My website

Here is the first website I designed and created by myself, take a look~

http://lucysun7.wix.com/luxi-sun

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Japanese Influence in America

Here is my video on the topic of “Japanese Influence in America”. I interviewed a lot of Furman students and asked their first impression about Japan. I summarized all the answers and make the video into introducing five most talked-about aspects of Japanese influence on Furman campus as well as in America. Check out their answers~

My video is 5minutes and 7 seconds. I have tried to delete the blank part from the video on Youtube, but it did not work out. Sorry about that and thanks for your understanding! If it is blurry at first, please switch the clarity to 480p.

Hope you like my first video~

No thinking, go straightforward.

In both my Digital Communication and Mass Communication classes, my professors mentioned Steve Jobs and showed two documentaries on Steve Jobs and his apple products. The first documentary showed his personality as a rough and tough guy to work with, but also detailed described his experience of working with a lot of engineers in L.A. and convincing them to forget all technology-professional sides and successfully inventing a product for common people. In the second documentary showed his ability, talent, and creativity to invent the most user-friendly phone in the world right now.

Steve Jobs put a lot of effort in dealing with professional and smart engineers into creating a product both comfortable and easily-handle to common audience. iPhone is definitely a successful and impressive product both technologically-advanced and user-friendly.

In Krug’s article, he made an example of whether website-builders should use obvious language and obvious signs. The answer is absolutely “YES”. No user should wait and think and decide on a if he or she should click or not click a sign and he or she should not wonder the meaning of the word on the sign.

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A simple word “usable” means website-builders need to make their websites into the most obvious and objectives-cleared place for viewers to look at and click in. Krug also came up with an example of “problems encountered when booking a flight”. There are a lot of thinking process going on in a user’s head when he or she tries to book a flight, enter in the name of the departing city and destination. If the typing space could automatically show New York City when the user typed in “NYC”, I think the user will be very happy of not having to type in everything. I know that most flight-booking websites now have pretty convenient automatic key words which are very user-friendly.

A straightforward and obvious website could give users so many convenience and let them avoid the problematic thinking process. Since websites are designed to please customers and customers are viewers, then website-builders need to think ahead of the questions and problems a new-user would encounter. If he or she clicked the wrong bottom, would there be a sign popping out and telling him or her what went wrong? A good website should eliminate all the thinking process and make everything very obvious and straightforward.

User experience, key point in the world of internet.

At the age of 14 when I went to Vancouver, Canada for high school, I was introduced to start using Facebook. At that time, everyone in my high school has Facebook and they were really familiar and used to this technology. But when I began to set up an account and start using Facebook, I became very familiar with it in about just fifteen minutes. How to upload a picture, how to write in profile, how to add friends, how to find friends, how to post something on somebody’s wall, these feature were listed out in a very clear and straight-forward way. Then when I was about 17 or 18 years old, Facebook made an invention to their page–adding timeline. This action was so much discouraged and criticized at that time. Everyone likes the old version better and everyone was complaining on Facebook about how they regretted on agreeing to update to the new version of Facebook.

Here is a before and after timeline photo:

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I personally think the after-timeline photo is better because it organizes the page into three parts: a header where you could put a full-size wall picture in, a headline place where you could click and view all choices of photo, video, or profile information, and the third part of all the posts one posted on Facebook in a timely manner.

In one way, the after-timeline design seems more organized and straight-forward than the original. The original page seems to have too much clutter and cannot offer users with a clear vision.

In Garett’s article, I understood why Facebook made this change.

Here are the five stages Garett listed in designing user-friendly experience for a website:

Sensory Design

Information Design

Interaction Design

Function Specialization

Product Objectives

Facebook fulfilled the most important factor of these five stages: Product Objectives. Facebook is meant to provide a social network and platform for people to see each other’s information. A timeline’s layout could clearly, periodically, and consecutively shows a person’s life path since he or she joined Facebook. Making the wall picture as a header and having a quarter in between header and posts giving the audience convenience to choose whether they likes to read though timeline or just want to click in the albums.

Garett wrote that a beautiful or looking-good website might not give the users best using-experience and I think a good website with best user-experience should be one that fulfills product objectives in the best form.

Editors, final cut before screening.

Directors are considered as the most important roles in making a film. It is also important that directors chose the talented and great editors for their films. How can a director express what he wants to say in the best angle, best scene, and best staging? A lot of these efforts require editors to help make the story more logic and beautiful. I like how Osgood and Hinshaw’s said in their article: “While the technical craft of editing is fairly easy to master, the ability to use editing tools to bring the story to life can be a much greater challenge. Aesthetic skills and techniques are far more difficult to master. Understanding and using the psychology of the edit is central in telling the story in a logical, compelling, entertaining, or persuasive manner.”

A good editor should not only have the abilities of editing pictures or scenes, he or she must also know the story and the psychology behind camera of how to make footages appealing to audience. In this regard, the most important factor is to know what the audience likes and wants.

The psychology of editing

Editors must decide when each edit should occur. Osgood and Hinshaw said in the article: “The most logical cut is to allow the viewer to see the content from a different perspective or to present something new.” An editor could use a person’s voice as the background while having another footage shooting about this person’s talking on the screen. This use if called “b-roll” and I think it is a great technique in story-telling. Audience sometimes do not want to look at just one person talking on the screen all the time and it is logical to have the screen with footages to show the full story. Also, adding “b-roll” in a video editing process seems to be an easy and fast way to make the video looks like a professional cut video.

Osgood and Hinshaw explains in detail of the psychology of editing into five categories:

Image and Sound

Shot order

Shot relationship

Time

Rhythm and pacing

Another important stage in editing is “transition”. Sometimes video-makers, photographers, and writers know very well of the story and plot, they will forget to add transitions into the video to let the audience who do not share the experience of knowing the plot to have a better understanding in the logic of the story.

There are many video editing softwares now providing everyone the possibility to simply edit photos from camera and make them look cooler. There are also editing softwares to edit videos people make.

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They all labeled in “the simplest tool” for users. But after reading this article, I think people who are doing great at editing know more about not only different techniques, but also psychology of editing.

Vector graphics in 2D images

Vectors

Vector graphics are uses of points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons. Vector graphics are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape. These paths can be used to create simple drawings or complex diagrams. Paths are even used to define the characters of specific typefaces.

Vectors are the forces that direct our eyes from one point to another in image. They lead to viewer in a certain direction explicitly or implicitly.

Continuing Vector

sushi-2

Converging Vector

aikido 2

Diverging Vector

meditation

Vector Field

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My Slideshow

Here is my slideshow presentation on the topic of “Japanese Influence in America”. There are many culture-exchange between these two countries and this time, I mainly focused on the Japanese influence on Furman campus. While I am doing this project and taking pictures all over the campus, I received help from so many people. They are Furman alumni, club president and members, docent at Place of Peace, American students learning Japanese, Japanese exchange students coming to America, American student who is interested in animation. Many thanks to these people who have helped me and willing to be my models in the pictures. Also as I am doing the project, I gradually felt the influence of cultural correlating on this campus and in Greenville. It is a very interesting experience for me. Hope you like the pictures!

Slideshow

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Here are the five before-after photos:

Before

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After

Jackie

In the original photo, the lighting is too dark so I changed the lighting into a much brighter one and used photo color contrast.

Before

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After

pden+1

For this photo, I just think the original one is very ordinary and since this is a contrast between Japanese sushi and American fast food, I intended to make the photo into a more interesting one involves anime style. I used “Poster Edges” in photoshop.

Before

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After

Place of Peace

For this photo, I also changed the lighting and color contrast. So one can see the model sitting in front of Place of Peace more clearly.

Before

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After

aikido 2+1

This picture captures two students practicing Aikido at Furman. Because it is a very typical Japanese martial arts and often appears in different manga books, so I want to change the photo into a more “anime” style. I used “poster edges” and “Angled Strokes”.

Before

IMG_7218

After

place of peace inside

I adjusted both lighting and brighting. Also I used a feature from Photoshop to make the picture look softer and warmer.

Figure and Ground, then a great picture.

There are six steps, according to Zett, would help one figures out how to create a good picture:

1. main directions

2. magnetism of the frame & attraction of the mass

3. asymmetry of the mass

4. figure and ground

5. psychological closure

6. vectors

The first one about main directions is mostly talking about horizontal and vertical pictures or objects from our life. We are very used to horizontal pictures, scenes, settings, and things. When we take out our cameras to captures sea, ocean, ship, plane, usually we would use the horizontal angle in our iPhones. And before iPhones came out, people are more used to take photos with cameras and cameras are usually designed to have the horizontal angles towards every object.

I have found four pictures also echoing the four dimensions in the article: 1) Main direction: horizontal, 2) Main direction: vertical, 3) Vertical Orientation: Gothic Cathedral, and 4)Horizontal Orientation: Renaissance Building.

1) I chose the grasslands from Tibet

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2) I found an example of the three tallest building in Shanghai, China right now.

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3) I chose the angel of trying to look up to the Empire State Building from outside.

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4) I chose the Train Station in Beijing

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I chose these four pictures because I have been to all of them and actually took a look in all of them. I have the exact same feeling as Zett has written in his article. Different photos capturing different architectures or just scenes will have different angles, skills, and absolutely totally different feelings. I personally really enjoy looking at different architectures all over the world. When I was in Italy seeing all kinds of churches and chapels built in last or even two centuries ago, I was stunned by their beauty and grand size. Architectures today are designed more for use in reality than centuries ago when designers for architectures are also great artists. But I do have two great examples of newly built architectures that have very artistic and meaningful looks but also are safe and good in use. They are the two main stadiums during Summer Olympic in Beijing, China in 2008.

The National Stadium, also known as “bird nest”:

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National Stadium for Swimming, also known as “water cube”:

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And all the photographs I had picked are in Zett’s theory of horizontal angle and direction. The National Stadium for Swimming is an asymmetry mass building.

After reading this article, I really learned a lot about not only picture or photography, but also the philosophy of trying to catch people’s eyes. Different angles and picture-making could leave people with so many different feelings and attractions.

Viewers, interpreters of images

Advertisement is the first thing I think of after I read this Chapter by Sturken Cartwright. Advertisements are meant for producers of a company to create and attract viewers’ mind and heart and make them purchase certain products. This action involves business, psychology, and creativity of art. Advertisements are such an important of our life since its existence and I am surprised to see in the Chapter Cartwright wrote that few universities used to touch on popular culture. For example, British schools did not want to elaborately talk about novels because they thought it was low-brow to talk about popular culture. Advertisements sometimes reveal a way of thinking in citizens’ mind set and it is very important we take them seriously.

Here is a video I found on YouTube on the notion of advertisements and especially the images on the advertisements can influence so much on women’s life in America.

Another example I have found is the Coco Cola advertisement.

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In the advertisement, viewers could interpret a message of beautiful women lying on the beach reaching for a bottle of Coke. But different audience could interpret different messages from this advertisement. One could think of going on vacation on a beach, one could think of becoming a beautiful lady appearing on the advertisement, and one could also think of purchasing a bottle of Coco Cola right away. Images could be decoded and translated into so many different messages. Cartwright said the signifying practices people use to make sense of culture is called bricolage and the process of reuse terms in social movements is called transcoding. I believe that in image world, producers or creators also use bricolage and transcoding into making of advertisements. They try to interpret what viewers are thinking about and transcode the most popular and attractive things they could apply or add highlights to their products to make their advertisements the best or the most stand-out from the rest. Viewers, also, experience the process of bricolage and transcoding in their mindsets. As a viewer of advertisements, films, TV shows and other image-related products nowadays, I am very sure that I have different view from everybody else on different subjects. I may echo with a group of people but not everyone shares the exact same feeling as I do.

I do think it is absolutely necessary to study images, the process of image-making, the impact of how image could affect on people through so many forms. In this way we will not be greatly-impacted by images as women in this generation gets so much affected by models or beauty standards on those advertisement of fashion magazines.

Importance of knowing what is behind an image

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We are living in a world filled with images right now. We see pictures everywhere in newspapers and magazines and through internet now. But the size of a camera is limited, how much do we know behind the camera and outside of the small camera? The pictures took by a photographer could be mainly focused on his point of view and his capturing of the reality.

On the other hand, one image could have many meanings. It all depends on how people would interpret them. Many pictures are so powerful that they mean more than just words and they do not need any description to explain. The sign of Red Cross will let everyone know that it is on the topic of fundraising and helping, curing, and caring people who are in need of others’ help. The picture with a cigarette and a stop sign on top of it will let everyone immediately think that it is about convincing the audience not to smoke.

We have so many acknowledgements in real life and these acknowledgements will let us have a precedent concept when looking at an image. In this regard, an image will not be presented simply but will have deeper meaning behind.