Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Let The Good Times Roll

Having left college in may I found myself thinking what I would do to keep myself active during the time I had free? Unfortunately I found myself not having one day of rest apart from the weekends. During the holidays I took a role at the design mechanics for one month before I was offered a website design position at go2you.co.uk now trading under the Pawprintsigns.

The whole three months have go so quickly I have not even had much time to think and gather everything I will need for the start of the new year at Wakefield College. Being back was a sign of relief but now that I have a working job at the same time I think I need to pay more attention on home to manage my time more efficient and make sure that the work I do at college doesn’t fall low because of lack of effort.

I can say It is good to be back at college and back learning what I love and this year I hope will be better than the last and I will gain more out of it. The projects that we have been set will determine how the year goes especially the Self Managed Learning Plan (SMLP), which is where I will have to develop a specific subject alone and manage everything.

Well now I have outlined in brief what I have been doing over the last three months and the first week back at Wakefield College lets see what the year holds for me.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

PHP and MYSQL - Including CMS Resources

I have been looking around now for a while to find some good and easy reading books. Having asked around and some developers I know below is a list of resources;

Web Based tutorials and information sites


Paperbased Materials

PHP & MYSQL for Dummies 2nd Edition
Teach Yourself MYSQL in 24 Hours
PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)
Pro Zend Framework CMS: Building a Full CMS Using Advanced Aspects of the Zend Framework
Head First PHP & MySQL

There will some more additions to this list so please keep ahving a look at what I will be using to complete the SMLP.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Having been in the design industry for quite some time I feel that it is a must to be able to create dynamic and interactive websites and database driven sites. From what I know and have seen, the demand for this kind of skill set is highly demanded from growing and already established companies.

Knowing that I have to undertake a self managed learning program and that I am more than capable in the design and development areas, I think I would like to increase my development skill set by learning how dynamic and database driven websites are created.

For this I have researched different kinds of content management systems including Wordpress and Joomla and have realised that PHP and MYSQL are the main scripting/programming language and database application that are used to make these programs run.

Over the last two month my aspects and role has changed dramatically because not only do I only need to know the fundamentals of how computer languages work but I also need to know what kind of media and file type different programs have to be in.
Being confident of what I already know about the design industry and how things work and what is required I think PHP and MYSQL would be the best option to study for my 8 weeks of the SLMP.

After looking at the current job opportunities on the internet I think that by knowing these skills would increase the chance of landing a development role in the industry and getting a better paid salary.

My goal from the SMLP is to have enough knowledge about PHP and MYSQL to design and create my own custom content management system. By doing this I will be looking at different online and paper based resources to help me along with the learning process.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Its the final countdown!

The year has finally come to an end and all the pressure and strain has left. Having first arrived at Wakefield College back in September of 2008 seems like it was only yesterday that I was sitting down to receive my first HND Interactive Media assignment. Over the last year I have under took seven different and mixed creative and academic briefs that challenged me in different ways every time I did a different assignment.

From designing paint tubes using Abode InDesign and creating websites to w3c compliant standards using Adobe Dreamweaver I have experienced many different software applications and tools that I never thought I would use.
The first assignment that I did was A2: A Journey of 1000 miles. The brief for this assignment was to investigate the technical requirements of web design and present my research in academic format. When doing this assignment I really enjoyed doing the research on the equipment and what a web designer would use, but when it came to writing my finding down I found it difficult and struggled to say what I have found and this resulted in me referring the first time. After getting feedback about what I did wrong and needed to change I had one last chance to get this right and fortunately I did.

The second brief of the year was A3: Sounds Like a Plan, which was to investigate a websites pre-production process and create a web plan, presented in academic format. Again for this assignment I felt comfortable doing the design and research work but when it came to writing the web plan in the academic format I did find it quite difficult and was not confident that I would get a pass because of this. Has expected I did not pass this assignment first time around but from the feedback given I did make improvements from the previous assignment that was a good sign of development and in the end I did pass the second time around.

The first semester came to a close and I had a sign of relief and time to relax before going back and doing it all over again but this time I was looking forward to the design work because I felt stronger at designing then writing word documents.
A4: Typecast and A5:Builder was waiting on my lap has soon as college started back up but this time I was managing them simultaneously and juggling between them on Monday and Tuesdays. This didn’t worry me much because designing was my stronger skill and I found it quite easy to think of ideas to use for the A4 assignment, which was to understand the principles of typography and to have an understanding of the language. Also for this I was set mini tasks that were to produce creative work for different briefs in a period of time. I felt excited when I found this out because I always work better when under pressure than having a long period of time to finish a certain design.

The A5: builder brief was to build the website that I previously planned and designed in A3: Sounds Like a Plan and validate to standard-compliant web standards. This task for me was like second nature because before joining college I was already good at understanding and coding websites so it didn’t take me has much time has I expected. But during the development process of this site I made a fatal error that was to make me lose out on a higher mark. It was that I didn’t check to see if the website validated correctly

I felt really embarrassed but also annoyed at myself because I didn’t pay attention to detail and instead of managing my own workload I was too busy helping peers. But after looking at what I needed to do I quickly amended the websites code and got a pass for the unit without and need for feedback.

After the assignments where finished their were no time to relax because another one was waiting around the corner but this time it was a more creative and practical assignment which meant no writing. A6: The Big Picture, this creative brief was set out to investigate Adobe Photoshop and use it has both technical and creative production tool. During this assignment their were many creative pieces of work that needed to be produced with full development ideas generation that through out the year was recorded in my sketchbook.

I had to take part in a group presentation that involved presenting a technical Adobe Photoshop tool that would be useful throughout this assignment, create three banner adverts that met standard regulations and where optimized to the correct type of medium/format, Design a website interface based on a separate creative brief which I got given three options to chose from. The options where to design a website for The Magic Circle, Sandal Castle or First time visitors to earth.

For this I chose to concentrate my ideas to the First visit to earth but later on in the process I changed my mind and selected Sandal Castle for my website design interface. This took me quite along time to develop and creating all of the different icons and buttons where time consuming but paid of in the grading score and didn’t need to further develop the creative work.

Through out the year I have had many good experiences of learning new skills but many times where I felt that I was not challenged to complete the work. After looking back at what I have done I hope that I can progress into the second year with a more enthusiastic attitude and get the marks I push for.
Personal Learning Outcomes:

• To obtain 3 merits and 5 distinctions
• Improve my Spelling and grammar
• Put more than 70% into work effort
• Be more confident in the work I produce

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Better Late than Never!!!

Its finally come to the end of the first year of the HND Interactive Media course and what a roller coaster the last couple have weeks have been with issues in and out of college.

I was given the last core assignment and creative brief that was to last until the end of the semester and to be one of the most important modules I had to learn. Not having much motivation and determination in the weeks that I started to develop the creative work.
This included designing a digipak that consisted of a front, back, spine, inner cover and a CD-Rom design for a German music production company Ratser-Noton.

During this assignment brief I felt quite optimistic towards what I had to develop and looked forward to making the custom designs. But a few weeks into the development I began to feel the strain between trying to stop my emotions from outside of college that had developed conflicting with the works progress.

But has the weeks dragged out I am still finding it hard to separate the feelings from what is occurring and its making me lack confidence and motivation which doesn’t help me when creating artwork.
Also for this brief we had to design a new logo for the company and had to promote the new release of a current album including writing a promotional review and designing a advertisement which had budget and measurement restrictions.

Overall I have had a good start to the HND Interactive media course and hpe to progress to the second year but the last few weeks have been an emotional tragedy. Looking to over come this and make the best of what I can do is a key factor to my progression.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The up's and downs of an Interactive Media student

Now that it has nearly come to the end of the first year on the HND Interactive media I am still wondering where all the time went.

The last couple of weeks have been quite stressful with the assignments and tasks that I have had to do. Trying to juggle between two assignments is becoming more of an instant task than a relative practice.

Having to build a website and make sure that it met the project goals previously stated in the earlier assignment was on of the two of the tasks that I had to juggle with the other to develop and create image manipulations using Adobe Photoshop.
I thought that the building of the website was quite easy to do, but I still kept focus on the task and tried to pick up anything that I was doing wrong or doing different to what I was being taught. The creative assignment I thought was the most ambitious and I found that I really enjoyed creating different pieces of work including advertisement banners and a website interface.

I felt that I had done enough work in both assignments to get the grades I deserved but with not paying attention to the little detail I missed a vital element on building a website which caused the website not to validate. For the other assignment my development work was good quality and yet again not paying attention to detail was my downfall of receiving a higher mark than I achieved.

Looking Back at the last few weeks I am starting to realize that if I can pay attention more and use the spare time I have constructively I could grind out the better grades.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

[R-N 94 ] Kangding Ray - Automne Fold

Raster - Norton music label corporation are set to re-release their German hit winning album ‘Automne Fold’ written and created by artist Kangding Ray, former known as David Letellier which was originally released in 2008.

The re-release are to include a change in the Raster - Nortons group branding, including new corporate logo design and new art work for the album. The tracks have a mixed variety of styles which include Glitch, Abstract and Minimal but with the music genre still being an electronic/synthetic style of listening.

In this album the pulsating rhythm beats become lost within the background-saturated strings, words are spoken over bowed acoustic guitars, and analogue synthesisers which run into each other with a more techno/IDM field recordings. Vocals are a central theme throughout the record. Treated as raw material, like any other sound, the voice operates several styles of beats, melodies or sets themes.

In some moments, it feels like listening of a modern and traditional song structure, but also manages radical abstract textures, when tracks morph in closed forms of static sounds. Automne Fold is an instrumental record, an album of 14 "folded" tracks.
Having listened to the album the first track ‘Konstruktiv’ which lasts for a merely 1 minute 44 seconds has a high tempo based pulse that as a beat throughout the track with a distinct instrumental and tranquil background sympathy.

‘Automne Fold’ continues on from ‘Konstruktiv’ and sound like a Computer or electronic synthesiser has been used and creates a static disturbance throughout with the same pulse repeating over and over again. The techno, futuristic rhythm/vibe in this makes it more mechanical or an atmosphere in a metal/steel manufacturers workshop.
Both ‘Downshifters’ and ‘The Distance’ have a Piano [Detuned] being played in several instances of the tracks by Vincent Feuillet. The feeling of someone running in the wilderness away from something at a high rate of speed then suddenly stopping to either finds that they have escaped or have been captured.

Automne Fold is largely introspective (although not melancholic) in mood, despite its musical genre. This is due to the various artists’ sombre melodies and choice of organic instruments, such as the sonorous bowed guitars, double bass and violins being used.

With Vocals being introduced in ‘A Protest Song’ and ‘Quarante’ to the highly anticipated electronic styles of music that are accompanied by a spoken word selection written and spoken by author Andrew Cannon. With the sound and shape of soft sounding words and their rhythmic combination moves generously from these pieces. While a more dark, creepy lyricism is characteristic of all of the works on display here, it is, perhaps naturally enough, most apparent on these tracks.