Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Got a USB interface to plug my bass into GarageBand! I love the virtual amps. Now I just need a MIDI controller and that's in transit . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BP13b_practical experience week 4

Test prints on my Epson R1800 indicated the need set SL to take pictures at the highest possible resolution (6016 pixels wide). The above page was printed at 300 dpi and the quality needs improvement. The graphic settings in SL need to be set to their upper limits. Draw distance needs to be set to a high value to capture distant objects. I had some alias problems so that setting needs to bet set high as well. All of this will slow SL down considerably so pre-planning is a must. I also need to watch the lighting and perspectives when shooting in SL. I just need to be thinking with the specific goal in mind when shooting. I’m debating about whether or not to do any post - production on the images using Painter. While this appeals to me in an aesthetic way I just don’t see it as practical in terms of time and labor in respect to the scope of my vision. Besides, I like the way SL imagery looks in this context. I think it’s a natural fit for this medium. It's naturally cartoon-like when printed.

But overall I’m pleased and I’ve enjoyed learning about this handy tool. I look forward to seeing what creations I can manifest using Comic Life! I would like to use this concept to advance causes that are of concern to all of us such as energy policy, climate change, war and economic challenges. Propaganda, if you will. But this form of persuasive media has been around for quite some time and it fits well into my desire to find alternative methods of content delivery.

BP13a_practical experience week 4

I’ve made a mock up of a cover and story page for a hypothetical graphic novel. Comic Life is a very cool little program. It’s very easy to get started with the many templates included. By simply dragging and dropping it’s easy to lay down a rough idea or the user can jump right into production. As I said earlier, there’re no Lynda tutorials available, but the help menu is truly “helpful” and it’s concise enough to serve as an instruction guide.

I intend to do some page size adjustments and make some test prints. If the end goal is to have some of this work appear in print, quality control guidelines will have to be established early on.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

BP13_practical experience week 4

For my week 4 practical experience project I chose a program that we received a couple of months ago but which I haven’t had the opportunity to use as of yet – Comic Life. Ever since I discovered The Wastelands in Second Life the words “graphic novel” keep coming to mind. I think the imagery there is perfect for story telling. SO Comic Life seems like it would be an excellent resource. The above image is an example of some of the possibilities I’m exploring. Second Life provides possibilities in other genres as well, such as western, pirate, sci fi and so much more. As I’ve never really been much of a comic book person I did a bit of research and found the popularity of these among young people to be an interesting trend. I wouldn’t underestimate the possible educational potential of this medium. Now I have no illusions of breaking into the comic industry. I think this tool will be useful for self-publishing original content. With the advent of on demand online publishing such as CafĂ© Press, the distribution of content created using Comic Life is greatly simplified. Comic Life appears to export straight to pdf so content could be made to be very portable indeed. This format could prove to be very useful in the production of persuasive educational pieces.

There’re no Lynda tutorials available for this application. So far the interface appears to be intuitive and user friendly. I don’t think learning this application will require too much of a learning curve. I’ll let you know about my progress . . .

Thursday, September 23, 2010

BP12b_practical experience

Well, it took the better part of a week, but I got through all of the tutorials on GarageBand! This program is very intuitive when you get to know it. It’s not unlike a non-linear video editing application.

I’ve progressed well beyond the magic GarageBand introduction and I have begun adding to my little song some elements from the loop library. One thing I found out was that our Macbooks didn’t come with a full install of GarageBand and I had to go to Apple to download the complete set of instruments and loops. It took some time as it was a good 1.25GB in size, but it’s well worth it in terms of variety and functionality. I was able to find a good “conga” loop in the percussion section of the loop library. GarageBand has very powerful tools to edit each instrument. It’s truly amazing – a complete recording studio on my notebook! There’s a lot that I have yet to explore. To get really deep into it, I’ll need a MIDI controller and a USB interface to plug my bass into. The MIDI controller will give greater control in playing the virtual instruments and the USB interface will allow me to experiment with recording a real instrument. I think I can acquire these for about $100 US. Another feature that fascinates me is the new Electric Guitar tracks. A user can use a USB interface with an electric guitar and has access to an amazing variety of virtual guitar amps and effect pedals. I can see this getting somewhat addicting!

I’m astonished by the versatility of GarageBand. One feature that I wasn’t aware of allows the user to enhance the narration of podcasts. I like this as I, like many people, am not to wild about the way my recorded voice sounds. This could be used for voice morphing as well. But the most exciting feature for me is the Movie Score feature. I wanted to use GarageBand because the stock music files in imovie are beginning to get a bit stale for me. I wanted a way to create unique music for my projects. This feature allows the user to drag a movie file into GarageBand and compose the entire audio score in GarageBand. Not just music, but sound effects as well. I look forward to utilizing this tool extensively. I’m glad I chose to get to know this program! It’s been an eye opener and I’m very pleased with the surprises that this program continues to have in store for me!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BP12a_practical experience

OK, I’m happy with the sound of my GarageBand project. Now I had quite the adventure learning how to share an audio file here. First I exported a MP3 version, just so I know it worked. I then had to read Blogger help to figure out how to get it into a blog post. I then exported the project as a podcast to iweb and placed it on my portfolio site. I should be able to link to this page in Blogger as a podcast. Let’s see if it works . . .

And it doesn't . . . here's the link . . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

BP12_practical experience

For my week 3 practical experience portion of this class I decided to focus on Garage Band for several reasons. Earlier in this program I wrote that one of my goals was to learn more about audio production. I’m primarily a visual media producer and I have a strong desire to become more knowledgeable in the terminology in order to appear to know what I’m talking about when addressing an audiophile. Garage Band seemed a good place to start and I thought I’d get a jump on month seven. I also would like a source of copyright free music that I can customize to my liking.

I must confess that I have no experience with this application outside of the podcasts we produced during MLR. When using Garage Band in that class I admit that I was somewhat intimidated by the interface and I really didn’t know where to start. The Lynda tutorials have been great. They pointed me immediately in the direction of Magic Garage Band, which is a great place to begin. The interface is very intuitive and easy to understand once you get to know it. At first I questioned whether or not this would produce results that were unique, but I soon learned that by subtracting and changing instruments I could produce some very unique sounds indeed! Starting with the basic rock preset I managed to produce an eastern sounding ditty reminiscent of George Harrison. Very cool! Next I want to open it in the main interface, tweak it and export it. I’ll keep you up to date . . .