Good Luck on Sunday, Lin Manuel-Miranda!

I do think La La Land may take it, but “Where I’ll Go” is a fabulous film song. Not as funny as “You’re Welcome” and “Shiny” but critical to defining Moana.

But I am really here (spoiler?) to finally say (now that everybody has had a chance to see it) how glad I am to see the pseudopod from James Cameron’s 80’s film “The Abyss” get more work in “Moana,” and a bigger role too.

Creative uploads water abyss pseudopod (If you haven’t seen it, you will figure it out when you do.)

It’s a fabulous film, you should see it if you haven’t. (I meant “The Abyss” but “Moana” too.) Science fiction but heartfelt with great performances and a better story than “Titanic”, I think. Though even longer and wetter. No, I am not going to make a dirty joke, instead  I will say: A shame Disney isn’t adding it to their parks instead of “Avatar.” 🙂

—–David

P.S. As I write this, Sunday is the next Academy Awards, aka Oscars 2017. In case you read this before any other Sunday.

P.P.S. Now I want ice cream. Who keeps bringing up sundaes?

Good Luck on Sunday, Lin Manuel-Miranda! was originally published on Creative Uploads

Music Making Needs Control: GarageBand iOS 

creative uploads music GarageBand songwriting

I really like Garageband iOS on my iPad. Lately it’s been improved to the point where the annoyance of not being able to do something critical has been replaced by the smaller annoyance of needing to learn where they have hidden how to do some things.

Did you know that if you long press on the Undo button it pops up the option to Redo? Why would they hide that? There’s a perfectly good space next to the Undo button where a reversed arrow would have fit! Seriously made me mad, and now that I know, let me make you mad so it can stop driving you mad.

And volume control. For ages I have battled uneven volume in a single track. Usually vocals where I just sing a few phrases with a little more gusto. The workaround was to pick a level in between that you could live with, or create another track and split the different volume tracks between them, louder clips on one with the main volume brought down, and then a boosted track to bring quieter audio up to balance.

Now Apple has included Automation controls to add a volume level path to audio tracks as they play. I think Adobe used to call them rubber bands.
This feature overrides your ability to use the regular volume slider, so get that about where you want it for the majority of your track first. Yes, this means you should already have a rough mix worked out, if you want to work more efficiently.

To activate the Automation, you tap the instrument icon on the desired track, then the yellow lightning bolt type icon below it (reference the photo). This creates the first flat audio band, set to the current volume level. You can pull it up and down carefully and it will show you the decibel changes, but this pulls the straight line between points and doesn’t work in pencil edit mode.

When you slide over the pencil lock control in the upper left into edit mode (bright red), you can tap on the line to create additional points, or long press on existing points to move them up, down, or sideways. Experiment on your own. Remember you need two points for a volume transition, but it can be a slow fade or really close  together for a jump. (Great for taking down a sound without cutting the track apart.

And remember you have Undo and Redo buttons when you screw up. You will screw up. TIP: Don’t try to swipe around in tracks to different parts of the song by touching the activated track. Just don’t. 

When done with the editing you can slide the pencil edit off. But you also need to click Done in the upper right to close the Automation control and get back to other controls.

I used this feature extensively to mix and duck audio in the track I posted for my wife this Valentine’s Day. Hear my Simply Need song free on Bandcamp. It made it easier to get an acceptable mix under deadline and tweak things at the last minute.

Enjoy your free time! Or use it to make more stuff, that’s cool,too.

—–David

P.S. GarageBand is free if you bought an iOS device that runs it anytime in the last few years. Now if you want to convert it to another format, well, that requires a Mac since you can’t open or extract from the file on Windows. But using GarageBand on a Mac (also free, the software not the Mac) you can move it off the iPad and not have to keep everything you created on a device that might just die or get stolen one day! (Yikes! Lived that fear.) With Logic (about $100) you can work on your composition in a much more full featured (professional even) audio software tool. 

P.P.S. If you have a friend with a Mac and work in Windows, they can use Logic to actually unpack the file to get to the midi and audio stems, which you could then import into your own DAW (digital audio workstation). It’s a little bit complicated but might be worth it if your music is trapped on an iPhone and you want it in another format for future use. You cannot copy the file to Windows and move it though, you have to sync to the Mac (or maybe use iCloud).

Music Making Needs Control: GarageBand iOS  was originally published on Creative Uploads

Free NPR Audio Training Online

A primer on audio issues with tips on preferably preventing them or trying to fix them after. This is fantastic if you use a microphone to record anything, for audio, video, music, podcasts, whatever. It will make you think first and have (less) problems later.

At the very least, you’ll learn the vocabulary so you can act all knowledgeable about things you are still learning. At the most, you’ll get better at what you do when creating cool things and improve your process. 

http://training.npr.org/audio/the-ear-training-guide-for-audio-producers/

And it has example audio clips for everything being discussed.

—–David

P.S. You’re still learning aren’t you? If you are still alive, it’s really the only way to go. And a bit of knowledge knocks the crap out of that self-doubt that keeps you in your shell.

P.P.S. Free. Go!

Free NPR Audio Training Online was originally published on Creative Uploads

Build A Better Mousetrap

“And the world will beat a path to your door.” That’s the saying, isn’t it?
I don’t know why the mice-killers get all the foot traffic, but I get it. Who wouldn’t want to be able to mass murder cute little rodents? (I wonder what Walt Disney would counter with. I suppose he just made better mouse)

creative uploads mousetrap photography dream inspiration

Of course the point was, if you can improve upon something simple with something just as effective but better, people will want it. Doesn’t even have to be cheaper. (Heck, these days a lot of people think more expensive is better. Suckers.)

Now in the creative engineering field that’s a good goal, but in the creative entertainment arena, better is relative. I write songs, for example, and I think some of them are just as good or better than songs by some of my musical heroes. That’s my opinion of course, but we all start with our own opinion, so there I go. Some of them, not at all.

So a better song than the pied piper, I suppose.

For creative types with more arbitrary measurements, this phrase could be reduced to “build better.” And measure against yourself. And while I write songs, I’ve properly recorded only a few with any patience and care. That’s the “building” part I’m leaving off. (Something my heroes excelled at.)

Goals are funny complicated things that we think are easy. We come up with the end of them in a snap. But even a complete basic mousetrap has a process. You have to prepare the cheese, set the spring, and put the trap carefully in the right spot to get to the snap in the first place. Also watch your fingers.

Build better. One step at a time. You can make many complicated steps or a few simple ones; it depends on what kind of cheese your mice likes, and how long you are willing to spend to get to your goal, but realize it’s more than one step. Build.

And once you have the staircase…. it’s a snap.

—–David

P.S. I didn’t have “Mousetrap” when I was a kid, just the commercials and friends with the game, so I loved it of course. Never got the chance to be bored with it. Friends always have the shiny stuff you never get to play with, while you are stuck at home on rainy days ignoring the boring toys you never bother to play with that make your friends envious. I have a bunch of creative toys now I am just waiting for a rainy day to play with, because I figured out a trick to try. It’s even in two steps:

  • Pretend they aren’t my toys so they seem fresh.
  • Point a hose at the roof so I can imagine it’s raining.

P.P.S. This works for all sorts of things, music, writing, photography and video projects. Heck, grocery lists if you like to buy more interesting stuff when shopping. But if you’ve read this far you’re probably creative enough to figure that out, so this is a just a complimentary confirmation bias.

Build A Better Mousetrap was originally published on Creative Uploads

I Make Music. I Simply Need To.

Usually I just fail to record it, or I will make a simple demo that I don’t share. But my wife deserved a love song and I thought I would be grand about it, instead of quiet.

So this time it ended up on my Bandcamp page! Click for a free listen.

Creative uploads music GarageBand recording songwriting

As I said on her Facebook page,

“Embarrassing Valentine’s Day Outpouring of Love, Commence!

A new song shared on Bandcamp for your listening convenience and public embarrassment (free unlimited streaming!). Sorry, no cheesy video this time.”

Here’s a little background on the secret production, 31 years in the making as it turns out. (Though I’ve only known her for 23 …)

My Tumblr post To-all-valentines-that-simply-need

—–David

P.S. It’s still stuck in my head and not the first time one of my songs has done that to me. Fortunately I think it’s kind of funny when people complain about ear worms to have had it happen to you with a song no one else on the planet has ever heard.

I Make Music. I Simply Need To. was originally published on Creative Uploads

Let Your Imagination Take Flight

It’s really that simple. Up, in the sky, it’s a bird, or a plane, or an idea.

What you do next is up to you. Use your imagination.

creative uploads airliner sky
I’m not going to clutter that up with more words, just like this photo is, unedited, almost grayscale.

—–David

P.S. You know I use my own photos right? No stock stuff. I love that stuff too, but that’s not the point of this blog, plus it’s a whole different mindset of creation.

Let Your Imagination Take Flight was originally published on Creative Uploads

Bored, Depressed or Resting?

 

What difference does it make? Sometimes you have to take some time for yourself. If it’s not paralyzing or long-term, why judge?

—–David

P.S. Please note the qualifiers, and I am not a medical professional. But seriously, I kind of enjoy a little depression for creative purposes (get some great stories and music out that way) or just as an excuse to nap during the day. Balanced with the fact that depression is real and can be debilitating for some, I return to, why judge? But do something with it, OR about it, as directed.

Bored, Depressed or Resting? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Advertising Pays The Bills

Creative uploads dogs photo filter prisma

I get it. Keep in mind if something is free but shouldn’t be, you might be the product. That doesn’t always mean shady, like this blog is free right? But we’re all trading for something: money, barter or attention.

Anyway, Prisma has a new style. It’s a free app from prisma-ai.com so how do they make money? This time it’s a style called “Servers.com”, alongside the Land Rover one. This one doesn’t force a logo, either.

But good for them. Prisma found a way to pay something for all their hard work and provide something of value to all us leechers for the price we like best.

Like the Palmolive one they had in the very beginning, which I liked, I bet these branded ones are available for a limited time only.

And someday I may put up an ad for something I like, I suppose my Amazon store kind of does that.

—-David

P.S. Dr Pepper? Canon? Adobe? Where are you?

​P.P.S. Prisma has like 44 styles now. Still trying to understand them all but I am getting a better idea of which ones will best match a photo with my intended result. Comic version below. I like the spots for water sparkles and because it was cold and it reminds me of frost. Plus you can see both dogs’ faces.

Advertising Pays The Bills was originally published on Creative Uploads