End of DS106 Ceremony

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the annual End of Ds106 Ceremony! I’m your host Amber E. May and I am happy to kick off this celebration! There’s a very large crowd of cheering fans and members of Ds106 gathered outside of the celebration hall and they’re ready to see some action! Tonight we’re going to look back at the good, the bad, the ugly, and the memorable triumphs of these past 15 weeks.

The Ds106 Hall of Fame

The red carpet has been rolled out and the paparazzi has readied their cameras and microphones! Just rolling up to the End of Ds106 Ceremony in a stretch limousine are the assignments from the Hall of Fame. These 6 assignments have demonstrated brilliant creativity, thought provoking concepts, and exquisitely crafted details that made them stand out from all the rest this semester.

The first work out of the limousine is the fashionable “Passage of Time” photo assignment, from the Design category. This assignment was done for the 9 Lives visual assignment during design week. This image really stuck out in the crowd because it wasnt just a picture of a bunch of Ambers together, but it was also a picture of the many successes and struggles that have made these Ambers into the people they are. Photo design week was all about using photos to convey messages, and this one really takes the cake!

Stepping out of the limo next is the lovely Ds106 Radio Bumper, striking a pose with every step! This assignment really gave Ds106 a voice during audio week with it’s audio filters, rockin’ background music, and Talky Tina impression! This bumper did a great job advertising the innovative Ds106 Radio and really kept the show rollin!

Next up is another rambunctious audio assignment called “The Family Dinner” which was created for the Multipersonality audio assignment. In this there is a fed up mother trying desperately to get her 2 kids, Kayla and Derrek, to behave at the dinner table, while her husband Harold doesn’t do much to help the situation. Oh wow! And Derrek even brought a pizza to the ceremony…but his mother doesn’t look too thrilled.

Oooo…the next assignment out of the limo is a bit of a grumpy one entitled “How Cynics See UMW.” where the front page of UMW’s website was transformed into how a cynical student would see the school. Although this assignment during Web week was a bit negative, it still provided some good insight to those stereotypical cynics of the university. The ones who always need something to complain about to look like an expert in front of their friends. It is currently mocking our red carpet…moving on.

We’re getting down to the wire and we’re down to our 5th individual in the Hall of Fame. This assignment was called “Let’s Analyze Pulp Fiction” and it REALLY outdid itself during Video week. This was where we had to study a scene from our favorite movie by first listening to it, watching it, and then watching while listening. What made this assignment so astounding was that it was able to provide a highly detailed analyzation for a clip that was only a minute and 30 seconds! How intense is that! It definitely earned its place in the Hall of Fame and the crowd is going wild as it struts down the aisle!

Now our final, most recent, Hall of Fame member steps out of the vehicle with its red bionic eye shining brightly and its metal skull shining in the spotlight. Everyone give it up for “Artificial Inteligence”, the remix created for the “For the Remix” assignment! This assignment took alot of work and attention detail to deliver its message about the existence of cyborgs and technological advancement. This work of art was acknowledged by Worth himself, which gave it many kudos getting itself into the Hall of Fame.

Artificial Intelligence

There you have it! The distinguished role models of the Hall of Fame!

 Contribution to DS106
Reporter: Excuse me, Miss May. Can we get an interview about how you contributed to the Ds106 community?

Oh well of course! Despite how much work I had to do for the class, I still took the time to acknowledge that there were other students creating brilliant works of art and working together to make Ds106 the best it could be. I made many comments on different blogs throughout the semester providing useful advice, learning a thing or 2 myself, or just simply admiring the hard work they put into their assignments. I think more than doing this I blew up #ds106 on twitter providing updates to my assignment status or providing the occasional goofy comment. I created 2 tutorials, 2 daily create challenges , and 2 actual assignments throughout the semester (but I sadly dont remember which daily creates I made or when I made them. I think both of them were audio assignments.) Oh! And let’s not forget the big radio show project during midterms! I never ceased to assist my group with the mixing and audio effects during our radio show, Digital Dynamite! With our powers combined and 2 weeks of confusion, our show really ended up being dynamite! What can I say? I like helping people out if I possess some knowledge about how to solve their problems.

Advice For New Students

And now let’s turn to our special guest of the evening, Twilight Sparkle! She apparently has some advice for the future Ds106 students. Tune into the video below for her advice.

Thank you Twilight! Hopefully her advice will be of aid to some of the new students.

Created Tutorials/ Assignments/ Daily Creates

Now let’s turn our attention to some of the material created for the fans. The created tutorials and assignments were already summarized twice in 3 different blog posts. Check out the tutorials and the assignments here so I won’t sound like a broken record to you all!
It’s funny how at the beginning of the semester a majority of us thought that we had to do every single Daily Create. It was a HUGE load off our backs when we were told that we only had to do 3 every week! It’s been so long since I’ve done them that I really don’t remember which ones I did. I think some of the best I did were at the beginning of the semester when I actually had the time and energy to put some effort into them. Some of my best ones I think were “The Rude Blue Screen of Death”, “Retitle a Movie”, and “The Daydreaming Window”. And of course we cant forget the week we did the Daily Create Story where we had to string together 3 daily creates and have them tell a story. Mine was about the existence of aliens. (Yes I’m still waiting for them!)

 Final Project

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for and the ultimate capstone to a great semester in Ds106! Everyone has made their way into the ceremony hall to view this life changing work. There have been 3 sneak peeks to this marvelous within the last 2 weeks about the production and it is now time for it to be unveiled for everyone in tonight’s audience. Without further adieu, Amber E. May Productions proudly presents “Living the Dream” A Rainbow Dash Story!

MARVELOUS! Truly marvelous! The crowd cant get enough of this outstanding film! To see more about how this wonderful story was produced, visit this BLOG POST. All I can say is that this video sums up the real meaning of digital storytelling; using media to create stories rather than linear words.

That’s about it for tonight’s End of DS106 Ceremony. I’m your host Amber E. May and I bid you a fond farewell! We’ll see you again next year!

Final Summary

It’s hard to believe that all of the faces in this class started out struggling in Bootcamp. But look at us now! We’ve been able to put our heads together to make this the best semester of Ds106 ever! Out of all 3 of my years at UMW, this is honestly one of the best classes I’ve had because the assignments made me feel “at home.” I’ve been doing these sorts of projects for fun and leisure since I was in middle school, and just being in a class that has allowed me to continue creating media and even learning more about it has been a dream for me. The one thing I was worried about when I first started the course was that I would fall behind in the blog posts. I’m a very VERY slow writer, and even this post itself has taken me 2 and a half days to write. To combat this weakness, something I’ve learned to do was complete all of the blogs as soon as possible, but create the actual media for the blogs later (as I’m writing the blogs, I’m usually half way done with the actual photo or video, therefore I already know what to write about it.) Just like Twilight in the video above, I am terrified of being late on an assignment and I tend to stress out if something is not done. Likewise, I end up stressing out if I try to do all of the work at once. This class has taught me how to take my time and not try to do a weeks worth of assignments in one day. I mean, if everything is due Sunday and I try to finish everything on the previous Tuesday, of course I’m going to burn out! These are just some of the smaller lessons ive picked up, but there is one thing about this course that has really changed me…

I suck at math, I’m a horrible writer, biology creeps me out, chemistry is too analytical, political science makes me snore, psychology makes me depressed, and history doesn’t keep my attention. At first I thought that there would never be a major for me, and I almost gave up on college. But then I discovered the Digital Media Studies major and it was love at first sight. This class has reminded me why I chose to be this major. I could see myself doing these sorts of projects for the rest of my life, and when I do them, I feel happy that I have ability to accomplish things in a way that I enjoy. Digital Media is my life, and Ds106 has helped me reaffirm this.

Thanks yall, and I hope to see you doing great things in the future! #Ds106 #4life!

Living the Dream (Ds106 Final Project)

Living the DreamPoster

In a world where magical ponies roam free over the land and soar through the blue, cloudless skies, one speedy pegasus strives to be better than the rest. This is a story of blood, sweat, tears, ambition, and a mare’s determination to become the next legendary Wonderbolt, a protector and athlete of the skies. Amber E. May presents “Living the Dream” a Rainbow Dash story.

This is a story about how a blue pegasus named Rainbow Dash grew up constantly dreaming about becoming the next Wonderbolt, which is a team of pegasus ponies who train day and night to protect the skies of Ponyville. (They’re sort of like the Air Force.) Rainbow has trained her whole life, honing her speed and agility skills in preparation for the moment when the Wonderbolts finally recognize her. This video outlines the training she has undergone and it highlights some of her finer adventures. It includes a scene of her as a young filly performing the very first Sonic Rainboom in Equestrian history. However the video also shows a few of her slip-ups, proving that nopony is perfect.This pony has sadly been told countless times that she wasn’t going to become anything in life and that she should give up on her dream. Despite the endless bullying and putdowns though, she kept training in her air obstacle courses until she finally went down in history by saving ponies from an accident during the young flyers competition; also winning the competition in the process.  She was even praised by the Wonderbolts for her bravery and quick thinking. This video is only the beginning of Rainbow Dash living her dream.

This video was made in Final Cut Pro in a little over a week. Of course what one notices first is the immense amount of effects. If I named all of them, it would take up this whole post, but the main ones I used were the “Ultra Wide Screen” effect, color filter, “bad film” filter, desaturated filter, and the multiple screen effect. There were also places where I was able to fit up to 4 different video clips in the same viewing field. To do this I just make each separate video screen smaller. Another noticeable thing is the overlays and how they are used to simultaneously show 2 separate occurrences. At around 1:38 these overlays are used to act as Rainbow Dash’s thoughts as she’s performing the Sonic Rainboom; thoughts of her intensive training and the ponies who said she couldnt accomplish anything. I used all of these effects 1. to make the video as explosive and exuberant as possible and 2. to match Rainbow Dash’s quick paced personality. The music, entitled “The Wonderbolts Take Flight”, adds to this effect because it is meant to remind people of a high speed race. The music also plays a role in the timing and type of effects that should be used (a good example is at 2:04 when DJ-Pon3 is DJing and the music keeps her on beat. Another one is at 4:09 where Fluttershy’s eyes are dizzied after watching Rainbow fly in circles.) The song for the end credits is meant to further show Rainbow Dash’s passion for wanting to join the Wonderbolts. It is the solo she sang during the song “At the Gala” from episode 26.

This video is an example of a mashup because it is a combination of many episodes of My Little Pony and it includes a song from another source. As I said in last week’s post, I’d been creating remixes and mashups for years without even knowing it, and now that I realized it, I started using this media to focus on telling stories and evoking emotions from them. I feel like the emotion one should exhibit while watching this is support and empathy; wanting to cheer on the eager pony as we see her fight the odds. All of this emotion is brought out from just music, video, and special effects. It’s truly amazing what editing can make a person feel at that moment.

If this video doesn’t show you how badly Rainbow wants to be the best of them all I don’t know what will. She has spent her whole life preparing for the moment where the crowds will cheer when she soars overhead. I think she beyond deserves everyone’s recognition! This is a great capstone for Ds106 because it pretty much wraps up what we’ve been learning all semester; that you dont need words on a page to tell a story.

“The Wonderbolts Take Flight” (Final Project Sneak Peek #2)

If I give away anything else for the final project, I’d give away the surprises before it comes out! Here’s the 2nd sneak peek for my final project, a song by the name of “The Wonderbolts Take Flight” by Kristen Cooper (Aka “Dj Beats Point”)

Sounds catchy right! This is going to be the backtrack for the Rainbow Dash “Living the Dream” video. It’s upbeat, energetic, and practically SCREAMS the name Rainbow Dash! The song seems boring right now because there’s no words or no visuals, but that’s why I picked it; to show how 2 plain pieces of media combined can become something powerful. I’m going to have the video not only playing over this song, but the video is going to run with the mechanics of the song; when the trumpets start playing at 0:45, there will be visual trumpets, 1:00 the video will sync to the beat, the crazy sounding synth at 1:50 will be enhanced by some kind of repetitive effect ect.

This song isn’t just going to be a background song, it’s gonna work with the visuals and make the whole video “20% cooler!” <— (rainbow dash’s motto)

The “Ultra Wide Screen” Effect (Final Project Sneak Peek)

This is a small sneak peek at my final project. I recently learned how to make my video clips have sort of an ultra widescreen appearance. This means that the edges look as if they’re so wide that they extend toward the audience. It sort of gives it a panoramic, almost 3D effect, like you can watch the scenes from 3 different angles.

Ultra Wide Screen

How I did this in Final Cut Pro was that I used a distortion filter called “Droplet” which is normally used to provide a ripple effect. Then I went to the Droplet settings and turned up the Radius scroller to the max and the Thickness scroller to 0. I stumbled upon this trick completely by accident as I was ironically working on another My Little Pony music video. I ended up clicking the wrong filter and I ended up making my  video clip look like it had just gotten rained on. So I decided to toy with the scrollers to see if this filter had any other use, and sure enough it did. Although I still have no idea what the terms “Radius” and “Thickness” mean in this effect, I still find the system useful!

Don’t worry everyone! “Living the Dream” will be out by the end of this week! It’s the minor details like these that are making production take a while, but I promise it’ll be epic!

Time to Mix it UP! (Weeks 13 & 14 Remix and Mashup)

Can’t….feel my fingers anymore…been remixing and mashing SO much these past 2 weeks! On top of studying for final exams and doing final projects for other classes, I think these have been the busiest 2 weeks of the entire semester. But I got through them with all of the assignments done in time, and I even had some extra leeway time to put effort into them! I bet Youtube is sick of my uploads and having to give me all these copyright notices by now, but all these uploads were for a good purpose; EDUCATION! Since I pretty much summed up everything I did in the blog posts for these assignments, I think I’ll just list them here to spare anymore excessive finger injury.

Remix the Vacation (Alan’s Trip to Mars) Blog Post
This assignment was hilarious because I got to send the professor to another planet. I hope my ticket to Mars comes in the mail soon. I need a vacation!

Recycle the Media Assignment Blog Post

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! This was where I took everyone’s unneeded junk media and turned it into a work of art. It’s a media party and everyone’s invited!

“Post-Photographic Portrait” Challenge Blog Post

This assignment was one of the funnest ones since I got to turn a man into a machine. I was so happy when Jonathan Worth himself liked it! :)

Countrify Yourself! (Remix Generator Assignment)

I had to take an a capella song and somehow countrify it according to the remix generator. I had this song stuck in my head all night even though I came up with the horrible lyrics in like 2 minutes!

Remixed Album Cover (3 stars)

This was the first remix assignment I did. I created a parody of the Gorillaz album cover “Demon Days” by using characters from the show “Death Note.” I think the Death Note crew would make an awesome metal band.

Vocal Instrumental Mashup (3 stars)

For this remix assignment I took the vocals of one song and mashed them up with the instrumental of another song to create a totally new song. Couldn’t even tell it was a mashup really since both songs sound extremely similar!

Final Project Idea Blog Post
This is my final project idea to create a 4 minute tribute to my favorite pony, Rainbow Dash. It’s gonna have alot of awesome effects, transitions, and clips of her being spectacular.  I’m sure she’d be proud if she saw it.

Remix vs. Mashup

According to Webster’s dictionary, a “remix” is defined as “a variant of an original recording (as of a song) made by rearranging or adding to the original.” I discovered the meaning of the word this week, without looking up the definition, and how it slightly differs from a mashup. My definition of remixing is altering preexisting content and transforming it into a new piece of media with a different message. This could be done with any sort of content; such as photos, music, and videos. The image below is a remix of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. This is only one of MANY remixes since the painting is so well known. Although the characters in the picture change throughout each of the remixes, the message of the famous portrait still remains the same in a sense that the individual in the center is meant to be the most important and is the main focus.


A mashup is very similar in the sense that it still an alteration of some form of media. However, what makes a mashup different from a remix is that it needs at least one other piece of media to create something new. This could be done without changing the content itself and just adding something else to it. An example of this one of my favorite videos called “Cant Touch Mormon Jesus” where the author mashed up an animated video about Mormonism and the MC Hammer song “Can’t Touch This.” What makes this a legendary mashup is the fact that not only is the video clip matched to music, but the voices in the clip also sync with the music, as if the narrator was rapping to the beat. “Stop! Mormon time!”

A remix and a mashup follow similar concepts in that they are a transformation of preexisting material, but what makes them different is the fact that one of them is a transformation of itself without the aid of any other media element.
Whew…I thought I would never get through these 2 weeks, but I made it through with one extra paddle to sail with. I learned now that the videos I’d been making since I was younger were really mashups, and I’d actually been crafting stories by creating them; stories about ghosts were turned into music videos, stories about serious topics were lipsynced with funny audio ect. Remixes and mashups can be used to convey messages that are different than what was intended in the original media clip. This can have the power to change a person’s feelings about a situation; just as I discussed in a previous post about political mashups being able to make an individual see a candidate differently. I feel there are endless possibilities to give meaning to a lifeless work.

Helpful Tutorials

Everyone in DS106 is not a technical pro when it comes to different assignment types, and sometimes we just need a helping hand to get us on track. This is why I’ve created 2 tutorials this semester.

How to Color Splash Your Photos with Gimp

Picture 1

This tutorial I made during design week for those who were having trouble adding splashes of color to their images. Wow, it seemed like just yesterday we were learning how to edit photos, but it was over 2 months ago! Actually I’m glad I made this tutorial because I sort of forgot how to do it myself; it’s been so long!

A Capella With Yourself Using Garageband

Create Track photo Picture5_zps765f4acc.png

This one I just recently made since I’d chosen the “A Capella With Yourself”  assignment to also create a countrified remix this week. Figured I’d show anyone who was struggling with Garageband some of the basics such as how to create tracks and add effects to them. Oh right, and how to be a legendary POP STAR!

Hope the people in future DS106 courses will find these tutorials helpful!

A Capella With Yourself Tutorial

Here’s a bit of a Garageband tutorial for the “A Capella With Yourself” audio assignment (if you’re still interested in audio that is!)

Step 1: Write a song, OR pick a song that you like.
Tip: When you’re picking your song, make sure it’s within your vocal range so you dont sound like a shrieking cat or a deep throated whale.

Step 2. Listen to the song over and over again
Each time you listen to the song, you should be listening for the beat, the lead singer, the background singer(s), and if possible, the music key. This can be very tricky if you don’t have a musical ear….but here’s a page that could possibly help you called Song Key Finder which tells you what key the song is in and what scale it is (you might find your song on this site under “Popular Songs”.) Once you have the song key, you can sing ANY note within that scale in your a capella and it would sound good.

Step 3. Open Garageband and Create Tracks

When you open Garageband, create 3 tracks (or however many “people” you’re singing with) by going to Track–>New Track. What this does is give you the chance to overlay each voice’s part.

Create Track photo Picture5_zps765f4acc.png

Step 4. Start Recording in Parts

On one of the tracks, click the red circle button at the bottom of the screen to start recording. The first track should be the lead singer’s part, singing the main theme of the song (this is the part of the song you’re used to and probably sing in the shower.) When you’re done, press the spacebar to stop recording. It should now look like this:

Vocal Track photo Picture6_zpsc724749e.png

The next track should either be the backup vocals or the beat. In the image, I started with the backup vocals since I wanted to get all of the vocals out of the way. I dont really know how to explain singing a backup chorus other than taking a guess with the notes and hoping they sound good. After a few recordings, they’ll eventually sound nice. (or that’s just my luck.)

Background Vocal photo Picture7_zps43421baf.png

Lastly you should make the beat of the song. This can be done by snapping, clapping, or beatboxing (making “tss-tss-tss-tss” sounds). The point is to sound like some sort of percussion instrument to keep the song on track. If you cant find the beat of the song, try counting 1-2-3-4 OR 1-2-3 and see which one fits. (Most songs are in 4/4 so its 1-2-3-4)

Beats photo Picture8_zpsb3fe83d3.png

Step 4.5: Put some attitude and emotion into it!
No one likes a flat sounding song! Add some color to it to keep it interesting!

Step 5: Make Sure all the Sounds Align

Now that the hard part is over, all you have to do is make sure all of the beats and vocals line up to form the song. You can move each recording to fix it up if something sounds off.

Step 6 (optional): Add Effects

How would you like your singing group to be on stage in a concert hall? To make this sound effect, look to the right side of the screen and look under vocals to find the “Epic Diva” effect. This effect produces an echo and something called a reverb (not the repitition of an echo, but an open sound.)

Effect photo Picture9_zpsb85352d6.png

After clicking this for each track, under the Epic Diva options turn off the Chorus and Track echo buttons by clicking the blue light. Also go to the bottom and turn the scroller on the Master Reverb to about 44%. This is the concert hall effect.

Moar effects photo Picture10_zps509b4353.png

Step 7: Save it

To save the project, head up to the Garageband toolbar and select Share–>Export Song to Disk. This turns your glorious song into an mp3 able to be shared with everyone.

Aaaand you’re DONE!! Listen to yourself, yourself, and yourself now! You all are ready to have your own world tours!

Countrify Yourself! (Remix Assignment)

Time to take off the Barber Shop Quartet outfits and slap on some leather boots and a 10 gallon hat! For this assignment, I decided to go back to the previous audio assignment I’d created called “A Capella With Yourself”, and click the Remix button. I ended up choosing the 3rd remix card option, entitled “Countrify It.” The challenge was to take the existing assignment and find a way to make it sound country. In this case, I would have to take 3 vocal tracks to create an A Capella song AND somehow make it country. Here’s what I came up with!

I wrote the lyrics myself for this one; using the most stereotypical country tropes ever, a partner leaving the protagonist and they go to the bar to get a drink and spend the night hungover from the alcohol. Out of the 2 weeks worth of assignments, which are mainly focused on blogging, I figured it’d be nice to take a break and revisit audio. I created this using my main audio weapon, Garageband (long time no see!) I’ll be a well-known country singer in no time!

Created Assignments

Through DS106 I created 3 assignments for the world to complete.

How I See You


First one was a visual assignment called “How I See You”. This was a task in GIMP where people took a picture of somone they know and draw them behind a pair of glasses. Through the glasses they should see how they actually see that person (whether literally or figuratively.) 0 People did this assignment. Guess it was too complicated to figure out. :(

How I See You


A Capella With Yourself


This next one was an audio assignment where people had to create at least 3 tracks of them singing with each other for 15-20 seconds. (This one was my personal favorite. I wouldve done more than one if I could.) 7 People did this assignment; I guess people like singing!

Vocal Instrumental Mashup


The last one I made was a mashup assignment that was a bit tougher than the previous 2 assignment. It called for 2 songs to be put together, but only the vocals of one song and the instrumental of the other. This was a bit of a challenge for even me to do, and I’M the one who made the assignment! But I got it to work with a Paralyzer/Take Me Out mashup. I’m the only one who’s done this assignment so far, but maybe there will be more next semester since it’s pretty fun.

“Paralyze Me Out” (Vocal Instrumental Mashup ***)

I swear I’m gonna be swimming in copyright strikes by the end of this course. This is a mashup of the 2 songs “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven and “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand. This was made for the Vocal Instrumental Mashup assignment where the task was to take the vocals of 1 song and mash them up with the instrumental of another song. For this, I had the vocals of Paralyzer sync with the background music of Take Me Out.


First I downloaded the instrumental of Take Me Out then the vocals of Paralyzer. To make this, I used Garageband to edit the 2 tracks to match one another. The hard part was trying to match up the beats of both songs so they’d sound well together. The reason I specifically picked these songs was because not only did they sound similar, but they had similar beats per minute (bpm.) The bpm of Paralyzer is between 128 and 135 while Take me out was 123. Because of this small difference, I had to chop up the Paralyzer vocals to make them fit within the 2/2 time signature (meaning 2 beats in every measure.) You can sort of hear these gaps in the song.

Picture 5

In the picture, the bottom track has the music part, while the top track is the chopped up vocals.

These 2 songs work so well together that you cant really tell it’s a mashup!