When I’m learning something new I see the end product and the ease with which the person showing me has accomplished the task. Nevermind their time involved with the subject or that the video was edited to show eight hours of work in 15 minutes. New skills take time to acquire. My dad helps remind me of this when bringing up a parents joys at a kids first step or word and how much crawling and coaxing it took. Or the excitement on my face as a toddler when I saw a pail of sand turned into a sandcastle; how long would it take me to get the sand amount and pail angle right to make my own.
How long would it take me to make my own decisions or pick my own favorite color – the answer: years. And for some of these skills that I have taken a lifetime to learn (like talking) I still have trouble with on occasion. My dad took this into consideration and made me a curriculum since my idea of a calendar goal sheet wasn’t producing the results I thought it would because the goals were too broad. With his help I am able to see how the different applications I am learning in can be used together to create a variety of media to be exported in many formats. My typical day consists of eight lessons and I am to dedicate one hour to each.
I start with some math from Khan Academy – on online classroom for math, science and other classes that Sal teaches on his e-blackboard. Classes are taught in short segments and multiple colors for ease of understanding and to keep the student from getting bored. I’m learning about matrices and shown below is how to use them to solve a system of equations. After watching the lesson I go to the practice page to test my understanding. I’m able to set goals and keep track of time spent on how well I’m developing in each skill.
My next lesson is in Python – a programming language that I will learn how to use in Blender and Maya (programs for future lessons and posts). It’s a free program that has relatively easy to learn syntax (computer grammar). I’m reading the Non-Programmer’s Tutorial for Python 3 on Wikibooks. So far, it is easy to write sentences and small math problems, but I’m having difficulty with the correct output when it comes to multiple lines for one input.
After that creative genius I move onto reading about what others are doing in the field of generative arts – art made using algorithms (fancy math term). And that’s one of the reasons I’m learning math online. With experience in combining coding practices with digital fabrication people can create distorted 3D scanned objects, parametric paper-folding, and multi-screen video. The art doesn’t stop there; even Mozart jumped on the generative bandwagon in 1757 with his musical piece: “Musikalisches Würfelspiel”.
Finding inspiration in that I’m able to learn Processing – another programming language, but a bit more fun. I am able to tell it shapes and colors and it returns aliens and blocks that move – think the cars in the game Frogger. Its website defines it as: an electronic sketchbook for developing ideas. It is easy to navigate and go back in code to fix mistakes. The website has some easy-to-follow tutorials in a step-by-step method. Today’s lesson is two-dimensional arrays that can be arranged in a matrix (back to math).
After a lunch break it’s time to do something a little more familiar. I started learning about After Effects (Ae) a little over a year ago and will watch some refresher video tutorials. Ae works with animation – movement that happens over time. I am able to work with photos and videos that I can import from Premiere (Pr), Photoshop, and Bridge and export to Pr, Flash, etc. Pr is great for sequencing videos and Ae gives me more control (size, shape, color, speed) over my footage. The screen shot is a composition of falling text.
After building confidence in Ae, I work in Prelude – a video indexing program that is built more for sharing. I am able to add comments and other markers directly to the video files as photo stills or audio-only files aren’t supported. It has the option to add unassociated metadata which is a great way for a director to share information with the editors (while one is on site and the other in the office.) Below is a clip of a sunset time-lapse in logging mode that I used while watching a workshop course on video2brain.
Into my seventh hour and I delve into Illustrator – the more business oriented program with the ability to make brochures, menus, and business cards. I can make letter heads, book sleeves, and update my résumé too. There is a large workspace with room to edit multiple artboards (ie menu pages) at once. The layer panel makes it easy to edit and organize. There is a zoom feature for picking out details on a face and a spray can that allows me to spray an item chosen from my artboard (perhaps a camera spray to outline my article on blogging). And plenty more tools to keep my curiosity.
training day is complete without a program to make a beat – Ableton. A music making program with limitless instrument editing options and enough effects to entertain live or record at home. There is a helpful box at the bottom that gives a little description of what I hover the mouse over – a timesaver. There are knobs to turn, buttons to push, and sliders to move. The founders encourage me to try them all to make a sound that is my own, and to, “Stay creative,” so I sidechained a bass drum to get audio from a kick drum – sound coming soon. Stay tuned.
Question of the Day: How do you stay creative?