Posts in Category "Showcase"

November 15, 2013

The Digital Photo Workshop with David Black: Yosemite

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A weekend in Yosemite with David Black… Sign me up! Last year at Photoshop World I had a very rare and random experience. I won a workshop pass from “The Digital Photo Workshops” team with David Black. It turned out to be a very Enlightening experience about the world of photography.

 IMG_1357I prepared for the conference by worrying that my gear was not up to the task. I have a Cannon 20D that is pretty old but I didn’t have a budget for a new one just then. I ended up borrowing a Cannon 60D from another high school and it was a good thing I did! We pushed the very limits of the 60D and I ended up wishing I had a little better model but it got the job done. Also I was very glad that I purchased a 256 GB Solid State Lacie Rugged Hard Drive with Thunderbolt 2 which made backing up go in seconds rather then minuets and when you have the opportunity to be with some of the best you need the time to ask questions not waiting on hardware. Also I bought a great bag from case logic that allowed me to pack my Wacom, MacBook Pro, and both the 20D and 60D. The only thin I regretted not having was a neutral density filter, a polarizing filter, and a shutter release for the 60D. I packed 3 batteries and ran out one day. I also had two 32GB SD cards and they were over kill but it was nice to have space. My wife bought me a nice microfiber cloth 12” X 24” which was very nice to have.

IMG_1237The travel to Yosemite took some planning and research. I stayed at the Cedar Lodge in a very nice room for $110 a night as opposed to $200+ to stay in the park. The drive was about 35-40 min to the main lodge on a pretty windy road. I rented a hybrid which was a great cost saver at 40 Miles to the Gallon. I flew into the San Jose Airport and drove out through Merced and In all the drive was about 4 hours.

The first night we had a meeting where we met our Instructors: David Black, Rob Sylvan, Jeff Leimbach, and Randy Van Duinen. I had met some of them at Photoshop World and I felt very welcome even though I cam in a little late. Randy did a quick lesson on how to set up a camera for HDR so we would be ready for the next day (Sunlight meets shadows…Valley). I had no idea what HDR was so it was very useful. Dave showed us some of his photos and told us his main goal was to make sure we were able to go home and do light painting. He also told use the keys to composition three across, three vertical, three deep, and then light the subject.

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The next day I ended up not being able to find the group so I was late. Ugh I hate being late but there I was late twice in a row. I found the group after about an hour and I jumped in. Rob stayed behind with me so I could get some one on one training and some good pictures.  The day was really great and I came away with some amazing shots for the first time I’d ever been out taking pictures.

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After we had some shots we came into the classroom and we had assisted editing time where we worked on our own images and were able to ask questions about how do I do… or what do you think… How could I… it was very informal and it worked out really great!

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While we were doing some editing Dave was in the other room setting us for light painting. He showed the entire group and then asked half of us to keep working on photos while he worked two stations with the other half. The whole setting was professional but casual all at the same time which was just great!

That night we went out and did some light painting in nature. Dave lined us all up on these dead bushes and was saying isn’t this going to be great! We were all wondering what Dave had for lunch but we did as he said and just as the sun was down he light up the bushes with the Brinkman spot light and a 30 second exposure later… complete magic! One of my favorite shots that I brought home from the trip. IMG_1226

The next day it was more of the same in a different location. We did some reflection shots and some moving water. We moved back to the classroom where we set up our own light paintings with our own cameras. Then later that night we went to an old chapel and did another light painting where we had the opportunity  to uses the Brinkman’s to light the scene ourself. Once we were done at the chapel there was a group of us who wanted to stay and do some star trails. So I setup in a field and took 50 Exposures of 30 Sec each. I had a nice shot as it was pointed at the North star. I was looking at others shots though and well… I was jealous! Rob had a great shot with the stars over half dome and I wanted one.

Star Trails

I drove back to my hotel that night feeling defeated because I didn’t get my star shot I wanted. I did the only logical thing I could think of and checked out of the hotel and drove back to Yosemite at 1AM. I parked in a field and spent the next three hours working on my star shot. The exposure was 61 min at 200 ISO and it came out great! I left the conference that day feeling as though I had slain the giant!

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It was a great experience full of great instructors. If you get a chance to go do not pass it up for anything.

6:05 PM Permalink
October 7, 2013

Ideas for the future art college?!

These are the slides from my recent MERJ (Media Education Research Journal) conversation at the Media Education Summit, held in Sheffield in the UK. When faced with the pressures of increased tuition fees, global metrics and happy students it can at times be difficult to know which way to turn as a practitioner-based lecturer. Therefore, this session was very much aimed at those arts, design and media educators who were interested in exploring new or rather alternative models for higher education.
The purpose of the presentation was to encourage and open up debate and questioning of creative arts pedagogy in the context of the current media ‘buzz’ surrounding open education, with particular reference to MOOCs. The slides hopefully standalone in revealing a range of initiatives we have led, projects that we have developed exploring our OpenMedia agenda from the Centre for Disruptive Media at Coventry School of Art & Design, Coventry University.
The projects and the topics covered areas such as certification, creativity, legacy, impact, value, innovation, professionalism and peer to peer learning.
It would be great to hear people’s thoughts, ideas as we are always on the look out for new collaborators and discovering ways to increase our learning as educators and help develop better learners within our students.
2:08 PM Permalink
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!

2:02 PM Permalink
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!

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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
April 28, 2013

Adobe Forms Central and other worlds.

For some time now I’ve been looking for ways to reduce the hard copy side of my administrative workload. Whilst the obvious solution had been staring me in the face for some time, oddly enough it was only on a whim some eight weeks ago that I stopped into Form Central and began to investigate how I might streamline attendance and truancy compliance, which in our school is a nightmarish entanglement of checks and crosschecks amongst databases that don’t often talk to each other all that well, followed by a paperchase involving hardcopy handling by at least four people with no means of monitoring who had done what with what and leaving no long term record of actions taken for myself.

I have to say that I could not believe how simple it was to put an extensive form together from scratch. Reformatting our current truancy form, testing, debugging it, and sending off the first form to the respective recipients took less than fifteen minutes. There were some initial glitches but these were ironed out quickly.

So fast forward several weeks and it’s everything from student surveys to gauge the effectiveness of programs to individualized data collection for students requiring Special Provisions for Preliminary and HSC exams. Next stop, trying to show those higher up the food chain just what it is they are missing out on.

In other news………

Today also marks the official launch of ALIEN, the Adobe Leaders Information Exchange Network. It is envisaged that this network will enable Adobe Education Leaders in both K-12 and Higher Ed to connect and share ideas, information, resources, post event notices, moderate discussion forums, create networks and groups, post and link to content, create individualized pages and blogs, stream WordPress, post appropriate photographic and video content, share thoughts on rainy afternoons in a secure environment and more. Given the wealth and diversity of experience amongst the AEL community it felt like the time was right to step up and get this happening and contribute to growing the connectivity in the community at no cost to the users.

So step on board, it should be a good journey.

To submit a request for membership simply sign up and provide a link to your AEL profile.

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8:31 AM Permalink
January 27, 2013

Building a Memory Game: Time Lapse Video

This is inspirational. Watch developer Jesse Warden build out a game in 12 hours using Flash Professional, Audition, Fireworks, Photoshop, and Sublime Text. He is using the Corona SDK for development targeting mobile.

It’s great to see that the Creative Suite workflow is applicable even when targeting something non-Adobe like Corona! The big take-away though is what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’ve learned much from short game jams and such – students can gain lots of experience across applications doing the same. Game development is a great way to teach workflow and get students familiar with the tools and platforms.

I built a Memory game (like Simon Says) in Corona SDK in 12 hours over Memorial Day weekend, recorded it, and compressed it to 7 minutes here. I used Adobe Flash, Fireworks, and Photoshop to do the artwork, Audition to do the audio, and Sublime Text 2 to code the Lua in with Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK. I use Tower to check the code into Github.

If you want to get involved immediately – join the One Game A Month initiative! You don’t have to make anything complex… just hone your skills by building simple concept games. That’s what I’m doing. I know there are a few other AELs who have joined #1GAM / #OneGameAMonth as well – be heard in the comments and tell everyone how useful an effort like this is!

It’s easy to get started.

2:33 PM Permalink
July 25, 2012

Do we have an inspiration gap?

Imagine a situation where you finally have something you and others have yearned for for years and yet it has now become common and people have become blasé about it. You struggle to get everyone excited about it, to find it relevant to their work and daily lives, to take advantage of it. No, I’m not talking about the right to vote in the US. I’m talking about Adobe’s great tools and technologies.

After years of conversations and negotiations my institution, Indiana University (IU), signed an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) with Adobe giving our students, faculty and staff access to Creative Suite, Captivate, Lightroom and others. At first they melted the wires downloading it, but now it’s become commonplace. Sure the Fine Arts, Journalism and IST students are still in hog heaven, but what about the Business or Chemistry students? How can we make it relevant to them? Think of how well Mendeleev could have presented the Periodic Table if he’d been able to throw together a mock-up in Fireworks. And imagine how much more accessible E=mc2 would have been to the average reader if Einstein could have added an Edge animation to his landmark “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” paper.

How can we broaden the conversation about Adobe tools? How do we get our entire school populations to think outside of the creativity box? This software is not just about makin’ thangs purty. This software helps us express ideas – sometime simple, sometimes complex. It should be an arrow in our communications quiver. We need to help our communities screw in and turn on the lightbulbs of inspiration. These tools are for everyone.

How. Do. We. Do. This?

First, we need be sure the tools are up to it. Are they simple enough to use? DW has a nice drop-down list to change the layouts. Can you make a “for dummies” layout that gives you just the essentials and removes the finery? if Adobe can simplify the UI for the touch apps, why can’t they give us an option for a simplified UI in the desktop apps. Sure, we want to power, but only when we need it. The rest of the time we want simplicity. Imagine Steve Jobs designing an SUV. It would be able to 4-wheel up the mountain when necessary, but the rest of the time it would be a car simple enough for anyone to drive to the grocery store. Can we get reach those heights of UI simplicity for PS or IA?

Second, we need someone – the community? Adobe? – to examine the WHOLE education space, not just when the teacher is in the classroom with the students, and develop relevant examples to seemingly mundane activities for all to see. Adobe Connect for office hours? Not really flexing the muscles of the product, but it is simple, relevant and gets people using the tool. A time-lapse profit chart in a Business student’s company case-study report? It will not only blow away his professor, but it will give the student a deeper understanding of the content. It might even be their gateway drug to other CS apps… The list goes on.

I have the greatest respect for those who work and teach in the visual and creative arts. I am envious of their talents. However it is far too easy for the Adobe Creative Wow Factor, exemplified by their work and the praise it justifiably receives, to so dominate the conversation. It can seem unattainable to and shut down the imaginations of those who exercise less artistic pursuits.

We need inspiration. We need examples. We need to show a broad spectrum of use cases from across the academic spectrum. Adobe tools for the poets and scientists! Adobe tools for music and pre-med! Adobe tools for the researchers! Adobe tools for the secretaries! If the tools can be used by everyone (jury is still out on that question), then lets show everyone using them.

This may not seem relevant to you. You may be in a school where getting the software is a struggle. It was a struggle for us too. That’s why keeping it, by showing its ROI, is so important.

Stand up and be counted! Share your thoughts.

10:13 PM Permalink
March 11, 2012

Extraordinary work from NSW Art students

In New South Wales, Australia; students who study art in their senior high school years have the opportunity to have their assessment submissions displayed at a number of prestigious galleries, notably the New South Wales Art Gallery and other galleries such as the Armory at Newington, Hazelhurst Gallery, Newcastle Art Gallery, University of Western Sydney, Wollongong City Gallery to name a few. The exhibitions are chosen from selections of works that were at the top range of the marking scale. Students whose works were pre-selected are then placed into a pool of works from which gallery curators make their selections. The Arts, and in this case Visual Arts are a valued part of the educational curriculum in NSW. Out of the approximately 80,000 students that sat for this years HSC (Higher School Certificate) 10,000 or so chose Visual Art as one of their HSC subjects and submitted Bodies of Work as part of their assessment. Of those 10,000 about 200 were chosen to have their works exhibited across a number of Galleries and exhibition spaces in Metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW. There isn’t anything comparable to it anywhere else in Australia or on the planet. This is certainly a model for Art education that should be looked at seriously by any country that wants to give their high school students a rich and immersive experience in Visual Art. As an art educator and an AEL it’s so pleasing to be a part of this extraordinary process and; last but not least, spot where Photoshop and Illustrator feature in the student works.

“ARTEXPRESS is an exhibition of bodies of work by secondary school students submitted for the Higher School Certificate examination in Visual Arts in New South Wales, Australia” @Board of Studies NSW.

View my post at R.E.W.I.R.E.D

Images courtesy of ArtExpress @ Art Gallery of NSW

8:41 AM Permalink
October 19, 2011

Check out the Adobe Design Achievement Awards finalists!

ADAA 2011 Finalists

I strongly suggest that if you are interested in digital artistry (including; installations, app development, browser-based design, mobile, animation, game design, print, et cetera) you head over and check out the Adobe Design Achievement Awards finalists for 2011.

You can read about each finalist, view team members, see samples of the work, and even comment or share via social media. Really amazing work from people all over the globe can be seen over at http://www.adaagallery.com/.

Plus, if you want to attend the awards ceremony in Taipei, there is an open invitation this year!

6:19 PM Permalink
October 10, 2011

Mercury Playback Engine

Earlier this year we decided to upgrade our two Mac Pro editing suites with Mercury Playback Engines. I had been impressed with the demos I’d seen at the AEL Summer School and set about trying to source two NVIDIA Quadro’s. After trying for 3 months to get a price out of NVIDIA and many fruitless e-mails we bought directly from Apple. The difference has been staggering, after a slight issue installing the cards they have worked faultlessly and have handled everything we have thrown at them.

Perhaps the most remarkable project was last July, I designed an installation for the BA(Hons) Digital Media Production course end of year show. I wanted 24 iMacs synced together running video showreels of our graduates work. This was going to be quite a tall order as all the videos would have to be edited frame accurately and all be exactly the same length. I wanted to put in our course logo and branding, synced to appear at the same time at regular intervals. 24 iMacs were chosen so that we could actually spell out he name of the course 1 letter at at time on each screen. Each video was 15 minutes in length and featured 3 students short videos with motion graphics in between. How to edit them in Premiere Pro was a bit of a nightmare to work out, but eventually we came up with the solution of setting up 24 layers of video and turning on and off the layers that required rendering for each movie. We could sync up the motion graphics across all layers and drop the videos in between. We had 24 separate videos to render, each one took about 7 minutes and we were able to set up batch renders of all 24 movies movies together in Media Encoder. The edits, encoding and syncing were performed by our Tech Demonstrator Jason Watkins. The Mercury Playback Engine worked perfectly with no errors at all and apart from a bit of tweaking to get the right combination of videos it couldn’t have gone smoother.


The only problem was then how to sync 24 Macs? Fortunately we had been researching this area for some time and managed to sync 4 Macs for another project a while ago using Max MSP. This led us to an application called MultiScreener, this small application is loaded on to each machine and one machine is set to the master clock, all the others are set as slaves and immediately lock on to the signal generated by the first machine. All the machines are connected by network hubs daisy chained together.

When we set up the installation there was a little trepidation because of the time spent editing and rendering the 24 videos but the whole show ran perfectly. The show ran for 9 days without a hitch with several thousand people viewing the final piece, we received excellent feedback.

The syncing was the easy bit but with out the Mercury Playback Engines I don’t think we would have been able to edit so many videos so accurately. Our Mac Pros have been given a new lease of life and we have managed to achieve solutions that we had never considered feasible before.

You can see a video of the installation here:
Showreel

9:50 PM Permalink