Wednesday, 31 December 2014

365 - A Year in Review

Day 365. Well here we are. The last day of the year and the last of my 2014 Daily Create project. It's been an interesting year and I thought I'd use this last post to reflect on some of the lessons and moments from the past 365 days of creativity, and think about where to from here.

Firstly I really want to thank all those people who followed along with what I was doing here. When you do a project like this, even when you blog about it and share it online, there is a very real probability that you do it in a vacuum and that no one will even notice you're doing it. And yet, I've been astonished and surprised at just how much feedback I've received from people about this project. From comments left on posts from individuals, to the unexpected site statistics created by unknown websurfers (the site had over 40,000 page views during the year) to the people that came up to me at conferences and told me how much they enjoyed it, thank you. I didn't do this project for you, but I am truly humbled that others may have received some inspiration or value from it. It means a lot.

Secondly, it's been personally rewarding to have forced myself to try and come up with a different project every day for a year. I've discovered so many new tools, apps and ideas just because I knew I had to. That's not to say that every daily create has been a piece of brilliant creativity. Many have been rubbish, I know that. Many have just been done because I promised myself Id do SOMETHING, and at 5 minutes to midnight I'd find some app that I hadn't used much before and bang out something just for the sake of it.

But there is a flip side to that too. I've done some things that I've been incredibly happy with, that I've surprised myself at what I managed to create.  I think there have been some amazing pieces that I know I would never have come up with without the daily discipline I set for myself of coming up with something every day.  That's perhaps been the most surprising thing. I missed a few days here and there (only 17 in total). I wish I didn't miss any days at all, but on the whole, I've surprised myself with what I did do.

Creativity is not a mystical gift that some people have and others don't. It's something you can cultivate. It's a numbers game. You make lots of stuff and some of it will be good. Simple as that. You can not only learn to be creative, you can force yourself to be creative.

I discovered - again - that curiosity + action = creativity. Most of us do have creative ideas, usually triggered by some level of curiosity or wonder, but we too often don't act on that curiosity. We allow the moments of wonder or curiosity or humour or insight to just pass by without taking that moment and making something out of it. Living a creative life really is that simple. Don't wait for inspiration. Just make stuff. Some of it will be shit, but some of of it will be amazing.

So tomorrow is the start of a new year. What's in store for 2015? Well, I'm not going to just continue this project. A full year of doing something as a daily creative act has been, at times, quite exhausting. There have been days when it's been a real struggle to come up with something, or what I did come up with was not very inspiring to me. At times this project has actually caused me to seriously doubt my creative ability when I simply could not think of anything interesting. Mind you, I'm not going to beat myself up about it, as I look back and see a lot of other things I am really happy with.

But there is certainly an "opportunity cost" for this type of project. I did notice that while I may have produced a lot of stuff here on this site each day, it also meant there were other things that I was not doing elsewhere. I certainly blogged on my main blog a lot less than I used to. I produced less of the bigger, more substantial projects that I've done over the past few years because my mental and creative energy was being directly at these smaller daily projects. I think that I produced a lot of stuff that had seeds of good ideas in them but were mediocre in themselves because they were essentially "throw away" ideas. A lot of great stuff has come from doing the Daily Create, but at a significant cost to other things I might have been doing.

So in 2015 I am not going to do a "daily thing" project. I've learned a lot from this one but now I want to do some other things and hopefully apply some of the ideas I've learned here.

I want to go back and spend more time blogging on my main blog at In a world obsessed with sound bites and Twitter length snippets, I still enjoy long-form blogging. I don't really care if anyone reads it, I just enjoy writing it, as it helps me think.

I also want to read a lot more. I read many blog posts, social media streams and so on now, but I want to make more effort to read more books. They represent the deep thinking of others and I want to dig into more of that.

I also want to spend more time in the real world. I love the Internet and my online community, but I need to spend a bit more time in the real world. I know that. I want to get fitter, get more sunshine and salt water, and spend more time with more people.

There is lots going on in my life next year. I have made some changes to my role at school, my independent work with EdTechTeam is gathering more and more momentum, I'm getting married to Linda in May, and I doing more travel than ever (and loving it). Life is wonderful.

I'll take many lessons away from this Daily Create project. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

364 - Jackie's Dream

Day 364. While browsing through the Chrome Webstore tonight I found this fantastic web app called StoryBird. This is the forst time I've played with it and I just made a fairly silly little story just to see what can be done with it, but it looks really great. I can see lots of uses for this with my younger students, as they make books and tell stories. I like that it starts with the visuals and let's you create the words to go along with it.  They also do special educator accounts too, so I'm excited to see what that offers.

Monday, 29 December 2014

363 - Cranky Monkey

Day 363. I met this cranky little fellow in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud while we were in Bali a few weeks ago. I had my GoPro camera on a GoPole and tried to get a closeup shot but he wasn't so keen on the idea. Maybe I should have talked with his manager first. This clip was in the video I posted a few days ago, but I used a free tool called Gifyoutube to take those few frames out of the video and loop them as a GIF file. Hours of fun!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

362 - Stollen Property

Day 362. We enjoyed a traditional German Black Forest Stollen cake at Christmas. It's like a cake and bread together. Anyway, I was slicing up a few pieces of stollen this morning and took a photo of it using Adobe Shape which turns it into a vector image, then imported it into Adobe Photoshop Touch to add some brushed colour and an extra layer, blended together with a lighten blend mode.

Friday, 26 December 2014

360 - More iPad Art

Day 360. I thought I'd take yesterday's image, which was already quite manipulated, and push it even further. So I passed it through a few more apps but mainly Repix, which has some very interesting effects like bokeh, scratches, smudges and drips. In the end the original image looks even more different.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

359 - Merry Christmas

Day 359. As the year draws to a close and there are just a few more daily creates to go, here is a hand drawn Santa for you, made using Paper by 53, and text added with Adobe Photoshop Touch. Hope your Christmas - or whatever you celebrate at this time of year - was great. Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

358 - iPad Art

Day 358. I had a play with a new app called Brushstroke which can apply brushstroke effects, canvas effects, image manipulation, etc, to turn a photo into a faux artwork. It's interesting, and adds to a long line of apps like this.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

357 - A Week in Bali

Day 357. I finally got around to editing some of the video footage I collected in Bali the other week. This was all shot on a GoPro camera on a GoPole (basically a video selfie stick). Music is a Creative Commons track via and it was edited together using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Monday, 22 December 2014

356 - Balinese Doors

Day 356. One of the lovely aspects of wandering around Bali is seeing all the beautiful doors that lead off the main streets: some highly ornate and others very simple. Some lead to family home complexes, some to temple areas, and others, who knows? But they look delightful and are a real part of the cultural landscape there. These are six doors that caught my eye, shot with my Nikon D7000, tweaked and treated in Adobe Lightroom and arranged with Diptic for Mac.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

355 - A Little Bit Krafty

Day 355. One thing I really like about using digital tools for making music is that you really don't need to be all that musical in order to make something reasonably interesting. Take Auxy for example. Auxy is a very cool iPad app for making sequences and arranging them into tracks. It's very simple to use and with a bit of thought I think you could do some very cool things with it. It's very forgiving for non-musicians like me, as you can literally jjst mess around until you get something you like.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here is my first attempt at making something with it. I thought it sounded a bit Kraftwerk-ish, which is probably the style of music that is the most obvious type of thing to make with Auxy. Have a go yourself and see what you come up with.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

354 - Stratafied

Day 354. No idea. Just started making marks with Adobe Draw. Ended up with this. Andre Breton would be proud. Sigmund Freud would be scared.

Friday, 19 December 2014

353 - Polarr Opposites

Day 353. I discovered an amazing web tool for working with images called Polarr. It's a pretty serious online image editor that offers a credible cloud-based alternative to Lightroom or Aperture. It even works with RAW files, and all just in a browser which is pretty amazing. It is mainly used for colour corrections and image fine tuning, not actual image creation, but the range and depth of the tools it offers is pretty stunning, and very Lightroom-ish.

Here's an image that I sort of went overboard on, but it's just fun to play with all the sliders.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

352 - Bali Bluster

Day 352. There was a huge storm brewing over our hotel room in Bali so I set the GoPro to timelapse mode and took a shot every 5 seconds, then stitched all 118 photos together in Adobe Photoshop and exported it as a 256 colour Selective mode GIF with 100% dither to reduce the posterisation as much as possible. It still has a bit, but you can definitely see how the storm is swirling around.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

351 - Poolside

Day 351. This photo of Linda was taken by the pool at our resort in Bali, but was treated with an app called Oil Painting then processed with another app called Distressed FX. Thanks to my friend Nicole Dalesio for the great app suggestions and the idea for the image.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

350 - Door 30D

Day 350. While walking through the back streets of Sanur last night with Linda, Tony and Jane I noticed this interesting doorway to a Balinese family complex. Photo was taken in very low light with my Nexus 5, then treated in Snapseed with several filters and effects to create this result.

Monday, 15 December 2014

349 - Not a Ladyboy

Day 349. I accompanied Linda today as she got her nails done at a small Balinese manicure place, and somehow got talked into having mine done too. So why be normal?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

348 - Bust a Move

Day 348. In one of those embarrassing tourist moments when one gets dragged up to "participate" in a bit of local culture, I submit this terrible clip of my Indonesian dance moves. I'll claim it as creativity because I was definitely just making it up as I went along.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

347 - Game(lan) On

Day 347. While visiting a Balinese temple today I spotted this beautiful set of gamelan and  since nobody said I couldn't play it, I played it. Badly admittedly, but I played it nonetheless. I love the gong sounds they make, and the scale they are tuned to.  So different to the what the western ear is used to.

Friday, 12 December 2014

346 - Angry Birds

Day 346. This intimidating avarian is a carved statue in a Balinese temple. I took the photo on my Nexus 5 but then tweaked it quite a bit for contrast, drama, focus, and a bunch more stuff in the Android photo app. I like the drama it brings out in the carving.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

345 - Florality

Day 345. Linda and I are enjoying a relaxing break in Bali. It's a beautiful island, and the Balinese are beautiful people. The hotel in Kuta puts these floral arrangements in circular pots, and I used Diptic to create these four circular designs of the flowers. These images were just taken on my phone looking directly down at the flowers. The last one was actually taken in Ubud.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

343 - Oh!

Day 343. As I may have mentioned before, whenever I fly internationally I seem to find myself whiling away the time by messing around in GarageBand, coming up with riffs and musical ideas. Rarely a whole song or anything major, just a few bars to lay out an idea for rhythm and melody. The flight to Bali was no exception and here one I created on flight GA715.

Monday, 8 December 2014

342 - Roots and All

Day 342. I photographed these lovely old tree roots on the trees in the grounds of Jakarta Intercultural School, and applied a few filters in the Android camera app, then used Diptic to arrange this three panel triptych.

344 - Strings with Pluck

Day 344. Another musical composition idea made on flight GA715. The strings in GarageBand are really interesting and you need to take some time to explore how they work. They can do all sorts of sounds from bowing, plucking, pizzacato, as well as several different chord inversions. Worth playing with. Here's a simple little riff using a variety of string sounds.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

341 - An iPad Year in Review

Day 341. During 2014 our Year 5 and 6 students have been part of a 1:1 BYO iPad program, which has been largely quite successful. I still think we have lots of unrealised potential for what we should be expecting kids to do with those devices, but for the first year of the program it's been a great success.

We will start off the incoming students for next year with an information session about the iPad program, so I thought it would be a good idea to ask a few of our current students for their advice about being an iPad enabled student.  I asked them three simple questions and collated their answers in this short video...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

340 - Let's Xangi Hime Together

Day 340. Linda was sending me a bunch of text messages today that were a little, um, autocorrected. She was at the gym walking on a treadmill apparently, and the phone had a bit of a mind of it's own as to what the text was supposed to say.

So of of course, when someone is "mat the gym" and is asking " maybe u fine here" and whether you want to "xangi hime together", there is really only one thing to do... turn it into a song of course.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

336 - Still Climbing

Day 336. If you've been following along with this blog you may recall that way back on Day 36 I created a trellis of fishing line to encourage some climbing plants to grow over our rather ugly water tank in the backyard. It was pretty bare when I made it so I thought it might be time to update you on that project and show you how it's going. Here is the current plant climbing situation, 300 days later.
Sometimes creative things just require a bit of time to grow. I'm looking forward to the next 300 days.

Monday, 1 December 2014

335 - Product and Process

Day 355. One thing I've learned from +Cathy Hunt is that iPad art gets more interesting when you pass it through more and more processes. This photograph of a waterlilly was passed through Oil Painting, Distressed FX, the kaleidoscope tool in MegaPhoto and finally Waterlogue to give this somewhat abstracted finished result.
The other thing I've learned is that the iPad screen capture feature (holding down the power and home button together) can be a great tool for documenting the process. Just capture the screen in Camera Roll then crop down to the relevant thumbnails to show the evolution of an idea.