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Digital Photography

Charlie Brown, Snoopy to Star in New 3D CGI Movie

For nearly 65 years children of all ages have treasured the lovable gang featured in the “Peanuts” comic strip. Now, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Woodstock, Lucy, and the rest of the gang are headed to the big screen, thanks to 20th Century Fox Animation.

The gang from one of the world’s most beloved comic strips.

In Development
Blue Sky Studios announced the film through a “Peanuts” Movie Press Release. Details are still being released; so far we know the project will be directed by Steve Martino (“Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!”) and he will shoot from a script by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates.

The film will mark the first time the “Peanuts” gang will be showcased in a full-length film as 3D characters. Craig Schulz, the son of the late Charles M. Schulz, is President of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and working with 20th Century Fox on the movie. “We have been working on this project for years,” he said. “We finally felt the time was right and the technology is where we need it to be to create this film. I am thrilled we will be partnering with Blue Sky/Fox to create a ‘Peanuts’ movie.”

When the comic strip first appeared (the early 1950s), the characters—and their problems—were much simpler.

“Peanuts” and Its Impact
It may be difficult for today’s youth to understand just how much impact “Peanuts” once had on American pop culture. At its peak, “Peanuts” was everywhere.

At one time the comic strip was read by 355 million daily readers (in 75 countries). Then there are the classic holiday television specials—especially 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (soon to be celebrating its own 50th anniversary) and 1966’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Both TV specials became enduring classics and today seeing them is considered a rite of passage and a “must see” each holiday season.

 In theory, the starring character in “Peanuts” is everyman Charlie Brown…

Add to that, the popular “Peanuts” Broadway musicals, ice-skating shows and all types of “Peanuts” merchandise, like toys, calendars, books…and “Peanuts” became a billion-dollar marketing empire way before anyone had ever heard of Spongebob Squarepants…and this was back in the days when a billion was a truly astronomical amount of money.

The 65th Anniversary of “Peanuts”
The 2015 “Peanuts” project will mark the 65th anniversary of the debut of the “Peanuts” comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the landmark television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The first movie, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” was a major 1969 success and caught the massive wave of popularity that surrounded “Peanuts” during the 1960s and 1970s. The movie franchise carried on with varying success during three sequels: “Snoopy Come Home” (1972), “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown” (1977) and “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back!!!” (1980).

…in reality, however, the star of “Peanuts” has always been Charlie’s pet dog, Snoopy, here assuming the role of a WWI fighter ace atop his airplane (cough)–uh, doghouse.

The gently humorous vision that cartoonist Charles Schulz created has lived on well beyond his death, and shows no signs of going away any time soon. He continues to inspire a new generation of cartoonists and animators and anyone else who wants to learn how draw cartoons.

“Peanuts” remains popular. The comic strip ran without interruption for almost 50 full years, from Oct. 2, 1950 until Feb. 13, 2000. One college professor called that fifty-year run “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being.”

Strip creator Charles M. Schulz turned his gentle humor and simple characters into a vast marketing empire worth more than a billion dollars.

Inspiring the Artist in You
Today, the world of cartooning and animation is light years ahead of what Charles M. Schulz may have envisioned. Kids and teens that want to learn animation or cartooning can attend animation camp, and with tools like Maya and Toon Boom Studio, making a cartoon or learning to become an animator has never been easier.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

Canon’s 5D Mark III: Megapixel Marvel & DSLR Video Camera

Now this is a seriously cool camera. Canon has ramped up its breakthrough 5D Mark II DSLR camera so that it’s able to capture more than twice the amount of video footage previously possible. And we’re not talking grainy, sub-par quality video footage here, but full high-def video—so sharp it could be used for broadcast television or even professional film.

A serious DSLR camera that lets you shoot 30 minutes of professional quality video: Canon’s new 5D Mark III.

Canon recently presented the 5D Mark III to an eager photo/video marketplace that’s grown significantly more sophisticated over the last decade. And whereas the 5D Mark II allowed shooters to record up to 12 minutes of video footage, the new model extends that shooting time to a full half hour.

Megapixel Marvel  
The 5D Mark III sports some other major improvements as well. The sensor size has been increased a bit, from 21.1 megapixels to 22.3 megapixels. And where the earlier version had an ISO range between 50 and 25,600, the 5D Mark III boosts that ISO range up to between 50 and 102,400. The autofocus feature has also been enhanced significantly; while the earlier model had nine focus points, the 5D Mark III has more than six times that many focus points (with 61 points). Another increase involves the rear LCD panel, which has been upped from its original 3-inch screen to a 3.2-inch display. (The resolution of the rear LCD has climbed from 920,000 dots to 1.04 million dots.)

The sensor size for the 5D Mark III has been boosted to 22.3 megapixels for amazing resolution.

The new model includes a few altogether new features, too, such as twin memory card slots so shooters can use SD and/or CompactFlash cards for storing their masterpieces. The 5D Mark III’s most-welcome new addition, however, will be its headphone jack, which videographers will find useful as they lay down their footage.

Keep in mind that this is not a “casual” camera; a bare-minimum 5D Mark III (which means it has just the camera body) will set you back $3,499. Meanwhile, if you purchase the camera along with a Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 lens, you should be prepared to spend another $800, for a total of $4,299. Granted, that’s a lot of “couch change,” but photographers and videographers will tell you that for a professional DSLR camera that’s able to take 30 minutes of professional-quality video footage, you should reasonably expect to pay substantially more than the 5D Mark III’s suggested retail price.

The Auto Focus feature for the 5D Mark II utilized 9 focus points. That number has been increased to 61 focus points on the new model.

Canon’s 5D Mark III DSLR camera is arriving in stores now. If you’re looking to learn to make the most of your DSLR camera or learn digital filmmaking with a DSLR, why not take a course this summer and sharpen your skills? Digital Media Academy offers several courses in DSLR photography and filmmaking – after all you’ve spent a lot on a DSLR camera, why not get the most it?

Are you looking forward to using Canon’s 5D Mark III DLSR camera?


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

How Can You Tell if a Picture Has Been Photoshopped?

Photos are everywhere. And there’s a very good chance the photo you’re looking at has had a touch-up or two. Do you know how to tell the difference between a real or phony photo?

This famous photo – which was faked – sparked a huge debate as to its authenticity when it was first passed around the Internet a few years back.

Working in the Shop
You know you have a good product when the brand name turns into a verb. Google and Photoshop probably know this better than any brand (just Google “Photoshopping” to get an idea of what I mean). Photoshop is an amazingly powerful tool that finds itself in the hands of more and more people everyday. Some for better and some for worse. Example A: photo manipulation.

We’re here to help you spot the fakes, but doing so requires a little detective work. And like a good detective, there are subtle clues that are a dead giveaway to help you spot what’s real and what’s not.

The Human Face
When you’re dealing with a photo that is a portrait of a person, or a photo where the main subject is a person, the human face can reveal so much about a photo’s authenticity. Why? You’re most familiar with the human face. You spend every morning (let’s hope) staring at your own while you scrub those pearly whites, so the oddities will stand out. This is especially true when it comes to the eyes, nose and mouth. What better tool to use to sniff these irregularities out than your very own two eyeballs. Using your own eyes and starting with the face, here are some things to look for in spotting a fraud:

Before (on the left) and after (on the right), Photoshop. 

The Eyes
Eyes provide two great clues for use when we are on the hunt for a fraud. Contrary to what you see on the front page of magazines and spread across billboards, eyeballs DO have veins and the sclera, which is the white part of your eye, is often a little discolored and cloudy. Also, depending on the light and the subject’s face structure, the shadows around the subject’s eyes may vary, but in almost all cases there should be some shadows. If the eyes in the photo look too good to be true, chances are, THEY ARE!

Facial Features
For photoshoppers that enjoy providing the digital nose job, they know it’s no simple procedure. Replacing noses is tricky because you have to perfectly match color, texture, and lighting three facets of the face that literally stick out at you on the nose. Detecting a bad blend job on any one of these items can help you easily sniff out the fraud.

Enhancing the size, color, and shape of lips is a common request in the land of Photoshop. Just like the eyes and nose though, if the light and texture look suspicious, chances are you’re on to something. Luscious lips are usually liars. Also, notice skin tone, in the photos above of George Clooney and Beyonce. Both of their complexions are unnaturally even and clean.

You may have been too distracted by the squirrels with lightsabers to notice the repeating pattern and bad image stitching in the background?

The Environment
Spotting a fish out of water has become increasingly difficult these days all thanks to Photoshop. Sure, it’s all fun and games when you photoshop your friend on the moon, but what about photoshopping a suspect into or out of a crime scene? Photoshop has used the blur tool quite a bit when it comes the world around us and whether we know if what we’re seeing is really in it or not. Here are some tips to knowing the world around you:

1. If an image seems suspiciously out of place, the best place to continue your hunt is on the edges. Poor blending and sloppy edge work will be your indication that someone tried to pull the ol’ drag and drop on you.

2. Just as in detecting a fraud on a portrait of the face, light plays a big role in the environment as well. I mean, after all, photography is about capturing light. When searching, look for strange shadows or missing shadows from objects that you think may be photoshopped in. Replicating shadows accurately can be a time-consuming and challenging process and thus can often be overlooked or just skipped on a hack job.

This five-headed snake is the stuff of nightmares, don’t worry – it’s fake. Notice how all the heads have the exact same angle and how the heads connect to the body of the snake.

Use Technology
If you can’t find evidence a photograph has been altered, using technology can help you. Perhaps it’s time to dawn some robot eyes. There are a couple of ways to get this done.

Notice the scales of the snake don’t have a consistent pattern; any naturally born two-headed snake does.

Using Photoshop, you can choose to switch between different color layers on your suspicious image. Switching between these layers will allow you to see differences in light that weren’t recognizable before. You can do this by going into Channels and manually selecting Red, Green, or Blue. Areas that have strange highlights or shadows may be indications that you have a fraud on your hands.

Using Image Error Level Analysis can be a great way to determine if a photo has been altered. The tool will provide you a heat map-like image of a JPEG you upload. It will analyze your uploaded image and detect for you areas that it thinks have been photoshopped.

A Career in Photoshop 
Did you know that there are whole careers around not only photoshopping pictures, but being able to detect when a picture has been photoshopped? That’s right; digital forensics is the study and breakdown of digital media and how it can be used to detect fraud. Learning Photoshop color correction, touch-ups & quick image optimization can help get you started. As technology and high-end production tools become more and more available, our ability to recognize the real deal and fake phonies is becoming increasingly difficult.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

Who was the Inventor of Photography?

224 years ago, on Nov. 18, 1787, Louis Daguerre was born. Daguerre, a digital media pioneer, was the man who invented the first reliable photography process, or what was known back then as the daguerreotype.

Daguerre was born in Northern France and even though he lived after the Renaissance, he was truly a “Renaissance man.” He apprenticed in architecture, theatre design and panoramic painting. He was also a skilled illusionist and invented the Diorama.

Honored with a Google Doodle on his birthday, Louis Daguerre was the Steve Jobs of his day, as photography was the emerging technology of the age. With an eye for capturing life, Daguerre developed the photography technique as a way to capture images he saw with his camera obscura. The technique he developed was unveiled in 1839 to crowds of eager scientist and artists. Ultimately, the French Government acquired Daguerre’s patent and offered it as a gift, “free to the world.”

The Invention of Photography
Back then, photographs were captured on metal plates, also called Tintypes. Daguerre experimented with the process for several years, often showing his work off to other artists in hopes of wooing investors to his idea. Daguerre didn’t truly invent the process, but he did refine and make it reliable. The first permanent photograph was created by Nicéphore Niépce. His process was long and laborious – it took about eight hours to produce a photograph and then the picture quality was extremely poor.

Boulevard du Temple“, was the first photograph of one or more persons. The image was taken by Daguerre in Paris, in 1838. The ten minute exposure captures only still objects – including a shoe-shine boy and his customer at the bottom left, and two people sitting at a table nearby – who stood still long enough to have their likenesses immortalized.

Niépce learned about Daguerre and became partners with him in 1829. Daguerre continued the photography experiments the two were working on after Niépce’s death in 1833 – and that’s what resulted in the daguerreotype - the forerunner of modern photography. Today, only about 25 of Daguerre’s photographs survive; the majority of his legacy was lost in a fire that destroyed his studio and first Diorama in 1839.

Photography has advanced a lot in 200 years. Today photos are digital and can be shared with the world in an instant. Taking good digital photographs or learning your DSLR camera settings can be challenging. Lke Daguerre learned, you have to keep working at it to create a legacy.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

Facebook is World’s Largest Photo Library

Facebook’s users have stored a massive 140 billion photos on the service. That’s a collection more than 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress photo collection.

Online photo service Flickr even eclipses the Library of Congress. 

History of the Image
People have been taking and sharing photos at least since 1838, when the oldest known photo of a person was taken. One of the first digital cameras was the Sony Mavica. Today, people take pictures with their smartphones, digital cameras and other devices, even laptops. In 1900, the first consumer camera was made available for $1- the Kodak Brownie. Photography certainly has come a long way:

Digital cameras are now ubiquitous – it is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world today have a digital camera. If the average person snaps 150 photos this year that would be a staggering 375 billion photos. That might sound implausible but this year people will upload over 70 billion photos to Facebook, suggesting around 20% of all photos this year will end up there.

Photos of all kinds: more than 200 million photos per day are uploaded to Facebook. 

“Currently there are over 200 million photos uploaded per day, or around 6 billion per month. Almost 90 billion photos total,” says Justin Mitchell, an engineer for Facebook. Simply put, Facebook is, by far, “the largest photos site on the Internet.”

There’s a full range of photographers – from beginning photographers learning filmmaking using a DSLR camera to professionals polishing their craft. Everyone takes photos and today’s technology makes it easier than ever to do so. Need more proof? Just check out Flickr’s massive 6 billion photo collection.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

What is Rasterbating?

Pixel art is incredibly popular; another art trend that’s been taking over high schools and college campuses for some time is rasterbating. What is rasterbating? Rasterbating takes its name from a program (the Rasterbator) that lets you take a single image and then enlarge it, turning a small photo or piece of art into a huge rasterized image. And you don’t need a large-format printer at a sign shop or any artistic background to do it.

A rasterbated image of the moon landing covers the wall of a college dorm.

You’ve seen rasterbated images before. Remember sporting events where the fans in the bleachers each hold up a piece of paper that contains one piece of a much larger image? The art may look abstract on its own, but when produced using tiled printing, the image can become truly breathtaking.

Art on a Large Scale
So you want to wallpaper your dorm, or maybe even the side of a building? No problem; download the Rasterbator. After you’ve uploaded an image and the program processes the image, you can then print the resulting multi-page PDF file and assemble the printed pages into a massive poster.

It took 28 sheets of paper to produce this image, but the final result is truly striking.

The program is very easy to use. You’ll need a printer, of course (and extra ink if you’re making a super large and color image), and Adobe Reader (or some other program to read the PDF). Select your image and then set the size you want to enlarge it to. The Rasterbator will take it from there. After processing and cutting up the image into tiled sections, it outputs a PDF file, which you print and piece together.

Rasterbation offers artists and designers several options to produce their images in a large format. If you use the Rasterbator utility online to help you, it can produce images up to 65 feet across. On the other hand, if you download the utility, there are no size restrictions on composite images. Either way, rasterbation is printing without boundaries, and as long as you’ve got plenty of paper and ink, you’re in business.

What is rasterbating? It’s a great tool for digital artists and designers to take their creations to the next level. And there’s no end to what you can create. An enormous lunar landscape? Sure. A wall-sized composite portrait of yourself? Go for it. With rasterbation, all images are possible.

This composite portrait of movie star and Saturday Night Live host Christopher (“More cowbell!”) Walken takes on an added dimension in large format thanks to the Rasterbator. 


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

DLSR Cheatsheet: Manual Photography

So you finally bought a DSLR camera? Congratulations! You own the pinnacle of digital photography technology – and while you’re certainly impressed by your DSLR’s features, you may be overwhelmed by them at the same time.

Manual Photography Made Easy
Learning the manual settings on your DSLR is not essential, but it can help you truly master the camera and its many settings – and it’s a must if you want to shoot like the pros.  This Manual Photography Cheat Sheet will help teach you how to use your new DSLR’s powerful manual settings.

Created by self-taught photographer Miguel Yatco, this infographic will help you take your picture-taking skills to new heights.

Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras, or DSLRs, are incredibly popular but many people don’t take the proper amount of time to learn everything your DLSR can do. Sure, a digital camera takes a lot of the hassle out of taking pictures because everything is automated and digital. However, some of your best pictures can be lost because you didn’t know how to use your camera in poor lighting or with the manual settings.

Take a course in digital photography, or teach yourself how to use the most basic features with practice. You’ll find the pictures you take will be significantly better and you’ll find that the investment you made in your camera is worth even more.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

Professional Focus Adjustment For Your DSLR

You’ve seen the effect before in movies and television – someone is talking in the background, then as their conversation finishes, the scene quickly transitions to the foreground, and all the cameraman did was adjust the camera’s lens focus. It’s a quick and almost seamless transition, and you can achieve the same effect too, using just your DSLR camera.

Using an inexpensive kit called Follow Focus, you can now adjust your shots with professional perfection. The kit, which is sold for $59, is easy to use and replicates the same photograph technique it’s named after, follow focus.

The kit includes a Velcro strap and metal focus markers that are actually used as stop points to set the proper focus. Having the two points allows you to switch back and forth between the multiple focus points with the accuracy and precision of a professional photographer or filmmaker. If you don’t want to spend the $59 dollars, you can build a kit without much difficulty, using metal clips, velcro and steel wiring, but we thought the Follow Focus kit was well worth the money considering the professional results you get.

Created by DSLR Solutions, the Follow Focus kit allows follow and rack focusing without a rail or other accessories.

Getting Photography in Focus
Are you serious about photography? Then learn how to use a DSLR camera. You can get professional results with just a few expert tips, and improve your picture-taking skills. Take a summer course, or attend a summer camp at Digital Media Academy and you’ll truly get the most out of your DSLR.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

Learning Your New DSLR Camera – Online Training, Summer Camps & Courses

Learning how to use a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera can take time, and if you don’t have a friend or teacher to show you how to use it, a DSLR can be challenging as well. Manuals help, but reading about how to use a sophisticated piece of photographic equipment isn’t quite the same as having hands-on time operating it.

To get the most out of a DSLR, you need to know how to use all of its features – the shutter speed, aperture and ISO (light sensitivity) – and how those features enhance your photos. Now, suppose there was an online app or web site that helped show you how all these features worked, so you could “test drive” them before you bought a camera?

Introducing CameraSim.

CameraSim lets you see how camera settings such as shutter speed affect your shots.

This web app lets you see how camera settings such as shutter speed will affect your pictures. The sample picture even includes a spinning pinwheel to change your shutter speed and eliminate motion blur. CameraSlim is a great way to get familiar with a camera’s features.

If you’re really serious about learning how to use a DSLR camera, why not take a course or enroll in a digital photography summer camp? The skills you learn will improve your photography. Digital Media Academy offers several week-long courses that give you hands-on experience using DSLRs and digital photography training. Learn how to shoot your best photos and get the most from the images you capture by learning Advanced Digital Photography and Photoshop. Put yourself in the picture with DMA.


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Digital Photography and Photoshop Summer Camp

Introduction to Digital Photography and Photoshop Summer Camp

By TOM TUTTLE Faculty, Digital Media Academy , Digital Photography and Photoshop

Last summer’s Digital Media Academy Introduction to Digital Photography and Photoshop summer camp course was a classic. Every class seems to have an extraordinary mix of people. This past summer we had a gentleman who came from Tokoyo, two high school teachers and great mix of five high school students. Some had a little photoshop experience and some had photography experience.

One of our high school students decided her passion was photography and sent me the following e-mail just last month:
“Hello Mr. Tuttle!
I just wanted to let you know that I was accepted into the school of Photographic Arts and Imaging at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)…”

For those not familiar with RIT, it is one of the top three photography schools in the world.  A portion of her portfolio came from her class at Digital Media Academy. This photo was chosen as the most outstanding image of the week; selected from over 3,000 photographs taken.

Every course is different. We do a survey of what students want to learn and then mold the class to include those topics. Last summer, we covered outdoor portraiture, close-up & macro photography, architecture and special effects.

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