A Quick Catch Up & Results

So, I’ve finally found an opportunity to sit at my desk again and breathe. It’s been a pretty manic two months – hence the silence on here.

I had a little look back at my previous posts which were from May 18th, right before the hectic rush of deadlines and exams. So, I guess I’ll have a little back look at that first.

I had a couple of horrendous exams. One looking at the theory of Object Orientated Programming and the other a closed book ‘Web Technologies’ exam in PHP, JQuery and SQL. They were hell. Particularly the web tech one. That was supposed to be the thing I’m good at but in the moment I just forgot the syntax, and there was no way of checking even the simplest thing to get myself on the right track – it was the most soul destroying, self-confidence crushing exam I have ever taken (and I took the UKCAT for med school a couple of years ago!). So, in true British fashion we went to a local pub (The Bevy – check it out) and drowned our sorrows with cheap drinks and excellent Indian food.

As soon as I could after that horrendous week I decided to get out of the country and take a bit of a break – I’ll give full details on that adventure in a separate post! I came back to finding out an ex-colleague and good friend of mine from the hospital had died, resulting in a lot of fundraisers and catch up with the clinic family in his honour. You can see how everything has been going, if you’re curious, here.

And, in a totally different train of thought, I also came back to my results:
3D Modelling and Animation –  76%read my post from the time
Time Based Media - 66%my post about that one
Web Technologies Book Club - 80%a bit I wrote about that project a while ago
Portfolio – 71%  – Looks like I didn’t write about that one, which is a shame – it was a pretty cool project re-doing my portfolio and creating a group showcase based on Where the Wild Things are
Web Development – 80% - I wrote a bit about that near the start of the project

Web Technologies Exam – 47%
Object Orientated Programming Exam – 53%
See I told you the exams went badly…

Overall though it looks like I managed to get 70.5% for the second year (which is a first by 0.5%!)

The Trials and Tribulations of Time Based Media

Time Based Media is a module I take which focuses on video production. Recently, we’ve been having a lot of fun in the university’s TV studio creating our own Graham Norton style mini TV show. Unfortunately I don’t have the footage, but I do have some photos which I took of the process.


The coursework for this module involved making a short film about anything.

I wanted to focus on my own experience of depression for the purposes of this film. I spent a while researching short films made by students on YouTube and particularly focused on ones about depression. There were some fantastic films which served as inspiration for mine, including:

The concept I storyboarded was of a character standing on top of building. We then flash through various memories, emphasized by use of POV. These include sad and angry memories but there are also happy ones and mundane ones – highlighting a real experience of depression. At the end the character opens their eyes and it cuts to black before we see what happens next.

Below, you can see the final version of the film.

Finishing 3D

It’s been a long time since I posted – coursework, life etc has been getting in the way. To make up for it, today I am posting everything I’ve meant to post over the last month – yay!

A while ago, I posted about the issues I was having with 3DS Max for my 3D modelling module. My original plan was to create a little animation of an origami crane being folded. This turned out to be near impossible. So after a lot of frustration and confusion I decided to alter my idea slightly.

Folding an Origami Crane

This was my inspiration. It still involved a lot of confusion but I finaly managed to create my little animation.

So, what do you think?


Skeleton Skills

I talked a bit before about the web development project I am undertaking for my friend Elsie in the ‘My Rules!’ post. I just wanted to give a little update as to how that is going.

I have started to build the first evolution of the website. I did this using Skeleton – a light weight framework a bit like BootStrap but with a lot less to it. It’s mobile responsive already and uses columns to make pretty layouts. It’s real easy to work with if you make sure all the CSS you add is stored in a separate file. So far, I’m liking working with it. It’s brilliant for project which don’t require the full BootStrap power and saves you time and hassle of writing the layout from scratch. Check it out.


Perplexed by PHP

And further adventures in Ajax.

For my Web Technologies module this semester I have been tasked with building an online book club.

The personalised interactive book club should include the following functionality:
1. A user login page.
2. 2-3 pages, to display the books.
3. Interactive method to enable users to share book reviews.
a. To be able to submit reviews for the books on display.
b. To be able to read reviews left by other users for the books on display.
The following needs to be implemented using PHP:
1. A method of maintaining state as the user is browsing the different pages.
2. Interfacing with MySQL database to retrieve and submit book reviews.
3. Interfacing with the MySQL database to enable the user login functionality. The following needs to be implemented in Ajax (Javascript, HTML and CSS):
1. The interactive user interface (creativity and use of Javascript is essential).

I’m pretty proud with what I’ve managed to accomplish in quite a short period of time. I really got into this project and I’m nearly finished with it (bit of a shame really!).

I started by designing what database tables I’d need and then creating them and adding the necessary data.

I then created the absolute basic layout for the site. Again, I used Skeleton as the main framework since it makes mobile optimisation so easy (and brownie points for that!).

I used the base of what I created for the email client for the previous semester to create interactive elements. So I used a combination of php, sql and javascript to grab the different books from my table and dyamically insert them into the webpage by interacting with the DOM.


I then started working on the individual book pages. This takes the ID of the selected book and stores it as a cookie which is used to grab all the relevant data from the books table. Again, this is dynamically displayed. The same is done to grab the reviews relevant to that book.


To add a review the user goes to a book, clicks submit review and fills out the form. The book ID and user ID fields are automatically filled out with information from the session variables and cookies. When the user submits the review it is added to the database and should now show up on the book page. If they have already submitted a review for that book an alert will display to tell them so.


I am currently extending the project to include a ‘my account’ page which shows user details as well as all the reviews they have left. I am also considering creating a reviews page which displays all the reviews left, ordered by newest first. Another way I am considering extending it is to give an option to only show books of a specified genre. I’ll update when I’ve finished!

My Rules!

For Semester 2 Web Design and Development I have to create a website for a client. Something I’ve done a couple of times now. So yesterday I met up with Elsie who is going to be my client for this project. She is a rather lovey phd student who I’ve known for a few years doing some pretty awesome stuff around sexual health and consent, the main project being called ‘My Rules’.

I figured I may as well update my blog with some of the stuff we’re doing together as I think it’s going to be a pretty exciting project.

The website is meant to be a space for documenting and showcasing how research can be educational and how education can be used for research, particularly in the area of sexual health and consent. It should also act as a resource for young people (13-25) to access information around this subject and for teachers and educators to refer to and use in educational settings.

In creating this, I will need to do some extensive research around implementing a CMS into the website so that Elsie can update it in the future. OI’ll also have a chance to improve my SEO knowledge.

I’m going to start off by conducting a competitor analysis and write up the requirements for the website. After I’ve got these signed off by Elsie and we have some initial ideas I will update my blog with the next steps!

Adventures in Ajax (continued)

Today is a momentous day. Today I managed to effectively finish my email client. Hooray!

After grappling with Ajax for hours and hours over the past few weeks, trying to understand PHP and finding those files in my brain about SQL from a long time ago I finally did it!

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what else to tell you about it. Check it out here (you might need to register and stuff to have a play).






Fighting with 3D

So, for one of my coursework modules I am studying 3ds max. Exciting right? Yup, but also fantastically frustrating and difficult. For my project I’ve decided to model the creation of an origami bird from a flat piece of paper. Sounds pretty simple? Nope. I’ve been fighting with this for weeks. Finally, yesterday I had a breakthrough. I managed to model a paper airplane! True, it took me 2 hours of following a 2 minute tutorial, but I did it! AND I animated it! It’s hard to describe just how good this made me feel.

It doesn’t look like much but this is my creation:

And I am a very proud mother.

I then managed to replace the lined paper texture with a video which was pretty awesome! But unfortunately I don’t have a video of that to show you :(

Adventures in Ajax

This past week I have been beavering away on a new piece of coursework – ‘to develop a fully automated, interactive, web-based e-mail client using Ajax’.

It’s pretty tough, but I’m quite enjoying it. Which is lucky because it is pretty time consuming and frustrating (as all coding is). Even more so, because apparently my first attempt was wrong. It was only half done but I had managed to get it to work pretty well, my teacher didn’t even realise at first but apparently I had created it using pure JavaScript rather than Ajax. Whoops.

So I have had to go back over it and redo pretty much all of it. I’m about where I had got to on Tuesday when I discovered the terrible truth of doing it wrong. I will update the blog shortly with my progress and the link to a hopefully working automated email client (using Ajax!!). For now I shall leave you with the joyous image of me struggling to figure out what on earth I am doing with my life trying to redo my coursework…


Major learning point – it was very lucky I had made an early start on this and shown my teacher otherwise I would have gone on Christmas break and built it, only to not get the marks for a working email client.