14 October 2005

Foundation Computer

I expect some of you reading this are eager to know what school is like this time around, especially since I haven't been blogging much lately. I thought I'd go through and describe my classes one at a time, and since the class I had most recently (yesterday morning) was Foundation Computer, I'll start there.

The official description for the class (from the Guide to Undergraduate Programs; read it online here if you really want to--it's in .pdf format) is this:
This course is a hands-on introduction to computer graphics using several standard operating systems. Stuents taking this course are expected to have prior experience with the use of computers, including desktop and directory navigation, file management, basic word processing, e-mailing, and internet browsing.

Doesn't really say much, does it? Essentially, we're learning the basics of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (a bitmap graphics editor, a vector graphics editor, and a page layout editor, respectively) on Macintosh and Windows. Our class started in the Mac lab, which mostly has eMacs running OSX, and we started with Photoshop. Most of the class had already used Photoshop at least a little bit, so we went through it pretty fast--we just started on Illustrator yesterday.

Although I have used Photoshop quite a lot, and it's one of those programs you can pick up quite a lot of just by playing around with it, I did learn lots of little things I hadn't figured out yet, and learned how to do some things I did know properly (and usually in a much simpler way). I managed to get 100% on the first quiz (yay!) which was on Mac basics, and 9/10 on the first big(ish) assignment. Deva and Ryan laughed when I pouted that I really wanted 10/10. "What, 90% isn't good enough for you?" Hell, no, I should have done better (meaning I should have done a better job, not that I should have got a better mark for the job I did do). (Yeah, I'm sure you're all rolling your eyes.)

I'm pretty sure I won't be getting 100% on the assignment I handed in yesterday, either, as much as I'd like to. I do have the excuses that I was sick and that I had a lot of other homework and ran out of time, but really, those are just excuses. The image I had in my head was of a cool Dave McKean-esque piece of art (see his website for many cool examples). What I ended up with was this (click image for bigger version):

The title is "Wrong Answer" (think Oedipus and the Sphinx), and yes, that is parts of me and parts of Bast (I think I ought to get extra credit for getting the Goddess and Supreme Ruler of Everything to sit still long enough to get a good picture of her--and the blurriness is her *fur* not bad focus, in case you were wondering). I *really* wanted to get the joins between the cat parts and the human parts looking right, but I got to the point where everything I did just seemed to make it worse, so I stopped. Technically, I still had a day to work on it since I finished on Tuesday and class wasn't until Thursday morning, but I had to print it and there isn't time to print at the lab before class, which meant I had to take the finished file with me on Wednesday (yeah, another meaningless excuse).

Anyway. The next assignment is to choose an artist born before 1800 and create a Photoshop image in their style. This is when I discovered that most--no, all--of my favourite non-contemporary artists were born around the mid-1800s. Sigh. So I've chosen Botticelli. We (flatmates and I) were joking around last evening and came up with the ideas "Kangaroo in the Style of Botticelli" and "The Birth of Venus as a Monkey." The kangaroo came from Ryan's (that's Deva's sone Ryan, not my nephew Ryan) joke theory that el Niño is caused by a fanatical cult of flatulent kangaroos (you probably don't want to know the details). The other one is because monkeys make anything better (or at least more amusing--you try looking at a happy monkey and not laughing).

So that's Foundation Computer. It's actually turned out to be my favourite class, I think, though the homework for Introduction to Studio Practice is often more fun. I guess I just like fiddling with computer graphics and learning cool new things. Now I'm going to run out and buy a computer book and probably a Playstation game (I'm trading in Ico, which was really good, and will probably get Devil May Cry because the brand-new games I want are still too expensive and DMC is supposed to be excellent. We shall see.) Then I must begin my homework, starting, I think, with building some wings for Intro Studio, about which I will write more later. Also, I need to look at some more Botticelli paintings, read some Umberto Eco for an essay, and figure out what classes to take next semester (actually, I just have to figure out what to take instead of Writing, since I have transfer credit, and whether to take photography or video for my other Foundation course; I already know I need to take Design for my second semester Studio course). Then there's my drawing homework . . .

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