The Red Eagle Knight

As per what I understand is good etiquette for the class, I took the liberty of completing my own created assignment.

Setup is simple. Open up the image editor of your choice (in my case, MS paint), set the properties of the image to be 16 pixels by 16 pixels, zoom in to the image, and use the pencil tool for good measure. I looked at animation sprites for 8-bit videogames, such as early Mario for inspiration.

I looked specifically at people since I knew I wanted to try my hand at a person. What I learned is that the sprites focus on two or three main features, it is alright to have goofy-looking appendages, since any person will understand that they are in fact arms and legs. Prominent in the Mario sprite are the mustache and the suspenders, while the arms and feet are somewhat out of proportion.

My result:

Red knight enlarged

Here, I went for getting a visor, sword, shield featuring a red eagle emblem, and cape. Needless to say, I was surprised at how much detail I could cram into the image. In an ideal world, the eagle could use a few extra pixels, and I could put a little more detail into the sword, but constraints are constraints! I added the cape at the end, because I felt the right hand side of the sprite was a little bare pre-cape, and it suddenly hit me that a cape is appropriate garb for a cartoon character.

Overall, I am quite happy with how it turned out.

All Thine Bases of Operation

(A man in a suit and fedora stand before you, leaning on an axe)

Good Evening.

Many years ago, I found myself…in a world unlike…any I had ever experienced before. Trapped, I struggled to learn how I might…reach out again to this world. I have taken the liberty of…recreating one such attempt.

Morlium Cats

As you may have…imagined, my first attempt did not go over as well as I hoped. However, my actions sparked a…chain of events moving forward. It turns out my unique position has afforded me many opportunities to…make history.

The above recreation was created by…taking a marked up version of the picture and…undoing the embellishments made by the artist. It turns out that MS paint’s eschewing of solid brushes is…convenient for attempting to add depth to such adornments as bow ties.

I am not here to judge, only to state what is.

We’re Going Down!

For this mashup assignment, we had to take two iconic movie scenes and mash them together.

My inexperience with media in general is a detriment to this assignment. Iconic movie scenes? None ring a bell.

I ultimately did find a scene I thought would be appropriate to mashup, this movie poster of a scene with the Enterprise crashing down to earth gives a plot of action and a convenient blank space to work a little magic, something where inserting something won’t make it seem crowded because if anything, the space is TOO blank.

star-trek-into-darkness-poster-excerpt-660x577

So what to put into it? I didn’t think much of the movie itself, so why don;t we insert something that pokes fun at the plot? The Enterprise is crashing, so why not give it a reason to crash? I considered putting in a spaceship from some other series, like a star destroye, but ultimately decided that would be too expected. So, to keep with a somewhat comedic feel here, I bent the rules of the assignment and swiped an object from what I consider an iconic opening scene of one of the better TV shows to travel the airwaves:

So, I brought up powerpoint, indserted the movie poster in a slide, then a picture of the barrel monkey from the futurama wiki. Thanks to the raltively constant background, powerpoint had no trouble removing the background of the photo when I inserted it into the slide. Just to keep some perspective, I also tilted the image slightly. The end result:

Monkey Trek
I was relatively happy with the end product. I considered darkening the gorilla and planet to make it fit in better with the dark colors of the movie, but I also wanted to keep the lighter cartoony feel that the brighter colors provided. The ship is central, but the brighter color almost demands attention, but it is small enough to get second notice.

All About Morlium

Who is Morlium? This video gives all that we can share about him.

Putting together the video was an arduous task. I first had to outline how the documentary would transition, then find clips and pictures appropriate to the narrative arc. I was able to extract general clips from youtube videos usingĀ clipconverter. I found the clips and pictures, but had to split them into enough pieces using Windows Movie Maker to give some change to the scene. Once I had a workable video, I again recorded a voice overlay on audacity while watching the movie. I stripped the sound out of the nature clips and reduced the volume of the static clips using the Video Volume option in Windows Movie-maker.

All in all, this is admittedly a rush job. I was unable to find some clips that I wanted, such as a first person view of running through the woods or some computer-modeling animation, both of course devoid of context-specific details. As a result, I had to make due with what I could find in the time available.

Signs of Trouble

For this assignment, I needed to sign something in letters, let us see if you can pick up on it.

As a hint, this once was a very popular phrase, and still is if you are part of the correct circles.

I came across this assignment looking at other peoples’ blogs. It turns out I had learned how to sign letters a very very long time ago (1st grade I believe?). This assignment was a great refresher on those signs, as I actually periodically find myself wanting to sign these letters, but often forget some critical ones such as ‘r’ or confusing the ‘a’ with the ‘s’ (I think after this one I finally have a system to remember, the ‘a’ is a ball plus tail (thumb on the outside), while the ‘s’ is one complete squiggle (thumb on the inside)). I was really unsure of how to delimit words and double letters, but I think after a couple tries I got it down. I also had to pay attention to how visible my hand was during the movie, that it was always facing the camera and in the field of view. It was slightly more difficult than I expected.

And for those who want to know what the phrase was, it is the primary phrase in the following…

(media not embedded so as not to spoil)

Wanted: Morlium, Dead or Alive

It looks like Morlium has a history…

When I saw the assignment, I knew it would be a perfect fit for getting a little deeper into the host characters. The character, of course, would be Morlium. As a practical consideration, I wanted clips low on volume so I could do an unmolested voiceover of a news reporter. This, combined with Morlium’s history in Alaska made nature scenes the natural fit.

This is the first time I ever edited video or put a sound overlay. I obtained clips of nature from http://thecliparchive.com/index.php?category=NPS. It turns out some windows computers, including mine have a moviemaker already installed (just search moviemaker in the search programs). Once inside, you can add clips to play one after another. There is a tab for video editing in which you can trim the clips to the desired lengths. Once the movie was created, I played it while recording a speaking part into audacity (so that my speech matched the video). I then exported the speech as a wave file. Windows Moviemaker has an add sound button on the homepage, which I used to insert the speech. Since I recorded while watching the video, the two aligned quite nicely.

I would have liked to put a little more into the wanted parts, but the assignment specifies at least 5 different sources, and I felt the need to give a piece with every scene change. In hindsight, most news reports care very little about what is going on in the video, so I may have been able to be a little freer with my speech.

Luscious Hair and Fabulous Faces

I am awesome…errr….lets just show a video.

 

Lets just say, this is highly out of character for me. That is part of the reason I took on this assignment. Most of the things I could brag about bore other people. I wanted something a little more…tangible. That is why I decided to brag about physical appearances. In my experience, you don’t have to look good to brag about appearances in the slightest, you just have to act confident. I chose hair as one thing because it has been getting a little long, and has become an active hindrance. I cannot not be conscious of it, so it is more or less on my mind a lot.

My face is a little more serious as a bragging point. Between being a non-talkative socialite, having two young nieces, and playing a brass instrument, I have had plenty of experience making odd faces. I actually am not too happy with how they turned out, but after trying several takes, I realized that I would need a better outside stimulus (such as a funny situation or odd spoken word) to pull them off to the degree I was hoping.

As for the very end, yes, the newspaper did taste awful. I thought I had a bag of animal crackers next to my chair (and indeed, you see me reaching for them), but I accidentally put them away between takes. As a result, I just reached for the nearest thing I could which I could attempt to cram in my mouth. An ad-libbed moment, I thought it worked out relatively well, and was an interesting punctuation to the slight awkwardness that receded it.

WWII Back in the day…

Now listen here, in the Great War, some days you rode the tanks, and some days the tanks rode you. We almost bit off more than we could chew on D-Day, and had things gone a little differently, our Red Cross Parcels might have started including water wings. People forget that storming and shooting wasn’t the only way to clear the beaches of the enemy. Some of us had the great luxury of driving the enemy away through more…unorthodox means. Its easy to double the size of your army in short order when half of it is made of rubber and plywood. Problem is, there recon had months to see we were preparing something, so we needed more than just Q-Fields to keep em distracted. The only thing going in our favor was that we had finally gotten a handle over the skies of Britain, meaning they could only look at us through a lens from about 8 miles up.

 

Picture Courtesy of Histomil.com from user Sniper1946

Had this photo been published during the war, whoever published it would have been court marshaled. Amphibious assaults are dangerous, but one thing we were able to do was keep em guessin about where the main force was gonna land. That is where our unit came in. From generating fake radio traffic to shufflin stuff around to make it look like stuff moved since the last recon plane, we got to do the work of a whole division, because we had to look like one.