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Volunteer Consultant Training and Reference Manual

This manual provides information about basic operation procedures for the Design Center, as well an introduction to the hardware, software, and other resources available to users.  While you don’t have to be an expert in everything discussed below, greater familiarity with these items will not only help other users, but will be beneficial to you as well.

You can use these anchor links to jump to specific sections of the manual or just scroll through the page:

 

General Design Center Operations
In opening the Design Center for yourself and others, there are a few basic but important things to know.  When you check out a key, you are responsible for the space during that time.  That means you should keep an eye on things to make sure resources are treated properly and are not removed from the Center.  The following are the general guidelines and information for operating the Center:

  • Read the Volunteer Consultant Policy and Guidelines- This document is designed to help you understand the philosophy of the Center and the responsibilities guiding its use.
     
  • Understand what to do to open and close the Design Center- To open the Center once you have completed the training session, check out a key from the staff in the English department office.  Prop the door open to let others know the space is open.  Be willing to offer assistance to other users if you have the time and knowledge.  To close the Center, turn off all computers, turn out the lights, and lock the door.  Be sure to double check the lock before leaving.

  • Know how to turn on and off all lab machines- To turn on the computer, press the small, circular power button.  On the older iMacs, this button is located in the lower righthand corner on the back side of the monitor.  On the newer iMacs (those with the small black square/camera on the front), this button is located on the lower lefthand corner on the back side of the monitor. On the PowerMacs, the power button is located on the front of the tower.  To turn off any of the computers, quit all applications and then click on the blue apple in the upper lefthand corner.  Go to "Shut Down" and click on "Shut Down" again in the pop-up window to confirm your choice. If you are the last one to leave, please be sure that all machines are shut down, even if you weren't the one to use them.

  • Know what resources (books, CD tutorials) are available for user help- The Design Center has a small library of reference materials to help answer specific questions on software and to help users learn applications in more depth.  Many of these books also include tutorials on CD, so be sure to check out what is available.  Additionally, many of the applications, such as Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Dreamweaver, have tutorials available by going to the Help menu when the application is open. See the appendix at the end of this document for a complete list of text resources available in the Center.

  • Know how to help users check out materials- There are a number of pieces of equipment available for check out.  These include digital cameras, digital camcorders, iPods and microphones, and more.  If you or someone else wants to check one of these out, please email jasheppa@nmsu.edu to set it up.

 

Mac OSX
The Mac operating system currently used by all machines in the Design Center is Mac OSX version 10.4, also known as Tiger. Among the features included with this version is Spotlight (the little blue magnifying glass in the upper righthand corner) that allows you to search all files on the computer and the Dashboard (accessed by pressing F12 on the keyboard or the icon in the dock) which contains mini-applications called widgets.  You can find thousands of widgets for doing all sorts of things at http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/

 

  • Understand how to use, move, and resize the dock- The dock is the bar on the left, right or bottom of the screen that contains icons for the most used applications.  You can figure out what icon stands for what application by placing the mouse over the icon.  A text tag will pop up with the application name. Clicking once on an icon will launch that application. A small black triangle next to an icon indicates that that application is currently open.  When an icon appears to bounce, that application is trying to get your attention (you may need to verify something or the application may be having trouble locating something it needs). 


    You can make changes to the size, location, and other properties of the dock by clicking on the System Preferences icon (the light switch) and then clicking on the dock icon in the pop-up window. You might want to make changes if you need more screen room (you can "hide" the dock so it only appears when you put the mouse to far edge of the screen where it is located) or if its current location interferes with the layout of a given application.

    Additional icons can be placed in the dock by opening the hard drive and the applications folder and dragging the new application over the top of the dock.

    If you cannot find an application you know is installed on a particular machine, open the Applications folder on the Hard Drive to locate it.

  • Know how to insert and eject CDs and DVDs- In their efforts at simplicity, it is sometimes hard to find things on a Mac, such as the CD/DVD drive tray. On the iMacs, the slot is on the right edge of the machines. Slowly push the disc in and its icon will appear on the desktop in a few seconds. On the PowerMacs, you open the drive tray by pressing the eject button in the upper right corner of the keyboard. On all machines, you can eject a disc in two ways. You can hold down the eject button or you can drag the disc's icon to the trash (this does NOT erase the disc).

  • Understand the basic way Mac OSX organizes files and how to find them- Just like on Windows machines, the Macs allow you to save and organize files in folders.  You can find your folders and files at anytime by using the Finder icon (the smiley face shown here) to browse for your file.   You can save files to the desktop, hard drive (indicated by the silver icon shown here) or to an external device like a USB jump drive. To move files you can click and drag the file icon to a new location or copy and paste it to create a duplicate version. You can also change the way you view the list of files within a folder by clicking the different options in the top left of the finder windo.


  • Know how to adjust sound, screen resolution, and other properties- You can make a number of adjustments to the computer's properties by opening the System Preferences window (by clicking on the light switch icon in the dock). Here, you can change the desktop picture, the screen resolution, the dock properties, the speed of the mouse, the volume, and several other features.



  • Know how to burn CDs and DVDs- The Macs come with software for burring CDs and DVDs that let you simply insert a blank disc, move the files to the disc, and then burn it by dragging it to the trash can icon. However, burning discs this way does not make Windows compatible files (at least not easily). Instead, you should use a program called Toast to make CDs. To do this, launch Toast (represented by the toaster icon in the dock) and drag all files to the pop-up window. When all of your files have been copied to the Toast window, insert a blank disc and click on the big red "Burn Disc" icon in the lower righthand corner. This program also burns DVDs, though if you are creating a video, you may want to use iDVD because it allows you to create interactive menus for navigating through the disc's contents.

Software
The Design Center contains a wide array of graphic design, web, video, and audio editing software. Many of these applications, such as Photoshop and Final Cut Pro are powerful, professional level pieces of software that you will have difficulty finding elsewhere on campus. Take advantage of these resources by familiarizing yourself with what's available. The following is a list of applications categorized by the main purpose for each. Additional information on what individual pieces of software can do and how to use them are available in the reference books.


Graphic Design and Page Layout

  • Adobe Photoshop- This is an industry standard graphic design and editing application. It allows users to create and/or edit images in multiple formats for print, web, and multimedia projects.


  • Adobe ImageReady- This application, bundled with Photoshop, can be used to optimize images for the web and to create quick animation files.



  • Adobe Illustrator- As its name implies, this applications allows users to create sophisticated illustrations using a variety of drawing tools. This application creates vector graphics (as opposed to the bit-mapped graphics created by Photoshop) which can be resized without distortion.


  • Adobe InDesign- This application, previously know as PageMaker, is used to create a variety of page designs and layouts. Users can design complex, multi page documents including newsletters, brochures, reports, and manuscripts.


  • Macromedia Fireworks- This application is used to create and optimize images for the web. Similar to ImageReady, this software can also be used to build simple animations and to design drop-down menus for web sites.


  • Art Director's Toolkit- This application allows users to preview typeface, color, and symbol options for use in projects.




  • Fontbook- This application allows user to preview and categorize typefaces to facilitate easier selection of appropriate fonts for a project.




  • Apple iPhoto- This application automatically downloads and stores photos from digital cameras. It allows for basic photo editing, such as cropping, color balance, and red eye reduction. It is also designed to function seamlessly with other Apple applications such as iMovie.





Web Development Applications

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver- This is one of the best, easiest to use HTML-editing programs for creating web pages. Users can edit pages visually or directly in the code and adding elements such as graphics, flash movies, or videos requires only the click of a button.


  • Adobe GoLive- This application, designed to work seamlessly with other Adobe Creative Suite software, is used to design and create web pages.





Multimedia Applications

  • Macromedia Flash- This is an innovative application for creating interactive multimedia, primarily for output on the web. Using the timeline and keyframes, this software allows users to choreograph animations and design opportunities for user interaction.


  • Apple Motion- This application is used to create interactive motion graphics, primarily for use in the navigation and interface of DVDs. Creating motion and effects on objects is achieved by simply clicking and dragging motion and filter behaviors to the objects.


  • Apple Keynote- Similar to PowerPoint, this is a template-based application for creating dynamic presentations.




  • Microsoft PowerPoint- This template-based application is used to create presentations incorporating text, visuals, audio, and even video.




Digital Video Editing

  • Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express- These are powerful, high-end consumer digital video editing applications. In addition to standard editing tools for editing clips, adding transitions, incorporating audio, and creating text/title screens, these applications allow sophisticated adjustment of things like playback speed and color correction/enhancement.



  • Apple iMovie HD- This extremely easy to use application offers basic but useful video editing capabilities. In addition to editing video clips, the application also provides transitions for between scenes, additional audio tracks for importing music or voiceover, text/title screen creation, and output to a variety of file formats.




  • Apple LiveType - This application is used to create special effects title screens for movies, movie credit, broadcast advertisements, and the web.




  • Apple iDVD and DVD Studio Pro- This application includes pre-set and editable templates for creating navigable menus on DVDs.







Music and Audio Editing

  • Apple Garageband- This application allows users to create music with a diversity of computer-based instruments or through attaching instruments to the computer externally.




  • Soundtrack and Soundtrack Pro- This is a powerful, multi-track audio editing application. Containing a library of over 5,000 sound effects, music loops, and instrumental clips, users can create their own music, edit audio from external sources, or modify soundtracks in conjunction with digital video.



  • Apple iTunes- This application is most useful for obtaining Podcasts, importing music from CDs for listening or using in other applications, and for converting audio files to the popular MP3 format.



Web Browsers
The following are web browsers installed on all Design Center machines, though others may be available:

  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Netscape

 


Utilities

  • Roxio Toast- This application allows users to burn CDs and DVDs that are Mac and Windows compatible.





  • Canon CanoScan Toolbox- This application is used in conjunction with the Canon LiDE scanner to create scanned images. It allows users to select settings (color, resolution, size, etc.) appropriate to the scanned item and its intended output.



  • Preview- Similar to Acrobat Reader, this is a quick opening application with basic functions for viewing .PDFs, .JPGs, .PSDs and other standard document formats.




  • Dashboard and Widgets- Part of the Dashboard in Mac OSX 10.4, widgets can be accessed by pressing F12. Pre-loaded mini-applications include a dictionary/thesaurus, a calendar, sticky notes, and a calculator. Thousands of additional widgets, for everything from sports scores to mini-games to flight trackers, have been created by Mac enthusiasts which can be downloaded at http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/



  • StuffIt Expander- Expands or decompresses files that have been zipped to achieve smaller file size.





  • DVD Player- Placing a DVD into the computer should automatically launch this program to play it using standard DVD buttons for control of playback.





Word Processing/Document Creation/Spreadsheet Applications:

  • Microsoft Word- This is the standard word processing, text creation application. Includes basic text editing, layout, and collaboration tools.




  • TextEdit- Similar to Wordpad, this is a very simplistic word processing application.




  • Adobe Acrobat Professional- This application is used to edit and create PDFs which allows users to maintain exact document layout in a file format that is cross-platform compatible.





  • Excel- Spreadsheet application for creating tables which often require mathematical calculations.

 

 


Hardware

  • Know what external equipment is available and how to connect these with the computers- The Design Center has a variety of equipment that can used in the Center or checked out by English Department graduate students. These technology resources include:
    • MiniDV digital video cameras (supply your own tapes) and tripods (connects via FireWire cable)

    • 3.2 megapixel digital camera (connects via USB cable)

    • Flatbed scanner (with attachment for scanning slides and negatives) (connects via USB cable)

    • Sony MiniDisc audio recorder (connects to PCs via USB cable)

    • iPods and external microphones (for voice recording and data storage during projects) (connects via USB cable)

    • 6"x8" Wacom graphics tablet (connects via USB cable)

    • web video camera and software for online video conferencing (connects via USB cable)

    • studio headphones (for sound editing) (connects via headphone/audio out jack)

    • 320 GB external hard drive (connects via FireWire and USB cables)

    • Green screen and neutral color collapsible background screen
  • Note: most equipment connected via USB do not require external power sources because they are using power via the computer.

     

  • Know how to reset the computers in case of application and operating system crashes- Macs are generally highly stable and not prone to crashes, but they can occur occasionally. If an application freezes (usually indicated by the spinning beach ball of death), there are two ways to force quit. First, you can click and hold on the application's icon in the dock until a pop-up menu appears. Still holding down the mouse button, select Force Quit.

    The second way to force quit is to click on the desktop, go to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select force quit. A pop-up window will allow you to choose which application(s) you would like to quit.

    Very rarely, the entire computer will freeze. If this happens, you can restart the machine by pressing and holding the power button until you hear the computer shut down. Wait about 20 seconds before restarting.

 

 

Printer Operation
  • Be able to name the printers connected to Design Center computers, to identify their locations, and to print documents to different printers- You can print to two different printers from the Design Center. You should choose the one that is appropriate to your needs.

    In the Center, you can print color documents to the HP PhotoSmart 8750. This is a wide format inkjet printer that can output a variety of paper sizes and types (you can set this in the print window). These print cartridges get expensive, though so please be responsible about the amount of documents you print to it and by printing test copies at lower quality settings. Also, this printer shuts off automatically to conserve power, so you will likely need to turn it on every time you want to print.

    For laser quality color documents, you can print to the HP Color Laserjet 3800 printer by the iMacs.

    To select the printer you would like to use, use the Printer drop-down menu in the printer window (the one that pops up when you go to File>Print in all applications.

 

Appendix: Tutorials and Resource Books

Sound for Digital Video

Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide

Adobe Creative Suite 2 Classroom in a Book

Essential Digital Video Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Making Videos That Make Money- Focal Press

Making Movies with Final Cut Express by Rubin, Michael

Making iMovies

Photoshop CS2 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide

Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X : Visual QuickStart Guide

Developing Digital Short Films

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh : Visual QuickStart Guide

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh : Visual QuickStart Guide

The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web

Adobe Illustrator CS2 Classroom in a Book

Final Cut Pro 5 for Mac OS X : Visual QuickPro Guide

Robin Williams Web Design Workshop

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger : Visual QuickStart Guide

Real World Digital Video (2nd Edition)

Podcast Solutions

Apple Pro Training Series: Soundtrack

InDesign CS2 Visual Quickstart Guide