February 6, 2012

AHA! Journal- Feb, 2012

Week 1, Feb 6, 2012

The above shows two stop motion animations. The first one is just a dragging and a reaching out movements between the rabbit and the hand. The second one is more complicated. However, you can find that the two movies are both the interaction between two-dimensional space and three-dimensional space. No special effects used in the movie. How great this kind of stop motion animation will be,  just relying on the movie makers' creativity.

According to wikipedia, stop motion is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.

Traditionally, the characters in a stop motion animation are either all two- dimensional or all three dimensional.  The movie with both 2D and 3D characters in it really create a special visual effects to its audience. Imagining when this technique used in stage design or a big movie, how much visual impact it would bring to audience?

Week 2, Feb 13, 2012

Have you ever used emoticons when you are chatting online with your friends, families and colleagues? Or playing online games? Or participating webinars? Or blogging? Or twittering? I bet you have.  Emoticons were originally a type of online subculture. With the development of internet and popularity of mobile phone text massages, emoticons have been widespread used all over the world and become one of the mainstream online cultures.

 (The picture is from Wikipedia)

According to Moore and Dwyer (1994), the human face has more communicative value than all the other physical attributes combined. Ruben (1984) indicates that the face is a system of interrelated components (eyes, nose, mouth, etc.), which collectively serve communicative functions that no one part could alone. The expressions of the face provide the best source of information as to a person’s emotional state (e.g. happiness, sadness, angle, disgust, etc.) (Ekman & Friesen, 1969)

The reason why emoticons become so popular online probably because using emoticons is an effective way to convey people’s feelings to each other when they are not able to see other’s facial expressions and body postures. A person’s facial gesture can give many clues as to his or her mood, feeling and attitude. Unlike languages, which vary with different countries or even different cities, facial gesture have cross-cultural appeal that can form a universal language.

The use of emoticons can be traced back to the 19th century, and they were commonly used in casual and humorous writing.The first person documented to have used the emoticons :-) and :-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion, was Scott Fahlman. The text of his original proposal, posted to the Carnegie Mellon University computer science general board on 19 September 1982(wikipedia).  Through three decades evolution, from punctuation marks and letters to visual images, there are hundreds of emoticons used in daily online communication.

Week 3, Feb 20, 2012 

This is a picture shows Chinese acupressure method. To apply pressure to certain point of our hand would maintain the heath of the related organs. The relation between the hand points and the organs are showed in the picture. This picture includes both verbal and visual elements. Although it is noted in Chinese, non-Chinese speakers are able to understand and apply the acupressure skill according to the visual instruction.

Duchastel (1978) pointed out three roles of illustrations in text: the attention role, the explicative role, and the retention role. The first role is to attract or motivation, the second to explain that which is difficult or impossible to describe, and the last is to help to memorize the content. Obviously, the picture showed above is the third role. A good example for the first role is children's book, which are designed to attract children's attention and motivate them to learn the basic words. So the use of visuals is far more than and verbals.

The typical example for the second role of Duchastel's theory is the instruction of music, dance and sports. Usually, the more unusual the object, the greater the need for illustrating it. (Moore & Dwyer, 1994) The following is an instruction that shows how to do yoga. Without picture, not matter how detailed it is explained  by verbals, it would be hard to imagine the particular movements.


Week 4, Feb 27, 2012

Nowadays, companies pay more and more attention to business visuals. Visual elements for business are ubiquitous in our life, from exterior design to interior decoration of business building, form multimedia advertisements to business Logo, from commercial presentation to staff’s name cards. They design everything to influence everyone in the world – their potential consumers.

Have you ever noticed that barcode on the packet of your daily supplies, foods, electronic products or clothes? Barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches. It can be read by barcode readers, scanners and smartphones. Here are some nice decided barcode. With creativity, even the little quick response code can be not boring !

Note: The above pictures are from Sina microblog
Killing Us Softly

It's a video presented by Jean Kilbourne to reveal a pattern of disturbing gender stereotype through showing an array of advertisements from mainstream media today.  To watch the video, enter here.

"Killing us softly", sounds like a title of romantic micro-fiction. Softly kill, without blood? Maybe with. It's common to see  that women's body and images are used to sell all kinds of products in today's advertising. Even though the products are nothing to do with women. Advertisements target women to please men, and it seems working well.

The pursuit of beauty is human nature. But thing goes to a separate way like: women are responsible for being beautiful while men enjoy appreciating and making criterion. Therefore, as Kilbourne talked in her video, ubiquitous unnaturally beautiful women in advertisement making subconscious effect on us everyday. As women, you may approach but would never reach the criteria because it is rigorous and changes rapidly with fashion trends. That's what advertisers want. They always have something to sell to you. As long as you don't satisfied with yourselves, they are easy to persuade you to purchase their products.  In addition, advertisements also affect the way we see others. Thus, distorting values of beauty spreads rapidly among our society, which cause negative effects to women such as low self-esteem, eating disorder, over consumption of goods etc.Torturing us under the excuse of helping us. Killing us invisibly and softly.

If we see being pretty as a personal matter that depends on individual's attitude, violence showed on ads definitely can be counted as negative social impact. Ads have the power to shape values, attitudes, habits, concepts among the public as well as install cultural and gender stereotype. Kilbourne states that violence is result of objectivisium. When woman are seen as things, as objects, violence would be taken. Because turning a human being into a thing is the first step to justify the violence against that person. No more respect, no more equality.

We human being are social animal having certain universal values. As women, you want to be beautiful, successful and recognized. You struggle to meet the social standards. When trying hard to be looked like the unrealistic women's images in ads, are you ever aware of the power of the ads and the sexist stereotypes conveyed by them? Or, just being murdered without consciousness?

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