Category Archives: Technologoy

Learning SketchUp

Here at SharpFutures we’ve begun using SketchUp to mock-up the stages and studios at The Space Project & The Sharp Project.

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It always takes a bit of trial and error when using a new piece of software , but we believe it will be an effective tool for potential clients to able to view a 3D digital scale model of the stages or studios they are looking to hire.

We will post back soon with some of our ideas and developments.

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NORTH: The Great Debate – Design Mcr Festival 2014

The week before last Manchester held the Design Mcr Festival: The Science of Imagination. Which is: “10 days of events celebrating creativity, collaboration and inclusivity in the worlds of art, design, illustration, animation and photography

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 13.17.54There were events including: exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, debates and more. Adapt Studios hosted a Graphic Design workshop at The Sharp Project called DesignDojo for young people during half-term which went down very well. Andy (pictured) delivered interesting insights into the design process; how logos and brands are conceived with imagination, creativity and trial and error. The attendees were tasked with creating identities from basic drawing tools, scissors and glue.

SharpFutures also helped to run NORTH: The Great Debate at TheIMG_1376 Manchester School of Art , myself and 4 members of our placement scheme were tasked with meet and greet, distributing name badges to the invited guests and checking tickets of visitors.

Many guests were high-profile people within the industry, the event having been organised and run by Malcolm Garrett and Kasper de Graaf of IMAGES&Cothe panel consisted of Sir Richard Leese [Leader of Manchester City Council], Lou Cordwell [CEO magneticNORTH], Caroline Norbury [CEO of Creative England] & Professor David Crow [Dean of The Manchester School of Art] who led a balanced argument from different positions and viewpoints within the sector.

During the event I was in charge of the roving microphone as the event was a general Question & Answer format between the audience and panel; whilst Dan, Lucy, Nick & Callum were collecting the names and positions of the speakers in the audience for use in title cards for the film which will be made of the debate. I will post a link of the video when it has been released, which should give a good overview of the debate.

There were some interesting points made during the evening, where even the definition of ‘The North’ became a contentious issue. But hopefully it will be the beginning of developing relations between the northern cities and creating a dynamic northern corridor for business and especially creative digital.

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Placement Workshops – Danny Moore & Dan Walsh

At SharpFutures we’ve recently recruited 8 placements for a 12 week course, which consists of workshops, masterclasses, content creation, real-life creative briefs and become part of the SharpFutures Talent Pool and support network.

Welcoming this first cohort of placements which consists of 8 people varying in many different areas of interest such as graphic design, production running, scriptwriting, social media marketing, the list goes on.

As a part of my work with SharpFutures I have been involved in a number of workshops that have been organised for the 8 placements to gain them an insight in to the industry and to also give them advice. The first workshop i was involved in was on Content management and curation.

 (Marketing Exec and Web Developer) involve a big chunk of time working through content and managing it from the SharpFutures Blog, to the website and the Social Media.
The second workshop I did was with Lauren Hira, we hosted a workshop to show and discuss all the activity that SharpFutures gets up to working for clients and on our own social media presence, we also went in to how it has become a skill very much in demand at the moment.

placement-blog150It has been a really interesting learning curve hosting the workshops as only 2 years ago, I found myself in a very similar seat to them. I remember that first workshop on Social Media Marketing I attended at SharpFutures as an Apprentice in my first month, not exactly sure of what Social Media marketing consisted of or how it could be utilised for a business. Just in 2 years of learning on the job and much of my own time being spent on researching into all the newest discoveries and innovations of the Social Media world I now find myself confident enough to share my knowledge. I know from my own experience, learning from someone actually in the industry is much more advantageous compared to learning from a book published 5 years ago. A lot of the content and advice in that book may now be bit out of date compared to the real world, with things such as Facebook and Twitter constantly adding features and innovations you have to keep up with the changes to stay on top. Being able to pass on my knowledge felt quite rewarding, although it’s now more important than ever to stay on top as I potentially have 8 competitors chasing me…

Reiterating what Danny has said,

. As it forces me to take a step back and look at the work we do on day-to-day basis more objectively . It’s also made me appreciate how much I’ve learnt over the past 2 years and not assume knowledge when talking to others.

As everyone seemed to respond positively to the workshop I’m planning to hold a workshop on using WordPress as a blogging/portfolio platform to promote yourself as a creative individual. We’ve already taken the placements through setting up and using Tumblr as way of displaying and sharing their work. But I think WordPress provides a more succinct and professional platform much like a real website, although slightly more limited than a full WordPress website; it still looks professional and can also help develop coding and design skills.

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GuestBlog – 12 year old Harry talks about Minecraft and Manchester Coder Dojo

My name is Harry and I am 12 years old, I have been going to Manchester Coder Dojo since it’s been at The Sharp Project.

Minecraft is a very popular and fun game, the aim of the game is to run around your world, collect resources and build whatever you want whilst also surviving against hunger and angry mobs. The angry mobs can be things like: zombies, skeletons that fire arrows, creepers that blow up, spiders and witches who throw potions at you.  In Minecraft there are mods where its adds a tonne of different blocks, mobs and weapons. You can also go to the moon and mars.

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There are servers on Minecraft where people can connect  and play against each other on different mini-games, team games, and survival games.

I like to play this at Manchester Coder Dojo at The Sharp Project because you can play with your friends and experts volunteer 
to help you code and programme games.

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I really do recommend this game and Manchester Coder Dojo to everyone. For more information on Manchester Coder Dojo have a look at the website here.

SharpFutures attend Creative Skillset event in London

Creative Skillset recently announced their programme to boast skills in the Creative Digital sector with a launch event at Channel 4 HQ in London . The project allows Creative Skillset £37m (£20m from government funding and £17m from the creative sector) to enhance the skills of young people and encourage diversity in the sector. The event was to celebrate the cooperation from many different sections of the creative industry in the UK ad their drive to generate an access path for young people into the sector. SharpFutures is one of the partners involved in the project and so we were invited down to London to attend the launch,
After meeting Sheni and Tom at Piccadilly station in town we all got on the 13:15 train to London. Once in London we got the London Underground Victoria line (South bound) to Victoria Station, from which the venue was only a short walk.

 

Outside C4

On arrival at Channel Four we were given badges reading ‘I am creative’ indicating our roles, for example, me and Tom were given blue ones to show we were apprentices and Sheni, Sue and Rose were given red ones. Before the event started we met up with Sue and Rose in the venue and took advantage of some photo opportunities with Channel Four executives.

We also used this time to meet people and chat about our apprenticeships, Tom talking about he has been with SharpFutures for over a year and me acquiring various ‘awwwws’ and ‘ really? How are you liking it?’ when I explained it was my fourth week. After answering numerous questions about my apprenticeship and what my day to day actives at The Space Project entail everyone started to migrate to the main event space. Not long after the guests filtered inside the speeches started. Channel Four’s sport commentator introduced speakers one by one, such as, MP Matthew Hancock (MP for business, innovation and skills, energy and climate change) Ed Vaizy (responsibility for digital industries, media, sport and business), Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield. To finish off the speeches was David Abraham( photographed above), chief executive of Channel 4 and a board member of Creative Skillset.  Listening to the speeches made me realise how lucky I am to have this apprenticeship and without some of the people giving these speeches -and the occasional anecdote here and there- I may not have this opportunity.
Finally, after answering a few more questions, being interviewed by the photographer of the event, we got the underground back to Euston Station and grabbed a Burger King before getting on the train back to Manchester.
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Dom Corry – Digital Runner Apprentice

The first thing I feel is the ease and breeze, people seem to enjoy what they do here, so in turn you aren’t met with hostility or general bad reverberations, vibes, air …this then makes for a clean and un turbulent landing on to planet Sharp Project and since that landing I have enjoyed my first week here.

‘What is it people actually do here then, man?’

I hear you inquire in your mind’s eye (I’m pretty shamanic in that way see)

It’s a fair question and seeing as I am now officially a ‘digital production runner’ here, I should have the answers…I do… I think.

So as I understand it The Sharp Project is a building ,hub and general epicenter of all things creative digital based in Manchester, in which specifically creative digital based businesses form this sector rent space to run day to day duties of their ever blossoming ports of call, be that photography (Nelson Reeves) or the creation and distribution of stage lights (ELP) and of course as well as being primarily tenant based this big bad spaceship of a structure also has 4 stages available for anything from events to television and set storage even if I went off the question a tad bit. if you want more information where tenants are concerned then I can give you some; this place also has memberships available for people(again within a creative digital context) who want a place to work, resolve and generally come to plot world domination. That would be my understanding of ‘what people do in here’ and what it actually is that The Sharp Project erm is, even though you didn’t ask, I told you I was shamanic.

You also didn’t ask what the role digital production runner entails, but I will tell you in brief. I help with the day to day running of the machine and pumping of the heart.

So the moral of the first week at The Sharp Project and I’m pretty certain in life generally is that being polite being honest and generally being a good human being will serve you well; first and fore mostly within the sharp project.

Over and out (for now).

Dominic Corry

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What is the Creative Digital sector?

#Creative:- : originality of thought or imagination

#Digital:- : involving or relating to the use of computer technology

Creative Digital companies make, move or manipulate Digital Content around the world. The European Commission considers the digital and creative industries the most dynamic emerging sector in Europe to work in and the most important driver of innovation in other sectors. Official statistics published January 14th, 2014 reveal that the UK’s creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy. With a growth of almost 10% in 2012, outperforming all other sectors of UK industry, the sector also accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6 per cent of UK jobs.

With a sector showing so much growth, here at SharpFutures our aim is to empower and equip young people with all the creative and digital tools vital for success in this sector – and to advise of the realities and pitfalls. Creative work is often project-based and can come in ebbs and flows. To succeed in this industry takes determination, imagination and flexibility.

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It’s all about the Content

The first thing you need is a dedicated skill, ambition and an idea of the career path you hope to take.What are your strengths? What is your talent? Can you illustrate a logo or a design a website? Take stunning photographs, write compelling copy or create animation?

Whatever your skill, an absolute must is a digital portfolio. Whether it’s a showreel, blog, website, YouTube channel or any other audio / visual representation of your work, Employers or Clients want to see results, style and creativity. If you haven’t already got one, go and make one. There are an abundance of free tools available such as:

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and too many others to mention.

If you have got this far, you are already on to the next step…It’s all about the content…

John Chorley – Final Week with SharpFutures.

A few weeks ago I applied for a Game Design Apprenticeship Position with PlayGround Squad based here at The Sharp Project. I was ready to apply for a job I’ve wanted since I was five years old.

I told my parents I would be a games designer one day, and my friends in school told me my name would be in the credits of a game and they are right.

My life changed for the better when I first played Alexx the Kidd on the Sega Master System 2 all those years ago. For those too young to understand what Alexx the Kidd was like, you can check out the video below from Cubex55 on YouTube.

For a long time, I gave up wanting to work with video games, because there was simply no related jobs in Manchester, and so I changed my career to be a web developer, there’s always someone who needs a website right? There is a lot of money to be had in developing websites, and even mentioning that I’m a web developer gets people asking me questions.

When I started working for SharpFutures I had no idea that it would open up the career path for me that I had always wanted.  If I didn’t work for SharpFutures, I wouldn’t have found out about the games design apprenticeship with PlayGround Squad, and thus it would still be a dream.

I play video games all the time, so this apprenticeship is an excellent match for me, not only do I get to play games, but I’ll also be working on creating them.  With the next generation of consoles here, its one of the best times to get into the industry.

SharpFutures has been the stepping stone to help me get ready to realise my dreams, they have been an excellent team to work with this past year, and I wish everyone the very best for the future, and thank you for an excellent year.