Another Marathon Down
These first few weeks are proving to be a lot more testing than one would probably expect, but I’ve tried to take a “full speed ahead” approach. I’m in this for the long haul, and though I feel as though I’ve been working nonstop for this class, most of it hasn’t felt like work at all. The assignments are fun and flexible, allowing so much creativity and constantly giving more opportunities to grow and learn. Let’s start with the daily creates.
These activities were GREAT! I can’t say I ran into any issues or frustrations while making these. However, unfortunately on Thursday (January 20) morning, I had a wake up call when rereading the instructions for the assignments this week. I haven’t used Twitter much in the past, but had I been more accustomed to the site, I probably would have noticed posts in response to the daily create prompt each day. Instead, I completely missed that and misinterpreted the instructions, thinking it was saying to do five and compile them in a blog post to share. This certainly ended up teaching me a lesson on reading carefully, especially when it comes to assignment descriptions.
For my daily creates, I wanted to showcase my humor and creativity a bit. I have a good mix of funny and creative things I made for them this week, and you can read all about them and my process in the blog post embedded above.
On top of the daily creates, we had to write a little something about our artistic style and what our ambitions are for our style in the future. When tackling this blog post, I really wasn’t sure what to say at first. I feel as though I don’t have a defined style but also feel like that IS what defines me. So that’s what I wrote! I figured that the absence of anything is still something, right? I did struggle to settle on this conclusion, though, and it was frustrating to think to myself, “Wow, is that really what we’re going with?” But, at the end of the day, I do think being a Renaissance man of sorts (or more specifically a “Jack of all trades, master of none”) is something I’ve taken a lot of pride in throughout my life and I hope to be able to showcase that throughout this course.
These three assignments from the Assignment Bank are when things got really really fun. This is when I started to truly slip into the work and really just have fun doing it. For these, I had moments where I forgot what I was doing it for and felt like I was just doing a hobby. I started with a writing assignment, with a prompt to write about my survival story after being dropped into the video game Minecraft in a simulation. I felt like I really got to flex my writing and creativity muscles while being able to combine game knowledge that I thought would never come in handy outside of just playing the game. Before writing, I brainstormed a bit to get an idea of what I really wanted to do. I had a lot of ideas bouncing around. Should I try to write a suspenseful and action packed epic? Should I write a story of feeling lost and finding one’s way on their own? Should I go a more wholesome route and write a story of a man and his pet wolf? If I did that, should the wolf die at some point in the story? So many possibilities! Ultimately, I decided to go a more comedic route. While I am confident that I can create an emotional and entertaining story, I wanted to stick to my favorite: comedy. Of course, the story still feels good as you read through it, and to be fair the majority of it isn’t funny at all, but the plot twist at the end comes almost out of nowhere and things wrap up in a, “Oh.. huh. Ha!” kind of way.
For my second assignment, I wanted to do something a little more casual. I spent a decent bit of time on the first assignment and planned to spend a lot on the last one, so I felt that a simple gif assignment could do the trick. The prompt was to turn a pivotal or exciting moment in a film into a gif, so the first thing that came to mind was Captain America wielding Mjölnir in Avengers: Endgame. This specific moment made movie theaters across the world go absolutely wild, and rightfully so! My main setback here was that I’ve never made a gif before, so I ended up using a website that unfortunately watermarked the gif in bottom left corner. Hopefully in the future I can learn how to make gifs in a simpler or cleaner way.
Finally, to wrap up the week, my new pride and joy: my cubic creation. It doesn’t quite have a name, as it is technically different than what it’s based on, but I’m open to ideas! As soon as I laid eyes on this assignment I knew I had to take it on and put a lot of time and effort into whatever I make, so that’s exactly what I did. The prompt was essentially to create something in Minecraft, a game that I have plenty of time playing and feel comfortable using as a tool for creation. I wanted to relate it back to the course in a bigger way, so immediately my mind went to the idea of Bob Ross, or at least Bob Ross inspired art. After finding a piece of art I was inspired by, I loaded up the game. I realized very quickly that the basic blocks and mechanics in the game weren’t quite suitable for what I was hoping to achieve. Thankfully, I knew of some mods that added in great new textures and surfaces as well as the ability to create on a much smaller scale, down to 16 times smaller than a typical block. This allowed me to be MUCH more intricate and detailed, but also had the hefty price tag of A LOT OF TIME. Thankfully, the experience was pretty therapeutic. I enabled a mod that made more realistic landscapes, so I was able to find a spot by the ocean that worked pretty well.
With a bit of terraforming, the land was looking pretty accurate. This is when I had to really buckle down and get the creative juices flowing. While it may seem pretty straightforward to recreate, there is so much that goes into making something like this. You need to figure out the right palette of colors right away, or else you’ll put in an extreme amount of work and potentially end up with something that looks just a bit off. Thankfully, the white on these buildings is pretty hard to miss on. The roof was a bit trickier, but upon finding a green brick texture, I was off to the races. Fortunately, in creative mode in Minecraft, you are able to duplicated single blocks and place them elsewhere. With the mod that allows for smaller and custom blocks, anything within a given 16x16x16 pixel space can be copied and pasted, with the freedom to manipulate it how you choose. These tools came in extremely handy, making it easier to streamline the bits that look similar to other previously built parts.
After hours and hours of building and rebuilding, the final product came out looking fantastic. I’d say it looks a lot like the original, but regardless of the level of accuracy, I’m extremely happy to have had the experience of creating it and what it did turn out looking like is something I’m proud of. As a bit of behind-the-scenes, I want to point out a bit of a loophole I came across. The most important parts of building something in Minecraft that’s meant for a screenshot are the visible parts…duh, right? Not necessarily. This means that all you need is the front layer of a building and directly what is going to be in frame–anything else is completely pointless, at it won’t be seen! Here’s an example of how I tackled this specific build, only building one corner of the house and ceiling, with the chimney completely detached from anything!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can do to upgrade my website and add a bit more flavor to it, but honestly I feel very happy with the spot it’s in. I noticed near the beginning of the semester, a lot of other students had very bare bones websites, but mine has been styled and has had it’s own vibe for a bit now. I feel like I’m learning how to portray myself better and really push across this idea of Ty being the writer of these posts, not just any ol’ person behind a screen. If anyone has any suggestions for what I can do as a revamp of sorts to the website, please let me know! I’ve also been seeing my way through all sorts of blogs, but only recently have I started to leave comments. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be using the commenting feature or if it was more for Professor Bond to leave feedback, but now knowing that it’s a way for us to interact, I look forward to using it even more to hopefully leave something impactful, inspiring, or just kind on the posts of classmates.
All in all, this week was full of creative opportunities and growth in a variety of areas. I feel stronger in my blogging and feedback skills. I feel enlightened to the idea of doing a bit of something creative every day, even if its only 5-15 minutes. I feel accomplished, having done some great work that I’m very proud of. I feel optimistic for the future of this course and though week 2 was stressful at times and felt like quite a bit to get done, it ended up just being another marathon down!