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3D Printing Projects

October 15, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

It has been almost three quarters of a year since we opened the Digital Innovation Hub at the Reference Library. It’s been amazing to see how many customers have come down to check out the service, attend classes and participate in the numerous workshops. I know I can speak for all the staff, when I say, that it’s been great to see the wonderful range of projects that library customers have decided to pursue in the Hub. We have been lucky to get a front row seat in assisting customers doing some of the most amazing work, from digitizing old VHS tapes; to scanning; learning Illustration and desktop design; or dabbling in both audio and video Production; and of course 3D Printing.

The 3D printing that we have seen in the Hub ranges from just projects of simple curiosity to advanced rapid prototyping. Projects can be as basic as a cell phone case, or a character from a TV show or movie that they found online. What has amazed the staff are the entrepreneurs who have come in and designed a whole project that they are hoping to bring to the mainstream market one day. I would love to tell you more about those, but I’m afraid I can’t. But when we can, I will definitely share them with you.

Arm Prototype

Over the span of a few weeks, I will take the time to share some stories from within the Hub walls. Projects that were developed and completed using the many resources that are available. Success stories that will help inform and inspire other customers with their goals and ideas.

The project I chose to start writing about is one that is on the larger scale of what we generally see. A group of students from University of Toronto’s engineering department came in with the plan to print a hand and an arm. Their goal was to make it fully robotic. 

With access to the 3D printers here, available at a significantly lower cost than commerical 3D printers, the group was able to print not one but two full projects. With their final prints, the expertise and knowledge they learned in school, this amazing group successfully transformed plastic into a fully robotic hand and arm. 

Building the project

Thestudents Bo, Justin and Rob were able to write programming code and wire the arm fully with motors and sensors to complete a school project. The version in the photos is one they hope to build on over time and add new technology in time that will control the hand/arm using brain waves. 

The students with their project

They came by the Hub a couple of weeks ago to help promote the use of the 3D printers at the Digital Innovation Hub, and to show library customers what can be achieved using these great resources.

Interacting with the library customers


Meet Filmmaker and Innovator in Residence Sarah Goodman

October 14, 2014 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Sarah Goodman

From October 20 to November 30, the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library welcomes award-winning filmmaker Sarah Goodman as our second Innovator in Residence.

Sarah will host discussions, workshops and one-on-one appointments for aspiring and practicing filmmakers. Discussions include a kick-off panel presented with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival – which will also screen Sarah’s award-winning documentary Army of One on Sunday, November 2 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (details coming soon on Hot Docs' website).

I recently chatted with Sarah to find out her thoughts on filmmaking, which filmmakers inspire her, and what her upcoming projects are.


What interested you about the library’s Innovator in Residence position and what you are looking most forward to during your residency?

I love that the ideals of the library to provide a safe learning space, to encourage learning across all barriers, and that it attracts all different sorts of people across our city. I’m eager to bring what I know as a filmmaker to this diverse group, and especially for older learners who may not have had the environment to learn these skills before.


What is your favourite movie and why?

That is an impossible question, because there are so many films that are important to me, but I can choose a recent stand out. Meek’s Cutoff by Kelly Reichardt is a beautiful, tough movie that focuses on the struggle of early settlers, trying to find their way west, but is also a subtle metaphor for Bush’s incursion into Iraq. It centres on a strong woman character who is living within a man’s world.


What are the essential ingredients to a good film?

A good story and the tools to tell it. The strength and talent of those you collaborate with is paramount.


What do you enjoy the most about being a filmmaker?

I love observing real life and finding the drama and significance within it – it is everywhere.  I love discovering the layers of human behavior. It is meaningful to be allowed into worlds I might never see, to cross boundaries that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do if I wasn’t making a doc. I am now working in drama as well, so I think of myself of both a doc and drama filmmaker.


Army of One Clip from Sarah Goodman film on Vimeo.


Can anyone learn how to be a filmmaker?

Yes. Start today! Find people who are more experienced and learn from them. Trust your vision. While film school is valuable, it is not necessary.


Out of today’s filmmakers, who are the ones that are doing works that really excite and inspire you?

Kelly Reichardt, as I mentioned. Richard Linklater. There’s a movement of local filmmakers making very strong films on micro budgets: Ingrid Veninger, Calvin and Yonah, Igor Drljaca, Albert Shin. This movement inspires me and there are some great stories coming out of it. A new documentary by Jesse Moss called The Overnighter’s is terrific. Other filmmakers: Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Carlos Reygadas, Lynn Shelton, Mike Leigh. The list could go on!


Can you tell us about your upcoming film projects?

My forthcoming feature drama Porch Stories is my first feature drama. It will be released theatrically in Toronto in Spring, 2015, so look out for it!

I have a new drama in development called LAKE 239, an environmental thriller that was pitched at TIFF’s Pitch This and was recently shortlisted for the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant.

My last feature documentary, When We Were Boys, will be released on iTunes in December. You can also sign up for my mailing list at to stay abreast of when films will be releasing.


When We Were Boys trailer from Sarah Goodman film on Vimeo.

Video Game Meets Book Club at Game Curious

September 30, 2014 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Game Curious

Every Saturday from September 13 to October 18, the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library and The Hand Eye Society are hosting a unique program called Game Curious - a mash up between a book club and video games for artists, educators, parents and gamers and non-gamers alike.

Taking place at the Reference Library's Browsery on the main floor, each two-hour program lets participants play a variety of PC and console games in the first hour and in the second hour, the group discusses the mechanics, history, and creators of the games they just played.

Game Curious

“We want to encourage people to get beyond game stereotypes and play and discuss the games themselves,” says Jim Munroe from the Hand Eye Society. “There’s an incredible array of creative expression happening in the medium that people are missing out on.” Munroe recently completed a stint as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s first-ever videogame Artist in Residence.

Each Game Curious program has a theme. Weeks 1 to 3 looked at: Games Set in Toronto; Life, Love & Relationships; and Artistic & Experimental Games.

Upcoming themes are:

* Sat. Oct. 4 - Games in Education, Activism and Politics

* Sat. Oct. 11 - Making Games

* Sat. Oct. 18 - Community of Play

Game Curious

Following the six-week program, up to 10 participants will be selected to take part in a six-part weekly video game incubation workshop at the Digital Innovation Hub. Industry experts will teach participants how to develop their own game. Details on how to register will be shared at the Weeks 4 to 6 programs.

If you're an avid video game fan, be sure to check out the books and other resources that the library has about the subject.

We hope to see you at an upcoming Game Curious program!

Game Curious

Microsoft Kinect and 3D Scanning

September 24, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Great news to report, the Toronto Reference Library’s Digital Innovation Hub just bought a Microsoft Kinect camera. Why is this so exciting?  For one thing it means you can come on down and get 3D scans made of yourself. Using the camera and the amazing software Skanect (which we also purchased), the camera allows users to come in and produce a 3D file of themselves. 

Microsoft Kinect camera

3D Scanning Drop-In
Come by the Hub at the Toronto Reference Library on Saturday, October 18th between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and get yourself scanned by staff. No registration required, and scans will be done on a first come basis. Please note: Bring a USB or media device to save your file. 

3D Scan

After you’re done, work on the file using 3D editing software and once it's ready, print it using one of the 3D printers in the Hub.

With a bit of practise, anyone can produce amazing projects using the Kinect camera. My coworker Andrew recently used the Kinect to create a 3D visualization, now installed in the Hub.

3D Visualization

Using the Kinect camera and the Open Source Programming software Processing, Andrew produced a stunning visual incorporating people walking by the Hub on the main floor. As a customer walks by the camera, their image is reflected on the TV above using a system of either shapes or words. 

Come to the DIH at TRL and try it yourself!

See you then!!

October 3D Printer Certification Sessions

September 24, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I just wanted everyone to know that we posted a few new dates for October's 3D Printer Certification sessions at the Toronto Reference Library.  Registration starts today at 4 p.m.  Be sure to sign up quick.


Also, check this blog in a bit as we'll hopefully add more dates for the rest of October and through until the end of the year.

The dates as of now are listed below:
Wednesday, October 1st from 2-3 p.m.
Thursday, October 2nd from 2-3 p.m.
Tuesday, October 7th from 10-11 a.m.

Hope to see you then.


Toronto Reference Library Drone Video: A Bird's Eye View

September 17, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The Digital Innovation Hub staff from Fort York and the Reference Library teamed up to help create this amazing video.  They got together with other library staff from the Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement department to shoot and edit this short video that showcases the wonderful improvements that have been made to the Toronto Reference Library as part of the re:vitalize campaign.

The video was assisted with a drone to capture these one of a kind shots that give viewers a whole new perspective on the building.



Fall Programs for Filmmakers

September 15, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Just after another year at TIFF has concluded, the library and the Digital Innovation Hub are preparing new filmmakers to get into next year's festival, sort of. The Toronto Reference Library's new Innovator in Residence, Sarah Goodman, will bring to library customers a wide variety of programming, all related to the art of film making. There will be discussions on writing, the business of getting funding, and hands on workshops on everything from shot composition to video editing. 

Sarah Goodman
Photo courtesy of Sarah Goodman

Sarah Goodman's Army of One (Hot Docs Best Canadian Documentary, Gemini Nomination for Best Director) and When We Were Boys (Donald Brittain Gemini Nomination for Best Documentary, Indiewire's Top 10) launched her career. Her work has been featured at TIFF, Hot Docs, True/False, and Berlin, among others, and broadcast on CBC, BBC, IFC, and Discovery Times.

Her dramatic short Hidden Driveway premiered at TIFF in 2011. Her forthcoming feature drama Porch Stories will be released theatrically in Spring 2015 by Kinosmith. Goodman has written and directed for the small screen as well, including projects for History Television, Discovery, BBC, Global, W Network, among others.

In addition to the classes, another great opportunity offered by the Innovator in Residence is the chance to sit down with Sarah in a one-on-one session. This is your session, ask Sarah about how you might go about improving your project, get tips about breaking into and navigating the film industry, get help with editing software like Final Cut Pro or iMovie, and more.

There are a lot more sessions and times available. Be sure to check the event details for more information on how to secure a spot

Clap board

Below is a sampling of just some of the classes that are available.

The Language of Shots
Learn the basic types of camera shots - from wide shots to extreme close-ups and the meaning inferred by each. Using a sample scene, the class will brainstorm a shot list and create a storyboard. Then working in small groups, students will practice shooting inside the library.

Screenwriting Basics
Watch a few short films and analyze what worked and what didn't work from a filmmaker's perspective. Then learn how to workshop a concept for a short film, including "beating out" an outline, and take a try at it. Participants can then sign up for feedback on their script in a drop-in appointment.

Video Editing 101
Using sample footage provided by Sarah Goodman, learn the basics of using iMovie video editing software.


Reality of Film Industry: Production & Funding Models
Sarah Goodman provides an overview and insider tips about the steps of film production, including prep, equipment, and the different funding models available for filmmakers.

Have fun!!

Introducing the Innovators in Communities Program!

September 15, 2014 | D!ana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In addition to the Innovator in Residence program, Toronto Public Library will be launching its first Innovator in Communities (IIC) program in October 2014.

Toronto 3D Printing Meet-up
Previous Innovator in Residence Derek Quenneville chatting with library users about 3D printing!

Digital Innovation HubThe IIC program supports the Digital Innovation Hubs at the Toronto Reference Library and the Fort York Branch, however, the Innovators in Communities will be bringing some of the exciting technology and programs outside of the library and into different community spaces around Toronto!

There will be more information to come later this fall, but what we can reveal at the moment is the exciting opportunity to be one of the Innovators in Communities!

We’re looking for a coding and programming expert who not only has extensive knowledge and experience, but is also passionate about educating and inspiring coders and programmers of all ages and skill levels.

The eight-week residency will take place October 5 to November 30, 2014.

For full details of the job posting and for more information on how to submit your application, visit the Jobs at the Library page.

Deadline to apply is Monday September 22nd, 2014.

Stay tuned for more information on the Innovators in Communities program and what our Innovators will be up to this fall!

New Adobe Illustrator Workshop

September 8, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The Digital Innovation Hub is happy to announce a brand new workshop coming to the Toronto Reference Library next month on Adobe Illustrator. For those who don’t know, Illustrator is a great tool that allows users to animate and draw vector illustrations. A great tool for creating business cards, logos and graphics of all sorts.

Alien by Jay Wieler
Image courtesy of Jay Wieler

The session itself will be held on Thursday October 9th starting at 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and will be held in the Digital Innovation Hub. Online registration is required for this class and will be available starting Thursday, Sept. 11 at 9 a.m.

The session will be facilitated by local illustrator expert Jay Wieler. Jay is an extremely talented artist who has conducted numerous sessions in the past and is also currently in the process of completing his first book.

Drawing of a turtle by Jay Wieler
Image courtesy of Jay Wieler

In the session learn how to turn your drawings into fun vector illustrations using Adobe Illustrator.

During the workshop, you will learn how to:
- Create and edit shapes
- Create custom illustrations
- Work with text
- Other tips and tricks to using Adobe Illustrator

For more information, please call the Digital Innovation Hub: 416-393-7007.  Spaces are limited, be sure to book as quickly as you can.

Have fun!!

September 3D Printer Certification Dates

August 25, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Want to learn more about the 3D printer and see how it works, or have you been wanting to get your hands on using it.  Come down and take the 3D printer certification on any of the following dates, and have instant access to the most talked about toy in the new Digital Innovation Hub.


We posted on the Toronto Public Library website a couple of dates for the month of September and wanted our readers to be the first to hear about it.  Sign up quickly as tickets go fast.

In the session, you'll get a better understanding of how to use the printers and the software that accompanies it. 

* How to prepare a 3D design file for print
* How to use the equipment properly and safely
* Reviewing the rules and guidelines to using the 3D printer

Customers must complete this 3D printer certification before they can use the 3D printer independently.

The dates are below:
Saturday, September 6th (10 a.m. - 11 a.m.)
Tuesday, September 9th (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 23rd (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)

Be sure to keep an eye out as we will be hoping to add more dates in the future.

Hope to see you there!!

Welcome to the Digital Design & Technology Blog. Our bloggers post about topics like digital photography, audio and video creation, scanning, graphic and 3D design and printing as well as other emerging digital tech trends. We also take you behind the scenes of science, technology and “maker” programs offered at the library.

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