Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stressful Lighthouse

I never thought I'd be using those two words as a phrase. In fact, though, it was not actually the lighthouse that caused all the stress, but glitchy computer applications and my being prone to bad luck all the time this past week. For this week's assignment in Digital Media, we had to create a 3D model from 40-70 original photos that we took of an object from various angles. The application then stitches the photos together all on its own to create the model you see above. It sounds like something that would be a lot of fun, and I'm sure it would be had things gone more smoothly. We used a program called 123D Catch, an off branch of Autodesk, which makes the application "Maya" that is the industry standard for 3D modeling. 123D Catch comes in various forms. First I tried their desktop application, which got stuck on the install screen every time I tried to install it. I don't know why my computer did not like the application, because everything else installs just fine. Next, I opted to upload my photos using the browser application. That failed to work, so today I tried installing the desktop app one more time and wa-lah! I was finally able to at least get my images uploaded. The next step was to use the tools within the online application (the desktop app does not have the same ones) to stitch out the background, make some other refinements and "repair" the mesh. Unfortunately, there is a plugin needed to be able to use the tools (who's idea was this?!) and the plugin failed to install after over 20 tries. So, what's left is here. A 3D model of a lighthouse on top of newspaper that I was unable to remove.

But, enough complaining about my bad luck syndrome. I don't want you to catch it!

I chose to use this lighthouse for this project because I deemed it would be a good fit. My grandfather gave this to me some time before he passed away in 2009, so it has some special meaning to me as well. I sat the lighthouse on top of newspaper right in the middle of the Center for Performing Arts hallway table and went around it in circles taking various photos from different angles (imagine the crazy looks if you will). The fluorescent lighting in the hallway was much more even than anything I could produce at home, so it was a nice place to take the shots. There were a total of 57 photos that I ended up using for the final piece. The object was placed on the newspaper per the suggestion of the instructor. I only wish I could remove it now. But, all in all, this is what I was able to come up with given the circumstances, and I think it looks quite cool nonetheless. I hope to work with 3D modeling further in the future, which is very likely with me taking Video I next term!

Until next time, Peace & B Wild.

Friday, November 7, 2014

D.I.Y. Logos! (It's Not a Peter Gabriel Reference, I Promise!)

This week for Fundamentals of Digital Media, we had to create two custom logos for our blogs using Chittram - an online program that deals with creating vector graphics, similar to Adobe Illustrator. Let me start off by saying, this program was EXTREMELY glitchy for me to use. I'm not sure if there are errors in the coding or what else it could be, but I had to start my work over more than three times after getting to a certain point. I would add a shape, then not be able to select, move, or edit said shape. This would happen after working with the graphic for quite some time. On top of all this, when I tried to embed the images, they would not even show up, causing me to have to take lower quality screenshots and post them here. That sort of defeats the purpose of vector graphics, but that's enough complaining for one blog post...

Now onto the process.

What's really cool about vector-based images is that they do not have a loss of quality when enlarged within the software you use. These logos could have been enlarged to 4 times their size (or more) and they would still be as crisp as they were at the start. With raster-based images, enlarging is a pain because the software has to generate additional pixels to fill in the info for the larger image, causing unintentional blur and/or mosaic effects that degrade the image quality. Using Chittram, I was able to create both these graphics using both regular and bezier shapes, manipulating the size, orientation, and look of each shape, and also add text to finalize the logos. Though the process was quite painful at times, Chittram does have a lot of neat features for one to utilize, including the ability to add in fonts from your computer! All in all, I find vector graphics to be very useful after learning about them this week (I knew nothing about them prior to this) and I quite possibly might be returning to them in the future.

Until next time, Peace & B Wild.