The Week That Went By

A week has passed since I started school again. It’s refreshing to be in classes and around people that are learning that I want to learn. The classes are fun. The professors and students are great. I have to change the final projects that I want to do. My Java programming course doesn’t have a final project.

Each class has an assortment of exams, quizzes, and assignments. My PHP and Swift courses also have final projects. My WordPress course has 2. The blog piece I wrote in the summer about my plan for projects has to be changed.

swiftIn my Swift course, our final project is building a simple app. I wrote about wanting to build a game in an earlier blog post. I still do, but the brick game I want to build will have to wait. With this class, I’m going to build a small game that revolves around a clown throwing a ball up in the air. The user’s goal is to prevent it from dropping. I’ll be writing more about this project in future posts.

My WordPress design course is stricter with the projects that we are doing this semester. First, we’re doing a redesign of a literary journal from North Island College. The second project in the course is creating a portfolio project site, like this one. Both will be great projects to do, and I’m really excited about working on the lit journal because it’s something that I really want to do moving into the next year with publishing WordPress magazines for my business.

There are a lot of good projects to do this semester and they’re making me excited.

School and Final Projects

Woot another blog post. Two days late but that’s because of work. I’ve been thinking a lot about the classes that I’m taking. Especially the final projects that I’m interested in doing. I wanted to share those classes with everyone.

I’m taking four courses in September:

IMG – 210: Content Management Systems.

The goal of this course is to integrate student web development skills into a large dynamic CMS. Students will learn to set up CMS user access levels, sections, categories, plug-ins, and components. Students will acquire knowledge to activate existing CMS templates as well as to develop their own CMS templates. CMS installation, deployment, backup, and security will be covered. Search engine optimization will be practiced in the context of a course long project.

I really am excited about taking this class. It will help develop my WordPress skills, especially when designing my own sites for the media company that I’m building. The final project in this course is a semester-long blog. I have a few ideas for what I want to do. Some are video games, paranormal, even transferring this blog over. I haven’t picked a final project for this course. I know that throughout the weeks I’ll be updating how I’m creating one.

IMG – 204: Introduction to Programming in Swift

This course provides an introduction to essential skills for development of iPhone, iPad, and iPod applications using the Swift programming language. Principles of a correct object-oriented design and implementation will be emphasized to develop tested and reusable high quality code. The course will also cover elements of the Cocoa and Foundation Framework.

I’ve been in love with Apple products ever since Windows Vista’s blue screen of death came out. Ever since I’ve bought iPhones, iPods, and Ipads for myself and my family. Learning the Swift programming language will help me create iOS Apps. I’ve spoken a bit about the game I want to make, and I can’t wait to start this class to start learning how to make it.

IMG – 100: Introduction to PHP

This practical course introduces students to the development of database-driven web-server applications. PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) scripting is used to define the logic and behaviour of student-developed web applications while SQL (Structured Query Language) is used to communicate with the underlying relational database engine. Students will install a development environment to learn and practice essential programming skills and elements of database design and usage.

I’m worried about this class. We have a sessional instructor teaching this course. A lot of students who have taken this course say how hard PHP is to learn. I’ve been studying PHP for the past four months. I haven’t heard of a final project in this course yet, but I really want to help create that choose your own adventure with it.

CPS – 100: Computer Programming I

This course is an introduction to computer programming. Students will be introduced to problem solving methods and algorithm development using the object-oriented programming paradigm. The students will learn how to apply problem analysis, program design, and program implementation while using the top-down and stepwise refinement design methods. The course also provides an introduction to the object-oriented programming paradigm and recursive functions. This course will provide a sound basis for later courses in computer science. Note: Basic computing skills are assumed.

I’m excited about taking this courses as it delves into the Java programming language. In January, I’ll be taking Android App design. I want to create a random insult app that contains funny insults you can send to friends and family. This is course will help me learn to code and start building the app.

 

Random Musings

This week I bought a new drawing tablet. I’m really excited about creating digital art. I think it’ll help me generate some cool images and logos for graphic design that I couldn’t have done with a mouse. I really don’t like using a mouse with Photoshop or Illustrator. I find it’s way too bulky and clunky and you lose a lot of control especially for line work. It’ll take some getting used to but this drawing tablet I think will be perfect for doing designs.

In other news, I signed up for another class in September, Content Management Systems. That means that I get most of my coding and web design work out of the way this year. Which is great for the business I want to create. I have so many ideas floating around in my head about what I can do with a new media business that I need to start working on it and stop talking about it. I think college will really help with that.

Speaking of college, I have some cool ideas for final projects that I want to work on in class. I want to make a game for my Swift/iOS app course. Something like the brick games that I played when I was a kid. Where you moved a paddle around to bounce a ball and hit bricks. The second is a choose your own adventure that I want to build for my PHP and JavaScript classes. I’ll have to wait and see if these both happen.

Changes

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a piece for the blog. Injuries at work led to my hours going up. That left few hours to read coding books and get ready for the new academic year. I’m back now though and I have been reading over some of the past pieces that I have written.

I really want to change this blog into something that I can use to share my experiences while going back to school, something that I can create a portfolio around as well. That said I really feel that there are too many pieces on programming, and not enough design talk (even though the majority of my classes this academic year are deal with Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Swift).

I feel like there’s so much more than this blog can showcase, especially around my ideas and design, what I think of major designs (like getting mad at the current gen iPhones and they’re thunderbird cable). I also decided to change the posting schedule on the blog as well, with Thursday and Saturday throughout the summer till September, it’ll help with work and keeping my mind sane.

Here’s some good news though, people always talk about that “Eureka!” moment when a topic becomes clear. It’s taken me three months of reading on coding and programming and I can finally say I understand it and it’s becoming clearer. I think practice and pushing myself has finally paid off (especially on JavaScript).

One of the My Favourite Class Projects

Before I took a year off from school I remember doing one of my favourite class projects in school. It was to design a self-portrait through learning aspects of Adobe Photoshop. I think I spent about 20 hours on this piece, learning curves, image masking, different blending techniques. It still is one of my favorite pieces that I have ever done.

Peter_SelfPortrait Good

Thumbnailing Logos

It wasn’t until my second semester that I fell in love with thumbnailing my designs. Like many other students, I never understood them. I just wanted to design, not create pre-

IMG_0286
Working on Thumbnails helps to create ideas for the finished design

designs. Many believe that it wastes our time, time that could be better spent doing something else. We were wrong.

Thumbnails are short sketches of what could be. They’re like brainstorming, allowing you to push ideas to be creative and understand what you’re working on. When finished they allow you blend the short sketches together to create an entire design. For me they allow freedom. Freedom from my boundaries so that I can work to design concepts that I love.

I realize how useful a tool thumbnails are, and now I can’t stop using them. For every project, I create at least ten different thumbnails offering different ways of making a piece work. Cola Creative-01Looking at different sketches and styles allows me to pick the ones that I can work on and the others that l don’t like. Thumbnails give designers the ability to weed out good and bad choices.

I like simple and relatable logo designs. When I started Cola Creative 2_Cola Creative Logo Prototype 2 Black and Whitebrainstorming ideas for a media company I wanted to keep the design simple and fun. The first logo I came up with was trying to work the top of a soda can into a design. The second idea I had was using playing around with the letter C while using bubbles to create another logo.

When starting design school many students do not understand design concepts. Thumbnails help charge our creativity and learn the concepts that we need. There is a great way to begin any design.