The Mac Lab

The Twelve Days of Mac Lab (Week 13/14)

by on Dec.06, 2009, under Blog

brady_b_01_sm1Once upon a child’s mind, did flutter butterfly
Gift to share with one then all, who’ll open wings to try
Asked to ask and seek and knock, on wooded points of view
Goodness treats patient resolve, with echoes ringing true
Child’s play remembering, climb branches looking sees
Others just can’t find the time, and hunt on hands and knees
Skocko / Dream Yet Complete

It’s 7:05 on a beautiful Rancho San Diego Saturday morning and there are already 21 kids in the room. (Two more came in while I was typing that and the count eventually climbed to 52 — a new record for a non-final MLSS™ of the semester.) When I got here at 6:15 there were five kids outside the door. Callie, Julia, and Mandy were bundled under a sleeping bag and had been out there since 5:40. Crazy cool that some kids want to come to school on a Saturday! That’s a precious gift. Seems only fair that I give something back…

Welcome to The Twelve Days of Mac Lab. I’m hoping that everyone enjoys the ride but, unfortunately, not all of you choose to be line fives. I feel for the line sixers but what can I really do? I can’t force you to read (and understand) this article as it might apply to our classroom. Life is too short to hate your job. (I love my job! < READ THAT It’s more about you than me.) Right now your job is being a student, or more specifically, becoming an artist in the Mac Lab. How might you reshape your job description in here? For the next 12 days, December 7 to 18, I’m waiving the Creative Freedom requirements (300 positive minutes + work in at least three galleries).

Students who embrace this opportunity may earn Creative Freedom in 2010.

Consider: The following examples are ALL works in progress. They’re just visual clues to what you might choose to create.

I already know Brady B wants to work in 3D. John S and Matt G are combining their talents right now. John isn’t all that great at the Pen Tool and Matt isn’t the greatest artist so they’ve joined forces, combining their strengths. Here’s John’s drawing and Matt’s vectors. (Comic books are created by the combined talents of artists). Julia H will be following her muse. (Julia’s not happy with that version but she reluctantly let me share it with you.) Aaron L is experimenting with an illustrative style 01 | 02 (the reflections should be the same in both eyes, Aaron). Fadi G is grooving on trees (his ideas can get pretty wild). Jacob T is exploring color, shape, and form.

What will you create?

Required: Right now, before you proceed with anything else, read this post! (Yes, even if you’ve read it before.)

Many of you will want to learn more about specific apps. I’ll be sharing resources, inspiration, and information with you during The Twelve Days of Mac Lab. Here’s a few to begin with…

Video Tutorials: Adobe TV | Layers | 3D Only: Want to model a spaceship? Click.

Everyone: (especially 3D Artists): Watch this video. (Yes, I said CNN when I should have said Time.)

International Visitor Update: Grenada is country 132 in the Mac Lab Blog column.

Lots more to write, edit, and add but I have to get to your grades. And that’s practically the only part of my job that I don’t like. Why can’t you all just follow instructions and get A’s? Fragnog!

Yes, I’ve been lax in updating the galleries. I’ll try to remedy that situation over the next two weeks. If you’ve asked three people and everyone agrees that your work qualifies, put a copy in your public folder and let me know. Let’s show off your work!

Two Things: 1. Get DropBox. Sign up, launch the app (it’s in Applications) and run through the set up. Yes, it’s required but it’s a good thing to have and it’s FREE! 2. (Already getting questions.) The tree (it’s in focus in real life) was a gift from this family last Christmas. Proof positive that Opera folk (he plays, she sings) can have a wonderfully odd sense humor! Dave also heads up here to play on soundtracks for movies and video games as well as sitting in with the symphony and ballet.

Secret of Life: Find something you love to do and get so good at it that others will pay you to do it. Wow! That’s profound. I wonder who wrote that?

1208 (Day 2): Did you read the Secret of Life and the first of the Two Things (above)? Did you bookmark Adobe TV and Layers for future reference? Watch this video. Did the 3D beginners dive into the spaceship tutorials? Click. And if not, for any of those, why not? That’s right! (I’m sure you do too.)

3D Veterans: I’ve not forgotten you… Click. (Doesn’t that just cry out to be bookmarked?)

Food for Thought (Digital Art Only): Not sure of what to do? All of you who weren’t happy with the pro version of your logo might try something a bit more expressive. Illustrators, wander over to Drawn and bookmark the site! If you like to draw in Photoshop, check out Adam’s set up. (He may come to the Mac Lab in the spring.) Want to learn more about Illustrator? Check my CS4 videos on the old site (scroll down to Illustrator CS4 Tutorials). The Pencil Tool is also fun to use but you’ll have to go here to find out why. Love color? Read on. (This Ph.D. thinks it’s a good idea too.) Love typography or just the beauty of shape? Helvetica rocks: 01 | 02 |

So much to share! That’s enough for today.

1209 (Day 3): You may have noticed that I’m not in the room. (I’m in Orange County for a conference.) Sure is lucky that you know what to do!

Today’s Reading: The Digital Renaissance and The Creative Community. Humor me and go there. Some of you (line fivers) will find inspirational gold.

Video of the Day: Color Groups and Harmonies. It’s Kule(r)!

1210 (Day 4): Have been up for two hours. The blog and email just came back online but it’s time to head to school. No time to write so today you get to work. Got Dropbox?

Obligatory Links (Optional Clicks): For those who want to learn something new, the Blob Brush is way cool! Examples: 01 | 02 | 03 |

Early Present (for Skocko): Loading software today on my shiny new MacBook Pro. 😛

1211 (Day 5): A few hours from now we’ll log our 250,000th page view. A quarter of a million clicks (since April) from 2,865 cities in 132 countries. The count doesn’t include videos, JPGs, or anything on the old Mac Lab site. (Video and JPG from Gotten Lucky Lately?) Update: We blew through 250,000 page views during 2nd period.

Speaking of clicks, a few days ago I asked you to read what is at the other end of this click. How many actually did? I don’t do this to punish you. I mean, if you don’t read and explore what’s at the other end how would you ever find this or this or this and all the rest linked from that page? True, there’s not enough time in the period to follow all the links. But only those who do will ever find the gold linked from here and here or even embedded here. When there’s nothing else to do at home, click and click and click… and explore!

That reminds me… The final Mac Lab Saturday School™ of 2009 is tomorrow. It’s officially 7 to 12 but I arrive around 6:15 and start throwing kids out around 11:40.

Yikes! The district is doing maintenance and the blog will be down tomorrow from 7:00 to 7:00. The old Mac Lab site should be up. Bummer for Saturday School!

1212 (Day 6): Blog’s about to go down for the day. I’ll post on Twitter.

1213 (Day 7): For the few, the proud, the I read the blog even on Sundays crowd… Congratulations. You get a jump on the rest of your peers by beginning your Adventure today. I should warn you though, most students complain loud and long upon learning that the game they’ll be playing is nothing but text. Those same students usually beg to play again and again the rest of the year. NO! I say. There’s only one day a year when students MUST play the game and ONLY the game. Tomorrow, you may NOT launch ANY program EXCEPT Adventure (after reading the blog). If you work on your projects, you’re off-task! YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE GAME. (What a cruel teacher I am!)

The answers to the puzzle are plastered all over the Internet. Don’t cheat. You’ll only spoil the fun for yourself. We’ll be playing this version of the game. Draw a map! The first time I played this game (in 1980), a friend sat me in front of a computer. I played for 15 hours straight before thinking, Hey, a map would really be helpful! Draw a map!

Here are the two movies I’ll probably share in class on Monday 01 | 02 (two words is all it understands, not three as I said). Here’s an online version you can play today. Hint: Type help before doing anything else. Then read, think, and imagine! Note: I just tried the online version and it’s a bit stricter on word usage. Everything still works but you have to be a bit more specific.

1214 (Day 8): Watch this video. Examine this map. Play Adventure. No cheating! Post high scores and period(s) in comments. Feel free to brag about reading yesterday’s preview and getting a jump on everyone else!

1215 (Day 9): I’m sure some of you wish you could get back to working on your projects. Wish granted. For those of you who’d like to keep working over break, virtually all software companies allow you to download trial versions of their software. Adobe and Maxon are our two primary software developers but there are plenty more to try. Corel Painter is one example. As for learning to use the software, there are more free tutorials on the Web than anyone could possibly explore. If you want a more focused, professional approach, NAPP is the best there is for learning all things Photoshop and stands alone for learning all things period. Both cost $ but if it’s something you want, add them to your holiday wish list. (I use both of those sites and they’re as good as it gets.) If you use those links (above or at right), your subscription also benefits the Mac Lab (we get a small commission). Like the software companies, both sites allow you to explore some of their tutorials for free. For the 3D folks, Maxon’s built Cineversity. There’s no better way than to learn Cinema 4D from the pros!

International Visitors: The Syrian Arab Republic is country number 133 to visit the Mac Lab Blog.

Too Cool for Words: (Blocked at school. Check at home.) Machinarium. Reviews here. Mac users can pick it up with this bundle (some great apps there). The kind folks at Amanita Design donated licenses to the Mac Lab so our game design team can check it out. I bought a copy ($20) prior to asking for the donation. (The polite thing to do.) Artists should support other artists. And make no mistake, the game is a work of art! It comes in all flavors (Mac, PC, Linux) and they offer a demo. Put it on your holiday wish list too!

1216 (Day 10): You’ll have a sub today while I’m at Final Cut Pro training. No, you may not play Adventure. Stick to your projects. Over break, for those who want to keep on creating, here’s a reminder to check Inspiration and Grand Central Linkage. The Mac Lab Vimeo Channels are also packed with creative goodness. Virtually every image and/or video leads back to the artist’s Website. Plus GCL is loaded with links to tuts and resources. I’m not sure that anyone really understands the depth and breadth of those pages. Kinda hard to claim you’ve seen it all.

Questions: Is your work in all of the galleries? Self Portrait | Logo | Posters | 3D Logo | Collaborative | Illustrative | And if not, why not? Alert me to missing art via comments or in person on Thursday.

1217 (Day 11): I’d point you to our twitter page but I’d rather you spent the time working on your projects on this 11th Day of Mac Lab. (I’m sure you feel the same way.) But, there are loads of resources to be found there. If you get bored (or better yet, feel the need for inspiration and information) over break… Click. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

1218 (Day 12): Today we have a presenter from Platt College to wrap up our final meeting of 2009. As my gift to you, the dedicated Mac Lab students, I’ll keep posting over the break. The focus will be on light painting (tweet) and other (hopefully) inspirational ideas, stories, and resources that might be of interest. I’ll continue to accept submissions for the Galleries from those who choose to continue to create.

Have a safe and happy holiday. Be good to one another. And remember to commit random acts of kindness to make your own world shine a little brighter.


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