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Archive for December, 2009

The Green Bar of Go: Gazing Into the Future of WCMS at IU

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Welcome to another edition of The Green Bar of Go Cascade Server column. In this column, I’m going to discuss briefly some of the new features coming in the latest version of Cascade Server, Cascade Server 6.4. If you’re involved with WCMS at IU, you’ve been using Cascade Server 5.7.5, so as you can imagine, the switch to 6.4 will be pretty substantial.

For a list of the biggest features and a link to the Hannon Hill webinar demonstrating the features, continue reading after the jump.

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Split Screen in After Effects – It’s like looking in a mirror!

One of the effects used infrequently back in the day was the split screen.  Using the split screen, filmmakers could make it appear as if the same actor was on screen twice (see “The Parent Trap”). This required the camera to stay perfectly stationary and the lighting to be identical. Most of the time, this effect was used as a gimmick, and as time has gone on, filmmakers have gotten a lot more sophisticated effects, including computer controlled cameras that can be used to make much more complex effects that accomplish the same goal(the same actor on screen multiple times), but also allows the camera to move, and actors to move in front of each other and even interact with each other.

But since I don’t have a fancy computer controlled camera, I decided to do this old school.  It’s actually pretty simple in After Effects.  Check out the final result:


See how to do it yourself after the break.

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Dreamweaver CS4: Show/Hide Behavior Is Not Just for Menus

In Dreamweaver CS4: Navigation, Templates & Media Integration, we discuss how to use Dreamweaver’s built-in behaviors to create drop-down menus for the main site navigation:

screenshot of website created in Dreamweaver CS4,showing main navigation drop-down menus

Screenshot of website created in Dreamweaver CS4, showing main navigation drop-down menus

Specifically, we use Show-Hide Elements to control when, and under what conditions, the navigation sub-menu should appear and disappear.  Show-Hide Elements is a fast and easy way to create drop-down menu items, but it can also be used, with a slight adaptation, to make pieces of content in the main part of a page appear and disappear based on the user’s behavior.  Read on to find out more…

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Motion Tracking in After Effects

In our last After Effects training video, we felt pretty cool about using Corner Pin to get a piece of video to appear on a monitor within our video.

Then we hit play…

And we quickly discovered that though corner pin is an incredibly useful effect, once your video starts moving, it loses it’s utility very quickly.

This is where motion tracking comes in.  We have a couple of options for motion tracking in CS4.  After Effects has a built-in motion tracker, which we can access through the “Tracker” panel, and there is a helper application called “Mocha for After Effects” that is included in the Production Premium install (assuming you didn’t de-select it). We’ll explore both in this post.

With the power of Mocha motion tracking, you can accomplish results like this (low quality video):


Learn how to accomplish the results in the above video after the break.

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Revise Web Pages Directly from a Browser with Adobe InContext Editing

Clip Art Graphic of a Desktop Computer Cartoon CharacterAs a web designer, developer, or administrator, are you constantly managing simple requests to change page content for nontechnical team members ? If so, you may find Adobe InContext Editing useful. InContext Editing gives clients and nontechnical team members the ability to update website content without having to learn any HTML. Potentially, this could save you a lot of time in updating web pages, providing time-consuming training, or recovering from user mistakes.

InContext Editing is an online service that designers may use to  allow content editors and publishers to update website content directly through their browsers — without compromising design integrity. Your team members won’t need to learn HTML, nor even install extra software. And for now, it is free.

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Aligning Video in After Effects with Corner Pin

In After Effects, it is often useful to place an image or video into another video project.  Sometimes this works like the Picture-in-Picture function on some televisions, where the video appears in the corner of the screen, but other times, you might want to make the video or image appear on a screen within the original video, or perhaps on a wall.

Our great enemy in this second case is perspective.  If you aren’t careful, the new video will appear out of place in the background video, ruining the effect. Coming to the rescue is the Corner Pin effect.  The Corner Pin effect allows us to control each corner of the image or video individually, which lets us “pin” the foreground videos corners to any four points we want in the background video.  The best part about it is it’s extremely easy to use.

In the training video below, we’ll explore how to attach a new video to two blank monitors in our background video.  It requires a small amount of After Effects knowledge to follow along, which you can acquire by attending IT Training & Education’s After Effects workshop, or by browsing the Lynda training library.

Aligning Video in After Effects with Corner Pin

At the end of the video, we’ll notice a small problem.  As our background video zooms and pans, the foreground video stays in its original position.  That’s a problem that can only be fixed by motion tracking.  Check back next week, and I’ll post another video that describes how to use motion tracking to allow your foreground video to follow the motion of the camera. pilot extended to June 30th, 2010

After all the great feedback we received from the IU community, the decision was made to extend the pilot to June 30th of 2010.  That means that the IU community gets an extra 6 months of free access.

So please keep using the service and let us know how it works for you!

Check out for more information and to log in.

Transferring Audio Books to Your iPod

My best friend loves to listen to audio books. He never watches television and is proud of the fact that he doesn’t have a TV in his home, but he always keeps a stack of audio books available. (I, on the other hand, have a television set in every single room in my house, but that’s another story.) After listening to 6 or 7 hours of an audio course about global warming on a recent holiday trip, my friend asked me if I would show him how to transfer the remaining CDs to his iPod, so he could finish listening to the program while working out at the gym the next morning.


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How to upgrade your operating system – in cartoon format


By Scott Meyer

By Scott Meyer

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