Dig.lit

Testing, Testing

I think I need a more ergonomic set-up for my work.

I think I’ve needed such a set-up for years. I can hear my middle school keyboarding instructor yelling and wheezing about repetitive strain injuries and proper posture every time my joints pop, every time my wrist aches, and every time I wonder if my back really is permanently hunched at the wrong angle.

What is it? Pride? Laziness? That vast, stubborn delusion about the immortality of youth?

Maybe it’s all of the above. But rest assured, I am working towards rectifying my bad habits. I’m even sitting at my desk while typing this! … Granted, I am slouched but…baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

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I’m pretty much the second one, but the third one understands me on a spiritual level. Photo CC by Joe Loong.

So how’s my Independent Learning Project going?

It’s going well!

I’ve spent most of my time reading through tutorials and help forums, but that’s all part of learning how to run new software. I’ve also utilized my fair share of YouTube tutorials, which made me feel incredibly digitally savvy.

Aside from that, the rest of my time has been consumed with character design and simple animation, something I’ve learned previously. The next item on the agenda is to sit down and make a walking animation, which is something I’ve never done before.

Most importantly, however, I’ve been having fun!

Here’s what I’ve made so far:

This concept was made from the tutorial the software offers for beginners. They made a point-and-click game with their tutorial; I just wanted to make her float and bounce around. She changes direction with the arrow keys.

The second test was more complex. At this stage, I’d given her an idle animation and learned how to return her to this idle animation after the user releases the key. I’d also realized that, unless I wanted her to awkwardly side-step the whole time, I’d have to make more sprites facing multiple directions. I’ve still got the “up” (rear-facing) sprite left to make.

The result of these additions made something that, in my opinion, looks super great!

It’s rough but I’m very proud of it!

One of the main differences between this medium and my normal medium (writing) is the immediate satisfaction it creates. And I think I’ve figured out why that is.

With writing, you’re never actually done. That’s one question I’ve asked and been asked: “When do I know when my story is done?” When is it truly finished, when is it truly complete?

And then answer is, usually: “Well, you don’t.” Or “When you’re tired of it.” Or “Well, you just know.”

I’m running into this problem with a series of derivative fiction (that’s, uh, the less shameful way to say I started writing fanfiction and I can’t stop), where the plots I’ve cooked up can literally be sustained for the next five years. The moral of this story is that I don’t like to make things easy for myself.

Because with writing, you’re never done. Not only in that the end of one story is the beginning of another, but in the writing and editing process itself. It’s an ongoing, infinite and arduous process — it’s a process and an act that I love, dearly, but sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged. Making a sprite that can walk around at the press of a key is a lot more concrete than writing a chapter. That’s what I’ve always hated about writing, that there is no definite, absolute sense of finality. Or if there is, I haven’t unlocked that yet.

I can’t show someone a draft of a story and expect them to get excited about it (at least, not in the skip-and-jump way that I compose my drafts in a writing process that might be compared to something like parkour). But with this learning project I’ve set out to work on, I’ve been snapping one of my friends videos of my progress. She’s excited. I can’t really do that while typing paragraphs. Although I have sent friends sentences before.

It’s fascinating the way I can interact with different mediums; it’s fascinating that everything I’ve chosen to branch into has been so similar, but so different, not only in its composition and techniques but also in the sense of accomplishment each medium creates. It’s good to feel satisfied and proud of something I’ve created again, especially so early in the process. It happens in writing, of course, but hardly ever on the first page, yanno?

Anyways, I’m excited to see what else I can accomplish over the course of the next few weeks.

 

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6 thoughts on “Testing, Testing

  1. Well first off I would like to tell you that you chose a great project that will help you grow as an educator. Too often do we have teachers who aren’t able to use technology to its fullest due to not knowing how to use it. Second, I like how you are learning about technologies that can be used to bring fun into the classroom. Fun is an often overlook, but essential, part of the educational process. Students need to be having fun to be motivated to learn what you intend for them to learn. You have made your first step into this project and I’m excited to see what more you learn.

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    1. Thanks, but I want to clarify that I’m actually one of the few non-teacher folks in this class! I completely agree with you, however, about being technologically skilled and being able to bring fun into the teaching/learning dynamic. It’s been great seeing how excited people have gotten about this project; I have a friend who I’ve been sharing the progress reports with and she’s practically giddy about it. Of course, it helps that she’s the one I based the character’s design off of. 😀

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  2. I think this is a great project and I’m actually very jealous of your ability to teach yourself all these tech tricks! I am simply hopeless when it comes with technology ( I think I was born in the wrong time period). Technology just makes no sense to me. I’m very excited to read and learn from you based on the progress you make throughout your learning!

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    1. Like everything, working with technology is just a matter of practice! I didn’t slip out of the womb with a computer in my hands (although, to be honest, the government still refuses to let me access those files — the truth is out there, I just need a key-card). In all seriousness, however, I only got to be somewhat tech-savvy through a lot of trial and error. And it’s important to know that I’m not working from scratch — the truly hard work is done by the people who built the software (a task way out of my current league). I believe in you and your ability to learn!

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  3. Have fun with the posture changes! I’m currently laying in bed with my computer propped up on a pillow on my stomach, so you’re already doing better than I am! Good posture was pounded into our heads through out school. We used the acronym SLANT. I don’t remember what most of it meant, but I do remember it was something about sitting up straight and then leaning in slightly. It was horribly uncomfortable. Best of luck though!

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    1. Haha, thanks! I’ve reverted back what I call my “gargoyle hunch” — me sitting crossed-legged and slouched on my bed. Why does good posture have to be so dang uncomfortable? Or is it that, if I only would’ve listened to all those instructors of the past, it wouldn’t actually be uncomfortable? That it would just feel natural? We may never know. All I know is that my neck and back will probably never forgive me until I learn to sit up straight.

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