New Media

New Media

The New Media project was compiled as a series of taster sessions running from Wednesday 7th January 2009 for 10 weeks, culminating in a Celebration Showcase Event on Wednesday 1st April 2009. These taster sessions are focused on the group gaining new media art skills whilst exploring different computer software, and will be lead by artists Simon Blackmore, Ross Dalziel, and Ross Clark.

Many of the programmes used are free to download, so the group can continue to develop their skills themselves at home, and we have added links to the blog so that you can try out the software too!

The blog below charts the progress of a group of 10 young people aged 13-18 from Ashfield, Bank View, Sandfield Park, and Redbridge Schools as they worked in the Media Lab at FACT.

Week 1

This was the first session, so the group was introduced to the artist Simon Blackmore who will be leading the next three sessions, and also to FACT. The group were lead on a tour around the gallery to explore the current exhibition Ding>>Dong, which includes Simon's own piece (as part of the Owl Project the M-log which is in the media lounge with other interactive technological instruments.

Then we went upstairs to the Media Lab where all the sessions will be talking place, and explored the imacs, what they can do, what we will be using them for, and which programmes we will be using. Simon introduced the group to the software Art of Illusion in which we had a go at creating 3D shapes, such as cubes and spheres which could be viewed from different angles and viewpoints. Simon helped everyone to create something on the software so that by the end of the session we all had some form of landscape which we will work on animating next week.


Week 2

This week Simon Blackmore returned for his second session with the group using the software Art of Illusion to create our own 3D landscape. We spent most of the session this week discussing architecture with Simon, what buildings we liked, and the cityscapes and skylines, which inspired us. We thought about the kind of buildings we would create and why we would use certain shapes in different ways.

This was so that we could really plot our 3D landscapes and build them up to look like a screen image so that when we animate our landscapes we will be able to put them all together to make one big film.


Week 3

Simon Blackmore joined us again this week, and we spent another session using Art of Illusion completing our films for the presentation. We added colour, texture and movement to the existing models created by the group.

Simon showed the group how to animate a sphere using an application in Art of Illusion. The programme uses stop frame animation which works by telling the object exactly where it has to be in key frames so you click on the place you want the shape to move to, and then select this point on a timeline at the bottom of the screen (which you cant see when the film plays).

This makes the image look as if it is moving when the film is played through. As well as animating the object we can also animate the angle and viewpoint of the camera so that we can zoom in and out and view the film from above as well.

Week 4

This week saw Simon Blackmore's final session with the group, so we spent the session finishing off the project and cleaning everything up. We made sure that we had our 3D videos as we wanted them, adding colour and texture to the models, and that they were all animated in some form.


Simon checked that everyone's clips ran for 8 seconds each so that they would all match when Simon compiled them together in to the film. We decided on a common background and colour to make the film fit together and Simon made a black background for the beginning and end of the film. We also looked through sound files to see if we could find anything suitable to add on to our films, ready for the presentation.


Week 6


This week Ross Dalziel returned for his second taster session with the group to follow up on his introduction to SketchUp and Bricksmith

a database full of interesting 3D models created by SketchUp users which are available to share with others. We even used the applications in 3D Warehouse to add some of our favourite things into the models, such as TV's and games.

The group worked on creating 3D shapes using tools to create models such as houses, Liverpool One, and even a Cathedral, and used colour and texture tools to create different effects and a realistic appearance, such as brickwork on a house.

Ross also introduced the group to Bricksmith, a database of Lego shapes and parts, which can be customised and adapted to put in to our 3D models. We then used Bricksmith to create individual Lego models for our avatars, which will be used to represent us on our projects.




Week 7

This week Ross Dalziel joined us for his final LEGO®UP! session. along with our Bricksmith personalised Lego avatars

We continued to work with SketchUp, and modified pre-existing building templates to make them individual, changing the structure and appearance of the buildings, adding windows, doors, and altering colours using the applications.

When we had made the models look how we wanted, we then used our Bricksmith personalised Lego models from the previous week and imposed them on to the side of the buildings like billboards in our virtual cities. and you can see our models by clicking on this link!

 Another part of the session involved members of the group learning how to upload information on to the internet, and into this blog, here Kyle and Joshua have uploaded their views of the workshops:

"I enjoyed making and creating new models and buildings on sketch up. I like experiencing new things and ideas, I would not mind being a computer technician in the future."

"I made models of the Liverpool waterfront, Liverpool One, Anglican Cathedral, Metropolitan Cathedral, Radio City tower, and the Liver Buildings. I have enjoyed watching and taking part in the sessions, I like going to FACT, and I love the Liverpool cityscape."



Week 8

This week we were joined by artist Ross Clark who will be working with us for the next three weeks to produce an image and sound collage. Ross brought us all memory sticks with the Photoshop programme loaded on to it. Then he asked us to write down three things about ourselves on post it's so that we were thinking about what we like, to create our collages.

The group then chose a photo from a selection which Ross had taken himself and loaded on to the memory stick, when we all had something we liked we used this as our main image. Then we highlighted one part of it that we thought looked good and cropped and copied this, then dropped it on to a white background to make a new image. Using the edit tools in Photoshop we copied this new image and repeated it, rotating, reshaping and altering the appearance so that it was a completely new image from the original photo.

"I think it's very good and I have enjoyed my self." Michael

"The fact media club has been really good fun because we can now find out what makes our photographs and images that we have taken, really look good. This is myself by the computer in the fact centre with the image of RMS Titanic. I have enlarged, re coloured and re modernised the image and now it looks better than before. I have really enjoyed being here in the fact centre doing this project every Wednesday since January 7th 2009, plus I have also enjoyed being here with my friends." Dan



Week 9

This week we had a really noisy and fun session as Ross returned to help us add sound to our collages. At the beginning of the session Ross passed round post its and pens and asked us to think of words to describe ourselves or things that we like and are interested in, so that we could use these to inspire us in our recordings.

We used a programme called Audacity on the Mac to record sounds on to, this allowed us to record our own voices talking, reading a sentance about ourselves, and even making noises and music. Audacity allowed us to record something once, and then record another sound on another layer, so that we could distort the sounds and make them sound really busy and interesting, we also put beats on to the tracks to create our own original recordings.


We also used a programme called Garage Band, which allowed us to play musical instuments through the computer keyboard keys, such as the piano and keyboard, and then put these in to our recordings as well. We used headphones to listen to these back, and spent the session really creating a sound track that was personal to us and that would go well with our collages. Throuhout the session we also uploaded the images which we had brought with us on to the computer, ready to add to our Photoshop files and personalise our collages with next week.


"We think this is a great opportunity because we get to use all the different programs that we would not use outside. We have used programs that we have never knew about so we are grateful that we took this opportunity." Sammie  and Joseph

Week 10

This week was the last of the groups workshops, which have spanned 10 weeks from 7th April, and hosted Simon Blackmore, Ross Dalziel and Ross Clark, who have all given the group a taster of new technologies and programmes which we can download and use again at home, working and improving on the new skills we have learnt. Ross Clark joined us for the final session to finish off our sound/image collages ready to present at the showcase next week.

We used Audacity and Garage Band to complete the sound element of our collage and listened through headphones until we had finished recording something which was personal to us, such as speech, or some words about ourselves, a track created entirely on Garage Band layering different musical instruments to create our sound, or even merging the two programmes to create a track with instruments and beats on it, and including our vocals as well.

We also scanned in the items we had brought which we wanted to include in our collages, such as postcards, pictures, photographs and drawings. We then added these in to our existing files in Photoshop and continued to alter the collages until we were happy with them.

"I enjoyed the virtual LEGO session the most, I like doing the LEGO models, and I liked doing the collage, I put my family crest in it, and the Liverpool badge, and a Mitsubishi Evo because I would like to drive one. I would like to be a mechanic when I finish school." Shaun

"This was good. (House of the dead rules!)." Sam


"I have had a great time in the sessions, especially Ross's collages which were my favourite sessions, learning something new was interesting." James

"My favourite session was Ross Dalziel's when we were building with Lego, it was really creative and you could see that it looked really realistic, and I have really enjoyed the whole project." Chelsea


We would like to thank: Karen, Angela, Amanda, and Angela M for being wonderful PA's.
Simon Blackmore, Ross Dalziel, and Ross Clark for preparing interesting and exciting sessions.
And Shaun and Angela for helping us every week. Thank You!



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