Archive for February, 2012

Developing your business savvy to become an invaluable team member

Published by | Friday, February 10th, 2012

Have you ever wished you knew the keys to excelling at your job, understanding your market, or connecting meaningfully with your customers? In our second course in the Invaluable series, Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy, Dave Crenshaw teaches you how to become a student of your company, your market, and your customers.

Business savvy is surely something we all intend to develop as we go about our daily jobs. But in the bustle of heavy workloads and demanding responsibilities, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the things that define long term excellence, customer connections, and a clear picture of the market.

For example, how would you answer the following questions?

  1. What does my company want from me?
  2. Where is my company headed, and how do I fit with its direction?
  3. What’s happening in my field, and how does that affect me?
  4. What’s my competition up to?
  5. Who is my customer, and how can I serve that customer?

When I took some time to ponder these questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of insights I gleaned in a short amount of time. Whether you’re beginning a new career or hoping to grow in your current role, you’ll find that Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy is full of practical tips to help you explore questions like these.

The quest to become an invaluable professional is one that’s full of self-discovery, tough questions, and big rewards. Please let us know how you’re enjoying your journey in the comments section.

Introducing new lynda.com queue feature

Published by | Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Our new queue feature lets you create a list of courses that interest you, prioritize them, save them for future viewing, and track your course completion progress over time. Want more information about the queue? Watch lynda.com author Garrick Chow give a demonstration:

Add courses to your queue

Add courses to your lynda.com queue
Log in to your lynda.com account. Add a course to your queue with the + button. These + buttons will appear almost everywhere a course title is listed. For more options, click the arrow button to select add to top of queue or go to queue. The first option, add to top of queue, will add this course to the top of your list of stored courses. The second option, go to queue, will take you to the queue page, where you can manage your list.

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Find queue on the lynda.com homepage

Find queue on the lynda.com homepage

 

Once you’re logged in, the lynda.com homepage features the new My courses pod with tabs that show the first five courses in your queue and course history. Note: you must be logged in for queue to appear.

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Explore the my courses menu
Explore the lynda.com My courses menu

The my courses menu is located in the top navigation bar on every page of lynda.com. From the my courses menu you can get to your queue, course history, bookmarks, and certificates of completion.

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Manage your queue

Manage your lynda.com queue

 

The queue area of lynda.com can be accessed in three ways:

  1. By selecting go to queue from the arrow button to the right of the + button (see “How to add courses to my queue” section above).
  2. By going to the my courses menu in the top navigation bar on any lynda.com page.
  3. By selecting the queue tab within the lynda.com My courses homepage-pod and clicking the view all link at the bottom.

You can prioritize and manage all your courses on the queue page. Drag and drop courses to quickly reorder your list, or type numbers into the priority boxes to chronologically organize your courses in the order you want them to appear. To confirm your reorganization, hit enter/return or click on the update queue button on the bottom left.
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We want to know what you think!

Let us know what you think of the new queue by posting in the comments section below, or contact us via the site feedback button in the bottom right corner of every lynda.com page.

InDesign FX: Simulating 3-D shapes using the Pen tool, Pathfinder, and Convert Shape

Published by | Thursday, February 9th, 2012

In this week’s free InDesign FX video, I will show you how to use simple shapes, the Pen tool, and the Pathfinder to draw simple extrusions that transform flat-looking objects into 3-D shapes. For example, you can quickly make two ellipses and a rectangle into a cylinder.

Using InDesign to make two ellipses and a rectangle into a cylinder.

In order for your extrusions to look right it’s important to maintain proper sizing and alignment of all the objects. In the video, I show how this can be easy with the help of a somewhat obscure feature, Convert Shape.

InDesign's Convert Shape feature

For example, it’s easy to duplicate your dimensional cylinder with the Convert Shape tool. Just start by copying your original, top ellipse to make a second, lower ellipse, and then convert your lower ellipse into a rectangle that has the exact same height, width, and position using the Convert Shape tool. From there, you can stretch the rectangle to become the side of the cylinder with the Pathfinder, and since the rectangle has the exact same height, width, and position as your top ellipse, you know that it will fit together perfectly with your top ellipse to make a cylinder.

Once you get the hang of a simple cylinder, try something more ambitious. Maybe try combining two cylinders and a little bit of Basic Feather to reward yourself with a refreshing beverage.

InDesign extrusion with feather

In the video, I also demonstrate some simple Pen tool techniques that allow you to extrude more complex shapes, like this star.

InDesign Star extrusion

For lynda.com members, I also have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® on how to use the Control Panel for Drawing Concentric Shapes.

Drawing Concentric Shapes with InDesign

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!


Interested in more?

• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
 InDesign Secrets
• Creating Long Documents with InDesign
Designing a Magazine Layout Hands-On Workshop

Using dynamic simulations to create animated type in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The idea of dynamic simulations has gotten a lot of attention lately. Dynamics allow an animator to create very realistic motion and collisions with objects without using key frames. Nearly every 3-D software package has some kind of module dedicated to this. That being said, dynamics can be somewhat unpredictable by nature, so they’re not entirely flawless. Similar to setting up a stack of dominoes or a Rube Goldberg machine, dynamic simulations just don’t always give you what you expected. This can make them very challenging to use in production, and it often has designers and animators asking themselves what exactly it is they can do with dynamics. With so much unpredictability, what problems can they solve?

The answer is, really, quite a lot! Dynamics can be great addition to your tool kit if you’re willing to accept a bit of unpredictability in your animations. In this short project I’ll show you how to use dynamics to animate some text being knocked over. Using key frames, this kind of animation would be very time consuming, and it would be even harder to make it look convincing. Luckily, CINEMA 4D’s dynamics engine is really easy to use, and allows you to apply these techniques to a variety of different projects.

For more on the important basics of using the CINEMA 4D dynamics engine, check out chapter 14 of my CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course.

 

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

Deke’s Techniques: Creating a dual-focus hybrid image in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Today’s technique shows how to create a dual-focus hybrid image. In human speak, that means Deke documents how to create an optical illusion that makes a photo looks like one thing from a distance (an adult lion) and another close up (a lion cub). The trick is to create an image that contains both high-frequency (close up) and low-frequency (far away) data, so that the image changes based on your visual distance.

When I suggested to Deke that we call this movie, “How to make an optical illusion,” Deke’s response was, “Everything about Photoshop is an optical illusion.

You may be familiar with this effect if you’ve encountered the Albert Einstein Marilyn Monroe image in your Internet wandering. In Deke’s lion example, he applies Photoshop’s High Pass filter to a photo of a lion cub, ensuring that the high-frequency data sears that particular image in your mind, but he also applies the Gaussian Blur filter to the adult lion, so that if you back up (or squint), you’ll see the image of an adult lion in the same photo. In the below images, the high frequency is shown above and the low frequency is shown below, but these are actually different optical distances of the very same image:

Hybrid Image example: High Frequency

Hybrid Image example: Low Frequency

If you’re intrigued by the mysteries of hybrid images, Deke has another lynda.com member-exclusive technique this week where he explains how to add text to a hybrid composition.

See you back next Tuesday with another technique from Deke!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection on lynda.com
• Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com
• All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop for Designers: Textures
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

Interactive jQuery elements meet responsive web design

Published by | Monday, February 6th, 2012

In his lynda.com course, Create an Interactive Homepage Marquee with jQuery and Dreamweaver, author Chris Converse shows you how to build a visually rich, interactive marquee in order to aggregate and display content on a website homepage. Here is a preview of Chris’ web project which combines text, images, and animation into a dynamic, compelling feature:

During the video, you’ll note that Chris explores how this final effect might appear on a variety of browsers and emulators. Of course, one of the challenges in web design today is making sure this marquee will appear and perform desirably on the seemingly endless range of mobile or desktop devices upon which it may find itself. Enter the concept of responsive web design, a phrase that’s at the top of the hot buzz-concepts in web design since being coined by Ethan Marcotte last year.

To make sure your designs survive the jungle of possible ecosystems they might have to live in, Chris has designed and developed a template that leverages jQuery’s Ajax feature to load additional interactive data into a template based on the user’s screen size. As Chris explains over on the Adobe Developer Connection:

When the viewport width is wider than 550 pixels, we load the HTML page containing all of the marquee panels, preload the images, then start the interactive marquee. When this design is accessed by a device with a viewport less than 550 pixels wide, we hide the marquee container div, and load an HTML file containing only a single promotion. This technique significantly lessens the load on smaller screens, while still maintaining all of the advantages of CSS3 media queries.

For more on how to create an interactive marquee, log into your lynda.com account and check out Create an Interactive Homepage Marquee with jQuery and Dreamweaver in the Online Training Library®. Then, to ensure that your marquee displays correctly and responsively on a variety of screen sizes, you can download Chris’ template and get instruction on how to use it for free from his Adobe Developer Connection article.

chris converse reactive web design screen examples

Interested in more?
• The full Create an Interactive Homepage Marquee with jQuery and Dreamweaver course
• All developer courses on lynda.com
• All web + interactive courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Chris Converse on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Create an Interactive Video Gallery with jQuery
 Create an Online Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver
Create an Interactive Map with jQuery and Dreamweaver
jQuery Essential Training
Set a Marquee to Autoplay with jQuery and Dreamweaver

Brian Lee White talks about NAMM 2012 and music industry trends

Published by | Sunday, February 5th, 2012
Brian Lee White chats with lynda.com

Brian Lee White chats with lynda.com

We recently held a live Q&A on Twitter with Oakland-based mixer, producer, and educator Brian Lee White (@brianleewhite). White is the author of several audio courses for lynda.com, most recently two Foundations of Audio courses: Compression and Dynamic Processing, and EQ and Filters. In this edited transcript, he shares his thoughts on NAMM 2012 and music industry trends.

lynda.com (@lyndadotcom): How many times have you been to NAMM? Why do you go?
Brian Lee White (@brianleewhite)
:
I’ve been going since ’95. In the ’90s, I used to go for my dad’s music store. Now I just go to network and see friends.

David Franz (@undergroundsun): What was the coolest piece of gear you saw at NAMM?
Brian:
I am really stoked about the UA Apollo. I’m a long-time UAD user and really excited about the Thunderbolt technology.
David:
Yeah, that definitely seemed to have the most buzz at the show. Super cool stuff.

Simon Allardice (@allardice): Anything (software, hardware, or company) you were hoping to see appear at NAMM that didn’t show?
Brian:
Good question. The lack of noise about the next generation of Logic worries me a little. It’s been a while since a major release.

David: Do you use an iPad in your workflow? If so, which apps do you recommend?
Brian:
I do. I use the Neyrinck apps to remotely control my Pro Tools rig, and I have a mic stand mount so I can reach it easily. I also use the GarageBand app on my iPad for song writing. It’s really fun.

David: Seems most iOS i/o devices use the power from the iPad/iPhone connector—possible power problems? Thoughts?
Brian:
I’ve yet to see any kind of pass-through connector on the peripherals, but the battery on my iPad is really decent.
David:
Yeah, the only ones I’ve seen that have separate power are from IK Multimedia—great gear and apps!

Simon: Any area (compressor? Guitar sim?) where software still has a long way to go before it reaches hardware quality?
Brian:
I now mix entirely in the box; for me, we’ve arrived. The speed/efficiency of the workflow makes up for any subtle differences. But don’t get me wrong, hardware still has its uses. I would be hard pressed to work without speakers/mics/pres/etc.

David: What is your deserted-island piece of music gear?
Brian:
I have everything in my laptop, a whole studio with instruments and effects…I can produce a song from start to finish.

lynda Audio (@lyndaaudio): There’s a lot of gloom & doom about the music industry. What do you see as a bright spot?
Brian:
There are tons of small companies doing cool things with software and iOS. Web distribution lets them reach the right users.
lynda Audio:
Who specifically comes to mind?
Brian:
Well, little outfits like Cytomic and Valhalla DSP make plug-ins that, for me, are best in class and a great value.

lynda.com: You just released a course on EQ/Filters. Why did you decide to tackle this topic?
Brian:
In my course, I try to get away from the formulaic approach and teach people why and when to use EQ, not just how. EQ is one of the basic tools people think they mostly understand, yet often miss the big-picture thought process.

David: Get In the Mix is a new feature of your Foundations of Audio courses. Can you tell me how they work?
Brian:
Get In the Mix interactive exercise files (or GITMs) are an entirely new way to learn how to use and “hear” how the tools are working, right inside your DAW. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how they work.

lynda.com: Any advice for those looking to break into the music industry?
Brian:
Learn how to—and get used to—wearing many different hats. The old paradigm of getting hired at a studio is gone now.
lynda.com:
Yes, we can all take our learning and careers into our own hands these days.

David: What are you working on now, music and mix-wise—if you can talk about it?
Brian:
I’m not really at liberty to say right now, but be on the lookout for a major release in the next month or so.
lynda.com:
That’s the way—preserve a little of the mystery!

 

Interested in more?
• All audio courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Brian Lee White on lynda.com
• All Logic Pro courses on lynda.com
• All Pro Tools courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools 9
Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing [with Get in the Mix exercise files]
• Audio Mixing Bootcamp
Digital Audio Principles
Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival womens’ panel

Published by | Saturday, February 4th, 2012

As the presenting sponsor of the 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, lynda.com is once again pleased to open the door to four entertainment-industry panels that feature some of Hollywood’s top talent from the world of producers, directors, and screenwriters. Panelist are carefully chosen during the awards season and include many you’ll see on the Golden Globes®, Emmys®, and Oscars®.

Moderated by Madelyn Hammond from Madelyn Hammond & Associates, the Creative Forces: Women in the Business panel features five female filmmakers whose talents range from animation to independent films. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Picture Paris) talks about her short film written by husband/writer Brad Hall and her journey to the other side of the camera as producer. Dede Gardner tells us why Fox Searchlight chose not to include images of star Brad Pitt while promoting Tree of Life. Mellisa Cobb (Kung Fu Panda 2) talks about the organic process of producing an animated feature that allows an ongoing evolution of the story during production. Denise Ream (Cars 2) shares her journey in feature animation though the creative juggernaught that is Pixar Animation. And Leslie Urdang (Beginners) talks about the experiences of working with legendary actor Christopher Plummer who was presented with the Modern Master award at this year’s festival.

For more information about the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival visit Sbiff.org.


Leslie Urdang (producer, Beginners) speaks about distribution opportunities for indy films.


Denise Ream (Producer, Cars 2) talks about collaborating with John Lassiter and 40 car companies.


Dede Gardner (producer, Tree of Life) on promoting the movie without using Brad Pitt’s face.

Interested in more?
• All of the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival women’s panel coverage on lynda.com
• All lynda.com documentaries

Suggested courses to watch next:
2011 SBIFF Director’s Panel: Directors On Directing
2011 SBIFF Producer’s Panel: Movers and Shakers
2011 SBIFF Writer’s Panel: It Starts with the Script
2011 SBIFF Women’s Panel: Creative Forces: Women in the Business