Hiking, Adobe, and Chronic Migraines

Last week I hiked a local mountain called Blodgett Peak with my good friend Randy. It climbs 2500 feet in just 2 miles. This was not an easy hike. Most of the mountain is controlled by the Forest Service, so the trails are neither marked nor maintained. It has steep inclines that increase in height with each step, with ridiculous amounts of loose gravel piled up on the slope. A good chunk of the hike consists of rock scrambling. I felt apprehensive because I knew the hike would be difficult, with an increased likelihood of getting lost.

Blodgett Peak from the parking lot.

Turns out my hike was a lot like the journey of my final project for COMM130. We students were tasked with bringing together all the skills we’ve learned in Adobe this semester from Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, via the presentation of an ad campaign. The target audience is a fictional boss who wants to see the next phase of our marketing strategy.

Our hike began on a 40s era dirt road built by the U.S. Army– a clearly defined path. My school project began easily, too. I got to choose a modern advertisement to mimic, which was a great excuse to wander around for hours on the Internet. Like finding the right trail from which to branch off, I found a clever ad that I could commit to.

On Blodgett, we turned onto a single track trail and began wandering uphill. My Adobe project got a little steeper, too. I had to reverse engineer my ad selection and analyze why I felt the ad was a success.

Before long our hiking trail disappeared. All we had was a rock field and a vague notion of which way was up. Photoshop felt the same to me. I had a faint idea of where I wanted to go, and countless Adobe methods of how to get there.

We encountered a few small victories on our hike, such as the waterfall and the occasional Carin (man-made rock structures that reassure hikers that at least one other person went this way… although there’s no real proof that person made it to the top or survived the journey…).

A small victory with my school assignment was putting together my rough draft. Not quite what I wanted for an end result, but showing steady progress.

As predicted, it was easy to veer off the “trail” to the top of Blodgett, and we had to backtrack a couple of times. The same thing happened with my ad. I spent hours choosing and color-perfecting my first background, only to abandon it because there just wasn’t enough sky. I searched through at least 300 elephant images on visualhunt.com, and was convinced that Disney has fed us lies and real elephants don’t sit. I also got quite frustrated with fonts and alignment. I spent hours trying to overlay text between the different programs before backtracking to Photoshop and working it all out there.

It took about two hours of concentrated climbing to reach the summit on our hike, and the feeling of accomplishment can only be compared to… the feeling of accomplishment when my new ad came together! But it took more than a couple hours. Way more. Just sayin.

Alas, our hike didn’t end there. We still had the sketchy downhill scree to navigate on the return trip,

and I also found it tricky to combine all the Adobe programs together for the slideshow.

We finished our hike up Blodgett Peak, exhausted but elated at the accomplishment… just like I’m finishing up this semester in COM130. My hiking skills get a little better with each climb, and my Adobe skills get a little better with each project. I’m actually eager for the next adventure, in either setting.


Photo credits for my ad:

background (which looks suspiciously like Australia, not Africa: Photo by <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/author/26573a”>%5B embr ]</a> on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/f4ca00″>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-NC-SA</a>

baby elephant: Photo by <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/author/d47d1b”>Tambako the Jaguar</a> on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/a6b58a”>Visualhunt.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-ND</a>

guy in white shirt: Photo by <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/author/9a4cba”>brandoncripps</a&gt; on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/a2ef29″>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-NC-SA</a>

original ad: http://graphicdesignjunction.com/2015/12/advertising-print-ads-best-of-2015/

I personally took the photos of the hike.


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