Sunday, June 19, 2011

Virtual Arts & Crafts: Coat of Arms for Em&M

So this past week, in celebration of M + Em's Baking Reunion, I decided to make them a Baking Coat of Arms! Armed with my Mac, Microsoft Powerpoint, and a sturdy Logitech mouse, I made this after 1.5-2 hours:

A guide to the thought behind the coat of arms:
1. A spoon and whisk! These originally came up in conversation partly as a joke. I thought it'd be hilarious if M & Em crossed spoon + spatula upon greeting. Something akin to when Ted & Marshall fight with their decorative wall swords in the How I Met Your Mother episode 'The Duel'. These are part of any good baker's tool kit. I'm not a very good baker, because I don't normally use a whisk--just an old school wooden rice spatula.
2. The molecule? Sucrose! It's more commonly known as granulated white sugar. Bakers run out of sugar fast. God forbid if a baker doesn't have sugar in the pantry at baking time... ;)
3. Butter!!!! The second main ingredient of most nummy things.
4. Cinnamon--because M loves cinnamon. You can tell by reading this post, this post, this post, and (phew!) this post from Em&M's blog.
5. 'Butyro Fidimus'--Latin for 'In butter we trust.' I wanted to put 'in butter and sugar we trust' but it seems that the word for sugar didn't exist in Roman times. The word zuccarum means sugar, but it came to be a little later during Medieval times. And so because I couldn't find the word for sugar in Ecclesiastical or Classical Latin, I dropped it from Em&M's motto. Using my very rusty Latin knowledge and Google, I came up with 'butyro fidimus.' I'm open to changing the verb--I myself was not sure whether fido, fidere; confido, confidere; or credo, credere would be a more appropriate choice. Classics majors, let me know! :)
6. Blue and green--because that was M's color scheme of choice.
7. The M & Em on the spoon and whisk, respectively--think of these as virtual monograms. :)

While puttering away on my computer, I made two pretty cool discoveries: 
1. You can do most of what you'd want to do in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator in Powerpoint. True,  having one of these softwares would make my life a lot easier (and my wallet a lot lighter). However, the only Adobe product that I own is Adobe Reader, the PDF viewer. And consequently, I got to have some major bonding time with Microsoft Powerpoint.

If you need a Pen tool but don't own Adobe Illustrator, just go to Powerpoint! For those who aren't familiar, the Pen tool allows users to make curved shapes by clicking and applying points. This allows you to draw smooth curved lines.

Go to Insert > Shape > Lines + Connectors > Curve 

Each time you click you put down a point.
 Location of the next point determines the curvature. 

After you draw your curve, you can edit points!

If you want, you can add and delete points! Just like in Illustrator! 

2. The other really cool thing I learned (And this is unique to Macs, I'm pretty sure)-- Macs let you order your 'layers' in powerpoint! It's does the exact same thing as the Layers tool in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator! But I think that Mac presents it in a way more intuitive way. Take a look!

Right click on one of the objects in a region with lots of other objects. 

This window comes up! You then click and drag your layers into whatever arrangement you'd like. 
This was by far the best surprise I discovered during my project. It made my work so much easier because I often had 4-6 things layered on top of each other, and it was hard to click on individual shapes.

For the flag at the bottom of the Coat of Arms, I went to trusty Google and searched 'coat of arms'. Given the shape of the crest I decided upon and the motto I had in mind, I found one flag to be perfect for my project. It belonged to New Zealand's Coat of Arms.

Making the flag and motto
1. First, I dragged the flag into Powerpoint.

2. Next, I used the Curve tool to start tracing bits and pieces of the flag.
I traced the little pieces on the image's left individually. Then, I copied and pasted each of them, after which I horizontally flipped the copies to keep my picture symmetric. After rearranging the layers as necessary, it looked like this:

 3. After changing the color scheme, it looked much nicer and less like a blueberry.

In order to give the impression of some depth, I applied a Gradient Fill on my shapes. 
After you select your object, go to Fill > Fill Effects. 
You'll see this window:
(A) Make sure you're on 'Fill'
(B) Select 'Gradient'
(C) Choose the 'Linear' gradient (There are other styles if you want)
(D) This will be the color at one end of your shape. It can be changed.
(E) This will be the color at the other end. 
By dragging D + E along the strip, you can change how
much of each color your shape will have. 
4. Adding the text was a bit tricky. At first, I tried just writing each word and superimposing it on the flag, but that didn't look too nice. 

The word was too straight against the nice curve of my banner.
If I had Illustrator, I would be able to type text onto curves. The next best solution in powerpoint? Draw a curve that you want your letters to sit on. Then, type each letter in a new text box, so the bottom of the text box is tangent with your temporary curve. It should look like this: 

Unfortunately, when I was writing out the motto, I had underestimated how much banner space I would need. It wasn't too much trouble. All I had to do was pull the banner horizontally to make it wider, and redraw a new curve, and adjust the letters accordingly.

Time? Letter space? As usual, I underestimated...

5. And finally, it was done!

And the best part....putting it all together! 

Thanks to Em&M for giving me reason to get artsy and crafty again! 

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