• Welcome to The Spark
    The Spark is a blog curated by the staff of the Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) at Duke University. We are a small group of highly talented students and staff well-versed in the language of multimedia. The Spark is a resource for helpful tips, tutorials, specific concerns of the lab, and general inspiration.

PTZ Shootout

2014-07-21 13.59.54

We currently have mid-model PTZ cameras all in one location and hooked up to a test monitor.  On hand is the Sony BRC-Z330, Panasonic AW-HE60, Vaddio HD019, Cisco PrecisionHD, and Logitech BCC950.  With the exception of the Logtiech all three cameras have similar price points and options.   We did this round up to see how they perform against one another.  If you have a project coming up that needs a PTZ, it’s good opportunity to familiarize yourself with some common options.

 

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Panasonic Mini-Event

awhe120kpj

Panasonic is coming on site today from 2:30-5pm at MPS West in the Perkins / Bostock Library to demo their PTZ line up. We will be testing their cameras in several conferencing and production scenarios. Representatives will be available for questions. We will be exploring the AW-HE120, AW-HE60, and AW-HE2.

More information:

  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE120.asp
  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE60S.asp
  • http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/AW-HE2.asp

This is a walk-in style event, we invite you to stop in and check out the demo.

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PrimeSense At The MPS!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 5.01.23 PM

A new PrimeSense scanner has been purchased for use in the MPS starting this fall.  We couldn’t help ourselves when we explored some applications in the Media Lab.  To demonstrate the potential, we used a powerful application called Faceshift that captures our movements and expressions in real time.  Just a quick preview of things to come this fall at the MPS, keep checking back for previews of some of the other new gadgets we’ll be bringing to Duke.

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Creating a Mask in Premiere Pro: A Cool Visual Illusion

Have you ever wondered how people create clones of themselves in videos? How there is one image of a person and then another image of a person in a single shot? The trick behind this is actually pretty simple, and I’ll show you how to do this – namely, creating a “mask” – in Premiere Pro.

STEP 1: Shooting

The first step to creating this illusion is to shoot the shot/scene all the way through with your subject on a “locked-off” (not moving and stable) tripod. Have your subject do the action of the first person that you want in the shot (ex: if the illusion you want is one person on the left side of the screen talking to themselves on the right side of the screen, pick one of these sides, such as the left, and have your subject do that action first).

Then, once you have recorded the first subject, WITHOUT moving the camera or changing the lighting, have your subject go ahead and do the second action of the second person in the shot. Please note that for this illusion to work, the two “clones” in your shot cannot ever “overlap” each other (ex: one person’s arm can never cover the other person’s shoulder in the shot, etc. etc.).

See below for two shots that I used to make this visual illusion in one of my short films last year. In this shot, Tre’Ellis Scott, the lead actor, is watching himself in an office.

Shot 1:

1. On Track - Rough Cut - Short Film.Still011

Tre 1 looking at a watch.

Shot 2:

1. On Track - Rough Cut - Short Film.Still012

Tre 2 watching Tre 1 look at the watch.

STEP 2: Importing

Now, open up Premiere Pro and import both shots into Premiere Pro. Place one of the two shots in the Video 1 row.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.34.26 PM

STEP 3: Creating a Mask Outline

The next step is to decide what shape you need your mask to be. For most shots, this could be very simple – perhaps just a line down the middle. For others, such as this one, it is necessary to be more careful in order to not let parts of the two images collide noticeably. For example, for this image, I have to create a mask that will carefully cover the 1st Tre’s arm that “bleeds” into the other half of the screen where Tre 2 will be, so that the two “clones” will not collide and overlap, which will create problems with the masking.

Here is the mask that I created for this collection of images, carefully including the arm in the mask:

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.37.30 PM

Step 4: Creating a Mask

In order to create a mask layer, it is often useful to just create a title that contains shapes with solid colors. To do this, go to “File” – “New” – “Title”.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.41.26 PM

Next, name your Title in the “New Title” menu that appears and hit OK.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.42.12 PM

You should now see the Title page with options to create a Text title or to create shapes. On the left side of this page, there are plenty of options to create shapes.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.44.11 PM

For the mask outline that I created, I simply used the Rectangle tool twice and created two separate rectangles over the subject.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.46.11 PM

Once I click the Rectangle Tool, I can bring my cursor over the image, and click and drag to create my desired rectangle.

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Once I have made my first rectangle, I then go in again with my cursor to create my second rectangle.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.48.30 PM

 

Once I finish creating this mask outline, I can close the window. The new Title should now appear in your project bin.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.51.23 PM

STEP 5: Implementing the Mask

Now, in order to start to bring the mask layers together, put the second shot on top of the first shot in your timeline in the Video 2 layer.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.53.04 PM

Then, bring your “Title” with your mask shape onto the timeline in the Video 3 layer above the two video files.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.54.19 PM

Select the second shot in the Video 2 track. Go to the Effects tab in your workflow and search for the “Track Matte Key.”

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Bring the “Track Matte Key” effect onto this Video 2 track.  Now, with the Video 2 selected, go to the video window on the top left of your workflow, and choose the Effects tab along the upper edge of the video.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.58.20 PM

Next to the “Track Matte Key” effect listed in the menu, click the arrow next to it to open up the options. Next to “Matte:”, select “Video 3.” Then click the check-box next to “Reverse.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 12.02.56 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 12.12.48 AM

Your two shots should now be properly masked, and you should have your “clones” both in the same shot! Happy cloning, and keep playing around with those visual illusions. You never know what cool tricks you’ll be able to create with a little bit of foresight, practice, and technical understanding.

Happy Masking!

 

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Explore 3D printing with Google SketchUp

It is an exciting time at the MPS, as we have recently rolled out an experimental 3D printing project. Currently, MPS West sports a new MakerBot Replicator 2X in addition to a 3D scanner and computer system. The world of 3D printing is relatively new, especially on the consumer level, and the vast majority of potential users have no idea where to begin with their 3D ideas. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to get users started in the world of 3D printing: Google SketchUp. Google SketchUp is a powerful yet easy-to-use 3D development program that makes it easy for users to design objects with little background knowledge. I am going to show you how to get started with Google SketchUp Pro 2014 (installed on all MPS Lab computers) and be on your way to your first 3D printed masterpiece.

 

First, open up Google SketchUp Pro 2014 and expand the “Template” tab. Scoll down to the “3D Printing” template and choose your units (either inches or millimeters).

blog1

 

After you click “Start using SketchUp”, you will find yourself in a window that looks like this:

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This is your workspace. As you can see, there is a bounding box labeled “Makerbot Replicator 2X.” This visually represents the maximum dimensions our 3D printer can print. Do not make your project extend past any of these boundaries. It will be too big! Luckily, Google SketchUp uses the Replicator 2X template as a default, so you can immediately start working.

Before I begin, I would like to show the full toolbar. To do this, select View>Tool Palettes>Large Tool Set.

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Now you have the full toolset which looks like this:

blog4

 

One last thing to be aware of before we begin. Below is an image of SketchUp’s help window. It will appear on the right of your screen when you open a project. Click on any tool and it will give an animated representation with instructions on how to use the tool. Pretty neat! Click on all the tools and get an idea of what they do.

blog5

 

Now, let’s begin our first 3D printing project! With a little inspiration from my colleague Suyash, we are going to make personalized keychains.

To begin, go to Camera>Standard Views>Top. This will give you a top down view to begin your project.

Select the rectangle tool and draw a rectangle of any size. Once you are done drawing the rectangle, immediately type “3,1” (that’s a comma) to make a rectangle 3” long and 1” wide. You can do this to dimension any shape! For example, if you wanted a 3 inch square, type “3,3”. If you want to dimension a circle, draw it and type a dimension for the radius. It’s that simple.

 

 

Here’s what you should have so far.

blog6

 

Now zoom in to your selection by using the scoll wheel on you mouse, or right click on your rectangle and select “Zoom Selection.”

We are going to add a half circle to one end for the keyring hole. Select the 2-Point Arc tool. Next, click on the top right corner of your rectangle. Follow that with a click on the bottom right corner. Move your mouse outward until it locks to a half circle. A small text box and line should appear to indicate you have reached this point. Here is how it will look:

blog7

 

Click one final time and the half circle should turn grey.

***This is a good time to note that when drawing shapes or figures, SketchUp likes to help use guides to align endpoints, midpoints, center-points, and half-circles among other things. Use this to your advantage to make symmetry and lining your shapes up a breeze. Play around with it a bit. Different colored dashed lines will appear to serve as guides.

 

Let’s continue.

We are almost ready to create a 3D shape. Before we continue, select the line separating the half circle from the rectangle. It will turn blue. Delete that. Now you will have one unified shape that looks like so:

blog8

 

Now we are ready to make this keychain 3D! Select the Push/Pull tool or press “P”.

blog9

 

Press “Command+7” or select the “Iso” view from Camera>Standard Views. With the Push/Pull tool still selected, click on your shape and move your mouse upward. Pull the shape any distance and click once more to set it. Type in “0.25” to make the thickness 0.25 inches. You can change this value if you would like to make it thinner or thicker.

Now you should have a 3D shape that looks like this:

blog10

 

We are going to use the offset tool to create a small lip around the keychain.

Press “F” to select the offset tool, or click on the tool 2 spots directly below the Push/Pull tool on the large toolset. With the tool selected, click on the top face of your keychain. Approach one of the edges until a lip is created:

blog11

 

Click once to set the lip, and enter 0.1 on the keyboard to make the lip a 0.1” thick.

Now we need to give the lip some depth. Select the Push/Pull tool (P), and click on the inner face. Once selected, push downward to create a sunken area as shown below.

blog12

 

Click to set. Enter 0.1 to make the recess 0.1 inch deep.

Our next step is to make the keychain hole. We want to make it nice and centered, so we need to utilize the built in guides I mentioned before.

First, zoom in using the scroll wheel or one of the zoom tools so that the semi-circle fills most of your screen. Next, use the Orbit tool (O), which has a red and green arrow on it, to orbit around so you can see the inner lip of the keychain. Your view should look like this:

blog13

 

Select the Circle tool or press “C”. These next steps are important, so follow carefully.

Find the endpoint of the circle.  It should turn green and appear as shown:

blog14

 

BEFORE you click, hold the “Control” button and move your cursor inward until you intersect an imaginary line where the base of the half-circle used to be. It will look like so:

blog15

 

When the green and red lines appear, click to place the circle. Extend outward and click once more. Type “0.125” to make a hole with an 1/8th inch radius.

 

NOTE: If your circle is a different shade of grey, it is on a different layer and is not on the correct face. It will not extrude correctly. Re-do the previous steps and make sure you are using the BOTTOM EDGE of the lip for your guide, not the top.

 

Actually, you know what?  1/8th inch is too big. Let’s learn how to resize shapes. It’s simple. Click on the edge of the circle so only the black edge turns blue. Right click or Cmd+Click and select “Entity Info.”

blog16

 

In the radius box, enter your desired radius. Let’s set it to 0.1” so the hole is 0.20 inches in diameter. Now your hole has been resized.

Time to extrude the circle so you have a hole for your keyring. Begin by selecting the Push/Pull tool. Only click on the face of the circle and pull down towards the bottom edge of the keychain. Hover your tool over the bottom edge until a red “X” or dot appears. They should either say “On edge” or “Intersection.”

blog17

 

This means you have extruded the hole through the entire object and reached the bottom face. This is what you want! Once you see this, click again and your hole should be complete.

It should look like so:

blog18

 

We are almost done! Let’s add a personalized touch to the keychain.

Select the 3D text tool (it looks like the letter “A”). A dialog box should appear. Select the “Fonts” button so your display appears as shown:

blog19

 

In the box on the right, pick your desired font. Also, in the top right is a box for the length of your text. Set it to “0.75” so it will fill the length of the keychain. Close this box but leave the “Place 3D Text” box still open.

In the “Place 3D Text” box, type whatever you want to be on the keychain. Make sure the “extruded” box is checked. Finally, set the extrusion depth in the box directly to the right. I set it to “0.125”, but this is up to you. It sets how thick the text will be. Once you are done, click place.

Hover your text over the keychain. Align it where you want. Before you click, make sure there is a little blue dot that says “On face.” This ensures the text is actually on the face of the keychain and not hovering in space. It looks like so:

blog20

 

And voila! Your first 3D project is complete! Here is how my final product looks:

blog21

 

You should save the SketchUp project itself, but 3D printers cannot use this file. To create a file that the 3D printer understands, go to File>Export STL. A dialog box should appear. Under “Export Units”, make sure it is set to “Model Units.” File format has 2 options, ASCII or Binary. Either will work, but we have had better success using “Binary,” so select that for now. Save it to somewhere easily accessible because you will need to access this file once you come to use the 3D printer.

 

The actual 3D printing process is beyond the scope of this blog post, but Chip Bobbert has compiled a fantastic Wiki on our 3D printers. He has a wonderful “How-To” on setting up the printers and printing something for the first time.

Check it out here:

https://wiki.duke.edu/display/OITASCollaboratory/DDI+Experimental+3D+Printing+Lab+-+Best+Practices

 

Good luck and happy printing!

 

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Creating Cool Banners, Shields, and Shapes in Illustrator

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.21.50 AM

The finished product!

The finished product!

 

You’ve probably scene these fun, “retro” looking banners and shields on flyers and posters, but did you know there is an easy way to create them in Adobe Illustrator? You can also customize them in countless ways and add your own personal flourishes. It’s an easy way to give your documents some style without doing a lot of work!

 

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Moving to Pixelmator from Photoshop

Pixelmator is a powerful and inexpensive alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop.  Are you looking to make the transition from Photoshop to Pixelmator?  If so, here are some tips to get you started.

Pixelmator looks and behaves a lot like Photoshop.  Designing in Pixelmator is based on layers (discrete pieces of the picture stacked on top of the other) features many of the same tools, and has a lot of similar functions.  When you open the program, you’ll have a canvas just like in Photoshop.  To the left you’ll find a basic set of tools, and to the right you’ll find the layers pane and an effects browser.

PM_basic

Tools

Most of the tools are the same familiar ones from Photoshop, but let’s look at a few that are not so familiar:

PM_Tools

1) Gradient tool — same as Photoshop, but the icon is very different.  Don’t confuse the gradient tool with the auto shape tool, which is the heart-shaped icon in the bottom right of the toolbar.

2) Sponge tool — the sponge tool lightens the image where you apply it, as if you had rubbed a damp sponge over a pained canvas.

3) Warp tool — clicking and holding on the icon reveals a number of related tools.  When you click on the canvas, these tools will (variously) stretch, compress, expand, contract, twirl, or smudge the image.

4 and 5) Dodge and burn tools — these are also found in Photoshop, but the change in icons might make them hard to find.  These tools can be used to change the exposure of an area of an image, either decreasing (dodge) or increasing (burn) the exposure.

6) Magic eraser — this is one of my favorite new tools.  The magic eraser automatically detects what’s in the background and erases it.  Just click on the area that you want to erase.  Click and drag the mouse to control the tolerance of the tool, or how much material it will erase.

Other tool notes:  

  • Pixelmator only has one kind of lasso:  the regular kind.  Unfortunately, it does not a magnetic lasso or polygonal lasso.
  • When using the magic wand, as with the magic eraser, you can click and drag to adjust the tolerance.  In my opinion, this an improvement over Photoshop, in which the tool had a fixed tolerance.  Pixelmator’s adjustable tolerance can remove the need to clean up an image or a selection after you’ve already used the magic wand.
  • Holding command + click quickly switches you out of whatever tool you have selected into the move tool.
  • Holding alt + click when you have the paintbrush or paint bucket selected quickly pulls up the eyedropper tool, allowing you to match colors without having the change tools.
  • Pixelmator does not have a separate path selection or direct selection tool.  If you want to manipulate an existing path, select the move tool and double click on a path to make the anchor points and Bezier handles appear.

Panels

Nearly all of the functions available in Pixelmator are accessed through panels.  The three panels discussed above automatically load when you start the program.  You can show or hide an array of other panels under the “View” menu, such as fonts, styles, and colors.  Let’s look at a few that are different from Photoshop.

Effects Browser — the effects browser is not found in Photoshop, but it combines the functions of the filters menu and the adjustments menu in Photoshop.  You will find options to change the color balance, brightness, and contrast of an image, but you will also find options to add distortion, blur, and stylized effects.

Styles — this panel is where all the options from Photoshops “blending options” menu now live.  Here, you can change fill and stroke colors, add shadow, and add reflection.  You can also create custom styles by clicking on the gear in the lower right-hand corner.

PM_styles

Photo Browser — also unique to Pixelmator, this panel allows you to search for images on your computer and pull them into your project.

Note that Pixelmator also has fonts, brushes, and shapes as separate panels rather than drop down menus, as Photoshop does.

Differences between Pixelmator and Photoshop

Layers – in Photoshop, you cannot alter a layer unless you have directly selected it in the layers pane.  In Pixelmator, clicking on an object in another layer causes you to automatically jump to that layer.  Some users may find this set up easier to use, but tenured Photoshop users may have trouble getting use to this feature.

History – Pixelmator, unfortunately, does not have a history panel.

Adjustments — in Photoshop, you can choose between adjusting a layer or adding a separate adjustment layer. Whereas an adjustment applies changes to a specific layer, an adjustment layer is a separate layer entirely that acts like a filter to change whatever it is placed over.  Thus, an adjustment layer does not permanently alter any existing material, can be adjusted after it has been applied, can be disabled, and affects all the layers beneath it, whereas a bare adjustment is permanent and unalterable and can be applied to a specific layer.  Pixelmator allows you to apply adjustments, but not adjustment layers.  One workaround is to create a layer and change the blending options to “darken,” “lighten,” “color burn,” “overlay,” etc. Painting or apply a wash of color on this layer will allow you to adjust the layers beneath it, though not with the same precision as a true adjustment layer.

Variable tolerance — as explained above, there are several tools (e.g. the magic wand and the magic eraser) for which you can change how strongly a tool is applied by clicking and dragging.  I see this, in most cases, as an improvement over Photoshop because it gives you much more control.  Several of the effects in the effects browser also operate in this way.

Flow — Pixelmator does not any form of flow control when painting.  When you paint in Photoshop, going over the same area twice will make the color deeper and less transparent depending on how high you set the flow.  It’s like adjusting how much ink comes out of a pen.  Pixelmator, on the other hand, applies the same amount of color per click regardless of how long the cursor is held over a spot.  This makes painting in Pixelmator more consistent and predictable, but it sacrifices some measure of control.

Puppet Warp – this was my favorite new feature in Photoshop CS5 and up, but alas, Pixelmator does not have it.  Puppet warp applies a mesh over your image, and by adding anchor points to this mesh you can realistically manipulate your image.  My guess is that the warp tools are meant to bridge this gap, and while they do a fair job, they still don’t give you the control that puppet warp offers.

Screen Tips — this is one feature in Pixelmator I’ve rather grown to like.  Whenever you do something in Pixelmator (e.g. copy, paste, add a layer, disable a mask), a screen tip pops up to let you know what you’ve done.  This might seem redundant, but it does help prevent that inevitable moment of horror when you’ve button mashed the keyboard by accident and you know you’ve one something but have no idea what.   It also means that you never have to guess whether something has successfully copied, modified, etc.  Also, when you hit undo, you’re told exactly what it is you’ve undone, which does compensate some for the absence of the history panel.

How does it stack up?

Overall, Pixelmator is an excellent program.  It has plenty of power for your average project and you really can’t beat the price: it’s a one-time cost of $29.99 for Pixelmator, versus $699 for Photoshop CS6 ($999 for CS6 Extended) or a recurring monthly fee of $19.99 for the Creative Cloud.

Pixelmator has a more simplified and intuitive interface than Photoshop.  This makes it more accessible to newcomers to the world of graphic design, while long-time Photoshop users may find that the set up requires some getting used to.  Notwithstanding, nearly everything you might need in Photoshop you can also find in Pixelmator.  There are a few areas in which Photoshop has a clear advantage, such as the presence of a history panel and the ability to apply adjustment layers.  Yet, Pixelmator is not without its own advantage, such as screen tips and an easy set of tools for warping an image.

In the MPS lab, we currently have both programs installed.  If you’re looking to try an alternative to Adobe, or if you want an affordable graphic design program for your home computer, give Pixelmator a try.  Pixelmator even allows you export files as Photoshop files (.psd), so you truly have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

 

 

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Transitioning Between Programs: How to Edit Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

While some people purchase the iconic brand, known as apple, as a means of fitting in, others make the purchase for efficiency.  Mac’s OS X software may help to create a distinction between itself and Windows, but what is the use of a slick and speedy interface if the programs on the computer are inefficient?

Have you ever encountered a program with the most bizarre keyboard shortcut assignments?  If not, you may have seen a program with hardly any shortcuts at all.  Sometimes it seems that the most useful tasks can only be achieved by painstakingly clicking on the drop-down menu.  This is simply not efficient.

Shortcuts save time, effort and brainpower.  By training yourself to subconsciously remember a few key-combinations, you will no longer waste time and energy moving your mouse.  Some may call it laziness, but I call it efficiency!

Regardless of your reasons, you may eventually find yourself needing to add, remove, or change some of the shortcuts for your programs.  Given a mac, and a few seconds, this task is quite simple!

As an example, here is a scenario:  I have found myself transitioning from Adobe Photoshop to Pixelmator.  Below I have included a list of shortcuts for both Pixelmator and Photoshop CS6.

Pixelmator Shortcuts

 

Source: http://dashkards.com/pixelmator

Photoshop Shortcuts

Source: http://img.docstoccdn.com/thumb/orig/137088463.png

You may have noticed that the majority of shortcuts for both programs are the same hotkeys.  In fact, I find that Pixelmator did a great job at using shortcuts that are very similar to Photoshop’s.  The majority of Pixelmator’s tools use the same hotkeys as tools with the same functions found in Photoshop.  In addition, many important tasks found within the drop-down menus utilize the same shortcuts as well.  However, some shortcuts are lacking on Pixelmator’s end.  For example, I personally find myself using the Color Adjustments option (Image –> Color Adjustments…) quite often.  I noticed that Pixelmator does not have any preset shortcuts for this task (as can be seen below), so let us change that.

 

 

NOTICE: The process of changing shortcuts cannot be achieved on all programs.  In addition, shortcuts can only be created for options found within the drop-down menus.  Lastly, if you are using one Duke’s Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) macs, realize that your shortcut configurations will be erased after logging off of your account.

 

STEP 1: System Preferences

To begin, go ahead and open up System Preferences.

STEP 2: Keyboard

On the System Preferences main page, find and click on Keyboard (referring to the image above: Keyboard is located in the second row, and third column).

STEP 3: Keyboard Shortcuts

Once on the Keyboard page, notice the toggles towards the top.  There may be more than two buttons on your menu, depending on the OS X version.  For example, my personal computer includes four toggles: “Keyboard,” “Text,” “Shortcuts,” and “Input Sources.”  Regardless, click on the button that includes the word “Shortcuts.”

STEP 4: Application Shortcuts

You should now see a page similar to the one shown above.  Notice that there are two side-by-side display boxes.  Looking at the left-most box, click on “Application Shortcuts.”

 

STEP 5: Deleting Shortcuts

Depending on personal use, you may notice some shortcuts already listed in the box to the right.  To delete any of these shortcuts, you may select them and press the minus (-) sign underneath the white display box.

STEP 6: Adding Shortcuts Part 1

To add a shortcut, click on the plus (+) sign underneath the display box.  A box similar to the one seen below will pop-up.  In the application field, you can scroll to see which apps are eligible for shortcut modifications.  If you choose to keep “All Applications” selected, your added shortcut will affect all applications that have the exact menu title that you will enter.  Although not necessary, you may wish to select the specific program that you wish to change.

STEP 7: Adding Shortcuts Part 2

The next field which you are prompted to fill is the Menu Title.  This is the exact title of the task you wish to add a shortcut for.  Recall, that I found the title to be “Color Adjustments…” for my specific task.  After entering the Menu Title, enter a desired shortcut and click add.

STEP 8: The End!

If done correctly, you will notice that your shortcut is not only listed within System Preferences (seen above), but also on the program drop-down menu (seen below).  If you do not see the shortcut, first try restarting the program.  If this does not resolve the issue, check to make sure that you have entered the Menu Title exactly as written in the drop-down menu.

Posted in Adobe Alternatives, Apple, Frequently Asked Questions, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial | Leave a comment

How to Make a Pie Graph in Adobe Illustrator

Looking for a way to display those survey results in an interesting way? Charts and graphs are a fantastic way to visualize your data. Different graphs serve different purposes. If you want to show a linear relationship between two variables, use the Line Graph tool or, conversely, if you want to show there is no relationship between two variables, use the Scatterplot Tool. Pie and bar graphs are the best way to display survey results. And all of this can be done with Adobe Illustrator.

How to Make a Pie Chart with Adobe Illustrator

First, open up Adobe Illustrator and select New Document.

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Next, on the left side bar, towards the bottom, you will see a bar graph icon. Hold down the mouse to expand the options, and select Pie Graph tool.

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Draw a square on the blank page, release your mouse and a circle like this will appear:

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Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 4.51.51 PM

Now is when you enter your data. It helps to use the top row to type the options and the row below that, the data.

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When you are done, click the check button and you will see a graph like this:

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To make this more visually engaging, change up the colors by using the direct select tool. Select the box corresponding to a specific option in the key and change the color in the top bar. Select the corresponding slice of pie and change the color in the top bar.

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To export as a JPEG or any other file to insert into a document, select FileàExport and choose your option.

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The Intersection of Social Media and Graphic Design

Social media has gradually made its way past the realm of personal relationships and into the professional world. It has become a powerful tool for busineses to reach new clients while continuing to build their network with existing clientele.

It also gives marketers an open space to showcase new products, display special promotions, and create shareable content to market their brand. Much of these concepts are also prominent when it comes to marketing an event on campus, raising awareness through a social media campaign, or even trying to get more people to join your club or organization.

Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies.

However, as more and more companies, people, and groups begin to join social media, the space on our newsfeed is quickly becoming cluttered. It seems like everyone is fighting for a user’s limited attention and standing out takes a deliberate effort to create content that is interesting and unique while still efficiently getting a clear message across

By integrating graphic design programs with social media, your student group or business has greater potential to increase their reach across social networks and ultimately lead to an overall greater impact. For this post, we are going to use examples in Adobe InDesign, but many of the same concepts can be carried out through various programs.

Coca_Cola

Here are some tips to help you get started!

1. Size Matters

Each cover photos and profile picture requires a size specific to that social network. You can use the link below to determine exactly what size you should use, but be sure to leave a bit extra room around the edges so you don’t have any awkward borders on your photos. Furthermore, once you create one template for a specific campaign, you can continue to use the same basic foundation and simply change the size for each social network that you want to use. The main thing is keep from distorting your design.

http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/2005276/social-media-image-dimensions-ultimate-guide

Tip: To make an element larger without distorting the image, hold down Command & Alt while you drag the object outward from any of its edges

2. Clarity

Users expect the same high quality marketing material in print that they want to see online, which means that clarity is a must.

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When you are exporting pictures from InDesign, click File - Adobe PDF Presets - High Quality Print.

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Next, open the PDF file and click File and Save and change the format to JPEG and 250 pixels/inch.

3. Calls to Action

The word to remember is “engage.” You want to improve a customer’s experience on your page by including promotions, contact information, or even directly asking fans to like your page in a subtle and polite way. Remember that you still cannot have active links in your cover photos for most social networks so if you put a website link, keep it simple and always place a second link in the about section on your page or caption.

 

4. Slap on your Logo

Your social media presence is an extension of your brand and every piece of content that you post is a representation of that brand. Thus, it’s essential to include your logo whenever possible without making your content tacky or overbearing.

The beauty of creating funny, witty, or inspiration content is its inherent shareability, allowing your users to do much of the marketing work for you. However, this only helps if content can be easily attributed back to your business or organization. Therefore, be sure to put your logo on not only your cover photos and profile picture, but also on the  posts that you share.

 

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To add your logo on top of an image or another design, you will often need to change it’s white background to clear. To do this, select the image, then click Object - Clipping Path - Options.

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Then, once the Options menu opens, change the Type to “Detect Edges.” Also, select the option “Include Inside Edges” if you want all areas that are currently white to become clear.

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  • What is the MPS?

    The Multimedia Project Studios are a series of high-end computer labs located at Duke University. We feature cutting edge equipment and industry standard software and are staffed by a corps of student Multimedia Consultants who are available to help you out with your project on a one-on-one basis, but are not able to do production work on your behalf.
    MPS Lab Locations & Hours
    MPS East
    115 Lilly Library
    The MPS in Lilly is open whenever the library is open. Check their site for hours, which can change during holidays and academic breaks.

    MPS West
    006 Bostock
    The MPS in Bostock is open whenever the library is open. Check their site for hours, which can change during holidays and academic breaks.




    Staffed Hours for Both Locations

    Winter, summer, and other break hours will vary, according to student consultant availability. To check consultants' availability, view our Live Schedule.

    Sunday - Thursday: noon to midnight
    Friday: noon to six
    Be sure to check our Live Schedule to see who will be on staff and our staff page to meet our talented consultants.
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