Digital Artifacts

Within my digital skills module I have been developing a number of skills during and not during scheduled lectures in order to hone my skills in areas I may not be particularly strong in. This is to help my general progression within my education this year and also help me when i get into a work environment.

I decided to choose softwares I am fairly familiar with but I chose skills within these softwares that i felt i needed to improved in order to get a stronger grasp on the overall software.

Logic Pro X

I have been using Logic Pro X for a number of years now, mainly just as a hobby, because not a lot of my modules include an in depth look into sound or music. I would say that I a amature compared to music sofware enthusist but i have picked up a few techniques over the years.

I have always been confident in my ability to create simple songs using all your typical instruments such as bass, piano or drums, but what I particularly struggled in was vocals. I have tried a number of times to include vocals into my track, but to no success.

Tired of not being able to add one of the core elements into my tracks, I decided to conduct some research in order to help me finally achieve this goal, of adding vocals into one of my tracks.

The first step was to find a voice sample that was at a similar BPM ( beats per minute) as my track that I had already created. This Proved to be a rather difficult task as my song had a very off beat rhythm to it.

In the end i couldn’t find a vocal sample that fitted my song so i thought the best course of action was to edit the speed of it later on down the line to fit the track.

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Selecting The Scissor Tool

A very important tool for editing any kind of sample within Logic Pro X is the scissor tool. It actually took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to discover this tool, but this way mainly due to the fact i didn’t really use samples in my earlier days of using the software. The idea of this tool so you can cut off and separate any section of an audio sample. Here I simply cutting the beginning section of the sample and deleting the rest that i didn’t want to use.

There is another method in cutting audio down into the sections you want and that is to simply drag the edge of the box to the section you want, removing all the unwanted audio. The dragging method is what i use to use before learning about this scissor tool, but i decided to stick to the scissor tool because i feel like it is a lot more accurate at making the exact cut you want to make.

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Selecting Around To Cut

I tried to just addthis slightly edited via a simple cut into my track but it didn’t really fit the speed of the song and ended up sounding very out of beat with the rest of the track. After struggling for quite some time trying to incorporate this vocal element into my work I decided that i needed to edit the sample further perhaps by pitch changes and the speed at which the sample plays at.

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to edit the pitch in order for the clip (in my opinion) suit the song better. Now this can be done in a number of ways, in which i could of done this. I experimented with two different way in how i could achieve this. I first tried to use the tool known as flex. After selecting flex you can choose flex pitch in the side menu in order for you to see all of the different notes that are in that particular sample. You can then adjust them accordingly in order to make the notes of the vocal fit the music’s notes. This tool is actually used by a lot of professionals in order to auto tune singers whitin songs.

While trying to use this method I felt like it was a bit complex and I kinda got lost in the depth of the flex pitch tool, so i decided to simply add a small pitch shift at the start of the audio sample.

This can be done very simply by clicking on the region drop down menu and changing “fade in” to “speed up”. I kept adjusting the volume of pitch change until I Felt it sounded about right. As you can see from the front of the image for the audio sample, this added a curve, which represents the audio pitch change at the start of the sample. (this is also known as a speed fade)

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Editing Pitch

After playing the track through a couple of times i felt as if a pitch shift needed to be added to the end of the audio clip as well. This done in a very similar way as the pitch shift at front except for you change “fade out” to “slow down” and then adjust the volume to your liking.

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Editing Audio Sample’s End Pitch

After playing around with the pitch for quite some time i still felt as if the audio sample was not in beat with the song itself. Although changing the pitch can help you sink the audio to the track it still wasn’t within the same rhythm.

For quite some time I felt stuck in the progression of creating this track with vocals. This was until I was over a friends house who also uses logic pro X in his spare time showed me a technique that allows you to chop up the audio sample in a way that makes it into essentially an instrument, which is where I particularly excel in.

This is done by putting the audio sample through a gate called “ES1” and what this synthesizer can do is run audio through it in order to edit the sound of the audio sample.

In order to do this you need to create a new audio track and then click the instument menu and select “ES1 synthesizer” in stereo.

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Making A New Software Instrument

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Selecting ES1 Synthesizer

This then brings up the  Es1 interface which allows you to make adjustments to a large number of areas of a particular track or instrument.

The first step was to sort out the Oscillator on the top left  side of the interface. After playing around with the mix style for quite some time i realised I wanted the audio to sound like it has a lot more bass , so I  put the mix levels to sub in order give the audio a lower sound to it.

The next part is key in order make the audio sample play through this Es1 gate and that is done by changing the bottom left oscillator switch to “EXT”, which stands for external. This ensures that you can put your vocals through the ES1. You then have to select which external source you want to be put through the gate. This can be done by selectiving the “side chain” drop down menu and clicking on whatever the audio sample is called, in this case “Audio 1 – InTheAir 04”

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Adjusting The Oscillator

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Selecting Side Chain Audio Sample

This allows you to run the audio through the synthesizer and any editing that is done on Es1 will then be applied to the audio sample. You can adjust a number of things such as the filter with the cut off and the other switches around the filtering section but the main reason that I Am using the Es1 for is the ability to change the volume ofthe audio via Midi notes.

Midi notes (seen in the bottom middle)are one of your main tools in creating music. Midi notes are the symbol for keys played on the piano roll window in the bottom of the screen. This essentially gives you ability to play any instrument or even vocals in this case through a peianoike setup.

How this works is by having the pitch on left side going vertically and rhythm or speed going horizontally. As time progresses you can play different pitches of an instrument or vocals in order to make a melody or beat. Putting different types of these together create a song.

Because i set up the audio sample to go through the Es1 i can now play the vocal audio in a certain pattern in order to get a change in speed and pitch. This allowed me to sync the audio sample with the song and make it play in beat with each other.

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Midi Notes

Finally happy with the rhythm and speed at which the audio was going that finally suited the track i just need to make a few final touches on the ES1 to get it to sound the way i wanted to.

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Final Setting On ES1

Over all I am happy with progress I made during this project of improving my music track. For quite some time i was unable to progress with it any further and in solving the problem i came across a number of way in which to improve my work. 

Compression into two channels

I’ve recently learnt a new technique within Logic Pro x that makes vocal and other audio samples come out a lot clearer and crisper. This is done by putting the vocals on a new channel which is done on the mixer tab at the bottom and selecting a new bus.

Capture

Creating a new bus

This doubles the amount of output on a certain audio sample of your choosing and makes it a lot louder. After doubling the channel i felt as if the vocals were a bit overpowering and dominated most of the track. i tried to dull down the audio within the channel itself but i didn’t feel as if it was enough to quieten down the vocal audio, so i decided to add a simple compressor onto the vocal audio clip.

This done by clicking on the tab just under the bus tab and then by selecting dynamics then compressor stereo.

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Adding a compressor

This will bring up the compressor interface. Here you can change many different levels of the audio with a number of settings in the form of switches. My main goal for using this compressor was the dull down the intense vocals due to the fact that it was now being played through two channels instead of one. In the end i added very heavy compression. A note to add here I am not compressing both channels of the vocal audio sample just the one so it has a nice combination of an uncompressed audio sample and a compressed one.

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Another important factor that I feel is important is to make sure that your compression doesn’t go too high as seen in this image it has only gone up to about -3, which I feel was a sufficient amount for my track. If you add too much compression it can sound very robotic or quiet.

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After playing around with settings for quite some time i felt very happy with the outcome. I feel as if the compression on one of the channels just adds that little bit more depth into the vocals that the track really needed. This is very useful technique if you ever feel like you need to bring out an element of a song just that little bit more.

Vocal mastering

An important part about creating a song is ensuring that the EQ has been mastered correctly. I usually add my EQ after compression just so you know what the audio will sound like after compressed it. If you add EQ before you compress the audio you will probably have to go back and change the EQ again because you don’t completely know what the audio will sound like after being compressed.

You can add a EQ onto a sound the same way you add a compressor but this time you click on EQ and then by choosing the kind of EQ you want, I chose the Phaser EQ because personally that’s the one I find easiest to use.

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After selecting your EQ it will bring up a image of what is essentially a wave. A EQ allows you to boast of cut a certain audio sound in a number of ways. You can change the low range of audio on the left side of the wave and high on the right side of the wave and you can of course edit the middle sections of the sounds as well.

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There are a number of complex things you can get from using a EQ, but I am fairly new in using EQs so I don’t completely know how to do these techniques. I do understand it however but I haven’t been able to put it into practical work just yet.

I tend to use the presents that Logic Pro X provides in the top left drop down menu on the EQ interface. They have a large number of presets for different instruments and sound that you can use.

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I feel like this is an area I really need to improve on in order to create better tracks and songs. I have started watching a number of tutorial videos to help me achieve this.

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Selfie Centre

Today I learnt about user interface and how to map it out using diagrams. User Interfaces are an essential part of interactive media. I mean whats the point of greatest app out there, if the user can’t even use it right. we learnt the importance of User Interfaces and how to ensure they are an enjoyable experience for the user, so that they don’t get bored or frustrated with the interfaces clunkiness. First of all I designed a simple layout for the different app pages and mapped out how they link together. This is for an app Called SelfieCentre. The rough idea of SelfieCentre is that everyday you can take a selfie and the app will merge all of these selfies together to make a video montage of the transformation of the images. A key feature of this app is that previous self can be brought back in almost like a template to ensure that all pictures are lined up correctly, giving a smooth transition between images.

Here Is the Mapping for how all the pages connect together.

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This is to help me plan out my pages and get a basic grasp on how i might lay out my pages such as buttons, links, ECT.

The Next step was to plan a rough layout for my app homepage

This is what i came up with

Home ScreenScreen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.09.40At the top you see the ‘Add Banner’ This to give an extra bit of revenue because companies will pay a small amount of money to put adverts into your app. In the middle will be the apps logo with simple animation to make the home page have bit more colour to it. From there you have your main three buttons which the user can interactive with. The settings button will take you to the settings app page. The Take Photo Button will be the main aspect of the app. The library will take you to the library app page. This is where the user can look back at all the images and video montages you have taken.

Settings Screen

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This is the Settings app page this is where the user can make some minor adjustments if they so desire as well a link to the apps webpage. This is mainly to help improve the user experience, so that they can make some minor tweaks here and there to there liking.

Take Photo Screen

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This is the Take Picture app screen. This is where the user takes their selfies and apply simple filters as well as getting the back the previous picture to help them line up their face correctly. The camera screen is where they will see the live feed of their camera on their phone. The previous Photo button is where you would get the template outline of your previous selfie to help you line yourself up correctly. The take image button simple takes an image and add it to your current montage video. The Filter button give the user some optional filters to add to their images.

Library Screen

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This is where the user can either watch their video montages or the look through the individual images themselves. The individual photos takes you to the library of all your images where the group photo which i think i will change the name of will take you to your finished videos.

Layout for both libraries

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This just gives you a large section of images and videos to look at at once.

Full Screen In View Mode

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This what the full screen will look like when you have selected your image or video. It will be a simple swipe to go to next image or video. when you tap the screen you will also get the options to go back to the image or video library or the take photo screen.

This is a very simplistic start to how i would want the app layout to be.

Camera Tracking

Today I learn how to composite a 3D object made in Cinema 4D into a video clip while keeping the perspective of the camera for the 3D object.

This is intact a fairly straight forward process that i will go through now.

First things first I imported the orginal video clip and then added an animation known as track camera. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.52.05.png

This tracks the 3D object so that the object has perspective and looks somewhat realistic within the vide. You then have to go into the advance settings of 3D Camera tracker and enable detailed analysis.

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This then generates tracking points with different levels of accuracy, which is colour coded. Green means it is a good track and the red has the lowest level of accuracy. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.56.14.png

After doing this you need to find a point in which it is level with the surface you want to put the 3D object onto. This can be somewhat tricky but after fiddly a bit you should find it no issue. This should look something like this. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.56.28.png

You also have to add a reference point, which is done by  right clicking and adding a solid and camera. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.57.17.png

When added it should look like this:Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.58.26.png

This is the solid object you just created this follows the camera around giving it perspective. Now you have to export it into cinema 4D.

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When then opened in cinema 4D it should  look like this. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.04.13.png

The next step is to import the 3D object into this new camera tracking project. Then you will have to line the object up with the solid square.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.24.11.png

You then have to to save the file, making sure that Alpha channel is selected. I made mine into a Tiff. You then import the file back into after effects and the finished project should look like this. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.28.25.png

The camera will now move around the 3D object giving a realistic perspective.

Green Screen/Chroma Key

Today I learnt the basics of green screening or chroma key. I went to a room with a reflective sheet covering the wall. There then was a green light on the camera to project the green onto the sheet. This is a great technique to create all sorts of special effects within film and television. This also can be used within the gaming industry for cutscene special effects.

We then recorded some footage of someone in front of the green screen doing some actions to later put onto the computer and work with.

The fist step is to import the clip into After Effects, then to drag onto a new composition. it should look like this.

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After adding the video clip you need to select it and add an effect called Keylight. This will give you all the options to change the background to whatever you like.

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This gives you a number of settings to change to adjust the background colour. The first step is to use the key colour tool to select the background colour. After selecting it it should look something like this.

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Its a good start but it isn’t quite what we are looking for, so to improve the transparency of the back ground you can adjust the settings in the on the left to get a level of colour you want. To help you see the difference better you can go on view and change the setting to Screen Matte.

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This really helps to see the difference between the person and the background. The idea is to get the background as black as possible and the person as white as possible.

After tweaking the settings for a while, which ended up look like this for me, but every image will need to be adjusted differently.

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After doing the final touches i added a box around the actor to crop out some background i couldn’t get rid off via settings and this is the final product i ended up with.

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As you can see the back ground is completely invisible and now the clip is ready to be put in front of any background the user may want to as well as any special effects they may want to use.

 

 

 

Xcode

Introduction To Xcode

H=Header M=Im View controller= viewmode

Today I learnt the fundamentals of Xcode. We started off with simply making a single view application, which a type of starting template for XcodeScreen Shot 2015-10-12 at 10.22.23
The next step was to choose what language to use. I used Objective.C and then named my Project.Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 10.23.46 When creating an app its a good idea to research the features and decide what version of iOS the user needs to have. After Deciding what version you want to use you can select it in this menu. At the bottom there is a option to choose an extra Frameworks and libraries. This is basically a way to add extra preset modification to your app. In this test run i added MapKit and CoreLocation Frameworks. These added a map and a way to find your location on the app. later on the use of this would come into play. This is your final step in creating your app template, as well as choosing where to save it of course.

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After creating my template i learnt about the simple folders that are inside a view controller. These are known as “ViewController.h,ViewController.m and Main.storyboard”.

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The “ViewController.h (which stands for header) is basically an index for your code That kinda points to everything that needs to be run. The “ViewController.m” is basically where your app executes all your code. The “Main.storyboard’ is where you can get a visual representation of your app. I like to look at it like a viewmode.

The next step was to make sure that the “Viewcontroller.h” had imported all the Frameworks i put in earlier.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 09.51.19
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To be continued