Sunday, April 22, 2012

Final Project: Second Life Avatars

                             (Digitally Beautiful or Weird Harry Potter?)
Due Monday, May 14, 10:15am - 12:15pm - 
We will hold our final class meeting in Second Life!
As you all know, our final project will consist of the creation of two avatars in Second Life. We will start with a tour of Second Life locations with Joseph Delappe, head of the Digital Media Department, as our Docent. Also, Clint will be giving us a workshop on how to get things done in Second Life. The "Community Learning" idea is a theme we have followed through out the semester and will, of course, be continued in our final project. Think of the project as a mixture of the traditional self-portrait and social practice new media art. Please check out this Front Line "Digital Nation" (I believe its on Netflix too) to start thinking about the digitalization of various aspects of our lives.

Part 1: First Self
Representational Avatar/Self
If you haven't done so already, sign up for a free account and get acquainted with Second Life. Your first avatar will be representational and reflective of who your are in real (or meat) space. Look above to see mine as an example.

Follow these steps:
A) Begin by playing with the appearance interface to get accustomed to playing in Second Life. Play with eye color, body shape, etc. to build your digital self. You will need to find, create, or buy (I'll give you some SL cash called Lindens) clothing and accessories to create a realistic avatar. Think of the Second Life tools as just another medium used to create human representations.

Below is a tutorial that will help you get comfortable playing with your appearance.

B) Once you have created an avatar, save this as an outfit. The next step is to use Photoshop to create a "photo" realistic avatar. I've included tons of tutorials and the avatar template I used to create my beautiful self. Like everything related to Digital Media, it looks harder than it really is. You will start by taking a profile and front head shot to work with in Photoshop. Make sure these are taken together so the light is consistent. You will use these photos as source material to build your portrait with a Master Template. Remember, patience and  the Clone Stamp Tool are your best friend in this project.

Here is the main tutorial page for clothing and skin tutorials:

I used this link to create my avatar. Her website is full of helpful tutorials on all sorts of fun subjects:
Robin Wood

Here are some files that I used in my process.
This is the final result using the template I downloaded from Robin Wood. Remember to hide the template layers before saving your file as a .tga.


Its easier to only work with one half of your source photo to make your portrait have symmetry.

Below is the template Joe used to create his senator candidate avatar: (you will need

This is a tutorial on making and importing skin. The version of SL used is old but the tutorial gives you a good sense of how to think about the process of creating your portrait:

Though the artist is using a different program in this video, the process you can use is the same. Its helpful to watch this as it quickly gives you tips on how to successfully use your tools to create your avatar.

We will meet in Second Life next week for a trial run of our avatar critiques. We will discuss the success of your avatar and what you can do to improve it for the final critique on April 14. Like Dylan said, this should be fun and somewhat of a digital party. I hope it is the funnest final you have this semester. Also, remember what I told you about flexibility and patience with each other for this project. The success of the critiques will rely on us working as a community and sometimes Second Life can be poopy in how it loads, functions, whatever. Good screen shots posted to your blog are vital for this project.


Part 2 – Second Self
For the second part of this project, you will create a "fantasy/experimental/imaginary" avatar. Your imagination is the only limit for the second avatar. Consider the variety of ways you can express your inner-self, your interests, or any way you would like to represent yourself. One requirement of this project is that at least one of the items of clothing or objects used for your outfit are made using the building tools in Second Life.

Remember the Google Rule when tackling this project and have fun. Really use your imagination and artistic creativity with this piece.

Some Additional Links for Tutorials!
A TON of tutorials here, please note "how to embed texture onto an object" for example:

Clothing Tutorial:

Importing Textures: Important for importing your portrait texture.

Build stuff:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Projects #7 Crowdsourcing!

Projects due and Critique: April 23, 1pm!

This project explores the creative possibilities of "crowdsourcing" - inviting you to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in three unique "crowdsourcing" art projects online and to conceive of a proposal for your own crowd sourcing project.

What is crowdsourcing? 

From Webopedia:
A slang term used to describe the practice of using both the skills and time of underpaid — or unpaid — amateurs to create content or solutions for established businesses. Basically, crowdsourcing means to "use talents of the crowd", and is a play on the word outsourcing. The origins of the word crowdsourcing are credited to Jeff Howe, a Wired Magazine writer who first brought crowdsourcing to people's attention and vocabulary with his 2006 story, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing".



Pages 111-124 Participative Systems from Rethinking Curating (pdf file will be emailed to you!)

Develop TWO questions for discussion - one for each reading!

Part 1: Choose THREE of the following and participate! Fully document your participation and provide appropriate links, images and writing on your blog posting for your final project effort:

1) Upload a video segment to the online video/film collaborative experiment, Man With A Movie Camera: The Global Remake

2) Create a photo essay to submit to the Collected Visions project:

3) Participate in The Johnny Cash Project

4) Create a proposal for the project:

5) Participate in the Young Me/Now Me project: 

6) Revisit the past with Dear Photograph:

Part 2: What if you were to make a crowdsourcing art project? What would it be? This is your challenge! Come up with an original crowdsourcing art project and create a design for an imagined home page. Think carefully about the idea of crowdsourcing art - please don't simply copy what has already been done (for instance, don't take a Lady Gaga song and do the Johnny Cash Project). Come up with something original. It can be funny, political, change the world? Be creative! Post your website homepage design and concept for this original crowdsourcing art project concept to your blog!

You are expected to expand upon what you have learned over the course of the semester in terms of your technical and conceptual growth. Do not choose simply what looks to be the “easiest” path to engaging these online crowdsourcing projects or in developing your own concept! Challenge yourself by conceiving an approach to these projects that will present you with new possibilities to advance your capabilities and thought processes as an artist! Projects are graded considering the complexity of concept, technical execution and the apparent level of difficulty in regard to what you choose to do! Good luck and have fun!

Projects due and Critique: April 23, 1pm!

Crowdsourcing Links:


Here is a website full of tutorials to learn a variety of software. I will email you the UNR access codes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Writing and Presentation Assignment

1) This is a two part final assignment.  You will be creating a 5 to 7 minute presentation for class and a 1500 word Illustrated Blog Post/Paper on the same subject matter.

2) Choose two artists (or artists groups/collaboratives) from the following websites featuring literally hundreds of artists for you to explore.  You are to choose artists we have not covered in class: (search through "fellows" and "residents" for hundreds of amazing artists, links to their websites will generally be on their profile pages)

2) Research your chosen artists. Make sure to record citations of where to find the works, links, etc.

3) Choose ONE representative work from each of your artists for a total of two works to be considered in your paper and presentation - you may choose to include more works by these artists in your visual presentation to the class.

4) Describe, analyze, interpret, compare and contrast the artist’s works, considering broadly their chosen formal and conceptual strategies, being careful to address genre (film, video, performance, interactive art, simulation, game art, etc) in your general analysis of the works. As part of your research, make an attempt to contact both of your artists to ask questions regarding the work. (If you don't hear back from them please note such in your paper and presentation). You need to reference the readings from the class when completing both parts of the research project. For the paper/blog post, make appropriate citations following standard academic paper guidelines (MLA or Chicago Manual Style)

Please limit your chosen artists/works to those created after 1980 - the only requirement is that the artists are somehow intrinsically involved in the creative use of digital technologies in their works.

The intent here is to give you the opportunity to critically engage in basic research and analysis of artists and artworks while at the same time encouraging a greater depth of experience of various artist’s creative production and contexts.

The paper is to be in the form of an extended blog post - include illustrations, videos where appropriate, etc.

Here are some online resources to help you in considering how to critique, compare and contrast your chosen artist's works:

Your presentation and writing will be graded according to the quality of your research, the originality of your analysis, the clarity of your writing, design and clarity of your presentation.

Due Dates:

In Class Presentations (chosen at random)
Monday, May 7th

Paper as Illustrated Blog Post:
Posted by: Wednesday, May 9th Midnight