GrC 452 Final Essay - Amy Decker

It is irrefutable that print quantity has been on the decline in recent years due to
emerging competing technologies that communicate information in different ways. For
example, according to Jennifer Saba in Editor and Publisher, newspaper circulation has
been had a 12% decrease in the years from 1990-2002, and an even sharper decrease
most recently with an additional 9.4% decline in the past two years. Other print industries are undoubtedly feeling the same effects, and a huge reason for the decline in print sales is the recent explosion of options the world has to communicate with. From thousands of years ago until now, communication has developed from spoken word to print to telegraph to radio to TV to the World Wide Web and motion graphics, and is ever
expanding even within each of those facets as well. To succeed in spite of the emergence of these different types of competing media (especially the World Wide Web), print will have to collaborate with its competitors to become a medium that businesses recognize as a beneficial asset to their marketing scheme. I think that full integration and collaboration of all different types of ways to convey material is the only way to fully market effectively and become a viable business in today’s world. By having multiple mediums all collaboratively working together, each medium is able to offer its strengths and have other types compensate for others weaknesses.

In order to create this collaborative mindset, graduates that are going into the
Graphic Communication industry need to be comfortable and versatile in all facets of the
industry, especially if the idea of integrating several mediums is implemented. With the
huge boom of the Web and motion graphics, it is a shame that the Graphic
Communication Department doesn’t offer more classes having to do with these newer
types of media that are becoming more and more popular in today’s world. The GrC
Department is very print-oriented, and while it does offer chances for students to learn
about newer types of web and motion graphics oriented information, it is not constantly
utilized in class curriculum but rather used as a part of a project in a lab once or twice a
quarter. I see this as a set back in what students in the GrC major are being taught. In
order to graduate having a broad base of knowledge about what types of graphic
communication mediums are available, students need to have been constantly reinforced information from a variety of aspects of the Graphic Communication world.
At the beginning of Fall quarter, I had no idea how to upload content to a website
using an FTP program. While we did the exercise once in GrC 202, I had no recollection
of the process because it was an exercise that I had followed when given a procedure in
class, but was not required to constantly repeat and learn the process myself. While
taking GrC 452: Graphics in Motion this quarter, we had to input and edit information in
our own website weekly which really helped instill and engrain the process, making me
feel much more confident in uploading and editing text, videos and other information in a
website. By turning in content from the class this way, we not only fulfilled the
requirement of turning in information to the instructor, but also gained the knowledge of
using a new communication medium that is very prevalent in today’s Graphic
Communication industry. I thought that this way of learning was very helpful and would
personally advocate for more teachers to require the posting of student information in this fashion.

To move more in that direction, I think that it would be helpful for every GrC
student to be required to have their own personalized website, either private (only for that student and instructors) or public depending on the class/needs. Each quarter, GrC classes could have projects due and instead of having them turned in by paper, students could add it to their online portfolio that’s a compilation of all of their college work. Thus, each student when they graduated would have a resource to reference and show off all of their work since they first began at Cal Poly and could use it as a tool in their resume for prospective future employers. Not only would this idea be beneficial when graduating, but it would also give more motivation for students to give full effort when working on projects because it’s not only just for a grade, it’s a reference that will be tagged with them for years to come. This would be a step to make the Graphic Communication Department much more integrated into the online world and become more cyber friendly.

Another way that the GrC Department could take steps toward become more
integrated in different types of communication mediums is to make more classes that
involve web and motion graphic type information. It seems like any job listing source hasa tremendous number of offerings for video/graphics/web work and I feel like the
Graphic Communication major has lots of potential to explore classes in those areas, but
isn’t necessarily doing all it can to those prepare students who want to learn more about
them. While GrC 452: Graphics in Motion was a great class that made me feel much
more comfortable in a world where I previously was blind, it is a class that isn’t made
widely available to many students and was only offered this one quarter. I think that
classes that explore this digital and web oriented world should either be made mandatory or at least offered to a more wide range of students that are interested.
In conclusion, my opinion is that print will never die but rather be on an evergrowing
decline unless it is properly integrated with other communication mediums. GrC
452 was a great class to introduce students to what those new mediums might include,
especially those mediums that are becoming popular in today’s digital world. I think that
the Graphic Communication Department has a duty to teach students the more emerging
digital topics within our industry, and it would be great to see the Department move into
a more digitally oriented teaching and learning style.

Week 8 GrC 452 Lab – UGS Promo Video


The objectives of this lab were to make a minute and a half promotional video for UGS. We were given interviews, various snapshots of the different aspects of what UGS does, background music, and the UGS logo. We were given free range to build the video however we wanted, keeping it in a pretty professional tone of course.


In the beginning of lab, we were handed all the material that we would be needing to make the promotional video. We saw an example of the kind of thing that UGS and Tom were looking for, which gave me a good idea of what I wanted to do with my video. First, I picked out clips that I wanted to use out the interviews until I got a little less than a minute and a half worth of material that I wanted to use in my video. Next, brought in background music so that it would carry the video along. It was amazing to me how much background music really does help keep an audiences interest in a video. Then, I brought in some shots of UGS at work, trying to put them in at logical places in the video, keeping in mind what the interviewer and the music were doing at the same time. I erased the audio connected with the random UGS shots and added in a small UGS logo in the left corner and the interviewers name and title in the upper left, which made the video look more professional. I had to lower the sound of the background music and raise the audio of the speakers in the interviews in order to hear what the speaker was saying as they both coincidently played at once. I then put in transitions in my text and made the UGS logo have some interesting effects at the end to make the whole thing seem smoother and more put together.


amydecker UGS from Amy Decker on Vimeo.


Summary and Conclusions:

I thought that my UGS promotional video turned out very well. I like that I added some extra effects such as the ending and the interviewers names to make the video seem a bit more professional. I was surprised with really how comfortable I am feeling with Final Cut, I can tell a huge difference from the beginning of the quarter when I was just frustrated the entire time. I am really starting to enjoy what is possible to do with Final Cut.

Project Significance:

This project seemed like another ‘real world’ project where there was a bit of criteria but mostly we were given free range to do what we wanted. This is the project that I have felt the most comfortable using Final Cut with, mostly because of all the practice that we have had previously in the quarter.

Closing Thoughts:

I enjoyed making this video. This class has really made me look at all kinds of video in a new light. I always thought that it was a complicated process to do motion graphics but I am realizing that once you have the few basics down, it is quite easy to explore and really work with videos.


Week 7 GrC 452 Write Up


This week in lab we were to build a 5-10 second Splash commercial for the company Wi-Hire. We were handed the graphics needed and then given free range to build the commercial how we wanted, keeping the companies preexisting marketing schema in mind.


When we started lab, two men from WiHire spoke to us about some of the criteria they wanted to see while we were designing a Splash commercial for them. We learned about their company and they us pamphlets and business cards to help up design our commercials. We were then given fee range to work on our project. First, I brought in the graphics available to us into Photoshop so I could add transparencies and isolate words and different facets of some of the graphics provided and make them into smaller graphics that I would later add effects to in the video. Once I had that done, I imported each graphic into Final Cut Pro, each on a different video track. I then added a colored background that was a lighter shade of orange then their signature orange they used on some of their material. I added different elements to the graphics I imported, such as making them come in at different times, move across the canvas, fade in and out, and be slightly transparent. I then imported a 7 second sound bite from the available audio tracks, and made sure that my video was exactly the same length as my audio. I then finished up my video by making sure that the graphics worked well as a whole, all compiled together with each other and the corresponding audio. Lastly, I exported my video to Vimeo and made sure it was viewable on there.

WiHire Splash from Amy Decker on Vimeo.

Summary and Conclusions

I am proud of the video that I made. Even though it only plays for a few seconds, it takes so much time and work to put everything together! I

Project Significance

I thought that the premise of this lab was a very good one. It showed us what real companies would use motion graphics for, and it showed us that even though we only have a very basic understanding of FCP and Flash, we really do possess the knowledge needed to make something that the companies are looking for.

Closing Thoughts

I liked that this lab was based off of real world material, and that we were allowed to give off our creative ideas in it. I am glad to be back in Final Cut Pro, as I feel like I am more comfortable in it. I really liked this project!



Week 6

The objective of this lab was to introduce us to the options that Flash offers to make video animation. We were allowed to really delve further into the program and explore what Flash can do for motion graphics. We made an animated commercial for at&t out of a preexisting Photoshop picture.

We first opened up the Photoshop picture that we were going to be working with. We isolated different elements of the Photoshop picture and brought them into Flash, each into a separate layer so it is easier to work with and so you can have different actions of different parts of the Flash document. We then emulated the text that was given to us on the Photoshop picture on the Flash document, typing in the correct size, color and font. After that, we added actions to each layer on the Flash document that we wanted to have an action associated with it, putting motion tweens and stops in so that the text would bounce in at the appropriate time and stop at the appropriate time. Then, we put in a hover action on the Learn more button so that when our mouse moved over the button, it would change color. When we were done, we viewed the HTML source and put it on our index.



Summary and Conclusions:
I am happy with my video. One thing that didn’t transfer over to the website at the last minute was my hover capability on the Learn More button, which I don’t understand why because it worked in Flash. I am proud of my video and think it’s very cool that I made all that animation happen just out of a Photoshop image.

Project Significance:
This project let me really understand what Flash does on a much deeper lever. I never really knew the capabilities of Flash, and now I understand the program much more. I think it’s very cool that Flash offers these kind of animations that let a normal graphic become a motion graphic!

Closing Thoughts:
While this project was a little hard to follow for me, once I got the basics down and finally could see what Flash has to offer, the lab became very interesting. We ended up with a professional looking advertisement that I thought that was very cool!




Week 5- Working with Flash

This week in lab we worked with Adobe Flash Player. We were ultimately to end up with our own personalized Flash Player skin that included workable buttons and a personalized logo.

We started off this week by playing with and customizing pre-existing skins that already came with Flash. We got to play with the colors and had to assign an action to what each of the buttons were for. Then we stepped it up a notch and began making our own skin from scratch. We first made a box, placed our video, put in the necessary buttons, assigned actions to the necessary buttons, and even put in our own logo as a way to brand our work. We made a logo by making a graphic (in my case text), changing it to a movie clip, and then putting it into our Flash player skin. One disappointment that I had was that the video that I have playing in my Flash player skin is not the iPod one that I ultimately saved and upload to the Vimeo website because of a saving problem, but it is still cool that I have it for a video that I was kind of working on. When we were done making our skin, we uploaded it to the website and now its viewable here!




Summary and Conclusions:
In the end, we ended up with a Flash player skin that had controllable buttons that had controlled playback, volume, and seeking abilities. I thought that this was a very interesting lab that let us have the fundamental basics needed to work our way through making a skin in Flash.

Project Significance:
The things that I most take from this lab is learning how Flash is used in the world, and how Flash editing basics work. I found it very interesting!

Closing thoughts
This was a very interesting lab. I liked that we were given info on more motion graphics applications, and appreciated the tutorials very much! I thought this lab went very well and took away a lot from it.





Amy Decker’s iPod Commercial Project

This week in lab, we dug much further into the Final Cut world, and we did that by making our very own iPod commercial. We put to practice new and old techniques from class. The main new thing that we learned this class period, was how to use the ChromaKey to separate a foreground image from a green screen background. The main parameters that we had to follow included having a certain amount of clips, having certain transitions, graphics that showed depth, and make our dancer into separate dancer using program techniques.


When we got to class we were presented with lots of footage of dancers that Tom had shot the night before. They all danced in front of a green screen which we then could blank out using the ChromaKey filter. We changed the rest of the footage not cut out by the green ChromaKey, and changed it to the color black. Then I put in all the effects that I learned including making multiple dancers, video transitions, and putting in graphics and scaling them. I deleted the background music, and replaced it with the actual hiphop song that they danced to. I then edited the background color to change mostly every time that the dancer changed, so as to create a more interesting video. Putting in the apple logos at the end of the video is something that I’m proud of, because I brought in the PNG file, edited it, sliced it, and made it look like it was going behind and then in front of the dancer.

Amy Decker iPod Commercial from Amy Decker on Vimeo.

Summary and Conclusions

I am very happy with how my project turned out. I tried to make it a very interesting video that had logical transitions and an interesting graphic at the end. This project taught me more about what Final Cut Pro can do and how to do it. I thought it was very cool to learn how they make green screened videos, and iPod commercials.

Project Significance

This iPod commercial project let me get a lot more comfortable with Final Cut. It allowed me to really dig deep into the program and really play with it. It was very interesting to see my video all done at the end also!

Closing Thoughts

I thought this was a very good project. Not only did it help me learn a lot more about Final Cut and its effects, but it also let me make a really cool video that I want to show all my friends!




Week 2 Final Cut Express Blog

Objectives: This week in lab we worked with Final Cut and made a 30 second advertisement for a local creek day clean up. We combined several different elements of video including a small logo, a poster graphic, spoken narrative, and background music. Once we got the video assembled, we uploaded it onto Vimeo, an online video hosing website and then embedded it into our blog.

Procedure: We made our video by putting together small clips that were already shot. We used the razor blade tool to cut out what part of the clip we wanted, and then put all the clips together with simple fade in and fade out transitions. I put a small logo on the right edge of the video for most of the advertisement, and put a poster graphic with some text that I added myself at the end. Then I added the spoken word narrative and background music. To make sure the background music didn't overtake the narrative, I lowered the decibel level of the music. When the video was done, we made an online account with Vimeo and then we uploaded our video to it. Then we learned how to export our video to our blog, and how to use transmit to edit text on the GrC 452 class blog website.

Untitled from Amy Decker on Vimeo.

Summary & Conclusions:
Overall I think that the lab went well. I am feeling more confident in my Final Cut skills and am happy with how my video turned out. I tried to make the pictures correlate with the words, and tried to time my transitions so they went well with flow and the topic at that particular time. I'm glad that I made my transitions like that, I feel like it made for a much smoother and more logical video. Final Cut overall is a very user-friendly application that makes it easy to do simple editing in!

Project significance:
This project allowed me to learn and utilize the basic editing tools in Final Cut in a more hands-on way. I feel much more confident doing simple video editing techniques, such as transitions, making graphics move, putting clips together, implementing audio, and adding graphics then I did last week!

Closing thoughts:
I thought this project was a great one because we learned all the basic techniques needed to make a video. We also learned uploading techniques and we came out with a great out come of out own original video. Now I am starting to notice just how much work goes into making a small advertisement. I notice more local advertisements on the TV now, and I'll think to myself, "Wow! I could do that!"

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