WHChaikumultimedia                                                                                                           exercise #3
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 Comments and Critiques
by Michael Dylan Welch


16. Very dramatic colour impact here. It's odd, though, that the text is harder to read in front of the red flower -- what happened? The text not only has less contrast against the red, but seems fuzzier. I'd try to make the text consistently sharp over all colours, if you can. I think I'd also make the text a little smaller as there seems to be insufficient negative space on the left side of the poem. And note here that just a single hyphen was used after the first line (and in this font it's close to invisible!). A hyphen isn't correct here; use two hyphens if that's all that's available, or, better yet, use a proper em dash. Notice, by the way, how the name is set in a smaller point size to contrast with the poem. Thus we know, without having to actually read the words, that there are two different "types" of text here, which is important for the reader's quick apprehension of the text -- the reader gets many visual cues and organizational information from printed material that is entirely independent from what the words themselves say.

17. Interesting colours here -- they seem not quite natural, giving this an effective arty feeling (it's not just a straight photography, I don't think). The fact that the two children are walking away from the viewer keeps us from looking at their eyes, and thus shifts our focus away from them to their context. The diagonal lines are effective and eye-catching, and the maker wisely centered the poem to echo the centeredness of the photo (I'm sure that anything else would have looked awkward). I also think the choice of fonts is well done -- the text looks like printing, suggesting that it was printed by a child, which fits with the picture. (Again, though, fix that dash! No hyphens, please!)

18. This image is more "high key" (more whites, as opposed to a "low key" image, which is darker). The watercolour-like appearance gives this image a warmer, humanized tone (some photographs can seem colder or mechanical). The image has plenty of space to breathe, the assymetry is excellent, and the colour choices are fine. The image itself is a straightforward literal representation of flowers, and no cars are shown, but the bold and bright image of the sun adds something unique, pulling out the yellow in some of the flowers, just as the colour chosen for the text complements the green stems. I think the choice of green for the text is particularly good. In the flowers, the green stems play a supporting role -- we notice the blooms, mostly. Putting the poem in green thus nicely subdues the poem. If I'd change anything, it would be that darned dash, and to use a smaller point size, initial capital letters, and possibly italics for the name.

19. Immediate and dramatic colour impact here, as with many of the other images. Compared with the previous image, this one is more "low key," though still energetic and colourful. The placement of the poem creates vertical assymetry, and notice how the maker has chosen to make the name larger than the poem in this case rather than smaller (as done in other images); the contrast in sizes is important, though making the name smaller than the poem could also have worked. As for the image itself, are they blurred flowers? Or perhaps blurred cars? Perhaps it doesn't matter which, so we can imagine either, or both. That's the key strength of this photo-haiga.

20. The maker here has added an extra (and pleasantly unexpected) element in the umbrellas. Not only do we imagine all the colourful flowers and cars, we also have all the umbrellas to amuse our eyes. The umbrella shapes echo (upside down and wider) the shapes of tulip bulbs and also the shape of cars. What *doesn't* work for me (it seems too gimmicky) is putting the word "tulip" in several colours. I suspect that having the text all in black somehow seemed flat. I would suggest trying the text out in white (like the name at the top), or in a light yellow or beige (or *perhaps* the light blue used for the umbrellas second from the right). Don't forget to fix the dash, too!

21. In several of these images one can see the hand of Photoshop (or similar program). That can be good and bad. If a trick done to a photograph is too obviously one of the software's presets, it can become a cliche. This one verges on that problem, but I think escapes it. The effect here is of seeing the flowers through rippled glass. Even the edges of the photo's border are nicely rippled, and the outer border has a mottled look that complements the overall appearance. Curving the text adds a nice flair to this presentation, though I think I'd prefer the letters to be a bit sharper (and higher in contrast against the background). I'm not sure why there's a bit of black behind part of the name -- that's a bit distracting. I'd like either more or less of that black shadow behind the name, and perhaps a higher contrast or brighter colour used for the name. And if it were me, I'd also move the poem so it isn't so close to the left edge of the photo. And, as usual, I'd use a proper em dash in the first line!

22. It's funny that the cars in this photo are all SUVs! Though their colours may be different, they're all the same sort of vehicle. This echoes amusingly the fact that tulips may differ in colour but are all the same sort of flower. The choice of neonish green is dramatic (though eventually tiring if you keep looking at the image), and there are effective shadows behind each "box" shape, giving the image a strong three-dimensional look. The hand-colouring of the cars is effectively done, too, and the choice of font for the poem suggests a "mechanicalness" that complements the cars (and especially their sameness). The dramatic shadows around the outside of each of the letters nicely echoes the shadows behind each of the boxes, too.

23. The repetition of the main image here is similar to the repetition the is used in image #12. Here, though, the text isn't repeated, which I think is better, and the smaller image appears without colour, giving the repetition a pleasing variation. The font choice is nice here, and note how the text has a fading gradation to it, a subtle effect that might easily be missed. This gradation from left to right is echoed in the fading done in the outer border from top to bottom -- a gradation that also appears, more organically, in the flowers themselves. The choice of white for the text also brings out the whiteness in the raindrops on the flowers. All effectively done! As for the name being all lowercase, it occurs to me here that this might have been done because it could have looked odd to use initial caps when the poem is all lowercase. Rather than lowercase the name, though, this is where I would use a smaller point size and italics, or perhaps put the name in all capital letters (smaller in size than is currently used). In addition to creating this slight sort of contrast between the poem and name, I think I'd also raise the poem/name a bit, so the name isn't aligned with the bottom edge of the main photo. But overall, this is very well done. The strong diagonals in the main photo even direct your eye to where the poem is, which is graphically effective.

24. The photo here seems unsharp. The colour impact is strong, but in addition to being unsharp, the photo seems to have stretched horizontally, making it seem unnatural and thus distracting. The lime green doesn't work for me either. The use of two periods also isn't correct. (If anything, it needs three periods, not two, but I deliberately used an em dash rather than three periods or an ellipsis because the ellipsis suggest, at least to me, a brief passage of time; the em dash suggests that the poem's two elements both happen at the same time, in the context of each other, which I think is more appropriate/true for this poem.) I like the fact that we are left to imagine the cars in this photo-haiga.

25. Austin Minis have recently become fashionable (at least in the United States). Though common for years in England and elsewhere (as with the older model pictured here), they've only recently been marketed in the U.S., and with seemingly effective results. The car has an image of fun and whimsy (and sportiness), and that mood is imparted to this image, too. It's whimsical how the flowers are depicted in the car's headlight here. The borders of the image are also effectively treated (though perhaps the effect is slightly overdone -- I'd reduce the number of treatments a bit. I also like the informal font choice, and the overall colour choices. Limiting the use of red to just the flowers (even though quite small in the picture) was a wise choice. I'd still like to see a proper em dash, mind you!

26. As with image #19, the maker here chose to make the name bigger rather than smaller than the poem. The size contrast is important. As for the picture, it's a little hard to "read" than some of the other pictures. The two main flowers are probably tulips, but they're also a bit poppy-like. Note the "twoness" repeated in this image -- two orange-red flowers, two greenish stems, and two items of text (poem and name). I don't think this means anything, but the consistency does create a subconscious sort of harmony.

27. A lot of creativity in this photo-haiga. The placement of letter, words, or parts of words on selected flowers is particularly well done. The reader can enjoy scanning the photograph looking for the letters and words, figuring out the poem as he or she goes. Knowing the poem beforehand, it's easy to read it correctly. But even if one doesn't know the poem beforehand, the words and letters are carefully placed so that the poem reads correctly. And note a sort of contrast created by how the letters of the two parts of the poem are used. Just as "tulip festival" is a context/juxtaposition with the rest of the poem, the letters are treated differently from the rest of the poem here -- one letter each on separate flowers. The rest of the poem has whole or partial words on individual flowers, thus making them hold together as a unit, distinct from the phrase "tulip festival." One nitpick is that the "urs" in "colours" and "the" in "of all the cars" look a bit fuzzy and indistinct against the red. I think I would also put the name all in one colour (probably white). Notice the creative border to this creation, also! The white dots bring out the most visually dominant white flowers, and the green dots emphasize the green stems of all the flowers. Again, no cars present here, but we are free to imagine them. Well done.

28. Limiting the colour in this image to just purple makes the many colours stated in the poem do the work of conjuring up the various colours we might imagine. Here we have a picture of tulips that seem to be growing in a median along a roadway. Thus the cars are implied as well as their various colours. The photo is also a bit surreal because of other Photoshop-type effects applied to it. Note how the wide white border around the photo gives the white text more emphasis (the border is important). I'm not sure that the font choice does a whole lot. It seems that it might have been used because that font is fun and different, with lesser regard for whether it fits the image and/or poem or not.

29. This photo-haiga is unusual because of its dramatic aspect ratio. Those colours and use of shadows are pleasing, and placing the name on the outside border is an effective way to deal with the name (which proves to be a problem in some of the other creations). The treatment of the text here, though, seems forced and overdone, in that "tulip festival" is presented vertically, and then the rest of the poem is less vertically presented (with some words even split onto several two lines). I also don't care for the use of all capital letters. Note, though, that the letters of "tulip festival" are all centered on a vertical axis, as opposed to having the letters all left- or right-justified, which wouldn't have looked as good. As for the image, it's a bit abstract and undefined. We presume it's a flower -- a tulip -- but it might not be. So we are left with a fairly abstract image that isn't really a flower or a car. This would make a pleasing bookmark, but I think I'd create stronger contrast between the text and the background (perhaps more white in the text?), and would typeset the poem differently. Still, I like the boldness of the sharply vertical aspect ratio here!

30. Many nice aspects to this image. Initially, the single red bloom contrasts sharply and dramatically with the muddy background. Only later do you notice the tire track, and see how narrowly the flower escaped being run over. Thus cars are supremely well implied here -- very nicely done -- and we also feel some tension in the contrast of nature vs. machine. The edging effect around the image is also nicely done, and even subtly echoes the patterns of tire tracks. The poem and name are well placed, but I'd be curious to see the text in white (or maybe a light yellow?) instead of black (or whatever dark colour was used). And I think I might center the name under the vertical axis of the tulip's step (though perhaps that was tried and didn't look right). All round, though, I think this is very well done, especially for how cars are implied by the tire track.


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