I Can Haz Prisma Update? 

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

Prisma on Android is up to date like its IOS sibling with a feature I CAN put my finger on. You can drag and drop your chosen styles into whatever order you want.

Just press, hold and drag to rearrange your favorites. This is in addition to the Store icon you see on the lower left, which lets you manage styles, add some new ones and “remove” ones you don’t want (essentially hiding them.) That’s been there for a while.

Still all free (though I have my suspicions there will be premium ones someday), the real app links are at http://prisma-ai.com (many spoof versions out there.)

Quibbles:

  •  Hey, I don’t miss the auto crop to square, but I would like to be able to crop in the app someday. 
  • In an earlier post about Prisma I mentioned (and then emailed Prisma support about) possible privacy issues in their social site, which forces you to enable location settings to post, so they can localize the feed. But they never got back to me about my questions of whether it then embedded the location info in the pictures themselves. Concern and caution but not yet a deal-breaker for me in the app, just still don’t use the social site.

But look, catz!

—–David

P.S. This is my accountant’s cat. It’s sweet but I’m allergic, so in lieu if petting it I told it I would make it internet famous. Well, we meowed at each other, I don’t speak fluent cat….

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

I really do enjoy these silly styles. This one’s “Vivid,”one of the new ones, “Udnie” is the featured image, always one of my favorites. The one atop this page literally tells you what it is.

I Can Haz Prisma Update?  was originally published on Creative Uploads

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file

Just a little public safety note that I discovered, and I am not particularly angry yet, because for some reason I had made a back up before I tried to upload my file to keep a back up safe.

Creative uploads iOS GarageBand iCloud bug music

There seems to be a bug when using iCloud to backup a project file in GarageBand iOS that destroys your original local copy while also failing to create the backup.

So I use Windows PCs primarily, so I know that I cannot back up my GarageBand files directly to it. There is some evilness going on where Windows sees the song’s  .band back up file as a folder, and I have never seen a way to get around it. That means if you make a back up by having GarageBand create one for iTunes, then you have to sync with iTunes on a Mac in order to see it correctly and get it off of the iPad.

So generally I create a back up on iCloud. And this recent instance I had first copied the file that I wanted to back up inside GarageBand iOS, because I thought I might do some additional editing on it but I wanted to keep the original version safe.  So I trigger the iCloud backup and it spun for a little bit and then gave me this error message: it couldn’t back it up because it was damaged or in an incompatible format. In fact what had happened is an 8-kilobyte file was created in iCloud and it also overwrote the original project file ON THE IPAD.

If I had not made a copy, my work would have been destroyed. After some experimentation and troubleshooting — with many copies, thank you very much — I discovered that it was happening when I was uploading to the subfolder I created in iCloud for my music; it’s called garagebandmusic. No fancy spaces or anything. 

When I copied the GarageBand project file to the main folder file it uploaded successfully. At this point I am not moving it inside iCloud to the folder that I want to use, because I don’t know what the bug is. But I will be hooking my iPad up to a Mac as soon as possible and copying everything off again to have a safe back up.

If you don’t have space on your device I would suggest at the very least making a high-quality copy of your song and mailing it to yourself, or making “stems” which is exporting each track separately from the mix, by muting each track in turn and creating a full length audio file for each track individually. So tedious, and that’s how I used to have to make a backup of all my songs before the iCloud feature was added, because it let me use the tracks in something else, remix later and have some flexibility, although I did lose the ability to edit MIDI data that way, since it was converted to the final audio file.

It’s better than losing everything though.

—–David

P.S. If you are writing music for video or film, stems are terrifically useful alongside the final mix, because you can steal a chord from one section, repeat a bridge with cleaner edits, even create new interludes right in your editing software when an edit changes just a little. Imagine the flexibility you have with time in film applied to the musical layers. This is great if your composer can’t help in a time crunch, or even if  you are the composer.

I used these tricks when I made a short film for Phoenix Comicon a few years ago.  I actually wrote and recorded most of the music I used while still writing the script, before I had even shot anything. It came to me in moments of inspiration during the screenwriting and script editing,  so I composed and recorded a mini soundtrack as a suite, basically. 

In video editing, I found some lengths didn’t fit perfectly. Rather than re-record everything to fit my new desired timing, or worse, leaving timing in place on the film but forcing it to match the music despite the visual rhythms’ own desires, I could pull out pieces, or use shorter bars, vamps and stingers exactly how I wanted. And all on GarageBand iOS, with no iCloud or project backup available at the time.

P.P.S. It’s called Take Me 2 UR Leader and it was a final selection for the Film Challenge that year, not top prize or anything but a rare group. Plus I made a movie in 30 days where I got to handle everything but the acting roles (well, I did do one). I will tell you that’s great fun but collaboration is really great too.

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file was originally published on Creative Uploads

Android Catches Up On Prisma

Not only did the photo-into-painting Prisma app create a style for International Women’s Day (nice),

Creative upload photo camera

… they have also already updated the Android app to match the Store feature just added on the iOS app.

I talked about that here in more detail. There are a few interface differences, and you have to add your desired styles on each device, but the feature set seems complete.

—– David

P.S. I wrote Prisma-ai.com support to ask about my location information concerns in their social section, but they haven’t gotten back to me.

P.P.S. Fiery Horse from one of the new styles in the store (sorry, forgot which one).

Creative upload camera photo prisma style

Android Catches Up On Prisma was originally published on Creative Uploads

What Does Prisma Have In Store For Us?

The iOS Prisma app (and presumably Android soon) now has a Store, represented by a tiny little storefront icon. Click on it to open the Store page and you will be greeted by a bunch of little icons.

Creative uploads Prisma app style filter store

There are a bunch of new “styles” though to be fair they include a lot of color swap type filters rather than the more artistically textured ones I like. But there are texture tricks here as well, like “Bubbles”, “Stones” and “Crystal”, which offers sharp edges and a blue cast. All these “New Releases” are still free, although I don’t know if they will figure out a way to start charging for them — I can’t imagine in this day and age that they won’t, at least for certain premium ones.

Below that is a “Popular In Your Country” section, which is self-explanatory and jibes with the international feel but localized content Prisma is pushing, especially in their social site, which forces you to turn on geolocation features to populate your feed with people near you.

Under there are “All The Old Styles” in case you missed something.

But my favorite feature is actually under the ribbon at the top of the page.

It takes you to a “My Styles”section where you can manage the styles you see in the app when processing photos.


Even better, you can tap any of the icons to see a collection of photos processed with that style, which lets you learn how it looks in different situations. This means that you can, as I like to urge you, pick the best style for your photo, and in fact shoot photos with the style in mind.

But it doesn’t stop there. With this update you can remove styles that you don’t care to use. What if you remove one that you want back? At the top of this ribbon page you can manage your style collection, adding and removing styles from the complete list of those available.

As a very early adopter I can tell you that it doesn’t have the “Palmolive” style that it launched with, for example, so the advertising styles seem temporary and I don’t know if they get renamed and come back — so far it doesn’t look like it.

All in all a pretty cool update, although I will say that I do not see the styles I added to the list on my iPad showing up in my Android app yet. I would imagine that is because you cannot yet “manage” the list in Android (which has not been updated as I write this; it always lags behind), not because the styles are incompatible.

As always I will note there are many fake copies of this app out there. The one I use is available through Prisma-ai.com and is a universal free app. Don’t pay some scammer $10 for an iPad version.

.—– David

P.S. Can I say: I don’t feel insecure about giving Prisma my location info for the feed. My personal problem is that I do not like to take photos that I post publicly with location information embedded in them, and I do not know if allowing the app to see the info will in fact embed very specific coordinates in the image, or if it simply uses it to group my feed with the city I live in, and not, let’s say, center the map on my house.

I turn on location info when I’m on a trip because I don’t care about people knowing where I’ve been, but I don’t publicly advertise addresses where I sleep and work.

What Does Prisma Have In Store For Us? 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

Today I Learned, WordPress Edition

That if you wrote a post and published it on WordPress using a PC, then opened the WordPress app on your phone and found an empty draft with the same title, which you thought you made earlier (I really did), you shouldn’t immediately delete it to tidy up.

Because even though it was in Drafts, it was the Published post. So I should have forced a refresh (which you think would happen when you opened the app) or been more patient and double-checked before deleting (which I thought I did but in a rush.)

TIP: Did you know WordPress has a Trash bin? Yeah, it’s available in the web browser, right at the top of your list of posts at the end, past Published and Drafts and all that. You can click Trash and select a pot and Restore it or accidentally delete it forever, whichever. AND it doesn’t show up unless there’s something in it, which is why I never noticed it.

So that’s new too!

—–David

P.S. There’s probably a Trash link in the app too, but I’m done with that for today.

 

Today I Learned, WordPress Edition 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