For God’s teens, there has never been a more exciting time to be alive. You can’t even imagine the possibilities until you begin to tap into areas of your creativity and imagination that you may not even know exist. The Teen Talent Contest is about allowing you to explore your creativity and challenge yourself to tap into the abundant resources you have available, right at your fingertips.
My interest in the world of technology began at the amateur radio and hobbyist-related store Radio Shack. They sold build-your-own radio kits, and if you put it together correctly, you could tune into an am or fm radio station. Putting those components together by hand really sparked my interest. From there, I got into installing custom audio systems in vehicles. Later on, I joined the Air Force, and that’s where I tapped into the mechanical side of my creativity: I repaired heavy-lift transport helicopters. I also produced instructional videos for helicopter crew chiefs and mechanics.
As I was leaving the military, the Internet was just beginning to grow popular, and I studied website development. The skills and the ability to make ideas come alive visually that I’ve developed over the years have helped me in each and every career field that I’ve worked in.
Today, all around you, there is a need to make words that are on a page come alive visually. God Himself uses powerful visual imagery to paint a picture in our minds.
Now, think about that within the scope of God’s Work. We have the Key of David program, The Trumpet Daily, theTrumpet.com—all of which are vehicles that God is using to get the message out to the largest audience possible—and each uses different forms of graphic art.
God’s Work is expanding, and there is so much potential to help serve in the Work through this field of graphic arts. If you have a passion for creativity, there is an ever-expanding field of opportunities to express that passion in today’s high-tech world. And you can get your creativity going right now, by entering into the graphic arts category of the Teen Talent Contest!
Basically, if you are creating something visually on the computer, that typically falls into the graphic arts category. Computer graphics are pictures or movies created by using a computer. Usually, the term “computer graphics” refers to an image that is created on a computer by using specialized software or hardware. If you are getting into 3D animation, you will need to have 3D animation software. If you want to get more into video production, you need video production software.
For the competition, there are several different categories of graphic arts: 2D art, 3D art, video productions, stop-animation video, slideshow presentations and web design.
It is important to get permission from your parents before you go online. There are many creative and helpful ideas on the Internet, but there is also a lot of danger—so make sure your parents are fully involved in your Teen Talent Contest graphic arts entries.
As an example of what you can do with graphic arts, try this: Draw a circle on a piece of paper. There you have it: 2D art! Now, imagine that you turned that circle into a tangible sphere—something that you could reach out and grab. This is 3D art! Using special computer software, you can create both: a 2D circle, and a 3D sphere.
Your next step, perhaps, could be to animate your sphere. With special computer software, you can manipulate your 3D sphere. You can make it move around—like it is bouncing. Then, if you color it just right, you could end up with a bouncing basketball!
For those of you just starting out in the graphic arts field, a really simple way to begin is to make a slideshow. You can use pictures you took at the Feast or a recent Church picnic or teen activity, and add narration or captioning to it. You can even add music—and there you have a great submission for the Teen Talent Contest.
Then we have the video production category. A new Mac computer comes with free software called iMovie. Using iMovie, you can take a random video, perhaps one you captured at the Feast, and make it come alive by taking special clips from that video and plotting it out to make it more comical. Say you captured someone as they spilled a glass of water at a restaurant. You could slow the video down, add some narration, put some music behind it—and all of a sudden you have a dramatic, funny video that you have produced.
If you are thinking about web design, there are many cost-free resources you can find to help you begin to use html, the standard markup language for creating Web pages, and wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) web design software. With these aids, you can make a business of taking an older website—something that is not modernized—and bringing it up to date. Then, once you get good at it, you can create your own website.
Keep in mind, one of the main things the computer graphics judges will look for is proof that the production is your own. With the ease of access to information online, you really have to show your work when it comes to creating things in the digital realm. To avoid things like copyright infringement, it’s important to make sure that the work you do is yours from start to finish.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate images or video from the web, but you have to be extra careful to show your work if you do. For example, if you submit a stop-animation video, write up the details about what software you used to put it together, where you captured the images, and whether you took the pictures you used yourself, or got them from someone or someplace else.
For whatever you submit, make sure you name your sources, explain how you created it, and name the software you used to bring it all together in the end. Submissions can be on cds, dvds or a thumb drive. If you are submitting a video, we recommend that it be under 10 minutes.
So, if you are interested in graphic arts at all, I’d encourage you to participate in the graphic arts category of the Teen Talent Contest. Express yourself visually, and learn how to use these tools. It may start out as something small if you are only beginning to learn the ropes, but you will be tapping into your creativity and using your talents—and you might find that you even enjoy it. And if you do enjoy it, there are so many possibilities—and plenty of opportunities for you to serve God’s Work.