The Reflection

Since the time to work on this project is almost over, I can now reflect on the outcome, the group work, the planning and the other important things that were a part of it. We have basically been working on the page for two months now and I think time wise, we have done really well. We agreed to have the page finished before Easter so we could spend the time during the holiday to make smaller changes, comment the code, and look for errors or way to improve things that we did not like that much. Luckily most of our group worked really hard to reach this goal and when we went home, all the big parts, except for making it responsive where taken care of. During this development, we used GitHub as Rob suggested and we got to understand it pretty well. It was a very useful way of sharing code and keeping track of issues and things missing. Me and Tina created a lot of Issue files that could easily be closed once something was fixed. I have been uploading onto GitHub from the very start of the working process and every time I ran into an issue with the code, I could easily go back to an older version or track all the additions I had made. This was the first time ever, I worked on the development of a webpage but I can imagine that managing the code without GitHub would turn out very chaotic. I am happy that I now know how to use it and can keep using it for projects in the future.

Another thing I did along with the coding was blogging. It was a good way to reflect on things I had learned as well as a possibility for us to understand the thought process of our fellow group members. In case I forget something I might need for upcoming projects, I can now always go back and look at how I did it before.

Reflecting on our project now, I am very satisfied with the outcome. Our page does not only meet the basic needs but because we were finished with the coding early, we had time to add extras such as a logo, more PHP functions and a nice design. Of course, we focused on the PHP first, since it is the main part of this project bur once I had it done, we wanted to explore all the other ways we could improve our page.

Looking back at the beginning of the project, I am very happy with the way the planning went on. Tina joined our group a bit later but she helped from the very beginning and was enthusiastic about work and ended up redesigning and improving the welcome page Becky made with Bootstrap, after we decided not to use Bootstrap, from the very scratch. We all contributed logo ideas and Tina did a lot of research on the name. We also all looked into other projects similar to ours to make sure we understood what we were dealing with. We all showed up for our group meetings, except for Rafiel who disappeared after the second one and we stayed in a lot after workshops to work on the project and we all developed a clear idea on what the page was supposed to look and be like. Since my group members said that they were not very secure with coding, I ended up writing most of the PHP for the page though while my group members contributed in other important ways. I did not mind the extra work, but because I came from basically no web design and PHP background, I had to do a lot of research on it but now, I feel pretty secure with it. Of course I know I have only scratched the surface of it and there is way more to learn but I enjoyed the coding. Since the project is about us all understanding the code and working on it though, I also spent a lot of time explaining my group mates how to do things and going through the code with them. Becky then managed to write PHP for the search page as well as code for making the page responsive (she also worked on a report button that we sadly could not integrate) and Tina did the about-us page, did research on anonymity online, wrote a text for the page telling the users what it was supposed to be used for (and what not) and helped me with the design and CSS part. She also stayed in late with me a lot to make sure that she understood how everything worked and we could get it done in time. I also commented all the code so my group members could go through and ask questions about it in case they had not understood anything. Rafiel wanted to contribute doing a ‘like on Facebook’ button but he never replied to our messages again. In general, I think we all improved our knowledge in a lot of different ways but now we should be at a point where we know what is going on with the backend as well as the frontend of our page as well as having a pretty decent understanding of the area our page is in.

Adding a Glow

In that step, I used light to add some shadings and glows to my poster. I used an effect called the “inner glow” for my clouds. It gave them a more three-dimensional appearance, less like clip art. Also, I changed the direction of the gradient (water), so the sea in quarter three would be brighter than the rain in quarter one. I did that because I planned to a sun/moon to visualize the evaporation and I thought it would look nice if the surface was a bit brighter.

Screenshot (179) Screenshot (180)

Experimenting with Raindrops and Trees

Since the raindrops and my new coloured background would not work anymore and I thought they looked a little boring anyway, I added a gradient to all of them just to see how it would look like. I liked the idea of the slight colour change on their journey from the cloud to ground better than I thought and decided to keep it like that after I added a few minimal corrections. I made the upper ones fit the clouds colour and the bottom ones the waters colour.

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Also, I worked on my trees. I wanted to give them details, like shades and change the colour of each one individually. Also, I wanted to turn the two trees I had into a forest, so I made more duplications.

Screenshot (167) Screenshot (168)

First steps (basic version)

After I picked the topic as well as the basic design for my poster, I sat down to create the very basic version in After Effects (first picture). I cared less about the colours and the details as the positions and shaping. I liked the idea of using blue and white to create an hourglass like look. After all the water cycle is all about time and I figured that the hourglass would be a nice way to underline that. Another thing that I liked about my design was the part about the water being in a constant flow, like it is in reality (second picture). I visualized that, connecting the water from each and every part of my cycle by a different kind of flow. Looking at it closer, you realize that the rain from the first quarter flows into the lake in the second one, which again, ends up in the ocean. From there, it vaporizes into clouds which float through the fourth quarter back into the first where the water rains back down.

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Then I took the basic design to my seminar session, to get some advice about further developments and a little bit of feedback about what I had done so far. Together with my seminar teacher, I talked about the use of space and the possibility of removing the blue frame lines to either resolve the problem of it being too crowded or maybe adding a small amount of information in form of text. Also I realized that I had to change the “space holder sun”, I created into something more fitting and that shading and details were needed. I experimented with gradients and I considered using them for the background.

Making a decision

Today, I started the research for my poster project. In our brief, we were given multiple options of what the poster could be about. I took my time to read through them all, considering what I could do for each and every one and which one would be the best for me. In the end, thinking about possible designs and my personal interest, I picked the two that I liked best. In the following, you can see a list of all the options, the ones that I decided to take a closer look at are underlined.

  • Where have you been and when?
  • What is your social network?
  • How many documented meteor impacts have there been?
  • Who lives the longest?
  • What is the fattest country?
  • Where do different genders shop online?
  • Who knows each other and how in Star Wars?
  • What type of music is the most popular?
  • Who has the largest carbon footprint?
  • How does the hydrologic cycle (also called the water cycle) work?

The first one, I liked because I thought that I could probably visualize a number of different places, since I have lived in three different countries so far. I thought, it could be nice to design the poster in form of a map, connecting all the places I have lived and the ones, I have visited in two separate ways.

The last one, I liked because I had a very different option of how to go about it. Unlike the first topic, I did not have to stick to a certain structure and I felt, that I could be more creative about it. I could add details like plants, rocks or clouds or I could stick to a simpler design. The other thing that I thought, I could use to my advantage was the form of the cycle as a never ending, ongoing thing.

So even though I liked the first idea as well, I decided to pick the water cycle.


Completing the TEMPORAL EXPRESSION tasks, I ran into three major difficulties:

Finding the right motive. I did not only had to find motives that fit the given theme CIRCLE, but also ones, I could capture, using long exposure, short exposure and the method of a joiner image. It was not easy to achieve that and sometimes, I had to try more motives than I would have liked.

Research. I could not just go out and take the photos. For this task, research was a really important part and I do not think that I would have had accomplished anything without the amount of research, I did. I had to gain information about how to set cameras and what cameras to use in the first place, what the tasks were and what other people did.

The camera. For two of the tasks, I used my smartphone camera and even though I was happy with the result, I think I could have achieved something better, if I would have used a proper camera. After I realized that, I completed part two using a friend’s camera and the results were amazing, compared to what I would have ended up with using my smartphone. To demonstrate the immense difference, in the following, I will show two photos of light painting. The first one was taken with my smartphone, the second one with my friend’s digital SLR.

IMG_2370       IMG_1770





First post

Well, welcome to my blog. My name is Darlene and I’m 19 and I have no idea if that’s the right way to start a blog (since I’ve never really done that before) but I’m just going to go with it. I just started my course, Digital Media Design, at Bournemouth University but I’m still in the middle of induction week. So far, we have met some of our lecturers (they all seem really nice) and we were given some basic information about what to expect from the next three years.

Also, we had to complete some small projects to break the ice. Most of the things were easy to do. For example buying a sketchbook and drawing a mind map.

One of them took some time. We were put into a couple of groups (group A for us) and got the task to take at least 5 photos in front of different locations all over Bournemouth. Sounds like fun, we thought. In the end, five people (instead of seventeen) showed up at our meeting point a day later but we still managed to take some photos and get to know each other a bit and even had some fun.

Here we go:

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