Final Project Tutorials

For my first assignment, a visual assignment, I started by making a sample character in this character creator (note: requires Java). I used Artur’s hair which I modified in app to be more blonde, Chad’s armor which I modified to be green instead of the blue which is default, and while I don’t remember the exact face I used, the closest ones I found were Cormag’s face, Innes’s face, Jahn’s face, though I prefer Cormag and Innes’ faces at least for this specific character.  I exported the image, renamed the output.png file, and copied it to my folder where I had my DS106 photos.

After that, I opened it in GIMP, and saw that the size of the image was 192×192. Since the image must be 16×16, I made a new image that was 16×16, and open the 192×192 image as a layer in the 16×16 image, just as a reference of sorts. Since I had a color palette I had used before, I used the green from that for the cloak, the blonde from that for the hair, and the skin tone from that for his skin. Then I started to work over everything as best I could, placing pixels down where I thought that they should go. After that, I made a new layer and gave him a beard and mustache, same thing for the eyes. I hid the eye layer and then added dithering. I used the settings next to this, but use whatever you like. I didn’t feel totally satisfied with this, but I am not an artist whatsoever, so that’s an issue for another time.

For my second visual assignment, I started by using this GIMP palette of colors from wappenwiki, a wiki all about heraldry. Once I had installed that, I went to the wikimedia page for svg heraldry elements and started looking around. I already had this older version of the image from old worldbuilding, but since it has been superseded since I downloaded that file, you can go here and get similar templates. After that, I went back to the main category and downloaded a chevron, a horse, a lion, and a nine sided star (while it is the Baha’i faith in the real world, I didn’t have much luck finding other nine-sided stars), to represent the Nine Gods that most people in the world follow. The kingdom as a whole is known for their horses, but Blackhill in particular is known for their very high quality horses. A lot of the assignment was spent working with the vectors since GIMP seemed to import them as PNG images, so any time I tried to scale it made the images blurry. I managed to get around this by selecting by color and then bordering with 1 to 2 pixels of black, as well as using the threshold tool to work with it. I opened the svgs as their own layers and began playing with the scales, and when I found the right size I deleted the main layers and imported them once more as layers, but at the correct size. I duplicated them, moved them directly across from where I had imported them, and then flipped the ones on the left horizontally so they faced the ones on the right (except for the star, which stayed at the top).
Finally I made the shield background dark green instead of the white it was. Once I had finished the shield design, I needed house words for the house of Blackhill. I went to this site and generated one that said “Family and Truth”, which I felt could apply to this family with particularly strong bonds. After that, I looked around for a good medieval font and found Eadui, based on the handwriting of an 11th century scribe. I added the house name at the top and then the motto at the bottom. Finally I mostly played around with the font size.

For my second visual assignment, I started by using this GIMP palette of colors from wappenwiki, a wiki all about heraldry. Once I had installed that, I went to the wikimedia page for svg heraldry elements and started looking around. I already had this older version of the image from old worldbuilding, but since it has been superseded since I downloaded that file, you can go here and get similar templates. After that, I went back to the main category and downloaded a chevron, a horse, a lion, and a nine sided star (while it is the Baha’i faith in the real world, I didn’t have much luck finding other nine-sided stars), to represent the Nine Gods that most people in the world follow. The kingdom as a whole is known for their horses, but Blackhill in particular is known for their very high quality horses. A lot of the assignment was spent working with the vectors since GIMP seemed to import them as PNG images, so any time I tried to scale it made the images blurry. I managed to get around this by selecting by color and then bordering with 1 to 2 pixels of black, as well as using the threshold tool to work with it. I opened the svg files as their own layers and began playing with the scales, and when I found the right size I deleted the main layers and imported them once more as layers, but at the correct size, and colored them (gold for the lion, brown for the horses, and leaving the star white). I duplicated them, moved them directly across from where I had imported them, and then flipped the ones on the left horizontally so they faced the ones on the right (except for the star, which stayed at the top). I made the shield background dark green instead of the white it was. Once I had finished the shield design, I needed house words for the house of Blackhill. I went to this site and generated one that said “Family and Truth”, which I felt could apply to this family with particularly strong bonds. After that, I looked around for a good medieval font and found Eadui, based on the handwriting of an 11th century scribe. I added the house name at the top and then the motto at the bottom. Finally I mostly played around with the font size.

Most of my third assignment, a design assignment, was trying to get the vectors to work in GIMP, since I think it was converting them to PNG files so they would become blurry anytime I tried to scale them. I used this icon for the crossed arrows,  this crown icon, and this sword icon. I started by playing around with the layering – I decided to have the arrows be lowest, then the sword, and finally the crown was highest to represent the absolute power of the king. I had to use the threshold tool a lot to make the images not be blurry, as well as importing them at different sizes like for the coat of arms assignment. I made two different versions – one where part of the arrows could be seen through the crown, one where they could not be (which I used a layer mask and painted over, like in the next assignment).

For my fourth assignment and second design assignment most of my time was spent trying to find a good outfit for what I feel like a medieval “spec ops” unit would wear. Ultimately I decided to go with what would blend in with the woods – a green tunic, leather pants, boots, and gloves, and a grey wool cloak. Most of the images I found were from SCA/historical reenactment sites where the relevant pieces could be bought. I used this tunic,  this cloak,  these pants, and these boots.

Once I had saved the images, I realized that I’d probably want to remove the backgrounds since not all the backgrounds matched. I used remove.bg to remove the background since I’m not familiar enough with GIMP to do it in GIMP. After that, I decided to make a 1000×1000 image so that I’d have enough room to work with my images. Once I had done that, I loaded each of the respective images as a layer and began mostly playing around with the layering to make sure that I would be satisfied. I duplicated the cloak layer and moved it above the tunic. However, the cloak and pants were giving me problems – I needed part of the cloak to appear on top of the shoulders but not on top of the entire tunic.  What I decided to do was add a layer mask by right-clicking on the layer and saying add layer mask – that way painting with a specific color on the mask would “erase” the parts I didn’t want, but wouldn’t damage the actual image. I decided to use a white layer mask – that way anything I painted black would disappear and anything that stayed white would be visible. After that I started slowly painting over the mask – mostly black for below the shoulders, leaving it white right around the shoulders. I made a layer group called “cloak and tunic” and moved the cloak and tunic layers into that, at least to start. I repeated the layer mask steps for the boots, pants, and gloves. Ultimately everything would end up in the layer group, but this isn’t necessary.

My fifth assignment and the last two, all audio assignments, had a very similar work process, mostly consisting of cutting samples in my DAW (I used FL Studio but Audacity should work as well). I started by going to freesound and looking around – for the soundscape, I wanted to reflect the idea of someone basically booking it on horseback to the capitol. For both claps of thunder, I wanted one to be more distant and I wanted one to be close, yet I wanted it to seem like it filled the entire sky with sound. I started by cloning the thunder sample I had cut in Edison and sending it to another mixer track so it wouldn’t be affected by the effects I’d put on the more distant one. After that, I cut the horse clopping down to the loudest parts and normalized it in Edison, saving that to another channel, same thing for the rain. After that it was mostly playing around to see what I liked best as far as which sounds came in when. After that, I went back to my mixer and added a filter on the distant thunder – I went with a low pass filter right around 300 Hertz so it would sound more distant. I added a reverb to it to make it seem huge. Finally, as far as effects go, I went to the close thunder and added a compressor to boost the volume, and added a reverb, the same settings as on the distant thunder, to make it seem huge.

I finally played around with the volume – I wanted the horse to seem like it was racing by, so I right clicked on the volume knob for the horse clopping and made an automation clip, so that it would fade in as Garulf went towards the keep and then would fade out as he passed the “camera”. Most of that was achieved by right clicking on the volume automation clip and adjusting the button to the right of where I had clicked. I ultimately turned down the rain volume so that it wouldn’t seem as heavy compared to everything else.

The sixth assignment and second audio assignment started by going to freesound and looking around – I wanted to reflect the sound of nighttime as well as the sound of Thorgnyr, the High King of the Skuldi, being killed without wanting to make it sound unrealistic. I decided not to add any scream or sounds of the arrow hitting flesh, but what I decided to do was add a thud as well as leaves crumpling to reflect his body collapsing. I started by gathering samples, loading them into FL Studio, cutting them, and sending the cut samples to mixer channels, though I didn’t feel effects were totally necessary, maybe some reverb at most. I mostly played around with the volume to reflect that Garulf needed to stay quiet to avoid being detected.

For my final assignment and third audio assignment, I decided to reflect the keep on a particularly busy evening, with the bells from the church outside ringing for evening services while knights, courtiers, and other nobles were eating and doing other things in the keep. I started by going to freesound (big surprise, I know) and getting sounds – a bell ringing, a small to medium sized crowd having conversations, as well as a fireplace to reflect the hearth in the keep. I loaded these into FL Studio and started cutting the samples and playing around with volume. I edited the crowd volume down, and to make the bell seem more distant I used a low pass filter on that specific sound at about 300 Hertz, though obviously you can play around with that for different results.