Hello all!

This is my first proper weekly post and it’s all about course introductions so fair warning: it’s going to be a bit long.

Keep in mind, I’m going to try to make future blog posts shorter, more structured and to-the-point but for now, I’ll just go with the flow.

Visual Communication

This was my first class of the trimester and I was equal parts nervous and excited. However, thanks to an enjoyable social activity and an instructor equipped with a positive attitude, it turned out to be a very pleasant start to the trimester.

After a quick classroom swap, our class of eight were tasked with getting to know each other in pairs and introduce our chosen partners.

The only question we were required to ask each other was this:

Dogs or Cats?

Personally, I’m a cat person.

I’ll admit, I’m slightly allergic but let’s be reasonable. If you had the chance to play with a set of sibling ragdoll kittens, you would renounce your dog loving ways in a heartbeat!

Anyways, it was a very pleasant introduction and I felt myself slip into a state of ease a lot quicker than I usually do in a new class. To my great amusement, the majority of my classmate’s names are alphabetically close.

  • L: Leo
  • M: Miri
  • N: Nadia & En (I know it start with “E” but I just had to include it)
  • O: Ollie
  • P: Prin

As you can imagine, this made it a great deal easier to remember everyone’s names. The exceptions to the name system being myself and my cousin Somerset… we are attending Griffith together.

Since it was the first class of the trimester, we spent it going over course material in Microsoft Teams.

Despite this being my second semester at Griffith, I hadn’t actually used Teams before. But based on my brief exposure, I can say that it is far better than the learning@griffith page. It neatly displays course content while also allowing for quick and easy communication and collaboration between peers and instructors.

Visual Communication has four pieces of assessment with the rest of the content organised into stages.

  • Firstly, a series of small tasks to test our ability with the Adobe software
  • Second, a test print of a “Zine” (a mini magazine featuring a single topic)
  • Third, the final Zine.
  • And fourth, this blog.

Visual Communication requires that we make use of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. These three are a must if I wish to pursue graphic design.

I have some experience using the former two but not so much with the latter. Nonetheless, I’m very much looking forward to learning new skills and building upon ones I already have. Thankfully the asynchronous learning style of this class allows us the freedom to learn at our own pace. In my case, I will try to focus on broadening my understanding of Illustrator and Photoshop while also learning the ins and outs of InDesign.

The assignment #1 tasks are split between the aforementioned software with a bit of photography thrown in. The Illustrator and Phototshop tasks are within my skill range and the photographs shouldn’t be too difficult to capture. But knowing me, I’ll find some way to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

We exchanged possible topics for the Zines during class. When it comes to Zines, a unique topic is ideal. The class discussion made me realise that simplicity serves just as well as specificity when choosing a unique topic.

Oddly enough, the ‘lifecycle of milk’ was a popular Zine topic.

It was around that point that I realised I had made the horrible mistake of attending a class that runs from 6:00pm to 9:00pm with a 50 minute commute on each end without bringing any food.

Moral of the story? Always bring a snack.

As it turns out, this and a number of other MDes subjects include this weekly blog as part of their assessment. It allows us to reflect on our learning, discuss our ideas, and express how we feel about the learning experience.

I’m not sure how much I’m going to post per week. I might stick with the bare minimum (one) or I might try to do a couple extra.

Either way, It’s gonna involve a bit of writing on my part (not as much as this perhaps).

But hey, I might as well try to have some fun with it.

Prototyping

Right off the bat, there were a few more people in this class. Sadly, I don’t have a nifty name system to remember everyone like I do in Visual Communication.

This class was actually rescheduled from Wednesday to Tuesday to become a blend of on-campus and online students.

introductions weren’t as smooth as in Visual Communication but I blame that on the audio technical difficulties.

Based on the explanation from our instructor, Vincent Moug, the subject seems very hands-on.

Similar to Visual Communication, Prototyping has four assessment pieces:

  • First is a design strategy for dealing with a current day design problem
  • Second is a low-fidelity 3D prototype
  • Third is a group project to develop one of the ideas
  • And fourth is, of course, this blog!

The bare minimum tools required for this class are Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Miro. I currently use Google’s applications (Docs, Slides) over Microsoft office (Word, PowerPoint). Google Docs might not have as many features as Microsoft Word but it is more convenient. All the files are stored on Google Drive meaning that I can work on the same document between all my devices. In-fact, parts of this blog post were prewritten in Google Docs using my laptop, smartphone and tablet.

Miro is an online collaboration platform for organising teamwork. I’ve never used it before but tools like this are critical in collaborative projects. Especially when some of your project partners could be overseas.

Some 3D modelling might be involved for prototyping our ideas. Vincent recommends Fusion 360 digital 3D prototyping but I’d prefer to use Autodesk Maya since I have experience with it.

This class also made me aware of the workshops that students can take part in to learn some prototyping skills/techniques such as Laser Cutting and 3D Printing.

However, I’m beginning to question my ability to learn.

…I didn’t bring a snack this time either.

Masters Research Project

The Masters Research Project class was supposed to happen in person on Thursday. However, it was changed to an online session in order to organise suitable in-person meetings for the rest of the trimester.

On the bright side, I had access to food!

The instructor for this class is Seth Ellis. I’ve had him as my instructor once before in Narrative Interfaces in AR. One of his best qualities is the amount of feedback he gives in the form of discussion. Which is great for a masters research subject.

Introductions ended up taking the form of a presentation of our individual masters research ideas.

Actually… Now that I’m writing this, I’m not sure I can talk too much about the research on this blog.

To summarise, we explained our ideas and he gave us feedback in the form of his own thoughts and suggestions of things to consider.

After that we moved on to the weekly meetings. Instead of meeting up as a class like with the other subjects, we would be having individual meetings with Seth on-campus or online. I am currently scheduled to meet with Seth at 1:00pm every Thursday.

And that was basically it.

The class ended early and I didn’t go hungry.

Ending Thoughts

Week #1 gets a 6!

All in all, it wasn’t a very eventful week in class. But that was to be expected from introductory classes.

Aside from learning to bring some form of nourishment to classes, I had another big takeaway from this week. Attending my first class on campus actually got me thinking about a few things. So much so that I spent a number of sleepless hours in my own head that night. I was thinking about what I really wanted to learn during my time at Griffith. Not what I should learn, but what I want to learn.

As a result of that thought plagued night I decided to try to make a number of changes to my degree. I’ve been trying to implement them for some of the remainder of week one and hopefully I succeeded.

But I suppose we’ll have to wait and see next week.

Aspiring graphic designer and 3D modeller. Graduate of Bond University. Avid Disney fan.