James at Lloud

Works and thoughts about digital communication & education

Professional Objectives video

This project emerged from a re-design of my resume which included a clarification of my professional objectives.  Professional objectives have fallen a bit from favor in the modern job hunt but this was something that was very useful in my job hunt and I wanted to create a project that was both a statement and an example.

I wanted to use a variety of tools and include work with virtual learning environments so I chose to perform this as an avatar in Second Life.

How it Was Done

For this project I even made a video describing how it was done:

Simple Logo Animation

My objective for this project was to use the simplest of tools to create a logo animation video as a demonstration for non-profit clients.

How it Was Done

I started with a logo I had designed for my consulting work which I re-created using the drawing tools in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.  I then used the animation features of PowerPoint to ‘build’ the logo from its drawing components while displaying descriptive words related to the organization.  This was probably the most difficult part as working with PowerPoint animation can be very frustrating.  Why is PowerPoint animation frustrating?  I believe the single biggest improvement Microsoft could make to PowerPoint animation would be to add layer controls – most importantly to be able to hide and show layers.  The program already uses layers as evidence by the ‘sent to back’ and ‘send to front’ options. Unfortunately everything is on screen at the same time which makes it very difficult to modify any individual component of the animation.  Other tools do have this ability, but my objective was to remain in a tool that is commonly already in use in most non-profit organizations.

After completing the visual components I added two subtle sound effects.  Then I used the option in PowerPoint to save as a video – in this case a .wmv file.  This file can now be imported into other video projects, even to Microsoft Movie Maker which is a free download for Windows computers.  I uploaded the .wmv file to Youtube where it is easily shared and displayed.

Video Protocol

This project was used in conjunction with a classroom event known as PromeTech where global employee scientists convened in Madison to experience hands-on laboratories and lectures about the products. While the goal is to gain experience handling the product, many protocols simply take too much time to fit into an in-person agenda. This video was produced to show all of the steps involved up to the point where the learners in the classroom would begin. In actuality, the lab trainers did all of the steps presented in the video and had the prepared plates ready for the learners to finish the protocol.

Flash video
Click to play, but know that it is a VERY large file (50mb)

If you have time to watch this to the end, look for the smiley in the lower right corner and click it to see some scientistical humor.

Animated Protocols

When asked what was made at Promega I often said, “tiny bottles of liquid.” This is quite true and while on the surface seems underwhelming, these were in fact very carefully manufactured vials of liquid. And as important as any of the manufactured liquids, was the knowledge of how that liquid would behave and how to manipulate the liquid with success. In this way our products were quite literally ‘knowledge’ as well as materials.

In molecular biology success is assured by carefully following the correct Protocol in using the reagents. For products to have a competitive edge in the marketplace, they need to be faster, safer or generate greater quantities of output.

This animation project was part of a training designed to emphasize how much faster the featured protocol is compared to the more commonly practiced method. Two separate Flash movies were created of each protocol and placed side-by-side on screen for comparison. The learner would click the start button and observe an audio/visual synposis of the protocol.

animated protocol thumnail image

View Standard Protocol ||  View Featured Protocol

Other than audio production, this project was completed entirely in Adobe Flash.  It was scripted in PowerPoint which provided some clip-art visual design guidelines.

Kit Components

This project was an initiative I took after speaking with the global employee scientists who were our online learners.  These folks worked in small branch and distributor offices around the world and they often would have to support a product without having seen or touched the components.  So with this project I planned to prototype a method to experience a typical group of products bundled as a kit.  The animation was completed and included in an online, asynchronous training course.

[2008 :: Adobe Flash – sound & voice, interactive exploration]
(click on the image to view the actual Flash movie)

Kit Components thumbnail image

I employed a fun variety of tools to assemble this project.  The photography was quite a challenge.   I build a custom stand to support the bottles with very thin wire and photograph each bottle in 8 positions of rotation.  It was also difficult to get the level of the liquid to appear inside of white bottles and so I experimented with a variety of background colors and illumination to have the amount of reagent in each bottle plain to see.  Assembling the audio and visual elements in Flash was comparatively easy.

I really enjoyed making this animation, but leadership decided that it took too long to produce and no other similar projects were started.  The learners really enjoyed it and anecdotally reported that it was very effective for understanding what customers on the phone might be holding in their hands.

Molecular Biology Central Dogma

This animation describes what molecular biologists refer to as the ‘Central Dogma’ – the basic principle of how DNA and RNA make creatures like ourselves. 

[November 2006 :: Adobe Flash – no audio, click-thru sequence]
(click on the image to view the actual Flash movie)

thumbnail image of Central Dogma animation

This animation was created to support training for people who maintained an instrument known as a ‘particle handler’.  The instrument is used to automate procedures in molecular biology, which is a vastly different discipline from the background of electronics and motors needed to service the instrument.

The animation was written by my colleague, Dee C. who is a molecular biologist working as instructional designer on our team.  Dee also provided graphic design as can be seen in the script (click the script image to view a .pdf copy).  I contributed to the script and performed all production and distribution of the media using Adobe Flash, PowerPoint, and Adobe Connect Pro as the final container.

About The Author

James Chris Lloyd

 Learning Technologist
 - Instructional Design
 - Media Production
 - Curricular Analysis
 - Communities of Practice
 - Virtual Environments

"I can make it work."


Favored Quotes

"Early adopters are like indian scouts - they often return with arrows in their backs - just don't take it personally."

"If you can't be handsome you'd better be handy."

"Life is a journey."