The Mac Lab

Tag: inspiration

First Harvest (Week 5)

by on Oct.03, 2011, under Blog

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

The artist’s journey isn’t a laid out on a map in a straight line from A to B. It can’t be for one simple reason: The destination doesn’t even exist until the artist creates it. It doesn’t exist until you create it. This year is all about the discoveries you’ll make as you walk along and create your own artist’s path. And this week we’re going to focus on one of the 5 stages of the creative process: Saturation.

There are three videos I want you to watch, listen to, and learn from today. After watching the videos, please follow the instructions you found there. Any questions?

  1. Achieving Simple Elegance
  2. Prelude to Saturation
  3. Saturation and Inspiration

Bookmark These Pages: The 5 Stages of the Creative Process | Logo/Gravatar and Logotype | Inspiration |

Groundhog Day Warning: I’ll be checking the stats and if any of you skip the videos or choose not to follow the instructions, all of you will be repeating the process tomorrow. I’m trying to hand you the keys to your creative kingdom. Please accept them and use them.

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Break the Bars (Week 28)

by on Apr.04, 2011, under Blog

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
William Blake

And the artist who never alters her technique, builds bars around her imagination. I keep pushing each of you to break out of the confines of your stale routines, to try something new. Have you?

If you have, great! Keep pushing into unexplored territory. If you haven’t, if you’re still repeating the same steps over and over, what are you waiting for? Set your imagination free!

Food for Thought: How long has it been since you’ve explored the links on the Inspiration page? Everyone, without exception, must spend at least 10 minutes revisiting our electronic morgue file in class before starting to work on your own projects today.

Tip of the Day: My laptop decided to have a nervous breakdown yesterday so I had no way to record video tutorials for you today. But, since I wouldn’t want you to think I never practice what I preach, I did create a project for my Filmmaking Principles and Education class over the weekend. Here’s the rough cut (more editing and polishing to do). No, I’d never filmed with the 5D before. Christopher Canel gave me a ten minute introduction to the camera and the rest was pure experimentation. Is it perfect? Not even close. But it did open new creative frontiers for me.

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Lighting the Way (Week 15)

by on Jan.01, 2011, under Blog

julia_h_01_smIf the nature of the work is properly appreciated and applied, it will stand in the same relation to the higher faculties as food is to the physical body.
J. C. Kumarappa

There’s something about the first day of a new year that makes me want to work on worthwhile projects. So much to do today and so little time (as it’s spread across family and friends as well as the Mac Lab crew). I’ll be adding to this post over the next several days as there’s much to say and share about our upcoming 2011 adventures together.

Kudos: Though I love this image, I’m far more taken with Julia’s blog post. That’s they type of passion that makes work a form of pleasurable sustenance. Like I’ve told you before, if you love your job, it’s not work; it’s just another form of play. And playing for a living is one of the keys to happiness.

Your job in the Mac Lab is to hone your digital artistry skills. Is this job one of the joys in your life? I hope you understand that your answer depends entirely on your point of view. And your point of view is a matter of choice.

Odd how some people don’t choose to be happy.

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

Be sure to check out the new galleries. I’ll bet some of my 24/7/365 students (who know first hand exactly what J.C. Kumarappa was talking about) will have items to add before Winter Break ends.

0102: Reading the (online) paper this morning and ran across this quote:

Employers are increasingly saying that they don’t just need people with basic job skills, but people who are creative [and] who can generate new ideas and new ways of solving problems.
Creativity can be an economic engine

Wow! I wonder where you could find a class that helps you learn to solve problems creatively? 😉

0103: Just a reminder to read the blog every day and follow all instructions. For starters, if you scrolled down and began reading at today’s update, please start again from the top of the page. This week’s message was crafted with you in mind!

We’re coming up on the semester grades later this month and I’ll be charting your diligence. I’m not going to offer repeated reminders of every expectation. I expect you to hold up your end of the deal.

Mac Lab Markers: Bermuda became the 167th country to visit the blog over break. We also passed 700,000 page views around the same time. I wasn’t paying attention so I didn’t notice when either event happened. On a more dubious note, I do notice the spam every day. We shattered daily and monthly records in December. I know it’s wishful thinking but I sure hope this trend doesn’t continue.

Top 100 Classroom Blogs: Our blog made’s Top 100 list. Pretty cool as only 16 high schools were on the worldwide list.

Today’s Task: Everyone must begin their Desktop Wallpaper Calendar project within the first 15 minutes of class today. You may work with any imagery you wish but I want to see a unique custom calendar for January on everyone’s desktop by Friday. (February’s will be due on Feb 1.) 3D students are not required to complete all the Photoshop tutorials but I do expect to see a correctly-sized render—enhanced in Photoshop—mounted on your desktop too. Smashing Magazine has some great examples of what I’m looking for. Your goal is to be included in the gallery. Note: Your imagery should relate to the respective months. How and why it relates—from your point of view—is what I’ll expect you to be able to explain.

Tip of the Day: The page looks a little different. Hopefully this will make it easier to find what you’re looking for when you need it.

0104: Today’s Tip of the Day is required viewing for all students. Please pay attention as you watch this video.

Personal Responsibility: It’s up to you to track your time on the clipboard. We have a Mac Lab Saturday School™ this weekend: 6:15 to 12:00 just so you can catch up or jump further ahead! FYI: If you chose to ignore yesterday’s assignment, you were marked down. If you choose to ignore today’s or tomorrow’s, the same will happen.

Update: A student in 2nd period managed to watch today’s 7:33 video in less than five minutes. When asked if he watched the video, he said, “Yes.” When I mentioned that he’d not been in the room long enough to view the entire video, he replied, “I skipped some parts.”

My head hurts.

0105: Pretty simple today. Today’s Tip of the Day contains info you need to know. Related links: A Good Portfolio | Photography Info | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 |

Reminders: Please return all cameras tomorrow. Mac Lab Saturday School™ this weekend: 6:15 to 12:00.

Update: Three images quickly crafted (in about five minutes) from the new Things Stock Images page: 01 | 02 | 03 | Most of the photos on the Stock pages are very large and can be cropped to fit your desktop. Tomorrow’s Tip of the Day will address the strategy if you’re not up to speed yet. Lunch just started and I’ve got 200+ photos uploaded. Sweet!

0106: Those students who learn to use our tools in a professional manner will have the most fun and do the best work next semester. We’re rapidly reaching the point at which I expect you to fully understand that. Hey look! We just reached it. Perfect!

If you’d like to have more fun, create some fantastic art, and get me off your back, you might consider embracing what I’ve been trying to share with you. Saturday school, while not for everyone, offers you the time to really sink your teeth into learning new skills. Why not do yourself a favor and give it a try? Wouldn’t the Wall of Fame™ look so much better if your work was up there too? Let’s see what you can do.

TOTD: Today’s Tip of the Day comes in two parts. Though some of you will grumble that they’re too long, they’re packed with essential skills and strategies you need to learn. Please watch, listen, and learn from both videos: Part I and Part II.

0107: Today’s Tip of the Day is also a two-parter, but not because it’s too long; part two is simply a correction. Please watch, listen, learn, and apply the tips from Part I and Part II.

Reminder and Simple Task: We have a Mac Lab Saturday School™ this weekend: 6:15 to 12:00. There is only one other MLSS™ before our finals. And speaking of finals and grades, would you please do something for me to show you’re actually paying attention? There’s no bonus time involved (so please don’t add any). I’ll remember who did and didn’t follow these instructions:

I’ve added an orange X to the bottom row of each page clipboard just to the right of the extra credit number. (If you’re confused, the very beginning of this video shows you where the extra credit score is found.) Please add your own X to the right of your extra credit tally (yours won’t be orange). If I see an X, I know you’re paying attention. If I don’t, you chose the consequence.


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Gallery 036 — 1011 Illustration

by on Jan.01, 2011, under Galleries

kiera_h_01_smSo many of you have begun to explore your illustrative skills that it’s time to open this gallery. Don’t submit until after you’ve enhanced your illustration in Photoshop.

Kudos: Freshman Kiera H has fallen in love with the Pen Tool and is being compensated by clients. Details in Week 15 blog post (coming soon).

1011 Illustration Gallery


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Reeling ‘Tween the Years

by on Dec.20, 2009, under Blog

mlcc_smMuch of our failure to understand human nature arises from neglect of the need to have our faculties excited and our lives thereby enhanced. The human animal cannot be itself without this exciting enhancement. Excitement is not merely good, it is indispensable to a proper human life.
Lancelot Law Whyte

Buried in the comments on this post is: You guys probably know all about RealD 3D but I just got back from taking my daughter to see Monsters vs Aliens and it was one of those transformative moments. I’d never even heard of RealD. Man, I love art and technology. The story was cute, good for a dad and his twelve-year-old, but the animation in 3D was FREAKIN’ AWESOME! If there would have been a plot worthy of the artistry it would’ve been up there with 2001 and The Matrix for movies that changed everything for me. NOTE: I was 13 when I saw 2001. Went with neighbors to the Century 21 Theaters in San Jose (a 45 mile drive). First time in a Panoramic theater with the wide curved screen. The “through the stargate” scene was the clincher. As good as the stuff I saw in my head.

Well, yesterday I took my daughter to see Avatar. One day she’ll tell her kids about how that day impacted her life. I love the symmetry of our ages in the story (both 13 at the time). When we got home she said, “That was the best movie I’ve ever seen!” Her mom smiled and said, “Better than Twilight?” “Better than New Moon?” To both, Noël never hesitated, “Yes!” Sue looked at me, questioningly (because Twilight and New Moon were Noël’s absolute favs). I couldn’t find any words worthy of the experience. The depth and breadth of the world within Avatar is unlike anything I’d seen or imagined. All I could say was “It was unbelievably beautiful.”

Did you read the quote at the top of the page? Yesterday, as I was working on a different angle, it was Helen Keller‘s: It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui. You see, I was going to make a point about the dangers of ennui. That life requires us to become involved, interested, and yes, even excited!

Do yourself a favor and go see the 3D version of Avatar.

1221: The last palindrome of the 00’s. The 5555 in me (actually 050555) smiles in numeric harmony.

I liked Christopher’s comment for two reasons. He liked Avatar? Very, very much?! But the hero came through in the end, Chris. (We debate the relevance of tragedy as it applies to today’s teetering world.) I suppose, if one were to identify with the corporate/militaristic characters (which I don’t believe for a second Chris does), the film could be perceived as a tragedy. The day we put all our eggs into that basket would be tragic (from my bleeding heart POV). More than ever, this world needs ordinary heroes (as if there is such a thing as an ordinary hero).

The second part of Chris’ comment took me back to the teacher education program: Go to sporting events, student performances, or chaperon dances. Let the students see that you’re a real person. As Danny inferred, I start the day pretty early. By the time 3:00 rolls around (pm), I’ve typically put in 10 to 12 hours (or more). Sorry, but the last thing I want is to spend more time with students. I like you guys but I have a family. The time I get to spend with them is both limited and precious. In an hour or two I’ll wake the girls and we’ll be off for two days in the Magic Kingdom. We’re meeting these folk (whom I spoke of briefly in 12 Days) to share the fun. Since the accommodations have WiFi, you’ll most likely get a report.

For others who might wonder if I’m actually a real person… Click. (Alt)

Before I get to After Effects (which I intended to write about this morn but you know), I wanted to give a nod to Philip. Saying what you did about Avatar will be misunderstood by some. Just want to say that it was life-changing for me as well. I actually feel for those who won’t be so moved by the experience. You, like Diana, have an artist’s soul. That both of you come to a new country, learn a new language, and embrace the learning experience as you do… well, let’s just say it makes these early mornings even more worthwhile. Your passion feeds mine. You bring synergy to the Mac Lab and to my life. Thank you. Both of you.

Aw, now I’m nearly out of time. Thanks to Christina, Kate, Christian, Aaron, and Danny too. This little group project will help to launch the After Effects bug that’s sure to infect others, like the aforementioned Philip. Hey, that looks different from your original. How’d that happen? Click. (Yes, others have already taken After Effects much further. I’ll get to you.)

1222: Parks beautiful. Rides amazing. Back trashed. Advil consumed. Departure imminent. Details later. Disney awaits.

1224: Quite a story lies between that first ride Monday morning and the last ride Tuesday night but today’s going to be as busy as yesterday. Those hundreds of unread emails will also have to wait as duty calls here at home. Before I go, here’s a coincidence I just encountered… Went to Vimeo to find and share the link to our Mac Lab Channels and noticed that This Week in Vimeo is featuring a married couple I tweeted about yesterday. (Found them via Abduzeedo but that’s another story.) When synchronicity calls, it’s a good idea to answer. No time to explore their videos right now but it’s on my list. Are these videos on yours? Creative book reports. Stop motion goodness. Kinetic typography. So much to see. Check ’em out!

International Update: The Kingdom of Cambodia is the 134th country to visit our little blog.

1227: I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your friends and families. Ours was fantastic and I’m especially thankful that I get a week to recover from the whirlwind Christmas adventures. The only things I’ve had time to add since the 24th are in that widget to the right. Have you explored those twitter links? Only 236 tweets with 300 to 400 links so far. And while considering all that potentially unexplored territory, have you ever gone back in time (scroll to bottom) to retrace the blog’s wit and wisdom from the beginning? There’s gold in them thar posts!

For those who may consider me a bit conceited for declaring that the blog contains wit, wisdom, AND metaphoric gold, I’ve never claimed to be anything more than a conduit. That’s been on record for 15 years and counting. As it says there: I figure the least likely explanation is that I’m an isolated fountain of wisdom.

The Creative Spirit (or whatever you want to call it) flows all around and through us. Dare to tap into it. I keep giving you how-to clues. It’s one of those rare resources that grows more plentiful the more it’s used. But it can’t touch you unless you open up to the experience. Here’s another clue.

Congrats: Austin W awarded $15,000/year Merit Scholarship to Cal Lutheran.

1228: Was thinking about New Year/2010 for the Mac Lab and bumped into this idea from Fabio at Abduzeedo. (Coincidence or synchronicity?) Thought that might be a fun intro to Photoshop project. (I’ll be making a video version to help the Photoshop newbies and noobs.) Since Fabio mentions his inspiration in the into, and since we’re going to be in print mode when we get back… Click.

1229: Currently reading The Pixar Touch. Will have much to say about this and how it relates to the Mac Lab in our upcoming 2010: Odyssey Two post. If you’re a reader, or you’re thinking of a career in the arts, you might consider picking up a copy of your own.

Congrats: Current Mac Lab UT 2009 Student-Athletes: Kendal Chapman, Morgan Cook, John Cortes, Gavin Doudna, Matthew Goforth, Joshua Kitzmiller, Collin May, Sherwin Navindaran, Cameron Rabell, Kyle Rodenbo, Zachary Steen. (Let me know if I missed anyone.)

Pixar/Avatar Update: Seems some of the folks at Pixar liked Avatar in IMAX 3D, too. I concur.

1230: I keep telling you that it all starts with a pencil and paper. A few of you get it. Maybe a few more will believe it if someone else does the telling. Check out some of their photography too.

1231: Walked out to get the paper this morning and saw that a single rose had made it to the last day of 2009. If that rose could try that hard, I figured the very least I could do was to wander around and see what other surprises I might find just outside our door. (As I did in this story.)

Have a safe and happy new year!

010110: Cool binary date!

Challenge: Who will be the first to create their own Prezi Portfolio? Watch this video then view the sample. Hi-res version: Zoom in for detail! This is looking promising!

0102: Who says most folk don’t know what a palindrome is? It’s right up there in the 1221 update. But even I’m a bit squeamish writing today’s date as 01022010. That’s way too long for even this numeric geekoid!

And while I’m in non sequitur mode, I might as well tell you that big changes are coming to the Mac Lab. Big changes. Details soon.

Countdown: I’d hoped to begin at 10 but we jumped from 11 to 8 overnight. So… 10, 9, 8… (When we reach ZERO I’ll tell you what it is.)

The Top 100: Okay, I’ll give you a hint.

0103: It’s going to be fun tomorrow. I may hold back the post until school starts. We’ll see. 😛

Countdown Continues: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2… (Going faster than I thought it would.)

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