that wouldn’t even be an option if you just say “Swimming is stupid, I got a boat!”

And even if you do have a boat, and you enjoy using it, eventually the motor is going to give out and you are going to have to jump in the water. Why risk drowning?

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Tumblr Theme Demo

To view the markup that corresponds to the simple tumblr theme build we will be creating in class on 10/23 please access the following link:

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Homework: RiP!: A Remix Manifesto

For homework I’d like you to watch the above documentary RiP! A Remix Manifesto.  You have two options for your homework:

You can either…

1. Take 2 screenshots and write 200 words about each.  (400 words total)


2. Create 1 animated gif and write 200 words about it (200 words total).

NOTE:  I want you to prove to me that you watched this documentary in the copy.  Do not just talk about your screenshots, instead discuss their meaning in relation to the film as a whole.

DUE: Thursday October 23

To learn more about Creative Commons, Copyright, and Open Source Software licenses please check out the following links:

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Mini Demo: Using Gimp to Create Text Effects

During our last class we discussed the use of Gimp to manipulate text.  Learning how to create an interesting text effect in an image editor is a great skill to have when styling a blog or a website.  Those of you that have chosen to create a blog or an e-text for your final would be wise to study the following tutorials, and to seek out others. This video walks through creating an interesting metallic effect with multiple layers of text and styling. This tutorial is so easy to follow a child could do it (at least the narrator sounds like a child, so I put the pieces together and… I digress). Explore YouTube.  Have fun!


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Introduction to Blender


Hopefully you all enjoyed the Blender demo in class yesterday, but I realize I did zip along pretty quickly. I encourage all of you, but especially those of you interested in video and sound production, to watch the following playlist of videos, which in my opinion are the best on the web.


As I said yesterday, we are going to delve deeper into Blender as this class goes along, but because I want you all working diligently on your midterm proposals and final project, I will not be requiring high level use. That said I will be giving homework options wherein use of the software will be rewarded.

We will cross that bridge when we come to it, for now I’d really like you all to at least give the playlist I link to above some attention.

Remember Midterm Proposal A is due on October 16

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