Visual Media, The Major Less Traveled in 2003

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A photograph I took of Gracie’s Hall at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Robert Frost in one of my favorite poets. I especially loved “The Road Not Taken.” I remember reading in it in high school and just falling in love with the poem. I interpret it as not just walking in the woods and choosing a path to follow, but the paths in your life you choose. When I look back in my life I’ve seen myself as having some made choices that are less traveled. During my undergrad, I was a photography major until the summer of my sophomore year when I discovered a new major called Visual Media. It was a major that combined photography, graphic design and management.

At the time I learned about it, it was very new and not many students had taken it, but I thought I would switch into it nonetheless because I was frustrated with my photography major. I hated having to take out photo equipment and renting out studios. Every project it seemed I was doing both, borrowing a Nikon digital camera from the photo cage, my favorite at the time to shoot with and then going to the top floor and renting a studio that had lights, backdrop and a place to shoot my model in. Also my roommate was a graphic design major and I loved the projects she made and I loved looking through her graphic design books. I also learned that perhaps with graphic design added to my major I would be marketable when it was time for me to look for jobs once I graduated.

When I learned about Visual Media I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew I would have to learn Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, and more Photoshop. I had taken a Photoshop class and was fairly familiar with it, but I was a beginner. Illustrator, I had never tried and when I did start the major and had to take graphic design classes I did curse myself for having taken this road less traveled and I wondered if I would ever pass the major, but after a few months of learning Illustrator, it did becomes easier and once learning Illustrator I felt brave enough to learn InDesign, Flash, and Dreamweaver.

The reason why you have to learn so much of the Adobe Creative Suite as a Visual Media student is because each application has its own purpose. I used Photoshop mainly to edit images. I would adjust photo’s color, brightness, saturation, and also use the basic adjustment tools as well to retouch imperfections in the photo like dust specs and blemishes. Also I used Photoshop to make image collages. I loved selecting a piece of a photograph and pasting it on top of another photograph.

For graphics and logos, I used Illustrator. Illustrator is vector based not raster like Photoshop so the graphics and text came out sharper. Once you learn the menu and the tool bar in Illustrator it is pretty easy, but I did have a hard time using the Bezier Curve at first because I had a laptop and used my track pad to create shapes. I should have gotten a mouse. It’s much easier to control the curves when you’re first starting out when using a mouse.

InDesign, I used to create books, pamphlets, brochures, and anything with a lot of body copy. InDesign allows you to create a layout for your book so that the pages have a similar look and feel and I learned how to create a grid to better manage my layout. Flash I used for moving graphics, creating a banner, an intro for a movie and I also used Flash to create my portfolio website. At the time it was 2004 and Flash was used to create websites. My sites ended up being large sizes and the end user had to download the site before getting on it so I don’t use Flash anymore.

During the last quarter of my junior year I learned Dreamweaver. It was pretty easy by that time because I had learned a lot of Adobe Creative Suite and I had become used to using tutorial books as my guide. When I learned Dreamweaver I had to use a Lynda.com book and it made the whole process easier. The Dreamweaver book came with a CD in the back and the CD was filled with graphics and logo that you could use to create a site. The book had you download the files and it walked you step by step on how to create the site you had the logo and graphics for. I remember the book had me create a site for a store that sold Bonsai trees. It was a pretty interesting project and I really liked doing it. In the end of the class I created a portfolio using Dreamweaver. I used the designer’s view where you dragged and dropped and linked graphics, not the code view.

As you can see the Visual Media road for me was pretty daunting, but in the end I’m glad I chose the major. Once I graduated I worked as a photographer and later as a graphic designer. In 2011, I attended Full Sail University’s Media Design program and I graduated in 2012 with my Master of Fine Arts. Looking back I had almost not chosen that major were it not for my roommate being a graphic design major and her being so helpful. My roommate helped me so much during the early days of learning Illustrator and she answered all sorts of questions like, “Where is the button for this?” I remember many times when I would panic because I couldn’t find a button and she used to calmly help me out. To this day, I’m very thankful she was there to help me out.

If you have not read “The Road Not Taken” yet check it out! I copied and pasted it below. Now you must do a few things to really fully get this blog post! I want you to think about what times in your life you have taken a road less traveled and who helped you out. Write a blog post about it and share it on your Facebook so your friends can see.

Here is the movie I made to go along with this blog post.

The Road Not Taken

By: Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

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