Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wassup dude!

Last week we got put into groups for our final brief for Project 1. The brief was that we had to design skate decks, the catch was that each board must be individual however the final four boards must link as a series. Finally, finally, finally, I was given a half decent group. My group consisted of a second year ex-communications student who jumped ship this year to do design, the girl from my first Pianola brief, and a crazy talented asian kid. Together we came up with the idea to link our boards thematically through the idea of "fears". Each of our fears would be illustrated within a silhouette which would also help link them and they would all share a logo. I've been struggling with mine, especially since I've been at work constantly and have been permanently tired so I have no motivation to start. Originally I planned to illustrate drowning, then I decided on a concept of social isolation before deciding to illustrate a fear of outer space. My idea came from my own strange fear of outer space. I remember sitting in my backyard with my parents looking up at the sky. The concept that the stars I saw before me was really just a snapshot of 50 million years ago (ish) was slightly terrifying. After a while I found myself diverting my thoughts to things a little closer to home, shrinking the universe back down to the size of my world. The places I visit on a daily basis. I'm still not 100% happy with my design and it's due tomorrow.

I had to model last week for Image Design. I found it to be the most awkward thing I've ever done. There is definitely a reason why I avoid cameras. Even my partner was laughing at how awkward the photos were. Today I shot her and it made me happy to see that she's not that confident in front of the camera either, even though she was making me feel like crap.

I have a worksheet due on Friday. It's worth 15% of my grade for DHF. I did 100% of it at work in my spare time. Doing it at work means I get through it a lot slower but I don't mind. The worksheet was on referencing and critical reading.

I'm having a life crisis. I have no idea whether I want to stay in this course and whether design is for me. I'm tossing up possible contacting a few other uni's and seeing what my options are for switching for the spring semester. I've decided I need to see through the semester in the course I'm in. Even though it means extra HECs I just want to make sure I'm not making any rash decisions. I don't want to look back in a few years and wish that I'd stuck with it or given it more of a chance. I'm not sure whether my issue is with the course or whether my issue is with the people. I have no friends at uni which makes it a very bleak existence and I don't feel anyone is very friendly. I can't see anyone there that I would want to make friends with. It could just be me but I'm not entirely sure.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Have you ever had a shower in the dark?

Another week, another nightmare partner pairing.

The lecture this week for GDUP was quite interesting. "The Dapper Brothers", two 2013 graduates came in to talk to us about their Design Research practices. The pairing of them is odd, they seem like complete opposites. Ones fat, ones skinny. Ones good at presenting, the other seems to waffle. Basically, they met at Uni and when it was time to graduate they decided to start a business together. They call what they do "creative consulting". From what I could tell, they don't do much of the design work itself but instead run the project and put all the pieces together for the client. They went through their methods such as brainstorming, mood boards, mind maps etc. which I've already come across a dozen times in DT.

The brief for GDUP this week was to redesign a shampoo and conditioner bottle. We were told to design them with short-sighted people in mind, or people who can't tell the difference between shampoo and conditioner. I was excited about this brief because it was an opportunity to use some of my 3D illustrator skills to create something that looked really professional. The lecturer put up some blurred images of shampoo and conditioner bottles and we had to guess which was which. It was surprisingly difficult to tell and I got most of them wrong.

In the tutorial we were assigned our partners for the brief. My first impressions of my partner were good. He seemed to be quite vocal in class, which to me indicated that he had a brain and wanted to use it and he seemed to have some decent ideas. Before we had a chance to discuss the brief he began sketching into his notebook. Very, very quickly my impression of him went downhill. He was set on the fact that we would be using the sketch he had scrawled after two minutes deliberation. I tried to brainstorm more ideas to give us more variety but he wasn't having any. It was his way or the high way. I was creatively sidelined and given the research component to do. He said that he would do all the sketching so I gave up and left him to it. The work he presented me with on Thursday was absolutely horrendous. It could've been drawn by a two year old, never mind a student studying to obtain a Bachelor of Design. The whole thing made me feel ashamed. That something that horrible could have my name on it. After the class I approached the tutor and queried whether we were allowed to make 'modifications' to the design before we handed the final PDF in. I have a feeling the tutor understood where I was coming from. Perhaps he had witnessed me struggling in the tutorial to have my say or maybe he had seen my previous work and somehow understood but I felt like we had an understanding. I could do better and I wanted to be given the opportunity to try.

This week I handed in my final photographs for Exercise 1. On Monday I caught the train into the city and met my Dad for the afternoon. We got some lunch at a cafĂ© and discussed business before heading up to the roof of the apartment building he was working on to take some photos. Dad got a swipe pass from security under the pretence of grabbing some forgotten silicone and we managed to take some good photos. My photos were themed around Central station so the chance to get shot of central from high up was fantastic. I ended up somehow leaving my iPad on the roof and only realised once we were in the ute halfway across the city. To say Dad wasn't impressed was an understatement. Picking the final photos was difficult. My bike photo was the shining star in my eyes and I think my tutor thought the same. Presenting my photos in front of the class was really intimidating, probably because photography isn't my forte and a lot of people chose visual communications because they wanted to work with photography so I felt sort of out of place.

In Design Histories we watched some videos on academic referencing, which was quite boring to say the least. I completed most of the worksheet at work.

I'm slowly learning lessons whilst at uni, especially about partner work and working with others. I'm also learning a lot about myself and learning to cope with changing situations.

Monday, 9 March 2015

If you don't stop checking your phone...

Tuesday morning started off in the usual fashion. I made my way to uni for my day of Graphic Design : Understanding Principles. The lecture went in the usual fashion that I've noticed, some general and unhelpful information followed by the presentation of the brief, the part we've all be waiting for. This week, we were given a much more reasonable brief of creating an editorial illustration in a collage style for an article we were randomly assigned.

In the tutorial we were assigned our partner. My first impression of my partner was, "hmm he doesn't look too bad" and I was hopeful he was the quiet creative genius type. How wrong I was. My previous partner was like a creatively blessed angel compared to him. He sat there for a very long time without saying anything. He sat there tapping his leg up and down incessantly whilst replying to messages on his phone and checking Facebook on his laptop at the same instant. After minutes of excruciating and uninspired silence I decided to take the lead and explain my take on the brief.
The article we were given can be found here:
My idea was to juxtapose the classical and sophisticated European tradition of La Tomatina with the bogan and gaudy Australian culture that tried to replicate it. After attempting to produce something during the tutorial I eventually gave up and we left the tutorial 15 minutes early.

I got in the car distraught. I decided that I hated uni and that I made a mistake choosing a Design course. That afternoon I researched my options and the possibility of switching to a business or management degree in June. I went over to my auntys that afternoon and we discussed my options. She advised that I should stick with Design at least a year to make sure that I really didn't like it. She said I'd regret it if I didn't give it a good go. After my aunty's house I headed to my boyfriend's house. We sat upstairs and chilled on the lounge and I started to work on the brief. In a quiet relaxed environment I was able to put my thoughts together and produce something half decent. Having my boyfriend there providing support and honest helpful feedback made all the difference. I trust his opinion so much and he helped me to keep going, as cheesy as it sounds.

I went to bed feeling like I could achieve things in design, all I had to do was get my groove back.

Wednesday started off with an Image Design tutorial which was basically an extension on what we learnt the week before. We looked at more examples of creative use of lighting and motion and reviewed the settings on the camera.

Design Histories and Futures was sort of interesting. However I spent the majority of the time messing around with my collage illustration. We covered aspects of modernism and the industrial revolution.

The DHF tutorial was excruciating. I was paired up with this girl. At first I was hopeful she could be a potential friend. She seemed organised and on top of things and my kind it person. I even complimented her on her lovely rainbow keyboard cover. How disappointed I was. The first comment she made was about her "Mac". True Mac owners don't flaunt their products (anymore than necessary. Obviously the design of the product flaunts itself but that's different), she broke the rule. "Oh this is my first Mac. It's brand new. I'm still getting used to it." It wasn't so much as what she said but how she said it with her nose in the air. She then continued by asking whether I'd read the readings we were assigned the week prior. I responded that I had and she proceeded to rip into them saying she didn't understand why we had to read the foreword and the introduction to the textbook. To me this was the most stupid statement. The introduction is hugely important in the book as it gives you basically an overview to the whole unit and why we're actually bothering to study any of this. We then joined with two other girls who also hadn't read the reading. They decided to try and read it then and soon realised it wasn't the easiest thing to read as it had "big words". When we had to contribute answers as a group they all came from me.

The Image Design tutorial was equally disappointing. It was basically an opportunity to put the photos on the computer and spend 30 seconds with the tutor hardly critiquing any work at all. I asked for her help at the end of class and she said "sorry the next class will be coming in soon" and that was that. We were basically kicked out 10 minutes early.

Thursday morning tutorial with Leon was interesting. I like seeing what the other people in the class have done on the brief because everyone has such different takes on it. Some of them were good and some average. I didn't get much feedback on mine other than "yeah that's really interesting! I love how the statue is standing on an Esky for a plinth!"

We had homework from Leon. We had to send him an email using a professional tone, proper grammar and spelling etc. and explain why we chose a design degree. We also had to send him a link to our Pinterest account. Mines already well established with 3.6k pins. I'm quite proud of that.

Week 3 starts tomorrow and I'm keen for the next brief they throw at us.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Do you work for The Telegraph?

On Thursday myself and my partner presented our "iPianola" concept and it was truly awful. Our work was pathetic compared to others and I felt really stupid. But then I still had a cold so I didn't care too much. We spent the rest of the class learning how to resize an image in Photoshop, something I've been able to do from Year 7.

After class I headed down to the place where they hire cameras and got myself a Nikon D200, which is a really nice piece of equipment.

I headed into the city on Friday to take some photographs for my first photography assignment. We were given the task of heading to an outdoor location and to take sixteen photos using four basic photography skills/principles. I decided my location would be Central station so I spent a few hours in the station and on the platform taking photos. At one point I was approached by a staff member at the station and discussed with him my project. He gave me some advice such as trying to take symmetrical photos, especially one straight down the centre of the roof focused on the clock. I had my boyfriend with me who helped me with carrying equipment, choosing the settings, not falling in front of trains etc. I was also approached by an elderly gentleman who asked me "Do you work for The Telegraph?". After eventually communicating with him that I was in fact a student and had nothing to do with any paper, he exclaimed "The Telegraph is just out to ruin lives!" and walked off.

I give the camera back tomorrow (Tuesday) and I might hire it out again for Thursday and maybe go back and take some photos in the evening.

Hopefully this week will be better than the last.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

And so it begins...

I have a cold. I feel like my head is stuffed full of cotton wool and if my nose runs anymore we're going to have to announce a state of emergency as extensive flooding is likely. Thank god my first lecture started at 10am so I didn't have to leave the house until 9:15am. That meant ample time to try and make myself look somewhat like a human being.

My first lecture was "Graphic Design : Understanding the Principles", or as the lecturer proudly noted "Giddy Up". I tried, and failed to take notes. Mainly because the content being talked about didn't seem noteworthy. The lecturer introduced us to our first brief, a hideous ugly disgusting thing that I can't wait to complete and hand in. It was / is so open and broad that I had no idea where to start. 

The torture continued in the Tutorial straight after the Lecture. Firstly, our tutor has conveniently decided to take himself to hospital to get scans so my class had to be split between two other classes, making everything cramped and uncomfortable. We were given fifteen minutes to brainstorm and sketch some quick ideas in response to the brief and then we were partnered up. The idea was that within your partnership you then began a stimulating conversation about your ideas and decided on a concept to come up with. Unfortunately, my partner lacked any ideas whatsoever so she basically pointed at my sheet and said "I like that idea lets do that one". Feeling absolutely disgusting I was hoping and praying for a partner that was competent enough to take the reins but no such luck. 

I came home with the intention of finishing the brief and moving on but instead sniffled through eight episodes of Downton Abbey back to back whilst drinking Pineapple juice in my pyjamas. 

Day two I woke up feeling slightly better in myself with a slightly more positive outlook on life. My first lecture started at 9am so under the advice of parents and Sylvia I left the house at 8am. I got there much too early and ended up killing time on a strange picnic table where the seats were much too low. 

Image Design with Juliana was my first lecture and I settled myself into a seat on the second to back row. Why on earth people decided to sit in the seat directly behind someone in a half empty lecture theatre I will never know. I spent the entire 2 hours trying not to make awkward eye contact with them in the reflection of my laptop screen. The lecture was an introduction to Photo Media and whilst covered many principles that I already knew, was still interesting none the less. 

The next lecture straight after the previous was Design Histories and Futures. Its a theory based unit therefore the lecture was a little more meaty and thus more enjoyable. Again, I had someone sit directly behind me and drove me insane by peeling the plastic label off his bottle in an excruciatingly slow manner for about half the lecture.

I then had an hour break in which to occupy myself. I decided to take myself over to Kingswood campus to pick up a text book called "Graphic Design Theory" and then heading back to Werrington South. I headed to Cafe South, one of the cafes on my campus and picked up a bag of chips and a hot chocolate. 

After burning my tongue on the hot chocolate (it was very hot) and eating my chips I headed over the way to my Design Histories and Futures tutorial. Karen, my tutor, seemed really nice. She has this cool vibe about her. She had her hair in a side pony with the top braided, wore a graphic tee and some black skinny jeans and converse. What made her even cooler is she looked to be in her late 30s, early 40s. She made everyone pair up and discuss points about the lecture. My partner wasn't particularly talkative so I basically carried the conversation for 10 minutes before I just gave up and we lapsed into a somewhat awkward silence. At the end of the tutorial nobody quite realised that it was the end and that we had to leave so everyone just sat there chatting until she shouted at us (in a nice way) to leave which was quite humorous. 

I then made the rather soggy walk down to the design building. I had an Image Design tutorial in the photo labs where the tutor explained how to use Bridge which was a little bit boring. I then had a Skills tutorial where they went over the use of the cameras and how they operate.

I finally reached the end of the day and got to go home. I think my reception job has made me much more accustomed to being bored for hours on end because the day flew by so quickly.

It's difficult being the small fish in the big pond all over again and its likely I'm going to be feeling like this for a quite a while. High School is an artificial environment engineered to make you feel like you're responsible and in control and at Uni I really don't get that feeling.

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day"

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