An Inspiring Bad Photo

One of the assignments that caught my eye was strikingly simple.  Pick a bad photo, apply a vintage effect, and write something in helvetica.  It seemed like a brilliant way to highlight how easy it is to make something inspiring.  Just make it look like it was meant to have poor quality!  The photo I chose essentially had poor lighting and was a bit blurred, making it the perfect candidate for some vintage effects.  This time I was able to successfully play around in GIMP, finding a Decor filter called Old Photo.  I messed around with the settings and ultimately chose to mottle my photo while neglecting the sepia tone (that would just be a bit too much).  As I began inserting my text, I realized that GIMP didn’t have helvetica!  Darn it, that was the whole point of the exercise.  Luckily some quick internet searches assured me that helvetica is really a form of sans serif, so I opted to use a bolded Sans as a replacement font.  I fiddled with various sayings that revolved around the fire/light source that would be long enough to fill two lines across the picture (like the assignment model).  Once, completed, I exported my image, and voila!  A poor image has been transformed into an inspiring one.


Honestly, this exercise also demonstrates the need for caution/discernment when examining images on the internet.  I’ve come across similar “inspiring” photos, and its important to note that minimal thought may have been put into them (as this exercise demonstrated).  Be careful before taking life advice from the internet!

Drawing Wonder Woman

Despite some of the frustrations with GIMP, I still wanted to experiment some more with it.  I liked the idea of trying to make a drawing from a photo.  The photo I selected was the first Wonder Woman promo photo released on Gal Gadot’s twitter.  Being as her character is fairly ancient, it would be somewhat fitting to convert the photograph into a sketch.  I initially began exploring filters myself, and while I could find ones that make your photograph resemble an oil painting, etc., I could not find one that resembled a pencil drawing.  I conducted a google search, which eventually led me to this video.  This made life so much easier.  Previous I had followed step by step written instructions, which were helpful, but occasionally I’d get lost between steps.  By watching someone else demonstrate the process visually, I could more easily follow along and see exactly which choices were selected, etc., especially in regards to using layers and adjusting settings.  It seems to me that a lot of GIMP requires some trial and error, as I couldn’t get my photo to quite match the look of the tutorial’s example.  However, it’s a fairly good imitation, and the background in particular captures that pencil drawing look I was striving for.


WANTED: Xena “Warrior Princess”

The image of Jim Groom on a Wanted poster naturally caught my eye as I was searching through visual assignments.  This interest was only magnified by reading the description.  Essentially I could pick a favorite character and try to describe her as a villain.  I immediately jumped to the idea of using Xena.  While clearly a heroic figure, she has a redemptive storyline with a dark past.  It would be easy to see how society at large might be skeptical of her redemption.  After all, her past crimes included piracy, pillaging, and murder, and she was once known as “The Destroyer of Nations”.  So this was a fun way to essentially highlight this character’s ex-warlord days visually.

I chose to use the poster generator suggested by the assignment, which was relatively easy to use.  I first had to select a picture of Xena to use, so I conducted a quick Google Search and found this one.  I then used paint to crop out some of the extraneous background, and uploaded the final product to the site.  One of the only difficulties I ran into came while filling out the lines for the text of the poster, which had character limits.  This forced me to be as concise as possible while describing the many atrocities Xena committed in her past.  Ultimately I chose to generalize them as “crimes against the state” I also opted to use dinars (the currency used in the show) as opposed to dollars while issuing the reward.  I then generated the image successfully!



Turning Your Friends Into Memes

I was immediately drawn to the What’s The Meme? assignment, as I’ve tried my hand at turning my friends into memes before.   The attempt was a very humorous endeavor that I found quite personally rewarding.  However, the final product was made with paint, and was somewhat frustrating as I couldn’t use any outline features for the text, which was ultimately something I hoped learn in choosing this assignment.


For this attempt, I first began by searching through my photos for funny/captionable moments.  After, previewing my selections, I opened one in paint to begin editing, but still could find no way to outline my text.  I decided to explore using GIMP or Photoshop as an option.  Unfortunately, Photoshop appeared to cost money, so I opted for the free version of GIMP.  While playing around with GIMP, I still couldn’t find a way to outline my text, so I resorted to a Google search that brought me to this article.  But I got stuck trying to create a path from text, so I switched gears to this article, which did a better job of explaining the process more thoroughly.  Even then I still had some hiccups.  Sometimes I hadn’t selected the correct box or option, resulting in incomplete fills, or worse, everything being filled.  But after some serious trial and error, I successfully created three memes of my friends, which continue to make me laugh.

air-marshalling direction skeptical

Wonder Eowyn: Warrior Princess

I loved the humorous example I saw while browsing this assignment.  The idea of mixing an image, quote, and signature to trick unwary viewers seemed intriguing.  I wanted to try my hand at finding similar characters and see how one could mash them into essentially one super-character.  But on a more serious note, the assignment immediately reminded me of the various quotes that pop up on Facebook.  Many of them have an image of either a celebrity, or a particularly emotionally-compelling image with some form of quote.  Oftentimes in the comments I will see astute observers pointing out that either the quote is misattributed or completely false.  So while this certainly was a fun exercise, I felt that it also reinforced the need for skepticism while browsing information on the Internet.

For the actual creation process, I first had to decide on the characters I wanted to include in the piece.  Xena and Wonder Woman immediately came to mind, followed by Eowyn as another popular female warrior.  But then came the question of which aspects of each to include.  At first I considered using Xena’s famous quote of “I have many skills”.  But it then became apparent that such a choice would mean I would have to use an image of Wonder Woman with the signature of Eowyn, which I felt might be more easily spotted as a fake (as the two are fairly distinctive).  I then considered that many fans reacted to Gal Gadot’s first promo image as Wonder Woman by comparing it visually to Xena.  As such, perhaps Wonder Woman and Xena would be more likely to be confused with each other.  This led me to use Eowyn’s quote of “I am no man,” (especially fitting since all of the chosen characters are female) paired with that particular promo image and Xena’s signature.

To create this image, I opened the promo image in paint, and cropped out extraneous space on the righthand side.  I then changed the word coloring to white (to better contrast with the darker background), and experimented with various fonts for the quote itself.  I ultimately opted for Papyrus, which had a more ancient/timeless feel to it (especially fitting since Xena and Wonder Woman have Greek backgrounds).  After fiddling with font sizes, I saved the work, and voila!

I felt that the final product looked quite convincing, but was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of my parents.  My dad’s reaction was, “Did Xena really say that?” apparently missing that the image was of Wonder Woman.  But better yet, my mom didn’t notice anything odd at all about the picture, which cemented in my mind that the image appears perfectly plausible to a casual viewer!