The Mac Lab

Tag: CS5 tutorials

More than a Feeling (Week 33)

by on May.17, 2010, under Blog

840_stars_smAlmost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel… the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
E.E. Cummings / A Poet’s Advice to Students

When we first started discussing the 840 idea (based on District 9), I could feel it was right. When admin balked at the dark nature of the original film, I wanted to point out what this poster was based on. But I didn’t. It didn’t feel right. 😉

Hey, I’ve been up front about trusting my feelings. I’ve got more to write about this (especially about the 840 team coming through in crunch time) but the District Art Show submission deadline is today and I’ve got a whole bunch of mounting to do right now so the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Head to CS5 Central and learn some new skills today.

International Update: Someone from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan visited, making it the 151st country to visit the blog since April of ’09.

0519: Polish your work. Take it the last 10%! Now where have I heard that before? (Required reading.) Do you understand? If you won’t take my word, try this.

840 Update: The poster is getting closer to being a keeper. Here’s the latest version.

District Art Show: All weekend at Parkway Plaza. Awards Ceremony at 5:30 on Friday. Come cheer on your classmates and their entries: Zack Tatar, Diana I, Christian Lim and Philip Behnam, Julia H, Christopher Canel (02), and Paul B (02). Many other worthy pieces could have easily been entered if we weren’t limited to eight submissions.

0520: James Wirig delivered for Vocal Music in record time and I began printing this poster a few minutes ago (one for the wall and one for James). Then the unthinkable happened. Well, to be honest it’s not actually unthinkable because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Anyway, when the printer began making its I’m all finished with this print sounds way too soon, I knew something was wrong. The flashing light by the display said it all: Out of Paper.

Coincidentally, a similar message is flashing on our class budget: Out of Money. Heading upstairs to find a solution.

It pays to have fans in high places! Admin is working on the purchase. Also, if you haven’t been keeping up with the Jobs Page, the district has commissioned Mac Lab artists to design the publicity for yet another major project (iParent).

Yet Another Job: Hillsdale/Valhalla joint Pops Concert. Details on Jobs Page.

District Art Show Winners: Congratulations to all of our entrants! Christian Lim and Philip Behnam 3rd Place Experimental Photography, Julia H 2nd Place Advanced Commercial Digital Illustration, Christopher Canel 1st Place Experimental Photography, and Paul B (02) 1st Place and Honorable Mention Beginning Commercial Digital Illustration.

Amazing Internet Connection: Here’s what just arrived in the email:

Browsing on the internet, looking for suitable pictures or paintings of snakes, I stumbled upon the picture of the slithering snake on your website. I am a Dutch PhD student at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, about to have my dissertation printed by a printing company, and as you may have guessed, a would like to use this picture on the cover of the book. The thesis is a commentary on a poem by the Greek poet Nicander of Colophon, and as the poem deals with snakes, this picture would be most suitable.

Would you be so kind to let me know where you found this picture or do you know which artist made the piece? If I could get permission this would be great. Of course a copy of the book would be sent to the artist as a token of my gratitude.

I put out the word to Chelsea (the artist) via Facebook. (And almost immediately connected.)

0521: The District Art Show opens today at 4:00 in Parkway Plaza. It’s in the center of the mall. You can’t miss it. The awards ceremony is at 5:30. Come see the show and cheer your classmates.

Reminder: Mac Lab Saturday School™ is tomorrow. As always, I’ll arrive by 6:15. Show up early to claim “your” computer.

Hot Off the Press: Paint the World with Light is now on sale. I’ve ordered a copy if you want to see what it looks like before you buy. (I’ll let you know when it arrives.) Here’s a preview if you’re curious.

The Blog’s Reach: We’re approaching a few milestones but in just the last 30 days we’ve had almost 40,000 page views from visitors living in 104 countries and 47 states (plus the District of Columbia). In California alone, we’ve had hits from folks in 92 cities. (Someone from Point Reyes Station spent 35 minutes wandering around.) In the United Kingdom, 34 cities. (Someone from Beaconsfield hit 23 pages.) There’s no doubt that others are interested in your artistry.

Who knows? Maybe your work, like Chelsea B’s, will end up on the cover of a scholarly publication too. Her artwork was sent to the publisher in the Netherlands this morning.

Simply amazing.

0522: Speaking of amazing, at the conclusion of last night’s District Art Show Awards Ceremony, the Superintendent surprised everyone when he announced an unexpected final award. After praising all the entrants he singled out one work for the Superintendent’s Choice. Not only did he love Christopher Canel’s 1st Place work, he purchased a copy for the district offices and an additional copy for himself, which he wants Christopher to sign. His appreciation for the work was genuine and heartfelt. Quite the honor, Christopher. Congrats!

I’m equally proud of all of you who showed up to accept your awards and to support your classmates. You’re a classy crew! It was a wonderful night for Mac Lab artists.

Oh, and I’m not sure what else was on the Supe’s purchase list but he did ask me about Paul’s 1st Place piece. As he wrote Paul’s name down, I think I heard him say something about it heading to the district offices as well.

If you haven’t seen the show, it runs through Sunday at Parkway Plaza. There’s some terrific work from other schools as well. Definitely worth the trip.

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Treasures and Maps (Week 32)

by on May.10, 2010, under Blog

paul_b_greeble_smWe’re making treasures
They’re making maps
Skocko / Dream

The story behind that quote is NOT required reading but it is proof that dreams can be a creative conduit, so long as one pays attention to the details and captures the essence before the inspiration fades in memory.

Treasures and Maps. Think about the variety of interpretations one might arrive at while pondering those metaphors. When applied to the Mac Lab, the treasures might easily be the wonderfully creative artwork (Paul B) many of you are producing. As for the maps, the they in they’re might refer to search engines and random links others have generated that drive traffic to our little site. From the email I get, it’s certain that many people consider your work something to be treasured. The following is from a Senior Adobe Education rep:

Wow! Wow! And WOW!!! These are stunning!

I’m sooooooooo impressed with the quality of this work I’m going to share them with members of the Adobe Education team. Now I FOR SURE want to do an Adobe Showcase on your students.

I pointed him at these posters, btw. Just in case you weren’t aware, kids in the Mac Lab produce work that just doesn’t happen in most high schools. We’re making treasures in here. And it looks like Adobe is going to add a new map sometime next year when they roll in with their camera crew to record a your story.

Time is short. Make the most of what’s left in this school year to create a few more treasures of your own.

Tutorial Update: Four new Photoshop videos in CS5 Central. (Trust me, you’ll want to see these.)

0511: Last week I noticed that Google Analytics wasn’t counting any full-width pages. Not one. Turns out I’d put Google’s script in the wrong place on the template. I experimented over the weekend and discovered a few other D’oh! problems and I think I’ve finally got it dialed in because for the first time the Google stats match the WordPress stats (which had never happened before).

So what? you might say. Well, now I have two independent sources informing me of how many (or how few) of you are navigating to specific pages. And the two sources agree: Many of you are skipping the tutorials.

Hey, I want you to have time to work but you’ve still got things to learn along the way. Head over to CS5 Central and learn a few new techniques today.

0512: Three new Photoshop videos (PS 101) via CS5 Central.  Basic, but I bet most of you don’t know everything that’s in ’em. 😉

Congrats! Corey S won GUSHD’s Got Plans? poster design competition. A slightly modified version of this poster will be distributed to every classroom in every school in the district. Smaller versions will be sent to every family too. Thanks to Venetia, Philip, and James for their entries as well.

District 840: A mammoth last minute push saved the day. This poster will be plastered all over the school for STAR testing. The (nearly) 6′ tall version currently on display upstairs will be revised as there is room for improvement. (Hey, it’s going to remain on display for the next year. Don’t you want to make the tweaks we all agree will improve the final result?)

Thanks to Christopher Canel, Kyle Wheaton, Philip Behnam, Zack Tatar, and Fadi George (on Pen Tool) for their terrific work on District 840!

Palm Café: The big cheese from Food Services will be coming out to review redesigns for the District’s menu very soon. Details on Jobs Page.

0513: Read this post. I’m serious, read it.

Good News: We get to enter 12 items in the District Art Show this year!

Bad News: Submissions are due Monday.

I was told the good and bad news yesterday after school. Lucky you read this post so you’ll understand that I’ll expect you to polish your best work for submission. I’ll be printing and mounting all day Monday so work like the dickens today, tomorrow and over the weekend if you want to be chosen. (You can download trial versions of the software.)

Disclaimer: I don’t like being judge and jury but there’s really no other way to do it. I’m going to pick the 12 best pieces, period. If you think you have something wonderful, show me… after you’ve asked three others.

In Other News: Adobe just launched a new ad campaign:


You guys know how excited I am about CS5 and how much I love using Adobe’s products, but dang, if any of you drew such a pitiful heart, I’d send you straight back to the computer to fix it. (Just in case Adobe does fix this — and I sincerely hope they do because this is embarrassingly bad — here’s a screenshot of the page they just uploaded.)

0514: Since we’re in STAR testing mode and none of you were here yesterday, please read the 0513 update (and do what it says).

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Explore Your (Creative) World (Week 31)

by on May.03, 2010, under Blog

fadi_g_ed_smCreate, don’t steal.
Photoshop Cafe Motto

I want you to get right to it today so I’ll keep it short and sweet. There are 25 new Mac Lab Tutorials™ in CS5 Central. I’ll be recording more tutorials daily as I sift through piles of information and try to boil it down to understandable chunks for you to digest. Watch this video (and follow the instructions) to understand how best to get started.

International Update: The Principality of Andorra is our 149th nation on the visitor roll call. We also passed 400,000 page views over the weekend.

Thanks! To Fadi for this week’s featured image and for the inspiration for Mac Lab Tutorial™ #26. 😉

New Commercial: Steven Moyer and Christian Lim just finished this rockin’ ad for Livespeakr.

0504: Finish viewing the new CS5 Central tutorials as explained in this video. Today there are a few new Illustrator videos to watch as well. Woe to the student who works in sRGB!

Warning: Stats don’t lie. Very few of you worked along with all of the videos yesterday. They are required viewing and I expect you to follow the instructions. Your browser’s history tells the true story (as will will your workflow). Resistance is futile! Refusal is costly (MLSS™).

Don’t Ask: If you want to know why I’m wearing shorts, limping, and moaning, find Content Aware Fill (Into) in the Photoshop tutorials. (No fair making fun of the old guy!)

0505: Happy Cinco de Mayo! Let’s celebrate with 5 new Illustrator video tuts. You know how to find ’em, right? Hint: The search always begins here.

Student Blogs: Fadi George has his own tutorials too. Definitely worth a look! Also, Nikki Goodrich has joined the ranks of student bloggers. She says she’ll post more when Matt stops hogging the computer at home. 😉

Progress Reports: Friday is the day. Use the clipboard to record the grade you believe you’ve earned at this point in the semester. Write it in the SG column (SG = Student Grades). We’re using the same rubric we’ve been using since day one:

Rubric: The Competition | No Online Grades | Project-Based LearningSelf-Assessment/3 then Me | Participation | Plus or Minus 600 | 10 Point Rubric | Follow Instructions (5) | Are You Kidding Me? (0) | The Bare Minimum (1) | No Second Effort (2) | You Gave it Your All (3) | Great, but… (4) | Wall of Fame (5) | Total A = 9 or 10, B=8, C=7, D=6, F=5 or less | Important Reminder |

0506: Thanks for all the kind wishes yesterday (and cupcakes and brownies). In return, I made some new Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 videos… Just for you. 😉

Google Analytics Test: I’m getting no info from deep-nested full-width pages. To help track the problem, please click this link.

0507: Seven new Illustrator tutorials to put things in perspective. After one week, CS5 Central has over 50 tutorials.

International Update: 150 Countries! Someone from the city of Abidjan in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire spent almost 10 minutes here yesterday. I wonder what he or she thought about our little 21st century edu-experiment.

Reminder: No Mac Lab Saturday School™ tomorrow. The next one is May 22.

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