By: Elise O’Keefe
The RND is full of amazing tools that can be used in class, during clubs, or just if one is curious. Using my experience with some of the RND tools I have compiled a bit of advice on how to take advantage of all the tools we have access to.
Adobe: Did you know that Beaver provides every student with a free Creative Cloud account upon request? This gives you access to apps such as Photoshop (for photo editing), Illustrator (for online drawings), After Effects (for video editing), and more. These apps give you the opportunity to explore the technological arts. For example, Photoshop allows you access to numerous editing skills, and can be used from anything from editing things out of a photo, editing in surreal effects, adding filters or even bringing your view for an art piece to life (and deciding what you may change about it before you create it or even having the photoshop as your art). I’ve done and seen many creative uses of Photoshop, and this is one of the many apps you have access to. Let your creativity show!
Laser Cutter: I have used the laser cutter for a variety of projects in my classes. From laser cutting stencils for Art to laser cutting a hockey table from Geometry, the laser cutter is versatile. Using OnShape (an online website which Beaver provides you an account with), I have been able to create detailed pieces that laser-cut exactly how I intend. Although it seems intimidating at first, the laser cutter is simple to use after going through the process with a teacher or peer. If you ever want to use the laser cutter, there is always a member of the Design Level Staff, such as Ms. Everson or Mr. MacDonald, in the area who is more than happy to help you learn how to use this cool tool!
Plotter: The plotter is something that a majority of us have experience with, but it’s a great tool to learn how to use. It gives you the ability to design a poster entirely online and transfer it to a big print. This creates clean and neat posters that you can even collaborate on from different locations. For example, if my partner and I had a poster due that we were using the plotter for, we could both work on it at home to make sure we have enough time to get it to its best potential. I have created posters for many classes, such as an infographic for Biology and an argumentative thesis poster for English. What makes this different from a normal printer is the scale. A normal printer prints small sheets of paper, but the plotter prints large scale designs 24×36. This makes your ideas even more eye catching and is definitely worth the try.
3D Printer: This tool is also intimidating at first, but is a breeze to use once you get the hang of it. You can use OnShape as well, and model 3D designs that you can print right at our school. These lightweight prints can be small or big and you can even choose different colors. I have created small scale designs like small houses for a History project to a 3D printed base for a Physics circuit project.
QR Codes:This is one of the lesser known possibilities of how you can use the materials in the RND center, but you can create your own QR codes and implement it into the different materials. I didn’t know about custom QR codes until I was able to print codes to link videos to my poster about Forensics. You can print these on regular paper, the plotter, and even the laser cutter. This allows you to take your multimedia project to the next levelTo do this, google “custom QR code”, click on the first website, and place your link and screenshot!
Wix: Wix is a website that lets your create…well …websites! This can be used to create blogs to showcase your art or spread awareness and information for an international problem. Whatever it may be, it is very user friendly and allows you to create personalized working websites.
Even if it isn’t for a class, the Design team is always ready to help you learn how to use the numerous tools available and acquire new skills. So, if you have the option or you’re curious, I encourage you to try the tools in the RND. You can do this in your free time, for a class project (and if you do want to use these tools, teachers are very flexible to allow you to try new things), or even in clubs that meet Friday G-Block such as desiGn lab, which is a peer group that helps you learn new tools and coding technique