DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Camp Fairs Raffle (Drawing #2) Winner Announced!

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.

summer camp fair

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Computer Training: A Great Learning Experience at Digital Media Academy

Written by Tyler Winick of the John Lennon Bus

The Digital Media Academy (DMA) is a nationally-recognized organization offering hands-on learning experiences in a broad range of digital media technologies. DMA offers summer camps for kids and teens and “Pro-Series” courses for adult-learners. Founded in 2002 by a group from Stanford University, DMA is best known for its premier summer programs hosted at 18 prestigious destination campuses, such as Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of Chicago – just to name a few. In addition to its summer programs, DMA provides on-site training to schools and companies and offers workshops throughout the year at its training facility in Campbell, CA.

I had a great learning experience with DMA!

I had the pleasure of taking some DMA courses last winter and can honestly say that it was an amazing and valuable experience. I learned so much so quickly and was able to immediately apply my knowledge in the classroom and in the field with the John Lennon Bus. For more information you can visit digitalmediaacademy.org

dma-team-big

john lennon educational tour bus

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comments (2)

Sony Renews Official Sponsorship of Digital Media Academy

Sony Continues To Provide Professional HD Video Equipment For DMA Film and Video Courses Given At College and University Campuses in U.S. and Canada

Campbell, CA — The Digital Media Academy (DMA), a leading provider of film and video training for educators, adult learners and teens, announced today that Sony Electronics has renewed its official sponsorship and will remain the exclusive supplier of video equipment for DMA’s courses. Sony provides its most current state-of-the-art professional high-definition video cameras and other equipment for use by students in DMA consolidated classes, which take place throughout the summer on college and university campuses including Stanford, Brown, Harvard, U of Chicago, U of British Columbia in Vancouver, U of Texas, Austin and many more.

“DMA is thrilled to continue its successful relationship with Sony as a corporate sponsor,” said Dave Livingston, Director of Instruction for the Academy and its programs. “We’ve made our name providing beginner to advanced training for teens and adults, using the latest and greatest industry standard tools. This relationship puts the cutting-edge, professional Sony video technology, including the HDV™ series of digital video camcorders, directly into the hands of our film and video students.”

Sony’s high-definition camcorders are the choice of professionals working in a range of video applications including electronic field production and newsgathering, and event videography, as well as leading university film and video programs.

“Training programs like the Digital Media Academy are an important part of Sony’s educational focus,” said Shari Sentlowitz, Sony’s Education and Government marketing manager. “We are committed to preparing the next generation of industry professionals and educators, and we’re pleased to continue to be the exclusive video products provider to DMA’s film and video courses.”

Learning how to film with a Sony Camera

About the Digital Media Academy:
The Digital Media Academy (DMA) is a nationally-recognized organization offering hands-on learning in a broad range of digital media technologies. DMA offers a wide range of courses targeted at kids, teens, adults and educators, Founded in 2001 by a group of professionals from Stanford University, DMA is known for its premier summer programs hosted at prestigious destination campuses nationwide. In addition to its summer programs, DMA provides on-site training to schools and companies throughout the year.  For more information, go to  http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org or call 866-656-3342.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Music-Making with Logic Pro

Hi, I’m Ben Jaffe, one of DMA’s instructors. In our Music & Video Production course, we’ll be composing and recording an original song, mixing and mastering it, and creating a music video and dvd to accompany the music. We’ll be using the best software tools for the job. I’d like to talk a bit about mixing music in “Logic Studio,” the audio software we’ll be using.

logic-interface

Logic Studio is one of the industry standard audio software packages used in recording studios. I believe Logic is easier to learn than many of the others, but it is just as versatile and powerful.

There are several steps to recording a song. First, you write the song, and decide what instruments play which parts. Then, you record the parts, and input the parts for the software instruments. After that, you mix and master the song. I’ll be talking about those last steps in this blog entry.

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!

mixer

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 pull it back down after the solo is over. Automation lets us do this automatically exactly the same every time we play our song.

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, I 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).

logic-multiple-take-edit

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 their voice. If we have a high-pitched whine in the background, we can take out just the offending frequency.

Here are some examples of the kinds of problems we can fix by mixing the song. I recorded this song with my friend Misha Byrne a few months ago. For all three examples, I’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…”
In the second clip, you may notice the high pitched noise in the background. Also, the ‘t’ in “heart” gets lost in the unmixed clip.
In the third clip, notice the error in the guitar on the last chord. In the mixed version, I spliced in another recording of Misha playing that chord correctly to make it sound better.

I’ve only mentioned a few of the tools recording engineers and mixers use to arrange and mix songs. We cover them all in our Music and Video Production Class, plus we cover the video side of things as well. We’re all very excited for this class. There is so much to learn, and this class will give every student the knowledge they need to get started in both audio and video.

Here’s the full song. Misha Byrne is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter in Queensland, Australia.

I hope to see you all this summer. This course will be a blast!

-Ben

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Digital Photography Lesson : Tips from DMA Pros with Aperture

Written by Jeff Sobel of the John Lennon Bus

In my last post I talked about the saturation and vibrancy adjustments in Aperture 2.  I mentioned that these powerful tools are great when you want to adjust the color in the entire image but not a good solution for selectively adjusting color in only parts of the image.  Aperture provides an often overlooked tool which is fantastic for making these types of selective adjustments.  It’s the Dodge and Burn plugin and it can be found in the Images>Edit With> menu as seen in the screen grab below:

aperture_dodge_and_burn_menu_thumb

Though Dodge and Burn is included with Aperture 2 it is actually a plugin so when you select it in the menu your image opens up in a new window.  It’s much like sending the image to an external editor except that it’s more tightly integrated with Aperture.  The name Dodge and Burn comes from the darkroom technique of using a card to dodge (lighten) or burn (darken) select areas of a photo print while it is in the chemical bath to manipulate the exposure of the photograph.  The Dodge and Burn plugin in Aperture 2 allows you to do the same thing with your mouse, no noxious chemicals required.  The great thing about the D&B plugin is that it not only allows you to adjust light/dark but a half-dozen other effects as well, including saturation (see screen grab below).
dodge_and_burn_menu_2

 

By playing with this tool you’ll quickly learn how to manipulate the color saturation in certain areas of your image while leaving other areas in their natural state (or manipulating those areas in a different way).  Here are some examples (all images can be clicked to embiggen).

I took some photos at a friend’s wedding last year.  They were married in Golden Gate Park and the grass and trees were a vibrant green.  I found that even though I had a fairly shallow depth of field that threw the background out of focus the vibrant color of the plants was distracting the eye from the important parts of the image (the bride and groom!).  
mukh_1_thumb wedding photo edit

I wanted to reduce the saturation of the plants and people behind my subjects to separate the bride and groom from the background.  However, I couldn’t simply reduce the saturation in the whole image because I certainly didn’t want to take away from the bride’s amazing gown.  So I turned to the Dodge and Burn plugin.  Using the Desaturate setting I ‘painted’ desaturation onto the background.  It took a little time but I loved the results:
wedding photo edit 2

By applying the same effect to all the photos a consistent look can be achieved which can really tie an album together (much like a good rug ties the room together).  Here are a few more examples of using the Dodge and Burn plugin to desaturate the background while leaving the subjects vibrant:

Before: 
Wedding Photo Before being Edited
After:
 After Editing the Photograph

Now here’s one final example that has a similar look but was produced using a slightly different method.  Instead of using the D&B plugin to desaturate the background in this photograph I first reduced the color by adjusting the saturation and vibrancy sliders in Aperture:
Before Editing Photo in Apeture

Then I sent the image to the Dodge and Burn plugin and using the Saturate setting I added color back into the photograph by carefully painting the bride’s dress and the flower lei each is wearing.
After Editing the Photo in Apeture

Spend some time with the Dodge and Burn plugin and I think you’ll find it can do some interesting things to your photographs.  These are the same techniques you will learn in this summer’s Digital Photography and Photoshop courses at Digital Media Academy.

Or, you can learn Photoshop with DMA on a Final Cut Pro and Photoshop Cruise this summer! Learn more about DMA on the Sea!

dma on the sea : final cut pro and photoshop cruise

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Cartoon Creation with Toon Boom Studio

At the core of all types animations – cartoons, videogames, movies – are “keyframes.” Keyframes are what allow animators to move characters to different positions, essentially, it’s a “keyframe” that animates Bart Simpson, a Lego videogame character or computer generated monster in a Harry Potter movie.


Lego video game cut scenes are animated using keyframes. 

Keyframes: Bringing Art & Imagination to Life To bring a character to life, you need the same ingredients as real life. Motion. Keyframes change the still images – for computer rendered characters, keyframes simplify animation by allowing animators to modify a character or object quickly over an animation cycle. Instead of manually drawing a new pose every single frame individually, keyframes get rendered characters from one point of action to another. The alternative is frame-by-frame animation; think making a flip-book, and redrawing the character on every page.

Draw to Life: Frame By Frame In Adventures in Cartoon Creation, young animators learn how to make cartoons  and are taught frame-by-frame animation – the same methods used to create the classic Disney cartoons using Toon Boom Studio. Toon Boom Studio has an copy feature built in to help with this kind of animation. It outlines the drawing from the previous frame, and gives you a reference of the position of the next frame’s drawing. Animators certainly didn’t have it this easy back in the ’70s!

Lighting: In the Shadows Shading characters is easy too. 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.

toonboom-drawing

Toon Boom Studio has an animation studio-full set of features, like shading and lip-syncing.

Lip-Service
Toon Boom Studio has a lip-syncing engine built in too. This lets you record an audio track and sync the lips of our characters to fit our recorded dialog. This helps take the monotony out of lip-syncing. Animators get pretty excited when they make a character speak, and the software does the hard part for you.

File Compatibility
Toon Boom Studio works with file formats that animators already use – import to Adobe Illustrator vector files, Flash .swf’s, all kinds of raster image formats, video formats, and sound formats. This means that animators or cartoonist can use almost any source material that they want to animate. Artists who use Adobe Illustrator can even bring their work right into Toon Boom Studio, with no loss in quality, and no conversions!

If you’re ready to learn how to make cartoons then Toon Boom Studio is for you.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Art & Animation,News Blog and have Comments (2)

Boost Your Job Career with DMA Certification! Get Certified in Video Production, Game Design, Maya, Film, Web Design

Are you ready to give your job career a boost?

Come to DMA this summer and get certified. You can earn a certification in Video ProductionWeb Design and ProductionMaya, Digital Filmmaking(Teen Only), or 3d Video Game Design(Teen Only)! You can jump start your current career with a DMA Certification. Or, you can switch to a new career path and become a Maya Modeler, Maya Animator, Special Effects Coordinator, Film maker, Video Producer, Video Editor, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, 3d Video Game Designer, and more! The choice is yours!

You can choose to take the hands-on computer training courses at any of Digital Media Academy’s beautiful locations including: Stanford University in Palo Alto, UC San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, University of Chicago in Illinois, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins, George Washington University in Washington D.C., Harvard University in Boston, St. Johns in New York, University of California, Los Angeles, Case Western in Ohio, and more. Register for training courses today.

Get a Certification from DMA: Game Design, Maya, Film, Web Design

Digital Media Academy = Apple Authorized Training Center

You can also earn an Apple Certification through DMA’s courses.
Learn more about being Apple Certified at DMA.


http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org

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Make a Music Video at Film Camp this Summer!

Want to learn how to make amazing music videos?

Come to DMA Film Camp this summer! Learn how to shoot film on HD cameras, record and edit audio samples, mix the video and audio together, and produce a complete music video!

The band Coldplay continues to come out with innovative and very creative music videos. Almost everyone can remember the music video created for their song “The Scientist” in 2003. This movie was very interesting since the entire movie appeared to be shot in reverse. The music video won three MTV music awards for the video’s reverse narrative effect. 

One of Coldplay’s newest music singles is “Life in Technicolor ii”. This is such an entertaining and fun music video. This is just another example of what you can do with your film skills and some good creativity. Get inspired, and we’ll see you at DMA Film Camp this summer!

- – -
Here is Coldplay’s award-winning music video from 2003, ”The Scientist”    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmjPrdTNxQ0

View all DMA Teen Summer Camps and Film Camps

Music Video Production Course with The John Lennon Bus

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comment (1)

A Closer Look at MMF2

Hi! I’m Ben Jaffe, one of the instructors for Digital Media Academy’s Adventures Program. I want to give you a closer look at Multimedia Fusion 2, one of the primary software packages we use in the class to create dynamic and exciting games.

There are several computer programming languages that programmers use to communicate with computers. Learning how to program is very similar to learning a new language. You also have to learn how computers “think,” so you can give the computer instructions effectively and efficiently. Teaching a programming language to 9-13 years olds would be difficult and possibly boring to many of the kids; teaching the main concepts is much more fun. That is what Multimedia Fusion 2 (MMF2) allows us to do! We can teach our students the main concepts of game design. If they pursue computer programming at a later age, they’ll already understand many of the concepts of programming from this class.

The window pictured below allows the students to visually lay out the graphical elements in the game. This is one of the two main windows in MMF2. This is where the students choose the graphics, design the game’s levels, and tell the objects how to move (bounce, walk/jump, etc).

MMF2: Frame Editor

In every game, there are graphics and objects that move around the screen. Normally, a programmer would have to write code to get an object to move in any way, but our students can focus on the concepts instead of grappling with writing code. In MMF2, there are several movement types to chose from. In this example, we’re telling the ball to bounce around like a bouncing ball.

MMF2: Selecting a Movement Type

The Event Editor is the other main window in MMF2 (pictured below). This is where you program the “brains” of your game. The Event Editor lets you program without writing a single line of code. Technically speaking, you are creating “conditionals” in this window. Whenever “this” happens, do “that.” For example, line number 9 says “If the number of lives reaches 0, then restart the application.” By creating lists of these conditionals, we can create complex and interesting games that our students can be proud of! Multimedia Fusion 2 games will run on any Windows computer.

MMF2: The Event Editor

I’m very excited to be teaching MMF2 again, and I hope I see you all at DMA this summer!
-Ben Jaffe

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A Closer Look at Adobe Dreamweaver

Hello! I’m Ben Jaffe, one of the instructors for Digital Media Academy’s Adventures Program. I want to give you a closer look at Adobe Dreamweaver CS4. We use Dreamweaver for creating the web site layout in our Adventures Web Design class.

Dreamweaver is what we call a “WYSIWYG Editor” (stands for “What You See is What You Get”). This means we get to see our design as we create it. Before tools like Dreamweaver, we had to write HTML markup to create web sites, and didn’t get to manipulate it graphically. Here’s the Design view in Dreamweaver:

dreamweaver-design-view

The Properties bar (across the bottom) is where we set up links, text styles, bold, italics, and change the sizes of items like images and tables. The panes on the right are for managing files, uploading to our website, and managing the CSS. When we edit in Design View, Dreamweaver is actually writing the HTML code for us.

At the very beginning of the class, we teach the kids some basic HTML. We actually build a simple webpage, coding it by hand! This helps the students understand what is going on behind the scenes, and how to fix things manually if anything goes wrong. It’s good to be able to look at the code to see what’s really going on. This is Dreamweaver’s Code View:

dreamweaver-code-view

That HTML code is what our computers actually download when we are browsing the web. They read the code, and render out a graphical page for us to read.

After covering HTML, we talk about site design, then start on our own websites. As we create graphics in Photoshop, we integrate them into our sites. We also create a Flash animation, and add that to our site. Some students might even build a Flash animation to use as the header. (The header is the bar across the top of the page, with the website’s title).

After we build our site, integrate our graphics, and add our Flash animation, it’s time to test our sites and upload them to the internet. We test the links on our pages to be sure they all work, and upload their web pages to DMA’s web space, for friends and family to see.

dreamweaver-preview-in-safari

After this course, your child will know how to use Photoshop, how to make simple animations in Flash, and how to put it all together into a web site. At the end of the class, the students go home with a web address for their website, and a DVD with all of the original files they used to make their content. This means that if they get access to the software (perhaps through their school), they can continue work on their web site!

I hope to see you this summer!
-Ben Jaffe

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comment (1)