Animations

•October 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Here is an example of an animation for entertainment.

Here is an example of an animation for educational purposes.

Here is an example of an animation for marketing/advertising purposes.

Midterm Blog Post – How is technology impacting life as we know it?

•October 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is fascinating to see how technology is impacting our lives. Almost everyone on the planet is somehow connected to technology in some form or another. Be it college students using twitter and facebook to connect, doctors and surgeons using video games as training tools, people using twitter as a weapon for revolution and a way to rebuild, or a president building an online following. It amazes me how there seems to be an ever evolving need to explore the ways we can use these technologies. We are constantly finding new ways to implement technology into our lives.

I feel like it is important for us to continue moving forward in the idea of connectivity. I also believe that we need to continue adapting technologies to everyday situations. Facebook seems to be a rather hot topic these days. The question is, how is facebook influencing our social lives? Turns out, it can actually help them out. I used to believe that facebook was a waste of time. I felt like I’d rather hang out with my friends than sit behind a screen and “creep” on what they were doing. I still believe this, to an extent. But facebook has a lot of positive influences on how we interact with one another. According to this article on social networking, you are just as likely to experience a healthy social life through facebook as you are offline. In fact, people are sometimes more willing to share their personal lives with others on social media sites.

Not only can technology provide us with a platform to connect with one another, but it can also track how we feel while we are “socializing”. A group of people actually teamed up and analyzed over 300 million tweets to track the mood of the nation throughout the day. This may seem like a useless project, but it goes to show how these social media technologies are able to be used to determine patterns in our lives. I for one am excited to see what other types of studies are done with this idea in mind. It seems like a great way to analyze trends throughout the world.

It is even more interesting to see this whole new breed of video games that are spawning from social media platforms. It just goes to show you that if the platform is there, people will adapt to it. In this case, they are turning traditional video games on their heads. The entire concept of social media gaming is to be able to “play at your own pace”. They are also built around much more rewarding concepts. It is no longer a matter of skill with these games. They are purely there for entertainment and enjoyment.

However, social media platforms aren’t the only place where video games are emerging. They are also coming into play in the medical field. Surgeons are playing games to improve hand-eye coordination, patients are playing games to expedite recovery times, people with illnesses are using video games to better treat their diseases, and the list goes on. The fact is that we need to be open to allowing technology to be implemented into whatever the field. No longer are video games a waste of time. They are becoming an important training tool and they are helping to revitalize old industries by giving us a new way of looking at them.

These social platforms aren’t only being used for entertainment. They are emerging in different ways all over the world. The revolution in Egypt is a great example of how these tools can be used to organize protests and take a stand. Twitter and facebook played crucial roles in those demonstrations. They proved to be so useful, that after the dust settled, people began using them to start new businesses. The startup culture that emerged was rather extraordinary. Venture capitalists began taking interest in some of the entrepreneurial projects that were forming. The people were able to use these technologies to develop their own technologies. That idea fascinates me.

 

 [View the story “Start it Up!” on Storify]

 

Twitter and other social media platforms can also help with marketing a small business. In most cases these businesses don’t have the means of marketing to a large audience. They rely on word of mouth and very low advertising budgets. But with twitter, they are able to reach a much larger audience. And the best part is, once word gets out, it spreads like wildfire. These platforms are able to take a small business from practically nothing to a national brand. It is up to the business owner to realize the potential of these technologies and use them to their full potential. Facebook and twitter can also be used to spark interest in a product. A lot of businesses will make a facebook page, but it is requires more than just “making a page” in order to get a following. You have to be able to understand what users are interested in. You have to give them something that will draw them in. Something more than just a profile page for your company. Some use videos or surveys, among other things, to achieve this.

These social media platforms aren’t just for kids anymore. They are a part of our lives. This past election was proof of that. Obama launched one of the most important campaign platforms in history. He was the first president to use social media as a way to reach out to people. He was primarily targeting a younger audience, but it proved to be worth his time. He pretty much hit every platform he could. He had a website, a blog, a youtube channel, a linkedin account, a twitter stream, and a facebook account. I believe there were a few others as well. This was the first time that a presidential candidate hit the social networking world with such force. He built a community around his campaign and it ultimately helped him win the election. The question is, what will the next election look like? Will it become a norm for all presidential candidates to go through these steps.  It is certainly looking like the Republicans are considering the approach. You can’t really blame them, but they will have to do it in their own way. I can see a lot of copy cat attempts being made, or other futile attempts to push their messages into our faces. Obama was successful because he created the sense of community, he didn’t just sign up for everything and hope for the best.  I hope this does not happen. In my opinion, there is already enough political advertising and spamming going on in the media. The last thing I want are dueling slander videos to pop up on every other site I try to visit. But I can honestly see that happening if they aren’t careful.

The above examples provide just a slim view of how technology has impacted our lives. I believe that it is critical that we continue to explore the ways that we can integrate technology further into our existing infrastructure. I also believe that by doing this, new platforms and technologies will emerge. No matter if it’s just for fun, for training, for demanding social reform, or for trying to get elected, we will always have a need to embrace technology and implement it into our daily lives.

Lynda Training #1 Cont.

•October 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The training module that I completed covered the new features introduced into Illustrator in CS5. I will discuss some of those new features in this blog. The first thing that I learned was that they introduced a “perspective grid” element into the software. This grid allows you to map 2D images onto perspective plains. It makes it really easy to draw perspective drawings in Illustrator.

The next tool was the introduction of variable width strokes. This allows the user to create more dynamic illustrations without having to expand the original stroke. Essentially, it makes it easier to make lines that are thicker in some places and thinner in others without going through a bunch of steps.

The next few items were interesting in theory, but fell short with my training. They covered new items that allow for pressure sensitive drawing tablets to interact better with Illustrator. I will have to test this out later on. It didn’t give the same effect when just using my point and click mouse.

The last item that I found really interesting was the new “enhanced join” feature. Before, it was really hard to get lines to join with one another. The enhanced join feature allows you to seamlessly join multiple shapes overlapping one another. This functions more like CorelDraw’s weld tool, which is really handy. I think this was my favorite discovery from the tutorial.

Lastly, I learned some new steps/improvements for exporting AI files into Flash. This is helpful because I will be doing the Flash tutorial next. I will try to incorporate some of the new Illustrator features into my soon-to-be Flash experimentation.

Lynda Training #1

•October 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Below are the screenshots for my CS5 Illustrator New Features training module.

I will be adding details of the training in the next couple of days.

Beyond the Screen

•September 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I feel that touch screen technology has made a huge impact on the world. The surprising thing about it is that the technology hasn’t been around that long, at least not for your every-day consumer. Yet it has already been introduced into the lives of most people in some form or another. 10 years ago it would have been insane to think that your phone could react to touch. However, considering that technology evolves on an exponential level, it was almost certain to happen. The exciting thing is that 10 years from now a brand new onslaught of technology will be on the market. The question is…what will it be?

The idea of moving ideas and content on and off the screen is becoming an exciting new trend in developmental research.  This new device called Portico uses fold out cameras and projection technology to detect objects and motion around the device. It utilizes the space surrounding the tablet as workspace and things you do in this space are represented on the screen of your device. It is rather interesting because this technology could be applied to phones and other small devices to allow for real time collaboration outside of the device. Yet, everything that occurred, could be stored in the device.

While reading about this new technology, I remembered a TED talk that I saw a couple of years ago. It uses the same idea. But it is expanded upon to be much more functional in an everyday environment. I feel like the use of interactive display/ projection technology is where mobile devices are moving. This video is the reason why. It is just too cool not to happen. And the guy even published his research as open content, for free, to  anyone who has an urge to develop further on his findings.

OMG! The iPad Killed My College Degree!

•September 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been in college for 6 years. I spent three years in a major that I didn’t enjoy, and am now in my last year of my “second attempt” at the whole deal. If you would have asked me 6 years ago if my degree would be obsolete by the time I graduated, I would probably have just walked away. But now the reality of the situation is sinking in. Graphic Arts Management is a field developed around printing processes, which you well know are slowly turning into a thing of the past. Fortunately, I am specializing in the design side of the field. So, my degree will actually be viable in many different industries. But never-the-less, the fact remains that the printing industry is going through some rather hefty renovations. A lot of “small town shops” will more than likely fall by the wayside in our current economic situation. Larger shops, however, are moving from publication printing to Remote Printing and Variable Data Printing. These are the shops that will persevere through the recession. But this is not the industry that I am interested in.

My focus is in apparel printing. The good ole’ art of screen printing. This is one  industry that won’t be going anywhere any time soon. In fact, many technological advancements create some sort of inlet into the screen printing industry. For instance, one company incorporated a QR code into their design which links you to a short promotional video clip.

The above example goes to show you that the industry will always be able to find a way to adapt to whatever trends are current in society. We are an expressive species and there will always be a desire to graphically represent ourselves. And what better way than to physically wear our inspirations.

When I am asked,”what is the current state of your industry?” I am honest when I say that I think it is thriving and will continue to grow with every new emerging technology. Long live graphic tees!

My Media Dependent Life

•September 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

At this point in my life, I would say that I am constantly influenced by media technology in some form or another. Probably more than I wish to admit. It all started with MSN messenger. It was amazing to me that I could chat with people from all over the world. I never really understood how it was possible. I just accepted it as the way things were.  Since I was a little kid I have been synced up with the digital world. It is interesting to see how views of online interaction have changed in the past decade. When I was a nub to it all, everyone was concerned that kids were going to get kidnapped by greasy old men on the other end of the conversation. Granted, there are sick people out there, but the over all view seems to be changing. According to Larry D. Rosen, “It’s almost like social networks are training wheels for life in a lot of ways.”  The environment seems to be more transparent these days. It offers a place where kids can learn social skills necessary to survive in our current society.

Now that I am nearing the end of my college career, I am seeing the “big picture” potential of media technology. Businesses are trying to find new ways to exchange information every day. Social media isn’t a stagnant thing. It is a living organism, of which we are in a symbiotic relationship with. I know that if I ever plan on opening my own business I will need to embrace this relationship. Not only are there “social” networks, but there are a lot of networks formulated around the business world. They are here to assist in the sharing of ideas and collaboration of industry leaders. There are so many outlets available at this moment. I am extremely excited to see what will come next.