Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sloop2Desc kick off meeting + Essential French Demo

I'm just back from Sicily and the Sloop2Desc kick off meeting, we're evaluators for the project. I've never worked on evaluating an EU project before, so I guess i'll learn as I go along! I'll get a lot of help from my boss in DEIS, who has evaluated plenty of these projects. The project is based around developing an open source learning repository of reusable scorm compliant objects to help IT professionals achieve EUCIP qualifications. EUCIP is a new EU wide industry standard that was developed as part of the EQF.

Sicily was lovely and the partners were very hospitable! I had amazing food every day, good times!

Now it’s back to office work, this week I’m starting storyboards for the Essential French demo. We developed an online course using articulate for Essentail French last summer. A lot of work went into it and it’s very expansive, so now we need a demo to showcase the work!

As part of the work last summer we developed a new branding identity for Essential French, this image is of the new logos I submitted, they eventually choose the flag as it was closest to their original logo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rotterdam MEP Meeting

Preparing for the Rotterdam MEP meeting at the moment. Flying to Amsterdam at 5 from Cork, then a train to Rotterdam, i've never been there, there's meant to be amazing architecture so i'm looking forward to taking some nice pictures and seeing some cool buildings - that is if I get a chance to slip away between meetings!

DEIS is working with the NMCI on this project. It's an EU funded project, aimed at developing learning objects to be used in maritime courses. We completed one of the courses last April. It was html / css / flash based scorm module to teach learners about AIS (automated identification systems). We used reload to package the scorm modules. In my experience Reload is quite reliable, and has the bonus of being free!

The course itself was developed along a previous template we used for Citi. The template can be seen to be broadly based on Gagne's Nine Steps of Instruction, in that the focus is on providing learning objectives, reminding the learner of prior knowledge, recalling facts presented, providing opportunities for performance and feedback and priming the mind for further learning. Further learning supports are supplied in the form of links, references, etc. Articulate quizmaker was used to build learning activities for the course.

The Dutch partners are presenting their course at this meeting. It will be interesting to see what technology they used and if they are running a SCORM based course also. I'm not convinced that SCORM is necessarily superior to a straight forward html / css based course, especially at this stage of the project, where it is unclear if anyone will be tracking learners progress on the course.

We are using an LMS called Dokeos, which as far as I know is a descendant of Maricomp - a previous LMS used by the NMCI in EU funded projects. It seems to be much the same as maricomp, but there are some superficial differences in terms of labeling of tools and the interface itself. There were some difficulties with uploading the course to Dokeos. I thought it was a problem with the SCORM package itself so I packaged the course using several different versions of scorm and tested it in Moodle, SumTotal and Maricomp. The course was accepted in these LMS' but not Dokeos, it was quite frustrating and after many calls to our Dutch partners the problem was finally identified as being server related on their end. As is often the case the problem turned out to be quite basic and straight forward! The NMCI have subcontracted DEIS to develop a second course for the MEP project, so hopefully all server issues etc will be straightened out by then!

Just because a post with no pictures is a bit boring... here are some screen shots from the course we developed and packaged last April.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sigtec Animations

Here are some screenshots of what's been keeping me busy lately,

Sigtec is one of our first innovation voucher clients in DEIS. The job involved developing three animations to represent Sigtec's main product - the Bluebox Solution.

Sigtec supplied the scripts and I began work on the images. The three animations consisted of an overview, an example of the system in operation and a run through of the benefits of the system. I developed the illustrations and icons for industries in illustrator. The photos were downloaded using our subscription to a stock images site. As the content was very explanation-driven (particularly in the second animation) I wanted to develop images in an information graphic style, this is pretty broad I know! I concentrated on developing clean, minimal images, using colour to signify the more important elements in each image.

Once detailed storyboards were developed and signed off on and voiceover was recorded, I began work in aftereffects. The animation is quite simple, concentrating on information diagrams and sequencing of images an photographs to illustrate points being made.

One of the more difficult aspects was to develop an interesting animation introduction involving the logo. After looking at a number of tutorials, I developed the 2d illustrator logo file into a 3d image using this tutorial: http://hottek.net/2008/07/advanced-extrusion-with-shatter.html I animated the logo with camera movements to produce a sweeping / zooming effect, the background was more difficult to develop. I worked with after effects presets, but problems with a slow machine, and the general unsuitability of the presets limited me. Eventually I downloaded stock video from videohive.net.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poster for France / Slow Motion Heroes

Posters for new Cork band, France (now known as Slow Motion Heroes - changed the name just as I finished the posters!).

I spent a lot of time drawing the actual buildings, lots of messing with perspective grids in illustrator & reading up architecture books for inspiration! I also experimented a lot with the style of representation, using real-world textures on the buildings and eventually discarding these in favour of a hand-drawn look. I shaded the buildings using a crosshatch technique with drawing pens, eventually using these for the more muted image and using hand drawn, unfilled buildings for the more colourful image.

The name of the band, "France" being synonymous with a place, I wanted to create a landscape, turning the country into an imaginary city. I had a number of different ideas for the landscape, which eventually pared down to two, as shown above. One involved a fantasy, dreamlike place. The other is more "real world", based on the view from my family home in Carrigtwohill, which to me (maybe not to everyone!) represents a tranquility that results from a certain amount of removal from the rest of the world, but also, conversely, excitement, energy and the possibilities of the great unknown!

Image for HIN album cover

Done in pastels & photoshop (face in photoshop with a wacom, pastels in pastels!) I'm hoping it reflects the energy and intensity of the songs on the album, as well as the lovely layered melodies & textures they've got going on.