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Cesar's Work

COM 210 @ WSU

About Me – First Post

Headshot
Photo Credit: Salomon Martinez

My name is Cesar Castaneda, a third-year student at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. I was born in Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of 2. I grew up in Wallula, Wa, a little town near the Tri-Cities. I went to State in tennis and graduated salutatorian from Columbia High School. I came straight to WSU after high school. While here I joined Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc., a multicultural fraternity that focuses on graduating our brothers and serving our community. Some of my interests include playing tennis and video games. Hobbies include crafts (anything from foam to woodworking) as well as working with electronics, whether it’s building or fixing them, especially computers.

I am a Comparative Ethnic Studies major with a minor in Human Development. I hope to eventually earn a Ph.D. and return to Washington State University as a retention counselor with an emphasis on undocumented students.

The main purpose of this blog is to post all of my completed multimedia projects for COM 210. However, I plan on keeping this site updated, shaping it to become a professional portfolio and supplement for my resume. In doing so I can display some of my work efficiently and professionally to potential employers.

Featured post

My Story – Final

Idea and Inspiration

My topic of the semester was undocumented immigrants. As such I decided to create an audio documentary of my story, the story of an undocumented immigrant and student.

Design Process & Technical Detail

I was somewhat influenced by the interview tutorial that we did for class with the radio recording of Edward R. Murrow. My design process started with the decision to tell my story as a narration for the project. I came up with a script (written down to make it more fluent) and recorded myself reading it. I then proceeded to record myself knocking on a door as a separate recording as suggested by the class readings. This was followed by finding royalty free music online to use for background music. After opening audition I created a new multitrack session with the settings used for the tutorials. I proceeded to drag in the raw narration audio, raw knocking audio, and the music, each on its own separate tracks. I began by dragging back the narration so that the music played for a few seconds before I started talking. I then, after muting the music and knocking tracks, proceeded to use the razor tool to make the narration more fluid and cut out the breathing during pauses as well as cut out portions in which I messed up and stumbled on words. Once I was happy with the narration I unmuted the knocking track, shortened it by dragging in the sides, and placed it to start right after I finished my narration with a slight pause for suspense. Finally, I unmuted the music track and faded in the beginning. I wanted ambient music during the narration so I lowered the volume right before the story started. I finished it by cutting off the music a few seconds after the knocking and fading out. Exporting the entire session was the last step.

Feedback & Revision

My peers didn’t have any major feedback as overall I had done a good job with my draft. What feedback they could give me was to pace myself a bit in the narration since it seemed a bit rushed. I had cut out the pauses to remove the breathing the microphone had picked up on but didn’t think to leave the pauses in. They also suggested I re-record my narration so there were less trip-ups on words. The biggest feedback came from my TA in an email reminding us of what a good audio story had; I was completely missing an introduction. I created a script for a quick intro and recorded myself reading the new introduction and the original story. I created a new multitrack session and followed all the steps I had done originally, fixing anything my peers had suggested.

Sources and Materials

In my story I used Cylinder Nine by Chris Zabriskie as ambient music. This was found on the Free Music Archive with an attribution license, under which I am free to share and adapt the music as long as I credit the creator.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2014010103336111/Chris_Zabriskie_-_Cylinders_-_09_-_Cylinder_Nine

My Story

Idea and Inspiration

At the beginning of the semester I chose the topic of undocumented immigrants, since it is a topic is very close to me. For this project I decided to narrate my story, the story of an undocumented immigrant and student.

Design Process & Technical Detail

I was somewhat influenced by the interview tutorial that we did for class with the radio recording of Edward R. Murrow. I liked the music for the intro, little to no music during, and then some sound to spice it up. My design process started with the decision to tell my story as a narration for the project. I came up with a script (written down to make it more fluent) and recorded myself reading it then recorded myself knocking on a door on a separate recording as suggested by the class readings. This was followed by finding royalty free music so that I wouldn’t get copyright struck. After opening audition I created a new multitrack session with the settings used for the tutorials. I proceeded to drag in the raw narration audio, raw knocking audio, and the music onto its own separate tracks. I began by dragging back the narration so that the music played for a few seconds before I started talking. I then, after muting the music and knocking tracks, proceeded to use the razor tool to make the narration more fluid and cut out the breathing during pauses as well as cut out portions in which I messed up and stumbled on words. Once I was happy with the narration I unmuted the knocking track, shortened it by dragging in the sides, and placed it to start right after I finished my narration with a slight pause for suspense. Finally, I unmuted the music track and faded in the beginning. I wanted ambient music during the narration so I lowered the volume right before the story started. I finished it by cutting off the music a few seconds after the knocking and fading out. Exporting the entire session was the last step.

Sources and Materials

In my story I used Cylinder Nine by Chris Zabriskie as ambient music. This was found on the Free Music Archive with an attribution license, under which I am free to share and adapt the music as long as I credit the creator.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2014010103336111/Chris_Zabriskie_-_Cylinders_-_09_-_Cylinder_Nine

Audition Raw Audio

This is the raw audio of my narration of my how I became undocumented and what it implies as well a clip of me banging on a door to add emphasis at the end of my narration.

Audition Tutorials

Finished Illustrator Tutorial

Undocumented Talk – Final Draft

Design Process: Pre-Feedback

As stated in my draft post, I got my inspiration from real flyers from the Chic/Lat Center on the 4th floor of the CUB. They often have various professors and other faculty come in to give workshops for the students and I hope to give a talk there myself some day, hopefully to empower other undocumented students. I began my flyer by creating a custom background layer, 3464 x 2024 pixels, which was 200 pixels larger in both length and width than the background image I chose, a picture I took of the orchard I worked at in the summer. I then placed, and after deleting the background, resized the monarch butterfly (a common symbol for migration) and placed it near the sunrise. The colors were a bit too intense in the orchard image so I copied the layer then turned the top layer black and white. To accentuate the butterfly and the beauty behind migration I deleted a feathered circle from the top orchard layer to reveal the sunrise colors beneath in a limited amount. That’s when I decided on having the background ‘border’ the same color as part of the butterflies wing, so I sampled the color of a wing and used the paint bucket on the background layer. I then placed my portrait and flipped it horizontally since I wanted it on the bottom left but didn’t want to be facing the immediate edge of the flyer, giving my back to the rest of the flyer, and finished by giving it a subtle stroke. I then placed a quote I came up with for this piece at the top and ‘information’ for my talk on in the lower center of the image. There was a lot of chaos due to the orchard foliage that I felt distracted the viewer; I solved this by painting in (with the help of the marquee tool) the lower half in the color of some of the shadows so as to not create too sharp of a contrast. Finally I felt that there was too much negative space in the lower right of the flyer so I inserted a ‘stamped’ butterfly by selecting the black colors of the butterfly, painting it the same color as the background, selecting the inverse and deleting everything else.

Feedback Summary

Taylor in my group felt that I should change the font of my quote to make it more readable and to make the background of my portrait less vibrant, both of which I completely agreed with. Lauren had the same to say about my portrait background since the colors really clashed with the theme of the flyer. She also mentioned including the name of the person who said the quote. Later on my group member Quinn suggested making my name a bit larger, since the flyer is about me. My TA Kakali suggested adding the room number of the Chicano/Latino Center since some might not know the location.

Design Process: Post-Feedback

In the end I decided to follow all the feedback provided to me. I began by changing the font of the quote to make it more readable and adding my name a line below in a smaller font size. I then went about editing my portrait, deciding to desaturate the background of it to match the orchard, making a more analogous palette. I then finished by editing the information on the flyer to make my name bigger and include the room number for the talk. I also noticed that on my desktop monitor (higher contrast) I had done a rather bad job of editing the orchard so I took the time to make it look better, using a different shadow sample for the color. Another extraneous decision I made was to move the butterfly a bit closer to the sunrise.

Sources and Materials

Monarch Butterfly by Peter Miller via Flickr

Monarch Butterfly

Portrait of Cesar Castaneda (me) by Salomon Martinez

Salomon is a personal friend and took this picture of me so I could use it as a head-shot for social media. He gave me permission to use it for these purposes as well.

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