Week 7 – Beats, Loops & MIDI

So for week 7 we learned how to use MIDI. It would be a totally cool concept, only I’m not very musically inclined. So it wasn’t that helpful for me. Still, it’s cool how you can play some notes on an instrument and change the track to any instrument you want.

For the pass/fail assignment, we got to choose a Beastie Boys song and I did Electrify. Honestly, I only used 3 notes of MIDI because I HAD to, but otherwise I wouldn’t have because my musical skills are not even close to being on par. Still, I had a great time doing the song. Listening back now, I wish I’d done more to the song. If I had Pro Tools on my laptop I totally would have but since I don’t, and I live an hour away from Ryerson, I didn’t get as much time on the song as I would have liked to. Still, it was a great learning experience and I’m excited to experiment with new and different tunes

p.s. listen to the song on headphones or surround sound because I panned it


Week 6 – Band Tracking Work Shop

For our recording assignment, we recorded the band, The Riot Police. The whole process was kind of a pain in the ass, to be honest. For one, we didn’t get the Multi-track Studio, so we used the Foley Room. It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t horrible either. We had a lot of trouble getting the room to work, but eventually, we figured that out too.

The band was nice and they stayed to record until almost 4 a.m. and it was awfully nice and dedicated of them. They didn’t have a drummer though so their lead singer tried playing the drums – it didn’t really go well.

It’s alright though, we ended up drawing in the drums on Ableton Live. Another issue we came over was that we didn’t like how the backup singer sounded during the verses, his voice just didn’t work with the lead singer. This could be because we over-dubbed the whole session and they couldn’t hear how they sounded together. So what we did, was take one of several takes the lead singer did and layered it over his own voice to make him the backup singer, as well. However after listening to it a few times I found that the song sounded echo-y so I used automation to lower the backup vocals on the verse and make lead singer’s voice much more prominent.

All together, though, I’m proud of our work. For newbies I think we did well and it’s a song I would listen to on my own time. This assignment was definitely my favourite so far, and the outcome made me proud.

Week 4 – Processing in Pro Tools

Week 4 we had to make a radio drama. It was exciting being back in the recording studio and actually recording something! We had freedom with our scripts and were able to come up with a quirky idea. It doesn’t make much sense (printed sandwiches for a birthday party?) but I think it adds to the strangeness of the drama overall.

I mean we’ve all been there, right? The annoying call you have to make to the tech guy when you have no idea how to work something. Meanwhile, you know the tech guy totally hates his life and couldn’t care less about your problems.

Using Pro Tools totally helped us bring this concept to life. We used reverb on the voices to create a sense of time and space. By using sound effects we were able to transport our listeners to exactly where we wanted them to be. (In an office, or at a busy house during a child’s birthday party, or even in a daydream). By being able to pan voices, we were able to emphasize the telephone call and exactly where each setting was taking place (on the left or on the right or maybe even right in the middle). We had a lot of fun putting this radio drama together and I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. I recommend you listen to it with headphones or surround sound speakers.

Week 3 – Routing, Automation & Editing

Have a listen to the first song I’ve ever mixed. Granted it was all recorded already but I put everything together and added all the extra plug-ins.

Week 3 was all about importing separate audio tracks from a song and sorting them in groups and buses and creating submixes. It was actually a lot more interesting than you’d think. A song that you hear consists of so much more than just one stereo track. You have a track for vocals, back up vocals, guitar, bass, snare drum, cymbals etc. The list goes on and on. And if you don’t sort it all into fancy groups, you’re stuck scrolling through an endless page of Pro Tools trying to move things around hastily.

Buses and groups just make life SO much easier. Imagine having to add EQ to each of the drum tracks separately (cymbals, snare, bass, etc.) Pain in the ASS. I know. So we learned how to make our lives easier, pretty much.

Halloween was already a great song, but some parts of it were annoying me (the back up vocals that repeated words) and I added reverb to it to make it more distant. Otherwise, it’s a song that I would actually listen to on my spare time.

After Effects Artist Statement – Week 13

So I finally completed my After Effects assignment (the one I briefly spoke about on the last few posts). It took me forever… I spent a good five hours on it so that means I spent an hour per second on the clip. Originally I had wanted to film the ring and then slow it down but I didn’t have the proper equipment to do so. Thus I took a few photos of my mother’s wedding band.



Then, I photoshopped it (and saved it as a .png…I’ve learned well!)Image

Then I took it to After Effects and tried to make it look 3D. The thing is, taking something 2D and making it look 3D is so difficult. Especially something as fine as a ring. And then, making it fall slowly and realistically is even harder. I spent hours moving keyframes, playing with the graphs on After Effects, moving the orientation, spinning it until it turned out the way I wanted it to. I did two different versions of it. One slow, one fast and both had different music. But after showing them to a few people, I was told that the faster one was better. For the music, I took two different tracks and compiled them on pro tools to get the ‘boom boom boom’ and then the soft tinkering music in the background. As for the font, I downloaded a similar font to the ones used in the real movies.



It’s called ‘Ringbearer’ on dafont. And then I had the words fade in at the very end and this is the result.



Farewell But Not Goodbye – Week 12

We had our last Digital Media lecture and I know I’m going to miss it the most out of all my other lectures. It was definitely the most interesting. Ironically, I also finished my Motion Graphic today and gosh was it a pain in the ass, I sat down for four hours trying to make a 2D ring look 3D as it falls… I don’t know why I do this to myself. But yeah, that’s pretty much completed I may tweak it here and there tomorrow but otherwise, I’m good to go.

This course has taught me that I am capable of taking the ideas in my head and developing them in real life. And after using after effects, I am so grateful for photoshop and how much simpler it is. I really hope I don’t have to use after effects ever again. I did enjoy photoshop, though, and I’m probably going to pursue that in the future. Editing photos, and making compilations of my own. Photoshop is quite handy – oh and learning about dafont was another great thing that happened to me this semester (so thanks for that).

I’ve learned that even the most complex pictures I find on tumblr are doable and I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or not but when I see professional pictures online… I’m not as impressed anymore because I actually think I can do them, too. BDC192 has taught me to appreciate films, music videos, animations and all other kinds of media so much more. A five second motion graphic was a pain in the ass, I couldn’t imagine making a two hour motion film. When I watch movies, I’ll be paying way more attention to the graphics and the intros and how much work must have been put into them. You really don’t understand until you do it for yourself.

In my first blog post, I talked about wanting to make things from scratch… well guess what younger Shay? You did it! My album cover, motion graphic and even the header of my blog above ^ were all from scratch. So there’s an accomplishment. I’ve also learned that digital media is more than just children’s television graphics… so that’s good too. While I’m no Kyle Cooper yet, I think my work is pretty good and I’ve come a long way.

So thank you Laurie Petrou for showing us the most interesting videos ever – the Bob Dylan ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ video for one blew my mind. And thank you Jamie Waese for actually taking the time to sit down and show me how to turn my ideas into reality. Without you, digital media wouldn’t mean half as much to me.

Here’s to another 7 semesters in RTA and a future in digital media.


Storyteller – Week 11

So according to Laurie Petrou there are stories everywhere. In fact, I’m supposed to recount three. Well let’s see if she’s right. Currently, I have no stories in mind… I’m going to roam the internet and will let you know in the next paragraph if I stumbled upon anything.


(source: buzzworthy.mtv)

Okay, don’t laugh… or judge. I just recently downloaded One Direction’s new album, Midnight Memories. And thought of the music video, The Story of My Life. (As if it could get any more relevant than this post.) And even if you don’t like 1D just check out the first minute of the music video, it’s all it takes to understand the story. The boys of One Direction reminisce their pasts by developing old photographs and putting themselves as they are now back into them. The viewer sees just how much things have changed in their lives as they remember their childhoods and families. It’s pretty sweet, actually. So first story, down. Two more to go.


(source: jalex-moments.tumblr)

Alright, so since grade seven I’ve been a little bit obsessed with a band called All Time Low. Not only is their music super duper rad but they’re just such fun guys. In this video, they directly address fan fiction and even mock a little bit of what is written about them. The band consists of four guys, but the two most popular are Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat – and some fans want them together… which is odd since they’re both straight but in their fan fictions, they get to turn All Time Low into anything they want. Their fan fics have actually spread so wide that even the band have seen them. Kudos to that writer, Alex even tells them ‘to keep them coming’. So there’s story number two, Alex and Jack – or rather Jalex’s twisted love story through fan fiction.

(source: pymparticles.tumblr)

(source: pymparticles.tumblr)

So I literally just stumbled upon this on my Tumblr dashboard. This photoshopped piece of brilliance is a story all on its own. The creator, obviously found humour in Eminem’s name that was curiously similar to M&M’s and took a little bit of Darwin’s theory and bam! The evolution of Eminem. Add a title, an author and even a publisher and here you have yourself a little bit of a spoof and a lot of wit and a book that needs no text. They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ well, this book only has a cover yet it tells its own story.

So Laurie was right, there is a story in every corner.

What’s My Type? – Week 10

This week we learned all about font and how big a role it plays in digital media… and if you’re surprised, after reading this you won’t be anymore.

Take Paramore’s album Riot! (by far my favourite album by them)


This is so cool! After doing my own album cover and looking at this, I’m smacking myself in the face a little. This is such a simple idea. Just take a piece of paper and write the album name all over it in different fonts. It looks great and it’s not hard to do! This album, however wouldn’t be effective if the font wasn’t so… raw. It literally looks like someone grabbed a black coloured pencil and scribbled the word Riot! all over it. Then, for emphasis they took an orange (probably because the lead singer’s hair is bright orange) coloured pencil and wrote the word Riot! in huge letters to really get the point across. When I think of the word riot, I imagine a mess, an attack, disorder. Just using letters and ‘scribbly’ fonts, the album name, Riot, matched my definition perfectly.

Paramore is a pop rock/ alternative rock band so this album cover goes with their ‘rebellious rock image’. They’re also a band that’s catered towards a younger demographic, teenagers and young adults. So this album cover is youthful and messy and goes well with their young and rebellious demographic.


(source: tumblr)

This image is nothing but font! Like the Riot! album cover. But the font itself is a form of art. It looks as if the words have been painted on the page and the blocky letters compliment the fancy script. Since the colour of the fonts are very similar, it’s aesthetically appealing and easy on the eyes. The colours give the viewer a sense of peace and serenity while the large size really sends the message across. This is a great way to portray a quote because it’s nice to look at and even though it’s all words, it looks beautiful and artistic. I found this image on Tumblr and usually Tumblr users are very artsy and into quotes. The creator of this image was clearly aware of this as they took two major parts of Tumblr, arts and quotes and put them together to create such an effective and popular piece.



This is the DVD cover for The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby happens in the 1920’s, a time when everything was big, and beautiful and extravagant. The gold pillars that frame the DVD are proof of the era, so the font of the title, is in the same shape and material as those gold pillars and fits right in as if it was built into the frame. The title is in sans serif but that’s only so that it could fit the rest of the gold, metal around the frame, otherwise it would have probably been serif. Everything is written in the same font for consistency, as you can tell there’s already a lot going on in the cover so the same font keeps everything tidy. Also, the words ‘The’ and ‘Great’ are written within ‘Gatsby’ which is pretty neat – and gives a huge (literally) emphasis to the name.

The font suits the 20s era, is grand and beautiful and is made as if it is part of the frame of the photo. The creators of the DVD did a great job with the title.

There we had three great examples of fonts and different uses for them – all of which were a huge part of the piece and without those fonts… the photo would either be non-existent, or just incomplete.

Before After Effects – Week 9

So for our final assignment we’re making a motion graphic with after effects… in all honesty I’m a little terrified. I’ve just started to learn Photoshop this year so having to take it one step further and get into after effects is intimidating.

But I started brainstorming ideas anyway and initially, I had wanted to do a motion graphic for The Outsiders. I was going to have a sunny field, have a leaf fall off a tree (since it was autumn at the time – ew by the way how gross is winter?) and have the leaf blow in the wind to reveal the title. It sounded great and I was excited to do it… and then posters for The Hobbit started to come out.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I’m kind of a huge Lord of the Rings geek. I love the movies and cannot wait to see The Hobbit (especially since Orlando Bloom is back in this one) and that immediately got me thinking about motion graphics for Lord of the Rings. In my head, I envisioned a ring falling to the ground in slow motion and then the title appearing. Sort of like this.


But after talking to Jamie about it, he told me I can’t film a ring because there isn’t a camera available to me that can capture so many stills in a short period of time. So I was left doing a little photo shoot of my mother’s wedding band in my living room so that I could later animate it in after effects. Here’s the photo I chose.


Then I photoshopped it with my less than stellar skills. And ended up with this.

Ring against black bg

And so this is now what I’m working with. Trying to make this ring fall in a way that looks 3D has been a pain in the ass, I kid you not. And it’s still a working process but I’m determined to get it right.

Here’s to blood, sweat and tears for the next couple of days.

My Album Cover – Week 8


This was my final album cover for MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular. First of all, I’m going to go ahead and let you know that I am a complete photoshop newbie. I have never used it before and I was actually really concerned when I decided to take this project on. But I came up with this idea and dived in.

MGMT’s original album art for Oracular Spectacular is this


I’ve used it a few blog posts back to talk about colour so you might have seen it before. Since I know MGMT have music that’s mellow and a little on the darker side because they cover topics like death and drugs and living carefree lives, I decided to go ahead with a darker sunset. My original  album art didn’t end up as pink as the one that I uploaded, I had to play with the colour filters on photoshop a little first. Before, it looked like this.

MGMT ALBUM ART circles higher

You can see there are a lot more yellows and blues than pinks and reds. Luckily, that was the easy part when it came to photoshop and nothing I had to ‘google’. I just clicked on the ‘filter’ tab and experimented until I liked the outcome.

On the original album art, you can see that MGMT is written in a funky font. I wanted to do the same thing since they are the focus of the piece, of course. I stuck to photoshop’s preset fonts and chose desdemona. I like the curves of the lines and think they go with everything MGMT stands for. The title of the album, however, I kept simple. In the original, the title isn’t even on the front of the album. So I knew it would be tricky to put it on the image. That’s why I kept it as simple and bland as possible because my picture is already busy as it is.

All of my photos were taken with a DSLR camera at Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill. I used four different images in the cover art to make a transition from day to night. So basically, I stayed at Lake Wlicox for two hours and snapped a picture every fifteen minutes as the sunset. It was cold but I had my friend there and a good playlist on my phone to keep me occupied!

These are a few of the pictures I took.


The reason why the photos aren’t at exactly the same angle is because we didn’t have the piece of the tripod that attached the camera to it (fail) and we ended up tying the camera onto the tripod with our hair elastics…

I experimented with the size of the circles MGMT is written across, and also with the size of the fonts. I made so many different versions and sent them to at least three friends asking which one they liked best.


I used the two circles, by the way, because I thought they went with the whole ‘oracular spectacular’ title. I imagined them as two moons overlapping against each other. To suit MGMT’s psychedelic style a little better, I had my transition from day to night go diagonally so it would be even stranger than the time-lapse photos you see that go vertically.

Like this


(source: jam3sh.wordpress)

I originally wanted to do the Toronto skyline (like the photo above only at Centre Island to have the lake in it) but MGMT is American and it wouldn’t have made sense for their album to have Toronto on the cover.

So this was my work and I’m proud of it and think the time and effort paid off! In class I got good criticsm only someone pointed out that my lake was a little lopsided – oops. The reason for that is because of my use of elastics to hold the camera down due to the missing tripod piece. But again, MGMT is a little funky and I think their album can pull off a lopsided lake! I was also told that it may have been a good idea to move the ‘oracular spectacular’ title lower. That is interesting but I did have it down there while creating the cover and thought it looked better on the top with the MGMT title.

That’s all! Hope I did MGMT justice.