Monday, April 29, 2013

Extra Credit : The Fantasy Facebook Self

Extra Credit!
STEP 1 : Create a fantasy version of your Project 7.
i.e. An extended version of your real avatar self.
STEP 2 : Create a Facebook account for it.
And friend me (my real, Benjamin Poynter) self
with it as the turn in.

From before. Examples A and B. Your typical Second Life 
denizen. Only without the white hair and lack of clothing.
To accomplish this extra credit, create a new avatar/self-portrait that explores the variety of possibilities available in second life to fabricate a completely imagined, new self. A fantasy self if you will. Remember to save your real self as an OUTFIT FIRST, before editing. Do not save over your Project 7 with your new, fantasy outfit. Ask questions if needed.

Be creative – consider issues of gender, skin color, explore obtaining new clothing items, etc. 

Examples A2 and B2. (See above, again.)
 Pay more attention to one on right, as a form of the
the fantasy self striven for in relationship to the original.

The sky is the limit with this imagined self as avatar.  Are you a superhero?  Want to be a movie star?  7 feet tall? 


Due by time of final meeting (May 13th).

Friend me on Facebook with a newly created Facebook page of your fantasy avatar self's profile.

Prerequisites of obtaining credit- I don't think I have to tell you how to create a Facebook account.

1.] Minimum of 10 images of your
avatar interacting with SL posted
somehow on your profile. Of course,
use best ones for profile - timeline pic. (FB)

2.] A decently thought out bio section.
Age. Race. Gender. Relationship.
History. Likes. Dislikes. THINK.

3.] A minimum of 5 friends acquired.
If you have an existing FB account,
that will count. Perhaps convince
classmates to band together?...

Friend me with these prerequisites,
and I will award you a bonus letter
grade to your lowest existing
assignment grade in Digital Media I.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blender : FAQ and Troubleshooting Post

This is a post where all primary issues with Blender will be addressed here.

It will be an ongoing post. I will attempt to physically address each one as they come up or in timely fashion.


1.) ((How to rotate view of world/objects.))

 (Two images for reference!)

 2.5 (-) . Drag down the top line between main 'Blender' title bar and 'File' bar. It should expose a large menu. In the middle of it, click "Emulate 3 Button Mouse" to where it is on.
 2.5 (+) . File -> User Preferences. INPUT option on bar. On left, scroll and click "Emulate 3 Button Mouse" to where it is on.

2.) ((Create object in space to edit other than a cube?))

Top Left bar; Add -> Mesh -> choose (Cube, Sphere, Cylinder, and Many More)

3.) ((How may I combine objects in space?))

Select both and hit (Ctrl + J). Should be prompted to combine. Hit okay.

4.) ((Apply color/texture to object?))

2.5 (-) (Should be applicable to 2.5+ as well.) . Follow these steps.

5.) ((A useful brush-coloring tool (Color multiple polygons of object?))

2.5 (-) (Should be applicable to 2.5+ as well.) . Follow these steps.

To be continued.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blender 3D Primer

(This is a handout as well. But online for convenience purposes.)

Blender 3D : A Direct Primer, Benjamin Poynter

1.) Navigation.
-Middle Mouse Wheel to Zoom In/Out.
-Shift + Middle Mouse Press to Strafe.
-Alt + Left Mouse Press to rotate around.
-(If number pad available, 8-4-2-6 to adjust view intricately.)
-CONTROL + Z to undo.
-Left Mouse Press to position center of world rotation.

2.) Modes.
-[Find a toolbar widget with a drop down "Object Mode" menu.]
-OBJECT mode. Where you can just move around solid meshes. For example, a cube.
-EDIT mode. Where you can actually extrude/morph/edit meshes. We can 'change' a cube.
-To note, in either mode, next to "Object Mode" menu, you can toggle wireframe/solid views.
-TAB switches from OBJECT to EDIT easily as well.

3.) Selecting.
-[a] to select/deselect all objects.
-In OBJECT mode, Right Mouse Press object to select it.
-To select multiple objects, or deselect one, hit Shift + Right Mouse Press.
-In OBJECT mode, you can shift-select multiple objects. In EDIT mode, its a different story.
-To delete, have selected and press [x]. In EDIT mode, you can delete specific details.
-To duplicate selected object, Shift + [d]. Move newly duplicated object.
-Lasso selection, if desired : Hold down CONTROL and Left Mouse Press. Drag around.

4.) The Gizmo & Moving Objects.
-The gizmo is the red-blue-green icon you use to morph object. Appears when object is selected.
-XYZ coordinates. Think of X and Y as flat. (X, west/east ; Y, north/south). Z is sky/ground.
-[Near the "Object Mode" drop down on its respective toolbar is a SMALL red-blue-green icon.]
-Arrow Icon : Move selected object directly along the rails of XYZ coordinates. Click & drag.
-Curve Icon : Rotate selected object in its center. Click & drag the now different gizmo.
-FAQ! To re-center rotate/pivot on object, reposition object in edit mode! Pivot remains still.
-Line+Square Icon : Rescale select object along XYZ coordinates.

5.) Editing the Mesh. <Needs to be done in EDIT MODE.>
-Vertex = point two edges cross. Edge = point two faces cross. Face = Open space/polygon.
-On same bar as Modes and XYZ commands, find Vertex-Edge-Face icon selections.
-You can (right click) select them. Click and move, rotate, and scale them. Experiment!
-Multiple selection rules with Shift + Right Mouse Press apply here as well. [a] to deselect.
-Important : Subdivide = CONTROL + [r]. Cut a Face in place to create more vertexes/edges.
-While you have a neon "subdivide line" previewing your cut, scroll Middle Mouse Wheel to
  create more edges in your cut. Left Mouse Press to cut. You can move cut. [a] to end sequence.
-Extrude tool is the [e] key. Extends/duplicates selected vertex/edge/face.

6.) Rendering an Image Output.
-First, you want to light your photo well. By File.. Add -> Lamp -> Choose Type. Experiment!
-Note CAMERA placement. View -> Camera to see what camera sees. View -> Align -> Align Camera View to Ours. To make 'our' view cam's. Adjust camera externally with gizmo if need.
-Pro tip for scene views : View on toolbar -> Selections (Top, Left, 'Camera', Etc.).
-Get an image photo-file! At top by file : Render -> Render Image. Or F12.
-You'll get preview. Default size : 960x540. F3 to save file of image. Or Image -> Save As.

These are the complete barebones of Blender 3D. All you'll need to get started!

Projects 6-7 (Polygonal Portrait, A Digital You), More...






5.13 (FINAL, 10:15 AM MEETING TIME) :





★ ★ ★ ★

A S S I G N M E N T   6

Polygonal Portrait

"Learning About Blender 3D and Self"

*Phase 1 of a 3 part exploration into what we might consider the "3D World". With Blender 3D, we will be employing a technique called "box modeling". In laymen's terms, a very lo-res method of 3D modeling that is typically a precursor to a more defined model. However for our purposes and parallel to the ideas from "The New Aesthetic", we are going to be chivalrous to the concept of 'cubes' and 'minimalism'.

Workflow of Project 6

1.) Explore the fundamentals of Blender 3D (program)! A tutorial post I've written containing everything necessary to completing assignment is here :

For the record, the version of Blender I have employed for the write-up is 2.56. Fundamentals may apply if a different version, but be sure. Working computers in lab should have Blender installed.

2.) With techniques and fundamentals in mind, develop project. You are to create a self portrait. Additionally, a portrait of yourself you believe would be perceived from the lens of a machine. This is where the cubist visual-minimalism comes in handy for the college student without enough time to create a million-polygon rendition. You may be very, very liberal in your approach to your machine-esque self portrait. It may be your head or face. It may be a certain part or closely related object to you which summarizes your being. Your family may even be representative of you. Endless possibilities. But it is self portrait.

3.) Important enough to get its own bulletpoint : Model this as if it could fit on a large pedestal in the Sheppard Gallery in Church Fine Arts. Don't worry too much about in-program scale. You can 'scale' it where its going...

4.) The method of turn-in : Five snapshots rendered from Blender and posted to your blog. This way : One front-view, one back-view, one-side view, one-top view, and angle of your choice. Also, artist's statement about image's relationship to it being your portrait.

This is just an example I did (playing with the whole 'other things are me' schtick) inspired by Michael Murphy's work. I took a zoomed up pixel shot of Sonic from 1991, even further bitmapped it to look more primitive, and distorted the individual pixels by deleting 'polygons' from panels it mapped the image onto. You will likely surpass this, and I would hope you do.

Links for inspiration-

Keep the file safe! You will be exporting a .dae file of the mesh/model to use in the end.

★ ★ ★ ★

A S S I G N M E N T   7

A Digital You

"Visualizing Yourself in Second Life"

Now the yang to Project 6's yang, in a way. Instead of a machine telling you how to portrait yourself, you are telling a machine how to see you. Phase 2 of 3 of the 3D world.

Learning how to build an avatar will get nearly a whole in-class period of work, April 29. We will take a trip to the Dynamic Media Lab for it.

So keep calm and stay digital.

Representational Avatar/Self
Sign up for a free account and get acquainted with Second Life. Go to and sign up! Your first steps are to create a representational avatar/self portrait in the online community “Second Life”. If your computer allows it (more than likely yes) you are free to download the program for yourself. Test that out excessively. It must be reliable for the final meeting.

Follow these steps:

A) Start by changing your appearance functions to essentially create a self portrait in appearance and body shape as avatar. Either create or find clothing items that work for your self-portrait/avatar. Think of the tools available as a new type of drawing system – using this system to create the most realistic, representational depiction of the self.


Examples A and B. Your typical Second Life denizen.
Only without the white hair and lack of clothing.

Follow this tutorial. You'll learn a lot by 'doing', but this helps additionally.

B) Once you have created an avatar (or you have one that your previously created as a mirrored self, great!), save this as an outfit. Now you will start working with the skin template in photoshop to create a more realistic representation of your face and head.

Follow the link below. You can download a template (Photoshop
file - layered) to stretch out a front and side portrait on to
map your own face into the Second Life world engine!

This is the link for the head template to import. (you will need

This is a tutorial on making and importing skin. In a nutshell, simply enter at the top BUILD -> IMPORT -> IMAGE. It will only let you do so for 10 L (dollars in game). Using the lab fees available, I will ensure you receive a good amount of money from the Digital Lab (from myself and Joe DeLappe) to spend on importing images to map your face with. May take more than one try. After you've imported, you can simply enter the edit appearance mode, body -> skin -> face and use image.

IMPORTANT: To help customize yourself better, you may buy with $L (which the Digital Lab/department will supply to you) extra clothing. The online store accessible via Second Life is .

 Turn in protocol-
1.) Post snapshots of your avatar in the Second Life world, in either exotic locales or the most mundane ones. As long as they are representative of you and a portrait of you. 'Ish.
How? Screen capture!
*In Second Life, disable HUD with Control + Alt + F1. To make image without menus.
*On Mac : Apple+Shift+3. It will save an image to your desktop.
*Of choosing : Crop and adjust lighting levels of image to your liking! Then post.
A minimum of three images. Artist statement : A short paragraph of this portrait's relationship to your Project 6 portrait.

My normal self. Out of disguise of infamous "DeBender of
the Universe" SL costume. Debating to show in class...

So we have two portraits of ourselves. That leaves...

★ ★ ★ ★

F I N A L   M E E T I N G

* The preliminary plan towards this meeting

(10:15 AM, May 13th) is to congregate in the
virtual world of Second Life.

In a sandbox portion of the world,
where we may install our own models
converted to .dae from Blender (and
importantly create new prims/models
within the Second Life world there),
we will install a virtual art show.

I will attempt, to import a replica of the
Sheppard fine arts gallery from down-
stairs into Second Life so we may install
on pedestals Project 6. Our personas
present (Project 7) will observe.

It is then we will critique project 7 via
type-chat one-by-one and just chat.

More details will be posted separately later.

In addition to an extra credit possibility.

After that, game over.


Monday, April 8, 2013

End Game in Sight


I thought it would be beneficial to outline, in clear fashion (as we've nicely tarnished the syllabus schedule by now), what will occur in the final weeks leading up to Digital Media 1's finale.

Week 12 (Done)

4.22 - Week 13

+SIX presentations.

+An in-depth look into projects 6 and 7. The 3D world (modeling, avatars) can be complex. You will be assisted. The primary plan : Attack interfaces "Blender" and "Second Life".

+Screen a section (time pending) of the PBS special film Digital Nation.

+Use rest of time to work! Classes may start ending earlier towards the conclusion of semester.

4.29 - Week 14

+Discuss the final reading (The New Aesthetic).

+Take trip to the Dynamic Media Lab to each use a computer (some may have to remain in Digital Media Lab) in getting feet wet with Second Life. Again, using more time to work.

5.6 - Week 15


+Use rest of time to work!

5.13 [SPECIAL TIME, 10:15 AM] - Final Meeting

+Meet in Second Life's virtual world.


+Observe extra credit works.

And then... Game over.