Basic Audio Editing

Knowing Audacity from flipped lecture is really a big help for me to edit sound, I have Adobe Audition on my computer but I never bother to use it, because I get freaked out by its interface all the time. I’m not a sound expert so I won’t need 90% functions of Adobe Audition, and I failed to find software that meets my needs until today. In the past, I mostly relied on the sound editing function which is built in Adobe After effect, again it is powerful but I always ended up getting too many layers just for sound. Along with all the footage, it is a disaster on my small laptop screen. The lecture also interested me in Garage band, which I could use to compose my own background music for the following short film, but it is a shame that I haven’t got a Mac.

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This is comparison of interfaces of Adobe Audition and Audacity, I know Audacity doesn’t look as cool as Audition, but it simplified all the functions I don’t ever need in the size of 8 Mb, thumbs up for that.

Next I would like to do a test on one of the voice files that I recorded for my documentary project referring to Audacity video tutorials part 1 and 2 on flipped lecture.

After I set up the preferences and imported the sound file, first thing I have to do is to cut off the unnecessary part and reduce the back ground noise. I got lost on the cutting part so I went through another tutorial ‘Audacity Cut Music’ on YouTube, and finally I have got the part I want.

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Since we were recording this in a noisy cafeteria, the background noise is real pain in the neck, after several tries on getting the noise profile and adjusting the removal settings, I have got the final result done, although it is still with a bit of noise but it is much better than before.

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And then export it as MP3, done!

The first experience with Audacity is fresh, some of the shortcuts work different with Adobe software, but overall I think Audacity is able to perform basic audio editing and format transfers in an intuitive way that many beginners have no trouble understanding. And it’s free!

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Digital Drawing Techniques

I like drawing when I was a kid, and I still do.

Drawing on a computer is different; it involves less emotional expression but more precision. I remember how I felt uncomfortable when I started to use a stylus to draw things on the screen. However, after I gradually picked up the skills, I started to like digital drawing and even developed an own way to draw, which I took advantage of skills of traditional drawing. I personally like using Photoshop (bitmaps) because it is more capable of handling various properties’ images, and even creating complicated visuals for things like 3D imitation, photo montage, photo grafting, etc. And it performs much better with stylus, because it has accurate perceptions of pressure from the pen point. To put it simply, it could imitates hand drawing experience. But bitmaps are resolution dependent, it’s difficult to increase or decrease their size without sacrificing a degree of image quality.  It means when you reduce the size of a bitmap image, you must throw away pixels. When you increase the size of a bitmap image, the software has to create new pixels. When creating pixels, the software must estimate the color values of the new pixels based on the surrounding pixels, but it may distort the image. Conversely, vector graphics using the graphics function to record the color, size and other attributes. Zoom in and out of any object, no image distortion and will reduce quality. And it won’t affect the file size. So I commonly use Illustrator (vector) to create any text-related design, logo design, 2D animation design, which frequently requires different sizes of a same image to apply to certain conditions. Here are two graphic design works that I did in past study maybe could help you understand two types of graphics:

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This set of vector clown characters that I designed which I reused in a following animation project, relies on the vector’s ‘unchangeable’ attribute. I was able to change their sizes without losing the qualities.

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This one was archived by tracing the pre-scanned hand drawing outlines with stylus, and filled in the colors in Photoshop.

Image Editing in Photoshop

In the past years of study, Adobe Photoshop is always one of important tools that helped me through various design projects. Now I am using the latest Adobe Photoshop CS6 which has been added more functions than the first edition I used. I could only keep learning those new functions and I never feel tired of it. I have tried some other image editing software before, but I always ended up with Photoshop again. Here I am going to play around with Photoshop to edit the beach photo below that I took before, let’s see if I can make it better than now.

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1. Cropping it to a appropriate size

First of all, I want to get rid of the bush at the bottom by using crop tool.

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Now, all I have in the picture is just beach, sea and sky.

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2. Adjusting the color

As we can see, the picture is too dark and it needs more color contrast, so I raised both of the brightness and contrast.

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And it becomes more legible.

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3. Fixing the over-exposure

Now I am about to fix the over-exposed sunlight on the right, for doing that, I duplicated the layer and changed the top one’s mode from ‘Normal’ to ‘Soft Light’, and then reduced the opacity to 35. Also, in the same layer, I used lasso tool to circled out the sunlight, and then raised up the value of highlights in shadows/highlights.

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And this is the final result! I’m quite happy with it and I did refer to my Photoshop textbook to guide me through the over-exposure fixing part. The thing I like best about Photoshop is that it’s full featured and really powerful for image professionals, It takes years of practice and learning to get things right.  I will keep practicing it until I can do amazing images like the proficients do.

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My Experience With Google Alerts

This is my first time using Google Alerts, and I think it is a good way to timely get needful updates in Email. It is especially useful for users who want keeping current on a competitor or industry. I personally have set up three alerts which are about PS4, RMIT, and iPhone, by the time I received the alerts next day, I was surprise by how the information has been sorted out clearly in order of importance and time. I like how it allows users to make more specific search terms by multiple words. One thing that I wish it to be improved is it could have more frequency options of alerts for users to select, rather than only sending daily and weekly. I think Google Alerts makes its users have the initiative to only get information they interest, so then they won’t waste their time on unnecessary messages compares to traditional mediums like newspaper and TV.

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The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

Today,  SFX has been developed to a high level, and it has been commonly applied in film or TV productions. However, Michel Gondry(1963-, a French film director) still adheres to primitive special effect techniques to create video productions instead of digital SFX.

‘Let Forever Be’ was directed by Gondry and utilized ground-breaking video and film effects in its depiction of a young woman’s nightmares. The video, which drew much visual inspiration from primitive special effect techniques such as,duplex photography and substitution trick etc. Gondry ingeniously linked each irrelevant scene to one dramatic long shot in the uses of these techniques.

Self-reflection on the Experience of Skype

I have been using Skype for 3 years, and it is always my first choice for making long distance calls to my families and friends oversea, I was impressed by the call quality even with the poor network. Now I am a paying user for me to get cheaper direct calls with telephones/mobile phones. which I found out it is very convenient by doing it just on my smart phone, and another thing that I found out is that Skype has the best video quality on video chat compares to other VoIP or instant message softwares like QQ, Wechat, etc. The experience of communicating with classmates by Skype was definitely pleasant: clear and fluent. I think Skype in the VoIP market dominance is unshakable by now.