My Friends

The lucky thing is that you have some great friends, what even luckier is that they are all living in your neighborhood. This is the place where I called the second home; me and my friends are so closed just like families. When I come back after work but don’t want to stay at home alone, I would come here and chat with my friends, share our daily stories, or do things like watching movie, playing video games together. One of my friends is good at cooking, so I have the luck to eat the nice food. We don’t fuss about personal gains and losses in our friendship, we help up and care about each others, feel what each others’ feel. I believe this is what true friendship should be like.

The time with friends is always valuable to me, and while I was being with them I would forget about all the pressures in work. I hope our friendship would last forever, regardless where we are and who we will become in the future.

Digital Story – If You Had One Wish

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

Each person must have something that they really desire or want to achieve, if you haven’t worked out your one, let’s take a look the other people’s wishes in our digital story If You Had One Wish

 Isn’t it amazing? Listening to these beautiful people talking about their wishes, sharing their thoughts? It is like you can enter their inward worlds and then realize the beauty of them. Some wishes were simple as to live forever; some involved the remarkable depth of humanity. No matter how theirs wishes are different, but the smiles on their faces are same. I found myself was smiling along while I was editing the footages too, I was affected by their yearnings of their wishes, and then I realized the real thing that has driven us to live and going forward is – the hope.

For this short film, me and my group mate Darren collected and filmed the answers from 15 people who were with different background and from different countries, and integrated them into one story. Many skills that we have learnt in the first semester of Graduate Diploma of Media were used for making the film, such as the photo and sound editing, creative writing etc.        In the process of production, I also have realized the importance of collaboration in fimmaking; I have really enjoyed working with Darren who is with great skills and kind personality, we working together in a structured way, innovating together, and finally made it happen, it is the best price for us. It is important mentioning that the concept of If You Had One Wish was inspired by videos on fiftypeopleonequestion.com which are all compilations of fifty people’s answers and reactions to only one question. We also intended to present our story onto fiftypeopleonequestion.com and some mainstream social websites like Youtube, Vimeo so that it could be brought out to the world by them; we definitely want the world to see it. Also we submitted it to ACMI to have it screened, so hopefully it will get the result we are expecting.

Lastly, great thanks to all the people who helped us to finished our digital story, you guys are amazing! May all your wishes come true!

RSS Feed: LSO Play

In today’s RSS feeds research, I found a innovative flash website LSO Play in Tim George Design‘s post. LSO(London Symphony Orchestra) is one of the world leading orchestras, and LSO Play is their new multimedia project allows users to watch & interact with HD footage of the orchestra performing Ravel’s Bolero.

Image

We can also roam around the orchestra by changing the camera position, each camera also has different angles for us to choose. It gives us an immersive experience of enjoying classic symphony both acoustically and visually, allowing us to observe different moments happening in the performing up to four streams.

Image

We also can explore a map of the orchestra, discover the musician bios, instruments, and masterclass videos.

In the future LSO will be uploading more videos of different performances, and maybe one day the experience will be translated to an iOS app or similar. In the meantime, I think this project really proves that Flash on the desktop is not dead!

I agree what Tim said, I think Flash has more potentials are waiting for us to develop, and giving new lives to other art forms like LSO Play did.

Creative Commons License

This blog is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You are free:
  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the blog works
  • to Remix — to adapt the blog works
Under the following conditions:
  • Attribution — You must attribute the works in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the works).
  • Noncommercial — You may not use any of these blog works for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon the blog works, you may distribute the resulting works only under the same or similar license to this one.
With the understanding that:
  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain — Where the blog work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  • Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
    • The author’s moral rights;
    • Rights other persons may have either in the blog work itself or in how the blog work is used, such aspublicity or privacy rights.
  • Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this blog. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.
Comments Policy

I welcome comments in this blog, but please note that the comments are moderated and may not appear right away. This is so I can block spam and make sure that the comments are on-topic and meet the standards.

This means that I will not permit comments which advocate physical or spiritual harm to an individual. Comments that include slanderous or abusive name-calling will be edited or deleted.

Also, hyperlinks to outside Internet sites within a comment will only be allowed when judged to be crucial to the commenter’s point.

RSS Feed: twXplorer

Whilst searching RSS feeds I found a post by Steve Buttry about twXplorer, a new Twitter research tool launched by the Knight Lab.

What twXplorer does is analyze the results of a Twitter search and give you not just the tweets from a search but also patterns in those tweets: the terms, hashtags and links that show up most often in your search. And each of those terms, hashtags and links is hyperlinked, so you can click on it to filter just those tweets from your original search. You can also use it to search within a Twitter list.

Image

So I personally tried twXplorer and I’m very pleased and amazed, it is simple to use by just signing in my Twitter account on twXplorer’s page, because it is a web built-in tool so I don’t have to download and install anything. The interface design is also simple and clean, I entered several terms in the search box, and picked English in the language section. It immediately shows results in four different ways.

  • Up to 500 recent tweets containing the terms I entered.
  • In tweets that include my search terms, a bar graph showing the most popular other words that appear.
  • The most popular hashtags included in tweets containing my search terms
  • The most popular links in tweets containing my search terms.

It’s a great tool for refining searches and drilling down to find the most useful results.

TwXplorer helps users understand what people are talking about on Twitter, most importantly, it refines users’ search through a “drill-down” approach to avoid scrolling through a very long and undifferentiated list of tweets.

Search Engine Comparison (Google, DuckDuckGo, Instagrok)

Nowadays, when we mention the word ‘search engine’, I believe ‘Google’ is first one that pops up in most people’s mind. It is so important even it has become a verb that represents the behavior of searching information online: ‘What is the time in Berlin?’ ‘Just Google it.’

But today I am going to introduce two new search engines which serving quite different purposes with Google: DuckDuckGo and Instagrok. For comparing the differences, let’s search ‘iPhone 5s’ in three search engines, the reason I chose ‘iPhone 5s’ as an example because it is a product name and also a general term with less directional purposes, we will see what kind of purposive results that three search engines will lead us to.

Google

Firstly I searched ‘iPhone 5s’ in Google, the result page opens up very quickly and indicates Google found about 518,000,000 results in 0.27 seconds. But I definitely will not need all these results so let’s see what contents that Google brought out to us in the first page. Because I am using Google Australia, the initial results are some ads of iPhone 5s from different Australian telecom carriers, the next couple pages are ads and introductions from official Apple websites. The following contents include the smaller retailers’ ads, the reviews, the news, and the price comparisons. I will say these results are mostly commercial; even I did not type ‘price’ or ‘buy’ words along with ‘iPhone 5s’. So in this scenario, if I am buying a new iPhone and want to know where the good place to buy is, I prefer to use Google because it gives overall purchasing information but less technical results. I give Google 3/5.

Image

DuckDuckGo (DDG)

In DuckDuckGo’s result page, the first result is official Apple website; it also has the little ‘official’ icon next to it, which I think is very helpful for users not go onto some unreliable or false websites. Another significant difference compares to Google that I found is DDG refined each result’s title, it gave each title some key words of what this webpage is about, instead of the lengthy and jumbled title in Google. In the first page results, it dose have some commercials but they are way less than Google’s, it also includes results about iPhone apps, repairs, accessories, and operation system. In general, these results are more practical and functional than Google, which I believe are more often searched by users. I give DDG 5/5.

Image

Instagrok

After a few seconds loading, Instagrok’s result page really can’t make me accustomed to. Compares to Google and DDG’s traditional layout, its flash based website takes longer loading time than the other two, and its mind map form of site map is new and original but really hard to look at. Beside, after I typed in iPhone 5s, Instagrok automatically changed the results to iPhone 5 for some reasons, which I really can’t understand. It also has a side banner that includes different types of sources and some quizzes but the quantity is very limited. I think it is a very good concept that Instagrok divides results into different aspects in a form of mind map, which I think is good for academic research, because it could help users point out some key points to talk about, but its interface really needs to be worked out further to become more users friendly. I give Instagrok 2/5.

Image

Basic Audio Editing

Knowing Audacity from flipped lecture is really a big help for me to edit sound, I have Adobe Audition on my computer but I never bother to use it, because I get freaked out by its interface all the time. I’m not a sound expert so I won’t need 90% functions of Adobe Audition, and I failed to find software that meets my needs until today. In the past, I mostly relied on the sound editing function which is built in Adobe After effect, again it is powerful but I always ended up getting too many layers just for sound. Along with all the footage, it is a disaster on my small laptop screen. The lecture also interested me in Garage band, which I could use to compose my own background music for the following short film, but it is a shame that I haven’t got a Mac.

QQ截图20130823084215

This is comparison of interfaces of Adobe Audition and Audacity, I know Audacity doesn’t look as cool as Audition, but it simplified all the functions I don’t ever need in the size of 8 Mb, thumbs up for that.

Next I would like to do a test on one of the voice files that I recorded for my documentary project referring to Audacity video tutorials part 1 and 2 on flipped lecture.

After I set up the preferences and imported the sound file, first thing I have to do is to cut off the unnecessary part and reduce the back ground noise. I got lost on the cutting part so I went through another tutorial ‘Audacity Cut Music’ on YouTube, and finally I have got the part I want.

audacity_1 audacity_2

Since we were recording this in a noisy cafeteria, the background noise is real pain in the neck, after several tries on getting the noise profile and adjusting the removal settings, I have got the final result done, although it is still with a bit of noise but it is much better than before.

audacity_3 audacity_4

And then export it as MP3, done!

The first experience with Audacity is fresh, some of the shortcuts work different with Adobe software, but overall I think Audacity is able to perform basic audio editing and format transfers in an intuitive way that many beginners have no trouble understanding. And it’s free!

Digital Drawing Techniques

I like drawing when I was a kid, and I still do.

Drawing on a computer is different; it involves less emotional expression but more precision. I remember how I felt uncomfortable when I started to use a stylus to draw things on the screen. However, after I gradually picked up the skills, I started to like digital drawing and even developed an own way to draw, which I took advantage of skills of traditional drawing. I personally like using Photoshop (bitmaps) because it is more capable of handling various properties’ images, and even creating complicated visuals for things like 3D imitation, photo montage, photo grafting, etc. And it performs much better with stylus, because it has accurate perceptions of pressure from the pen point. To put it simply, it could imitates hand drawing experience. But bitmaps are resolution dependent, it’s difficult to increase or decrease their size without sacrificing a degree of image quality.  It means when you reduce the size of a bitmap image, you must throw away pixels. When you increase the size of a bitmap image, the software has to create new pixels. When creating pixels, the software must estimate the color values of the new pixels based on the surrounding pixels, but it may distort the image. Conversely, vector graphics using the graphics function to record the color, size and other attributes. Zoom in and out of any object, no image distortion and will reduce quality. And it won’t affect the file size. So I commonly use Illustrator (vector) to create any text-related design, logo design, 2D animation design, which frequently requires different sizes of a same image to apply to certain conditions. Here are two graphic design works that I did in past study maybe could help you understand two types of graphics:

Image

Image

This set of vector clown characters that I designed which I reused in a following animation project, relies on the vector’s ‘unchangeable’ attribute. I was able to change their sizes without losing the qualities.

Image

This one was archived by tracing the pre-scanned hand drawing outlines with stylus, and filled in the colors in Photoshop.