Semiotic Theory Definition

Semiotic theory is the identification of the philosophical meaning behind signs and symbols. More specifically, and in line with this unit, social semiotic analysis of visual communication is the study of semiotic resources and what can be said and done with images (and other visual means of communication). How things people say and do with images can also be interpreted. Visual social semiotics is functionalist; therefore it sees visual resources as having been developed to do specific kinds of semiotic work. There are three main kinds of semiotic work, which are always performed, these kinds of work are called metafunctions, and they are as follows.

Ideational Metafunction (Representation): The function of creating and representing.

Inter-Personal Metafunction (Interactive): The part language plays in creating interactions between writers and readers or speakers and listeners.

Textual Metafunction (Composition): Brings together the individual components of representation and interaction to create a whole that can be recognised as specific kinds of text or communicative events.

 

 

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James Lee – Week 7 Semiotics (Social Interaction)

Social Interactions #1 

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 6 Lecture

alec-guinness-ben-obi-wan-kenobi-and-mark (1)

Contextual Information:

Director – George Lucas
Pictured – Alec Guiness & Mark Hamill (left to right)
Title – Star Wars: A New Hope
Year of creation – 1977
Dimensions – 16:9
Technique, Material – Film
Genre – Science Fiction
Style – Action, Science Fiction
Image URL / originhttp://media.theiapolis.com/d4/hTZ/i1Q05/k4/l1QF2/w17W/alec-guinness-ben-obi-wan-kenobi-and-mark.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

 alec-guinness-ben-obi-wan-kenobi-and-mark-01 

  1. Signifier 1 is Ben Kenobi. He calmly stands his ground, whilst trying to calm Luke Skywalker. His calming influence and his aged characteristics signify him as the wise old man.
  2. Signifier 2 is Luke Skywalker. While Kenobi’s gaze is fixed solely at Luke, he does not seem to reciprocate, fighting against the calming influence. He signifies a resistance to change and a resistance to follow.
  3. Signifier 3 is the rubble of the destroyed transporter that lies in the visible background. This seems to explain Luke’s restlessness. The rubble symbolically signifies and instigates a need for change.
  4. Signifier 4 is Kenobi’s touching of Luke’s arm. It helps to establish that Luke needs help and Kenobi is calmly trying to push him in the right direction.

Representational – The interaction is quite transactive in nature with a solid narrative picture. The two parties are duelling over opposing ideologies, change versus known, instigated by the scene in the background.

Interactive Meaning The close up shot helps to place a sense of connection with the characters and a heightened awareness that this scene is quite intimate and emotive. The viewer is also placed at eye level to build a sense of equality with the characters.

Compositional The conversation is structured very effectively. Both characters are framed on opposite sides of the screen. The informational value works on two levels. Firstly Kenobi is situated on the left of screen and according to Kress and van Leeuwen that is what is known, however the younger Luke is positioned on the right depicts what is new (1996). On another level, Kenobi seems to be gesturing for Luke to head toward the right of screen, to the new adventure, whereas Luke looks to want to go in the other direction. The salient element in this image is Kenobi. Due to the darkness in his robe, viewers are drawn to him. Also due to his robust nature and the colouring of the coat, it seems as if Luke will not be able to head in the direction he wants. The modality is high and natural.

References

Kress, G. & Van Leeuwan, T. (1996). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Routledge, London.


 

Social Interactions #2

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 6 Lecture

Clone-Wars-2003-Anakin-Obi-Wan-star-wars-clone-wars-micro-series-2003-35573407-600-336

Contextual Information:

Artist – Genndy Tartakovsky
Title – Star Wars: Clone Wars
Year of creation – 2003
Dimensions – 16:9
Technique, Material – Animation
Genre – Science Fiction
Style – ‘Samurai Jack’ style
Image URL / origin -http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/35500000/Clone-Wars-2003-Anakin-Obi-Wan-star-wars-clone-wars-micro-series-2003-35573407-600-336.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

Clone-Wars-2003-Anakin-Obi-Wan-star-wars-clone-wars-micro-series-2003-35573407-600-336-01 

  1. Signifier 1 is Obi Wan Kenobi. He stands tall and arms crossed as if he is currently being scolded. He signifies the morally bound one, taking his punishment from his superior, whilst Anikan (3) sits and gazes away in the distance signifying his lack of consideration for hierarchy.
  2. Signifier 2 is the hologram projection of Mace Windu. His arms tucked behind his back, gaze solidly locked with Obi Wan’s. He signifies the superior in the conversation.
  3. Signifier 4 is R2D2. He is the unassuming intermediary in this conversation, simply broadcasting. His eye is fixed upon Obi Wan.

Representational – While the interaction would be classed transactive in nature Mace Windu (3) is the dominant party scolding Obi Wan and Anikan.

Interactive Meaning The viewer is quite detached from the scene. This is indicated not only by the characters neglect of the figurative camera, but also due to the long shot, which further creates a sense of detachment. The viewer had been offered or invited to experience the scene. The long shot also works to show the possibility of noise, as if Mace Windu is shouting.

Compositional By framing the two parties, Mace (2) on one side and Obi Wan (1)/Anikan(3) on the other, it helps to create a sense of divide and disconnect. The main salient point in the image is Mace Windu due to the highly vibrant colours of the hologram. The modality is low and natural.


 

Social Interactions Further Critique

Both images were quite similar in their composition. They both featured an implicit struggle. That was a hierarchal struggle in the second image and the age-old struggle, new versus old in the first one. Both images were able to easily discern between the more powerful figures, especially with the use of height and colour. The high modality and the close up shot of the first image helped to show the emotion of the conversation and were easier to convey themes of restlessness and haste. The low modality image was attentive to the bigger picture, relying more on the characters speech to provide a better contextual basis. Knowing these subtle compositional elements on how to position elements to implicitly extract meaning will be of great benefit to me as a designer.

 

 

James Lee – Week 6 Semiotic Analysis (Advertisements)

Basketball Advertisement #1 Nike KD7 

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 5 Lecture

 nike-kd-vii-badd35t-header

Contextual Information:

Advertising Agency – Weiden + Kennedy
Brand – Nike, Nike iD
Title – Bad, Badder, Baddest
Year of creation – 2014
Dimensions – 1024px x 768px
Technique, Material – Poster, Digital Image
Genre – Advertisement
Style – N/A
Image URL / originhttp://cdn.solecollector.com/media/up/2014/06/images/nike-kd-vii-badd35t-header.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

nike-kd-vii-badd35t-header 

  1. Signifier 1 is the photograph of the back of the head, with the word BAD shaved into it. It signifies the bad parts of basketball culture, iconographically shown by the recent trend of cutting shapes and words into hair.
  2. Signifier 2 is the image of the man playing basketball, dressed in baggy clothes, glasses and jewellery. It signifies the BADDER parts of the basketball culture, symbolically referencing the over-indulgent, consumer oriented swagger culture.
  3. Signifier 3 is the slogan The Badd35t. It flips the meaning of the other two, signifying the word ‘baddest’ in association with skill and power. The word bad, often takes on new, connotive meanings in sport (especially basketball). The number 35 and the Nike logo also help to index a relationship with Kevin Durant, as 35 is his jersey number and Nike, his brand.
  4. Signifier 4 is the new KD shoe. In conjunction with the third signifier it is able to display this notion of taking on this new meaning of

Representational – The advertisement is representational at two levels, firstly when denoting the different meanings of bad. It has a strong narrative structure where bad and badder embody the standard meaning of the root word. Finally baddest flips the meaning.

Interactive Meaning Without any direct contact through the advertisement to the viewer, they are positioned in a more passive and detached state. However by using close up shots it creates a more personal and intimate offer to viewers, attempting to trigger a need to embody this new meaning of bad.

Compositional In terms of information value, the whole advertisement works to read as a narrative from right to left, relying on a Z-pattern layout. All signifiers are connected by the z-pattern. The ad explicitly uses frames to break up meaning, especially by horizontally halving the ad. Due to the strong vibrant colours and bold lines, the shoe (signifier 4) and the tag line (Signifier 3) are the most salient elements, drawing the eye down the page. The neutral modality also makes the shoe look attainable.


 

Basketball Advertisement #2 Adidas Adizero Crazy Light

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 5 Lecture

 adidas-derrick-rose-youngest-mvp-ever-01

Contextual Information:

Advertising Agency – 180LA
Brand – Adidas
Title – Adizero Crazy Light
Year of creation – 2011
Dimensions – 1024px x 768px
Technique, Material – Poster, Digital Image
Genre – Advertisement
Style – N/A
Image URL / originhttp://static.tumblr.com/sejc2n7/4fJm44vhx/adidas-derrick-rose-youngest-mvp-ever-01.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

adidas-derrick-rose-youngest-mvp-ever-01-01

  1. Signifier 1 is the central figure of Derrick Rose. He symbolically signifies the enhanced user of the shoes, someone with unnaturally athletic abilities and stardom.
  2. Signifier 2 are the shoes, situated behind the figure. It symbolically signifies wings with the connotation that these shoes will make users fly, like Derrick Rose.
  3. Signifier 3 is the tag line, “Youngest MVP ever,” and “Adizero Crazy Light – Lightest ever 9.8oz.” This aims to build the credibility of Derrick Rose and the product.

Representational – The advertisement takes a syntagmatic approach in using all signifiers to build an over arching meaning of a superior shoe for a superior athlete.

Interactive Meaning Like the Nike advertisement, this ad does not directly contact viewers. However Adidas implicitly makes offers toward the viewer according to what the shoe can give users (ie. More athleticism, higher ambition to win). The medium length shot also gives the sense of a social relationship with the figure, telling viewers that they won’t be Derrick Rose, but they could be like him.

Compositional By composing and framing all the information around the central figure it creates a sense of all surrounding elements have a subservient value to Derrick Rose. If Rose uses the shoes and he is able to perform at high levels, users will be too. It also has a high modality to the image, creating a sense of hyper reality.


 

Basketball Advertisement Further Critique

While both advertisements don’t directly speak to viewers, they do help to offer enhanced experiences by using the products. Nike is proposing the ideals of being the BADDEST and Adidas proposes heightened athleticism and changes in personal winning mentalities. While Adidas explicitly uses Derrick Rose to promote the shoe and its values, Nike lets the shoes take on their own meaning, with the image of Kevin Durant become secondary.

James Lee – Week 5 Compositional Interpretation (Selfies)

Selfie #1

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 5 Lecture

 ManBoobSelfie

Contextual Information:

Artist – Unknown
Title – N/A
Year of creation – circa 2014
Dimensions – 960px x 720px
Technique, Material – Digital Photograph
Genre – Selfie
Style – N/A
Image URL / originhttp://tosh.cc.com/blog/2014/01/13/has-anyone-seen-my-phone

Content – The image displays an unknown man in a bathroom. He stands in an intimidating fashion, brandishing his middle fingers, whilst thuggishly pouting. The image is taken from his phone, lodged underneath his right breast.

Analysis using Compositional Interpretation

Colour analysis – The selfie features a majority of brown and yellow hues, drawn mostly from the warm light source and the warm colours from the bathroom walls. It is not a very saturated image, making it look flat and the multiple layers of depth blend together. The only highlight in the image is the highly vibrant and bright phone.

ManBoobSelfie

Spatial organization – Due to the context of this image being a selfie viewers unconsciously look for a face as the focal point. The eye is then drawn down the image, toward the hand gestures. Finally it rests on the phone, positioned under the male boob. By subtly positioning the phone in the position it is, the creator (whilst probably unintentional) is able to create a sense of suspense and comedy, leaving the viewer asking the simple question, “why?” The image is quite closed in nature. With the subtle addition of the framed mirror helps to insist that all the content needed is inside the frame.

Light – There is a single light source situated on the roof in the image. It casts a warm glow over the whole room. It is also quite a soft light creating a fairly flat image, devoid of a lot of defining contrast. Due to the warm and flat nature of the light it helps to enhance the colder brightness of the phone screen and draw the eye to that secondary focal point.

Expressive content – A selfie is supposed to be an intimate snapshot into a personal experience for the art of sharing that also can trigger perceptions of self-indulgence and narcissism (Rutledge, 2013). This image seems to take a sarcastic and satirical stance on the art of the selfie and place his views on society with a comedic lens.

References

Rutledge, P.B. (2013, July 6) Making Sense of Selfies: Taking Selfies seems problematic because we aren’t used to them. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positively-media/201307/making-sense-selfies

 


 

Selfie #2

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 5 Lecture
 vanilla_ice-620_1743486a

Contextual Information:

Artist – Vanilla Ice
Title – N/A
Year of creation – 2013
Dimensions – 720px x 720px
Technique, Material – Digital Photograph
Genre – Selfie
Style – N/A
Image URL / originhttp://img.thesun.co.uk/aidemitlum/archive/01743/vanilla_ice-620_1743486a.jpg 

Content – The image shows a selfie taken by ex rap artist Vanilla Ice in the foreground and the rappers from the Insane Clown Posse in the background sitting on a set of stairs, seemingly unaware of the photograph being taken. It is assumed that the photo has been taken outdoors and during the day. However this is not clearly identifiable due to a lack of environmental cues.

Analysis using Compositional Interpretation

Colour analysis – The colours in the selfie are realistic in essence. With the hefty amount of brown values in the image, it throws a subtle brownish hue over the image, where the vibrant blues, whites and blacks piercing the hue. The eye is drawn across the image to the points of high vibrancy.

vanilla_ice-620_1743486a-01

Spatial organization – The eye is drawn to Vanilla Ice’s face in the foreground, and then moves toward the highly vibrant and contrasted areas of the hat and toward the background figures. The high eye level (blue line) suggests that the image is to be viewed from above and gives the impression that Vanilla Ice is in a submissive state, letting the viewers in and giving them a look into his life. It is also a friendly stance that could be misconstrued if Vanilla Ice took a more imposing pose over the camera. The distinct perspective lines that run from right to left helps the eye along the image. The image is quite open in nature with unresolved lines of perspective (green) and the unknowing of where the photo has been taken.

Light – Due to the soft shading and downward trajectory of the shadows a single light source from above is suggested. It is most probably from the sun. Due to the soft nature of the light source, depth is not easily perceived. However the angle of the light does highlight Vanilla Ice’s face drawing the eye directly to it.

Expressive content – Like most selfies Vanilla Ice is trying to give his fans a snapshot into his life. An image free from context of why and where, just a simple and friendly selfie.


 

Selfie Further Critique

The two selfies are completely different in nature. The first seems to be throwing a satirical lens on the narcissistic undertones of the selfie culture. The other is traditional snapshot of self, aligned with the stereotypical values of selfie practitioners. Too an extent Vanilla Ice’s selfie can be viewed in a more tongue in cheek manor as it does feel a little staged, with the Insane Clown Posse ‘unassumingly’ sitting in the background. By throwing a little satire in the mix, the first selfie works really well to engage viewers through comedy and it does implicitly raise questions about the narcissistic culture of selfies. This could be a good practice to implement in my work practice. Comedy is able to engage.

 

 

 

James Lee – Week 3 Compositional Interpretation (Sequences)

Sequence #1 Drive

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 3 Lecture

drive-sequence

Contextual Information:

Director – Nicholas Winding Refn
Title – Drive
Year of creation – 2011
Dimensions (Aspect Ratio) – 2.35:1
Genre – Neo Noir Art-house Action Crime Thriller Film
Image URL / originhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuUvRb2TqNA
 

Content – One of the opening shots of the movie, it features a man driving through the streets of, what looks like Downtown Los Angeles. The radio broadcast of a basketball game plays in the background. The car pulls up outside a warehouse, where three hooded men quickly pace from across the road and proceed to break into the warehouse complex as the camera pans and follows their journey.

Analysis using Compositional Interpretation

Colour analysis – The streetlights casting yellowish tones to where the light hits, where blue hues arise where light is not cast. It creates a very antagonistic scene with the strong contrast in tones. The contrast also works to create a sense of tension and an implicit struggle between good and bad. The colour works to enhance it.

Light – The lighting, whilst ambient and soft, is artificial in nature, coming from the streetlights and other random sources such as car lights and shop fronts. The quick changes in light sources due to the intermittent street lights also creates a sense of tension and unease with changes in light, colour and contrast.

Mise-en-Scene           

Frames: The sequence features a typical wide screen ratio (2.35:1) (IMDB, 2011), which is standard in most modern feature films. The way the sequence is framed is quite unorthodox and erratic however still all receptive information is within the shot, with little need for inclusion of information outside the frame. Refn’s use of combining and intertwining the three screen planes is extremely engaging and helps to assimilate the audience with the environment and the main character. The frame plane helps to show the blankness and calm nature of the driver. While the geography of the area is not explicitly known, the mix of the geographical and depth planes help to show the inner city background and implicitly set the scene. 

Shots: Most of the shots in the sequence are head and shoulder shots, focusing on the facial expressions of the driver. The shot distance then becomes longer and longer, where the final shot of the sequence is a panning long shot of the other figures. The closer the shot, the more the viewer feels a connection with the figure, the further away the figure, the less the connection is. Most of the shots are in a shallow and sharp focus. Refn uses the shot focus to guide the viewer’s eyes. Whilst in the car the Refn uses a shallow focus to direct the eye to the main character’s facial expression. He then re-focuses to a deep focus to draw the eye to the other figures. The camera also positions itself as a third person, seemingly a part of the sequence, yet only observing.

Montage – The cuts in the sequence are all unmarked and out of rhythm with the beat of the music. The cuts are quick and help to give a sense of tension in the scene; this is further compounded by the calm, yet serious look of the driver. By cutting out of sync with the music it gives the sequence an uneasy feel as if something is off beat or amiss.

Sound – The sequence features three sources of sound. The first and most predominant is the music track; it seems to build up the tension, yet draw out the experience with a slow and bass filled beat. The second source is the radio. While it helps to break the overpowering music, it actually subtly sets the scene by hearing a man commentate an NBA (basketball) game. The announcer heard saying, “19,000 fans on their feet here in the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.” When shots changes to the car stopping, the radio falls silent, helping to establish a sense of space, reaffirming the camera as a third party participant. The camera cuts back to inside the car and the radio begins again. As the car is in park and the camera changes to a deep focus the music fades back to a background capacity. The sequence is very Art Noir by definition with the lack of speech from the characters, relying however on outside sounds and expressions to help the story along.

Expressive content – Expressively Refn is trying to build suspense and tension. This is perfectly done through the subtle use of sound, colour and the un-rhythmic cuts of the scene. However due to the drawn out nature of the scene Refn has still been able to keep viewers engaged, without boring them by adding subtle changes in sound and filming.

References

IMDB (2011). Drive. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780504/

 


 

Sequence #2 2001: A Space Odyssey

Student name: James Lee
Date of post: 7/9/14
Topic and relevant lecture weeks: Week 3 Lecture

2001-sequence

Contextual Information:

Director – Stanley Kubrick
Title – 2001: A Space Odyssey
Year of creation – 1968
Dimensions (Aspect Ratio) – 2.20:1
Genre – Science Fiction Film
Image URL / originhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wJQ5UrAsIY

Content – In this single shot sequence an astronaut in a space station is seen entering a chamber via the hatch at the top of the screen. He proceeds to climb down the ladder and then walk down a path to his crew-member at the bottom of the screen.

Analysis using Compositional Interpretation

Colour analysis – The colours used depict a space that is unnatural and man-made, the glistening white chamber overpowers the shot. Hues of blue are cast from the shadows and help to enhance the sense that the men in the shot are in a truly artificial space. The spotless white and blue colours project feelings of a sterilised and uninhabitable space, devoid of natural colours.

Light – There is only one main light source in the sequence. It is situated on the column above the second man sitting down in the galley. It casts an artificial yellowish tone upon the scene. It also is used to guide the eye toward the first mans destination, as if reaching the pot of gold.

Mise-en-Scene

Frames – Kubrick’s 1967 masterpiece was shot in a widescreen screen ration (2.20:1) (Berger, 1996), one of only two films Kubrick filmed in this widescreen format (Warner Bros, 2000). This widescreen format worked extremely well for other scenes in the movie to show the isolating nature of space, however in this sequence the widescreen format does not do the scene justice. If the ratio was smaller it could really help to create a sense of claustrophobia. The screen frames are quite closed, as the chamber the sequence is shot in is isolated to begin with. All other information is not valued or needed. Kubrick’s intersection of the screen planes in this scene is both disorienting and masterful. By removing a sense of up and down on the geographical plane Kubrick is able to cause confusion.

Shots – The singular shot is from a long distance, showing the majority of the space. It is not too far away to recognise who the men are. Kubrick has used a deep focus to show everything in the shot. The combination of a long distance zoom and deep focus helps to define the area in which a lot of the action takes place and familiarise the viewer with the space. The shot is on a fixed position high up in the chamber with an overhead angle of elevation. This overhead angle and the fixed position of the camera help to establish a feeling that a third person is viewing this scene. This is further compounded by the camera slowly panning too follow the moving character. It gives the impression that someone is spying on the men in the scene.

Montage – The sequence analysed is a single long shot, which does not have enough supporting information to analyse the editing components. 

Sound – The start of the sequence features the tail end of a music track, extended from the end of the last scene, supposedly done to join the cuts together. The music then fades out to nothing. The closer the man is to the camera the louder the actions he is performing are. Pressed buttons and the ruffling of clothes can be heard. However the further away the characters are the less to hear. This further solidifies the fact that Kubrick intended to make the camera the spying third person. The absence of sound also helps to re-affirm the isolation of the men in space. Ominous and looming is the sense of aloneness, far away from external human contact.

Expressive content – While unassuming and seemingly out of place in the scheme of the movie, this scene is pivotal in showing the fact that the men are not alone. While HAL (the artificial intelligence computer) is shown in previous scenes, it is not until now that we are suggested that HAL is ubiquitously everywhere on the ship. The slow pan builds a sense of uneasiness and invasion of privacy, especially when the men are just going about their every day business.

References

Warner Brothers. (2000) Frequently Asked Questions. Kubrick Films. Retrieved from http://kubrickfilms.warnerbros.com/faq/general_faq.html

Berger, J L. (1996) Aspect Ratios. Widescreen.org. Retrieved form http://www.widescreen.org/aspect_ratios.shtml

 


 

Moving Images Further Critique

Both sequence provide a third person point of view to give the appearance of a third entity in the scene. This is especially evident in the 2001 scene, to show that HAL is ever watching the astronauts. In Drive the perspective is used to show the facial expressions of the characters, in a scene devoid of speech. Subtle uses of sound, or lack of sound, also add another layer of meaning to the sequence. In 2001 the lack of sound helps to solidify mans isolation from natural society and help to frame HAL’s limitations. This isolating theme and a sense of limitation is also compounded by the lack of gravity, showing how unnatural human life is in space. While 2001 plays with these themes, Drive helps to build a sense of tension and unease.

In both scenes it seems that the mantra was to keep it simple. There is no receptive overloading and the meaning or feelings both scenes are trying to evoke can be extracted with ease. For my personal design style I wish to emulate this mantra. I do not want to convolute the meaning my designs are trying to evoke with over embellishment.

Week 7 – Semiotic Analysis | Social Interactions

STUDENT NAME Mika Campbell
DATE OF POST 7/9/14
TOPIC AND RELEVANT LECTURE WEEKS Week 6 Lecture

760003_1988254_2832x4256-game-of-thrones-season-4-finale-re-live-tyrion-s-escape

Contextual Information:

DIRECTOR  Alex Graves
PICTURED  Tyrion Lannister & Jaimee Lannister (left to right)
TITLE  Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the viper
YEAR OF CREATION  2014
DIMENSIONS  1.78:1
TECHNIQUE, MATERIAL  Film
GENRE  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
URL / ORIGIN http://imageserver.moviepilot.com/760003_1988254_2832x4256-game-of-thrones-season-4-finale-re-live-tyrion-s-escape.jpeg?width=588&height=290

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

1) Tyrion Lannister is the first signifier. He sits with his head tilted down and slouched body posture confiding with his older brother. He perceives to be unsure and defeated about something.

2) Signifier 2 is Jaimee Lannister. He stares deeply at his brother with a look of confusion. His body posture is slightly better but still looks to be slouching down to speak with his little brother. He seems to be trying to assure him, but is unsure about the matter himself.

3) Signifier 3 is the deep gaze the two characters hold representing a serious and heavy conversation.

REPRESENTATIONAL 
The picture is held together by the characters transactive connection and narrative imagery. They present heavy feelings as they converse and comfort one another. The viewer investigates each side of the narrative, collecting all the signs to depict the story behind the two characters.

INTERACTIVE MEANING 
As both the characters torsos are facing the viewer, they are inviting the audience into their conversation. The viewer sits at eye level perceiving equality and enabling the viewer with the ability to relate. Although the image isn’t completely zoomed up to their faces, the positioning of the characters still evokes a close connection.

COMPOSITIONAL
The two characters sit on either side of the framed shot, providing a nice composition. Although the lighting is of a low value, there are highlights strategically present on the characters , coming from the top left. This gives the frame an intimate feel. The salient moment in the photo is the intense gaze two the characters share with one another, as the viewers eye follows back and forth from one face to the other. The background is comprised of a lower value again, and seems to be a structure that is underground, perhaps a dungeon. 


STUDENT NAME Mika Campbell
DATE OF POST 7/9/14
TOPIC AND RELEVANT LECTURE WEEKS Week 6 Lecture

studio

Contextual Information:

DIRECTOR  Hayao Miyazaki
TITLE  Studio Ghibli Princess Mononoke
YEAR OF CREATION  1997
DIMENSIONS  1.85:1
TECHNIQUE, MATERIAL  Film/Animation
GENRE  Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
URL / ORIGIN http://wallpoper.com/images/00/31/46/66/princess-mononoke_00314666.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics 

1) Signifier 1 is Ashitaka. He stands confidently and straight as he smiles up at Princess Mononoke. His stance along with his expression while he looks up at the princess evokes a level of respect for her.

2) Princess Mononoke is the second signifier. She also sits confidently and content as she looks down at Ashitaka. Although she is at a higher eye level she does not depict an overarching authority over him or the viewer.

3) Signifier 3 is the wolf the princess rides. He looks up at her as if he also has a level of respect for his superior.

4) The fourth signifier is the Red Elk, Yakul. Like the wolf, he also gazes over to the princess, listening into the conversation. He mimics his friend Ashitaka with his strong stance.

REPRESENTATIONAL 
The image depicts a transactive narrative, as the two characters share a moment of content.

INTERACTIVE MEANING 
The frame of this image detaches the viewer with its wide angled approach, exposing the audience to an abundance of green scenery and depth.

COMPOSITIONAL 
The wider frame allows room for the characters to exchange gazes and place the image into context with the greenery and calming blue skies. The two parties (Ashitaka & Yakul) and (Princess Mononoke & her wolves) convey a departure, as they go their separate ways satisfied with the journey that may have been prior to this moment. The lighting added to the modality of the image, assisting with its appearance to be bright and happy. 


COMPARISON
While the two images both share a transactive narrative through their interactions, they still prove to be very different images. The first images focaliser where the main content in the image, being the two characters faces as it was a closer frame with more intimacy. Whereas Princess Mononoke’s image was more of an open shot that included a vast selection of the scenery surrounding the characters and their animals. The colour palettes and lighting were completely opposite within the two images, one depicted a dark sorrow frame, and the other was colourful and happy. It’s definitely important as a graphic designer to ensure that every element in your images are conveying the correct messages. If you really want to express the image to it’s full ability you have to think about every part of the composition and if it’s not working you have to direct it otherwise. 

Week 6 – Semiotic Analysis | Advertisements

STUDENT NAME  Mika Campbell
DATE OF POST 7/09/14
TOPIC AND RELEVANT LECTURE WEEK  Week 5, Semiotics 1

Contextual Information

TITLE  Sanzer Hand Gel – What do you really touch?
YEAR OF CREATION  2010
BRAND Sanzer
MATERIAL  Photo
GENRE Advertisement
URL/ORIGIN http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/sanzer_hand_gel_doorknob

doorknob

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

1) The first signifier is the dirty hand. It is a symbol for what you are really touching whenever you turn a door handle. It is also a metaphor for a doorknob. This acts as the main message within the ad. The hand is position as if it is reaching out to the viewer to shake their hand, creating an unwanted feeling.

2) Secondly, there is the signifier at the bottom of the ad that poses the question “What you really touch?” This makes the viewer question what they have really been touching, works as an anchor to reiterate the message and suggests action to be done about it.

3) The logo is a signifier for the solution. Providing the answer to signifier 2 and consequently encourages the viewer to purchase the sanitiser so that they can prevent their hands from feeling like signifier 1.

REPRESENTATION
The dirty hand represents both a doorknob, suggesting that you wouldn’t touch a hand that dirty, and secondly how dirty or ‘filled with germs’ your hand may be/get throughout the day. 

INTERACTIVE MEANING
As the viewer gains a feeling of disgust while focusing on the hand; the ad implies that they need to buy the product to prevent this. The hand is a sign that is associated with

COMPOSITION
As the hand works as the focal point and main signifier, the viewer starts of on the hand and down to the text, then logo. This spatial syntagm works as a conglomerate of all the signifiers, as they are all organised in different physical positions to produce a meaningful whole (O’Neill, 2008, p.74).

REFERENCES

O’Neill, Shaleph, (2008). Chapter 5 : Semiotic Theory : Signs and Signification. In O’Neill, Shaleph, Interactive media : the semiotics of embodied interaction, (pp.67 – 82). London : Springer.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

STUDENT NAME  Mika Campbell
DATE OF POST 7/09/14
TOPIC AND RELEVANT LECTURE WEE  Week 5, Semiotics 1

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Contextual Information

TITLE  Goorej – Freedom to touch
YEAR OF CREATION  2013
BRAND  Protekt
TECHNIQUE/MATERIAL  Photo/Typographic
GENRE  Advertisement
IMAGE URL/ORIGIN  http://www.productioncars.com/vintage-ads.php/Daihatsu/Hijet

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

1) The heading “Just 15 Seconds to Bid Adieu to all Germs”, signifies that there are germs on the audiences hands. With facts under it to convince the viewer that the product is promising and will help them. The text works as a relay-function as it complements the image instead of being classified as ‘not that important’ (Gillian, 2001, p. 81)

2) The writing on the hands work as a signifier for germs and signified as illness and anything you can catch by not keeping your hands sanitised.

3) Signifier 3 is the actual product itself and suggests that it will give you ‘freedom to touch’. Meaning you can sanitise your hands with the product after you come into contact with anything. Again, it symbolises and implies the solution to the problem.

REPRESENTATIONAL
The words of illness and germs on the hands represent consequently becoming sick because of not having clean hands. The syntagmatic composition works as all the signifiers convey that the product is the resistance towards said illnesses.

INTERACTIVE MEANING
The viewer gets taken on a journey, firstly a feeling of guilt for not keeping their hands clean as they read the illnesses they can catch, the viewer then reads up to the text about what the product can do for them.

COMPOSITIONAL
The composition of the advertisement is mostly balanced except for the empty space on the top right hand corner. It isn’t overtly noticeable as the viewers eye is directed diagonally from the top left to the bottom right of the page. Starting off at the text, to the image, and finally to the product. However, as the hands are the focal point of the advertisement, the audience starts there and directed up to the text, and back down to the product/solution.

REFERENCES

Gillian Rose., (2001). Chapter 2: The Good eye. In Gillian Rose., Visual methodologies : an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials, (pp.33 – 53). 

_____________________________________________________________________________

COMPARISON

Although both advertisements are similar as they outline problem with the symbol of dirty hands, they convey the message with very different approaches, imagery and style. It’s interesting that the second image was made at a more recent year as the first ad is a lot more effective and the design is far more resolved. The ads contrast well as the first ad concentrates on imagery and evoking a visual representation of either what your hands actually look like after touching things (if the germs were visible) or how many germs the doorknob actually has attached to it. The second ad has more of an old school design, with the classic ‘text, image then product’ layout. It also states facts on the ad and more words than a lot of the simplistic ads that are currently out there. Similarly, the both present a problem (dirty hands, illness, germs) and a solution, the product being the hand sanitisers.

 

Week 5 – Composition Interpretation | Selfies

Student name: Mika Campbell
Date of post: 7/09/14
Topic and relevant lecture week: Week 4 & 5 lecture

rs_600x600-140310105750-600.miranda-kerr

Contextual Information:

Photographer – Miranda Kerr
Year of creation – 2014
Dimensions – 600px x 600px
Genre – Selfie
Image URL / origin – http://instagram.com/p/lXQ0AuEMHY/?modal=true

CONTENT – Famous model Miranda Kerr takes an Instagram selfie on her phone standing in front of her H&M photo shoot location

Analyses using compositional interpretation:

COLOUR ANALYSIS – Miranda has most likely applied a subtle filter over her Instagram image giving it a low saturation, vintage look. The colours are pigments are of beige , skin tone, white and brown. Her pink lips guide the viewer there as although it is still low in saturation, it is the only colour that stands out on the right side of the image.

 

miranda

SPATIAL ORGANISATION – The selfie is well thought out, showing the vinyl player in the background, providing the viewers a glimpse of what the photo shoot set looks like for her H&M campaign. Although she is on the right of the image it is still quite balanced and pleasing on the eye. Lines towards Miranda are created at the meeting of the floor with the brown ledge (where the vinyl player sits), this directs the viewers eye down to her first button on her shirt and up towards her lips again (proving to be the main focaliser). She is looking up to the viewer blowing them a kiss. Her shoulders and arm positioning also directs the viewer onto her lips again. 

LIGHT – The light source is seems to be natural and soft coming from the window to the back/right of her. Consistent lighting is shown throughout the background, providing an easy view for the audience to see the set. Her face has highlights to the right of her jaw , subtly flowing onto her cheek.  The lighting on her cheek also directs the eye towards her lips. 

EXPRESSIVE CONTENT – Her expression gives out a kiss to her followers as she gives them a inside peek of the photo shoot, giving an ‘exclusive’ feel into the famous females life. Although it is well organised and thought about, the photo is still a classic female selfie, with the kiss/pout of her lips. Consequently that shows her follows that she too is a real person just like them and not just a famous person in magazines.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Student name: Mika Campbell
Date of post: 7/09/14
Topic and relevant lecture week: Week 4 & 5 lecture

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Contextual Information:

Photographer – Will Grisewood
Year of creation – 2014
Dimensions – 480px x 780px
Genre – Selfie
Image URL / origin – http://on.fb.me/1q16X2V

CONTENT – A selfie found on a satirical Facebook page about the old fashioned speed dealers sunglasses. It shows a male wearing three alternative pairs of the glasses with the caption ‘I think I’m ready to party’, which seems to be a screen shot of the popular app used by younger generations ‘Snap chat’.

Analyses using compositional interpretation:

COLOUR ANALYSIS – The image shows contrasting colours of a deep red and blue, black and skin tone. The black background emphasises the vivid colours on the sunglasses in the foreground. 

speeddealers

SPATIAL ORGANISATION – The selfie is equal to the viewers eye level, making it personal. The eye is directed from the top of the speed dealers, down to the males lips and down to the caption at the bottom which put the image into context. The main focal points are the speed dealers and the lips as there are multiple lines directing the eye there including the couch and his shoulders. The image is very symmetrical. As he is positioned straight on and very close to his face, the selfie is both comical and confronting. 

LIGHT – The lighting is very contrasted with the black background and the bright, slightly over exposed (in parts) foreground. Highlights are focused on the top left of his shoulders and head, portraying a light source from the top left angle. 

EXPRESSIVE CONTENT – The selfie takes on the role of the satirical sub culture of wrap around glasses, known as speed dealers. His stern serious expression is a stark contrast against both the three pairs of sunglasses he wears.  Additionally the caption of ‘I think I’m ready to party’ compliments the comedy of him taking the piss out through satire of the popular speed dealers.

 


 

COMPARISON – There is substantial difference between the two selfies, one being a classical good, well composed image of an attractive female and the other being a quick snap shot of a male being satirical and ready to party. Miranda looks up to her fans as if she is thanking them for following her on Instagram and sends her love by showing them a peep into her personal life. The second image is at eye level emphasising on his blatant seriousness of speed dealers and partying. The lighting and composition also expresses the differences in the two images. Miranda having natural lighting with everything well lit with a soft light complimenting her features. While the second one is a lot more harsh and to the point.

Week 3 – Compositional Interpretation | Moving Image

Student name: Mika Campbell
Date of post: 6/09/14
Topic and relevant lecture week: Week 3 lecture

Clair-de-lune

Contextual Information

Artist – Dave Ma & Sloane Skala
Title – Flight Facilities – Clair de Lune
Year of creation – 2012
Dimensions – 2.39:1
Technique, material – Music Video
Genre – House, Indie Pop, Electronic
Style – Drama
URL / origin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcu1AHaTchM

MONTAGE 
The scene shows slow dark transitions between the two young ladies talking over the phone focusing on their body language and faces. 

SOUND
The sound consists of a haunting, transcendentally beautiful (mostly) instrumental with a slow tempo. The soothing voice coupled with the music drags you into another dimension.

MIS-EN-SCREEN
Screen Ratio –2.39:1
Screen Frame – The screen frames are mostly made up of open frames as their eyes guide us outside of the frame, the only closed frame is the one that is a close up of her hand.
Screen Plane – The screen plane changes from the first females bedroom, to outside where the other female stands by a pay phone.  

CONTENT 
The music video depicts a restless female lying in bed late at night, and picking up her phone as it rings. It then changes to the second female outside by a pay phone, who seems bored as she fidgets with her fingers. After the conversation it shows the second female hanging up the pay phone and walking away.

ano

Analysis using compositional interpretation:

COLOUR ANALYSIS
The sequence sticks to a very consistent colour scheme, all with very low values as it is night and assists with the feelings evoked from the imagery and sound. There is a blue tint to the shots accentuating the fact that it is late at night and gives out a cold vibe. 

SPATIAL ORGANISATION
The camera starts with the second female lying in bed, you can only see her torso and her eyes are directed outside of the frame leaving it open and contemplative. Her torso takes up most of the frame. It the transitions to the second female who rings the first female. Like the first shot, she is at mostly eye level to the viewer allowing us to relate to the characters. The shot is directed at her face on the left as she faces towards the right, again leaving the frame open. It then zooms onto her fingers as she plays with them and talks to the other female, giving an intimate view. As it changes back to the first female, it shows her on the bed from an angle that is looking up at her, showing her now being on the phone and playing with the cord. Then back to the second female who is hanging up the phone at the public pay phone.

LIGHT
The lighting in the scene is dark conveying a late night, the main highlights are of selected parts over the females faces, making it eerie.

EXPRESSIVE CONTENT
The scene conveys a relatable scenario, as the shots are mostly at eye level with the viewer. It gives you feelings of eeriness, as you slowly get lost within the visuals and beautiful sound. The darkness and body language make you wonder what the relationship between the two females are.


Student name: Mika Campbell
Date of post: 6/09/14
Topic and relevant lecture week: Week 3 lecture

weezer

Contextual Information:

 Artist –Spike Jonze & Charlie Chaplin Studios
Title – Weezer – Buddy Holly (Music Video)
Year of creation – 1994
Dimensions – 4:3
Technique, material – Music Video
Genre – Alternative Rock, Power Pop
Style – Comedy
URL / origin – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kemivUKb4f4

MIS-EN-SCREEN
Montage – The scene flicks to and fro – from the stage and the members to the audience and the diner
Sound – As it is a music video, Buddy Holly by Weezer is playing. The sound is up beat and happy.
Screen Ratio – 4:3
Screen Frame – The frames are predominately closed frames, everything they want to show in the frames are shown. The content and intensions of the frames are clear. 

CONTENT
The scene is based within a happy days episode set in the mid 50’s to 60’s. It begins with the crowd enjoying the band as they all clap and cheer. It then transitions to the band playing with celebrative streamers and balloons behind them. It then zooms into a close up of the main singer playing his guitar. The fourth frame then turns back to the audience in the diner who decide to get up from their seats to go dance. Additionally, it flicks back towards the band with a wider view to capture the crowd all dancing with one another.

anotation

Analysis using compositional interpretation:

COLOUR ANALYSIS
A vintage colour palette is utilised through the scene, giving it a low saturation. Although the value is medium, ensuring that you are still able to see everything in the frames. The colours are mainly tones of brown. 

SPATIAL ORGANISATION
The angled view of the first frame sets an attitude of an intimate show as they are sitting very close to the stage (which you can see on the bottom right corner). The second frame is closed showing the band bopping and playing to their fans. It is relatively symmetrical. The viewer is then taken to a close up of the main singer as he looks out to the crowd. The camera then turns to the friends at the table moving to join the rest of the crowd. The space is used appropriately to convey the message.

LIGHT
The lighting is bright but not harsh or over exposed. It has a realistic lighting to the scene, possibly because it is depicting 50’s/60’s footage. The realistic lighting invites the viewer to enjoy the music like the audience.

EXPRESSIVE CONTENT
The upbeat tempo and happy vibes from the band and audience evokes an enlightening feeling towards the music and visuals. You can’t help but feel as if you were there watching the band with the audience, starting off cheering on the floor and wanting to get up and dance as the song continues. 


COMPARISON
As the two sequences depict a completely different genre, different styles of editing, compositions and frames are used to assist with the sounds. The dark feel of Flight Facilities ‘Clair de Lune’ contrast in comparison to Weezers ‘Buddy Holly’ light hearted vibes. Clair de Lune is composed of mostly close up shots of the two females, evoking it to be intimate as you become lost in the slow transitions and soft lighting hitting the females faces. Whereas Buddy Holly consist of open frames that are inviting to the viewer to enjoy and join in with the fans dancing.

 

WEEK SEVEN ~ SOCIAL RELATIONS / QUENTIN PROUT

GUUCI GUILTY

gucci-guilty-for-men-fragrance-ad-chris-evans-rachel-evan-wood373do043011-13041766901

Artist / Gucci
Year of creation / 2011
Dimensions / 298 x 400px
Image URL / http://blogs.acu.edu/kmt10a/files/2014/02/gucci-guilty-for-men-fragrance-ad-chris-evans-rachel-evan-wood373do043011-13041766901.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

1 – The first signifier is the expression of the woman looking up the man. This signifies that the women is lusting after the man.

2 – The second signifier is the male figure. The expression and perfect complexion of the man signifies that he is an object of desire.

3 – The third signifier is the bottle of perfume. The bottle itself signifies that if you want good looks and good looking women then you have to buy this product.

Figure 2 ~ Signifiers

Figure 2 ~ Signifiers

The combination of all the signifiers located with the image creates a syntagmatic effect meaning that men who use this product will not only obtain the superior looks but be desired by beautiful women.

There is a direct connection between the viewers and the subject due to the close length shot used. This extremely personal approach and suggested nakedness of the characters presents a very clear depiction of what the product offers. The expression of the mans face is almost cheeky in nature suggesting ‘what are you waiting for?’.

The angle of woman’s face draws the user up into focal point of the scene. With the focus being predominantly concerned with a singular area it separates the various volumes from it, almost o suggest that the man is the most powerful and important value. The extremely high modality of the image creates a sens that the figures are perfect almost inhuman in their complexion.

The strong sense of central information value at play which alludes to a sense of control within the image. This is combined with salience in terms of the strong tonal and colour contrasts at play.

“DONA SANGRE. DONA VIDA” (GIVE BLOOD, GIVE LIFE)

red-cross-torso

Artist / Red Cross Columbia
Year of creation / 2008
Dimensions / 515 x 343px
Image URL / http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/print/2008/1/red-cross-torso.jpg

Analysis Using Visual Social Semiotics

1 – The first signifier is the blood spreading throught the man’s shirt. This signfies that he has received blood and that it is spreading though his very being.

2 – The second signifier is the outline created by the blood and red sweater. This is used to signify that the man and women are connected in a certain way and share a special connection.

3 – The third signifier is the empty blood bag. The empty bag is used to signify that blood donations are required.

Figure 2 ~ Signifiers

Figure 2 ~ Signifiers

The advertisement details a narrative representation of not only our connection to others but the need to make sacrifices to support each other.

The image connects with the viewer in a variety of ways. The first of which is the illustration that your blood donation could help save another life by filling a void. This creates a sense that giving blood is a very personal experience as the donation is directly helping someone you may not even know. The face that blood bag is empty and the mans shirt is not full red explains the issue with the lack of donation. It speaks to us in very relatable manner suggesting that viewer has the direct ability to change lives. The use of close length shot reaffirms the very close and emotional relationship we have with the subjects.

The use of black background directs the entirety of the focus on the two main figures within the advertisement. This allows to viewer to easily delineate the purpose of the advertisements and then onto what they can do to help. The neutral modality adds to image allowing the subjects to be seen as very relatable and normal people. Salience is used in terms of colour contrast whereby the blood stands out vividly within the material of the white shirt

There is strong left to right movement within the image which further reforms the given to new narrative style story.

Comparison

The advertisements not only attempt to illustrate different ideals but are treated visual in completely different ways. The visual style of GUUCI GUILTY depicts an unrealistic expectation of human form linked to the desire to spend money of frivolous product. “DONA SANGRE. DONA VIDA” (GIVE BLOOD, GIVE LIFE)  however appeals to large social issue in a very relatable and plain manner. The modality of the images create completely different visual styles and in turn appeal to completely different markets.

These two images have shown me the importance of the control of modality within a image and the way in which it can be tweaked to appeal to different people.

REFERENCES

O’Neill, Shaleph, (2008). Chapter 5 : Semiotic Theory : Signs and Signification. In O’Neill, Shaleph, Interactive media : the semiotics of embodied interaction, (pp.67 – 82). London : Springer.