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Written by David on July 22nd, 2009.      0 comments

I was asked this week to locate some software for students to use that would enable them to create animations easily.  I have been playing with Synfig for the last couple of weeks and it is more like an open source variant of Flash in its interface rather than the kind of animation tool I was really looking for.  I have been playing with it becuase a client has asked me to work out how to use it so that I can introduce it to their staff.  This tool, however is not appropriate for students to use, well not year 6 students anyway.

In consultation with a teacher I went off to the Internet in search of something altogether more pure in an animation sense and easy to use for students.  What I have found is a cracker of a program called Pencil.  The beauty of this program is that it has tried very hard to be a traditional animators desk, very few tools, a colour pallette and a layers area are the only distractions or complications from the main drawing area.

It took me about 5 minutes to master the basic controls of this program, something that I like in a program.  Now it will be my lack of creativity that determines the success or otherwise of the outcome and not the overly complex requirements of a program.

What is more, this program comes into its own if you have a tablet, drawing freehand with a mouse is always trcky.  The students in question do not have access to tablets, but every class does have a Smart Board in it, enabling the students to draw very accurately with their fingers, thus producing some excellent results very quickly.  A great tool and one that I would urge you to investigate.  There are a couple of tutorials on You Tube, I will create some too and post them, however the program is so easy to use, a tutorial is almost superfluous to requirements.


Hugin panoramas

Written by David on July 19th, 2009.      0 comments

I have been bitten by the panorama bug. This last few days I have been looking at all of the open source software for creating 360 degree panoramas. Apart from looking really cool I can see many education applications and envisage embedding 360 degree panoramas into blogs and wikis.

I have been out and about trying to create 360×180 panorama of images with my 18mm lens to then put into Hugin for it to stitch it together.  It is no mean feat for it to do and so far  I have only managed to create a cylindrical panorama and not a full spherical one.  Once the stitching process has been learnt and understood, I will then move on to use the enblend360 utility which creates a composite image from three different exposures of the same images in order to get a uniform exposure. Finally, when this has all happened I will then be able to produce a ‘rectilinear’ image for submission to 360cities and inclusion into their collection for embedding into Google Earth. However to reach that exalted state I have to submit three rectilinear images, so I had better get cracking.  My three images will be panoramas of Auckland, and my first one will be from the top of one of the cones and am still working on the others at the moment.  In the meantime take a look at the different embedded panoramas below.




New site launched

Written by David on July 12th, 2009.      0 comments

It has been a good weekend. The copy for the new site has been re-written several times and now that I am happy with it, for the moment, the new look site has gone live. I have just quickly run through the links and all seems to be working.

Now that the web site has been re-vamped I can now go back to concentrating on the work that my clients need me to do. Should be an interesting week ahead with leads to turn from prospects to clients.



Written by David on July 10th, 2009.      0 comments

You can see from the masthead that I have re-vamped the look and feel of the blog. This is because I have spent the last week re-building the website. I am in the process of checking the copy for the new site and just tweaking a few minor graphics issues and with luck the new site will be live over the weekend.



David has been a specialist in the field of elearning for over 12 years. He has presented on elearning at conferences in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His consultancy work includes education and business clients. READ MORE


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