Friday, May 29, 2015

Music Videos Rock!

The school year is finally ending and this project is coming to a close. Right now, we are doing our rough cut and the deadline is coming real close. I just we can do it! Though, I kinda don't want to finish the video because it is our last project.
Update: It's finally over and now I'm finishing up this blog post in the final 20 academic minutes. We are finally gonna have a banquet and it's going to be a blast!
In this music video, I'm working with Cherish Kuloloia, Haley Gokan, and my own twin sister April Murakami. Cherish basically filmed all the scenes and was our main editor. Haley had all the ideas and helped take the Behind-The-Scenes photos. April didn't do much since she was a beginner but she helped with steady the shots. I just did whatever I could and became responsible for most of the bloopers.

I think the part the audience might like is actually the song choice overall. Compared to all the G.T. classes, we have a Japanese song! In order to help out the American students, we had English subtitles. It's a real creative piece of work and I'm really glad about the finish product. Also, we can't simply miss the amazing bloopers! Because we are a group who loves anime, we included a "Soul Eater" scene inside of it. It was beautiful. It was really funny when I had to act out to break up with someone. It was priceless!

This music video will reflect all we did in G.T. because we learned quite a lot all these years. We cried, laugh, smiled, and even irritated at every project we got and failed a couple of times. My god, that sounds cliche. Whatever. However, we learned from our mistakes and do better in the other years. In our music video, we have animation through Photoshop, something we did in the animation project. We have rules of third shots from our first project concerning interviews. We learned about making stories through our movie trailer projects. We combine all the things we learned throughout our G.T. career which makes it great!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lyrical Livelihood

Hey everyone! This time in G.T. is our last project. It's a music video project!
Before I talk about the music video project, I'll have to start with songs I actually listen to. I really like Rolling girl singed by Hatsune Miku. Most songs sang by Hatune Miku depictes a story hidden through the lyrics. In this case, the story is about a girl wanting to end her life. In the end of the song, one of her friends decides to save her and the girl decides to try again. It's really heartwarming and the song captures the essence of a teenager's struggles. Not only that the song is meaningful, it has a really catchy tune. I'm very tempted to play this song on piano so I might post my performance on my blog! In a American culture, I would have to choose "No Parraells" by Hands by Houses. It's an okay song and has a lot of power if in nightcore.

In this project, I'm working with Haley Gokan, Cherish Kuloloia, and my twin April Murakami. I'm kinda glad about the matchup since I wasn't present during last year music video project so I have no idea what to do. For our music video, we choose "Crossing Field" by LiSA. This particular song was the opening from hit anime "Sword Art Online" created by Reki Kawahara . Unlike any of the other music the G.T. classes choosed, we picked a Japanese song. We actually had a hard time choosing songs because Haley and I wanted American/ Disney songs while Cherish and April wanted Japanese songs. We decided on a compromise. See, Haley wanted an upbeat and happy song kinda like the songs in Disney while the others wanted an Japanese song. We wanted to respect all the decisions and proposals we made so Crossing Field was the choice. It was actually a good decisions because it's easy to sing along and has a nice tempo. Untimely, I'm excited with what we can do with this song since it has quite a bit of possibilities. Either way, if we couldn't do Crossing Field, we would have to go with the awesome Miiro by Akino from Bless 4.
In our visual story, we are having each of us representing a certain emotion that links us to sadness. In the end of our music video, we all change for the better and become happiness.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Our Animation Story

Hey everyone again! We are still working on the animation project and it's getting really stressful. We just finished our Rough Cut critique and unfortunately, we received a weak score due to not completing all the requirements. However, I give major props towards my teammates as they did their best and did a terrific job at stop-motion. We are currently doing our best for the final cut!
To elaborate our project a little more, our story is about our fellow teammate Kiara. Before she moved to Kauai, her class decided to throw a Go-Away party for her. Our focus statement or rather title is "Kiara receives Party". I think it's a neat story because it shows human compassion and I felt it was a much stronger story than anything we came up with.

There was a LOT of ups and downs throughout the whole project. More downs than ups. To completely honest, most of this was because of me due to getting the "pinwheel of death" and destroying most of the Photoshop files. Though, one of the worst moments we had as a team was when the rough critique was due. We only had twenty minutes to do 2 scenes. I was doing a scene on Aedan's computer however, Photoshop was really slow for some apparent reason. I had all the sizing correct however, when I tried to use the paint bucket tool, it wouldn't load until two minutes after. After getting all the key parts, I left it back to Aedan to finish. However, the worst imaginable thing happened: The load that I put onto the computer was too much to handle. The rainbow swirly thingy appeared and the computer was overheating. The only funny part to it was when the person next to me while I was working was also dealing with the rainbow swirly thingy but for different reasons. Aedan and I had to go to Mr. Sanderl to help with our situation. After receiving an informative talk about using the terms slow and lagging, Mr. Sanderl untimely had to force quit.. I didn't save the Photoshop file so we had to do it over again. Usually I would be really irritated however, the only thing I got irritated about was that when Mr. Sanderl created a new document for us, using the same sizing I used before this incident happen, EVERYTHING WAS WORKING PERFECTLY. The paint bucket barely took time to load. Nothing was slow.

I think the best parts we had as a team was when the two scene trailer came out. For once, we managed to meet the time limit and the animations looked fine. Everyone came in to finish the work and managed to make it above schedule. Confession: We made all the stop motion to 0.3 seconds to make it slightly longer. Well, the photos were going a tad too fast and I wanted it to make it longer...Well this was a fun project and I think I did my best for the last animation project I'll ever do!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Animation Outtakes

It's the 4th quarter and you know what that means! Animations! I've been waiting for this project for a while because it's so much fun to do. Did I mention it's also stressful? Surprisingly this quarter, we are not going to use the fabulous "FINAL CUT PRO" but instead use "I-Movie" Shall we start?For this project, we are required to use an experience in our life and make an animation out of it. Sounds easy right? However, if you're someone like me who is basically a shut-in, then this would be hard. Luckily, I had 3 other victims teammates who I could use. Surprisingly, I'm working with a girl named Kiara Wethington and two boys named Aedan Betts and Rafael Sifuentes. Since all teams are required to work with their team for about three weeks, all teams took this chance to learn about each others. Ladies first! Kiara Wetherington was originally from Oregon and plays an assortment of games. Rafael Sifuentes is Mexican and plays the guitar. Aedan Betts likes to watch Supernatural and Doctor Who.

You know, I am still fascinated with GIFs because I liked the creative in each Gifs and it tells us a little bit about others...Really cliche things from yours truly. In case you typed "Moving pictures" or "Pictures that moves not solid" in your Google Search bar, the real term is actually GIF. A GIF is basically a type of picture format that deals with moving pictures. If you think it's really hard to make, you are wrong. Go tell your parents that. You can make GIFs out of your own favorite T.V. show just by grabbing a clip of the episode. A lot of FREE sites can help you make it such as my favorite one but using programs like Photoshop can give a lot of freedom to what you want. Another way to make a GIF and also a type of animation is something called stop-motion. Stop-motion is when you take mutiples photo or FRAMES to depict a movement. Sounds easy? NO. For example, imagine someone walking. Since photos tend to get blurry because of action (unless you have a go pro hohoho), we have to take it one at a time. So one leg up: "CLICK". Put leg down. "CLICK".And so on.
For our story, we are choosing our fabulous teammate Kiara Wetherington. Her story was about her last day at her other school before moving to Kauai. On her last day, her friends and her homeroom teacher threw a whole party for her. Sounds basic? I don't think so. The idea that the whole class did it for one person that they won't ever see again and probably don't care about after a few years showed that at least there are some nice people out there. Most people would not put in all the effort to even throw one party as they would try an easier method like writing a letter. But no. These kids did because they cared about that one person. It's also nice to know that despite of moving far-away, there will be awesome people who will always got your back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Typography Images

I'm alive hopefully. This week, we have to go through this WASC examination AND do this mini ACT test called Explorer. Did I also mention I'm sick?
Okay, this time we're doing something called Typography. Basically, typography, also known as type face is when you arrange words into a photo. This can be easily be done by using PhotoShop or a unique program called Tagxedo. Unfortunately, we didn't get to use Tagxedo which makes things so much easier since it could be finished in seconds. But, I think that ruins the fun in it right? Instead, we used PhotoShop, which messed me up quite terribly.It can be used with images to make a lasting impact as the words can be anything. If you take a photo of your mom, you can fill her face with caring words that describe her. If you take a picture of yourself, you can fill it with things that describes you.
Honestly, if you don't know what you're doing, this project will be hard. Missing a single step can mess you up big time. So basically, I was really behind on my Teacher Typography since I was still stuck on getting my image imported into PhotoShop and Quick Select the face. By the time I was done with it, everyone else was two steps above me and I missed out on a whole step. I knew that I had to something with mid-tones and shadows but I couldn't figure out where it was. Where do I get to shadow? Or to fill? I could access the video link we had on the Focus Wall but I had a really hard time understanding it. Luckily, I was able to ask my table mates for help and be fully caught up with it.

For our first one, I did Bill Gates. I mean, who wouldn't do the creator of Microsoft! First, I grabbed a Wikipedia article and copied as much information I could grab. The more words you have, the better. The information became the words all over the face. After getting a good quality portrait of Bill Gates, I then put it into PhotoShop. Luckily, we received written information and a tutorial from Mr. Sanderl on this topic, which made things a lot more easier.

For our 2nd Typography, we had to do one of a teacher. The whole point was that we could meet new teachers and learn more about them. And what's the G.T. way of learning more about people? We interviewed them! I did Mrs. Bandsma, a science/reading teacher at our school. Through the interview, we picked out 10-15 adjectives that best describes her. It's way different from our typography of Bill Gates because it involves more with colors and those sudden white-spots! In this typography, we had to learn how to select mid-tones and shadows. We also had to learn how to arrange our text and visible to see. This Typography was a load of stress since the text didn't go as I wanted it to and utilizing the brush tool to bring out her nose and her lips went really weird. Why is her lips orange? I want it pick! Overall, it was a great experience and it really prepped me for our next typography.

This is our 3rd typography image. For this typography, we took a picture of ourselves and like our 2nd typography, fill it up with words that describes us. Originally, this was due on the last day of school before Spring Break, but Mr. Sanderl had a change of heart at the end of class. But, during the beginning of class, everyone was scrambling to get work done - including me. Unlike any of the typography we did, we threw out everything we learned and began fresh. In the end, I managed to fill part of my layer with words. After coming to school, I finally managed to get my three layers filled with words (see the different colors?) and finish the typography. Overall, this typography was extremely hard. I had trouble figuring out how to apply colors and do the background onto my typography. For some apparent reason, I couldn't figure out if we had to to do adjustments layers or we just do a normal gradient layer. Luckily, I was able to ask my table-mates for help.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Double Exposed Portraits

According to Head Shot London, portrait photography is "the art of capturing a subject in which the face, facial features as well as facial expressions are made predominant." A common belief is that portrait photography is just a simple shot of a person such as a selfie. However, it's not always the case. Portrait photography consists of the photographer would have to prep while the subject would have a specify angle and position. Often, some portraits will be portrayed as a silhouette or as an image of single color.
Double Exposure is the act of combining two different exposures into one image. Luckily, with PhotoShop, we can easily make this happen quickly. First, you'll have to take a portrait shot. Get a camera and a friend to help you out in this shot. Okay, face side-ways from the camera so that the cameraman (friend) can only see one side of the face. Make sure he/she leaves enough room on the top of your head! After that, take two images that represent you. If you're a musician, take photos of your instruments. If you love to swim, get water! If you don't know what to take, you can always take nature photos of trees or sunset. Did you get all your photos? Then let's start. Open up PhotoShop. Remember how you save your photo, you'll go to File in the upper bars? Okay, go up to the File>Scripts> Load Files into stack.
Now we're going to introduce a new tool called the dodge tool. Now, use the dodge tool to paint around your face. Try to make it COMPLETELY WHITE. 
After this, double click all your photo layers and you should have a pop up. Find blend mode (usually the default option) and apply Screen. Then, it's time to arrange! Take out your move tool (the first option in the toolbar) and click on your other photos that are not of yourself. After this, go to Layer>Adjustment layers. These will allow you to change the layers' appearance. Go wild. After you're done adjusting, you're done! Despite of the difficulty and the time it takes to make a Double Exposure, it's really fun and I think it gives you the chance to express who you truly are. The challenging aspect of it may want people to tackle it and it gives a great experience on how to use Photoshop properly. I would never have expected Photoshop to be capable of such things and it makes me curious about the next project. I'm not that good at Photoshop yet and now, I'm inspired to do better!
Here are my two visual examples. They're not done as well as others since I have no creativity.

My first visual example involved taking photos from the school. As you have see, I took a picture of a branch of flowers and tree branches. The symbolism in this is lacking because I never had a thought about it during the whole photo session. I think if you don't have a clear mind about what you're taking and confused about the directions, your Photoshop experience will be a pain. This could have been improved a lot better because you can barely see the adjustment layers I put onto and it wasn't abstract. It looked more realistic and it seems like I barely tried. I think I should have retook or used different photos because the overall message is confusing and out of place. The overall message in this photo was that I like trees and that trees are interesting.
My 2nd visual example is a little bit more noticeable. For this, I took photos of these two awesome tree barks. I think because I did such a sad job on my 1st one, I wanted to improve on it with different tree photos. It worked out more than I expected and it looks great. Honestly it depends. It could represent I like unusual tree barks or maybe I like unusual trees. Maybe it could have been, wanting to rise further because those trees were so tall. I really don't know however, I'm sticking with I like trees as my symbolism. I think this could have improved by the placement of the images and the adjustment layers being more fine-tune. I was so focused on the adjustment layers that at that point, I forgot about moving around the images. I just really hate these layers because it's something I'm not good at.

Monday, February 9, 2015

HDR Photography

Hello everyone again! I'm still alive though a little disorientated. After receiving a high school application and science fair going on, it's enough to make me bonkers! Anyway, this time in G.T., we are finally moving on from filming and Final Cut Pro to cameras and HDR photography!

HDR photography or High- Dynamic Range, is a method to add dynamic range to photographs balance the ratio of light and dark. To put it simply, remember taking photos on your I-Pad or phones? Do you also remember how you can "edit" your photo? So basically, your phone already has the function to put out HDR photography through the editing feature. HDR photography is usually used in landscapes, low lit scenes, and portraits in sun light. However, despite of all the HDR good features, HDR can sometimes make your photo look worse. This includes photo with already vivid colors, with movement, and high contrast scenes. Personally, I find it extremely hard to do HDR photography. I'm used to having my photos auto-enhanced that it's hard for me to manually enhanced it myself. HDR photography somewhat irks me because it tends to make some photos look really, really, really, fake.

As I said before, some phones are equipped with the HDR function. However, you can't really edit it by yourself; it's up to your phone. Basically, if you don't like your phone edits, you can't do anything about. You may think, "OH NO, THIS PHOTO DOESN'T LOOK WHAT I WANT IT TO LOOK. JUST GONNA DELETE IT." This is where G.T. comes in! In order to make a HDR photograph with PhotoShop, you'll first have to take photos. Set your Camera exposure to -3 and take a photo. Now, set your Camera exposure to -2 and take a photo. And so on until you get your exposure to 3. After doing so, open up Photoshop and go <File-Merge to HDR>. This process will take about 1-3 minutes. After waiting, there should be a new window and on the side, there should be some sliders like Exposure or Shadows. You just opened your editing Window! Through here, you edit your photos and make them good to great. When you're done, you just click ok. You're finished!

My 3 HDR examples  were poorly made unfortunately. However, it creates a great opportunity to explain what happens if you DO THINGS WRONG!

Let's talk about the 1st photo: It's really low quality as you can see because some parts are blurry and really pixelated.This happens if you  took the photo at night, the subject was moving a lot, or your focus was terrible like in my case. The biggest problem with this shot is the wall. That white wall that's in majority of the shot. It's like screaming: OMG LOOK AT ME EVEN THOUGH I'M SO PLAIN! This is a big no-no in HDR photography. There isn't much to edit and it looks unappealing. Who wants to see a wall when there are other scenes you can do. However, there is some rules of third in this shot.

My 2nd photo was just a disaster. I had issue with the camera's focus and editing therefore why some trees were over-exposed and some not. Also, since I had a poor focus, the photo looks weird and some parts looks completely ALIEN -LIKE. This is also an example of not having a focus point. A focus point is the point that you intended the audience to look at when they look at your photo. It's having a shot of the ocean with a sunset. The water is your focus point or maybe the sun reflecting off the water.  In my shot, there isn't any! You don't know where to look and it looks like a giant mess.
Okay, this photo is called a Super Impose. I combined both of my two Landscape and my portrait into one photo basically. In this scene, I "attempted" to have my Experiment blend in into the landscape to make it look smother however, this just went wrong. In this process, you'll have to use the Quick Selection tool in PhotoShop. The quick Selection tool is a tool that allows you to select certain parts of your photo you want to keep and you can transfer the selected area to another photo like I did. The quick selection tool also has a feature call refine edge. As the name suggest, it refine your photo edges to not look rough. This feature is incredibly important as it can affect your photo dynamically. You can even make the selected area look like it was part of another photo. Unfortunately, if you don't do it right, you'll end up with a product like I have here. I'm still proud of it since I tried my hardest to work with the Refine Edge tool. It was just really hard for me to work around it and I think I did good for the 1st time. 

In short, HDR photography is a great way to take photos. However, you'll have to think, "Do I have an interesting background? Do I have rules of third? Do I have focus point?". By doing that, you'll end up with a great photo. And hey, if you can't acquire PhotoShop, try out Google+'s edit feature. Check out the other G.T blogs  on my side-bar and hope you have a wonderful day! (´Ο∇Ο)