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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Celtx

Did you know there are rules for screenwriting? Actual rules. And when you don’t follow the rules, you get beaten with a yardstick — or ignored by Hollywood. Whichever hurts worse. Now that I fancy myself a screenwriter, I’ve hired an assistant to help me follow the rules. OK, “hired” is perhaps too strong a word; “downloaded” may be more accurate.

Celtx is a terrific little piece of software, absolutely free, that will write scripts, storyboard scenes and sequences, sketch setups, develop characters, breakdown & tag elements, schedule productions, and prepare and circulate informative reports for cast and crew. (Yeah, I plagiarized that description from Celtx’ website. Ssshhhh.) In between screenplays, it also writes comic books. Not kidding.

Now if Charlie Sheen could just download an assistant to help him follow the rules, all would be well in Hollywood.

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Noupe.comMany decades ago, we spent a long weekend in a Lotus 1-2-3 workshop. By Saturday night we were experts on everything spreadsheet.

Now we’re wishing for a weekend seminar on Photoshop…but the local community college is putting all its continuing ed energy into…no kidding…Introduction to Facebook! Become a Mystery Shopper! Cupid’s Cuisine! Sigh.

lynda.comSo we’re finding ourselves having to create our own weekend Photoshop workshops. Fortunately, these workshops are free, and allow us to attend class in our underpants. For print tutorials, we’ve become quite fond of Noupe, and for video tutorials, we’re growing even more enamoured of Lynda. Both resources provide intensive, Adobe-in-a-Can delivery of knowledge by folks who seem pretty knowledgable about their product. Time to dive in now. We won’t come up for air until we’re experts!

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We’re taking an online computer art class. Not that we’re any good, mind you. But learning Photoshop and Illustrator has been quite an adventure. Now that we’re hooked, we’re looking around for all the tips and tricks we can lay hands on. That’s how we ran across this tremendous resource: PsDesigning. It’s a collection of very well done Photoshop tutorials with illustrated, multi-step instructions for creating beautiful posters, icons, and web graphics. We’re sorta hooked!

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Just when we were about to drop a spare five hundred bucks on Adobe Creative Suite 5, along comes XtraNormal, this crazy cartoon movie maker — and it’s all free — that allows rank amateurs like yours truly to create animated videos just by clicking and typing.  So many funny movies on the site, but here’s one that caused us to laugh out loud.

 

 

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Google EarthStill doing way too much research, and way too little writing, on my new novel. Google Earth is proving invaluable (or distracting. I’m not sure which). Where before I might have driven (or flown) to the place I was researching, now I can pretty much Google Earth it and get at least a sense of what a particular street corner might look like, or whether an area of the town I’m describing is rural or suburban.

Oh, and whether my daughter was out playing in the neighborhood when she was supposed to be home with her older brother, practicing the piano.  She goes on record as the first child in history to get in trouble because of Google Earth Street View.

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iTunesApple Computer and I haven’t been on speaking terms since 1983, when it put Franklin Computer out of business with the lawsuit heard ’round the world. I really loved my Apple ][ clones, and did not take kindly to their mass murder.

But I’ve finally decided that Apple has done its penance. After all, it’s sort of single-handedly kept Microsoft from eating the planet. And it’s kept my kids so preoccupied with their iPods that they haven’t had time to get into trouble. So Apple, I hereby forgive you. And I’ve installed iTunes on my (non-MacBook) laptop as a gesture of my goodwill.

There. We’re friends again. I shall now go forth and partake of podcasting.

Do you have a favorite podcast resource? Help me love Apple again by clicking that Comments link, below.

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WikispacesWhen I’m not blogging, or editing, or having a life, I’m building my little Wikispace. Gotta keep all that research someplace. Wikispaces is made for creating your very own version of Wikipedia. Use it to plan events or build a community. Your club or co-op can use it to coordinate classes and activities, advertise for new members, and improve communication. I use it as a freestyle database for storing information and research. Endless possibilities.

How do you facilitate group planning? Surely you’re not still using email. Are you?

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