Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm in LOVE!

by Tory Butterworth

Okay, I'll confess. I'm in love. And it's not with someone rich, or famous, or good-looking. It's not even a someone. I've fallen in love with computer graphics.

That's not to say I'm very good it. At least not yet. I'm sure there's many out there who are far, far better than me. I have to learned to play around with background, layout, clip art, and a tiny bit of animation. I haven't even touched sound and video.

This fall I'm preparing the 25 or so new trainings I will be presenting in 2008. So, I started by creating slides. And then, of course, I had to play around with background color and layout. And then I realized what a difference it makes if I add clip art or figures to the presentations.

Last year at the Pennwriters' May Conference, one of the critiquers in my "read and critique" section suggested I use the "Mind Mapping" technique before writing my book proposal on compulsive overating. Some people describe this technique as, "Making outlines with colors and pictures."

That's similar to the way I use the computer graphics, where I think about not just what I'm saying in the lecture, but how color and image create a certain mood in the presentation. I try to include a piece of clip art on most of my slides. Somehow, including these visual images frees me up to be much more creative than just by putting down words.

And it's fun!

I think about it like setting in fiction. A setting creates an emotional tone for the work. I noticed this when I put together a slide show for a co-worker doing a presentation titled, "From Arrest to Treatment," explaining the process by which people who are arrested can be diverted to the mental health system. As a background for the slides, I chose a picture of bars on a jail cell.

Usually, those sorts of pictures are a monochrome grey, and extremely depressing. I chose one that had many subtle colors in it. I'm hoping it won't be so stark, but will still bring training participants back to the bottom line: these are the options the mentally ill have so they won't end up in jail.

What's next? I think I'll use my new-found computer graphic skills with my compulsive eating book. I'm going to create a workbook!

Have you experienced the joys of computer graphics?


Nancy said...

I want to hear about going from arrest to treatment!

Cool that you're engaging the artistic side of your brain, Tory. I know an author who uses collages instead of outlines for her novels. Everybody works differently.

Anonymous said...

Very cool, Tory! Have fun with it.

tory said...

Nancy: Once I listen to the presentation, maybe there will be some material I can blog on. (Right now, all I've seen is the presenter's notes.)

I like the idea of collages rather than outlines. It seems so much friendlier, doesn't it? :-)

Gina said...

The problem with using collage, for me, would be that it doesn't solve my primary problem -- how to reduce that multi-dimensional matrix of ideas to a linear form. [Not to plug J.K. Rowling again, but she really excels at it, running little threads of sub-plot or clue lines from book to book until they all come together in a perfect tapestry.]

Sounds like your having fun, Tory. Good for you. It's always great when we can find something enjoyable in our day jobs.

Tory said...

Gina: I'm hoping you're finding some fun in your new day job, too.

Cathy said...

I'm very impressed at your new computer graphic skills and glad it's so much fun.

As far as the workbook, that's a great idea. And then, after that, you can make cards (everybody has decks of cards these days).

Tory said...

Cathy: What a great idea! You're right, decks of cards are definitely the new hot item.