straight down the line

Seeing Light Through the Darkness

When scrolling through the assignment bank this week, I didn’t have to look far in order to find one that piqued my interests.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had to read a lot of children’s books, being a father.  So I immediately thought of those books, and how my child loves to point out the pictures, almost entirely ignoring the accompanying story or poetry.  So, and I thought this would be a great assignment!

I needed to get a bit more acquainted with GIMP, so I decided to visit the Digital Knowledge Center to learn a bit more.  I had attempted to try GIMP a few years ago, but failed miserably, so it left a bad taste in my mouth. I had glanced over a few more assignments, and noticed there were some assignments about highlighting certain colors in a photograph while greyscaling the rest, so I focused on that during my meeting, thinking focusing on a more advanced technique would teach me basics as I worked.  The meeting was a great success.  I’ve become so acquainted to modern paid-for applications (eg Photoshop) would automatically determine what the user was trying to accomplish, and adjust itself accordingly, so GIMP felt very gritty to me (modular may be a bit more appropriate of a term here, actually).  After a while, I became much more confident in my abilities to accomplish basic tasks, so I decided the Poetry Art assignment , worth 3 stars, would be a great way for me to try out my new skills.

I decided I wanted to do Carolyn Forché’s “The Lightkeeper” because I’ve found I have a certain fondness for her work, as well as the concept of illumination through literature.

I did a quick search for lighthouse stencils, and uploaded the image into GIMP, and began my work.  The image I used was copyrighted, so I included the copyright in the footer of the image, although it is aesthetically unappealing, I’d rather give attribution than face whatever the consequences may be.

It ended up being a relatively simple layering process.  I used the lighthouse stencil I found as the background, and added 3 layers of text, one for the title of the poem, one for the poem itself, and one for the author’s name.

I had thought it was a bit tedious having to switch from the Text tool to the move tool just to move my text boxes (I blame Microsoft Word), but that was really my only issue.  My text didn’t fit inside the image at first, so I decided to scale the image up 300%, which I knew would affect the resolution, but it was a stencil, so I really didn’t think it would detract from the project as a whole, so I went ahead with it.

Then, I discovered why I couldn’t move the text boxes! I could still alter the text without having to do any kind of double-clicking business like in Microsoft Word, so I started to like GIMP’s design a bit more; demonstrating the modularity of it’s source code.  It’s open-source, and free, so, for the unknowing, that means there can be any number of people working on it as a single project, with work often divvied up by function to allow for what could be considered “plug-and-play” code structure.

Alas, I had my stencil layer, and three layers of text, formatted neatly.  I was done! So, here I present to you, my finished project, which I’ve hosted on my Flickr profile:

The Lightkeeper


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