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first_img Class of 2024 yield drops marginally Chan School’s Healthy Buildings Program leader expects biggest challenge will be compliance by all Pandemic threatens to veer out of control in U.S., public health experts say I think the other way to think about this is to look at student work when you can. And that’s just hard to do with the big state colleges where they’re spending about six or seven minutes per application because they have 60,000 applications. But again, if a third-party organization took that on it would be possible to do with that organization.Then there are things like the Mastery Transcript Consortium. They’re trying to shift away from traditional grades and have assessments that are based on the mastery of certain skills and knowledge. I think more and more high schools are going to start to turn to those kinds of things. And my sense is that more colleges will start to use the Mastery Transcript as an alternative to grades.GAZETTE: What are “soft skills” and how do they play a role in the college application process?WEISSBOURD: I am not a big fan of the term because these are really not soft skills. There’s quite a lot of data that things like self-awareness, curiosity, diligence, perspective-taking, social awareness, collaborative skills, are all really important for college and career success. (Interpersonal, and social emotional, and ethical skills, and being a responsible member of your community and acting with integrity are also connected to work success.) So these are things that are really important to measure if you’re a college and you’re trying to figure out whether a student will be successful at your school. Many of these skills are tied to engagement in college and engagement in college is a strong predictor of work success. So these are important for schools to measure, and colleges really need to pilot a lot of different kinds of measures of these different skills and do a good job defining them and defining what constitutes evidence of them in an application. They need to think about different kinds of assessments, whether those are written assessments or brief interviews, or video prompts, a variety of things. And again, I think this is a year to experiment with a lot of these things.GAZETTE: Are there other kinds of experiments that you think might be helpful in identifying these kinds of traits?WEISSBOURD: There may be different types of recommendation forms and additional recommenders that will help colleges find out more about these traits. Maybe you reach out to other recommenders in addition to teachers, including peers or sports coaches, so you are getting multiple recommendations or just rating sheets from different people and looking at where there’s convergence on certain traits.Part of the problem with recommendations is that they tend to be inflated. People rate things highly on every measure. But what if you said to recommenders, “Name the four characteristics that most describe this person,” so you have to choose between different characteristics? And then you look at which of those characteristics turns out to be most predictive of success at your college over time? So there are a lot of different ways to think about this. Another idea is to come up with an alternative to the SAT/ACT that doesn’t advantage privileged kids in the same way. I’m not advocating for any particular alternative. I’m just advocating for trying and seeing what happens. My guess is that we can do this in ways that are more just and more accurate and create less stress on students. Healthy buildings expert outlines recommendations for school reopenings The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.center_img COVID-19 fears leave some students opting to defer until 2025 With COVID now in more isolated spaces, there’s greater potential for it to take off Applying to college is stress-filled during the best of times. But in the age of coronavirus, the annual effort by high school students to combine their grades, recommendations, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal essays into standout applications has sent anxiety levels soaring. Some high schools have gone to pass/fail grading, sparking fears about the fallout for GPAs; many extracurriculars have been canceled; and dozens of colleges, including Harvard, have waived standardized tests as a requirement for Class of 2025 applicants, raising concerns among those who feel particularly confident about their test-taking skills. Last week, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a statement from more than 300 college admissions deans, including William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard College’s dean of admissions and financial aid, that aims to ease fears by clarifying what the administrators value in applicants during such uncertain times. The Gazette spoke with Richard Weissbourd, faculty director for Making Caring Common’s Turning the Tide, an HGSE initiative focused on underscoring what is important in college admissions, about the statement and how admissions might permanently change in the wake of the pandemic.Q&ARichard WeissbourdGAZETTE: Why did you feel it was important to release this statement from the deans?WEISSBOURD: There are several reasons, including the misinformation swirling out there. A lot of people have anxieties and questions because it’s such an uncertain time with the SAT and ACT being canceled until the fall, many schools going pass-fail, and other changes. So, it was partly to respond to that anxiety and the deans feeling that they could post things on their websites and communicate with parents individually, but that if they spoke collectively, it might break through a lot of the misinformation and provide reassurance and clarity to students and parents.Two other things that we were very interested in, and something we work a lot on with admissions deans at Making Caring Common, are equity and assessing context. It’s really important to understand the challenges that kids are facing, to acknowledge that those challenges have suddenly become much bigger, and that you can’t really assess kids fairly unless you understand that context. For example, if a kid is taking care of a sick relative 20 hours a week or supervising a younger sibling 20 hours a week and they’re just getting to their schoolwork and getting B’s and C’s, that’s really impressive and that’s often not captured in an application. Right now kids are home all the time, they may not have a quiet place to read, and they may not have access to the internet. These are the kinds of additional challenges that have been piled on. As a matter of equity, I think deans need to assess and take into account those challenges. The statement encourages students to report these challenges and obstacles and reassures students that what they write will be confidential and will only lead to a more positive review of their applications. A lot of students don’t think to report obstacles in their lives for a variety of reasons, and so we felt encouraging them is very important.The deans also really authentically want to communicate the message that self-care is important, that students should be gentle with themselves, and that during this difficult time, the goal is not doing extraordinary service of some kind. They want to make it clear that helping address issues with COVID-19 or working for racial justice or registering people to vote are clearly valuable ways to spend one’s time for those who are able. But they don’t want to create a pandemic service Olympics where students are seeking out high-profile opportunities to bolster their resumes. They also want students to know they will primarily base the evaluation of their academic achievements on their work before and after the pandemic.GAZETTE: Do you think this is a moment for admissions offices to consider reforming the college application process?WEISSBOURD: I hope so. I hope this is a laboratory moment, a moment where people really try different things and see what the outcome is of trying those different things. A silver lining in this pandemic is that it has created opportunities to rethink and reimagine many things, and college admissions is one of them. A lot of colleges are not going to have standardized test results for many students. And so they’re going to have to figure out alternative forms of assessment or look more deeply into the data that they do have. And what if it turns out that having the SAT or ACT didn’t matter, that they’re still admitting pools of students who are just as engaged and doing just as well without students having to experience the stress and stigma of the high-stakes testing? I think it’s an opportunity to try forms of assessment that don’t clearly favor those with privilege. It’s also an opportunity for admission offices that can do it to try things like short online interviews, or to have students respond to brief prompts on video. It would also be great if an organization emerged that could evaluate actual student work.,GAZETTE: When you say student work, what do you mean exactly?WEISSBOURD: What I mean is a high school student’s sample of their writing or a piece of their music or art. There’s a lot of focus these days on performance assessment, meaning that what high school students should be sharing with colleges are actual examples of their work. The problem is that a lot of colleges don’t have the capacity to evaluate that work. So if there was a third party who could evaluate that material and give the information to colleges, that would be a great thing. And some of the deans are calling for that. And I think that could be really important in the era of coronavirus when information about grades is going to be compromised. It’s hard to evaluate grades when there’s been such unevenness in how schools have responded to this pandemic. I think the college admissions deans are going to have to get really creative about thinking about other ways to do this. And those other ways might turn out to be better in the end.GAZETTE: In the wake of the pandemic, there have been some problems administering the SAT, and more and more colleges are choosing to make the test optional. Can you talk a little bit more about the SAT and its advantages and disadvantages?WEISSBOURD: The SAT appears to be more useful in predicting success at some colleges than others. For example, at MIT your math score may be a good predictor of success. At other colleges, it looks like the SAT/ACT are really not helpful. I do think there’s a real danger that if you get rid of the SAT/ACT, affluent parents will just find other ways to game the system that won’t do anything to make the playing field any more level. They might even make it less level. You get rid of the SAT/ACT and the attention turns to the number of AP courses you have, or the number of high-profile awards you received, or the number of leadership positions you hold or the number of community-service organizations you started. That’s what you don’t want to have happen because wealthy families will have lots of advantages. They can pay for expensive tutors, and they’ll have greater access to these opportunities for their kids. So without standardized tests, I think it is on colleges to really develop forms of assessment that are more fair and equitable and less vulnerable to that kind of gaming. And that’s a hard thing to do. But I think this is the year to really think hard about how to do that.GAZETTE: What other ways can college administrators assess student achievement?WEISSBOURD: One is by understanding grades in context and weighting them accordingly. Many kids have serious family responsibilities or are working to support their families many hours a week. That’s part of the evaluation of the student and it’s weighted. You look at a B from that student differently than you would look at a B from a student who doesn’t have those kinds of responsibilities. “[The deans] don’t want to create a pandemic service Olympics where students are seeking out high-profile opportunities to bolster their resumes.” Relatedlast_img read more

first_imgWith a lifestyle like this, who wouldn’t want to live in Hervey Bay? Picture: Lachie Millard.HERVEY BAY in Queensland has been selected as the affordable regional centre in Australia with the best future price growth prospects.The area was selected above other strong contenders, Launceston in Tasmania, Armidale in New South Wales, The Mitchell Shire in Victoria and Albury-Wodonga on the New South Wales/Victoria border.INVESTORS PREFER BRISBANEThis three-bedroom home at 14 Craig Crescent, Pialba is listed for only $325,000. Picture: realestate.com.auTerry Ryder of Hotspotting said he selected Hervey Bay because it had a lot going for it.There was affordable housing and major infrastructure projects including $455 million to be spent on new solar farms, an $87 million digital hospital, $116 million shopping centre expansion and the $660 million Mary Harbour development.Mr Ryder said typical house prices in the region were affordable.In Pialba a typical house price was about $285,000, Torquay, $330,000 and Urangan $317,000.Mr Ryder said Hervey Bay had been showing signs of elevated sales activity in the past twelve to 18 months.“I think Hervey Bay is an opportunity,’’ he said.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor8 hours agoHe only considered areas for his Cheapies with Prospects report that had some growth drivers as well as being affordable and Hervey Bay fit that criteria.“It has had improvements in its economy and some real infrastructure that has come in such as medical facilities,’’ he said.Mr Ryder said one of the things helping the local economy in the background was a revitalisation of the resources sector in Queensland and its impact on Hervey Bay.“We are increasingly seeing projects that were put on the back burner being revived because commodity prices have improved,’’ he said.He said a lot of the workers who would take advantage of that would decide to live in places like Hervey Bay and fly in, fly out.“It has an airport, it is affordable and by the ocean, a beautiful area. It is the sort of place that is going to benefit from that (mining pick up).’’“It is quite a substantial city now and it’s got services commensurate with the size of its population and it is also a popular tourism area for its natural environment.SEXY NEW WAY OF SELLING REAL ESTATEHe said it was “poised for a period of solid price growth’’.As it had lead population growth figures in recent years Mr Ryder said developers had earmarked the area for projects which led to over supply and slow price growth between 2009 and 2012.That had now been absorbed and Mr Ryder said there had been increased sales activity and some movement in rents, with prices starting to follow.last_img read more

first_imgFRANKLIN COUNTY, Ind. — The Franklin County FFA and Franklin County High School Student Council recently hosted a drive called “Give for Gatlinburg,” to collect items for those in need in the Gatlinburg area after the devastating wild fires.The FFA and Student Council students organized a contest among the first period classes at the high school to see which class could contribute the most items per student to the cause.Overall, students from the high school brought in over 2000 items, and were sent with Crum Trucking to Gatlinburg.last_img read more

first_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling” in Arizona, he said.Those two won a World Series in 2001.Beyond the Big Three, Houston’s clubhouse includes many of the same personalities who have made playoff runs in three of the last four years. Alex Bregman (41 homers, 111 RBIs, 1.016 OPS after a solo home run on Friday night) assumes the MVP candidate role that Jose Altuve carried in 2017, when he won it. Altuve, George Springer and Yuli Gurriel are all having stellar offensive seasons. Michael Brantley, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has provided production on the field – his three-run homer in the eighth on Friday night broke the game open – and leadership off of it.One possible glitch: Shortstop Carlos Correa, limited to 75 games by injuries, is currently dealing with back issues, though the Astros hope to have him available for the AL Division Series next week.But then there is the guy who causes Dodger fans to wince, or flinch, when Josh Fields’ name comes up.Yordan Alvarez was a young Cuban outfielder who had yet to play a professional game when the Dodgers, in their ongoing quest for bullpen help, traded him to the Astros in 2016 for Fields. Alvarez started mashing almost from the moment he joined the Astros’ Dominican Summer League team in ’16, and he hasn’t stopped.Angel fans didn’t get to see the full package Friday night; he was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk. But he has a 1.091 OPS and an otherworldly .672 slugging percentage. He has 27 home runs and 78 RBIs in just 305 big league at-bats, and any thought that he would require some sort of learning curve when he was called up from Triple-A was dispelled pretty much immediately, with four homers and eight RBIs in his first five games.“Impact,” reliever Chris Devenski said. “He’s amazing. He’s a fun player to watch.”He is also a rebuttal to the prospects-are-cool/parades-are-cooler mentality, a reminder that sometimes the kids you have to trade for immediate help will haunt you for years to come.Was this trade a blunder the moment it was made? Perhaps not, but the evidence is pretty striking. Fields, who spent 2019 in Triple-A, has a 1.8 career WAR in the big leagues, as calculated by Baseball Reference. Alvarez’s is 3.9 in 85 games.Add to all of this a give-no-quarter approach to the game. Hinch has not ordered an intentional walk since August of 2018, and he talked before Friday night’s game of being similarly aggressive in other strategies.Offensively, for example, you may see Astros hitters in attack mode more often early in games, because opposing pitchers will have shorter leashes.“I’ve said this often to Bregman and George, and we talk about it offensively: Don’t wait around for the next time, because you may not see this pitcher again,” he said. “It’s getting that way in the regular season, let alone the postseason. You can’t spend a lot of time now in the first at-bat assuming you’re going to get another look at this guy. And if you play the likes of Tampa or Oakland, or the way the Dodgers have run their past two postseasons, or the way we did it in ’17, you can’t assume anything.”And defensively, he’ll bring the infield in with a runner on third “very aggressively … in the first three innings,” he said. “It’s not something traditionally teams have done, but I love that our pitchers know that I’m trying to put pressure on their offense. It’s going to be hard to score against us.”Isn’t it hard enough already?Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco So, how much better is this Astros team than the 2017 edition? Hinch declined to compare, but Marisnick wasn’t hesitant.“This team’s ridiculous,” he said. “Look at the rotation. All the way through, it’s hard to find a hole, anywhere.”Moreover, these Astros are battle-hardened, veterans of seven playoff series and a wild-card game over the past four years. The veterans know the drill, and the newcomers pick up on it. There is no panic, just confidence and experience.And then Marisnick said this:“You see a confident group but you still see hunger. You see guys who want to win another World Series, who want to win multiple World Series. They don’t want to stop at just one.”Dodger fans, you’ve been [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter One area of improvement is obvious. Houston’s starting pitching Big Three two years ago was Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and late addition Justin Verlander. Now it’s Verlander, Gerrit Cole and late addition Zack Greinke.Cole and Verlander, who face the Angels the next two games to close out the regular season, are 1-2 in baseball in strikeouts and opponents’ batting average, 1-2 in the American League in ERA and likely 1-2 (in whichever order) in AL Cy Young voting. And while the analytics community has decided that pitching victories should be extinct, or at least irrelevant, Verlander has 20 and Cole 19 – first and tied for second in MLB.Wins do have a practical application. Getting them usually means those starters are pitching deep into games and reducing the stress on the bullpen. Verlander, Cole and Greinke all average more than six innings per start. Greinke is 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 Houston starts after coming over from Arizona, came within two outs of a no-hitter in Seattle Wednesday night and could be Houston’s postseason X-factor.“On a given night, on multiple nights in a row, you run out one of the best pitchers in the game,” Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick said. “The confidence level when they go out is through the roof.”Astros manager AJ Hinch was asked when he last saw two stars at the top of any rotation similar to Verlander and Cole.center_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire ANAHEIM — As the Dodgers embark on their annual quest to end their parade-less streak, now 31 years … well, we might be jumping the gun, and assuming a third straight World Series appearance can be risky. But it never hurts to know your potential enemy.They’re familiar. And scary.The Houston Astros clinched the best record in the American League Friday night with their 4-0 win over the Angels, and they remain a game ahead of the Dodgers for home field edge in a prospective World Series matchup.And that’s not the scary part. These Astros, now 105-55, likely are better – much better – than the Astros who spilled champagne in the Dodger Stadium visitors’ clubhouse on the first night of November in 2017. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

first_imgJohannesburg, Monday 09 April 2018 – Following her passing at age 81 in a Johannesburg hospital on Easter Sunday, Brand South Africa highlights the important role that heroine of freedom, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, played in helping South Africa transition peacefully from apartheid to a stable democracy in 1994. Madikizela-Mandela’s courage to speak her truth and dedicate her life towards fulfilling a vision of an equitable, prosperous, better future for South Africa is what made her a truly powerful icon of freedom. A true patriot, Madikizela-Mandela faced untold hardships during the apartheid years, yet she confronted each with an inner strength and fortitude. It is her courage and bravery as well as fearless commitment to fulfilling the dream of economic and political freedom which will remain her ultimate legacy. “Her spirit, her passion…her courage, her wilfulness: I felt all of these things the moment I saw her,” said former South African President Nelson Mandela of the woman he would later marry.Her dedication to the resistance movement meant she had to push many of her personal goals aside. The first black professional social worker in South Africa, Madikizela-Mandela had been married to Mandela for just a few years, when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1962. Like many black women of her generation, she was forced to become a single mother to her two small daughters and was thrust into the limelight as a ‘political widow’. “We were hardly a year together when history deprived me of you,” she wrote in a letter to Mandela while he was in prison in 1970, published in her autobiography 491 Days, Prisoner Number 1323/69. Madikizela-Mandela took up the challenge of continuing to resist the racism and sexism that defined her generation with a maturity beyond her years.  It was thanks largely to her, that international attention remained focused on the story of Nelson Mandela and the fight against Apartheid while he served out his prison sentence. “Your formidable shadow which eclipsed me left me naked and exposed to the bitter world of a young ‘political widow’. I knew this was a crown of thorns for me but I also knew I said, ‘I Do’ for better or worse. In marrying you I was marrying the struggle of my people,” she wrote to Mandela in 1977, in a letter also published in her autobiography. It was when she was arrested by the apartheid police and taken away from her two daughters, then aged just nine and ten years old, that she was forced to bear the true weight of personal sacrifice for her people. She spent 491 days in detention, much of this in solitary confinement under unimaginably brutal conditions.  Two trials later, she was finally released. “She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband, the perpetual harassment of her family by security forces, detentions, bannings and banishment. Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists,” noted Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate after her passing. Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, once part of the legal team who defended Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said she had an “incredible ability to be able to take on injustice and soak up pain in a way that is not immediately describable.” Madikizela-Mandela traded what could have been a simple life of motherhood and marriage for an active political life.  Instead, she became fondly known as the “Mother of the Nation”, serving as a mentor and mother to many of South Africa’s young activists, including Fikile Mbalula, current chair of the ANC’s subcommittee on elections and Malusi Gigaba, now Minister of Home Affairs, both of whom who lived with Madikizela-Mandela as young members of the party’s Youth League. “Mam’ Winnie lost her innocence because of a struggle she actually didn’t choose, the struggle entrusted upon her by the husband she chose and the people she identified with – the vulnerable people who were discriminated because of apartheid,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in tribute to her. Actress Terry Pheto who played Madikizela-Mandela in the BET drama Madiba, said she grew up looking up to Winnie, because her mother did as well.  “I was very aware of her journey, her struggles and her fights. Because of that, it was important for me to see this role as I’ve always seen her; an important and necessary figure in our time,” Pheto said in an interview in 2017 with HuffPost. Although separated for 27 years while Mandela was in prison, the couple communicated through a series of emotion-filled hand-written letters. In one, also published in 491 Days she wrote: “As you say, our goal is [a] free Africa, my love I have never had any doubts about that.”  It was this vision that inspired the couple to dedicate their lives to fulfilling their dream of a free South Africa. Madikizela-Mandela came to represent the hopes and dreams of millions of oppressed South Africans. “Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her life,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in tribute to Madikizela-Mandela. As South Africa mourns the loss of a brave, courageous leader. We also celebrate her sacrifices and achievements over a lifetime of dedicated service to and making the dream of a free and prosperous South Africa a reality. Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela, who lived with Madikizela-Mandela after her husband Nelson Mandela’s release from prison expressed his sadness saying “It is truly with great sadness to have lost the Mother of the Nation. We are forever grateful for the role she played in securing our freedom. We indeed need to celebrate her legacy.”Hamba Kahle Mama. Please contact Tsabeng Nthite on +27 76 371 6810 if you would like to interview any of the following people about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Brand SA CEO, Dr Kingsley MakhubelaFikile Mbalula, Chair of the ANC’s subcommittee on electionsMalusi Gigaba, Minister of Home AffairsSello Hatang, CEO of Nelson Mandela FoundationDikgang Moseneke, Former Deputy Chief Justice, Terry Pheto, Actress who played Winnie Madikizela-Mandelalast_img read more

first_imgEveryone loves depth of field in their shots. Autodesk Smoke has it’s own Depth of Field Node that can create Depth Blurs on your shots and in your composites.The Action Node is Smoke’s true 3D compositing environment. When Action is used with the Depth of Field (DOF) Node in ConnectFX you can create adjustable blurs to your 3D composites by taking a Z-depth pass from Action and processing it though the DOF node. Z-Depth passes can also be created as a layer pass from 3D applications like Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Cinema 4D. Depth passes are grayscale images where white is used for objects furthest away from the camera and black would be objects closest to the camera (this would be the normal representation, but they can be reversed.) Objects in between would be seen as various shades of gray.  Each shade of gray would place the object at a different depth from the camera.[Click for Larger Image]Smoke’s Depth-of-Field Node:The main element that you’ll need to use the Depth of Field (DOF) Node is a Z-Depth pass.  This can be provided from your 3D application or you can create one in Action by adding an Output pass for Z-Depth. Inside of Action you can use F4 to toggle between your Action outputs. When you have objects or images that have different Z values on the Axis, you will see the shades of gray in the Z-Depth Output.[Click for Larger Image] You can then link via a copy/link expression the camera position from your main Action Camera to the duplicate Action Node’s Camera. So it will mimic any changes.  The Depth of Field Node will create a very nice look and add depth to your composite, but it can be very render intensive.  It’s better to keep your blur values lower and use the camera’s clipping plane or the DOF min/max adjustments to control your depth matte.I hope Premiumbeat’s breakdown of the ConnectFX Nodes in Smoke are providing good information and understanding of how to use these tools. If you have any questions, please fell free to leave a comment below. Under the Z-Depth area, you can set the clipping plane for the MAX white and MIN black values. Think of it as a histogram for the z-depth.  There is also a toggle to set white or black as the far color.   Regardless of your blur, slices, and gamma settings thus far, you can clamp the effect of the blur by setting the Max Blur Value. This can help with rendering as too high of settings for blur, combined with slices and depth of your matte can produce some extreme render times.The Depth-O-Gram, with a bit of a silly name, is where the main focus (pun intended) of the DOF node lies.  The Depth-O-Gram will display the Z-Depth Matte in histogram fashion.  You can use the Z Plot button and select a point on your image.  This will show up as a line in the Depth-O-Gram.  The Yellow line is the Focus Plane. you can move the yellow line to your plot point to make that point the point that is in focus. The Blue and Red lines are the Focus Range. Objects within this range will also be in focus, depending on other settings.  But it gives you an area to work in.  This Focus Range can be adjusted to create a very narrow focus range or to widen it out.  This begins to give you a great deal of flexibility in giving your scene the look you want.  The Focus Plane and Ranges are keyframeable. So it’s possible to shift or roll the focus as your camera and objects move.  As you move the yellow focus plane through the Depth-O-Gram you will see your objects highlight in your scene with Yellow, Blue and Red as the focus planes cross through them.[Click for Larger Image] Back at the main UI, you start to get in to the settings that affect the quality of the DOF that will be created.  Adjusting the Slices number will change the interpolation of the change in values in the Z-Depth Matte. You can see the relationship in the Depth-O-Gram as the dark and light gray vertical bars. The Overlap values will control the about of overlap between the slices. The Edge Artifacts controls the amount of mixing between the object edges with the foreground and the background elements. You would adjust these values to clear up an artifacts in the blur along the edges.[Click for Larger Image] You may wonder why Action doesn’t incorporate Z-Depth within itself instead of running everything through a 2nd node?  The DOF Node gives you greater flexibility to control the depth of field in your scene. Also, ConnectFX can be used to add DOF to 3D generated scenes from a 3D software with a Z-Depth Pass. Processing a DOF blur in the compositing phase is much more efficient than rendering in the 3D App. It will take less time and you can control the amount of blur.Pro ConnectFX Tip:The Z-Depth Output from Action is controlled by the clipping planes of the Action Camera. Object at different Z Depths will create a different looking Z Depth Output when the Action Cameras far plane is 10,000 pixels vs 2,000 pixels.  What does this mean?  If you have a very large 3D scene with objects at great Z-depths, and you have had to lengthen the cameras far plane to see your objects you will create a very subtle depth matte. The differences between values will be very slight and you won’t be able to get a shallow depth of field look if you wanted it.[Click for Larger Image] One tip to control the look of your Z-Depth Matte is to copy your Action Node, output the Z-Depth Output from the duplicate node, and adjust the far plane to get a depth matte that works for you. Since ConnectFX is now processing everything at 16bit fp, it really helps with getting a good Z-Depth output. If you are working in 8 bit, make sure you switch the Action rendering in Node Prefs to 16 bit.  The Z-Depth Output menu in Action has a few other settings to help create the best Z-Depth Matte.  Turn Off Anti-aliasing and the Tolerance setting – which will adjust the value at which the alpha is included in the depth of the output.[Click for Larger Image]This setting will help with transparent objects in your scene.  Once you have your settings, you can feed the Action Outputs into the Depth-of-Field Node.The general UI for the DOF node can be overwhelming, but like most of the node interfaces in Smoke, they generally work left to right.[Click for Larger Image]The Blur & Blooming settings will adjust the blur values and the amount of Bokeh effect.  You have 2 options for blooming, Basic and Additive. The basic blooming mode adjusts the gain applied to highlights in non-HDR images. Basic blooming  allows the creation of bokeh patterns without affecting colour integrity. The additive blooming mode allows you to create higher intensity bokeh patterns from any source image, using minimum and maximum thresholds for highlight separation.The Bokeh settings give you the ability to customize the look of the bokeh pattern.  You can adjust the number of sides, curvature, and rotation.If you jump over to the Bokeh Profile Tab, you can further tweak the  look for the bokeh shape. The S-Curve represents the shape of the pattern, from its centre to the outside. The default S-curve defines the softness of the blur. You can change the curve by manipulating the two points of the curve, or you can add points to the curve.  This type of profile curve is also seen in the profile menus of Action Lights.last_img read more

first_imgBefore his passing in 2011, legendary E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Little Kids Rock, a leading nonprofit provider of free musical instruments and lessons to underprivileged public school students across the United States. In an effort to honor his legacy and continue supporting the charity, The Jean Shop has been selling leather “Big Man” bracelets online, raising more than $12,500 this summer.The funds will allow Little Kids Rock to serve at least 750 new children with free instrumental music lessons this school year.“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Mr. Clemons’ fans,” says David Wish, Little Kids Rock’s founder and executive director. “It is a privilege to be able to honor the ‘Big Man’s’ legacy each year while also providing music education to our nation’s disadvantaged youth. Adding his fans’ support to that equation makes it all the more special.”Little Kids Rock honors Clemons annually at its Right to Rock Celebration by presenting the “Big Man of the Year Award” to an artist who embodies the values of generosity and service that reflect the “Big Man’s” legacy and Little Kids Rock’s ideals.Last year, his E Street bandmate Steven Van Zandt and his wife Maureen introduced Clemons’ wife Victoria, who presented the award to Lady Gaga. The pop star’s presence was a complete surprise to the crowd of more than 300 guests and donors.This year, Little Kids Rock will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom in New York City at its fourth annual Right to Rock Celebration on Tuesday, October 16, 2012. The “Big Man of the Year” has not yet been announced, but that has not stopped fans from going online to show their support by purchasing a bracelet. The bracelets bring fans closer to their departed hero, who wore one throughout the promotion of his book, “Big Man, Real Life & Tall Tales.”Proceeds from the bracelet sales and the Right to Rock Celebration will go toward providing free instruments, curriculum and lessons to thousands of students in disadvantaged public school districts nationwide that have seen their music programming decimated due to budget cuts.“More than 50 percent of kids who play an instrument go on to college, yet music education programs at the inner city public schools who need them most continue to be hit hard with budget cuts,” Clemons once noted. “Little Kids Rock has responded to this problem in a really big way and made a positive impact on the lives of literally thousands of low-income students who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity. I strongly encourage those who are in a position to do so to support their cause and spread the word about this inspirational program.”Buy your Big Man bracelet while supplies last at littlekidsrock.org/bigmanbracelet.Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Right to Rock Celebration are still available, and include dinner, drinks, souvenirs and corporate brand placement. Reserve your seats today at littlekidsrock.org/RTR-Signup.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Login/Register With: Complete list of winners at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, presented Sunday in Beverly Hills, California, by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association:Best Motion Picture – DramaBlack PantherBlacKkKlansman** WINNER: Bohemian RhapsodyIf Beale Street Could TalkA Star Is Born Advertisement Advertisement Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyCrazy Rich AsiansThe Favourite** WINNER: Green BookMary Poppins ReturnsViceBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyEmily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns** WINNER: Olivia Colman, The FavouriteElsie Fisher, Eight GradeCharlize Theron, TullyConstance Wu, Crazy Rich AsiansBest Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy** WINNER: Christian Bale, ViceLin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins ReturnsViggo Mortensen, Green BookRobert Redford, The Old Man & the GunJohn C. Reilly, Stan & OllieBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama** WINNER: Glenn Close, The WifeLady Gaga, A Star Is BornNicole Kidman, DestroyerMelissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?Rosamund Pike, A Private WarBest Actor in a Motion Picture – DramaBradley Cooper, A Star Is BornWillem Dafoe, At Eternity’s GateLucas Hedges, Ben Is Back** WINNER: Rami Malek, Bohemian RhapsodyJohn David Washington, BlacKkKlansmanBest Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture** WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Green BookTimothee Chalamet, Beautiful BoyAdam Driver, BlacKkKlansmanRichard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?Sam Rockwell, ViceBest Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion PictureAmy Adams, ViceClaire Foy, First Man** WINNER: Regina King, If Beale Street Could TalkEmma Stone, The FavouriteRachel Weisz, The FavouriteBest Motion Picture – Foreign LanguageCapernaumGirlNever Look Away** WINNER: RomaShopliftersBest Director – Motion PictureBradley Cooper, A Star Is Born** WINNER: Alfonso Cuaron, RomaPeter Farrelly, Green BookSpike Lee, BlacKkKlansmanAdam McKay, ViceBest Screenplay – Motion PictureAlfonso Cuaron, RomaDeborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The FavouriteBarry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could TalkAdam McKay, Vice** WINNER: Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Green BookBest Original Song – Motion PictureAll the Stars, Black PantherGirl in the Movies, Dumplin’Requiem For A Private War, A Private WarRevelation, Boy Erased** WINNER: Shallow, A Star Is BornBest Original Score – Motion PictureMarco Beltrami, A Quiet PlaceAlexandre Desplat, Isle of DogsLudwig Göransson, Black Panther** WINNER: Justin Hurwitz, First ManMarc Shaiman, Mary Poppins ReturnsBest Motion Picture – AnimatedIncredibles 2Isle of DogsMiraiRalph Breaks the Internet** WINNER: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseBest Television Series – Drama** WINNER: The AmericansBodyguardHomecomingKilling EvePoseBest Television Series – Musical or ComedyBarry (HBO)The Good Place (NBC)Kidding (Showtime)** WINNER: The Kominsky Method (Netflix)The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – DramaCaitriona Balfe (Outlander)Elisabeth Moss (Handmaid’s Tale)** WINNER: Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)Julia Roberts (Homecoming)Keri Russell (The Americans)Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – DramaJason Bateman, OzarkStephan James, Homecoming** WINNER: Richard Madden, BodyguardBilly Porter, PoseMatthew Rhys, The AmericansBest Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or ComedyKristen Bell (The Good Place)Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown)Alison Brie (Glow)** WINNER: Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)Debra Messing (Will & Grace)Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or ComedySasha Baron Cohen (Who Is America?)Jim Carrey (Kidding)** WINNER: Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)Donald Glover (Atlanta)Bill Hader (Barry)Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionThe Alienist (TNT)** WINNER: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)Sharp Objects (HBO)A Very English Scandal (Amazon)Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionAmy Adams (Sharp Objects)** WINNER: Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora)Connie Britton (Dirty John)Laura Dern (The Tale)Regina King (Seven Seconds)Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionAntonio Banderas, Genius: PicassoDaniel Bruhl, The Alienist** WINNER: Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime StoryBenedict Cumberbatch, Patrick MelroseHugh Grant, A Very English ScandalBest Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionAlex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)** WINNER: Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects)Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story)Thandie Newton (Westworld)Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionAlan Arkin, The Kominsky MethodKieran Culkin, SuccessionEdgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story** WINNER: Ben Whishaw, A Very English ScandalHenry Winkler, Barry— With files from The Associated Press Twitterlast_img read more