Portfolio – Website Research & Development

Objective

The foremost role of a portfolio website is, as the name implies, to show off your portfolio. With that in mind my idea for the website is to keep it simple, displaying a handful of my best works – in this case, photographs.

With that being the main objective, a secondary intent would be to get people visiting the site to connect socially. The central method of doing this would be to link them towards my social networks, i.e Instagram, Facebook, and encourage them to follow and connect using those platforms. The reason for this is because social networks will inevitably get far more updates than a website would, simply because they are so much more convenient. In addition to more frequent updates, social networking also enables me to interact with my audience, to a greater extent than the website would allow.

Perhaps at some point, I could offer the option to purchase prints or even a book using the website, but at this stage, it is an unnecessary addition that would require extra, unwarranted time and effort.

Inspirational References

Below are three notable examples of popular photographers’ sites.

Eric Ryan Anderson

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Eric’s website is a simple, vertically scrolling list of albums and their titles. The unique about his website though is that after clicking on an album, you can scroll through all the images contained in the album horizontally. This creates a very intuitive and natural way to browse through his photos.

Jeremy Cowart

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The first thing that stands out in Jeremy’s website is the sheer amount of content it presents. Clearly Jeremy is not just a photographer, included in the categories on the website, he is also an artist, teacher, speaker, and more. Personally, the website at first looks really crowded with an overabundance of pictures and text. However it is in-fact quite well laid out, with the photos forming a neat grid under their respective categories.

Ryan Michael Kelly

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In a similar vein to the other websites listed, Ryan’s portfolio is very simply laid out grid of photos. Categories listed at the top of the webpage help organize the photos into the style you want to view.

Design & Implementation

The chosen design is inspired by the above mentioned websites. The main page will be a grid of photos, with a splash screen preceding it. Organizing the photos by category is something to be considered, although that will require considerably more pictures than I have currently uploaded. As for the menu, there is the usual “contact” and “about” pages, with social media links as well. I would like to emphasis the social media links though, as they are an important part of the website, as mentioned in the objectives section.

The draft mockup can be found here.

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Platform Selection

It’s 2017. There are – for better or worse – an overwhelming amount of website creation options. For the draft version of the site WIX is used, however I found the interface somewhat sluggish and unintuitive to use. Never mind the annoying pop-ups and banners advertising WIX.

For the final website, the plan is to use Squarespace or something in a similar vein, such as Format and 22Slides – both of which are created with photo portfolios in mind. The only disadvantage to such platforms, is obviously the subscription fee required. Most of these platforms do offer a certain period of trial though, so I can test them out and explore the best option. If for some reason none of these platforms workout, the last resort is to use WordPress.

Interview – Mahesh Ravi

Mahesh Ravi is a Multimedia Generalist, currently residing in Bangalore, India. He works in various mediums, including photography, filmmaking and design.

Below is a short transcript of the interview. The full interview can be found at the bottom of this post.

How did you get into the field you are in now?

Since my childhood, I’ve been really interested in visual design. I’ve always wanted to study film design, but at that time I didn’t even know there was such a discipline. It was at that point I realized that I was an artist and wanted to do something really creative. The main reason I chose multimedia was the leverage I would be getting to work in mixed media, which I’ve always loved to do – and still do. I love the combinations of analogue and digital media, and combining film with an aspect of design, and photography with an aspect of typography.

What motivates you to keep doing what you do?

I think when you’re in this field, your motivation is what’s happening in the world around you. You’ll constantly be in touch with what your competitor is doing, what your friends are doing, what’s the latest in technology and art. It’s a very competitive world and if you want to be on top of something you need to continuously push yourself beyond your limits. It [motivation] can be anything, from a good piece of music or a good photograph.

Could you imagine yourself doing any other job than the one you’re doing now?

I can imagine myself in another title that’s not connected to the creative field, but I know for a fact I won’t be very good at that.

If you could go back in time and do something differently what would it be?

It’s very difficult to answer this question, because every artist who is constantly improving would want to go back and change something in a design or film that they’ve made. I can’t say one particular decision that I’ve made in my life, which I’d go back and change, it’s not my way of thinking about what I do. I’d rather use my time to focus on the future than thinking about changing the past.

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I’d just take my camera, shoot a couple of scenes, come back and claim it as the most realistic and most authentic retro film ever made.

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One piece of advice you would give someone starting out in the creative field?

If you want to be in the creative field, no matter what discipline – it can be photography, design, film – it is really important that you get enough exposure about what’s happening in that particular media. Even before you start something, you need to have done some research on it. Keep yourself updated with what is currently happening in your field. Be very good observers and choose your artistic integrity wisely.

More information about Mahesh and his work can be found at his website.

The full interview can be found below.

Project Analysis – Conversation Animation II

This project analysis is a critical analysis done on a previous animation project that I’ve worked on. While my primary focus is on the photography and film field, I find it is still useful to learn from projects in slightly different mediums. Owing to it’s length this post is split into two parts.

This is the second part. The first part can be found here.

Contextual Research

Introduction

This chapter outlines the contextual research for the project discussed in this paper. The final output that was required for the project was video. Due to the content that is being presented, it was decided to make the project an animation.

Animation and Motion Graphics

Animation is essentially the “the act of creating the illusion of movement through still images” (Zeke, 2015). In a way then, animation can be traced back to  cave paintings and various ancient art works, for example, pottery from Shahr-e Sukhteh, Iran, around 3000 B.C., which depict a goat leaping (Miller, 2015). More recently, tools such as the Magic Lantern (an image projector which used  sheets of glass), the Phenakitoscope (a spinning disk with images on it), and the Kineograph (more commonly known as a flip-book) are also considered as part of animation history (“History of animation,” 2015). Eventually in the 1900s animation evolved into the cartoons that people today are familiar with. However the project isn’t a traditional animation, rather it is classified as motion graphics. Motion graphics can be defined as the “art of creatively moving graphic elements or texts, usually for commercial or promotional purposes” (“5 types of animation – a beginner’s guide,” n.d.). They are usually flat images or 3D objects that have the effect of motion. Primarily they are used for title scenes, animated logos, promotional videos, and etc.

Motion graphics has an advantage over still images, such as posters. One of the advantages, being the ability to have more content. Where a poster would be one frame, a video has multiple. The conversation stack, discussed earlier in the report, is linear, there is a certain order to it – it has a specific starting point and ending point. This translates well into a video, which is able to show the step by step process better.

Design Style

Design-wise, the project went with a simple, minimal look and feel. This was chosen after various experiments because it was kept the video simple, moving  focus to the content instead. Minimalism started in the 20th century, and continues to be a popular trend today (Mokhov, 2011). It has influenced almost all arts and technologies from the late 20th century (Ivanoff, 2014). Everything from artworks to  architecture to automobiles to UI/UX design, games,  products, films, and more. Notable uses of the design can be found everywhere. For example, in products such as the iPhone and MacBook, operating systems such as Android and iOS, as well as most modern apps and websites. According to  Mokhov (2011), minimalistic design was influenced by the De Stijl art movement, architects like Van Der Rohe, and traditional Japanese design. All of these styles focused on fewer elements with simple lines and form. As Van Der Rohe famously said, “Less is more.”

Future Development

Introduction

This chapter will discuss the future development of the project, and outline any possible changes or improvements that could be made to further enhance it.

Improvements

While the overall idea and design of the project is good, there are a few key areas that could be modified to make it better. For example, the overall video is generally static. As the steps progress, there are no major changes happening to the layout or elements in the project, and as such it looses visual interest for the audience. Adding new, more complex animations and transitions could help keep the video interesting. The minimal design, while clean and pleasing, could have extra visually appealing elements added to it as well. The last major change, would be the color scheme – tweaking the colors to make them more brighter and eye catching.

All these changes would be to help make the video more memorable to the viewer, which is the point of the project – helping one to visualize the steps in a way that he or she can remember them and actually make use of them.

Conclusion

In summary, this report provides the development process of the project. The goal of the project was to help one to start conversations with strangers with the help of the conversation stack – a tool that uses visualization to help remember questions to start conversing. The design and development chapter gave a more detailed description of the stack. The contextual research chapter briefly talked about animation, its history, and motion graphics, in addition to the design style used. The final project was outputted as motion graphics with a very minimalistic design. Finally, the future development section talked about ways to better the project by making the animation more visually appealing and memorable.

References

The 5 types of animation – a beginner’s guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bloopanimation.com/types-of-animation/

Carnegie, D., & MacMillan, A. (1998). How to win friends & influence people. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

Dale Carnegie Oregon. (2015, November 2). Dale Carnegie Oregon conversation stack [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlb4joIZGn4

Google. (n.d.). Material design guidelines. Retrieved from https://material.io/guidelines/

History of animation. (2015, August 7). Retrieved from http://history-of-animation.webflow.io/

Ivanoff, A. (2014, June 6). Design minimalism: what, why & how. Retrieved from https://www.sitepoint.com/what-is-minimalism/

Lomax, T. (2012). Getting acquainted stack. Retrieved from https://mochagirlspitstop.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/gettingacqstack.jpg

Miller, M. (2015, January 19). Scholars rethink the beginnings of civilizations following discoveries in Burnt City of Iran. Retrieved from http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/scholars-rethink-beginnings-civilizations-iran-020173

Mokhov, O. (2011, May 9). Minimalist design: a brief history and practical tips. Retrieved from http://spyrestudios.com/minimalist-design-a-brief-history-and-practical-tips/

Zeke. (2015, February 26). A quick history of animation. Retrieved from https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/quick-history-animation/

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED AS AN EXERCISE AS PART OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN DIGITAL MEDIA.

Project Analysis – Conversation Animation I

This project analysis is a critical analysis done on a previous animation project that I’ve worked on. While my primary focus is on the photography and film field, I find it is still useful to learn from projects in slightly different mediums. Owing to it’s length this post is split into two parts.

The project in question has been linked below. It may be useful to watch it before proceeding to the analysis.

Introduction

Report Overview

The design piece for this report is a short animation that is meant to help people start a conversation. This report is separated into five sections, the first being the introduction. The second section is Design and Development – this will give more details about the subject and design for the project. The next section is Contextual Research – this chapter will discuss the medium of the project as well as the design style. Fourth is Future Development – this area will give details as to how the project could be improved upon. Finally, the conclusion will give a brief summary of the overall project.

Project Description

The idea for the animation was based on my own struggle to talk to new people. The tool that was chosen, helps a person by visualization. You imagine a certain picture, which helps you recall the steps. This method was chosen due to it’s familiarity to me, and turned into a short animation. The first picture is a large nameplate, which represents the person’s name. The second picture is a house sitting over the nameplate – this is where the person lives. Inside the house there are some people – who are the person’s family? Now sticking out of the house is a large clock. How does the person spend his or her time? Fifth is a plane – does the person travel much? Where to? The last image is a tennis racket – what are the person’s hobbies? The design is kept very minimal and basic, concentrating solely on the content – the text and images. The theme is “flat” with a limited color palette, compromising mostly of muted, darker colors. The illustrations and the text have various types of transitions and animations, that help add a little flair to the video. At the end of the video is an attached disclaimer, which is a joke, meant to keep the lighthearted nature of the video.

Design and Development

Introduction

This chapter details the development process of the project. The task was simply to create a short video, using Adobe After Effects. The first task was to do some research and come up with an idea or topic for the video. This was followed by trying out various designs to figure out the best way to actually animate the chosen idea. The last step was to finally create the video itself.

Subject

To start with the project, a topic was needed. It was decided to pick out a topic that could help  a person accomplish something. To further narrow the list, it was decided to choose a topic that could help me or has already helped me personally. After brainstorming, the topic that was decided was communication. In particular, starting conversations. This is one area where a lot of people have difficulties, and while there are many ways to help in this area, the tool that has been used for this project is called the conversation stack. This memory tool was invented by Dave Wright (Dale Carnegie Oregon, 2015) to help  one start a conversation with a total stranger. In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie mentions, “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.” (Carnegie & MacMillan, 1998) The conversation stack serves as a starting point for one to do just that. It uses visualization to help one ask questions about the other person, which in turn translates into conversations. For example, the first image is a name plate. This represents the first question – what is your name? The next one is a house – where do you live? After that there is an image of a family and so forth. The conversation stack was chosen for this project because it is a visual tool, and as such, could possibly work well as a short video. One of the requirements of the project was the use of Adobe After Effects, and due to that it was decided to make the video an animation.

Design

Once the main subject of the video was decided upon, it was time to try out some design experiments. The first design idea was to make the project realistic, using actual photos of objects. However after a few attempts, this design turned out  to be overly complicated. The various objects didn’t quite gel together as a single image, as they might do in one’s imagination. Another problem was animating them. At the time, Google’s Material Design was the big design revolution, at least in the mobile space. One of the requirements of Material Design is the way animations worked (Google, n.d.). The  transitions were smooth and fluid. While not copying the exact style, the animations that were chosen, are inspired by Material Design. However, because the objects themselves are actual photos, the flowing animations didn’t turn out very well. These animations were more suited to a “flat” design language. This led the next design to shift from realistic objects to simple, basic shapes. The idea was to adopt a minimalist look and feel to the final project. The shapes were easy to create in Adobe Photoshop  with minimal effort, and they worked well with the intended animations. After the shapes were created, a color scheme had to be picked out. After several trials, the pallet that was eventually chosen  compromised mostly of darker muted colors. The background was kept a subtle, dark blue, while the shapes kept to the opposite end of the color wheel with mostly pink and orange shades. They needed to be vivd enough to stand out, while at the same time keep with the subdued tones of the overall design.

Summary

In summary, the conversation stack was chosen as the main subject of the project, to help people to start talking, primarily to strangers. Design-wise, while the video started out very realistic, it eventually took on a flat design, in keeping with current trends in the industry. The overall look and feel was kept minimalistic, with darker, more muted colors.

References

The 5 types of animation – a beginner’s guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bloopanimation.com/types-of-animation/

Carnegie, D., & MacMillan, A. (1998). How to win friends & influence people. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

Dale Carnegie Oregon. (2015, November 2). Dale Carnegie Oregon conversation stack [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlb4joIZGn4

Google. (n.d.). Material design guidelines. Retrieved from https://material.io/guidelines/

History of animation. (2015, August 7). Retrieved from http://history-of-animation.webflow.io/

Ivanoff, A. (2014, June 6). Design minimalism: what, why & how. Retrieved from https://www.sitepoint.com/what-is-minimalism/

Lomax, T. (2012). Getting acquainted stack. Retrieved from https://mochagirlspitstop.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/gettingacqstack.jpg

Miller, M. (2015, January 19). Scholars rethink the beginnings of civilizations following discoveries in Burnt City of Iran. Retrieved from http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/scholars-rethink-beginnings-civilizations-iran-020173

Mokhov, O. (2011, May 9). Minimalist design: a brief history and practical tips. Retrieved from http://spyrestudios.com/minimalist-design-a-brief-history-and-practical-tips/

Zeke. (2015, February 26). A quick history of animation. Retrieved from https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/quick-history-animation/

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED AS AN EXERCISE AS PART OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN DIGITAL MEDIA.

Style Analysis – Brandon Woelfel

Introduction

This post is the first of a short series that will focus on forming an analysis on a selected photographers works. The idea behind this is to form a better understanding of various photography and editing styles and methods and to eventually create my own style. The end goal of this series is to eventually create my own unique style of photography whereby I will at a later point create an Instagram account to showcase.

Most (if not all) of the artists featured here will be from Instagram as that’s the platform that I use most for photography purposes.

Point to note – photography is subjective. This is not a post pointing out what I think are “good” and “bad” photos, rather I’m trying to take a fairly objective view and simply examine the techniques and style preferences of the photographers.

So now onto the post.

Brandon Woelfel

Brandon is a freelance photographer based in New York. He’s on Instagram under the handle @bradonwoelfel where he has over 1 million followers. More information and photos can be found at his website – www.brandonwoelfel.com

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(Woelfel, 2017)

Photography

Brandon shoots portraits with a very distinctive feel and vibe. Below are some samples of his work.

Listed below are three key points that make Brandon’s photos distinctive.

  • Color

The first thing that stands out to me are the colors he uses. Brandon usually favors a more cooler tone with a lot of blues and magentas. This provides a great contrast between the colors and shapes his unique style.

  • Bokeh

The second thing of note is the shallow depth of field, or bokeh. There’s a lot of that. Brandon shoots with prime lenses, such as the 85mm and 50mm, with the aperture wide open. This allows him to obtain the gorgeous bokeh, and as a bonus the large aperture also helps keep the camera ISO down when shooting in places with low light.

  • Props

Finally, Brandon uses various props to achieve his style. Scrolling through his Instagram feed you can see that nearly every picture has fairy lights and oversized retro glasses. The fairy lights work to help create the bokeh mentioned earlier, and the glasses subtly reflect the light sources in the picture. Brandon also uses CDs and prisms to create reflections or “rainbows”. Lastly he also incorporates neon lights, signage, and sparklers into some of his works.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive breakdown of Brandon’s photos or his shooting style. But it does note several key points that I observed. The aim of this brief examination is to observe the styles of various artists and draw inspiration from their works.

If you do want to explore in more depth how to recreate Brandon’s style there’s a great video done by Mango Street (2017) that shows you how.

Refrences

Woelfel, B. (2017). [photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.brandonwoelfel.com/photography-1/

Mango Street. (2017, July 10). How to shoot and edit like Brandon Woelfel [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Mk-C8un6E

Emotion

A Small Project

What do I want people to know about me? There are many things I would like to tell, and narrowing it down to just one was difficult. After browsing through my previous work for inspiration, I eventually settled on emotion. More particularly how I love to capture emotion in photos or videos, or create them in illustrations and stories. Emotions are at the core of most great works. It’s what makes people laugh or cry, it’s what brings a smile to their face, or a tear in their eye. In the end that’s what I aspire to do with any of my art. It’s to evoke emotion.

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For this project, the medium I chose was a poster, as I could use easily use my photography to its effect. While a video or animation would have also been a great idea, I chose the poster due to it’s simplicity.It’s relatively easy to create, but done right, can be a very effective medium. Various designs were experimented with and different sketches were drawn in the brainstorming process, but the final design was chosen because it was simpler and more to the point. There’s no guesswork needed to figure out what idea is being shown. There are photos of people with various expressions to help convey emotion, as well as a quote from a song. The starry sky backdrop also adds to the grand, dramatic feel of the whole piece.

ADAA Poster Design

Research and Analysis

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime people trafficking is the fastest growing international crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organized crime (Stop The Traffik, n.d.). As of 2014 there were an estimated 21 million victims globally. Over 14 million were exploited for labour, and over 4.5 million were sexually exploited (Human Rights First, 2017). According to Human Rights First, human trafficking is worth $150 billion every year for traffickers with 66% of that coming from sex trafficking. Yet in 2015, the Department of Justice convicted a shocking low figure of 297 human traffickers. Despite human trafficking being such a large criminal business, few people are aware of it. For most people, human trafficking is usually something that happens “somewhere else”. However trafficking occurs globally, from tiny villages to major cities. Due to these reasons, this topic was chosen to create awareness about human trafficking.

Project Deliverable

The final output is a series of three posters, each containing a different aspect of human trafficking. The visually aggressive red color scheme subtly hints at the disturbing reality of human trafficking. The black background represents the darkness and hopelessness that victims face. The text is intentionally thin and simple, to adhere to the minimal feel of the posters. All pictures are obtained from Pexels (www.pexels.com) and used under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
A Design Studio Project created for Adobe Design Achievement Awards.