What is Reflections?
This unit required us to focus on the question of “Who am I?”
With this, I explored what my values are and the interesting memories and stories that have made me, me. I learned that I while I have not been through any specific challenges, I can still be a complex person who is very observant and critical of the world but am also someone who hopes to better the world and bring about social change.
In english, we followed the advice of the college essay guy in order to develop our personal essays to answer the question, “Who am I?” Through this, we were tasked to find our values and how we obtained them or compare them to a visual metaphor. In the process, I had many drafts comparing my values to grief, comic books, and other miscellaneous objects, however, I found the train to be the best metaphor.
When getting onto the BART train I feel terrified.
After hearing about the rapes and shootings on the public railways, trains have become more and more ominous. The lighting of the train is dim and the only sound is the rattling of the train against the tracks. There’s the nauseating smell of marijuana, which I assume comes from the homeless who sit mere feet away from me. In a tunnel without sunlight, it seems even more like a horror story. All around me are strangers whose stories I don’t know and there is that nerve racking premonition that someone could attack me at any moment. I feel vulnerable and weak.
I watch as the homeless exit and let out a sigh of relief. I know it is wrong to fear them, for they mean no harm, but society tells me otherwise.
I watch as an elderly woman struggles to make her way to a seat with her large violet suitcase. A skater teen with holes in his jeans and music blaring from his headphones enters from behind the lady and carries her suitcase for her. My eyes widen at the sight, having expected someone of his status to have walked by without hesitation.
In another seat sits a man in a charcoal grey suit with his noise-cancelling headphones and a pink monkey. His hair is grey, which I assume is from stress rather than age. His lock screen has a woman and two girls on it whom I presume to be his wife and daughters, respectively. The monkey he holds must be for the younger one so that she can remember him while he travels to make money.
In the back of the cart is a man in a sturdy cowboy hat with the typical leather chaps and boots conversing with a woman who appears to have stepped right out of a Hollywood movie with her sunglasses and designer bag. Together they are a peculiar site, but they manage to blend well together.
Behind them is a girl rigorously shading the shadows of the faces of those around her. In each drawing, is a piece of herself which she hopes to share to the world. She seems to be oblivious to the stopping and going of the train, that or she has no destination in mind.
As I sit and observe I begin to understand that the train is not a place of danger, but a place of diversity. It is a place where people of all different stories join to get to a single destination.
The train is my source of inspiration, giving me stories to tell in my future animations. It is my guide, my teacher, that has destroyed my prejudice. I have learned that the homeless are not the enemy, but are the civilians I must strive to protect. The skater is not ignorant, but rather generous, teaching me to not turn a blind eye from those in need. A man who travels is not one who neglects his family, but who strives to prove that he supports them. Being an artist is not a path that will lead to failure, but one that requires patience and risk. The cowboy and the star, though vastly different, can become the closest of friends, showing me that, in the end, differences are what create harmony.
People come and go from my train ride. However, what matters is not the people who leave, but those who stay. I am left with the generous skater enjoying his music; the pink monkey reminding me of the man in the grey suit and his strife to please his family; the Texas cowboy and Hollywood star whose collaboration will inspire unique ideas; and the artist who sits and draws, waiting for the right moment to take her leap.
With this new perspective, suddenly, the train doesn’t seem as scary anymore.
Being a new student in Digital Media, I learned how to work with protools and work with recordings and reverb. I learned how to clean up the audio produce beats in protools.
As part of our learning, we were tasked to record our personal essays. I had written another essay which I thought seemed better to record, and so, given the option, I did that one instead. This is my recording.
When a Bracelet Becomes a Mask and a Shield
*Warning: this video contains sensitive topics in regards to political opinions. None of this is supposed to be offensive in any way, it is simply the way I feel and my own opinions.
March 14, 2018. Pi day. The day of the #EnoughisEnough school walkouts. The day when a bracelet became 3 things at once.There were people standing at all entrances, wearing orange— the color of the movement— and handing out bracelets of the same color. Being me, someone who would never hesitate at the chance for free things, I wanted a bracelet. I went with a friend, one who supported the movement, who had signs ready for the walk out. I asked the girl for a bracelet and was given one with a smile. I put it on. The orange of the bracelet seemed to sink into my skin like venom. #MVHSsaysEnough seemed to be branded into my skin. The small thing burned deep inside of me, telling me that this is what I need to think. The venom going deep inside of me, trying to murder my own ideas. I knew that by putting it on, I would be seen as something I am not. It would be a mask to cover who I am, what I am. My friend, one who I deemed close, did not even know the pain of the bracelet. She was its follower. She did not feel the venom. She did not become branded by the words because she was the creator of them. But I, I felt the pain. Few knew my pain with it on. I felt ashamed of myself for wearing it. Someone asked me later on if I had one. I showed it to them with a smile on my face and pride in my eyes. They nodded and turned. I felt disgusted. Not of them, but of myself. For allowing this object to mask my thoughts. For allowing the orange venom to coarse through me. But then I realized, what if I was not wearing it? Going into school that day, I knew I would not participate. I told myself that I was prepared to fight for my ideas. I accepted the hatred I may get and the friends that I might lose. But with the bracelet, no one knew. No one knew that I had not participated. No one fought me because they did not know. The bracelet may have masked my thoughts, but it was also a shield to the fire that would be created had people known. A disgraceful thought of mine. I scowl at myself as I stare at the bracelet now. My parents praise me for standing up for my beliefs. But they do not know that I had allowed myself to succumb to the movement. I stare at the bracelet now, laying on my desk. It represents my cowardness. My shame. My pain. I hide my thoughts everyday from those around me. I— someone who grew up in a conservative state and lives in a liberal one— am hidden. My friends mistake my views. They praise the teacher who is strong against that which I am strong for. Some are understanding, and I thank them for that. But I wonder how it has changed their view of me. My closest friends… they do not know. Why? Because they would not understand. I am a rabbit in a world full of tigers. All of us hide ourselves with the bracelets. We smile as we listen to our “friends” criticize our own views. We live with an internal struggle because it’s so much easier to just conform. But to conform, means to die. To lose yourself, your identity, to allow yourself to become prey to the cats.
I heard of a group. A group of 5. Small in numbers, but brave. They did not take the bracelet. They did not allow themselves to hide. They did not need a shield. They stood proud. Expressed their ideas clearly. And sure, I may not support their ideas either, but their’s too differed from the movement. Despite my inability to agree with them as well, I can’t help but admire them. I admire their bravery. Their willingness to stand up for themselves. They are the true heroes. They did not conform. They were the alphas. I only heard about them. They who stood in the crowd of the movement. Supporting the conservative views. Standing out against the liberals, prepared to fight. They were, of course, criticized. But those who attacked them were the ones who were punished. They were protected, not by the bracelet, but by their individuality. And that is what I want to be. Let me cut this bracelet to pieces. Tear apart the mask. Shatter the shield. And proudly say that I support guns. I am not a conservative, nor am I a liberal. I am not a republican nor am I a democrat. I am me. I am someone who supports guns, but also supports gun control. I am one who does not believe the gun kills people, but that people kill people. I am one who deems the solution to be mental health institutes. I am one who differs from the norm. I, a rabbit who lives amongst the tigers, am tired of hiding. I will not run. I will not burrow in my den. I will not allow the orange to cover me. I will not allow the venom to spread throughout me. I will not be branded. I can no longer hide. I can no longer allow my friends to think of me as the same. I am prepared to fight.
March 14, 2018. Pi day. The day of the #EnoughisEnough school walkouts. The day where I throw away the bracelet.
In addition to our personal essay recording, we were told to create a personal rant/ perspective piece in order to continue practicing with protools and editing. I decided to do mine on something I’m very passionate about: Kpop. While many may find this to be unimportant, this project helped me to practice both protools and after effects. We recorded in protools and then we bounced that audio to after effects where we created a composition and inserted photos to visualize our audio. In this process, we learned all of the key board short cuts to make working in After effects more efficient as well as learning how to create key frames to fade the photos in and out.
I have been a K-pop fan for 2 years. While it has opened my mind to new perspectives and cultures, there are just some things that people say or do in regards to K-pop that just really push me to the edge. I have many Kpop friends, actually that’s a lie, I have a couple of kpop friends. One of them once said something like “I don’t like BTS because they’re too popular.” BTS is my favorite group by the way, but that’s not really the only reason I got a bit peeved. What really bugged me about this was the “too popular” part. Like what is the point in supporting a band and trying to get them to become popular and win things if you stop liking them when they become “too popular?” Like what happens when the next band that you’ve been supporting becomes just as popular? Are you just going to stop stanning them? That logic makes no sense.
Another thing I would like to discuss is non K-pop fans. I’ll start out with the saying that peeves me the most “why do you like them if you can’t even understand what they’re saying?” Well why do you like Despacito if you didn’t know what the song was about huh? Isn’t that kind of ironic. Have people never heard of subtitles? I just don’t understand why the Asian language can’t be accepted but the spanish language can. I’m not saying that it’s better, but I just don’t understand why so many people find asians to be so foreign.
With this thought in mind, I would like to end this speech with a final peeve. Why do people just seem to ignore the injustice that happens against Asians? I attempted to do a project on the Asian American Movement in US history last year, however, I learned that that project was almost impossible as there really hasn’t been an Asian American Movement. I know that we have taken on the model minority role, but I still just don’t understand why we are still forced to become americanized. I want to live in a world where the Asian culture isn’t ostracized. I want to live in a world where engaging in my culture and listening to asian music isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is Kpop that has caused me to have more of an open mind. It is what has inspired me to embrace the Asian culture as I have grown up in a very americanized household. I wish for kpop to be spread, not just so I can feel accepted, but because when someone accepts it and begins to follow it, I feel as if they become more open minded to all things in life. So to those who don’t enjoy kpop, I hope this has had some sort of impact on your opinions. And to those who do enjoy it, thank you for being so open minded, unless you’re a sasaeng, then in that case, please know your limits and don’t stalk the idols. They’re just trying to live their lives and do what they are passionate about. You should do the same. With this perspective, this is Loren Chun.
In the beginning of Animation this year, we created name logos in order to express who we are. This was a simple task to use photoshop and draw what we think represents us. For mine. I based it off of my favorite Disney movie, Tangled. I put the silhouette of the city in the background for the sake of showing my desire to live in a big city and travel around the world. The symbols on the lantern represent me as a person, like the dragon. since I am the year of the dragon. You can faintly see the sagittarius constellation and I chose night just because it is my favorite time of day.
To create this, I created a rectangle layer in the background and gave it the gradient color. I drew the lanterns and city scape on separate layers. For the reflection, I copied the cityscape and flipped it, then I used the smudge tool to create a water-like texture. I added glow overlays to the lanterns to make them appear brighter.
Our second project in Animation was to create a “google doodle” using either the word “google” with a theme of something that happened on your birthday, or using “Freestyle” with the theme of what does it mean to you. I chose to do the Freestyle option and what it means to me. I used Adobe Animate for this project and took advantage of symbols in order to add more action to my logo.
The first egg represents how Freestyle helps me to express my creativity. The 2nd one is to show the stress and passionate emotions that have come from it, but also to show the spontaneity and warmth of the Freestyle environment. The 3rd is to represent all of the friends I have made while the 4th represents the loading symbol which haunts my dreams.The 5th and 7th are both about how I’ve grown and bloomed at Freestyle. The 6th is in honor of the one and only Adam Galles who was obsessed with clouds. It also represents how in Freestyle, while there are some cloudy days, the sky is always blue. The last one represents how I have been at Freestyle night and day. The monsters and eggs are to show how everyone comes out of their shells at Freestyle and how we are all unique.
Much of senior animation focuses on 3D modeling in Maya. Our assignment was to choose an object and then model it in Maya. We textured our object in Substance painter which was super fun for me.We were also tasked to animate camera movements in order to create a “commercial” for our object, but due to Maya’s complicated rendering process, we are unable to export it as a video.
Overall in this reflections unit I have learned a lot about my values in terms of safety, observance, empathy, and social change. I have learned more about how I perceive the world after taking a step back to reflect about who I am. Thanks to English, I now know more about my values. Thanks to Digital Media, I have learned more about Protools and After Effects and have found a new interest in music and recording. I have also learned to take risks in my art like I did in the choice of topic for my digital media project and have realized that I am more of an activist than I thought. Animation has shown me the tangible objects that I value in my daily life and has further helped me to connect these objects to my own values. Overall, the reflections unit has helped me find who I am as a person while also helping me to develop new aspects of myself as we progressed in this unit.