Saturday, July 30, 2011

Printable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentation

Printable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentation

Last week, I gave a presentation on alcohol awareness and body image to a group of 16-17 year old girls. I wanted to find some visuals to bring with me to prove how much Photoshop work is done to cover models, and that this ideal level of beauty is unattainable (even for the models themselves).

To save you some time, I've included the full size images in this post, so you can print them out and use them for your own educational presentations.

First up, we have a cover model for Nitro Magazine. This is one of the best examples of before-and-after Photoshop images I was able to find, and luckily they are high enough resolution to be printed as a full page image. Click on the images to download the high-res versions.

Printable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentationPrintable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentation

When I showed these images to the group, I started with the after after photo, and then showed them the before photo. Their reaction was interesting, I heard "ewww she's ugly" and "she's sooooo old!" I challenged this viewpoint and said she's only old and ugly compared to this painting of herself - this is how she really looks. This is how normal people look.

Nichkhun photoshop abs mistakeNext, I showed the group that not only women are Photoshopped in magazines. I found this great image of model "Nichkhun" where the editors went a little overboard on his abs, resulting in the loss of his belly-button.

The point here is not that removing his belly-button makes him more attractive (it doesn't), but that the editors were so Photoshop-crazy that they just glossed right over it!

Finally, here is another Photoshop-failure classic. It's Men's Fitness magazine with Andy Roddick on the cover. Andy was so shocked by the final cover, that he didn't even recognize himself.
"Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and a disappearing birth mark on my right arm. I saw the cover for the first time when I landed after Rome [tournament]. It was pretty funny.
"I walked by the newsstand in the airport and did a total double take. I can barely figure out how to work the red-eye tool on my digital camera. Whoever did this has mad skills" (source).
I don't have the original image of the cover, but there is an obvious difference in the size of his arms compared to this "normal" photo of Andy playing tennis.

andy roddick Printable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentationandy roddick Printable before and after Photoshop photos from magazines for Body Image presentation

What I learned: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Inspiration for Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs Logo

We're planning on making some HESA (Higher Education and Student Affairs) merchandise for our department as a culture stimulating fundraiser. I was trying to come up with some ideas for a design that would work on a t-shirt or coffee mug, and I realized it's incredibly difficult to design something for an academic department in higher education.

I wanted to avoid a mortarboard, and I didn't think an apple with a worm coming out of it was reflective of our maturity (some would argue that point). I looked online for inspiration and got some ideas that I'll share below. For the sake of anyone out there in cyberspace trying to design a logo for higher education and student affairs academic department merchandise, please learn from my trial and error!

1. Venn Diagram 

The idea here, if it isn't obvious, is that our department merges higher education and student affairs. Hence, Venn diagram.

2. Alphabet Soup

We use a lot of acronyms, or as I like to say WUALOA's (nobody really says this).

3. Mountain Climbers

This one was inspired by motivational clip art of a mountain climber giving a helping hand. It's very philosophical, and implies that the department reaches out to help students succeed. However, my stick figure at the bottom looks more like he's falling into nothingness.

4. LED Lights

If our department were the set of a Madonna video, this would be perfect!

5. Quill

Quills have to do with writing, and yes we do write from time to time. But this looks more like a publishing company logo.

6. Tetris

Ah yes, Tetris. This goes back to the Venn diagram as it implies that higher education and student affairs complete one another. Side note: I never realized the Tetris box said "From Russia with Fun!" on it...

7. Stylized Building

When in doubt, just make a picture of your building. It automatically has something to do with your department, because that's where you are.

From what I can tell so far, we like the building logo. With a few modifications, we should be able to make the majority of people happy with the look of our department merchandise.

What I learned: When in doubt, draw the building.

QR Codes and About.Me, One Thing Leads To Another (Literally)

I was playing around with QR codes for the first time last night, because I just downloaded a free QR Code Reader app for my iPhone. QR codes are two dimensional bits of code that can create hyperlinks printed on physical objects. I figured someone claiming to be techy would have a QR code on their business cards by now, so that led me to my next question. How do you make one?

qrcode A quick Google search solved that problem, as there are a number of QR code generators out there. I used Kaywa for this one. You can also try Qurify for text only messages, or for more complex codes like contact information or calendar events.

I'm not sure if the general population really knows what to do with these yet, but they are definitely becoming more prevalent. I do have some concerns with accessibility, however, because putting this square barcode on your business card is like saying "you have to own a smartphone with a camera to get to know me."

So great, now I know how to make one - but where should I have my QR code link point to? This blog? Well, out of context it might be a little abrupt (see penis model post). I needed to establish some context first, so I decided to create an landing page that links to all of my virtual identities.

Once I linked my page to LinkedIn, I realized my resume and profile photos were outdated. So, the simple project of making a QR code led to creating an profile, which led to updating my resume.

What I learned: When it comes to QR codes, one thing literally leads to another.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Class of 2015 Facebook page turned promotional land-grab

Bowling Green State University made a Facebook page for the incoming Class of 2015 that has received a rush of attention. This page has turned into an invaluable forum for conversing with students who are navigating Orientation, networking with each other, or just sharing their excitement.

Looking back, the Class of 2013 page has only 474 Likes, and the subsequent Class of 2014 page saw a jump to 2,806 Likes, but the Class of 2015 page already has 2,942 Likes.

Aside from fostering interactions between future students, the Facebook page has turned into a customer service live chat. Students have been asking how to change majors, or where to buy the summer reading book.

But what's really interesting is watching the various student organizations, club sports, and fraternities and sororities post promotional messages onto the page's wall. It's like a Facebook land-grab for new students who have yet to arrive. I have to admit that I've tried my hand at tapping into this huge population of optimistic students with some mentions of the Student Wellness Network, and advertising a class that only has two students enrolled.

At this point, the population of first-year students hasn't been abused with spam too heavily, and don't seem to mind the occasional solicitation. So I say we all take advantage of this captive audience while we can! If you don't know how to post as your page to another page, read below.

To use Facebook as one of your existing pages, first go to the page that you want to post to and add the page to your page's favorites.

Next, click on the link in the right-hand navigation on your own page. As an example, here is the link to "Use Facebook as BGSU's Student Wellness Network" that I see when I visit my own student group Facebook page.

As long as your page "Likes" the page you're trying to post to, and you are using Facebook as your page, you can post on their wall in the same way you share with friends.

What I Learned: Why wait for new students to get to campus before spamming them?

Intramural Battleship at the University of Alabama [VIDEO]

This video is filmed like an epic movie trailer for a new intramural sport called Battleship. The objective is to sink your competitors' boats by throwing buckets of water into their canoes. It looks like there is a member of each team with a shield to block some of the water.

Based on a quick Google search, it looks like there are a dozen or so universities with Intramural Battleship. Fun!

What I learned: Intramural sports are as fun as you make them.

Ping-pong balls are the new free t-shirt

finish line ping pong ball promotion

I remember when I would do anything for a free t-shirt. Sign up for a credit card? Sure! Hand out alcohol information at tailgates? Why not! However, considering these economic times, the free t-shirt is reserved for special occasions. Based on a piece of junk mail I recently received, it looks like Finish Line is opting for a much cheaper alternative: ping-pong balls.

Ok, that might seem like an odd promotion - if not for the immediate association between ping-pong balls and drinking games. But Finish Line didn't want to take any chances, so they went the extra mile to imply what you might do with these free ping-pong balls. Shoe Pong!

Wait, is that like beer pong? Noooo, beer doesn't have anything to do with this. The good people at Finish Line just want to encourage college aged shoe-buyers to be creative and come up with something to do with these ping-pong balls. You know, maybe like standing in teams of two throwing the balls into something - maybe even in a tournament in someone's basement. Who said anything about drinking?

What I learned: Finish Line is using beer pong to sell shoes, and they're not very sneaky about it.

It's not a dildo, it's a penis model

penis model condom demonstration

One look at my desk, and you'll realize how quickly I became comfortable talking about sex on a regular basis. Working in wellness, you never want to be out of arm's reach of a penis model and non-lubricated condom for an impromptu demonstration. And yes, I share an office.

Every so often, a visitor to my office will snicker at the penis model on my desk. At first, I forget that it's even there, and then quickly realize that it's probably not something they see every day.

You think that's bad? You wouldn't believe the type of ads that come up on Google after I search for things like:
  • wooden penis model
  • gonorrhea of the eye
  • large image vaginal warts
  • "silicone penis model" NOT dildo
  • flavored condoms expiration time
You mean you don't search for those things at work? I find that hard to believe. The difference between me and you is that I have a better excuse!

What I learned: Sometimes a penis model and a dildo are the same thing. Sometimes having pictures of vaginas on your computer is allowed.

Students can fight to earn money and popularity in "Party In My Dorm" iPhone game

I came across this game when I was browsing the iTunes App Store. It's called "Party In My Dorm," and it's listed as a role playing game. Here is the description from the iTunes Store:

College is about to get more interesting. Get ready for the largest online party you've seen since moving out of your parents basement. Fill up the dorms with your crew while completing jobs and joining clubs to make your reputation soar. Every dance off and prank gets you one step closer to becoming the most popular student on campus!

While the game itself is obviously not targeted at grad students in college student personnel, or other student affairs professionals, it is interesting to see what 'kids these days' might be getting into. I played the game for a little while (I chose the Intellectual Hero avatar), until I read the on-screen caption after participating in a virtual fight.

"Fighting other students is the best way to earn money. Go forth and become the most popular student on campus!"

Really? When I saw this, I deleted the app. Am I the only one who is put off by the idea of college students fighting their way to popularity? That's not wellness!

What I learned: College-themed iPhone games shouldn't be taken too seriously, and probably include sexy cartoon characters.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wait, is this Coke expired? Yes... yes it is.

It's time for a much needed Spring cleaning in the storage room (we're a little late on the 'spring' part). Tackling this racquetball court of crap was an all-morning job, but we finally sorted the boxes of condoms, lube, dental dams, and t-shirts into their appropriate piles. Although it still looks like piles of junk, at least now everything is nestled into little corners of organization.

Then again, a neat pile is still a pile.

Regrettably, 90% of our Coke stockpile is expired. Rather, it expired back in February around the same time as our late night event for which the product was originally intended. But we got the Coke through a request from Campus Activities, and they have a "deal" with Coke, right? Did they give us expired product?

In a word: Yes. Yes the Coke expired the same month we got it. Should I be so shocked? I don't work in event planning, but I hear this is a pretty typical move for getting rid of about-to-expire beverages. It's pretty harmless, unless you are planning to use the leftovers 6 months later and it's all gone to Flatsville.

Being the eco-friendly grad student that I am, I decided it would be best to personally open every can, pour the Coke down the sink in the janitor's closet, and recycle the cans. I didn't realize that opening cans of pop would turn out to be back-breaking labor, but it was! The janitor's sink was low to the ground, and I had 315 cans to go through in a confined space. I tried several strategies like the hunched-over-multi-pour, and the sit-on-the-floor-two-handed-pour. No matter how I tried to improve my efficiency, I always ended up in a position that strained my back and legs.

After an hour and ten minutes the task was complete, and I gave Mother Nature a big sarcastic "You're Welcome!"

What I learned: There's no such thing as free Coke, and when it's free it's probably expired. Also, wearing jeans to work makes manual labor totally worth it!