Friday, September 29, 2006

PARKVIEW PANTHERS STUDIO: "Thank You, Cartoon Network!"

Cartoon Network LogoOn behalf of the Communications Technology students and myself at Parkview Secondary School, I'd like to publicly acknowledge the generous donation made to Parkview Panthers Studio by the kind folks at the Cartoon Network.

My aspiring Grade 9 animation students were delighted to discover a set of 5 plastic figurines from the popular series Codename: Kids Next Door. They immediately went to work using these to practice their stop-motion animation skills.

We also received a couple of signed posters advertising the network's new animated series Class of 3000 (Premiering on Friday, November 3rd).

All of these resources will help inspire my students and enhance their education. Thank you, Cartoon Network!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Parkview Panthers Studio

Monday, September 18, 2006

HOW TO: Install Mustek A3 USB Scanner in Microsoft Windows Vista

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Thanks to all the readers who've sent me comments via e-mail. Please note that an updated version of this workaround is now available here!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm now in the process of testing Microsoft's final major pre-release of Windows Vista, Release Candidate 1 (RC1). In a future post, I'll review some of the pro's and con's that I see for cartoonists and multimedia designers like myself who might be debating whether upgrading is worth it, but first ...

Mustek's A3 USB ScanExpress is not compatible with Windows Vista.

At least, that's the official word from Mustek's Tech Support.

However, the A3 USB ScanExpress makes a wonderfully econonmic tabloid scanner (capable of scanning documents up to 11" x 17"). Not being able to use this device in Windows Vista would be ... well, disappointing.

But there's hope ...

This installer is only for Windows 98, Windows 95 OSR, Windows 2000 and Windows XP ... Or is it?

If you try installing the Mustek A3 USB driver (available here) under Windows Vista, you'll receive the following error message:

Even with Vista's Program Compatibility Wizard, the same error occurs.

The workaround is to make Windows Vista think that it is an older operating system (ex. Windows 2000) by temporarily changing the system's registry.

Windows Vista / Mustek A3 USB Workaround ...

This is actually based on an old trick that I've used several times in the past to install software under Windows XP, however, rookies should not attempt it without a computer geek's supervision :)

(1) Run the REGISTRY EDITOR. ("regedit.exe")

(2) Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

(3) Rename the key "ProductName" from "Windows Vista (TM) Ultimate" to "Microsoft Windows 2000".

(4) Install the Mustek A3 USB driver for Windows 2K/XP.

(5) When installation has completed, undo the registry changes.

(6) Power the scanner and connect USB cable. Windows Vista will proceed with detecting and installing the scanner.

(7) Click the Start Button and navigate to All Programs -> ScanExpress A3 USB -> Direct Scan*
(* C:\Windows\twain_32\L3U16\WATCH.exe)

Congratulations! You can now use the Mustek A3 USB ScanExpress in Microsoft Windows Vista.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Friday, September 15, 2006

Microsoft Windows Vista - RC1

Being an avid computer technology junkie, I decided to join Microsoft's Customer Preview Program a few months ago to test their upcoming operating system, Windows Vista.

After downloading the latest beta software, Release Candidate 1 (a.k.a. "RC1"), I must admit that the installation was fast and flawless. I look forward to seeing whether this new monster will convince me to remain a loyal Windows user, or follow my gut and buy a Mac to suit my multimedia needs.

Now, let's see how this thing handles my scanner and tablet ...

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

PARKVIEW PANTHERS STUDIO: "Thank You, Washington Post Writers Group!"

Washington Post Writers Group LogoOn behalf of the Communications Technology students and myself at Parkview Secondary School, I'd like to publicly acknowledge the generous donation made to Parkview Panthers Studio by the kind folks at the comic strip syndicate, The Washington Post Writers Group.

Earlier this week, we were delighted to receive copies of several different media press kits used by the syndicate's sales reps to promote their comic strip features to newspaper editors. Included in each kit were daily and coloured Sunday strip samples from popular WPWG features including: Bo Nanas by John Kovaleski, Candorville by Darrin Bell, Opus by Berkeley Breathed, Out of the Gene Pool by Matt Janz, Pickles by Brian Crane, Red and Rover by Brian Basset, and the all new Watch Your Head by Cory Thomas.

These press kits are a wonderful because they not only show students different packaging and design layouts, but they can also be used as literacy resources. All of them will help inspire my students and enhance their education. Thank you, WPWG!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Parkview Panthers Studio

Friday, September 08, 2006

PARKVIEW PANTHERS STUDIO: "Thank You, Teletoon!"

Teletoon LogoOn behalf of the Communications Technology students and myself at Parkview Secondary School, I'd like to publicly acknowledge the generous donation made to Parkview Panthers Studio by the kind folks at TELETOON, Canada's animation station.

Among the classroom resources we received were stickers, posters, rulers, as well as DVDs of the popular animated shows: 6Teen, Braceface, and Delta State.

In addition, I was personally delighted to receive a copy of the TELETOON Creative Sparks School Program teacher's manual -- a binder packed with an array of different cartoon and animation related activities.

All of these resources will help inspire my students and enhance their education. Thank you, TELETOON!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Parkview Panthers Studio

Saturday, September 02, 2006

OPENING SOON: Parkview Panthers Studio



School officially begins for many of us on Tuesday (Sept. 5th).

I'm happy to announce that when the doors re-open at Parview Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, our Communications Technology students in grades 9 through 12 will be part of the new PARKVIEW PANTHERS STUDIO -- a fun and exciting opportunity for students to learn about various multimedia technologies with a strong focus on animation production.

In our studio, students will work on everything from character design and storyboarding, to different animation styles such as classical, stop-motion, claymation, pixillation, Flash, and even rotoscoping. In the end, students will leave with a portfolio of skills they can transfer to various Communication Technology careers, or other pathways.

This will be my first year at Parkview, and I'm looking very forward to joining a school community where students have a passion for cartooning and animation. For example, students here already enjoy a lunchtime Manga club! And from what I've seen through the artwork displayed around the school, many of our students are very creative and have fruitful imaginations.

Being a vocational school, Parkview specializes in a "school-to-work" approach to student learning. While our Comm-Tech students will enjoy plenty of learning, they'll gain their knowledge, skills, and experiences by working in a studio environment that promotes creativity, imagination, and teamwork -- PARKVIEW PANTHERS STUDIO.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope