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Question 4: So… How did you integrate technologies (software, hardware and online)? in this project?

For this question, I had to consider the technologies used in this project, how they were integrated together to make the music magazine. Present as flow chart, below is all the technologies I have used.

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Question 3: So… How did your production skills develop throughout this project?

For this question, we had to consider our skills developing throughout the project. This time its presented as a combination of text, image and audio, and letter to future media students. Again, due to my accent, I decided to embed down the script below if anyone finds it hard to understand it.

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CCR2 So… How does your product engage with audiences and how would it be distributed as a real media text?

For this question, we explore our target audience, the reason on why they would buy it and how it would be distributed. Will it be an online publication or a combination of both physical and digital? How will it earn its revenue? These were the type of questions we had to consider.

Instead of writing a boring essay, the tutors came up with the idea of presenting our work as a Dragons Den mock up, where we would record our answers. The reasons for was to avoid monotony of doing boring essay work, and help us introduce ourselves to WeVideo. As in the next course we will be making a music video, getting used to video editing software is critical early on is a great boon. Below is the video, be warned, its nothing professional. I also have linked my script below as some might find my accent confusing to follow.

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Question 1: So… How does your product use or challenge conventionsand how does it represent social groups or issues?

Now its time to answer the evaluation questions since we’re finished. The first one makes us consider the choices we had done and how it relates to genre we have chosen.

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So How Did it Go?

I made huge strides during this period of time. When I started out, I knew little about the design process, and any major InDesign skills. I like to compare my first draft of the cover to the final design as visual indicator of my progress in skills.

       

As you can see, major improvements have been made. From a horrible mess of colours, image quality and typeface, these things have been improved considerably. The colour swatch has been consolidated, the image has been increased in size, the masthead and the typeface are much more bolder and have a greater chance of catching attention. Looking it back now, I find impossible to believe that I could have made something of that low quality. With this in mind, I can say with certainty I have made huge progress in the design process.

I think one way this could have gone better if I established a clear goal at the start, I choose a hard genre to define, the alternative music genre, due to the multiple sub genres, it would have been hard to establish a brand. Thanks to my rampant and stubborn Russophillia, I made a star who’s image was quite opposite to the established genre. I should have spotted this much earlier. Thankfully, I easily switched to rock genre and avoided further confusion. I suppose this is a lesson in having a clear, practical goal in mind before going out and making a product. I should keep this mind for the next project I do.

For future coursework, I should get into grips with any new software and program faster by practice, and research extensively on design tips. Messing around with options and hoping for miracle is not going to work.

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So.. How is it Going?

We have been asked to consider if our brand is clearly reflected in the work we have done so far, such as in imagery and design. This to make sure our magazine is not communicating different genres and messages.

I think I made a huge oversight somewhere during this design process. I’m aiming for an alternative music genre magazine, yet so far it does not look like anything remotely to the genre. Categorising the alternate genre is quite hard in the first place as its quite ambiguous, as you can have alternative rock, pop, etc. Despite the ambiguity, I’m certain the connotations with alternative is not bold or intimidating, in contrary what my star’s mis-en-scene suggest.  Aside from the star looking out of the rock genre, with all the poses and such, the design is also quite intimidating and bold, due to the Soviet swatch, which again the genre is not recognised for. It should be more friendly, relaxing and less revolutionary.

The best way to compare the difference, is to compare an alternative band (in this case, R.E.M. on the top) and the star I have designed below. There’s a massive difference.

 

Another problem is that I’m supposed to make a star image, and a brand for the music magazine. So far, it looks like the two are exactly the same, the star appears everywhere, as if the entire magazine is devoted to him. For example, compare the three pages. They look very similar simply put. It does not showcase my skills as well, since I do not deviate from this theme at all.

     

 

This is serious problem, as one of the main tasks was to make a star image and music magazine brand, not combine together.

To fix this problem, I should either cut the star out,  do a total redesign (which means a lot of work will be wasted), or switch to a different genre. I think I’ll go for the latter option, as the main star looks like a rook star, with the mis-en-scene. I’ll ask my tutor before any major decision is made.

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Design Skills 2

During the rebranding of the magazine, I learnt several new skills, especially in InDesign. One of which is extensive text wrapping skills. While its easy to implement text wrapping onto any frame and therefore making the page look better, its harder to perfect it. For example, below, while text wrapping is on, the letters are digging onto the picture. This makes it hard to read the text.

There’s a way to fix it of course. In text wrap options, its possible to to change the distance between the image and text. By going for 2mm minimum distance, the text is no longer digging into the image. Looks much better.

However, some of the text here elsewhere on the page is too far from the text, thus wasting space, which means you can’t fit some parts of the article in an appropriate place. If we’re to reduce the distance, it would undone the previous step, so we don’t want to do it.

What you want to do is give the effect frame the property of ignoring text wrap. This can be found in the Object tab. This results in the frame ignoring the text wrapping. While this means the text will go through some of the image, this can be ignored by moving the text normally. This results in less wasted space and the other text remains away from the image.

While InDesign has nice special effects, its nothing professional, as InDesign was designed for layouts, not creating good looking images. That’s Adobe Illustrator’s job. Its possible to change the effect of brush, allowing to make different types of strokes. For example, these are quite different from the typical brush lines. Its also possible to replicate this style to other shapes too. With this, its possible to make professional images. I used this to make the redesigned masthead. The best thing about these is that these are vector images, relying on vectors (the things you learnt in maths a along time ago) to construct the image. This means the images cannot be at all pixelated. I wish I knew on how to convert raw images into vector if that’s even possible, as it would certainly boost the quality of my images.

      

Unfortunately, I found these tricks late into the design process, when I had to redesign the masthead to fit the rock genre. I knew about the potential of Illustrator, however being used to Adobe Photoshop, I found difficult and confusing to use it, so I avoided it. I’ve only discovered this thanks to my tutor showing me on how to redesign my masthead. If I learnt about how to use some of these effects earlier, I would have certainly implemented them into my magazine. It would certainly helped to make my magazine look more professional.

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Design Skills 1

After designing two pages, I’ve learned a few design skills. One of my favorites new tricks is the special effects option in InDesign. It allows certain effects to be present in some of the text. A drop shadow is a famous example of one of these effects. It certainly helps to make the text much more imposing and bold to grab attention, and that helps when designing a main cover line. Other effects include directional feathering (it applies an effect that makes the edges of the text look like it has been sprayed or bitten off), directional glows and satins. While these effects have the potential to look good, they don’t look exactly professional. They need another designs to make them feel appreciated.

One crucial part of Adobe InDesign I have learned is that the layer function. With this, is possible to put different objects into different layers and with that, its possible to arrange the layers so that one object appears on top of another. Its also possible to lock the layers, meaning that its impossible for you to accidentally click one one object  while you’re trying to get another object. This helps to avoid situations were I accidentally move a the incorrect text box. I another helpful part of layers is that its possible to hide one layer out of view. This can allow comparing multiple designs to see which one is best, like comparing two masthead designs and their effect on the page. One piece of self-advice is to give myself is to name the layers with their respective objects inside them, like “Main Cover artist photo”, as it takes some time to find the layer I want to edit. By doing this, it will certainly save time.

Another skill I’ve learnt is that when using the magic wand to get the main subject by itself, you going have to add a temporary one colour background and zoom in close, you might spot some loose pixels as there’s a likely chance the magic wand tool missed them. If you don’t, you might find out later due to the increased in size image on InDesign, there will be a few loose pixels present, which will go on top of the other parts of the page, and therefore ruin it. I had to do this several times. Also, the colour background can also tell help to identify whether or not the edge of the image has slight bits of the background. When the image is exported as PDF file, you can spot some contrasting edges which degrades the image a bit. I had to trim the edges manually, and then add a blur effect so that the edges of the image does not look too sharp.

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So… I’m Ready to Photograph my Star

Now that all that the brainstorming portion is over, I have to get ready to photograph my star in such a way that the mis-en scene and the camera techniques communicates about the brand, or rather, the featured artists. As my artist is a blend of Western and East-European, costume will be key in representing those two cultures, which is a statement of his influences. In this regard, I should focus the camera on the costume too, this will mean I’ll be taking more MCUs then probably compared to others in the group, but I should aim to have different types of shot as well to increase variety. Props will be targeted too, such as the glass bottle representing vodka. I’ll use the rules of thirds, with the model’s face and the prop positioned in the way so that the audience can recognise the relationship between the two. Another thing to consider is to have vertical and horizontal photographs. In my magazine, I could have space for a horizontal image, so its good having that option open.

Cultures not only embody objects, but in some aspect, actions too. Russian dancing is much more recognisable, and a contrast to some of the Western stances. In order to represent some of the feisty nature of these dances,I should aim to get a canted angle from it, making it feel energetic. Another thing I could represent is the prideful and somewhat militant patriotism the Russians hold dear, via the model holding the guitar as a rifle, with a high angle shot, armed with a stern face. To contrast this, shots of the model contemplating, brooding and wandering aimlessly about in the photo will be quite similar to some of the poses practised by most of popular Western bands.I mustn’t forget about the lighting too, it can communicate ideas as well, although for the most part, in this shoot, it will just bring out extra features of the model and objects.

With these things in mind, I feel I’m ready for the photo shoot.

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So I’m Ready to Make Some Media

As the first half term ends, we’re nearing the time when we will start to make our magazines. There several things I need to take in consideration to make an effective magazine cover. After the debacle that is my tour poster the most important aspect I need to focus on is AIDA -Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. By getting the attention of the audience via bold, and loud typeface and presentation, it will make sure the audience will continue to look at it after skimming the various covers of magazines and ignore all the rest. Getting the interest of the audience requires to the magazine to feature interesting content, an incentive to get the magazine. Desire is when the audience is looking for more incentives, such as quality content, and after being convinced that purchasing the magazine is for the greater good of the individual, this completes the action process, where the individual continues to buy it after the first purchase.

To achieve AIDA, there are several things I need to take in constant consideration while producing it. To get any interest, the cover must be exciting, original to look at, not a cover were it can be easily dismissed. Essentially, it must look simply good. Although conventional covers are quite generic, it don’t necessary mean they won’t capture, so if I’m out of ideas, I’ll need to resort for a popular one.  I most offer incentives for the audience, so I’ll need to obviously add pugs, plugs, etc. However, filling the cover with those to the brim makes the cover quite unappealing and being bombarded with these features can put most audiences off. Its important to have a balance between the main cover star and other features.

Speaking about audiences, its important to identify the audience of the selected genre and cater to their tastes, such by themes, colours, fonts, semantic field, imagery and presentation, while keeping it consistent throughout the magazine, otherwise the audience will feel lied to if the theme suddenly changes, and will unlikely to purchase the magazine again in the future, so that’s one less potential customer and exam mark. I should also take account colour schemes. Colour has a subtle sway in relation to audiences. As one of the first lessons we had in Media Studies, all colours have certain connotations, such as red has a relation with excitement, danger etc. Audiences appeal to certain colour schemes. I should first identify the audience and their choice of colour, and keep it consistent throughout.

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