ZIP Document of Learning #1

So far in my ZIP project, I have been focusing on getting a grasp of how different forms of media have differing effects on the way they play with people’s emotions and feelings. For example this silent animation( that shows how through simple visuals, personalities can be assigned to non-sentient beings. This similar effect will be much larger if personalities get assigned to people.

However, a question has arised from learning of these different ways of portraying personalities: what is the most effective medium to portray a character’s personality? Now this is a massive question that I cannot hope to answer, as it could basically be the basis of someone’s entire ZIP, but I have gotten a few insights as to the answer. The biggest thing I have learned when investigating this sub-question is that it depends on the purpose and what you are trying to accomplish. For example’s movies are great for showing what a character is doing, their goals and motivations, but cannot fully cover in-depth the personality or personal thoughts as there is often no narrator and they have to stick to time limits. That is why we are seeing a lot of superhero movies do so well; a superhero often has simple motives (or complex one’s that can be shown naturally) that can be understood by the audience. I plan to cover this question briefly in my final presentation, however I will need to take this into my consideration as to how to show my characters in my final product; I will need to know the general answer, but won’t be explicitly answering it.

Another question that has arised from studying how people tend to assign personalities based on simple actions of others, is when do we have a right to assume someone’s personality based on a few actions. For example when driving, people often think of the drivers of cars a certain personality based on how they drive(cutting you off, not merging properly etc.). Do we have a right to assume what type of person someone is based on one or a few indirect interactions? This is a question that I will not even try to answer, because I have a better question that I will need to answer for my project: how do people infer personalities based on small actions of others? I will need to answer this in order to figure out the best way to make my final product the  most effective.

As I continue to learn more about my ZIP and what I need to do to make an effective digital story, more questions will arise over this topic. I will need to sort through these question and answer them according to how much they will help me learn the most and make my final product the most compelling.

Eminent Proposal

How can visual media be used to portray literary elements?

When we read a book, we receive words. Those words transfer into our mind to paint a picture of the scene. When we watch a movie, we receive auditory words and moving visuals that paint a much more explicit picture. Both of these media (when done right) are designed to help the reader infer what they will about the characters, the plot and the fictional world. But is it possible to create something that lets the audience get a clear understanding of the text without using words, but still lets them infer what they will to create personal meaning? This is what I am setting out to do. To tell a story that sets the groundwork for the audience to infer their meaning  without words, and telling it entirely visually through cinemagraphs.

This is a challenge I wish to take on as it is something I have rarely seen being done, but when done right, can be phenomenally effective. I love taking pictures, and expanding that into something new would be great. I am excited for ZIP this year as it will allow me to improve skill I already have (photography, video editing) while also learning how to use those in new ways. I decided on using cinemagraphs instead of telling a story through a silent film, as I with a film, I already know how do that and doing the same thing would be pointless. by setting this restriction on myself, I will have to learn many new skills and techniques, but also get a deeper and more thorough understanding of how stories are made compelling, which is one of the things I want to learn.

I also have many obstacles to overcome. As I have never seen something like this, I would like to believe that I am “pioneering” a proto-art form, and with that, there will be many struggles. By not having something to work off, I will have to experiment myself with what works well and what doesn’t.

There are not a lot resources specific to what I am doing, so I will have to analyze different types of media to determine how I can implement what made them effective and how that translates into my medium. I am hoping to present my work to the class via a powerpoint as well as a 2-3 minute video of my final product

I wish to learn many things during this ZIP project, but my main focus points under my umbrella question are:

How do literary elements give way to telling a compelling and effective story?

How can these elements be represented solely through visuals?

My schedule for learning isn’t set in stone, and will probably change as I learn more, but as of right now it is:

December 7-11: Research

December 12-15: Plan what I will be shooting

December 16-30: Start shooting!

December 31- January 6: Make the presentation

Annotated BiBLOGraphy

Friedrich von Borries, and Ina Grätz. Apple Design. Hatje Cantz, 2011.

An amazing book that really got me started on the path of studying Apple’s design. It had a lot of great insights to help me, and I was really able to get into the thought process of Ive from this book.

A really long article that is a great read and really allowed me to get to know Ive more in depth. It portrays him in a more humanized light that I was able to build off for my speech and learning center.

It’s a Wikipedia article, what can I say? It has a lot of background info and was the first or second thing I read; it was the beginning of my project.

Basically a condensed version of the article by the new Yorker, it was able to let me organize my thoughts better.

The Apple youtube channel. While it has a lot of commercials, there a re a lot of longer videos where I got firsthand information about the things Ive has designed (and I got to listen to his voice).

A small bibliography of Ive that had a lot of visuals which were helpful for me to understand the design process better.

Wise Nugs

  1. No matter what field you go into, the most important thing to have is good people skills.
  2. In visual effects, every detail matters, not a single pixel can be off. Your cover letter will also reflect off this and it needs to be perfect to even be given a chance.
  3. Problem solving skills apply everywhere. More often than not, every effect will be you making something completely new and a new challenge awaits you. You need creativity not just to make the effect, but also to design it.

Learning center ideas: a document of learning

For my learning center I went back and forth between multiple ideas, as there is so much to show with Jony Ive. I always knew that I wanted to showcase multiple Apple products and their design evolution, just not how. I originally was going to try and replicate the Apple store feel, with glass and wood to display all of the products and talk about them, as well as having a short writeup on each. However, this approach was limiting, as I found that it would be hard to include other things such as activities and posters as the general aesthetic would be thrown off. Not only that, replicating an Apple store would be no easy feat, as I would need to make the tables and secure glass. I realized that this was not the best approach, so I decided to still showcase different products, but in a simpler way. I plan on having a row of tables with a simple tablecloth and place the products on that.

As for getting the products, I made a post to the TALONS Facebook group asking for Apple products(to all of you that helped me out I am very appreciative), as well as contact Mr. Udell, who has a couple old Macs, iPhones and iPods. I also contacted my mom’s school which has a few old Macs I can use. However, not all my attempts were successful. I tried to contact my old elementary school via email (Eagle Ridge), as I know they have some old iMacs if the challenge room, but they never got back to me. I also contacted a computer thrift store/recycling center in Vancouver(Free Geek) as I’m sure they have some old Macs, however, they also never got back to me. I also phoned an Apple store directly, but they said that they don’t loan products out(worth a try I guess).

Apart from showcasing Apple’s evolving design, I also wanted to have some interactive components where people could try out some of their most innovative human interface designs(remember, Ive designs both software and hardware). I am planning on having a comparision between portrait mode and an actual DSLR camera as portrait mode is a pretty amazing feature that is so easy to use. I am also planning to showcase ARKit through a few AR apps as well as a bit of information on a poster about ARKit (it is actually really easy for dev’s to use and basically a game changer with AR). My final idea for interactive component’s as this time is to showcase the touchscreen on a mobile phone. I will have a station setup where people can see phones that used physical keyboards and compare those to the iPhone’s intuitive approach to this.

I also plan to have a flow chart of Apple’s killing of ports over the years and how overtime everything has evolved into Lightning, USB C or wireless. This relates to my speech and what Ive tries to do with industries.


A final note: In this post I realized how much my learning center is just to showcase Apple’s designs and what they have done over the years, as well as how Apple has innovated. My eminent project is not on Apple, it is on Jony Ive, however, when it comes down to it, Ive essentially designs all Apple devices hardware and software. He may not be the CEO of Apple(he could be if he wanted to), but he is the driving force behind Apple. Steve Jobs(Tim Cook now) is the guy who handles stocks and relationships with other companies, as well as introduce new items, but Ive is the one who creates them. So in my learning center I plan to make this as obvious as I can, whether through some poster, or having all my write-ups attribute things to Ive.

Speech Outline

This is still just a skeleton of my speech and I will be polishing it off this weekend and beginning to write my speech.

Introduction/Hook: Don’t let everyone know who I am originally, but through use of a transition and bringing to light that I have designed a lot of technology people use daily(maybe a joke about the headphone jack), it will engage the audience and let them know who I am.

Conflict Intro: Wanting to bring the world better technology and renditions of what they previously had. Blend this with the fact that at the time(1997) Apple was actually a declining company and needed someone to bring them back on their feet.

Rising action 1: Revolutionizing industries- Jony Ive making an all plastic computer(bondi blue iMac) actually a success and not feel cheap. Changing the music industry with the iPod and changing the laptop industry with the build quality of aluminum MacBooks.

Rising action 2: iPhones and their influence. Can connect to previous idea. Talk about the lives he’s changed and by making on product so versatile, it enables everyone around the world to be more efficient at essentially everything in life.

Climax: Talk about how people don’t really know about who he is although he has done so much to influence people’s lives. There doesn’t really need to be a falling action as I would like to end my speech on this tone and go straight into a transition.

Practice Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Breakspear, a visual effects supervisor, last week. He was really cooperative and I gained a lot of insight from this experience, not just for the assignment, but also for my personal life. Before interviewing him, I had a list of ten big questions, more specific sub-questions, as well as a couple of big thought provokers that I could use to gain more insight and detail if it came up. During the interview I followed my questions a bit, but for the most part I took the conversation to where I thought it should have been guided, and what would benefit myself the most after already learning some information.

There were many things I took away from this interview that I never would have thought. For starters, I realized that visual effects requires a lot of skills that most people would not think of. While there are definitely a lot of technical skills and knowledge of software required, he told me that there are many other skills to working in visual effects. One of these is communication. No matter how good you are at making visual effects, you will always be working with other people. Mark said that even if you are an amazing artist, you have to be able to explain your work to others so that more can get done. In relation to this, he said you must also have honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic to work in visual effects as there are tight time restraints and everything needs to go smoothly.

Another skill that is important was problem solving. He said that for basically every movie, there is something to do that has never been done before. In “Suicide Squad”, Mark and his team had to come up with a new approach to energy effects that has never been seen before. This was a challenge, but what they were able to deliver was something stunning and breathtaking. Another story is of the time he was on set and they were filming in the Vatican, and they weren’t allowed tripods where they wanted to film. Rather than call it a day and leave, they found out that if you are disabled, you are allowed to bring in a wheelchair. So they quickly fastened a tripod to a wheelchair, pretended that the person in the wheelchair was disabled, and gott the shot they needed. An analogy from Mark is this: if you were trapped in a maze, and told you had 60 seconds to escape, most people would frantically try running around and escaping. A visual effects artist has to come up with a solution no one would ever think of. They could climb out of the maze, burn it or anything other than what was expected.

I totally agree with both of these points, and would have never thought of them if I had not had this interview. This is something I will have to keep in mind when deciding what career to go into later in life.

During the interview, there was a point where Mark explained how as a visual effects artist, you can’t have a nine to five job and need to be completely devoted to your craft; you work life is your home life. He needs to be ready to fly to other countries for shoots and work with new people on the fly. Because of this, I decided to pry further into how much of his work is intertwined with his home life. I asked him what his hobbies were and how he spent the little free time he had. He essentially told me that he has the mindset of being a ‘maker’, and all his hobbies derive from this, including his job. He enjoys woodworking, gardening, and surprisingly making his own hot sauce. All of these reflect off designing and seeing your own works come to fruition. However, he also pointed out how visual effects sort of take over your life. When waiting at airports, Mark said that he would analyze the crowds and the way people walked, in order to design crowds in movies better. His brain is always working to see things as visual effects and how to incorporate them. As well, visual effects is based of reality. Paraphrasing Mark’s words: the best visual effects are those where it is based off of reality. Energy and particles flying everywhere is not a good thing unless we can relate that to something in the real world that everyone is familiar with.

The interview also brought my attention to the process of entering the visual effects industry. Mark said that from Vancouver film school, out of 35 applicants, only around one will be accepted to even be given a chance at Sony Pictures Imageworks. The best way to actually get into the industry he said, was to have connections and work experience before applying for higher level positions at other companies. Mark reviews a lot of the applications for his company, and says that there are a few things that stand out, both negatively and positively. Attention to detail is key. If there is a single grammar mistake in the cover letter, Mark won’t even go through the demo reel or anything else, as if you can’t pay attention to details in your application, what’s to say you won’t pay attention to details when compositing? Visual effects is all about the smallest details in everything, everything has to be perfectly crafted and there can be no room for error. Another key point when applying is the demo reel. Now while quality of the effects is important, creativity is key. If you can bring something new to a team that no one else before can, then that is a niche that can only be filled by yourself and you are more likely to land a job.

This interview has taught me a lot of things that I never would have thought. I was able to gain key insight into an industry that I am considering entering firsthand from a professional. There were a lot of other things Mark and I discussed in this interview that I couldn’t put in this post, but really made me see a more concrete vision for myself and what being a visual effects artist means. I learned about the whole process, from start to finish, and how visual effects is so much more that I previously thought.

Eminent Intro Post

You know who he is, even while his name may be unknown. The one who speaks in a artless, yet meaningful voice in every Apple commercial, going on and on about some breakthrough in technology. He’s the one who designed the iMac, the iPod, the MacBook and the iPhone. He inspires others with his creations. In the developed world, it is almost impossible to go a day without seeing something he has designed. Enter Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jonathan Ive been designing virtually all of Apple’s products since he first became the chief design officer in 1997. He pushes boundaries of what people think is possible. He showed the world with the first iMacs that plastic was not a cheap material, and when used correctly, can scream refined design. He implemented the famous click wheel into the iPod, and moved laptops from big clunky things that were only used by business people to an everyday consumer product for everyone.

Jony Ive is inspiring to me as he is someone who influenced the entire world. There is virtually no other person like him in the world. Who else pioneered designs for the past 20 years non-stop? Who else has solely influenced designs in entire industries?

Not only is he designing for Apple, he’s designing for the world. Take the first iPod. Was it the first mp3 player? No, but it did it better than any before it. It was small, could hold up to 1 000 songs, and had intuitive button placement. The iPod essentially remade the way we listen to music, and every other company had to follow suit after. Not to mention the introduction of white earbuds(rarely seen before), and it’s social influence such as in movies like Baby Driver.

All of this has led me to choose Jonathan Ive as my eminent person this year. He has influenced multiple aspects of the world, whether that be computers, phones, music or fitness.

My eminent person is in a field I am certainly interested in. I love engineering, designing and making things work as efficient as possible. As Jony Ive puts it: “true simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity.” This quote certainly applies to many parts of life, and something that I agree with. However, I’ve doesn’t just say this, he lives by it.

I every product he designs, it is all about making everything as seamless and easy to use as possible. On iOS every button and every gesture has a purpose. Five fingers inwards on an iPad means close and swiping up takes you back home(iPhone X only). In OS X, there’s no driver updates required or drives to partition, everything seamlessly happens.

Jony Ive has a lot of admirable qualities, however, his specific role in society isn’t necessarily something I perfectly align with. I am certainly have interests in design, but designing consumer electronics isn’t something I that would interest me doing full time. That being said, Jony Ive is more of an icon of the pinnacle of designing, and being a designer for other things, such as architectural designing, engineering design or graphic design is something I would be interested in.

My eminent person comes from a similar background as me, being from a privileged background in a first world country. To get to where he is today, he originally took a course in car design, at which point he decided to switch to industrial design. This route is something similar I would take in my pursuing of a career, which at this point would either be visual effects, graphic design, or aerospace engineering. Regardless of my choice, all of these would follow a similar path to Ive, where I would study at a university to further pursue my further interests and eventually get a job, which would give me the opportunity, similarly to Ive, to design and create to inspire the world.

My eminent person this year is significantly different from my eminent person last year: Stephen Hawking. With Stephen Hawking, I got to learn about how someone can pursue a make themselves a successful career, despite obstacles in the way. This year however, I have chosen someone who is more influential in most people’s everyday lives, rather than in a specific field of physics. By doing this, I feel like I am able to see both sides of being eminent. One is for the masses; the other is for the specific.

Through this eminent person study, I hope to discover a bit more about what it means to be eminent, and more specifically, what it means to impact millions of people’s lives in a positive way. By doing this, I am able to get insight as to what I can do to achieve such eminence.

Harrison Bergeron

In Kurt Vonnegut’s’ “Harrison Bergeron”, we are introduced to a dystopian future where everyone must be made to have handicaps, in order for everyone to be equal. In 2009, “2081” was released, a film adaptation of the same story. These two different mediums provide different insight into the world posed by Vonnegut. Out of the two versions, the book portrays the plot, story and world better than the film. The book uses exposition in the first paragraph in order to explain the premise that would direct the character’s later This doesn’t feel rushed or forced, as these beginning piece of knowledge is later expanded on and supported, such as when George winces at the same time as the ballerinas(showing they also have mental handicaps), and when he refuse to take out the lead balls due to fines and time in prison if caught and explaining that he does wish for everyone to be equal right after. In the film, neither of these scenes(or any of the other world building scenes through characters action) are present, except for the characterization of Harrison Bergeron. Even that served the plot more than it did world building, as it was toned down from the book(less handicapped and being older), and was more designed to show Harrison Bergeron’s actions. This resulted in the film feeling like it focused on the plot more, while the book focused on the world building in relation to the characters more. Neither of these approaches are “right”, however in the context of Vonnegut’s satirical world, it makes more sense to focus on world building and how that affects characters. The book was able to take a stance on the way we see equality and challenge that, while the film was twenty five minutes of fun entertainment.