Monthly Archives: February 2012

Listening to @Noiseprofessor talk about Forest Gardening

Forest Gardening

Session by @Noiseprofessor Tuesday February 28, broadcast on #ds106radio

He’s BIG on propagation and only interested in plants you can eat.

When choosing forest garden plants, consider useful plants; that are useful for food, fibre, dye, medicine, forgagers, soil building.

He likes the book by Fukuoka, One Straw Revolution aka Do Nothing Farming.

Mound Culture involves piling of organic matter. Hugelkultur is the use of woody waste.
I have an archive somewhere of the time @Noiseprofessor burnt up some woody matter in a closed system and successfully created biochar.

All the plants that live in an area and use each other’s resources symbiotically are known as a guild. Food, feed, climbers, supporters, miners, groundcover, protectors. This can be seen in the forest with the canopy, low tree layer, shrubs, herbaceous layer, groundcover and roots.

A productive region of a forest garden is the edge because it has the most biodiversity between ranges. The edge effect is used to maximize the sun’s influence while planning for succession; positive gradual edge.

This is one time where I think the visuals might have helped me because there were many words I had to look up and concepts that I’d like to explore further.

Luckily, he has a whole blog dedicated to learning more:


Inspired by Linda’s DS106, The Movie design assignment and the eerie but awesome Make Jim Groom Art, Damnit! visual assignment, I have attempted my own movie poster starring Professor Jim Groom, the intrepid explorer raiding the lost art!

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to see Noiseprofessor detail some of the steps he takes when he does his Photoshop Jams. I used many of his tips, like Render light source and keeping multiple files of Jim’s head.

As usual, when I do anything DS106, there was A LOT of futzing. It is not a science. There are many times I am glad I save often and there is an extensive HISTORY to undo my changes.

I also used the pen tool to do my selecting. There was a lot of use of the Edit-Image Adjustments-Replace Color in order to get the right match of yellow/orange/brown for Jim’s head. I used the gradient tool to do the DS106 and had to make a custom selection to go from red to yellow to white. I would have liked more yellow but I didn’t quite notice until I had already added the drop shadow and outline. By that time I’d already put in waaaaay too much time to go back and fix it.

Re-imagined Lord of the Flies

I decided to take one of my fave novels, Lord of the Flies and pay homage to the dude who ruled the Drosophilia Thomas Hunt Morgan.

I did this really quickly using the Wikipedia photos and basic shapes in Photoshop.

I had a few labs in university working with Drosophilia and I’ll never be the lady of the flies. They all died. No genetic information to report on next generation Diptera for me. Luckily more organized and systematic people like Thomas Hunt Morgan existed to figure all that cool stuff out.

Join in the brand

Me and the gals learned to stop worrying and love the propaganda.

Because we’re in DS106 now.

This is an ANIMATED propaganda poster based on “We’re in the army now” retro poster. I used Photoshop and very crudely selected out the bits I wanted to erase, used the eyedropper to select the background colour and filled in parts. This was not satisfactory in some sections so I had to use the rubber stamp tool to clone and get the right variety of colours. Thanks to @cogdog I was able to use the opacity animation feature to make a layer 100% to 0% visible across the animation timeline. I never knew that was there! There are also animation ability for position which would have made my bread head assignment way easier to do, instead of using nudge, you can just set key frame position and Adobe figures out the tweening for you.

Learning, learning, always learning! (hmm…sounds like another propaganda poster)

Learning by Design: Sketchnoting in DS106

Jim Groom invited me to present to his DS106 class yesterday. Unfortunately this week has been a challenge to do things in the evenings synchronously so I pre-recorded this video [7min]

For those of you who can’t sit through 7 minutes of video, here’s a quick outline of the talk:
Untitled #117
Introduction to me (In B&W, then in living colour!)
Sources of Inspiration: Text

Sources of Inspiration: Listening

Sources of Inspiration: Your Beautiful Mind
  • Layout
  • Lettering
  • Basic Shapes
  • Metaphors

DS106 Dooodling

Oh. And one more thing

I have housed all my Visual Notes resources on a special page but this video was my first time talking through a few of my work. It took far longer to create than I’d like to admit and in hindsight, I forgot a few key points to remember when taking on the fun challenge of live sketchnoting.

Reading from the twitter stream and looking at the Flickr ds106doodles after the fact, I think Jim had them listen to Ken Robinson’s Changing Education Paradigm. I love that talk and I think it’s a testament to the students that I can identify that’s what they were listening to, just by looking at their sketchnotes.

I read some of their comments and they had difficulty keeping up. And this is common. This is where the real focus and fun comes in because knowing that you have to draw something to convey the essential points of a talk makes you pay very close attention. You need to be selective about what you decide to write and draw. Sometimes you’re able to keep the thought in your head and draw a lot of it and other times, you just have to let it pass.

Some presenters are easier to sketchnote than others because they state right up front what main ideas they will be discussing. I tend to enjoy classes that run this way too. I’ve read from other incredible visual notetakers that sometimes they even ask for an outline from a talk beforehand. The big thing is that it takes practice. TED talks are excellent for this because they are a great length, interesting and released under creative commons. You can listen and re-listen and hone in your skill. Of course, as Jim showed, the RSA videos are exemplary.

SIDE NOTE (how I did the movie):

I took a picture of my hand holding a pen on paper with my iPhone.

Original drawing

Imported it into Brushes on my iPad.
Created a new layer.
Drew on the top layer.
Exported the brushstrokes as Actions.
Imported into iMovie.
Recorded Audio using iMovie as I watched the animation.

I have been meaning to do a video of what this looks like since a few of my visual practice friends are not familiar with layers and I cannot live without them. Life without layers is so flat.

Pure Bread is two steps away from In Bread

I’d like to tell you a story of bread and spandex.

First, there was this tweet…

Then @noiseprofessor up and @JimGroom-ified that breathtaking toe-tapping, spandex spectacle and transformed it into a piece of beauty.

Strangeness ensued with Cat Breading

which led of course to the subsequent DS106 Cat Breading Assignment

OF COURSE the natural progression would be for @cogdog to do some @jimgroom breading
Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go in the Kitchen Again

Well, friends, we’re on a roll here, why stop?

Now you’ll notice I added some bread heads, specifically @jimgroom and @twoodwar but I left some blank bread heads. This is mostly because it’s 1:22AM and I’m toast. But also, because maybe YOU would like to add some heads to that bread.

*Bourgeous Closed System Warning*
Photoshop instructions ahead.
(I’m sorry I want to learn GIMP but I’m in love with Photoshop. I can’t leave her. Yet.)

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

When you open an animated GIF in Photoshop, open the animations menu bar. You’ll notice as you click through the frames that it also switches to the corresponding layer visibility (noted by the eye). Select all frames. Insert a new layer. Paste in the head. Meticulously go frame by frame and nudge the head into the right place. I wasn’t so meticulous, hence the bobbing effect.
There are cool ways of using masks when you only need to change movement on a section, but this glorious dancing piece it’s no benefit.

Well that’s how *I* did it. If you know a better way, please tell me!

Poussin’s Midas and Bacchus & Le Grand Chat

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

Just testing out the Awesome Cintiq and what better thing to do than make art better with some fat cats???

This is Nicholas Poussin’s Bacchus & Midas holding Trophy (le grand chat)

I’ve been wanting to do this assignment since the brilliant, lovely and talented Annie Belle tweeted this hilarious link to Great Artists’ Mews a few weeks ago. I love seeing new DS106ers come on board, get charged and make beautiful art. It’s inspiring and reinvigorating.

I will write more about my process (I promise) but I only have this Cintiq tablet for another 20 minutes before we hand it to a faculty member to make some mathemagic.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

The Cost of Knowledge

My Flickr stream is getting a lot of hits these days. As an online petition grows by the thousands per day, I’m getting a few hundred visits DAILY to my recent visualization of Timothy Gower’s blog post and The Chronicle of Higher Ed article, Elsevier Publishing Boycott Gathers Steam Among Academics.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

It all came to me via a tweet from @clintlalonde and really energized me to see academic researchers get coordinated.

I’m particularly fond of my new version of Elsevier’s logo, where I wonder what happens when the vines and grapes growing around the tree of knowledge turn into chains and locks.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

Of course, this entire issue was brought into sharper focus for me by Brian Lamb months ago during his conference presentation, Toward Open Sustainability at Open Ed 2011 and his subsequent post, Higher Education and the Private Good. As Brian points out, those of us privileged enough to work at universities are able to gain access to most research but what about every one else? If the research is publicly funded, then the public should be able to access it just like we do. Timothy Gower wonders about developing nations, what do they do when they cannot afford access to information? It’s just not right.

While I am skeptical this will change much, it still brings me a bit of optimism to see over 3,000 researchers make the pledge. At the very least, as a stat junkie, I’m enjoying watching my Flickr hits increase daily.

UPDATE: I am pleased that @FakeElsevier is using my new subverted Elsevier logo. Follow the account for some comedic relief and a few quite poignant arguments.

Who is @FakeElsevier?



MORE UPDATES: Also pleased that TheCostofKnowledge has a blog showing the visual graphic. And the petition has over 7,000 7,500 signatories.
Feb 29 UPDATE: British Medical Journal & Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad will both being using the @FakeElsevier logo in upcoming articles about the boycott and Open Access.