The Mac Lab

Archive for December, 2010

Forward Looking (Week 14)

by on Dec.13, 2010, under Blog

mark_l_sp_02_smThat men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
Aldous Huxley

We spoke last week about the relationship between time invested and skills acquired. We spoke about how that formula not only applies to the Mac Lab but how it spills over into each of our lives. A highly competitive world awaits you. Be a hero in your own life and invest your time wisely.

Required Reading: Please read this post (to the dots •••••) before moving on to the required viewing.

Required Viewing: Please watch this video and this video before moving on so you’ll know what I’m expecting this week.

Required Warning: Tomorrow will be Groundhog Day if you or your peers skip the required reading and/or viewing. You might want to encourage one another to follow instructions today. WordPress delivers accurate counts and I’d rather not run everyone through the same assignment tomorrow. But the choice is yours.

Kudos: Freshman Mark L threatens to become an illustrator extraordinaire and a Mac Lab legend in his first year. The sky’s the limit if he keeps acquiring skills like these. Wow! I wonder where he learned to enhance his Illustrator file like that?

Guilty Pleasure: Yes, the impending release of Tron Legacy (blocked at school) influenced the choice of Mark’s brilliant illustration.

Gallery Slots: Is your work in the Galleries yet? These images have made the cut so far: FLOAT | Self Portraits | Logos | Posters (coming soon)

Final Words: Your past is not your potential. (Marilyn Ferguson) So get cracking on your future!

1214: The stats show that virtually everyone hit the post and videos one and two yesterday but my observations after the fact leave me wondering if some of you paid attention to what you were reading and watching. There are a few more logos in the gallery to help you understand what I’m looking for. Keep it simple and elegant and check the Logo Motion page for additional guidance. I will continually refer you to these pages for ideas: Inspiration Logos: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | By looking once again you’re immersing yourself in Stage Two: Saturation.

The unconscious, though one cannot force it, will not produce new ideas unless it has been painstakingly stuffed full of facts, impressions, concepts, and an endless series of conscious ruminations and attempted solutions. On this we have the testimony of many creative people.
— Morton Hunt / The Universe Within

Repetition is part of the process. Rock and roll with it!

TOTD: Today’s Tip of the Day is a continuation of Saturday’s Tip in which we explore the power of Smart Objects when working on Illustrator files in Photoshop. Starter File.

1215: Please watch this video and follow the instructions. Examples from video: I’m NOT lovin’ it and make up your mind. NEVER use two design tricks in one logo. The galleries I was speaking of in the video are these: Inspiration Logos: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 |

1216: Please watch this video and try to use the advice in your own logo design. I’ll be in early but will be leaving before 2nd period. Follow the advice and guidance I’ve given you when designing your own logo. Can’t wait to add more to the gallery!

1217: Please watch today’s Tip of the Day because it’s about you. If you want to play with the SWF, it’s right here.

One Word: TRON! (Can’t wait to see it Monday. I have homework all weekend.)

Wanted: Fifty-eight images in the Self Portrait Gallery. Ten images in the Logo Gallery. Where’s yours? And what about FLOAT? Pretty sad how few entries we have.

Coming Up Next: Posters! 0910 Gallery | 0910 Jobs Page | 0809: 01 | 02 and some of these. See Inspiration for additional ideas.

Parting Words: Have a safe and happy holiday. For those of you who want to continue to play (it’s not work if you enjoy it), Adobe offers free 30-day trials. I’ll continue to tweet and publish and maybe—Maybe!—even post during the break.

As always, remember to do something to make the world a little better place.

1218: Extreme Make Over for today’s Tip of the Day.


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Best of Both Worlds (Week 13)

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Blog

jenny_s_sp_01_smThe Artist-scientist is one of the Jungian archetypes in mythology. Like all of these archetypes, the artist-scientist is an abstraction of life and the human mind. While never as common as archetypes like the child or the Hero, the artist-scientist is immediately recognizable. They are a builder, an inventor, a seeker, a dreamer, and a thinker. Distracted by their own thoughts, they frequently have to be pulled in out of the rain. They are simultaneously vastly knowledgeable and yet innocent, impulsive yet cautious. They represent the wonder to be found in curiosity, and the dangers.

Now I’m not claiming that anyone in the Mac Lab is a living, breathing, self-aware artist-scientist but we do seem to have more than our share of exceptional left-leaning thinkers thriving by putting their right-leaning brains to work. If nothing else, we’re giving the corpus callosum a good workout as we cross-pollinate the hemispheres.

If you re-examine The 5 Stages of the Creative Process, you may notice a theme similar to that of the artist-scientist’s. Do you see it? The artist-scientist is a creative thinker by definition. Lyall Watson nails one of his or her essential qualities with this gem from Beyond Supernature:

…a childlike playfulness which is one of the hallmarks of creativity. Consensus is rare in psychology, but most workers in the field agree that creative thinkers can be recognized by their ability to entertain wild ideas without feeling the usual need to pass judgment on them.

As you work on your projects today, consider how you might nurture your own childlike playfulness as you pass through the teenage rituals that mark days of this phase of your life. Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince speaks the truth: One never knows.

We may indeed have a few polymaths, Renaissance men and women in our midst. Let’s hope he or she is willing to look beyond the latest craze to find the prize within this riddle:

Long ago, far and away, or always somewhere near
Conductor’s instrumental, sends notes to inner ear
Harmonic reconvergence, improvisation’s planned
To amend the broken page, pour melodies from band
Watering the wildest flowers, a second-handed chance
To trade in white-washed paddock walls, for suit and horse and lance

What starry-eyed boy or girl, dressed in grown disguise
Would spend so much time looking up, the ears, nose, throat, and eyes
Pretending to play doctor, while double-checking chokes
What’s it cost and what’s my change? the warted toady croaks
What distilled in beating heart, could cease and then resist
This night made for remembering, then good sun’s rising kiss
Dream Yet Complete

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

Progress Report: Grades are on the door. If your name is in red, you weren’t in the pink last week. (If you don’t get that, 3 then Me.)

Edublog Awards: I had no idea we were even nominated. Apparently we made the cut and are now contenders for 2010’s Best Class Edublog Award. If you want to vote, do it from home or via your phone as there’s only one vote per IP address. Voting ends December 14.

Galleries: Looking to add exceptional Self Portraits to the gallery. A new Logo Gallery Post went up this morning with one lonely logo. Who will join Fadi with his or her own fabulous logo? Up Next: Posters (details coming soon).

Kudos: Special thanks to Jenny S for the image and inspiration for this week’s post. She’s one of the potential Renaissance individuals of whom I spoke.

1207: Don’t forget to check the Tip of the Day Archives. Today’s tip is an Illustrator Appearance Panel refresher.

100+ New Fonts: I tried to find some cool new fonts for you to use on your logos and posters (coming soon). If you don’t remember how to cycle through the fonts, you’re in luck. Yep! That video’s just for you.

On the Big Screen: Font Video Shorts Week. (Yesterday was too short for a short.) 😉

1208: Not a single student commented on the synchronous theme to one of yesterday’s tweets: Science + Art + Photography = Click

TOTD: Today’s Tip of the Day is packed with typographic goodness. Starter file.

On the Big Screen: Going gaga for fonts!*

*Okay, it’s actually Going gaga for a typographic family but that doesn’t have the same snappy sound. And a snappy sound is just what this video has! (Blocked, of course, at school.)

1209: I told the kids in 7th period that I heard some of you muttering: Why did he show that video?! Seriously?! Why show you a bunch of design geeks singing about a typeface? Because you’ll never forget it. Because every time you hear anything by or about Lady Gaga you’ll remember those geeks. And maybe you’ll even think about typography.

Geek Disclosure: BTW, I consider that appellation a compliment. Call me a geek anytime!

On the Big Screen: What may be my new all-time favorite music video featuring kinetic typography. (Blocked at school.) The musician has a terrific sense of humor and the digital artist loves Tron. What a dynamic duo! (Don’t worry, I bought the song so we can listen to it every day.)

Speaking of Dynamic Duos: Illustrator + Photoshop = A Wicked Tip of the Day! Note: I took it a few steps further after recording the video and came up with this. (And that’s why I’m wearing my DO IT IN LAYERS t-shirt today.)

Reminder: The Last Mac Lab Saturday School™ of 2010 [gasp!] is this weekend. 6:15 to 12:00 as usual.

1210: Am going to be interrupting you today. To make it up, next week will be (mostly) free from Skockobabble. 😉

On the Big Screen: Would you believe someone made a feature-length movie about a typeface? We’ll be watching a short clip but I’ll be playing the entire movie tomorrow during the final Mac Lab Saturday School™ of 2010. The movie begins at 8:30 sharp. No, you don’t have to watch it but anyone who does will see that it’s actually about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. Well worth the price of admission (hauling yourself out of bed to get down here on time). The microwave will be available for popcorn. (Bring your own bowls and napkins.)

Reminder: Please return any equipment or books you’ve borrowed so everything will be in order prior to Winter Break. Yes, I’ll let you check out equipment over the break (if you don’t owe time and/or you’re not in the red).

1211: Interesting coincidence that I ran into this after our Helvetica talk yesterday. How color affects our purchasing habits. Larger version. Wires in our heads?

Steam-Driven Workflow: This Tip of the Day is the first in a series of tutorials about pushing the Illustrator + Photoshop equation. Starter File.

Someone in Your Seat? Read the board and watch this video.

On the Big Screen: The world premiere of Gary Hustwit’s amazing documentary Helvetica. Well, it’s the world premiere during Mac Lab Saturday School™ (film starts promptly at 8:30).

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Gallery 033 — 1011 Logos

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Galleries

fadi_logo_01_smI realize that some of you have yet to reach the logo project but it’s time to open this year’s gallery.

Kudos: Fadi and I have talked about this design. We’re both pretty sure it exists elsewhere as the idea is too brilliantly simple to have escaped the design community but Fadi did work out the interlocking Gs on his own. It led to a worthwhile discussion of respecting intellectual property.

Link: 1011 Logo Gallery.

Side Note: I’ll never forget how crestfallen I was (about 30 years ago) when I discovered why the gallery owners exclaimed that my work reminded them of Agam and Vasarely. They took a piece on consignment but I had mixed feelings as I left. A quick visit to the library (pre-Internet days) revealed that Yaacov Agam and Victor Vasarely had already broken and explored many of the ideas I had thought were my own. (This happened long before I returned to college to acquire my BFA. Live and learn.)

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