Now here’s an app that really knows what we want: Just upload your own photo and it builds a superhero comic strip around you. All we can say is: It’s about time.
The free Comic Studio app lets you import photos, then add cool extras, like sound effect balloons.
The app is called Comic Studio and the price can’t be beaten (because it’s free on Apple’s App Store). It’s a perfect time for the app to be released – right before Halloween. With this app, you can upload pictures of you in your Halloween costume.
Build the Metropolis Around You
The process for using Comic Studio is simple enough. First, you import photos of yourself into the program, then you select backgrounds to go behind your image, including wild character backgrounds like you usually only see in comic books. Then you can add other cool comic book effects, like speech and thought balloons. Presto! Instant comic book, with you starring as the superhero.
Comic Studio was developed by Seedling and is now available through the App Store. The app is free, but some additional content packs that are available carry a small cost to import and use.
The new world runs on cool computer apps that make modern life easier, better and (in the case of Comic Studio) more fun. There’s a great future in app development for people with the right training and skills.
Next summer, why not plan on spending a week at one of Digital Media Academy app development tech camps?
DMA tech camps offer expert instruction in both programming and app development, with courses available for every interest. Want to learn Python and become a game programmer? We can help you with that.
Or maybe you’d prefer to learn how to make apps for iphone and iPad, like Comic Studio? DMA’s got you covered there, too.
It’s a common nightmare shared by millions: It’s summer. You take that first dive into the pool and it’s refreshing. Then comes the horrible realization that your iPhone is still in your pocket…
D’oh! It’s never pretty when an iPhone (or other smartphone) takes a dive.
Or maybe you’re trying to answer a call while taking a bath. Your soapy hand loses control and – kerplop! – your phone’s now at the bottom of the tub…
It’s a peak “Oh, NO!” moment of the Digital Age: accidentally submerging your iPhone (or other smartphone) under water. The good news is that – in many instances – you can save that phone. Even better: It shouldn’t cost you a dime.
Try these steps…
- STEP 1: Retrieve the Phone ASAP This may sound obvious, but the first step involves not giving up on the phone prematurely. Some owners will automatically assume the dunked phone has been ruined and there’s nothing that can be done, short of purchasing another one. But don’t give in to that sense of defeat until you’ve tried our method fully.
- STEP 2: Leave the Drying Phone TURNED OFF! This is the most important step in our rescue efforts. After wet iPhones have a chance to dry out completely, they often will come back to life just by turning them back on. But that won’t happen if you make the tempting-but-foolish decision to switch it on while it’s still wet. If you do this, you will most likely short out the battery and permanently reduce your phone to junk.
- STEP 3: Let it Dry Fully This may be the most difficult step for iPhone users, because it requires that they leave their beloved phones alone for what could be several days. (Recommended drying time: 72 hours) Remember that it takes longer for the water trapped inside the phone to evaporate, so put the phone in quarantine on a shelf and give it time. Be patient.
- STEP 4: Accelerate the Drying Process You don’t want to stick a wet iPhone in the toaster oven, but there are ways you can probably speed up the drying process. Put the phone someplace where it will receive steady (but not blazing) sunlight. Plus, try angling the breeze from a fan so that its airflow will be aimed at the iPhone’s open ports. (The same method could be attempted with a blow dryer.)
- STEP 5: Try the Rice Trick And then there’s the rice method, which has been rumored to work with everything from iPhones to cameras. Here you’re trying to use rice’s ability to absorb moisture to your advantage. Some users of the Rice Trick have dried out their iPhones by putting them inside a container of rice. Does it work? It seems to, for some users.
If you’re really serious about saving that wet iPhone, you might try wicking away the moisture by putting the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice.
If you’re going to try it, remember a few pieces of advice. First, use only uncooked rice. (Cooked rice has already absorbed all the moisture it can.) Second, instead of closing up the phone inside a container, fill a bowl full of rice and place the iPhone in that, and leave it uncovered. That way you won’t slow up the evaporation of moisture that naturally occurs in areas of normal ventilation. Third, from time to time, move the phone around within the bowl of rice and leave it in a new resting position. (This helps trapped droplets of water find their way out of the device.)
- STEP 6: Use an Ounce of Prevention Or you could just avoid this situation altogether in the future by taking extra precautions with your iPhone. There are numerous cases and plastic bags created expressly to safeguard an iPhone from moisture. Check out Lifeproof iPhone 6 waterproof cases and other similar products that offer reliable protection from water damage.
Is There an App for Drying iPhones?
Not yet, but there’s an app for nearly everything else. The iPhone is so valued by so many consumers because of its unending supply of useful and fun apps.
Designing those apps are skilled programmers who learn app development and then combine what they’ve learned with creativity and practicality – first by discovering an existing need and then working to fill it.
At app development tech camps like Digital Media Academy, kids (ages 10 to 12) and teens (12-17) discover how easy it is to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. They also learn how to build apps that can even be resold through Apple’s App Store.
Learning computer programming is not unlike discovering any new language: After learning a few words, you try to use what you’ve learned in a sentence – and then in a conversation. And anyone that’s tried to learn a new language will tell you, the best way to learn it is to practice it and have fun with it. A few new video games are embracing this same philosophy to teach computer science and coding to kids.
The “spells” are only limited by the players’ imagination: Players can create force fields, or build mountains or a rock creature to battle other enemies or help navigate the world.
Codespells is the brainchild of Sarah Esper and Stephen Foster. They developed the game as part of their Ph.D work in Computer Science at UC San Diego.
Esper believes her game is more immersive and ultimately a better learning tool than those other “chocolate-covered broccoli games.”
Codespells gives players the ultimate tool to craft spells – and that’s code.
– Stephen Foster, Co-creator, Codespells
“The big difference between a chocolate-covered broccoli game and a real immersive educational video game is that you shouldn’t have to stop playing to go do the learning, and then stop learning to go do the playing,” said Esper, whose passion is teaching programming.
“Codespells gives players the ultimate tool to craft spells – and that’s code,” says Stephen Foster, one of the creators of Codespells. He believes the game will help players “express their individuality through their magic.”
Codespells started as a Kickstarter campaign but will soon be available for download for about $20.
The Foos by CodeSpark teaches “the ABCs of computer science” to kids as young as 5 years old. The game curriculum is based on MIT research, but made kid-friendly and fun – and a great way to introduce kids to computer programming.
The Foos is free to download for Android, Apple and Kindle devices.
Coding at Camp
Teaching kids coding with video games isn’t new. In fact, Digital Media Academy campers have been learning Java programming with Minecraft for a few summers.
Other tools like Alice and Scratch also make it easy to teach young kids programming before they advance to learning C# or Python programming. DMA also believes that the best way to learn technology, like a new programming language, is to practice with it as much as you play with it. And like The Foos and Codespell, make sure the learning experience is fun.
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Good news: NASA has internship opportunities for teens in grades 9-12.
At NASA, teen interns get to do all kinds of cool, incredible things…like experience weightlessness firsthand, study the chemistry involved in mineral recovery efforts, help test-fly NASA Droids, work on cutting-edge aerospace development and more.
NASA is made up of many departments and programs at individual space centers and Air Force bases – and there are internship opportunities available at most of them! Plus, NASA’s internship opportunities are not limited to one area or type of agency work.
Many Opportunities, One Application
The OSSI (“One-Stop Shopping Initiative”) program gives intern applicants a way to submit a single application that is considered across NASA’s entire network of locations and programs.
NASA’s internship website (or OSSI) is web-based and teens only need to submit one application to be considered for all opportunities at NASA. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering applying for a NASA internship:
- What You’ll Need: Applying for an internship at a federal agency like NASA can be complicated. Before applying for a NASA internship, be sure to check the OSSI site regarding what you’ll need to provide during the application process. Those items include proof of U.S. citizenship and a letter of recommendation. Students will also need to furnish school transcripts.
- Minimum Grade Point Average: NASA requires that applicants being considered for internships carry at least a 3.0 grade point average in their regular schoolwork. Some NASA opportunities require an even higher GPA.
- Notification of Selected Candidates: Applicants who are chosen for internships receive an email notification about their selection, through the OSSI system.
- Key Deadline: Once an applicant is sent the email containing the internship offer, the clock starts ticking. The applicant has to reply to the message and notify NASA they intend to accept the offer within five business days, or the offer expires.
In this video, a student talks about her experience in NASA’s intern program. (Video: NASA)
Set Your Sights On the Future
NASA encourages young people’s interest in space exploration. Digital Media Academy has a space camp that inspires kids passion for science and space.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and even Walt Disney weren’t always the Hollywood successes we know today. Everyone has to start somewhere – now it’s your turn to start following your dreams. With this quick guide, you’ll learn how to become a filmmaker.
Write a Story
Since pre-production is arguably the most important step in the production process, you can never be too prepared. As you begin your journey to Hollywood, start with a simple story so that you can focus on production skills.
The three-act structure has been used as a model for screenwriters since the dawn of the filmmaking. By dividing the story into parts called the setup, confrontation and resolution, filmmakers are given a clear format for their work.
Successful production studios often develop storytelling techniques of their own. Pixar developed 22 rules of storytelling that is referenced internally during the creation of modern classics, like Toy Story, Up and Inside Out.
Grab a Video Camera
These days, almost everyone has a video camera. Does your smartphone have a camera? Perfect! Got an old video camera that your family hasn’t used in years? That can work, too…
Today, most cameras and smartphones come equipped with very capable automatic settings perfect for first-time filmmakers. If you plan to shoot with manual settings enabled, be sure to brush up on fundamental camera functions, like aperture and shutter speed.
Although you can make an Academy-Award-winning film using your iPhone, Digital Media Academy recommends Canon cameras and camcorders to help aspiring filmmakers capture the shots they have always dreamed of. Be sure to visit Canon’s website to find the camera that’s right for you.
Assemble a Crew
Filmmaking is truly a team sport. With all of the roles that need to be filled on set, creating a film by yourself can be extremely difficult. Grab some friends and #CreateTheNext summer blockbuster!
In their most basic form, film crews consist of a director, camera operator and actors. As the complexity of your films (and your budget) continue to grow, additional roles (such as assistant camera operators, gaffers, set designers and script supervisors) become increasingly important.
The best way to become a skilled filmmaker is to be a filmmaker. Like any discipline, patience and precision is required to develop the skills of an advanced filmmaker.
Hit the Editing Room
Thats a wrap! Now that you have captured your shots and filled your memory cards, it’s time to piece your film together the way you always wanted.
There are a number of options when it comes to post-production software. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X provides users with an advanced and cost-effective video-editing solution, perfect for both Hollywood hotshots and first-time filmmakers.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of our favorite Hollywood films edited using Final Cut Pro and start editing today!
Create a Buzz
Now that you have started editing, it’s time to get people excited about the release of your latest film, by creating a web presence.
Websites such as Facebook, YouTube and even Instagram, provide filmmakers with a platform to promote and showcase their latest projects. Utilize these platforms and other popular outlets like Vimeo, Twitter and Tumblr to expose your work to as wide a viewership as possible.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Filmmaking is a great way to tell the story you have always wanted to express. Now that you know how to become a filmmaker, it’s time to put these tips and tricks into action. With a little bit of effort, patience and passion, it won’t be long before your film is playing on the big screen.
Summer means blockbuster movies – and this summer’s got a bumper crop of exciting new films. Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, Ant Man, Tomorrowland, Terminator: Genisys, Pixels and Avengers: Age of Ultron lead the pack, with more great hits sure to follow.
Like you, we’re really into movies here. One of our favorite pastimes (and maybe yours, too) is predicting box-office grosses. But not only that, we also like to compare movies against similar films.
Tracking down dependable data isn’t too hard, but when you want to compare box-office earnings, tabbing between browser windows to see the results can be a pain. But there’s an easy way to compare every last detail of your favorite movies…from their running time to DVD release dates to awards received – all in Google.
Follow these easy steps when you want a cool side-by-side comparison of flicks:
Step 1: First, you’ll need to be using Google Chrome as a web browser.
Step 2: In the search field, type in the name of the first movie, then type “vs,” and then enter the name of the movie you want to compare it to.
Step 3: Be careful how you enter the movie title. Make sure to type the full name of the movie. For example, “LEGO Movie” won’t work, but “The LEGO Movie” will. Also, be sure to include the “vs” separating the two titles.
Comparing Film Camps
It’s nearly as easy to find a great summer film camp, if you know what to look for. Because summer’s a great time to channel a child’s interest in movies into what could be the start of a lucrative career. If your kid or teen wants to learn to make movies, you should check into Digital Media Academy’s celebrated filmmaking tech camps.
DMA film courses cover almost every aspect of filmmaking, students get an introduction to filmmaking, where students create their own short film, with them playing the key production roles of the shoot. Students get to see the filmmaking process from the inside and emerge with a cool film they can share and take pride in. It could be the start of something big.
What’s the point of building a great website if nobody can see it properly? That’s the real question behind Google’s recent announcement about the importance of designing websites that are properly formatted for mobile devices.
Statistics indicate that as smartphones and tablets become more powerful, the amount of users accessing the Web on these devices is increasing. According to Google, soon there will be more web searches made on mobile platforms than on traditional laptop and desktop computers.
Google is determined in its support for mobile platforms and has announced that moving forward, any websites that are not mobile-friendly will pay a hefty price.
Currently, web pages that are not optimized for mobile devices will lose some percent of their Google ranking, which will have a negative impact on that site’s number of page views and, as a result, its ability to sell advertising space on the site. Non-optimized pages include problems such as:
- The website’s width doesn’t match the screen width of smartphones.
- The content appears way too small. Smartphone users may have trouble reading the text.
- The graphics on the site have resolutions that are way larger than the device can accommodate.
- The buttons used to navigate the site are way too small on smartphones.
- Buttons are also crowded together, making it hard to use device without pressing wrong buttons.
- The site loads slowly, resulting in an imperfect user experience.
How to Comply
Although some may view Google’s announcement as strict, it actually presents a golden opportunity: Since some websites will probably be slow in complying with the new guidelines, that means that if your website is compliant, by comparison it will leapfrog over similar sites that don’t heed Google’s ruling.
And becoming mobile-compliant isn’t all that difficult. Google is even giving designers some diagnostic tools to check their site’s responsiveness, with specific suggestions for improving that site’s design and increasing its mobile-friendliness. To make your site mobile-friendly, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Check Your Site’s Mobile-Friendliness
Locate your site on Google with a mobile device.
Step 2: See if Your Site Complies
Go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. Enter the URL for your site.
Step 3: Learn What Google Thinks
At this point, you could get an “Mobile-Friendly” rating from Google, shown in a tag directly beneath the title. If so, you don’t need to do anything else, although it would still probably be a good idea to see if you can improve your site’s loading speed. (Move on to Step 5.) If, on the other hand, your site is judged by Google to not be mobile-friendly, don’t despair. Google is also being very open in letting you know exactly what is wrong with your design and what needs to be fixed.
Step 4: Make Needed Repairs
You may be able to make many of the necessary changes to your web design. If not, you might want to enlist the services of a dedicated web designer, who will certainly know how to alter your design to make it comply with Google’s guidelines.
Step 5: Step on the Gas!
A big part of responsiveness involves loading speed. This is another diagnostic site, a Page Speed Test, which clocks the loading speed of your site. As with the other diagnostic tool, this one gives specific recommendations for speeding up your site’s loading time.
Master the Nuances
Properly formatting a site for all platforms is only one important aspect of good web design. Those interested in gaining a full understanding of how to build great websites that people want to visit should check out Digital Media Academy’s web design tech camps.
DMA tech camps feature world-class curriculum and instructors who are industry professionals as well as gifted teachers, and students use the latest in design software. This summer, mobile web design tech camps are being offered at select DMA tech camp locations.
Finally have your Apple Watch? Before you can start personalizing your new gadget, you’ll need to set it up. Fortunately, Apple has made the process relatively painless:
Setting Up Your Apple Watch
1. Open the App
Using your iPhone 5 (or newer model), open the Apple Watch app. Select your preferred language and scroll by using the Digital Crown or swiping the screen.
2. Connect Your Devices
Pair your iPhone with your Apple Watch. Tap “Pair” on each device to begin the process.
Setup made easy. Use the iPhone’s camera to pair it with your new Apple Watch. (Image: Apple Inc.)
3. Hold iPhone Above Apple Watch
Center the Apple Watch on your iPhone’s screen until you are notified that your Apple Watch has been paired.
4. Pick a Wrist
Tap left or right on your iPhone to select a preferred wrist.
5. Enter Your Apple ID Password
You’re almost there! Sign in and take advantage of the many apps available on Apple Watch.
6. Confirm Your Settings
Location services, data usage and Siri. Review your settings and customize your Apple Watch the way you want.
7. Secure Your Apple Watch
Using your iPhone, select whether or not you would like to set a passcode for your watch. With the introduction of new features like Apple Pay, it may be a good idea to lock it up.
8. Sync Your Favorite Apps
Reply to messages, receive calls and use the apps you create without taking out your iPhone. Sync all or just a few of your favorite apps from your iPhone and start using them on your Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch will give users a new way to interact with their favorite apps. Question: how do you develop apps for the Apple Watch? Answer: With creative ideas that can add to and extend the iPhone’s functionality to a wearable device! (The current Apple Watch doesn’t have a camera, but imagine the cool apps it would have if it did!)
Apple Watch Help Hotline
For general help with Apple-related questions, you can call Apple Customer Service at 1-800-MY-APPLE. Want 24/7 support for your Apple Watch? A three-year warranty? Or help setting up your new Apple Watch? Ask about the Apple Watch $1,000 protection plan. It extends the 90-day protection plan that comes with your Apple Watch.
Whenever new users come to an application without getting any instruction, they often feel they can tinker around in the program and figure it out for themselves. Sometimes, this approach works. However, with an application like Final Cut Pro, which is more complex and considerably different from other editing applications, this can lead to problems.
Learning a New Application
Nothing beats real hands-on, live instruction for learning complex software, and I would strongly recommend it for everyone coming to FCPX, whether from iMovie or some other professional Non Linear Editing (NLE) system.
I recommend taking one of DMA’s Final Cut Pro courses at Stanford. I also recommend a good book or some online training. With good instruction, you’re less likely to commit one of these common mistakes when coming to FCP:
Mistake #1: Not Moving On From An Old Application
Don’t try to make FCPX work like another application. If you come from another application like Premiere or Avid or an older version of FCP, and try to make FCPX work as you’ve worked before, you’ll only become frustrated.
I’ve taught FCPX to hundreds of people; those who have the hardest time learning to use its speed, organization and agility are those who try to make it behave like the applications they’re used to. Still photographers who are coming to video, for example, who have never used another video-editing application, take to it quickly and easily.
Mistake #2: Using Optimization
When importing media assets from your camera, select the clips you want, open them and view the import dialogue. Right in the middle is the “Optimize Media” checkbox. Most users’ first reaction is, “Sure, I want my media optimized.” However, using this generates very large and often unnecessary high-data-rate files using the ProRes 422 codec.
Most recent computers can work with codecs like H.264 without optimization. Otherwise, you’re wasting a huge amount of drive space doing this. The corollary to this is to switch off the default Background Rendering in Preferences.
By default, whenever something needs to be rendered, FCP will start rendering it into huge ProRes files. Most of the time you don’t really need rendering for playback. Switch it off or soon your hard drive will likely be filled.
Mistake #3: Losing a Project
One of the nastiest traps is the Open in Timeline mistake. Here’s how editors typically make this mistake.
You’ve imported your footage from your camera. You’ve looked through it, and you’re ready to edit it. You make a new project, and a blank timeline opens with the black bar down the middle.
You find the shot you want to use first, and select that section and then right-click on it. There’s what you want: Open in Timeline, right? No, that’s not what you want: You’ve opened the clip container.
Be careful not to edit everything inside of a clip by avoiding “Open in Timeline.”
You then proceed to edit more shots into the first shot’s container. You close the application and then open it later. You open your project, and it’s now empty.
Turns out that you didn’t edit anything into the project; you edited everything into that first clip, which you now have to find.
Learning FCPX from the Pros
Final Cut Pro is a wonderful editing suite with many great features. Learning how to use Final Cut in a professional environment like Digital Media Academy has many benefits. Take a course from DMA to get the most of your Final Cut experience.
Tom Wolsky is a lead instructor at Digital Media Academy and the author of numerous published books about Final Cut Pro. He has decades of professional television experience, including his years of work as an industry-respected producer for ABC News.
Job analysts say in 5 to 10 years there will be more computer programming jobs in the U.S. than there are qualified people to fill them. Considering that, you’re probably thinking that you should start learning how to program.
Discover the basics of Java programming with Scratch.
Learning programming is not unlike learning any other language, like Spanish or French. You start with the basics and build from there. But where should you get started? There are many different programming languages. Don’t worry…we’ve got you covered with 10 great ways to teach yourself programming:
10. One Step at a Time
When you start learning about writing code, give yourself time to fully grasp the core principles. Move at your own speed, and take time to really absorb the material. Start with a simple project, then break the entire job down into individual steps.
9. Choose Wisely
Select a programming language. Of course, if you’re really serious, you may want to learn programming with C, but there are other languages, too, like Java, possibly the most common programming language, Python or if you prefer developing for Apple’s mobile devices, Swift for iOS. All have varying degrees of difficultly and can be applicable to different platforms.
8. Determine What You Want from Coding
Do you already see programming as a lucrative career? Then start digging in and doing your homework. Take some programming courses, since learning the best practices and proper workflow from a professional is often the best way to go.
7. Learn Online
Nothing beats professionally prepared curriculum but if you want to explore programming at your own pace, a self-guided online programming course may be just the thing you’re looking for.
6. Start Simple
There are lots of resources online and many that are free. Many of these programming resources are kid-friendly, like Scratch developed by MIT. It does a great job of teaching the basics of programming in a simple-to-understand way. Digital Media Academy uses Scratch in its Adventures in Programming camp.
5. Read & Research
Crack open one of the many programming books out there and enjoy the original self-guided method of learning. Today’s programming guides have really evolved. They’re often very engaging and entertaining and written specifically for the TL;DR generation. Scan through more than 500 free programming books on Github.
4. Become a Teacher (or Someone’s Student)
Have basic or intermediate programming skills? Start mentoring someone on programming. You’ll learn new things as you go, and your mind will focus on the subject and remember key aspects. On the other hand, if you want to get a mentor to guide you, there’s lots of help online like at Hack.pledge.
3. Modify Somebody Else’s Code
The easiest way to learn how to write code is to modify someone else’s code. In the process of reverse-engineering it, you’ll discover subtle things about the code. Learning how something works is always a good way to help improve your skills. (For example, you can modify Minecraft code to learn Java programming, since Minecraft was made using Java.)
2. Play Games/Learn Something
When the mind is having fun, it’s more relaxed and open to new information. And what’s more fun than playing games? Coding games may be a little basic, but there are other more in-depth games like the sites CodinGame and CodeCombat.
1. Attend a Coding Camp
The best and easiest way to master writing code is to be shown how to do it by someone who writes code for a living. At DMA tech camps, instructors with programming knowledge and industry experience guide kids (ages 6-12) and teens (12-17) who want to learn how to write code. At DMA, students discover how easy and fun it is to pick up programming skills.