The Mac Lab

Tag: pay it forward

New and Improved! (Week 35)

by on May.31, 2011, under Blog

Art is never finished, only abandoned.
— Leonardo da Vinci

Before you abandon the Mac Lab for your summer adventures, be sure you take care of business.

Number One: Have you checked the time sheets lately? You cannot earn an A if you owe time. (Don’t ask me how or why you owe time because those reasons are explained on the sheet. Read the key at the bottom.)

Number Two: Do you understand the rubric? You are NOT guaranteed an A if you do not owe time. (And you sure won’t earn one if you don’t understand the rubric!)

Number Three: Have you taken your projects the final 10%? You will NOT earn an A without taking this step. (If you don’t understand this, you better check last week’s post and its Tips of the Day)

Number Four: Complete your resumé on Career Cruising. If you don’t know your password, see me and I’ll give it to you.

(continue reading…)

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U B U (Week 22)

by on Feb.22, 2011, under Blog

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

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Rush / Subdivisions

Would you believe today’s Tip of the Day (oops, it’s the 22nd, not the 21st) urges you to break free of conformity? And the Quick Tips invite you to step out of the role of an ordinary student to become a provider of information and/or resources. Reach out of your comfort zone, try each of them on for size, then show what you know!

Student Stock Surprises Zooming, panning, and cropping: The missing link. A great way to find the picture hidden within the picture.

Mac Lab Student Stockers Here’s how to organize your unenhanced photographs for inclusion in our Student Stock collection. Please just submit your best shots.

Mac Lab Mentors is Growing Like our Student Stock collection, the Mentors have been super busy and I’ll try to catch up today with the 90 new tutorials submitted over the weekend.

Illustrators: Check out these cool poster ideas. Here’s Ben’s site.

Kudos: Thanks goes out to one of our newest students. Evan R contributed 118 photographs to Mac Lab Student Stock last week and this one, though cropped, is otherwise unenhanced. What a perfect image to compliment this week’s post!

I Am Number Four: Cool movie. When viewed as an allegory for finding the hidden power within oneself — by becoming oneself — it becomes an even richer experience.


0223: Students in the Mac Lab used to produce animated projects like this. Today’s Tip of the Day wonders if you’re interested in learning how to join the animated adventurous ones. (Here’s a simple example.) The Quick Tips point the question and deliver some exciting news about Mac Lab Mentors. I have a backlog of photography to add to our Student Stock page. I’ll be uploading today and tomorrow. And for as long as students keep providing stock photography.

Enhanced Stock: One of our oh-so-perceptive students (Tiffany C) asked how she might share an enhanced version of one of our stock photographs. You see, she read our Creative Commons license and, among other things, it says: Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

My answer? It’s on the to do list. 😛

The Great Flash Question Flash = Yes or Flash = No | Starter File | Animated Example
In your comment, Yes = You want to learn Flash, No = You don’t. Vote now!

Answering the Question Please cast your vote. Flash = Yes (I want to learn Flash) or Flash = No (I don’t want to learn Flash)

Mac Lab Mentor Expansion Learn about Photoshop, Camera Raw, Illustrator, what the buttons and switches on the Canon Rebel XTi are for, and how to light paint.

Nostradamus Speaks: Yes, I know one of the Quick Tips echoes the Tip of the Day in asking students to vote: Flash = Yes or Flash = No. And yes, I know that bothers some of you. You ask: Why do you need to repeat the same thing? Why? I’ll answer in advance: Even with multiple reminders, less than 60% of your classmates will vote today.

Remember: I love to be wrong. I hope all of you vote.

0224: Thanks to the 73% of you who voted. Glad to be wrong. And here’s hoping some of you will feel the same way by the end of each period. Read on…

One Obligatory Flash Project Watch that QT, produce this project by following today’s Tip of the Day, and then tell me if Flash still isn’t for you. No exceptions. Everyone plays. Save your files to prove you participated.

Animating an Image Progression Yes or No, here’s what you’ll build today. Before rejecting Flash, you have to give it a try. No exceptions. Starter File.

Reminder: Mac Lab Saturday School™ is this weekend from 6:15 to 12:00. Those who try to skip today’s assignment will find they have been given a special invitation to try again, on Saturday.

Feedback: Now that you’ve finished, have you changed your mind? Learning Flash doesn’t mean abandoning Photoshop, Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Final Cut, or whatever program you’re working with. I’ll be creating some tutorials exploring simple ways you can display your work via Flash on a website you’ll be building soon. (Did someone say, Dreamweaver?) Please leave a comment if you’re so inclined.

0225: Mac Lab Saturday School™ is tomorrow from 6:15 to 12:00. Imagine the creative forces that might be unleashed if only given the time and opportunity. Both Mac Lab Stock and Student Stock have been growing as have the tutorials on the Mac Lab Mentors pages. You could learn more about our Rebels or 10 ways to improve a photograph or just explore at will. You could even spend hours learning about virtually any application from, say Principles of Motion Graphics or Illustrator or Photoshop or Cinema 4D or hundreds of other titles that can be unlocked. It’s like a gift from above that you have all that extra time tomorrow to explore and experiment. Question is: Will you find the time to explore and experiment?

TOTD + QT: Today’s Tip of the Day addresses several issues and gotchas that some, not all of you need to be made aware of. (But everyone will watch, right?) The Quick Tips reinforce two of the essential shortcuts.

Forward Into the Past Praise and kudos to you and a few reminders. Critical information — especially for our new classmates (and forgetful old ones).

Command+Tab to Cycle Through Applications The first of two important shortcuts you absolutely, positively, need to know and use.

Command+Tilde to Cycle Through Windows The second of two important shortcuts you absolutely, positively, need to know and use.

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Giving Your All (Week 17)

by on Jan.19, 2010, under Blog

james_w_02_smThe invisible tensive straws that can save us are those of individual human integrities — in daring to steer the individual’s course only by truth, strange as the realized truth may often seem — wherever and whenever the truths are evidenced to the individual — wherever they may lead, unfamiliar as the way may be.
R. Buckminster Fuller

What does the electronics ban poster (James W) have in common with Bucky’s quote?

Bucky advises us to do the right thing — to be guided by what we know to be right — even if it’s not what we expected (or wanted). The administration, in an attempt to help students succeed, has banned electronics during school hours. If you look at it from their point of view, it’s hard to counter their decision. The electronics are a distraction at school.

Admin rejected James’ poster and asked us to design one that would put the ban in a better light. They asked for a poster they could show to the community and the school board. I understand their position; however, this poster was created for the students. I think it perfectly captures the issue from the kids’ perspective. I was told that SAGA, the school paper, is the proper forum for students to air their grievances. True, but…

I’ll work through proper channels to advocate for you. While I fight the good fight, I need more of you to step up and take advantage of the Job Board. The better we serve our prospective clients, the better positioned we’ll be to expand the reach of your voice.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Trust is time to ask yourself, to find the strength to ask
Questions free the answering, unbinding them our task
Faith is time spent wondering, what we’re meant to find
Imagine it’s your purpose, adventure by design
Belief is time to listen, but who has time for that?
Especially when the answers, knock expectations flat
Skocko / Dream Yet Complete

Now, about the final next week. Watch this video. Oh, one more thing.

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 |

Make Up Time: We have Mac Lab Saturday School™ this weekend. I arrive around 6:15. The lab will probably be overflowing. Here’s a look at the last end-of-semester MLSS. If you want a computer, you might want to arrive early. Next week you may make up time before school or during 1st period. You may NOT come in during any other class’ final. Grades close for all classes Thursday at noon. The lab is closed on Friday of finals week.

0120: Some students have been fretting about the first semester final presentations. Relax. You’ll just be asked to (a) introduce yourself, (b) show your portfolio while describing what you’ve learned, and (c) share your plans for the second semester (what you’d like to learn or work on). Sweet and simple in a supportive environment. Don’t worry, we’ll clap no matter what.

Note: I’ll prep a few well-prepared students who will present first and model the expectations for you. I’ll also have the instructions on the board. Deep breath. Relax.

Your Task this Week: Add new projects or improve old one’s that need improvement. Need a nudge? Don’t settle for sub-standard work!

Haiti Relief: ASB is trying to raise $2,010 by the end of this week. If all students donated $1 we’d surpass that amount. Donations may be added to the bag by the clipboard.

Mac Lab Blogger Update: John Doyle joins our other intrepid bloggers. (Links in right sidebar.)

0121: Some of you claim I haven’t given any other project ideas. Sheesh! Here’s a whole bunch of ideas all in one place (that I’ve shown you before). Go look and see for yourself.

Haiti Relief: Last two days to donate to the relief fund. The bag is by the clipboard.

Useful Tip: Yesterday, when reading Some students have been fretting about the first semester final presentations, a student asked what fretting meant. I responded, Right-click on it and see for yourself. As I walked away I heard him say, I didn’t know you could do that. Truth is, sometimes I forget about it too.

You teach best what you most need to learn. So true, Richard.

0122 Bad News: Last workday before finals start on Monday.

0122 Good News: Mac Lab Saturday School™ tomorrow. I’ll arrive about 6:15. The lab will be open until noon. First come, first served. Remember what happened the last, last MLSS™ of the semester. Come early if you don’t want to wait in line for a computer. Monday is a Collaboration Day. The lab will open at 6:15 (just like it does every other day).

Haiti Relief: Last day to donate to the relief fund. The bag is by the clipboard. 100% of donations go to Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

Portfolio Reminder: Use Prezi,, WordPress (written parental consent required), or another Web 2.0 tool. No InDesign sites! The Art History WebQuest and the Self-Assessment (above and on Student Page) can be presented with artistic flair (hint, hint). The portfolio represents an entire semester’s work. Show what you know!

Mac Lab Bloggers: I’ve changed your Website links to your WordPress sites (just the serious bloggers). Make sure you can display all of your work from the site. Click your link to verify everything works: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 |

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The Journey Begins Anew

by on Jul.01, 2009, under Blog

fishy_smPart of the communication problem, as we shall see, is the strangeness of what is being found… Very few people are synthesizing information being gathered in far-flung places.
Marilyn Ferguson

If you read Specialists vs Generalists, you might understand something about the choice of that quotation to christen the wheel’s turning. (The 09/10 fiscal school year officially begins today.) For those who’ve also preformed this perceptual self-diagnostic, well, you know that I look far and wide for sources of inspiration. (For you daring souls who clicked that link, be sure to watch the series of videos that begins with Believe. That’s at the heart of artistic experimentation and exploration when drenched in inspiration.)

Good stuff to come tomorrow. (Hey, gimme a break! I’m busy with SOI.)

0702: I doubt that most of you would consider this “good stuff” but the Students Page is filling nicely with the initial videos. Only 40 or so, so far. 😉 Lots more to follow.

0703 Randomness: Updated (flawed) Best Student Work video on Vimeo in HD. There are 21 new additions. Is yours there/missing? Let me know about suggestions you might have. Why does it glitch when the old one worked fine? Looks like it’s try, try again time for me. Can you simulate this video’s style in Photoshop? Watch a clue to that and other (hopefully) thought-provoking ideas. If you want to try on your own, 1280 x 720 might be a good size to play around with (720 x 480 on smaller monitors). Think in HD. A variety of variations on this theme are flashing in my mind’s eye right now (yes, I’ve jotted them down as they surface). When a winning idea gels and you want the highest quality, 1920 x 1080 is the ticket. We/you might enter this “commons” competition in the future (via). Note the low vote totals. Additional details linked in right column. Over 4.5 million pics to use but resist the urge to download ’em all. Better idea: grab a camera and use it! Our friend from Namibia has come back twice but Wyoming and North Dakota remain unaware of the blog. Invisible Children reached their SocialVibe goal and our widget (in right sidebar) was reset to zero. I wrote and asked. Answer: Yes, additional clicks will continue to help the cause. Be a rebel. Give a click and/or join the cause. I know politicians are seldom original, but this is beyond ridiculous! (As is the denial.) But don’t you wish you had the perk Maine students have? Official info. Forget the platform (or political affiliations if your mind’s stuck back there) and imagine how that initiative could transform education here. Yeah, I know. We’re broke. Can’t afford breakfast? Catch your own. Fresh mosquito. Yum! (I’ve gotta get a tripod.)

0706: What a weekend! And this week’s off to a great start with a terrific offer to educators from Scott Kelby and Peachpit Press. High School Teacher Info (It might be easier to call 800.848.9500 to find your rep.) One more piece of the Creative Freedom and Career Path puzzle snaps into place. (Those videos are straight from the new, nearly completed Students Page.) Our 80,000th page view happened over the weekend.

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Look Yourself in the Eye

by on Jun.19, 2009, under Blog

obama_dots_smSummer is a great time to unwind. But it’s also a perfect opportunity for introspection. What is it you want to achieve? (Luke W) Do you even know what you want to do? And what about your contributions to the greater good? Have you even clicked a worthwhile button recently? Scroll down this page and look at the right sidebar. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now Click the HELP NOW button on the Invisible Children ad under our Tags, watch the Sprint commercial, and rate it (the current commercials actually employ some pretty good graphics). Congratulations. You’ve just helped someone.

One of the reasons I added this feature is that my wife and I went to the zoo last week and several people commented on the t-shirt I was wearing. From their comments, it was clear they didn’t know that Invisible Children isn’t a joke. Hey, we can’t be aware of every tragedy but we can try to do something once we are. Even if it’s just something small like adding a widget to a blog or clicking the button that’s sitting right there waiting for you to do your own little part. Thanks to Justin at Cartoon Smart for bringing this to my attention. As Mother Teresa says: We can do no great things — only small things with great love.

On another note, Mac Lab Saturday School™ dates for the 0910 school year have been tentatively set. Those 18 dates are the equivalent of one entire semester of class meetings. Think about it.

0621: See this section of the forum for a few opportunities Mac Lab students might want to take advantage of.

0622: I’m in shock. A week ago, I read this. I went here. Several times. Pondering the horror. I weighed the consequences. Made a choice. Now I have this. And my life is a shambles. I even… chatted. My virtue is lost. Next I’ll be watching reality TV. The worst part? The Adobe Facebook is a ghost town. Oh well, I can have private conversations with the Adobe Ed folks there. Hey… wait a minute. That’s a good thing. I’m alive again!

0623: Since most of us will be going somewhere over the summer, and since most of us pack a camera to capture those memories, why not take the Mac Lab mind-set along with you and try to get the best shots you can? Take a look at Scott Kelby’s vacation photos. Don’t think for an instant you have to go to Europe to get shots that amaze. We live in San Diego. Photographers fly here to take pictures as well. There’s a world out there waiting for you to tell its story. Grab a camera and head outside today. And just to stay true to my You teach best what you most need to learn (Richard Bach) mantra, I promise to upload something new to my pitiful photo page before the day’s over.

We’ll be using displacement maps for a number of projects in the fall. Anyone wanting to get a jump on this should check this out (via John Nack who also point to a few other links the Illustrator crowd might enjoy).

YES! Adobe Ed answered and a dialogue has been opened. (See the 0622 entry for context.) This is one more piece of good news for us. The more interconnected we are, the better for everyone involved. Mac Lab students do amazing work, but so do other kids were completely unaware of. The goal here is to open as many doors as possible so you and I can collaborate with students and teachers around the world, pushing the creative envelope even further. Now I just have to spread the word to other educators so the discussion opens wider. The days of the static classroom are over. Most people just don’t realize it yet. We’re heading to uncharted territory in education and that’s the coolest thing about all this. Like it says in DYC:

Many meanings have few words, and some are even true
Sometimes three roads lead one to, a fourth that no one knew
Footsteps blaze the trail taken, a path that we’ll create
Just because you’re following, don’t mean I can’t relate

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Learn it all.