Archive for June, 2013

June 27, 2013

Create Now!

Adobe has been holding a series of online creativity events over at http://createnow.adobe.com/ and I cannot help but think that these would be great events for students to participate in – and can also serve as a foundation for various assignments and projects after the fact. The previous event was an assignment to remix an Eames chair however you like and post it to Behance. There are also a good number of other resources at the website aside from these activities.

Create Now

Create Now

The latest of these events was “Claim your Frame” in which Adobe requests individuals to reserve a frame for which they will use a template to draw out a sort of self-portrait for submission. The idea is that after all of the user-generated frames are submitted, that they are they re-purposed into a full video artifact.

The first step in this case was to go through and register a frame after a specific date and time. You then receive an email which includes a Photoshop document with a specific name (ID) to it along with instructions, an assigned primary color, and a guide layer which indicates where the eyes and mouth should be drawn. The template needed to be downloaded within 3 hours else the frame would go to someone else! I’m including an image of the template I received, below.

Pretty simple, no?

Pretty simple, no?

After getting the template – the fun part starts. Now you just open it up in Photoshop and draw out your frame. I used a lot of layers, blend modes, and brushes for my submission. One thing that consistently amazes me about Photoshop is how closely it can come to “real” painting when you have the mixer brush and a nice, big Intuos tablet at your side. Such fun.

Painting with Photoshop CC!

Painting with Photoshop CC!

This project reminds me of a painting class I took for my undergraduate degree. We took a painting, School of Athens, and divided up into a grid. Each student was then given a set of coordinates along the grid with which to create a replica of that portion of the painting. At the end of the class, everyone brought their individual portion back together to form a complete whole. It was very interesting and not unlike this particular exercise.

This particular Create Now event is all over – but there are more coming up, including Kulest City in July. See the final result of this creative experiment playing live in Times Square below!

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June 18, 2013

LevelUp for Photoshop – Updated for CC!

With the release of Photoshop CC as part of the Creative Cloud, Adobe has also updated the LevelUp for Photoshop extension with a ton of enhancements which focus on new Photoshop CC features!

LevelUp for Photoshop CC

LevelUp for Photoshop is a game of missions — and points and rewards — that guide you along the way of learning basic Adobe® Photoshop® CC software skills. If you are a photographer and are just starting to use Photoshop, this is the game for you.

This extension for Photoshop has been very popular with educators and educational institutions across k-12 and higher education for use in teaching and learning some of the core concepts around using the application. It’s a great way to get familiar with the product and teach others through an integrated learning experience.

New in LevelUp for Photoshop CC:

  • An additional level to attain – Level 4
  • A new set of Quiz questions
  • 4 new PhotoShop CC inspired Missions (below)

New Missions

It was a truly interesting experience working on enhancing this project with Adobe and it really is a unique resource for educators – I encourage anyone learning Photoshop CC to check it out!

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June 4, 2013

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Knowledge: Exploring the use of Augmented Reality in Education

I have a lab dubbed “The Knowledge Garden” where I jump, feet first, into the unknown with my students. Change comes so fast in the Technology landscape that waiting until I have a demonstrable grasp of the subject matter—enough to tailor assets tied to predictable learning outcomes—seems completely at odds with the lay of the land. Instead, the classroom is flattened and my role shifts from being an authority on a technology to being a co-explorer with a few more notches on my belt than my students. Typically, we wade into Beta environments where documentation is scarce to non-existent. There are few signposts and worn paths in these environments and even fewer materials. This allows my students and I to experience a just in time or JIT learning paradigm. What we explore, we map, document, demonstrate, illustrate and publish. It is a form of informal, applied research. My students and I then curate the collective knowledge gleaned from these explorations into a learning repository that is hosted on a course WIKI and made searchable and usable by future groups that may wish to repeat what we did or expand the horizon of discovery in some area that we did not previously investigate and, so, in this fashion, we put our collective shoulders to the task of moving the ball further up the hill.

Last year my students explored mobile publishing on a beta deployment of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite and, for the very first time, my students and I had produced learning assets that pre-dated the public release of that software by one month! This meant that we had moved from JIT to BIT learning (BEFORE ITS TIME)! This was a very exciting proof of concept that demonstrated how student-based research could be an extremely valuable mechanism for pushing the exploration of new technologies in education.

Testing triggers for Augmented Reality

Testing triggers for Augmented Reality

After my students finished their explorations, we then teamed up with interested faculty members to mentor them on using these technologies in their own teaching practice. This resulted in the production of our school’s very first App on the Apple App store and stood as a use case for integrating the power of the Adobe DPS system as an internal communications vehicle. This has spawned several knowledge transfer workshops to other stakeholders in the school that included using the platform for Academic Publishing at our Institute Without Boundaries (http://worldhouse.ca). Students from the Knowledge Garden are providing leadership in the transformation of how we do things by actively promoting and mentoring the use of the technologies that they have explored.

This sort of knowledge transfer represents a complete inversion of the original educational hierarchy. This winter we worked on using two Augmented Reality products called Aurasma and Layar to support an interactive exhibition on The History of Game Design. Students used Adobe After Effects to produce short, 2 minute documentaries on seminal games in the evolution of game design. These videos were then “bound” to “Trigger” images that were vinyl cut and displayed around the halls in our new School of Game Design. This content was then geo-located on a GoogleMaps API within an Aurasma channel titled “The History of Game Design” and then socialized for discovery. Interested users can “Follow” our channel or perform location-based browsing that indicates that there is content nearby. Once they have subscribed to our feed they are given thumbnails of all the visual triggers or “auras” so that they can look for them on location. Exhibit goers used smart phones and tablets to access this video content by pointing their devices at the triggers  or Auras (Aurasma). We also produced a printed catalogue for the exhibit that a person could read in the conventional manner, yet when they scanned its pages, their devices pushed the video content to their  devices (LAYAR).

 

It was amazing to see throngs of people actively engaging in learning that had exploded beyond the traditional confines of the boxed classroom. One student lamented “I wish we could learn like this.” To which I added. “That is the point of this exercise. This is paving the way for new models of delivery.” It allows us to rethink the locus of learning as well as our conventional notions of time and place. The learning is always there, waiting for the intrepid explorer to find it and uncover its bounty. The notion of geocaching learning invites comparisons to a treasure hunt. Exploring the hallways of our school with a smart device is a little bit like having those X-Ray specs that they used to advertise on the back of popular comic books years ago. Our space is bristling with information you just have to know how to look!

Below is a sequence showing short introductory sequences that we shot against a green screen then rotoscoped in After Effects. We created pixelated avatars of each team member as our trigger images and matched up the video so that when the user pointed at the screen (see image above) the video image of the person would dissolve in over the avatar and tell the viewer what that video game that person first played and what they were currently playing. CLICK below to learn about MY gaming habits!

jim_kinney_avatar

Below is a short student sequence documenting their interaction and impressions of the medium.

student ar interaction with AR

Below is a sample of one of the documentaries produced by one of my students Evan Gerber.

Mini Doc on Halflife game

If you are ever in the Toronto area, please drop by the George Brown, School of Game Design at 241 King Street East, 5th floor and discover the learning that silently and invisibly clings to our walls!

I am currently working with a small group of Design and Fashion faculty to share what we learned on our journey into AR. I am assisting them with creating short demonstration videos and tying this trigger images that they will be able to post up in their labs.

I would like to hear from anyone else who is using this technology in a teaching and learning context.

Regards,

Jim

4:23 PM Permalink