Friday, January 29, 2010

00111010 01000100

Some time ago, we launched a design club at school. The purpose was and is to help each other with new ideas, share information and give feedback from our works. So, we created IMPD. So far, we've already had some great time with each other. We started a group in deviantArt, where we show our works for evaluation. Today, we got a get together in a form of stencil workshop where we just taped and clipped away for few hours. I didn't really feel like the ultimate-never seen before-oscarpulitzerworth of inspiration coming, so I just ended up with this.

Binary bag

After I did it, I realised how me it is. :D

01010111 01101000 01101111 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 01101110 00100111 01110100 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00101110 00101110 00101110 00111111 00100001

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Featured article

Laika graphic novel

I bought this graphic novel "Laika" by Nick Abadzis some time ago from Stockmann. I had browsed through it many times there before and when no one else seemed to be interested in it, I bought it. It's one of the very rare books that make me cry every time I read it.

What I really like about the novel is that it's so well thought over. The facts are quite accurate (and the author stages everything that's not) and the storyline is pure and easy to follow. What I don't like in it is that the pictures are so small. Because there isn't enough room to the drawings, it looks slightly childish. That doesn't create enough respect for anything so professionally done as this novel. It's impossible to say if Laika (or Kudryavka) was so beautiful by nature, but the way it's been depicted here is so cute! I also like the Soviet feeling in the book, it comes out in so many ways from the colours and clothes to the talks and behaviour of the characters.

Laika is a piece of history of spaceflights. I think this novel pays great respect to that poor little dog which became a pawn in the armstice race of two big nations.

http://www.nickabadzis.com/laika/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inspirational strategies

Today, I went skating on the ice of the lake Näsijärvi. It was cold, about -20C, but the scenery was lovely since the sun was shining for once. I wondered about the colours of the view. Why is it, really, that cold is always bluish, also in the colour principles? (We had some colour teaching at school last week. It is amazing what you can do with that stuff! Check Coloria.net for more info, even if it's in Finnish only.) Blue is also the colour of extreme heat: the blue part of the flame is the hottest, as are the blue stars, too. (Really blue stars are hotter than 30 000 K.) I guess the blue caused by the refraction is different than emitted blue, but it has to do with the spectral specifications of light, anyway. Cool stuff, literally speaking.

Nonetheless, it was very pretty scenery. I skated under the water vapour coming from Naistenlahti power plant. Under the cloud, the vapour deposited into ice crystals which then snowed over the ice causing some atmospherical phenomena. It all reminded me why I like cold so much. (As long as there's a place where I can get warm.) And it's pretty for inspiration, too.

Today's really been filled with colour after I changed my bed sheet into very bright lime green. I always slightly envy my friend's place. She's got a huge number of small, pretty and personal things which make her place feel more like home than anything I've ever seen. (Well, I must take in account that I've been roaming around the world for few years and still try not to keep too much stuff with me.) Today, though, I was happy after I noticed how nice my bed looks now. It's funny how little extra work like placing pillows nicely on the bed can make you feel so much more relaxed. Here's a detail:

On my bed

My Indian sari is in the background adding some colour to my room's blank walls. The beaver is my sleep companion I got when I was 3. The pillow is just one of four I've made during the past years. I tend to have fixations towards German bands...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weird wonders of Ikea

The design starts from the smallest things. During the Christmas leave I visited Ikea, since my brother wanted to buy a bed and he asked if my car wants to give him a hand. So, we made a short trip deep into the huge blue-yellow box, where everything is perfect and world smells of plastic dreams and global.

Every time I visit Ikea or read their catalogue, I always start to wonder about the product names. They sound Swedish, they look Swedish, but are they Swedish? In many cases, yes. But there are words which don't come up in any dictionaries, even if they do wake associations in the real life. Ikea is an international company, though, and they don't expect everyone in the world to understand Swedish. But in Finland, where it's still our second national language, we are bound to connect the names into something very people-homeish. And Ikea is very good at that.

So, is there somewhere some kind of an Ikea name generator, which spruits out these names when needed? Some kind of a huge Ikea computer (blue-yellow box, of course), which creates random words out of letters? (Of course it discards all of the names that would raise negative feelings, like Gävla, Sjutton and Skit (I did actually check these!) and also everything that hints to racism or other indecent arousals.) Whenever useful words are created, they will be stamped to the products and trolleyed into the vast vaults of Ikea warehouse department.

I think I might have some use for such a name generator. Few days ago, I had great difficulties deciding about the name of this blog, for example. Or think about what kind of ideas you could get out from clever names. If you got an assignment to design, let's say a poster for an anti-nuke campaign, you could just type in the names of the former nuclear devices, set the theme ("explosive" or "radiant") and let the machine work for you some intelligent idea suggestions.

After all, design is all about creating feelings. To know how human mind works is to use it to one's advantage. The key to clever design is the thorough-thought package from the form to the meaning, use and name.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread

Nothing is cheap, so I have to fund my studies by working. Unfortunately, my current work place is located in my former home town Turku. So, I can mainly only work during the weekends. I guess I could try to find another place here in Tampere, but I love the place I'm working in so much that I don't think I'd be able to find an equal place anywhere. My work place is located on the bank of river Aura, pretty much in the best spot in Turku. It's a big building covered by red bricks and it is surrounded by parks. It is also quite old, this year it will have its 710th official birthday. It is sitting in the middle of Finnish history and culture and it's one of the most famous places in the country. It's also the national building of the Evangelic Lutheran religion in Finland. The place itself is extremely beautiful and filled with stories of the past and present generations. I enjoy profoundly working there and wouldn't be easily lured away from there - even if I needed to travel to Turku every time I wanted to work.

So, this weekend I was working again. Being a caretaker in the Finnish national church is sometimes rather challenging, but it suits my persona. I've been there since 2001 and there're still so many things I don't know... And when you thought you knew all, there's always some tourist coming to ask some really weird stuff and you just have to try to help them the best you can. To get to the grips what my work really feels like, here is a small joke I made during the Christmas period. (Everything always gets accumulated in Christmas and Easter.) The funny part is that this is not really a joke, but rather close to the truth...

Counting the collection

Friday, January 22, 2010

Behind the scenes

Yesterday at school, we studied how to make some video content to homepages, etc. It's actually a longer project, we'll be into it for a few weeks (one day a week). Last week we talked about scripting and a bit about genres and styles to do film shooting. Yesterday we talked about cameras and our teacher showed us how to set the camera settings in professional cameras. It was quite a lot of fun, but really hard to remember since we are not continuosly using those cameras... Setting the white balance and using zebra stripe function in the camera is not exactly what I had in mind when I entered the school, but it's quite useful. And it feels cool to use camera equipment as a real pro. :)

Later, I went to the movies. Some time ago, I got a free movie ticket from our line's teacher, because I had excelled in some organisational things. I had to use the ticket before it expired and it took me some time to decide what to watch. (I'm really bad at going to the movies, I prefer books.) Eventually, I ended up going to watch The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, mainly since it had pretty convincing actor selection. I was amused also to notice how I paid close attention to the camera angles since we had just been talking about them in the school. I also loved the 3D animated parts of the movie. Doing something like that for my work would be awesome!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New beginnings

After blogging to Livejournal for several years, it feels funny to start a whole new blog in the blogosphere. Still, I find a need for it now. Last autumn I started studies in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (or TAMK) in the line of Interactive Media. I noticed quickly that my old blog felt a bit patched with my personal life and my student life all mixed up. So, with this blog I try to concentrate in the world of media and design, while my old blog at Livejournal can still fulfil its purpose as a window to my life outside school.

I hope I manage to use this blog also as a part of my portfolio, which can later work as an aid when I'm ready for working life. Since my degree in TAMK is conducted in English, I will also write this blog in English. The name, Beta Pictoris, is a name for a star in the Southern Hemisphere sky. Its spectral class is A6V (V being Roman numeral) and it lies appr. 63 light years away. It is specifically known for the protoplanetary disk surrounding it, even if the star itself is not very bright.

I've been amateur astronomer all of my life, and before starting my studies here in Tampere I lived few years in New Zealand. Most of my time I worked as an astronomy guide and I often pointed out Beta Pictoris from the sky. Thinking of new stellar systems being born even at this minute somewhere in the vast depths of our Universe always makes me want to reach for the stars and discover the beauty of imagination. That imagination is something I want to convey in my life and work, too.