Ennui Or Entropy

Sometimes you’re just not excited to do a post, or you pretend to yourself that you don’t have the energy, when really you have energy but you want to do something else with it; for example, sit on the couch and watch television and read your iPad.

Creative uploads camera filter frowny faceAnd sometimes your phone battery is just dead at the end of the day.

So don’t beat yourself up about it Just recharge. If it’s important you’ll get back to it and if you don’t, I guess it wasn’t that important to you.

So is it important? Do you feel lucky, punk?

—–David

P.S. Wow, that “Dirty Harry” was a great movie did you know Frank Sinatra was originally tapped to be the star? Maybe he just didn’t feel like doing it?

P.P.S. You can kick back sometimes. But not always, if you ever want to get things done. Still, timing is everything. So prepare for what you want to do (as discussed elsewhere in his blog) and then be ready to jump. 

Ennui Or Entropy was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours?

Creative uploads photo talent practice

Sometimes you just take a picture. It’s a snap. It takes a second and maybe you doubt even give out a lot of thought when you do it.

But does it reflect things you’ve learned and forgotten from the thousands of pictures you’ve taken before, whether loved or ignored? Is it an innate skill grown from casual talent?

Yes.

Can you be good without being born with “talent”?

Yes.

Because people that are good at something may have had so-called talent, but really that means they had a drive and curiosity and interest that led them to dedicate time toward playing with and learning and understanding  what they wanted to do.

So take a picture, it will last longer than you think. Even if you never look at it again.

—–David

P.S. So for everybody that takes selfies and that’s it, you will get really good at selfies, perhaps accidentally. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a career out of them because although they are portraits, the self-portrait market doesn’t pay a lot.

Unless you have a sponsor.

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours? was originally published on Creative Uploads

“A Dying Man” Sings His Tale?

I believe in inspiration and I believe in creation and I believe in editing, but sometimes:

  • You’re inspired to just put something out without any editing and that’s OK
  • You create something without pure inspiration and you edit it and that’s OK.
  • You have an idea and you put it down and it needs more polish but you don’t get back to it
    • Quickly
    • Ever
      • And that’s still okay. Wasteful maybe, but you’ll have other ideas and enjoy yourself in the meantime.

My point is that you don’t have to have all the pieces together in a row. You just have to have some good pieces and not worry about the polish if that fits the mood. But the last step for you in an artistic process is to Share. Publish. (Unless you are making it for yourself and I certainly enjoy that too.

But the whole process is the mission statement of this blog. So I decided to record this song because I’m here to share stuff and to be brave enough to share, and silly and foolish and occasionally imperfect. Follow me!

My detailed creation process on this video:
It’s too much work I don’t have time to get it just right I guess I’ll do it later and then not do it at all — No just do it!

Also I love bootlegs, so this is a bootleg then.

I used to sing this sometimes while playing guitar at a restaurant I worked at called Bobby McGee’s Conglomeration. All the service staff were costumes, and for this song I tended to lean into an Irish accent because that’s how it feels to me, so I thought it’s St. Patrick’s Day, why not?

—–David

P.S. Apologies to Caribbean pirates for the pun title. And I sang “maiden” twice; the first time it’s supposed to be “honor of lady.” My lady is the smiling woman at the top of the post, she helps make me alive.

P.P.S.  This song is ©2017 David Watson all rights reserved. Contact me if you want to use it for your marriage proposal. Funny story, one table I sang this for was a couple and an earnest young man talking intently about something, and they tipped me $50 bucks. I think they found it helpful, but I’ll never know where he was in the song: drowning, dying, learning or awake.

“A Dying Man” Sings His Tale? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Her Name Is Rio

creative uploads cactus saguaro photography

Prickly

And she really likes Duran Duran (my wife) so I thought the new Prisma style would be a nice fit.

Yes, those are tall, real saguaros, planted in a pattern outside a museum. One of the benefits of living in Arizona is seeing them around a bit. Though cactus needles are far from friendly.

Prisma is user-friendly though, so far. I mentioned earlier I wasn’t a fan of the misleading upload page that “encourages”you to sign up for their social service by not making it clear you don’t have to, at least on Android. The iOS app seems a little clearer but that may be because I use it on the iPad and the real estate makes it easier to decipher.

And my iPad is currently updating to the latest version of Prisma, which mentioned something about a “store” for styles, and I believe something about getting points for using their social site, so I hope they don’t muddy things up.

—–David

P.S. Now that it’s gone, I miss having a square Prisma output, sometimes. I prefer shooting in a non-square format but now there is no crop tool it all and I do like to edit.

P.P.S. My wife’s name is not actually Rio. She has infrequently danced upon sand.

Her Name Is Rio 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