Virtual reality… coming to a studio near you

In order to keep current with new trends in multimedia, and to address student requests, the Student Multimedia Design Center is purchasing virtual reality (VR) hardware and software. The VR gear, which includes a HTC Vive headset, a powerful PC, and 65″ 4K display, will be available in Studio 1.  Any UD student, faculty, or staff will be able to reserve time in the studio to use the virtual reality setup.  Here are some ideas for for how this VR gear could be used:

  • Students who want to design their own VR experiences will now have a place (room-scale) to test what they make.
  • Artists interested in exploring new methods, will be interested in VR apps geared towards creation like Tilt Brush which allows you to make 3D sculptures by painting in the air (check out this video to see it in action).
  • UD faculty and staff may want to introduce a VR experience in to their curriculum or program

Here is a short video trailer I made as I was trying out an online video tool called RenderForest.

Thank you to Roman (roman@renderforest.com) for the free HD download coupon. If you are interested in trying the RenderForest tool, Roman let me know that if you email him from a UD email address, he will send one free HD download code.

 

You know it’s Finals Week when…

The Student Multimedia Design Center is one of the most eventful and fun jobs I’ve had in a while. The energy of each shift can vary during the semester. But there’s nothing more interesting than getting through finals week and seeing how empty these shelves get! As it is my final undergrad year, this post will give a brief insider’s look to the magical world of SMDC (@ least during finals week). If this has produced a slight chuckle, I know my job is definitely done.

You know it’s finals week when…

1. All of the 4-hour items are checked out.

2. You’re saying “Sorry they’re all checked out” like a mantra.

3. You feel sheer relief when you’ve got an item a user requested. SWEET RELIEF!

4. If an opportunity for an item/space is there, you take it by WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY.

5. A bunch of posters from the same class/presentation/finals/events/etc. are printing out at the same time.

6. Every single printer but yours is making bank and that backlog is longer than the dining hall line and Main Street traffic combined!

7. You mix up checking out with checking in (and vice-versa).

8. You mix up due date receipts with overdue notices (and trust me, it’s a common one.)

9. You’re running from one end of campus to the other just to get papers, creations & items in and out on time.

10. Finals Week is that one time in a year where you break your WPM goal.

11.The recharging station’s lit up like a Christmas tree.

12. You forget basic computing skills for a few seconds.

13. What would take 10 minutes to get done turns into 1 hour with breaks in between.

14. There’s not much to talk about except (not limited to) grades, equipment, a film you saw last week, the weather and vacation plans.

15. You can’t escape equipment wear & tear.

16. Google Drive, Dropbox, and USB 3.0 are your best friends.

17. You’ve got a go-to person at the desk.

18. You recognize the user/staff member by stride or sight alone.

19. Whether you’re studying another year, graduating, or just checking out items, you’re gonna miss them come vacation time.

20. Even if you’re not a regular in the area, we still love you anyway.

Hang in there everyone. You got this. 😉

It’s been an honor posting for two years and best of luck to my fellow students and SMDC peeps!

 

Finals Life Hacks

  1. Reserve a Studio over the phone

Waited until the absolute last minute to finish your video project? Don’t worry about coming to the library to reserve a studio! Just do it over the phone and save yourself the extra trip and extra sweat.

  1. Quiet Study Spaces

Reserve a study room at the library through this link so you can study uninterrupted with your friends and to avoid distractions: http://udel.libcal.com/booking/groupstudy

Not about the library because it’s too crowded and you don’t want to see anyone you know to avoid those super awkward longish conversations that you both don’t want to be in? (Pause and take a breath after reading that sentence.) I feel you. There are study spaces in Brown Laboratory, upstairs in Trabant, and in the Career Services Center. You can also try ISE, and get some Einstein’s while you’re at it. Treat yo self.

^when people are having a full blown conversation in the quiet section of library

  1. Crisis Mode: When your *Insert important electronic device you need to survive* breaks down.

There is definitely no need to enter crazy, I-hate-my-life-and-the-world-is-out-to-get-me mode. Guess what? The world LOVES you because it created the SMDC where you can borrow laptops, hard drives, laptop chargers, phone charges and flash drives. You have absolutely no excuse to cry in a corner and hide from finals week. Come visit us, we’ll give you the power you need to conquer that 7pm final you have on the last day after all your friends have left you. We can’t make your friends stay to keep you company, but we can be your friend in the meantime.

  1. Breathe

Take a step back. Will that one final you didn’t study for enough really matter in one year? Got a B in a class instead of an A? It will not make or break your GPA or your life. Perspective. Think about it before you make your life miserable for the next few days. YOU GOT THIS.

Good luck peeps, one more week!

^ you after finals

or if you’re into dramatic celebrations this will be you vv

Resize a Photoshop Document

When printing an image or document most revert to using PowerPoint or Word but Photoshop is often easier and quicker. By choosing File > New and selecting the canvas size in inches, you will be able to determine exactly how large your document will be.

PowerPoint often gets confusing because it does not immediately give you the option to resize in inches. In Photoshop, it is great if you start with the exact size but it is also relatively easy to resize while working.  If you happen to forget the canvas size you originally entered, you can easily check. Making sure your rulers are viewed is a great tip as well. If your default does not show the rulers, simply go to View > Rulers.

Now, lets say your document is no longer the size you need. Go to Image> Canvas size and simply edit the dimensions to your liking.

Now look how easy that was! This is super helpful when needing to resize anything from a PowerPoint slide to an image of a cute puppy!

Have no Fear, Finals and 24-Hour Library Hours Are Here!

As you know, finals are quickly approaching at UD. Just two weeks until Summer Break begins! Although we will be out of school soon, we here at the library understand your high-stress levels during the anticipation of finals week. But don’t worry! Because you most likely have a lot of studying to do and are finishing up on projects, the library stays open for 24 hours, starting at 11:00am on Sunday, May 14 and ending Friday, May 25 at 7:00pm. Here is the calendar showing the last remaining weeks of the semester:

While the library will be open for 24 hours during finals weeks, the Student Multimedia Design Center desk and other service desks will only be open during their normal hours. So, here is the breakdown by day:

Monday-Thursday: 8:00am – Midnight

Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday: 9:00am-8:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am-Midnight

 

So, you will still be able to check out equipment from the library, but not at 2am when you’re almost finished your paper and your laptop dies.

 

Good luck during finals and definitely visit the SMDC desk in the basement of Morris if you need any help!

No Laptop? No problem

Its getting to that point in the semester where it seems like everything is due and of course your laptop decides to give up on you at the worst possible moment.

Instead of freaking out (and breaking your laptop even more) take a second to figure out what your options are. If you think you have some sort of virus or software issue, consider making an appointment with IT services in the basement of Smith.  Even if they can’t solve your problem, they can help you get a better idea of what’s causing it.

If its more of a hardware issue (like you accidentally spilled some coffee on your keyboard in your assignment frenzy) you may have to get a part replaced. The Christiana Mall has an an Apple and Microsoft store if you are looking to get the problem fixed immediately. If you cant find a way to the mall, don’t worry most companies will let you ship your laptop to them and they’ll fix it and send it back. This process does take a little longer so there are some options on how to survive your exams and projects without a laptop.

Your first option would be simply to use any of the desktops at the SMDC (or one of the many computing labs on campus). If you’re looking for something you can take with you, our laptop loans could be a great option! You can take out one of our Macbook Air or Dell laptops for four hours at a time, with the option to renew them every four hours until the desk closes. Unfortunately, the one downfall to this option: you cant take them out overnight which isn’t ideal when you’re stressing to meet a deadline. Our only option for overnight computing would be to check out one of our iPads.  If you do a lot of your work in Google Docs, an iPad would work great for you! Just download the Google Docs app and you’ll be on your way to finishing that paper or group project.

So next time you find yourself starting to panic, remember all of your options and get those assignments in on time!

Swivl: Your own personal camera man

We have exciting news everyone! The SMDC has a new tech gadget to help you accomplish your multimedia needs. Drum roll please…..

Our new gadget is called Swivl. Swivl is a stand, for a camera, phone, or tablet, that tracks your movements while filming to make sure you are always in frame. This is accomplished by having the user wear a remote which allows the user to manually control Swivl or more impressively you can let Swivl automatically track you. In addition this remote is fitted with a built in microphone which allows the user to be heard anywhere too. With the combination of smooth hands free tracking and clear wireless audio recording.

Wait there is more! We don’t just have one special remote, we have TWO! This allows you to place a wireless microphone in a different part of the room so you can pick up everything.

Applications:

  • Recording a presentation
  • Recording a performance
  • Recording student teaching
  • Etc.

Overview

2 Factor Authorization: The Time Has Finally Come

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

But, Yes. It’s True.

Sadly, Delaying or Avoiding this Security Measure is No Longer an Option After May 11th.

Things You Need to Do Before:

  • You will need to register for a 2FA (two-factor authorization) through your UD Settings
  • You will need and authenticator application: Google Authenticator , 1Password, Authy, etc.

Things You Should Do After:

  • Start becoming familiar with the process or it will take you longer to log onto everything.

The Different Factor Authorization Levels:

  • 1FA — Knowledge (what you know): Passwords, User Names, IDs, PINs.
  • 2FA — Possession (what you own): Devices, Phone, OTP tokens, key fobs, employee ID cards and SIM cards.
  • 3FA — Inherence (what you are): Touch ID, Scans for retina, iris, fingerprint, finger vein. Facial & voice recognition, hand & earlobe geometry.
  • 4FA — Social Auth. (who you know?).

Good News & Bad News

Good news is you will not always have to do the 2FA process, especially on your own personal devices. Most devices will remember the 2FA and allow you to bypass this process. However, if a browser or applications short term memory is refreshed or deleted you will be prompted to do this process all over again. So for your sake don’t do that.

So “May” the Force Be With You!

Refining Selections in Photoshop

No matter what selection tool you decide to use, one of the lasso tools, the magic wand, or the quick selection tool, you may want to refine your edge for better results. Here I want to remove the black background.

Without using refine edge, the image below is the result I get. You can see the edges aren’t smooth and lots of black is visible (especially by the stem).

After I make a selection, I click on the “Refine Edge” button on the top bar.

 

A window with various options will pop up, as seen below. In this case, I used feather and shift edge. Often, the “Smooth” feature is useful as well.

Here is the final result:

All You Need to Know About Printing

Here at the Student Multimedia Design Center, we get a lot of questions about printing, especially around “final project/final paper season”. When I say a lot, I mean someone literally just asked me about it while I’m typing this blog! But that’s okay because we’re more than happy to help! In fact, we are so happy to help that I am going to write a blog about it. I present to you: All You Need to Know About Printing.

Related image

So first things first, each UD student gets $5 worth of printing credit at the beginning of each semester. $5 might sound like a small amount at first but it usually is more than enough for most students! You have three options for printing regular 8.5 x 11 pages: black and white single sided, black and white double sided, and color.

Each page for black and white printing is $0.05. Printing in color is $1 per page.

But don’t worry! If you run out of printing money, you can still print with FLEX! And if you need to put money onto your FLEX account when you’re here, there’s a Value Transfer Station on the first floor of the library where you can do that.

Anyway, back to printing. Any of the computers in the SMDC are already hooked up to the printers at our printing station. There are more printers on the first floor as well, but only the computers on the first floor are hooked up to those printers. And if you’re looking for printers around campus, here’s a blog to help you find them!

After clicking “print” on your document, head on over to the Print Release Station that’s right next to the printers. From there, you need to choose which document is yours to print. This is where you pay for whatever you are printing. Once you do that, you’re good to go and your document(s) will print! Lit.

If you are looking to print bigger papers or posters, you’ll want to come to our desk. Here’s a great blog post about how poster printing works (S/O to BHLP students). If you have specialty paper, like resume paper, we can take care of that kind of printing at the desk as well.

I hope this helps all you printing folk out there. If you still have questions, please feel free to ask us at the SMDC desk. Like I said, we’re happy to help!

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