The Assignment: ds106 visual assignment #138 is the Triple Troll Attack. It was one of the more popular assignments with my class last semester. Perhaps that was because it has a simple premise and can be easily completed. Here’s the description from the assignment bank:
The assignment is to take a photo, a quote from a different character than the one in the picture, and a name from a third character different from the other two, place the quote in the picture, and “sign” it with the third person’s name. The three characters are to be from three different, but similar in genre, series. It’s known as “troll quoting.”
An important element of the Triple Troll Attack is to have some thematic thread connecting the three trolls. Such was done wonderfully by one of last semester’s students with a Disney Triple Troll.
The Process: Again working with Gimp and Inkscape, this process was more time-consuming than it would have been with Aviary or Photoshop. But I am pleased with the result and feel that I’m starting to make some progress in learning to manipulate images and text so I consider it time well spent.
The first step was to think of the three characters who comprise this Troll Attack. I’ll save discussion of that for the next section of the post. As I had the quote in mind before beginning the assignment I needed to come up with the person to wrongly attribute the quote to and an image for third troll. I selected Karl Malden for the third troll because I’d already decided on Mr. Rogers as the second troll and needed a picture of someone named Carl (even with a K) for the third. This shot of Karl Malden as Father Barry was selected because it was the highest resolution image I could find in a Google image search. Also, I love his performance in On the Waterfront.
This brings to mind the issue of using Creative Commons licensed images in ds106 assignments vs. found images on the web that might be held under copyright. I am persuaded by Stephen’s explanation in the disclaimer he gave for a recent assignment to the point of feeling that I too will not bother to issue a disclaimer. Instead I will quote from his blog directly:
You might ask, what about the Creative Commons licensing and all that. I think my use of these images falls very much within the bounds of fair dealing – it’s a derivative work, it’s used for educational purposes, it makes social commentary, I earn nada from it, and I do not impact on the earnings of anyone else. I’m not going to run this disclaimer every time – I shouldn’t have to – fair dealing is my right, and I’m exercising it.
Once the image was secured, I opened it in Gimp and used Free Select Tool to separate Father Barry from the background. I made this a new layer and made the background layer all white. I originally used a soft grey background but felt that the stark all white would work better with the layout of this blog.
I then searched the DaFont site and came up with Neuton Cursive, downloaded and installed it by pressing the install button after opening the unzipped file. This was another unnecessary step. But I’d just learned about the DaFont site today from MBS’s awesome She’s a Witch post and I wanted to use it while it was still fresh in my memory.
When I opened up InkScape, the font was there and I copied the text of the quote and added Fred Rogers’ name. That would be the one and only Mr. Rogers. I exported PNG files in a couple of different sizes just to have a comparison.
My reason for doing it this way is that at one point I heard that vector graphics are better for working with text than bitmap. I don’t know exactly what this means but I assume that the font edges stay truer and sharper the longer they remain as vector. Once getting rasterized in a bitmap, they lose the sharpness each time the image gets resized. If somebody can explain this better or correct my explanation on this, I’d be much obliged.
Anyhow, I then opened the quote PNG in Gimp, copied it and pasted it as a new layer on the Father Barry image with white background. I played with moving the image and text around a bit until deciding on the current layout. The original idea was to have the photo on the right and the quote on the left – but for some reason I decided against it.
The final step was to resize the image (this is where I probably lost any benefit gained from doing the text as vector first) and exported it as a PNG and uploaded it to this blog and began writing this long post.
The Story: There actually is a story to the quote and the additional trolls. But I’m afraid that will have to wait. I intended to have this post complete before the end of 2011. But it’s just now 11:30 pm and I have a few other things to tend to. I will let you, the dear and devoted reader, attempt to decipher the actual speaker of the quote (the first troll). Please leave your guesses in the comments. I will attempt to explain the story that led me to select this quote and the three trolls in a follow-up post.
Thank you and have an awesome 2012.