I Lev Manovich The Language Of New Media-Books Pdf

I Lev Manovich The Language of New Media
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To Norman Klein Peter Lunenfeld Vivian Sobchack,34 5 67 4 8 9 4 7 01. A 7 B C 0 D,EF G 3C H I 3J 3 4 00,EF I 3J 7 4 F K 7 7 0. L34 MK9 4 B3 A 7 0 N,K K 4 G C 0N1,12 34 5 6 7 8 9. 5 6 7 8 7 54 5 A B 7 28 C,34 O F 7 H F P4 0ND,Q73 H 7CF J9 H 34J G3C A7 02. R7 43 3 4 34 020,34 S H34 02,R7 L34 MK9 L34 MQ7A F 02D.
D E 7 F A 6 7 8 GH,34 3C 4 67 F3C5 34 J7 J7 F9 0T1. I 8 E 7 3 95 U I 77 3 K4J34 0TN,B 3 4 J 0TD,34 4 P4H 7 3 4 B C 0. Just as there is no innocent eye there is no pure computer A traditional artist. perceives the world through the filters of already existing cultural codes. languages and representational schemes Similarly a new media designer or a. user approaches the computer through a number of cultural filters The preceding. chapter discussed some of these filters Human computer interface models the. world in distinct ways it also imposes its own logic on digital data Existing. cultural forms such as printed word and cinema bring their own powerful. conventions of organizing information These forms further interact with the. human computer interface conventions to create what I called cultural interfaces. new sets of conventions used to organize cultural data Finally such constructs. as screen and the corresponding representation tradition along with its. counterpart the simulation tradition contribute additional layer of conventions. The metaphor of a series of filters assumes that at each stage from bare. bones digital data to particular media applications the creative possibilities are. being further restricted It is important therefore to note that each of these stages. can be also seen as progressively more enabling That is although the. programmer who would directly deal with binary values stored in memory would. be as close to the machine as possible it would also take forever to get the. computer to do anything Indeed the history of software is one of increasing. abstraction By removing the programmer and the user further from the machine. software allows them to accomplish more faster or to use the early slogan of. Apple Inc the power to be your best From machine language programmers. moved to Assembler from there to high level languages such as COBOL. FORTRAN and C as well as very high level languages designed for. programming in a particular area such Macromedia Director s LINGO and. HTML The use of computers to author media developed along similar lines If. the few artists working with computers in the 1960s and 1970 had to write their. own programs in high level computer languages beginning with the Macintosh. most artists designers and occasional users came to use menu based software. applications image editors paint and layout programs Web editors And while. each of these programs comes with its built in commands default values. metaphors and interface conventions which strongly influence gets produced with. their help the evolution of software towards higher and higher levels of. abstraction is fully compatible with the overall trajectory which governs. computers development and use automation, In this chapter I will take the next step in describing the language of new. media I started by analyzing the properties of computer data Chapter 1 and. then looked at the human computer interface Chapter 2 Continuing this bottom. up movement this chapter takes up the layer of technology which runs on top of. the interface after application software Software programs enable new media. designers and artists to create new media objects and at the same time they act. as yet another filter which shapes their imagination of what is possible to do with. a computer Similarly software used by end users to access these objects such as. Web browsers image viewers or media players shape their understanding of. what new media is For example digital media players such Windows 98 Media. Player or RealPlayer emulate the interfaces of linear media machines such as a. VCR They provide such commands as play stop eject rewind and fast forward. In this way they make new media simulate old media hiding its new properties. such as random access, Rather than analyzing particular software programs I will address more. general techniques or commands which are common to many of them. Regardless of whether a new media designer is working with quantitative data. text images video 3D space or their combinations she employs the same. techniques copy cut paste search composite transform filter The existence of. such techniques which are not media specific is another consequence of media. status as computer data I will call these typical techniques of working with. computer media operations This chapter will discuss three examples of. operations selection compositing and teleaction, While the operations are embedded in software they are not tied up to it.
They are employed not only within a computer but also in the social world outside. of it but also outside the computer They are not only ways of working with. computer data but also general ways of working ways of thinking and ways of. existing in a computer age, The communication between the larger social world and software use and. design is a two way process As we work with software and use the operations. embedded in it these operations become part of how we understand ourselves. others and the world The strategies of working with computer data become our. general cognitive strategies At the same time the design of software and the. human computer interface reflects a larger social logic ideology and imaginary. of the contemporary society So if we find particular operations dominating. software programs we may also expect to find them at work in culture at large In. discussing the three operations of selecting compositing and teleaction in the. sections of this chapter I will illustrate this general thesis with particular. examples Other examples of operations which are imbedded in software and. hardware and also can be found at work in contemporary culture at large are. sampling and morphing, As I already noted in Interface chapter one of the differences between. industrial and information society is that in the latter both work and leisure often. involve the use of the same computer interfaces This new more close. relationship between work and leisure is complimented by a more close. relationship authors and readers or more generally between producers of. cultural objects and their users This does not mean that new media completely. collapses the difference between producers and users or that every new media. text exemplifies Roland Barthes concept of readarly text Rather as we shift. from industrial society to information society from old media to new media the. overlapping between producers and users becomes much larger This holds for. software the two groups use their respective skills and expertise the structure of. typical media objects and the operations they perform on computer data. While some software products is aimed at either professional producers or. end users other software is used by both groups Web browsers and search. engines word processors media editing applications such as Photoshop the latter. routinely employed in post production of Hollywood feature films or. Dreamweaver Further the differences in functionality and pricing between. professional and amateur software are quite small few hundred dollars or less. compared to the real gap between equipment and formats used by professionals. and amateurs before new media For instance the differences between 35mm and. 8mm film equipment and cost of production or between professional video. formats such as D 1 and Beta SP editing decks switchers DVE and other. editing hardware and amateur video VHS were in the hundreds of thousands of. dollars Similarly the gap in skills between professionals and amateurs also got. smaller For instance while employing Java or DHTML for Web design in the. late 1990s was the domain of professionals many Web users were also able to. create a basic Web page using such programs as FrontPage HomePage or Word. At the same time new media does not change the nature of professional. amateur relationship The gap became much smaller but it still exist And it will. always exist systematically maintained by the professional producers themselves. in order to survive With photography film and video this gap involved three key. areas technology skills and aesthetics With new media a new area has. emerged As the professional technology becomes accessible to amateurs the. new media professionals create new standards formats and design expectations to. maintain their status Thus the continuos introduction of new Web design. features along with the techniques to create them following the public debut of. HTML around 1993 rollover buttons and pull down menus DHTML and. XML Javscript scripts and Java applets can be in part explained as the. strategy employed by the professionals to keep themselves ahead of home users. On the level of new media products the overlapping between the. producers and the users can be illustrated by computer games As I will discuss in. more detail in Navigable Space section game companies often release so called. level editors the special software to allow the players to create their own game. environments for the game they purchased Other software to add or modify. games is released by third parties or written by game fans themselves This. phenomenon is referred to as game patching As described the writer and. curator Anne Marie Schleiner game patches or game add ons mods levels. maps or wads refer to the alterations of preexisting game source code in terms of. graphics game characters architrecture sound and game play Game patching in. the 1990s has evolved into a kind of popular hacker art form with numerous. shareware editors available on the Internet for modifying most games. Every commercial game is also expected to have an extensive options. area where the player can customize various aspects of the game Thus a game. player becomes somewhat of a game designer although her creativity involves. not making something from scratch but selecting combinations of different. options I will discuss this concept of creativity as selection in more detail in. Menus Filters Plug ins section, While some operations are the domain of new media professionals and. other operations are the domain of end users the two groups also employ some of. the same operations The examples are copy cut and paste sort search filter. transcode rip The operations discussed in this chapter exemplify these three. kinds Selection is the operation employed by both professional designers and. end users Compositing is used exclusively belongs exclusively by the. designers The third operation teleaction is an example of operation typically. used by users, Although this chapter focuses on new media operations the concept of an. operation can be used in relation to other technologically based cultural practices. We can connect it to other more familiar terms such as procedure practice or. method At the same time it would be a mistake to reduce the concept of an. operation to such concepts as tool or medium In fact one of the assumptions. underlying this book is that these traditional concepts do not work very well in. relation to new media and that we need new concepts such as an interface and. operations On the one hand operations are usually in part automated the way. traditional tools were not On the other hand like computer algorithms they can. be written down as series of steps i e they exist as concepts before being. materialized in hardware and software In fact most of new media operations. from morphing to texture mapping from searching and matching to hyperlinking. begin as algorithms published in computer science papers eventually these. algorithms become commands of standard software applications So for instance. when the user applies a particular Photoshop filter to an image the main. Photoshop programs invokes a separate program which corresponds to this filter. The program reads in the pixel values performs some actions of them and writes. modified values to the screen, Thus operations should be seen as another case of the more general.
principle of new media transcoding Encoded in algorithms and implemented. as software commands operations exist independently from the media data to. which they can be applied The separation between algorithms and data in. programming becomes the separation between operations and media data. As an example of the operations in other areas of culture consider. architectural practice of Peter Eiseman His projects use diffirent operations. provided by CAD programs as the basis of the design of building s exterior and or. interior form Eiseman systematically utilized the full range of computer. operations available extrusion twisting extension displacement morphing. warping shifting scaling rotation and so on, Another example is provided by clothing design by Iseey Miyake Each of. his designs is a result of a particular conceptual procedure translated into a. technological process For instance Just Before Spring Summer 1998. collection is a gigantic role of identical dresses with suggested lines of. demarcation already incorporated into the fabric An individual dress can be cut. out from the roll in a variety of possible ways Dunes Spring Summer 1998. collection is based on the operation of shrinking A model is cut two times larger. than its final size next patches and pieces of tape are fitted in the key places. finally it is shrinked down to size by dipping it into special solution This creates a. particular wrinkled texture except in the places protected by patches and tapes. Dunes exemplifies an important feature of operations they can be. combined together in a sequence The new media designer can manipulate the. resulting script removing and adding new operations This script exists separately. from the data to which it can be applied Thus the script of Dunes consists from. cutting the model applying patches and tapes to key areas and shrinking It can. be applied to different designs and fabrics New media software designers and. users have even more flexibility New filters can be plugged into the program. extending the range of operations available The script can be edited using special. scripting languages It can be also saved and later applied to a different object. The designers and users can automatically apply the script to a number of objects. and even instruct the computer to automatically invoke the script at a particular. time or if particular condition as occurred The example of the former are backup. or disk defragmenter programs often designated to start at a particular time at. night The example of the later is filtering email messages in email programs such. as Eudora or Microsoft Outlook While retrieving new email messages from the. server the program can move email messages into a particular folder or delete. them or raise their priority etc if the message header or address contain a. particular string, Viewpoint Datalabs International is selling thousands 3D geometric models. widely used by computer animators and designers Its catalog describes the. models as follows VP4370 Man Extra Low Resolution VP4369 Man Low. Resolution VP4752 Man Muscular in Shorts and Tennis Shoe VP5200 Man. w Beard Boxer Shorts Adobe Photoshop 5 0 comes with more than 100. filers which allow the user to modify an image in numerous ways After Effects. 4 0 the standard for compositing moving images is shipped with 80 effects plug. ins thousands more are available from third parties Macromedia Director 7. comes with an extensive library of behaviors ready to use pieces of. computer code Softimage 3D v3 8 the leading 3D modeling and animation. software is shipped with over 400 textures which can be applied to 3D. objects QuickTime 4 from Apple a format for digital video comes with 15. built in filters and 13 built in video transitions Geocities Web site which. pioneered the concept of hosting users Web sites for free in exchange for adding. ad banners into users pages gives users access to a collection of over 40 000. clip art images for customizing their sites Index Stock Imagery offers 375 000. stock photos available for use in Web banner ads Microsoft Word 97 Web. Page Wizard lets the user to create a simple Web by selecting from eight pre. determined styles described by such terms as Elegant Festive and. Professional Microsoft Chat 2 1 asks the user to specify her avator by choosing. among twelth built in cartoon character During the online session the user can. further customize the selected character by interpolating between eight values. which represent eight fundamental emotions as defined by Microsoft. programmers, These examples illustrate a new logic of computer culture New media. objects are rarely created completely from scratch usually they are assembled. from ready made parts Put differently in computer culture authentic creation has. been replaced by selection from a menu In the process of creating a new media. object the designer selects from libraries of 3D models and texture maps sounds. and behaviors background images and buttons filters and transitions Every. authoring and editing software comes with such libraries In addition both. software manufacturers and third parties sell separate collections which work as. plug ins i e they appear as additional commands and ready to use media. elements under software s menus The Web provides a further source of plug ins. and media elements with numerous collections available for free. New media users are similarly asked to select from pre defined menus of. choices when using software to create documents or access various Internet. services Here are few examples selecting one of pre defined styles when. creating a Web page in Microsoft Word or a similar program selecting one of. AutoLayouts when creating a slide in PowerPoint selecting one of pre. determined avatars on entering a multi user virtual world such as Palace selecting. one of the pre determined viewpoints when navigating a VRML world Avatar is. a character or a graphic icon representing a user in a virtual world. All in all selecting from a library or menu of pre defined elements or. choices is one of the key operations for both professional producers of new media. and for the end users This operation makes production process more efficient for. the professionals and it makes end users feel that they are not just consumers but. authors creating a new media object or experience What are the historical. origins of this new cultural logic How can we describe theoretically the. particular dynamics of standardization and invention which comes with it Is the. model of authorship it puts forward specific to new media or can we already find. it work in old media, Art historian Ernst Gombrich and Roland Barthes among others critiqued. the romantic ideal of the artist creating totally from scratch pulling images. directly from his imagination or inventing new ways to see the world all. alone According to Gombrich the realist artist can only represent nature by. relaying on already established representational schemes the history of illusion. in art involves slow and subtle modifications of these schemes over many. generations of artists In his famous essay The Death of the Author Barthes. offered even more radical criticism of the idea an author as a solitary inventor. alone responsible for work s content As Barthes puts it the Text is a tissue of. quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture Yet even though a. modern artist may be only reproducing or at best combining in new ways. preexisting texts idioms and schemas the actual material process of art making. supports the romantic ideal An artist operates like God creating the Universe. she starts with an empty canvas or a blank page Gradually filling in the details. he brings a new world into existence, Such a process of art making manual and painstakingly slow was.
appropriate for the age of pre industrial artisan culture In the twentieth century. as the rest of the culture moved to mass production and automation literally. becoming a culture industry the term of Theodor Adorno fine arts continued. to insist on its artisan model Only in the 1910s when some artists began to. assemble collages and montages from already existing cultural parts the. industrial method of production entered the realm of art Photomontage became. the most pure expression of this new method By the early 1920s. photomontage practitioners already created or rather constructed some of the. most remarkable images of modern art such as Cut with the Cake Knife Hannah. H ch 1919 Metropolis Paul Citro n 1923 The Electrification of the Whole. Country Gustav Klutsis 1920 and Tatlin at Home Raoul Hausmann 1920 to. mention just a few examples Yet although photomontage became an established. practice of Dadaists Surrealists and Constructivists in the 1920s and Pop artists. in the 1960s the creation from scratch as exemplified by painting and drawing. remained the main operation of modern art, In contrast electronic art from its very beginning was based on a new. principle modification of an already existing signal The first electronic. instrument designed in 1920 by the Russian scientist and musician Leon. Theremin contained a generator producing a sine wave the performer simply. modified its frequency and amplitude In the 1960s video artists began to build. video synthesizers based on the same principle The artist was no longer a. romantic genius generating a new world purely out of his imagination he became. a technician turning a knob here pressing switch there an accessory to the. Substitute a simple sine wave by a more complex signal sounds rhythms. melodies add a whole bank of signal generators and you have arrived at a. modern music synthesizer the first instrument which embodies the logic of all. new media selection from a menu of choices, The first music synthesizers appeared in the 1950s followed by video. synthesizers in the 1960s followed by DVE Digital Video Effects in the late. 1970s the banks of effects used by video editors followed by computer. software such as 1984 MacDraw that came with a repertoire of basic shapes The. process of art making has finally caught up with modern times It has become. synchronized with the rest of modern society where everything is assembled from. ready made parts from objects to people s identities The modern subject. proceeds through life by selecting from numerous menus and catalogs of items. be it assembling an outfit decorating the apartment choosing dishes from a. restaurant menu or choosing which interest groups to join With electronic and. digital media art making similarly entails choosing from ready made elements. textures and icons supplied by a paint program 3D models which come with a 3D. modeling program melodies and rhythms built into a music synthesis program. While previously the great text of culture from which the artist created. her or his own unique tissue of quotations was bubbling and shimmering. somewhere below the consciousness now it has become externalized and greatly. reduced in the process 2D objects 3D models textures transitions effects. which are available as soon as the artist turns on the computer The World Wide. Web takes this process to the next level it encourages the creation of texts that. completely consist of pointers to other texts that are already on the Web One. does not have to add any original writing it is enough to select from what already. exists Put differently now anybody can become a creator by simply providing a. new menu i e by making a new selection from the total corpus available. The same logic applies to branching type interactive new media objects. In a branching type interactive program when the user reaching a particular. object she can select which branch to follow next by clicking a button or on the. part of an image or by choosing from a menu The visual result of making a. choice is that is either a whole screen or its part s change A typical interactive. program of the 1980s and early 1990s was self contained i e it run on a computer. which was not networked In contrast to surfing the Web where it is very easy to. move from one site to another the designers of self contained programs could. expect undivided attention from a user Therefore it was safe to change the whole. screen after a user makes a selection The effect was similar to turning pages in a. book This book metaphor was promoted by first popular hypermedia authoring. software Apple s HyperCard 1987 a good example of its use can be found in. the game Myst Broderbund 1993 Myst presents the player with still images. which fill the screen When the player clicking on the left or right parts of an. image it is replaced by another image For more on navigation in Myst see. Digital Cinema and Navigable Space sections below In the second part of. the 1990s as most interactive documents migrated to the Web and simultaneously. became more complex it became important to give all pages of the site a common. identity and also visually display page s position in relation to the site s. branching tree structure Consequently with the help of such technologies such as. HTML Frames Dynamic HTML and Flash interactive designers established a. different convention Now parts of the screen which typically contain company. logo top level menus and page s path remain constant while other parts changed. dynamically Microsoft and Macromedia sites provide good examples of this. new convention But regardless of whether making a selection leads the user. to a whole new screen or only changes part s of it the user still navigates through. branching structure consisting from pre defined objects While more complex. types of interactivity can be created by via a computer program which controls. and modifies the media object at run time the majority of interactive media uses. fixed branching tree structures, It is often claimed that a user of a branching interactive program becomes. its co author by choosing a unique path through the elements of a work she. supposedly creates a new work But it is also possible to see the same process in a. different way If a complete work is a sum of all possible paths through its. elements then the user following a particular path only accesses a part of this. whole In other words the user is only activating a part of the total work that. already exists Just as with the example of Web pages which consist from nothing. but the links to other pages here the user does not add new objects to a corpus. but only selects its subset This is a new type of authorship which corresponds. neither to pre modern before Romanticism idea of providing minor modification. to the tradition nor to the modern idea nineteenth and first part of the twentieth. centuries of a creator genius revolting against it It does however fit perfectly. with the logic of advanced industrial and post industrial societies where almost. every practical act involves choosing from some menu catalog or database In. fact as I already noted when discussing interactivity in Principles of New. Media section new media is the best available expression of the logic of identity. in these societies choosing values from a number of pre defined menus. How can a modern subject escape from this logic In a society saturated. with brands and labels people respond by adopting minimalist aesthetics and. hard to identify clothing style Writing about an empty loft as an expression of. minimalist ideal architecture critic Herbert Muschamp points out that people. reject exposing the subjectivity when one piece of stuff is prefered to another. The opposition between an the indvidualised inner world and objective shared. objective neutral world outside becomes reversed, The private living space has taken on the guise of objectivity neutral. value free as if this were a found space not an impeccably designed one. The world outside meawhile has become subjectified rendered into a. changing collage of pesonal whims and fancies This is to be expected in a. culure dominated by the distribution system That system exists after all. not to make things but to sell them to apeal to individual impulses tastes. desires As a result the public realm has becime a collective repository of. dreams and designs from which the self requires refuge. How can one accomplishing the similar escape in new media It can only be. accomplished by refusing all options and customization and ultimately refusing. all forms of interactivity Paradoxically by followng an interactive path one does. not construct a unique self but instead adopts already pre established identitities. Similarly chossing values from menu or customisng one s desktop or an. aplication automatally makes one participate in the changing collage of personal. whims and fancies mapped out and coded into software by the companies Thus. short of using command line interface of UNIX which can be though of an. equivalent of minimalist loft in the realm of computing I would prefer using. Microsoft Windows exactly the way it was installed at the factory. 9 3 4 4 3 A, As I noted in this chapter s introduction computer operations encode existing.
cultural norms in their design The logic of selection is a good example of this. But what was a set of social and economic practices and conventions now became. encoded in the software itself The result is a new form of control soft but. powerful Although software does not directly prevent its users from creating. from scratch its design on every level makes it natural to follow a different. logic that of selection, While computer software naturalizes the model of authorship as. selection from libraries of pre defined objects we can already find this model at. work with old media such as magic lantern slides shows As film historian. Charles Musser points out in contrast modern cinema where the authorship. extends from pre production to post production but does not cover exhibition. i e the theatrical presentation of a film is completely standardized and does not. involve making creative decisions in magic lantern slide shows the exhibition. was a highly creative act Magic lantern exhibitioner was the in fact an artist who. skillfully arranged a presentation of slides which he bought from the distributors. This is a perfect example of authorship as selection an author puts together an. object from the elements which she herself did not create The creative energy of. the author goes into selection and sequencing of elements rather than into their. original design, Although not all modern media arts follow this authorship model the. technological logic of analog media strongly supports it Stored using industrially. manufactured materials such as film stock or magnetic tape media elements can. be more easily copied isolated and assembled in new combinations In addition. various media manipulation machines such as a tape recorder and a film slicer. make the operations of selection and combination easier to perform In parallel. we witness the development of archives of various media which enable the. authors to draw on already existing media elements rather than always having to. record new elements themselves For instance in the 1930s German. photojournalist Dr Otto Bettmann started what latter became known as Bettmann. Archive at the time of its acquisition by Bill Gates s Corbis Corporation in 1995. it contained 16 million photographs including some of most frequently used. images of this century Similar archives were created for film and audio media. Using stock photographs movie clips and audio recording become the standard. practice of modern media production, To summarize the practice of putting together a media object from. already existing and commercially distributed media elements already existed. with old media but new media technology further standardizes it and makes it. much easier to perform What before involved scissors and glue now involves. simply clicking on cut and paste And by encoding the operations of selection. and combination into the very interfaces of authoring and editing software new. media legitimizes them Pulling elements from databases and libraries becomes. the default creating them from scratch becomes an exception The Web acts as a. perfect materialization of this logic It is one gigantic library of graphics. photographs video audio design layouts software code and texts and each and. every element is free since it can be saved to user s computer with a single mouse. It is not accidental that the development of GUI which legitimized cut. and paste logic as well as media manipulation software such as Photoshop. which popularized plug in architecture took place during the 1980s the same. decade when contemporary culture became post modern In evoking this term I. follow Fredric Jameson usage of post modernism as a periodizing concept whose. function is to correlate the emergence of new formal features in culture with the. emergence of a new type of social life and a new economic order As it. became apparent by the early 1980s for critics such as Jameson culture no longer. tried to make it new Rather endless recycling and quoting of the past media. content artistic styles and forms became the new international style and the. new cultural logic of modern society Rather than assembling more media. recordings of reality culture is now busy re working recombining and analyzing. the already accumulated media material Invoking the metaphor of Plato s cave. Jameson writes that post modern cultural production can no longer look directly. out of its eyes at the real word but must as in Plato s cave trace its mental images. of the world on its confining walls In my view this new cultural condition. found its perfect reflection in the emerging computer software of the 1980s which. privileged the selection from already existing media elements over creating them. from scratch And at the same time to large extent it is this software which made. post modernism possible The shift of all cultural production to first electronic. tools such as switchers and DVEs 1980s and then to computer based tools. 1990s greatly eased the practice of relying on old media content in creating new. productions It also made media universe much more self referential because. when all media objects are designed stored and distributed using a single. machine computer it becomes much easier to borrow elements from already. existing objects Here again the Web became the perfect expression of this logic. since new Web pages are routinely created by copying and modifying already. existing Web pages This applies both for home users creating their home pages. and for professional Web hypermedia and game development companies. B CDE 3 3 1 4 2, Selecting ready made elements which will become part of the content of a new. media object is only one aspect of logic of selection While working on the. object the designer also typically selects and applies various filters and effects. All these filters be it manipulating image appearance creating a transition. between moving images or applying a filter to a piece of music involve the. same principle algorithmically modifying the existing media object or its parts. Since computer media consist from samples which are represented in a computer.

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