Sunday, 21 July 2013

The manifestation and technical manifestation of the interactive ‘Universal Embrace’.

Starting out:

The Universal Embrace started out on paper and in my mind-so it was hard to foresee where it may have ended up manifesting even though I had envisaged it being on a web page. The candidature proposal was written, with the aim of the project appearing online for a maximum audience. As I started to piece together the way in which I record and publish narrative though, it began to be clear to me that I did not have the  technical skills to put a complex HTML site together online.

The online project however, was shaping up. I had decided on from google to be embedded in my web page for an ongoing narrative. This was quite easily designable to place into the template for my website that was put together under the auspice of

I had already had the building blocks of the project, indeed the candidature proposal was quite like a template to follow when designing and writing my work. I had my research question and statements of significance.

When I started to put together images and words on the website, I had anticipated that if I designed an interactive site, I could host it on one of my servers and place it within the website much like I had with my blog from However, there were other ways forwards.

During my journey doing my masters, I had published a book on the iTunes store, ‘Recent Drawing, Towards A/r/tography’, which had included within it some moving designs, and traditional art presented in a digital medium, much like the work I intended to do. This was a very interesting process, and although there was quite a lot of technical issues to go through, including getting my own iPad to test the book on, I persevered, and the book was published.

The software to put an iBook together for the iBook store is ‘iBooks Author’, and there is another program, ‘iTunes Producer’, that you need to use in order to finally publish your work to be considered for the Apple iBooks store.

The software is quite intuitive to use, and with an iPad, you can instantly see your work on how it will appear as an iBook on the iPad. It’s exciting to see words and images come to life on this contemporary new medium. So, why not consider putting a copy of ‘The Universal Embrace’, on it?

I considered the idea, and moved forward with the many technical issues that I was faced with. I had already put a copy of the Universal embrace online, so I would be repeating myself, that was problem number one. But there was another distinct advantage of doing this.

When I had put my visual candidature proposal together, I used Keynote, which is for presentations. Luckily for me I had become quite familiar with this software, and its potential for interactivity was there-I could easily design something with forwards and backwards buttons, or run a presentation and make a button to go anywhere on a document.

I had also started with the final design of the universal embrace. Like the proposal said, it was to occur on the template of a golden rectangle. So I had illustrated one for this purpose. Slowly, after a few weeks, I began to build a photoshop document in ‘layers’, items that I could turn off and on, to be guided through the complexities of the embrace whilst keeping it visually simple.

My problem was that somehow, I needed to animate the layers that I had saved in Photoshop. This is where keynote came to the rescue. I re-sized the photoshop file with the layers in it to fit an iPad dimension. Then, I placed all the slides into keynote whereby I could add sound, and an interactive forwards and backwards button that was simple and elegant in design. It was beginning to take form.

After putting together the information that I already had into iBooks Author, such as statement, candidature proposal, etc, I then had the option to design how this book would work. Without realising it, I had started to work on the final presentation of the Universal Embrace! It was not online like I had earlier anticipated, (well, finished anyway), but it still had the means to be electronically distributed for a wide audience through the Apple platform. I was excited that the publishable iBook idea was a very contemporary way of presenting a Masters piece, and had support from supervisors Maureen and Neil that this would be acceptable to present. I felt like it was a very cutting edge way of presenting what used to be presented traditionally, and was extremely exited by this.

I looked at ways I could reference my literature review and other quotes and this was acceptable. I had divided up my iBook into sections, and it all seemed to flow very nicely. I had left space to fill in on the major distilled narratives of subjects like Phi, Spirit, and Society as relates to my work. Then, I was able to embed my Keynote presentation, an additional interactive design, into the iBook itself.

When I showed this to my supervisors, I was thrilled to find out that I might be submitting the idea much earlier than anticipated for marking and assessment, cutting my study time down by nearly two years! It was thrilling to think it was moving so fast, and now the challenge lay ahead to produce more of the writing and references that I would need to do to fill out the body of text to go with my overall interactive iBook.

In terms of the website, this could still exist, and I could easily animate a movie of the embrace with a link to the anticipated finished iBook, so this was not in vain.

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