LAST Reflections and Tutorials

I created the concept of LAST, which is a video game made by a fictional game company Apocalyptechs. I started by first imagining a world that suffers from an apocalyptic event, which forces humans to have to launch themselves into space. Except, one person was left behind. This person is the hero of our story, who wakes up from a long coma to find himself completely stranded and alone on this planet. His goal is to survive hordes of robots, discover who he is, and rejoin mankind. I deliberately did not give this character a name, so that players can project themselves onto the character.

You can find the LAST project post here.

I created a Company Logo for the Video Game developer, based on this logo design assignment (4 stars). I was inspired to create the logo by some icons I found in “The Noun Project” when I browsed for nuclear explosion icons. I used PowerPoint and GIMP to create the logo. I tried to make the logo reminiscent of a radioactive sign and cleverly incorporated the symbol into the name of the company. I enjoyed toying around with the design of the logo and tried a few variations before settling on the one you see now.

1. Get inspiration.
2. Use PowerPoint and create shapes until you get a logo you want. For this logo, I used a triangle, three trapezoids, and one circle. Move them and change color as you want. Group the shapes together and take a picture/screenshot of the icon you have now made.
3. Add logo image to GIMP. Then create a white background. Add text with the text tool as you see fit. Change font and use the transform tool to get things how you want. Logo is made!

I used the design assignment “Newspaper Design” (4 stars) to tell more about the background leading up to the humans’ exodus to space. I used GIMP to overlay images to create a photo of an authoritative person inside of a space ship. I used Microsoft Word to design the layout of the articles, while looking online for newspaper format references. I really liked the concept of making a newspaper, but I found it a bit tedious to write all the articles. However, I think the end result looks almost like a real newspaper.

1. For the images, find images you want to use and upload them to GIMP.
2. You can take them as is or edit. I used two images as is and simply clicked on “color” then “desaturate” and then “color to gray”. For the main image, I took a background and a stock image of a businessman. I used the “lasso” tool to crop out the background of the businessman image, and used the “eraser” tool to clean up the edges. I made sure the man was in front of the background and edited his colors to make him feel like he was in the image. I went to “color” then “curves” and fiddled with the settings until it matched up enough. After that I desaturated the image to grayscale like the others.
3. Create a Word document. Insert a table and edit the rows and columns to make a newspaper template for yourself. I changed the borders and merged rows and columns together.
4. Insert the images and write the text of the newspaper. Play around with the font and use what looks good to you.
5. Finally, take a screenshot, crop to the newspaper page, and save the article you made as an image. (You can do this other ways, or make it into a pdf as well.)
Sources used:

Video Game trailer:
Video game trailers are essential to provide just enough information about a game to get people to buy it. I based the video off of this video assignment (4 stars), though my trailer is for a game rather than a movie. Since I couldn’t make a game trailer exactly, it was filmed more like a movie trailer. I tried to make it fun, cinematic, and a little cliché. The walking scene was a family member’s idea and I made fun of it in the video. I actually enjoyed this particular creation immensely. The process is much more involved than anything else I made, but the result was well worth the effort.

1. I created a video trailer for the game LAST by first recording scenes and action in front of dilapidated buildings and fields. The actor dressed up in old clothes and boots, with a costume wig, to depict the game’s hero.
2. I then edited the recordings, merging in images found on the internet. Some images I edited in GIMP; one to add a robot in and the other to create a title card. I used MovieMaker to put it all together and add words to the video.
3. More on the image editing… I added a robot from a “Black Mirror” episode in one image, changed the colors to match it with the background, and used the paint tool to make a red glowing eye. For the title card, I made the words first and added an image of broken concrete. I selected the background of the words using the color selection tool, and cut the image of concrete to the shape of the words. I changed opacity and color to make it bolder. I then put this title overtop an image I took when we were filming the video. I altered the color of the shot as well, adjusting the curves, shadows and highlights. Note: I also used the concrete filled title of “LAST” as a separate image on my final project blog post.
4. Next, I recorded my voice in Audacity and added background music. I used “autoduck” so my voice would be heard over the background music.
5. I made sure the voice and music synced up with the video, and added it into MovieMaker as a ‘soundtrack’.
6. Make sure it has a title and credits, and it’s done!
Sources used:

Billboard/Poster 1:
I was inspired by two different visual assignments in creating the LAST poster. Create a city graphic poster (3 stars) and “Splash of Color” (3.5 stars). I started creating my poster design by looking at the TV series LOST posters. I selected one of my favorite photos I took during the week and got to work. Designing the poster as a whole took some effort to create a unique blend of color and use of space. I was stunned by how amazing the photo looked when emphasizing the color of the hero’s red glove.

1. Upload image(s) into GIMP.
2. Use the color select tool to highlight the color(s) you want to keep. Since I technically had several shades of red, I had to shift-click to select multiple spots. I then inverted my selection, went to color and clicked “desaturate” then “color to gray”. Everything but the red turned to grayscale. Alternatively, you can lasso tool select your red area and repeat the process.
3. Then add text – your title. I made it the size I wanted then placed it where I desired.
4. Use the Lasso tool to select the horizon and sky. Then invert your selection and make sure you delete on the text layer. There may be a better and easier way to do this, but thankfully my image doesn’t look to bad because of it.
5. Lastly, with the eraser tool, “erase” part of your text to make a sort of gradient. Make sure the eraser is on the airbrush-like setting and that opacity is less than 100%.
Should be done now!

Sound Effects story:
I collected sound effects from freesound.org to provide the sounds of our hero battling an evil robot as an example audio clip from the game LAST. In the action RPG game, the young man walks the Earth to learn how to survive, defeating robots-gone-bad, and hopefully allowing the return of the human population. The audio assignment this is based on is called Sound Effects Story (4 stars). I liked creating this story to simulate an action scene of the game using only audio. I feel the sound effects were quite effective at telling this story.

1. Find various sound effects on freesound.org and download them.
2. Upload sounds to Audacity.
3. Edit sounds. First move them around, copy and paste segments you want to use. Then edit sound volume by adjusting the gain and using the “amplify” tool. At some points I used also “adjust pitch” and “adjust speed”. The most tedious task however is timing all the clips just right.
4. Once it is done, export as MP3!
Sources used:

Silly Poster:
For the fun of it, I created a silly poster based on this poster assignment (3.5 stars). Since the LAST video game is a bit of mash-up of themes from other pieces of media, like certain movies, I added a little Wall-E robot in the silly poster. I also added anime eyes to the actor in the picture for comedic effect. Fun fact: Kawaii is Japanese for cute.

1. Choose an image and add it to GIMP. And find other images you may want to add/overlay with it.
2. Add you accessory images and edit. I used anime eyes, stars, and Wall-E. I used the transform tool to change the size and move the images. I selected transparent background images except for Wall-E had a white background, which I selected by color and deleted. I placed each part as I wanted, edited color where necessary (curves, shadows and highlights primarily), and used the eraser tool to layer the images in cohesively. For Wall-E I used the combination of the “eraser” tool and “select by color” tool to make him appear to be peeking from behind. I suspect there is an easier way to do this.
3. Use the paint tool to draw your title in, and add text with the text tool as you see fit. Make sure the images/layers are in the proper order you want.
4. Export as a .png and you’re done!
Sources used:

Four Icon Story:
Also pertaining to “The Noun Project“, I created a four icon story of my game idea. Link to the assignment is here (2 stars). What I like about this creation is that there are tons of icons available to use to make up essentially any story you want.

Steps are quite simple: choose the icons you want to use on the site, download them, and put the icons in order on a PowerPoint slide. Arrange the icons as you want, and then save an image of the result.

Throughout this entire project, I completed 28 stars worth of assignments from the design, visual, audio, and video assignment banks. This was more work than I had completed on any one week previously during my time in ds106. Despite that, I really enjoyed every part of the process.

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