Today, the world changed. Well, the technology world anyway. I say this as I look back on the past from the new era of personal computing. I write this from my Apple iPad.
This afternoon, at around 2 pm, my Dad, sister, and I drove to the Fashion Valley shopping mall and walked into an Apple Store. We were there to see the new iPad, just like the hundreds of other people there. My Dad was determined to wait for the 2nd generation model, which will likely be released around Christmas. We left the Apple Store with a piece of the future, and a case to store it in. We were stunned by the simple beauty and elegance of the iPad and the ease with which it emphasized the relationship between man and machine. We paid the $700 because even though there will be a better version in six months, what we experienced with the iPad was so revolutionary, so unprecedented, that it clearly represents a milestone in the evolution of the computer.
Everything about the iPad screams cutting edge. Everything from the lightweight but robust aluminum and glass enclosure to the shockingly responsive multi-touch display and beautifully slick interface represents the future of the computer. Apple has once again found a way to fundamentally alter and improve the way we interact with the digital world.
As all those people who had the honor of trying the iPad before it’s launch said about their own experiences with the iPad, when I walked into the store, I thought, “what would I ever use this thing for?” And yet after just a few hours with this ultra-cool device, I say, “just you try to take it from me!!! I can’t live without it.” I can’t remember the world before it.
One thing I was especially unprepared for was the web. The iPad revolves around the Apps, but the Apps revolve around the web, so the iPad revolves around the web. And it is the web which the iPad does best. Safari is by far the most important of the many thousands of Apps in the Apple library. All I can say is that the future of communication and personal computing is in the web and portable devices that offer a window into the web effectively will dominate the future. The iPad is one of those devices, and the first real mobile computer.
The last thing I want to mention was the last thing my Dad and I tried while setting up the iPad. The Apple Sales Rep said that the standard Apple wireless keyboard would work with the iPad, and so we decided to give it a try. We turned on the Bluetooth, and as my Dad powered on the keyboard, he said, “If this works, it will be the death of the computer.” The keyboard worked, and just the way a keyboard should work. He pushed the iPad’s box and wrappings away and positioned it and the keyboard on the desk. While surveying his new workstation, my Dad said with a smile, “This is the death of the computer.”
The iPad is the death of the home computer as we know it. It is the first computer that lives on and for the internet and in a world where people live through the internet it will overpower and replace the old home computer. It will not replace the powerhouse workstation that is needed to edit videos or run Photoshop, but even Photoshop is going online. The rest of the software world will either follow in Photoshop’s footsteps or be replaced by something that does. The leading technology researchers and analysts have stated that the future is in the web, in cloud computing, in the internet. Apple has accepted this and embraced it. The other computer companies will either follow in Apple’s footsteps, or be replaced by someone who does.
My iPad is amazing. It is the future. It is Apple.
During Honors Pre-Calculus today, while I was waiting for Mr. Andersen to start going over the homework, I wrote out a seven item list of the things that I need to do for CRDESIGNLAB. Counting all the sub-items, I have about fifteen tasks in my mental queue. The first of these items is populate the 3D galleries on this site. I tackled that task during seventh period today.
Kyle has been reluctant to work in Cinema 4D because he is not in a 3D class (he is in 6th period Digital Art) and so I have been tossing around the idea of scrapping the 3D galleries altogether. That would make my life a lot easier. I don’t own Cinema 4D so I can’t work on 3D stuff at home, whereas I own CS4 Design Premium so I I can spend an unlimited amount of time in Ps, Fl, Ai, In, Fw, Dw, Br, and Lr.
I was almost to the point of deleting those galleries when I had a change of opinion. Sometime during lunch today, I came to the realization that the lack of 3D content on CRDESIGNLAB was not a shortcoming, but represented a fantastic chance to learn something new and explore a different region of the digital universe.I decided to shoulder the extra task of learning more about C4D when I could have just stayed with photography and light painting, which seem to be my niches in the Mac Lab world. Instead of saying no and just giving up, I decided to learn more, learn new skills, and develop a new, drastically different, section of CRDESIGNLAB. I am very confident that I made the right choice, but only time will tell. The next few days will be very hectic as I scramble to finish old light paintings, start new ones, and then finish those in time for the Paint the World With Light deadline, which comes Monday. If all goes as planned (which it never does), I will start working more with Cinema 4D next week.
The good part about learning something new in the Mac Lab is that there is always someone willing to help you. Today during lunch, I saw Philip helping another student through a C4D tutorial and Fadi helped me figure out a way to save a file such that it can be used as a dock icon. I am thankful to be in a class with such talented people who are willing to use their skills to help others.
After school, I updated my 3D galleries, both of them, with miscellaneous stuff that I created a long time ago. I took my two logos into Photoshop and improved them a little, but they still need more work, especially the second one. I made the poster a long time ago, working off Kyle’s “Creative Freedom” poster that is on the Mac Lab Poster Gallery.
Diversification is good, even if it is difficult. That’s it for now.
Update: New image on the light painting gallery.
On the required reading for today, Mr. Skocko mentions the daily statistics of the Mac Lab Blog. I thought that I would also take a moment to reflect on one of this blog’s most prosperous days.
Yesterday, the Mr. Skocko linked twice to CRDESIGNLAB, which gave us quite a boost in hits: we received at total of 201 referrals from the Mac Lab Blog. An additional 67 hits from people not traveling through the ML Blog pushed us to our highest daily hit total: 268. In addition, two posts were written and one was published (before WordPress started glitching), but we received only 9 comments. Just so you know, our daily comment record is 66.
Overall, I would call yesterday a good day for CRDESIGNLAB. Now, as our hit total climbs past 1,856, I have to eat breakfast.
I should be eating cinnamon rolls right now, but I thought I would take a moment to thank all of you who have returned to this blog again and again, or even just again. It means a lot to see that number in the right column rise with every passing day. It is so much fun to trade comments and work towards bettering yourself and your colleagues. It really is a good feeling to know that your work is appreciated by your peers, especially when you have peers who are such phenomenal artists. Thank you all, and come back again.
(Christopher talking) Before we go into the details of what these photos are and why they are here, let me make myself clear: I hate them. Kyle loves them. (Now it is Kyle speaking, and that last statement is not entirely true.)
The first day.
The shoot. We spent about two hours taking pictures around the community of Monarch Ridge. Of the two hundred plus pictures we took, about five are worth keeping and exploring in Photoshop. The first image is one of our favorites, in its unedited form. In the next few days, we will take these images into Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and attempt to improve them. Using Photoshop to edit an image is not cheating, merely post-production.
The second day.
Another day gone. It’s amazing how time flies.
Time spent in front of the computer goes by quick, most of the time too quick, especially when exploring the wonders of Photoshop. This photo looks fairly good at first glance, but when taken into Photoshop’s Camera Raw, the original is something almost worth laughing at. This is what usually happens.
Nature in it’s purest form is breathless, but that doesn’t mean one can’t take advantage of the tools at their disposal in order to make it look even better. After just a few moments in Camera Raw, an image can go from good to great. And it literally takes just minutes, even if you are not a pro. Like we mentioned before, editing in Photoshop isn’t cheating, just post-production. It’s ridiculous to ignore such a valuable tool.
The third day.
I gave the image a try in Photoshop, and produced a product that was better in some aspects and worse in others. The center (the water, the interesting part) of Kyle’s Photoshop edit was better than mine, but everything else about mine was better than his.
The fourth day.
This is the third day we have been working on this one image. Today, I took Kyle’s version and my version and combined them while using the Curves adjustment layer to pull some more detail out of the leaves. I won’t get into the details about the other adjustments we made. Overall, we both like this third version the best. It is the second image above. Yeah for masking!!!
So far, we have taken it into Photoshop on three separate occasions, each time building upon the last. However, I would like to get something straight: this is a horrible image. By the standards of photography, this image is just aweful. It is shot from the top, which is the direction we see water from all the time, so there is nothing new and cool about the angle. There is no recognizable foreground, middle ground, or background, although the rock may quality as the foreground and everything else as the background if you really push it. We didn’t even use either of the two tri-pods we had brought along. It isn’t even close to tack sharp (the term used by pro photographers to describe an image that is perfectly focused and stable, and therefore perfectly sharp). The only thing good about this image is the fact that the water just looks cool. A shear coincidence.
So, you ask, why are we paying so much attention to it? The answer is that I don’t know. Perhaps it is the challenge of taking a bad picture and turning it into something presentable. Perhaps it is our stupidity. Perhaps not. The likeliest answer is that we have nothing much better (and by better I mean more interesting) to play with. We are just starting out as photographers and therefore are still learning and have not produced many pictures that are turly as good as we would like. On the other hand, we are getting better, a lot better, but we are still only amateurs.
We have taken other pictures that are technically better photos than this, but they just lack the cool factor. This image has the cool factor but lacks the technical aspect. I hope that we can find a way to balance these two sides and produce some really cool and technically superb images.