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5 Examples of Mental Health Representation in Video Games

Video games allow players to experience things that they could never experience on their own.

In recent years, developers have found more and more ways to create realistic depictions of mental health issues and solutions. This has given players a better understanding of what their peers go through on a daily basis, and gives people with mental health issues more support and reinforcement that they matter. As someone who experiences depression and anxiety on a daily basis, these few games created in the past 5 years have made an impact on a large number of people, myself included.

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The negative impact of “Cancel Culture” and how it affects our society

Should we cancel the “Cancel Culture”?

The term “Cancel Culture” isn’t new to us, but believe it or not, it only became universal after 2016, and all because of Twitter. When the singer Kanye West released a song that had a sex reference about Taylor Swift that she did not approve, his wife, Kim Kardashian, posted a video claiming the opposite, giving birth to the hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsCancelled, which would soon initiate the canceling wave.

That was the first of many similar cases, where someone, usually famous, says or does something that people do not agree with and the internet community decides that they should be “culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform” (Vox).

But how far is the “Cancel Culture” going and what is it doing to our society?

Can the “Cancel Culture” be beneficial?

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that the “cancel culture” is valid a lot of times and it is used as an important tool for political and cultural changes in our society. People that have committed irreparable mistakes should be punished and accountable for the consequences of their actions, and it is extremely important for us to be able to point out those errors and claim justice.

The problem begins when we start putting those people in the same category as people who have said or done something with no intention of harming anyone at all but innocently did. There should be a difference between the “call-out culture” and the “cancel culture”, and the lack of division between those groups of people can be very problematic and irresponsible. 

What are we doing wrong?

On the talk show “The View”, the actress and activist Jameela Jamil, who is known for criticizing the approaches of the “cancel culture” on the internet, said that “[…] we now just cancel everyone and what that’s going to do is, it’s going to devalue progress and stop people from wanting to change because they think they will forever be cast aside because of their one sin from the past that they want to improve from, and if we want people to change we have to show them that there is hope to be reaccepted into our society”.

What I think she means by that is that we end up making people afraid of asking questions, questions that might help them learn in the future and become a better person, because of our attitude towards people that have shared a similar behaviour, consequently slowing down our society’s development and scaring possible allies, which is almost the reverse effect that this culture is trying to achieve.

I believe all criticism is valid and necessary, but it’s essential that it comes with an opening for a dialogue or a discussion, not to justify the mistake, but to educate the person who has committed it. We all make mistakes, but there is always room for improvement and if someone demonstrates that they are actively trying to change, they should be given that option instead of getting shutted down.

How can we change it?

It’s safe to say that we are all more educated today than we were five years ago, and that’s completely normal, we’re constantly learning and evolving, and that’s what makes us human. As the progressive Aaron Rose pointed out to Vox, by rejecting the urge of canceling people, we’re not giving up on accountability, we’re just simply defending the idea that people are not incapable of compassion and change.

The way I see it, the issue is when someone is constantly unaccountable and has the privilege and opportunity to change but refuses to do so. With that, I do realize it’s easier to condemn people than ideas, especially ideas that are embedded in structures that we still have today, but I’m much more interested in the root causes as opposed to the symptoms. 

In the words of the television host Trevor Noah, for the Breakfast Club Power radio station, “as a society, what do we hope to do with people who have wronged us? Do we wish to banish them of civilization or do we wish to educate them, inform them, punish them when necessary, and then rehabilitate them and have them come back into our society?”

We often don’t realize the power that the internet has and how platforms like Twitter have given voice to many marginalized people around the world. The “cancel culture”, for a lot of those people, it’s a way of using the only power we have, the one of ignoring the other, to force the people who are in actual positions of power to do something, but we have to be very careful not to undermine it.

Image shows the PTZ Panasonic top camera the PTZ AW-UE150

PTZ Robotic Cameras Trending Upward through 2021

by Orinthia Babb

On March 5th, Winnipeg based Inland AV was hired to do audio-visual work for the University of Manitoba’s “Visionary Conversations” event: How Can Our Community Come Together to Combat the Impacts of Drug Addiction? Over 300 people visited the Bannatyne Campus for this final instalment of the series before U of M President Dr. David Barnard retires in June.

Image shows the stage and panel of Dr. David Barnard and 9 guest professional speakers on Addictions.

Photo: Orinthia Babb. Community professionals discuss combating drug addiction in Manitoba. (L-R) Dr. Kathleen Buddle, Danny Smyth, Dr. Ginette Poulin, Dr. Erin Knight, Rick Lees, Mitch Bourbonniere, Dr. Tamara Taillieu, Dr. David Barnard 

Inland AV’s audio equipment set-up included at least 12 microphones, 4 cameras, and the black backdrop for the stage and the Jumbotron screen. 

The U of M’s female camera operator recorded the entire event from the back of the room. During the event’s Q & A period, an audience member was projected onto the screen as they asked their question. But there wasn’t a camera operator at the front of the room. Enter the PTZ camera that Inland AV set up.

PTZ or Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras are great for capturing live events and are operated with a remote controller. This is an advancement in capturing more camera angles at public events without having a physical body, large camera, or tripod take up valuable floor space or block attendee views.

Below are some viewing angles captured by the PTZ remote-operated camera on the stage. Photos: UM Today website (Event recording screenshots from PTZ camera angle views).

PTZ Camera Wide Shot
PTZ Camera Zoomed in on two speakers
PTZ Camera Zoomed in on one speaker

PTZs Offer a Nearly All-Inclusive Solution


Panasonic.com: PTZ AW-UE150

Today’s professional PTZ gear like the Sony BRC-X1000 4K promotes it’s almost silent operation; Clear Image Zoom 18x (4K), 24x (HD) (that can be doubled); crisp image capturing even in low light; and the capacity to take cinematic 24p images.


AVShop.com: Sony BRC-X1000 4K

While the award-winning Panasonic PTZ AW-UE150 camera boasts features like 20x optical zoom, 4K/UHD 60p high-quality video output, and a 75.1 degree viewing angle.

But it’s that 75.1 degree viewing angle feature that also proved to be a limitation during the live event. Because unlike a real person, the pan feature was not able to adjust to an extreme wide shot in the far right part of the room to capture an attendee’s question on screen.

“The PTZ cameras are great, but they do have limitations. You can only pan, tilt and zoom so far. I mean it’s not a person, so you can’t make adjustments during the event,” said Matt, one of Inland’s AV Specialists.

The PTZ camera was able to get great shots of the guest speakers directly across from Barnard. You would agree this was impressive–if you were paying attention. And that’s one of the key benefits of these IP cameras, they can be set up in areas that are not obvious but still get the job done. 

As Broadcast Budgets Shrink, PTZ Demand Set to Grow

The industry expectation is to do more with less as traditional broadcast media fades. As Video Journalists, you need to be good writers with skills to manage cameras and take photos. 

Adrian Pennington of the Broadcast Bridge discusses this driving force behind the rise in demand for PTZs. He outlines the facts that the high-quality technical improvements, installation flexibility, more creativity options, and lower costs and size compared to traditional ENG cameras make a strong case for robotic cameras.

“The need for people to acquire cost-effective, good quality video with limited skills and experience continues to rise. New addressable end-user markets are opening up; more businesses are exploring ways to communicate with video; existing users are now looking to replace aging products, and prices are decreasing…”, says Adam Cox, Senior Analyst – Imaging & Pro Video at Futuresource Consulting.

After an explosive year of demand in 2017, Cox projects a 37% growth in the professional PTZ market from 2018 – 2021. The cameras are also excellent as video surveillance cameras with more overall range. Robotic PTZs may be a new wave of IP technology, but they still need a human remote camera operator to function.

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The Power of Twitter in the News World

(Picture by Roberto Baldwin / Engadget)

It’s no surprise that Twitter is one of the most powerful social media nowadays when it comes to sharing information with one another. But how did a website that wasn’t originally designed for the purpose of news become so reliable when it comes to verifying information?

First of all, due to its wide accessibility, Twitter has a much more practical way to consume news when compared to newspapers, for example. So, is that enough to make people use it as their main source of information? Let’s break it down a little.

Real or fake?

One of the biggest issues with getting your information from online platforms is that we are often not sure if the source we are using is trustworthy or not.  With Twitter, there are some tools that can help us manage that better, such as verified accounts, headlines, trends and hashtags.

Verified Accounts

Almost every single company will have an official Twitter account, especially big news organizations. Why? Well, it’s a fast and easy way to post any kind of content, and the ability of knowing if an account is verified or not allows you to identify the accuracy of that information.

Now, that’s easier illustrated with business once they don’t usually post fake content about their own brand, but with news that can be a little tricky. Thankfully, Twitter has around 25% of verified journalists, which can guide you through searching what information is real or fake.

In fact, 75% of Twitter users get their news from the platform, being the majority Millenials and Gen Z, who represent around 65% of all users. Being able to select the kind of content directed to you is something that the newer generations have found very suiting. 

On top of that, Twitter users are able to interact and to see other people’s interactions with a post when they click on it. Those interactions can be helpful for the public to collect more information about a determined subject and for the companies to analyse their response to it.

Headlines

Twitter is also well known for allowing a limited number of characters on a post. Some of you might be familiar with the term “clickbait”, which is used to define headlines that immediately catch the reader’s attention and make them want to click on the link to know more about it. 

On Twitter, headlines considered “clickbaits” end up being the most effective ones, due to the flow of engagement of the users when on the platform. But then again, if the clickbait is fake, that could ruin a company’s reputation, so you might want to be careful with that.

Trends and Hashtags

Another useful tool on Twitter is the tab located right beside your timeline, called “trends”. Trends are purposefully directed to your location, interests, and the accounts you follow, so that the user can easily find or search for anything at any given time.

When it comes to promoting news content, just like any other social media platform, Twitter takes advantage of the famous “hashtags”. Hashtags are probably the easiest way to get some extra attention to a certain post or subject people have been talking about lately.

According to the website Oberlo, Twitter users spend an average of 3.39 minutes per session on the platform, so the expectations are high when it comes to quickly finding what they are looking for. That’s why hashtags are so important for both the public and the companies in the business.

Other News Features

As pointed out by the website My GSC, Twitter “is now known for its up-to-the-minute communication from reputable “breaking news” accounts” due to features such as live news broadcasts and placing breaking news tweets at the top of user timelines (Forbes).

The Future of News

It is still early to say if Twitter will eventually overcome the traditional massive media communication platforms, such as Television and Radio, but its influence in the news world leaves no doubt that the competition will only get tougher with time. 

Point and Shoot Photography (How to capture incredible images)

The Capture

The best way to select a perfect photo is by deciding whats feels important to yourself. It can be a selfie, family portrait, wide landscapes, or even your pet dog. Choosing a photo is a personal choice, and that’s what makes a photo unique.

To capture the best photo, the camera that you need is in your pocket. The smartphone’s camera is one of the best commonly used devices to capture images.

The way to find out what the best camera is, you will need to know three categories:
-Capture Resolution
-Video Display
-Printing Size

Or you can visit TechRadar to find out more about cameras

Romania

Camera Angles

There are many different angles to capture an effective image. Each of these angle shots will give different contrasting effect to the image. The higher the camera is the stronger the contrasting effect will be. The lower the camera angle is the less contrasting effect will be.

Here are some examples of camera angles for your image:
-Birds Eye View/Aerial
-Eye Level
-Point Of View (POV)
-Overhead
-High Angle
-Low Angle
-Worms Eye View

marinauzelac

Shot Sizes

Now that you understand what type of camera angles there are. Next, we have shot sizes. There are many different types of shot sizes that can tell different narrative value.

Here are some examples of shot sizes for your image:
-Extreme Close-Up (ECU)
-Close-Up
-Medium Wide Shot
-Wide Shot (Full Shot)
-Extreme Wide Shot (Long Shot)

www.studiobinder.com

Lighting

One of the important elements of a camera is lighting. You can use any kind of lighting, but that depends on the mood you are going for.

Author: Broden Halcrow-Ducharme

What is TikTok and why is everyone obsessed with it.

Like the many people sitting at home board out of their minds, I decided I was going to download the app TikTok to try and really get an understanding of what it is and how it took over the social media world by storm.

According to TikTok’s website, it described as being “the leading destination for short-form mobile videos” with their mission being “to inspire creativity and bring joy”.

TikTok reminds me of another app that was very popular when I was younger, that app, of course, being Vine. The only differences between the two apps are the length of content that could be uploaded and the ability to repost content.

In Vine the videos could only be 6 seconds, making them seem more abrupt but unique as a culture was shaped over the years of vines existence.

Tiktok videos could be as short as fifteen seconds or as long as a minute giving the user more time to put out their content in a more completed form. The second difference is that you cant repost people’s content on your personal TikTok page like in Vine, all content needs to be yours, I can appreciate this because I feel most apps do nothing when it comes to protecting your own personal content.  

Maryam Mohsin wrote an article that included ten interesting facts about the social media company. Since launching in 2016, the TikTok user base has grown to over “500 million active users worldwide” making it “9th when compared to usage from other apps”.

The ages range when it comes to users and this app, though “41 percent of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24”, there has been a huge increase as “in less than 18 months, the number of US adults TikTok users grew 5.5 times”.

I’d credit that to the simplicity of the app and mainstream internet challenges that go viral eventually being featured on the news or platforms used by adults.  The app is very simple to use but easy to get lost in, the for you page is essentially where your content might end up if it goes viral.

The for you page reminds me of a slot machine at a casino, much like pulling a lever over and over your constantly swiping up going through content which is nice until two hours go by and you have no idea where the time went.  

(Just an example of what the For You page looks like, the four icons on the right from top to bottom are the content creators page with the plus being the follow button, the heart is the like button, the voice memo is the comment section and the arrow gives you the ability to share the content via text or Snapchat)
image from https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/149869-best-tiktok-tips-and-tricks

There is such a wide variety of content for that for you page anyone could really get involved with the app, I saw hunting videos, dancing, lip singing, life hacks, comedy sketches the list goes on and on.

I really do like this app, I feel like any new app especially nowadays is a breath of fresh air due to apps like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube’s domination on social media.

I saw videos that pulled my heartstrings, made me laugh and even some that made me questioned myself as to why I got this app but truly if you’re a content creator TikTok is a perfect way to share and show how your content is made.

VR AS THE NEXT EMERGING MEDIA PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION

Image result for vr in education

Virtual reality is one of the biggest advancements in technology. Not only can it transport you into a different world it can also help teach. In 2015 the New York Times released their own VR app that helped teachers show their students some subject material as it was able to let the students explore the barren tundra of Antarctica. The possibility and the ability to also not only read the paper but to go to the scene is a work of wonders when it also can enable journalists to put the reader in the actual scene that they were reporting on. During their release phase of the VR app the New York Times also donated some VR headsets that would help students learn in a non for profit after school program that at the time was being run by a man called Travis Feldler who was the founder of the organization called TechRow Fund.

With VR anything you want to teach becomes possible especially when its something as easy as the stars.

But why is it important for Education?

In today’s world especially with how Covid-19 is affecting the planet this could help teachers keep their students interested when they are at home. Even in the Universities and Colleges that are being shutdown, it would make learning a lot easier.

When it comes down to the difference between having video calls or having a VR classroom I think there is also a lot more possible that you can do. Sure having a video call with the students can be easier but at the same time how do you know they’re paying attention and not just agreeing with the teacher? Then if they also don’t have a Camera, they could not even be there but just joining the call either way just to make it seem that they are paying attention.

When it comes to the Virtual Reality though you can actually have a room and you can tell whether or not people are in the room just by how many people are there. Because of how advanced the headsets are even the slightest of movement will set them off and show that they are there, plus when it comes to VR you would have to leave the room which isn’t as subtle as just shutting off the camera.

How VR can make a story come more to life.

Imagine when you read a news article online that you could see it and hear what was going on. Well with VR, it is making it possible to have a 360 degree journey through what the journalist is writing. Most of the VR videos that the New York Times have released are no longer than 10 minutes which can make a boring article really come to life. It can also make it more interesting by putting you on the scene such as on Pluto or out to CERN where they have the large Hadron Collider and the possibility to learn about them.

Conclusion

This kind of Technology can and will revolutionize the way society can get their news. It is also a way that humanity can learn more about the stars and space without having to go on the missions. We could be on the edge of a new dimension and learn more than we would from a regular day out in the world and not know what we are missing.

eSports: A New Production Frontier

eSports in 2019 are still in their early stages of development here in the west but for some companies, the early stages are over.

The arena filled with people watching Overwatch

eSports is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers that either represent a country/city or even are just made-up teams. 

“Esports traces its origins back to 1972, when a Space Invaders Championship yielded 10,000 participants. Fast forward to 1998, and the legendary Starcraft 2 tournament on PC boasted more than 50 million online viewers, 17 million of those coming from Twitch.”

Now Overwatch, the biggest eSport in North America is also a game that came out in 2016 has hit a stride in the eSports scene for not only bringing people from all over the gaming community together but traditional sports fans as well.

Though the original intention when developing the game was to keep it from becoming a large competitive game and keep things very open to all players and player type. Now that mindset is still at the core of the game but things have changed over the last 4 years.

Now, some people don’t consider eSports a real sport even though players and fans would passionately argue that it is. The eSports website site states that “With USD $5 Million in prizes, thrilling storylines, guaranteed player salaries, and cutting-edge production value, the Overwatch League is the world’s premier eSports league”

So Why Watch Instead of Just Playing a Video Game?

The digital format of eSports offers something that traditional sports can’t offer–the player’s actual point-of-view. Being able to see everything from the character the player is currently playing.

This point-of-view feature is truly next-gen in the gaming world. In the Overwatch League series, there are multiple camera angles displayed for fans just like in a physical sports tournament.

Being able to be instantly transported to the action is something that simply can’t be done in sports like football or basketball since you as a viewer are put into the game visually. And it’s that total immersion that fans could only dream of.

So How Does This Work?

On top of having a camera crew in the stadium and a separate crew filming the analysts, the team behind the Overwatch League has implemented a faux crew in-game to help capture the action.

The crew play as a ‘spectator’ who cannot be seen by other spectators or by players and have no collision so they can get into positions and make camera movements of the like that you have seen already in live sports.

After that, they just use the switcher to change between shots. You can see examples of this below.

If it’s the behind the scenes thing that you’re are into might I suggest this video. Though not as in-depth can give great insight into how the operation is running.

So why eSports?

Since eSports have become very popular in the last few years a lot of companies have been trying to adapt to the viewer base it draws in.

Some are multicasting on their respective channels and live streaming. But even though some eSports are televised most are live-streamed for free on sites like youtube or twitch and dont require you to pay a cable company or the sites themselves.

But for some companies, it’s about keeping fans happy. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, companies like the NHL and F1 have been hosting simulated games that you can view on many different streaming platforms like Twitch.tv.

Now the push for this seems to indicate that without the progress that eSports has made, this way to view traditional sports would not be as common.

Lady typing on a laptop.

Standout Layouts by Using In-Design

InDesign is Adobe’s software which is used for creating Magazines or designing pages for print and web. Attractive typography and graphics can be created in InDesign. 

Ever since I beginning school, I was very fascinated by Magazine Layouts and wanted to know how these designs are created. But in my IMA program at ACC, I get to know about the techniques which are used to create attractive layouts. As well as some software which is used to make designs and one of the good software is InDesign which I liked the most.

After Photoshop and Illustrator, we learn InDesign which was part of our Digital Design program in IMA. I did some work on In-design such as magazine layouts, Facebook and Instagram covers. Not only in Digital Design but it is also used in the Visual Communication program. Nowadays, I am working and learning the InDesign software in Digital Imaging and Graphics Program.

With this software, users can learn about layers and how to work with layers, create and edit text frames, move, scale and crop graphics. Additionally, users can also learn how they can adjust the space between frames. InDesign is also useful for adding captions to graphics frames or shapes such as circle, square and others. Users can add not only text but also images into frames, adjust the text around the object. After that, they can resize the shape of the frame and content to fit as their choice.  

With the help of different tools in InDesign, users can create simple or basic shapes and convert the shapes into complex graphics. In-design allows the user to import, PNG, JPEG, PICT, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and EPS, and the user can set the transparency setting of images or other graphics.

InDesign works on spreads and master pages, which is helpful for creating Magazine layouts. InDesign also provides templates for different layouts like books, magazines, web pages as well. Users can select any of them because most are free provided and they just need to put their own text and images in those, which is very easy to use, and tutorials are also available.

Users can also make a margin and bleeds when printing at the end or beginning of the design. InDesign works on both either RGB or CMYK. Which are very useful for any format for web or printing. InDesign is very similar to Illustrator, but it may not be widely used as Illustrator used, while it is also an excellent software for creating Magazine layouts.

I love to work on InDesign. In many documents, it is very flexible and easy to use. I am just using the theory of ACC “Learn by doing” and getting experience.

AE

How to Place Video in Text or Shape in After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a creation of digital visual effects and motion graphics such as titles and animation or visual effects such as compositing, explosions, lightning, etc. In a video editor, you can cut things, rearrange things, adjust the audio, adjust the panning, etc.

In addition to using complex camera movements and unconventional angles, having stellar visual effects and eye-catching can also be very useful for capturing the attention of your audience. An interesting graphic technique commonly used by filmmakers is to play video within a form or block of text. As complicated as this trick may seem initially, it is actually very simple to do it within Adobe After Effects.

So, if you are someone who is looking to try this technique in one of your next projects, do not miss this video, which will guide us through the process of composing a video in the framework of a way or text.

To begin, you must create a new composition within After Effects according to your own project/video specifications. Then, continue adding a new solid layer while choosing a suitable color for the background.

Next, you’ll create a shape or text layer of your choice, just make sure that the item you created is on a separate track (that is, do not create a masked shape in your background layer). As a side note, if you want to align your newly created graphic to the center, go to the alignment panel on the right side where you can adjust the desired position accordingly. Once you’re done with your graphical element, import your video clip into After Effects and place it into the composition, positioned below your shape/text layer.

In the timeline, navigate to the Track Matte settings and click the drop-down menu on your video layer’s Track Matte Properties. Of the available options there, you’ll want to select the Alpha Matte (form layer name here). As a result, your footage will automatically take on the form of your shape & text layer. 

If you want to go further with this effect, you can experiment with other Track Matte options. 

Optionally, you can link all your layers using the Parent & Link function, which can be quite useful when you want to animate the graphics and make your video more visually appealing by adding movement to your entire composition. Just be patient, take your time, be creative and see what else you can bring to the table using this simple but extremely effective composition technique.


Desktop view

6 New and Emerging Tech Highlights Pt. 2.

Continuing our discussion from my last blog post, we will finish the list of new and emerging technology out there in the world at this very moment.

Machine Learning

Image courtesy of Alex Knight from Pexels

You may have heard the term machine learning before, and are likely unfamiliar with what machine learning actually is. As defined by expertsystem.com, machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that aims to give a program/system the ability to learn and improve from experience without actually being programmed by an individual. It involves programming the the original software to be able to recognize patterns and therefore make better decisions in the future. This is achieved by giving the system example information, and instructions in its coding.

One of the most common examples of machine learning technology that is being used in the world is Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop uses machine learning to find faces in images, analyze the faces and find “landmarks” such as eyebrows, lips, and eyes to determine the position of the face and alter the facial expression of the person, all while not making the image an absolute mess to look at.

Chatbots

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Chatbots have been around for quite a while, and are essentially an AI system developed to talk with the user as if it were another human being. These programs started quite a long time ago with sites called jabberwacky, and cleverbot letting you have a conversation with this bot. The early iterations of chatbots were not very good at making it seem like you were having an actual conversation. They would often spout nonsense and seem to just babble. As they’ve developed chatbots have started to be used by businesses to interact with their customers who are visiting their websites and need assistance. They are generally used to help guide the customer through the website and start email exchanges for support tickets for products. Starbucks has its own chatbot that syncs with it’s mobile app and lets you place your order, and customize it through a text chat with their bot. The aim of chatbots for the future is for them to act as a concierge, guiding the user to where they need, as well as reminding them when they need to restock on certain products, and answering their questions.

Facial Recognition

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Facial recognition is known to be used predominantly in the security industry, but it is being used more and more in other industries. One industry being hospitality. Expedia has partnered with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and with the viewer’s permission, is using facial recognition software to see which images and videos (showing various different activities on the Hawaii Islands) on their site evoke the best reactions by detecting by analyzing the movements in their face to determine the emotions of the viewer.

All in all, technology is making great strides forward and we should all be excited with the potential and possibilities that lie ahead for technology.

Graphic Design Tools

Essential Gadgets for every IMA Student

Whether you’re new to the Interactive Media Arts program, or an esteemed second year student well on your way to escaping, there are a few neat gadgets and products that can help you with designing, editing and content creating. My eventual goal with this list is to help new and old IMA students know what tools are helpful for the program, and what they can be used for.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

1, A Drawing Tablet

Drawing tablets are helpful for more than just what the name suggests. Tablets are useful as they allow you to streamline your movements in applications in the Creative Cloud, and are also extremely useful for creating unique shapes and designs for various different results. What adds to the appeal of using a tablet over a mouse and keyboard, is that tablets allow for much more natural movements, and can make jobs like drawing assets and animating much easier than it would be with a keyboard and mouse.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

2. A Laptop

Laptops make college work a lot easier, as it allows for students to take their work on the move with them. Having a laptop means you can work with all of your files in multiple different locations without having to worry about cloud storage or external drives, and the transferring, uploading and downloading that comes with it. Having a laptop allows you to keep everything in one place, helping you be much more organized then if your files were spread out across multiple different storage’s, making files harder to find.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

3. A Sketchbook

While this one isn’t really a “gadget” by conventional standards, it’s an extremely useful tool when it comes to the design process. Having a sketchbook allows for students to make their ideas have a tangible, rough draft before heading onto the computer, where creative decisions can be a little hard to implement and change then when you’re working with traditional means. Being able to make drafts of designs before the actual design is implemented is extremely important for the design process as well, as an individual can come up with more ideas quicker than they could working on a computer.

Image Courtesy of pexels.com

4. Headphones

Headphones are incredibly useful for being an IMA student for a variety of reasons. The most obvious being that they come in hand when dealing specifically with the audio courses, like Digital Audio or Digital Video. A good set of headphones will allow you to fine-tune your audio choices so much more and really deliver a clear, high-quality final result that you can be proud of. Another reason why headphones can be considered to be important to the IMA program is they allow you to listen to music, which can be a huge inspiration and motivator for the creative process. Music can help inspire designers in so many ways, from the overall feel of a product, or something smaller like the colour palette of a piece.

design on the computer

Affinity V.S. Adobe

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign… These are our Industry Standard programs for design illustration, and layouts… but why? There are so many alternatives out there for cheaper, and that have better features. There are several companies that are constantly developing and improving their programs. So the question is: will Adobe be able to keep up and keep their users invested even with the high monthly or yearly fee? Or will they get ran over by competitors in the next ten years?

Adobe programs are taught in design and art schools for good reason. A very large portion of the creative media industry makes use of these programs everyday. There is a major discount for students and teachers which influences the continued use of it in schools. Adobe is professional, and has many good related services for licensing fonts, choosing the right color palette, and stock images. They’re all at the fingertips of anyone with a Creative Cloud subscription. But there are many downsides to Adobe.

Issues with Adobe:

If you’re using older versions of Photoshop, Adobe can sue according to an email many users with older versions received. I highly doubt they will sue every person, but nevertheless the intent is there. Let people use their ancient CD’s man.

Subscriptions partially make sense. They prevent piracy, makes getting updates for programs much easier, and lowers the price overall compared to their old box set says Adi Agashe. But what will they do when a competitor offers a one time purchase for every update? Affinity is around the corner, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Here’s why Affinity is charging in like a ox:

Within five years, Affinity has been catching up to Adobe’s tail, and excelling in some ways. The price point is a huge deal. All of Affinity’s programs are a one time cost of $69.99 for each. They only have 3 programs out at the moment; Affinity Photo, Designer, and the newest one, Publisher. These three are all comparable with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign.

Affinity Designer Interface

Most of the IMA students are aware of the great capabilities of the Adobe programs, but there are many great things in Affinity’s software as well.

A few features Affinity has over Adobe from the help of Photography-Raw, and Affinity Revolution:

  • Affinity has the feature that saves your undo history even after the app is closed, so you can go back to a version if need be
  • Live brush preview; so when you hover your brush over something, you can see the changes it will make
  • Live previews for blend modes and gradients
  • More customizable interface
  • Cheaper

Affinity is constantly improving, but Adobe is still a powerhouse. Both are great in their own ways. I think Adobe needed this competition to hopefully push them further, but I hope to see Affinity take the crown some day.

What are your thoughts on emerging programs in our creative field?

The Exciting World of Virtual Reality

(The Oculus Rift S VR Headset – Image retrieved from www.Oculus.com)

The latest craze in technology has been on a steady rise in popularity since it’s conception in recent years. That’s right, I’m talking about virtual reality. Virtual reality (VR) is opening up entire avenues for online interaction that would’ve never been possible even 15 years ago.

Here are some of the ways that VR is impacting the modern world:

  • Medical Procedures – VR is being tested in the context of planning and practicing medical procedures in hopes of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical professionals worldwide. The medical community is looking for ways to be able to preform complex procedures in remote areas using robotics, which would be controlled by a professional using VR equipment.
  • Gaming – VR is making waves in the gaming industry by allowing gamers to take immersion to the next level and feel what it would be like to experience their favourite games as if they were the main character. Not only is it extremely immersive, but it has the most responsive controls ever made because it is as if the players are preforming the in-game actions themselves.
  • Business – Through VR, some businesses are able to conduct entire meetings and collaborate on projects with partners across the world. This allows for lower costs for businesses because they don’t have to fly employees across the world for meetings, which also cuts back on toxic emissions that harm the planet.
  • Entertainment – Since VR headsets have become easily accessible, many new avenues for entertainment have opened up, such as virtual reality podcasts that get streamed live to viewers across multiple platforms. Podcasts in virtual reality are able to be performed completely within the medium, with camera operators and sound engineers being able to create their own workspace within the set and change camera angles and adjust the volume of individual hosts, all without taking off their headsets.

VR is an extremely versatile tool that has expanded past a very niche group of users and hit the mainstream. Many technology experts firmly believe that VR is the future of life as we know it, even allowing users to work from home in a simulated office environment. Some users of VR have even built their own living spaces as 1-1 replicas in the virtual world, allowing them to experiment with different furniture layouts without the heavy lifting, sit on their couch to watch TV, or even live their lives within a virtual space.

VR looks to be the future of everything from work to play, and although it may not facilitate all of our everyday needs quite yet, I suspect that in the near future people could be able to live fully in VR, and never have to leave the comfort of their own homes. I also believe that in the near future, consumers will be able to use virtual reality to buy goods and do their shopping without stepping out of the house.