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  1. Paint 3D

    June 9, 2017 by Kassandra

    As part of the design aspect of looking at 3D art programs, I looked at Paint 3D on my computer. It came free with the Windows Creator update.
    It’s much more than an expansion of their original drawing program, Microsoft Paint. There’s a ton of new and convenient features.

    3D objects
    -Pre-made ones in the program
    -Online library you can download from
    -Draw your own, and choose from hard or soft edges

    Colouring them
    -You select an object or the background, and it locks on
    -So you can only draw on one or the other at a time, which makes it a lot easier to do cleanly
    -Easy to turn object on all axis
    -You can use all of the tools, even the default stickers, on the 3D objects

    Other things
    -There’s lighting effects, and you can choose the colour of the light and a place for it to be coming from
    -There is an array of different brushes, which you can change the size and opacity of
    -There is a colour pick tool, a colour wheel, hex code input, and RGB input, as well as default colours you can choose from
    -All brushes can be changed to matte, gloss, dull metal, or polished metal finishes

    It’s a really powerful and useful program. Actual layers would be nice, but that’s more working in two dimensions, so they aren’t really necessary here. It’s a lot of fun to use!


  2. Comparing the Programs

    June 7, 2017 by Kassandra

    Medium is a lot more complicated, and a lot more customizable than the others, but with less of the fun features. It’s more serious. The background can only be a sky or a flat colour, and there isn’t the objects like a pre-built snowman base, the little Android guy and dress form as there is in Sketch Up. It also doesn’t seem to have a movement feature, which sucks because the teleport feature was convenient. The area in medium is relatively small, as well, and you can move the objects through it instead of yourself. Quill also doesn’t have a movement feature, so you drag things around you and turn.

    In terms of different brushes, Tilt Brush is far more varied, with sparkle, fire, bubble, and regular brushes. Quill only has basic brushes, and Medium has more tools. In erasing, they work quite differently. In Medium, its hard to erase because it takes out part and fades the area around it, though it’s possible that there is a way to change this. Quill erases more of a chunk, which can get annoying, but it’s more precise than Tilt Brush which erases the whole stroke.

    A nice feature in Tilt Brush is adding in references, which you can move, change the size of, and colour pick from. You can do the same in Quill except you have to compare the colours yourself, unfortunately.

    All of the programs have their own strengths and weaknesses, and are used best to create different sorts of things. Tilt Brush, for a drawing or painting, Medium for a sculpture or figure, and Quill for an immersive environment.


  3. Salsa Salad Dressing

    June 4, 2017 by Kassandra

    The grocery store has started selling broccoli slaw mix, which is pre-washed, thinly cut broccoli, carrots, and other such vegetables mixed together. It’s very good, and convenient, but I was at a bit of a loss for what to use for dressing. I grabbed a bottle of salsa ranch, and that was pretty good, but it felt lacking. So I tried making my own.

    Ingredients:
    One container of sour cream (I used low-fat)
    One container of fresh chunky salsa (I used medium, it’s up to you. You could also use homemade salsa)
    1 tsp. each of cumin, ground coriander seed, and cayenne pepper

    That’s it! I mix them all in a bowl, and it works really well. The spices add a lot of flavour, since salsa alone leaves it kind of flat.


  4. Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

    June 4, 2017 by Kassandra

    Some of my close friends are lactose-intolerant, and they also happen to have a fondness for coconut. And so, I went searching for an easy way to make ice-cream for the summer that we could enjoy. After looking over a few recipes online, I decide on this. I’ve made it twice before, and it turns out really well.

    This recipe uses an ice cream maker, so keep that in mind.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (or regular if you aren’t worried about the lactose)
    1 15-ounce can of coconut milk
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

    How long it has to churn for will very depending on what machine you have. For me, it was half an hour to get a good thick consistency, making a double batch because I have a relatively large machine.

    This is what the ice cream will look like when you finish stirring it:

    And this is what it looks like when it has gone through the machine and is finished:


  5. Family Recipe for Nuts and Bolts

    June 3, 2017 by Kassandra

    Tasked with making a snack for new-student day, I didn’t have to think very hard about what I wanted to make. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been making nuts and bolts. A simple blend of salts and cereals, it’s a staple around holidays.

    Ingredients:
    3 cups of Cheerios (off brand is fine)
    3 cups of Shreddies
    1 cup of stick pretzels
    1/2 tablespoon of onion salt
    1/2 tablespoon of garlic salt
    1/2 tablespoon of celery salt
    1/2 tablespoon of paprika
    1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon of sugar
    1/2 cup of butter or margarine
    I chose to exclude peanuts so that it could be enjoyed by people with allergies. If you want to add them, sub them for the pretzels or up the salts and butter a little and add 1 cup

    Melt the butter, and then add all of the salts, the paprika,the Worcestershire sauce, and the sugar.
    On a baking sheet or a roasting pan, mix the cereal and pretzels.
    Pour the butter mixture over it, stirring constantly.
    Put it in the oven at 200⁰F, stirring every 15 minutes for a total of 1 hour.
    If making a double batch (I recommend the roasting pan for this), add an extra 15 minutes. You can tell it is done when the Cheerios are starting to get lightly golden, everything is crispy, and there is very little residual butter on the bottom of the pan. Enjoy!


  6. Overview of the Programs

    June 2, 2017 by Kassandra

    Quill-
    Quill by Story Studio walks you through a sort of story in it’s tutorials, having you connect dots (who are in love), and then connecting other dots (to make the place where they live), and other such activities. There’s also little colouring pages. You have a menu where you can choose colours and such, but it gives you a palette for simplicity.
    Things you can change: colour opacity, brush (ex. Thin flat, square, round), brush size and line width.
    You move through dragging and pulling, and it moves the canvas around you. Turning does turn the camera, though.
    There’s also a straight line tool, for simplicity.
    It also has some really stunning scenes you can move your way though, complete with music. They are very surreal.
    The blank canvas and backgrounds are off white, so they aren’t too glaring and you can add white details.
    To select things, you have to like push your hand down through the menu, which feels a little weird.

    Medium-
    Oculus Medium is rather complicated, and feels professional. The background can only be a sky or a flat colour of your choice. There is no movement feature, though you can move objects around you. The area you have to work in is relatively small, so you can reach everything.
    There are a lot of precise tools in Medium, but it’s difficult and kind of confusing, because its more tuned to sculpting than painting. It’s easier to scrape away chunks of what you made than erase. Colours in Medium seem kind of dull, as well.

    Tilt Brush-
    Celina’s favourite, Tilt brush is less professional than Medium. You can chose from a range of environments, like sky, snow, and pink lemonade. There are pre built bases, like shapes you can draw on and others, like a dress form, snowman, and the little Android gun. Movement is done with a teleport feature, which allows you to move through the large area.
    It has a mirror feature, which works in three dimensions if you like, but erasing from one side does not erase from the other which is odd. There is numerous different effects for brushes. Sparkles, air can, traditional paint brush, smooth, and more, and you select colour off of a grid. You paint with one hand, and hold the menu on the other, and can leave it on what you’d like for easy access.
    Another interesting feature is when you scale things, it gives you an idea of it in relation to real life-human sized, elephant sized, etc. And one of the best features is that you can input your own pictures into the program, move them around, and even colour pick from them! We brought one in so Celina could try drawing a Magikarp (which I will upload pictures of after with the design part of this project).


  7. Original Poetry

    June 1, 2017 by Kassandra

    As part of a project for humanities, we were tasked with reading, analyzing, and writing poetry that fits a theme from the 20th century. I chose to look at pieces around the Vietnam war. Below are the three poems that I wrote for this project, as well as an explanation of the thought put into them.

    Grim Mathematics

    To them I am a figure
    And a provider of statistics
    Kills to deaths
    Putting a tally on destruction
    They say no value can be put
    On a human life
    But they’re damned well trying
    I may be a subordinate
    Insignificant in the grand scheme
    But the power I hold
    Is nothing to laugh at
    And I choose to use it to resist

    Part of what I used to help shape this poem was a natural rhythm. Not a strict form, but I wanted everything to flow nicely until the last line, in which things change. A lot of the poetry about the war is literal. Although they use figurative language, the message is usually clear. So I wanted to use some of the same themes from these poems, and pull them together in something that seems grim with a voice that comes across as frustrated and fed up. Whether you read the poem as by a soldier who decides to leave duty, a draft dodger, or even a Vietnamese soldier fighting against the Americans, the tone is the same.

    Left Unanswered

    Who is it that against we are pitted
    What justifies the crimes committed
    There is so much we’ll never know
    Going on in this awful show
    My grip is tight as I hold my gun
    It seems that we will stop for none

    There is no rest when the objectives wicked
    Perhaps you’re just too afflicted
    My soul is numb for weeping so
    And even still we do not go
    Are kills battles really won
    Each loss is replaced by another mans son

    My goal here was to try and use rhyme to convey a somber tone. I was inspired by the fact that “Dance to the Music” had a rhyming pair, and there were some couplet lines in “Implosions”, and so I decided to write a poem in the form of rhyming couplets. These are questions I ask myself about war, and although it is written from the point of view of a soldier, “I hold my gun”, it is in a sense me trying to come to terms with what happened.

    Snuffed Out

    Everything
    Is loud
    Is moving
    Is turbulent
    And I keep walking

    Everything
    Is hot
    Is red
    Is trembling
    And I keep walking

    Everything
    Is hazy
    Is still
    Is over
    And I stop walking

    In this poem, I wanted to attempt to write something that could serve to illustrate two points, by using vague adjectives. Snuffed is a term usually used for fire, but it can also be used for killing. To this end, I wanted to talk about the death of a soldier on the battlefield by comparing it to the burning of a village, and the fire eventually going out. Destructive in it’s time, both serve a purpose they may not have wanted, that they did not choose.
    The use of a very simple form and a lot of repetition was part of keeping it vague, but it was also meant to give everything a rhythm, so that to some extent the last line is unexpected.


  8. ICTX Update

    May 24, 2017 by Kassandra

    For ICTX, I am working with a classmate on a project that is sort of a combination of interface and design, comparing three VR 3D art programs, Medium, Tilt Brush, and Quill, all of which are available for the Oculus Rift.


  9. War Card Game Completed

    February 17, 2017 by Kassandra

    I finished the full tutorial, and after a long time of trying to fix an issue with the code, the app works! It’s a lot simpler then I thought it would be, because the UI Kit takes care of all the code behind displaying images and randomization, and you just need to write out a few words.

    It went through stages. Last update, it was sort of empty, just a template to fill in. Now, upon pressing the deal button, it displays two cards at random, and tallies the score based on the assigned number value of the cards (ace being high). The score doesn’t change at all for ties.

    I’ve done well over a hundred dealings, and the CPU seems to have a higher win rate, but I suppose that’s just luck as it is the same code behind both sides. Here are a few pictures of it working in the simulator:

    I’m not sure exactly what I will try and do next, but I’m having a lot of fun with Xcode so I’m excited to play around with it more.


  10. Edible Cookie Dough

    February 15, 2017 by Kassandra

    For Valentine’s Day this year, I am trying something a little different, and making edible cookie dough per this recipe here.

    Here is the recipe for the base dough from the website:

    “INGREDIENTS
    Servings: 4-6
    2 cups flour
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup butter, softened
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon salt

    PREPARATION
    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C.
    2. Evenly spread flour on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.
    3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, and salt until combined evenly.
    4. Refrigerate mix for 30 minutes and then separate into 4 sections.
    5. Enjoy!”

    I will be adding in chocolate chips to my liking as well so that there is more too them.

    Notes and thoughts:

    The first step is to bake the flour, and this is to kill any bacteria that may be in it. Most people don’t know that this is necessary, and this step is technically skippable-but I wouldn’t. Don’t take the risk. That’s part of making this 100% edible cookie dough.

    When mixing everything together, I added the flour gradually, because it was a little lumpy after being baked, and I actually mixed everything else together beforehand while it was in the oven.

    I added two cups of chocolate chips after it had cooled in the fridge (it’s ready when it’s nice and spongy), and then formed the shapes with an ice cream scoop. I let them sit again in the fridge before serving so that they would keep their shape better without crumbling.

    In the end they tasted great and were a bit hit for Valentine’s day, and I’m really glad. I might try some of their other suggestions for flavours and add ins later or even come up with my own.

    Testaments:
    “Awesome.” -P
    “It was so good.” -M
    “It was delicious!” -L
    “The cookie version of fudge… nuff said… Awesome.” – W

    I would highly recommend making this it went over really well and it really was like cookie dough, but without the risk of serious food borne illness.


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