The Design Journal

Jon Rodz Spark Star

Gain insight into the creative process and perspective of a young Latino designer with an entrepreneurial spirit. Sharing ideas, opinions,  resources, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the life of a designer.

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UX Design Internship Roundup Dec. 2022

Full disclaimer as a FLUX Officer, these are pulled mostly from SCAD's FLUX Discord, SCAD FLUX UX Design Club, highly recommend following the group on Instagram and join our Discord. However, a special thank you to Jess Lam who is also a FLUX Officer that has been finding these internships and sharing them on the discord.

Special highlight to this site found by Jess, designintern.fyi built by Tammy.

Here are all the UX Design Internships that are open as of December 2022.

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I'm frequently asked how I am able to build websites using Webflow. The answer is simple: courses. In particular, I've found the courses offered by FLUX Academy to be extremely helpful in improving my Webflow skills. I first invested in a Webflow course from FLUX back in my senior year of high school, and it has been one of the best investments I've ever made. If you're looking to improve your Webflow skills, I highly recommend checking out the courses offered by FLUX Academy. This is not sponsored content – though I would happily accept an offer from FLUX to make it happen! I just wanted to share my experience with others.

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SAY Sí seniors spend their last semester working on a thesis project.

Building the HIVE

How New Media got defined at SAY Sí

Whenever I talk about our work, I get the impression I focus too much on the technical aspect of the instruction and the particularly nerdy details of the production process when the general public wants to hear a human story about cool kids being serious about their passions. I guess I feel obliged to justify how rigorous and STEM all this STEAM really is. Still, the guild is not the general public. I hope an abridged historic sketch of the primary tools and media, and our own evolving understanding of our own studio will be of interest to anyone trying to conceive a new transmedia program.

SAY Sí (San Antonio Youth Yes) was an established youth arts organization of 20 years when it decided to start a video game design program. They hired me fortuitously a few weeks before the planned beginning of programming. When I walked in, there was a computer lab that they were gonna call the HIVE (Home for Innovation & Video Ecology), they told me they heard about this thing called Scratch, shrugged, and wished me good luck. 

When I joined SAY Sí, I had a degree in fine arts with a focus on painting and a career in design and web development which had honed my coding, production, and project management skills. I made a few weird comics. I had broad technical art knowledge and I was good at reverse-engineering widgets, but I knew nothing about teaching kids. How hard could it be? 

SAY Sí has three other studios: Visual Arts (painting, sculpture, classic studio arts), Media Arts (film, photography, design), and ALAS (devised theater). The 2nd youngest studio is 7 years older. It was beneficial for the HIVE to have the overall pedagogy, structure and methods of the other studios to graft onto. 

With the exception of summer camps and the like, all SAY Sí programming is long term. Each studio has its own high school and middle school component. There are two recruitment periods in the year. A number of students stay in the program from 6th grade until they graduate from high school. In a school year there is time for about 4 major projects and a month of practica. 

In high school, students apply to one particular studio and participate in an open studio fashion. They commit to making at least 8 hours a week and it is up to them to figure out when exactly they’re gonna make those hours. Students often put in more hours during openings, installs, crunch, shoots, cons, fests, or tech weeks. Particular demos, presentations and rehearsals are scheduled, but there are no formal class times

SAY Sí's middle school program WAM (Working Artists & Mentors) meets only on Saturdays for a more structured day with more structured projects. 

HIVE started in the fall of 2014 as a WAM-only program with students who previously took the Media Arts WAM class. They were primed and purportedly excited about the new video game design program that was replacing film and photography for them.

My support in the studio consisted of a volunteer retired teacher (Paul Gates provided an invaluable teaching crash course) and of mentors. Mentor is the official title of high schoolers in the program who are hired to teach the WAMmers alongside the primary teaching artists. Peer-to-peer is a big deal. It works. Since the high school studios are all mixed grade levels and proficiencies, this happens organically. In WAM some high schoolers are given formal job and teaching experience. Since I didn’t have a high school HIVE to draw mentors from, my mentors were veteran media arts students. 

Scratch

We started with Scratch because it was right there. We made music and animatics and small arcade games. Some kids were really into coding new systems and the form of expression that offered, others were more into reskinning provided templates. A number of students made cute and fun and exciting things. While there was a lot of creativity on display and kids had fun, there was a bit of a chasm between the little demos we were making and what audiences and students themselves expected from the promise of getting to produce video games. 

Snapping code blocks together is all the rage in teaching basic CS concepts, but games are complex machines needing a lot of advanced understanding to implement seemingly simple behaviors. We were spending a large portion of the class time in rote recreation of boilerplate code and troubleshooting transcription sloppiness. When I provided templates, hoping to free students to make more interesting decisions at a higher level of design, the complexity of the templates made it more likely students would opt to merely reskin things that were there instead of designing a game.

The constructivist project-based nature of SAY Sí’s programming necessitates projects that culminate in some kind of showcase. If the HIVE spent the time it needed scaffolding all the competence with tunnel vision on making games, we would have one project a year, a bunch of school-like exercises and 60 bummed out WAMmers who made stuff all the time but never seemed to finish anything. 

Scratch is pretty powerful but it also has some major things going against it. There is no way to extract a game out of the website and there is little we can do to help it look polished for a gallery setting. Group projects were a struggle as it was impossible for multiple students to work on the same project at the same time. 

HIVEling in the zone.

Twine

One takeaway from the early days and a bit of a specter that continues to loom over most HIVE projects is that coding is complex and requires one kind of focus and engineering rigor—while deeper conversations about themes, truth, ideas, communication require a whole different kind of headspace. When the conversation starts to include questions like whether a given mechanic or system is the best way to convey the theme and mood one is going for, the complexity spreads squarely to both proverbial sides of the proverbial brain.

Interactive fiction (IF) with Twine was the first “next thing” and it partially solved that problem. Twine is easy and fun and puts creative choices game design is made of into the kids’ hands. There is also a ginormous indie IF community that makes some of the wokest games around.

Downside to Twine games is that embedding pictures and other media requires some hacky HTML maneuvers and a lot of awkward file wrangling. There is only so much writing and flowchart management you can expect from a WAMmer before they revolt. We needed to mix it up again.

Programming

Starting small and growing things is an important tenet of the SAY Sí way. We pilot initiatives, reflect on projects, and adjust course. You don't have to overplan and freak yourself out—just make a really good sketch, try it out, and take good notes. It is a process. Build in opportunities for feedback and critique. It is as important to commit and focus, yet not be afraid to change it up drastically if it makes sense. None of this should be foreign to artists, yet it seems a revelation to a lot of OST practitioners.

As we were drawing to the end of the first year in the video game design studio, we looked back and saw our accomplishments as lacking. Maybe it was just a matter of perspective and ambition, while there was actually plenty there to unequivocally celebrate. We were probably too hard on ourselves and asking too much from middle schoolers who were new at this. One thing was certain, the video game design studio was having a hard time designing games.

While we could use Scratch as training wheels and graduate advanced students to pro tools, all projects would have multiple tracks where we would effectively have to teach multiple classes at once. This was untenable. 

Files turned out to be a non-trivial issue. As soon as you start making digital art of any complexity, you have to deal with files. And files are shifty magical things: they are lost, corrupted and wrong, and either just don’t save themselves or save themselves all over the place. WAMmers needed more hands-on file experience before we could throw asset management at them.

It also became starkly apparent that video games are a bunch of different media that happen to coexist. There is creative coding, game design, UX, interactive storytelling, digital art, graphic design, 3D modeling, animation, sound design, music, and so on. Maybe the best solution would be to explode all that and shift project focus, such that we could do a bunch of different complete projects that all together help students bone up on the skills needed to make games. And not everyone needed to be into all parts of the production, students could focus more on some things and work symbiotically in flexible pairings. 

Honoring the youth voice is a successful part of SAY Si's mission. It's the thing that keeps them coming back. So we polled the WAMmers about their feels and not everybody was into all the things, but everyone liked something we were doing. A lot of them really missed digital painting and photography and the more intuitive processes.

In the fall of 2015, with the start of the program’s second year, high school HIVE became a thing. We hired Daniel Jackson to be the HIVE’s other teaching artist. Older teens with more time, commitment, focus, geometry, and capacity for abstraction joined the studio.

So now that we are no longer game design, what are we? New media! Ok, alright, but what the heck is that? “New media” means many different things to a number of people and nothing to most. Some art authorities consider film and photography to be new media and video games novelty toys wholly outside of the realm of artistic inquiry. Clearly this is unhelpful for SAY Sí. 

Led by student consensus as to what to do next, we went through projects ticking off media available to us on the path to video games. We became the studio that made all things you did with computers—and then every summer, with the extended hours, made video games!

As we unpacked video games into all this new media, we used a lot of Adobe software and did a lot of prep and finishing on paper. We discovered that comics fit at the intersection of narrative and animation. We were making storyboards already, comics are a way to showcase those. Plus, even when hand-drawn, they’re largely assembled and read digitally. With comics came zines and book arts. At the intersection of book arts and 3D modeling were papercraft figurines. Desire to work on game design without the complexity of programming led us to card and board games. Those are designed digitally anyway and we have paper skills. Sound design gave us soundscapes, radio dramas, and podcasts. Graphic design and all our work on paper led us to posters and tiled wheat paste murals. 

For a few years there, the HIVE didn’t repeat any projects. Getting lost in the weeds of breadth, we were anxious about finding a way to let students go deep on any one thing.

Pico

Coding with blocks gets old. There comes a point where you just want the thing to let you paste in some code from a website. PICO-8 emerged as our favorite alternative to Scratch. It is a beautiful development platform. The 16-color palette, 128px square screen and other “fantasy hardware” limits are quirky but perfect enabling constraints for coders of all levels. Lua is an excellent choice of programming language for intro to CS concepts. There is a large community designing for PICO-8 and source code and assets of any game can be explored. Teaching animation in PICO-8 is a joy. It looks sharp in an arcade cabinet, can run on a Raspberry Pi or in a browser, and can be managed from the command line. We stitch group projects together with Git.

SAY Síers always get a kick out of getting to make real things. SAY Sí in general is widely lauded for its commitment to solid presentation. When new students join the program, they’re not quite aware of the level of finish they will regularly bring to their creations. It will set in a couple of projects later when they exclaim in critique, “We just made a real <thing>!”—be it a video game, a play, a film, a gallery show, or an interactive transmedia installation. It is important for projects to be real—in contrast to Scratch which is clearly for kids. 

Love

In 2016, a year into high school HIVE, we got an opportunity to share a corner of the San Antonio Game Devs booth at PAX South (Penny Arcade Expo South). It was quite a maiden convention voyage for the students. We wanted to have something special to show off. We felt that after a year of smaller projects the studio was ready, and 14 students seemed like a good team size for one big group project. 

At the onset, during a week of consensus brainstorming we churned through half-a-dozen different ideas and settled on Date Me Super Senpai, an open-world, inclusive, dating sim RPG set in a high school for superhumans. It was very important to all HIVElings that this dating sim be inclusive. The idea belonged to Chabriely Rivera Roldan and so she was our lead. That meant she was in charge of the vision and keeper of the project’s soul. 

We programmed it in LÖVE because it uses Lua like PICO-8. There was a healthy community and a number of libraries out there, plus any found Lua scripts could be repurposed.

There was a fairly robust RPG system under the hood, allocating points for actions on two axes of personality. Exploring the school, making choices, and advancing the story actually affected how people responded to you and who you would match up with. A core story group wrote out the most interesting characters into fully dateable senpai. Other characters thrown around in the brainstorming made it in as regular NPCs.

The instructors were the producers on the project. Daniel Jackson left right before to do other cool things, and Rick Stemm replaced him as second TA, himself coming from game design and interactive playwriting background. Ned Meneses moved to be the HIVE’s 3rd TA after teaching in the Media Arts Studio for a dozen years.

Senpai ended up being SAY Si’s longest project ever. We eventually had something resembling a working production pipeline, but in the early stages we hoped that we would fill leadership roles and allocate tasks through initiative. 

People who reluctantly stepped up for roles they didn’t fully understand were not best situated to decide how to delegate tasks. The pace was frenetic, it alienated most of the students who joined the studio as production was ramping up. There were large stretches in production where some students were bottlenecks and others had nothing to work on. We had a sweet demo for PAX, but needed six more months to wrap up the project.

We were probably not as ready as we thought we were. Important code organization patterns had to be grafted into the game late. The map-drawing plugin we found online never really sorted objects’ depth well, and most of my time on the project was spent debugging it. We ended up filling the game with physics-based chairs the player pushed around which provided enough grit to the sorting system that the more stubborn-to-debug flickering edge cases hardly ever crashed the game. The debugging itself was too esoteric and not a very interesting case study to more broadly help the studio level up its coding game. There was no way to divide the tasks so that everyone could get a real feel for the problem. By the time I explained the nature of the issue and reasoned my way out of it, we'd have a working solution, so what would be the point of having them redo all my typing while there is so much other work still to be done?

Date Me Super Senpai made it clear that there was a conflict between demands of production which require demonstrating competence on a tight schedule, and demands of teaching which require room for exploration and failure. It seemed at the onset that one big project with all hands on deck was HIVE in top form, but it turned out to be bad for learning. Perhaps it was only right to dip into industry crunch culture, what with SAY Sí’s commitment to being real.

At PAX professionals were impressed by how much of a game a bunch of teens had to show. Students mingled with designers they admired. We tabled at every convention in San Antonio and one in Austin that year. We launched the game at Video Games Live at the Tobin Center in 2017. Local queer magazine wrote a feature. I am proud of the game. Everyone who made it through the production was in some way wiser on the flipside. It might not have been the best opportunity to teach creative coding, but it leveled up our projects game, collaboration skills, and studio cohesion. 

Unity

In 2018, with the start of the longer summer hours, we had HIVE’s first Game Jam. Studio had 24 students at the time, 4 of whom were Senpai veterans and 14 of whom had been in the HIVE WAM class.

Unity was on the table for Date Me Super Senpai but we didn’t go with it—mostly because we were tickled by the idea of making a dating sim in an engine called LÖVE. We also felt that an environment requiring more interaction with code would give us more opportunities to teach coding skills. In retrospect we should’ve used Unity and bought as many plugins as we needed.

Unity at first glance has an intimidating interface, but it is not hard to make a game with hardly any coding. It is one of the most widely-used professional game engines of the last decade and it exports to all platforms. There is an ecosystem of components that can be activated through a graphical interface and game design can happen while coding is deferred down the line for when one has internalized some of the jargon and abstractions related to building interactive spaces.

We have used Unity for a few projects before Senpai and a number since. We used it with Kinect. We made an augmented reality installation. HIVE Game Jam 2018 was gonna be all Unity.

Before starting, we warmed up with a 3-week general Unity tutorial and talked over ideas. Students filled out brief proposals answering pertinent project questions and sketching out production calendars. We brainstormed down the ideas and organically created teams around the top five favorites.

To jumpstart production we invited guest artists with game jam experience to help us with coding and music (Sam Marcus and Ian Faleer). All groups used some quick scripts Sam wrote and all had to modify code at some point to extend their behavior, creating opportunities for students to explain to each other how these plugins worked. There was enough programming, writing and art roles to go around. We talked a lot about the standards of clear communication expected from everyone and team leads in particular. Graduating 8th graders who joined high school HIVE from WAM right before the summer break were the most passionate backbone of the project.

At the culmination of the three weeks, we had a big party with pizza and the wider SAY Sí student body. Judges picked five categories of achievement and The Best. Several games went on to receive national honors from Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, with one receiving the 2019 Electronic Software Association Foundation Award for Video Game Design. 

A number of HIVE games can be downloaded from SAY Sí’s Itch page.

Guest artist Nadia Botello helps test out different materials to build a speaker out of.

Patterns

In the summer 2019 we took another stab at doing one large Senpai-like project with the whole HIVE participating (an alternate reality game played through QR codes on posters plastered around story-relevant landmarks), but it only reaffirmed that putting all our eggs into one project doesn’t leave the HIVE in the greatest shape. 

Over the years we established some patterns that allow us to consistently scaffold our craftsmanship and artistry. 

Some of our projects start with practica, where we spend several rapid fire back-to-back weeks on intros to different adjacent topics (PICO-8 + Twine + Unity, or character design + storyboarding + animation/comics), then allow a month for completion of one of the started projects. This allows us to create a variety of portfolio work as some students finish multiple projects. 

Every year SAY Sí puts on the Stories Seldom Told exhibit on an important little-talked-about theme students select. We mix up all the studios, so everyone works together with artists they seldom interact with, and they make interactive installation art. The format allows us to pilot different exotic techniques. We usually make two or three installation pieces per studio, allowing each experiment to have a more manageable scope than were we to try to introduce whatever (electronics, augmented reality, data visualisation, barcode scanners) as a monolithic project that everyone in the studio needed to engage with at once, whether individually or in groups.

Senior thesis show is an opportunity for veteran students to apply their HIVEly skills and their last semester on either materializing any novel transmedia visions (transducers, automata, Kinect, lenticular art, etc), or on going deeper with any of our core media. 

One project a year we take to conventions (games, zines).

All SAY Sí studios develop a unique culture of their own. HIVElings are good collaborators eager to support others’ projects as well as do the work of building support for their own ideas. They make great lists.

The cornerstone of HIVE’s work is creative coding and graphic design. While all other studios use computers in one way or another, embracing the media and tools native to the digital realm is where our practice starts. That is our litmus test for, “is it a HIVE project?” It is very easy to exclude things because they’re not 100% made on computers, but our threshold is more lenient. This is for the better, as tools shouldn’t be a tedious imposition but something that opens possibilities.

Similar to other SAY Sí studios, the HIVE challenges youth to reflect on the world around them, to do research and to critically analyze art, technology, and other contemporary topics important to them. Students use professional software, rely on technical documentation, learn to troubleshoot projects, and have opportunities to code in a number of different programming languages. Since technology is always evolving, the HIVE fosters a commitment to self-directed and peer-to-peer learning that is beneficial beyond the specific technical skills learned in the studio.

HIVE was the guest performer for SAY Sí's skit comedy holiday show SAY Sí Night Live. HIVElings performed original musical compositions accompanied by live VJ demos that they coded

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Jon Rodz Fun Cover, Words say SATX ALAMO CREATVIE

San Antonio is the only art scene I know, attending SAY Si through my High School years I have gotten really familiar with the Art Orgs that exist. Now, Art Scene is extremely board, so I think for this article, this is for people who are interested in Design! I will not be including anything music related, and if I missed something reach out to me so I can add it!

The Art Scene Giants

These places are ones that people go to and have been! They are known places and ones you'll find commonly when searching best places in San Antonio but I think it's worth listing them here, in no particular order:

Besides the McNay and maybe the San Antonio Museum of Art, these places are... places! McNay does a great job with the community, however, I'm unsure of the others at least events that I've seen. If you're interested in really old art those places are the go too! However, scenes are cultures, it is something active, they are communities. I wouldn't really say those places are scenes!

The Real Scene (Change My Mind)

These are physical places that I've encountered or been apart of! Great places to reach out and ask how to volunteer or attend events. The Brick especially has lots of events and Southtown. This list is probably a lot longer so reach out if you have any suggestions, if you're looking to be a part, it's all about showing up! Follow these places and you'll never run out of things to do.

Digital Art Scene

These places are digital, they don't have psychical places but they do share a lot way more than I do about orgs and people! 

Now I probably missed a few, let me know, check this places out! They are gems. Stay involved.

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Alamo Creatives topic is content based around, my home city, San Antonio, for local aspiring designer, current designers and design educators.

SAY Sí seniors spend their last semester working on a thesis project.

Building the HIVE

How New Media got defined at SAY Sí

Whenever I talk about our work, I get the impression I focus too much on the technical aspect of the instruction and the particularly nerdy details of the production process when the general public wants to hear a human story about cool kids being serious about their passions. I guess I feel obliged to justify how rigorous and STEM all this STEAM really is. Still, the guild is not the general public. I hope an abridged historic sketch of the primary tools and media, and our own evolving understanding of our own studio will be of interest to anyone trying to conceive a new transmedia program.

SAY Sí (San Antonio Youth Yes) was an established youth arts organization of 20 years when it decided to start a video game design program. They hired me fortuitously a few weeks before the planned beginning of programming. When I walked in, there was a computer lab that they were gonna call the HIVE (Home for Innovation & Video Ecology), they told me they heard about this thing called Scratch, shrugged, and wished me good luck. 

When I joined SAY Sí, I had a degree in fine arts with a focus on painting and a career in design and web development which had honed my coding, production, and project management skills. I made a few weird comics. I had broad technical art knowledge and I was good at reverse-engineering widgets, but I knew nothing about teaching kids. How hard could it be? 

SAY Sí has three other studios: Visual Arts (painting, sculpture, classic studio arts), Media Arts (film, photography, design), and ALAS (devised theater). The 2nd youngest studio is 7 years older. It was beneficial for the HIVE to have the overall pedagogy, structure and methods of the other studios to graft onto. 

With the exception of summer camps and the like, all SAY Sí programming is long term. Each studio has its own high school and middle school component. There are two recruitment periods in the year. A number of students stay in the program from 6th grade until they graduate from high school. In a school year there is time for about 4 major projects and a month of practica. 

In high school, students apply to one particular studio and participate in an open studio fashion. They commit to making at least 8 hours a week and it is up to them to figure out when exactly they’re gonna make those hours. Students often put in more hours during openings, installs, crunch, shoots, cons, fests, or tech weeks. Particular demos, presentations and rehearsals are scheduled, but there are no formal class times

SAY Sí's middle school program WAM (Working Artists & Mentors) meets only on Saturdays for a more structured day with more structured projects. 

HIVE started in the fall of 2014 as a WAM-only program with students who previously took the Media Arts WAM class. They were primed and purportedly excited about the new video game design program that was replacing film and photography for them.

My support in the studio consisted of a volunteer retired teacher (Paul Gates provided an invaluable teaching crash course) and of mentors. Mentor is the official title of high schoolers in the program who are hired to teach the WAMmers alongside the primary teaching artists. Peer-to-peer is a big deal. It works. Since the high school studios are all mixed grade levels and proficiencies, this happens organically. In WAM some high schoolers are given formal job and teaching experience. Since I didn’t have a high school HIVE to draw mentors from, my mentors were veteran media arts students. 

Scratch

We started with Scratch because it was right there. We made music and animatics and small arcade games. Some kids were really into coding new systems and the form of expression that offered, others were more into reskinning provided templates. A number of students made cute and fun and exciting things. While there was a lot of creativity on display and kids had fun, there was a bit of a chasm between the little demos we were making and what audiences and students themselves expected from the promise of getting to produce video games. 

Snapping code blocks together is all the rage in teaching basic CS concepts, but games are complex machines needing a lot of advanced understanding to implement seemingly simple behaviors. We were spending a large portion of the class time in rote recreation of boilerplate code and troubleshooting transcription sloppiness. When I provided templates, hoping to free students to make more interesting decisions at a higher level of design, the complexity of the templates made it more likely students would opt to merely reskin things that were there instead of designing a game.

The constructivist project-based nature of SAY Sí’s programming necessitates projects that culminate in some kind of showcase. If the HIVE spent the time it needed scaffolding all the competence with tunnel vision on making games, we would have one project a year, a bunch of school-like exercises and 60 bummed out WAMmers who made stuff all the time but never seemed to finish anything. 

Scratch is pretty powerful but it also has some major things going against it. There is no way to extract a game out of the website and there is little we can do to help it look polished for a gallery setting. Group projects were a struggle as it was impossible for multiple students to work on the same project at the same time. 

HIVEling in the zone.

Twine

One takeaway from the early days and a bit of a specter that continues to loom over most HIVE projects is that coding is complex and requires one kind of focus and engineering rigor—while deeper conversations about themes, truth, ideas, communication require a whole different kind of headspace. When the conversation starts to include questions like whether a given mechanic or system is the best way to convey the theme and mood one is going for, the complexity spreads squarely to both proverbial sides of the proverbial brain.

Interactive fiction (IF) with Twine was the first “next thing” and it partially solved that problem. Twine is easy and fun and puts creative choices game design is made of into the kids’ hands. There is also a ginormous indie IF community that makes some of the wokest games around.

Downside to Twine games is that embedding pictures and other media requires some hacky HTML maneuvers and a lot of awkward file wrangling. There is only so much writing and flowchart management you can expect from a WAMmer before they revolt. We needed to mix it up again.

Programming

Starting small and growing things is an important tenet of the SAY Sí way. We pilot initiatives, reflect on projects, and adjust course. You don't have to overplan and freak yourself out—just make a really good sketch, try it out, and take good notes. It is a process. Build in opportunities for feedback and critique. It is as important to commit and focus, yet not be afraid to change it up drastically if it makes sense. None of this should be foreign to artists, yet it seems a revelation to a lot of OST practitioners.

As we were drawing to the end of the first year in the video game design studio, we looked back and saw our accomplishments as lacking. Maybe it was just a matter of perspective and ambition, while there was actually plenty there to unequivocally celebrate. We were probably too hard on ourselves and asking too much from middle schoolers who were new at this. One thing was certain, the video game design studio was having a hard time designing games.

While we could use Scratch as training wheels and graduate advanced students to pro tools, all projects would have multiple tracks where we would effectively have to teach multiple classes at once. This was untenable. 

Files turned out to be a non-trivial issue. As soon as you start making digital art of any complexity, you have to deal with files. And files are shifty magical things: they are lost, corrupted and wrong, and either just don’t save themselves or save themselves all over the place. WAMmers needed more hands-on file experience before we could throw asset management at them.

It also became starkly apparent that video games are a bunch of different media that happen to coexist. There is creative coding, game design, UX, interactive storytelling, digital art, graphic design, 3D modeling, animation, sound design, music, and so on. Maybe the best solution would be to explode all that and shift project focus, such that we could do a bunch of different complete projects that all together help students bone up on the skills needed to make games. And not everyone needed to be into all parts of the production, students could focus more on some things and work symbiotically in flexible pairings. 

Honoring the youth voice is a successful part of SAY Si's mission. It's the thing that keeps them coming back. So we polled the WAMmers about their feels and not everybody was into all the things, but everyone liked something we were doing. A lot of them really missed digital painting and photography and the more intuitive processes.

In the fall of 2015, with the start of the program’s second year, high school HIVE became a thing. We hired Daniel Jackson to be the HIVE’s other teaching artist. Older teens with more time, commitment, focus, geometry, and capacity for abstraction joined the studio.

So now that we are no longer game design, what are we? New media! Ok, alright, but what the heck is that? “New media” means many different things to a number of people and nothing to most. Some art authorities consider film and photography to be new media and video games novelty toys wholly outside of the realm of artistic inquiry. Clearly this is unhelpful for SAY Sí. 

Led by student consensus as to what to do next, we went through projects ticking off media available to us on the path to video games. We became the studio that made all things you did with computers—and then every summer, with the extended hours, made video games!

As we unpacked video games into all this new media, we used a lot of Adobe software and did a lot of prep and finishing on paper. We discovered that comics fit at the intersection of narrative and animation. We were making storyboards already, comics are a way to showcase those. Plus, even when hand-drawn, they’re largely assembled and read digitally. With comics came zines and book arts. At the intersection of book arts and 3D modeling were papercraft figurines. Desire to work on game design without the complexity of programming led us to card and board games. Those are designed digitally anyway and we have paper skills. Sound design gave us soundscapes, radio dramas, and podcasts. Graphic design and all our work on paper led us to posters and tiled wheat paste murals. 

For a few years there, the HIVE didn’t repeat any projects. Getting lost in the weeds of breadth, we were anxious about finding a way to let students go deep on any one thing.

Pico

Coding with blocks gets old. There comes a point where you just want the thing to let you paste in some code from a website. PICO-8 emerged as our favorite alternative to Scratch. It is a beautiful development platform. The 16-color palette, 128px square screen and other “fantasy hardware” limits are quirky but perfect enabling constraints for coders of all levels. Lua is an excellent choice of programming language for intro to CS concepts. There is a large community designing for PICO-8 and source code and assets of any game can be explored. Teaching animation in PICO-8 is a joy. It looks sharp in an arcade cabinet, can run on a Raspberry Pi or in a browser, and can be managed from the command line. We stitch group projects together with Git.

SAY Síers always get a kick out of getting to make real things. SAY Sí in general is widely lauded for its commitment to solid presentation. When new students join the program, they’re not quite aware of the level of finish they will regularly bring to their creations. It will set in a couple of projects later when they exclaim in critique, “We just made a real <thing>!”—be it a video game, a play, a film, a gallery show, or an interactive transmedia installation. It is important for projects to be real—in contrast to Scratch which is clearly for kids. 

Love

In 2016, a year into high school HIVE, we got an opportunity to share a corner of the San Antonio Game Devs booth at PAX South (Penny Arcade Expo South). It was quite a maiden convention voyage for the students. We wanted to have something special to show off. We felt that after a year of smaller projects the studio was ready, and 14 students seemed like a good team size for one big group project. 

At the onset, during a week of consensus brainstorming we churned through half-a-dozen different ideas and settled on Date Me Super Senpai, an open-world, inclusive, dating sim RPG set in a high school for superhumans. It was very important to all HIVElings that this dating sim be inclusive. The idea belonged to Chabriely Rivera Roldan and so she was our lead. That meant she was in charge of the vision and keeper of the project’s soul. 

We programmed it in LÖVE because it uses Lua like PICO-8. There was a healthy community and a number of libraries out there, plus any found Lua scripts could be repurposed.

There was a fairly robust RPG system under the hood, allocating points for actions on two axes of personality. Exploring the school, making choices, and advancing the story actually affected how people responded to you and who you would match up with. A core story group wrote out the most interesting characters into fully dateable senpai. Other characters thrown around in the brainstorming made it in as regular NPCs.

The instructors were the producers on the project. Daniel Jackson left right before to do other cool things, and Rick Stemm replaced him as second TA, himself coming from game design and interactive playwriting background. Ned Meneses moved to be the HIVE’s 3rd TA after teaching in the Media Arts Studio for a dozen years.

Senpai ended up being SAY Si’s longest project ever. We eventually had something resembling a working production pipeline, but in the early stages we hoped that we would fill leadership roles and allocate tasks through initiative. 

People who reluctantly stepped up for roles they didn’t fully understand were not best situated to decide how to delegate tasks. The pace was frenetic, it alienated most of the students who joined the studio as production was ramping up. There were large stretches in production where some students were bottlenecks and others had nothing to work on. We had a sweet demo for PAX, but needed six more months to wrap up the project.

We were probably not as ready as we thought we were. Important code organization patterns had to be grafted into the game late. The map-drawing plugin we found online never really sorted objects’ depth well, and most of my time on the project was spent debugging it. We ended up filling the game with physics-based chairs the player pushed around which provided enough grit to the sorting system that the more stubborn-to-debug flickering edge cases hardly ever crashed the game. The debugging itself was too esoteric and not a very interesting case study to more broadly help the studio level up its coding game. There was no way to divide the tasks so that everyone could get a real feel for the problem. By the time I explained the nature of the issue and reasoned my way out of it, we'd have a working solution, so what would be the point of having them redo all my typing while there is so much other work still to be done?

Date Me Super Senpai made it clear that there was a conflict between demands of production which require demonstrating competence on a tight schedule, and demands of teaching which require room for exploration and failure. It seemed at the onset that one big project with all hands on deck was HIVE in top form, but it turned out to be bad for learning. Perhaps it was only right to dip into industry crunch culture, what with SAY Sí’s commitment to being real.

At PAX professionals were impressed by how much of a game a bunch of teens had to show. Students mingled with designers they admired. We tabled at every convention in San Antonio and one in Austin that year. We launched the game at Video Games Live at the Tobin Center in 2017. Local queer magazine wrote a feature. I am proud of the game. Everyone who made it through the production was in some way wiser on the flipside. It might not have been the best opportunity to teach creative coding, but it leveled up our projects game, collaboration skills, and studio cohesion. 

Unity

In 2018, with the start of the longer summer hours, we had HIVE’s first Game Jam. Studio had 24 students at the time, 4 of whom were Senpai veterans and 14 of whom had been in the HIVE WAM class.

Unity was on the table for Date Me Super Senpai but we didn’t go with it—mostly because we were tickled by the idea of making a dating sim in an engine called LÖVE. We also felt that an environment requiring more interaction with code would give us more opportunities to teach coding skills. In retrospect we should’ve used Unity and bought as many plugins as we needed.

Unity at first glance has an intimidating interface, but it is not hard to make a game with hardly any coding. It is one of the most widely-used professional game engines of the last decade and it exports to all platforms. There is an ecosystem of components that can be activated through a graphical interface and game design can happen while coding is deferred down the line for when one has internalized some of the jargon and abstractions related to building interactive spaces.

We have used Unity for a few projects before Senpai and a number since. We used it with Kinect. We made an augmented reality installation. HIVE Game Jam 2018 was gonna be all Unity.

Before starting, we warmed up with a 3-week general Unity tutorial and talked over ideas. Students filled out brief proposals answering pertinent project questions and sketching out production calendars. We brainstormed down the ideas and organically created teams around the top five favorites.

To jumpstart production we invited guest artists with game jam experience to help us with coding and music (Sam Marcus and Ian Faleer). All groups used some quick scripts Sam wrote and all had to modify code at some point to extend their behavior, creating opportunities for students to explain to each other how these plugins worked. There was enough programming, writing and art roles to go around. We talked a lot about the standards of clear communication expected from everyone and team leads in particular. Graduating 8th graders who joined high school HIVE from WAM right before the summer break were the most passionate backbone of the project.

At the culmination of the three weeks, we had a big party with pizza and the wider SAY Sí student body. Judges picked five categories of achievement and The Best. Several games went on to receive national honors from Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, with one receiving the 2019 Electronic Software Association Foundation Award for Video Game Design. 

A number of HIVE games can be downloaded from SAY Sí’s Itch page.

Guest artist Nadia Botello helps test out different materials to build a speaker out of.

Patterns

In the summer 2019 we took another stab at doing one large Senpai-like project with the whole HIVE participating (an alternate reality game played through QR codes on posters plastered around story-relevant landmarks), but it only reaffirmed that putting all our eggs into one project doesn’t leave the HIVE in the greatest shape. 

Over the years we established some patterns that allow us to consistently scaffold our craftsmanship and artistry. 

Some of our projects start with practica, where we spend several rapid fire back-to-back weeks on intros to different adjacent topics (PICO-8 + Twine + Unity, or character design + storyboarding + animation/comics), then allow a month for completion of one of the started projects. This allows us to create a variety of portfolio work as some students finish multiple projects. 

Every year SAY Sí puts on the Stories Seldom Told exhibit on an important little-talked-about theme students select. We mix up all the studios, so everyone works together with artists they seldom interact with, and they make interactive installation art. The format allows us to pilot different exotic techniques. We usually make two or three installation pieces per studio, allowing each experiment to have a more manageable scope than were we to try to introduce whatever (electronics, augmented reality, data visualisation, barcode scanners) as a monolithic project that everyone in the studio needed to engage with at once, whether individually or in groups.

Senior thesis show is an opportunity for veteran students to apply their HIVEly skills and their last semester on either materializing any novel transmedia visions (transducers, automata, Kinect, lenticular art, etc), or on going deeper with any of our core media. 

One project a year we take to conventions (games, zines).

All SAY Sí studios develop a unique culture of their own. HIVElings are good collaborators eager to support others’ projects as well as do the work of building support for their own ideas. They make great lists.

The cornerstone of HIVE’s work is creative coding and graphic design. While all other studios use computers in one way or another, embracing the media and tools native to the digital realm is where our practice starts. That is our litmus test for, “is it a HIVE project?” It is very easy to exclude things because they’re not 100% made on computers, but our threshold is more lenient. This is for the better, as tools shouldn’t be a tedious imposition but something that opens possibilities.

Similar to other SAY Sí studios, the HIVE challenges youth to reflect on the world around them, to do research and to critically analyze art, technology, and other contemporary topics important to them. Students use professional software, rely on technical documentation, learn to troubleshoot projects, and have opportunities to code in a number of different programming languages. Since technology is always evolving, the HIVE fosters a commitment to self-directed and peer-to-peer learning that is beneficial beyond the specific technical skills learned in the studio.

HIVE was the guest performer for SAY Sí's skit comedy holiday show SAY Sí Night Live. HIVElings performed original musical compositions accompanied by live VJ demos that they coded

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Jon Rodz Fun Cover, Words say SATX ALAMO CREATVIE

San Antonio is the only art scene I know, attending SAY Si through my High School years I have gotten really familiar with the Art Orgs that exist. Now, Art Scene is extremely board, so I think for this article, this is for people who are interested in Design! I will not be including anything music related, and if I missed something reach out to me so I can add it!

The Art Scene Giants

These places are ones that people go to and have been! They are known places and ones you'll find commonly when searching best places in San Antonio but I think it's worth listing them here, in no particular order:

Besides the McNay and maybe the San Antonio Museum of Art, these places are... places! McNay does a great job with the community, however, I'm unsure of the others at least events that I've seen. If you're interested in really old art those places are the go too! However, scenes are cultures, it is something active, they are communities. I wouldn't really say those places are scenes!

The Real Scene (Change My Mind)

These are physical places that I've encountered or been apart of! Great places to reach out and ask how to volunteer or attend events. The Brick especially has lots of events and Southtown. This list is probably a lot longer so reach out if you have any suggestions, if you're looking to be a part, it's all about showing up! Follow these places and you'll never run out of things to do.

Digital Art Scene

These places are digital, they don't have psychical places but they do share a lot way more than I do about orgs and people! 

Now I probably missed a few, let me know, check this places out! They are gems. Stay involved.

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Industry insights, like what does an art school like SCAD teach you or what is somethings that only product designers would knoww

Introduction to UX Design Methods: Understanding the Experience Economy

Another quarter, another opportunity to level up my skills as a UX/digital product designer! This week marks the beginning of my winter quarter as a SCAD sophomore, and I couldn't be more excited to dive into my first class of the new year.

As a refresher, let me introduce you to Professor McLean Donnelly, our wise guide for the next 10 weeks. McLean hails from Minnesota and has a dog named Grape Juice (yes, you read that right). He has an impressive background, having worked as a Design Manager at Expedia in Seattle, VP of Design at Shutterstock in NYC, and Design Director at Shopify, all while managing a large team of designers. In this class, we will explore the world of UX design methods, and trust me when I say that McLean is the perfect person to lead us on this journey.

One of the things that stood out to me on day one was the fact that we live in the "experience economy." McLean shared that 1.25 million websites are created every 8 seconds. This means that companies need to not just provide a product or service, but an experience that keeps users coming back. Brands like Warby Parker are great examples of this in action.

The Importance of Empathy in UX Design

But before we jump into any of those phases, there's one key element that is crucial to kickstart our project: empathy.

Empathy is understanding and anticipating another person's perspective, needs, and feelings. And as designers, it's our responsibility to create experiences that are empathic to our users.

Let's take Uber for example. They created an experience for people who are hard of hearing. They developed a fun, quick app for drivers to learn basic sign language to help improve communication with their passengers. This is empathy in action and it can take many forms such as accessibility. Another example is Spotify, with the introduction of 'Spotify Wrapped' feature, the company looked at how users could share music and anticipated this experience, and now it has become a big online cultural event. Empathy can be fun too.

The Different Stages of a UX Design Project: Discovery, Prototype, Analyze, Deliver

As we dive deeper into the class, we will be breaking down UX design into different categories. To give you a sneak peek, we will be focusing on three main categories: human factors/ergonomics, industrial design, and product design. This class specifically delves into UX design, which can further be broken down into UX research, information architecture, and UI design.

For our class project, we will be going through four phases: discovery, prototype, analyze, and deliver. In the discovery phase, we will conduct user market research, map out customer journeys, and create moodboards. In the prototype phase, we will create an interactive prototype, develop a business model, and present a mid-term project. In the analyze phase, we will conduct usability testing and finalize our prototype. Finally, in the deliver phase, we will create a movie, poster, lookbook, process book, and give a final presentation.

Practical Tips for Conducting Empathic UX Research

Empathy is the foundation of UX research, it allows us to figure out what we need to create before even thinking about the UI. It's the spark that ignites the project. During the class, we will be conducting user interviews, observations, surveys, usability testing and analytics to gain emphatic insights into why and when customers use our product or service, how it fits into their life and if the product appeals to their emotions or values.

Real-World Examples of Empathic Design in Action

As you go through the class and on your own projects, keep an eye out for examples of empathic design in the real world. Some other examples could be the way that Nest thermostat learns your habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly, or how the Nike+ app gamifies your workout routine to make it more engaging. These are just a few examples of how companies are using empathy to create better experiences for their users.

Final thoughts and tips for aspiring UX designers and educators

I hope you enjoyed this first peek into my winter quarter at SCAD. Remember, empathy is key to understanding your users and creating great experiences for them. And as you progress in your studies and career as a UX designer, don't forget to keep an open mind and to always keep learning.

Next Steps for advancing your knowledge and skills in UX Design

As you progress in your studies, take advantage of opportunities to learn from industry professionals. Seek out internships or volunteer opportunities to gain real-world experience. Take advantage of free online courses and resources such as Google Analytics Certification, or the free uxdesign.cc course. Embrace the opportunity to gain new perspectives and new ways to approach design problems. Remember, the more you know and can apply, the more value you will bring to the table.

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I'm excited to start my second quarter of my sophomore year at SCAD, where I'll be taking UX Design Methods with Professor McLean Donnelly, a former Director of UX Design at Shopify and VP of UX Design at Shutterstock. Before the class begins, my professor recommended that we watch the following videos – I think they're worth checking out too!

"UX Trends for 2023 and Beyond: Automation, Design Process, and UX Industry Shift" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXYpHz0Xdzw). Here are the top ideas that stood out to me:

  1. The layoffs will end in 2021, as the tech industry overhired.
  2. The future belongs to generalist designers.
  3. Companies will still be hiring UX designers, especially in industries that have no UX experience.
  4. The design process will become leaner due to the generalist approach, but this may lead to more mistakes. However, the success of a design can be measured faster.
  5. The evolution of UI design will slow down even more.
  6. AI won't play a big role in design (at least not yet), although I used ChatGPT to clean up this post. I think it refers more to images.

Also, check out this video: "Day in the Life of a UX Design Intern at Amazon | FAANG" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBBBk00QybY). The title explains what it's about – it's a super short video!

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Elon Musk's recent purchase of Twitter and subsequent changes to the platform, including the introduction of new features such as Twitter Blue check, have garnered a lot of attention. One recent addition, the View Count option, caused a stir in the product design community due to its controversial design poll by Elon Musk.

After seeing this I thought it was hilarious. People in the comments are saying that Elon is allowing users to vote, but it's a very small amount of people, and in terms of product design, who said left or right was the best solution? On top of that, does left or right truly matter. I wonder if the poll actually had impact on the UI Design. I thought I'd share the Tweets I found most interesting that day.

Here are some replies to that poll

Some people even showed serious implications of the new feature.

I liked how this designer showed a possible solution

For those of you who quit Twitter—

South Park Ep 3 S20
South Park Ep 3 S20

You can count on me for all the design controversies I find.

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Product Design by Jon Rodz

Not sure how to create 3D products? This class is an intro to creating 3D products.

We see 3D everywhere, in movies like 3D animation and in VFX, we mainly see in our everyday lives, like computers, mouses, water bottles, just about everything you touched had to be designed in 2D and brought to life in 3D. Computer-Aided Product Design, the power of Rhino 7, is used! However, it is a massive price of $995! For students and educators, the price is $195, reasonably high; however, when you realize what Rhino 7 can do and know it is not a cloud base subscription when it's yours... it's yours.

So what exactly is Computer-Aided Product Design? It is when designers can use technology to convey aesthetics, the use, and the performance of a product. And mainly create 3D renderings and models that tell stories.

Rhino 7's primary focus is to bring your 3D object into 3D printed objects. It is built for the real world, not for video games, not for art; it is made to be held. But of course, you can always create beautiful renders, just not in Rhino 7, in Keyshot 10.

Rhino is incredibly easy to use. However, with a few tutorials and knowing the tools, you'll be on your way to creating anything you can sketch up (always sketch, sketches are much more forgiving than 3D software is).

After creating in Rhino, you have 2 things you can do, send it out to print in 3D, or if you're a UX/ UI/ Web Designer like me, you can render and create a story.

Keyshot 10 is what I learned. This one is pricey, and I do not recommend getting it if you have a Mac or a computer (not a laptop) that is less than 4 thousand. To render your unique designs, you need a couple of hours and a strong computer. Your Mac won't make it. Keyshot 10 costs students $95 a year. Which is insane. So if you're a student or freelancer, definitely learn how to use Rhino first and master Rhino because your renders are only as good as your models.  The more details, the better.

Keyshot 10 is relatively easy to use. However, it is a new program, so that means starting over and learning.

Printing 3D vs. Rendering? Doing both is the best; imagine pulling up to a meeting with realistic renders and pulling out a 3D model they can take, see, touch, and take home. That's a win. And that is really where the value of this class lies.

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All the resources I think are valuable enough to share.

UX Design Podcast For Students

I As a student and officer for SCAD FLUX, I have to say that our UX design podcast is one of the best out there – and I don't say that just because I'm biased! I really enjoy podcasts that are raw and authentic, rather than feeling scripted or corporate. InFLUX fits the bill, offering a student's perspective on UX design and related topics.

One of my favorite episodes features Khoi Vinh, discussing a range of interesting topics and ideas in UX design. While some episodes may be specific to SCAD and may not apply to all students, the podcast is still worth a listen for its relatable and engaging format.

In addition to InFLUX, I also enjoy listening to the following design podcasts and recommend checking out the following episodes:

Whether you're looking to stay entertained while doing chores or simply want to learn more about design, these podcasts are worth a listen. Personally, I discovered the joy of podcasts while doing household chores, such as washing the dishes. They provide a great way to multitask and learn something new at the same time.

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UX Design Internship Roundup Dec. 2022

Full disclaimer as a FLUX Officer, these are pulled mostly from SCAD's FLUX Discord, SCAD FLUX UX Design Club, highly recommend following the group on Instagram and join our Discord. However, a special thank you to Jess Lam who is also a FLUX Officer that has been finding these internships and sharing them on the discord.

Special highlight to this site found by Jess, designintern.fyi built by Tammy.

Here are all the UX Design Internships that are open as of December 2022.

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I'm frequently asked how I am able to build websites using Webflow. The answer is simple: courses. In particular, I've found the courses offered by FLUX Academy to be extremely helpful in improving my Webflow skills. I first invested in a Webflow course from FLUX back in my senior year of high school, and it has been one of the best investments I've ever made. If you're looking to improve your Webflow skills, I highly recommend checking out the courses offered by FLUX Academy. This is not sponsored content – though I would happily accept an offer from FLUX to make it happen! I just wanted to share my experience with others.

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Personal stories from me! Design-related most of the time.

Poster Design with Owen Walker, Jon Rodz, Syonide Tony

YEAR ONE

It's a new season and we still breathing. Coming from San Antonio, TX which is South of Texas, going to Georgia was a big leap! SCAD has an amazing culture, everyone's extremely friendly and I've learned so much as designer.

The first big difference I felt at my first week of SCAD was the culture change. If we're looking at cultures in the United States, this map basically sums it up. I'm from South Texas, San Antonio, home of the Alamo, one of the first cities in Texas. Everything is Spanish influenced, the Hispanic culture and values dominate. This is something that I didn't realize until being at SCAD. I realized that Breakfast Tacos are non-existent, and when I say Breakfast Tacos people actually think of normal tacos I eat for breakfast. In South Texas we have the best Mexican food in the United States! So coming to the East Coast I am ashamed to say every Mexican Restaurant in Savannah is no good. Foods will always be a culture shock.

Going to art school is fun though! If you're ever wondering how SCAD Culture is, these 2 Instagram pages sums it up. First is an Instagram page of the YikYaks at SCAD and the other is parking at SCAD. However, the best of SCAD is the clubs and the opportunities! Like SCADpro (A class where students act as an agency helping big companies) and SCAD StartUp (A week long event ran by FLUX that every student is apart of), also SCADamp, a class where speaking coaches help upi were giving presentations and speaking.

I felt so confident going into SCAD though! I've been in schooling such as SAY Si and CAST Tech and dominated there, I felt like I understood the Creative Culture and I've worked with businesses before plus I've had Design Projects, I've done internships, I had Adobe's Support through funds and mentorship, it felt really great! 

Quarter 1 Fall

During the first few weeks I felt homesick, I felt like I didn't belong, I felt lonely, I felt a lot of bad feelings, and I felt like I was retreating back into the quiet kid I used to be, the kid I thought I defeated over the past 4 years at CAST and SAY Si.

SCAD goes in quarters of 10 weeks, which means each class is a quick, nonstop, no kidding you won't stop until the last day. You take 3 classes, each class 2 times a week and each class is 2 and a half hours long. Yes they are long! 

For my first quarter I had an 8 PM class, which, at the time I thought was cool, in retrospect, never do it! I would get out at 10:30 PM tired! And I would get tired in class, ideal times for classes is 11 AM, 2 PM, 5 PM. Those times I highly recommend.

Anyway Quarter 1 was great!

For Color Theory I learned to never work in color first, always work in value first. I really understood the importance of black and white. Value is key especially in great design. I also learned how to paint, and mix paint!

For Computer Aided-Product Design, well that one deserves a whole article here.

And for History class (Visual Culture in Context: Making Modernities), that was fun, lots about the renaissance!

First quarter was awkward because it's only 10 weeks then you're home in November for 7 weeks. It's an awkward time.

Roommates

I had 2 dope Suitemates, Owen Merit Walker and Tony Raymond Michalski both are rising hit Filmmakers! Lots of laughs, weird memory's, and times that I think no one else could've experienced. These Filmmakers are on the path to make dope things. These guys are friends for life and future collaborators!

Tony has a YouTube channel Syonide, and well he's on a mission to go from underrated to just rated. According to Syonide, he makes music, memes and his parents moderately proud. His content is high quality and funny and it's even funnier when you know the YouTuber! And has garnered as of this writing up to 6k subscribers in less than 2 years.

Owen Walker has made plenty of films, though, he has a skill of being a great, funny, good energy person. When you get Owen, me and Tony in a room sometimes the conversations don't stop until 4 AM.

Quarter 2 Winter

I had 3 classes again,

For Rapid Prototyping, I learned everything about the woodshop! And that is a tough class, really tough, I am someone who's all digital so doing something that required lots of time with my hands was challenging but well worth it for industrial designers! 

For Core Principles: Programming, I learned the basics of programming math, and it was interesting! I love math, and the rules of math so this class was fun.

For Drawing 2: Composition and Media it was great, learned a lot about how to draw, it was simple, this class was at 5 PM so coming out at 7:30 PM was not really fun, the day felt short.

Of course, SXSW, that happened in March, was something that I've never experienced! Got to meet my Design Mentor Khoi Vinh, who I've been meeting regularly with, and I also got to go up on stage and share my story, Starting From the Bottom and now at an art school! This quarter I really felt homesick! So being in Austin was really great.

Quarter 3 Spring

The future is FLUX! The next quarter which happened right after the 2nd was great. The feelings of not belonging went away as I joined FLUX, the club of my major (UX). I got to create and be apart of events that created a culture. I've had practice at SAY Si and CAST, so I knew exactly what to do in terms of creating spaces and I found a tribe of people, FLUX!

Excited for what next year will bring.

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Poster Design of Kendrick Lamar and Ralph Waldo Emerson

The theme of Humility in Kendrick Lamar's and Ralph Waldo Emerson's works

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century." Born in 1803, passed in 1882.

And Kendrick Lamar, an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and one of the most influential rappers. 

Both seem like completely different people, but both share a theme in 2 of their works, Humility. 

In "Self-Reliance," Waldo argues, "The terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; A reverence for our past act or word, because the eye of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts and we are loath to disappoint them," which basically means in modern-day English we have Pride in ourselves and feel we are expected to do something, so we don't get judged by others, or our egos don't get damaged, we have to stay consistent to not alienate others, but Humility is the key to self-trust. 

Kendrick Lamar also discusses this idea in his song "PRIDE." Kendrick states, "Now in a perfect world I probably won't be insensitive... the hurt becomes repetition, the love almost lost that, sick venom in men and women overcome with Pride, a perfect world is never perfect only filled with lies, promises are broken, and more resentment come alive... see in a perfect world, I'll choose faith over riches, I'll make schools out of prison... Pride's going to be the death of you & me." The bars express that when people have Pride, they die spiritually, individually & become followers. To stay consistent and conform is not true to oneself, and if everyone did, it'd be a world full of lies. 

This idea connects to Waldo idea because it comes down to the fear of people having Humility, the opposite of Pride. The fear of being a unique human being. 

Waldo writes, "What I do is all that concerns me, not what the people think... it is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it easy in solitude to live after our own, but the great man is he who midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness or independence of solitude...". This point also connects to Kendrick's because we are expected to live or fit in with other people. We are told to care about certain subjects and told to do certain activities to be a part of something even if we don't want to. We are not allowed to have our own ideas or beliefs, and both Kendrick and Waldo express that it's okay to be honest and think on your own. Kendrick raps, "I ain't perfect I probably won't come around. This time, I might put you down. Last time I ain't give a fuck still feel the same now. I can't fake humble because your ass is insecure. I can't fake humble because your ass is insecure. "These ideas develop Waldo's idea because by being honest, Kendrick frees himself from expectations; he acknowledges he isn't perfect and says that people are insecure about being themselves, but he doesn't want to fake himself for somebody else. 

Both writers, one a poet and another a rapper, believe people should have Humility and get rid of Pride that blocks us from being ourselves. 

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Cover Photos Learning Ideas with Khoi Vinh and Jon Rodz

Talks With Khoi ━Learning Ideas

Thanks to the Design Circle, I meet with Khoi Vinh every month, we discuss thoughts, ideas, designs, and journeys.
This conversation was mainly about learning how to think and learning ideas. The importance of designers needing to communicate. Where does the actual value of college lay in? And it's probably learning how to effectively tell your thoughts.

How to speak ideas


For our talk, I went in with the thought of how to be competitive in the design industry. Left with the question, why be competitive in the first place? For 1st-year college designers like me, the number one focus is learning how to communicate ideas, think, and think with others. A simple concept, in practice, is a complicated one that most designers fail to do. Another take away for 1st year college students like me, is relax! Just create over and over.
Well Jon, how do you do it?!?! What is the secret formula? Well, how do you think? Christoph Niemann, from Abstract: The Art of Design, puts it. Clearly, you start off with the void of a white piece of paper, then create, create, create until you're bored out of your mind! That's when the thinking happens; that's when ideas come to you. Why do we have shower thoughts? It's probably because we are staring blank and get bored out of our minds to come up with ideas. It is the same principle with a blank piece of paper. As a designer, we are naturally creative. We use our imagination to create ideas from seemingly nowhere.

How to create content as a teen


How do designers my age (teen) create content, but why does age matter? All content is ideas; to create valuable and unique content, bring in what you can share that only you can think and communicate; that is really helpful to people. Share what you know or wish you learned before; nothing is wrong with sharing.
I see more of the infopreneur, people, my age or younger, selling how to create a successful business. Of course, anyone will believe that is highly dumb; how would a teen have a successful business and now sell the knowledge for a successful business? However, people my age are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme and buying $100+ courses. This is one way to not create content as a teen! Share it all for free, and just by sharing it for free, you'll see that it is far more beneficial than selling courses.

Personal Branding


Personal Branding, it is hard being not only the client but also the designer. There's only 1 way to do it. It fails, over and over and over. You only need one win to succeed.

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Ideas, Opinions, Behind The Scenes & Life.

A peak into my mind, my ideas, my thoughts, my opinions and my life all through the eyes of a young Latino designer with an entrepreneurial spirit.

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