DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Digital Media Academy Opens at Historic Harvard, UCLA and University of Chicago

The morning chill was broken by the excitement of check-in, at Digital Media Academy’s computer summer camps at Harvard, UCLA and The University of Chicago today. After DMA staff worked to prepare the locations over a four-day setup, DMA instructors and campers finally got down to the business of summer camp.


Part of DMA’s Harvard Staff prepares to meet campers.

During the weeks ahead, student campers will be learning how to design video games…how to create professionally produced movies…how to build amazing web sites…how to make an app for iPhone or Android…how to shoot digital photos like a pro…how to program a robot or computer…or music production or image editing (using iPhoto and Photoshop). They’re not only having fun; they’re creating the future! And they’re doing at while experiencing campus life at some of the best universities in the nation.

Harvard & Its History
Harvard – arguably the most prestigious university in the world. Here, DMA’s Residential Campers arrived over the weekend, eager to begin receiving hands-on professional instruction in emerging technologies – like digital filmmaking, 3D video game design, programming & robotics, 3D modeling & digital art, and music and post production.


One of DMA’s Harvard studios/classrooms…ready to greet future video game designers.

Harvard’s not only America’s finest institution of learning; it was also the nation’s first, founded way back in 1636. Most people don’t realize that Harvardwas also the first corporation ever chartered in the U.S. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world (in 2010, it exceeded $27 billion) and claims the largest academic library in the nation, with more than 16 million books. Harvard represents the biggest and the best in American higher education.


Teens enrolled in the Digital Filmmaking and Digital Photography courses wait to start their first day at UCLA.

Harvard alumni’s include eight U. S. presidents – from John Adams to John F. Kennedy and including President Barack Obama, who attended Harvard Law School – and some 75 people affiliated with the school (either as a student, faculty or staff member) have won the Nobel Prize.


Future 2D and 3D animators.

Among Harvard’s living alumni are more than 60 billionaires, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Funnyman Conan O’Brien went there, too, as well as loads of Oscar-winning actors and actresses, such as Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Jack Lemmon, Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones – who inhabited the same residence suite as fellow grad and U.S. vice president, Al Gore.


Teens at UCLA look forward to Photography, Digital Filmmaking and Video Game Creation.

And this summer (running from this week through the week ending August 12), DMA students will experience the rich heritage of Harvard University as they explore their creative passion in a variety of areas and get personalized training in different digital arts.


Adventurers at UCLA! Suited up and ready to start the day!

UCLA, in the Heart of Screenland
Located in Westwood, the movie premiere capital of Los Angeles, the UCLA Bruins are ranked by High Impact Universities as one of only two universities (the other being Harvard) which have all their faculty ranked within the top 10. The UCLA campus is diverse and offers a great atmosphere for both residential campers and commuting day campers.


At UCLA, DMA’s student campers and their parents line up to get signed in and meet the DMA staff.

DMA also opened its location at the University of Chicago. In the next few weeks, Digital Media Academy computer camps across the U.S. and Canada will begin classes at the Univ. of British Columbia in Vancouver (July 4th), the Univ. of Texas at Austin (July 11th), George Washington University (July 11th), the Univ. of California San Diego (July 11th), and Swarthmore College (July 25th). Classes began last week at DMA’s flagship program at Stanford University (in Palo Alto, CA) and Philadelphia’s Drexel University.

DMA courses are offered for all ages of kids and teens and are geared to individual skill levels. Both one-week camps and two-week academies are available, and there is still time to reserve a spot for computer camp during Summer 2011.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Make Your Brain Grow at Digital Media Academy!

Written by Seamus Harte from the John Lennon Bus

Visit http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org to find out how to grow your digital brain.

Visit http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org/give to sign up for your chance to win a trip to one of the many digital media camps happening this summer.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw7LF_RorSw

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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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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)

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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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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Adventures: Kids Learn Video Game Creation

I’m Ben Jaffe, one of the instructors for Digital Media Academy’s Adventures Program. I teach Game Design and Web Design.

On the surface, the Game Design class may look somewhat straightforward. But it’s much more than simply creating fun games with our students. In our classes, we also teach important programming concepts, which can be the foundation for a future programming career.

Game Building can be frustrating for somebody who has never done it before. As games become more and more complex, the instructors are there to help them understand how to build their games well. Programmers call it “extensibility.” Here’s an example of how students encounter this in DMA’s Adventures Game Design class:

A few days into the week, we usually start working on an RPG game. The player controls a character who interacts with bystanders in the game to get information or collect items. The students quickly discover how frustrating it is to program actions for every single bystander in the game individually. The same goes for other objects in the game, such as allies, enemies, keys, coins, and projectiles. It’s much easier to group them together, and make a rule saying, “Whenever the character talks to any bystander, run this action.”

3d Game Design Making Video Games at DMA

Extensibility is not the only programming concept that we teach to the kids. They learn the importance of game planning, bug testing, and proper pacing to effectively meet deadlines. They also develop an understanding of variables, and an introductory understanding of object-oriented programming. Instead of lecturing to the students, we let them discover and understand the concepts by themselves, with guidance.

Most importantly, we teach the kids programming concepts without them even realizing it! If they pursue a career in computer science or game design, they will already understand the importance of extensibility, testing, planning, and pacing. Though it may seem like just another fun summer course, every student gets much more out of it – skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

See you in the Summer!

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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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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 DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comment (1)