Posts Tagged ‘Dan Zen’

CreateInTO Presents Dan Zen on ZIMjs Interactive Media Modules

February 27, 2015
CreateInTO Presents Dan Zen on ZIMjs

CreateInTO Presents Dan Zen on ZIMjs

Inventor, Dan Zen, will give an introduction talk about the ZIMjs library of interactive media modules at the upcoming CreateInTO event, 7PM on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at the Handlebar in Kensington Market, 159 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada.

zim.drag(circle); plus 60 more fantastic functions!

Inventor, Dan Zen, introduces ZIMjs – a free library of interactive media modules. CreateJS gives us the nesting power of Flash. ZIMjs extends CreateJS to give us new hit tests, parallax, damping, components, swipes, grids, guides, responsive layouts for mobile and more making front end coding easier. Bring a colleague out to CreateInTO to learn about the new jQuery of the Canvas – ZIMjs.


CreateInTO is a user group of creative developers, designers, hackers, makers and more.  Everyone is welcome to the Wednesday meetup: There will be two tickets to the FITC Conference given away to winning attendants, courtesy of FITC, a founding supporter of CITO.

Dan Zen is a professor of Interactive Media in the Sheridan Interactive Media one year post grad, Oakville, Canada where students learn to build mobile and Web environments in which users can create, communicate and play.

Sheridan Hosts the 2010 Ontario Colleges Marketing Awards with help from Animation and Interactive Multimedia (IMM) Volunteers

December 7, 2010

The three-screen setting for the OMCA Quiz Bowl

The Sheridan Faculty of Business was responsible for hosting the 2010 Ontario Colleges Marketing Awards.  Keith Barnwell approached Animation and snagged Professor David Quesnelle but realized that he wanted interactivity with an animated co-host for the Quiz Bowl.  They were led to Sheridan Interactive Multimedia and found Professor, Dan Zen (me).

Dan Zen thought to use his animating to sounds in Flash skills to make the idol mouth, eyebrows and arms animate to the voice of an unseen actor (David) behind the curtains.  Yes… very wizard of oz – prompting facebook status lines, “I am off to be the wizard”.

Osci head animates to voice at the OCMA Quiz Bowl

The Quiz Bowl was amazing!  14 teams of four students each in an energetic round robin trivia showdown!  The teams were made up of mixed Ontario College students in Business and Marketing.  What energy in the crowd with fans all dressed up and chanting and energized by vases of candy!  See the Flickr pictures here:  Perhaps view as a slideshow.

Peggy (Questions), Keith, Dan Zen, & David

Keith, David and Dan worked hard for a few months (356 emails) creating the tools and screens to operate the Quizbowl.  Dan Zen built the tools in Flash with characters from David and direction from Keith:

  • Main Screen: Osci talking Idol Head and score board
  • Scorekeeper Tool: remotely connected to the main screen to change the scores
  • Team Screens: two team screens with bobble head Hollywood mascots and questions, answers, timer and trivia
  • Team Tool: brought mascots on and off stage, operated round robin questions and timers

Keith was the Master of Ceremonies, David was the man behind the curtain with Osci, Charlene was the scorekeeper, Dan Zen operated two computers each with dual monitors to coordinate the team screens and Joanna, a volunteer from IMM, helped keep Dan  on track.

“I felt like I was a VJ mixing sounds and videos for a crowd of ravers!  We had a curtained off booth with all this equipment and the crowd was so into the game and teams!  Wow – what an experience!” recounts Dan Zen.

Osci and the Host had banter going all the time bringing up the score board and tucking it away – commenting on scores and team mascots – like Maryln Monroe made him melt…  Dan Zen would bring teams on and off and handle questions and timers as follows:

  • Mascots are dimmed and bobble heads stopped as the question is read
  • If a team buzzes in before the question is fully read, they get a 30 second timer
  • If they get it wrong, the question is fully read and the other side gets a 15 second timer
  • If they first team gets it right, they wave flags and the timer gets put away
  • If the question is completely read initially then the question is shown on both screens and both teams have 15 seconds to buzz in
  • There are 10 questions per game and dozens of games over 4 or 5 rounds with tie breakers and extra questions
  • Teams have to go in and out on their own screens and trivia is synced across two screens

These requirements made for quite the complex tools and operations but with the right hotkeys and menus, the event went almost flawlessly.  There was a time when the question was flashed before it was read, the question was read and judges judged both teams had an opportunity to read it.  There was also a contested question reading that resulted in a rematch including extra questions.  The system handled this perfectly and it was a very proud moment to have planned so well.

Team Screen for OCMA Quiz Bowl

Here are links to the tools with the Team Screen just set to animate randomly.  The tools need to be run together in slightly special ways to work fully.

  • Main Screen: SCREEN STATES:  P – peek,  Z – nothing,  X – idol,  C – score,  V – idol & score, SPACE – toggle idol, 0-9 – volume (0 is off 9 is most sensitive),  left / right – head tilt  down – look down, up – head reset to normal,  \ – head spin.
  • ScoreKeeper Tool – (sample will not actually change the score)
  • Team Screen – need to run the Team Tool in another browser to operate Team Screen
  • Team Tool – run with the Team Screen to control the characters and questions

OCMA Quiz Bowl Team Tool

All in all, it was a wonderful experience using interactive multimedia for a presentation show like this.  It was very successful.

The skills needed to make applications like this are learned in the Sheridan one-year post grad program, Interactive Multimedia.  Sheridan also has a number of excellent animation and business/marketing programs.  It should be noted that Sheridan swept the Marketing Awards held the following night.


Adrian Belina from Jam3 Media Gives Talk to Sheridan Interactive Multimedia

March 14, 2009

Adrian Belina from Jam 3 Visits IMM

Adrian Belina from the award winning Jam 3 Media at came in to give a talk on Motion Graphics to the students of the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia one year post grad program.  Adrian is a co-founder of Jam 3 along with Mark McQuillan and Pablo Vio.  All three graduated the same year from Sheridan Interactive Multimedia and have gone on to form their own company in Liberty Village in Toronto.

It was great to see the motion graphics tips and tricks they use to add value to their client work.  Adrian gave a two hour talk and answer period that really solidified the learning the students have been doing in the Motion Graphics course.  We thank Adrian for his time and care to give back to educate the new generation of students.

Inventor Professor Dan Zen with Co-founder Adrian Belina from Jam 3

Professor Dan Zen with Co-founder Adrian Belina from Jam 3


Sheridan Professor, Dan Zen, wins Educator of the Year at the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards

November 21, 2008

Canadian New Media Awards - Dan Zen Educator of the Year

Canadian New Media Awards - Dan Zen Educator of the Year

Sheridan Professor, Dan Zen, was awarded the Educator of the Year at the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards in Toronto. Professor Zen has introduced pioneering curriculum in interactive surfaces, gesture technology, social Web applications, mobile tilt techniques and unique Adobe Flash code to hundreds of learners.

“As an Inventor, inventing ways to educate through creative curriculum has been an exciting challenge. It is an honour to help advance our culture and work with such dedicated students. Thank you to the CNMA and our industry for the recognition.” – Dan Zen.

Dan Zen with Presenter Sarah Diamond

Dan Zen with Presenter Sarah Diamond

Zen became Professor and Coordinator of Curriculum for the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia one-year post-grad program in Oakville Ontario in 2002 directly after being awarded the CNMA Programmer of the Year fortuitously presented by the Sheridan Director of Marketing.

“Our Interactive Multimedia Program’s blend of practical and creative design and development has helped graduates find rewarding careers in important positions of leading cultural companies such as CHUM, TVO, the Globe, ROM, and many of the hot agencies in Canada. Graduates are building sites and features for the Olympics, social networks and movie franchises.” explains Zen. “In the information age, these are the coolest jobs you can get and we need more talent! We encourage artists, designers, illustrators, animators, engineers, programmers, graduates of communication or marketing to consider this exciting career”.

Zen also teaches in Web technologies with the School of Applied Computing and Engineering Sciences and in gaming with the joint Sheridan / University of Toronto Cultural Communication and Information Technology Program. Additionally, Zen creates for his site of over 80 games and gadgets found at

About the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Post Grad Program

The Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Program was formed in 1996 to educate learners in designing and building digital environments in which people can communicate and create content. This includes games and puzzles; tools and applications; artistic and experimental work; and simulations for education and entertainment. More information about the Program can be found at – please view the blog and Facebook links.

Interactive Crowd at CiRCA Night Club in Toronto

Interactive Crowd at CiRCA Night Club in Toronto

About the Canadian New Media Awards
The Canadian New Media Awards (CNMA) were established in 1999 to promote and celebrate excellence within the digital interactive industry. The Awards recognize the accomplishments and outstanding contributions made by Canadians working in this sector. Judges from across the country select 43 finalists and 14 winners from hundreds of entries. Each year, hundreds of business and new media professionals from across Canada gather to honour the country’s top talent, services and products at the Gala Awards Ceremony in November. For further information, visit

Sheridan Professor Dan Zen Named As Finalist In 8th Annual Canadian New Media Awards

October 9, 2008

CNMA Educator of the Year Finalist

The industry’s most prominent advocates and entrepreneurs to be awarded on November 18th

Professor Dan Zen has been recognized as one of Canada’s new media leaders. Dan Zen is one of three finalists to be named “Educator of the Year” category of the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards (CNMA). A Canadian celebrity host will be joined by industry supporters on November 18, 2008 to celebrate and present 14 Pixel Awards at CiRCA in Toronto.


Inventor Dan Zen is a Professor and Industry Liaison for the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia one-year post-grad Program producing innovative graduates for the new media industry.

Dan Zen has been creating interactive multimedia since 1995 when he programmed the award winning Understanding McLuhan CD-ROM. He won the Canadian New Media Awards Programmer of the Year in 2002 for his site of social games, gadgets and communities at

Dan Zen continues to invent facebook applications, Adobe AIR features and tools such as Zen Mix, the vlogging tool for mixing video, pictures and interactive works with blend modes to make enhanced blog posts. Sci-fi stories told by people ages five to ninety-five, environmental messages such as Car Curling, and Psychedelic Dancing as Exercise making Dan Zen the number one psychedelic dancer in the world at are some of the features created using the Zen Mix tool.


Along with the basics, graduates should be taught how to produce culturally relevant projects at the forefront of technology. Over the summer, Dan Zen completely updated his curriculum to the new Adobe ActionScript 3 language. He created a compute spectrum class so learners could easily make use of new frequency analysis features to create visualizations affected by sound. He updated his industry-leading video motion cursor classes to let learners create Wii-like applications with just a Web cam and Flash CS3. He created the Falcon class to reduce fifteen complicated lines of code to just three so that design oriented learners could set up communication with databases and XML. He introduced PaperVision3D, APE Physics Engine, Adobe AIR and media server. These skills will keep the industry fresh and forward thinking.

To exemplify uses of the technology, Dan Zen provides his own work as well as student visits with multimedia pioneers such as Gesture Tek, mediated reality cyborg Steve Mann, award-winning David Rokeby, and visionary Bill Buxton.

Dan Zen scored a 94% in the college KPI (Key Performance Indicators) compared to the 76% average for the school of computing and 83% in the college as a whole. He won the ACAATO ETC Award for Innovative Teaching with Technology. He currently sits on the committee for assessing Sheridan’s learning management system and is preparing distance education curriculum for his program.

Dan Zen has encouraged his students to volunteer for FITC Flash and Design festival and many have gone on to take lead roles in production. Dan Zen regularly speaks at FITO the largest Flash user group where his topics range from Pecha Kucha talks on Focuso to representing education on industry panels. He judges for FITC and CNMA and prepared an interactive video installation for last year’s CNMA awards where a nerd sign (the event theme) followed people in the halls.

The blog that Dan Zen created and maintains consists of almost 100 posts about curriculum, student works, and industry events. These three example posts have had over a thousand views each: “Sample Flash AS3 Code to Help Designers and Developers Handle Data and Communication”, “Going From Flash ActionScript 3 to ActionScript 2”, “Examples of Adobe AIR Applications with ActionScript 3 Code Provided”. Posted student tutorial projects in Flash, AfterEffects and AIR have received over 10,000 industry views.

Following several student projects for the Government of Canada promoting Canadian Innovators, Dan Zen taught in China to maintain and bolster relationships in New Media between our countries. Sheridan Interactive Multimedia students and Dan Zen, on a voluntary basis, created a DVD for the Canadian Olympic Team of their training for the upcoming Olympic games. Dan Zen’s class regularly receives visits from the global new media community such as from Japan’s Osaka University of Electro Communications, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in the UK and tours of Media from around the world reporting on the depth of the Canadian gaming industry.

The most important achievements can be measured by graduate success with Ryan Andal winning the Canadian New Media Programmer of the Year and John Iacoviello, the Flash Developer of the Year. Sheridan Interactive Multimedia grads infuse cultural establishments such as the ROM, TVO, CBC, CHUM, Globe and Mail, advertising agencies such as Fjord/Cossette where Jason Nussbaum is Technical Director and form integral parts of smaller interactive firms such as Indus Blue and Splash Works. Perhaps most rewarding of all is when the grads start their own companies like the three graduates who formed Jam3 a very successful up and coming interactive firm.


Sheridan Represents Educators at FlashinTO (FITO is the Largest Flash User Group) Panel

May 2, 2008

FlashinTO - FITO - Flash in TO - Toronto Flash User Group

Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Professor, Dan Zen, joined Simon Conlin (sherpa & consultant), Ryan Andal (agency technical), Nick Stupa (recent grad), Ryan Wolman (agency design) as an educational representative at the FlashinTO user group panel talk about the state of the new media industry.

The talk was moderated by James Eberhardt (Mobile Guru) who asked questions such as our thoughts of the recent FITC festival…, what skill sets are missing or in demand in the industry…, what keeps you going… etc. These questions and many others from the attentive audience led to animated discussion lasting almost two hours without lull. Cheers to all for such a fun-filled and informative evening.

Dan Zen articulated his vision of education that being to help make Canada and indeed all of us more innovative where graduates possess the latest techniques and have created content that is relevant to these techniques. Examples are learnings and projects in video motion cursor work (like the Wii), sound frequency analysis, interactive walls and mobile work with the latest applications like Adobe CS3 with AS3, AIR, etc. When the grads go into industry, it helps rejuivinate and push the industry culturally.

Dan Zen also concluded the talks with a message that should go out to us all no matter what our area of expertise. The environment. We hold in our hands the tools of the media, commerce and culture. They can be used in many ways from a subtle refocusing of consumerism to outright activism.

FITO or FlashinTO is the Toronto Flash User Group which has been said to be the largest in the world with thousands of members. The group meets on the last Wednesday of each month at Element156 – Digital Media Center 156 Augusta Avenue. (Just North of Dundas, Just West of Spadina). If you are interested, please come on out!

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