DS106 on the couch

Tag: visual (page 2 of 2)


I am catching up with another Daily Create, let’s say this one fits the one where we were asked to create a trailer for this run of Ds106, although I am not sure it sells it that well?

I put this together an evening a few days ago when I was unable to type but wanted to do something for Ds106. I had never played with iMovie but I wanted to start learning it, I knew it had templates for trailers and thought I could use one of those. But that was not the start of this artefact.

I was watching the IT Crowd on TV a british comedy the humour of which may not translate that well to other cultures. It is like a dark version of The Bing Bang Theory – the geeks in it are losers with not much to commend them, not even cleverness. I like it and find it very funny.

I remembered in the back of my mind an episode where they made fun of Facebook. They created this site called FriendFace and became obsessed with it. I remembered the scene I used for this trailer. It was so funny. I wondered if I could find it on YouTube. I found it. Downloaded it with Firefox. 

iMovie awaited. It was overwhelming opening it up, felt like I was in a proper editing studio. Here I go #makingvideoswithoutaclue again.

I do feel like a fraud calling this a creation, it was so easy to do.

Hmmmm….note to self: reflect on why creation has to be hard to be good. Clearly unless blood, sweat and tears has gone into it, said creation does not fit my try harder drivers! 

I wanted to use the clip, I wanted to say something about the addictive nature of DS106 in my life and I wanted to have a bit of fun with no pressure. It took me 10 minutes to make after the preparations above.

People have been so kind about it, and liked it. I like it. It makes me laugh each time I watch it. Yet, I have to say there is nothing original in it and very little technical skill was required to make it. 

I selected one of the trailer templates in iMovie. I played around with it to work out what to click where – I got utterly confused. Played the trailer template empty a few times to get a sense of the shape it offered. It looked so professional even empty! All I did was get the clip from the series – the character Jen on FriendFace – and put it in the ready-made trailer. I filled in the specifics: titles, credits,etcetera and voila it was done. The story was told through the titles. Upload to Youtube – Bob’s your uncle. 

As I write this I realise another pattern. This trailer did not start life as a trailer. No. I wanted to (wait for it…) make an animated Gif. Yes, I am really trying to learn how to do them – and failing miserably so far. I tried Gimp and various other means but I could not find a way (or a tool) that would let me select specific frames whilst letting me actually see all the frames in the clip. Forgive me but my eyesight is no match for those tiny little images of all the frames in a clip that Gimp offers. I could not choose specific frames even with some serious squinting. So I gave up and thought about the trailer idea. The pattern seems to be that if I am willing to be flexible in how a make the idea come to life then I can make something easily. If I get stubborn, I end up just swearing at Gimp.

People have asked me to talk about the ‘how’ so that they can make trailers in iMovie. It really is a simple as this: Get the clip you want to use, download it, open iMovie, select a template, fill in the specifics, mess around with the scenes and put them in the template with an order that makes sense for the story you are telling. Done. I did no fancy editing at all, I am ashamed to admit. Sometimes fun is just easy.

quietmind on Flickr.

We can find calm in chaos – even on the underground when commuting to work! It is all in the habits of mind we pursue whilst we go through our day, not in the external conditions. 


DS106 Daily Create for Aug. 31, 2013 (yep, a couple of days late!): “This is TDC 601! That is 106 backwards! Draw something 106ish backwards.”

This one was challenging for me—I could make a video or a gif of something going backwards, but I was struggling with how to make a still image of something backwards. Okay, maybe draw the back of a kitchen monster that people created for <a href=”http://tdc.ds106.us/tdc595/”>TDC595.</a>

But then I thought…what is something ds106ish? well, me! and you! So why not take an image of me backwards? Thus the mirror.

My original idea was to have my camera showing the ds106 logo on the camera itself, and then take a photo of that. Ha! In what universe did I think it would be possible for my phone to be using one application (to show the ds106 logo (on the web) and then also use the camera app at the same time? Not.

So I took the photo using the camera app (of course), and then did a screen shot of the ds106 logo from the ds106 page.

I opened both in GIMP as layers, and made a layer mask for the image of me so that the part inside the phone would be transparent and I could put the ds106 layer under that so it’d show through.

1. First, I drew a selection around the phone display with the “lasso,” or “free select” tool, so I could go around my finger on the camera button.

2. I then did Selection->invert, which makes everything around the camera display selected, which is needed for the next step.

3. Layer->create layer mask, which made the phone display transparent and everything around the phone display in the image show up.

4. Scale the size of, and position the ds106 layer so it’s in the right place, peeking out through the transparent hold in the layer of me above it.

5. Because the dividing line between the two images around the camera display was pretty sharp and harsh, I used the blur/sharpen tool to do a little blurring around the edge of the camera display. I think I did bit much of that, but no time to go back and fix it.

6. I also played a bit with the brightness and contrast and other settings under “color” for the ds106 layer—I wanted it to look a bit like it was glowing, shedding light on my finger and out beyond the display screen. That was a hard effect to get, and it’s not quite what I was hoping for, but upping the brightness did help.

It’s not really a drawing, but I have yet to feel comfortable enough with drawing to do many of those. It’s one of the parts of ds106 I just need to force myself into to get more confident about it. Everything else I love doing; drawing, well, not so much.

On my list to get better at gimping….

I watched this film a few days ago and it made a real impact on me. From the trailer:

Paris, 2020.
A beautiful couple, a city over-saturated by holograms and digital stream.
A polaroid camera.
Tomorrow will never be the same. 

An electromagnetic storm wipes out all our data, worldwide. The only thing he has left is an old polaroid she took before he left him for spending too much time on social media. 

I put this together with a quote from Alone Together by Sherry Turkle:
We are not in a position to let the virtual take us away from our stewardship of nature, the nature that doesn’t go away with a power outage.
The moment captured in this image has been running in my head for days so I thought I would do some giffing. I did not want it to loop forever, but to stop and give the sense of it all breaking up when it ended. However, it looks like this will not work with Tumblr so I slowed it down a little and looped it forever.
Followed Michael’s tutorial again, and experimented with a few more settings in GIMP. I did want the glass smashing to make more of an impact. I need to play with it more.
However, I want to end with Alan Levine’s comment on watching the movie:
Hard to empathize with a digital dude who did not make local backups of media 😉

Update: I am submitting this gif as an assignment for the assignment ‘saying it like peanut butter’. I did it a few days ago, it was one of the first gifs I made properly (i.e not with an automated tool) and it was inspired by a film that moved me. 


I always think that my favourite things are things others already know about (get on that couch headless shrink), yet I know from experience that this ain’t necessarily so! This is one of the best use of story for a dry (some might say dead boring) subject – copyright law. 


Emotions invented by the internet! Quite aside from the anthropomorphising, this is interesting to this headless shrink. My observation is that there are no positive emotions in the infographic. It made me think of the book Alone Together we read in Book Club 106 recently. We look for a sense of satisfaction and are left feeling a mixture of isolation and despair instead. Food for thought.


Power corrupts, take a picture of something powerful.

Go on, you know you want to fill that box with wonder! Come and joins us at DS106 Headless 13. All your worries will fall away and you can fire your shrink, we have our own in-house DS106 Headless Shrink right here! Just ask the #Headless13 shrink.


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