Archive for September, 2011

Starting Animation

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A while ago Andy Field posted a video clip of some work his pupils had made with Flash. It was an animation which spanned two computer screens. The pupils had each made an animation on their own computers, but synchronised them to work together. The animation involved a stick man throwing an object and another being hit by it. I showed my own students the video and asked them to collaborate in making their own multi-screen animations during one class period. The exercise is a good way to foster teamworking skills as there are a lot of variables to consider including timing, the animation speed, size, etc. Here are the results –

Categories: Adobe, Animation, teaching


September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Today was Babcock Rosyth’s Major Incident Emergency Planning Day. My students were recruited to play the role of the press at the event and test the company’s response to the press in event of a major incident happening.

My HND photography students rose to the challenge and assumed the roles of journalists from newspapers and TV and radio stations.

The Carnegie Press Team with Amanda McClatchie

The Carnegie Press Team with Amanda McClatchie

The day started with a briefing by Sue Escott from Escott Hunt, a media training company who specialise in corporate communications and handling the press. The students were also aided by Amanda McClatchie, a journalist with Real Radio and news presenter on Daybreak Scotland.

After the initial briefing and a period researching the background of the company the simulated incident took place and the press team had to quickly ascertain the facts and get on the case.

Progress was slow, with most phone calls and questions answered with a blunt ‘no comment’, but after a while getting nowhere the trainee journalists grew in confidence and started to be more forceful and probing.

As well as interviewing and telephoning, the team had to produce frequent news reports and log the information and sources as quickly as they could. The newspaper team threw together press reports while the TV and radio crews wrote scripts, recorded their pieces and had to edit them before submission.

The day was busy and hectic at times, but by the end the team agreed they’d had an excellent day and had learned a lot, even though it had been a real trial-by-fire.

As well as being an exciting day, the students also gained practical skills and enhanced their core skills such as writing, working with others and presentations skills.

Please take time to review our photos of the day.

Categories: HND Photography, teaching

Games Design 9 & 10

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

This week we continued learning Blender. First we finished off our Tilting Platform game by smoothing the graphics and adding shadow and lighting effects. We also added a second level which started automatically when the first level was completed.

In the second session of the week the students were given the challenge of using their new-found skills to make a first-person 3D maze game. They did very well and some even added shadow and lighting effects and even a torch!

Categories: Game Design, teaching

Games Design 7 & 8

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

During the first lesson of this week we investigated emerging technologies relating to computer games.

First we looked at older, but recent technologies such as accelerometers and the Wiimote, and discussed how these had affected the games industry. We discussed how motion sensing technology has now been adopted by many games companies after being introduced by Nintendo in its Wii controller. The success of the Wii influenced the Playstation Move controller and also the motion controls found in tablet computers. The motion controls made it possible to control games in a more realistic way – games such as golf, tennis and bowling could now use a more natural control mechanism and this opened up gaming to a wider audience. The Wii became popular with a wide range of people that were not previously targetted by the games industry. We looked at this great story of the Wii being used in a retirement home.

The students then went on to research new emerging technology including:

  • Wii U
  • PS Vita
  • Holography
  • 3D imaging
  • Augmented Reality
In the second lesson of the week I took the class through a tutorial on Blender. We created a simple tilting platform game where the aim is to roll a ball into a hole on the platform.
Categories: Game Design, teaching

Teachmeet SLF 2011

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Here are the 5 cool tools in 7 minutes I presented at Teachmeet SLF 2011 #tmslf11.
  1. Google Forms
  3. Timeglider
  4. Screenr
  5. Adobe Education Exchange
Categories: teaching, Teachmeet

Getting the Creative Habit

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I blogged about ‘the creative habit’ and encouraging students to be constantly creative, producing small pieces of work in short spaces of time. We’re now three weeks into our courses and the students, particularly our NC groups, have been highly productive.

In our Design & Digital Media courses the students have been undertaking small projects each week, sometimes following a tutorial in class and then reinterpreting the work. When they complete the work they post it to the class’ Facebook group. Several students have also been making their own creations in their own time and posting them too.

Sharing student work in this way has a lot of benefits:

  1. students get to see each others work and be inspired by it
  2. feedback can be left and this encourages peer review
  3. all of the posts are collated in the group photo gallery, so these can be gathered easily for presentations or exhibition.
  4. posting over an extended period of time gathers evidence for ‘distance travelled’, demonstrating a student’s progress.
Of course, not everyone can use Facebook with their class or will be comfortable using it, however other similar tools exist for sharing work and feedback. Flickr, Youtube, some VLE’s and other systems offer similar features, although they’re perhaps not as useful as Facebook’s Wall.
Categories: Uncategorized

Games Design 6

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

In this session I introduced the students to the game engine they will be using later in the course, Blender.

Blender is a free 3D modelling and animation package that also contains a game engine which can be programmed using Python or using a feature called Logic Bricks.

Although the students won’t be building their own games until about half way through the course it is useful for them to see what the game engine can do so that they have a better understanding of what types of games they can design with it.

In this introductory lesson I demonstrated how to add simple 3D shapes into a scene, how to add basic actions such as movement and how to apply basic properties such as physics/gravity. By the end of the lesson the students had created a simple maze game with an enemy that tracked the player’s movement.

Categories: Game Design, teaching