Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tangrams and Photographic Film.

I just finished Day Two of the Summer session at Shoreline Community College and now I gotta go buy some stuff. I'm currently in three classes (tested out of the basic “How to use a Mac” class). I have 2D Design, Photography and in four weeks (after some Mac noobs finish learning how to point and click) I'll have a class on preparing graphics for print. I almost tested out of that class too but missed it by a couple of questions so I'll just suffer through a description of the difference between 8-bit color and 16 or 24 bit color.

In 2D Design, the first assignment involves creating an image using tangrams. I need an X-Acto knife, a straight edge and a felt tip pen. I've been studying tangrams (both the game and the art people do with them). Not sure what I'm going to do for my tangrams but it probably won't be of a NSFW nature. I was thinking of doing something with filmmaking or music. The main point is to learn how to cut straight lines, be creative and learn the process for presenting portfolio pieces for critique and a grade.

Photography looks to be interesting with the first half of the class using film and darkroom techniques before moving on to digital cameras. I have to buy some photographic paper so I can do some direct exposure art photographs. I'm thinking of doing something with tools as I have a lot of them. The idea of building up something through multiple exposures and creative masking is interesting.

I was able to borrow Tamara's Canon film camera (EOS Rebel XSn) for the other film projects. There's still some ASA800 film in the camera from a while ago. The camera will take the Canon EF lenses (and the M42 lenses with the EF adapters) that I already have so I'm looking forward to playing around with this. All of the projects use Black and White film so I won't have to worry about the color temperature of the film (or setting a while balance). I have to see if I need to pull out a light meter and tape measure to get my exposure and focus correct. I may and try to do some forced perspective pictures or something with ultra long exposures at night. We also get to learn how to develop our own film. So stinky chemicals here I come.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A New Chapter Starts Today

Today I start on a new chapter in my life. I start school at Shoreline Community College in the Animation and Video for Multimedia program. This is unemployment retraining and I’m hoping that after I’m done I’ll be able to complete my separation from the IT world and spend some time doing animation, motion graphics and video (for money) as I work and build experience in narrative film (live action or animation).

I say this is a new chapter but I’m already several months into this chapter. My marriage of three and a half years is over (might rack up to 4 by the time the paperwork is finished – but we’re separated and divorced in all but decree and both moving on). My last job ended in January. I’ve moved into my own place in Seattle (about 2 blocks south of the city boundary with Shoreline). So I’ve been busy getting all of this set up so that Unemployment will continue to pay me during school and that programs available to cover tuition and books are all properly in place.

This should cover me until about June or September of 2015 and then I’ll need an actual job to bring in money. It’s an anxiety inducing thought but one I don’t have to deal with yet. I should have a pretty good portfolio to show prospective employers by then and another feature of the changes in my life should help me accept a lowly position at the beginning of a new career.

I’ve been paring everything back and now live on less than I have for about 20 years. Less money but more time is actually both intoxicating and sometimes boring. It’s not something most people think about but a 40 hour a week job really keeps the time from building up. It actually makes me kind of guilty when I don’t do something with the time. Everyone is always complaining about not having the time to do everything they want. Of course, I do have that time now (but not the money). But some things like writing and learning new things and beginning projects are all available to me. So when I sit and watch a movie or three, I feel kind of guilty that I wasn’t writing my own movie. Not to say that I haven’t written or that I’m not making an effort to making writing a habit (hey, I wrote a blog post today), but on the days when it doesn’t happen… well, you know.

So I was able to install MAYA a professional level 3-D animation program with a student license (only good for three years) and I made a very nice bouncing ball. I know I’ll have an actual class in Maya at some point but I want to get a head start and with all of the extra time, I can afford to make a few bouncing balls or walking sponges or whatever.