America knows and loves Kool-Aid. The sweet, sugary drink has been a part of every kids life at some point. Its pitchman, is a tubby oversized glass pitcher. Soon you’ll see him as you never have before. Kool-Aid is giving Kool-Aid Man a Hollywood Visual Effects makeover. Lots of classic animated characters like Kool-Aid Man have been getting CGI updates to their image—Fred Flintstone, Mickey Mouse, just to name a few. Kool-Aid Man is expected to be more lifelike, more tech-savvy kid friendly.
According to Kraft Foods Group, which now owns the brand, America’s iconic red glass pitcher will become more active and socially responsible—in an effort to make the brand more appealing to the nation’s moms, the product’s biggest supporters.
Kool-Aid Man has become fully plugged-in, he surfs the web, and even has his own Kool-Aid Man website. Kraft wants to show that Kool-Aid is cool again. In one upcoming TV commercial, Kool-Aid Man will be pumping iron at the gym and buying flowers. In another ad, he “interacts with neighbors” instead of breaking through their walls. Luckily, our beverage buddy is going to have an improved and expanded vocabulary, which will keep him from resorting to his trademark “Oh yeah!” when chatting.
Today Kool-Aid Man’s Facebook page has over 60 thousand likes and the Kool-Aid drink is a childhood staple. But its the 1970s and 1980s commercials Kool-Aid produced that made the product, and mascot, legendary. The commercials highlight the hulking red glass pitcher smashing through walls (and causing significant property damage). This bad reputation got Kool-Aid Man ranked sixth on Time magazines Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots. “Our biggest gripe with Kool-Aid Man: Why did he have to cause such a mess every time he entered the scene?”
Kool-Aid Man Trivia
Learning How to Master CGI
Whether it involves reviving an enduring advertising mascot like Kool-Aid Man or making special effects movie magic, jobs knowing how to create visual effects make up a large portion of the entertainment industry. This summer go behind the scenes and discover how they make Hollywood visual effects at a Digital Media Special Effects Academy.
It’s a big job to make the new Kool-Aid man commercials. It takes a cast and crew of professionals. Once the live action is shot using motion tracking, editors work to composite video and perform color correction. Some of the commercial may be shot using green-screen techniques and then 3D effects are created and added. In the end, we get an rebooted childhood hero that will bring us a pitcher of refreshing Kool-Aid no matter the obstacle.
Every spring, Digital Media Academy participates in a series of camp fairs and events across the United States and Canada to tell people why we think we’re the best tech camp in the world.
If you visited our booth at one of these events and signed up for our raffle, you were automatically entered into the 2013 Digital Media Academy FREE Summer Camp Contest. Today, we’re announcing the winner! Drum roll, please…Congratulations to Neeza Thandi! She was randomly selected to win a free week of camp* at any one of our 17 tech camp locations.
“We are very excited. This is really thrilling and a great opportunity,” said Mrs. Thandi, Neeza’s mother. “We actually already registered our two kids, so it looks like one of them may go for an additional week.”
Congratulations, Mrs. Thandi. We look forward to sharing the DMA experience with your children this summer. If you haven’t registered for summer camp, it’s not too late. DMA still has a great selection of camps open at all of our locations. Join us this summer.
In Part 1 of DMA’s HOW-TO on Source Filmmaker, we explored the basics of interacting and controlling camera movements in Valve’s 3D animation software, Source Filmmaker. In Part 2, we’ll discover how to import actors into scenes and use the timeline to view footage.
Digital Media Academy’s HOW-TO series is hosted by industry professionals and DMA instructors. Learn at your own pace — for FREE. This video’s host is DMA Instructor Phillip Reeves.
Source Filmmaker, Part 2:
What You’ll Learn in this Video:
Like what you’ve seen here? Master Source Filmmaker by spending a week at DMA’s 3D Animated Filmmaking with Source Filmmaker camp. The one-week program gives aspiring filmmakers professional, animation-based experience while they learn how to use Source Filmmaker.
For kids age 8 to 12 DMA’s Adventures in Filmmaking & Special Effects camp offers a great introduction to the basics of filmmaking. Teenagers get hands-on experience making a movie using professional tools and technology in Digital Filmmaking for Teens – Beginner camp—just one of many filmmaking camps DMA offers.
Next Week: Part 3 of our HOW-TO series on Source Filmmaker. In Part 3, we’ll teach you how to import another actor into the scene, and then edit the movie. Every Thursday posts a new HOW-TO.
Famed Rap producer Dr. Dre is putting his money where his heart is—by helping fund a new academy at the University of Southern California that will teach the next generation of artists how to break into the music business.
Dre (real name = Andre Young) is making a $70 million endowment to the program, with another famous music producer and mogul, Jimmy Iovine. Students will be able to earn an undergraduate degree at the academy, which will be built this year and officially open during the fall of 2014.
The new school will be called the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The curriculum will focus on four primary areas: arts and entrepreneurship; technology, design and marketability; concept and business platform; and prototype development. In addition to its faculty, students will get to hear from major industry icons who will serve as guest lecturers; for students bound for a career in the music business the school is the perfect platform for success.
Dre’s Golden Touch
He’s not an actual physician—but then, most real doctors couldn’t afford to buy an entire hospital. Dre could…and pay cash for it. Forbes magazine has estimated his personal fortune at $250 million. He’s won Grammies for his work on both sides of the mixing board. As a performer, he scored major successes during the 90s. And as a producer and label owner, he’s shaped the careers of stars like Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.
Iovine is another legendary producer, creating unforgettable albums for acts like U2 and Bruce Springsteen (Iovine served as studio engineer on Springsteen’s classic Born to Run album). Since the 70s he’s become a major industry player, and now is chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, where he’s signed artists such as Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. He’s parlayed his studio mastery and business smarts into a bankroll estimated somewhere between $400 million and $700 million.
The two producers have been friends for a long time. It was Iovine who suggested to Dre that the pair create a high-end line of audio speakers. (Dre asked Iovine’s advice about lending his celebrity endorsement to a shoe manufacturer. Iovine reportedly told him, “Speakers…not sneakers,” and the idea was born.) Beats Electronics started out making only headphones and earbuds, but since then the company has blown up and now even produces audio speakers for cars. Beats Audio made $500 million in 2011 alone.
Now, Dr. Dre and Iovine’s good fortune and hard work will help open doors for emerging talent. Erica Muhl, dean of USC’s Fine Arts school, will become the academy’s first director, and she envisions a school built to support musical artistry. “Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity.”
What’s Your First Step?
Attending the new USC academy should be a great way for college-age talents to become prepared to work in the music industry. But getting into the academy won’t be easy; only 25 students will be admitted during its first semester. And you can bet that those students who are selected will already have some early music-production experience that can be showcased on their entrance applications.
For that profesional, pre-college experience, Digital Media Academy offers the all-important first step. At DMA tech camps, you can discover music production this summer, while having a great time at the world’s best music camp.
Students in DMA’s Digital Audio, Music & Beat Production camp learn how to create different styles of music—such as Hip-Hop, Dance, Electronica and Dubstep—along with the techniques to record their own powerful bass lines and brilliant melodies. By the end of the week, they have a track to take home to share with friends and family—and add to a college application.
The key is hitting the ground early. Dr. Dre cut his first Rap record when he was 19, and by the time Jimmy Iovine was 20, he was already a staff engineer at New York’s famous Record Plant studios, working with music legends such as John Lennon. These guys followed their dreams early on and turned their passion into a career.
Located in the Midwest’s greatest city, the University of Chicago has the academic muscles to rival any research institution in North America. For a long time it’s been considered one of the most progressive universities in the world—especially in science.
Where Big Things Happen
The University of Chicago is where the first self-sustained man-made nuclear reaction was carried in 1942 as part of the Manhattan Project. The University is also where the charge of an electron was calculated (1909), and where radiocarbon dating technology was first developed (1949). Scientific breakthroughs at the University of Chicago have been happening for decades. Meteorologist Tetsuya “Ted” Fujita developed the F-scale, the international standard for measuring tornado severity at the University. Willard Libby may not be a household name to you, but he was a modern-day Indiana Jones. It was Libby who developed Carbon-14 dating and revolutionized archaeology.
And the University of Chicago is still making scientific headlines today, like these recent developments:
Hot Research, Cool Campus
In addition to its reputation as a place where big ideas come to life, the Univ. of Chicago is known as a fantastic college campus, right in the middle of one of America’s great cities.
Interested in learning more about cool STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) topics? Want to create the next breakthrough discovery? DMA offers tech camps at the University of Chicago in a wide variety of subjects. Want to attend the world’s best science camp, engineering camp, or robotics camp? How about learning Java programming? Discover your technical genius this summer.
As of Friday, April 5th, Minecraft® passed a major benchmark. On that date, the game—which is part game and part game maker—officially celebrated its 10 millionth download. And what’s more, that number doesn’t even take into account the Minecraft® games purchased for play on the Xbox 360.
In addition, by early May, Mojang (the game’s Swedish developer) had announced that the pocket edition of Minecraft® had also hit the 10 millionth download mark. Minecraft: Pocket Edition® reached this milestone in less time; pretty amazing for a game built using Java.
The success of Minecraft has occurred quickly. Development of the game began in 2009; the full-version download has only been available since November 2011. In turn, Mojang became an overnight success story.
Recent Minecraft® Developments
In response to the wild demand for Minecraft®, Mojang has announced several updates:
The Game with No End
Minecraft® is now everywhere. There are even Minecraft® summer camps, like the one at Digital Media Academy, where aspiring game designers discover what makes Minecraft® tick, so they can build their own incredible games.
For anyone who regularly uses any of Adobe®’s Creative Suite® products (like Photoshop) it’s something you should know: Adobe will be moving its Creative Suite® (CS) to a Cloud-based subscription model, called Creative Cloud™ (CC).
In a message from The Creative Cloud Team on Adobe’s website, the company stated, “In order to accelerate the rate at which we deliver new features and services, and to ensure that we do so with the highest level of quality, we are focusing all of our efforts on Creative Cloud. Today’s tools and services are not living up to the creative community’s expectations. Assets are difficult to track across computers. Mobile devices aren’t integrated tightly enough into creative activities. There is a continuous struggle to find effective ways to collaborate. And creative processes do not fully embrace the benefits of the broader creative community.”
Adobe offered more specifics about what this means for favorites like Adobe® Photoshop® and Adobe® InDesign®. “Given this, the CC applications will be available only as part of Creative Cloud. We will continue to sell and support Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 applications, and will provide bug fixes and security updates as necessary. We do not, however, have any current plans to release new versions of our CS applications.”
How Creative Cloud Will Work
Moving forward, there will be no more packaged or retail versions of the CS collection. Instead, users of Adobe® Photoshop® or another application will pay a set rate each month via online subscription. Each app will run approximately $20 per month (or about $240 annually), while a subscription to the entire Adobe Creative Suite will cost you approximately $50 per month (or around $600 annually). For that, you get the latest versions of the software, as well as regular feature updates, plus Cloud storage for your projects.
Benefits of the Cloud
Some users may have concerns about not having or buying a boxed version, however there are some great benefits from Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud.
Realistically, it’s a natural progression, as more companies abandon traditional retail support in favor of a distribution system that makes more sense from a product development standpoint.
For users that consistently upgrade every time a new version is available, the Cloud will definitely save money, here are a few other ways the Creative Cloud rules:
The first phase of Creative Cloud began nearly a year ago, since then Adobe says more than half a million premium members have joined Creative Cloud since then. Adobe representatives have stressed that the push to relocate Adobe’s products to a Cloud model is something the company views as inevitable.
For its part, Adobe is trying to assure longtime users that life will carry on pretty much as normal. “You will continue to install and use the creative applications on your desktop just as you always have,” said Adobe’s statement, “But the apps will increasingly be part of a larger creative process centered on Creative Cloud.”
Digital Media Academy is partnered with Adobe and uses Adobe Creative Suite in its tech camp.
Welcome back to Digital Media Academy’s HOW-TO series of instructional videos. In Part 1 of our HOW-TO on Source Filmmaker, we explore the basics of interacting and controlling camera movements in Valve’s 3D animation software, Source Filmmaker.
With Digital Media Academy’s new HOW-TO video series, you can now learn from industry professionals, at your own pace — for FREE. These are guys that speak your language and can help you get the most out of a new piece of software, hardware or other technology.
Source Filmmaker, Part 1:
What You’ll Learn in this Video:
We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this Source Filmmaker HOW-TO. If you like what you saw, check out DMA’s digital filmmaking tech camps. There are courses for every age group; kids age 8 to 12 will enjoy DMA’s Adventures in Filmmaking & Special Effects camp, which gives them a great introduction to the basics of filmmaking. Teens have several choices, such as DMA’s Digital Filmmaking for Teens – Beginner camp which gives enthusiastic newcomers the perfect place to start their work in film. But to really master Source Filmmaker, the program we’re now profiling, try DMA’s 3D Animated Filmmaking with Source Filmmaker, which gives aspiring filmmakers solid, animation-based experience with Source Filmmaker. If you’re interested in making movies, DMA is a great place to master the craft.
Learn more about this video’s host, DMA Instructor Phillip Reeves.
Next Week: Source Filmmaker HOW-TO: Part 2. Every Thursday posts a new HOW-TO.
For the last ten years, the two Frenchmen who make up the electronic dance/pop group Daft Punk have been setting the world of electronic music on fire—France hasn’t had such a popular export since champagne.
“They make you up your game, even if your game is pretty good. I feel like I’m working with people who grew up with me and feel it the same way we felt the vibe when we were creating this stuff.”
-Niles Rodgers, On Working with Daft Punk
The group’s latest–the hotly anticipated Random Access Memories–releases on May 21st. Their last project was the critically acclaimed Tron: Legacy soundtrack from the film of the same name. Daft Punk even had a brief cameo appearance in the movie as DJs, spinning tunes at the End of Line Club.
Random Access Memories brings together 13 tracks that reinforce the group’s reputation as a guiding force in EDM, or electronic dance music. And just as Daft Punk has been defining electronica and even pop, the group went back to the genesis of disco and dance music to find new inspiration for their signature sound. They also reached out to some legendary musicians and producers who influenced dance music. RAM is not only a new Daft Punk album, it’s a gathering of some of dance music’s greatest creators—and a definite inspiration for anyone interested in learning how to make dance music.
The Most Sampled Piece of Music Ever?
Niles Rodgers, the genius funkster whose distinctive chicken-scratch guitar lick can be heard in Chic’s 1979 disco anthem “Good Times,” was one of the first musicians and producers the band reached out to.
Rodgers co-founded Chic, a multi-platinum group that bridged the divide between Rock and Disco during the 70s and 80s. The band’s single “Good Times” remains one of the most sampled pieces of music of all time. Rodgers is also a master producer: He’s worked with Madonna (“Material Girl”), David Bowie (“Let’s Dance”), Sister Sledge (“We Are Family”) and The B-52’s (“Love Shack”).
After meeting with Daft Punk (who have admired Rodgers for years) and an informal jam, Rodgers was asked to help contribute a few tracks for the new album. For the track “Get Lucky,” Rodgers wrote the guitar riff for the song. The catchy riff helped propel the song to No. 3 on the UK singles chart—even though it hadn’t been officially released yet. Spotify claimed the song had become the most streamed song in England and the U.S. during one 24-hour period, in all of Spotify’s five years of tracking music streaming trends.
Daft Punk’s new album features other guest artists who each also made their mark during the 70s and 80s. Giorgio Moroder came to fame during the 70s as the decade’s foremost producer of electronic disco. His signature sound—a kind of pulsing European vibe—can be best heard in Disco mainstays like Blondie’s “Call Me” or the Donna Summer classic “Love to Love You Baby.”
“Daft Punk wanted to do something and do it in a way that’s not done by just pushing a note or a chord. You definitely hear that it’s nice and full; the drums and the bass have that warm, that full sound. This is like a step forward,” Moroder said.
Paul Williams was another leading 70s producer, a mega talent who wrote big hits for music acts and movies.
His discography includes the Carpenters (“Rainy Days and Mondays”) and The Muppets (he penned Kermit the Frog’s immortal “Rainbow Connection”). He also co-wrote 1976’s Academy Award-winning song “Evergreen”—and will contribute to the new Daft Punk album. It’s collaborations like this that really make fans scratch their heads, although the end result (especially if the first single from RAM is any indication) is nothing less than phenomenal.
Random Access Memories is already being mentioned as being perhaps the year’s most important album—even before its release. Naturally, we’ve already placed a preorder for Random Access Memories on vinyl. Dance music is overtaking pop music. And it’s being done from behind a robot’s mask.
It’s the biggest news to hit the “Star Wars” galaxy since J.J. Abrams was announced as the director for Star Wars: Episode VII: Electronic Arts will develop games based off the franchise for next-gen game consoles and PCs. The announcement was made Monday.
In an Electronic Arts Star Wars press release, EA’s President Frank Gibeau said, “The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.” Not-so-good news for “Star Wars” fans that might be hoping games like the highly-anticipated Star War 1313 will get made.
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the ‘Star Wars’ universe,” said Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for ‘Star Wars’ fans. DICE (Battlefield 3) and Visceral (Dead Space) will produce new games, joining the BioWare (Star Wars: The Old Republic) team which continues to develop for the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.” EA also said the Frostbite 3 engine, which is is being used to develop next-generation titles like Battlefield 4, will be used for every new “Star Wars” game.
Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm last year, closed LucasArts in early April. A Disney executive told Game Informer at the time that “(moving away from) internal development to a licensing model, minimiz(es) the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality ‘Star Wars’ games.” Electronic Arts is said to have a multi-year deal with Disney.
EA won’t have total control over the “Star Wars” universe when it comes to video games, however. Disney will still retain the rights to develop and publish titles for mobile, social, tablet and online games.
Developing & Publishing Your Own Sci-Fi Video Games
Want to make your own sci-fi alien space-bounty-hunter epic? With the right tools and direction, you can create the next galaxy, far, far away. If you learn how to use the Unreal™ Development Kit (which is the same development tool used to create games like Gears of War®), you could create alien characters or spaceships just like the pros…and maybe even give EA a run for its money.