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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 Ben in Art & Animation,News Blog and have Comments (2)

Get Creative with a Music Video! Learn How at This Film Camp

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.  httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI

….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! httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLESpHrtvxs
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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!  httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRDi67G0Siw

 

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

http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org

 

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have Comment (1)

Amazing 3D Flash Website with "Real" Interactivity : Learn How to Make a Website at DMA

Learn how to become a web designer at DMA!

This is such an exciting time to be a web designer! Web users are getting more web savvy every day, online software applications are becoming the norm, the internet has become a part of most people’s daily lives, people are connected almost everywhere they go, half of everyone’s life is help somewhere on the net, and internet connections are faster than ever! This is a great time to be a web designer!

At DMA you’ll learn the web design skills and techniques to build amazing websites. Digital Media Academy’s pro web courses are built around Adobe’s web creative suite of applications including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Flash.

Make a website at DMA. Learn Web Design

Earlier this week I came across a CNN “Breaking News” video clip that demoed a new site by GE. This site uses 3d animation, live video, and Flash technology together with a tangible piece of paper you print out from the site. They are calling this “Augmented Reality.” The website uses your computer’s built-in camera and microphone to interact with website. Check it out! It is a very interesting site that shows a little of what is possible when combing your web developer skills and a good chunk of imagination. Creative web designers and web developers continue to push the limits of what is possible on the new web frontier.

CNN Video Clip    

Watch the CNN Video Clip!
(Opens in New Window) 

 

 

Learn more about web design training courses and summer camps at DMA!


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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have No Comments

After Effects: From Fan to Feared to Favorite (plus tips)

We’ve all been there, watching a film when an amazing special effect blows your mind – leaving you to wonder how did they do that? Well, several years back, I started asking fellow editors and educators this very question – and again and again I heard the same response: After Effects. Want to motion track? After Effects. Want to green screen? After Effects. Want color correction? After Effects. Want an intergalactic light saber fight scene with explosions and an amazing 3D camera move? After Effects.

I started to see a trend . . .

Satisfied with this answer – I happily downloaded the free 30-day trial of AE (that’s After Effects for short) from Adobe’s website. However, my initial enthusiasm soon waned, well, plummeted actually. Almost immediately after launching AE, I had a common new user experience – I will politely dub “After Shock”. To explain, as a full-time teacher of Adobe software for years, I had taught literally thousands of people how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or Premiere Pro. Some would even say I’m bit of an Adobe zealot: I’ve beta-tested new releases, done workshops all over, and even trained new Adobe employees through the Digital Media Academy. Indeed, when it comes to Adobe software no mysterious button, workflow, or special effect is safe from my twisted desire to know everything an application can do.

But here was After Effects, and it appeared to be a different animal entirely. I must confess, I was a grown man . . . and I was afraid.

Like most who experience such After Shock, I did my best to poke around and bend After Effects to my will – but with little success. For those comfortable with other Adobe apps, there are some truly strange and downright spooky moments to be had when first looking at AE – for example, creating a new project does not involve a settings menu, there is no razor tool to cut clips with, there are over 200 effects each with a range of adjustments allowing for literally millions of possible combinations . . . and seemingly as many shortcuts. Clearly, this was not my beloved, intuitive Photoshop.

So given the choice of abandoning the AE quest – or to stubbornly plod on – I looked at every AE website I could find, read every book I could get my hands on, watched DVD tutorials, took a class with my fellow Adobe Ed Leaders, and even bothered contacts at Adobe for more info. It was not always a smooth journey, my friends, but along the way I came to three important conclusions:

1) AE is just as amazing as they say.

2) AE can be easy to learn – if approached the right way.

3) I could have realized #2 a whole lot sooner.

Essentially, in looking back at my AE travails, I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I slowed down my own progress by forming some common AE misconceptions. So for those of you just setting out with AE (or hoping to someday), I hope this list of “5 Beginner After Effect Tips” might make your experience much better – and possibly save you a few months of your life:

5 Beginner After Effect Tips

1) Know your DV basics first. As a longtime editor, this was the only thing I had going for me when I started with AE – and probably the only thing that kept me going early on. Basically, if terms like 24fps, interlacing, NTSC, or compression are entirely new to you, help yourself out by visiting some useful websites that define such basic DV terms and concepts:

For just the bare bones of DV, you can start with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_video#Technical_overview

For the hardcore user, checkout the extremely thorough DV primers on Adobe’s site: http://www.adobe.com/motion/primers.html

2) Know what After Effects is (and is not) for. Think of AE as a dedicated special effects application for individual shots and short animations – and here’s critical part- you typically perfect these shots in AE and then export them to your preferred editing application. In other words, AE is a great enhancement to (but not a replacement of) your editing software. This paradigm shift is really important– because AE is not really designed to: capture footage, make a bunch of tight cuts, work with transitions, etc. as you would with Final Cut, Premiere Pro, etc. Because AE is dedicated to special effects, it is appropriately different in many respects and truly does have a logical structure and workflow. Embrace these differences (and the rationale for them) and you’ll be far less likely to fall into the common trap of thinking “why doesn’t AE work like my editing software?”

3) Know just enough of the AE keyboard shortcuts to be dangerous – and realize that this does not mean that many. While certain shortcuts are essential to AE, most are simply there to save you from a deep dive into the pull down menus and an extra click or two. Do not feel that you need to know a hundred of these to be an AE editor. By learning 10-20 of these clever little guys, you’ll soon adapt to a new way of editing – and find yourself having a much better time. To get you going, here are 10 shortcuts that I particularly like (and that took a while to discover):

 

When getting started:

With a new project, import a video clip, and drag it to the comp timeline. This is often preferable to creating a composition first because it auto-creates a new composition that matches the chosen video clip’s duration, scale, frame rate, and pixel ratio.

 

When making edits in the composition timeline:

Page Down moves the current time one frame forward

Page Up moves the current time one frame backward

; toggles the view to a full zoom in or out at your current time.

Ctrl + [ trims the “in” point(s) of the selected layer(s) to the current time - and as you might expect it has a twin . . .

Ctrl + ] trims the “out” point(s) of the selected layer(s) to the current time.

Ctrl +D duplicates selected layers or effects

Ctrl + Shift + D duplicates and cuts a layer at the current time. It’s as close to a razor tool as you will find in AE.

 

When animating/keyframing:

U shows only the keyframed attributes of a selected layer.

Alt + Drag selected keyframes stretches (or squeezes) the distribution of selected keyframe groups uniformly. This can save a ton of time when retiming a complex multi-layered effect.

4) Start simple, and I mean super simple. With all that you can do in AE, it’s tempting to try to make first project something colossal. So while making an HD sequel to the movie “300” (green screen and all) is certainly do-able in AE, it would lead to more than a little frustration for a newcomer. (Not that I’m speaking from experience . . . ahem). Try experimenting in a standard definition project with a few foundational elements – 3d space, keyframing, text animation, camera moves, etc. and you will have a much easier (and more fulfilling) sense of what can eventually be done on the grand scale.

5) Take a class (and yes, this is a shameless plug . . . but hear me out). The incredible range of AE means that its structure has a corresponding range of complexity – which can be tricky to figure out. To this end, I am all for books, web tutorials, DVDs, etc., but there is simply nothing like project-based, hands on training. Moreover, having learned differing approaches from so many AE experts over the years, I have worked hard to come up with a streamlined approach to learning AE that is enjoyable, easy, and avoids the mistakes that so many of us have made when first starting out.

Looking back, I’ve come a long way from my initial day of After Shock, but I am proud to say that After Effects is now my favorite application to use – and to teach. Even though I took the long way to get there, I am now proud to have clients pleased with AE results - and students creating with some of those the same special effects I first fell in love with on the big screen.

Hope to see you at DMA this summer,
Kevin McMahon

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posted by Instructor in News Blog and have No Comments

Camp Fairs Raffle (Drawing #1) Winner Announced!

Announcing the first DMA Camp Fair Free Tuition winner!

Congratulations to Tiffany Miller for winning the raffle for free tuition to the Digital Media Academy from our first round of camp fairs! Tiffany 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 Lara in News Blog and have No Comments

Film Camp for Teens. Watch a Movie made this year at DMA's Summer Camp.

Teens get the full film camp experience at Digital Media Academy summer camps and week-long courses.

Watch a movie created by teens in the Filmmaking course at University of Pennsylvania DMA camp this past summer. All teen students in the class played a part in writing the movie script, storyboard the movie scenes, acting in various shots around campus, filming with high quality cameras, directing the scenes, editing music for the video, and editing the video in Final Cut Pro on their own Apple computer.

This video is just one example of the creative movies that are created by teens at Digital Media Academy’s summer film camps. Enjoy the suspense-filled movie a group of DMA film students made entitled… “Re-Encountered”

All summer camp courses for teens

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have Comment (1)

Film Camp. Watch a Stop Motion Movie made at DMA Summer Camp with Skittles!

See what teens made at Digital Media Academy film camp this summer in Chicago!

This video was made by shooting hundreds of individual JPEG photos and piecing/editing them together in Final Cut Pro. This was made during DMA Film Camp in Chicago this past summer in the Teen Film Editing and  Filmmaking Course. Learn how to make a movie like this at a DMA course this summer!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIBGjBQZzeQ

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have Comment (1)

Parents and Children enjoy DMA's Summer Training Courses and Summer Camps

DMA offers fun and creative learning for the whole family!

Have you ever wished that you could attend a summer camp just like your children? Well now you can. This summer, Digital Media Academy’s adult, teen, and kids summer programs will allow both you and your children to learn the latest in creative technology. And while youre busy producing digital movies, creating web sites, or designing games, you’ll also get to share in your child’s learning experience-first hand. Imagine what dinner conversations will be like instead of the typical, So what did you do today?”

Digital Media Academy: Creative Technology Immersion

The Digital Media Academy provides adult learners, including teens and kids, college students, K-20 educators, and industry professionals with a weeklong learning experience in a summer retreat or camp environment. In addition, participants can earn 4 quarter units of Stanford Continuing Studies credit. Courses include 3D Animation, Web Design, Strategies of Game Design, and Digital Video. Digital Media Academy attracts award-winning instructors such as Ben Waggoner (“world’s greatest compressionist”), New York School of Visual Arts’ Steve Adler, and veteran ABC producer and best-selling Final Cut Pro author, Tom Wolsky among others.

Learning for the whole family! DMA Summer Camps and Learning Courses

Summer Courses for Adults

Computer Camp for Teens

Computer Camp for Kids

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have No Comments

Digital Media Academy's Renowned Summer Camp Offers Spring Special : Summer 2009 Classes For Kids Camps, Teen Camps and Adult Courses

 Digital Media Academy is recognized as the premier summer camp for youngsters, teens and adults. The whole family can enjoy learning the latest digital art and media techniques from top instructors in an encouraging project-based environment using state-of-the-art equipment.

Palo Alto, CA  March 1, 2008 — Digital Media Academy is recognized as the premier summer camp for youngsters, teens and adults. The whole family can enjoy learning the latest digital art and media techniques from top instructors in an encouraging project-based environment using state-of-the-art equipment. The 5-day courses for kids and teenagers can be taken individually or combined for multi-week certifications at prestigious college and university campuses that includes University of Chicago, Stanford University (San Francisco area), Harvard (Boston), George Washington U. (Washington, D.C.), U of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Brown (Providence, RI), Dartmouth (Hanover, NH), University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and more. At DMA, your child will be taught how to design and create video games, movies and websites, while developing lifelong passion and skills that translate directly to careers in design, engineering, computer science, and more.

DMA has something for each member of the family with its diverse offering of courses. Digital Media Adventures summer computer camps cater to ages 7-13, with day and residential camps in robotics, game design, web design, filmmaking and cartoon and comic creation, taught by professionals and teachers with a passion and talent for inspiring young minds.

Learning at DMA Summer Computer Camps and Tech Courses

Teen summer tech courses for ages 13-18 are offered at beginning to advanced levels with an optional residential pre-college experience. New for 2009, DMA has partnered with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (www.lennonbus.org) to offer a music and video production course that is sure to attract students from around the world. Adults can take professional level courses in film, web design, photography, animation and more.

What better summer experience than channeling your family’s creativity and passion for video games and technology into an exciting educational experience? DMA is offering a Spring special discount off each 2009 course for everyone who registers by March 31, 2009. Visit www.digitalmediaacademy.org for details.

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posted by Philip Harding in News Blog and have No Comments

Extreme Sports Filmmaking Courses : Film Camps

There are a couple reasons why one of my first blogs is about DMA’s Action Sports & Media Combination Courses (Skate Boarding & Filmmaking / Surfing & Filmmaking). The first reason is that this is where I got my start with filmmaking. Upon Graduating from the UCSC film school, my first completed film was a 30 min snowboard and skateboarding film. I traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado to premiere the film. It was such an incredible feeling to have my work up on the big screen and evaluated by my peers. The second reason why I write about these courses is because that is what I am working on right now. In fact I my house is covered with snow and I have been getting some amazing footage.

The idea came up for these courses when Dave Livingston – DMA’s Director of Instruction – asked me if there were any filmmaking courses that I wish I could have taken in college that weren’t available. Immediately, I thought it would be so cool to have taken a video production class with curriculum that taught actions sports cinematography and editing techniques. The classes were born and they have been a huge success. In these classes we teach students how to plan, shoot, edit, and produce their own action sports videos. At the end of each course the students even get the chance to premiere their film on the “big screen”, in front of classmates, family, and friends. It is really just awesome what they accomplish in 5 days while having so much fun!

Check out a couple of videos that one talented student Evan created while taking one of our DMA’s Action Sports & Media Combination Courses.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgJV5YPnVew
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMOaIKhz6lg
Until next time,

Travis Schlafmann

DMA Instructor/ Cinematographer & Editor

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posted by Travis in News Blog and have Comments (2)