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DML Update for Spring 2012

The Digital Media Lab (UW2-121) has all the software to make your dreams come true (well not really, but it has enough to make a dang good visual storytelling project)… Don’t know how to use any of this software? Don’t worry, we have you covered. The DML offers one-on-one student support for anyone of any skill level.

The Digital Media Lab (UW2- 121) is the place to be this spring!

Whether you are looking to expand your graphic design skills or brush up on film-making skills, the DML has you covered. For some inspiration, check out these cool student projects done Winter quarter:

Visual Storytelling: Turning Research into Art.

Do your assignments lack a certain panache? Bars and pie charts not getting your message across? Want to relay information in a dramatic eye-catching way? Visual storytelling is a fantastic way to pass on large amounts of information.

What is visual storytelling? Visual storytelling ranges from the cave art of yesteryears to major graphic design projects much like those pictured above. It uses video, imagery, sound and writing to tell a story or relay a message; often using aesthetics in thought-provoking ways. Here is my favorite definition of visual storytelling from the EICAR International Film and Television School in Paris; “Visual Storytelling: Communicating visually in forms that can be read or looked upon. In cinema a story is most visual when ideas and emotions are expressed through performance and aesthetics as opposed to dialogue.”

Who is the audience? Let’s face it, most Americans don’t have enough time to read the important fine print in the latest Facebook terms of agreement update, let alone a paper on how to save the dwindling tuna population. Visual Storytellers often make use of our limited time and attention spans for the purpose of catching our momentary glance. They only have a few seconds to engage their audiences by making images fun and engaging to look at (admit it, I bet you looked at the tuna charts). They then hope to keep the audience around for a few more seconds by relaying important factoids and information, most of which is incredibly fulfilling to readers.

For students, visual storytelling can be used in conjunction with research and policy papers; think of the surprised look on your professor’s face when you go above and beyond by putting your research into practice! For example, writing a paper on the U.S. deficit? Why not make a poster or pamphlet with stacks of cash representing where the money goes (for a greater effect, use an object like the Empire State Building in comparison to give it greater oomph! “Can you believe we spent two Empire State Buildings on blank last year?!?”)? Next, add some facts on spending and address common misconceptions with a few small sentences. You might just make the rest of the class envious of your awesomeness.

When is it appropriate? Visual storytelling is always appropriate, though it can have a tendency to be really shocking or graphic. This does not mean you should not use it; sometimes the shock factor can lead people to discover the reality of your message. Use your best judgment. If it is for kindergartners, you might not want to use pictures of scary monsters.

The Digital Media Lab (UW2-121) has all the software to make your dreams come true (well not really, but it has enough to make a dang good visual storytelling project). Even if you have limited skills as an artist, the DML, Library and Learning Technologies websites have a number of links to websites that offer free use images, video and audio (also known as Creative Commons-licensed content).

The DML also has software, such as Photoshop (photo editing), ProTools (audio production), Final Cut Pro (video production), InDesign (publishing) and Illustrator (graphic design) for students interested in creating visual representations of their research. Don’t know how to use any of this software? Don’t worry, we have you covered. The DML offers one-on-one student support for anyone of any skill level.

Check out the DML Calendar for open lab hours: http://tinyurl.com/6p76jp4

Have an awesome Spring Quarter!

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