Posts Tagged computer camps
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.
By Oliver Barraza: 3D Game Design & Programming Instructor
Remember all those math classes you’ve taken, remember how fun they were? Yeah, neither do I. But imagine a class where you learn math while playing a video game. Did I get your attention now?
Videogame Abacci is Stanford Mathematician Keith Devlin’s theory of how math should be taught. Devlin says textbooks are quite possibly the worst way to teach math at a grade school level. People learn the best when they experience something in a real world situation as apposed to just reading it in a book. Devlin’s goal is to create a game like World of Warcraft, but as you play online with your friends your actually learning how to do basic algebra and geometry at the same time.
I’m sure by now you’ve said to yourself, “This guy can’t be serious, games about learning are for babies.” So lets use our mind’s eye to imagine one of these math based games. The kids are required to build a flying machine to help them get around in the world—lets pretend in this world there is no land, only floating cities. Now in order to build one of these flying machines the students must select the individual parts: Engine; Wings, Landing Gear; Propeller Prop(s), Machine Body; etc.
Now the game will allow you to use any parts you want without restriction, and when your done it gives you the stats of your flying machine: Weight, Max Thrust; Wing Span, Cargo Space Dimensions; etc. Now the kids can login to the game and try their airship, but without a knowledge of physics their sweet new airship will just fall apart or run itself into the ground.
This will encourage the students to go to their teachers, parents and older siblings with a desire to learn more about physics. Once they master the basics they will be building cooler and cooler flying machines to show off and battle.
As you can see this game model not only sounds fun but the reward for creating your own machine is even better when you do it yourself.
At the Digital Media Academy we take a similar approach. The pre-teen courses, 3D Game Programming and 3D Role Playing Games & Strategy, introduce the boys and girls to computer game programming in a way that doesn’t involve heavy textbooks. Using the Alice Object Oriented Programming system we teach kids and teens how to program by showing them how to create their own games and stories! In the process of creating their own game they are also learning the basics of videogame and computer programming.
Check this video out for a little more information on Alice.
All DMA instructors have real world experience to bring into the classroom. We teach the youth, teens and adults what we do every day in our industries. We give real world examples and talk about your favorite games.
Are your kids or you interested in video games or computers? Learn more about our Summer Camp, or Sign Up and join me at this year’s summer camp at Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto or any of our ten other locations.
And be sure to keep up with out blog, there is always new and exciting things being posted here!
Software like Autodesk Maya and 3D Studio Max brings professional quality tools to independent artist, hobbyist, and the student with an interest in animation. Maya 3D modeling software is the industry standard for creating 3D characters and objects. Maya is used in the game, film, television and tech industries and computer generated imagery is a standard in almost every form of media.
What’s Your Experience?
In my experience as a Digital Media Academy instructor and university professor, I have seen more and more students showing up to class with prior experience creating 3D models and animation. These student artists are usually self-taught, having picked up whatever lessons they could find online and in print.
I experienced this myself when I was first learning Maya. I had first worked in Softimage and 3D Studio Max, and I had practically taught myself 3D modeling through manuals and online tutorials. (To a certain extent this method works fine, but professional instruction teaches best practices and professional techniques.) To learn Maya I thought I would go through the same experience, and was on my way to doing that when the company I worked for hired a Maya professional to come in for a few days and get our team of 3D animators up to speed on how to model, rig, and animate a character. (Yes, it’s true, even professional 3D modelling artists can benefit from Maya workshops.) I learned more in those two days than I had learned on my own in the past two years.
Not only was it personalized instruction, but I had never had someone tie it all together into such a well-organized workflow. Things made sense and were directly relevant to the 3D modeling task at hand. Now all the bits and pieces of the online tutorials and book chapters came together like puzzle pieces falling into place.
And not only was that time productive, my future self-directed learning in Maya was made more valuable because I was able to put it into the solid framework established during that 3D modeling training session.
Modeling a Career Path
Do you want to become a professional 3D animation artist? If so, you’re beginning a long and rewarding journey. My best advice? I highly recommend you take the time to get started on the right foot with some quality instruction. Digital Media Academy offers great courses to learn how to create and animate using Maya.
Written by Albert Frates : DMA Teen Alumnus
Throughout my three summers spent at Digital Media Academy, I have met many new people, that share common goals, and interests. I have grown more aware of the different aspects of digital media, and have been inspired by both instructors and other students. However DMA has brought me more than inspiration, and new friends. It’s brought me a solid footing for my future.
I began at DMA summer 2006 only fourteen years old at the time. I took Maya I with Adam Watkins, knowing very little about Maya, or what could be achieved. In less than a week Adam had brought the class out of the unknown, and into what I would call my first true steps of digital media at a professional level. Opening many new doors I began to pursue other aspects of media, (Film, Animation, TV, Games, Web Design, etc…). The following school year I worked on many media projects, for my school. Live event recording such as Graduation, and sporting events was the beginning. Later entered into a student film festival. Using Adobe After effects, and Final Cut Pro for the first time I managed to craft what would be a festival winner. Knowing this was something to potentially pursue I went back to DMA summer 2007. Taking classes that both focused on After Effects (Motion Graphics, and Compositing) with Betsy Kopmar, and Hands on Digital Filmmaking with Travis Schlaffman. (On a side note I recommend both courses). Sure enough I was right that fall I was had met up with a producer on a school trip in Seattle who was working on live events for DECA (A High school organization for business and marketing students). After talking to him briefly during a seminar he had invited me to come check out the production backstage. Getting to sit in on, and at one point help out with the production I was offered an internship at the end of the show for the next conference in spring. This is where I love to point out that this would not have been possible without Digital Media Academy playing a role in my past. Because of the tools, and concepts learned at DMA I was fluent working in a professional environment at at the age of sixteen when the challenge of a live production was presented to me I was able to tackle it without any issues. My point is it’s never to early to start achieving your goals, especially with DMA.
On a last note which is something I kinda blew off at the start of this post. Friends and connections you make at Digital Media Academy, is possibly one of the best parts of DMA. The more people anyone knows in life the better off they are, and once again most of the people at DMA will share goals, and interests that you do.
It’s never too early to start, achieving your goals.
Announcing the Second DMA Camp Fair Free Tuition winner!
Congratulations to Darryl Sanjeant (Dominic) for winning the raffle for free tuition to the Digital Media Academy from our second round of camp fairs! Dominic can choose from our many great courses.
DMA attends many camp fairs across the country. Attendees are able to enter their name for a chance to win a free summer camp course by Digital Media Academy.
At Digital Media Academy’s Academy for Music & Video Production, students compose and record an original song, mix and master it, and create a music video and DVD to accompany the music. At DMA tech camps, students use the best software tools for the job. First, let’s talk a bit about mixing music in Logic Pro, the audio software DMA uses.
Logic Pro is one of the industry-standard audio software packages used in recording studios. Logic is easier to learn than many of the other programs, but it is just as versatile and powerful.
Mixing & Mastering
There are several steps to recording a song. First, you write the song, and decide what instruments will play which parts. Then, you record the parts, and input those parts for the software instruments. After that, you mix and master the song.
Mixing is mainly just setting the volume levels of different instruments so they sound good together. When you go to a concert, the engineer standing in front of that huge board somewhere in the back-center of the audience is the sound mixer. In that case, the mixer only gets one shot at mixing it right, since they are mixing a live show. Recording studios are great because we have plenty of time to get the song to sound exactly the way we want it to sound. (And if something sounds entirely wrong, we can just re-record it!)
We can also use automation to simulate live mixing. If we have a guitar solo, we can push the guitar’s volume slider up to make it louder, and then pull it back down after the solo is over. Automation lets us do this automatically exactly the same, every time we play our song.
Tricks of the Trade
There are other tricks we can use. When we record an artist playing or singing a part, we call that a “take.” We usually record several takes so we can get the best one. If none of them are perfect, we can actually stitch multiple takes together and use the best parts from each take. For example, if the guitarist botched one chord, but the rest of the take was perfect, we can substitute in a chord from another take to fix it. Logic makes splicing clips together very easy. In the project pictured below, we had two substandard takes, so I used different parts of each take to create a better one. (You can hear the song at the bottom of this post).
We can also add Equalization to a track. “EQ” lets us change the volume of specific ranges of frequencies. In other words, if the vocalist’s track sounds “muddy,” we can boost the higher frequencies and take down the lower ones to increase the clarity of the voice. If we have a high-pitched whine in the background, we can take out just the offending frequency.
Here are some examples of problems we can fix by mixing the song. I recorded this song with musician Misha Byrne. For all three examples, we’ll play the unmixed version before the mixed version, so you can compare them.
In the first clip, listen to the volume levels. The vocals get a bit quiet on “Maybe I’ll never see…” Then in the second clip, you may notice a high-pitched noise in the background. Also, the “t” in the word “heart” gets lost in the unmixed clip. In the third clip, notice the error in the guitar playing on the last chord. In the mixed version, I spliced in another recording of Misha playing that chord correctly to make it sound better.
Where Music and Video Come Together
I’ve only mentioned a few of the tools recording engineers and mixers use to arrange and mix songs. They are all covered in DMA’s Academy for Music & Video Production: Come Together, which is co-sponsored by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. There is so much to learn, and this class gives every student the knowledge they need to get started in both audio and video production.
Misha Byrne is a singer, guitarist and songwriter in Queensland, Australia.
News from HQ by Philip Harding
Written by Brian Rothschild of the John Lennon Bus
Experience the ultimate music video summer camp. Bring your imagination, and leave with the skills you need to create professional music and video projects with ease, from start to finish. The Lennon Bus has teamed up with the Digital Media Academy to provide a new course based on the techniques taught daily on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Using the latest audio, video and music gear, you’ll work with a diverse group of talented students and professionals to edit and create original music and videos. Make beats, write a song, record audio, shoot video, edit like the pros and author your own DVD. No experience needed; this course is for anyone interested in learning the basics of music and video creation.
In the Cartoon Creation class, we’re using Toon Boom Studio to teach animation techniques, this software is very flexible and fun to use.
At the core of all animation are “keyframes”. We find them in other animation applications, video apps, compositing apps, and even audio editing applications. Keyframes are what allow us to move our characters, animate them, change the lighting, move the camera, and make their lips move. Without keyframes, there would be no movement or change. In other words, we’d just be working with still images without keyframes, and that’s not nearly as much fun!
Keyframes simplify animation by allowing us to modify our drawing over time, instead of manually drawing every single frame individually. Animating with keyframes is kind of like cutting out your character from paper and pushing him around the table. He moves smoothly, and you can reuse objects you have already drawn. The alternative is frame-by-frame animation; this is like making a flip-book, and redrawing the character on every page.
We also cover frame-by-frame animation. This is how they made the classic Disney cartoons. Toon Boom Studio has an onion-skinning feature built in to help with this kind of animation. It outlines the drawing from the previous frame, which gives you a good reference for the position of the next frame’s drawing. Unfortunately, animators didn’t have it this easy back in the ’70s!
Toon Boom Studio has many powerful drawing tools built in. Even things like shading are easy to manage. In the picture below, the darker shading on the left side of her face was created with the shading tool. Adding shadows for characters is as easy as dragging and dropping a shadow in. The shadows even automatically update. Once we put the shadows in, we don’t have to worry about them anymore. We can even draw with gradients, instead of plain colors. Check out the star in her hair. It’s a smooth ramp from orange to yellow, and gives the character a subtle touch of realism.
Toon Boom Studio has a lip-syncing engine built in. This lets us record an audio track and sync the lips of our characters to fit our recorded dialog. Toon Boom Studio takes the monotony out of lip-syncing. We get to make the character speak with our voice, and the software does the tedious part of the process for us! That’s pretty exciting!
One of the most exciting things about Toon Boom Studio is its compatibility with file formats that animators already use. We can import Adobe Illustrator vector files, Flash .swf’s, all kinds of raster image formats, video formats, and sound formats. This means that we can use almost any source material that we can find to animate. Do you know any artists who use Adobe Illustrator? You can bring their work right into Toon Boom Studio, with no loss in quality, and no conversions!
And even more exciting is the export formats. Believe it or not, the projects you create in our course can be exported to Adobe Flash files! Flash is the industry standard for animations on the internet, so this is extremely exciting. This means that everyone with the Flash player installed can view your animation. (98% of computers with internet have Flash installed, so that’s a big deal!) You can put your animations online for the world to see, or to share with friends and family! You can also export your animations to video, for use in a DVD, or a video project.
I’m very excited to see this Cartoon Creation class offered this summer. We get to create dynamic and rich animations that we can share with anyone and everyone, and our animations will play on almost any computer. It’s a blast!
News from HQ by Philip Harding
Make a creative music video that will make you famous!
Come take film courses this summer at DMA! Be sure you are learning from the best! DMA has also teamed up with The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus to offer a Music Video Production course! You will learn the skills you need to make the perfect music video. As I always say… the only limit is your creativity! Here are a few famous music videos to get your creativity flowing….
….Ever heard of Ok Go?
How can anyone forget this famous music video from the band Ok Go – “Here We Go Again”? This music video went viral and took the internet by storm. The band didn’t include the normal drums, guitar and bass you’d expect. Instead, the rock band turned in their instruments for treadmills. With over 45,321,935 views on YouTube, you know this music video made this band famous.
….The White Stripes get creative in their music videos!
The White Stripes always seem to stretch the creative boundaries in their music videos. This is such a creative example of combining technical filming and editing skills with a truly original idea. The video becomes more complex and interesting with each beat!
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Here is another amazing White Stripes music video made with Legos! This is crazy creative. How much time do you think this could possibly take? Find out this summer!