Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What do I mean digital art? (Introduction)

Art making mostly is a very individual process of personal development. For traditional art this often means to offer the student various possibilities to try themselves out, like drawing, painting, sculpture ... until they specialize in one or more of these areas. For digital art this is not different, only the medium are not physical materials but technology. Still, creativity and a certain approach are the same in both areas, traditional and computational art making. Like this one of my intentions here is to present image, audio and video editing in the context of art creation.

Note you can take the entire course with free software! If you are a Mac user you certainly be able to convey the tutorial content to software Mac provides for free. Especially the awesome Mac video and audio editing software.

The first section will be about how to produce a video and how to share it I will lead you to write down your idea and sketch it. In addition I will show you how to plan your digital art projects. I will go on and present a tutorial on how to make a video in a video editing software and another tutorial that shows how you can set up a blog and share your work via the blog.

 In the next section you learn to produce a piece of music, which will be a beat and your voice over it. We also create an account at a sound sharing page and link from a blog post to this page, so your song can be shared with friends and other important people.

Further you will learn how to produce an animated GIF, which is one of the moving pictures you know so well from webpages.

I will also show you how to basically edit a photograph in a non-destructive way and by that you will learn about layers in the context of image editing software.

You may have heard of composition concerning images. You will create one and by that learn much about the masking technique.

To finish the course I present two tutorials where you can prove your new knowledge while making a little rotoscoped animation and present yourself more than once in the same image while applying in an advanced way what you have learned about layers and masks.

But you want to learn about digital painting? Go and look in the internet for "Ctrl Paint"
If you are more interested in traditional art making I can recommend you a different Udemy course by me:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Photo + Narration = Artful Video

Get an idea and start planning!

First for any artwork production is the idea. You might already have one. If not you might know about various brain storming techniques. However, even then you need a start.

This can be a question, for example:

I want to show my artist friends something really awesome. What would impress them?

Often we got ideas from assignments a school provides.

You may follow the idea I provide here, which is to juxtapose the visual (photograph) to the audible (narration) in a video and to share this in the Internet.

Please note, this is not just about creating a video. You need this steps for any kind of artwork, although the term pre-production is normally used for the video production process.

When you got your idea, write it down. One sentence may be enough.

I want to make a photograph of white hands on a dark background and add the narration “I am Hanna from Ghana”.

Say something about the meaning you want to convey.

I want people wondering about the juxtaposition of the visual and the audible to make them think about their ideas from skin color and origin of a person.

(you may choose any other picture like the mouth of a bearded man sounding like a child and saying: I am Hans from a Grimm fairy tale. Or you show the back of a woman's head with braided hair saying in a man's voice “I am Jimmy from Pimp Town.” - Sorry for this, but art sometimes must be provocative to make people think.)

After this for visual ideas you should do any kind of sketch. For a video you might create a story board. For our purpose you can use any form you like. Look at my one frame story board.

You can do something similar for music and sound, like a time line or musical notation.

Now you have to explore what you need for your production. Compare it to what you have. Write it down. If you do not have what you need write down an alternative.

I need

I have
time, about 2 hours
I actually have two hours of time this Saturday.

I will take my own hands.

a dark background
I have a cardboard box I will use.

camera to shoot the picture or the hands
I ow one myself and will use it.
(You may lend devices.)

a microphone to make the narration
I do not have any microphone.
I have my zoom recording device and will use it for a microphone.
(You may have a microphone, which I recommend for a better quality, or you use your build in microphone.)

a software where I can make the narration with
I know I can add a narration to a video in the Movie Maker. I will use this option for my production which anyway results in a video.
(You may have to download it:
Click to get the Movie Maker
Or use any other software you know.)

a software where I can produce my video with, which is combining visual and audible and export this as a video

I will use the Windows Movie Maker.
a platform where I can share my video
I have heard tumblr is a good place to share. I will get an account there and share my video via this account.

Now go on and produce!

This will be the production part of your work. For the idea we are following here it will be just taking the picture you need. You can also see the narration as part of the production.

The following picture shows how you can shoot for example and eye of yourself. I have to mention that I can take single pictures with my video camera. You may have any other device and an appropriate tripod construction.

I also show you a picture that displays how I have set up my microphone which I have connected with an USB plug. You may have a microphone that uses a jack plug, which also can be connected to your computer.

Edit your materials!

Next I will show you how to load the picture to the Movie Maker, how to make the narration and how to export your work as a video you can share, which can be called the post-production.

Share your artwork!

The next video shows how to share your artwork on a tumblr blog. (Naturally you can use any other blogging page.

To share the webpage resulting from your tumblr blog go to the edit icon, then copy and paste your tubmr url.
(Which shows the following screenshot.)

Music Production and Sharing

A series of tutorials about how to produce pieces of music and how to share them on Soundcloud and Tumblr.

The first video shows you how to find the download page from a great free sound editing software called Audacity.

The next video shows you how to produce a beat with the free online software Soundation. When have created the beat it is opened in Audacity where a voice track is recorded. (You could record in Soundation, but not in the free version.)

Audacity produces a track every time you click the record button. If you want to delete a track, just click the cross at the left top corner.
Also note the following screenshot, which shows about Audacity and microphone settings.

The third video is about sharing a Soudcloud track onTumblr blog.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Make an Animated GIF from a Movie Clip

What the hell is an animated GIF?

It is a sequence of images saved as just one image. Does that make sense?

I believe so when you think in terms of file formats. GIF is an image format, which means it is handled like an image when displayed, differently from video or audio.

Want to know more? Just click!

First what we need for an animated GIF are single images. The two following videos tell about a way to get them. We got them for free via free pages and software.

Note there are more possibilities than that, especially when you are able to buy more advanced software, but for now, this:

Download a Youtube video.

Do not forget to press the green word DOWNLOAD. I did forget it in the video.

Get single images with MPEG-Streamclip.
(In MPEG-Streamclip mark a sequence of about 4 seconds.)

Produce the Animated GIF with Gimp.

Share your GIF.

I hope this was fun!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Layers and Masks for a Happy Face

Layers and masks are important principles in digital art making, mostly used during image editing, but also for videos and even for audio, where you can layer tracks.

However this post is about layers and masks used in Gimp to edit images non-destructively and finally combine the result in another GIF of two pictures, the Happy Face Gif.

If you want to follow the videos by editing the images I have edited click here for the happy face and click here for the stones and download them at the page which shows up.

About Layers in Gimp:

About masks in Gimp:

About creating a Gif from two pictures and share it:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to rotoscope an action.

soccer gif
Shadow Soccer

Here I'm going to explain how you can contour something in Gimp with the Path Tool to gain an exciting animated gif. You also can use a tablet and pen, it is just not what I'll show here. I thought people without a tablet should also be able to do this tutorial.

For following the tutorial you need to know how to make single images, which we have talked about earlyier in the Lesson about making a Gif from a movie.
Once you have imported the images do the following:

Choose Shift + the eye symbol of the bottom layer in the layer tab to make only this layer visible.

Next create a new layer by clicking the New Layer symbol (1) in the layer tab. Choose a white background (2) and name the layer 0001 (3).  (The next will be 0002 and so on.)

After This set the Opacity of the layer to 50%..

Now it is a good idea to zoom in where you want to start drawing the outlines. Just enough to keep an overview.
(Zoom Tool or Ctrl + Mouse Wheel together with Space Bar + Left Mouse Button)

After you have selected the Path Tool, click along the outlines. (If possible don't move the mouse while clicking, you may come into the edit mode, where you can shape the path.)
If you reach the edge of the screen just use the Space Bar together with the Left Mouse Button to move the visible part or just use the scroll bars.
Don't overdo this, we are going for the motion, not for the detail. Maybe I've already set too many points.

When you've finished your first outline, click Stroke Path (1)  at the Tool Options palette of the Path Tool. Then choose a Line Width (2) and confirm.  (I've chosen 3 appropriate to the resolution of my image. You may need a different width.)
Normally the stroke will appear in black, which is the default foreground color. For changing the stroke color, change the foreground color.

To position the path tool anew you have to select another tool first and then again choose the path tool. (There may be a better ways which I don't know.)
For the ball you can use the Ellipse Select Tool plus in the Edit menu Stroke Selection.

When you've finished the outline of your first image set the layer opacity back to 100%. The result should look something like this.

You now can delete the layer with the original image or you can do it when you've finished all images.

Go back to the start of this tutorial and do the same with any of the imported images.

When you've removed the original images you can play back the action.
Go to Filters in the menu bar and choose Animation -> Playback.

Maybe you have to scale the image now. For an animated gif the image should not be larger than 800 in width. In the end this is up to your choice, but note if you save something as a gif file the file size is restricted. The more images you need the smaller they have to be.

Just try to save your work as a gif file now (File menu -> Export to -> Filename.gif). If it is too large you will have a pop up window which tells you about this.

Don't forget to check the option As Animation and Loop Forever.

You should also experiment with the delay between the frames, to find out which speed is the right for your animated gif.

Go to your gif file and open it in any preview. I personally open it with the internet explorer. If you're fine with the result you're done. If not correct what ever you want, but don't forget that there are many more assignments to do.

Share the Gif at your blog!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Multiply yourself!

What are we going to do here?
We take photographs of ourselves at the same place. After this we load them into the image editing software Gimp and with the help of layers and masks, we make it look as if we exist several times, like twins of triplets.

Before going into Gimp and doing the magic you have to take photographs of yourself.

  • Choose a place where the light does not change over the time you take your photographs. When going outside this means clear sunshine or a reliable clouded sky, which is also good at daytime in any room with windows. Inside it just means set up your lighting and do not change it.                                          
  • Stabilize you camera, which preferably means any tripod construction. If this is not available put your camera on the top of a desk, cupboard, wall ... and once done do not move it anymore.                             
  • Mind using the automatic mode of your camera. If you have a really good camera with really good automatic adjustments to the lighting situation this might work out. Still, often cameras adjust in slightly different ways per photograph which causes that the representation of yourself shows you in different light. In extreme this may be one is light, one dark, one is blueish the other yellowish. This may look good, but generally it does not and you do not achieve the effect that you exist more than once. The illusion is simply down. You can not betray our experience we have made with light and that we sort this out anywhere in our head. So inform yourself about using manual modes if they exist.                           
  • Position yourself various times in the area that can be scanned by your camera and shoot. How? Use if ever possible a remote control to leave the camera in a stable position, otherwise use the self timer of your camera or ask a friend to take the photographs, but take good care on not moving the camera. This would cause visible displacements when you start editing.                                                         
  • When you have your photographs save them so that you can access them for the editing phase.

Here I provide a Gimp  tutorial on how you can place yourself several times in one picture.

First open two of your pictures you have taken to show yourself repeated on one photograph:

  • Go to the File Menu and choose Open.
  • Again go to the File Menu and chose Open as Layer.

Now you have two pictures on two layers. On your screen you can see the picture on the top layer. We now want to make part of the underneath picture visible. For this editing software solutions are providing Masks. You can add a mask to any picture and manipulate which part of the picture is visible and which not.
For this tutorial it is important that you use a mask of white color, which means the picture is fully visible. If you now paint with black color on you mask, you make part of it transparent, which means part of the picture underneath becomes visible.

 Now we will add a mask:
  • Right click on the top layer and choose Add Layer Mask. (You can also find this in the Layer Menu)
  • In the pop up window choose white (full opacity).
  • Click the Add button.

Next we will choose the brush tool and we will make sure that the chosen color is black. You also have to set the size of the brush.
Then you reduce the opacity of the top layer, so that you can see something of the underneath picture.
(Don't forget to reset the opacity to 100% when you have finished the masking.)
Finally you will paint on the mask to make parts of the picture transparent which causes that parts of the underneath picture become visible.

  • Go to the toolbox and choose the Brush Tool.
  • Make sure the foreground color is Black, which is also the color of your brush.
  • Set an appropriate brush size.
  • In the layer window set the opacity to 70%.
  • In the picture window with the brush paint over the parts where you are in the second picture, so that these parts become visible. (This will appear black on the mask.)
  • (Be sure you have clicked the mask preview in the layer window, not the picture preview. Otherwise you paint black on your picture.) 

To make one picture out of the two layers you have to merge them. (You may like making further adjustments to make the two pictures look more alike in color and/or light before merging them.)

  • Set the opacity back to 100%.
  • Right Click the top layer and choose Merge Down.
  • Save.
Repeat the above steps as often as you want to place a variation of yourself in the image.

Go on and share your image!

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to go on?

First be proud! If you have made it until here you know already all what you need to go on your way as a digital artist. You are now certainly able to do further studies on the possibilities of the software we have spoken about here and to follow the various tutorials you will find spread over the web.

One very special course you will find here:

It is more advanced concerning the fact that you have to look for the right thing yourself and that you have to explore various software in depth without asking your teacher all the time ;) However it provides a lot of good information and guiding.

If you can afford to pay for a course I recommend a course by me which is about the Remix and Audacity:

Note that I do just earn about 20% of the price, because most gets Udemy and people mostly pay via coupons which reduce the price up to 90%. Look for coupons if you like!

That it is! what can I say more? Share your artwork and look for companions with similar interests who can support you on your way.

All the best for you!