My Experience On Instagram

When Instagram first came out I was 17. I avoided the social media for a while due to my lack of interest in participating in social media in general, but when I got to college I finally decided to give the social media app a chance. I would sometimes post my artwork and sketches as well as following things I found interest in such as artists, longboard companies, and photographers. But when I decided to follow old/Facebook friends I found distaste in the things that they would post and how much time I was spending looking at idiotic stupid stuff that people in my generation were doing to embarrass themselves. So I deleted my account. Then I was given an assignment for a college course requiring me to once again participate in some sort of social media site that I hadn’t been using. There were not many that I did not have at the time in some way shape or form that I really felt like giving a chance, but then I thought about it. I’d become a lot more active as a visual artist since I last deleted my Instagram, and I had never truly looked at the app as an effective outlet to share my work. Viewing the app in a new way I took on the role of Dr. Frankenstein and resurrected my dead profile and gave it a new look.

My first step to changing my profile was getting a new name for it. Before I had only represented myself as a person on the app, but now I wanted my account to be myself as an artist. So I chose the name for my multi-media productions, Sweater Saturdays, and changed my profile picture to a photo I had taken with my logo as the watermark in the center. Next I had to decide about how I would choose to upload my work. Would I screenshot my work I’d posted to Facebook? Would I use filters? And the worst of them all, what do I do about using hashtags? You see I really didn’t like the idea of begging for likes on normal everyday things just to feed some human ego by posting on your morning selfy ,

“#beautiful #gorgeous #fancy #nomakeup #fabulous #justwokeup #withoutthebae #blueshirt #jeans #shoes #converse #pinkconverse #hair #haircut #hairdo #haventate #brushedmyteeth #fans #follows #likes4likes #likeforlikes #love #pleaseloveme #Imsolonelywhywontyouloveme #attention #cryforattention #crycrycry #backstreetboyfangirl #whathappenedtothenineties #ifyourstillreadingthesehashtags #Iapplaudyou #yougettheidea #okIllstopnow #noreallyIllstop

But I new that the idea was to get my work to as many people as possible and that was going to be a useful tool to put my artwork into the larger conversation. I realized that I needed to think about it like a business rather than as just a representation of me and do what was best for getting more views, so I chose to use good relevant hashtags to put my work out there but not an annoying amount on each post. I began downloading my work from Facebook posts directly onto my phone, running them through an app called “Instasize” so I didn’t have to crop any of my photos, and uploading them with no filters onto my account about 2 to 3 times a day.

I still do not like that the app forces me to either crop or lower the size of my images and art pieces just because it wants them to be perfect squares; I feel as though this weakens the app as a visual sharing medium, but I very quickly saw its social connecting powers. Almost immediately after posting every post I would gain likes from people I didn’t know. By the time my page would refresh I would have multiple random people like my artwork! The people I actually knew and followed would usually come shortly after and the speed at which I gained likes would decrease after about the first 20 minutes, but it still felt good. I was by no means getting a lot of likes but it didn’t take away the good feeling it gave me that random people would like my pieces, look through my other work, like previous pieces, and some began to follow me. I even began following a few of the random artists who had liked my work some that I admire as artsists and would like to be as good as some day, and it made me feel good that they had liked my work. I stopped and I thought back to the people who would over saturate their posts with hashtags and the fact that they just wanted attention. This feeling I was having was the same one they had had before and what they sought after and I understood why. It was cool to connect with other artists whom I liked and might never get to meet in real life and it made me feel good, I think this can be a good thing for people and a great way for them to connect with their heroes and idols. I see now that this could be a healthy and helpful thing to some people and help lift some people’s spirits up, everyone wants to know that someone cares, and that is exactly what a like represents, the idea that someone cares about what you’re posting. I still think that people need to not rely on this too heavily and keep conscious that other people’s opinions aren’t the most important thing in the world, but if done in a healthy way Instagram can be a cool way for people of all sorts to connect and let eachother know that somewhere someone out there cares.

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Synthetic Sex Bots

Robots are a rather touchy subject. People fear them taking over their jobs and even taking us over. Another touchy subject is that of virtual girlfriends like in the recent Japanese DS games that have come out combine these two things together and you get Gynoids or sex robots. The article I read “Sex Robots and the Future of Gynoids” discusses the history of sex robots and where they will go in the future. To be honest I expected to be appalled at the subject matter.  I expected to finish reading it and tear apart the idea of sex robots and talk about how wrong and unhealthy such an idea is,  but I was wrong.

The article talks about a man named Davecat. Davecat is an advocate for synthetic love who has two synthetic human sex dolls. At first I thought this is ridiculous and so do most people, but Davecat actually brought up some very valid points. Davecat doesn’t treat his sex dolls as sex dolls he treats them like girlfriends. Now initially I feel this is odd, but reading more about Davecat and people like him I began to think a little about their side of things, and the fact that they aren’t harming anyone. Davecat really feels a connection that he believes is legitimate with these dolls and just because I don’t feel that way doesn’t mean I should judge him for his own personal decisions. But the most convincing argument in favor of this type of behavior didn’t come from Davecat.

The author steps away from examples of people who actually own and use sex dolls and began to talk about the future. The author mentions things like Her and discusses the possibility of creating your own perfect woman, this to me seemed more negative talking about people replacing their intimate human relationships with robots they can control but then the author brings up something that had never crossed my mind Human sex trafficking. In the section of the article about Japan the author mentions that some places in Japan offer the synthetic sex dolls as sexual escorts. This idea seemed rather revolutionary to me. People around the world fear that their jobs will be taken over by robots but this scenario could turn that fear into a positive thing. Human trafficking is a global problem and it stems from some people wanting a person who will please them sexually and who is exactly what they want with no strings attached. Replacing human sex slaves with robots could save countless young women from being forced into that life style. Men could choose what they wanted and the robotic women would even “enjoy” it or be programmed to pretend to. Doing this would also help prevent the spread of STDs and even accidental pregnancies which lead to abortions. This portion of this article completely changed my perspective on the entire subject. Robotic sex dolls may seem strange and unnatural, but they exist and they might actually serve a useful purpose in our society.

http://www.futuristmm.com/futurista-forecasts/sex-robots-and-the-future-of-gynoids/

Virtual Escape

The concept of virtual reality has been around for a long time. The article Seeing is Believing: The State of Virtual Reality by Matthew Schnipper does a great job of covering the history behind this “new” technology. It is very interesting that VR has tried multiple times throughout the past three decades but due to the limitation of virtual graphics until recently. However one point in the article stood out to me above the others.

The article describes what VR promises to be very similar to what drugs offer users, being able to experience something amazing without ever moving or leaving their home. Throughout the article terms like “getting high” are used to describe VR. I am aware that this was far from the main point of the article, and not the beliefs of the article, but this argument used by people against virtual reality really got me thinking. The idea of virtual reality is an amazing one, but it is, like the use of robots, connected to many negative emotions in people. The article touches on the movie Lawnmower Man which is a film about virtual reality in which a man who is being treated for his mental disorders with virtual reality becomes engulfed in the fake world and eventually turns God-like in it. The creator of the Oculus explains that movies often portray VR as something negative because it is more interesting to watch not because it is actually like that. I think that comparing the goal of virtual reality to drugs is a very large stretch and that people making that connection misunderstand. The main thing that separates the two is the interactivity and developmental side of games and by extension VR. The goal of VR is not to sit around mindlessly, it is to give the opportunity for people to go to places they never could and experience things they just can’t in real life. In these worlds of the games people are faced with problems that they must use their mental skills to learn to solve. Unlike just taking drugs this can be used as a tool to help people learn and grow while having fun. But there is a flip side to this if VR is used by an individual to escape the world that they are in then this could have a negative effect on that person, but this can be said of just about anything and therefore cannot be the standard by which we judge VR. People need to learn to not fear what is new and to understand new things and how we should use them rather than focusing on the negative ways that we could use it. I do believe that people should get out and experience the world, but this does not mean that something like Virtual Reality does not also have its own place in the world. This article told many different stories of individuals who were inspired and worked to help create a dream, and I don’t think they are after something as simple as a mindless high.

Response to – http://www.theverge.com/a/virtual-reality/intro

VFX wages

The Article I am responding to is titled “Wages In the VFX, Animation, and Game Industry” by VFX Soldier. I think that the author did a fantastic job of explaining some of the problems professionals face in the industry and boiled it down fairly well to a good major point, people are taken advantage of because they aren’t equipped with the proper knowledge to combat the businesses who hire them. The article gave two amazing points of solution that if put into practice could really work. First being educated a digital artist should know their value. VFX artists should know how much others in the field are paid so that they can bargain for higher wages themselves. The problem with this is that compared to the companies these artist still have little to bargain with since they could find someone else to just do it cheaper, but the article also explains how to fix this issue as well. Unionization of the VFX industry is possibly the only true solution to solve how mistreated vfx artists are in the industry. A Union would help artists get better health benefits and pay, possibly even royalties. It only makes sense that as a growing industry VFX should begin to unionize. Unions throughout America Corporate History have been the workers greatest tool in defending themselves from being used and manipulated. Even Actors and stage technicians join certain types of unions that negotiate with companies and make sure their members get treated properly, why should VFX. The problem with this is that for the union to work all of the artists, or at least a large majority, must support the unions. If the unions don’t get enough support then artists who are willing to take less pay will still swoop in, take jobs, and continue to lower the average pay of VFX artists.

The best solution I see is to educate the masses in this industry, especially those entering the Industry out of college. Artists need to know that by not unionizing and taking lower pay they are actually hurting themselves and their fellow artists by hindering the progression of their rights as workers. They need help in protecting themselves from businesses who care only about their own profit, and often don’t even keep artists from project to project. In an industry that fluctuating an artist who needs a job is left extremely vulnerable and willing to take whatever they can get. VFX artists need to ban together to defend against this vulnerability and stop businesses from being able to offer them so little. There is strength in numbers.

https://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/wages-in-the-vfx-animation-and-games-industry/

Is 2D Dead?

I read an article titled “Is Hand-Drawn Animation Dead?” by Rotoscopers. The average person just looking at the situation would probably say yes. The article explained very simply why this is the case mainly when it comes to Disney but points out that it “will continue to thrive in more unconventional places.” I feel as though I in a small way agree with the overall point I feel as though the writer missed the truth behind it all in why the situation is as it is and how that will affect the future. When he/she refers to the place that 2-d thrives in as unconventional he/she is meaning not large U.S. production companies, meaning foreign where 2-d dominates places like Japan or France. If one then takes Japan as their example 2-d animation is extremely alive and what generation of children just grew up on Japanese pop culture? That’s right America, where an upcoming generation of artists stared at television screens watching Spikey haired blonde warriors speak broken dubbed English on Saturday nights and all they could think was , “I want to make that.” And these are the future creatives. Animation didn’t come from business it came from art and art as a whole has never been about profit. I for one find it hard to believe that an entire generation of artists inspired by 2-d animation would abandon it. I believe that in America independent artists and foreign filmmakers will bring about a revolution in the art form of animation and cause 2-d to once again get the recognition it deserves cinematically. Artists who want to make their art move themselves won’t go to 3-d animation to make it happen they will learn how to draw and make their drawings come to life. I think the question is 2-d animation dead is ridiculous? Just because one company who made some successful 2-d animated films hasn’t been making them doesn’t mean an entire art form will die. I don’t believe that 2-d animation is dead I believe it is taking a nap, and it just needs the next generation of artists to wake it up.

http://www.rotoscopers.com/2014/07/03/is-hand-drawn-animation-dead/

The (Ridiculously) Amazing Spider-Man 2

(WARNING: The following article contains many spoilers for the Amazing Spider-Man 2)

On May 2 The Amazing Spider-man 2 swung into theaters worldwide. It was number one in the box office on its opening weekend, but has received many harsh reviews. However from the standpoint of the true Spider-man comic book fan this movie did everything it was supposed to do and maybe even more. The movie pieced together multiple Spiderman stories throughout history and blended them extremely well. The character of Spider-Man was portrayed much more like his comic book counterpart than the earlier franchise’s adaptation. The special effects and animation were spectacular to say the least. 

Connecting the stories

Amazing Spider-man 2 tells the story of arguably the most pivotal point in Peter Parker’s life as Spider-man. It tells the story of how his childhood best friend becomes his greatest foe and how Peter causes the death of his true love, the greatest burden he has to bare. To tell this story Marc Webb chose to blend aspects from multiple Spider-man stories from different incarnations of the hero. First Webb blended the story of Harry Osborne with that of Eddie Brock in the “Ultimate Spider-man” comic series. In Webb’s film Harry returns home after being gone for a very long time and reunites with his closest childhood friend Peter, whom his father had been research partners with before Peter’s parent’s death. Like in “Ultimate Spider-man” the rift forms between Harry and Peter when Peter refuses to share their fathers’ research with Harry, parallel to Peter destroying Eddie and his fathers’ research. Harry need their fathers’ research to cure his deadly disease that killed his father before him, but it exists only in Peter’s blood which he refuses to share due to the uncertainties of the effects it could have on Harry. Harry like Eddie finds another way to access the research and this results in them both being turned into monsters. Harry into the Green Goblin and Eddie into Venom in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” series. In both stories then have the friend turned foe hunt down Peter and attempt to exact revenge and then another story is blended in.

Green Goblin and Spider-man face off during the films climax.

Green Goblin and Spider-man face off during the films climax.

The Death of Gwen Stacy is arguably the most pivotal moment in Peter’s history as Spider-Man and it was executed perfectly in the film. Instead of Norman Osborne as the Green Goblin killing Stacy, like in the comics, Webb chose instead to have Harry as the Green Goblin to be the one to deal this traumatizing blow to Peter. This choice is arguably more powerful due to Harry and Peter’s dynamic, his best friend murdering the love of his life. The story reaches its climax in this intense struggles that resolves in a live action representation of one of the most iconic scenes in comic book history, represented nearly identically and just as powerfully. The scene left barely a dry eye in the house, even expecting fans were shaken up by the scene. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s performance sold the scene to everyone. Webb’s execution of the story couldn’t have been any more perfect and true to the comics. He successfully blended the stories and even characters in a way that best delivered the plot of his film.

Gwen gwen-final

 

RELATED LINK: Mto3d.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/review-magazine Lee Daniels’ The Butler review

Illustrating the spider

Spider-man in this film was done right. The witty smart aleck teenage hero from the comics was seen truly for the first time like this on screen though Webb’s franchise. The constant banter of Spider-man was lost in the Raimi films and this is what makes the character the Spider-man fans know and love. He constantly has a rebuttal or remark that lightens every situation and his antics throughout the film are more comic book like than ever before, for example he dresses like a firefighter when fighting Electro for the first time. Andrew Garfield’s portrayal fits the character so much more than Toby Maguire’s. Even further it is finally shown that not every fight Spider-man has is with some take over the world big time villain, a lot of the film shows Spider-man just being Spider-man and this makes it fun to watch. Webb couldn’t have approached the character of Spider-man any better than he did by once again sticking to the source material in the comics.

Andrew Garfield on set.

Andrew Garfield on set.

The Spectacular representation of the Web Head doesn’t end in the way that he acts but literally how he is illustrated visually. 3D animated models were made for most main characters in the film and were seamlessly blended in with the live action shots. The animation for Spidey himself drew from specific iconic illustrations of Spider-man in many different poses which resulting in movement that has so spectacular to watch it was a visual experience on par with, if not better than, actually reading the comics. Webb did a fantastic job of accurately representing the character in every way possible from the way he acts to the way he moves as he web slings through New York. If for nothing else this movie is worth seeing due to its amazing animation blending mocap with actual fabricated animation and I would suggest seeing it for yourself before allowing negative reviews to form your opinion. Go in with an open mind and realize where the material is coming from you’ll likely appreciate what was done and in the least enjoy the experience of seeing  your favorite wall crawler take down the bad guys. “Look out here comes the Spider-Man!”

 

 

Spider-man faces down three of his infamous foes.

Spider-man faces down three of his infamous foes.

 

End of the semester

There comes a time at the end of every year where students everywhere struggle in front of computers for 48 hour sleepless sessions. Some write papers, some study for exams but possibly the students who have it the worst are those art based students. Whether studio art, animation, graphic design or even recording arts for these students exam time is D-day. If you know someone who is in any of these majors you should buy them a case of energy drinks and don’t expect to see them till the end of the semester.

image

The wretched desk of an animation student

        The wretched desk of an
   animation student

If you are a student in any of these majors you will need supplies to survive this terrible time of year. Here is a list of what you need in your end if the semester survival pack.
1. A case of Redbulls (or other energy drink) to trick you into thinking you don’t need sleep.
2. Granola bars for quick nutrition.
3. A small pillow and blanket for micro naps in front of your computer.
4. A playlist of your favorite motivational work music to keep you going long after your brain has stopped actually functioning.
5. Headphones so you don’t have the urge to kill the guy at the computer next to you because you can’t stand the way he breathes.
5. Finally a person who will infinitely listen to you complain and remind you that the end is just around the corner.

There you have it. If you have these things you’ll be able to make it through this retched time of year. Good luck to you all and remember that once its almost over and you can sleep when you’re dead.